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Mendocino County Today: Monday, July 13, 2015

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HOW to make a beautiful building out of an old garage. Mark Triplett, builder. Stephanie and Chris Tebbutt, owners. The structure is located on Anderson Valley Way, Boonville, and will function as a fruit and vegetable stand.

Tebbutts/Triplett gallery
Tebbutts/Triplett gallery

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THE AMAZING DAVE EVANS of The Navarro Store presents the Subdudes this Saturday night, 6pm, at The Navarro Store. 'Amazing' is not superlative overkill here. Dave regularly brings big name musicians to his little country emporium on the edge of the redwood forests, which is amazing all by itself considering the size and remoteness of the venue. But Dave puts on wonderful events in this unlikely setting featuring truly great musicians, not to mention the memorable grill produced by Guy Kephart, a Boonville native and outstanding outdoor cook. The great Charlie Musslewhite says Navarro is his favorite place to play, and this from a guy who performs all over the world.

The Subdudes
The Subdudes

OPENING for the Subdudes at 3pm this coming Saturday at Navarro, are two well-known but locally-based musicians, David Hayes, of Van Morrison's band, and Gene Parsons formerly of the Byrds.

Parsons & Hayes
Parsons & Hayes

IF YOU'VE NEVER attended a concert at The Navarro Store, this one coming up Saturday night is a good place to begin, with Guitar Shorty coming up on Saturday night, August 8th, and Charlie Musslewhite on Saturday night, the 5th of September.

Navarro Store (Winter statue/carving on left)
Navarro Store

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DESPITE the techno-onslaught, we still get a lot of interesting snail mail and, as you might expect, telephone calls from people who want to talk about everything from global affairs, to people who simply want to "vent," (as the psychologists say), to people with specific information to convey, to blanket denunciations of Boonville's beloved community newspaper and its editor. The funniest one recently came from a Fort Bragg tweaker unhappy with an account of a gun incident he was involved in. He, natch, was the victim. He said. I'd edited the story, knew the facts, so I said right off that I was sorry the other guy had missed. The tweaker apparently didn't hear that and commenced monologuing me. I broke in to say, "I can't hear you. I've got a banana in my ear." He went right on. This time I said, "I told you I can't hear you because there's a banana in my ear. It's growing there! Have some sympathy. Be a human being." There was a pause before he said, "I hope it kills you."

A WILLITS GUY, who writes with multi-colored pens and wrote this one on the back of a Sparetime Supply flier, wrote in to say: "The most important election since November 1972 is coming up next year. The Democratic presidential primary. In California." (In '72 the good guys were absolutely crushed by Nixon's romp over McGovern.) Then, “A plaque honoring veterans of the Vietnam War is proposed to be placed in a city park in Willits. I propose a monument 8 feet tall to be placed in the park inscribed, ‘Remembering those who actively resisted the wars in Vietnam and Iraq’.” My correspondent enclosed an article from the New York Times called, “F.D.A. Advisory Panel Backs Viagra for Women” at the top of which he'd written, “Hurry girls. I will pay for the prescription.”

THEN there are people who stop in in person, including a guy who appeared Tuesday morning, bursting through the door of the conference room next door to our office without so much as “Excuse me” as I was talking with my friend and occasional contributor, Jonah Raskin. Bali seemed to be the theme of the man's presentation, Bali the Indonesion Island, preferred vacation destination of the well-heeled groove-o trendo-s of Mendocino County. “The people there are soooooo gentle.” Until they aren't. In the great Indonesian year of living dangerously, 1965, more people were murdered up close and personal with machetes in the Bali purges than were slaughtered any other place in Indonesia. Maybe our presenter was just back from beguiling Bali, land of rice terraces and terror. He wore a Hawaiian shirt anyway. All-in-all he wasn't any more disheveled than the next guy, but he was barefooted and, to say the least, his narrative was certainly disheveled. He pulled up a chair as Raskin and I swapped eye rolls and went on for a good five minutes until it occurred to me to ask, “You want back issues? Right next door, my good man. The Major will take care of you.” Darned if the guy didn't leap to the suggestion. The Major, as it happened, was talking with one of our interns about an upcoming piece she’s working on, a high school girl unaccustomed, so far as we know, to aberrant behavior. (In the newspaper business if you don't enjoy aberrant behavior you're in the wrong business.) The Major loaded the guy down with papers and he left, and we still don't know if back issues were the purpose of his visit. He probably didn't know the purpose of his visit. The intern, The Major reported, “Went a little wide-eyed but she wasn't scared.”

HERE at our suite in the Farrer Building overlooking Boonville, we share a conference space with the three ladies who maintain offices next door. They've posted a strategic sign that points out that if you've reached their sign but are looking for the AVA you've gone too far into the murk of our connecting hallway. I understand their attempt at precaution. Some of our visitors can be, ah, unsettling.

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I BOUGHT an iced coffee at the Red Hill Shopping Center the other afternoon. Peet's. It's a busy place, as is the shopping center surrounding it. A harried older man, the franchise owner, I supposed, gave me and each succeeding customer a little spiel on how he would like us to fill out an on-line snitch survey, although he didn't call it that, whose address was on the receipt. “How was your visit today?” And so on. Customers got a buck off their next cup if they would “Take a moment to share your experience with us and receive $1 off any beverage during your next visit to any Peet's retail location.” These anonymous evaluations seem to be all the rage. Delivery trucks ask us to call an 800 number if the driver is speeding or otherwise seems likely to jack up his employer's insurance rates. And I've seen Yelp reviews of Boonville businesses that I knew were straight-up lies about this or that restaurant. Those things are anonymous, of course. You wonder at people who would go to the trouble of demoralizing a small business, but there seem to be an awful lot of them out there.

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The Women of Albion Ridge
The Women of Albion Ridge

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THE BEAR IN THE EAST HILLS OF PHILO

A Philo Reader Writes: “So here is a recap on the bear who has visited here a few more times testing my bear-proofing protocols which have worked for years. It continues to visit some folks within a couple of miles who have orchards. Before the scat analysis I had determined it was a mature female because it was experienced enough to be both adventurous in going for food humans had left laying about and also generally wary of getting too close to humans, and also because it was not big enough to be a mature male. No one has seen any evidence of a cub. It is unlikely this bear will be hurting any reasonably commonsensical human, so unless someone does something really stupid like, say, shooting a generally harmless critter, we all are gonna be having a 225+ pound pest in the hood for a substantial period. I have had a couple of opportunities to shoot her myself but did not even consider it: she is just doing what bears do, doing it with grace, and it is my fault she was able to find some food around my place. And, sadly, I also did not even think to get out my camera so y'all could get a glimpse of my newest wild creature acquaintance. Oh, well.”

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY:

Regarding Mental Health. 
I watched the entire [Board of Supervisors] presentation, if you could call it a presentation. It appears to me that HHSA [Mendocino County Health & Human Services] was not prepared to give one at all. The amended mental health contract was put on the consent calendar squeezed between a late 10 o’clock start and an 11:30 timed item. During that time period the BOS presented a couple of proclamations, public expression, and a long break so that the supervisors could review a large stack of paperwork given to them during public expression by the HHSA director [Stacey Cryer]. It was obvious that the CEO [Carmel Angelo], HHSA director, and Chair Carre Brown had purposely placed the amended contract on the Agenda’s consent calendar at the last moment in order to avoid any questions or criticism from other supervisors or the public. Chair Brown and the HHSA director were noticeably annoyed by the fact that the item had been pulled for discussion and comment. Chair Brown expressed anger on at least a couple of occasions during the discussion and eventually slammed her gavel down declaring a lunch break.

I thought it was interesting that the item was not put on the Agenda and before the full board until Friday afternoon knowing good and well that the contract had to be approved by Tuesday to avoid a stoppage in services. That left Supervisor McCowen hustling all day Monday and into the evening hours searching for clarification from HHSA staff. Instead of clarity, the Board was confused even more by the HHSA’s director’s inadequately prepared presentation and the stack of last minute documentation thrown at them. The HHSA director’s only explanation to the board’s questions was that Mental Health Administration was very complicated and extremely difficult to understand. That was evident based on her avoidance to clearly answer questions and her so called presentation. If anything, that presentation created more confusion and unanswered questions.

Chair Brown, the CEO, and HHSA director all knew that the amended Mental Health contract would be a hot issue and that other board members and the public would have questions as to the delivery of services and their costs. I’m not sure of how the board members felt about the tactic to rush it through at the last moment, but I was personally offended.

From the beginning of the privatization two years ago HHSA has kept Mental Health Service Delivery a mystery and away from the public, the Mental Health Advisory Board, and Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Any time a question is asked, of HHSA, they answer by declaring it to be too complicated, or things are getting better. No one really knows exactly what is going on. To paraphrase what the mental health director Tom Pinizzotto stated during the unorganized presentation, “This is all new, no other county is doing it, we are learning as we go.”

My suggestion would be to have an independent audit and evaluation of our Mental Health program so that we could have an honest and accurate view as to where we are really at and what areas need to be improved. This is too important of an issue to just muddle our way through it, learning on the run. It is apparent that there was never a clear plan of implementation and I think our mentally ill population has suffered because of that failure. Mendocino County cannot keep throwing money at these contractors without knowing what is working and what is or not. HHSA has been given two years to implement this program and was afforded the faith by the BOS to do so. I for one have lost all faith in what they are doing and I would like to get some real answers. I believe that there is an abundance of our county’s mentally ill clients who are not being adequately served or served at all.

— James Marmon, Former County Social Worker, Ukiah

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POSTSCRIPT BY MARK SCARAMELLA

Another minor feature of the meeting that Mr. Marmon accurately summarizes above was this exchange between Supervisor John McCowen and Supervisor Dan Hamburg during the discussion of the consent calendar which occurred before the discussion Mr. Marmon refers to:

McCowen: “I would like to pull Item 5(p), which is the Mental Health Services Act Annual Plan. I request that we consider that along with items 4(f) and 4(g), the contract renewals for our Administrative Service Organizations (Ortner Management Group and Redwood Quality Management Company which “administer” mental health services for a fee by farming much of the line work out to local helping non-profits). A big part or the primary part of what we are contracting with them for is to implement the Mental Health Services Act Annual Plan so therefore to me it makes sense to consider those items all together.”

Board Chair Carre Brown: “At the discretion of the chair I will direct that unless any supervisor has a problem. Seeing none, item 4(p) on the consent calendar will be taken up shortly with the other items.”

Supervisor Dan Hamburg, after noting the Mental Health Board had already voted to approve the Mental Health Services Act Plan 9-1 and “congratulating” the Mental Heatlth Department for “accepting” a $500k grant for residential crisis management programs, added: “Not to drag out this discussion of the consent calendar too long, but I do want to ask the maker of the motion [McCowen] just to explain to me the relationship between the approval of the Mental Health Services Act Plan and the upcoming discussion with the two ASOs. It seems to me they are really — the plan is one thing, the implementation of the plan by the ASOs, which is of course part of their contractual obligation, seems to me to be something else. So I guess in some way I just want to know why you want to hold up approving the plan when we are going to — it just seems different to me than contracting with the ASOs to implement the plan. So maybe you could just elucidate me a little bit.”

McCowen: “If it's not in the plan we cannot require them to perform a particular function. You did reference the acceptance of the grant for a crisis residential treatment program. Those funds as I understand it are simply for capital costs of acquisition of a building. Then we need someone to actually operate the program. Logically, to me, that would be our ASOs.”

Hamburg: “Well, yeah…”

McCowen (raising a hand to cut off Hamburg so he could continue): It's not clear to me that this is currently in the Mental Health Services Act Plan. But again, not to drag it out, I think we should have that discussion as part of the consideration of their contracts.”

Hamburg: “Okay. It just seemed to me like two different things and I, like, you know, I mean, I would even quibble with the example you just used but I am not going to.” [Laughs smugly.] Whatever.”

HAMBURG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ortner and the Mental Health Department and sees his role on the Mental Health Board and on the Board of Supervisors as a staunch defender of whatever Pinizzotto and Ortner are doing. He gets testy and petty whenever any questions about Mental Health arise and is one of the prime reasons for the problems described by Mr. Marmon (and me), particularly: “From the beginning of the privatization two years ago HHSA has kept Mental Health Service Delivery a mystery and away from the public, the Mental Health Advisory Board, and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.”

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Question

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THE MOVING GRAVESTONE

by Bob Dempel

My brother died in 2000. He was 51 years old. We had been estranged for over 20 years. We had lived much different lives. When he died (killed) some of his acquaintances had his ashes scattered in the hills of Hopland.

After several years I felt that there should be some permanent indication of his life. I went to the local Ukiah mortuary and arranged for a flat gravestone to be placed in my family's Crawford plot. Since there were no ashes, I was told that the cost of the stone and installation would be $500. I paid the amount and went on with my life. Several months later I visited the Ukiah Cemetery at the plot that my grandfather had purchased. Descendents from my maternal grandfather were all buried there — grandmother, grandfather, aunt, mother, etc. But no gravestone for my brother. Again contacting the mortuary, they took me to my great-grandfather's plot (close by) where my brother's gravestone was placed in the wrong Crawford plot. It was placed right inside a concrete border. It certainly did not take up any future burial site. I had failed to tell the mortuary which Crawford plot to have the gravestone installed in.

After several years I received some legal papers from the Russian River Cemetery District charging me with installing a gravestone in the cemetery without the proper permits. I had not followed the cemetery policy and I was subject to some action. I immediately called the Ukiah mortuary who had no response or interest in the situation I now found myself in. I called the cemetery and found that the Gravestone had been dug up and was awaiting for me to pick it up in their maintenance shed. And would I please come immediately as it was taking up precious space in the shed. I went to the Ukiah Cemetery with a strong young friend and picked up the headstone complete with the concrete base attached. We brought it back to my ranch in Hopland. We dug out a square of soil the size of the headstone (minus the concrete) and placed it among some antique farm equipment. That is where my brother's gravestone lies today.

Curiosity got the best of me. I called the office of the cemetery and asked why after all these years my brother headstone needed to be removed. The reply was that two of my cousins had objected to having the stone in my great-grandfather's plots. These are my cousins, the same family lineage as my brother and myself. One of the cousins has her ex-husband buried there and they want to be buried there. But not next to my brother's headstone. But the headstone is gone and placed where it probably should be in our family ranch.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 12, 2015.

Ayala-Ortiz, Boyce, Chapman
Ayala-Ortiz, Boyce, Chapman

LUIS AYALA-ORTIZ, Talmage. Possession of meth, probation revocation.

WILLIAM BOYCE, Ukiah. Community Supervisor violation.

SCOTT CHAPMAN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Choate, Kile, Llamas, Martin
Choate, Kile, Llamas, Martin

ERNEST CHOATE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

WILLIAM KILE, Redwood Valley. Burglary.

ARMANDO LLAMAS, Ukiah. Shoplifting, possession of dirk-dagger, conspiracy, probation revocation.

DANNY MARTIN, Dos Rios. Probation revocation.

McCaha, McNally, Nowicki
McCaha, McNally, Nowicki

ARIEL McCAHA, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and controlled substance, resisting.

SCHYLER MCNALLY, Oakland. Pot cultivation, processing.

RICHARD NOWICKI, Covelo. DUI, sale-transport-furnish pot, proceeds from drug transactions.

Palomar-Nava, Pushkarow, Vaness, Vasquez
Palomar-Nava, Pushkarow, Vaness, Vasquez

ALEJANDRO PALOMAR-NAVA, Fort Bragg. Child endangerment, possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia, under influence of controlled substance, resisting.

MICHAEL PUSHKAROW, Napa/Ukiah. Petty theft, shoplifting, under influence of controlled substance, possession of controlled substance, no license.

ROBERT VANESS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

KEVIN VASQUEZ, Hopland. Drunk in public.

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(photo by Annie Kalantarian)
Jupiter, Venus, and Moon (photo by Annie Kalantarian)

4 Comments

  1. Stu Casteel July 13, 2015

    (In the newspaper business if you don’t enjoy aberrant behavior you’re in the wrong business.)

    Television is far worse

    Years ago at NAB (the convention for anyone involved in TV Radio Film etc) a homeless man wandered in to the area where Regan was getting an award, walked right up to the Pres, grabbed the award out of his hands and proceeded to smash it as he was tacked by SS agents – the take away was in a room of “broadcasters” he didn’t stand out!

  2. james marmon July 13, 2015

    Regarding Dan Hamburg and his role on the Mental Health Board. When you have a strong leader or leaders within a group it can often lead to the phenomena known as groupthink. Hamburg sees himself as the true leader of the Mental Health Board and therefore acts as a mindguard.

    “A mindguard is a member of the group who, in an attempt to preserve the central group idea, omits any information which may cause doubts to arise within the group. A mindguard assumes the responsibility of sheltering the other members of the group from any “controversial” information which may create a disruption in the overall group dynamic. If a mindguard receives any negative outside information, he does not relate it to the group. A mindguard also applies pressure to any dissenting members, ultimately forcing them into silence. To this end, the mindguard may employ a variety of different strategies to persuade the dissenter to change his opinion. One of these strategies would be to convince the dissenter that the group may disintegrate if all members are not in total agreement. The goal of a mindguard is to prevent any questions regarding the group’s decisions from becoming apparent to the other group members.”

    http://web.stanford.edu/~kcook/groupthink.html

  3. malcolmlorne July 13, 2015

    Dan Hamburg may see himself as the leader of the Mental Health Board, but he doesn’t say all that much at the meetings. In 2015, John McCowen has begun to regularly attend the MH Board meetings. He seems to be taking more of a verbal and leading role within the Mental Health Board.
    I respect Mr. Marmon’s observations, but on this point he is offering only an opinion, not backed up by anything approaching regular attendance at the ungodly lengthy Mental Health Board meetings. This writer is more or less thankful that I have more pressing personal matters this Wednesday in Mendocino and Santa Rosa than sitting through another 4-5 hours with the Mental Health Board.
    Malcolm Macdonald

    • james marmon July 13, 2015

      I’m glad that Supervisor McCowen is attending the meetings. It appears to me that he is asking the right questions and is at least attempting to get HHSA and the ASOs to share pertinent information with the entire Mental Health Board and not just focusing on keeping peace and cohesion. I’m sure that Supervisor Hamburg wants the privatization of mental health services to be successful. He and the County have spent a lot time and taxpayer dollars on the transition and it would be catastrophic to them if it should fail.

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