Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, August 15, 2013
FOR US AND US ALONE’
At June 26, 2013, Point Arena School Board Meeting under Discussion with Action an item to approve Point Arena School's Technology System Analysis and Task Force Implementation Plan was placed on the agenda. Each board member had been previously emailed the "System Analysis", a 52 page document. However, what was presented to the public and what was in the board packet for this meeting was a four page summary of a new technology program (Pathfinder) they want to implement in the high school.
When asked by a person in the audience if the draft was available to the public and if they going to vote on this? President DeWilder stated, "this information was not yet available to the public because it was only a draft and, yes, we are going to vote on it". As a matter of fact he reiterated this several times they were voting on the "draft document".
The reason I wanted to review the document is because I was told it was not only an analysis for the implementation of technology within the district but a personal analysis of the committees opinions regarding the Point Arena community, parents and students. The committee was made up of: Elementary Principal Paula Patterson, three high school teachers, the district technology manager, and three board members (Board President Jim DeWilder, Ron Miles and Bob Gardiner).
When board member Scanlon Hill stated he had grave concerns regarding the authenticity of the information provided the board in this "draft document" because of inaccuracies throughout the entire document along with the financial part of the program and did not believe he could vote on it. DeWilder informed him, "then don't". Scanlon-Hill stated DeWilder's opinions were just "plain wrong" which were the following:
• No middle class exists in Point Arena
• It has been said that the coast is composed of "the nearly dead and newlywed." What this means is that economic strata is composed of those retired citizens with significant income and tourists.
• The only sources of employment are waitressing, construction, farming and growing marijuana. All of these professions, except the latter are low paying jobs.
• Additionally, a significant number of Latino families immigrated to the area and those families generally hold the lowest of low paying jobs.
• Point Arena is a city in name only. It has neither a police nor fire department and has no sources of income. The largest employer in the city is the Point Arena School District, and in an emergency, it is the district that will run the city.
• District parents as a whole are unconcerned about the drug and alcohol use of their children. Many of the children come from dysfunctional families, others from one-parent homes. And many of the students come from homes where both parents work. Parents are proud of the lack of supervision given to their children. In meetings, they have bragged that their children are "free range children".
After listening to the audio portion of the meeting I contacted the California State Board of Education and was informed (according to Government Code 54954.7): "Any background documentation provided to the board on any item to be discussed in open session at a board meeting or a member of the board discusses documentation received regarding the item being discussed, the public has the right to inspect or obtain a copy of that documentation whether it is in draft form or not". Under Government Code 54959 it is a misdemeanor "where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter".
At the August 7th board meeting I informed the board what the California State Board of Education had stated. DeWilder informed the board the draft will NOT be released. It was not discussed at the meeting and that was not what was approved - the boat has sailed on that one. It was a blatant fabrication of the truth.
Later on in the meeting he went on to rant how "we go about reaching a decision - the ignorance of the people regarding Brown Act Law; the process we use is for us and us alone; we don't have to justify it to anyone or apologize to anyone."
It was no surprise the minutes of the June meeting the board approved also did not reflect this so-called System Analysis "draft document" was ever discussed by any of the board members.
Why boards are permitted to continually violate Government Codes and get away with it never ceases to amaze me but until someone holds them accountable (someone with authority) they will continue to do so at the cost to the public's well being.
Gotta say the workmen’s comp process seems more like a scam these days. Us employers pay a lot to insure that our workers and clients are protected. It helps us sleep at night for sure, but then one hears about how workers who need the compensation literally have to hire a lawyer and sue to get it. What’s up with that? So who wins? Lawyers and insurance companies. Seems like the idea is getting missed here; protecting the injured. With the State breathing down our necks to do the right thing from all departments including the DMV, why aren’t the insurance companies just helping the injured workers? Seems more like a scam to me.
Philo Head Scratcher
Ed note: Single payer would do away with much of Workmen's Comp which, as you say, makes it very difficult for small businesses to stay in business and pay the exorbitant rates the insurance combines demand.
MILITARY DOGS ARE NOT THINGS
How many ways can a government scoundrels ignore moral law? Let me count another, this one involving combat military dogs who serve with loyalty, bravery and physical prowess.
For that, they are classified as "equipment" just like boots, helmets and tanks. HR 4103 was introduced in the House of Representatives last spring, but died in the last Congress without a vote. The bill directs the Secretary of Defense to classify military working dogs (MWD) as canine members of the armed forces entitled to healthcare and retirement benefits. But the military is opposed to this legislation. Why? Because the "present fiscal environment prevents an elevation in the status of MWDs." Government wants private nonprofits to continue assisting with medical care without any involvement from the Department of Defense. As long as we continue to exploit dogs' noble intelligence, loyalty and sheer physical abilities in a combat situation, the least we can do is "elevate their status" from equipment to canine members of the Armed Forces and honor their service and contributions by giving them the best of care if they are injured and a comfortable retirement afterwards.
If this issue strikes a chord in your heart, I ask that you contact your federal representatives and urge them to re-introduce and pass HR 4103. Just as with human veterans who give so much on behalf of their country, our canine veterans deserve equal respect and compassion.
Ed note: Ms. Mariana was a Navy nurse during the Vietnam War and founded the Mendocino Coast Humane Society.
SPIKE’S POT OVERREACH
Congressman Jared 'Spike' Huffman's introduced pot farm federal legislation was mischaracterized in LA Times headlines and content, for omitting that not only are penalties on federal land targeted, but also that which involves private land where there is trespass, a major omission.
Huffman is a copycat me-too, of Wes Chesbro and Mendocino County framed California AB2284 IRRIGATION which has been passed into law, after being widely misrepresented in fact and or significant omission, in state news media through out the legislative approval process.
The Arcata Eye news article on Huffman's legislation, does contain key reference to penalties for same behavior, which would trigger similar federal penalties for nefarious activities if there is trespass on non federal state jurisdiction private lands.
Huffman spoke recently on KMUD News on the private land trespass plank, but KMUD News chose to avoid that and focus on the federal land enforcement component.
Inducements and educational material on penalty reduction earth friendly measures by trespass growers to reduce or negate criminal sanctions are not included.
These could be organic practices, for instance, cultivating low manageable water use malva (marshmallow root) as a chlorophyll rich moisture yielding wildlife buffer food companion plant source, which also provides cover for snakes to hunt, yielding a net outcome negating need for crisis intervention with toxic killing agents.
Emerald Growers Association has made a token effort and issued a least harm growing guide now available for free online, after a long delay to the politically adept with restricted access except to their trade association and the selective public who requested electronic copy upon invitation in widely circulated mass media reports. However many public requests were censored or declined.
With close examination, experienced organic or biodynamic leaning pest management agronomists and wildlife interface astute home gardeners, might conclude that the Emerald Growers Association is withholding significant information which could aid their competition to grow a better crop with less adverse impact.
A re-write of Huffman's bill could provide a win win, less toxics in the environment and less need for extended prison sentences and related exercise of the criminal justice system.
MENDOLANDERS v. CORPS
Letter To The Editor
Move to Amend Coalition of Mendocino County Moves Forward.
Last November a resounding 74% of Mendocino voters passed proposition F in favor of a constitutional amendment clarifying that corporations are not people and should not have the same “rights” under the constitution as human beings. It also said that political spending does not constitute “free speech”. Recently, the Mendocino County Move to Amend (MTA) affiliate met with Assemblyman Wes Chesbro and Jeff Tyrrell, a staffer from Senator Noreen Evans office to discuss supporting “We the People” Amendment, House Joint Resolution (HJR) 29. HJR 29 calls for passage of a constitutional amendment that would state that Corporations are not people Money is not the same as free speech and political spending can be regulated. At this meeting the MTA group provided critical and in depth information about HJR29. Assemblyman Chesbro agreed that a constitutional amendment is needed and has previously voted “yes” on a related Assembly Resolution. We had a similar discussion with Jeff Tyrrell. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, record amounts of money have been spent in races throughout the country. Due to Corporate constitutional “rights” allowed through the 14th Amendment, local legislation in several states, enacted by its citizens, have been overturned. Case in point, the Supreme Court overturned a Vermont law requiring labeling of all products containing bovine growth hormone. (International Dairy Foods Association vs Amestoy). HJR 29 addresses the legal fiction of corporate constitutional “rights” and the entrenched influence of monies in our democratic process. Mendocino County MTA is interested in continuing to inform our county of the forward movement of this issue to preserve the sovereignty of its citizenry and to fight the growing sense of disenfranchisement of the political process.
Joyce (Joy) Gertler
More about Detroit:
The Mormons should knock on a few doors in Detroit and save it.
Wouldn’t Romney’s Pa be proud to see all the trees in the Motor City the same size?
If his boy would withdraw all his funds from the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Bermuda, Lichtenstein and San Diego, Baine Capital, Salt Lake, even Momsey could kick down a Cadillac, we would see a resurgence not only in Motown but a swelling in the ranks of door knockers on duty.
Win-win with Mitt! (He coulda-been but for his monumental greed.)
Fool On The Hill
Memo Of The Week
Dear Ms. MacLeod,
Thank you for your letter dated June 30, 2013, addressed to Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. Director Dougherty requested that I respond on his behalf to your concerns and clarify some of the misconceptions about the Willits Bypass project. It is clear from your letter that you and Caltrans have differing views about the merits of the Willits Bypass project and the enhancements that will be made to the Little Lake Valley.
The two phase project that is now under construction is the result of a long, transparent, consensus-building public process through which over 30 potential alternatives had been considered as possible solutions to the traffic and safety concerns that have existed in Willits.
Once the Willits Bypass project is completed, it will reduce delays, improve safety, achieve a desirable level of service into the future and improve the natural environment. Approximately 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive open space will be preserved and enhanced in the north end of the Little Lake Valley by upgrading the functionality of wetlands, removing invasive species, planting of native species (approximately 800,000 plants including herbaceous plants, woody shrubs and woody trees) and improving water quality by constructing fencing to keep cattle out of streams. Fisheries will be improved with the replacement of culverts at Haehl and Upp Creeks that will open up headwaters of those waterways for spawning juvenile fish. Improvements will also be made to Ryan Creek, just north of Willits, to allow access for Coho salmon, a species designated as threatened. More information about the project’s history and other details can be found at: www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/willits/index.htm.
Again, thank you for your letter expressing your concerns about the Willits Bypass project.
Charles C. Fielder
District 1 Director
SHAME ON ADVENTISTS
Adventist Health promoted its local achievements in their annual report, experts of which were published in the Mendocino Beacon and Willits News during the second week in July. One of the key accomplishments touted in the annual reports was Adventist Health’s “strategic decision to standardize, modernize and consolidate our revenue cycle functions by partnering with Cerner. Our patients, communities, and employees will benefit by this shared vision that advances the quality of care and improves the patient experience,” it said. We could not allow reference to the Roseville corporation’s local activities in our own newspaper without Howard Memorial Hospital counterpoint.
They have certainly “standardized” our operations, taking something exceptional at Howard Memorial Hospital and attempting to force it to conform to a mediocre standard. Our part time chief financial officer now has a full time job in fielding patient complaints regarding poor and confusing treatment from the new outsourced billing services in southern California. This new service, represented by distant unknown telephone voices, has made myriad mistakes and offered very little guidance through complicated hospital bills. “The Network” has removed local expert billers who can deal with patients in a personable and knowledgeable way. Network personnel have begun approaching patients in their beds wile recovering from surgery, looking for immediate cash payment. The Network has outsourced our expert local transcription services to India, requiring a great deal more time to be spent by doctors in order to correct the badly typed files, not to mention the questionable morality of a tax-exempt organization such as Adventist Health exporting jobs overseas.
The Northern California Network has sacrificed local clinical services and reduced benefits for our locally living workforce, while increasing the number of high paid vice presidents in remote locations. Finally, they have saddled us with a substandard electronic medical record that doubles the time we must spend in taking care of hospitalized patients.
The new hospital construction proceeds while such “achievements” paradoxically give us serious questions about Adventist Health leadership’s support of the unusual culture of Howard Hospital. The article goes on to say: “Frank R. Howard Hospital is now covered under the recently formed Northern California network.” None of us who work at Howard Memorial Hospital understand what “covered” means, as we feel that we are being disengaged and dismantled. “Smother” would be closer to the actual fact.
It is a great shame, what Adventist Health has done to our successful enterprise in the name of “networking.” We will continue to take care of our local community in spite of them but we can’t let their propaganda pass as if truth.
John Glyer, MD; Michal Medvin, MD, Ted Dawson, MD; William Bowne, MD, Dawn Magdalin-Bett, MD; John Williams, DO; Charles Hott, MD; Ace Barash, MD; Monte Lieberfarb, MD; Kim Faucher, MD; Lucile Perkins, MD
RETURN TO PHILO
So quiet so still everything to see
In this wilderness so tame
I try to listen to feel to dream
To sing every song I've never sung
Every sight I've never seen
Looking for any path to anywhere.
I sing not wanting the song to end
Searching for the words I can't find
Humming to myself for all to hear
Wondering where it has been.
You don't need to write
Only going up and not down
You can write wherever in any weather
You can write whether you're right or wrong
You might even write when everyone is wrong.
This day will never be the same
Just as the redwoods grow and change
Reaching up and everywhere
Teaching us all who we are.
This is the way we travel
Finding more to see and sing about
Bring out the best of us
To last forever.
This is a day to walk or run
To climb to crawl to take the time
We've never found but for now
On this day of sky sun air to breathe.
This is the time and place
This is the way we always
Seem to dream and sing about
Walking through these sunny miracles.
Finding the words to say
Hello or goodbye
In any language at any time
Takes a better poet than I
Takes a symphony of sounds
I hope to find to let us hear
Of our time here in this place
Of dreams of growth of feeling.
Finding what we only hope to find
Breathing as we climb the trails
Feeling as our hearts are beating
Every moment of our possibilities
We are together when we're apart
It never seems far away
The sun keeps shining in our hearts
The songs keep singing keep coming.
(not to be confused with my cousin in Philo, Jim Boudoures of the Philo SawWorks.)
PUBLIC DEFENDERS: GREAT!
Our Public Defenders! Recently I found myself up against the Ukiah DA’s office for a car accident they called a felony. Shockingly and without proper funds I went to the Public Defender’s Office. The most amazing thing happened. I found this office to be the most caring, intelligent, hardest working group of people who never get enough credit. My attorney was Eric Rennert. Behind him and the whole office is yet another truly dedicated driving force, Linda Thompson. I never would have believed (as I had never been in the justice system before in my 62 years) that there are such people who care and will go the full mile to help people like me. What most of us do not understand is that we are all innocent until proven guilty. This is not what we found to be true. Over two years and pleading not guilty to this felony charge Mr. Rennert went to work on our case. He was not even through with his re-direct of the DA’s first witness when I was offered a lesser plea. There is no doubt that if we continued with the case and presented all the evidence that this whole matter would have been dismissed. How much time and taxpayer money went into this case that went on for over two years? If you’ve lived in Mendocino county for as long as we have you’ve also seen the changes going on with home invasions, murders and more. Please remember that all people are innocent until proven guilty and do NOT jump to conclusions before you see all the facts. And more than anything, give credit where credit is due, to our Public Defender’s Office! They are, to say the least, a group of outstanding people who really care about their fellow man. Cheers and a round of applause for the hard working people who never get enough credit for what they do.
DIAGNOSIS: NOT A CHARITY
Those UVMC Job Cuts—
I understand that UVMC has had another round of employee cutbacks: some people being fired outright, others having had their hours slashed. Times are tough. But let’s take a closer look.
The hospital has scapegoated the as-yet-to-be-implemented Affordable Health Care Act for these cuts, preposterously citing a projected .07% cut in revenues. This apparently amounts to be a whopping $35,000! In addition! If you talk to clinicians at the hospital, many of these penalties have long been anticipated, with plans in place to further reduce readmissions. Note that in other contexts, UVMC's administration cites a readmission rate that is actually quite low in relation to hospitals nationwide.
So what is actually going on? No one really knows. This is a closed organization. But it seems likely that the layoffs are more related to organizational forces within the larger Adventist system. There is a big push within the Adventist system to think in terms of a larger northern California network, mostly centered in St. Helena. In the past few years many local jobs have been lost to reorganization, replaced by positions in Sonoma County. You can argue that this is the efficiency of “economies of scale,” but the fact remains that jobs are lost here in Ukiah. On one hand the hospital continues to appeal to our community for donations, on the other it is actively implementing cuts in services that instead will be offered at other Adventist hospitals out of town.
What I find most annoying is that UVMC is supposedly a non-profit, but it is a non-profit hospital in name only. I can't think of any meaningful acts of charity on the part of the hospital. Can you? Rather, its profits are consumed by the salaries of a large, corporate-like administrative structure. Being a closed organization UVMC is tight-lipped about the salaries paid to its administrators but if it is similar to the same-sized hospitals in northern California, administrative salaries are much higher than those of doctors and nurses. (Check out typical administrative salaries at Becker's Hospital Review). In addition, it is not commonly known that a significant percentage of the hospital's local revenue is passed up the food chain to a large central regional administration located in Roseville. Again, the figures are not available to the public. UVMC is now the largest employer in Ukiah. Many families depend on it for their income. But when real or imagined financial exigencies occur, it is the lowest level, most poorly paid employees who bear the brunt. Nowhere do I read of cuts in administrator salaries. Thus, our local hospital's economic model differs little from big banks and corporations.
It seems like the community needs to be aware that this large economic engine in our county is not really as community-minded as its public relations department makes it out to be, and I hope that the hospital, with enough pressure from the community, will respond with some credible numbers and some much needed transparency in its dealings with local employees and patients.