- Another CPS Lawsuit
- Privatization Costly
- Supes Marijuana Meeting
- Regressive Taxation
- Fort Bragg Virtues
- Bernie Over Hil
- Yesterday's Catch
- KZYX Meeting Notes
- Hot Tub Stehr
THE FEDERAL SUIT filed this week against the County of Mendocino's perennially troubled Children's Protective Services (aka Family & Children’s Services) boils down to a substantial claim that certain CPS staffers used their authority to remove a male child from the boy's grandmother to the custody of their personal friend at the request of that personal friend. The removal of the boy was not in his best interests, to put it gently. In fact, his interests don't seem to have been considered.
THE CHILD'S MOTHER is a County employee who conspired with social workers to remove the boy from his grandmother’s care. They coerced the grandmother into signing a voluntary placement agreement, and then refused to return him when the grandmother rescinded the voluntary placement and demanded his return. They held the child in custody for 59 days without a court order.
PROOF of the conspiracy was gathered from facebook posts between the mother and social workers who were all personal friends. The conspirators fabricated abuse charges.
THE LAWYER bringing the suit is the formidable Robert Powell. In January 2008 he won a case declaring that CPS social workers are not entitled to absolute immunity for investigatory conduct — particularly when they fabricate evidence, misrepresent evidence, and withhold exculpatory evidence.
MENTAL HEALTH MATH (very rough approximations, but representative of the $20 million spent by this County for Mental Health each year.
There are about 45 county employees getting paid to do some kind of mental health job, mostly administration. Assuming they make about 50k/year on average, adding 50% for personnel overhead costs means $75k/year of cost. Times 45 equals about $3.2 million.
That leaves about $16 or so million spent on Redwood Quality Management and Ortner.
$16 million at an average of $3.00 per minute = 5.3 million minutes of “service.” Or, divide by 60 and you get 89,000 person-hours of contracted “service” per year.
Divide 89,000 by 2000 (person hours per year) and you get the equivalent of about 45 more people providing “service” in RQMS and Ortner.
Assuming that about $4 million of the $16 million goes to pay exorbitant day-rates for outside patient placement in Ortner-owned facilities, that leaves $12 million for Ortner and RQMS and staff.
Now go back and divide the $12 million by 45 and you get an annual per-person cost of about $265k per contractor employee. Then assume contractor profit, overhead, and personnel costs are half of that (much more than the County personnel costs even with pensions) and you get about $133k per contractor mental health employee gross pay, much more than a County employee would make.
Of course, all of this is just rough estimates and assumptions which the reader can adjust and juggle however as long as it adds up to the $20 mil. But the orders of magnitude show how big a rip-off privatized mental health is no matter how you slice and dice the numbers.
After all of that, factor in that the Sheriff says his deputies (who cost about $125k per year with benefits, overhead and patrol car) still have to wait hours at local emergency rooms for a high-cost contractor employee to come and clear a 5150 (which apparently is running higher now than before privatization).
THE SUPERVISOR'S MARIJUANA Ad Hoc Committee — McCowen and Woodhouse — is holding an open meeting in Willits to talk about the County’s Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance (See Official announcement below.) (Do these two Supes smoke dope? I seriously doubt McCowen does. Woodhouse? I'd guess he's enjoyed a toke or three. Not to get sidetracked here, but I'd suppose Gjerde is not one for altered states of consciousness, I'd peg Carre Brown as a whiskey drinker but never to excess, and Hamburg has been loaded for years. You could probably smoke him and get high.) At the end of last year’s legislative session, our hardhitting state reps/lawmakers passed the Medical Marijuana Regulatory Package. Each jurisdiction of the state, in theory, can devise its own rules. McCowen and Woodhouse are "reviewing" the County’s Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance and will recommend revisions. The forum, this Saturday, February 6th, from 2-5pm is at the Willits Senior Center.
CALLING ALL TOKERS!
Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee To Hold A Town Hall Meeting On Revisions To The County’s 9.31 Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance
The Board of Supervisors Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee will hold a town hall meeting on Saturday, February 6, 2016, to provide residents with an opportunity to hear a brief update and share their recommendations with the Ad Hoc Committee regarding potential revisions of the County’s Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance (Code Section 9.31).
In the final hours of the 2015 legislative session, the California Legislature passed a Medical Marijuana Regulatory Package that was signed by the Governor on October 9, 2015, which consisted of three bills: AB 266 (Bonta), SB 643 (McGuire) and AB 243 (Wood). In response to the new legislation the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors created a Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of Supervisors John McCowen and Tom Woodhouse, to review the County’s 9.31 Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance and report back to the Board with recommended revisions to address local conditions and concerns in light of the new state legislation. In December 2015, the Ad Hoc Committee developed a process overview and timeline, with the goal of bringing back recommendations to the Board of Supervisors in March 2016. Additionally, the Ad Hoc Committee is considering a recommendation to launch a 9.31 pilot program in the spring of 2016.
Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse stated, “This town hall meeting will give residents a chance to hear directly from the Ad Hoc Committee on the 9.31 revision process and allow us to better understand the thoughts and concerns of residents, stakeholders and interested parties throughout the County on amendments in order to comply with the new legislation.”
The Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee will be hosting the public town hall meeting on Saturday, February 6, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Willits Senior Center.
What: Marijuana Ad Hoc Town Hall Meeting
When: Saturday, February 6, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Willits Senior Center, 1501 Baechtel Road Willits, CA 95490
For more information, please contact Sarah Dukett at the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Who picks up the dead dogs in the “Nice” neighborhoods and privileged enclaves? It ain’t the richie-riches. It’s the “Public” Services they pay for. It’s just that in the slums, you pay for the services and you don’t get them. And yes, slum-dwellers sure as hell do pay for the services they don’t get. They don’t pay income tax because they don’t even have enough income to budge that needle. But they pay payroll tax, sales tax, rental tax, license taxes, fees, and all the rest of the carrying costs of finance; and at a far higher percentage of their total income than anyone else.
IRV SUTLEY passes along an article called Leaving San Francisco for Affordable, Walkable Urbanism. Where would that be, Stockholm?
I SUGGEST FORT BRAGG as Irv's ideal destination. Mendocino County's second coolest community, Boonville ranks first by any objective standard, but rents and property prices here rival the Bay Area's.
A COUPLE OF FRIENDS OF MINE — yes, I have friends — are a good way into their golden years and, uh, is Cialis part of the deal? Say you're a regular old person, urban type, unwilling to risk the 8-hour erection the tv ads warn us about. Say you're also looking for affordable, walkable urbanism. Fort Bragg is affordable, certainly by Frisco standards. It's walkable because it's flat. Urbanism? I don't know what that means, but if it means lots of urban-like activities — live music, art shows, good restaurants and so on, Fort Bragg has it all, but without the traffic, the crowdedness, the all-round psychic overload of big cities. And Fort Bragg has perfect weather.
BUT, BUT, BUT what about medical care? Not to be too hard hearted about it, but if that's your primary concern rent a permanent room at SF General. Fort Bragg has a fine little hospital and a very good mini-hospital in its clinic. Unless you need a full body transplant, the Fort Bragg medicos can handle all the probs associated with growing decrepitude. And Fort Bragg has miles of accessible ocean, miles of unvisited beaches and oceanside walking paths that are without equal anywhere, from Baja to Astoria. (Except for Astoria, Oregon's beach towns are unappealingly grungy. Even Oregon's ocean manages to seem grungy. Fort Bragg's Pacific? As crisp and fresh and blue as the day Adam and Eve went fishing!
I WAS IN FORT BRAGG just today (Tuesday) to walk the just completed stretch of path on the Koch Brother's abandoned mill property. (If you came in late, the Evil Ones own Georgia-Pacific, and G-P owns the 400-plus oceanfront acres the mill sat on.) One length of the walking path awaits the removal of residual toxics left over from the mill days. The Kochs are busily cleaning the site up in the hopes of selling it, and probably will sell parcels of it, but most of the land will be empty for years to come because, well, only the Koch Bros have the kind of money to develop it. And the City of Fort Bragg holds several trump cards over what can be done on that land.
THE TRAILS at the north and south ends of the mill site will be joined when the middle parcel is purged of toxics. When it's finished, one will be able to walk from Noyo Harbor to Ten Mile. Well, to Mackerricher State Park, anyway. It's a slog all the way to Ten Mile because the mighty Pacific has reclaimed much of the old Haul Road north of Mackerricher.
THE NEWLY opened section of the trail, the Noyo section, skirts one of the oldest graveyards in the county and Fort Bragg's teensy Indian inholding, which abuts Affinito's one story too tall motel. The graveyard's memorial markers are so weathered no one knows for sure who's buried there.
ALSO POPPED into the Bernie for President headquarters on Main Street. The Bern people out on the Mendocino Coast definitely have it together. Bought some Bern gear to distribute in Boonville, which is already largely Bernie territory, and left happy. My only fear is that when (or if, depending on one's skepticism) Hillary jobs the nomination, the Bernie headquarters are taken over by the middle of the road extremists who dominate Mendocino County's Democratic Party. I can hear them now on KZYX telling us how important it is to get behind Hil because, much as we liked Bern, he's gone, and what if Trump is president and he gets to make Supreme Court appointments? (Trump seems better on many of the issues than Hillary, actually.) Same message from the Democrats for fifty years now. You have to vote for our corporate shills and warmongers because their corporate shills and warmongers are worse. (Jill Stein, better than Bernie on many of the issues, gets no attention. She's been effectively non-personed. I'm reconciled to voting for her, but I hope it doesn't come to that.)
THE OVERLOOKED, SIMPLE REASON DEMOCRATS SHOULD NOMINATE BERNIE SANDERS
by Brian Foley
Many people on the left, including many registered Democrats, dislike Hillary Clinton. But won’t they ultimately surrender and vote for Hillary because they fear having a Republican President? Democratic party leaders have relied on such fear to win the last election despite putting forth a candidate who could be described as George W. Bush II, and it worked.
Democrats shouldn’t count on that cynical strategy this time around. Unlike in 2012, there’s a true liberal candidate in the primaries generating deep enthusiasm and support. If the Democrats crown the right-leaning Hillary, it will be a rejection of Democratic Party ideals, a slap in the face to liberals, a raised middle finger to Bernie’s supporters. It will also validate the fears of many that the Democratic Party is really just a kinder and gentler version of the Republicans.
Why won’t everyone on the left vote for Hillary in the general election? Think back to 2002-05, when many of us marched in the streets against the Iraq War, torture, the USA PATRIOT ACT, and the government spying on us. While we marched, Hillary voted for these things. (On the other hand, Obama at least had opposed the war from its inception, and as a candidate in 2008 promised to end it.)
Today, Hillary outright opposes single-payer heath care and free tuition for higher education, as proposed by Bernie Sanders.
But, many Hillary supporters say, “Even if Bernie gets elected, his ideas will be dead-on-arrival in Congress, because America isn’t ready for him!”
That’s wrong. The widespread, growing support and enthusiasm for Bernie shows that many Americans not only are ready for his ideas but that they’re ready, willing and able to work and donate money to make them happen. That a “socialist” could get so far in the electoral/media process shows how much things have changed — and why pundits such as Jonathan Chait and Sandy Goodman, who think Bernie can’t succeed or is “unelectable,” are out of touch.
And what if a President Sanders faced obstruction? Would he just give up? No. He would use the bully pulpit and educate Americans why these ideas are in our nation’s interest. He’d point a finger at those who would prefer we bankrupt ourselves trying to pay for life-saving medical treatment and college tuition and get them voted out.
Moreover, a President Clinton would face steadfast obstruction from Republicans, who virulently hate her, even more than they hate Obama. Odds are, Hillary would accommodate intransigent Republicans, until something they like got passed. She’d trumpet how she “won,” “got something passed,” and “crossed the aisle and worked with Republicans.” But where’s the win for Democrats in a President who saddles us with more right-wing policies?
Better to have a fighter than an appeaser. That way, liberal proposals with widespread benefits at least would have a chance of becoming policy rather than dying in utero.
Bernie is a “uniter” who stands for Democratic Party ideals. In the general election, all Democrats will vote for him, and many liberals and independents who would otherwise vote third party or stay home will vote for him, too.
On the other hand, Hillary is a “divider.” Many Democrats and liberals and independents dislike her. So if she gets the nomination, they’ll vote third party or stay home.
That’s it. The choice is between a candidate who can get the support of all Democrats and many independents versus a candidate who can get only a fraction of that support.
Beyond that, the choice is between promoting truly progressive policies that will benefit most Americans, or sticking with the status quo, which benefits the wealthy few. Choosing the former will expand the party. Choosing the latter will cause many Democrats to leave it in disgust, especially now that a viable progressive movement is taking shape.
Democrats should realize that they court disaster for their party if they nominate Hillary.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 26, 2016
TIMOTHY BENNETT, Laytonville. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism, probation revocation.
JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
WILLIAM CADY, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
KYLE CHESTER, Riverside/Willits. Protective order violation, failure to appear.
NICHOLAS COCHRAN, Willits. Probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER DAUGHERTY, Ukiah. Loitering, under influence, probation revocation.
JOSE LOPEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
JOSE MADRIZ-GARCIA, Lower Lake/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JOSEPH MALLON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEREMIAH McOSKER, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, county parole violation.
SHANE MILLER JR., Ukiah. Switchblade in vehicle, resisting, probation revocation.
SHERRI NEELEY, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.
KEVIN QUIJADA, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic battery.
AARON RUELAS, San Leandro/Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.
JONDIE SPERRY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, loitering, probation revocation.
ROBERT VERVILLE II, Ukiah. Interfering with police communications, probation revocation.
SANDRA YEE, Willits. DUI-drugs.
KZYX COMMITTEES: TO BE OR NOT TO BE
What One President Giveth, the Next Taketh Away
by Sheila Dawn Tracy
Traveling the rain slicked, snake like curves of Orr Springs Road, opting for the shortest distance between two points, I found the January 4th meeting of the KZYX Board of Directors meeting already under way upon my arrival.
The small conference room of the Travelodge motel was nearly filled to capacity, with twenty or so people neatly wedged in between audio recording equipment on one side and a video equipment on the other.
The full Board was in attendance along with Interim General Manager, Stuart Campbell. Directors Sakowicz and Keller sat on the outermost edges of a truncated conference table, looking a bit conspicuous without their share of the table from which to work.
The abbreviated minutes of the previous two meetings were once again available to the public and quickly approved by the Board. Public comment had been eliminated altogether, including those comments made on action items requiring the Directors' vote.
Included in the agenda was a notice of "ground rules" asking that speakers be allowed to speak uninterrupted and that public comments be reserved to the time slated for that purpose. Also noted was that response to questions or comments would occur at the following meeting either directly or, if warranted, as a discussion item for the Board. Contact with Board members through the website BOD@kzyx.org was encouraged.
Board President, Meg Courtney announced that at a closed session on Monday, December 14th, five candidates recommended by the hiring committee were interviewed by seven of the eight Board members (Jenness Hartley being absent) for the open position of General Manager. After what was described as a marathon twelve hour meeting, a new GM was selected.
Originally, under the chairmanship of Clay Eubank, the interviews were intended to be conducted by the hiring committee and followed by staff and Board inclusion in the final determination. However, President Courtney commandeered the process by removing Eubank as chair and conducting the closed session interviews at her home stating that the process was taking too long. Eubank declined to attend the last hiring committee meeting. The fallout from her decision was palpable when Courtney asked Eubank if he would respond to a request from the public for more information about the derailed process and he replied that he believed doing so was inappropriate.
In what one programmer later assessed as a not well formed proposal to the Board, Courtney, in full Presidential mode, announced the dismantling of many of the committees created in June by then acting President, Stuart Campbell. Standing committees would remain but others would be formed as ad hoc - as needed committees.
This is cause for some confusion as the Bylaws define Standing Committees as limited to the Executive (Board officers) and Audit committees while Section 6.1 of the Policies and Procedures Manual (last updated in 2006) lists all of the committees formerly created by Campbell as Standing committees.
Appearing on the agenda as Standing committees were those of Finance, Election, Audit and the Bylaws and Policy committee which Courtney, herself, will chair.
The Policy Manual states that it is the policy of the Board that the Board's work should be done through committees whose meetings "shall be forums for discussion leading to problem solving, planning and development." Committees act in an advisory capacity to the Board for the purpose of producing g clear recommendation. Additionally, "encouragement should be given to station volunteers to participate in committee work."
I later questioned Courtney as to what input the community would have in regard to committee work. She indicated that such feedback would be confined to the three minute public comment period.
In other station news, Director Jane Futcher's first e-newsletter is ready for distribution and will be appearing on a quarterly schedule. The first edition focuses on the work of the KZYX News team in covering the Lake County fires.
Also announced were the dates for the Spring pledge drive -- March 5th through the 14th.
The Finance report was given by Campbell. Total income through December 31st was slightly more than $300k; $161k from donations. Underwriting contributed almost $39k with $94.5k received from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) fall grant. $5k was also added from an unspecified source.
Expenses we're $10k more than budgeted, totaling $284.7k for a net gain of $15.4k. The current bank balance is $8791. Audit Report - Director Bob Page reported that all is well. The full report can be reviewed through the station's website.
Election Report - All applications for the three open seats (District 1- Potter Valley to Talmage, At Large seat-not restricted to any geographical area within Mendocino County and the Programmer Representative seat) must be received by January 30th from members in good standing. (Current as of 12/31/15.) Requirement info and applications are available either through the website or at the Philo studio.
Community Advisory Board Report - CAB member, Tom Melcher stated that although the December 4th meeting was under attended, he felt that there had been a respectful and collaborative dialogue. After introductions (two members were newly appointed), discussion focused on the frequency of meetings. The group felt that staggering the meetings to alternate with the six meetings of the current Board schedule might be productive.
The propriety of informal CAB meetings - those without public attendance - was discussed and designated to be further researched.
Issues were prioritized by use of a dot system by attendees. Regular meetings, more local sports coverage, reactivation of the program advisory council and membership communication were highlighted. Melcher told the Board that the CAB representative would rotate and live reports were desirable over the alternative of turning in the meeting's minutes. He asked for additional time to take questions or suggestions from either the Board or the public.
Increased access to the community through an interactive discussion on the station's website as well as an on air regular call in program were mentioned by audience members. CAB member contact info was also requested.
Community News Event
Reporter Valerie Kim summarized the December 20th event sponsored by the News team. Guest speaker, Elizabeth Larson emphasized the importance of local journalism in keeping the Lake County community informed and safe from fire dangers during the summer and fall wildfires.
Johanna Wild Oak was presented with a Volunteer of the Year Award for her work in assembling a comprehensive resource directory for the evacuees of the Lake County fires.
Several more 'Community Conversations' are being planned for the near future.
Courtney made a motion to hire former News Coordinator, Lorraine Dechter as the new General Manager of KZYX/KZYZ. It was seconded and comments were received.
Director Sakowicz stated he was impressed by the integrity and fairness of the selection process, concluding that Dechter was, by far, the most qualified of all the candidates.
Dechter had a long resume starting in radio at the age of fourteen with management experience at both the Chico and Redding public radio stations. She later expanded into print and television media.
King Collins asked if there had been any discussion of different structural organizational possibilities by the hiring committee. I asked if there was any discussion of excluding the Executive Director title in the General Manager's contract while the contract was being reviewed.
Dechter was unanimously approved by the Board. Her contract began on January 5th.
In her acceptance statement, she expressed gratitude for the confidence and support of the community and Board members. She also spoke of her vision to network and create partnerships among local entities. Important organizational decisions are being considered like what entry level wage is best for the station and the community. She has plans to expand news coverage and has trust in the current news team. She is currently involved in training people to fill the vacuum left by the departure of several longtime personnel. Eventually, she intends to advertise the current interim positions of Program Director (now filled by Angela De Witt) and Operations Manager (currently held by a former radio associate of Dechter's, Mark Speer) more widely to attract new talent but job descriptions are in need of an update. She must reconcile the station finances with any structural changes being considered.
(To be continued…)
WITH CRAIG AT THE KABUKI
Subject: Interesting Morning at Kabuki Spa in SF's J-Town
Warmest spiritual greetings to all, I went to the Kabuki Spa in San Francisco's Japantown for my usual weekly systemic cooking. Arrived early at the front counter to pay/get locker key, and chatted it up with the staff. They agree with me that it would be appropriate for Earth First! to call for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election!!@! Very seriously, they agreed that it is unacceptable for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party to NOT be allowed into the debates, and also that the current primary activity is lunacy on the part of the Republicans, and the idea of having the Clinton's back in the White House with Bill as "First Gentleman" seems odd, at best. They suggested that I do my weekly sauna-steam-cold plunge-hot tub routine, and then reflect genuinely about all of this whilst in the Japanese Furo (communal hot tub). I have done this. Following which, I hereby recommend that the Earth First! Journal collective consider polling a random sample of radical environmental participants, and then publish in the next issue the results of the inquiry, and if a suitable majority are amenable to the idea, then forge ahead and take responsibility: formally call for a boycott of the US presidential election!
Sincerely, Craig Louis Stehr