Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Jun 21, 2015

* * *

THE SANHEDRIN FIRE

Upper Lake, Calif. - The Sanhedrin fire is currently burning on private land within the Mendocino National Forest. The fire, reported last night around 7:30 p.m., is estimated to be 25 acres and is burning south of Little Signal Peak and east of the Sanhedrin Wilderness on the Upper Lake Ranger District. The fire is burning in heavy fuels, including dead and down trees, in an area burned in 2008. There is no estimated containment at this time. The cause is under investigation. Smoke from the fire is visible along Highway 101 and to communities on the west side of the forest. While it is on private land, it is within the Forest Service designated protection area. CAL FIRE resources assisted with initial attack last night and worked through the night. Currently there are federal resources working to contain the wildfire, including two engines, one water tender, one Type-1 and one Type-2 handcrew. Additional resources, including two Type-1 handcrews and one Type-2 crew are committed and currently travelling to the incident. For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino

* * *

LAST TUESDAY AFTERNOON at the Board of Supervisors meeting Supervisor Tom Woodhouse requested that item (m), "approval of a prudent reserve transfer from mental health services act funds in the amount of $100,000 into Health and Human Services Agency Behavioral Health and Recovery Services for fiscal year 2014 and 15" be pulled from the Board’s consent calendar.

Woodhouse: "I have had great explanations from the department already. … But I cannot vote for this at this time. I'm the newest one here and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ellen [?] and Stacey [Cryer, Director of Health and Human Services] who were kind enough to give me their time yesterday to explain in exact detail item (m). It involves taking $100,000 from a prudent reserve fund and not putting any money last year or really this year of $450,000 or $460,000, and planning to not put any in next year either. My concern with that is that mental health needs a lot of work. We have problems there and our employees have been very brave and we've had huge turnover in mental health because of their dissatisfaction. It's a challenging area to work in. It's not going to be easy. But it's a danger signal to me when we can't put money in our reserves in a year when we are having higher than expected income because we are going into the years in the future where we will not have that and we will desperately need this reserve. So it's not out of disrespect to anyone and all the hard work we go to in the budget. I just feel we have to be honest with ourselves and it really is time to make some changes with mental health and I'm going to focus on that. I fully expect to pay a price for my involvement in it. It's a very challenging area. It's been that way for years. But I think it's all our duty to work on this together. I'm sure we can make progress. I just want to send a message to the employees that are bravely out there dealing with some very difficult cases on the front lines. They are some of the lowest paid people and I have tremendous amount of respect for them and they feel like they are all alone. They are not alone. I'm opening the floodgates and getting calls from a number of people every week and the stories that I hear are very similar. So that's encouraging when people tell the truth and hear the same story over and over and over again. It's not that there are guilty parties, but it's the fact of what's not working. The only way to make changes is to stop the money flowing in. When you are taking reserve money out, tapping your reserve at a time when you should not, it's just a danger signal. I'm going to work on this and I don't have all the answers but I want to encourage people who are on the front lines and doing very hard work for some of our more troubled citizens that we do care about you, we are aware that there is a problem and we are going to work on it with you. So I appreciate the trust and the patience of the people involved and of all you up here. I am not trying to change your vote on this, I just have to speak my heart on this and thank you for listening."

WOODHOUSE IS RIGHT, although it took him a while to say it. Using important reserves to cover ongoing Mental Health deficits is a bad idea if you have no idea why you have to keep doing it year after year. And nobody really does know. And nobody but Woodhouse seems interested in finding out.

SUPERVISOR MCCOWEN and Ms. Cryer pointed out that there’s something like $2 million in reserves in Cryer's HHSA. (Nobody’s sure what the exact amount is and how such a reserve grew so large was also not explained.) But McCowen and Cryer seemed satisfied with transferring the reserves without asking why this keeps happening year after year because it seems on the surface like only $100,000 out of $2 million. But as Woodhouse noted it also involves not putting much more money into reserves this year and next and instead channeling it to cover the Mental Health deficit as well.

AT ONE POINT Supervisor McCowen asked, "Did those funds [that were transfered out of reserves to cover the Mental Health deficit] wind up being used to cover the deficit in mental health or were they actually expended for services?”

Cryer: “Part of the deficit in mental health is because of services, because we were overmatched again so we will be using those dollars from the prudent reserve to cover services that were provided in this fiscal year."

McCowen: "That was not necessarily clear to me based on this sentence: ‘This funds transfer will prevent disruption of services to the integrated care coordination service delivery for clients.’ I struggle to understand in English exactly what we mean by integrated care coordination service delivery.”

Cryer: "Back in 2010, 2011 we integrated the HHSA plan into the mental health budget unit basically. We integrated them together so we had an integrated service delivery. It's very important terminology. We put it all together to make one system. We did a system transformation to integrate it altogether, so it's important terminology when we are talking to the state."

McCowen: “But then as a practical matter what that really refers to is the overall provision of mental health services by both the adult and children's?”

Cryer: "Yes."

THIS IS THE KIND OF NON-ANSWER Ms. Cryer and her staff (including the ubiquitous former Ortner executive Tom Pinizzotto who now serves as Ms. Cryer's assistant) always give to questions around Mental Health Services: endless streams of buzzwords and bafflegab.

WOODHOUSE then repeated how much respect he had for Ms. Cryer, this time at much more length. But his, and McCowen's, original and very legitimate question remained unanswered: Why is this necessary year after year? Woodhouse seems genuinely interested in finding out. Let's hope he can. No one else has been able to.

* * *

(NON)IMPRESSIVE (NON)RESPONSE FROM COUNTY AG COMMISSIONER Chuck Morse to Supervisor Hamburg’s question about the allegations of problems with the current “lethal” federal predator control program last Tuesday:

Hamburg: “Chuck, you’ve sat here and listened to a lot of testimony and some of it has been pretty negative about Wildlife Services [the federal trapper/predator control program]. They’ve talked about atrocities and mass killings of dogs and things like that. I just wondered if you had any professional response as the County’s Ag Commissioner and someone who is probably more familiar with this program than anyone else in this County except the trappers themselves.”

Morse: “There are numerous allegations out there. Um — and through the Chair, of course, um, I would hesitate to give a professional response at this time with all due respect, Supervisor. Apologize.”

Hamburg: “Ok. Ok. Thank you.”

* * *

Predictably, Hamburg did not pursue the question further. He did not ask the Ag Commissioner why he “would hesitate.” And then, out of an overabundance of courtesy Hamburg actually thanked the Ag Commissioner for not answering the question at all.

The Board then proceeded to vote, unanimously, Hamburg included, that the controversial federal trapper program didn’t need an Environmental Impact Report and they would continue business as usual. The wildlife advocacy groups that brought suit saying that the program needed an EIR and actually got a settlement agreement that an EIR would be done, were disputed by County Counsel Doug Losak who said that no EIR was needed and the Board agreed, thus dodging serious effectiveness arguments and numerous environmental questions and several proposals to work out a locally controlled compromise, and putting the onus back on the advocacy groups to start all over again.

* * *

PARTIAL BACKGROUND about Chris ‘Dead Dog’ Brennan the north county’s famous/infamous federal dog killer:

https://www.theava.com/archives/30044

* * *

THE PRINTING PRESS for the entire Media News Group/Digital First chain in Northern California is closing, and it's one more blow towards wholesale cyber-conversion of what's left of area print media.

http://www.paradisepost.com/general-news/20150619/paradise-post-printing-closing-doors-newspaper-not-affected

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 20, 2015

Alvarez-Malfavon, Biord, Bloyd
Alvarez-Malfavon, Biord, Bloyd

GERMAN ALVAREZ-MALFAVON, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

CHRISTOPHER BIORD, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

RICHARD BLOYD, Navarro. Suspended license, probation revocation.

Collins, Cook, Figueroa
Collins, Cook, Figueroa

ANTONIO COLLINS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

WENDELL COOK, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, possession of controlled substance.

CLAYTON FIGUEROA, Redwood Valley. Possession of meth for sale.

Gibney, Heath, Hext
Gibney, Heath, Hext

SAMUEL GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

DANIEL HEATH, Willits. Probation revocation.

SARAH HEXT, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

Little, Lopez, Occhipinti
Little, Lopez, Occhipinti

JOSEPH LITTLE, Fort Bragg. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

JUAN LOPEZ, Willits. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

ANTHONY OCCHIPINTI, Pacifica/Boonville. Drug possession for sale, drug sales.

Oneil, Poe, Rickman
Oneil, Poe, Rickman

ODESSA ONEIL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

CHRISTPHER POE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. False ID, probation revocation.

BILLY RICKMAN, Navarro. Possession and under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

Shively, Simpkins, Soriano
Shively, Simpkins, Soriano

TYLER SHIVELY, Willits. Drunk in public.

MARK SIMPKIMS, Pacifica/Boonville. Drug possession for sale, drug sales.

EFREN SORIANO, Ukiah. DUI.

* * *

ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN to visit: Art & Soul ~ Saving Our Planet, a unique exhibit of spiritual and social comment art by 15 local artists, PLUS a multi-media Expo presenting hopeful news about profound events now transforming our world. Now through June 26th at Odd Fellows Gallery, corner of Kasten & Ukiah Streets, Mendocino. Gallery hours: 10:30 am - 5 pm (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) Art & Soul seeks to remind viewers that art can be more than a bourgeoise commodity, more than abstract experimentation divorced from living experience, more than crude polemics… but a well-crafted, beautiful vehicle for stimulating an experience of that mysterious, higher aspect of our nature: the soul…the seat of love and righteous indignation at the commercialization of almost every aspect of our lives, and increasing intolerance in so many spheres. It's a once in a lifetime exhibit.

Art&Soul1

* * *

ANOTHER SATISFIED CUSTOMER — Woke up Monday morning at 4. Synthesized my reaction to the world by 6. Shot it to America's finest paper by 7. Hot off the presses Wednesday. Home from the pub 6pm Friday AVA in hand. Is the AVA staff kicking back with a hoagie and a PBR? NO, cause they're in the ZONE!!!!!!

* * *

TRUMP-ISM

Editor,

Donald Trumps's risible campaign for president of the United States won't be entirely pointless if we use it to illustrate the essential flaw in our political system. Trump has money but no ideas of substance or value. So he gets a place on the national stage. Many Americans have ideas of substance and value but no money. Their contributions go unheard. As the saying goes, What's wrong with this picture?

Riley VanDyke, San Francisco

* * *

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Editor,

Many people were persuaded that the ACA was a vehicle for delivering universal health care, similar to what citizens had in other industrialized nations. It was not. Instead, the ACA was a canny restructuring of the American health-care marketplace, one that delivered millions of new customers to insurance companies, created new payment mechanisms for hospitals, steered more business to pharmaceutical companies, and dictated expensive, high-tech solutions for a wide range of problems.

Trudy Lieberman, San Francisco

* * *

IN THE VENERABLE BEDE'S Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (circa 731 a.d.) we are told of a bird who flew into a festive hall from the night of rain and snow outside, only to pass into that night again through a window on the other side of the hall. Such is our brief passage through life. It is from darkness into darkness, unknown on either side. But there is the warmth and light and joy and sadness of the hall. In my imagination it is a mead hall, with venison and pheasant, quail, the pig on the spit, dogs asleep by the ancestral fire, bold women and men our friends, laughter, song, weeping over spoken poems of human error and downfall. We are that bird in flight. But we are not alone.

— James Seay

* * *

AUSPICIOUS GATHERINGS

AVA,

Just extended my stay in Boston one more week. Warmest spiritual greetings. Please know that I just paid Hostelling International-Boston at 19 Stuart Street near South Station for one more week; my exit date is now Monday June 29th. I have posted a notice on the Earth First! rondy2015 ride board, seeking transportation from here to the RRR site in Vermont's green mountains. I am not aware that the location of the gathering has been announced as of yet...it is traditionally kept secret until the last minute, for obvious security related reasons. I am also able via public transportation to go to Vermont, to hook up with anybody going to the site, if that is more convenient. My only interest is to be helpful at the RRR, such as chopping veggies with Seeds of Peace, and whatever else I could do to be of use. I haven't been to a Round River Rendezvous since the 1989 gathering in the Jemez in New Mexico...I'm about due for another auspicious tribal gathering! Please make contact, and I look forward to our collective bright future.

Peaceout,

Craig Louis Stehr

Email: CraigStehr@inbox.com

Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com

6/20/'15 @ 1:07 P.M., Boston Time

* * *

JON STEWART ON CHARLESTON MASSACRE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjzrvRKv6Ks

* * *

ENGINEERING is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge, through the aid of science, to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer's high privilege. The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope that the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny that he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned. That is the phantasmagoria that haunts his nights and dogs his days. He comes from the job at the end of the day resolved to calculate it all again. He wakes in the night in a cold sweat and puts something on paper that looks silly in the morning. […] On the other hand, unlike the doctor he is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. No doubt as years go by people forget which engineer did it, if they ever even knew. Or, some politician puts his name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other people's money with which to finance it. But the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfaction that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade his wants.

— Herbert Hoover, 1951; from "Memoirs"

* * *

MCT1

* * *

NEGATIVE ENERGY (BILL)

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With summertime just getting started, there has been a wealth of sunshine these days, and we've been hearing from happy customers who are seeing their solar energy systems doing a great job of turning all this extra sunlight in to electricity.

Such as this message that was recently posted to our Facebook page from Mendocino Solar Service customer Charlene McAllister: "My electric bill so far this year...-$317.05. Yes that is minus. Thank you Mendocino Solar."

While we have had plenty of sunshine, unfortunately as we all know rain has been in short supply: California's drought continues and, as we hear daily, we Californians are being asked to make a priority of conservation by greatly reducing our water use.

One way that you can make a difference and reduce your home's water consumption is by going solar. When you "Go Solar," you greatly reduce your home's 'water footprint.'

Most people have heard that solar energy, as a green, renewable, nonpolluting energy source, can help reduce our 'climate footprint.'

But it is not as widely known that solar energy is also a huge water saver! Solar energy production does not rely on water, unlike nonrenewable energy sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas which suck up water for mining, energy production and cooling.

In the words of the United Nation's 2015 World Water Day: "Renewable energy comes from resources which are naturally replenished such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. These do not require large quantities of fresh water."

Solar energy also reduces water pollution. Coal, aka "Dirty Energy," not only gulps up large amounts of water for mining and production, but also is a major culprit in water pollution.

"A typical 500-MW coal-fired power plant will create close to 200,000 tons of sludge waste per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, as well as 125,000 tons of coal ash. This waste leaps into the headlines when it spills into waterways, destroying rivers and polluting drinking water, as it has at large scale in Tennessee and North Carolina in recent years", according to solarenergy.net.

It's facts like this that make clean, green solar especially appealing.

Warm Regards,

Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Co-Owners, Mendocino Solar Service.

P.S. because knowledge is power, just click on any text highlighted for links to more information.

* * *

CHARLESTON ‘MOTHER EMANUEL' CHURCH has started down racist violence for 200 years.

by Dave Zirin

The more you read about Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, otherwise known as “Mother Emanuel,” the more awe you feel for its historic resilience amidst white-supremacist terror.

This church is now known as the scene of a massacre, which is being investigated as a “hate crime.” Nine are dead, but this institution will not fall. We know this because it has stood tall amidst the specter of racist violence for 200 years. Next year, in fact, was to be the 200th anniversary of the founding of the church. It was 1816 when the Rev. Morris Brown formed “Mother Emanuel” under the umbrella of the Free African Society of the AME Church. They were one of three area churches known as the Bethel Circuit. This means that a free church in the heart of the confederacy was formed and thrived 50 years before the start of the Civil War. It had a congregation of almost 2,000, roughly 15 percent of black people in what was, including the enslaved, the majority-black city of Charleston. Because the church opened its doors to the enslaved and free alike, services were often raided by police and private militias for violating laws about the hours when slaves could be out among “the public.” They were also raided for breaking laws that prohibited teaching slaves to read at Bible study sessions. (It was at one of these Bible study sessions that the shooter opened fire Wednesday night, after sitting among the people for over an hour.)

More violence against the church was to come, as one of its founders was Denmark Vesey. If you don’t know that name, then your US history class failed you. Vesey was born into bondage on St. Thomas Island where he was known as Telemaque. At age 32 in 1799, Vesey won a city lottery of $1,500 that allowed him to buy his freedom from slavery.

But his former master would not sell Vesey his wife or children. Under patriarchal master/slave law, this also meant that any future children they had would also be in bondage. This was not a state of affairs Vesey was willing to let stand. He achieved financial success as a skilled carpenter. He became a city leader. He also looked at Charleston, this majority-black city amidst lush plantations, and planned an insurrection. He said, "We are free but the white people here won't let us be so; and the only way is to raise up and fight the whites."

In 1822, Vesey was executed on charges of attempting to organize this unprecedented slave revolt. The plan — organized in meticulous fashion and involving thousands of adherents — was to sack the area plantations, liberate the slaves, and sail to Haiti, which had liberated itself from slavery 20 years earlier in its own revolution. The plan was audacious in its scope and remarkable in its reach, and as a result provoked mass hysteria throughout Dixie.

Vesey was one of five insurrection freedom fighters executed on July 2, 1822, two days before Independence Day. The proximity was said to have inspired Frederick Douglass’s speech delivered almost exactly 30 years later on July 5, 1852, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,” where he thundered,

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.

Douglass would later invoke Vesey to recruit for the all-black Civil War 54th Regiment, featured in the film Glory.

Even though Vesey’s plan never extended beyond the initial stages, there was a call by the genteel city leaders of Charleston for even more blood. Thirty more were executed that month, legal mass lynching meant to strike fear in the hearts of Charleston’s black community. What is remarkable is that more were not arrested or executed. This is attributed to a remarkable level of solidarity amongst Charleston’s black population. No one would talk about a popular campaign that turned slaves into active insurrectionists. As part of this campaign — which combined legal and extralegal terrorism — Mother Emanuel Church was burned to the ground. That did not stop people from gathering. It did not end the church.

The violence of this week will not end the church either. The killing of nine people inside Mother Emmanuel calls backward to the 1960s civil rights–era church bombings. It also calls to a present in 2015 where video after video is showing white America a policing system that sees black life as having little value, a present in 2015 where mass media relish black death but do not acknowledge black life, and a present in 2015 where Charleston’s Walter Scott can be calmly shot in the back by police. It also calls to a present where police officials and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speak solemnly about the Mother Emanuel martyrs, under that enduring symbol of racist terror the Confederate flag. This demonstrates with utter clarity that the past that Charleston leaders try to tuck away with a statue of Denmark Vesey - amidst the city's lucrative plantation tourism - is far from past.

In moments such as this, few words from the present can resonate as powerfully as the words of Frederick Douglass in his Fourth of July speech when he said,

Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

This is not history. It’s a guide to action. This action can be heard in the words of Mother Emanuel Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. The Reverend was one of those killed on Wednesday. In a 2013 speech about “freedom,” Pinckney said, “…sometimes you’ve got to make noise…. Sometimes you may have to die like Denmark Vesey.… Sometimes you have to march…”

[Dave Zirin is the author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil. Receive this column or contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com]

* * *

ON DICTATORS, GOONS, SYCOPHANTS, STUFFED SHIRTS & CHEERLEADERS, & CHEERING MOBS

Editor,

In a recent post to the KZYX Talk listserv, community activist, environmentalist, and newspaper editor, Beth Bosk, asks about KZYX Business Manager, David Steffen.

Why does KZYX Executive Director, John Coate, keep Steffen around?

Steffen doesn't earn his salary. His job description is to sell underwriting — but Steffen falls far short. So why does Coate keep keep this fat little clown? Why has Steffen been at KZYX for years and years?

Why, indeed?

Let me explain it this way: Whether you're talking about Hitler's Germany, or Stalin's Russia, or Idi Amin's Uganda, or John Coate's KZYX, the psychodynamics of a dictatorship are pretty simple.

The "dictator", of course, is Coate — he has centrist, top-down, autocratic management style; he is reclusive (nobody knows Coate outside of the Anderson Valley); he manages by manipulation, lies, and intimidation; he is not a real leader, only pretends to be a leader; he fixes elections; he purges what he can't fix or people he can't fool; he purges critics; and purges even those who dare to raise questions.

Like any dictator, Coate also works hard at the "cult of personality". Was Coate a financial wizard who saved the station? Of course not! For his first two years, Coate drove the station deeper into debt, then he balanced the books only by eliminating the news department and firing three people.

The "goons" and "sycophants" are well-represented by Mary Aigner and David Steffen, respectively.

Hitler had his NSDAP, Stalin had his Politburo, and Coate has the KZYX Board — "stuffed shirts and cheerleaders", they have no real power; they are laughable, pitiful; they rubber stamp everything Coate puts before them.

And the "mindless, cheering mobs"? They are the station's 70-80 programmers, of course, who are so afraid of losing their shows, they'll do anything.

John Sakowicz

KZYX Board of Directors (2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014)

* * *

THE RECORDING of last night's (2015-06-19) KNYO Memo of the Air:

Good Night Radio show is ready to download and keep or just play with

one click at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find thousands and thousands of links to interesting things to see and do and learn about, such as:

A glorious new sport that combines skiing with flying under little tiny parasails.

https://vimeo.com/36398302

My latest choice for most beautiful car. The 1938 Talbot-Lago roadster. You can’t really see, in this picture, but it’s a two-seater.

http://tinyurl.com/q5bofkp

I’ll say it again: best pope ever. Ever.

http://tinyurl.com/ow6j4ds

And raptor as pet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE4J2WFzPeI

Marco McClean

memo@mcn.org

http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

7 Comments

  1. BB Grace June 21, 2015

    The way I see fiscal management of, by, and for mental health is like the fiscal managment of a casino, with “high rollers” being the federal government that rolls the big bucks, has the ability to control the casino based on their own security, cycles pay outs like a presidential election calendar, every four years, funds or creates programs (games) that pays their party departments related to mental health, pharmeceutical companies, insurance, national nonprofit organizations in mental health.

    Then there are the “wealthy vacationers”, the states, that roll on a seasonal basis, and governor election cycles that are not the same as presidential cycles, with their own parties of departments, corporations and non profits playing mental health.

    Then we have the regulars, who are the counties, that chase after the states and feds the way a slot machine player will jump on a machine that hasn’t broken after a wealthy vacationer has spent hours dropping bucks, or playing poker hoping a high roller is playing, or looking for a black jack dealer who isn’t lucky, playing in the name of finding and winning grants needed to support their family, being employees.

    The chips, or tokens, that are played are people known as qualified consumers and the family members who care about them.

    Woodhouse says, “We have problems there and our employees have been very brave and we’ve had huge turnover in mental health because of their dissatisfaction.”

    Assuming that bigger saleries are where the dissatisfaction lies with employees, which is true with some, but it’s also true that those who get into mental health social work get burned out because the money does not trickle down to emancipate the qualified consumer. Woodhouse isn’t correct, as accounts rotate, cash flows rotate, it’s not about saving money, it’s about spending money.

    The problem is that the county thinks that the money it spends in the name of “services” actually helps the qualified consumer, but rather it only sustains the qualified consumer to remain a qualified consumer because the county needs qualified consumers to be their chips or tokens when playing for grants.

    Psuedo example: County grant seeker playing Mega Grant where the high roller just left a bundle at the table has the number of qualified consumers to play at winning that grant. If the Mega Grant pays say , $1K per qualified consumer, which falls into four branches, children, teens and youth, adults and seniors and all.. and these grants come and go very quickly, now you see them, now you don’t.

    One popular thought is, spend the money because the casino doesn’t want any county to not play, so more grants come the more money a county spends.

    Spend the money, create a customer service department and make sure the qualifed consumers are getting something in the name of services besides being rotated through nonprofit/privatized/departments and organizations that do more for their employees.

    I believe a solution is to have county employee internships in mental health. Have the county employee walk in the shoes of the qualified consumer and see what it is to have a limited income and be dependent on services that work at keeping the qualified consumer a qualified consumer. This may be great for Stacey Cryer and others.. lets see how well they can live on $720.00 a month and dependent on bus tickets to get around.

    Educated social workers who have no experience in being a qualified consumer burn out when their ideas of actually helping qualified consumers fail. Paying bigger saleries only makes employees indifferent to the qualified consumer and loyal to the county, which is why the county acts like a clique of haves vs have nots. The smiles and little pats on the backs as “there, there, little qualified consumer” is educated stigma county mental health workers are guilty.

    The county trains it’s employees to be loyal to the county not the qualified consumer who they use to get the money. So spend the money. Hire more people, especially those who will be loyal to qualified consumers so job satisfaction take happen.

    • james marmon June 21, 2015

      You may be surprised as to how many educated social workers have walked in consumer’s shoes. When I was enrolled in Sac State’s BSW and MSW programs I met hundreds of students who had experienced many of the same issues that the people they hoped to serve are experiencing. Many of them had prior substance abuse and mental health issues. Some had experienced domestic violence or had been abused or neglected as a child. There are many reasons that one chooses a career as a social worker, but money isn’t one of them. Most BSW and MSW students I met had came from extremely poor families and were only able to attend because of student loans or Title IV training programs. Why would anyone in their right mind want to spend 4 to 6 years in college and up to $70,000.00 in debt just for a measly 40 to $50,000.00 a year? They do it because they care and they want to make a change.

      That is the reason the State requires the county to have 100% of their supervisors with MSW degrees and 50% of the professional staff with MSW degrees in Child Protection Services (CPS). The problem with Mendocino County is that they don’t want change. They resist change and anyone who suggests it. Real social workers are trained to be change agents and that is why there are so few MSWs here. Mendocino County is about 15 MSW’s short in Family and Children’s Services alone, mostly because they don’t respect MSW social worker’s knowledge or life experiences. Social worker’s opinions mean nothing and they are prevented from practicing their craft. That’s the primary reason the county has problems retaining them once they do hire them.

      Not once while I was employed with Mendocino County did they ever survey social workers or hold an open meeting to discuss the difficulties social workers were experiencing and what needed to be changed. These discussions only take place in upper management. Unfortunately, upper management doesn’t have degrees in social work, so most of their discussions are focused on crunching numbers and not the human element.

      Mendocino County doesn’t train its employees to be loyal, they demand it. Anyone, who dares to step out of the box, is quickly silenced. Social Workers are to be seen and not heard. In fact, the only way to become upper management or promoted to a social worker supervisor is not to have an advanced degree in social work or related field. Those positions are for “home grown” quasi social workers who are extremely loyal to the county, and will not question the system or its hierarchy.

      In my opinion, both personally and professionally, the County only shoots themselves in the foot by failing to take advantage of the training and expertise educated social workers bring, therefore, I have to agree you in part, “spend the money, hire more people,” but make sure they have something to bring to table and not just eat from it.

      • BB Grace June 21, 2015

        To me, james marmon, there is a difference between a mental health customer, and a qualified consumer.

        It does not surprise me to know that many social workers, and medical professionals, have experienced substance and alcohol abuse, or used a prescription for psychotropic medication.

        What I have never witnessed, and would very much like to witness, is someone who was a qualified consumer, someone on SSI/SSD, public housing, dependent on federal, state, and county social services, who emancipated themselves completely.

        I would appreciate a book, or film, or information that explores how a qualified consumer through their efforts succeeded with no regrets.

  2. Sonya Nesch June 21, 2015

    Thanks for the great coverage of County Mental Health. Tom Pinizzotto has been removed as Assistant Director of the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). Now he is only Director of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Programs (down from the four upper management positions he held ln 2014).

    Doug Gherkin, former HHSA financial guy, is now Stacy Cryer’s Assistant Director of HHSA. He’s the good soldier who does whatever he’s told to the budgets and all things financial. Interesting that the Mental Health financial guy lost his job and Doug got promoted, though both are responsible for carrying out the financial mess their superiors created.

    I was happy to see Supervisor McCowen ask the CEO for two new budget schedules — one with detail about “transfers in” and “transfers out”, and the other with detail by Department of all the “reserve funds” and how much is in them. He also asked for ending balances on the budgets. How about asking for beginning balances also?

    I think Adam Brumm is no longer there because he did such a good job of summarizing the Mental Health financial data that the Mental Health Advisory Board (MHAB) needs, and Ortner does not want to provide. The County MHAB Annual Report is on their website and the “Financial Committee Report” is very detailed about the secrecy surrounding County Mental Health finances.

    Sonya Nesch

  3. LouisBedrock June 21, 2015

    Ms, Lieberman has written an article about the ACA that should be required reading for every U.S. citizen.

    It’s called “Wrong Prescription” and appears in the July issue of HARPER’S magazine.

    Well written, depressing, highly recommended.

  4. Harvey Reading June 21, 2015

    Predator control is just one of the subsidies that the ecoterrorist welfare farmers and ranchers get from us dumbass taxpayers, at all levels of government.

  5. Harvey Reading June 21, 2015

    “It’s a once in a lifetime exhibit.”

    No thanks. If the image immediately following the text is any indication of the exhibition, I’d just as soon daydream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

-