Mendocino County Today: January 30, 2012
by AVA News Service, January 29, 2012
THE UKIAH Police Department wants to buy a $30,000 robot, one of those things you send in to an armed tweeker's lair, say, in lieu of an automaton, er, police officer. Some of the money for the robot would come from the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation, some from the Willits and the Fort Bragg police departments. The Ukiah City Council will discuss purchase of Robby the Robot at its Tuesday meeting. These things are widely used in urban areas in high risk situations.
WALMART got another five hours last Wednesday from the Ukiah Planning Commission. Long and short of it is that Ukiah officialdom is down to discussing the landscaping. Translation: The big expansion is a go. There'll be more meetings and more denunciations of the Arkansas octopus, but expansion was built into the original approval and can't really even by modified much. The monster that ate America marches on.
INTERESTING EVENT in Boonville last week. A bunch of boys went off campus at the noon hour to do their version of the movie, ‘Fight Club.’ When they straggled back bloody and bruised for a long afternoon of study and prayer, the high school principal, an uneven fellow named Tomlin, declared that henceforth the campus would be closed at lunch time and, additionally, 20 or so boys would be suspended for a day while the ringleaders would get more mandatory time off. One kid, who happened to be on probation, was packed off to juvenile hall. The discipline, in the ancient tradition of American high schools, was arbitrary, but the principal was unhappy for other reasons. Not only did the Fight Clubbers post their hijinks on the internet for global viewing, several of them had some pointed criticisms of principal Tomlin. Overall, so what? Teenage boys should be encouraged to bleed their hormonal lines once in a while, and this event was really no more serious than boys being boys. Which they aren't allowed to be much anymore beneath the great PC mommy blanket that smothers all spontaneity, all joy, all life in educational Mendocino County.
FOX NEWS and related rightwing blowhards aside, during WWII the national debt was more than 100% of Gross Domestic Product, which it will probably be again soon. To beat back crippling debt, FDR, a member of the One Percent in the days the RC believed in at least a modicum of noblesse oblige, raised taxes on the big incomes to 90% where it stayed for 21 years. Capital gains were taxed at the same 90% rates as ordinary income. Did the ruling class disappear? Nope, they still made a lot of money and the general prosperity lifted all those boats the bullet heads are always claiming to want to lift. It's simply not true that fair rates of taxation applied to the rich stifle free enterprise.
WE DEFY ANYONE to follow the babbling brook of supervisor Kendall Smith's rhetoric, but here she is, verbatim, justifying even more money for supervisor's salaries in a county where the average person earns $24,000 a year: “I think that these specifics on the motion are premature and I will go into that little bit. I believe that we need to look at elected official salaries collectively. We did that with the other electeds. We made a rather arbitrary stab by just taking a point in time to roll back those salaries. The reason we did that is that over time they had collectively received either five or six salary raises, meaning that the salaries were on an upward slope because they were tied to the department head bargaining units. Not so with the Board of Supervisors. So in effect setting our salary, or keeping our salary at $68,000 would be in sync with the timeframe that we hold the other elected supervisors to, other elected official salaries are, and that being the case…" and blah blah blah blah blah blah for another 10 minutes! As the unhinged solon from Fort Bragg rattled on and on, she waved a chart that she seemed to think justified more than the Supes' $68,000 plus the usual array of fringes government people give themselves. The chart illustrated the supe's salaries of nearby counties. Average them out and what do you get? You get that Smith isn't making enough money screwing up County government.
SUPERVISOR HAMBURG isn't quite as fuzzy-thinking as Smith but he's close, and his reasoning with its arrogant class assumptions, is much more offensive: “My thinking about this is quite a bit simpler than Supervisor Smith’s,” he began, probably intending no irony. “For one thing, I feel like we just talked about this. I guess it was back last April. January? So it was January? A year ago. Okay. It really came up fast, I'll tell you. Because I remember the arguments at that time was that we didn't want this to be a job for only independently wealthy people. We didn't want this to be a job that people did part-time because they couldn't afford to live on the salary and perhaps even have a family, and I think even if at the $68,000 level that's somewhat of a challenge. [!] The other thing though that concerns me about trying to knock this salary down further is that currently we are paid between, if you look at our MCLEMA [the Mendocino County Law Enforcement Management Association] chart that was in our packets, we are paid between the Administrative Services Manager I and a Substance Abuse Program Services Manager, according to the management tables. So currently we are paid between an admin service manager and a substance abuse program manager. And if we go down another $7,000 we will be paid between a staff Services Manager I and the Assistant Registrar of Voters. No matter how you slice it to some degree your worth to the organization is related to your pay scale, and I'm not saying that our salaries should be up at the levels of some of these comparatively high paid elected officials. But I think if we are paid like middle managers, that's sort of where we are putting our value, that we have the value to the organization, to pick another department — a Sergeant, right around the salary of a Sergeant (in the Sheriff's Department). How many sergeants do we have? I don't know. So we are about there with the 13 or so sergeants. I don't think we are middle management. Even though we get paid like middle management. We are in charge of a large operation here. I know that everybody on this board puts in a tremendous amount of hours. I know we just imposed this 10% cut around the county but we are somewhat different than all the other positions in the county. The Board of Supervisors has — I think that we are one of those of types of employees that don't, when we leave the office, we don't really leave the job. It's the kind of thing that at least for me and I'm sure for the rest of you, it is something that is pretty much on your mind all the time.”
WE GET A LOT of this implicit class warfare from Mendocino County liberals, that their dubious abilities are worth more money because their tasks are somehow worth more than other kinds of work. The arrogant assumption that the cool people should be paid more than, say, WalMart shoppers comes up all the time on a range of issues. For instance, class privilege assumptions are woven throughout the WalMart discussion now raging, and lots of libs, especially the ones holding down the well-paying public jobs in Mendocino County, think like Hamburg, who really believes he should make more money than a cop or a plumber or a logger or an anybody who hasn't enjoyed his from-the-cradle advantages. Getting back to WalMart, of course it's twice as bad as its critics say it is, but lots of Americans, especially here in Mendocino County, don't have shopping options. A mega-food market at WalMart prices appeals greatly to people making the average Mendocino County wage of $24,000 because WalMart is what they can afford.
BY A 3-2 VOTE, Hamburg and Smith dissenting, Supes pay was whacked a permanent 10%. They'll now make about $61,000.
WILLITS IS trying to trade grass
For pavement to build a bypass
But the ground’s much too soft
To keep pavement aloft
So afterwards their bypass’ll be grass