Mendocino County Today: Monday, March 13, 2017
by AVA News Service, March 13, 2017
COSMO KNOEBBER, the sage of Comptche, nicely sums up the feeling of most of us about Daylight Saving: "YAY! My watch will soon be right again!"
COUNTY BUDGET & STAFFING NOTES (from the mid-year budget update at the March 7 Board of Supervisors meeting):
PLANNING DEPARTMENT UPDATE: Based on last week’s CEO press release we wrote that the Planning and Building Department was being turned over to a three person management team. Former Director Steve Dunnicliff’s is back at the CEO’s office as Deputy CEO, perhaps preparing to assume the top spot when Ms. Angelo retires.
IT TURNS OUT that since our already dated post, in a matter of days in fact, Mr. Ignacio ‘Nash’ Gonzalez, a former County planner and P&B Director, has been appointed “Interim Director,” having recently returned from a job in the Santa Clara County Planning Department. Meanwhile, Mendo's patented “nationwide search for excellence” is underway to find a long-term Planning & Building Director. ("Excellence "is invariably discovered inside the Ukiah city limits in someone's pal, sex partner, blood relative, love child. Not that Nash is necessarily any of those.)
PLANNING & BUILDING is expected to be about $400k under budget so far this year due to “staff vacancies,” mostly due to either experienced people leaving for better paying jobs, or senior staffers being promoted to supervisory or management positions. Most of the department’s new hires are inexperienced trainees. So several senior positions remain vacant.
THE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT’s winter repair priorities, according to Transportation Director Howard Deshiell, are Orr Springs Road repair, Peachland Road repair, and Mountain View Road repairs. But final repairs may be held up while Dashiell makes sure that any outside contract repair work will be reimbursed by the Feds.
DASHIELL reports that even though there are about 20 unfilled positions in his far flung department (because qualified people are in high demand in the area) his employees have stepped up with overtime to meet the many emergency repair situations stemming from the relatively heavy rains this winter.
MENTAL HEALTH IS RUNNING more than $1.5 million over budget for this fiscal year, which Health and Human Services Director Tammy Moss-Chandler insists will be covered by a $3 million Mental Health (slush) Fund, line item 1221. The overrun is reportedly “state audit exceptions and ASO [administrative service organization, i.e., Ortner until replaced last year by Redwood Quality Management Company] changes over the last year.” Audit exception corrections from 06-07 are expected to produce some money back to the County this March. County Auditor Lloyd Weir said that the state doesn’t hesitate to hold back money when they find mental health billing problems, but when subsequent corrections are in the County’s favor it seems to take years for the County to get reimbursed. So the County expects to get $2.3 million back from 06-07 which is the lion’s sharw of the 1221 Mental Health (slush) Fund.
BUT THERE WAS a $1.1 million take back (i.e., payments being withheld) in audit exceptions which go back to the years prior to mental health privatization. Director Moss-Chandler insists that none of the current overrun is directly associated with the change in Mental Health privateers from Ortner to Redwood Quality Management Company. (That change was mostly complete before this fiscal year began.)
MS. MOSS-CHANDLER says the current overrun has more to do with “hospitalization.” (Which probably means that again this year the County is paying a lot of extra money to send mental patients to high-priced out-of-county facilities — one of the many potential budgets savings that could have resulted from the Sheriff’s Mental Health Facilities proposal had it passed last November.) It will be several more years before the now nearly forgotten Ortner period is audited by the State and nobody knows how bad that audit might be. But, according to Director Moss-Chandler, her mental health staff is working on trying to be prepared for whatever the state does with Ortner bills for “service.”
THERE'S AN EXTRA $1 million in a special mental health audit exception reserve fund which may or may not be enough to cover whatever financial problems may result from the Ortner years. Since County mental health staff is running under budget due to predictable difficulties in hiring people for the non-privatized portion of mental health activity, that reserve may be bumped up again next year.
THE DA’S RESTITUTION PROGRAM is running about half what it was compared to its first year back in 2011. DA David Eyster noted that those revenues are volatile and should not be depended on, but it is a budget factor — meaning that there is a significant reduction in supplementary law enforcement funds for this fiscal year.
DUE TO PROP 64, the recent legalization of some drug crimes, some convictions will be reclassified from felonies to misdemeanors, meaning that there will be fewer cases where the DA can pressure pot defendants to pay restitution on felony cultivation cases if the offense is no longer a state felony. The DA pointed out that since the DA has already reduced many pot convictions to misdemeanors under the restitution program there won’t be as many Prop 64 applications to reduce felony charges to misdemeanors in Mendocino County.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, While us dogs are talking poetry, this one is my all-time favorite:
And in case you can’t read the wall poster, here it is in more readable form:
After Li Po
While my hair was still cut straight
across my forehead
I played at the front gate, pulling
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing
You walked about my seat, playing with
And we went on living in the village of
Two small people, without dislike or
At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never
At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the lookout?
At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river
of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise
You dragged your feet when you went
By the gate now, the moss is grown,
the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in
The paired butterflies are already
yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the
narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fu-sa.
–Anonymous, translated by Ezra Pound
GREAT MOMENTS IN PUBLIC RADIO BOARD MEETINGS (March 6, 2017)
Mitch Clogg: “I have not been listening to KZYX for a long time. I will tune in. But will the KZYX news make any mention of this board meeting? [Silence.] Great. I was hoping that somebody would say, Well of course! But instead I have the sense that this is like so many board meetings that I have attended — not just KZYX. There is a typical thing: we listen politely to the people out there who are strident and annoying. And then we forget it. You have heard some very pithy stuff tonight. If this were to be broadcast in the news, I would listen to hear, What does the station have to say about the things you have heard at the board meeting last night? [i.e., financial irregularities and failure to follow their own rules]. Because I would like very much to know whether KZYX deserves a scintilla of my attention, or whether it deserves my condemnation, whether it's in print or any other damn place that I can find to do it. Because that's the way it's been done: shifty, secretly, and with a kind of straightfaced silliness, and impassive arrogance. So if you are collecting money from people every year so that you can give it away to people who don't really deserve it, I'd like to know about that. You have heard a lot of things that need to be responded to.”
Board member (and Ukiah realtor) Ed Keller: “You understand that the board isn't paid, right?”
Keller: “You understand that the board isn't paid?”
Clogg: “I'm sorry, my hearing isn't what it used to be.”
Board member Meg Courtney: “It's a volunteer board.”
Keller: “You understand we are volunteers, right?”
Clogg: “I would hope.”
* * *
Meg Courtney later responded: “I've never thought about it [broadcasting the board meeting or a news summary of the board meeting] because it never came up.”
* * *
KZYX Board Member Jonathan Middlebrook, after first starting to answer a simple question from a woman in the audience about whether Board members have to be members of KZYX, then interrupting himself: “Are we not supposed to answer public comments?”
LISTEN TO KMEC show, Monday, March 13, 1 pm, Pacific Time, with Professor Andrew Bacevich, on New Trump Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster. John Sakowicz and Sid Cooperrider are our hosts.
Listen at 105.1 FM in Ukiah. We also stream live from the web at www.kmecradio.org
A TRULY GLORIOUS SUNDAY propelled me up and out the door for a long walk from Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge, through the tourist throngs at the Frisco end of the Bridge — you're a definite old timer if you remember the restaurant there — and up through the Presidio and on into fields of gold sour grass which, I think, has been recently introduced but may be native. I should be able to say one way or the other because I hike the area year-round, but I've never seen it this stunningly abundant. Nice scent, too, kinda like certain varieties of heather.
SO, I'M TRUCKING along a bike path to avoid an impassable muddy stretch of trail, when this cyclist comes roaring past from behind me, close enough to startle me out of whatever happy reverie I was enjoying. He shouts, "Get back on the path!" I was so surprised all I could yell back was a partial Boontling insult, too obscure to have the desired effect. "Share the road, esel!" (Sound it out and you'll know what it means.") But the esel was moving so fast I doubt he heard me.
THE BIKE BRIGADES are so politically influential they've compelled CalTrans to erect "Share the Road" signs all over the place, even on the Ukiah-Boonville Road where cyclists are as rare as a person on foot. They, however, only share the road when they feel like it, or if they're alone. (Try and move CalTrans to do anything.)
CLAD in Total Dweeb, all I could see of this one was a black lycra blob disappearing far ahead. I'm not alone in finding something deeply annoying at the mere appearance of these people and their five thousand dollar bikes and Lance Armstrong costumes. I know I live in the land of perpetual childhood, but where did these flying packs of two-wheeled rats come from, riding four abreast down public streets? That was the third time one of these two-wheeled milk monitors has yelled at me to get out of the bike lane. Only one has turned around to argue. I began that discussion by peppering the guy with defiant insults. Then I saw that he was only a kid in his twenties, and I felt like a major crank getting in his face, although he had come back for a one-on-one. And, as mentioned, I don't know what the law on bike lanes is, but he took Grandad's word for it though. The boy actually looked chastened as he pedaled slowly off. I've made a note to check with the cops about bike lane protocols.
NOTE FROM AN AMATEUR BOTANIST ON SOUR GRASS: "As a kid I always munched the stems of these little yellow flowers. It was sour tasting but surprisingly refreshing. I thought I was brilliant calling it sour grass. Come to find out that is what everyone calls it. Hence, common name sour grass. If I knew then what I know now I would have eaten the whole thing. Sour grass’s real name is wood sorrel even though it is not a sorrel or a grass. Its genus is Oxalis, the binomial name is Oxalis acetosella. Acetosella is Greek for sour. Confused? Nevermind. All you need to know is that you can eat the leaves, flowers, seeds and roots, and call it whatever you want. It has true heart shaped leaves."
THE NEW YORK TIMES runs a column called "What We're Reading," assuming, I guess, that we're supposed to care specifically about what NYT staffers are reading and run out to the nearest bookstore and buy on their say-so. There's so much log rolling in what's left of the book review racket, I trust only individual recommendations from people I know. Sometimes these people are on a different page, often we're not, but most can be trusted not to foist off "Lassie, The Greatest Dog Ever." Word of mouth is pretty reliable for movies, too, especially now that all the honest reviewers, the Pauline Kaels and the Dwight Macdonalds are gone.
FRIENDS SENT ME A BOOK last week that grabbed me from the first page, a book I'd never heard of, not that I'm claiming biblio-omnisciense here. It's called "Six Red Months in Russia" by Louise Bryant, famously depicted in the silly movie "Reds" as John Reed's girlfriend, then wife. I'd put her right up there with John as a writer-journalist, although he's the much better known author of "Ten Days That Shook the World," considered the best account of it being made by an eyewitness or anyone else.
TO ME, Bryant's book is the better of the two for conveying the "feel" of the event as it was experienced live by Russians at all levels of Russian society. She makes it clear that for Russians unconnected to the owning classes almost everyone regarded Lenin and Trotsky as dual saviors. There's not a mention of Stalin anywhere in the book and, as we know, Lenin famously warned that it would be disastrous for Russia if the "man of steel" assumed power.
YEAH, YEAH, we all know what happened after the Bolsheviks consolidated power, but what happened seems inherent in the Leninist means of revolution, that the revolutionaries — trust us; we'll run this sucker on your behalf — are soon being chauffeured in the same big black limos that carried their predecessors. But there's no book like this one for conveying the idealism and the pure hope the Russian Revolution brought to the damned and the doomed everywhere in the world, hope soon crushed by Lenin's heirs.
"DR. FEELGOOD" is a brief history of the life of Dr. Max Jacobson who "treated" America's pioneer tweakers with mixtures of methamphetamine and all kinds of stuff the doctor seemed to include randomly in his popular witch's brews. But it was the meth that kept his patients coming back. Wielding his popular needle for an array of celebs, circa 1950-mid-1960's, Doc Feelgood eventually succumbed to his own concoctions, becoming so unhinged he lost his medical license.
PRESIDENT KENNEDY was Jacobson's most famous patient until Kennedy was convinced by his sanctioned medicos that the stuff would kill him if he kept it up, and would cause him to become totally irrational before it did. As it was, after one injection Kennedy threw off his clothes and was cavorting nude in the hall before aides corralled him. "I don't care if it's horse piss. It works," Kennedy is quoted as saying before he got off Jacobson's magic potion. The president was straight by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, fortunately for mankind.
DOPERS of a certain age, people like me, I suppose, although the last dope I took was some exceedingly pleasant mescaline some time in the late 1960's followed by thirty or so triperoos on acid, the first scaring me straight enough not to walk around grotesque Frisco neighborhoods while under its powerful influence, which I'd underestimated because every hi-ho hippie I knew was promising personal interviews with God and warning not to take it without reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead beforehand. "Bullshit," I declared. "Just give me the goddamed pill. In fact, give me two!" Big mistake. It took thorazine to rescue me from sniveling incapacity, but I did get a head full of astounding imagery, but without so much as a glimpse of The Big Guy. Prior to that, I'd occasionally gulped speed in the form of "white cross" pills sold at truck stops. Never got into marijuana, preferring alcohol for consciousness raising most of my adult life. It occurs to me, though, if they made a mild white cross for seniors I'd be tempted.
I PICKED up a Brit paperback called The Very Best of the Daily Telegraph Books of Obituaries from a free box and have enjoyed very much reading death notices of people I'd never heard of, but certainly noteworthy in the British context, and so much better written than anything you'll read in American publications; these obits are a literary genre in themselves. You won't read about an idiosyncrasy like this one as our abundant population of eccentrics pass on: "Frank Morgan was a tall, hawk-like figure, noted for certain eccentricities. He had lost an eye as a child and wore an eyeglass in the remaining one. He could eject this by jerking his head upwards, and then catch it again in the socket. He said he found this a useful trick when addressing restive or sleepy audiences."
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 12, 2017
Cartwright, Collins, Dickenson
BRUCE CARTWRIGHT JR., Ukiah. Burglary, parole violation.
ANTONIO COLLINS, Fort Bragg/Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
HEATHER DICKENSON, Fullerton/Willits. DUI.
Driver, Ellis, Estrada
KEITH DRIVER, Ukiah. Burglary, possession of burglary tools, attempt to commit crimes, petty theft, vandalism, probation revocation.
KIRK ELLIS, Willits. Probation revocation.
JULIAN ESTRADA, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI.
Frank-Grossman, Freeman, Jimenez
SAMANTHA FRANK-GROSSMAN, Willits. Under influence.
JOSHUA FREEMAN, Potter Valley. Drunk in public.
ANITA JIMENEZ, Ukiah. False ID, probation revocation.
Leonard, Lowe, Michael
MICHAEL LEONARD, Springfield, Missouri/Willits. DUI.
JAMES LOWE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
HEATHER MICHAEL, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
Page, Parisi, Rau, Reynaga
MARTIN PAGE, Santa Rosa/Willits. Drunk in public, resisting.
JEFFREY PARISI, Potter Valley. Drunk in public.
BENJAMIN RAU, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license.
PEDRO REYNAGA, Calpella. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Anybody who thinks that this country is being run for the benefit of it’s citizens is delusional. The average person has been bullshitted (is that a word?) into thinking that their interests are being looked after. We are pawns on the chessboard of the game that the real powers play. All of those red country people who voted for Trump are indeed the pawns, although the people who voted for Hillary are no less delusional. When will people realize that we have been gamed? I refer you back to the old saying, “Democracy contains the seed of it’s own destruction”. Truer words were never spoke.
SPRING AND FALL:
to a Young Child
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
— Gerard Manley Hopkins
CAPITALISM has a built-in tendency to worsen income and wealth inequalities. One consequence of this tendency are periodic political explosions of mass, popular anger. People push back against those inequalities and the political corruption and social divisions they aggravate. Politicians who grasp these moments often succeed in taking advantage of them and win. Politicians who fail to see, admit, or accommodate these moments lose. Such losers have usually served as administrators and cheerleaders for capitalism – its sequential “establishments.” So busy (and well paid) celebrating the system, they are undone by their own defensive blindness to its failures and critical oppositions.
— Richard Wolfe
THE ACCREDITATION COUNCIL FOR GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION ENDANGERS THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND REPUDIATES SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE.
I was shocked and horrified to read in the New York Times on March 11, 2017: “Rule for First-Year Doctors to Allow for 24 Hour Shifts”. Officials at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education released these guidelines effective this July 1. These guidelines show a grievous disregard for years of overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates how sleep deprivation of 24 hours can cause significant cognitive decline. These new guidelines place patients’ and Medical Doctors lives at risks. These guidelines violate the Medical Professions oath to above all do no harm.
The National Institute of Health documents the dangers of sleep deprivation in an article entitled: “Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation" (September 9, 2009).
Important quotations are as follows:
“Following wakefulness in excess of 16 hours deficits in attention and executive function tasks are demonstrable though well validated testing protocols.” … “Studies of shift-workers, truck drivers, medical residents, and airline pilots all show an increased risk for crashes or near misses due to sleep deprivation in these populations.” … “As continuous daytime waking exceeds 16 hours, psychomotor performance deficits increase to levels equivalent to Blood Alcohol Concentration between 0.05% and 0.1%.”
How many will now die or be injured due to these irresponsible and extremely dangerous new guidelines?
If Medical Professionals are dedicated to protecting the Public Health, we must demand these guidelines be changed, consistent with scientific evidence.
Dr. Nayvin Gordon, Board Certified Family Physician for 40 years.