- Pinoleville Pot
- Local Wines
- GJ CPS
- GJ CFS
- Baseball Fundraiser
- Council Closed
- Catch of the Day
- GJ Library
- Inn Celebration
- Casey Bats
- Challenging Empire
- Cancer Fundraiser
- Philly Runaround
- Documentary Screening
- KZYX Questions
- Pledge Driving
- Rorby Reading
ON JUNE 3, 2015, a representative of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation met with Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman to discuss the Tribe’s intent of producing medical marijuana within the boundaries of the Pinoleville Rancheria. The representative stated that any medical marijuana which would be grown would be grown for the purpose of selling it at a yet to be built marijuana dispensary on the Rancheria. The Pinoleville Pomo Nation representative stated that the marijuana was going to be cultivated on two separate parcels near US Highway 101, North of Ukiah. Due to conflicting interpretations of state and local marijuana laws/ordinances relating to Tribal lands, no agreement was reached as to the legal operation of the marijuana cultivation. It is the intent of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office to fairly and equally enforce the law throughout Mendocino County. If a violation of state or local law is observed in Mendocino County, the appropriate law enforcement action will be taken. Public Law 83-280 defines law enforcement’s authority on Indian Lands in California. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has the legal jurisdiction to enforce criminal laws on Indian land in Mendocino County.
* * *
KC MEADOWS of the Ukiah Daily Journal writes: “Sheriff Tom Allman met with Pinoleville tribe today and told them if they plant marijuana in the spot the community has seen, he will enforce 9.31 which limits them to 25 plants but ALSO prohibits any plants where they can be seen by the public. Now it's wait and see what the tribe does.”
THE PINOLEVILLE REZ just north of Ukiah's northern city limits, has begun work on what appears to be an industrial marijuana grow. The plants would be clearly visible from Highway 101. A Pinoleville rep says the tribe will tent the operation. Pinoleville had agreed to a deal with an out of state marijuana operation to grow marijuana. It is assumed that company is providing funding for the garden being installed at Pinoleville.
THE SMELL TEST
A favor please.
A loyal long term subscriber, from Half Moon Bay, requests the AVA's sage advice on which Anderson Valley wine to purchase as a gift for friends in Fort Bragg. We don't want to patronize a winery that abuses its neighbors with noisy frost fans. Please suggest which vineyards we should make our selection from so as to support your local efforts to financially penalize grape growers who disregard the health and well being of their neighbors. Thank you in advance for your kind assistance and your superb paper.
Clint Miller, Half Moon Bay
ED REPLY: As mostly a beer and whiskey drinker (Pabst Blue Ribbon and Evan Williams), I'm the wrong lowbrow to ask about wine. But the ecological practices of the local wineries? I'd say Boonville's beloved community newspaper is the only reliable source of information going. But for a slamdunk fact the Judson Hale winery out of Yorkville, tasting room at the Yorkville Market, is a sure bet every which way. A friend and I recently downed a bottle of Judson Hale pinot that was very, very good. I can also recommend my old friend Al Green's Greenwood Ridge Winery, and Mila Handley's Handley Cellars. Only a minority of Anderson Valley wineries engage in damaging, unneighborly practices, but they are so destructive (and they tend toward the much larger acreages) their practices tend to cast all our wineries in a bad light. You may be amused that a former manager of Roederer Estates told me that he considered Parducci jug red as good as any wine produced anywhere in Mendocino County. A French national, this guy said he always had Parducci on hand at his house and drank it pretty much exclusively.
REGARDING the Mendocino County Grand Jury's stinging criticism of the County's Children's Protective Service's functioning, Chuck Dunbar writes: "I am a recently retired Mendocino County CPS social worker supervisor of 18 years. I believe the Grand Jury report contains important information that should matter greatly to all county citizens. The full report, worth reading in its entirety, can be found on the Grand Jury website.
The report is a telling, lucid and accurate account. It truly “tells it like it is” and reflects my past experience as a CPS unit supervisor on the coast in this complex and demanding work. I hope that caring citizens will encourage the Board of Supervisors to take the findings and recommendations in the Grand Jury report seriously, and that the Board will mandate the essential changes in County and CPS policy and practice that are required. The dedicated and hard-working CPS social workers in our county deserve better. Most essentially, the clients of CPS–at-risk Mendocino County children and their struggling, stressed and often impoverished families–deserve better.
TO: Kelly Winston, Bureau Chief
Child Welfare Policy and Program Development Bureau
June 3, 2015
Recently the Mendocino County Grand Jury issued a report regarding the state of Mendocino County CFS. They found that most the social workers conducting Emergency Response and Family Maintenance only possess Associate Degrees and have less than one year experience. They also found that only 8 out of 33 social workers, and 1 out of 8 social worker supervisors, currently have MSW degrees.
I was employed at CFS for five years from 2007-2012. I first started complaining about the Agency being out of compliance with the State’s staffing requirements in 2008, when I was President of SEIU 1021 Mendocino Chapter. Over the years I sent dozens of emails to the CEO and Board of Supervisors regarding my concerns only to be ignored. Mendocino County has long been aware of the staffing issues and has done nothing to remedy the issue. Furthermore, they did not request a waiver from your office since 2007. For seven years they knowingly operated out of compliance and without a waiver to do so.
Under educated and inexperienced social workers and supervisors are being asked to perform tasks that they are not qualified for. They lack training and education in human behavior, child development, and most importantly “ethics”. This does not fare well for the families being served. Decisions are being made without any rhyme or reason. Social workers often tend to be defensive and punitive towards any parents who question the social workers credentials, and/or decision making process. It is obvious to parents that their social worker lacks the needed skills, but they dare not question them if they know what’s good for them. Social workers will inform the court that the parent is hostile or non-compliant.
I am writing this letter in hopes that you look into the matter thoroughly and not just provide the Agency with their recently requested waiver for Supervisors and Social Workers sent to you on January 5, 2015. As the Grand Jury reported the state of CFS is “a disaster waiting to happen.” We do not need another child dying , left in danger, or unnecessarily removed from his or her parents. Please investigate.
James Marmon, MSW. Ukiah
HOME RUN DERBY / TRI-TIP BBQ
Hi Everyone ~
This is an open invitation to our community to join us on Sunday June 7th at the Little League Baseball Field for our annual Home Run Derby / Tri-Tip BBQ. This is the biggest fundraiser for Anderson Valley Little League and just like all other organizations here, we could always use the support. The players will all receive their end of year awards, there will be a raffle with some really great prizes as well as the chance to win SF Giants tickets (and bragging rights) by hitting the most home runs. There are prizes for all age groups so everyone will get the chance to hit!
The fun starts at 11am, we will start serving lunch at noon. If you have any questions, have something to donate to the raffle or want to buy raffle tickets (the grand prize is also a set of 4 Giants tickets), please feel free to give me a call We hope to see everyone there!
Shauna Espinoza, AVLL President
FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL retreats to closed session.
Looks like this closed meeting is all about the Old Coast Hotel and pending lawsuit. But subject to change depending on what happens tomorrow June 4 in Court in Ukiah.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 3, 2015
JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Drunk in public.
RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Willits. Drunk in public.
RANDY GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, probation revocation.
CAMERON HAMMOND, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, suspended license, probation revocation.
LEVI LAMOUREUX, Laytonville. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
DAVID MATEO, Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.
JOSEPH MORK, Willits. Drunk in public, resisting arrest, probation revocation.
INESSA NELSON, Ukiah. Domestic assault, resisting arrest.
PETER SMITH, Willits. Domestic assault, child endangerment, assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
DONALD WILLETT JR., Willits. Metal knuckles, suspended license, possession of controlled substance.
THE LIBRARY (AGAIN)
Mendocino County Grand Jury Report, May 27, 2015
(Ed note: For those interested in the background of this dispute between the disinterested Grand Jury and the County Administration see:
Also, last year CEO Angelo was so insistent that the 2013-2014 similar Grand Jury report be totally ignored by her and the Board of Supervisors that she hired the outside law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore to research and provide legal opinion on the charges by the grand jury. Since complying with the law as the Grand Jury demands would mean shifting some General Fund money to the Library, the County predictably resists doing so — as you will see below.
* * *
This is the second time in two years the Grand Jury has chosen to review Mendocino County’s handling of the County Free Library.
During the investigation, a frequent answer to many of the Grand Jury’s questions that dealt with why the County is using a particular method of handling an issue was, “I don’t know” or “Ask the Auditor.” These responses seemed a bit strange to the Grand Jury when coming from the staff responsible for constructing the budget for presentation to the Board of Supervisors.
When the Grand Jury looked at the listing of revenue and expenses in the Library budget, the only change from the 2013-14 FY to the 2014-15 FY was a line item labeled A-87.
The County administration still does not recognize the Library as a Special District, despite State law and clearly stated conclusions by previous County officials conceding the issue.
The State Revenue and Taxation Code1 states:
“…any special district authorized to levy a property tax by the statute under which the district was formed shall be considered a special district. Additionally, a county free library established pursuant to Article 1 (Commencing with Section 19100) of Chapter 6 of Part 11 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code and for which a property tax was levied in the 1977-78 fiscal year, shall be considered a special district.”
Prior to the enactment of Prop 13, the Mendocino County Free Library was supported by a property tax levy in the 1977-78 fiscal year. Therefore, after Prop 13, the Library in Mendocino County is still a Special District entitled to its pro rata share of the property tax.
The 2013-14 Grand Jury pointed out that the Librarian’s salary is required to be paid out of the same fund as that of other County officials as stated in Education Code §19147. This reading of the code section is categorically rejected by County officials.
Their current interpretation of this code section relies on changing the word “same” into “same kind of” and on ignoring the companion section, Education Code §19148.
Many of the questions asked by the Grand Jury of County officials were answered by referring the Grand Jury to the County Auditor for answers. The Grand Jury then asked the County Auditor the questions and one of the responses the Grand Jury received was (in the case of why items were reflected in the budget a certain way), “We have always done it this way.”
The Grand Jury heard from various staff and officials that they do not understand many, if any, of the A-87 rules and regulations. The Grand Jury found this to be disappointing given the report from last year that raised serious issues about the propriety of A-87 costs for equipment and building use. [From last year’s Grand Jury report: “A-87 Costs: Charges levied on another government body to reimburse the County General Fund for indirect costs. The State has established rules for the calculation of countywide cost plans. The county draws up a new plan each year which must be approved by the State Controller.”)
The other primary response to issues concerning the various A-87 costs was that the State Auditor accepted the reports issued by the County Auditor on A-87 costs. The A-87 cost plan is audited by the State to determine if the plan is correct for the State and Federal cost accounting purposes only. The County applies the plan to the Library for a different purpose.
The Grand Jury believes that the staff working on the budget and the Board of Supervisors voting on the budget should question if doing the budget “the same way” is either the proper or correct manner of enacting a budget.
The Grand Jury devoted time and effort in reviewing the responses to the Report from 2013-14. It was clear that fuller explanations in the responses, as required by Penal Code §933.05, would enhance the public’s understanding of the issues.
Following the issuance of the report on the Library by the 2013-14 Grand Jury, responses from the required respondents led the 2014-15 Grand Jury to take another look at the primary issues raised in the report.
The Grand Jury interviewed the County Executive Officer (CEO), County Auditor, and County Librarian and met with County Counsel. The Grand Jury interviewed personnel from the CEO’s office and County General Services Agency. The Grand Jury reviewed State codes, State regulations, Federal pamphlets, the State A-87 handbook, news articles, and published documents from various County officials. The Grand Jury reviewed documents from the County Auditor’s office and County General Services Agency. The Grand Jury reviewed the current and past budgets for Mendocino County.
- General Explanation
The expenditures in the Library’s budget include both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include salaries, materials, insurance, and direct billed payments to the County General Services Agency. These costs appear as line items and are paid for by the Library’s dedicated funds. Indirect costs, or overhead, appear as A-87 charges. The two elements of these charges, support services and use of equipment and buildings, appear as a combined figure in the Library budget. In response to last year’s Grand Jury Report, the A-87 charges now have a separate line item rather than being listed as “Operating Expenses Out” which could include other expenses. This increases the transparency of the Library’s budget. The term “A-87” is derived from the title of a Federal publication, OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Circular A-87, stating what indirect costs may be charged against Federal grants. To ensure consistent calculations by the counties, the State Controller issued a Handbook detailing the process for development of A-87 Cost Plans. Every year the Auditor submits to the State the County’s A-87 Cost Plan. The plan gives, for each County department or affiliated agency, the amount the County could charge to recoup its cost in administering State and/or Federal programs, for example, MediCal or Child Protective Services. The State audits the cost plan yearly for compliance with State guidelines for charges to be assessed against State or Federal funding.
- Specific Application to the Library
If the Library was administering a State or Federal program, its Cost Plan would be used to determine the charge for overhead. That is not the situation here. The County is neither mandating the Library to administer a program nor providing money for any program.
The County does, through the General Fund, pay for services that support the Library in its daily operation, for example, payroll processing, vehicle maintenance, and human resources. The figures in the A-87 Cost Plan for these services are derived from time studies and actual hours spent providing specific services. Although the tool (the Cost Plan) was developed for another purpose (Federal or State programs), most parties agree that these costs are appropriately paid by the Library. The total of this portion of the A-87 costs (i.e. excluding equipment and building use charges) in FY2014-15 is $129,423.7
The A-87 Handbook establishes the principle that when the County pays costs on behalf of an agency, the County is entitled to a recovery of those payments. The Handbook also establishes the principle that the County cannot charge the Federal Government for the cost of assets purchased by the Federal Government.
The County’s assumption underlying its A-87 Cost Plan is that the County has spent its General Fund money for the pertinent services, equipment, and buildings used. However, this assumption does not hold true for the Library’s buildings and equipment.
The County bases the A-87 charges for building use on the total cost, excluding land, of the Willits Library ($832,719) and the Fort Bragg Library ($1,220,794). No distinction is made between costs paid from the General Fund and costs supplied by other sources. The County Free Library has to pay the General Fund two percent (2%) of the total cost each year even though the General Fund did not pay all the costs for either the Fort Bragg Library or the Willits Library.
On June 1, 1966, the Fort Bragg Library merged with the County Free Library. The city continued to own and maintain the building. On September 20, 1987, the [Fort Bragg] library was totally destroyed by an arson fire. In 1988, a former mortuary was purchased and remodeling was completed in May 1989. The Grand Jury has been told that $300,000 of the insurance settlement for the old library was spent on this project, including land. The Grand Jury was unable to verify the accuracy of this statement through the interview process. However, the County, if anyone, should have the records.
By the advent of the new millennium, it was apparent that the Library needed modernization. In 2003, the Friends of the Fort Bragg Library, an IRC §501(c)(3) organization, entered into an alliance with the County to do just that. (Appendix B) The Friends paid $22,150 for an architect, selected in cooperation with the County, to draw up plans. (Appendix C) Because the bids cost more money than the Friends had available, the project was put on hold, in accord with their agreement with the County.
In 2006, several bequests to the Friends enabled the project to go forward. Updated plans were put out to bid and a local company completed the remodeling in June 2007. The Friends paid $450,000 of the construction costs.
The County does not currently acknowledge the generosity of the community; instead, each year it requires the Library to pay two percent (2%) on those gifts, or $9,443, to the General Fund. Under the Auditor’s interpretation, this charge would continue as long as the library was used. It is difficult to believe that these benefactors imagined that they were putting the Library into debt to the County.
The Willits Library building construction in 1987-88 was funded in part ($407,000 - approximately 50%) by a Federal grant. The source of the remaining funding for the Willits Library is unclear. The building use charge under A-87 costs for the Willits Library is $16,654 annually, about half of which is “re- paying” the General Fund for dollars spent by the Federal government, not the County.
Computing A-87 costs (use fees) based on insurance proceeds, Federal grants and private donations uses a tool developed for different purposes, applied in a different circumstance, and leads to the County being reimbursed for money it never spent.
The Auditor said that, for the purposes of A-87 calculations, the source of the funds didn’t matter. The Grand Jury could not find any legal or regulatory source as supporting this statement.
However, the State Handbook on A-87 charges clearly states in §3220:
“The following costs are unallowable under cost principles and must be excluded from acquisition costs:
“…Acquisition costs must be reduced by: 1. any cost, or any portion of cost, of a facility borne directly or indirectly by the federal or state government;…
- Amounts recovered through surrender of liability and casualty insurance.”
The logic of A-87 is to reimburse the County. If the County didn’t spend it, why should it be reimbursed?
The Handbook also states that once the acquisition cost has been recovered, no further A-87 charges may be levied. For buildings that is 2% of the total cost each year or 50 years; for equipment it is 6.67% of the total cost each year or 15 years.9 The charges are not for as long as the asset is in use. There are limits.
The Handbook states in §2530:
“…Depreciation or use allowance may not be claimed for a fixed asset after the total acquisition cost and the cost of any capitalized additions to the fixed asset have been fully recovered, either through depreciation or use allowance.” (Emphasis added)
The Auditor, in the response to last year’s Grand Jury report, said that as long as the equipment was in use, it could be charged. Wooden library card files, purchased 43 years ago, are the basis for use charges requiring the Library to pay the County money. Further, equipment such as the Tattle Tape sensing unit are no longer even in use.
The 6.67% charge provides that the cost will be paid off in 15 years.10 In fact, the County is charging A-87 costs to the Library for equipment that the County Auditor acknowledges were acquired prior to 1996.11 The total of these charges is $10,542 per year. Again, once the cost has been recovered, that should be the end of any charges. All of these charges should have expired in 2011, if not earlier.
No Federal, State, or County laws require the County to charge the Library A-87 costs. The Board of Supervisors waived the charges prior to the passage of Measure A in 2011 as a subsidy to the Library, as stated by the Chair of the Board of Supervisors in a letter to the Library Advisory Board, dated November 4, 2013.
Ultimately, it is within the discretion of the Board of Supervisors. They could adopt a budget that only charges for support services, waiving all the charges for equipment and building use cost. They could require that equipment and building use charges be limited to circumstances where it is definitively established that the County spent General Fund money and was not fully reimbursed.
Despite two years of controversy, the County administration gave no evidence of understanding of A-87 costs: not origin, purpose, limitations, or applicability to the factual circumstances of the County Free Library. The major consideration seemed to be revenue to the County, not the impact on the Library.
In interviews with the CEO, administrative staff preparing Library budgets, and other staff, the common answer when asked about A-87 costs was “I don’t know--ask the Auditor”. The A-87 numbers supplied by the Auditor, derived for State purposes, were taken at face value by the Board of Supervisors and the CEO without investigating the validity of their use in the Library budget. When asked about specific charges, a common response was “that must be for maintenance.” The Library, either through direct billing or service-based A-87 charges, pays for all maintenance of its buildings and equipment.
This year, following the recommendation of the 2013-14 Grand Jury, the Board of Supervisors held a workshop with the Library Advisory Board. Despite a tense atmosphere (because any discussion about A-87 was clearly ‘off the table’ and ‘the elephant in the room’), there was a welcome willingness from some members of the Board of Supervisors to explore and better understand the issues. The Grand Jury applauds and encourages respectful dialogue. However, the Board of Supervisors refused to accept the Library Advisory Board 2014-15 annual report.
There may be legitimate County costs for building and equipment use if the County paid for it and the County has not been fully reimbursed. If so, these costs have not been clearly identified. The County should have these records, if they exist. The Grand Jury was unable to obtain these records.
The Library is a Special District
The Grand Jury 2013-14 report on the Library recommended that the County recognize the County Free Library as a Special District. In response, the CEO stated that, “This recommendation will not be implemented as it is not warranted. The designation of the Library as a Special District would not be factually or legally accurate and the Office of the CEO declines to support such an action.”12 The response by the Board of Supervisors to the same recommendation was, “This recommendation will not be implemented, because it is not deemed reasonable – as it is contrary to law. It was formed under Education Code Section 19100 et. seq. and is a County Free Library system. It is treated as a separate district under the Revenue and Taxation Code, Sections 2215 and 2216 for tax and revenue purposes only.”13
These citations are not informative as to the issue. The Grand Jury found no support for the County’s stance.
The State Legislature, several current and past State officials, former County officers, and the clear language of the laws governing the County Free Library systems contradict the assertion that the Library is not a special district.
After the failure of a June 1992 ballot measure to provide independent funding for the Library (it got a substantial majority but fell short of the required 2/3), the Board of Supervisors decided to give no more money to the County Free Library. All libraries would be closed. On October 30, 1992, after failed negotiations, the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library filed suit, alleging that the County Free Library system was entitled, by law, to a set portion of the property taxes. That lawsuit, Barbara Oldenburg, Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library, a California corporation vs. County of Mendocino, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Mendocino County Auditor- Controller and Dennis Huey, Norman DeVall, Liz Henry, Jim Eddie, Marilyn Butcher, Nelson Redding in their official capacities, stated that the Board of Supervisors, “...submitted an ordinance establishing the Mendocino County Free Library to the voters at the June 2, 1964, election. The vote was 7615 to 6580 in favor of establishing the library and funding it through property taxes which were set by the Board of Supervisors at a rate of 12 cents.”14
In the Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of Petition for Writ of Mandate, there are two exhibits which give the opinion of two State Officials as to the issue of the County Free Library as a special District.15
The Chief of the Property Tax Audit Bureau in the Division of Local Government Fiscal Affairs of the State Controller stated in a letter dated July 8, 199216,
“The Library system was listed as a taxing entity prior to the passage of Proposition 13 and received a 1978/79 fiscal year property tax revenue amount under the provisions of Proposition 13. The Library also received state assistance (SB 154 bailout revenue) in the 1978/79 fiscal year and has been contributing to the Special District Augmentation Fund (SDAF) in Mendocino County as if it were a special district. In light of the above noted treatment, it would seem that the Library has been regarded as a special district with its own property tax revenue base and not simply a line item within the County General Fund.”
On June 4, 1992, the State Librarian, entrusted by law17, as is the Board of Supervisors, with “general supervision” over County Free Libraries, stated:
“Those County libraries that prior to Proposition 13 were funded, in whole or in part, by a dedicated property tax rate, must, under state law, receive their pro rata share of the property tax raised in the County libraries service area.”
On November 10, 1992 (twelve days after the lawsuit was filed, but not served to give the County breathing room before it sustained significant legal cost), the County Administrative Officer (CAO) issued a memorandum. In agreement with the County Auditor, County Counsel, and County Librarian, the CAO acknowledged that the County Free Library was entitled to a set percentage of the property tax revenues. Also, the memorandum acknowledged the Library was a special district stating that:
“The passage of Assembly Bill 3027 in October of this year essentially put the issue of establishing the Library’s organizational identity to rest. The Library was, and remains, a Special District.”
Furthermore, the CAO stated:
“If we are to meet the letter of the law and thus avoid protracted litigation, which I am told we are certain to lose, the funding for the Library must be increased...”18
Neither the law nor the historical facts supporting the conclusion that the Library is a Special District entitled to its pro rata share of the property tax have changed. These facts are immutable.
State officials still maintain this conclusion. In the current edition of California Public Library Organization 2013, a pamphlet published on the State Librarian’s website, the publication states:
“County Dedicated Property Tax Libraries. Twenty-three counties imposed a separate property tax for libraries prior to voter approval of Proposition 13 in 1978. Post-Proposition 13, these libraries initially received the same percentage of the 1% property tax rate as they received prior to 1978. However, these percentages were further reduced by the State when it established the “Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund” (“ERAF”) in 1992, which shifts a portion of city, county and special district property taxes, including County dedicated property tax libraries property taxes, to schools. The property tax rate still generates revenues, which are dedicated to county library services. Because a substantial portion of their revenues are guaranteed and cannot be spent on other county activities, county dedicated property tax libraries enjoy a somewhat greater degree of financial independence and certainty.”
Included in the pamphlet is a list of all county libraries showing sources of revenue and Mendocino County Library appears on the list as supported by dedicated property tax in Appendix B of the pamphlet.
The State Revenue and Taxation Code states:
“…any special district authorized to levy a property tax by the statute under which the district was formed shall be considered a special district. Additionally, a county free library established pursuant to Article 1 (Commencing with Section 19100) of Chapter 6 of Part 11 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code and for which a property tax was levied in the 1977-78 fiscal year, shall be considered a special district.”20
Prior to the enactment of Prop 13, the Mendocino County Free Library was supported by a property tax levy in the 1977-78 fiscal year. Therefore, after Prop 13, the Library in Mendocino County is still a special district entitled to its pro rata share of the property tax.
Current County officials take exception to this conclusion. They have not supplied the Grand Jury with any facts or documentation supporting their assertions. For some reason, which the Grand Jury was unable to ascertain, despite previous Board of Supervisor actions, voting results, and State law, County officials contend that the County Free Library is not an “official” special district. The County Auditor could not establish the precise pro-rata share of the property tax due the County Free Library. According to the County Auditor, in the current calculation of the property tax due, the formula uses as a base amount, the funding shown in the 1992 year following the agreement among County officials shown in the memo from the CAO. It is, and has been, annually increased or decreased by the percentage change in assessed values. However, the actual pro-rata share could not be definitively determined.
This is a nearly unique accounting methodology. Most, if not all, counties give their County Free Libraries the property tax share outright; it does not go through the county general fund.21
The Board of Supervisors is the governing board for the Library, which makes the Library a dependent special district.22 The County is familiar with this organizational form. The Agenda for the Board of Supervisors always has a section entitled “Board of Directors Matters.” The Library always used to be listed as one of the organizations in that section. After the publication of the Grand Jury 2013-14 Final Report, the Board of Supervisors Agenda of July 22, 2014, no longer listed the Library in that section, and it has not appeared there since.
The Grand Jury examined the funding of the Librarian’s salary. In researching this issue, the Grand Jury looked closely at the statutes governing the pay of the Librarian23. The first code section, Education Code §19147, provides that the Librarian shall be paid from the same fund as other county officers. 24
Our County interprets the unambiguous law by changing the legislative language from “same” to “same kind of” and ignoring the companion section. The County uses this interpretation to pay the salary of the County Librarian from the Library Fund.
The companion section, Education Code §19148, provides that this use of Library funds to pay the County Librarian is permitted only in counties of a population of at least 400,000 in 1960. The minimum funding, at that time, for a County Free Library was three mil (3¢ per $100) of the property tax. Only San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles area and Bay area counties could derive sufficient revenue from the library’s property tax portion to pay the county librarian’s salary on top of having adequate funds for a functional library.
This fiscal reality played out in Mendocino County, where for years there was no money in the Library budget for books and periodicals. The Friends of the Library organizations and donations backfilled to the extent they were able. The result today is an antiquated collection that the County Librarian is updating using Measure A funds. Measure A funds also help in providing access to electronic information and books, adding hours of operation, staff, and other programs. Paying the Librarian from the General Fund, as required by the Education Code, would increase the money available to provide current services to the public.
According to information provided to the Grand Jury, the only officers of Mendocino County not paid wholly out of the General Fund are the School Superintendent, the Director of Transportation, and the County Librarian.25
In the responses to the Grand Jury 2013-14 report and in testimony to the Grand Jury this year, various interviewees cited the Air Pollution Control Officer as a County Officer. This is not correct as the Air Quality Management Control District is a State Agency.
The County School Superintendent is paid from the Mendocino County Office of Education budget. The Highway Director is paid in part by the highway fund and in part by the General Fund. The County Librarian is paid solely from the library’s dedicated funds, i.e., property tax and Measure A sales tax.
There are no code sections or regulations that require the School Superintendent or the Highway Director salaries be paid from the General Fund. For the County Librarian there are two statutory provisions, one immediately following the other, that together require that the Librarian salary be paid from the General Fund.26
Responses to Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations
In the response to Finding 5 of the Grand Jury report for 2013-14, the County Executive Officer stated:
“…has no knowledge to support the Grand Jury’s finding of computing errors and underfunding affecting the Library’s budget.”
In the response to Finding 6, the County Executive Officer also stated:
“The CEO does not have the knowledge that supports the finding that there is a breach in following the intent or language of the law.” These responses do not seem to be in line with the language of the Mendocino County Code §2.28.050.
The County Executive Officer is in charge of the budget process, which includes the Library budget. The ordinance governing the operations in the CEO’s office states:
“The primary duties and responsibilities of the CEO shall be to plan, organize, control and direct the overall operation of the County; prepare, present and monitor the County budget…The CEO shall have the authority to require and receive any and all information from any County department that the CEO may deem necessary to fulfill the above-enumerated duties and responsibilities.”27
Further, responding to Recommendations 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13, the CEO stated, “The CEO incorporates by reference the Auditor’s response to this recommendation.” However, the Auditor was not requested to respond and did not respond to Recommendations 4, 5, and 8. When reviewing the Board of Supervisors’ responses to the Library report, some of the responses were unresponsive. For example, in response to Recommendation 9 of the 2013-14 report the Board stated:
“This Recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted. The Board of Supervisors adopts the response to this recommendation by the County Auditor-Controller.” The County Auditor-Controller was neither required to respond nor made a response to Recommendation 9.
The CEO response to Recommendation 9 was, “This recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted.”
Responses without the adequate explanation of why recommendations will not be implemented because they are not warranted, are not in compliance with the standard established in the Penal Code §933.05(b)(4):
“The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted or is not reasonable, with an explanation therefor.” (Emphasis added)
The response to Findings 6, 9, and 12 by the Board of Supervisors were identical, even though the subject matter for each finding was different.
These responses do not further the public’s knowledge.
F1. The County is not required by any law or regulation to charge the Library A-87 costs. The decision to charge A-87 costs is solely within the authority of the Board of Supervisors. The County Auditor develops and supplies to the County Executive Office the A-87 State Cost Plan. The CEO prepares and recommends the budget to the Board of Supervisors.
F2. The application of the State Cost Plan to the County budget is the decision of the Board of Supervisors. The staff preparing the budget for the Supervisors’ consideration, and the Board of Supervisors itself, has an obligation to fully understand the difference between direct billing and the purpose and applicability of A-87 costs when charged to the Library budget.
F3. The County charges the Library for A-87 use costs for buildings and building improvements even if the County did not spend a dime of the County General Fund. These are charges the Grand Jury finds are inappropriate and unacceptable.
F4. The donations from the public for the Fort Bragg Library building and the Federal grant for the Willits Library are used by the County as a basis for computing A-87 costs. The Grand Jury specifically finds these charges as inappropriate and unacceptable.
F5. Inappropriate and unacceptable A-87 charges for equipment and buildings divert the Library’s dedicated funds to the General Fund, reducing the amount the Library has to spend for services to the public.
F6. The Grand Jury concludes from the County Auditor’s answers to interview questions and the Grand Jury report from 2013-14, that as far as the acquisitions prior to 1996 are concerned, the County has been and is still collecting A-87 charges for equipment use that are not permitted per the A-87 Handbook.
F7. The A-87 charges for fixed and other assets not paid for by the General Fund should be waived. Doing otherwise constitutes a tax levied on all grants, donations, and the Library’s dedicated funds until the County General Fund receives the full amount of all external sources of money. The essential characteristics of a tax are defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as:
“A charge, usually Monetary, imposed by the government on persons, entities, transactions, or property to yield public revenue.”
The statutory authority of the Board of Supervisors over the Library is “general supervision”; it does not include the power to tax without voter approval.
F8. The State Legislature has passed laws providing that the County Free Libraries are special districts. The State Librarian has consistently maintained that the County Free Libraries are special districts. The Grand Jury finds that the Mendocino County Free Library is a dependent special district.
F9. By law, the Mendocino County Free Library, a special district, is entitled to a pro-rata share of the property taxes.
F10. Absent adequate explanation of the position taken by some County Officials that the Library is not a special district, the Grand Jury does not see a valid reason for the current Board of Supervisors supporting this position.
F11. The County Officials’ interpretation of the Education Code §19147, accomplished by changing the statutory language, has resulted in paying the County Librarian from the Library’s dedicated funds rather than the General Fund. Further, County Officials also ignore the companion section, §19148.
F12. Paying the County Librarian from the Library funds improperly limits the money available for the Library and is contrary to statutory interpretation principles.
F13. Measure A sales taxes are being appropriately used to update the library collections, services, providing new programs, and hiring needed staff.
F14. Some responses to Findings and Recommendations of the Grand Jury 2013-14 report do not conform to the standards in the Penal Code §933.05. By conforming to the standards of the Penal Code, public officials would actually inform the public as to the issues at hand.
The Grand Jury recommends that:
R1. all respondents conform to Penal Code §933.05. (F14)
R2. the Board of Supervisors and all staff responsible for budget planning and implementation be trained in the difference between direct billing and A-87 costs, including the difference between overhead and use costs, for the Library. (F2)
R3. the Board of Supervisors with the CEO remove all A-87 charges for equipment from the Library Budget. (F1, F5, F6, F7)
R4. A-87 costs for building use be based only on those amounts that are documented as actually paid from the County General Fund. (F1, F3, F4, F5, F7)
R5. the Board of Supervisors, the County Auditor, and the CEO recognize that insurance proceeds, grants, and donations are not General Fund monies for the purposes of A-87 costs charged to the Library. (F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F7)
R6. the Board of Supervisors with the County Auditor establish a specific tax rate for the Library as a dependent Special District. (F8, F9, F10)
R7. the Board of Supervisors with the County Auditor revise the procedures to require the budget to show the Library revenues as a pro-rata share of the property tax. (F8, F9, F10)
R8. the Board of Supervisors pay the Librarian’s salary from the General Fund. (F11, F12)
CAPTAIN FLETCHER'S INN CELEBRATION THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 6
Date: June 3, 2015
To all who've sent replies for the upcoming celebration down at the Inn this coming Saturday the 6th.
Some short, quick answers and then a long explanation on the status of the sand dam and unseasonal flooding down at the mouth of the Navarro.
Sure, bring your galoshes, rain boots, Tevas, or river shoes if you plan to walk the whole way to the Inn on Saturday. But you won't need waders. Water level right now in the deepest spot along a short stretch of the paved road between the Mill House and Inn is only about six inches and is dropping every day.
The beach parking will still be partially under water, so guests on Saturday will be parking to the east of the eucalyptus grove, and then 1) walking or 2) taking a shuttle we're arranging the final 100 yards or so. A lovely walk past the Mill House. They'll be room to turn around in the eucalyptus grove, and park along designated areas along Navarro Beach Road a quarter mile or so from the Highway 1 intersection.
Costs for Saturday's Events
Afternoon open house from 1-4PM is free. Folks are encouraged to come down and check it out if you can't make the evening concert and fundraiser. It is stunning, and having the road car free just adds to the experience and brings you back 150 years.
Evening Fundraiser/Concert from 5-9PM has a $15 donation cover at the door, $10 if you're having dinner too.
Dinner entrees are $5 donation for cheese lasagna, a variety of huge bbq'd dogs on homemade buns, or chicken wings, all served with sides of homemade purple cabbage slaw, quinoa salad, and/or pasta salad.
Desserts and drinks vary by the bottle or glass. But we have an amazing selection of local beers and wines donated for the event and served from the original bar in the Inn. And a tasty assortment of delicious homemade desserts and famous Elk Munch for your sweet tooth. It's a celebration!
Finally on the flooding and sand dam issue...
As we've all seen, the sand dam formed really early this year and unfortunately has flooded access to Navarro Beach and part of the road between the Mill House and Inn. An unfortunate confluence of events. The flooding that forms "Lake Navarro" usually doesn't happen until after the first rains in fall, and usually lasts only a couple of months before we get a big enough storm to breach the sand dam. But this year the flows in the Navarro have been so low that the flooding has already happened from lack of pressure to breach the sand dam. The unfortunate part, besides not having convenient vehicle access to Navarro Beach, is that all of the meadow and lower marsh habitat has been inundated as well, during the nesting/breeding season. Something that usually doesn't happen until well past that period, when animals can move to higher ground. It's interesting to see how the estuary is responding though, with Pacific chorus frogs and other wetland species taking advantage of the habitat changes.
Hopefully this unseasonal flooding and inconvenience in accessing Navarro Beach will be an opportunity for State Parks and State and federal resource agencies to come together and work on improving historic flows and water quality in the Navarro watershed, in a cooperative way. And with public input. Lots of water users in Anderson Valley are already using "fish-friendly" farm practices, and we need to spread that word for the health of the river and continue educating the public on our affects on the river we all love.
For now, vehicle access to the beach remains impossible. Breaching the sand dam in an uncontrolled fashion (which what typically happens when it's done by shovel at night!) when there is so little fresh water coming down the Navarro River to replenish the estuary would be a mistake, and damaging to the river system we love. But for now we now have an amazing new experience to enjoy if you park at Highway 1 (at times other than this coming Saturday's big celebration), get out of your car, and walk that beautiful stretch of Navarro Beach Road. You'll need your waders, river shoes or old tennis shoes to make it across the flooded parking lot and all the way to the beach. But it's worth it!
Jim Martin of the Captain Fletcher's Inn Restoration Project at Navarro Beach
CASEY AT THE BAT
The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.
— Ernest Thayer (Phin)
WHY BERNIE SANDERS IS A DEAD END
He's a Loser, Baby
by Joshua Frank
‘Tis the season once again. You should know it well by now: a “progressive” Democrat running in the primaries for president of the United States. We’ve seen it all before, from Jesse Jackson to Dennis Kucinich, left-leaning voters have time-and-again been asked to support candidates that are working to transform the corrupt and war-hungry Democratic Party from within. And each and every time this strategy has failed — not only to elect a progressive Democrat into the White House — but to alter the party that offer themselves up as a lighter shade of neo-con.
This time around that “progressive” Democrat is self-proclaimed “socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Even though it’s early in the primary push, Bernie is hitting the trail, spreading a message of hope for working class people that he’s there to fight for their cause. He wants to create new jobs, challenge Wall Street crooks and take on the corporate control of our political quagmire. These are fine positions to take, but what Bernie isn’t about to tell you is that in order to radically alter the system in favor of workers, the Democrats must be abandoned altogether — for it’s their neoliberal policies, from Bill Clinton on down, that exacerbated the sell-out of the American workforce.
Sure, Bernie will talk tough when it comes to these failed policies. He’ll criticize fast tracked free-trade agreements and corporate plutocracy, but his hardy embrace of the Democrats continues to undermine his own criticisms. It’s as if Bernie got a job at a coal mining outfit in hopes of stopping the melting of ice caps in the Arctic. His bid for the White House is simply a dead end and a waste of scarce resources. Progressives would be better off working to reinvigorate the antiwar movement and Occupy than spending time and money on Bernie’s hollow campaign.
Even so, while Bernie may come across as sincere about class politics, make no mistake, he is a militarist that isn’t about to challenge U.S. supremacy. He supported the ugly war on Kosovo, the invasion of Afghanistan, funding for the endless Iraq disaster as well as the losing and misguided War on Terror. He voted in favor of Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which expanded the federal death penalty and acted as the precursor to the PATRIOT Act and just last week voted in favor of the phony USA Freedom Act.
As for Israel, Bernie has been a hawkish advocate that would never halt the $3 billion the U.S. government sends to the country every year. Last summer he backed Israel’s murderous bombing of Gaza. He’s even had some nasty words about Palestine’s right to resist. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that several former members of Bernie’s staff have also been employed by AIPAC, including Israel apologists David Sirota and Joel Barkin. His is a disgusting record. Want to change in the U.S.’s meddling in the Middle East? Bernie isn’t your guy.
If the Senator’s support for ongoing war and the occupation of Palestine don’t make you squeamish, then you may as well stop reading. I doubt you’ll grasp the importance of challenging empire by refusing to cast a vote for a party that pumps fuel into the war machine’s tank. Such an effort requires a willingness to step out on the Democrats, especially at the national level, where they have waged war on workers at home and employed a blood-thirsty foreign policy abroad.
The Bernie Sanders campaign, while a slight breath of fresh air in the national debate on class issues, is a complete loser in terms of impact. There’s no sign he’ll break from the Democrats and challenge both parties down the road. Bernie doesn’t oppose U.S. power, nor does his campaign do a single thing to build independent politics in the country, perhaps the last chance to salvage any democracy we may have left. In the end, Bernie Sanders will play the lesser-evil card and plea for us all to hold our noses and vote for Hillary Clinton, who guarantees a future of more war and economic inequality.
That’s why Bernie’s is not a bandwagon I’ll be jumping on anytime soon.
(Joshua Frank is managing editor of CounterPunch. He is author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, both published by AK Press. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter@brickburner. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
2015 PURE MENDOCINO
Please join us Saturday, August 29, 2015 in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County.
Tickets are available now for the 11th Annual Pure Mendocino Organic Dinner and Wine Tasting at Dark Horse Vineyard in Ukiah.
Enjoy a summer evening of the perfect blend of Mendocino County's bountiful harvest, generously offered by local farmers and producers.
Pure Mendocino is the major fundraising event for the Cancer Resource Centers and a unique celebration honoring Mendocino County's leadership in organics and community health.
Wine Tasting & Appetizers: 5:00 pm
Farm-to-Table Dinner: 6:30 pm
Chef Olan Cox and friends will showcase our community's finest organically grown food and wine.
Silent Auction: 5:00 - 8:30 pm Live Music Under the Stars: 8:00 - 10:00 pm
French-Flamenco-Gypsy band Dgiin will charm and delight with their energetic beats.
$135 per person - tickets must be purchased in advance.
Purchase tickets online at www.puremendocino.org - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/5d6dbac92d/e9632b6940/37eebdb7de or call us at (707) 937-3833.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PureMendocino - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/5d6dbac92d/e9632b6940/9739d5ac9a to learn more about the event.
Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County
P.O. Box 50
Mendocino, California 95460
ON THE ROAD WITH CRAIG STEHR
Not a lot to report here presently...spent today again runnin' around Philly attempting to make contact with radical individuals/groups whom I met whilst disrupting a certain Republican National Convention about twenty years ago. Found some in, most not home but I left messages, and am satisfied that everybody radically environmental or just plain anarchist knows that I am here (even if they don't exactly remember me). It has been a networking three days well spent, in between going to art museums, historical sites, wonderful eateries in Chinatown and on South Street, and NOT getting wasted at the annual summer beer-a-thon taking place this week, though I did drop by the "Independence Beer Garden" to (soberly) get off on the energy there. I am eschewing anything that might give me a hangover, and am not smoking. The Apple Hostel, by the way, is regularly serving up free beer, snacks, and movies that I never heard of. I'm near Penn's Landing, which has more bars per square inch than you can count...and most of the good ones are Irish. It's so indulgence-oriented it is almost ridiculous! Not quite the French Quarter, but it's trying. I've booked myself a bed here through Sunday...no idea whatsoever what is next...who cares? As the Indian jnana yoga master Nisargadatta Maharaj said: "I am not a person!"
Keep smiling...it confuses the demons.
ART & CRAFT
On Wednesday, July 1st, at 6:30 pm, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, is proud to present a preview of the PBS POV documentary, “Art and Craft,” by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman; co-directed by Mark Becker.
“Mark Landis is one of the most prolific art forgers of the modern era—and he isn’t in it for the money. . . . Landis is a diagnosed schizophrenic, driven since his teens to escape ‘the life of a mental patient.’ . . . A cat-and-mouse caper told with humor and compassion, “Art and Craft” uncovers the universal in one man’s search for connection and respect.
“Named a Top 5 Documentary by the National Board of Review.”
The screening is a brown-paper-bag-dinner event with a discussion following the film. This event is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.
For more information on the film series, please see http://www.pbs.pov/
QUESTIONS ABOUT KZYX
Something To Keep In Mind When Considering To Pledge To KZYX -- They Lie!
The budget of KZYX is about $570,350. Meanwhile, the budget at KMEC in Ukiah is something like $19,000.
KMEC is all-volunteer. On the other hand, KZYX has paid staff that sucks the very life force out of the station. They are bankrupting KZYX.
And what is the lie?
The lie you're being told during the current pledge drive is that local programmers at KZYX need that $570,350 to stay on the air. It's a lie. A big fat lie! The programmers don't need the money, because they don't get the money. Any money. Zero. Zilch. Nada. They don't see a cent. Not even gas money. Who gets the money? KZYX staff gets the dough. Lots of it. $234,502 in salaries and benefits, with another $18,554 thrown in for taxes.
Don't believe me?
Think about it.
We do great radio at KMEC. Maybe even better than KZYX with their big bucks. Just this week, I did an interview with Hedrick Smith, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes for news reporting as the Washington bureau chief at the New York Times and three Emmy Awards for documentaries on Frontline at PBS.
Earlier this year, I've done a series of interviews with equally well-known and respected whistleblowers: Tom Drake, Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Russ Tice at the NSA; Coleen Rowley at the FBI; Ray McGovern, Mel Goodman, and Patrick Eddington at the CIA; Elizabeth Murray at the National Security Council; Mathew Fogg at the U.S. Marshall's Service; and Peter Van Buren and Mathew Hoh at the U.S. Department of State.
All of these interviews are archived. Many are posted with video to Youtube. Our Youtube audience is big, and it's getting bigger every day. Our interview with Ray McGovern has already attracted over 3,500 viewers
Soon, these interviews will also be posted for the widest possible distribution through NPR's Public Radio Exchange and Pacifica's Radio4All. And the interviews have already attracted attention...national attention. A major foundation wants to fund a curriculum based on the interviews for the next generation of whistleblowers in Washington. It's pretty exciting.
Keep in mind that I am one of only 15-20 programmers at KMEC. We all do good programming...really good programming. And we do it all for about $19,000 a year.
How do we do it for only $19,000? Because we're all volunteers. KMEC is truly "community radio", as is also true for KNYO, where our friend Marco McClean hosts a wonderful show.
His op-ed is found below.
KMEC and KNYO are community radio stations. KZYX is not community radio. KZYX is more accurately described as a jobs program for the people who work there.
And oh, by the way, the folks at KZYX won't disclose their salaries. And that, my friends, is truly pitiful for a station that purports to call itself "community" or "public" in any way, shape, or form.
How do I know all this? Well, I'm not only a programmer at KMEC, I'm also on the Board at Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, the parent of KZYX. And I ask questions...questions that you, the listener, should also be asking during this pledge drive.
John Sakowicz, Ukiah
* * *
I was listening to the drive this morning and was struck by one person's pitching.
She said that the station reflects "your values". The station doesn't collectively reflect my values, and I suspect many in our community.
If you take the time to read the budget information for the fiscal year ending in four weeks, you can see the expenditure for equipment is $1000. That's total for all three studios! The current on air drive goal is $85,000!
If programmers receive no stipend and the equipment budget is $1000, where is the $84,000 being spent, for example, from this drive alone?
Here's another thought - the usual time of year to run a summer drive is in August.
And yet, this drive began at the end of May.
It just so happens the KZYX license EXPIRES on June 30, or the end of this month.
The FCC has not renewed the license. If it isn't renewed, the only fundraising would and could go through KXYZ. Could it be the Management wanted to secure your money before the current license expires? If you don't know, then ASK!
Please, thousands and thousands of dollars have been thrown at a less than transparent station. Just ask good questions and write to the President of the Board/the Treasurer to learn how your community money is being spent BEFORE you give.
This is both prudent and reasonable.
M Kathryn Massey
TAKING THE PLEDGE
A timely point or two about KZYX, or rather MCPB. I've made them before, so I'll be brief.
When airpeople tell you in a pledge drive that KZYX needs your money to keep their shows on the air, they're telling you something that is not true. They may not realize they're lying -- they may really believe what they're saying -- but if that's so it's because information has been deliberately kept from them by very bad managers who have been using them.
The total of all money required to operate KZYX and "keep the great shows on the air" never even approaches half the amount in the annual CPB grant, without which the station would have failed utterly every year of its existence -- that's how bad the management is. It means: every dollar pledged or donated or sent in as membership money goes not to operate or house or improve the station but to enrich a handful of people at the top. John Coate alone sucks $60,000 out of the station every year. That's 1,200 fifty-dollar memberships. Mary Aigner and David Steffen and Rich Culbertson each suck $40,000 out of the station every year. (I think they do. The financial records which by law should be readable by any member are obfuscated where they're not withheld, so I have to estimate.) From what I'm able to glean from the deliberately confusing financial reports, just Mary, David, Rich and John represent an ongoing annual $180,000 drain on the station. That's the equivalent of 3,600 fifty-dollar memberships, where the station only has about 2,000 active members. The solution to this should not be to plead for ever more money; it should be to spend existing money on the station itself instead of on the CEO and his cronies.
When I and other members pointed this out and when I suggested that John Coate take a voluntary pay cut to solve the signal problems of the station he's supposed to be managing, we were called haters who want to destroy the station.
And here, I'll just repeat one paragraph from my latest letter to the editors of the Anderson Valley Advertiser and the Ukiah Daily Journal:
If the airpeople are expected to volunteer their time and energy and talent, why is it beneath John Coate and Mary Aigner and David Steffen to similarly volunteer? If it's ridiculous to consider even mildly throttling back on the money diversion that John's and Mary's and David's salaries represent -- which amounts to endlessly hemorrhaging many times the actual cost of running the station -- how can the board continue to declare it ridiculous to pay the airpeople a meaningful stipend for the airpeople's essential work? If the board's reasoning is that John and Mary and David do better work for being paid, why should that not apply to the airpeople? They call the airpeople their "wonderful volunteers" - -well, get John and Mary and David to wonderfully volunteer and they can be wonderful volunteers too, and the station will have hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to spend and never have to do another smarmy pledge drive ever again. Think of it: they could dispense with all their soul-shriveling lying about how much the station needs pledges and donations "to keep the great shows on the air." The board could just live and enjoy it and be people and do their own unique shows, if they're the sort of people who want to do radio and lift people up to do radio and give people access to the tools to do radio and then step out of their way, and if they're not, why are they on the board of a community radio station?
The people who are really hating are not the ones who point out true things like this, they're the bad managers and the board of directors who enable the bad managers. And the currently suspended broadcast license is not the fault of the members who complained to the FCC in an effort to shake some sense into the board to either rein in the bad managers or replace them with good ones; it's the fault of the enabling directors on the board and the bad and/or greedy and/or incompetent managers they enable.
The apparent opinion of the board's Locutus (Stuart Campbell) -- that KZYX is such a vast and complicated operation that it requires a well-paid tyrannical bureaucratic cabal to make the trains run on time -- is clearly not true. Other community radio stations live quite well on a tenth the money KZYX wastes (!) and they make improvements, and their airpeople show up to functioning studios and do their shows. And when things break they get fixed, and when electrical problems arise they get dealt with, and their finances and operation are transparent and the FCC doesn't yank their license.
Marco McClean, Mendocino
Ginny Rorby reading this Sunday, 4 pm Ginny will be talking about and reading from her new book "How to Speak Dolphin" (initial printing 225,000) at the Little River Inn this Sunday, June 7, at 4 pm. Hope to see you there. Norma Watkins