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Letters (Oct 28, 2015)

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Dear Directors of the Community Services District,

I am writing in regard to the proposal for a potential water and sewer system in Boonville. As a resident who will be affected by this plan l attended the meeting held at the Mendocino County fairgrounds on 10/22/15. I missed the first meeting in May and therefore wasn’t aware of the scope of this proposal. Previously I thought the main concern of the board was to deal with the inadequate water and sewer situation on Haehl St. which does need addressing. I’d heard some talk of perhaps putting in an adequate water tank for the residents in need etc. But yesterday I came away with new information and a huge concern over this much larger plan.

The handouts included notes from the meeting of May 20, four maps including the existing area designated for the plan, one of development potential without services, another for development with sewer OR water services and the last with potential with both sewer AND water. And there was a handout from Mendocino County Dept. of Planning and Building, entitled “Boonville Water/Sewer System Build-out Analysis Rationale and Assumptions.” This document gives several scenarios ending with a table which shows that in the designated area on the maps there are 152 residential potential lots with a potential of 174 dwelling units and 58 commercial development potential lots. It then shows the build out with water OR sewer and the potential with BOTH water and sewer. The last figures with both sewer and water show the development potential of 733 lots with 174 - 1441 potential dwelling units and 75 commercial lots.

The meeting proceeded with information on how this new system of water and sewer would function to bring a large amount of development to Boonville. The cost of feasibility is large but not as huge as the actual implementation of installing such a system. At this point there are no designated areas to put in wells and a waste treatment system. And the final cost would be borne by the owners of the designated properties. At least I learned that they had the final vote on whether or not this would be implemented.

Upon returning home I did a quick search for such systems in California and found an August 1, 2014 article in the Hi-Desert Star regarding a wastewater collection and treatment system in Yucca Valley. cost estimates for Yucca Valley sewer project released Part of the article includes this information: “The costs are $96 million for the collection system, $30 million for the treatment plant and $19 million for construction management, design engineering and other expenses. The engineers now estimate the construction costs to property owners in phase one of the rollout will be:

• $18,280 for a single-family home;

• $13,915 for a multi-family residence;

• $10,495 for a mobile home park unit;

• $14,255 for undeveloped land.

• $8,775 for deferred properties, whose connection will be put off until development warrants it.”

These costs are for waste only and don’t include a new water system, which is being proposed in Boonville. And I’m aware that the costs here would not be the same, but it does give something to work with.

If one drives through the area designated on the map most of the lots are small and along the highway. There is no room for potential development. The potential development is on the outskirts of the main town. The people who live along the highway would have to pay a sizable amount of money for the new services, even if they are prorated over a long period of time. In addition they would be paying a monthly charge for the water and sewer service as though they lived in a city.

I live on the outskirts of the area on almost two acres. I have absolutely no desire to buy water each month from some system that holds and distributes water. I also learned that the new infrastructure would come to the edge of the parcel and the owners would bear the cost of bringing the utilities to the required places on their property, which could cost a great deal. The current septic tank would need to be removed (mine is only 15 years old) and hookup to the new pipes installed for that and for the water. In addition to the cost, the excavation and installation of all the pipes needed would create a nightmare of digging and delays in the valley. I don’t think the majority of property owners in the designated map outline can afford such systems. If just the water is done first and septic later the digging and turmoil would happen again.

I moved here just over 40 years ago. I came to live in a beautiful and peaceful valley in the country. The potential build-out of this plan would create a town where there is more noise, more traffic, more businesses, more need for services (probably stop lights) and would change the character of Boonville forever.

The owners on Haehl Street who need a new system could not afford this new plan as proposed. Although I am definitely in support of creating safe water and sewer for the small area in town that needs it, I am adamantly opposed to this larger plan. I do hope that you will reach out to the property owners in the area you propose to install this system and see if there is any agreement for it. There is so much waste in government spending and I don’t think any funds should be allocated unless there is enthusiastic agreement by the majority land owners who will be affected.

Best Regards,

Xenia King


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Usually I dismiss Emil Rossi's commentaries as too outlandish. Imagine my amazement at the most recent one, finding myself in complete agreement. Every four years we've to live thru this presidential election circus. And in between our elected representatives are too busy begging for money and selling us out on the process to do the job we elected them to do in the first place. I would gladly put my $50 in the collection plate

Monika Fuchs


PS. And while I am at it…

I recently started to volunteer at the Ukiah animal shelter. I walk the canine inmates and so do a number of other like minded citizens. The shelter is in a deplorable condition. Obviously underfunded and neglected by the county. As far as I can tell, the people who work there including the director Sage are doing the best they can with the limited resources available. The animals might benefit from a new director with more energy and the skills to navigate the county maze to get more resources for the shelter. This is no place to house mostly dogs and an over abundance of cats long term. As much as I oppose euthanizing any animals, keeping animals in this shelter for months on end is equally cruel. There is plenty of blame to go around from irresponsible citizens who do not neuter/spay their animals and dog owners who do not pay to license their dogs and therefore deprive the shelter of badly needed revenue , to a county administration that neglects its responsibility. I urge all animal lovers to become animal advocates. Volunteers are badly needed at the shelter, so are financial contributions.

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Mendotopia. These childish words. We know the children did not speak these ignorant words. They are much smarter than that. Had to have been one of them spiritless fools who have come here lately. The status symbol crowd, the ones always patching that gaping hole where the Spirit busted out long ago, abandoning ship. We wonder how many dead bodies Mendotopia will produce this year. Humans we mean. Not us creatures of the forest being slaughtered by the thousands so some lame bastard can get a BMW. No spiritless bastards should have access to this beautiful planet, Grandmother Earth. But the Spoiler needs a strong, ignorant army. Wave after wave of them. These are the worst. A carpetbagger infestation. One last thing, how hip are you if the Mexicans and "the law" have told you where and how to go make a killing? We seen this before — land, gold, oil, on and on!

Four-legged, Winged, Fined


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Thank you for your newspaper. After I read it there is a line of Sonoma and Mendo boys waiting patiently.

I just finished volume 63 number 39 and in no way am I trying to disrespect or make a joke of the cold-blooded murder of the late Susan Keegan. May she rest in peace.

But it's cases like this that drive me crazy. I have to wonder if "Dr. Walter K. Miller" stayed up shooting crank, stealing stuff, getting in a high-speed chase and randomly shooting a gun out the window of the car, then surrendering peacefully, instead of the alternative which would have cost my life and with the multiple high capacity magazines in my possession I have to assume Mendocino County would be short a couple of their finest. Thank God that's not the way it ended. I certainly didn't want to die or kill anyone for that matter.

My point I guess is, I always thought that justice was blind. Obviously not with Mr. Eyster as the district attorney. For the right price, my family was told by a lawyer in Santa Barbara that for half a million in cash I would never go to prison. He'd have it thrown out. No one in my family has a "Dr." in front of their names. And although I've been accused of being a "love doctor." I was never good enough to make any money at it. But if the connection was a female I could always work off a dope debt! But besides all that I wonder what Dr. Keegan is doing for Mr. Eyster? Or vice versa? Hmmm?

One last thing: According to the federal court of appeals, a strike conviction that is taken under a plea bargain or agreement is prohibited in a third strike like conviction. Evidently for the first or second strike to be valid the state has to prove you guilty. Just because we get bent over a barrel and plead guilty to a charge doesn't make it factual or true.

I will keep you posted. I got smoked in Mendo and smoked in the state court of appeals. The feds are a whole different ballgame so I stay hopeful.

Thank you,

Not "Dr." Walter Miller


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Three strikes -- the evil of California.

Initially when the Three Strikes law was proposed to the voters in 1994 it was fueled by the abduction/murder of Polly Klaas (and rightly so), and it targeted sex offenders, the theme of all the campaign ads to get the initiative passed. Many voters at the time were not aware that the law required that any prior felony would be used as a strike, therefore thousands of convicted felons were sentenced to 25 to life for drug offenses, property crimes and a host of other nonviolent infractions as long as it was a felony. A lot of good men who have just made some mistakes and bad decisions have been ruined because of the evil Three Strikes law.

All of my strikes are from the 1980s, two nonviolent 459s and one from 1993 (firearm), no injuries, all before the Three Strikes law came into effect. So now I have 96 to life plus 22 years for a bogus assault on a police officer who is fine and moving through the ranks of the Clearlake Police Department.

There are thousands of men in California's prisons who are suffering from the Three Strikes law whose prior strikes date back to the 70s, 80s and early 90s. For those of you who see the injustice of this law, please vote to abolish this insanity or at least amend it to target those who it was intended for — sex offenders. The Three Strikes law has very little impact on the crime rate. In fact violent crime is up 24% from last year in Sacramento County. The most impact is the cost to the taxpayers. Give people another chance. This isn't China or North Korea.

Danny York

Solano State prison


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Re: The Mental Health Clusterfuck.

Everyone wants to be in charge of mental health and never the ones who are actually working in the system, who have been working long term with the county and know it perfectly well.

The far right are now controlling it, Carmel, Cryer, and Pinnochio (get rid of these three and balance may be restored). And only with the blessing of the Mental Health Board and Board of Soup did it go privatized for Oh My Fucking God to take the profits. Now the boards are bitching about what they voted for. They really have no idea what mental health is.

Katie-A is a statewide lawsuit that demands mental health and child protective agencies partner for more high, at-risk foster children. Its not something mental health can privatize yet, or very easily. But leave it to this board of soup to figure out how to do that next! Just bring in a consultant who can!

There must have been some kickbacks in this process, but it’s hard to believe that there is lack of integrity in either “bored or the three headed snake”.

Hmmm, let’s see….

First, Pinnochio comes in, interesting fact above that some of the hiring process was short circuited. He starts his privatizing while Carmel the camel carries him. Somehow, Jim Shaw, the husband of Anna Shaw becomes director of the Mental Health Board, and BTW all mental health services on the coast is now funneled through what was the Coast Hotel under Anna. Pinnochio manages to get the Mental Health Board to vote for privatizing, this is fantastic manipulation by the wooden boy, Pinnochio. Once the MH board is on board, the Soups automatically vote for it. All the things that are coming up now were easily predicted by most of the county mental health employees, easy as pie to predict this crap happening.

So, OMFG gets in, son of Hamburg gets some special favor from the court or something like that. Daughter of Wetzler (present MH board director but voted for privitization while a regular board member) gets 5150s upon his request. He’d been attempting the old county mental health to do so several times without success.

Then there’s the continued payouts to OMG that Pinizzotto and Todd Harris, PhD of OMG have requested from the county above and beyond $7-8 million a year for the contract. They have repeatedly successfully petitioned and received many hundreds of thousands of dollars due to OMG administration costs beyond what they were contracted for. More administration costs and yet no increase in services?

Everyone wants to run mental health now that its a cash cow, but where’s the milk?

Eric Wilcox


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I see an interesting overlap in the public discourse on gun violence and the debate about short-term apartment rentals. If someone shows up at a residence with a gun and orders the residents out, it's called a home invasion and it's illegal. If someone shows up at a residence with a fistful of money and orders the less affluent residents out, it's called gentrification and it's not only legal, it's thought by some to be a form of progress. Both are forms of violence. One is explicit while the other is more subtle — although no less traumatic to those who suffer it.

Riley VanDyke,

San Francisco

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This privatization deal is going to go down in Mendocino history as one of the worst decisions ever made by the Board of Supervisors. It’s right up there with selling the water rights of Lake Mendocino to Sonoma County. Before privatization the County was already extremely dependent on Ortner for placement of our LPS conservatorship clients. We historically have housed a large percentage of our people in their facilities. We currently have an average of 60 to 65 conservatorships a month. The public guardian authorizes all placement decisions and approves all “patches” (County’s share of cost) to these facilities. The public guardian’s (Bryan Lowery’s) office makes all their decisions based on OMG reports and recommendations (see MHAB minutes dated June, 17, 2015).

Since privatization, Lowery has to follow all OMG’s recommendations if he plans on having any place to put our clients. Our alternatives are few and far between, and could mean placing our clients even further away from home than what the Yuba City facilities are. If OMG doesn’t want one of our clients we are forced to beg other inpatient care facilities to accept our clients. And, I mean beg. I was the LPS conservatorship case manager for Lake County for almost 2 years, so I know what it’s like to beg to these facilities. If you are successful in having a client admitted it is usually based on a substantial “patch” being approved. The counties never have the upper hand in this situation. We are always at the mercy of these facilities.

When Carmel Angelo approved this privatization, she may as well have just jumped in bed with the devil. We are now so dependent on Ortner that we have no good way out. Pissing Ortner off could mean having no place close to place our severely mentally ill without paying out the ying yang, if we are not already doing so. It would also limit our ability to shop around. Empty beds are hard to find and we would be left competing with every other county in the state for any beds in which the highest bidder always wins. Tom P’s relationship with Ortner was supposed to get us some special deals right? I don’t think it worked out that way.

I found it extremely humorous that Judge Moorman even thought she could push Ortner around. She has no authority. The County is ultimately responsible when things go wrong, and the County dare not cross Ortner. Having the Feds or State getting involved is only going to complicate things even more. I have no idea as to how they will ever wiggle out of this.

"Oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

PS. You don’t even want to get me started on RQMC/RCS/RCCC. That’s where this mess really started. If it wasn’t for Camille Schrader (owner/operator with her husband) wanting to control all the children services in Mendocino County this thing would have never got off the ground. I wonder what Camille, Lowery, and Anne Molgaard (First 5 Commission Executive Director) are up to now? More plans for the future I’m sure?

James Marmon (Unemployed MSW)

Lake County

“Oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive”

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Dear Editor:

I read with great interest Bruce McEwen’s 10/21/15 front page article “Bedlam on Low Gap” regarding the training program at the jail for defendants found not competent to stand trial due to a mental disorder. Since I created and continue to be involved with this little program under contract with Mental Health (not OMG) I would like to comment.

The article provided some useful information, although some of it inaccurate, including the fact that my first name is not “Gay”. Close, but no cigar.

The article focuses on Judge Moorman’s understandable dissatisfaction with problems of delays between court orders for competency training and the subsequent authorization for the training to begin. However, it’s important to note that once our program itself receives Mental Health’s authorization to begin services, it is tremendously effective and efficient.

Even with some delays, in its first year this innovative program saved taxpayers an estimated $800,000 and saved mentally ill defendants over 2200 days of locked confinement in jail and state hospitals. The average wait time for training services was reduced from months to days, with a much higher rate of successful outcomes than under the previous system at state hospitals. The reduction in human suffering has beenincalculable.

Also, I’m not sure where Mr. McEwen got his figures, but the actual cost of our program is a small fraction of the amount incorrectly reported in the article.

The referral delay problems that Judge Moorman is addressing with Mental Health are being remedied, as was the translator delay problem in Mr. Mora’s case. In the meantime, the training program we contract to do will continue to provide low-cost highly effective competency training services to mentally ill defendants willing and able to participate in the program.

These positive facts may do little to “fan the flames of discontent” which the AVA declares as its mission on its masthead. Nevertheless, I would hope the public may be pleased to know the facts and figures of this important program.

J. (not “Gay”) Holden, PhD Ukiah

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To my Farm Bureau friends:

I am forwarding you this email from the chair of the MCERA board, Shari Schapmire [also Mendocino County Treasurer-Tax Collector], as it is indicative of the MCERA culture and the complete lack of accountability. This may be business as usual for a county position, but I could never imagine it in the private sector.

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Subject: Re: Feed Back

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2015 10:19:03 -0700

From: Shari Schapmire <>

To: Ted Stephens <>

Good Morning Ted,

I checked in at the Retirement Office this morning, James is out of the office, so I spoke with Judy; apparently, James left Wednesday afternoon to head home and will not return until November 2. According to Judy, this was already scheduled prior to the Retirement Board meeting being canceled. As James typically works on the weekends, he amasses a substantial amount of CTO [compensatory time off], which is the time he uses to travel home. Although, I am usually informed when James travels home, I was unaware of this trip; however, he did leave me a telephone message mid-week that I had neglected to return.

As far as the closed session Brown Act item, I think it may be best for you, me, James, Jeff, and maybe Randy (as he will more than likely be incoming-Chair), to discuss this item in a conference call or in-person meeting prior to it coming to the full Board. I will work with James and Judy to get something scheduled.

Have a nice weekend! Shari

Shari L. Schapmire

Treasurer-Tax Collector

County of Mendocino

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James Wilbanks is our new retirement administrator. He has a doctorate in economics and was fired from the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement system; he has been here for about six months or so. As you will see below he adapted to MCERA's non-accountability MO quite readily. Initially his family was going to move out here, but now they have decided to stay in Oklahoma. Our scheduled monthly board meeting, which would have been last Wednesday, was cancelled. I found out about this the Friday before when asking the staff secretary how long the meeting would probably be so I could set-up a client meeting afterwords. She (Judy, office secretary) came back with a memo letting me, and the rest of the board, know the scheduled board meeting was cancelled. Again, this was the Friday before the scheduled board meeting on Wednesday. These meetings are on calendar a year in advance and it is unprecedented to cancel a meeting. When I inquired to the chair (Shari) as to why, she said it was because the administrator, James Wilbanks, said there were too few items to discuss for the meeting. I will assure you that I have about 20 items that could and should be discussed (and have tried, to no avail, to get "excess earnings" policy alone on the agenda for five years!).

When I heard the meeting was cancelled I inquired to the chair if the administrator was in the office or if he had flown the coop. It took me a few times to get the answer, but you can see it in the email. The upshot is the Administrator cancelled the meeting "for lack of discussion items" then left the day of the meeting for Oklahoma until November 2. This does not surprise me, that is why I asked Shari the question. I now expect this sort of thing. What is surprising is what a short time it took this administrator to totally adapt to the ingrained culture of no accountability. As unprecedented as it is to abruptly cancel a scheduled board meeting, I believe it is unprecedented, at least in the private sector, to leave your position coincidentally the same day without letting those you report to know the "rest of the story." I am not sure if the association is more or less at risk when he is gone. I do know the department head is gone and no one above him knew about it.

As you know I have been on this board about five years now. Under my tenure we have experienced a remarkable market recovery. During this time our stability has not gotten better, it has gotten worse. It seems like every meeting I vote against another $50K to $100K of un-budgeted spending that the public will not directly see, it will just add to the ever increasing unfunded liability (there are always a majority of those that vote for any and all spending; why wouldn't they, this is by design a true "moral hazard" and it is just human nature coming through). The board is long on using formal titles as "madam chair" and talking the “full disclosure” talk, but they have no idea how messed up the finances are and vote to not disclose in closed sessions when it is walking time. Look no further than the county payment of about 50 cents load per payroll dollar on the pension alone (not including the additional expense of social security, the deferred compensation match, etc.) to see how out of whack with the real world this system is. This system is a total disaster. About all I can say is expect the expense to continue to go up over time and don't be surprised if benefits are at risk.

My best from this side of the hills!

Ted Stephens (Yorkville resident)

MS-Taxation, MBA-Finance

Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (Office location)

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Letter to the Editor

Re; Mental Health In The Coastal Community

Carmel Angelo, CEO of the Mental Health system states "There has been an interest and obvious concern regarding our ongoing mental health services." it should read "lack of mental health services" Of course there is concern. The families who strive to help their loved one through the political maze and convoluted bureaucratic meetings should be concerned. What has been accomplished so far? Is there housing, and crisis care as well as counselors and psychiatric care here on the coast? Is there a system in place to help the mentally ill stay compliant with their medications? It seems the money goes for administration, not to those who need the help.

Is it lawful for Ms. Angelo to appoint Stacey Cryer as the new "interim" mental health director? It appears to me Ms. Cryer is too busy to do the position justice. What qualifies her and can she do an adequate job?

The proposed "Ad Hoc" Committee will consist of more talking, more meetings and what will the financial burden be? While I am seeking answers as a member of the community, where does our county stand on "Laura's Law?

Respectfully Yours,

Joan Hansen

Fort Bragg

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Editor & Fellow AVAers,

This Halloween, BEWARE. If you knock on Dr. Yang's door, Fang may open it holding a sign which reads, "No tricks if you treat me."

Sin Here Spree, A non E. Mouse

Deadtree, Castle, Mendocino

PS. Brush your teeth and give up grief.

One Comment

  1. JUSTICE4SUSAN November 11, 2015

    […] odd letter by one of Mendocino County’s career outlaws, which appeared in a recent issue of the Anderson Valley Advertiser (October 28, 2015), underscores what can happen when a community believes justice has not been […]

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