Mendocino County Today: Friday, Apr 8, 2016
by AVA News Service, April 8, 2016
SHERIFF ALLMAN’S FULL PETITION LANGUAGE For The Mental Health Facilities Initiative
Notice Of Intent To Circulate Petition For The Purpose Of Revitalizing Mental Health Services In Mendocino County.
The Mental Health Facility Development Ordinance of 2016
Notice is hereby given by the persons whose names appear hereon of their intention to circulate the petition within the County of Mendocino for the purpose of revitalizing Mental Health Services throughout Mendocino County. The purpose is to initiate a temporary (five year) half-cent sales tax in all parts of Mendocino County to develop facilities in Mendocino County to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of Mental Illness and addiction recovery. The initiative includes a portion of the funds to develop and maintain a training facility to be used by mental health professionals, public safety professionals and citizens to better serve the citizens in Mendocino County.
This initiative impresses upon the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors that the treatment of mentally ill citizens is a priority, and that this priority should be reflected in the staffing and budgeting of Mental Health Services.
These sales tax proceeds, and any interest or penalties collected that relate to this tax, shall be deposited into a special fund of the county treasury and used exclusively for the planning, preparation, development, furnishing and maintenance of county-designated facilities that will provide mental health services. No funds may be used for other incidental but necessary purposes, including the staffing of such facility.
10% of the funds shall be used for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a public safety/mental health training facility which will be used for training first responders and mental health professionals in proper and modern mental health methods of treatment techniques. These funds shall be deposited into a special fund of the county treasury and used exclusively for the planning, preparation, development, furnishing and maintenance of county-designated facilities that will provide education and training services for Public Safety employees, Mental Health professionals and citizens. No funds may be used for other incidental but necessary purposes, including the staffing of such facility.
The funds approved for the revitalization of these services shall be reviewed (Prior to expenditure) by a politically independent oversight committee. This committee shall be comprised of a citizen selected by each member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, a Member of the Behavioral Health Advisory Board, The Mental Health Director or his/her representative, The Elected County Auditor or his/her Representative, The Mendocino County CEO or his/her Representative and the Sheriff or his/her Representative. The final member of the 11 person oversight committee shall be a representative of a Mendocino Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
KZYX MANAGER Lorraine Dechter corrects our math:
Re: CORRECT FIGURES FOR KZYX PAYOUTS AT END OF SERVICE
John Coate, Mary Aigner and Rich Culbertson each had vacation payouts at their end of service with KZYX. Stuart did not have any vacation payout. There obviously has to be a policy for how much vacation time can he held over at the end of a fiscal year. KZYX was subject to a very large vacation payout because employees were allowed to accumulate and carry over their unused vacation hours, with no limitations in place. This will be remedied this year when new personnel policies will be put in place.
There was no payout of sick time or overtime. The employees who left were all exempt employees and thus did not receive OT for their extra hours. John Coate was in the budget for some consultation after he left, but he did not end up charging us for any of his post-employment advisement.
Between Mary Aigner and Rich Culbertson, there was an unpaid vacation time liability of $15,069.12. This had to be paid legally, as accrued vacation, due to the lack of a policy that would not allow extreme vacation hour carryover. John Coate was paid for 74 hours of accrued vacation at the end of his tenure, but that was in the last fiscal year, and was paid on June 30th, 2015.
We used to pay back our employees for their ACA [Obamacare] medical expenses. After I took over on January 5th, I discovered quickly that we had to include those reimbursements for employee medical plans as income, and informed the full time staff that their W-2's would have to be revised immediately to reflect the increased income from the medical reimbursements.
This was something that changed legally for businesses in 2015. The law changed as of July, 2015. So we added six months of ACA reimbursements to their reported income, and since they would then have to pay taxes on that income (and it was an unexpected tax liability for our employees), we gave each of our full-time employees a bonus in January (except me) that they could use in any way they desired, but could be used to offset their unexpected tax liability. Those bonuses are also considered income, and will be counted as wages on their next W-2's.
I hope this explains the situation. Our bookkeeper compared our figures to yours. Our figures are under $20,000 for all four employees who left (Coate, Aigner, Culbertson and Campbell). All but about $2,000 of this amount was paid for this fiscal year.
KZYX&Z General Manager
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting
SUPERVISORS TOY WITH THE IDEA OF ACTUALLY GETTING REPORTS FROM THEIR DEPARTMENTS.
(Board of Supervisors meeting, April 5, 2016)
After Supervisor Dan Gjerde questioned the apparent under-allocation of social workers and and juvenile probation officers to the coast, Supervisor John McCowen responded:
"I think those are good questions. Perhaps we could collaborate on an agenda item. I think across-the-board we could direct that county departments provide regular reporting on a number of measurable factors such as who is being served, where they live, what's the caseload — different measurements of what service is being provided and how are we providing it. I think that would be very informative and a useful tool for us and for the departments and for the administration. This is something that is continually talked about, kind of like the weather, but nobody is doing anything about it. Mendocino County, although we continually face many challenges, we are not in a crisis mode that we were in a few years ago when frankly there was very rapid change and I think certain things were falling through the cracks as experienced personnel left and we struggled even keeping positions filled. It's not that we have broken out into the clear and everything is rosy now, but I think we do have the opportunity to take a more deliberative approach to the services we are providing and how we provide them. A key factor in doing that is to get the data.
Supervisor Carre Brown: Absolutely correct. Because if you have more children being served in the coastal area, you want to provide staff that can do that. Whether its social workers or probation officers or whatever.
McCowen: Or that caseloads are reasonably equalized.
Brown: If you have the facts in front of you it justifies the actions we take as a board.
McCowen: What I am hearing is that most of the juvenile probationers are located inland. There could be a variety of factors that account for that. The key thing is are we assigning our personnel to be in position where they need to be to be able to provide an equitable level of service to those who are being served, in this case the juvenile probation officers.
Supervisor Tom Woodhouse: Would that be something the standing committee — that could be referred to our standing committee? Would that be appropriate? Or not?
McCowen: It might be more appropriate for General Government [standing committee] because it is kind of an across-the-board thing. But I also believe that it is something that could be initiated by two supervisors bringing something forward. Because once you make the referral to the standing committee you can't even talk about the parameters of what you want to do outside the public meeting. So again Supervisor Gjerde I think several times has expressed an interest along these lines. So we may collaborate on an item just between the two of us.
Brown: Or maybe I will collaborate with the chair. [Laughs] Just giving you a bad time.
* * *
And that was it. The obvious subject of departmental reporting — as Supervisor Brown said, having the facts in front of you to make Board decisions — was re-relegated to "could be" and "we may."
ON THE OFF CHANCE that Supervisors McCowen and Gjerde proceed in this direction, here’s a barebones approach to departmental reporting (which we’ve described many times in the past):
The outside management world typically uses five charts per department. 1. Staffing status (allocated, budgted, in-place). 2. Budget status (comparing ongoing costs and one-time expenses to budgeted amounts. 3. Cost drivers (A monthly graphic tracking factors which affect staffing and budgeting tailored for each department, with comparisons to prior years), and 4. Current project status. 5. Problems and forecasts of future things that may affect staffing or budgeting.
Note: Some very small departments can report quarterly. Details and refinements (such as coastal vs. inland allocations, special subjects, etc.) can be added as needed once the system is established.
DA STILL NOT HAPPY WITH AUDITOR’S PROP 172 (Public Safety) FUND-HANDLING
(From the recent April 4, 2016 DA response to the Grand Jury report advocating more transparency in how the $6-$7 million in Prop 172 funds are allocated.)
“In addition to the Auditor-Controller having been ‘unable’ to demonstrate to the Grand Jury that the remaining Proposition 172 revenues have been entirely distributed to County public safety agencies as required, the Office of the Auditor-Controller, in the face of a written demand to provide ‘an accounting of the Public Safety Tax Revenue for the current and most recent fiscal years, and a copy of the maintenance of effort calculations,’ has through institutional or other delay been unresponsive to this obvious need for transparency. Instead, the Office of Auditor-Controller responded with admittedly having done only ‘limited research’ and a further admission that an annual maintenance of effort calculation had not been performed since fiscal year 2003/2004. Additional time was requested to further research the matter so as to be able to provide the requested information. However, a month later, the information was still not forthcoming. Worse, now almost five years later, the Office of Auditor-Controller still has yet to provide an audit or otherwise provide adequate documentation regarding the proper public safety tax disbursements, as well as explain how the required annual maintenance of effort has been calculated.”
(The DA’s formal response includes copies of the referenced emails/letters.)
“Again, it remains an open question whether the manner in which the Proposition 172 monies have been received, accounted for, and allocated since 1994 — all under the supervision of the Office of Auditor-Controller — actually violates the law itself, not just the spirit of the law as mentioned by the Grand Jury, by commingling and allowing the allocation of Proposition 172 monies outside of its Public Safety-only mandates.(1)
(1) The document that exposed problems with the handling of this purpose-specific revenue, as cited to by the Grand Jury on page 4 of its report, is a 2009 email from Auditor-Controller Meredith Ford to former District Attorney Meredith Lintott. This ‘conversation’ was uncovered by the current District Attorney while researching why the Auditor-Controller was not performing annual audits of the County's Proposition 172 monies. The email is literally a ‘smoking gun,’ one that indicates that the Auditor-Controller had been intentionally commingling the Proposition 172 sales tax monies in the General Fund and then allocating those funds equally to all county offices — not just the mandated public safety offices — in order, in the words of the former Auditor-Controller, to ‘spread the pain’ being experienced by the non-public safety departments due to the declining economy and, in turn, declining revenues. The words written by the former Auditor-Controller in this email are contrary to the spirit and black letter law of the proposition, yet the current Auditor-Controller has yet to expressly repudiate this practice and make amends by providing annual audits.”
DURING SUPERVISORS REPORTS toward the end of the day last Tuesday Board Chair Dan Gjerde mentioned a couple of startling factoids from the recent homelessness confab held by State Senator Mike McGuire in Ukiah: “Two statistics that jumped out,” said Gjerde. “California has 12% of the nation’s population, but 35% of the nation’s chronically long-term homeless. Something’s different here and it’s not just the weather.”
Supervisor John McCowen added: “On a per capital basis, as a county, Mendocino has the second highest level of homelessness in the nation.”
Gjerde replied: “A lot of work to do there.”
COUNTY ELECTIONS OFFICE CLARIFIES ADDRESS ISSUE
Voting in CA - Residential Address Issue
Talk to your State Legislators - but think about this - why would you want to vote on something in the City of Fort Bragg when you live in the City of Ukiah or Willits or in the unincorporated area of the County? By registering where you live you vote on the issues in your City or District - not somewhere where you don't live any longer. California has always been that you use your primary domicile (residence) as your registered address.
Assistant Registrar of Voters /
Assistant Clerk Recorder
County of Mendocino
501 Low Gap Road, Room 1020
Ukiah, CA 95482
PS. I did talk to Cynthia, we spoke about a lot of things with voting. You are supposed to re-register anytime you move, this makes sure you are voting on the correct issues where you live — the correct supervisor district, the correct Fire and/or Community Service District, etc. We do challenge signatures on petitions if the address they provide on the petition is not the same as what we have in our registration system. The most important thing is that you must be registered at your primary residence or location. It's a good idea to have your DMV address & mailing address (and your name) match your voter registration because both lists are provided to Jury Services for Jury Duty — if they match you are only in their system once.
COASTAL TRAIL (sans Segways)
(photo by Susie de Castro)
AN ELDERLY UKIAH WOMAN reported being scammed out of nearly $6,000 recently by someone claiming to be an attorney for her grandson, the Ukiah Police Department reported.
According to the UPD, the 85-year-old woman, who lives in the 600 block of Leslie Street, reported around 10:22 a.m. April 4 that someone had stolen money from her.
She explained that on March 24, she got a phone call from a man who said his name was Michael Crow and he was the attorney for her grandson, “Nathan.” The suspect told the victim that her grandson was in jail in Las Vegas, and that he needed $5,800 to bail him out.
The woman decided to send the money, and was instructed to put $100 bills into a magazine, then put the magazine in a 9-by-12 envelope before mailing it.
A courier from Bay Area Express then came by to pick up the envelope and delivered it to FedEx, which shipped it to Michigan.
While the victim does have a grandson named “Nathan,” she later learned he was not in jail in Las Vegas and that she had been scammed. According to the UPD, neither the courier service nor FedEx appears to be involved.
The UPD is still investigating the case, and reminds people to “be skeptical of any individual who asks you to send money,” whether they contact you by phone, e-mail or text.
Police also advise to “never be pressured or threatened into sending money, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and if you’re not sure, just hang up on the person.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 7, 2016
Adams, Degroot, Espinosa
MARANDA ADAMS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JENNIFER DEGROOT, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
ASHLEY ESPINOSA, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
Jarvis, Keys, McMurphy, Miller
ANTHONY JARVIS, Laytonville. Vehicle theft, receipt of stolen property, probation revocation.
RON KEYS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
JEROME MCMURPHY, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JAMES MILLER, Willits/Ukiah. Parole revocation.
Reyes-Flores, Schuler, Wolf
GUILLERMO REYES-FLORES, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
MICHELL SCHULER, Willits. Court order violation.
JESSE WOLF, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia, no license, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It’s actually worse than not being good with numbers; it is absolutely rejecting the opinion of those who are good with numbers if it doesn’t fit ones beliefs. I met a man recently who read “State of Fear” and from that work of fiction, formed an opinion about the science of global warming. Trying to point out that 400 ppm of CO2 is higher than in about 800,000 years and that extreme changes are on the way was quickly rejected. Too complicated to think about all that. Besides, the “science is not settled” and the climate scientist are only out to grub money and get new grants. If your doctor says your cholesterol level of 300 is going to shorten your life, do you argue with him? If experts say one part of lead per billion is dangerous, do you argue about it? My belief is that nothing will be done in time and that (to borrow the phrase from Jim Kunstler) we are “flat fucked”.
TRUMP’S SELF-INFLICTED FALL
by Ralph Nader
Donald J. Trump is done. He will not be the Republican Party’s nominee for President. He will not receive the requisite number of 1237 delegate votes to secure a majority going into the Republican Convention in July.
Last June, I wrote a column predicting that Trump would give the GOP nightmares, but that his penchant for “leaving no impulsive opinion behind” would be his Achilles heel. Nine and a half months later, this is what is transpiring.
His egotistical bombast — false statements, displays of shocking factual ignorance on policy issues, and planned, staccato-like insults toward the other Republican contenders — got him lots of media attention. But like an elastic band being stretched to its purpose, there comes the time when the band must snap.
In the last two weeks, the casino-hotel baron has snapped. He was trapped into a petty retaliation against Senator Cruz after one of Cruz’s Super PACs distributed a semi-nude pin-up picture of Trump’s wife. He has stopped campaigning for a week before the crucial Wisconsin primary while he continues to be barraged by reporters asking about his campaign manager’s potential criminal charge in Florida for having vigorously pulled a reporter’s arm. He then stumbled badly in an interview with NBC’s Chris Matthews (a fervid political Democrat). In the interview The Donald said women who have abortions should receive “some punishment.” His recanting of that statement hours later hasn’t caught up with the immediate uproar.
National polls of all voters have never been good for Trump. Now they spill over into disasterland. He has the highest unfavorability ratings of any candidate, followed by Hillary Clinton. Of women who are expected to vote in the Republican primary, only 24% support him and nationally almost three out of four women oppose him — foreshadowing a certain defeat in November given his very low standing among minority voters. Even in his victories, Trump has rarely won more than 30% of the Republican primary vote against his competitors.
Last week Trump left his lavish Florida vacation mansion for Wisconsin only to find a maelstrom of opposition from the Republican Party, the Republican Governor and the Republican legislators who control the state government. What’s more, the state’s influential conservative talk radio bloviators — most of whom back the madcap Ted Cruz — are bashing Trump daily as juvenile and as not a conservative.
Wisconsin polls, which had him in the lead, turned sharply against him. Before the primary, a poll released by Marquette University Law School showed the war-hawk Cruz leading Trump by 40% to 30%. Rising Governor John Kasich came in third with 21 percent. Cruz ended up winning with 48% against Trump’s 35%, Kasich trailing at 15%.
Polls across the country are trending downward for Trump. This is bad news for Trump who has to win upcoming primaries by significant margins in order to reach 1237. He is turning off so many people with his spasmodic outbursts of Trumpisms that he can’t even be sure there won’t be defections among his own delegates during the crucial first round of voting at the Republican Party convention.
Trump’s trump card has always been his warning that, if the Party treats him unfairly, he can always go independent. This is unlikely. Trump’s trap is that by the time he has to admit his quest has failed, it will be too late for him to meet state ballot access deadlines for an independent candidacy. Moreover, he would learn what the resounding cry of “loser” would mean to voters.
So, Donald Trump is left with his dark prediction that should he garner the largest number of votes, even if he should not get the majority magic number of 1237 delegates going into the conventions, in his words, “you’d have riots.”
The trouble with Trump’s scenario is what is called “backfire.” Riots in the streets for a sore loser? Riots because he won’t survive the succeeding rounds of voting inside the Republican Convention in Cleveland? Riots won’t sit well with most Republicans, not to mention the local police and the voters who would see the television images.
The Republican Party overlords — whose smug expectation last year was that the super PAC-rich Jeb Bush would walk into the nomination — are going to let Trump save face. They will praise him effusively for exciting the Republican base and expanding the primaries’ viewing audience. Then they will give Trump center stage before a massive television audience where he can advertise his Trump high-rises and the increasingly-valuable Trump brand.
The Trump brand has always been the New Yorker’s fall-back mega-billion-dollar position. Making presidential primaries into big business for the commercial media will be another one of his legacies. CBS president Leslie Moonves confirmed Trump’s contribution when he said that Trump’s campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
There are downsides to Trump’s forthcoming fall. Trump took on the corporatist trade treaties and the hollowing out of jobless communities throughout the land. He touted the need for massive public works projects. He consistently condemned Hillary’s support of the Iraq war as Senator, and her lead role in leading the way for the Libyan overthrow and the resultant spreading violent chaos in northwest and central Africa when she was Secretary of State. He stuck it to Hedge Fund billionaires with their brazen tax escapes.
It will be a while before you see a major Republican Presidential candidate stake out these positions day after day.
In the end, The Donald just could not control his unprovoked, ugly verbal outbursts.
CLINTON & PANAMA PAPERS
Re mountain lions and the like, the beasts of the field & forest have feasted on my chickens, so I got a dog from the Humane society. Since then, no foxes, coons, deers, possums, bears, skunks, hawks, ravens or mountain lions. All are still around. I hear the foxes shouting, watch the ravens & hawks aloft, circling me, waiting. Squirrels chew me out all day. Still carry a stout stick in the woods, still see enough wildlife to keep my Sierra Club status sound, but I don't find those heart-ripping piles of birdless feathers. (It's possible to know and like a chicken.) Dog ("Surely") doesn't stop the banana slugs. He sleeps in the mud room, with the outside door ajar, tolerates no intruders (except the bloody slugs). Maybe I'll get a duck. Hear tell they eat 'em. Surely, as dogs do, has become family. He demands I leave my hammock, bed and rockingchair every day, patrol the hood, rain or shine, day or night, so I exercise, pain notwithstanding. BTW, if you're building securely enough to protect your critters, remember how insanely strong bears are. I haven't seen a bear here, but I've seen their signs, especially their unmistakable tracks. They can rip open a Mosler safe, so build that henhouse strong!
Mitch Clogg, Mendocino
A READER WRITES:
Hoo boy, I just read the Hodgins piece from the Orange County Register. This dude has got the wine lingo down cold! Just listen to these descriptors:
Hints of rose petal, lychee and tropical fruit graced by a clean finish classic rosé qualities of minerality and dry berry fruit mushroom-y, earthy and funky … strong note of cherry and a bit of chocolate almond-y, rounded, with a tiny hint of toast … big fruit nose — plum and raspberry — and a dry finish … yeasty, toasty and honeyed very lightly oaked, has notes of tropical citrus light, bright and full of tart cherry — very Burgundian … toasty, hint-of-caramel complexity raspberry/strawberry bouquet and a longer finish … starts flinty but opens up to a bold and zesty citrus finish with grapefruit, pepper, ginger and lemon … heavy on the lime zest, with great acidity, which gives way to Indian spices and white pepper …
Which reminds me of my all time favorite wine description, from a taste-off many years ago, which went like this:
“1994 Fess Parker Winery Pinot Noir, American Tradition Reserve, Santa Barbara County ($28) — Flawed by very intense, stinky, barnyard smells that weren't evident in its elimination tasting, this funky wine appears to be affected by brettanomyces, a spoilage yeast bacterium that can occasionally intrude in even the best of production facilities. The flavors are equally off-putting, showing a horsy, gamey, leathery character.”
by Davy Rothbart, California Sunday
On a company that provides fake paparazzi, pretend campaign supporters, and counterfeit protesters on demand.