Mendocino County Today: August 1, 2013
by AVA News Service, August 1, 2013
SUPES REJECT COSTCO-AT-MASONITE PROPOSAL. Supervisor Pinches was unable to find a second to his motion to invite the present Ohio-based owners of the 79-acre Masonite property north of Ukiah “to request a meeting to discuss revisiting the use of the DDR (Developers Diversified Realty) property as a potential location for a new retail store.”
Abandoned Masonite Site, looking south toward Ukiah
MASONITE CEASED manufacture in 2001. In 2009, a mall developer, had visions of an 800,000-square-foot shopping mall and housing complex at the site, a vision County voters overwhelmingly rejected 62-38% when mallification was put on the ballot for an up or down.
LOCAL OFFICIALS want to retain the Masonite site as industrial land, which is assumed to be in short supply in inland Mendocino County. Supervisor Pinches disputes that opinion. “There's over 3,000 acres of industrial land in this county that's zoned for industrial. Most of it's either vacant or underutilized. It's just not acceptable to me to see the county go into a spiraling financial downhill. To drive by there every day, and to see the county's finances spiral, and the company that owns it wanting to do something with it, and the county continuously saying, no, no, we'd rather have crumbled-up concrete and weeds out there — I think that's ridiculous.”
PINCHES HAS A POINT. Lots of people talk industry at the site but, apart from Ukiah businessman Ross Liberty, owner of “Factory Pipe” who is buying ten acres of the Masonite site for a motorcycle parts manufacturing facility, industry north of Ukiah remains vaporous.
COUNTY RELEASES AMBULANCE CONSOLIDATION REPORT. LOTS OF DATA. PREDICTABLE RESULTS.
The County of Mendocino is exploring the option of establishing an exclusive operating area (EOA) for the sustainable provision of emergency ambulance services. Fitch & Associates, the County’s consultant, has completed their report on the feasibility of one or more EOAs within the County. It is now available online at:
The County initiated this study to address previously identified critical issues relating to the standard of care and reliable provision of ambulance services. The County has the legal responsibility to oversee the provision of ambulance services and EMS as a whole; this study is an exploration of a strategy that could alleviate some critical issues within the EMS system. Release of this report does not necessarily imply implementation of the consultant’s recommendations. “While the consultant’s report may incite some controversy,” states CEO Carmel J. Angelo, “it’s important that the Board of Supervisors and our community partners understand the critical issues facing the EMS system and seriously consider the options available for system sustainability.” The Executive Office anticipates much more work to be done to determine the best path forward to improve the EMS system. A Board of Supervisors workshop is tentatively planned to take place in September to consider the report and related EMS topics, but there will be no action on any of the recommendations regarding creation of EOAs at that time. The project team recommends that the Board of Supervisors commence a sustained initiative to address EMS issues, working with EMS providers and other stakeholders. Once the specific date for the workshop is determined, further details will be posted on the website. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Executive Office at 463- 4441.
• The establishment of a countywide EOA that has a single provider is not feasible. The recommended structure will improve the stability and performance of the current EMS system. Moreover, the proposed configuration will encourage the retention of existing irreplaceable volunteer resources and ensure that all areas of the county have access to ALS.
• The County should recognize that if it moves forward with the establishment of EOA, it will be necessary to clearly communicate what creating EOA means to each community, how local services can continue and be supported, and that it is critical to retain the support and continued involvement of the system’s volunteers.
• It is clear that if Mendocino County decides to establish one or more EOA for ambulance services, these grandfathering provisions of law would not apply. That is because there have been a number of different ambulance providers, expansion and contraction of service areas, and closure of ambulance services over the years. None of the existing services meets the requirement for operating continuously in the same manner and scope since 1981. Therefore, the County would be required to select its exclusive provider through a competitive process.
• It is impossible to replace the time and effort provided by the volunteer personnel of Anderson Valley Ambulance Service. There is inadequate call volume to support the placement of an ambulance manned by paid personnel. Therefore, every effort should be utilized to maintain and support the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service.
• The key question regarding (the Ukiah Valley) zone is whether there is adequate revenue to support two ambulance services operating at a high level of quality on a long-term basis. Together, the two ambulance services currently are staffing up to six ambulances at a time. The estimated revenue of $1.5 to $2 million is unlikely to be able to support that level of coverage on a long-term basis. … The characteristics of this ambulance service zone met the criteria for considering establishing an EOA. There is adequate patient transport volume to support service but the patient transport volume is unlikely to be able to support two services able to maintain high quality service delivery and reliable response time performance.
• It is recommended that the County of Mendocino create an EOA corresponding to the boundaries of the current ambulance service zone (Zone 5) where services are being provided by Ukiah Ambulance and Verihealth. The County should develop an RFP and conduct a competitive procurement for a single provider to provide all emergency 911 responses and transport and all interfacility transports originating in the zone, as well as require the service to provide ALS intercept with BLS services, specifically to Anderson Valley and Covelo.
• Limited revenue streams (in outlying areas) mandate that services provided by volunteer agencies should be retained and operationally supported. This is particularly true for the areas served by Anderson Valley, Laytonville and Covelo. The only locations that receive adequate funding from patient fees to independently support fulltime ambulance operations are located in areas served by Ukiah and Verihealth and potentially the area served by the Mendocino Coast District Hospital.
• The ability of some the existing ambulance services in Mendocino County to maintain current operations or expand to meet future growth and demand is threatened. The two primary causes of instability for the services are directly related to: 1.) the lack of financial resources and, 2.) the challenge of recruiting and maintaining an adequate volunteer staff. MCDH, as indicated earlier, is going through bankruptcy and the long-term financial ability of the district to maintain current ambulance operations or provide necessary responses to growth and demand is questionable. Covelo and Elk are challenged by a lack of available volunteers who can reliably and consistently respond to emergency events. Moreover, while Anderson Valley maintains an active volunteer corps, it can only consistently respond to medical emergencies with a crew with limited capability consisting of a driver and a single EMT. Laytonville Fire Department is also challenged by the availability of volunteers to respond to medical emergencies in its zone. In fact, the fire district is considering only serving within the boundaries of its district and not responding outside to areas that it currently covers. Long term expanded deployment of staffed ambulances in the Ukiah and Willits zone is barely feasible, given the questionable financial strength of the two existing services to maintain this coverage level.. It is clear that without action, there will be a continued disintegration of the Mendocino County EMS System and that the result will be lower levels of care, and in many instances, extremely long response times to emergency events.
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OVERALL, the study concludes, ambulance responses in Mendocino County are uneven, inconsistent and unreliable from service zone to service zone. Finances and capabilities vary. And the only two areas that might benefit from an EOA are Ukiah and Fort Bragg.
Not to be too cheeky about it, but, basically, we knew that. The money for this study could have been better used by giving it to one or more of the volunteer ambulance services which are already underfunded.
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CEO ANGELO CONCLUDES:
The County contracted Fitch & Associates to study the feasibility of an EOA, or multiple EOAs, for Mendocino County as a means to stabilize fragile parts of the EMS system. The County has the legal responsibility to oversee the provision of ambulance services and EMS as a whole; this study is an exploration of a strategy that could address some critical issues with the system. Release of this report does not necessarily imply implementation of the recommendations. It is also not the only source of information by which the Board of Supervisors will base any future decision. There is more work to be done to determine the best path forward to improve the EMS system. Initially, the project team planned that the feasibility study be divided into two phases. The first phase would determine if an EOA is feasible, and the second phase, if approved by the Board of Supervisors, would include the competitive bidding process for securing services. However, as the team delved deeper into the project it became apparent that there were broader issues at hand. We anticipate that those issues will need to be adequately addressed before any specific strategies are implemented. The Executive Office would like to express caution to our decision makers in moving forward with phase two of the project at this time. The project team is committed to providing the time needed to fully understand the implications of any structured changes to the EMS system. Therefore, based on direction from the Board of Supervisors, a workshop is tentatively planned to take place in September 2013 to examine the findings and hear input from community members and EMS stakeholders, but there will be no action on any of the recommendations regarding creation of EOAs at that time. The Board of Supervisors welcomes your comments on the report. To do so, please fill out the form accompanying this letter and send it to the Executive Office. You can email it to email@example.com, fax to (707) 463‐5649, or mail to 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010, Ukiah, CA, 95482. Questions may be directed to the Executive Office at (707) 463‐4441. Sincerely, Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer County of Mendocino and send it to the address below.
Mendocino County Feasibility Study of Exclusive Operating Area for Ambulance Services
I am affiliated with: (circle as many as apply)
Private Ambulance Service, Fire District/Dept., Ambulance District, Community Volunteer, RCMS, Howard Memorial Hospital, UVMC, MCDH, Other CSD Non‐Profit
Comments (to the degree possible, please indicate which section or page of the report your comments are in reference to):
Please send your response no later than August 31, 2013, using one of the following methods:
Fax: (707) 463‐5649
Mail: 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010, Ukiah, CA 95482
SKUNK TRAIN PARTLY BACK ON TRACK FOR SUMMER FUN
Crew poses outside the Number 1 tunnel today as the engine makes its first trip since an April rockfall closed the westernmost tunnel. (Steve Eberhard - Photo) Left to Right - Iver Iverson, Jr, Jeff Scott, Iver Iverson, Sr., Robert Jason Pinoli, and Raul Elenes, Jr.
The Skunk Train, a beloved Mendocino institution, chugs back into action tomorrow after a rockfall inside the number one tunnel closed the attraction down on April 10th. Full service has yet to be restored as work inside the tunnel is still ongoing. Tuesday, however, the first engine crept through the tunnel.
This means that, on Wednesday, July 31st, according the Skunk Train’s Facebook page, enough equipment will have been brought through to allow a shortened version of the ride to recommence. Operations from Willits to Northspur will begin tomorrow with the full train trip to Fort Bragg offered sometime mid-August. “Things are progressing well,” wrote Robert Pinoli. The company is excited to be back on track.
The railroad intends to continue offering the short ride west of the tunnel in the summer season, even after full service is restored. A public fundraising effort in May and June brought in about $110,000 toward the cleanup, expected to cost at least $300,000. In mid-June, however, Save the Redwoods League stepped in to fund the cleanup, paying an additional $300,000 for an option to buy some or all of the tree-lined 40-mile right of way between Fort Bragg and Willits. That process will take at least a year.
For more information go to www.skunktrain.com
(Kym Kemp, Courtesy, LostCoastOutpost.com)
JEFF COSTELLO WRITES:
Speaking of Glovebox Bandits — The Gang of Three
I've mentioned how this Denver neighborhood is “diverse.” It's low-working class, white people are in the minority. People lock their cars at night. I have a hard time with this, I'm no Pangloss but prefer to see people as potential allies rather than enemies.
Years ago in Seattle I was at a friend's place, car parked on the street. I came out to find the car rifled through but nothing was taken but a pharmacy bottle of pills, 300mg capsules of Zantac, a strong antacid. So I knew it was just kids and had a chuckle imagining them taking a handful of the pills and getting a monster stomach ache.
But here, there have been thefts...including a truck and trailer full of heavy industrial equipment. The vehicles were recovered but thousands of dollars in tools and machines were gone. Still, I stubbornly balked at locking the vehicle. So one morning, yep, I find the car has been - again - rifled through. There were items all over the ground, and I panicked a little until I found my packet of auto documents - registration, insurance, bill of sale and such. Then I looked in the place where the tools are kept, the only stuff of any value, and they were untouched. Once again I knew It just kids - punks after some kind of instant gratification. And, once again, they had taken my little stash of antacids. Any kid serious about drugs will know to some extent what the good stuff looks like, and these guys were clueless. They saw pills and took them, period.
Maybe a week later, three kids maybe 11 - 13 years old came up the driveway and asked to use my cell phone, “to call somebody.” I told them to wait, and I'd go in the house and get it. When I came out they were gone.
Now it happens on this property there are several gasoline containers full of hydrochloric acid, which had been used in concrete and stone work. In an attempt to get rid of some it, I got in touch with a guy who wanted some to clean his garage floor, and told him I'd leave a can in the driveway for him to pick up. He wound up not taking it.
A day or two afterward, I came back from a store run and saw the same three kids around the corner with two lawn mowers and a can that looked like the one with the acid. Sure enough it was, and they trying to run a lawn mower on it, right on the street not 100 ft. from where they had stolen the can. They recognized my car and gave me a funny look. One of them was rubbing his eyes. These were my boys, all right. And it was clear they just weren't terribly bright. A little later, they wheeled one of the non-working mowers past our driveway back to wherever it came from. I went around the corner where the can of acid and another dead mower still sat, and retrieved the jug of stuff-that-was-not gasoline.
The Gang of Three has not been seen since.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Just because 50/50 sounds fair, it is not necessarily fair,” said soon-to-be-retired Ukiah Finance Director Gordon Elton. “The 50/50 formula had the county ending up with 122 percent of the sales tax the city does."...Gordon Elton, in speaking about the County of Mendocino and City of Ukiah tax-sharing sharing agreement, from The Ukiah Daily Journal, July 31, 2013.
How does 50 become 122? Where did this guy get his accounting degree? No wonder Ukiah can't balance its books. — John Sakowicz, Ukiah
FRISCO STRAY: On July 28, 2013 at 8:30pm Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were called to the area of 31000 Highway 20 in Fort Bragg, California for a reported nude male adult walking down the street. Upon arrival the Deputies observed the subject, Brett Dymond, walking naked on Highway 20 and he was not covering his genitalia. Deputies contacted Dymond who was displaying signs of alcohol intoxication. Dymond initially gave a false name because he thought he had warrants from another state. Dymond said that some friends took his clothes from him and so he was walking home.
Dymond was arrested for providing false identification to a police officer, indecent exposure and for public intoxication. Dymond was listed as a missing person and had an active warrant out of San Francisco for a failure to appear in court on a traffic related case. Dymond was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on charges of indecent exposure and public intoxication on $15,385. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY COMMITTEE FLOATS THE POSSIBILITY OF IMPENDING BANKRUPTCY
by Hank Sims
The North Coast Railroad Authority could be running out of steam.
Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks, who represents Humboldt County on the NCRA Board of Directors, told the Lost Coast Outpost that board chair Allan Hemphill brought up the possibility of the authority — a state agency — filing for Chapter Nine bankruptcy yesterday during a meeting of the authority’s finance committee, on which Hemphill and Marks both serve.
No action was taken, and the shape of a potential NCRA belly-up were not explored in depth. “Bankruptcy was brought up but not defined,” Marks told us.
Still, Marks said the dire state of the authority’s finances meant that something had to happen soon — probably by next month. The authority is currently projecting a $211,767 deficit in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Cash reserves are minimal to nonexistent. The fact that the potential of bankruptcy was brought up by Hemphill — the authority’s longest-serving director and one of its most stalwart boosters — means that the its financial crisis must be serious.
At least in Humboldt County, the NCRA has suffered not only from its perenially problematic finances but the loss of railroad-booster mindshare. As of late, the boosters’ big dreams have attached to the idea of an east-west route rather than the NCRA’s north-south line — which once actually existed, though it hasn’t reached Humboldt County in the last 15 years.
AVA NOTES: The NCRA’s biggest creditor is its own subcontractor, NWP Co., owned by a man named John Williams, from whom the NCRA has borrowed lots of money for track repairs over the last few years. If the NCRA were to go belly-up, the most likely outcome would be a turnover of the entire system, including the relatively usable portion south of Willits, to Williams.
AN EXCELLENT STORY today from truthout.org on “The Plight of California's Prisoners: Hunger Strike, Sterilization and Valley Fever
By Jean Trounstine, The Rag Blog
(Give the page a few extra seconds to load…)
ON JULY 25, 2013, the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) (Yes it still exists) assisted by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force and California Department of Fish and Wildlife served a search warrant at a trailer in the 76000 block of Covelo Road in Covelo. Contacted and detained at the residence was Edgar Gonzalez-Juarez. There were four marijuana gardens with 490 growing marijuana plants at the residence. As officers were clearing the marijuana gardens a second suspect fled on foot from one of the marijuana gardens who dropped a loaded .357 caliber pistol. Gonzalez-Juarez was arrested for violation of section possession for sale, cultivation and being armed in the commission of a felony and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $25,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
WUZ UP WITH CRAIG
It's Crunch Time!
Warmest greetings of peace and love, Powerful spiritual currents are occurring in this darkest phase of the Kali Yuga, resulting in abominable social situations. A cloud burst mid-June in northern India washed away countless villages, bridges, and urban residences as the wall of water cascaded southward. Glacial melting, deforestation, and the moving of a Kali related goddess murti to accommodate a power project are all cited as factors in the devastation north of Rishikesh. Once again, global climate destabilization is recognized as the most critical environmental concern, and there are no ordinary effective solutions. Following the dissolution of the Washington DC Occupy protest encampment at Freedom Plaza last year, I returned to California, but was soon flown back by Veterans for Peace to help get additional media attention for their ongoing dissent. This led to my reuniting with members of the D.C. Occupy kitchen working group. We stayed at a house in Virginia, and co-wrote a play which is focused on the increase of global warming, and the failure of society and government to do anything intelligent in response to the crisis. The play is parked in my blog, several pages back, at http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com; it has not been performed publicly as of yet. I wrote countless poems of a mystical/radical nature, which were sent out and subsequently published...am happy that Earth First! and particularly Warrior Poets Society appreciated them...they're on the blog too. Apparently the left wing in Washington D.C. didn't value me enough to let me stay at the Peace House, and since the Catholic Worker Olive Branch House was turned into condominiums after the D.C. Metropolitan Police confiscated it, I had nowhere to live long term in the district, and therefore accepted a return airplane ticket to California in mid-December. Due to having given up my housing space in Cali before returning to Washington D.C., I returned homeless to Cali! Six months of homeless shelter hopping ensued, as I continued to be active with Berkeley Catholic Worker these past 23 years. I also spent countless hours doing advanced yoga sadhana at Ocean Beach, when not reading mystical texts at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union Library. Last Thursday I boarded a Greyhound bus in Oakland, and traveled 3,000 miles to Pittsburgh, PA to again reunite with members of my D.C. Occupy kitchen working group. We are at a house in Mt. Lebanon, PA hosted by our friend Julie, who is sitting in a Pittsburgh jail, for letting postmodern America publicly know of her dissatisfaction with mindless materialism's illegitimate authoritarian structures. As I sit in Julie's backyard at a large glass-topped table, with a summer shade umbrella, sipping my organic chai tea, and automatically “writing down the bones” longhand in my marble covered standard student issue blank page composition booklet, I reconsider a proposal I made to the D.C. Occupy encampment at McPherson Square in January of 2012. My proposal is to create a caravan to circumambulate the beltway which goes around Washington D.C. The purpose is to neutralize the bogus energy which emits from within the beltway, which is negatively affecting the rest of world society, and irresponsibly contributing to a deteriorating global ecological situation. (This is aside from philosophical considerations, such as the stupidity of materialism in lieu of necessary individual spiritual progress, which itself is the whole purpose of taking human birth in the first place). I suggest creating a caravan featuring recitation of mantrams, performance of Vedic rituals, and related sacred art forms. And yes, your band on a flat bed truck is welcome, and I am open to other traditions and their ways being woven into this as well. The potential is vast! I am tonight sending this message out and I am very actively seeking others to do the beltway action. I want to establish permanent residency in the region, having obviously moved on from California after 40 years of front line radical environmental and peace & justice enlightened behavior. Following my bliss, Craig Louis Stehr Nota bene: I am accepting money, and don't even think about giving me any insane left wing American shit, inferring that I am not being politically correct because I am asking for it. I need some dental work, and I am still interested in enjoying an adult social life at 63 years of age. Yo, that's just the way it is right now. My current address: Craig Louis Stehr, c/o Julie Diana, 903 Florida Ave., Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228-2016.