- Forked Mouth
- Coach Rage
- Transparent DA
- Scrutinizing Ortner
- Shelter Meeting
- CartMan Cleone
- School Board
- Grist Vote
- Winter Shelter
- Yesterday's Catch
- Old Hickory
- Pension Tension
- Fish v Nuts
- Noyo Headlands
- Albion Housing
- Reality Starved
- Cherub's Ball
NAVARRO WATCHER Mike Kalantarian reports: “Surprised to see a forked mouth this afternoon”...
[photos taken Tuesday, February 2, 2016]
REPORTS DRIFTING OUT of the Mendocino High School gym last night (Tuesday), say a Mendo jv coach was so angry at one of the refs he shoved the guy, which is wayyyyyyyy over the line and, old timers may recall, rather in the tradition of the legendary Mendo coach, the late Jim Mastin. Mastin was kicked clear out of the gym a couple of times but even he, in full rage, never laid hands on a ref. Myself, I've never even heard of a jv coach getting angry about anything.
MENDO DA DAVID EYSTER can justly claim that his office is, by far, the most transparent in the state. Marin County, for instance, as most counties, posts a booking log, although some counties don't even manage that most basic public information. LA County will let you see who the sexually violent predators are as they are foisted back off on unlucky communities. Napa County provides a Megan's Law link. But Mendo? With the Mendo DA you can find on-line, a "lifer" defendant inventory; prison commitments; sexually violent predator inventory; prelim and trial schedule; jury verdicts; officer involved shootings and in-custody deaths; asset forfeiture filing stats. And if you don't find what you're looking for you can roust DA spokesman Mike Geniella from Schat's Bakery across the street from the DA's office and he'll give you the info.
GOD BLESS TOM ORTNER!
What’s all this smack-talk about Ortner Management Group? Tom Ortner is a genius.
Just look at his tax returns. And State filings. The ones for Willow Glen Care Center over in Yuba City. You can find them at the Registry of Charitable Trusts. Back in 2000, he was serving 1.7 million taxpayers from there in fifteen counties. At 68¢ a head. Then things went to Hell in a handbag. And Willow Glen went off the radar for a few years. But Tom came back. To Nevada County. At $1.02. In 2008.
Two years later it got worse. In Humboldt County. Yes, sir. So Tom went there. For $1.19. That was in 2010. Then he went to Del Norte County. For $14.50. In 2013. Finally he landed here. In Mendocino County. At the rock bottom price of $77.34. To each and every taxpayer. In 2014. God bless Tom Ortner!
As you can see by the price, we had a genuine crisis here. Tom’s expertise is something called behavioral health. Willow Glen is a lockup. Pay no attention to the nasty online review about drunk employees. His place is top drawer. It must be. The average staff pay there is around $14,000 a year. But the administration is something to behold. Three managers pocket salaries of $150,000. Including Tom. Who rakes in another million plus for ‘management expenses’. Payable to Ortner Management Group. Founded in 2011.
Us plain old country folk had nothing like that here. All we could muster up was a quaint little religious charity called subcontracted to our micro-church. With a couple of omissions. Both of them tiny.
First was something known as EHR. That stands for Electronic Health Record. Technology. Who needs it? So when Tom wrote up the contract for Hospitality House, he left that part out. The other thing was a mere technicality. About subcontractors. Our obnoxious County wanted to be informed in writing if Tom subcontracted. In advance. But heck, this was a $6.7 million dollar deal. And why rock the boat? Especially for a faith-based subcontractor. Like Hospitality House. So Tom did the right thing. He didn’t tell them. Thus EHR never happened here. Big deal.
For some of Tom’s customers, he’s the only game in town. Like Trinity County. By July of 2014, Tom was the only bidder. So they all wrote clauses into their contract. About having the last word on who got treatment. And where. But not us. Meanwhile, Willow Glen was bursting at the seams. All thanks to Tom’s genius.
Willow Glen’s licensed for forty beds. At daily rates of $100. Topping Tom’s operation out at $1.5 million a year. Yet it takes in something over $8.1 million. How? With upcharges. At $4.82 a minute. Which is a gold mine when your employees average 11¢. Model citizens they are too. According to Tom’s latest tax return, he’s got 177 employees there. But only thirty-five cars in his parking lot. So the rest must take mass transportation. Or else they telecommute. But it’s certainly a green operation. In more ways than one.
That takes us to Tom’s website. It’s been under construction since 2011. Which seems a little strange for a multi-million dollar outfit. But anybody with Google can find his bio there. Claiming a prestigious award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Something he’s never received. NAMI awards are given to doctors – something Tom isn’t. He’s an administrator. And thanks to Mendocino County taxpayers, a very highly paid one. The best that Tom’s management team has to offer is a very attractive lady named Carrie Bevacqua, MSW. That stands for Master of Social Work. Usually licensed. But a quick search at the Department of Consumer Affairs turns up nothing. Ditto for the Willow Glen Care Center. Explaining why Tom’s website isn’t done yet.
Tom Ortner’s true genius is revealed in a solo achievement. Scoring a $6.7 million contract here by lying on his resume.
Scott M. Peterson
PS: You can see more nonprofit nonsense at my weekly video comic strip, Mendopia.
THE OTHER CHARTER COUNTY PROPOSAL
Issues relating to the future of County Animal Care Services (ACS) will be discussed at an HSSA Standing Committee meeting held in BOS chambers Feb 8, at 9:am. HSSA will provide an update on the Request For Proposal (RFP) process. Many animal advocacy and rescue groups are excited that Jeff Charter, of the Petaluma Animal Shelter, has responded to the RFP and welcome the opportunity to comment on agenda items.
S.O.S-Networking for Mendocino Coast Companion Animals has spent much time researching the work and achievements of Mr. Charter and participated in a Q&A session held by the Alliance4Paws last year. We, as many others, are most impressed with Mr. Charter's track record and sincerely believe that he can change the profile of ACS for our County.
Mr. Charter is schooled in the most up-to-date best shelter practices and his ability to attract public funding, receive grants, build a strong volunteer base and save lives is exemplary. His success rate in placing shelter animals rather than euthanizing them is the goal of progressive shelters throughout our nation.
It is rumored that jobs which should stay in our County will be filled by folks from outside the County and that all current employees will lose their jobs. I have contacted Mr. Charter who has assured me that this is untrue. Mr. Charter plans to accept applications from all folks in our County interested in working for the shelter (including current employees) and will hire people best suited for the job.
It is also rumored that Mr. Charter will close down the shelter spay/neuter clinic but, in a meeting with Mr. Charter, he stated that he plans to expand spay/neuter programs. Currently our tax dollars support Care-A-Van, the County’s mobile spay/neuter clinic, but Care-A-Van does not come to the Coast.
Since the closure of our County ACS, Fort Bragg, the lions share of animal care on the Coast has fallen on the shoulders of a handful of dedicated rescue & advocacy groups stretched to the limit. SOS-Networking for Mendocino Coast Companion Animals is looking forward to a new day when we can partner with a County ACS which will best serve the animals of our communities and the folks who love them.
Please consider attending the HSSA Standing Committee meeting Feb 8 or contact the BOS to let them know you are ready for a progressive Animal Care Services which will save lives.
Carol R Lillis, president, SOS-Networking for Mendocino Coast Companion Animals
- Supervisor Brown (First District) - email@example.com Phone# 707-463-4221
- Supervisor McCowen (Second District) - firstname.lastname@example.org Phone#707-463-7213
- Supervisor Woodhouse (Third District) - email@example.com Phone#707-367-6334
- Supervisor Gjerde (Fourth District) - firstname.lastname@example.org 707-463-7229
- Supervisor Hamburg (Fifth District) - email@example.com Cell#707-391-3576
- CEO Carmel Angelo- firstname.lastname@example.org Phone#707-463-4441 (Assistant: Cassandra Borgna: Phone# 707-463-7203)
- Stacey Cryer - Director Of HHSA- email@example.com Cell#707-391-3107
SHOPPING CART MAN WALKS ON
MSP Update On Wandering 'Coast Shopping Cart Man'
Well, here's the latest "update" on the vagabond wandering up the Mendo coast on his pilgrimage from Fremont, CA to Eureka (301 miles). A viewer wrote: "I'm hoping you can alert your followers with an update on the guy who made the brilliant decision to haul his shopping cart from Fremont to Eureka. He has now made it to Cleone, and is resting in the grass before you reach Cleone grocery. On my way into town, he was walking north in the southbound lane on hwy 1, and a few cars nearly creamed him. If you could put an alert out for people to be careful if they're headed south from north of town, that'd be great. I have a feeling this is not going to end well… Thanks!"
THE ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
School Board Meeting for February will take place on Thursday, February 11th, 7pm in the High School Cafeteria. There is an opening for a new board member which must be filled soon, so anyone interested in being on the board is encouraged to attend. There are several new members on the board already and it is energetically working to improve school functioning. All citizens of the Valley are always welcomed to the meetings.
‘IT’S LIKE LIVING IN A WAR ZONE!’
Neighbors Beg Air Quality Review Board to Close Longvale Asphalt Plant
by Jane Futcher
Opponents of the rubberized asphalt plant on Outlet Creek thought for a moment on Friday, Jan. 29, that they had won their fight to close the Grist Creek Aggregates rubberized asphalt plant on the Covelo Road near Highway 101.
For five hours, speaker after speaker at the Ukiah City Council Chambers offered emotional testimony to the Mendocino County Air Review Board, whose job is to oversee of the county’s Air Quality Management District.
Many neighbors, some in tears, described the alarming impacts of the plant’s emissions on their health, on fish and wildlife, and on property values in their once quiet canyon.
They painted a disturbing picture of a community under siege, with some forced to stay indoors when the plant is operating, or to leave, eyes and throats burning, mouths covered by face masks or dish rags.
“What if it was in your neighborhood?” a neighbor asked the review board. “You would go insane.”
At the conclusion of sworn testimony and after several hours of public comment, Air Review Board Chair Thomas Johnson expressed great sympathy for residents,
“[The plant owners] don’t have any approval to pollute the skies of Mendocino County,” Johnson said. “That isn’t going to be tolerated.”
Opponents’ expectations were dashed when Johnson motioned to reject Friends of Outlet Creek’s appeal of Grist Creek’s permit application. The board deadlocked 2-2 when Eric Krane voted with Johnson, saying the witnesses’ testimony had “a great deal of emotion but not a lot of substance.”
Air Review Board members Marc Komer and Mark Johnson voted against the chair’s motion to reject opponents’ appeal.
A fifth board member, engineer George Rau, was recused by Friends of Outlet Creek because his firm worked for Grist Creek on engineering and permitting the Outlet Creek site for an earlier Grist Creek concrete batch plant. The company later withdrew the permit application.
The Air Review Board offered residents some hope Friday, voting unanimously to require Mendocino County Air Quality Control District to finish issuing violations and negotiate a resolution with Grist Creek by April 15. On that date, the Air Management District will report back to the Review Board so the board can decide whether to take further action.
Since September, when Grist Creek Aggregates opened its rubberized asphalt operation, the Covelo-based company has been slapped with more than $172,000 in fines by the state and county air districts for violations that include public nuisance and operating crumb-rubber asphalt processing equipment without a permit. Over the strong objections from neighbors and a legal appeal from Friends of Outlet Creek, on Nov. 17 the county’s Air Quality Control District issued Grist Creek a permit for the equipment they had been using illegally for over two months.
Caltrans requires rubberized asphalt for its Highway 101 repairs. Grist Creek is providing asphalt for Caltrans repairs south of Laytonville. The plant is currently taking a break and will go back on line when Caltrans resumes road repairs at the end of the rainy season.
Writer and environmentalist Kim Bancroft of Willits attended Friday’s hearing, afterwards describing the proceedings as “political theater of the absurd.”
“The political absurdity came into play when the ‘authorities’ present made it clear that administrative rules and procedures were more important than people’s lives or environmental safety rules,” Bancroft said.
Many in the audience groaned or booed when the Air Review Board’s deadlock allowed the plant to keep its permit.
“It’s Flint all over again,” called one opponent, likening the county’s failure to protect residents in Longvale to the crisis in Flint, Michigan, where government has been slow to address the contamination of the public water supply.
Early in the Friday’s hearing, Cherry Creek Ranches property owner Glen Colwell, standing in for the Friends of Outlet Creek attorney, called five sworn witnesses to describe the negative impacts of the plant on their health and well being. About 20 others also spoke under oath in opposition to the plant.
Amy Lee, a registered nurse who lives above the plant on the north side of the canyon, testified in a soft but firm voice that the bad air from Grist Creek had triggered respiratory problems.
“I am confined in my home because of the constant stream of thick smoke spewing from the asphalt facility,” Lee said. “I cannot stand to be outside on my property to tend my garden, hike on and enjoy my property, and feed my chickens because of the air pollution.
“I can no longer open my windows when the asphalt plant is operating because of the oppressive odors and noxious smoke from melting rubber and asphalt production. I have experienced burning eyes, sinuses and throat when the exhaust smoke and fumes blow on to my property.
“Sometimes the smoke clouds hover onto my property for up to five hours a day, depending on the wind,” Lee continued. “I feel trapped in my home because my health suffers when I step outside and the asphalt plant is operating.
“It’s like living in a war zone,” Lee said. “My home is not safe. I can’t use my property. Even my life is in danger.”
Lee gave the board two letters from her physicians confirming the impacts of the fumes on her lungs. She said she has repeatedly raised her concerns to the county Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. CARB responded, she said, with a phone call, while the Air Quality District sent her a form letter telling her Grist Creek Aggregates was under investigation.
Another neighbor, Claudia McNelis, testified that she and her husband must stay inside when the plant is running.
“Even inside,” McNelis said, “we cannot escape the sounds of rock and aggregate crushing and trucks and conveyors loading and unloading asphalt. Sometimes, the intensity of the rock crushing and daily operation of the asphalt plant causes the ground beneath our home to shake.”
Residents speculated that many of the problems with the plant stem from its location in a narrow canyon where there is little wind and where mountain ridges on both sides of the creek trap the smoke. To make their point, neighbors presented the board with a series of dated, poster-size color photographs showing white smoke hovering over the canyon.
Neighbors’ concerns erupted last March, when the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors fast tracked the rubberized asphalt plant without sending Grist Creek’s application to the Planning Department for an environmental review. The supervisors insisted that a previous asphalt permit issued to other owners more than a decade earlier (and subsequently removed) was sufficient to cover the new facility. Friends of Outlet Creek sued the Board of Supervisors, which rescinded its decision, leaving responsibility for the plant’s regulation with the Air Quality Management District.
Witness Linda Sobolewski told the Review Board that the earlier plant was much smaller and did not require the burning of rubber, which is very smelly.
“The site was sort of a sleepy gravel plant for the last 20 years,” Sobolewski said. “The scale of this enormous toxic plant is unbelievable. Mr. Hurt tried to reassure me that he is a good neighbor because he added cherry blossom oil into the mix.”
Sobolewski said her accountant told her to sell her property last April, after the plant won the okay to operate.
Many neighbors said they feared the plant had made their land and homes unsellable.
Robert Scaglione, the county’s Air Control Officer, defended his actions in granting Grist Creek Aggregates a permit. “Rubberized asphalt is being used all over the country,” he told the board. “The district conducted the review appropriately in compliance with laws and regulations.’
When board member Marc Komer asked Scaglione why the district hadn’t pulled the company’s permit when it discovered “excess releases” and plumes, Scaglione insisted that he had followed proper procedures and regulations.
Apparently unsatisfied with Scaglione’s reply, Komer said: “Either the laws that control air pollution are too vague, or there isn’t enough enforcement of existing rules.”
Komer asked Scaglione if he would want to live near the plant.
After a pause, Scaglione replied: “I don’t think that I would like living next to any asphalt plant.”
The attorney for Grist Creek, silent most of the day, told the Air Review Board its only role was to determine whether county Air Quality Management district followed the rules for permitting and not to decide whether to revoke Grist Creek’s permit.
Friends of Outlet Creek vowed to continue its fight to close the plant if the Review Board allows rubberized asphalt production to resume on April 15.
”We’re confident the community will continue to come out and support these efforts to stop this gross violation of public health and safety,” said Friends of Outlet Creek’s Lyn Talkovsky. “After all, clean air and love of the outdoors is why many of us are here.”
Jane Futcher is a member of Friends of Outlet Creek and lives near the rubberized asphalt plant.
REFLECTOR POND, Fort Bragg.
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
JUST WHAT THE HELL DOES HOSPITALITY HOUSE DO? THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT 'HOSPITABLE' TO HOMELESS ON STORMY NIGHTS.
Apparently now they have their new, comfortable "headquarters" in the historic "Old Coast Hotel" they could care less about their clients - and why should they, they're nice & comfy. We saw this post in the Anderson Valley Advertiser today written by Malcolm Macdonald:
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 3, 2016
JOHN BECK, Forestville. Failure to appear.
ROCKY DUMAN, Ukiah. Parole revocation.
FERNANDO DURAN, Willits. Failure to appear.
LEON GIBSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JESUS GONZALEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
JOE GUNN IV, Fort Bragg. Under influence, court order violation, vandalism.
KENNETH HANOVER JR., Covelo. Probation revocation.
VINCENT HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Parole revocation.
JAKE HURST, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, protective order violation, probation revocation.
JENNIFER PARRY, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
MONIQUE PETERS, Covelo. False ID, failure to appear.
PETER ROSE JR., Trespassing, probation revocation.
ANDREW JACKSON WAS FORTY-SIX YEARS OLD IN 1813. The smallpox he had survived during the Revolutionary War left him with lasting fevers, and he had recurrent malaria as well. He was plagued by chronic constipation and dysentery and had been suffering from rheumatism for a decade or more. These diseases left him thin and almost emaciated, and gave his skin a permanent yellowish character. The Dickinson wound had left him with lung trouble and recurrent breast pains. At the same time he carried himself with enormous dignity. Even in relatively good health, standing six feet one inch and weighing 145 pounds, he had a stern, skeletal appearance. Now, sitting stooped in the saddle, his left arm in a sling, this tall, cadaverous figure must have looked to the Creeks like the horseman of death.
--Michael Rogin, “Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian”
MENDO DOES ITS SHARE
Annual pension shortfall: $15 billion
This cash flow shows that during 2014, California’s state/local pension funds, combined, collected 30.1 billion from state and local agencies, and paid out $46.1 billion to pensioners. They are paying out 50% more than they’re taking in, and this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Historically, pension funds have been net buyers in the market. Now, pension funds across the U.S., along with retiring baby boomers, are sellers in the market. This is one reason it is difficult to be optimistic about securing a 7.5% average annual return in the future, despite historical results. And as for that healthy 15.4% return on investments in 2014? That was offset in 2015 when the markets were flat. It is also noteworthy thatemployee contributions of $8.9 billion are greatly exceeded by the $21.2 billion in employer (taxpayer) contributions. How many 401K recipients get a 2.5 to 1.0 matching from their employer?...(emphasis added)
— San Francisco's "skyrocketing pension costs" (SF Chronicle).
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
More people seem angry, and more just stare at you when you say hi, more wearing sunglasses indoors, bizarre crimes happening a LOT more often, lots of suicides and road rage. None of this existed just a few years ago. Saw a woman a few days ago racing through a Lowe’s parking lot in a big 4×4 and passing other cars while blowing a four-way stop at probably 30 mph, then she came back through in the other direction doing the same thing. Homeless people begging at nearly every intersection. Used to be really quiet just recently, but things are rapidly getting weird.
ALMOND CROPS GAIN; FISH LOSE
Re “Price slump puts a twist in Valley’s almond boom” (Page 1A, Jan. 31): The increase in almond acreage from 590,000 acres in 2005 to 890,000 acres in 2015 is very alarming considering that California was in a drought much of this time. While Gov. Jerry Brown called on urban residents to reduce their water use by 25 percent, wealthy almond growers like Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms in Kern County increased their almond acreage.
The 3 million acre-feet of water that farmers apply annually to the almond trees is the equivalent of three Folsom Lakes when full. As the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources emptied Folsom, Oroville, Shasta and Trinity reservoirs to export water to corporate agribusiness, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, winter and spring-run Chinook salmon and other fish species moved closer and closer to extinction.
The state and federal governments sacrificed fish populations and the public trust so an elite group of wealthy almond growers could make a huge profit.
Dan Bacher, Sacramento
ALBION FIRE DEPT CAPTAIN & PARTNER NEEDS ALBION HOUSING
My name is Jennifer Clark, and my fiancé's name is Benjamin Jackson. He is a Captain on the Albion Fire Department and works construction, and I have a Ph.D in American Literature and work as a web page and social media marketing manager. I also do photography and editing. Ben and I currently are in the market for a new place to live, and it is important that we stay in the Albion-Little River area so Ben can continue his duties with the fire department. However, rentals in this area are very hard to come by, so we thought we'd send the word out on a few on-line forums to see if anyone in the community could help. We have no pets, a steady income, and excellent references. Several Albion firefighters have offered to volunteer labor to fix up a place someone might be hesitating to offer because it needs a little TLC before it would make a good home. If you know of anything, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 707.357.5556.
Thanks for your time!
“WE ARE SHEDDING, with the decline and death of many newspapers, thousands of reporters and editors, based in the culture of researched and verifiable fact, who monitored city councils, police departments, mayor’s offices, courts and state legislators to prevent egregious abuse and corruption. And we are also, even more ominously, losing the meticulous skills of reporting, editing, fact-checking and investigating that make daily information trustworthy. The decline of print has severed a connection with a reality-based culture, one in which we attempt to make fact the foundation for opinion and debate, and replaced it with a culture in which facts, opinions, lies and fantasy are interchangeable. As news has been overtaken by gossip, the hollowness of celebrity culture and carefully staged pseudo-events, along with the hysteria and drama that dominate much of the airwaves, our civil and political discourse has been contaminated by propaganda and entertainment masquerading as news. And the ratings of high-octane propaganda outlets such as Fox News, as well as the collapse of the newspaper industry, prove it.”
— Chris Hedges
Calling all kids! Saturday February 13th is going to be a BLAST at Community Center of Mendocino and you will not want to miss it. Co-hosted by Mendo Coast Mamas and Groundloop Sound, it will be an event to remember! Yummy dinner, kid friendly music and dancing, face painting, Valentine's crafts, games, activities and loads of FUN with FRIENDS! ***All included in the price!!! 5-8pm in the Community room Kids 4 and over, leave your parents home!! $25 advance/$35 at the door. Under 4 accompanied by an adult $10 Tickets available Wednesday Space is limited Would you be interested in being a volunteer chaperone?? Set up and break down help would be so appreciated, as well as help with the dinner buffet, crafts, games, and general merry making.
Here's the link to the Facebook event~
Hope to see all you little Cherubs there!