- Bautista-Dalson Wanted
- Newspaper Biz
- Climate Hoax
- Albion Thief
- Un-Reliable Insurance
- Cabral Guilty
- Adoption Challenge
- Rivas Acquitted
- Arsonist Pleads
- Labor Unions
- Palace Thoughts
- Yesterday's Catch
- Poorest Towns
- Greedy Results
- People's Party
- Vietnam Suicides
- Party Mission
- Conifer Tea
- Cold Outside
- The Money
- Shady Liberals
- Country Comedy
- Sketchy Santa
- Local Goods
- True Terror
- Moody Optimism
- B Minutes
WARRANT OUT FOR SECOND SUSPECT IN MISSING COVELO WOMAN CASE
A warrant has been issued for a suspect in the Khadijah Britton missing persons case. Antonia Bautista-Dalson, 20, of Covelo, failed to appear for a court hearing on Dec. 18 and according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), the judge ordered a felony, no-bail arrest warrant in her name.
According to witness statements, on Feb. 7, 2018 Britton was allegedly taken at gunpoint by her ex-boyfriend Negie Fallis, of Covelo. Witnesses also claim Bautista-Dalson was the driver of the car Fallis used when he allegedly kidnapped Britton, which occured less than a week after Fallis allegedly attacked Britton with a hammer.
Fallis was arrested Feb. 19, while he was with Bautista-Dalton, on felony counts of attempted murder, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon, though the Mendocino District Attorney’s Office later decided to drop those charges on June 11 because of insufficient evidence. It was suspected Fallis and Bautista-Dalson were in a romantic relationship at the time.
Bautista-Dalson was then booked into jail in August of 2018 on charges of aiding and abetting a felon. This came after police alleged she helped Fallis elude police and hide guns he illegally possessed. Bautista-Dalson entered a plea of no contest and was set for sentencing on Dec. 18 when she failed to show up for court.
If you see Bautista-Dalson, call the MCSO at (707) 463-4411. If you have information about the Britton case, place a call anonymously to (707) 234-2100 or email email@example.com. This is an open investigation and there is currently a reward in Britton’s missing persons case.
I WAS SURPRISED and not surprised to open the December 14th edition of the Independent Coast Observer (ICO) to read this super-large headline above a full page of explanations: "What if the ICO Went Away?" The essential sentence was, "But, due to circumstances beyond our control, our advertising revenue has diminished and we are in jeopardy of having to close down if we cannot find additional means of support." The letter concludes with a request for ten bucks a month to the "ICO Newsroom Heroes fund" to keep the South Coast weekly alive.
I WAS SURPRISED because the McLaughlins, of all the four owner-operated County papers, seemed impregnable. It has a large ad base and healthy weekly sales via South Coast newsstands and a solid base of subscribers. But I’m not surprised that the ICO is in trouble. Very few papers aren't in trouble as we all try to cope with the neo-fact that we're dinosaurs, that newspaper-newspapers are over because the young 'uns get all their info electronically. The great Brit journalist, James Meek, calls newspaper-newspapers, "legacy papers" — meaning leftovers, most of which struggle to make their on-line editions paying propositions while their print editions lose tons of money.
THE ICO is asking its readers "to help by making a monthly, non-deductible donation of $10 or more," a true sign of desperation unlikely to elicit much in the way of real support, but I hope they somehow hang on.
FOUR of the County's papers — the Ukiah Daily Journal, the Willits News, the Advocate-Beacon (a two papers-in-one job) are owned by a hedge fund, meaning a whole string of local newspapers, descended from community-based owners, are being stripped of their assets prior to being raffled off or simply closed. Some bullet-headed kid, probably a Princeton math grad sitting in New York, will one day soon look up from his cocaine to check his newspaper algorithm and exclaim, "Kill 'em off. We already sold their office properties and their ad revenues aren't paying enough to pay their writers although the pathetic slobs are already on food stamps."
SAVVY CAPITALIST that I am, I set out on a kind of journalo-kamikazi run in January of '84, having been a resident of the County since 1970. What I had in mind was a paper unlikely to attract advertising which, of course, freed the mighty ava from whatever pressures my fellow free enterprisers might try to exert. Within a month, almost all of the advertisers I'd inherited had fled, one Ukiah hysteric sending me a telegram that arrived three days later from Ukiah at the Boonville Post Office. (Western Union maintained an office for years across the street from the Ukiah Daily Journal.) For the first year it was touch and go, but the paper was, ahem, interesting and lively enough to attract a healthy number of outside readers to keep us alive just short of what could be called "thriving."
NO STRANGER to hostility prior to owning a newspaper, it came in truckloads with the first editions. But now even the hostiles, though still hostile, don't take the time to write a denunciation any more. The creative vituperation I'd always looked forward to has also moved on-line. And we've moved to what might be called "hyper-local" and, of necessity, downsized to eight pages. (Print and mail costs go steadily up and up. Print is going up another two percent in January.) And printers have also downsized. Where our printers had three big web presses they kept busy, they have one that's half-busy.
I'D ASSUMED that to survive in the newspaper business I'd have to produce a paper heavily dependent on stand sales and subscribers, on readers who valued a lively weekly read. That worked pretty well until '97-98 when the internet really took hold, and Jobs and Zuckerberg revolutionized the way Americans got their information. And the newstands and book stores, where we sold a lot of papers, began to close, and all the old newspaper readers, the people who refused to even buy a computer, began to die and are now legacy newspaper readers themselves. We limp along. The only direct peril faced by Boonville's beloved weekly is the age and creeping decrepitude of the paper's two primary producers.
On December 10, 2018 at approximately 3:20 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a reported burglary in the 2900 Block of Albion Ridge "B" Road in Albion that had been discovered by the victim, 76-year old Philip O’Leno. Deputies were advised multiple tools were stolen from the location. Deputies conducted an investigation and collected evidence that suggested suspect Michael Spradlin, 24, of Albion was involved.
Deputies checked numerous locations on multiple days after the burglary was reported, attempting to locate Spradlin. On December 19, 2018 at approximately 8:30 AM, Deputies located and arrested Spradlin on four (4) unrelated arrest warrants. The investigation revealed that Spradlin was responsible for the burglary. Deputies recovered the majority of the stolen property and it was returned to the victim. Spradlin was transported and booked into Mendocino County Jail for Residential Burglary, Possession of Stolen Property, Violation of Probation and on the four Misdemeanor Arrest Warrants. His bail was set at $50,000.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, KIRK
We recently received a notice in the mail from our insurance company that they are dropping our homeowners policy effective Feb 1, 2019. Spoke to the agent (Team Insurance out of Ukiah) and they said that the policy writer, American Reliable Insurance Company, is completely dropping coverage in California. Now that sounds Un-American and Un-Reliable. So our agent is hunting around for other companies that will cover us. To me insurance is a total racket. But try to say that to the folks in Paradise or any other victims of natural disasters. In any case, I look forward to my golden years when I can start gently smashing my car into inanimate objects so I can get some money out of these crooks.
Kirk Vodopals, Navarro
LAYTONVILLE-AREA MAN FACES DOUBLING OF SENTENCE
UKIAH, Monday, Dec. 17. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Monday afternoon to pronounce multiple guilty verdicts against the accused defendant Frank John Cabral, age 59, occasionally of the Laytonville area, who was found guilty of burglary in the second degree and vandalism causing $400 or more in damage, both as felonies.
While the jury found the defendant not guilty of possession of methamphetamine for sale, it instead found him guilty of the lesser included crime of simple possession of methamphetamine, a misdemeanor.
After the jurors were thanked and excused, the court scheduled further proceedings for this coming Thursday. The defendant is additionally charged with having suffered a prior out-of-state conviction for murder in the second degree.
The prosecutor will prove up the truth of this prior conviction at Thursday's court trial. If found true, this prior conviction will operate as a "doubling" sentencing enhancement pursuant to California's Three Strikes law.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Juan Jose "Joe" Guzman.
The law enforcement agencies that investigated and gathered the evidence against the defendant were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, and the Department of Justice crime laboratory in Eureka.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the trial and will continue to do so through final sentencing.
(Mendocino County District Attorney Office)
ADOPTED CHILDREN are such a pain. You have to spend all your time teaching them how to look like you.— Gilda Radner
FORT BRAGG, Thurs., Dec. 13. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its coastal deliberations Wednesday to announce it had acquitted the defendant of the alleged wrongdoing.
Defendant David Alexander Rivas, age 31, a state prison inmate being housed in Mendocino County, was found not guilty of having committed a battery against a correctional officer at the Parlin Forks Conservation Camp.
Given the acquittal, the jury was not informed about and did not have to decide the truth of whether the inmate had earlier in time been convicted of two separate prior Strikes.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Kevin Cisney. The investigating law enforcement agency was the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
(DA Press Release)
KIRK PLEADS GUILTY TO ARSON
Charles Levi Kirk, 18, of Piercy, was sentenced to five years formal probation in the Mendocino County courts Monday, Dec. 17 after pleading guilty to six arson-related charges on Nov. 19. He was originally arrested on arson charges Oct. 3 after a month-long cooperative investigation lead by CalFire officers with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. Kirk was suspected of starting fires in Willits, Laytonville, Leggett and Piercy last summer and on Sept. 26 law enforcement officers served a search warrant and seized evidence from Kirk’s property in Piercy.
The Shimmins Ridge Fire that started Sept. 4 and burned 10 acres was one of a string of fires that occurred late last summer and was immediately suspected as arson. A resident of the ridge found a burning gas can near the fire and worked with another neighbor to put out the fire until local fire personnel arrived. One of the residents believed he saw a car similar to the one that had been reported at the scene of the fire on Aug. 27 at Bell Springs Road. According to Cal Fire, soon after the fire the Shimmins Ridge Fire was reported, there was another fire reported out Hwy 162, and then a third fire was reported closer to Covelo.
Cal Fire Mendocino Unit Battalion Chief and Fire Prevention Officer Ryan Smith said the sentencing is “not as stiff as I’d like to see.” He said Cal Fire was hoping Kirk would get 17 years in state prison but they had to settle for a lesser sentence primarily because Kirk had no previous criminal record and the courts would likely be lenient if the case went to trial. Smith said Kirk is also banned from using radio scanning devices because the investigation revealed Kirk was listening to scanner traffic during the fires he started. Kirk is also prohibited from handling ignition devices and must register as a convicted arson. “He showed a lack of remorse in my opinion,” said Smith. “He will always be on our radar. We monitor that list anytime a fire happens.”
(Aura Whitaker, The Willits News)
LA PALACIO, OR IS IT EL PALACIO?
I just about fell out of my chair when I read in the most recent Off the Record that you seem to have thrown in your lot with the magical thinking brigades who will never give up on the dream of resurrecting the rotting ruins of the Palace Hotel.
"According to knowledgeable people, Ukiah's Palace Hotel is structurally sound." First off, that anyone would render such an opinion is, ipso facto, proof that that person is not in fact knowledgeable, at least with regard to current building standards.
Even though the exterior brick walls (the only conceivably salvageable part of the structure) may have satisfied yesteryear's structural requirements, 2018 California seismic building standards would consider it little more than a lethal house of cards ready to collapse on its occupants with the slightest tremor.
I have seen seismic retrofits of brick structures in San Francisco, and I can tell you that a project that costly will never happen in the humble town of Ukiah; they would have to completely gut the building, leaving only the brick exterior, then excavate the entire inside and fill it four or 6 feet deep with concrete and rebar. They would then have to fasten enormous amounts of rebar all over the interior of the brickwork before burying it in a thick layer of blown on concrete; essentially making the whole interior surface like a swimming pool.
This highly touted public receiver must be entirely clueless about what would really be involved in bringing the building up to modern structural standards, or he would not have experienced such sticker shock when his guesstimation of a $2 or $3 million job turned out to be more like six when they started to look for actual bids.
And as I understand it, that would simply be for the seismic retrofit of the shell; you would still have the five or $6 million more, at least, to actually build a building inside of it. Obviously, even if it could be done for a quarter of that, it's hard to imagine a use that the building could be put to that could ever pay the note on such an investment.
Ukiah is not a Rodeo Drive or downtown San Francisco, and the Palace is hardly an architectural gem worthy of pulling out all the stops to preserve; the façade has been remodeled over the years, burying perhaps it's coolest architectural detail, the beautiful Art Nouveau looking cast-iron columns that once went along the State Street side. You can see a small bit of one of them through the collapsing wall that once hid them. I would love to scrounge them when the powers that be ever come to their senses and realize that the only rational choice is to raze the building and design a modern, efficient structure there, or at least turn it into a public parking lot until someone has the money and a plan for a higher and better use of this centrally located location.
If the builder were enamored of the present look of the Palace, they could salvage the brick and, after building a modern steel framed structure, face it with the same brick in the same configuration that it's in now, for a fraction of what it would cost to seismically retrofit the existing building.
While it may be pie-in-the-sky, the ultimate best use for the property, IMHO, would be for the new courthouse, rather than the folly that is planned for Perkins Street by the railroad tracks. Just imagine, you could have a 3rd floor bridge for all weather access between the two courthouse buildings! I can only hope that the funding for the town-destroying fiasco on Perkins is held up long enough for the idea of this much better location to dawn on the city fathers.
John Arteaga, Ukiah
CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec. 20, 2018
MARCOS DURAN, Willits. DUI-drugs, disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
CEAN GARNER, Cloverdale. Silencer, controlled substance while armed with loaded gun, resisting.
MICHELLE GEBBIE, Fort Bragg. Under influence, failure to appear.
KASEY KIZER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
STACIE SMITH, Nice/Ukiah. Petty theft, failure to appear.
THE POOREST TOWN IN EACH STATE
With a median annual household income of $25,426, Clearlake is the poorest town in California. Higher education can open doors to higher paying jobs, and areas with fewer college-educated adults often have lower income levels. Just 9.1% of adults in Clearlake have a four-year college degree, less than a third of the statewide bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 32.9%.
NOT MUCH I CAN DO ALONE
Like most Americans, I understand that climate change is man-made, and each individual needs to do his or her part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, I think it does little good for someone like me to look for ways to decrease my carbon footprint when I realize how much American manufacturing has been outsourced to countries like China, India and Mexico where there aren’t any environmental regulations or, in many cases, child labor laws.
American’s desire for cheap goods from such countries negates the effort of individuals who rightfully suspect that their efforts are in vain. Greed, on a corporate and even individual level, is probably a greater source of atmospheric pollution than many suppose.
Perhaps eliminating or, as much as possible, not buying goods from these countries would be more effective than buying a hybrid car.
I haven’t seen any studies or articles about the relationship between the rise of global capitalism and the increase in toxic greenhouse gases, which seem to me to follow a parallel development in time.
Although I can’t stand Donald Trump on almost all levels, I am glad that he is disrupting the neoliberal economy that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama seemed to champion. If climate change is going to be an issue in 2020, we need all the facts.
Tom Glynn, Santa Rosa
CAN A NEW POLITICAL PARTY SAVE AMERICA FROM ITSELF?
When it comes to criticizing the Democratic Party, nothing speaks like experience within the belly of the beast. Ralph Nader is living proof. After years of effectively pressuring congressional Democrats to protect consumers and the environment against corporate greed, he watched firsthand as the party bowed to the demands of Big Business during the Jimmy Carter administration.
70,000 AMERICAN VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM WAR HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE
This morning I finally did something I have been meaning to do for more than two years, ever since moving into the retirement home in which I have been living in France since 2016. Soon after arriving here, I learned that I was only one of two foreigners living in Residence Benetin here in Southern Burgundy. The other was a woman from Vietnam.
Immediately I began thinking of apologizing to her for how the USA ravaged Vietnam but I was afraid I would upset her. In my old age--I'm 81--I have been trying to live by the tenet of the medical profession--"First do no harm."
But as time went by, especially in recent years when I learned of the incredible numbers of suicides of mostly aging American veterans of the fighting in SE Asia, I became more and more haunted by the fact that that war is not over for so many of us including those of us who tried to stop the bloodshed.
This morning my conscience caught up with me. I bought a condolence card and wrote in French, "I wish to apologize for what the country of my birth did to the country of your birth. It was absolutely criminal (C'etait criminal absolu). The woman then invited me to sit and we had a short conversation through my iPad during which I told her the War in Vietnam isn't over for many of us Americans even the ones of us who tried to stop the conflict because we knew it wasn't only about stopping communism. It was also about supporting with tax money the US military industrial complex that a former Republican president and former WW II five-star General warned us about in his farewell speech from the White House in 1961.
I then went on to tell Mme. Barrand who might have been married to a Frenchman, that more American veterans of the fighting in Vietnam have committed suicide in recent decades than those who died in combat in the jungles of Vietnam. My guess is that they could no longer live with memories of what they were forced to do or what they witnessed such as the My Lai Massacre which was as Nazi a thing as done by the SS in France, Russia, Germany and elsewhere in WW II. There needs to be erected in Washington DC a second Vietnam Wall for these vets.
What I didn't tell her but I will, is that life for all living things on earth will be changing for the better soon since we are now two decades into the astrological age of Aquarius with emphasis on compassion and love replacing the Age of Pisces with its greed and deception. But we are still in the period of dawn when the light of Aquarius is beginning to expose all that is false and sweeping it away.
God bless us all, no exceptions.
Tom Cahill, Cluny, France
WINTER SOLSTICE BLISSINGS!
As we enter the dark of winter with its sleepy nights and withering days, the vibrant light of ever-green leaves cheers us. Conifers like pine, fir, cedar and redwood are a medicine chest for body and soul as they dance in the rain. These stalwart members of the plant nation are rich in anti-microbial essential oils that heat easily releases. They are also packed with vitamin C. Make a cup of conifer tea by first going out and hugging one! Express your fondness and appreciation for your green friend as you carefully snip off a few needles or the tips of outer branches. Then brew the greens in your mug (or a pot of them) by pouring hot water over and covering the top to keep the volatile oils in while brewing. In 10-20 minutes you will have a healthy brew – be sure to take a long inhale of its aroma before you sip. For a stronger dose you can simmer the needles in water for 3-5 minutes then steep. Use a lid to keep oils in with the exception of flat leaf cedar (Thuja) which can be simmered with the lid off to release its high amounts of thujone. Cedar can be toxic high doses – one cup on just the days when extra immune support is needed. Externally it makes a good soak for fungal conditions.
For those who want to explore sacred cedar, go to: nomiforager.com/blog/2018/2/7/the-magic-of-cedar
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Which is worse: fatal-over-reach or futile-reach-around?
Americans prove to themselves daily that the only thing that gets done in Washington D.C., and most state capitals, is more of the same political circle-jerk that has kept troops in Shitholistan for going on 18 years; military adventurism from Syria to Somalia, Nicaragua to Niger and everywhere in between – to no strategic effect; budget deficits of trillions of dollars; laughably gargantuan trade imbalances; domestic opioid and suicide crises; broke pension, education and transport systems; crumbling cities and, well, you get the point.
The Wall Street bubble pop that is now happening should take most everyone’s mind off of the putrid parade of political peccadilloes and onto focusing on the most important thing in the whole fucking Godless world – the money.
IN EVERY COMMUNITY there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects: ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.— Folk singer Phil Ochs
THE 4TH ANNUAL GREEN FIELDS CHRISTMAS SHOW is this Saturday!
Gloriana Musical Theater is proud to present the fourth annual Green Fields Christmas! A dynamic experience featuring the Mendocino Coasts liveliest brewgrass boys, Green Fields, and a slew of shenanigans as they bring their uncouth and uncut brand of bluegrass and country comedy music to Fort Bragg once again. The doors open at 8:30 on Saturday, December 22nd, so bring your loved ones who are over 18 years of age so y'all can slap some knees and kick some back with Pookie, Paul, Duncan, Ed, Diggs, and Gabe. There will be an ugly sweater contest, photos with Santa, and present giveaways for those in attendance! Tickets are $7 per person or $10 a couple. The show starts at 9:00 at Eagles Hall in Fort Bragg. So come one, come all, as we find out just what is in Santa Sack at the most exciting Mendocino holiday tradition: The Annual Green Fields Christmas Show!!!
LOCAL HANDMADE GIFTS FROM PETIT TETON FARM
Do your gifting with unique locally grown and made products. At Petit Teton Farm we grow the fruits and vegetables that go into our hand-made jams, relishes, pickles and drink mixers. We're happy to ship anywhere in the United States and will even gift wrap. Contact us, Nikki and Steve, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 707.684.4146, or stop by the farm at 18601 Hwy 128 any day between 8:30-4:30 except Sunday, noon to 4:30.
"OLIO NUOVO" FROM YORKVILLE OLIVE RANCH
The "Olio Nuovo" or "New Oil" from the 2018 olive harvest at the Yorkville Olive Ranch is now available in 375 ml bottles. The Tuscan olives were harvested on November 3rd,. 4th, and 5th and milled each day using the stone wheels at the Olivino mill in Hopland, and bottled on the 8th of November. It is unfiltered, pale green and hazy in color and translucency. Although olive oil enthusiasts in Italy and Spain gather at the olive mills early in the harvest season to get their first tastes of that year's "Olio Nuovo", the vivid, brilliant flavor and pungency may be too much for the typical American pallet. "Olio Nuovo" may be an acquired taste yet to be acquired. So if that astrigent, bitter taste at the beginning and the robust, peppery finish of a decanted Tuscan olive oil is pushing your taste buds too far, the "New Oil' will probably be too much. But the taste of olives will be bright and fresh, sparkling and alive!
The "Olio Nuovo" is not labeled as Extra Virgin as the lab tests are not complete, nor has the California Olive Oil Council's Tasters Panel certified it as being "Extra Virgin".
The "Olio Nuovo" will only be available at the Yorkville Olive Ranch House at $ 20.00 for a 375 ml bottle until December 23rd. Call 894-0530 to reserve a bottle and arrange a time for picking up the oil.
HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM THE BUCKET RANCH
The Bucket Ranch has perfect little holiday gifts for sale around the county. Find our Piment d'Ville pepper by the jar at many local retailers, or contact email@example.com to buy a whole case (12 jars) for $99. You can see the formats available at http://www.pimentdville.com. Or try Nacho's dry beans, which are $10 per pound, vacuum sealed in bags. They come in 3 varieties: Sorana, Zolfini, and Controne. All grown, dried, processed and packed by local hands right here in Boonville-- we appreciate your support!
DEATH & OPTIMISM
I’m moody. I hate writing that; it’s unmanly. Boys are supposed to be strong, fearless, stolid, enduring, silent-suffering, brave, clean and reverent. Girls are supposed to be moody because they are fragile, dainty, pure, menstrual, menopausal, maddening and wonderful. Not boys. We fight. We fight the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, evil, other boys, bears and such. No time for moodiness there. So I guess I’m a wuss – not that I don’t fight bears, but I’m moody.
Of course, the upside of moody is GOOD mood – optimism. Goddamn my optimism! It distorts my eyesight. I believe we’ll think of something to do with global warming or militant religion, which is ridiculous.
Here’s your optimism: Donald Trump hasn’t done a scintilla of the harm the Bushes did. They murdered Latin America and the Middle East, killing millions in ways living things shouldn’t have to die. The movie “Vice” about Dick Cheney & Co. will show a bit of this, come Christmas. Their predations on America’s bank account and on the world’s living things were carried out stunningly in the open (and we watched and stood still for it, to our everlasting shame). But, as out-there and obvious as the Bush-Syndicate crimes were, they weren’t constantly in your face like Trump's. I don’t know who I hate worse: Trump, Nixon, REAGAN, the Bushes, Tom Delay, that sheriff Trump pardoned, the evil little western sadists who dragged the poor old man to death behind their pickup. Just when I think I’ve seen the worst piece of excrement the species can throw up, along comes a worse one. Is Trump worse than W? No. Not by an outer-space mile, but it’s possible he’s more aggravating. He probably loves causing aggravation (“I love chaos!”) more than any so-called human being in history, BUT – OPTIMISM – it’s conceivable that he is inadvertently doing us good.
What is still called “the news” is now a deep study of American affairs, way deeper than we normally get to, than I've ever seen. If Trump’s awfulness makes us an incrementally more engaged electorate, refreshes with the blood of patriots the Tree of Liberty, reverses our national slide toward inertness and mental atrophy, restores the gloss to awareness, informedness, citizenship, reason, intellectual attainment – to anything contrary to our deadly, ruinous, revolting, supremely lazy self-imposed ignorance – we may salvage a gift beyond value. We may – possibly – survive.
MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT ACT
MEASURE B CITIZENS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
November 28, 2018; 1:00-3:00pm
Mobile Outreach Presentation
What does the program consist of, what does it cost; Discussion and Possible Action.
Member Jeanine Miller (Mental Health Director) and Chair Tom Allman (Sheriff)
Member Miller shared an overview and cost analysis for two additional MOPS teams. A pamphlet with program information was distributed as well as an information sheet.
The program began with one MOPS team serving three areas of the county. The team consists of a Sheriff’s Service Technician and a Behavioral Health Rehab Specialist. The original team found they were spending most of their time in the North County and Covelo and unable to adequately cover the other two areas originally identified for their coverage. A second team was added to cover the south coast areas and a third team was eventually added to cover the Anderson Valley and Hopland areas.
The teams are mobile, working in the communities. Referrals can come from any entity or person. The team goes to the individual’s home, they work on building relationships to help individuals. The communities love the MOPS teams. The teams work to connect those in need with the services they need and support them early to prevent a crisis escalation wherever possible. MOPS teams have been effective in reducing 9-1-1 calls and removing some of the issues from law enforcement. If we add two additional teams, a proposal would have one team covering the north coast (Westport to Little River), that would include the city of Fort Bragg. Another team would cover the inland area of Ukiah, Willits, Potter Valley and Redwood Valley.
Staffing costs $389,600 for two teams per year. We would need two vehicles plus some administrative costs to cover things like gasoline, paper, pens, etc.
Chair Allman hopes we can recommend to the BOS the addition of two MOPS teams to be funded with Measure B services funds.
Member Dr. Ace Barash asked for more information on the services that the teams provide. Member Miller shared that the teams see clients several times a week. They are certified to 5150 clients if necessary. They work with Redwood Quality Management Services and other agencies. They do not respond to crisis calls, they are not 24-7. They are four days a week, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. They can see individuals in jail and offer services when they are released. Member Diamond asked if longer hours and days could be explored for MOPS. Member Miller stated that it could be explored.
Chair Allman shared that once the February Mendocino County Critical Incident Team (MCCIT) training for first responders occurs, then MCCIT would work with MOPS as well. 5
Member Mertle asked if the people that MOPS touches are already in the system in some way. Member Miller responded that they mostly deal with people not in the system already, some could be in the system, it can vary.
Member Mike Mertle (Fort Bragg electrical contractor) shared that the stakeholders on the coast want to know what to do with people in crisis? Does MOPS deal with those situations or do those still go back to the Emergency Departments (ED) and law enforcement? Member Miller stated MOPS does not deal with crisis situations to the extent you would think. Chair Allman shared that in March of 2016, the Sheriff’s Office did a 90-day study of 5150 calls in March, April and May of 2016 that were non-violent, non-threatening and non-weapon related. It was found that only 30% of 5150 calls involved non-violence, non-threatening and non-weapons. 70% of the crisis calls would be great to have a co-response with deputies and MOPS teams to get the help needed at step one.
Member Mertle stated that the 8:00-5:00 p.m., 4-day a week MOPS teams could not respond to the crisis calls, this isn’t what we need. This isn’t going to reduce your calls.
Chair Allman shared that four days a week those potential, frequent flier 5150 calls are getting attention and it reduces the 5150 calls in that category.
Member Mertle asked Chair Allman if the Sheriff’s Office has seen a reduction in crisis calls since the MOPS program began. Chair Allman shared that in the first 12 months of the program, his office saw a 100% reduction in crisis in 9-1-1 calls coming to the Sheriff’s Office. There were some seen by MOPS and then went into crisis mode, but easily over 90% of the people that MOPS see are no longer being crisis 9-1-1, 5150 holds. Member Miller said that although MOPS isn’t going out in the moment of crisis, the communities are calling earlier for their services, pre-crisis, so the services are getting started earlier when needed.
Member McGourty reminded that the Kemper Report stated more services were needed out in the communities of the outlying areas of the county. When BHAB studied the report, MOPS looked like a quick and easy way to accomplish this because it has been effective. But, with the condition that there be a representative from the Sheriff’s Office on each team, something that is lacking currently.
Chair Allman has talked with Member Miller about the staffing in MOPS. There are some funding logistical issues such as the Sheriff Services Technician is paid approximately $10 less an hour than the Behavioral Health Specialist. They do the same duties yet a large disparity in pay exists. Chair Allman would like to work with the County Human Resources Department to create a classification/position for MOPS to remove the wage difference.
Member Dora Riley in general supports the MOPS teams, however the MOPS days and hours may not be meeting the needs of the clients. If we move forward with the recommendation to add more teams then she would like to see it come back for review once the analysis has been done.
Member Ross Liberty would like to have a way to measure the outcomes if we are going to recommend moving forward with more MOPS teams. How do we track and follow up on the effectiveness of the program from year to year?
Chair Allman understands, the data is there, we need to get the data.
Member Liberty would also like to see how many Sheriff Responses are in those areas and are required for crisis, if we could have that information on-going, that would be good.
Member Lloyd Weer (County Auditor) would like the addition of two MOPS teams to be added to the proposed budget.
Member Liberty would like to see metrics in place to monitor the effectiveness of the program.
Member Riley would like to see a time frame for review, six months would be good. Member McGourty pointed out that six months aligns with the Kemper Report recommendation.
Member Jed Diamond would like to see the services increased, but maybe expanding hours and days vs. covering more area would be good. What is most helpful and how can we assess the outcomes.
Member Mertle would like to see more coverage over more days.
Bill Keller, asked if the report would be public information that could be shared? Chair Allman stated it would be, and we can post it. MOPS Behavioral Health stats only give numbers of people seen. Member Miller shared MOPS information is on the Behavioral Health website.
Camille Schraeder shared that MOPS is not meant to be a crisis intervention program. They will bring clients to a crisis center or Emergency Room (the only legal place law enforcement can leave a 5150 assessment client), but what MOPS does is to provide support and to stabilize the situation. MOPS is in addition to other wrap-around services. By definition it is a prevention service. Motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to create two new Mobile Outreach Program (MOPS) teams with Measure B services funds; and the collection of measurable metrics for the determination of the effectiveness of the program to be reviewed at every six month interval to determine ongoing effectives; by Member McGourty seconded by Member Mertle.
MARK SCARAMELLA COMMENTS: If it’s true that 5150s can only be dropped off at Emergency Rooms — which we find highly suspicious — then why not simply NOT declare them 5150 (if they are not violent or threatening or committing a crime) and have law enforcement turn them over as “in crisis” but not 5150 to a mobile crisis van. Why do these people always cite self-interpretable “rules” that conveniently benefit them?