mountainecho.com

February 27, 2012

Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 9:16 am

Interesting, interesting. I received a letter from the Friends of the Intermountain Library dated February 10 and the president of the organization, Cathy Coleman, spells out the problem that group is having as they try to arrange a meeting with our current Supervisor, Glenn Hawes, the County CAO Larry Lees, Supervisor Moty and County Public Works Director Pat Minturn.
For a history, the County did just about everything it could do to sideline the organization’s request for the Windmill grant funds. Finally they okayed a set aside of $1 million to build a new building in Burney that would house the library. Then they forgot about it.
“It appeared to be forgotten by the county, so we asked that they proceed by having us attend a meeting with the full board to discuss the plans and project costs.” Coleman writes.
“The report that was prepared by the county is questionable to say the least regarding the amount of time and money to complete a new library, so they requested a meeting with the people they feel are the key players prior to the March 13th Board of Supervisors meeting for clarification and corrections.”
As of the 10th there had been no meeting set.
What Coleman wants is for people to show support for the Library to encourage the supervisors to help the organization proceed with their plans.
They suggest letters be sent to the Burney Library, 37038 Siskiyou St., Burney 96013 or emailed to burneyfoil@yahoo.com. so that they can take them to the March 13 meeting.
They are also encouraging anyone who can, attend the March 13 meeting in Redding.
I don’t remember all the details, but it took a show of massive support to get the county to agree to give the Library Group any money last time.
Supervisor Hawes is up for reelection and Supervisor Les Baugh is running for the State Assembly, so maybe, just maybe, they’d be more receptive to sending something to the Eastern end of the county other than windmills and open doors to dumping low income – high density housing on the area.

February 20, 2012

editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 2:25 pm

he people in our small towns and districts do not think like folks in big cities, nor do they react like them.
It might not be a big deal to shift district boundaries in the cities. It is and always has been here.
The citizens of the small districts and towns are fiercely protective and possessive of their personal property and they consider the districts that serve them their personal property.
They are also inherently suspicious of the intentions of anyone who threatens their district or department.
Anyone outside of their town or district planning to do anything that will interrupt the status quo needs to take that into consideration along with egos involved and move forward accordingly.
The employees of many small districts, especially fire departments are extremely proud of their districts and their own performance. They have a tremendous loyalty to their leader or chief. They take any threat to the status quo as a slap in the face, an attack on their leader and the district or department’s reputation as well as a blow to their ego.
If someone hopes to have any success at all they have to use every skill in the book, have and use their very best bedside manner, take their time, make every effort to notify the people who are in charge of the entity and then all the people that will be affected.
The Burney Fire District’s posted agenda did not mention Cassel, it simply stated the chief wanted permission to explore the possibility of expanding its boundaries.
There was no advance notice in the press because we didn’t know about it.
The Chief, followed official procedure and notified his counterpart, the Cal-Fire (County Fire) chief of his intentions.
He didn’t take small town etiquette into consideration. He didn’t notify the Cassel Chief because that wasn’t fire service protocol. Nor did he notify the Cassel Fire Board (the group that oversees the operation of the community center). Instead, his secretary, who was on medical leave at the time, went to a Cassel Auxiliary meeting and told that group about it.
Thus the initial reaction of the people, he will ultimately need to make it a success, was not good.
When the word got to the Cassel Chief and the Cassel Board, barely hours before the Burney meeting all they saw was an effort to make an end run around them and take them over without even putting them in the loop.
After listening to everyone at the community meeting at the Cassel Fire Hall Saturday night, Burney now has even more problems.
Cassel Chief Don Chaix presented the facts as he says he saw them. He was careful not to make any accusations and refused to take a vote of the approximately 50 people present, asking instead that they come to the Cassel Fire Board meeting, promising that LAFCO executive Officer Amy Mickelson and Burney Chief Barber would be there to explain what is going on.
The audience asked a variety of questions and voiced a lot of concerns.
Unfortunately, as with many such meetings, many had already made up their minds, based on skimpy and uncertain information that was available at the meeting.
That is not good. There are pros and cons, the folks of Cassel need all the information before they make up their minds and now it may well be an uphill struggle to overcome their suspicions.
The Burney Chief is an excellent chief. The Burney Fire Department is an excellent fire department. Cassel Chief Don Chaix is an excellent chief and the Cassel Fire Company an excellent fire company.
It would be a shame to let a rocky start destroy the opportunity to study the issue and determine its feasibility.
If it is feasible and there is enough interest and benefit, the people of Cassel still have the ultimate say. They can force an election and they can put their yes or no on their ballot.

February 13, 2012

Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 3:21 pm

I was recently asked whose word I would believe, LAFCO Executive Officer Amy Mickelson or Fall River Valley General Manager John Van den Bergh’s.
I answered without hesitation Mickelson’s.
Here’s my reasoning. Mickelson has 18 years experience with LAFCO, 13 of those years in the position of Executive Officer. She has been the Executive Officer for LAFCO in five different counties, some of them simultaneously, Mendocino, Lassen, Modoc, Del Norte and Shasta. In Shasta County she works for a board comprised of representatives from the county, three cities and special district representatives, all of whom change every few years. There is no way she would have lasted under that or the other similar commissions if she wasn’t extremely professional, knowledgeable, and honest. Additionally, she is open, cooperative within the confines of her authority, courteous and I have never caught her in a lie, subterfuge, or vendetta.
Van den Bergh has a year on the job his internet profile shows that he has some prior experience with a private water company. In the last meeting alone, he posted one meeting agenda and then, without notice, explanation or admission that it had been done, removed it and posted a modified agenda. He also misled his board when he told them LAFCO promised to have the results of the MSR prepared for the CSD by early December. The CSD board did not give him the okay to give the MSR and Sphere of Influence to LAFCO until the November 11 meeting and it takes months for the commission to prepare, study review and okay them. On another matter he ignored his board’s instruction from the January meeting when the board instructed him to determine the legality of seating people on the rate study commission who didn’t live in the district. He did not report his findings at last week’s board meeting. Instead he told the board the committee had met twice and was making good progress. He has little to no guidance from the board as evidenced that none of the above items were questioned by the board. They didn’t indicate they had seen the change in the agenda, they laughed at his remarks about LAFCO, didn’t question the lack of a report or the committee moving forward when they didn’t know whether it was a legal or illegal committee.

February 6, 2012

editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 2:27 pm

Former Shasta County Supervisor John Caton died at Mercy Medical Center in Redding January 30. He was 78.
John was a legend. He was the last of the supervisors who put his district and his constituents ahead of what the Shasta County bureaucrats wanted for the county. He was known for being outspoken, combative, and fiercely loyal, He listened to what his constituents said and cared. He was passionate about his district, his people and his fire department.
John gained notoriety and added considerably to his legend when one of the Redding Asphalt Cowboys shot John’s cowboy hat during a Redding Parade and John decked him.
The colorful, lively, rambunctious era of Shasta County politics was coming to an end as John’s third term ended and the last few politicians from that era were either leaving office or on their way out.
The County has lost the dynamic, alive and not always politically correct posture it had in those days. And yes, it is more “professional,” if that’s what you call putting the “good of the whole county” which generally equates to “what’s good for Redding” ahead of what’s good for all areas of Shasta County.
There’s a lot of us out here who may be showing our age, but we miss Supervisor John Caton.

Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 11:22 am

Former Shasta County Supervisor John Caton died at Mercy Medical Center in Redding January 30. He was 78.
John was a legend. He was the last of the supervisors who put his district and his constituents ahead of what the Shasta County bureaucrats wanted for the county. He was known for being outspoken, combative, and fiercely loyal, He listened to what his constituents said and cared. He was passionate about his district, his people and his fire department.
John gained notoriety and added considerably to his legend when one of the Redding Asphalt Cowboys shot John’s cowboy hat during a Redding Parade and John decked him.
The colorful, lively, rambunctious era of Shasta County politics was coming to an end as John’s third term ended and the last few politicians from that era were either leaving office or on their way out.
The County has lost the dynamic, alive and not always politically correct posture it had in those days. And yes, it is more “professional,” if that’s what you call putting the “good of the whole county” which generally equates to “what’s good for Redding” ahead of what’s good for all areas of Shasta County.
There’s a lot of us out here who may be showing our age, but we miss Supervisor John Caton.

January 30, 2012

Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 6:53 am

Community involvement is important and I was delighted to see that a lot of people turned out to listen to the political candidates and the informational meeting about the financial problems the Fall River Joint Unified School District is facing.
The political system has finally reached a point from the county level to the federal level that it can’t be ignored and we need informed, interested citizens involved who will hopefully hold the politicians feet to the fire and steer it in a better direction.
My compliments to the Tea Party and the School District for hosting good – informative meetings and everyone who attended for having the interest and taking the time.

My thoughts

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 6:52 am

By Valerie Lakey
Mountain Echo reporter
I attended the Candidate’s Night last week and was very pleased to see a full house. It is great to see so many people get out to hear what the candidates have to say. With that, I have a few thoughts.
First of all, the Intermountain Tea Party did a wonderful job setting it up and providing a great format. Yes, a format to follow. As an audience member we must remember that in the interest of time, it was set up to run smoothly. If you had a question, you were to fill out a card. As a member of the audience, we were there to listen to a biography of the candidates and hear how they answered the questions that were written on the cards. Everyone had a chance to fill out a card. It was not a debate. Our job was to listen, take that information and determine if the candidate was someone we would want to support.
I was disappointed that was not always respected. I heard snickers, disagreements, blurted out comments and questions from the audience when people were not in agreement. I respect that people have a right to their opinion. I didn’t agree with everything I heard. The fact is though, that these candidates are stepping up and trying to make a difference. We owe them respect for that. If we disagree, we put that information in our minds and use it when deciding how to cast our votes.
The other thing I was disappointed with was that there was not one question posed about education or healthcare. Two topics I believe are a lot more important than pipelines.
Overall, I am thrilled that so many people came out that night. I just believe that these candidates are taking a big plunge and unless we are willing to do it, we should offer them respect and listen to what they have to say…then make our decisions.

January 23, 2012

Guest Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 12:25 pm

By Matt Rees
CEO Mayers Memorial Hospital
With temperatures dropping last week (week of January 16th), Mayers had two pipes freeze, then break during the warmer hours of the day. The first pipe is located over the Acute Nurses Station, flooding four rooms, including one empty patient room. The second, is an enclosed room containing water heating units, and was only noticed when water could be seen leaking on the sidewalk outside the room. There was no equipment damage, but this shows that we need the community’s support more than ever to make the necessary changes in improving our facility. Replacement of the gas line, new pavement, new roof, new equipment; without these upgrades Mayers will literally fall apart. By the end of this next year, we will have put almost $4 million toward the facility, modernizing technology, upgrading the building and keeping up with constant changing regulations. Funding is coming from Measure D, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Bond issue, grants, fundraisers, operation and donations.
We are in the process of planning and designing a new replacement building, and should be ready to put a shovel in the ground within the next three to four years. As some of you know, the original building was built in 1953 in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Mayers. What some of you may not know is that the original building was built and funded solely by community members just like you, with help from performance benefits by Bing Crosby and land donated by Anna McArthur Ritter. They believed in the vision of Mayers, and what it would serve. Today regulations and procedures have changed, and while we can’t as community members pick up the hammers ourselves, we still need the unyielding support that was present so many years ago. The passing of Measure D was the first step, and now we need to finish what was started. This new facility is a major part in moving forward as well as keeping Mayers as a viable facility in this area.
Right now, the estimated cost for a new facility is $36 million, $9 million of which will come from the remaining Measure D funds. The rest needs to be obtained through grants, other revenue bonds, fundraising and private donations. While we don’t intend to increase the amount paid to over $50 per 100,000 assessed value for tax payers in the area, the decreasing assessed value, interest rates, and state and federal economy may cause that rise to happen in future years.
Mayers Memorial Hospital has been around for many years, and with the community’s support we can keep the services this hospital provides available for future generations of the Intermountain Area. I appreciate all the support the hospital currently gets from our community, both in the utilization of our services, tax support and other donations.

Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 12:23 pm

Baby Sophia Kammerer, is safe, well and home after recovering from the surgery that gave her a new heart at Stanford Medical Center and the family has been reunited on home turf.
As Sophia’s mother, Natalie says, “Thank you God!”
I have to admit I turned chicken Thursday evening and didn’t make it to the Municipal Advisory Committee meeting but I did have a long talk with Steve Murdock and Diana Rogers the next day.
They are and will continue to beat their heads against a brick wall to try and get county officials and Supervisors to recognize a group chartered to present an educated summation of the Valley’s point of view when the last thing any of the Supervisors or County hierarchy wants is the Intermountain Area’s point of view.
In addition, they are trying to accomplish two other items. They want to completely divorce themselves from Community Service District control.
The CSD formed the committee and started it with two directors of the district as members of the committee.
Of the five members currently on the seven person board, only one is a former director. They are seeking two new members (see articles page 1).
They are also re-writing their policy manual, eliminating the statement that committee members must be appointed by the CSD directors.
Both stress that the committee is not an action committee. They do not act on decisions. Their role is advisory. They meet, take public input into specific issues and present their recommendation to the appropriate board. Their recommendation is the majority vote by audience and board after hearing presentations on the issue. They will also give a summation of the majority and minority reasoning for their vote.
I recommend that if you live in the Fall River Valley and have a little time to devote to your community, that you submit your application and become involved.

January 16, 2012

Guest Editorial

Filed under: Editorial — waltblog @ 1:53 pm

By Greg Hawkins
FRJUSD
Superintendent

The Trigger’s Been Pulled!
In an earlier interview with one of our local newspapers, I made a statement that our district was financially in “good shape.” In comparison to other districts, I could easily validate this statement, which was a testimony to careful planning and prudent decision making by our district in the past years. Unfortunately this solid ground on which we were standing began to shake as our state fell short of reaching its economic recovery benchmarks, and growing speculation of districts being faced with mid-year reductions, commonly referred to as “Trigger cuts,” ominously loomed throughout our schools. Recently, this trigger has not only been pulled, but yanked so aggressively that our district, as well as most districts throughout the state, finds itself in a position having to make reductions unlike any we have been faced with in many years.
This is not an overnight occurrence but one that districts have been struggling with for some time. During the past five years, public schools in California have had a twenty percent revenue cut while the state continues to give deferrals (commonly referred to as “IOU’s”) which are nearly forty percent of the total revenue. While it may appear our district has a sizeable cash reserve, in reality the actual “cash on hand” is considerably less. Unfortunately, we must operate our district with available cash, not what’s been promised to us sometime in the future. Our district, like most in the north state, continues to experience a steady decline of student enrollment, losing nearly one third of our students in the past ten years, from 1501 students in 2000-01 to our current enrollment of 1083. We receive approximately $5,600 per student enrolled, and loss of enrollment only compounds the problem faced with the loss of state revenues. In addition, we have no control over the overall economy which has been very difficult and unstable in recent years.
With the current midyear trigger cuts, our district will lose $272,000, roughly half of our allotment for home-to-school transportation, and nearly $15,000 in revenue limit cuts (ADA). For a district as widely spread as ours, transportation is essential. As we approach the mid-point in our current school year, we are taking full precautions to purchase only essentials; however, the emphasis on reductions ultimately must take into account the plan for next year. The idiom, “drastic times call for drastic measures” seems relevant. Difficult decisions will be made, but please be assured, this process will be a collaborative effort of stakeholders with a common goal—to assure that our top priority is to insure that our students have every possible opportunity for success.
What can be done? To the innocent bystander, many suggestions or solutions may seem quite simple or logical, however there are many interconnected complexities of the whole picture that must be considered. Unfortunately the educational legal system also influences the outcomes of many decisions. Governor Jerry Brown’s latest effort to support schools stems from a proposed sales tax increase, which he hopes will generate the necessary support to be on the ballot next November. If not or if the measure fails, we will once again be looking at another round of mid-year cuts which the Department of Finance estimates will be equally or possibly more devastating than this year’s reductions. If truly interested, I would urge you to contact a state official and emphasize your concern with the constant cuts schools are experiencing. These representatives include State Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, Senator Doug LaMalfa, House Representative Wally Herger, and Supervisor Glenn Hawes. Their contact information can be found on-line. For any of you who would like to further understand our district’s budget as well as the additional challenges we are being faced with, there will be a board budget workshop at the District Office on Wednesday, January 25, beginning at 5:00 P.M. This meeting will focus on revenues, expenditures, and suggestions. You are welcome to attend. Our community is a vital part of our schools, and we will work together to get through tough times.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress