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County Notes (Nov. 29, 2017)

Lots Of Interesting Senior Job Openings for Mendocino County: 

According to Mendo is looking for several new senior people: Ag Commissioner, Assistant Auditor, Assistant Public Defender, Chief Probation Officer, Planning and Building Director, and Shelter Supervisor.

Current “interim” Ag Commissioner Diane Curry has yet to be made permanent and Mendo is looking for a permanent replacement for her, even though she’s been in the job for almost a year now, having been in the office going back to 2011 or earlier.

Assistant Auditor is an interesting opening because the Auditor is an elected position which has historically gone to the Assistant upon the Auditor’s retirement because nobody runs against whoever is in office at the time. When the Auditor retires, the Assistant Auditor quietly takes over no matter who they are or what their qualifications are.

Assistant Public Defender is an opening created by the appointment of current Assistant Public Defender Carly Dolan to the Superior Court bench. Since it appears Public Defender Linda Thompson is finally retiring, the Assistant Public Defender would be next in line for the job, but it won’t be the reasonable capable Dolan. We assume somebody from the local “Defense Bar” will get the Assistant job, perhaps the Alternate Public Defender whoever that is at the moment, then they’ll be perfunctorily promoted to Public Defender when Thompson retires. (Unless the Supervisors appoint a hiring committee of local lawyer like they did back when Wes Hamilton was hired as Public Defender over Linda Thompson at the time because, according to now retired judge Rick Martin who was on the panel who told me that they picked Hamilton because Thompson had almost no actual trial experience (because she almost always pled them out and seldom went to trial). Thompson became Public Defender when Hamilton soon retired because she was the only applicant that time.

The Chief Probation Officer job is open because the very expensive retired Sonoma County Chief Probation Officer Robert Ochs is also an “interim” position, appointed by the judges to fill the position of disgraced Chief Probation Officer Pamela Markham. The fact that the acting Chief Probation Officer who filled in during the many months that Markham was on “paid administrative leave” (Kevin Kelley) was not and has not been appointed means somebody at the Courthouse is uncomfortable enough to want to force the County to pay the even bigger bucks for Ochs for however long it takes to find the next Chief Probation Officer. (Although it could easily end up being Kelley anyway.)

Interim Planning And Building Director Ignacio “Nash” Gonzalez seems to be doing ok in the job, so that’s another mystery as to why he hasn’t simply been appointed Planning and Building Director.

We don’t know what’s taking so long to fill Sage Mountainfire’s Shelter Supervisor job. As far as we know Animal Control Officer Rich Molinari is doing fine — maybe Mendo doesn’t even need a “shelter supervisor.”

And, although not exactly a job opening, we notice that Health and Human Services Agency Director Tammy Moss-Chandler has been assigned to disaster recovery with extreme CEO Angelo loyalist Anne Molgaard now as “acting HHSA Director.” No one seems to have noticed that HHSA has been operating with only one figure head “director” for more than a month now.

Then we have three short-time Supervisors: Dan Hamburg, Carre Brown, and Georgeanne Croskey.

The conclusions we can draw from all this official personnel turmoil are that 1. Mendo seems all too happy with “interim” (and costly) management staff most of them hand-picked by CEO Carmel Angelo, and 2. CEO Carmel Angelo finds herself in an increasingly cemented, not to say royal, status with nobody in Official Mendo in any position to question or challenge her alleged authority, much less dare to get on her shit list.

No Shots Fired — Yet? 

(by Bruce McEwen & Mark Scaramella)

As Editor of Guns Magazine in 1984, we had to go to an indoor range in North (San Diego) County to punch paper targets with our .44 Magnums, and the noise those guns make in an enclosed area can result in acute hearing loss, as the youngsters are always trying to tell me I have, but I can’t hear what they’re saying.

But to have an outdoor range in California 35 years later, the Ukiah Gun Club enjoys an elite privilege. As a result, the membership has been growing apace with the closing of outdoor ranges in neighboring counties to the south due to encroaching neighbors and associated complaints, and the Ukiah Gun Club’s revenues have increased substantially –or, were supposed to have…

But. In recent days, there have been three arrests of former Gun Club officers, and the membership now has some expectation that at least some of the money will at last be accounted for, in a criminal court trial.

Allegations of embezzlement have been rife for months now, including suspicions that former club officers were tapping the coin-operated clay pigeon dispenser.

A hypothetical:

Let us suppose the Major and I go out to the Ukiah Gun Club to do a little trap shooting, a friendly wager, nothing more. We park and walk in, wearing our yellow-tinted safety glasses, and caring our fowling pieces over the shoulders of our shooting jackets, the barrels hanging down out backs and the stocks on our chests, the breeches open (observing range safety rules).

Suppose me to be carrying my Kreigerhoff over-&-under from Ulm, Germany; and picture the Major with the old Browning single-shot he’s been shooting trap with since he was six. It costs the Major $950 for a membership, and another $5 to bring me as his guest, then we had to buy some tokens for traps, a box of 25 shells for $4… Watch closely as we walk up to the machine that dispenses clay pigeons, listen to the coins fall in. Listen closely (I don’t hear a thing, sounds like piddling into an abyss: falling silence.)

A machine loads the pigeons into the sling.

“Pull!” I said, and shot both traps before the Major got his gun up. The Kreigerhoff 80 over-&-under is not four times better than a $3000 o/u but it will get you that extra clay when you need it. And where else can you go to play such an expensive, exclusive game?

The Major, to his credit, was not watching for the flush of quail from underfoot, so much, as considering how the fighter squadron he was assigned to in his formative years could best strafe and rout this cache of small arms weapons and training ground for sharpshooters. The Martial Mindset, ultra-libs call it.

So when I yelled. “Pull!” again he still wasn’t ready, and never mind, nothing happened, the trap thrower was turned off and lights went down; a range warden was coming over to tell us we had to go, we were being shown the door because the Club was so broke it could no longer afford to keep the trap shoot area open.

This is our sad story. Where are these sporting-arms enthusiasts – if we may give the ‘gun-nut’ cliché a rest, please – where are they going to go? Vegas? Dallas? I’m sure plenty of locals think it would be most apropos if they would, and some should offer to buy the tickets themselves, but leaving demographics aside, lets consider how close this one came to a massacre. (Bruce McEwen)

* * *

Mr. McEwen’s fanciful gun range imagination — I was never part of a fighter squadron and haven’t shot a rifle in decades, and membership at the Ukiah Gun Club is $175, not $950 (according to their website) — is based on a real case developing in Ukiah having to do with stolen assault rifles and grand theft/embezzlement by three former officers of the gun club.

Audie Norbury, Jack Mathis and Penny Mathis were recently arrested — Norbury and Mr. Mathis for possession of assault rifles, Penny Mathis for Grand Theft — culminating a months-long investigation. So far the Sheriff’s office has not released a press release about the unusual arrest.

Penny Mathis is described in local dailies as the “ex-wife” of Jack Mathis and “girlfriend” of Audie Norbury. Norbury was also charged in Ukiah a few months ago with contracting without a license involving some “volunteer” work Norbury did at the Gun Club.

The Ukiah Gun Club membership has increased recently to over 1200 members, a number of them who joined in the last couple of years due to closures of outdoor gun ranges in Sonoma County.

The Club’s dues are $150 per year ($175 for initial membership) so revenues from dues alone would be over $180k per year. The club also makes money off their arrangements with the Sheriff’s office and Ukiah police who use the range for qualifying and re-certification of cops and other law enforcement personnel. Back in 2011 neighbors complained that ricochets were landing on private property, but the Club seems to have attended to that problem.

As McEwen says, the case has been under investigation for months. Norbury and Mr. & Mrs. Mathis are out as President, Secretary and Treasurer in the wake of the scandal.

Previously Norbury and the Mathises have denied allegations that got them voted out as club officials earlier this year. So if and when this case goes to trial Ukiah might see one of its more interesting casts of local characters than the usual pot crowd and catch of the day.

Where’s Dr. Jeanine Miller?

The last on-line reference to Dr. Miller we can find any mention of her is in the minutes to the September Behavioral Health Board meeting. We're wondering if she hasn't been non-personed like the famous Alan 'The Kid' Flora, Mendocino County's answer to Leon Trotsky.

Apparently Dr. Miller remains Mendocino’s Mental Health Director. But you wouldn’t know it since her brief stint in the public eye in the aftermath of the Ortner Experience when she oversaw the transition from Ortner to Redwood Schrader Management Inc. or whatever they’re called now. Now you saw her, now you don't.

We mention it because it’s another indication of how little attention is paid to what Sheriff Allman rightly says is the County’s biggest public health problem. Ms. Miller has disappeared from the public eye because, as we’ve said many times before, nobody really cares about mental health, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary. The Board of Supervisors/County/State/Feds spend upwards of $30 million a year on it in Mendo alone, but nobody has the slightest interest in what it’s spent on, never asks about how things are going, require no status reports… And the visibly deranged seemed to increase every day, as a drive down State Street in Ukiah confirms.

Take this random quote from those September minutes from the Supes:

“BHRS Director Miller reviewed some of the changes in how programs are being funded and where the funding is coming from. There was discussion on how dollars would be leveraged from other HHSA programs and MHSA. MHSA dollars will be sued as match for some Whole Person Care Grant Programs. The MHSA team is looking for how to fund Positive Parenting Program (PPP), it might be posible to fund thorugh reversion funds or leverage other funds.”

(There’s no mention in the entire meeting about clients, how they’re served or what the “funding” is spent on. At the end there’s even a mention of trying to determine who comes to their meetings, but not a word about the people they’re allegedly there to serve or monitor.

So there you go! Proof positive of the primary mission of the entire Mental Health apparatus: Funding, and "leveraging" that funding to get more funding!

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