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Supes Notes (Dec. 5, 2018)

There was very little of interest on the Supervisors agenda for Tuesday. It seems that the more we pay them, the less they meet, the dumber the agenda, although their production is the same meeting or no meeting.

There are several minor but conspicuous errors on the announced agenda which leads us to conclude that nobody’s paying much attention to what the Board is doing.

For example the long delayed 2017 Crop report cover sheet still says “Department of Agriculture, Diane Curry, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner /Assistant Sealer of Weights & Measures.”

Ms. Curry may have had something to do with the report since it supposedly covers 2017, but she was summarily fired in March of 2018 despite her many years of service. Her mortal sin seems to have been her candid account of the County's preposterously difficult marijuana licensing process. But Ms. Curry's contribution should be explained to the extent it exists. The Crop Report’s cover letter is signed by the current Ag Commissioner, Harindar Grewal, so his name should be on the title page. Minor discrepancy? Perhaps, but certainly one more indication of lax oversight.

The Crop Report again this year has no mention of the cannabis program even though pot is now semi-legal and the permit program is underway, sort of, and assigned to the Ag Department. The Crop Report’s cover sheet even lists “Chevon Holmes,” the Cannabis Program coordinator, but nothing about pot can be found among the other crop volume and economic info. And no explanation about why the pot stats are again excluded.

The Crop Report also lists “Ray Hall” as a “seasonal inspector.” Hall is Mendo’s retired Planning Director, back again at the public trough with a nice little post-retirement make-work bump up for his retirement. Ray Hall’s long-time tenure as Planning Director was synonymous with gross incompetence, in one indicative episode managing to lose the entire Anderson Valley General Plan amendment input in his seldom visited in-basket.

As we noted in 2016:

"From 2014 court depositions of planning staffers submitted by Legal Services attorney Lisa Hillegas the deposition of Ray Hall’s lead planner Pam Townsend: “[Hall] didn't review code amendments in a timely manner because I'd written code amendments after the 1993 Housing element was adopted and they never got out of his 'in' box even though I asked him a couple of times.

"Hall’s in-box must be the size of Anton Stadium to accommodate all the un-acted upon County business in it. Maybe that’s where Anderson Valley’s “community input” to the General Plan disappeared.

"Townsend said many of her proposed code amendments 'never went anywhere' because of Hall's failure to review it. “Ray wasn't always good with wanting to do a lot of inter division and department coordination,” the diplomatic Townsend said.

"Asked why she thought Hall didn't review her work, Townsend explained, 'I think it was, I guess, you know, not a high priority… Maybe it was too overwhelming to him…'"

Maybe Hall didn’t care because he was unexamined by the Supervisors for so many years his only priority for all the years he’d occupied the office has been to get out with his pension intact.

* * *

Of minor interest is the Ag Department’s “Commissioner’s Report.” 

The Commissioner’s “update” says, “The Cannabis Unit had its last scheduled satellite office for the month of November. November 20: Covelo, Public Library Community Room, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.” 

The “update” reads like it was translated from Bulgarian. The Cannabis Unit says they “had its last scheduled office” in Covelo in November, as if that constitutes information of any kind. Nothing about what happened while they had the scheduled office.

THE AG COMMISSIONER includes this depressing chart about Cannabis permits:

The numbers, of course, make very little sense. The column entitled “past” isn’t dated so we don’t know what period is covered. Apparently, a few more suckers have paid the giant permit fees to qualify to be counted in the “in queue” or “under review” numbers. Somehow the “approved” permits went down by 4 and the total “issued + approved” went up by 1.

In previous Supes meetings Board members have asked several times for explanations about what the primary permit hold up is with no response. Supervisor McCowen has asked several times whether the problem is with the applicants, the state or the County (McCowen obviously hoped that the County would escape blame — maybe the numbers don’t support that); Ag Commissioner Grewal has replied several times that he’s working on getting that information. But here we are in December of 2018 and we still don’t have the slightest idea why so few permits have made it through to glory.

TUESDAY’S AGENDA included the proposed update of the County’s Master Fee Schedule which the Supes will blandly rubberstamp even though it has nothing about permit fees for fire victims.

And so it doesn't go.

One Comment

  1. Michael Koepf December 9, 2018

    Scaramella is the one of the few watching the foxes as they cavort about the chicken coop with feathers, blood and cash in their mouths.

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