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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Sep 20, 2015

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FINALLY, 50% containment on Valley fire (now a week in). The Valley Fire in the Middletown area of Lake County is now up to almost 75,000 acres burned, 585 homes known destroyed as well as “hundreds” of other structures. A huge contingent of firefighters remains on scene as of Saturday evening: 4234 firefighters, 442 engines, 2 airtankers, 23 helicopters, 62 dozers, 73 water tenders. Some mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted. Looters continue to be caught and arrested.

ValleyFire

CalFire: “Crews continue to make good progress on the Valley Fire. On Sunday, residents in the Communities of Hidden Valley Lake, Jerusalem Grade, Grange Road, and Butts Canyon Road will be allowed to return to their homes at noon. Access to these areas will be available for residents only. Hidden Valley Lake will only be accessible through the Hartmann Road entrance. The cancellation of additional evacuation orders is being evaluated based on a variety of factors including potential fire behavior and re-establishment of critical infrastructure. Damage Inspection Teams continued Saturday gathering damage data in the affected areas. As additional information becomes available, the numbers of damaged or destroyed structures may change.”

EVERYTHING WAS ON FIRE

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/4489089-181/revisiting-the-valley-fires-initial

THE MIDDLETOWN HERO-VET

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/4499901-181/chris-smith-middletown-vet-jeff

EVACUEE’S DOG FOUND & RETURNED

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/4504030-181/ap-reporter-finds-returns-distraught

MIDDLETOWN RESIDENTS SET TO RETURN TO…

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/4498299-181/middletown-residents-displaced-by-valley

PD FIRE COVERAGE

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/wildfire

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AT THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING on September 8th, Mental Health Board member Nancy Sutherland asked for clarification of the County's plans to put the current mental health contracts out for bid again although the current contracts have options for consecutive years through 2019.

Sutherland: I have submitted some questions. I understand I'm going to get some responses. I have one question that came up from Ms. Cryer's [Stacey Cryer, Director of Health and Human Services] report. I think on the OMG ASO [Ortner Management Group Administrative Service Organization, current adult mental health services contractor] contract that you are going to revise the scope of work and put it out for bid. I would just like a little bit of explanation about the changes to the scope of work and why. What's missing? What needs to be changed? Also I would like a copy of the Mental Health Board meeting and Stacey's notes if that's possible.

Cryer: I don't have a written report.

Sutherland: Oh, okay. I guess that's not my request then. (Laughs.)

Board Chair Carre Brown: Yes it is, because if you go get the recording —

Sutherland: When is the recording available?

Brown: Ummm — (long pause).

CEO Carmel Angelo: I'm sorry. I didn't realize I had to push the button. (Laughs.)

Brown: Is it red or not?

Angelo: We could have a recording of this section that's part of the meeting within a couple of days. We are still meeting today and tomorrow so probably by Friday we could have this portion for you.

Sutherland: That would be great. I was really glad to hear the good news about the audit exceptions. Thank you.

Angelo: That will be on there. That will not be a video, it will be the audio transcript.

Brown: But that will work for you, won't it?

Sutherland: Could I get an explanation about the scope of work?

Brown: I don't know if they are that far along. But if Ms. Cryer wants to respond, please do so.

Cryer: Thank you. What I said was that the — we have two ASO contracts. They have very similar contracts with very minute differences between them. What I said was we would be asking the Board to participate, two Board of Supervisors to participate, and we will be working on revising those scopes and those plans to put both of those back out to bid. So the mental health service delivery portion will go back out to bid and I don't have the scope revised. I don't have anything to say there, and I don't have a timeline yet. But we would like to move forward. As it is stated right now, the current contract ends after all the extensions June 30 of 2019. So we will have to work out all of the timeframes and we want to get started on that project and really work with the board.

Sutherland: So that's when they will go out to bid, in 2019?

Cryer: (Shakes head.) No.

Supervisor Dan Hamburg: No, they are renewable each year. Right?

Cryer: Yes. Correct.

Hamburg: So we could actually be working with new ASOs if we decide not to stick with the ones now as soon as next fiscal year.

Cryer: That's correct.

Sutherland: I'm still not clear. Are these bids for new ASOs?

Hamburg: They could be.

Sutherland: They could be.

Hamburg: Or maybe not. But we are going to go out to bid.

Sutherland: Okay.

Brown: It's all a question.

Okay, thank you.

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NOBODY answered Ms. Sutherland's question about "why" the County has decided to re-bid the Mental Health contracts. Speculation has it that at least two and maybe more Supervisors have been pushing for putting the Ortner and Redwood Quality Management contracts out for bid.

SUPERVISORS John McCowen and Dan Gjerde have both made remarks about the cost and scope of work with Ortner's present contract. (Ortner's administration costs and case management costs are suspiciously high.) Supervisor Tom Woodhouse also seems to be mildly skeptical about the existing contracts, and Supervisors Hamburg and Brown, based on the above exchange, are clearly in agreement that the contracts should go out to bid again.

WE ASSUME that the County thinks they can get a lower bid for the contracts by reviewing the scope of the work Ortner is allegedly doing.

According to the Grand Jury, the only bidder in 2012 besides Ortner and Redwood Quality Management was a national health service organization called Optum. County staff reviewed the bids and rated Optum's bid much lower than Ortner or Redwood Quality Management, but no information about the cost or rates of the bids has been released.

Guess why the more expensive Ortner bid was the one the County adopted?

The Grand Jury pointed out that it appeared that then-County Mental Health Director and former Ortner executive Tom Pinizzotto exerted undue influence on the contract selection process.

The County later denied saying that although there was an "appearance" of a conflict of interest, there was nothing illegal and no "actual" conflict of interest — even though an "appearance" of a conflict is a conflict. The Grand Jury also found that "County guidelines are insufficient to address perceptions of undue influence." The totally tone-deaf County response said, in effect, that because Mr. Pinizzotto was not currently working for Ortner there was no conflict!

PINIZZOTTO, however, had just arrived in Mendocino County from Ortner. Worked for Ortner at Ortner's Fairfield operation. That facility was closed and Mr. P became a consultant for, guess who? Mendocino County. So impressed with Mr. P's consulting, Mr. P was then hired by HHSA from where he steered the privatized deal, worth between $7 and $8 million a year, to his former employer, Ortner Management Group. The guy was "consulting" for Ortner while Mendo was preparing the request for proposals for privatization — translation: Telling Ortner how to shape his bid.

PINIZZOTTO is now Assistant Director of Health and Human Services for Mendocino County. Will he have any role in deciding whether Ortner continues with the Mental Health Contract? So far, nobody has said anything about excluding him.

TOWARD THE END of the Tuesday, September 8th, Supervisor's meeting, both Supervisor McCowen and Supervisor Hamburg went out of their way to complain about the "adversarial" tone of the Grand Jury report concerning failures and understaffing in Family and Children's Services, adding that they "think" FCS is doing an "excellent job under the circumstances" (i.e., not enough money — none of these people ever have enough money in their opinion). McCowen said the Grand Jury puts in too much stuff that has to be "filtered out" to get to the point. Hamburg added that the Grand Jury reports are "really one-sided and unfair," which create a negative impression of a well-run office.

SO WHICH IS IT? Is the Grand Jury out of line? Or are the Supervisors the final arbiters of the "excellence" of their half-privatized department?

ANSWER: The Grand Jury goes to a lot of trouble investigating the particulars of whatever subject they've taken on. The Supervisors get no regular reports from departments and so must take the word of the department head who probably isn't inclined to reporting problems of their own making. (Although they're certainly willing to talk about funding shortages.) The Board has never had any trouble "filtering out" the Grand Jury's remarks — to the point that they usually just have County Counsel write "The Board of Supervisors disagrees with this finding."

WHAT McCOWEN AND HAMBURG are really saying is, We don't want any dirty laundry aired in public because we don't want to look bad. But they are supposed to be supervising Mendo's public agencies and, in this case, they got hustled big time by Pinizzotto and Ortner.

THE GRAND JURY is the public's representative. There is no other outside watchdog vehicle available to taxpayers short of the DA and, of course, the media. The Grand Jury generally goes out of its way to applaud well-functioning public agencies and strains to avoid naming names. The Supervisors should be much less defensive and take the Grand Jury reports in stride, not whine about the "tone" of Grand Jury reports.

(We think the DA ought to be looking at the Ortner privatization deal.)

THE GRAND JURY REPORT under discussion was their recent report critical of Family and Children's Services. One example of the "tone" the Board was probably talking about was this from the Report summary: "In spite of a dedicated, caring, hard-working staff, the agency appears to be falling further behind. Every performance indicator points to understaffing as the main culprit. The understaffing has many causes: non-competitive compensation, work overload, poor management, and low morale. Senior management is aware of the issues and their consequences but has failed to address them. A number of the interviewees expressed grave concern that because of the current state of affairs in Family and Children Services Agency, 'a disaster is waiting to happen'."

MS. CRYER told the Board that they were doing everything they could to recruit and retain people. The Board is trying to set up a retention bonus system for social workers and public health nurses which, like experienced cops, have been hard hang on to. But the Board seems unable to comprehend that there might be shortcomings in the management of the department. Since there's no regular departmental reporting, they must take the word of the aggrieved department head that all's well and the Grand Jury is overly critical. The "adversarial tone" has more to do with the Board not getting regular reports from its department heads than it does with the criticisms in the Grand Jury reports. Supervisors always seem shocked when even minor fault is found in the operations of their departments. But without decent departmental reports, the Board has no ability to determine the validity of the Grand Jury reports so nothing much improves.

MY LATE UNCLE, former Fifth District Supervisor Joe Scaramella, drafted the first set of Board rules and created Mendo's Civil Service Commission and its rules, just to name a couple of relevant examples, after having complained about the County’s insider hiring processes for years before finally getting elected. He liked to quip, "Criticism is essential. If nobody says anything negative, how can you expect things to improve?" (Mark Scaramella)

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AS UKIAH HIGH SCHOOL fights off cockroaches, in other news from the County seat our supervisors are mulling over adoption of an ordinance that would stop chain businesses and restaurants from continuing their inexorable march across Mendocino County. A public hearing on the measure is scheduled Tuesday before the board.

UKIAH UNIFIED has paid a bug killer ten grand to get rid of the indestructible insects.

GETTING BACK to the ordinance, if adopted, probably wouldn't spare the wonderful little Redwood Valley Market from having to compete with a Dollar Store proposed for right down the street because any chain store with an application currently pending would be exempt.

THE COUNTY'S PLANNING AND BUILDING DEPARTMENT would "study and prepare for the consideration of the supervisors, changes to the county general plan or zoning code with respect to the regulation of formula restaurants and formula businesses."

THE CHAIN CORP horse is long out of its Mendo barn. Every community except Point Arena and probably Covelo, has at least a chain service station and so-called mini-mart. The otherwise ultra-groovy community of Fort Bragg has a McDonald's at its south portal with a Taco Bell and a Starbucks up the street.

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VINEYARD AS GUINEA PIG

Editor,

Pesticide regulation is extremely complex in California. Even with a lifetime of experience in the agricultural industry, I have experienced a firsthand example of misuse of pesticides.

Researchers who want to test a product to revise a label are allowed to file an application for applying that product. The researcher files form 027a with the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Once approved by a senior environmental scientist, a licensed pest control operator files a 24 hour Notice of Intent with the County Agricultural Commissioner. At present, no further action at the county level occurrs. I am asking that production growers adjacent to the test property be notified 24 hours before application.

Unfortunately, in March of 2015 an application of herbicides was applied containing three labeled herbicides and one additional herbicide that was applied on an approved DPR pesticide research authorization. This mixture of four herbicides was applied on railroad property directly adjacent to my Healdsburg Pinot Noir vineyard on March 24, 2015.

On June 11, 2015, while working in my vineyard, I observed herbicide damage on the grapevines closest to the railroad. The damage was lessened going away from the railroad.

Many months of meetings and inspections have followed along with extensive laboratory tests to identify the herbicide. The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner's office additional testing prior to harvest of the fruit to determine that none of the herbicide was detectable in the fruit. All of the costs for the laboratory analysis have been paid by me. These costs as of today exceed $4000.

I am asking that an amendment be made in the regulations governing notices of intent to apply pesticides. This amendment would require the County Agricultural Commissioner to notify any adjacent production grower within 24 hours of the proposed pesticide application. This would allow time for the adjacent owner to gather information on the chemicals and act accordingly.

Bob Dempel, Hopland

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DETAILS EMERGE ON BROWN MEMO TO WOODHOUSE

by Linda Williams

First District Supervisor Carre Brown sent a “confidential” memo to Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse last month advising him to follow an established protocol when speaking with county employees. This memo documented a July meeting between Brown, Woodhouse and Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde to discuss the issue.

Brown says she initiated the meeting in her role as Chair of the Board of Supervisors after being approached by someone from the Mendocino County human resources department. Brown was told some county employees had expressed concerns about possible inappropriate conduct or harassment by Woodhouse.

Brown said she considered the meeting and subsequent “confidential” memo to be a mentoring session with a new supervisor. Brown says as the chair she consulted an outside attorney about the process and was advised that a meeting between three supervisors for the purpose of “mentoring” did not violate the Brown Act.

Government Code 54952.2, which defines instances when three-out-of five members of the board may meet without public notice does not, on its face, reflect this interpretation. The code allows more than two board members to meet as long as no ”business of a specified nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the local agency” is discussed. As this meeting involved an interpretation of a Mendocino County code—according to the details within the memo, this appears to be in conflict with state law.

Mendocino County Counsel was not consulted, according to Brown, to avoid putting him in an awkward position.

Brown felt that it was appropriate for her as chair to meet with Woodhouse but wanted Gjerde, as vice chair, to take part as well.

Woodhouse says even after the two-hour meeting with Brown and Gjerde in July and the “confidential” memo in August, he did not understand that there were employees who had expressed “concerns” about his actions. This did not become clear to him until after the information was made public. “I take this as constructive criticism,” says Woodhouse. “I’m sick that making this public has caused trouble with Carre (Brown), but I couldn’t allow a letter that suggested I had done something wrong to remain a secret. I thought it needed to be aired in public, especially since I don’t know who to apologize to.”

The letter attempted to recount elements of County Code Chapter 2.28 (which was created in 2005 by county ordinance 4140 and modified in 2007 by county ordinance 4182) which created the position of county CEO, currently held by Carmel Angelo. The code requires the CEO to be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the county.

The letter also summarized state code which provides that the power to govern is derived from the collective actions by the Board of Supervisors and that as individuals, supervisors do not have the legal authority to direct county staff or change county policy.

What the ordinance does not do is establish that supervisors are restricted from speaking directly with county employees without first getting permission or coordinating with the CEO’s office, as suggested by the Brown memo.

Brown says she did not mean that supervisors could not talk with county employees. “We all talk with county employees,” she said. Employees approach her to discuss issues in the county all of the time, she said. Brown believes listening to workers and if necessary looking into their issues is part of a supervisor’s job.

Brown said the problem she was trying to communicate with Woodhouse was that when talking to employees in the workplace it was better to go through a more formal process, so that “staff doesn’t feel uncomfortable.”

Woodhouse ran on a platform which promised that he would talk with employees to try and find solutions to county problems.

(Courtesy, the Willits News)

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County of Mendocino

Board of Supervisors

Confidential Communication

From: Carre Brown, Chair of the Board of Supervisors

To: Supervisor Tom Woodhouse

CC: Dan Gjerde, Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors

Date: August 11, 2015

Re: Discussion on July 23, 2015

This memorandum serves to recap our discussion about how members of the Board of Supervisors are expected to relate with County staff, and the scope of powers for individual members of the Board.

I provided an overview of the division of responsibilities in the County governance. I reminded you that in accordance with County Ordinance 4140, the County Executive Officer is responsible for running the day-to-day business of the county, including oversight of County staff. Our role as members of the Board of Supervisors is to develop policy and legislation to guide the work; the CEO and delegated staff then execute the plans. As we discussed, an individual board member does not hold legislative or executive powers on his or her own. The power derives from the collective Board of Supervisors. So an individual supervisor does not have the power to make unilateral decisions or actions on behalf of the board. The Brown Act governs meetings of the Board because the legislative body as a whole is the entity that has the power to guide and create county policies.

Given this model, it is very important that all of our Board members provide the CEO with the level of deference appropriate under Ordinance 4140. If as a board we want to request information or ensure that staff is meeting its obligations we must work through the CEO's office directly and not try to work around the CEO or the department heads. With departments run by elected department heads, we as supervisors can always speak directly to the elected department heads, but are usually best served by also coordinating our contact with elected department heads through the CEOs office.

Additionally, I explained that it is inappropriate for a member of the board to contact nonsupervisory staff directly to inquire about the nature of his or her work projects. Doing so is problematic because first and foremost the meeting distracts the staff member from his or her job duties. The staff member will likely feel compelled to meet with a member of the board of supervisors who seeks the meeting even if the staff member is uncomfortable with the subject matter or timing of the meeting. Additionally, as an official of the county, if a staff member were to report feeling singled out or harassed on the basis of a protected status like sex or age the county would be at risk for liability based on the individual supervisor's conduct.

Vice Chair Gjerde focused on strategies moving forward to ensure that all of our Board members comply with the directives of Ordinance 4140 and to avoid creating liability for the county by individually contacting staff members. As we discussed Vice Chair Gjerde and I are available to answer your questions about how to proceed in the future should you have any confusion about the appropriate course of action to take.

We appreciate you acknowledging the need to comply with Ordinance 4140 and your commitment to avoid placing the County at risk for liability going forward.

Please contact me or Vice Chair Gjerde if my recap of our discussion differs from your recollection.

* * *

A GENERALLY WELL INFORMED READER WRITES re the Woodhouse Memo Affair: "What I am hearing is that the Woodhouse tempest in a teapot is not anything like former supervisor Delbar, who clearly crossed the line into sexual impropriety and engaged in outright harassment when his overtures were rebuffed. The confidential memo about Woodhouse refers to ‘inappropriate behavior,’ which boils down to some of the employees feeling ‘uncomfortable’ in the vague kind of way that sheltered people sometimes do. And instead of saying ‘I'm sorry, but you (this conversation, whatever) are making me feel uncomfortable’ they suffer through it, whatever it is, and then report the guy. Some obvious no-nos are that you don't show up unannounced and walk into a private office and shut the door behind you. And you don't say to a younger female employee, ‘I'm your friend’ as you gently stroke their arm. Absent any sexual overtones (and there is no indication that this was the problem) this is the kind of stuff that can trigger the creep factor, especially coming from an older male in a position of power. Woodhouse comes from the private sector and probably has no clue that he is potentially crossing a line. The whole thing is way overblown, but Woodhouse gets credit for that. No one would have known about the memo without him mentioning it. Brown was trying to wise him up without making a big deal of it.”

THE IRONY of all this seems to be that there was no intention to shut Woodhouse up or prevent him from talking to employees, but in the wake of all the controversy Woodhouse, unlikely to ever be mistaken for Richard the Lion-Hearted, seems to have become even more tentative, less sure of himself. We say, Step out, Tom, let the whiners snivel about "feeling" uncomfortable. You've got a job to do!

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OUTSIDE WORLD TAKES NOTE OF FORT BRAGG'S FOOTBALL TEAM

by Phil Barber

Fort Bragg football players can spot the warning signs by now. The Timberwolves aren’t bigger or stronger than most of the teams they play, but they move faster. A lot faster. And when the Fort Bragg offense gets rolling, it’s only so long before the other guys start to flag. Their movements slow down, their breathing becomes more labored.

“If you see our games, honestly, when we’re hustling to the ball, you’ve got people on the defense walking, on their knees, can barely stand,” senior quarterback Kaylor Sullivan said.

“The pass rush will start to barely come,” added Sam Perkins, Sullivan’s left tackle. “Sometimes the ends won’t even make it to me before the ball gets off, because it’s coming out so fast.”

In all likelihood, Fort Bragg is the most exciting high school team you’ve never seen. Unless you travel to the far reaches of the Redwood Empire, or happened to be at the Timberwolves’ victory over El Molino at Windsor High last Saturday, they are like an exotic tribe you hear about only in legend.

And those legends are growing. The team drew wide attention last year when Sullivan threw eight touchdown passes against Encina Prep in one half, setting a California state record and tying a national mark. Fort Bragg shared the NCL I league championship with St. Helena.

The Timberwolves averaged 30.7 points and 402.9 yards per game in 2014 despite resting key starters in the second half of several blowout wins. This year Fort Bragg brought back every skill-position starter from a year ago. So far the offense has averaged 36.7 points and 435 yards per game while jumping to a 3-0 start.

Fort Bragg’s explosive offense goes back to a decision made by coach Roy Perkins (Sam’s uncle) in the 2014 offseason. Perkins coached on Jack Moyer’s successful staff from 1981 to 2003. For most of that time, the Georgia-Pacific Lumber Mill dominated the Fort Bragg economy, and Moyer and Perkins could always rely on a handful of beefy blue-collar kids to dominate the line of scrimmage.

Those days are gone. Perkins had noticed that his kids were getting smaller and faster relative to other schools. His solution was to go with a no-huddle offense, a strategy he had always hated to contend with as a defensive coach. He knew he had the receivers to execute the hurry-up.

Most important, he had the quarterback.

A bit of a freak

The first time Perkins laid eyes on Sullivan after returning to Fort Bragg following nine years coaching at Arbuckle, in Colusa County, it was on the baseball field. Watching Sullivan throw a baseball, the coach was immediately struck by his motion, his mechanics and his velocity.

“You stand behind him and see the throws he makes, and I could see as a freshman he was able to get the ball out in a unique way,” Perkins said. “He has a natural-born gift to throw the football. And he has tremendous accuracy. … He has built it at camps. I’ve had him work with quarterback gurus, really high-level coaches. But when he arrived to them, they said he’s a bit of a freak.”

Perkins was taking a big gamble abandoning his usual mix of power formations, I-back sets and split-back veer plays. The new system would require complete buy-in from the players, and would look foolish if it failed. It didn’t take Perkins long to see he had made the right move.

“The spring before we installed it, I remember telling my assistants we might throw the ball 20 times a game,” he said. “Then in spring ball I watched Kaylor throw, and I said we might throw 25 times a game. Then we had a camp in June in Fort Bragg, with a lot of good teams coming in, and after that I told them we might throw 50 times a game. I was watching the kid do things I had no idea he’d be capable of doing.”

Sullivan brings the two basic qualities that define most great quarterbacks: ample natural ability and a burning work ethic.

Sullivan is 6-foot-2 and weighs about 190 pounds. His brother was a 6-5, 305-pounder who played college football, and Perkins thinks Kaylor will fill out further. He has a lively arm, and he made it stronger this past offseason.

“His completion percentage is actually a little down from last year,” Perkins said. “The reason is a lot of dropped passes. I think the ball is coming out so much harder that kids are having a little trouble catching it.”

Sullivan’s top receiver, junior Lucas Triplett, said his quarterback has gotten much faster afoot since last season, too, thanks to extensive speed training. Sullivan said it was a priority for him. Perkins used to tease him that he ran like “a bubble going through honey.” The bubble’s a lot faster now.

Three seconds to deliver the ball

With all of his physical ability, though, the challenges of the Fort Bragg offense are primarily mental.

“The key is he is able go through multiple progressions in a short amount of time,” Perkins said. “It’s something he’s just very good at. This system won’t work with an average quarterback.”

Perkins’ offense is simple in that it doesn’t use a large number of plays. The complexity is in the processing it demands of the quarterback. Plays come in from the sidelines, and Perkins doesn’t even know where the ball will go. There is rarely a primary receiver. It’s up to Sullivan to scan as many as five routes and get the ball to the open man in a matter of seconds.

According to Triplett, it’s another area in which Sullivan has improved.

“His choices are 10 times better — well, not 10 times. It’s not like he was bad last year,” Triplett said. “But he’s stronger at it. He knows where to put the ball every down.”

The true lethality of the Fort Bragg offense is in its pace. Perkins generally wants the ball out of Sullivan’s hand in less than three seconds. The Timberwolves will strike with deep routes if you allow it, but they thrive on quick slants and outs. They can run the ball with a lead, but as Perkins said, “The real short (passing) stuff is basically our running game.”

It’s all done without pause. Fort Bragg hasn’t huddled since 2013.

A typical high school offense, Perkins said, will run about 45 plays per game. When Sullivan was on the field last year, the Timberwolves averaged just under 70, which according to the coach was second only to St. Bernard’s in the North Coast Section.

It’s effective, and it’s fun.

“When you run 65 plays a game, the goal is to play the equivalent of five quarters of football every game,” Perkins said. “So the kids get to play more games, which they love.”

The town has the murmur

It requires a level of conditioning that most high school teams don’t approach, though. The Fort Bragg linemen start practice with a one-mile run. Their main job on Fridays isn’t particularly taxing, since pass blocking for quick routes is quick work. But watch those 8-yard Timberwolves passes over the middle, and you’ll inevitably see linemen hustle into the frame to block downfield.

Most of Fort Bragg’s conditioning is accomplished sneakily. Take the tempo drill, which the Timberwolves run twice a week.

“It’s incredible to watch the first time,” Perkins said. “We start at one end of the field, and we run offense versus defense at game conditions. We run as many plays as we can run in a 25-minute period. So we’re basically conditioning for 25 minutes, though we’re not focused on that. And during that 25-minute period, we’re running as many plays as we do in a game. So twice a week, we condition by playing a full game.”

Of course, none of this would be impressive if it didn’t translate to success on the field, but it has. Most opposing coaches peg the Timberwolves as the team to beat in the NCL I this year. The playoffs will be brutal with Cardinal Newman, and perhaps Marin Catholic, dropping down to Division 4. But Fort Bragg is standing tall among small school public schools.

The neighbors have noticed. Friday, the Timberwolves open the NCL I regular season by hosting Clear Lake, in a game that was moved from Lakeport because of devastation caused by the Valley fire. The stands will almost certainly be packed.

“The whole town really has kind of that murmur, like they kind of know this might be special,” Sam Perkins, the lineman, said. “Random older guys who played before come up to me, I don’t know who they are, and they’re kind of asking me questions about the team.”

Sam knows how deeply ingrained football is on the Mendocino coast. His uncle played with Sullivan’s dad. Their grandfathers played together before that.

“It makes you want to win that much more,” Perkins said. “My grandma, she’s 93 and she still comes to watch games. I want to make her proud.”

The mill may be gone, but football is thriving in Fort Bragg.

(Courtesy, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 19, 2015

Bettencourt, Campbell, Carranza-Alvarez, Castner
Bettencourt, Campbell, Carranza-Alvarez, Castner

CURTIS BETTENCOURT, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

WAYNE CAMPBELL, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

CARLOS CARRANZA-ALVAREZ, Salinas/Ukiah. Pot sale, transport, furnish.

SHANTAYLAH CASTNER, Kelseyville/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

Gibson, Henriquez, Kirkland
Gibson, Henriquez, Kirkland

LEON GIBSON, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, loitering, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

RICHAR HENRIQUEZ, Stony Point, New York/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, sale, transport, furnish, conspiracy.

BARRY KIRKLAND, Willits. Resisting.

Leahy, Magdaleno, Mandato
Leahy, Magdaleno, Mandato

MERI LEAHY, Marysville/Ukiah. Robbery.

LUNA MAGDALENO, Ukiah. DUI.

ROBERT MANDATO, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, sale, transport furnish, conspiracy.

Marfil, McCann, Rutherford
Marfil, McCann, Rutherford

MARIA MARFIL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

TIMOTHY MCCANN, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

JOHN RUTHERFORD, Willits. County parole violation.

Schuler, Smith, Warras
Schuler, Smith, Warras

JAKE SCHULER, Willits. Domestic battery.

JANICE SMITH, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

SHAWN WARRAS, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.

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EYESORE "ART" COMING TO VAN NESS AVENUE

TO: Zoe Taleporos, San Francisco Arts Commission

This is public comment on the San Francisco Arts Commission’s selection of three towers to be installed in the middle of Van Ness Avenue at the intersections of Market, Sutter, and Union as part of the Van Ness “Bus Rapid Transit” [BRT] project, which will remove two traffic lanes, nearly all of the parking, and all of the mature trees on Van Ness Avenue to install four lanes of red-painted pavement in the center of Van Ness Avenue for exclusive use of buses.

MaybeArt

The three Jorge Pardo towers are hideous, and you, San Francisco Arts Commission, need to get a grip. To claim they are some form of “modern” conceptual art depicting “redwood trees” growing out of concrete is a painful attempt at justifying this garbage. Conceptual art itself is a joke that’s been repeated for 100 years now, since Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal as “Fountain,” circa 1917. Duchamp’s “Fountain” would be much more appropriate for San Francisco streets, but the point is, we get it, and, far from being “modern,” the joke is old and stale now!

Instead of more ugly visual clutter, leave the actual trees in the Van Ness median strip, or add real redwood trees there — not a conceptual joke on the public and taxpayers! The BRT itself is an ugly, unwelcome visual adulteration of a grand boulevard that is also a U.S. Highway traveled by millions, adding insult to the injury of permanent traffic congestion.

The only good that will come out of your joke on the public is to once and for all enable the public to mount enough outrage for a campaign to de-fund the San Francisco Arts Commission, along with preventing the MTA and the SFCTA from doling out millions for this garbage.

Sincerely,

Mary Miles, San Francisco

* * *

Rob Anderson's comment:

From the Arts Commission's site we get this artspeak:

Jorge Pardo’s work draws on multiple disciplines as it challenges historical definitions and discourses. His visually seductive body of work explores the intersection of contemporary painting, design, sculpture, and architecture. Employing a broad palette of vibrant colors, eclectic patterns, and natural and industrial materials, Pardo’s works range from murals to home furnishings to collages to larger-than-life fabrications.

For the Van ness Bus Rapid Transit project, Pardo has designed three large scale lighting sculptures (20’x7.5’x5.5’). The sculptures will be fabricated from steel that will be illuminated from within. The artworks will be cited[sic] at the end of the platforms at the Market, Sutter, Bush and Union Street Stations.

Artist Statement: “the work is an urban coastal redwood……it is made of steel, light and weather[sic]…..it is young not old….it comes out of the concrete…not the soil….it does not grow…..its purpose is to orient and remind….maybe of the past….maybe the present…..it is an urban machine…"

Insult to injury: Junk "art" is also planned for Masonic Avenue after the city screws up traffic on that busy street.

(Courtesy, Rob Anderson, District 5 Diary)

* * *

LabelLaw

* * *

S.1894, TO ELIMINATE STRIPED BASS, LARGEMOUTH AND SMALLMOUTH BASS and other non-native fisheries from the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and Tributaries

Contact:

John Beuttler, Allied Fishing Groups, 510-526-4049, JBeuttler@aol.com

Dr. David Ostrach, Allied Fishing Groups, 530-219-1451, djostrach@gmail.com

Mike McKenzie, Allied Fishing Groups, (209) 772-9398, stripermike@earthlink.net

Senators Feinstein and Boxer recently introduced federal legislation to provide short-term water supplies to drought-stricken California and projects to help recover salmon. This legislation mandates the eradication of all non-native fish from the Bay Delta Estuary, and its tributaries. Specifically, the bill would authorize the Secretaries of Interior and Commerce, in concert with State and Federal fishery agencies, to conduct projects to reduce invasive aquatic vegetation, and non-native fish which allegedly contribute to the decline of native salmon and steelhead protected by State and Federal Endangered Species Acts.

While some worthy species such as Asiatic clams and Brazilian water weed are targeted for destruction, so are valuable sport fisheries including striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, white and channel catfish. Unfortunately, also included for eradication are species that constitute a substantial and integral part of estuary’s food web, such as silversides, thread fin shad and gobies. The bill would also mandate a Pilot Program to “protect” salmon and steelhead by the removal of striped bass from the Stanislaus River.

Under the semblance of alleviating problems caused by the drought, the senators have unfortunately missed the massive environmental impacts that occur due to exporting vast amounts of the estuary’s water by the State and Federal Water Projects. These projects have been found to be the primary cause for the declines of salmon, delta smelt, steelhead, striped bass and sturgeon and for the extensive degradation of the productivity of estuary’s ecosystem.

The bill’s authors failed to use the best available science on the estuary’s fisheries and ignores the extensive peer-reviewed science on non-native fisheries that found fish predation to be the least important stressor on the estuary’s fisheries and one that does not have an impact on the estuary’s ecology or the population levels of the fish species listed under the State and Federal Endangered Species Act. The State’s foremost experts on Delta’s fisheries, including respected fisheries scientist Dr. David Ostrach, agree that the peer reviewed science demonstrates striped bass predation does not impact delta smelt and salmon populations listed under the ESA and, there is little evidence of impacts from other species that has passed the standard of being peer reviewed science by qualified fishery scientists. Prior to the building of the State and Federal water projects facilities, all the estuary’s fishery resources thrived together as did the productivity of the estuary’s food web.

John Beuttler, Conservation Director of the Allied Fishing Groups states, “Prior to the building of the State and Federal water projects facilities, all the estuary’s fishery resources thrived together as did the estuary’s food web. It is critical for our government to stay focused on the problems that significantly impact the estuary’s fisheries and aquatic ecosystem. State and Federal government must be compelled to find the funding and the wisdom necessary to address the impacts caused by the massive export of water from the Delta by the water projects. Unfortunately, this legislation fails to provide meaningful assistance in solving the significant problems that caused the collapse of the estuary’s food web and the serious population declines to our salmon, steelhead and striped bass fisheries. Instead, it proposes to eradicate publicly owned fisheries in the Delta that still generates a huge amount of sportfishing recreation and hundreds of millions of dollars to local, state and national economies annually.”

This legislation would decimate the striped bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass and other recreational fisheries throughout the Bay and Delta region, while failing to deal with the fundamental problems that have been so destructive to the estuary and our native fishes.

Dan Blanton, a nationally-recognized author and sportfishing expert sums up the legislation: “While well-meaning to help drought stricken California and its native species, this legislation is misguided by attempts of certain corporate growers to remove anglers from the water equation. Remove the fish, the anglers lose interest, the fishing-related businesses go bankrupt, and our vocal opposition to irresponsible Delta water exports ends. Fortunately, that is not how it will work. The growers and some of our legislators have grossly underestimated our dedication to preserving the unique Bay-Delta environment that includes intentionally introduced sport fisheries that provide important economic and recreational benefits.”

The Allied Fishing Groups is requesting all recreational anglers engage to inform your Senators in congress of your opposition to this legislation unless it is amended as recommended by the Allied Fishing Groups. Please call, email or write Senators Feinstein and Boxer at:

The Honorable Barbara Boxer

112 Hart Senate Office Building

The Honorable Diane Feinstein

331 Hart Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, DC 20510-0505 Washington, D.C. 20510

Fax: (202) 224-0454 Fax: (202) 228-3954

Phone: (202) 224-3553 Phone: (202) 224-3841

The Allied Fishing Groups are a voice for California's two million recreational anglers. We represent some 36 sport fishing organizations across the state working to save, protect and restore Northern California’s fisheries and their habitat. We are guided by science and our many years of direct experience in fishery management. Our Steering Committee is comprised of fishery professionals, scientists and dedicated anglers. We work with sport fishing business, government and sport fishing organizations to implement practical and lasting solutions to the serious problems facing our fisheries and their habitat.

* * *

“THERE ARE SPRAWLING INDUSTRIES and self-proclaimed career “terrorism experts” in the U.S. that profit greatly by deliberately exaggerating the threat of Terrorism and keeping Americans in a state of abject fear of “radical Islam.” There are all sorts of polemicists who build their public platforms by demonizing Muslims and scoffing at concerns over “Islamaphobia,” with the most toxic ones insisting that such a thing does not even exist, even as the mere presence of mosques is opposed across the country, or even as they are physically attacked.

The U.S. government just formally renewed the “State of Emergency” it declared in the aftermath of 9/11 for the 14th time since that attack occurred, ensuring that the country remains in a state of permanent, endless war, subjected to powers that are still classified as “extraordinary” even though they have become entirely normalized. As a result of all of this, a minority group of close to 3 million people is routinely targeted with bigotry and legal persecution in the Home of the Free, while fear and hysteria reign supreme in the Land of the Brave.

What happened in Irving, Texas, yesterday to a 14-year-old Muslim high school freshman is far from the worst instance, but it is highly illustrative of the rotted fruit of this sustained climate of cultivated fear and demonization. The Dallas Morning News reports that “Ahmed Mohamed — who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart — hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High,” but “instead, the school phoned police.”

Despite insisting that he made the clock to impress his engineering teacher, consistent with his long-time interest in “inventing stuff,” Ahmed was arrested by the police and led out of school with his hands cuffed behind him. When he was brought into the room to be questioned by the four police officers who had been dispatched to the school, one of them — who had never previously seen him — said: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” As a result, he “felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name — one of the most common in the Muslim religion.”

–Glenn Greenwald

* * *

YO HO, YO HO, IT'S TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

At http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find the recording of last night’s (2015-09-18) KNYO Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show ready to download and keep or just play with one click.

Also I put a link there to just the 20 minutes of a Liberty (religious college) event this last Monday where Bernie Sanders spoke to, it looks like, 20,000 people in a hoarse, earnest voice about how if they're all for Jesus and everything they should abhor the unjust plutocracy America has become and work to change it. And they ate it up.

Further, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there are wholesale quantities of worthwhile but not necessarily radio-useful items that I found while putting my show together. Here are just a few:

Find the cat.* http://imgur.com/gallery/jFkV2

Ever better photos of Pluto. http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/09/pluto-like-youve-never-seen-it-before/405904/

A smart computer auto-captions web photographs, getting it wrong, maybe, but in a poetic way. https://twitter.com/interesting_jpg

And the museum of telephony burned down in the Butte fire. Here are several galleries of photos of the thousands of its irreplaceable antique instruments in happier days. http://jklmuseum.com/jkl-museum-photo-galleries/

— - Marco McClean

memo@mcn.org

http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

*Answer: Look halfway down, 1/6 of the way over from the left.

21 Comments

  1. Judy Valadao September 20, 2015

    So PINIZZOTTO works for OMG. Then PINIZZOTTO goes to work for Mendocino County. Didn’t Anna Shaw’s husband work for Mendocino County at that time also? Then everything is set into place and OMG get’s the Mental Health contract from the County and Anna Shaw’s group get’s to sub contract from OMG? Kind of keeps the money flowing in one little circle doesn’t it? Then of course Fort Bragg steps in to hand over yet millions more. All of this being done and leading the public to believe it’s all to help those needing help. Who is it really helping? Reminds me of the saying “lining one’s pockets off the misery of others.” Dave Turner actually apologized to the community of Fort Bragg and admitted there should have more meetings on the subject of the Old Coast Hotel. What good does that do after the fact that it was/is a “done deal”? In the eyes of many this is nothing more than a money game and has nothing to do with helping anyone.

    • BB Grace September 20, 2015

      Mental Health Board meetings notes. Incomplete Mental Health Board meeting mintutes are marked (*):

      Mental Health Board established in 2007

      Sept 2010 HHSA Interim Assistant Director, Susan Era introduces Pinizzotto as a consultant (title 1).

      Oct 2010 Cryer appoints, and Mental Health Board recommends, Pinizotto for Iterim Mental Health Branch Director (Tile 2)

      Nov 2010 Pinizotto Iterim Mental Health Branch Director (Consultant)

      Dec 2010: Anna Shaw at meeting

      March 2011, Mental Health Director position created.

      June 2011, Pinizzotto listed as “Staff” first time, and Mental Health Branch Director (title number 3)
      (Anna Shaw at meeting)

      July 2011, Pinizzotto Mental Health Director and Extra Help (title number 4)

      February 2012, Jim Shaw application: note in minutes, Mental Health Board was not included in the process of application

      March 2012, Jim Shaw seated, BHRS Interim Director Jenefer Owen CDBG Mendocino County, Mendocino County Health Clinic, Hospitality House

      April 2012, Privatization discussion

      May 2012, BHRS partner with Fort Bragg

      July 2012 Chair Grenney resigns

      Aug 2012*, Williamson Chair
      Sept 2012*
      Oct 2012*
      Nov 2012* Shaw Chair
      Dec. 2012*

      February 2013* Anna Shaw

      March 2013 Anna Shaw; BBGRACE (first time I applied. The person the board selected went to one meeting and resigned).

      June 2013 Nov 2013 Anna Shaw creates Coast Action Center (I can not find any source to this, no business, board, nada), though MHB minutes Vice Chair Schwartz, 4th district seat Bassler were members and Anna Shaw director.

      November 2013 Jim Shaw resigns.

      Jan 2014, Tom Pinizzotto; HHSA Asst. Director Health Services, (title number 5)

      Feb 2014, CAG – Vice Chair Schwartz reported he would like to share the matrixes this committee puts out with the MHB members. He provided copies for Tari to scan and distribute to the members. Housing First was discussed and two reports submitted. Roger provided Tari with a copy of the reports to scan and distribute to the members. It
      has been found beneficial to provide housing for clients who backslide.

      Mar 2014, CAG – Member Bassler or Schwartz-Meeting attended by Members Bassler and Schwartz.

      April 2014, CAG – Member Bassler reported the meeting is scheduled for tomorrow this month. Member Bassler will report out
      at the May meeting.

      May 2014, CAG – Member Bassler
      i) City was awarded a grant to provide funding for housing.
      ii) Planned for next meeting – Buddy Eller closing impact on homelessness in Fort Bragg. Chair Shaw to invite Jacque Williams, Director, Ford Street Project to speak on this subject.

      June 2014, CAG – Member Bassler or Schwartz – neither member received an invitation.

      August 2014, AGENDA ITEM NO. 5 – ANNA SHAW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MCHC, COASTAL ACTION GROUP (CAG) REPORT – 15 MINUTES
      a) Anna Shaw notified Chair Wetzler she is not available to attend this meeting.

      September 2014, AGENDA ITEM NO. 7 – GUEST- DISCUSSION & ACTION – 30 MINUTES
      a) Libby Guthrie: Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network (MCAVHN)
      reports – 10 Minutes – Libby Gurthrie reports their programs have been adapted to encompass chronic illnesses. She stated they have served 17 individuals who have come through the 11:00 Calendar and she explained the steps for evaluations and Plan of Care.
       Member Bassler asks about out-reach – No official outreach but referrals are made by Judge Morman, Integrated Care Management Solutions (iCMS), Manzanita Services or family members.
      b) Anna Shaw: Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center (MCHC) reports – 10 Minutes –
      Anna brought a flow chart to explain the process and positions of those who provide their services. They have the only homeless shelter in the County. They fund raise 60% of the cost of keeping the doors open. – Libby is working with Catholic Charities regarding shelter.
       Supervisor Hamburg ask about their fund raising activities and where most of their funds come from – The monies mainly come from Fort Bragg, Mendocino and the Coast with an occasional donation from Santa Rosa and the Bay Area.
       Member Schwartz and Member Bassler attended the Coast Action Group September 16, 2014. They were impressed by information provided by the police representative and their
       MENTAL HEALTH BOARD – ACTION MINUTES – SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 PAGE 4
      tele-communications system. Member Schwartz asked Supervisor Hamburg to look into the tele-communications system for use at Mental Health Advisory Board meetings.
       Supervisor Hamburg asked Anna Shaw to confirm the increase in homeless on the coast since the closure of the Buddy Eller Center – Anna Shaw confirmed with an affirmative.

      Oct 2014, What has changed? http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/pdf/MHAB_Final_Minutes_10-15-14.pdf

      Nov 2014 Anna Shaw guest speaker

      Feb 2015 (minutes no longer on pdf) Anna Shaw says http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/pdf/2-18-15_Signed_Final_Minutes.pdf

      March 2015 Anna Shaw invites MHB to tour Old Coast (not) http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/pdf/MHAB_Final_Minutes_3-18-15.pdf

  2. Harvey Reading September 20, 2015

    Eliminating welfare farmers in the Central Valley would actually restore fisheries. Hell, striped bass and the other introduced species have been around since the late 19th Century and coexisted with salmon and steelhead all that time. The difference is that now the water, which, as some may be aware, is essential habitat to fish, is practically given away to welfare ag which then grows nonessential crops, or sells it to other water agencies, while the public pays the real costs of delivering this subsidized water.

    This is just more smoke and mirrors by a delegation that is owned by welfare farmers and supported by the “findings” of biostitute consultants who tailor their work to satisfy whomever is currently paying them. Anyone who thinks Feinstein or her buddy, Boxer, are progressive needs their heads examined …

  3. Harvey Reading September 20, 2015

    ““THERE ARE SPRAWLING INDUSTRIES and self-proclaimed career “terrorism experts” in the U.S. that profit greatly by deliberately exaggerating the threat of Terrorism and keeping Americans in a state of abject fear of “radical Islam.”

    Ya think? We are a nation of gullible fools, seasoned with a good dose of institutionalized racism.

  4. chuck dunbar September 20, 2015

    Regarding the editor’s critical comments today about the BOS and their troubling relationship with reports submitted by the County Grand Jury, and especially pertaining to the Grand Jury’s recent critical report about HHSA-FCS: Following is a recent letter I sent to BOS members, as well as others, about these issues:

    September 14, 2015

    Members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
    County Administration Offices
    Room 1010
    501 Low Gap Road
    Ukiah, CA 95482

    Dear Members of the Board of Supervisors:

    I am writing to you regarding the May 19, 2015, Grand Jury report concerning Family and Children Services (FCS), “Family and Children’s Services: Children at Risk,”, and the subsequent responses to this report by Stacey Cryer of Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and Carmel Angelo, County CEO. I write because these issues matter to me as a concerned citizen, and as a former Mendocino County FCS employee. I served for over 18 years in the FCS Fort Bragg office, until I retired in January 2014. For 15 of those years I was the supervisor (master’s degree level) in this unit.

    I was one of a number of present and former FCS staff members who testified before the Grand Jury during its investigation of FCS problems in 2014-2015. This investigation was triggered by citizens’ complaints about FCS practices and function. I testified in the hope that Grand Jury feedback to HHSA and the community might bring positive changes and needed reform to FCS. I found the Grand Jury report to be a credible and accurate document. The report underscored the fundamental problems in FCS that many FCS staff have been concerned about for the past several years. The problems identified by the Grand Jury had all been openly and repeatedly discussed among FCS staff for a long time. It was all common knowledge for those who worked on the FCS front lines.

    The County’s responses to the Grand Jury report are generally non-responsive, cursory and lacking in substance. Many responses are mere assertions, some of them very brief. The County mostly provided no evidence for their assertions, and provided no information of further investigation of disputed facts by either HHSA or the CEO. Serious findings by the Grand Jury are at times just denied in the County responses, with little or no discussion. The County’s responses stand in stark contrast to the lengthy Grand Jury report, which was the result of a months’-long, serious, and substantive investigation of FCS problems. Though FCS administrators asked FCS staff for their feedback regarding the Grand Jury report, there is no mention of such feedback in the HHSA or CEO report responses. The two responses are actually quite similar in their rhetoric; no independent, critical thinking appears to have been engaged in. The County’s responses seem to imply that the Grand Jury’s investigation was of little worth and required no real thought or attention—and no real changes–by the County.

    The Grand Jury report highlights the lack of sufficient FCS staffing. Apparently no one disagrees with this central report finding; the County’s responses have admitted this is a problem. In fact, this reality is not arguable; it was an easy call for the County to agree. However, several related issues that the County’s responses disputed are also highlighted in the Grand Jury report. These issues concern the ongoing poor treatment of FCS staff, and the command and control style of FCS leadership, as well as the consequent problem of poor morale and the exodus of key FCS staff over the last several years. These problems are closely related to the openly acknowledged problem of insufficient social worker staff. These important issues are largely ignored and/or denied in both the HHSA and the CEO responses.

    But, I am certain, many FCS staff would assert this belief: If FCS administration does not address and remediate these problems, staff hiring/retention issues will never be resolved. If social workers and other staff are not treated with respect, honesty and some degree of kindness by management, and if they are not allowed to participate in decisions that affect their work, FCS will never be able to retain sufficient staff. It won’t matter how many new social workers and support staff are hired. If they are not treated well, if the agency is not a decent place to work, many will leave. It’s just that simple. Social workers generally have an aversion to a command and control form of leadership. It’s a leadership style ill-suited to a social service agency, and more suited to the military services, or perhaps law enforcement agencies. (I invite Supervisors to re-read the pertinent parts of pages 8-12 of the Grand Jury report. Though the report is an investigative summary –the confidential interviews in full would detail many more facts about these issues–these portions speak clearly to an FCS leadership often marked by a quality of mean-spiritedness.)

    Here is one specific example of the FCS problems noted by the Grand Jury–the recent exodus of experienced staff– that the County’s responses tersely deny. By contrast, here is factual information about this issue:

    Following is a list of staff members who left FCS service over the last several years (from fall 2013). It is a partial list, as other staff members, including some with master’s degrees, also left FCS service during this time. However, this list includes a number of key FCS personnel, most of whom had master’s level degrees (several with licensed clinical status—MFT/LCSW) and substantial child welfare experience. Most of these staff members had served in FCS positions for a number of years; it is not overstating the matter to say that as a group they formed a core part of the agency. Some of these staff members were FCS unit supervisors, a central and critical position in the agency (Ms. Turner-Moore, Ms. Brown, Ms. Raust, Ms. Silva, and Mr. Dunbar). One (Ms. Woldemar), was a program specialist, the acknowledged FCS expert in an important agency function, Family Strengths services. All were committed, dedicated staff who had earned the respect and admiration of FCS front-line staff.

    (I’ve redacted staff names for this comment.)

    While individual staff left FCS for various reasons, I have personal knowledge (with one exception… who I did not work with) that all of these staff were frustrated and troubled by the FCS leadership failings made clear in the Grand Jury report. For most of them, I know that a primary reason for leaving FCS had to do with agency leadership. The combined loss of these staff members, and of others not named here, was a serious blow to FCS continuity of services. and the agency’s depth of child welfare expertise, as the Grand Jury report details.

    Here is another very specific example of the past and current exodus of FCS staff and of the consequences of these losses. This example is of special interest and worry to me, as it concerns the unit I worked in and cared about for many years: The Fort Bragg FCS unit, a small satellite office, currently operates in a crippled status. Since the fall of 2013, this unit has lost 5 social worker and supervisory staff. Most of these employees were master’s level staff; two had licensed clinical status also. Their combined experience in child protection work was more than 85 years. This unit currently has no permanent, coast-based supervisor. Two more social workers (one a master’s level social worker) are currently in the process of leaving the unit. With that staff loss, the unit will be able to offer only limited services to coast families and children. I know and respect all of these staff, as I had worked closely with all of them before I retired. I also know that, while their individual reasons for leaving FCS work varied, there was a common and important thread, expressed often by all of them. This thread involved the lack of support by management, the lack of open communication and joint problem-solving by management, and the over-riding command and control leadership style.

    It saddens me to write about these issues and to know they have not yet been acknowledged and effectively dealt with. The real cost to FCS of these continuing problems is great. If they were effectively addressed, FCS would be a better place to work. Social workers and support staff would be much more likely to commit to years of service with Mendocino County FCS. The upside of this problem is that its solution is not related to funding. It just takes management staff willing to treat staff decently and with kindness. It would be a wonderful thing if FCS became a great agency to work for, with staff being treated with respect, and kindness, and clear and honest communication.

    The Grand Jury report was an important public service, exposing serious problems in FCS to the light of day. The report offered County administrators a chance to correct the problems and re-make FCS into a higher functioning agency. I still have some hope that might occur, so I offer these thoughts to you. I hope the Board of Supervisors will take action and motivate FCS to effectively address its problems. Thank you for considering my feedback.

    Respectfully,
    Chuck Dunbar, M.A.
    cc:
    Carmel Angelo, CEO
    Stacey Cryer, HHSA
    Bryan Lowery, HHSA
    Jena Conner, FCS
    Sue Norcross, FCS
    Jim Mockel,FCS
    Deborah Lovett, FCS
    Thelma Giwoff, FCS
    John Passalacqua, Dependency Attorney

    • james marmon September 20, 2015

      Thank you Chuck Dunbar for speaking out about Family and Children’s Services. I know that I only had limited contact with you during the years I was employed at FCS. Therefore I don’t know you all that well, but I always respected how you provided protection for the children on the Coast with minimal resources. You of all people should be listened to. You are a true hero.

      See everyone, I can be nice too, but I really mean what I said.

  5. james marmon September 20, 2015

    “Criticism is essential. If nobody says anything negative, how can you expect things to improve?” (Mark Scaramella)

    I agree with your uncle 100% Mr. Scaramella. Unfortunately, the County believes that negative comments are disrespectful and therefore violates their policy of “open, honest. and respectful communication.”

    Every time that I attempted to be open and honest, I was quickly reprimanded for being disrespectful. It was crazy making, sometimes the truth hurts I guess.

    Criticism is not tolerated at any level in Mendocino County, the nice people will never allow it. They’re known for their passive aggressive behavior and will do anything they feel is necessary to silence any Nay Sayers. Look what they did to Woodhouse, the poor guy has to be terrified now that anything he says or does could result to him being charged with a sexual harassment claim. He’s been warned, and apparently will be on his own should someone do so.

    Groupthink exists here. Do yourself a favor, ask questions, think for yourself, and evolve. The mind guards will do their best to silence you but stay strong.

    Speaking of Groupthink, I’m somewhat entertained with the development of “Camp Love.” It appears that the nice people running this evacuee shelter are getting out in front of things from the get go. I saw this post yesterday.

    “Please do not post anything negative on this site. The people out here are working as hard and with as much love in their hearts that anyone can. If you have a problem, please contact one of the coordinators and let them know. We are all human. This IS a camp of love, and no negativity will be accepted. Let’s be adults and talk about the issue if you have one, thank you so very much.” (sounds like Family and Children’s Services)

    I hope they don’t get too carried away out there, up until the fire these refugees had been managing their own lives. Many of the refugees may not want to be part of a communal like environment and may just simply be happy with the privacy of their own campsite. As long as they are not breaking any laws, they should be allowed that privacy. The last I heard, alcohol and medical marijuana is legal in Mendocino County, I hope no one is being denied entry or asked to leave because of this. BB Graces’ “housing first” model should be initiated out there. Love and shelter should not be for the clean and sober only.

    When my mother first came to the Ukiah Valley in the 40’s she said she had to live at the Farm Labor Camp just outside of Ukiah. Her father was a logger and they migrated down from Crescent City. She said that many of the people living at the camp were forced to live there because of the lack of housing in Mendocino County. There was plenty of work, but no place to live but in the camp, finding a rental was almost impossible. A lot of those migrants

    She said that the people living at the camp formed their own government and wrote their own rules. She said that they monitored themselves and even had their own store. Volunteers were chosen from within the community with very little outside involvement. She also told me that there was always conflict among the residents because you had dust bowl migrants mixing with west coast natives who all came to the land of plenty at the same time. She said the biggest problem was that people simply “didn’t understand other people’s ways”

    A lot of these migrants eventually were able to find cheap land and build in the area just west of where Lake Mendocino is now, the community became known as “Okie Flats”. Now I think its called Redwood Valley Estates, or something like that.

    Anyway, excuse my mother, she quickly assimilated to Ukiah’s culture of nicety. She had experience at being nice, at age 5 she became a Salvation Army soldier and after many years of managing the Ukiah Salvation Army Store she retired and now receives a small (I mean tiny) pension for her years dedication to the poor. She is about as nice as nice can be, just ask anyone who knows her. June Woolley is her name. She even lives in the town of Nice today for heaven’s sake.

    Unlike her son, she too always tries to put a nice spin on things. Those people hated each other out at that camp, and she knows it. I told her that it was more like “camp hate” then. She said, no they always found a way to resolve things, and if they didn’t, the sheriff was called out to intervene.

    She also told me that most of the men drank in the camp after a hard days work. She said that Sam, the guy who ran the store actually sold beer and whiskey to the men. She said most of the battles were among the women in the camp, primarily over their kids. The men for the most part got along. Go figure.

    I’ll probably be kicked off the “camp love” facebook page for these opinions, but I really do believe that responsibilities need to be delegated among the residents of the community. Even Drug and Alcohol treatment facilities have “Resident Council’s.” As soon as these people can start taking care of themselves the better off everyone will be. I agree that they need some oversight, but they really need to self govern themselves.

    “All we need is love, love, love” will only go so far.

    Enough ranting for today, I’m “really” trying to limit myself, but the world is so interesting and in so much need, I find it hard keep my mouth shut. Years of frustration coming out all at once, I guess. My opinions are finally relevant to the issues facing all of us today, and I just so happen to be qualified to have opinions based not only on a personal perspective, but a professional perspective as well.

    I’m probably not the “grow your own” type social worker that Ms. Cryer told the board that she hopes to develop someday. I was sent to some of the finest schools in and out of town. Plenty of hard knocks, and an adult education. I guess you could call me a weed or something. I was born on the 4th of July downtown Ukiah, and I am truly an independent thinker.

    Please don’t shut me off AVA, your graciousness to allow me to voice myself is greatly appreciated. America and the first amendment is at its best in your publications. Keep fanning the flames of discontent.

    Thank you
    James Marmon, MSW.
    (Mr. Negative)

    P.S. Since I’m kissing ass, I hope we can all learn from “Camp Love,” good or bad. Especially in the development of what many AVA readers have come to know as the future “Camp Anderson.” A place where all homeless people would be welcome, regardless of any Alcohol/drug use and/or mental health issues. Just get them off the street as a starter sounds good to me. This should be a no brainer.

      • james marmon September 20, 2015

        Camp Love volunteers are getting a lot of publicity for their efforts, I think it would be a better story if the residents of Camp Love were being praised for their ability to organize and police themselves especially in light of a natural disaster.

        Where’s a good social worker when you need one? Empower these people folks, they are homeless not helpless.

        • Mike September 20, 2015

          Our Sheriff, former Sheriff Tuso (who took the pics), Lake Co’s Sheriff, and a Lake Co. BOS member all just finished visiting Camp Love (name now part of title of their FB page). They visited with the volunteers and residents.

          City Councilwoman Mo Mulheren has her supportive eye also on the place. (She’s posting on their FB page.)

          As an Army Corps of Engineer site, medical marijuana usage should no longer be an issue. Last December, Congress codified in a spending bill the Obama orders instructing federal agencies to allow legal medical marijuana where it’s been legalized. This was done so quietly, people may not know this.

          • james marmon September 20, 2015

            City Counsel member Mo Mulheren’s posts all seem to be encouraging people to go home. She is probably concerned that those dirty Lake County people are going to come to town and urinate on everything, or leave shopping carts spread all over town. Mo and Supervisor McCowen must be having nightmares with the thought of any new arrivals.

          • Mike September 22, 2015

            Interesting you say this. I was thinking it, after seeing some posts by her announcing the lifting of evacuations. I mean, I felt her motives, pretty damn transparent.

  6. chuck dunbar September 20, 2015

    Thank you, James, for your kind remarks–I appreciate them very much. The Fort Bragg CPS office was a very fine unit over the last 6 or so years, with very skilled and dedicated social workers. Many of them were master’s level staff, but all were very good at CPS work, and all cared a lot about the clients, children and parents alike. It is sad to see them go, but all are on their paths, and the unit was clearly not given the support it needed from management.I hope that FCS management can build a new and effective unit to serve coast families well.

  7. james marmon September 20, 2015

    I just copied this off of Camp Love’s facebook page, apparently people are not feeling so loved. I thought I would post this before they remove it from their page. Negativity will not be tolerated.

    “In need of people that don’t want a pat on the back and for doing something that should be second nature a hand full of people are making this a nazi camp done . Some people have nothing and your treating it like it’s yours the donaters are great and a few of my friends are making it better .but when volunteers are wearing donated clothes , evacuee denied water for not staying at camp and a fith wheel for evacs being used by volenters I’m here with my wife not for a pat on the back here for hope that if it happend to use someone would do the same.odf ro lake county if anybody fella the needs to do something for the better of good take a load to lake county stop donations I’m a N8ce guy I don’t put people on blast but there is a small town up here and sh x z ur people are scevie sorry but truth hurts.”

  8. Bruce McEwen September 20, 2015

    The Russian princess who advertizes on the AVA’s website, deserves a kiss. I’ll have to blow mine to her through the twitter-sphere… Pucker up!

  9. james marmon September 20, 2015

    RE: Valley Fire and Camp Love.

    CalFire reported tonight that the count of homes destroyed in the Valley Fire has risen to 1,050 and growing. That means that there are thousands of people who are going to be homeless in Lake County. No wonders Lake County Supervisor Rob Brown and Sheriff Martin paid a visit to Camp Love today. That campground is really going to be needed. Most our campgrounds were on Cobb and we lost almost all of them.

    • Mike September 21, 2015

      They’ll have to go with providing people with trailers/mobile homes to park on their burned out parcels, IF one was a property and home owner. BUT: there were a lot of people renting and we know how the affordable rental market is in this overall area. (I know, cheap in Clearlake, CA.)

      • BB Grace September 22, 2015

        Hmmm. I don’t know, but I think looking at video of the burned areas, some areas will be restored, but other areas that lost power/cable, roads, even if the house is standing, some roads and lines won’t be repaired, the owners may be offered fair land value, after all, beside the new marijuana legislation that’s going to make medical marijuana commercial, the fires are taking care of the marijuana culture/”problem”, and if state parks, or national parks were to claim the lands, divide the jurisdictions between BLM, then they have a water supply under control as well.

        Another thing I find interesting is the lack of Congressional, Government RP, we’re not hearing from the elected, at least I haven’t seen anything. Deep sigh.

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