Letters to the Editor
by AVA News Service, October 7, 2010
SAKO’S RETIREMENT PROBS AGAIN
The main thing voters should know in this election is that much of Mendocino County politics has been corrupt in the past, and that we, the people, didn't seem to either notice or care, and now we're paying the price.
There's no better example than the county retirement system, or MCERA, the Mendocino County Retirement Association.
During the July, 2010 meeting of the Retirement Board, MCERA quietly wrote off, as a complete loss, the $9.6 million that was illegally diverted in 2006, and then subsequently covered up through the accounting fraud of “excess earnings” and “unrealized actuarial gains", also known simply to prosecutors who prosecute white collar crime as “capitalization of expenses".
This means that $9.6 million, plus the 8 per cent rate of return that the $9.6 million was expected to earn as an investment, compounded during the last four years, gets added to the Unfunded Pension Liability.
Rounded off, that's about $13 million.
In other words, that $13 million gets added to the burden that we taxpayers will have to pay when the next Pension Obligation Bond is inevitably issued to pay down unfunded liablities.
A little background...the $9.6 million was county contributions the Board of Supervisors intended solely for the pension account...a guaranteed benefit. Instead, the money was diverted to the retiree healthcare account...not a guaranteed benefit.
Last Sunday, the Ukiah Daily Journal ran an article that Mendocino County has the greatest tax burden per capita of all the 58 counties in California.
MCERA is the reason why. MCERA is responsible for our insane debt, along with that other accounting shell game known as the Teeter Plan.
The troika of former county treasurer Tim Knudsen, former county auditor Dennis Huey, and former county counsel Peter Kline.
The people of Mendocino County for not caring to dig into the numbers.
In truth, the Board of Supervisors never really ran our county. Knudsen, Huey, and Kline ran our county.
The Board of Supervisors were the titular heads of the county, believing and doing what they were told by Knudsen, Huey, and Kline.
These bums belong in prison for how they bankrupted us.
Tha was then. This is now.
Thank God for guys like John Dickerson or Ted Stephens. These citizen watchdogs have finally brought the truth of our county's desperate finances to light.
Now, the people know the truth. But do they care?
I make no endorsements in any election, but I will say this: Voters should make reform at MCERA a high priority. County politics have been dominated by insiders, operating in secret, telling half-lies, lies, and outright lies, cooking the books, inventing footnotes to financial statements, hiring the same audit and actuarial team year-after-year, and playing with our hard-earned dough as if it were Monoply money, adding to our county's debt, adding to our taxes, and mortgaging our county's future, and our children's futures, for far too long.
It's time these abuses of power stop. You can see why the Tea Party is a rising force in national politics. Mendocino Couny could be a case study of what's wrong with America.
Incidentally, our county's Unfunded Pension Liability is currently something in excess of $130 million, depending on what actuarial methodology is used to calculate it. That's obscene.
Voters can read more at www.yourpublicmoney.com.
THE KISS OF DEATH
To the Editor
My mother was an inherently compassionate person. I remember in my childhood a time she brought home a down-and-out couple she’d met at a meeting of an organization to which she belonged, inviting them to stay for a few days. The next day they left, taking Mom’s wallet and subsequently charging up her credit cards.
I recalled that when Dan Hamburg came under attack regarding Calvin Walker; another example of biting the hand that reaches out in help. I’ve known the Hamburg family a good many years. They are a lively, engaged, capable, intelligent, compassionate and visionary clan; the kind of folks who open their hearts and home, and in this case have to deal with the political fall out.
Dan has been here since the early 1970s and has consistently worked for natural resource preservation and restoration, and a sustainable local economy. He’s worked to revitalize sustainable logging and fishing industries. His commitment to our rural county lifestyle sharply contrasts with his opponent’s record of welcoming development, including her early support for Measure A to rezone Masonite.
The brunt of the attack is Dan’s connection with marijuana, a long used but not effective tool of his political opponents – the same ones who have aligned themselves with Wendy Roberts, the ones who want to bring this backwater county up to Sonoma County standards.
Roberts’ supporters want to keep marijuana as the lead topic of discussion, and for the wrong reasons. While marijuana is a very relevant subject in our county, Dan balances his focus to include the wide range of issues facing us as county residents. Rather than using marijuana as a political tool or distorting the issue, Dan is ready and best able to craft a workable policy that responds to the general public’s will to legalize, and works to enhance tourism and the reputation for product excellence that our wine industry enjoys. A policy that supports small farms and local economy tax base, and rejects the large corporate model. A policy that connects town dwellers with country farmers to address neighborhood concerns around growing and that directs the legal system to appropriately prosecute illegal grows.
Attacking Dan for growing pot for personal medical use in compliance with the law and to attempt to paint him with a sleazy brush because of it is a good example of how little Ms. Robert’s campaign understands the 5th District.
5th District, Ukiah
To the Editor:
Fur is flying over mistakes in Dan Hamburg’s campaign statements (Form 460) required by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
To see all the statements, go to: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/acr/cgi-bin/statements.pl
But let’s not get distracted.
Instead, consider how valuable the FPPC is to the integrity of state and local elections in California. A creature of the California initiative process, voters passed the Political Reform Act (Prop. 9) in 1974.
Since then, the FPPC has served as a model for the nation and the rest of the democratic world, according to Wikipedia.
Indeed, thanks to the FPPC we know who contributes the big bucks to local campaigns. With that information, we can construe what’s really at stake in the 5th District Supervisorial Campaign where Dan Hamburg and Wendy Roberts now vie for 5th District votes.
Big bucks contributors to the Roberts campaign include:
1. John Mayfield, longtime conservative, contributed $500. A supporter of a megamall on the old Masonite site, who paid for front page ads in the Ukiah Daily Journal in favor of Measure A, which, had it passed, would have changed the zoning to allow a Ohio developer (DDR) to place a megamall on the old Masonite site.
2. California Real Estate Political Action Committee (for North Bay Association of Realtors), pro-development PAC, contributed $500 since January 1st. This group helps local developers block attempts to control development.
3. R. Gene Geisler, San Francisco rancher, contributed $1000. Geisler opposed Measure H, which, despite his opposition, passed and now prohibits cultivation of GMOs in Mendocino County.
4. Donald Daniels, Fort Bragg (outside 5th District) contractor, contributed $1,000.
5. Mike and Maribelle Anderson, Fort. Bragg (outside 5th District) rancher, contributed $1000.
6. Charlie and Beth Reed, Kelley Property Association, contributed $500.
7. North Coast Citizens for a Better Economy Political Action Committee, a conservative PAC, contributed $500.
8. Peter and Martha Bradford, Boonville ranchers and Farm Bureau stalwarts, contributed $500. Peter Bradford opposed Measure H, which, despite Farm Bureau opposition, passed and now prohibits the cultivation of GMO’s in Mendocino County.
From this list of contributors, it’s hard to square Roberts’ statements in favor of protecting the environment with her contributors.
If seeing big pro-development political donations influence county elections offends you, consider campaign finance reform. Over the past 5 years, the Board of Supervisors considered, and rejected, a campaign finance reform ordinance that would limit contributions.
If Fifth District voters elect Dan Hamburg, we can make campaign finance reform on a county level a reality.
A VOTE FOR DAN HAMBURG IS A VOTE FOR TRUE LOCAL CONTROL, LOCAL DEVELOPMENT, AND A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY.
I urge Mendocino county voters to re-elect District Attorney Meredith Lintott . Under her leadership the DA's office has been a strong advocate for victims of crime and expanded prosecution efforts in the areas of elder abuse, environmental crimes, consumer fraud and truancy. We've won significant convictions against violent offenders for murder, crimes against women and children and gang violence. As Chief Deputy DA in Mendocino County for the last 2-1/2 years I’ve worked with DA Lintott to keep this community safe. We’ve strengthened relationships with other law enforcement agencies, improved services to victims and witnesses, and our prosecutors are working well as a team to prosecute those who violate our laws. Lintott understands the importance of protecting the innocent and holding the guilty accountable. Please join me, and many other prosecutors in the DA’s office, in supporting Lintott for District Attorney.
Ed note: With an office full of prosecutors, incumbent DA Meredith Lintott hired, at top pay, Ms. Ravitch, who said she was only marking time in Mendo until she became Sonoma County DA, which she has since become. Ravitch even got a Mendo county car to commute to her home in West Sonoma County. What exactly Mendo got out of the deal is not clear, but what is clear is ongoing chaos in the DA's office under Lintott. A vote for David Eyster is likely to restore order. Eyster is also capable of bringing major prosecutions himself, negating Ravitch-like imports to handle the heavyweight cases. This letter from Ravitch, of course, is a big thank you kiss to Lintott for subsidizing, at Mendocino County's expense, Ravitch's successful campaign for Sonoma County DA.
MENDO’S RETIREMENT SYSTEM
The retirement debt situation is extremely complicated and constitutes an horrendous train wreck that is devastating national, state and county budgets. Mendocino County is certainly not alone in facing this problem, but we have done things that have deepened the hole we're in — namely, paying salaries that are higher than the taxpayers can afford, hiring more people than our taxes can support, spending part of the earnings on the retirement fund to pay for retiree health benefits, instead of keeping all the earnings invested to pay future pensions, and borrowing to shore up the pension fund when it fell short.
I want our public servants to be fairly compensated, but over the years, public employee unions everywhere have negotiated retirement packages that are simply unsupportable by the taxpayers. There are two basic flaws. 1) employees invest fixed amounts while they are working and are guaranteed a fixed amount of pension income, regardless of how the market performs; 2) each year, employers are required to invest enough to make sure that the fund will be big enough to pay the fixed pensions. These payments are based on actuarial studies predicting how much will be needed and a fixed estimate of how much the invested money will earn. Now, if we believe our investments will earn a lot, say 8%, we don't have to save as much as if we think they will earn a little bit, say 1-3%. Mendocino County's required payments are based on an estimated 8% rate of return. If these payments were based on the much more realistic estimate of 1-3%, they would have to be much much higher.
As Dan Hamburg points out, since 1996, the County has borrowed millions of dollars in pension bonds to keep the fund at Federally mandated levels. He is correct that last year we paid $8 million in interest on these bonds out of our General Fund. However, this year, the interest payment is $11 million, not $8 million. Next year, it will be $13-14 million — and so on for the next 25 years.
I can't begin to explain this whole flaming disaster in a short letter to the Editor, but the answer questions about how Measure C’s sales tax revenues will be spent is that the new tax revenue will go into the General Fund. It is intended for critical services, but the fact is that it is not specifically designated and will become part of the pool of money from which all of our debts and current expenses must be covered. It will be an important drop in the bucket, but it will not solve our budget crisis. The only thing that will move us in that direction is to get people working and paying the taxes that support public services.
Revitalizing our economy and re-inventing how we deal with employee pensions are the two most critical tasks the County will face in the next few years. In terms of the pension issue, one step is to get independent voices on the retirement board rather than having it dominated by people who will benefit from the current pension program. Another is to shift from a “fixed benefit” program to a “fixed contribution” plan in which the employees have more control over their investments and share both the risk and benefits instead of putting all the risk on the taxpayers. Third, though it is really first, we need to be realistic about pay scales and about how many public servants our tax base can support. As I said before, I want our public employees to be fairly compensated. I want to protect the services they provide. That said, we need to be conscious that it takes the earning power of about 75 Mendocino County tax-paying citizens to support each County employee, even at today's reduced staffing level.
Re: The Laytonville Bear Lady.
What a nightmare for Lynn Gravier — to have such good intentions and do so much harm.
As a fellow lover of animals and volunteer at the Peninsula Humane Society, I know from experience the rationalizing impulse that enabled her to see “her” bears as pets like her dogs and cats.
By altering their natural behavior, Gravier inadvertently doomed her bears to starvation or culling and changed the local ecosystem that had evolved to include bears that claw open fallen logs for insects and forage for berries (subsequently spreading seed in their scat) instead of begging or stealing from humans.
Wild animals do need us, but to love and respect them from a distance and to let them stay wild. They need us to exercise self-restraint, to put our own desires aside and to care enough to learn about the natural history of the species. What feels so good to us might not be at all good for the animals.
I am sorry for the well-meaning Bear Lady and grateful for the Fish and Game officials who intervened to restore a more natural situation for Mendocino County's bears.
Wednesday Sept 29th 2010 the UDJ Superheroes are the theme for the Ukiah High school homecoming as we see the lovely Karine Schat spray orange tint on Tialoc Guerr'as hair. But if a picture were to tell a thousand words it is at the bottom of the page “ALLMAN AWARDED MEDAL OF VALOR.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger the actor of “True action hero” with great admiration giving the True action hero Tom Allman the medal of valor! Yet it is the expression on Mr. Allman’s face that tells it all. Any one of us would stand in glee to be at the reception of the governor, let alone the Arnold. Still, it is the humble honesty that strikes me towards admiration on the Sheriff’s face. It is the pain that I can not escape. They say that a good deed never goes unpunished and that pain truly is the price of life. The Sheriff has never wanted to downplay the death of Jennifer Aikman and even if he does acknowledge that other great men were involved with the rescue! Mr Allman has traveled the world following natural disasters only to give preservation and goodwill to life and humanity. This is an example of the badge that he wears with genuine honesty and with this he polishes this badge as the motto goes, “To protect and serve.”
Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another 'Economic Stimulus' payment.
This is indeed a very exciting program, and I'll explain it by using a Q & A format:
Q. What is an 'Economic Stimulus' payment ?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money ?
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen of it.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.
Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:
If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka .
If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.
If you purchase a computer, it will go to India , Taiwan or China .
If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea.
If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .
If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.
Instead, keep the money in America by:
1) Spending it at yard sales, or
2) Going to ball games, or
3) Spending it on prostitutes , or
4) Beer or
(These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S. )
Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day!
No need to thank me, I'm just glad I could be of help.
Dear Ms. Walters,
The Straight Story—
I read your (Bigfoot & The Trolls) diatribe in last week’s AVA and I say “hooey.” 1. Everybody knows that Bigfoot lives here in Anderson Valley atop Grizzly Peak. 2. Bigfoot does not like Trolls. 3. Trolls live in the seacaves under the Mendocino Headlands. 4. Trolls do not like Bigfoot.
Peace and love,
I never expected to see adulation of energy or ballistics on the front page of the AVA — but I graduated from high school the same year as your author Stewart Bowen. I also went on to college at the very institution that he so highly admired, so I feel a certain kinship with him and must hasten to straighten him out on these minor matters:
The place is called “Caltech” (NOT “Cal Tech”).
With his lousy study habits, he would have fit right in -- as I did.
(One of my schoolmates had honors at entrance as a frosh, and flunked out at the end of his junior year with a GPA of 0.06 -- besides never studying, of course he never attended classes, but sure did get in a lot of all-night card games.)
The cryogenic hot-dog act that Bowen describes was an extremely famous and prestigious one, presented by a professor and dean whose name really must be mentioned: Earnest C. Watson. His extraordinary life is memorialized here (with a photo of that liquid-oxygen lecture itself):
Although I thank Mr. Bowen for the very entertaining tale of the “Terrier” SAM beam-rider that destroyed itself because the diesel fuel ran out in the radar-beam generator, at Caltech the in-group stories more-typically covered undergrad expeditions into the campus steam tunnels, or learning to pick locks ... following in the revered footsteps of our favorite physicist, Richard Feynman. Linus Pauling was pretty darn cool too.
THE MENDO RUN-AROUND
Dear Mr. Anderson,
I’m writing to tell you I admire you personally for your tenacity and now a direct action against Supervisor Kendall Smith.
I have lived in Ukiah for 73 years. Both my mother and father were born here. I note this because in all this time I have never seen such utter disregard for authority as demonstrated by Smith when confronted with the Grand Jury’s audit stating she owes us, the County, $3,000.
I went to the Supervisors’ office and when I stated my concern I was quickly blown off and practically told to “go away.”
I then went to the District Attorney and asked for her help. She said I would have to file a personal claim against Smith. I was beginning to wear out on what was becoming a never-ending circle.
I was revitalized when K.C. Meadows picked up the baton and outlined Smith’s greed in our local Ukiah paper. Now you are taking up our cause.
God bless you for showing strength and determination. God damn the cowardly Board of Supervisors for not forcing Smith to pay us back.
John Taylor, A County Taxpayer
MARGIE’S NEIGHBORHOOD II
Dear AVA Editor,
Thank you for writing last month’s Haehl Creek News Report (“Margie Handley’s Neighborhood, AVA, 9/8/2010). Additional information will clarify how the Willits subdivision was built by developer James Edward Mitchell, President of a real estate company called Bemcore Enterprises.
There is evidence that Mitchell was overpaid for his service by honest hard-working taxpayers and generous donors who support Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH).
Mitchell initially contracted with the Willits City Council in charge of running the City of Willits from 2004 until 2006. Council members included Ron Orenstein, Holly Madrigal, Karen Oslund, Tami Jorgenson and Denny McIntire. The City Council approved a $100,000 payment to Bemcore for construction based on a flawed traffic report completed by City Engineer Tom Herman who was also employed by Mitchell.
Mitchell himself modified the flawed Herman study and used an altered report to contract with the Howard Foundation for additional payments of a new road into his subdivision.
The flawed traffic report was based on an estimated partial use/cost study of 500 yards of new road across property owned by the Foundation. The full cost of the road was about $300 per foot which is 1500 times $300 which equals $450k.
The new roads of Haehl Creek built by Mitchell failed to pass City inspection in 2007.
In July 2008, the City Council approved the roads and Bemcore received the balance due of $100k from the City of Willits plus a check of $742,908 from the Foundation using money that was granted or donated to build the new Howard Memorial Hospital.
The Foundation payment to Bemcore was approved by Foundation Director Tom Herman and endorsed by Foundation President Margie Handley who is real estate partners in Haehl Creek with Herman and Mitchell.
The details of the construction costs were gleaned from conversations with the road engineering subcontractors Ernie Wipf and Art Vollert who were hired by Bemcore to build the roads, subterranean pipes and utilities.
Mitchell used Art’s $90k invoice relating to the installation of a four-inch high-pressure subterranean water pipe that brings fresh city water from East Hill Road into the new Haehl Creek homes that have been sold by Bemcore in order to bill and collect $100k that had been originally approved by the 2004-2006 Willits City Council.
Art explained to me that Mitchell was overpaid for his service and concluded that someone must have put around $400k cash into their pockets.
In addition to City and Foundation contracts, Mitchell built and sold new homes in the Haehl Creek subdivision.
In 2007 my neighbor Margie Handley strongly endorsed Mitchell and falsely told me that Bemcore was an experienced, licensed general building contractor. Mitchell sold us a lot for $90k and committed fraud to help us get a construction loan at the Bank of Willits. He committed fraud to obtain a building permit from the City of Willits and then built us a new home in Haehl Creek subdivision which required repairs to fix frozen water pipes, telephone wire connections, non-functioning air conditioning and malfunctioning shower valves.
We paid Bemcore $505k and Mitchell charged $72,602 extra for upgrades. He filed a lien and lawsuit and refused to show us the invoices used to charge extra. Upgrades seemed like downgrades. Building and safety codes require that a one-hour firewall be constructed in the attic between the attached garage and the living quarters. Mitchell failed to construct the required 5/8-inch drywall/’firewall’ at 230 Haehl Creek Court.
Mitchell dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice because he did not have the necessary license that was needed to complete his double billing upgrade scam.
Mitchell built 22 new houses in Haehl Creek subdivision that were inspected and certified by the City of Willits to be constructed in accordance with the fire and safety building codes established by the State of California that protects its citizens. There is reason to believe that none of the new homes in Haehl Creek have protective firewalls.
Multiple unsuccessful complaints against Mitchell have been filed.
Fraud was reported to the Foundation President Margie Handley in 2007. It was reported to the Willits Mayor Holly Madrigal in 2008 and it was reported to the District Attorney Meredith Lintott in 2009. Nothing has been done to control Bemcore’s business.
There must be something special about Mitchell that protects him from investigation and prosecution because Bemcore continues to advertise and sell new homes.
It is time for Mendocino County to wake up and smell the truth.
It is time for the People to take action.
It is high time for all good citizens to exercise their right to vote on November 2, 2010.
C. Gary Bodensteiner, M.D. President, Mendocino/Lake County Medical Society, 2002-2003
Dear Col. Anderson:
The most recent issue to hand (9/15,10) featured a front-page report on Charmian’s death, which moved me to send along this note. For several years, back in the day, she and I had a sort of desultory to and fro going, mostly through the AVA, until she retired. She was a big-hearted, life-embracing, out-front lady — without doubt. A lot of folks’ lives were enhanced by her presence, I think. (In return, the connection that you and the staff maintained with her over her final years surly brightened her spirits. Well done.)
Your article implied that she accomplished a graceful and pain-free exit. Amen.
Incidentally, I was crushed — crushed — to learn that you and your spouse had been in Eugene and hadn’t given me a call! Maybe next time. (I promise to respect the privacy of your kilties.) If there is a next time: you seem to be a great deal less than impressed with the place. Surprised and gratified to note that you grudgingly approve of the Register-Guard which, faculty to the left of it and developers to the right, tries really hard to be fair and balanced (Charles Krauthamer and Paul Krugman — and your own A. Cockburn!)
I'm listening to the final game of the Giants' season — 7th inning stretch. This causes me to stretch back in my memory to the year of Destiny Baker, the 2002 Giants taste of fame against the Angels in the World Series.
Dusty played by the book, pulled the pitcher. Seriously wrong move. They lost momentum by the switch and couldn't get the last few outs. Giants lose; Destiny undone.
For a minute, Thursday's and Friday's games against the Padres looked to me like deja vu (the 2002 Giants letdown again).
* * *
Twas not the case this time. The Giants just pulled off their 92nd win, first in the west.
There's a lovefest going on on the field, players parading around led by the Panda, high 5ing the fans, acknowledging their happiness.
Speaking for the fans, Jon Miller announced, “Go ahead and celebrate. We love you.”
Dave Fleming in the clubhouse was described as being in the Eye of the Storm — celebratory bedlam. “Hugs, handshakes and kisses all around. You don't usually see grown men become a bunch of kids. You don't often see this kind of unbridled joy.” Manager Bochy said, there is “euphoria that goes through everybody.”
Hispanic players made the difference that day. Pitcher J Sanchez tripled to open the rally that won the game, Huff doubled him home, F Sanchez singled him home.
Pablo Sandoval, leading the parade to high-5 the fans, was described by the chuckling announcer as being “in the moment” with “genuine joie de vivre.”
One of the owners, Bill, pointed out, “they all like each other.”
The 2010 Giants are the closest thing to the 1968 Mets I can think of, where everybody counts.
Getting rid of the shadow of Barry Bonds cleared the cobwebs for a new team of spinners.
Brian Wilson, the bullpen ace, tied Rod Beck with saves in a season — 48. He grew a beard and most of the bullpen has followed his hairy lead. Their motto is “Fear the beard.”
Buster Posey is a candidate for rookie of the year, following Tim Lincecum's Cy Young award for two consecutive years.
This was the 59th anniversary to the day — Oct 3, 1951 — of the Bobby Thompson “hit heard round the world.” Willie Mays was on deck when Bobby Thompson hit the home run that made the Giants famous.
As the final game wrap up was ending, the announcer left us with this thought: “Good night, from Willie Mays Plaza on the shores of Willie McCovey Cove.”
The Giant's heritage honors African-Americans as the best athletes of the era and they now shift toward honoring Hispanics as the glue of the new team.
Lincecum, the young hippy with long hair and a long leg, fits well with the bullpen beards.
He pitches Thursday against Atlanta, backed up by a bevy of bearded relievers, aiming for a World Series shot. Go Giants!
THE GREATER GOD
Most people think that God is God, but there is a new god for a new religion, known as Corporatism. They worship the great god C. It is not a monotheistic deity. It is a pantheon of gods. There is one for the profit space, one for the marketing space, one for the political space, one for the competition space, one for the labor space, and so on. Each of the gods delivers that which will make the great god C more money, following the ethos of greed. Here are the ten commandments of the great god C.
1. Thou shall have no other god before our Lord Profit.
2. Thou shall not treat treat people as anything other than assets to be hired and fired and traded at thy whim.
3. Thou shall foster unbridled competition rather than cooperation.
4. Thou shall not treat anything as good for the nation that is not good for big corporations.
5. Thou shall avoid any and all taxation.
6. Thou shall treat the earth as a resource, not as a sustainer.
7. Thou shall ignore national boundaries whenever profit dictates.
8. Thou shall evidence no mercy toward your competitors.
9. Thou shall reduce the separation between big corporations and government.
10. Thou shall contribute only to those political candidates who agree with the first nine commandments.
Far 'n Away Farm, Virginia
Only two months after the closure of our Coast Animal Shelter we stand to suffer a second devastating blow. Supervisor John McCowen advocated the killing of shelter animals that have over stayed their welcome by their failure to show a profit for the county.
At the tail end of a BOS' discussion to raise shelter fees ( 9/14 meeting) McCowen promoted an idea that killing animals was the "humane" solution to shelter population control because they were being "warehoused" at the Ukiah shelter. Little did McCowen know his "humane" solution has been outdated for decades by leading authorities such as Nathan Winograd, attorney, author and animal advocate. Winograd has shown, as have statistics from our county ACS, "no-kill" works by offering innovative, humane, nonlethal programs and services. If we were to regress to the days when animals were considered expendable we would see more animal abuse, a dramatic drop in spay/neuter practices and an increase in orphaned and abandoned animals.
I find it interesting that after just one visit to ACS McCowen has found himself to be an authority on the following; ethical treatment of animals, warehousing animals, what is "a reasonable time" to keep an animal alive, the feasibility of finding homes and rescue groups for animals who have stayed past "a reasonable time," the value, or lack thereof, of compassionate staff and volunteers. Supervisor McCowen needs a better understanding of Animal Care Services. First and foremost he has mistaken "ACS" for a warehouse. A warehouse is defined as a place where goods and merchandise are stored whereas ACS is a SOCIAL SERVICE. It is a service which we, as taxpayers, support. Its purpose is to serve the community and its animals. It is not a pet-shop, designed to make a profit, it is a service.
Volunteers spend countless hours socializing "merchandise" so that "goods" will become, or remain, adoptable. County does not pay for these services and McCowen does not recognize their value. He does not see the "Care" or "Service" in Animal Care Services and therefor has mistaken it for a warehouse.
It is McCowen who is promoting a warehouse of "goods" with a short shelf life.He should consider changing the name from ACS to AWPS&K, Animal Warehouse Pet Store & Kennel and the rules will be as follows: If a pet owner is irresponsible, and commits the crime of allowing their animal to stray, that owner shall pay top dollar to redeem their pet. If a pet owner allow their animal to stray, and is poor, they have committed an additional crime, the crime of being poor. And how is that crime paid for? The owner looses their pet and the animal looses its life. Animals for sale will go only to those who can afford to pay sticker price and the rest will be "euthanized" shortly thereafter. Damaged "goods" or "merchandise" will be "euthanized". Staff will accept these terms with fewer hours and less pay. Volunteers welcome, if they can stand it.
McCowen's pursuit to balance the budget by killing animals must be stopped. It will not scratch the surface of our debt and will lead us down a wrong and dangerous path. What next will we sacrifice and where will it end? Only when we are fiscally solvent and morally bankrupt?
I am in a strong position to provide a character reference for Wendy Roberts, who I have known since the 1980s when we worked together to promote public service at Stanford. She was instrumental in securing visionary funding to establish two of the country’s top public service programs, Stanford in Government and Stanford in Washington. It is entirely appropriate that she is now running for public office, as a Mendocino County Supervisor!
At Stanford, the 80s were years of transition, from an insular student body composed of America’s establishment to a campus that celebrates diversity and recognizes its responsibility to admit and educate students of varied cultures and ethnicities. It was also a time when Stanford came to terms with its responsibility to educate leaders for both government and the private sector. Achieving that transition required vision, compassion, common sense and persistence that Wendy demonstrated on numerous occasions. She is a person who will do her homework, build consensus and get things done.
Wendy, as an administrator, her husband, as a professor, and the two of them as “resident fellows,” were tireless contributors to this complicated transition. From my experience with them I can attest that you have an opportunity to elect a person of ability and integrity who is prepared and committed to serve. She’s tough, practical, and business-like. She’s focused on results without reference to ideology. She's not deterred by complex challenges. She’s modest and often understated, which makes her especially effective in bringing people together behind a common vision. She’s exactly what we need in today’s often ultra-partisan, back-stabbing, and divisive political environment.
Take it from someone who has known her for 30 years. Thank you for considering my point of view.