- Ahilmar Again
- Juhl Endorsement
- Neechi's Mom
- Khadijah Question
- Baby Cakes
- Farmer Dave
- Ed Notes
- Cleanup Waiver
- Little Dog
- PV Future
- Historic Bridge
- Yesterday's Catch
- Self Interest
- Pussy Grab
- Wodo Recommends
- Russian Ads
- False Teeth
- Marco Radio
- Mental Health
AHILMAR PEREZ racks up another big win. Fresh off her big victory in the Boonville Classic, Ahilmar's hard work has once again made her victorious, this time winning first place in the under 10-year-old girls category in Point Arena's Waves and Whales 5k trail run, with a time of 34:30 minutes.
ART’S THE ONLY QUALIFIED CANDIDATE
We need a Gualalan in Ukiah. County government is Ukiah-focused and seems predatory in its taxing and department policies. They seem to be desperate for money. Like hearing a spoiled child crying for a bigger allowance, we have to ask the question, "What are you doing with the money we gave you?"
A department head recently addressed the Board of Supervisors to justify the Planning department wanting $8013 for a use permit for Gualala’s emergency helicopter pad at Redwood Coast Medical Services. He said he had to give his people a raise this year which put a strain on his department budget. Redwood Coast Medical Services wants to reclassify the 30-year-old helicopter pad as a state licensed heliport with minor modifications such as a lighted windsock. So the County seizes the opportunity to call it "development."
Most County departments are over-budget. Money is moved around to hide overruns and poor performance. They hire unqualified managers who lack the credentials for higher positions. Management compensation often exceeds qualifications and span of responsibility. It all needs a thorough review.
Mental health service providers are under-credentialed, unlicensed, and undertrained. Without qualified licensed personnel you get people "playing doctor." Measure B is supposed to help us expand and create an effective mental health program. People in charge have no clue where to start. The Measure B committee wants to hire consultants to conduct a "needs assessment." Wow.
And what about our roads? Ukiah comes first. The list goes on.
Most of the candidates for Fifth District Supervisor are likable, but they are inexperienced. If we split the coastal vote we get a supervisor who represents Ukiah and the "Country Club." We must get solidly behind one candidate. Arthur Juhl in Gualala. He's the only qualified candidate, as other local reporters have noted, who really knows what's going on.
TOO MUCH PAIN
I am writing because a friend of mine asked me for my help in putting a letter out there to tell her side of the story concerning a precarious situation which happened here in February of this year. My name is Eric Lincoln. The friend who asked me for my help is Melissa Britton:
"My name is Melissa Britton. I am Neechi [Negie] Fallis’s mother. Since there have been so many wrong stories going around here in Covelo about what people think might have happened to Khadijah Rose Britton, I want to say what I know to be true.
“For about three and a half years Neechi and I supported, clothed and fed Khadijah. She is a part of my family. Khadijah also took good care of Neechi’s children, my grandkids. I love my son Neechi. His three children are my world. So, when Khadijah came into our lives three and a half years ago with all of her help and just being there it was like a blessing for me. The main reason I am talking now is that I am tired of being cussed at. I'm tired of being chased. I'm tired of being harassed. And I am especially sick and tired of people calling my four kids very unfair and very hateful names.
“Why is there so much pain here on this reservation?
“Like I always say, I wouldn't give my shoes to my worst enemy to wear to go through the same hurt, the same pain, the same ridicule that my family and I have been put through. I do care. My kids care. My grandchildren care. So I'm just speaking the truth with an honest heart. That is what makes a good person. All those people who are being judgmental towards my family without a just cause are only adding fuel to their own fire. They are not in a position to judge anyone. Like Tupac said, Only God can judge me.
“God is my judge. I am tired. I have no family but my kids and my few grandchildren. Sure, pain is with us also.
“I love my son Neechi Fallis IV. Innocent until proven guilty.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO KHADIJAH BRITTON?
It’s been 95 days since Khadijah Britton went missing, taken at gunpoint from a home on the western edge of Covelo.
PET OF THE WEEK
Baby Cakes is adorable — her coat is a beautiful reddish-golden, and those ears! Baby Cakes knows sit, down and shake. She's sweet, easy to leash up and sure likes her treats! Baby is a bit shy, and sudden hand movements make her nervous. When we took Baby Cakes out for her photo session, she went from slightly aloof to goof in under 5 seconds! She has a sense of humor. When Baby Cakes met Chipper, the shelter's big, fluffy tester dog, she was not interested — but she did well during a multi-dog play group. B.C is 2 years old and a svelte 80 pounds. Hound lovers — get thee down to 298 Plant Road in Ukiah and meet Baby Cakes or check out her personal bio at mendoanimalshelter.com/dogblog/baby-cakes
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit online at: mendoanimalshelter.com or visit the shelter. Join us the second Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" pack walk and help us get every dog out for some exercise! For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
HOME BOY DAVE
by Michael Koepf
On a scale of one to ten, I admit that when it comes to governance, my confidence in the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is zero. Nada cum zilch. For decades, county roads have equaled those of rural India. With our current board and county bureaucrats, county roads have morphed from a concern to a standing joke. Additionally, our supervisors knocked Air B&B out of business. Their goal: make room for low-cost labor migrants that work at corporate wineries and high-end B&Bs.
Our supervisors also spend an inordinate amount of time listening to crybaby cannabis capitalists unhappy with the county’s endless negotiations on dope regulation. Heck, I’d be crying too since, ultimately, all this back and forth is meaningless in lieu of state demands. In Ukiah, unaudited bureaucrats run the show. The county CEO pulls the strings. The board dances to her tune, and the County Board hasn’t had an independent, creative thought for decades.
Evidence Measure B, which was the inspiration of the county sheriff while the board sat on their thumbs dreaming of an expensive, new court house to house our expanding governing class. And…for all of this big nothing, the board grants themselves a shameful raise!
Then, I read about Dave Roderick, who’s running for 5th district supervisor now that handsome Dan Hamburg is headed to the political barn to rest up from his respite on the County Board. Something peaked my interest. Dave Roderick had a plan to contend with our crappy, county roads. His plan was a mobile asphalt plant (used elsewhere) that would drastically cut the costs of resurfacing our cratered roads. I thought, gosh, this guy isn’t gushing about global melting or aquatic oil drilling—the usual Mendocino, political window dressing that has absolutely nothing to do with the limited powers of our County Board. Roderick was talking about an issue that realistically affects all of us; including the undercarriage of my pickup, which is rattling loose because of our county roads. Thus…I called him up for an interview to hear what else he had to say.
Up front, I asked Dave Roderick what gave him the “big idea” to run for Supervisor? Roderick laughed; always a good sign, indicating a tendency at self-deprecation. A politician who laughs at himself will seldom laugh at us. Roderick answered that he initially thought he was going to run in four years, but when he learned that Hamburg was retiring, he had a conversation with Handsome Dan (my sobriquet). Handsome Dan asked Roderick, “Why don’t you run now?” In fact, Dan Hamburg has endorsed Dave Roderick. This was remarkable news to me. I would have thought Dan would choose a candidate backed by the Democrat, lunatic fringe mostly ensconced on the coast. Is Dan strolling into his legacy as a sadder but wiser man? Roderick admits that in terms of big scene politics, “Dan and I agree on very little,” but Roderick feels that Dan recognized him because “he knew I could do the job.”
Dave Roderick is a homeboy who left and returned to the county he loves. He was raised on the coast near Little River. He attended grammar school in Mendocino, and when his parents moved to Navarro, he attended and graduated from Anderson Valley High School. Roderick went on to praise vocational courses that were once pervasive in most California high schools, including Anderson Valley High School. They were courses that prepared students for well-paying jobs in the trades. At Anderson Valley High, Roderick was a Future Farmer president (focused on sheep and viticulture) and through a vocational course, Dave learned to fly an airplane, receiving his pilot’s license at age 17! After high school and working in vineyards for a stint, Roderick left the county, graduated from college, and went into construction in the Bay Area. In his late twenties, he started his own highly successful business designing, manufacturing and installing roofs and rain screens (walls) for commercial buildings. Roderick eventually brought his company headquarters back to Mendocino (seven employees) where he chose to live and raise his family. Although much of his business is still in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Roderick’s a homeboy, who had to came home again.
Before long, the focus of our conversation turned to a dark topic that affects every citizen of Mendocino County: unfunded pension debt. Like cancer, we’ve heard about it, but it’s a conversation most prefer not to have. Unfounded pension debt in Mendocino County is headed to a billion bucks. Look at this way: Mendocino County is a cruise ship. Let’s call it the Titanic. Let’s say the present captain’s name is Carmen — Captain Carmen, but there have been other captains on this long, expensive cruise. Captain Carmen has five first mates — the county Board — that has traded places with other first mates over the years. Along with the captain, they control the ship from the bridge. The upper deck of the ship is reserved for county employees. They’re called the crew. They have a smorgasbord and a band called SEIU that keeps them dancing night and day. The lower decks are for taxpayers. They’re called passengers. Unbeknownst to the passengers, there’s a hidden leak in the ship. The bridge and crew keep the leak a secret, because it’s the intension of the bridge and crew to retire from the ship by manning the lifeboats and taking their pensions ashore. As the ship sails on, the bridge orders bags of taxpayer money dropped into the hold in an attempt to stem the leak. But, the leaking never stops. By the time the ship and passengers sink, the bridge and crew are gone.
Every year in Mendocino County there is less money for our roads, and less money for everything else except for the people who run the ship. In our conversation, Dave Roderick said that the problem of unfunded pension debt has been consistently “kicked down the road.” Roderick points out that most people who are in “entrenched control, benefit from it.” (The county’s pension plan.) Roderick ponders that if we are a county with twelve hundred employees and one billion dollars in unfunded, pension debt, “it seems to me that this just isn’t going to work…what this means is that eventually we’re going to be in Federal Bankruptcy.” Roderick spoke of switching to a 401K system, pointing out that counties across America that switched to 401ks back in the 90s “are in much better shape today.” However, Roderick believes there has to be some kind of equitable incentive to switch to a 401k saving plan. Cash for instance. However, Roderick pointed out that even county employees at the lower end of the county financial bracket, who retire, at say, $25,000 a year have a retirement account that adds up to about $600,000 bucks. Many retire young and go on to other jobs. “What other people in Mendocino County, have over $600,000 in their retirement account?” Roderick asks, as I think of loggers, fishermen, restaurant workers, vineyard employees, newspaper editors, and, yes, even cannabis farmers. Roderick speculated that for higher paid county employees — the county CEO, and other department heads, there are millions waiting for them. Millions. “These are funds that the county must set aside to cover their defined pensions,” Dave Roderick contends. Where will the money come from? It will come from taxpayers, and they will receive less and less for county services as time goes on. Again, think county roads. If elected, I asked Dave Roderick if he believes he will have any support from his fellow supervisors to take on this momentous, financial problem. Will they choose to confront this problem? Roderick replied, “it’s not a matter of choice, we’re going to have to do it.”
Moving on, Roderick said that CEO Carmel Angelo is “very tough,” and “you have to do your homework” when confronting her. He said overall, the board is not tough at all except for John McCowen, who is often too “nuanced.” I added so was Robespierre, which enlisted a nervous laugh. Roderick believes, “we need some stronger voices on the board.” I brought up Dan Gjerde, who went straight from diapers into politics. (My depraved opinion.) Roderick paraphrased kindly that, “he (Gjerde) needs to speak up more.” However, Roderick added that he has been on several ad hoc committees with Gjerde, “where he is very smart” and “speaks up readily…so when he’s sitting there very quietly at a Tuesday meeting, that’s not the whole picture.”
I asked about the county's crack down on AirBnB. Roderick feels it’s a poor business model to eliminate any bed and breakfast taxes to fix the affordable housing problem. I pointed out that, that in my opinion, the so-called affordable housing problem was nothing more than camouflaged rhetoric to provide housing for low-cost labor immigrants. If the rich require housing for their wage slaves, they should construct it themselves rather than use the County Board to enforce economic, social engineering on small time property owners. (My opinion not Dave Roderick’s.) Roderick partially concurred, pointing out that a home on the coast worth, say, $600,000 and rented on AirBnB is not going to be rented monthly to low wage earners. Roderick stated that that house “should not even be on the table for this discussion.”
I asked Roderick about his main opposition on the coast: Ted Williams, and, Chris Skyhawk. (No relation to Elizabeth Warren.) How does he differ from his fog belt opponents? Roderick answered with one word: “experience!” Roderick said, “Chris Skyhawk’s work resume is listed at starting in 2012, and the guy is 55 years old!” “In Ted, I don’t think he’s ever had a real job. He is the fire chief, (Albion) but broad experience counts,” obviously meaning work experience: making payrolls, negotiating contracts, dealing with government regulation — the hard and daily knocks of the business world. However, compared to Williams, it should be noted that Dave Roderick has been with the Volunteer Hopland fire department; is vice chair for the Hopland fire district; and is one of the co-founders of the Mendocino County Association of fire districts. In fact, Dave Roderick stated that one of the reasons he’s running is because of the Redwood Complex Fire and the county’s lackluster response during and after this tragic event.
Other things discussed: Roderick states he’s predominantly Libertarian. The Ukiah Daily Journal endorses Roderick. As to other current members of the board, he feels that John McCowen, “is a bit of an obstructionist.” He said Georganne Croskey is “great,” and it’s too bad she’s leaving. Carre Brown wasn’t mentioned. Roderick believes the Smart Train should be extended through Ukiah to Willits. The tracks are already there. It would open job opportunities to the south and business development north. He believes Mendocino County needs a “reliable” fiber optic system to lure tech companies and that Mendocino County, “should say yes to any business that wants to locate here just so long as it provides a decent wage and doesn’t screw up the environment.” Roderick says he's “shocked” at how low prevailing wages are in Ukiah.
Dave Roderick’s favorite food is “Barbecue,” adding prudently, “anything my wife cooks.” His hobby is raising fruit trees—pruning and propagating. He like dogs, and his family nickname is “Farmer Dave.” Farmer Dave is on the march against the inertia that defines our county government. It may be in for pruning if Dave Roderick makes it to the county seat.
BY NOW, it might be clear to Jacob Patterson that most people in Fort Bragg think district elections in a town too small for them is a bad idea. Patterson is the young attorney who wasn't hired as City Attorney and ever since has been bombarding the City with requests for this or that obscure piece of information. When he isn't harassing the City, Patterson and his mom are firing off accusations of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and, as they put it, "etc," as if the rest of the PC catechism is understood, if not by everyone but at least among the righteous.
THE HISPANICS whose interests Patterson claims need electoral protection, at least the few who have publicly commented, seem to resent the implication that they require special consideration in Fort Bragg, and wonder exactly who the gringo is who says they do. You can find many of Patterson's demands here on the ava website, and he continues to fire them off, thus either requiring much public time responding to them by City staff or simply offering his idiot opinions, also likely to eat up staff time.
HERE ARE A COUPLE OF THE LATEST:
"Brenda, June asked that I let you know my impressions of the two potential new chairs for Town Hall. I tried them out and they are both an improvement on the existing chairs. Of the two, I prefer the chair with the gray vinyl. It has much better cushions, is a little taller and has a more upright slope to the chair back. The other chair has a greater slope and is a little low for use at the folding tables. Of course, it may be beneficial to have a mix of chair types in case different people have different preferences. Regardless, I put in an informal vote for the gray chairs.
* * *
"Linda, I was watching the stream of the portions of the meeting I did not attend in person tonight and want to object to the Lindy's statement late in the meeting that the distracting public comment buzzer would have to come back for public comment periods. I would like to remind the City that I specifically requested disability accommodations in the form of eliminating the distracting (and for some, potentially triggering) buzzer for public comment time limits in City meetings. I offered to provide supporting documentation demonstrating that I am covered individual under federal and California law but the City has not requested any such documentation. That offer stands should you have a different position now that we have a new city attorney."
YOUNG PATTERSON so far is getting away with his appalling arrogance because, I guess, people are intimidated by his legal credentials. I've seen it too often at public meetings where a lawyer was present. Someone will make the fatal error of asking him or her for their opinion which, of course, the lawyer proceeds to pluck out of mid-air and lay on the assembled, who listen as if to the Oracle.
THE OBVIOUS SATIRE Patterson and Mommy complained about appeared in 'the Mendocino Bacon,' an on-line satire pegged to the staid Mendocino Beacon, the erstwhile newspaper. It made fun of Patterson's district representation ploy. I thought it was pretty good; the hysterical reaction to it was even funnier, almost as funny as the idea of proportional representation for a town the size of Fort Bragg which, at bottom is simply a pretext for this Patterson kid to (1) use Hispanics to pick up a few public bucks, which would qualify as racism most places a gringo might try it and (2) harass the City of Fort Bragg for its wisdom in not selecting him as City Attorney.
GOVERNOR BROWN PROPOSES STATE WAIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS’ FIRE CLEAN-UP BILL
The governor’s proposed budget now includes a waiver for Northern California governments’ share of the cleanup costs stemming from the October wildfires.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I asked Skrag who he was voting for. ‘Voting is for fools,’ he says, and walks off with his raccoon tail in the air. Me? I always vote, even though my dawgs never win.”
PG&E TO SELL OR AUCTION OFF POTTER VALLEY PROJECT
The aging Potter Valley Project yields negligible power, but the controversial north-south transfer of water it facilitates is highly valuable to farmers, fish and urban dwellers.
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Comment 1: Let's see if I have this right. PG&E is willing to transfer the project to a “local or regional entity” and SoCo is happy to join together with three other counties to take possession. This seems too good to actually be true. PG&E will give or cheaply sell these facilities, we get to keep the water running AND get to generate electricity (not a huge amount, about 9 megawatts. That is the electrical use of about 9000 homes) So this union of four counties gets to sell to the grid this power. This should be a money making proposition, not a lot but a profit none-the-less, and I'll wager politicians will screw this up so that it costs us big time. I would be interested in knowing the condition of all the facilities and how much it will cost to get them up to and keep them in reasonable repair. This could be a very good thing for the four-county union if it was managed well. I just don't see that happening, I'm really sorry to say.
Comment 2: Oops: Guy Kovner and the PD failed to talk with Eel River stakeholders for this story. The result? What the PD story fails to mention: the huge financial liabilities that PG&E wants to unload, and the real safety risks of dam failure and downstream flooding for a 100 year-old dam with geotechnical problems, adjacent to an active fault system. PG&E just announced they had a proposal for volitional salmon and steelhead passage over the dam to the upper main stem Eel River's very fertile headwaters, with a new fish ladder that would cost $50-$90 million. It is likely to be required as part of relicensing, in the next steps to recovering the Eel River's extraordinarily abundant salmon and steelhead populations and fisheries.
Russian River beneficiaries of this water transfer are in denial of these costs, including the Boards of Supervisors and water agencies in three counties. Watch your wallets!
Comment 3: When Potter Valley was evacuated during last year’s fire, the threat was not the fire but the chance that the diversion tunnel, made of redwood, would catch fire and flood the entire valley floor. The fire crews in training this last winter were told this by the CalFire trainers. This surprised us all, and I believe the potential liability of the diversion’s failure played into PG&E’s decision. If so, who would accept that liability and buy it? I know how much money is at stake with the potential failure, and I doubt even Warren Buffet’s ability to absorb the loss. It’s the water, not the power, which will decide this issue; the water is gold. (Anon Forest, Potter Valley)
SAVE THE ALBION BRIDGE
In her ill-informed hatchet job on the Albion River Bridge, [Press Democrat] staff writer Mary Callahan parroted the latest Caltrans’ propaganda against this historic landmark.
Caltrans’ latest claim — the agency’s attempts to demonize the bridge have taken different and shifting approaches over the years — is that the bridge timbers are experiencing “exponential decay.” That phrase has a specific scientific definition, and despite repeated public records requests, Caltrans has been unable to supply data that supports the claim. The Press Democrat missed the opportunity to find the truth.
What’s more, the photograph of the “deteriorating metal support” actually depicts a rusted and probably unused utility conduit that runs alongside the bridge — basically, an abandoned pipe that has nothing to do with the bridge’s structural integrity.
Yes, the Albion River Bridge requires the kind of maintenance that a new $45 million bridge would not. But there’s no engineering or economical reason this maintenance can’t be performed — and at far less than the cost of a new bridge.
The Mendocino Coast’s tourism economy is built on a foundation of preservation: of the environment, of historic towns, of historic lighthouses and of historic bridges. Replacing this iconic structure with a twice-as-wide, freeway-style bridge would be a tragedy, a devastating economic and environmental blow and a profound waste of tax dollars.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 12, 2018
SHANNON ARNOLD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
KENNETH ELLER, Willits. Shoplifting, county parole violation.
MIGUEL ESQUIVEL, Ukiah. DUI.
ELIZABETH HOLM, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MICHAEL JAMES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JUSTING KIPLINGER, Butte Valley/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
PHILLIP LOPEZ JR., Ukiah. Parole violation.
ROBERT MCCANN, Willits. Concealed dirk/dagger, failure to appear.
BRANDON MITCHELL, Laytonville. Failure to appear.
CHRISTOPHER NAREZ, Salinas/Redwood Valley. More than an ounce of pot, felony possession of firearm with prior conviction, possession of pot on school grounds, loaded handgun registered to someone else, no license, concealed weapon in vehicle, loaded firearm on person/in vehicle.
JUAN NAVA-ORTIZ, Covelo. Failure to appear.
ZACHARIA ROZEK, Ukiah. San Francisco/Ukiah. Getting credit with someone else’s ID. (Frequent flyer.)
FORREST WHITE, Willits. DUI causing bodily injury, probation revocation.
“NEW YORK, a place where speculation and individualism are carried to the highest level, where the brutality of self-interest reaches the point of cynicism and where a man, fundamentally isolated from the rest of mankind, finds himself compelled to rely on his own strength, and at every instant to be the self appointed judge of his own action, a city in which politeness does not exist … with people of this kind only two attitudes towards life are possible: they either believe or disbelieve; they either have all the gentlemanly virtues, or they surrender themselves to each and every requirement of necessity. They then get into the habit of exalting into necessity the slightest self interest, the most fleeting whim of passion. Such a theory can take a man far.”
— Balzac, Black Sheep, 1842
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’ve been lucky to have felt reasonably safe most of my life. However, I did once have to run away from a young man in France (when I was also young). I heard his footsteps behind me, as I walked over a pedestrian area around where I lived at the time, in what had been the Olympic Village.
It was broad daylight and I was headed for the local hypermarket. I was vaguely aware that there was someone walking behind me and vaguely waiting for him to pass me by. But he didn’t. He caught up with me and started very obviously walking in step with me. I started to be scared. Then he moved round in front of me and stopped me. I turned and ran and he ran after me. Fortunately he didn’t catch me up but I didn’t dare go out again for some time. To this day I’m quite conscious of men’s footsteps behind me in quiet places, although I don’t let it make me neurotic about going about my business. I like to stick to places where there are people, though.
On a less scary note, I witnessed a sexual assault about a year ago. Some would call it minor, I suppose, if it didn’t happen to them or if they were male.
I was sitting on the bus as it waited for people to get on and off. A young couple were standing waiting to get on while an old man with a walking stick carefully got off. Then, as the young woman stepped onto the bus, the old codger turned round and stuck his hand up her skirt.
She and her boyfriend were aghast. But they both looked round and saw an old man with a walking stick and presumably thought ‘What are you going to do? Drag an old man to a police station?’ I felt for her. She got on the bus and I wanted to smile to her in sympathy but chose not to in case she misinterpreted it as something else. She must have felt humiliated as most of us had seen it – the bus driver had a prime view.
So a short while later I logged the incident on the Everyday Sexism website, because I felt that was the least I could do.
As I say, many would say that was ‘trivial’, but it lets a young woman know what her ‘place’ is in society, especially if it happens more than once. And it was interesting that they deferred to old age and its supposed fragility, even in the form of a dirty old man.
Since several folks asked me for my voting recommendations, here they are. I hope they are of some use to you. — Tom Wodetzki, past co-chair of the Alliance for Democracy and Move To Amend and past co-host of the Corporations & Democracy, KZYX radio show. Albion, May 12th, 2018
Governor: Gavin Newsom, also endorsed by the Sierra Club and National Nurses Union. Second choice: Delaine Eastin, endorsed by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Lieutenant Governor: Gayle McLaughlin, also endorsed by Bernie’s Our Revolution, Green Party, Democratic Socialist of America and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla, endorsed by the Sierra Club, National Nurses Union, Democratic Party and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
State Controller: Betty T, Yee, endorsed by the Sierra Club, National Nurses Union, Democratic Party and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
State Treasurer: No recommendation. Even tho Fiona Ma was endorsed by the National Nurses Union and the Democratic Party, the SF Bay Guardian wrote, "Fiona Ma, who will almost certainly win this office, was a bad SF supervisor, a bad state Legislator, and will be a state treasurer who caters to the rich and powerful. We can’t back her, and there’s nobody else remotely qualified who is running. The League of Pissed-Off Voters went with Kevin Akin, who is running on a platform of creating a public bank, but he has no experience in finance and no chance of winning.”
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra, endorsed by the National Nurses Union and the Sierra Club.
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara, endorsed by the National Nurses Union, Democratic Party and the Sierra Club.
State Board of Equalization, 2nd District: no recommendation. The SF Bay Guardian wrote, "This board, thanks to a history of screw-ups and corruption, now has almost no real power. It’s just a high-paid sinecure for politicians who have statewide ambitions. San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen is running; based on her record, we can’t support her. Catherine Gagliani, A San Joaquin County state senator, isn’t much better. This office ought to be abolished anyway.”
United States Senator: Kevin de Leon, the progressive alternative to current Senator Diane Feinstein, endorsed by Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America, California Labor Federation, Nurses Union and the SF Bay Guardian.
U.S. House of Representative, 2nd District: Jared Huffman, endorsed by the Calif. Democratic Party.
State Senator, 2nd District: Mike McGuire, endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Mendocino Coast Democratic Club.
Member of the State Assembly, 2nd District: Jim Wood, endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Mendocino Coast Democratic Club.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony K. Thurmond, endorsed by the Sierra Club, National Nurses Union, Democratic Party and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
County Superintendent of Schools: Michelle Hutchins, endorsed by the Anderson Valley Advertiser and the Mendocino County Democratic Party.
Supervisor, 5th District: Ted Williams, endorsed by the Mendocino Coast Democratic Club.
Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder: Katrina Bartolomie.
Auditor-Controller: Lloyd B. Weer.
District Attorney: C. David Eyster.
Sheriff-Coroner: Tom Allman.
Treasurer-Tax Collector: Shari L. Schapmire.
Measures Submitter to the Voters (State Propositions) as unanimously agreed upon by the League of Women Voters, SF Bay Guardian, Green and Democratic Parties— 68 YES, 69 YES, 70 NO, 71 YES, 72 YES.
Mendocino Coast Health Care District Measure C: YES. Save our hospital!
County of Mendocino Measure C: YES.
RUSSIAN ADS FOCUSED OVERWHELMINGLY ON RACE
BAD TEETH in the colonies. A citizen told me they don't have teeth filled, but pull them out and put in false ones, and that now and then one sees a young lady with a full set. She is fortunate. I wish I had been born with false teeth, and a false liver, and false carbuncles. I should get along better.
—Mark Twain, 1897; from "Following the Equator"
HAPPY KORLA PANDIT DAY
The recording of last night's (2018-05-11) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0280
The full eight-hour show went out fine on KNYO, but there were a few problems with KMEC, mainly the dratted recurring one of the station's robot getting confused and leaving the automation up loud at the same time as the MOTA stream. Sid Cooperrider got off work at his day (night) job and fixed that by 1:30am so at least Elly Cooney’s story /Bad Boys/, that I started reading at about 3am, squirted properly out of all available transmitters, and that’s good to know. If you're an Elly Cooney fan, and of course you are, you can skip straight to /Bad Boys/ in the recording. It's six hours in.
Again, if the error affected you, sorry about all that, and we’ll eventually figure it out and nail it down, but as my grandmother used to say, "It ain’t the end of the world... /Is/ it the end of the world?" "No." "Okay. Go play, then."
Tell your friends in Ukiah, if you’re ever listening to MOTA via KMEC 105.1 fm and it doesn’t sound right you can go to https://knyo.org and listen there. That always works now, and Jerry has the stream audio quality cranked up enough to fool the dog of His Master’s Voice.
IN OTHER NEWS, as usual at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to educational activities and amusements and sources of jaw-dropping wonderment, such as:
Brainwrap on Donald Glover's (Childish Gambino's) /This is America/. Video at end. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/5/6/1762494/-Stop-what-you-re-doing-and-watch-this
Rudy and the beast. https://boingboing.net/2018/05/07/rudy-and-the-beast-randy-rain.html
Nina Simone Live in Montreaux, 1976. (71 min.) https://archive.org/details/vimeo-36880003
Some elements of an old NASA intelligence test. Try them all. Spin around first until you're dizzy; that's part of it. https://www.popsci.com/nasa-project-mercury-intelligence-test#page-2
And "The other garbage guys, they aren’t like me." A lovely short film. https://laughingsquid.com/nick-dimola-garbage-story/
MENDO NEEDS ACCOUNTABILITY. NOW!
by James Marmon
To: Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission
cc: California’s Department of Health Care Services, Mental Health Services Division
We have some serious problems in Mendocino County and need your help. We currently spend $28 million a year of taxpayer’s mental health dollars with absolutely no accountability as to where or how our MHSA dollars and other mental health funding are being distributed. Although privatizing mental health services is not new in California, the privatization of “management and oversight of services” is, and as far as I know, only here in Mendocino County has such a model ever been attempted.
Currently, Mendocino County has an agreement with Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) a “for-profit’ Administrative Service Organization (ASO) to provide "management and oversight" of specialty mental health, community service and support, and prevention and early intervention services for the County. The for-profit organization has two contracts with the County, one for Adults Services and one for Children Services for approximately 20 million dollars split between the two. Since the ASO’s grand conception there has been very little budgetary oversight of the contracted private “for-profit” agency’s operation and zero accountability as to its spending. We don’t know how much is going to profit or how much is just being funneled to the for-profit’s sister agency, non-profit Redwood Community Services (RCS), their primary subcontractor.
Below I have provided you with some history of this failed experiment..
County sends out RFP to privatize mental health
Mendocino County may have created conflict in bid for mental health services
An Appearance Of A Conflict Of Interest in the Adoption of the Mental Health Privatization Contract
Mendocino County spent $46.8 million for mental health contracts in three years
“HHSA staff was asked by the Board of Supervisors in February to compile a full report of all mental health-related contracts, including those for Ortner Management Group and RQMC, along with subcontracts entered into by both providers, since 2013.” (never happened)
Review of Mendocino County’s Administrative Service Organization (ASO) Model for the Delivery of Mental Health Services
(from the Kemper Report, February 5, 2016)
“Kemper Consulting Group (KCG) was hired by the Mendocino County Executive to conduct an organizational review of the progress and effectiveness to date of the County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Department /Mental Health (BHRS/MH) strategy of utilizing two contracted Administrative Services Organizations (ASO), Ortner Management Group (OMG) and Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC), to deliver mental health services to adults and children. The review was not intended or designed to be a formal “program audit” or “fiscal audit” of either ASO or BHRS/MH, but rather, a management review of organizational effectiveness. In conducting this review, KCG consultants reviewed a wide range of written documents and programmatic and fiscal data and conducted Key Informant interviews with more than 40 individuals, including Board of Supervisors members, county staff, Health & Human Services Agency and County Executive Office officials; leadership of the Mental Health Advisory Board; justice system officials; representatives of both ASOs; and various local service providers. During our review, we identified six major deficiencies of the ASO model as implemented by BHRS/MH. These deficiencies included:
- Fundamental Weaknesses of ASO Agreements:
o No ASO Program Implementation Plans Required.
o Lack of Clarity About Services Covered by the ASO Agreement.
o Lack of Clearly Defined Data Reporting by ASOs and Subcontracting Providers.
o Lack of Clear ASO Goals and Objectives, Deliverables, Timelines and Performance Outcomes.
- Conflicting Approaches for ASO Accountability.
- Inadequate County Decision Structure and Process.
- Delay of Electronic Health Records.
- Lack of Memorandums of Understanding.
- ASO Administration Costs Not Clearly Defined." end quote.
Soon after this report was presented to the Mendocino Board of Supervisors in February 2016, one of the ASO contractors, Ortner Management Group (OMG) gave notice and ended their contract with Mendocino County, the other ASO, Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC), took over the Administration of Adult Services from OMG and their Subcontracting providers.
Ortner Management Group cancels contract
Unfortunately, even with Ortner leaving most of the weaknesses listed above in the Kemper report were never addressed in subsequent contracts with RQMC for either one of the fiscal years 16-17 and 17-18. For the past 2 years KCG’s recommendations have been totally ignored, especially Kemper’s recommendation regarding the lack of transparency of County Financing, Budgeting and Financial Accounting for Mental Health Services
County Financing, Budgeting and Financial Accounting for Mental Health Services
(also from Kemper Report, February 5, 2016)
“KCG’s review of the Mendocino County Mental Health System focused primarily on programmatic and delivery system matters. As a result, we did not conduct a substantive review of the County’s budgeting process and allocations for the ASO contractors and county delivered services, or associated cost accounting by BHRS/MH. However, in our overall review of financial documents associated with the ASO model, we generally found an absence of easily understandable information about how the ASO system is budgeted by fund source (i.e. MedCal, MHSA, Realignment and County General Fund) and how this budgeting fits within the County’s larger framework for revenues and expenditures for BHRS/MH. Furthermore, we heard from a number of Key Informants that there is a lack of understanding about how the ASO model has been constructed and financed and how it is placed in the overall financing structure for mental health services in the County. Specifically:
- Financing. The larger financial picture associated with the delivery of mental health services through the two ASOs and county staff is unclear, specifically how the overall system is financed, what the various revenues can be used for, and how the blend of these revenues supports delivery of services across the Adult System and Children’s System and by county staff in BHRS/MH.
- Budgeting. With budget allocations for ASO operations and county staff delivered services, it is difficult to understand each system component and make relative comparisons in terms of overall budgeting. Finding the right balance of financing for adult services and children’s services – prioritizing the use of available, limited resources – would be made more productive if decision makers and the public had easy to understand, comparable, and timely financial and programmatic information about both ASOs and the county staff delivered services. For county delivered services, this also means documentation of filled and unfilled full-time equivalent (FTE) staff and how staffing levels have changed over time.
- Financial Accounting for Services. BHRS/MH has various accounting mechanisms in place to track expenditures. For example, Medi-Cal claims data is incorporated through the County’s claiming system to Medi-Cal, and there are separate spreadsheets submitted by each ASO for Medi-Cal and non-Medi-Cal billable services and non-billable services. However, the public reporting of this information by BHRS/MH has been limited, which has left county decisionmakers and the public with unanswered questions. Further, it is unclear whether and when BHRS/MH intends to require that an outside financial audit be conducted of each ASO contractor.
We recommend the County Executive direct BHRS/MH to prepare and present quarterly “Financial Summary Reports” that provide summary financing, budgeting, expenditure, and service delivery information on all aspects of the Mental Health Delivery System – both ASOs and county delivered services. In the first of these reports, BHRS/MH should provide a description and outline of the overall structure of financing and budgeting for ASO delivered services and county-staff delivered services.
Further, we recommend the County Executive direct BHRS/MH to make a recommendation on when an independent financial audit of both ASOs will be conducted and for which time periods.”
The recommended action was never followed up by the County Executive and/or BHRS/MH and as late as Tuesday May 8, 2018 a conversation about that action being ignored came up during a Board of Supervisor’s discussion about hiring Kemper Consultant Group once again to do a needs assessment of the County’s overall current mental health system as to provide direction to the County on how a new local voter approved mental health sales tax will be spent, known as Measure B, the Mental Health Treatment Act
Board of Supervisors approve mental health needs assessment
(from Willits News, May 10, 2018)
“I (Supervisor John McCowen) also think it’s a poor practice given that Measure B is dedicated funds approved by the voters for a specific purpose,” he said. “We shouldn’t muddy the waters by tagging the needs assessment onto an existing contract that was written for another purpose which has not yet been fulfilled.”
McCowen added that he thought the county should close the loop in following some of the recommendations previously made by Kemper, including a recommendation for the county to provide for greater accountability in its contracts with providers, a sentiment echoed by community members during public comments.”
Measure B in Mendocino County approved by overwhelming margin
Also at the May 8, 2018 meeting the County and Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) conducted their annual presentations to the Board of Supervisors and the public. Once again, there was not one mention of financing, budgeting, or financial accounting of services in their report, not a single word. Below are both presentations:
I hope that one of your agencies will investigate our concerns or direct us to the appropriate agency that will.