Friday, November 22, 2013

Redding City Council, November 19, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Redding City Council met at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at City Hall on Cypress Avenue.  All five Council members were in attendance.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Invocation, which is ordinarily a public prayer, was instead a presentation of the Pilgrim Congregational Church and the Interfaith Choir who performed an a cappella version of “Bridge over Troubled Water”.  Afterward Mayor Rick Bosetti remarked that it was an appropriate selection for our first rainy day.

First up came the Public Comment Period for non-agendized matters.  George Clarke spoke first saying that Councilwoman Francie Sullivan had received $15,000 from unions.  He implied that that is the reason she votes in favor of union salary increases.  He insinuated that she had threatened him with a lawsuit for speaking out on this subject.  “Elect fiscal conservatives,” he concluded.

Dolores Lucero displayed a page on the overhead projector claiming that Candidate for City Council Brent Weaver had received money from the City as Weaver Lumber.  She said she would report this to the Attorney General’s office and that members of City Council as elected officials are legally required to report any crimes they witness.

Next on the agenda was the Consent Calendar which is intended for items which are considered routine and noncontroversial.  Any member of the Council or interested member of the public may request an item be moved to the Regular Calendar for more complete discussion.

Councilman Gary Cadd wanted to make a comment on item 4.11(e), saying that due to the California Legislature passing AB1371, bicycles are now granted a minimum of three feet for safety and that means we must all be very careful.  Bicyclists now have the right-of-way.  He said we must be very careful to try to understand “what’s coming out of Sacramento”.

His remarks seemed to offend Councilwoman Missy McArthur who asked City Attorney Rick Duvernay if Cadd’s remarks were appropriate.  Duvernay responded that remarks are required to be germane to the topic under discussion and that the Councilman’s comments might be “getting close to the line”.

Photo by Joe McGarity
6.1 on the agenda was a Public Hearing where the Council acted in its capacity as the Successor Agency to the Redding Redevelopment Agency.  The Redevelopment Agency has been dissolved and the Council makes decisions regarding any funds remaining on the books as the “Successor Agency”.  Assistant City Manager Barry Tippin provided a report to the Council describing the types of projects that meet the qualifications for funding.  In this case the City Staff is recommending that the Council authorize the use of $281,133.54 for the construction of new classrooms at Pioneer High School.  Tippin explained that while Pioneer is not in the Canby-Hilltop-Cypress project area, 27% of the students attending Pioneer live in that district and the amount in question represents less than 27% of the total money in the fund.  In his view the project qualifies.  For procedural reasons the assembled body had to vote on this issue twice, once as the City Council and once as the Successor Agency to the Redding Redevelopment Agency.  Both entities passed this item unanimously.

7.1 appoints Tom Mancuso to the Board of Directors of the Shasta Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District for a two-year term beginning December 31, 2013.  This passed 5 – 0.

7.2 appoints both Mike Reed and Brad Williams to the Community Development Advisory Committee for three-year terms beginning December 1, 2013.
Photo by Joe McGarity
It was 9.2(b) that most of the assembled public was there that evening to hear about.  This agenda item would authorize the use of $193,800 for the Northern California Veterans Museum and Heritage Center.

Councilman Patrick Jones said that while he had recused himself in the past because he is a volunteer at the museum, after speaking with the City Attorney he had decided that he would vote this evening because he did not stand to gain financially from the proposed resolution.

Councilwoman McArthur spoke of the members of her own family who had served in the armed forces, displaying her father’s uniform jacket from his time as a Seabee.  She responded to criticism of her in the media saying that she’s not against vets and anyone who thinks so is “out to lunch”.  She said the museum is a great idea and that they have great projects but there is no money for it in the city’s budget.  She said that the Council had an obligation to carefully scrutinize projects no matter how worthy the cause.  She warned veterans to be careful about being used for political purposes.

Many people wanted to speak on this topic.  Betty Paris said that the Council members who vote for this will be remembered and those that don’t will be forgotten.  John Cleckner asked the Council to support the Museum as they had supported the Veterans’ Home.  Dick Fyten said that the Museum has items from the War of Independence to Afghanistan.  He said that veterans fought for our freedom of speech and “tonight we exercise that”. He said there were 19,400 veterans in Shasta County amounting to 10% of the population.  Barry Zanni said he volunteers at the Museum and that residents of the Veterans’ Home would benefit from the Museum by being asked to tell their stories and participate as docents.

It was Sr. Chief Rob Burroughs’ comments that commanded the most attention.  Burroughs is the CEO of the non-profit that operates the Museum.  He told the Council that their support for projects seems to be based upon money and politics not respect for veterans.  He said he was “baffled” by some of the ideas and comments of the Council.  He said that there are some things worth dying for.  “One’s country is worth dying for.  Democracy is worth dying for because it is the most honorable form of government conceived by Man.”  He said that the downtown police station does not meet their needs.  He continued to speak after his three minutes had expired until the Mayor eventually cut him off.  Chief Burroughs told the Mayor that as the primary speaker on this subject, he assumed he would not be subjected to a time limit but yielded the podium.

The next speaker was Dianna Burroughs who said the Museum had raised $288,000 and had received $192,000 of in-kind donations.  She spoke of the Homeward Bound Program which helps returning veterans readjust to civilian life.  She also exceeded her time limit but was allowed to continue after politely requesting to do so.  Desiree Clements said that the Museum heals people, especially the families of those who have been lost to war.  Dolores Lucero suggested a ballot initiative to circumvent the Council altogether.  Several others spoke on the subject including Charles Alexander who drew a comparison with how McConnell Foundation projects are often treated saying, “It’s time to be even-handed.”

Councilwoman Sullivan commented that “many have questioned our patriotism”.  She said she was deeply offended.  She noted that the Police Department had to apply for a grant to purchase bullet-proof vests.  She said, “In a better time, this would work.”  She even volunteered to help with fundraising but she said, “This is taxpayer money.”

Mayor Bosetti said, “You can feel the emotion.  We do need a place.”  But he said it’s “not the responsibility of us here to pay for it.”  He said that he would support a Memorandum of Understanding to lease land to the Museum if it were detached from the money.  He also volunteered to help raise money for the Museum.

The Mayor’s comments were interrupted by angry murmurs from the assembled crowd.  Chris McCandless who had spoken during the public comment period interrupted saying “We’re not gone, not by a long shot.”  They Mayor told him, “This is not a dialog," causing McCandless to get up and leave.

The Council voted down the resolution 3 – 2 with Cadd and Jones voting in favor, McArthur, Bosetti and Sullivan voting against.

As the disgruntled crowd picked up its jackets and began to head for the doors, the Mayor opted not to take a break and for the meeting to continue on.

9.5(b) The Council accepted the Electric Utility’s Monthly Financial Report.  Electric costs are anticipated to rise in a dry year because less power will be available from Shasta Dam meaning the City will have to purchase more power on the open market.  Councilwoman Sullivan joked that they should begin Council meetings with a prayer for rain.  The report was unanimously accepted.

9.10(a) The Council accepted the General Fund’s Monthly Financial Report.  General Fund Revues this year to date are $11.5 Million.  This report was also accepted unanimously.

Redding City Council Special Meeting, November 18, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Redding City Council met at 5:30 pm on November 18, 2013 at City Hall on Cypress Avenue for a Special Meeting.  All five council members were in attendance.  This reporter was not present and this article has been prepared from the official video on the City of Redding’s website.

The single item on the agenda concerned the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  City Manager Kurt Starman introduced Deputy Director Dr. Gerald Meral of the California Natural Resources Agency who provided a report to the Council.

Meral told the Council that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan was essentially a “habitat conservation plan” similar to others in the state, differing mainly in that it was designed to protect aquatic species.

He explained that the Bay Delta, the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers as they flow into the San Francisco Bay, was originally tidal marsh lands that were turned into several hundred small islands over the course of the past century and a half with the construction of channels and levees throughout the region.  Levees were constructed one by one by individual farmers to “reclaim” wetlands for use as farmlands.  This was not originally coordinated by any government entity and likely without the expertise of an engineer.  These islands in the delta region are now below sea level meaning that when a levee fails, the island it protects could be inundated by seawater.  This is important because water in this system heads southward to large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and San Diego.  Saltwater in the system makes it unusable for those cites.  He said that an earthquake of 6.5 on the Richter Scale could cause as many as 20 islands to be flooded with seawater.  Such an earthquake is statistically expected within the next four decades. Meral explained that because water is pumped from the Delta Region to supply the aqueducts, the natural flow is reversed in some areas confusing the spawning fish and sending them in the wrong direction to an almost certain death.

Councilman Gary Cadd noted that there are “three or four things going on with water at the moment”.  He mentioned raising Shasta Dam, Sites Reservoir, the dual tunnel system and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan being discussed as “all tied together”.  Dr. Meral agreed.  Cadd asked about the tunnels, their diameter and capacity and was told that each tunnel would be 40 feet in diameter with a combined capacity to carry 9,000 cubic feet per second of water.  Cadd asked from where the water would come to fill them.  He told Cadd that the United States National Marine Fishery Service has provided criteria for how much water can be diverted from the Sacramento River, the maximum being just less than one third of total flow during times of high volume but would usually be closer to 10%.

Cadd asked about the cost of the tunnels to which Dr. Meral responded “about fifteen billion dollars” which he said would be paid by end-users south of the Delta, prompting Cadd to ask, “Can we have that in writing?”  Meral responded that it was on the website now and would be in the draft plan to be released December 15.  He went on to say that the plan would not alter the operation of Shasta, Trinity or Folsom Reservoirs and only slightly impact Oroville Reservoir.  He went on to say that state and federal governments would not “get a pass” on water rights issues, but would still have to conform to all water use regulations that they must adhere to presently.  He mentioned that there would be no impact on flood control programs on the Sacramento River, noting that that was more a concern in the area of the Yolo Bypass.

Two speaker request cards were turned in.  The first speaker was Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem/Wintu.  She asked about how much additional water is needed in Southern California and about the “1941 act of Congress that took our land”.  She said, “We’re claiming that we still have water rights and we still have access to that land” because the terms of the bill passed at that time have not been fulfilled.  She said that her people’s rights and interests should be addressed in the water plan.  She also expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the plan as regards the fish population.  “There’s also the matter of the water going to fracking that we are opposed to,” she said.  As far as the saltwater intruding into the Delta, she did not see this as a problem since it was planned that way by the Creator.  But she said that New Zealand is the number one exporter of salmon in the world and “that should be us.”

Charles Alexander addressed the Council next.  He said the peripheral tunnels are designed to divert substantial amounts of water at points north of the Delta to benefit end-users south of the Delta.  He asked what was the point of building a tunnel, let alone two tunnels, if the amount of water to be moved is only about 5% of their capacity.  He expressed his doubts about the guarantee that “area of origin water rights” would not be affected, which Alexander described as “physically impossible” unless water users in the south severely cut back their usage.

Dr. Meral was then asked to return to the podium to respond to questions.  Councilman Cadd asked how many pages long was the plan to which Meral replied “approximately 25,000 pages”.  He talked about negotiations currently ongoing with irrigation customers on the San Joaquin River, saying that there will be no effort to take more water from the Delta, but rather to stabilize the amount of water available from year to year so that agricultural users would have a better idea of how much water they will be able to get each season.

The Council voted to accept the report unanimously.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Soapbox
November 16, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Well folks, I’m happy to say that both I and my 1990 Ford Tempo have survived the first month of weekly publication of this little tabloid newspaper!  I mention my car because for more than half of this first month I was operating a vehicle that didn’t hold an ounce of water.  I was determined to get this paper out anyway.  It was touch and go for awhile.  If I couldn’t touch it, I couldn’t go.  I’m pretty sure I either got lucky or had some kind of automotive guardian angel watching over me and machine.  I thought I might be able to make it to the City of Shasta Lake without destroying my engine if I just were to stay off of I-5 until the last possible minute.  I just have to get up this hill on North Market Street, just up to the intersection of Caterpillar Road and OH NO!  Better pull over into the gas station there.  Okay, I’m just looking at the fire extinguisher to see where it is.  I don’t think I’ll actually need it, but that is smoke, not steam, isn’t it?  I suppose I can chill for a while.  I did manage to nurse the car along and deliver to my locations on Shasta Dam Boulevard.  My last stop was the Queen of Dragons and my car was smoking again.  (Think about it.)  I have to thank Richard’s Automotive at the easy to remember location of 12345 Lake Boulevard for getting the job done quickly and economically, which allowed me to get the Fantom Penguin out pretty close to on-time last week.

We’ve picked up a few new advertisers in the last two or three weeks.  Welcome aboard the Penguin Train, Advantage Signs!  Charles W. Clark is more than a sign guy, he’s an honest-to-goodness artist with an art gallery to prove it!  By the way, he also does photography!  Palo Cedro Wireless, Sandy Walker-Realtor and Takeables are all nestled together in the shadow of Dutch Bros. in Palo Cedro right next to Palo Cedro Printing where the Fantom Penguin is reborn each week like the icy phoenix it is.

Majestic Limousine is now booking Christmas Light Tours for this season.  Be sure to book yours before Thanksgiving or run the risk of missing out!  Most dates are still available, but they will fill up fast!  All About Books on Court Street has the newest Fantom Penguin on your right just as you walk in the door and you can’t hardly get your hair done anywhere in Anderson without tripping over a Fantom Penguin, since you can get them at either St. John’s Barber Shop over by Player’s Pizza or at De Ja’Vu – A Fluxx Concept Salon just across the highway on West Center Street.  And of course the Penguin is still available at the Fusion Pit in the Factory Outlets and at Caddy Daddy’s on Churn Creek or wherever Rock ‘n Roll plays and body jewelry is sold.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Marijuana: Legalization vs. Decriminalization

by Joey Ortez

Photo by Joe McGarity

This is a hot topic, I can’t deny it. I love to write about controversy, especially when I can leave my readers guessing whose side I’m on. During the past few years, Shasta County has made a name for itself (among other counties in the state) for seemingly backwards regulations on something voters across the state decided was a good thing back in 1996. In fact, (at the risk of pissing off some of my readers) I’ve heard Shasta County referred to as “Shaft-ya County” because apparently we’re famous for arresting more pot smokers than meth users? I’ve read a lot of rhetoric on comment sections of local news reports when the topic has to do with marijuana, and the consensus of the comments reveal that the majority of readers among these news reports are quite upset that our law enforcement officials are indeed arresting more for pot than for meth... I must actually back this statement with a phone call to the Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force, however they are totally unreachable. I’ve left a few messages, but haven’t gotten a call back. Maybe they don’t want to talk to a small independent? Who knows? If I do get a call back from them, I’m looking for statistics or arrest records that compare meth with marijuana in Shasta County. I would like to include those findings in another article for you.

I’ve been interested in the subject of legalization vs. decriminalization for quite some time. I’ve had friends and even family who’ve suffered from cancer and the treatments doctors force them into in an attempt to cure or send the cancer into remission.  I’ve seen what those treatments do to the human body, and it ain’t pretty! My good friend Robert passed away back in 1998 from lymphomic cancer. He was a young biker in his 40’s, had hair down to his ass and a long beautiful beard that would make ZZ Top jealous. He thought he’d hurt his shoulder at work, but after being in pain for about 4 months he decided to go see a doctor where they diagnosed him with lymphomic cancer. The doc gave him 2 months. Right. It wasn’t 3 weeks into treatments when he had to shave off all of his beautiful hair and put a medicated patch the size of a sheet of paper on his back. He started going downhill just days after his treatments began. It was almost as if the diagnosis and treatments made him worse. He couldn’t eat, he couldn’t sleep and all he wanted was to smoke a joint or two to feel better.  He said it felt like instinct to lean on marijuana to ease the side effects of the cancer treatments.  With that said, let’s turn to the human anatomy, chemistry in the brain and some sciency stuff:

According to Wikipedia, “Before the 1980s, it was often speculated that cannabinoids produced their physiological and behavioral effects via nonspecific interaction with cell membranes, instead of interacting with specific membrane-bound receptors. The discovery of the first cannabinoid receptors in the 1980s helped to resolve this debate. These receptors are common in animals, and have been found in mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. At present, there are two known types of cannabinoid receptors, termed CB1 and CB2, with mounting evidence of more. The human brain has more cannabinoid receptors than any other G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) type.  [To elaborate:] Phytocannabinoids (also called natural cannabinoids, herbal cannabinoids, and classical cannabinoids) are known to occur in several different plant species. These include Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Acmella oleracea, Helichrysum umbraculigerum, and Radula marginata.[10] The best known herbal cannabinoids are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from Cannabis and the lipophilic alkamides (alkylamides) from Echinacea species.  At least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the Cannabis plant and 25 different cannabinoids from Echinacea species. In Cannabis, these cannabinoids are concentrated in a viscous resin produced in structures known as glandular trichomes. In Echinacea species, cannabinoids are found throughout the plant structure, but are most concentrated in the roots and stems. Tea (Camellia sinensis) catechins have an affinity for human cannabinoid receptors.”

What does this mean? This means that animals AND humans were intended BY NATURE to receive benefits of cannabinoids. What are cannabinoids you ask? Simply put: the beneficial chemical/element in marijuana and other flora such as Echinacea (purple coneflower). Just an FYI about Echinacea... Extracts of this flower is widely available in all grocery stores, health food stores and pharmacies in the homeopathic isle. I take Echinacea with Goldenseal during cold & flu season to boost my white blood count and help my immune system. I rarely get colds, even when I’ve been around folks who are sick.

Regarding the law, Wikipedia says: “Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, is a California law concerning the use of medical cannabis. It was enacted, on November 5, 1996, by means of the initiative process, and passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes in favor and 4,301,960 (44.4%) against.  The proposition was a state-wide voter initiative authored by Dennis Peron, Anna Boyce RN, John Entwistle, Jr., Valerie Corral, Dale Gieringer, Thomas Seiler, William Panzer, Scott Imler, Steve Kubby, and psychiatrist Tod H. Mikuriya, and approved by California voters. It allows patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation, and the patient’s designated Primary Caregivers, to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use, and has since been expanded to protect a growing system of collective and cooperative distribution. The Act added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code. This law has caused much conflict in the United States between states’ rights advocates and those who support a stronger federal presence.  Dennis Peron would describe 1996 as a year when “the stars aligned for medical marijuana.” It was a presidential election year with a Democrat incumbent in a heavily Democratic state. The AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s to the early 1990s as well as recent studies regarding relief for chemotherapy patients were opening people’s minds to medical marijuana. On top of that, 60-year-old “Brownie” Mary Rathburn’s arrest for baking marijuana brownies made headlines garnering sympathy for medical marijuana.”

I found the election results map intriguing. This map was interesting to me because it appears that the majority of the state voted “No”, but looking at population in those outlined counties, it’s clear how “majority rules” here. 

So, back to the argument: Legalization vs. Decriminalization. What is the difference? Well, legal verbiage and lots of red tape if you ask me. There is a clear definitive difference according to lawmakers. If we were to decriminalize marijuana it would still allow for people to get fined, be jailed, etc. Total legalization is the only way for the government to benefit, via taxation, etc.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the non-profit organization called LEAP (an acronym for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).

LEAP is a drug law reform organization that believes legalized regulation is the only ethical and efficient way to undo the damage caused by the War on Drugs. Legalized regulation would result in a system in which the sale and distribution of drugs is regulated by a government body similar to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco, thereby inhibiting, and eventually removing, the criminal monopoly on the sale of current illicit drugs.

LEAP does support incremental change, which the organization believes ultimately betters the lives of United States citizens. LEAP has supported bills which would decriminalize up to one ounce of marijuana, legalize medical marijuana, and implement harm reduction strategies in communities and was instrumental in the passage of initiatives to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington. According to LEAP, their support for incremental change does not conflict with their stance on legalization because they see these steps as means to an end, not ends in themselves.

I think most Americans, in time, will change from alcohol to marijuana as their drug of choice once they realize that when you use marijuana to get that “high”, and you have no hangover the next morning, it has to be a safer choice. It will be all about the way they feel Sunday morning when they wake up, fresh, rested and ready for the day, instead of still somewhat drunk with headache, stomach roiling and hanging on to lay down. That would make an interesting TV commercial: show a drunk chick getting up Sunday morning and a pot smoker doing the same thing with side by side shots! So what’s my opinion of it all? I haven’t one. I say “to each his own”, or let people be if you prefer. Natural selection will sort out what needs sorting. I will say that there is something to prove with nature though. I do not believe the human body was designed to ingest the chemical substances medical science is providing to us. I also do not believe animals were meant for it either. I just hope someday the government will see the science behind what nature has provided to us in every aspect. We figured out water was good to drink, right?

Shasta County Planning Commission, November 14, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Planning Commission met Thursday, November 14, 2013 at the Shasta County Administration Building on Court Street in Redding.  The Planning Commission conducted three public hearings.

R1 on the agenda concerned permits associated with the Antler’s Bridge construction project in Lakehead.  Three permits were being sought by the Tutor-Saliba Corporation, the contractor for the project.  Bill Walker, Senior Staff Planner for the County reported to the Commission that although space is available in the Caltrans right-of-way, the company needed more space for temporary offices and for the fabrication of forms.  One commissioner asked why permits were being sought now, three years into the project.  Walker replied that they didn’t know they needed them and that they are working with the County to comply.  Tyler McDonald, an engineer for Tutor-Saliba, spoke on behalf of the company.  He was asked about runoff issues.  The Planning Commission had received a letter from a concerned citizen about the possible contamination of a well.  McDonald replied that they would monitor the runoff issues when it begins to rain and address any issues if they arise.

Paul Smith, a Lakehead resident, spoke in opposition, stating that he is in opposition to only one of the permits being discussed.  He said that this was not about a well, so much as a public water system.  He said that it is not enough to check for contamination after the fact and said that contamination of a public water supply is a violation of Homeland Security and a larger issue than the company wishes to admit.  He said it was “pretty silly” to suggest that a major contractor did not know that they needed to pull a permit.  He also objected to large amounts of dust generated at the site.  Carla Serio of the Shasta County Environmental Health Department told the Commission that the owner of the Basshole, a local business had raised concerns about runoff from the site and that the well does get inundated from time to time in heavy rainfall, but that she didn’t see any particular problems with runoff noting that she was not aware if the company was using form oil.

Asked if there were any other sites which could be used for the project, McDonald told the Commission that they had done their “due diligence” but would be willing to work with the commission.

In the end, the Commission approved the two permits for which there was no opposition and voted to continue the other permit to the next meeting on December 12.

R2 concerned easing the regulations regarding “Family Care Residences”.  A special permit can be issued for a single-wide mobile on a property where it would not normally be allowed, when it is for the purpose of housing additional family members to provide care for the ill or disabled.  The issue before the Commission that afternoon was whether or not to adopt four specific changes that could make the process easier on families taking advantage of the special permit.  The term of the permit would go from two years to four years so that families would not have to deal with the expense or hassle of renewing the permit quite so often.  Doctor’s notes for the permits would no longer include a diagnosis of the individual’s condition because this puts medical information into the public record and further that age and frailty were now to be considered sufficient cause for issuance of a permit.  Finally, if the person being cared for passes away or becomes institutionalized, the family has 90 days to remove the mobile rather than the 30 days under the old system.  No one spoke either for or against this item and it passed rather easily, 4 – 0.

R3 on the agenda was a proposed restriction on the cultivation of medical marijuana.  It was this issue that had packed the hall with a standing-room-only crowd.  The proposed zoning amendment would recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they restrict all medicinal marijuana grows to out-buildings and impose a 12 plant limit.

At the outset of this public hearing, the Chairman told the assembled crowd that they had received several letters regarding this subject and that they had read every single one of them including the information that had just been handed to them at the beginning of the meeting.  Richard Simon, Director of Resource Management told the Commission that his department had received nearly 400 complaints about marijuana grows so far this year.  He said that about 10-15% of those contacted voluntarily came into compliance with regulations.  He said the new regulations would ban all outdoor cultivation; limit growers to detached structures only; ban cultivation in residences (noting that this is not a change); impose a hard limit of 12 plants per property; create a one thousand foot perimeter around “sensitive uses” such as schools, parks and churches where growing would not be permitted and require a signed statement of permission from property owners to the effect that their tenants have permission to grow marijuana there. 

The procedure for public hearings requires that those in favor of a proposal speak first.  A total of fourteen people spoke in favor of the proposed amendment including Shasta County Sheriff, Tom Bosenko; Public Health Officer, Andrew Deckert; Lt. DeWayne Little of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Dale Fletcher of Shasta County Code Enforcement.

The first speaker, Joanne Owen, wanted to know how much money the County had collected in fines.  She said she has never been able to get an answer to this question.

Cathy Grindstaff of A Sobering Choice suggested that “costs of enforcement” be added to fines and penalties incurred by illegal marijuana grows.

Peter Scales said that illegal growers steal water and damage fire hydrants in the Elk Trail East and West neighborhoods.  He added that he’s not talking about the 10% who voluntarily comply, but those for whom it’s “all about money”.

Sheriff Bosenko presented a slide presentation showing the environmental damage done by large illegal grows in the County.  He showed the effects of illegal grading, illegal chemical use and “timber conversion”, a term used to describe the illegal clearing of the forest.

Lt. Little of Fish and Wildlife made a similar report, also with accompanying slides.

Andrew Deckert of Shasta County Public Health reported his concerns that marijuana negatively affects physical, mental and community health.  He cited a number of examples of each.  In regards to physical health he mentioned that marijuana slows reaction times and causes drowsiness which can result in physical injuries.  He said that marijuana has a negative effect on mental health as well claiming that it causes bi-polar disorder and anxiety, a statement that some in the crowd seemed not to accept.

Others spoke of more teenagers reporting for drug treatment for marijuana issues and a decline in the perception of harm among 7th graders.  One speaker asked the Commission about closing all potential loopholes, such as the definitions of “premises” and “property”, noting that minor loopholes in the current code have been severely exploited.  Dave Fletcher of Code Enforcement thanked the Commission for giving the department the tools it needs.

Twenty-two people spoke in opposition to the new, stricter guidelines.

Jess Brewer said the new regulations would be too strict.  He said the average patient cannot afford to construct an out-building, especially considering the costs of permits.

Marcia Jones said that large grows are already illegal and that “there are real patients here”, adding most of the real patients don’t want illegal grows.

Valarie Barker said that some ordinances need to be done, but that “people like me” (in a wheelchair) could not reasonably be expected to build and operate an outdoor greenhouse.  As for the large growers, “Nail ‘em,” she said.

Rob McDonald said that there are “more of us than there are of them” but that these public meetings seem to “always appease everything they ask for and nothing we ask for.”  Adding, “Scarcity increases profit and keeps the criminal element in it.”

Other speakers commented on the Sheriff’s presentation saying things like “they are the ones causing the real problem” referring to large marijuana grows and that his presentation was “absolutely irrelevant” to the proposed ordinance.  One man said that he did not smoke marijuana, but was concerned about the “slippery slope” of big government, warning the Commission not to be on the wrong side.
Photo by Joe McGarity

Dr. Tammy K. Brazil, owner of the Queen of Dragons in the City of Shasta Lake, after rattling off her impressive list of degrees, spoke of Phoenix Tears, a cannabis based medicine which has been used to slow or even halt the growth of tumors.  She said that one of the reasons for not limiting the number of plants a patient may grow is that one small dose of Phoenix Tears requires ¼ pound of the “best primo I can get my hands on” and that the Queen of Dragons routinely provides it to cancer patients free of charge.  (One may also pick up a copy of the Fantom Penguin there, also free of charge.)

Gina Munday, owner of the Green Heart collective which was closed down in Anderson but still operates a dispensary in Siskiyou County said that the Sheriff’s presentation did not represent “real patients”.

One speaker said that this ordinance would force patients into the black market.  Another said that her cancer was cured by the treatment she got at Queen of Dragons.

After hours of testimony, Chairman Dick Franks said that what he had heard from both sides was that “we don’t like the cartels”.  He asked County Counsel, Rubin Cruse about tagging individual plants, but was advised that might be too much like issuing permits, which the State Supreme Court has already ruled against.

Commissioner Franks told the audience, “We don’t have a lot of flexibility to do this in a way that makes a lot of sense.”  Someone in the crowd said, “Thank you for your honesty.”

The commissioners hashed it out among themselves for some time as a slightly impatient audience consisting mostly of those opposed to the regulation occasionally interrupted the proceedings.  Most of those for the amendment had already given their testimony and left.  Many of the reporters had also left by that time.  The commissioners seemed to be open to the concerns expressed about apartment dwellers who would not have the option of constructing any kind of out-building.

Commissioner Franks said that this would not be something we will have to live with for ten years.  In his opinion the state and federal governments would “get their acts together” on the marijuana issue perhaps in the next couple of years.  Any plan enacted by Shasta County would be a sort of interim system until that time. 

A vote was taken on the proposed amendment, deadlocking at 2 – 2.  Commissioners Parham and Franks voted no while Ramsey and Wallner voted in favor.  A tie vote results in failure to pass according parliamentary tradition.  A motion was made to refer the matter back to the planning department.  They were asked to suggest a new amendment that would allow more flexibility for outdoor grows in “low density” population areas.  This passed 3 -1 with Commissioner Ramsey casting the lone negative vote.

What this means is that the newly re-worded amendment to the county code would come back to the Planning Commission at a future date and if passed would then go to the Board of Supervisors to be either enacted or rejected.  The bottom line is that there will be two more public meetings at least before anything is enacted.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shasta County Board of Supervisors, November 12, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at the Shasta County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding.  All five supervisors were in attendance.  After the public prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance was lead by District 5 Supervisor Les Baugh, who dedicated it to all veterans in honor of Veterans’ Day the day before.

R1 – The Board presented a plaque to County Fire Warden Rick Kyle who is retiring from the Shasta County Fire Department.  Sheriff Tom Bosenko filled out a speaker request card for this item.  He congratulated Kyle on his retirement saying that the Sheriff’s Department has always had a good working relationship with County Fire under Kyle’s leadership and that agencies from outside the area are always impressed with the ability of fire and law enforcement to work together in Shasta County.

Public Comment Open Time

One speaker, Tracy Costello addressed the Board of Supervisors.  He said that marijuana growers are taxpayers too and that government should address their needs the same as anyone else.  He says he’s astonished at the planning commission’s proposed recommendations regarding the limitation on the wattage of bulbs used for indoor cultivation, saying the lights in the room were of higher wattage than the proposed limits on grow lights.

Next up was the Consent Calendar meant for items considered routine or noncontroversial.  Chairman David Kehoe, Supervisor District 1 moved item C1 to the regular calendar.

Supervisor Leonard Moty, District 2 made a comment for the record on item C15.  He expressed his opinion that the Public Works department had done a “great job” in working with the National Park Service to secure a grant for the rehabilitation of John F. Kennedy Memorial drive, the approach to Whiskeytown Lake.  He also thanked “Mr. Minturn and his staff” for their work, referring to the director of the Public Works Department, Pat Minturn.

Supervisor Bill Schappell, District 4, asked a question about item C4, indicating that the staff report seemed to indicate both that it would and would not have a budgetary impact.  Chairman Kehoe asked County Executive Officer Larry Lees for his input and he recommended the item be moved to the regular calendar for more complete discussion.

The remainder of the Consent Calendar passed 5 – 0.

C1 – Administrative Fiscal Chief Bebe Palin presented a brief report on item C1 at the request of Chairman Kehoe who asked her to “refresh our memory on ‘Teeter’”.  She told the board that under this program, the County “frontloads” Property Tax Revenue to the school districts.  School districts get their money on time and in the amounts expected, while the County keeps all late fees and penalties associated with late payments it collects.  This agenda item would transfer this money to the SB 1022 Adult Detention Facility Project.  This passed 5 – 0.

C4 – This is the item Supervisor Schappell had a question about and which Administrative Officer Lees suggested be moved to the Regular Calendar.  Lees told the Board that this agenda item, which would authorize the signing of an agreement with Underwood & Wetzel Law Offices to provide legal services to the Shasta County Employees Appeals Board, would only transfer this function from one law firm to another.  This is why it is said to have “no additional impact” on the General Fund, because money has already been budgeted for this purpose.  This passed 5 – 0.

The Board of Supervisors recessed and reconvened as The Shasta County Water Agency.

SDC1 would authorize Water Agency to adopt a resolution supporting the Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.  Two public speakers commented on this item.

Cheri Beck said she had worked for the state legislature for 28 years and that water issues were always a high priority there.  She believed the plan to be a good way to protect “area of origin” water rights.  She commended “Leonard” for his work on this issue, indicating Supervisor Moty.

Charles Alexander expressed his belief that the plan would lead to increased monitoring, lower levels of water usage and higher rates.  He said that if one adds up all the proposed restrictions on usage and subtract that from the water available, it leaves a surplus available for conveyance through the Peripheral Canal.

Supervisor Moty said that this would not change water allotments, but merely provides a mechanism that allows water agencies to apply for grant money.  This passed 4 – 1 with Supervisor Schappell casting the no vote.

The Water Agency adjourns and the Board of Supervisors reconvenes.

R2 – Travel Reports

R3 – Authorizes the Board to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shasta County Employees Association-Supervisory Unit and adopt a salary resolution granting a 3% raise to county employees represented by the union.  This passed 5 – 0.

R4 – The Board conducted a public hearing relating to the accomplishments and closeout of a Disaster Recovery Initiative grant which funded a 20-year sewer master plan and a fire facility feasibility study for the community of Cottonwood and to consider directing staff to submit documents to close out the grant.  No speakers came forward and this item was passed unanimously.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Redding City Council, November 5, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Redding City Council met at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at City Hall on Cypress Avenue.  All five council members were in attendance.  A brief summary of each agenda item follows:

The first item on the agenda, item 2A, a presentation of a donation to the City by Richard Anderson of YP Real Yellow Pages, was postponed because the check had not arrived.

Item 2B was a presentation by Kim Chamberlin of the Northern California Veterans Cemetery seeking donations for the annual Wreaths Across America program similar to the one she had previously presented to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.  To find out more or to make a donation visit or call (530) 396-2429.

Next on the Agenda was the Public Comment Period.

Murray Blake said that the Redding Electric Utility building was too expensive and inadequate.  He objected to giving a $35,000 raise to the Transportation Director and he called Stillwater Business Park a “gigantic boondoggle”.

Dolores Lucero once again told the Council that as elected officials they had a legal responsibility to report criminal activity.  She said, “There’s so much corruption I can’t even keep up with it.”  She said “Mr. Bradley” is planning to run and he is receiving money from the city.

Jim Shepherd said that he’d sent a letter to the Council regarding the use of Tiger Field.  He said he’d been in youth sports for 30 years.  He said that American Legion Baseball no longer has access to Tiger Field while Mayor Rick Bosetti’s team does.  The Mayor said that an email had been sent to Mr. Shepherd late that day and perhaps he had not yet seen it.  City Manager Kurt Starman said an accommodation had been reached.

Joann Owen said that she owns a 4-plex in Redding.  She said that it’s been a “nightmare” since 2008 because of the “marijuana issue”.  She said her tenants’ vehicles had been vandalized twelve times and that one tenant was moving back to East Los Angeles because he felt safer there.

Donald Kirk told the City that he thought they should look into the idea of harvesting methane.  He said that other cities were making money with it.

Nick Bundy told the Council that Redding has a homeless problem and everybody knows it.  He said that out of town visitors had commented to him that they believe it’s gotten worse.  He said they must be pushed out.

After the Open Time Public Comment Period came the Consent Calendar.  The Consent Calendar is for items that are considered to be routine and noncontroversial.  It can be passed as one item without discussion.  Any Councilmember or interested member of the public may request an item be moved to the regular agenda for discussion.

Dolores Lucero commented on item 4.11(a) on the Consent Calendar.  4.11(a) would authorize the Mayor to execute a Subdivision Agreement with J&S Highland Park, LLC, and MCG, LP; approve the final map and instruct the City Clerk to file the final map with the Shasta County Recorder.  She said that Bradley Weaver is running for City Council while he is receiving money for this project and suggested that it would be an opportunity for one of the Council members to file a complaint.  Mayor Bosetti told Lucero that the developer’s name was Jeb Allen to which Lucero replied, “They’re all connected”.

Councilman Patrick Jones requested the record reflect that he votes no on item 4.12(a) of the Consent Calendar.  Council members may vote no on individual Consent Calendar items.  4.12(a) adopts a resolution approving an amendment to the city budget which would appropriate $40,000 from the Reprographics Division’s reserves to provide the funding required to remodel office space in City Hall to accommodate the relocation of Reprographics and reducing the Redding Electric Utility’s associated appropriations for tenant improvements at 3611 Avtech Parkway by $40,000.

The remainder of the Consent Calendar passed 5 – 0.

Following the Consent Calendar was a public hearing regarding the use of capital outlay funds by the Shasta County Office of Education.  Assistant City Manager Barry Tippin explained that when the Redevelopment Agency was dissolved, some funds remained on the books that were required to be used toward capital improvements for school districts.  The Oasis Community School Parking Lot Improvement project meets the criteria.  The recommendation of the City Staff was to use the remaining funds for this project.  This passed 5 – 0.

Item 7.1 appoints Julie Winter to serve a three-year term on the Community Development Advisory Committee beginning December 1, 2013.  She received a glowing recommendation from Mayor Bosetti who said he “heartily endorses” her.  Her appointment passed unanimously.

Item 9A was the subject which seemed to have drawn the larger than usual crowd as about twenty individuals offered their input on the subject of the City of Redding invoking coordination with the California Air Resources Board.  Mayor Bosetti and Councilman Gary Cadd each in turn reported on a meeting with CARB in Sacramento they had recently attended.  It was announced that CARB would be sending representatives to Redding for a meeting on December 5, 2013.  “I want to see how the meeting goes in December before we invoke coordination,” said Mayor Bosetti.  Councilman Cadd reported that some of the board members of CARB recognized his name and told him that CARB pays attention to the Redding City Council and had become aware of the discussions involving the possible invocation of coordination.  Councilman Cadd also explained for the assembled public that coordination is a requirement of the federal government, not the state but that any state entity that accepted public funds is required to follow the principle of coordination which requires any government agency to work with any other that may be affected by its policies.

Photo by Joe McGarity
The public comment period on this agenda item was temporarily interrupted in order to return to the very first agenda item, 2A as the missing check arrived mid-meeting.  A representative of YP Real Yellow Pages spoke of the company’s efforts to reduce the number of phone books that end up in landfills by engaging in a proactive recycling effort and promoting an opt-out option for automatically receiving phone books on one’s doorstep.  A check for $1000 was presented to the City.  Following this, public comment on the CARB issue resumed. 

Photo by Joe McGarity
Most of the speakers spoke of the hardships which would be imposed by new regulations scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014 requiring emissions filter units be installed on virtually all diesel vehicles.  Many feared that smaller trucking companies would be forced out of business because they would be unable to afford the substantial cost of retrofitting their vehicles.  When all speakers had concluded, Councilwoman Missy McArthur remarked that she was in favor of coordination but “curious” about the timing prompting a disappointed reaction from the crowd.  “Just chill for a minute,” she told them, “and let me speak.”  Councilman Cadd suggested that the Council should vote for coordination that night rather than wait since “They already know what we’re doing here.”  Councilman Jones said that citizens deserve a seat at the table and that what is done in Redding will cause other cities and counties to join in.  He then told the audience that they should remember this vote on Election Day if it is not unanimously in favor of coordination.  This prompted a reaction from the Mayor who said he had “taken some affront” to that comment adding, “This is not the place to campaign.”

Coordination with CARB passed 5 -0.

Item 9.1(b) concerned the projected cost increases associated with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, commonly known as CalPERS.  City Manager Starman presented a report and displayed a chart showing the projected costs and shortfalls each year leading up to a $7.5 million projected shortfall by fiscal year 2019-2020.  Starman characterized the situation as “quite challenging”.  He presented a second slide outlining the options for addressing this issue that he felt most practical admitting that none of them are ideal.  They are as follows:

1.  Require greater employee contributions to the retirement fund.
2.  Reduce wages and/or benefits.
3.  Reduce the number of positions.
4.  Reduce other operating expenses paid from the General Fund.
5.  Increase the use of contracting and public/private partnerships.
6.  Some combination of the above.

He said that numbers 3 and 4 were doubtful because significant cuts had already been made.  Employees have already “stepped up to the plate” during the recession.

Three people filled out speaker request cards for this item.  Peter Scales said that the City Council and City Staff are not paid based upon performance, but “just paid”.  He said that the only possible answer is to raise taxes, remarking “everything is unsustainable”.  Richard Johnson told the council that the actuarial assumptions by the CalPERS program are unreasonable because those making the decisions have no financial interest in the outcome and Greg Mann said, “Two words:  Charter City”. 

Councilwoman McArthur expressed her opinion that City Manager Starman had been unfairly “thrown under the bus” in the paper.  Councilman Jones remarked that this problem had been brewing for over a decade.  Councilwoman Francie Sullivan said that there will be increases in sales tax revenue because of large retail projects that are expected in the near future.

Item 9.3(b) was informational only.  The Council heard a report and viewed a brief video about the City’s recycling program which now includes alkaline batteries.  Batteries must be placed into special small red plastic bags and can then be placed in the recycle bin with other recyclables.

9.4(a) had the Council officially adopt the 2013 California Building Standards Code.  This passed 5 – 0.

9.5(a) regarded the signing of a non-binding letter of intent to Colusa Bio Energy, LLC about purchasing renewable energy.  This also passed 5 – 0.

9.11(e) would authorize the Mayor to sign a letter of support for the Draft Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.  Charles Alexander made the comment that it seems like the plan emphasizes less use of water in the north in order to make more water available to the south.  He said that with new projects come new regulatory commitments, perhaps rationing.  He said this didn’t seem like the best way to protect water rights.

Councilwoman McArthur asked Councilman Cadd if he had any thoughts on the role of Agenda 21 in this project.  Cadd said the Agenda 21 is mentioned in the California Department of Water Resources Handbook.  He expressed his lack of confidence in that organization and its ability to fulfill its mission.  He said that certain provisions of the water plan being discussed seemed innocent on the surface like “Data Management”, but that this term really describes a cap and trade system and said that the plan would also require reporting on such things as the amount of electricity used at water pumping stations for the purpose of assessing fees for greenhouse gas emissions.  Greg Mann commented that he was concerned about the concept of regional boards, which he felt remove our elected officials one step from their responsibilities.  Councilman Jones said he didn’t feel that a memorandum of understanding with the counties in the south was the best way to protect our water rights.  This passed 3 – 2 with Councilmen Cadd and Jones casting the no votes.

Item 9.11(f) had the Council hear a report on the Redding Area Water Council which has not met since 2007.  RAWC would be the agency responsible for complying with the Water Management Plan discussed in the previous agenda item.  This resulted in the same 3 – 2 vote.

Item 10 was the travel report in which Council members report trips for which they have been reimbursed at taxpayer expense.  There were no travel expenses claimed this time as the Mayor remarked that he’d gotten a ride to Sacramento for the CARB meeting.

Shasta County Board of Supervisors, November 5, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Supervisors with Employee of the Month, Susan Guiton, Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at the County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding.  All five supervisors were in attendance.  A brief summary of each agenda item follows:

R1 – The Board adopted a Resolution recognizing Susan Guiton, Personal Assistant, Heath and Human Services Agency, Business and Support Services as Shasta County Employee of the Month.

R2 – The Board adopted a Proclamation designating the week of November 5-11, 2013 as “Veterans Awareness Week”.  One member of the public submitted a public comment card for this item, Betty Paris.  She told the Board that would like to see a “coordinated effort” by the County and the City of Redding to get the Veterans Museum “rolling again”.

R3 – The Board adopted a Proclamation designating November 11-17, 2013 Shasta County “Community Foundation Week”.

R4 – Patrick J. Wallner was appointed to the Shasta County Planning Commission having been nominated by Les Baugh, Supervisor District 5 at the prior Board meeting.  This passed 5 – 0.

The Board then deviated slightly from the agenda, moving item R5 to a point after the Consent Calendar.

R6 – The Board considered the terms of a tax exchange agreement with the City of Anderson in which Anderson would share a portion of sales tax revenue generated on property currently part of unincorporated Shasta County but planned to be annexed by the City of Anderson.  Supervisor Baugh stated for the record that his wife serves on the Anderson City Council, but did not recuse himself from the vote stating his family would not benefit financially from this action.  Supervisor Leonard Moty, District 2 said that neither side would have called this the “best deal ever”, but both sides concerned themselves with what would be “best for the whole community”.  He thanked Anderson Mayor James Yarbrough and Vice Mayor Debe Hopkins saying “these negotiations were based on mutual respect”.  He also thanked County Executive Officer Larry Lees for his role in the success of these negotiations.  This passed 5 – 0.

Next on the agenda was the Consent Calendar.  The Consent Calendar is for all items that are considered to be routine and non-controversial.  These items can be passed in one action without discussion.  Any Board member or interested member of the public may request to have an item moved to the regular calendar so that it can be more thoroughly discussed.

Item C2, the approval of the minutes of the last two Board of Supervisors meetings was pulled by staff as was item C16.  C16 would have authorized the Chairman to sign a “memorandum of understanding” with California State Association of Counties-Excess Insurance Authority to participate in their medical malpractice program.  This item was to be reintroduced at the next meeting.

The remaining Consent Calendar items passed 5 – 0.

R5 – This item, which also incorporated the Board’s travel reports, authorized the Chairman to sign a letter to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board expressing concerns regarding the Long-Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  Supervisor Pam Giacomini, District 3, articulated her dissatisfaction with the way the State of California manages the Pit River saying the state has ignored ten years of data and misclassified the river’s environment resulting in faulty conclusions regarding its use and stewardship.  She said the state should not ignore the needs of its constituents when making policy.

R7 – The Board heard a report from Director of Support Services, Angela Davis regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as it applies to Shasta County’s employees.  The County, as an employer itself, must offer insurance to all employees working an average of 30 hours or more each week.  The specific issue before the board was whether or not to adopt a particular method of measuring which employees meet the 30+ hour threshold.  The “Look-Back Measurement Method Safe Harbor” would require the county to calculate the hours of all employees during three different periods of time, past present and future to determine who is eligible for insurance.  Chairman David Kehoe, Supervisor District 1 asked Davis to describe the amount of staff time required to produce these reports.  Davis answered, “Substantial”.

R8 – County Treasurer/Tax Collector Lori Scott presented a report to the Board regarding the sale at auction of properties for which no property tax has been paid in five or more years.  She told the Board that delinquent notices are sent out every six months.  After two notices the first year, notices the second year are accompanied by legal notices in the Redding Record Searchlight.  If no payments are received for five years the Tax Collector will ask the Board of Supervisors for permission to sell the property.  Certified letters are then sent to the property owners informing them that they have until the day of the auction in which to pay.  She said that Shasta County “goes above and beyond what the law requires” citing the hypothetical example of a property owned by several members of the same family wherein one family member is not paying property taxes.  She says the County would allow the other family members to buy out the tax-delinquent portion of the property.  She said that the County also offers installment plans to help people avoid losing their properties.  Davis told the Board that 131 properties are on this year’s list, but she hopes to get that number down to 20 – 30 by the time of the auction.

This passed 5 – 0.

The Soapbox

Well folks, be careful what you wish for!  A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my process of covering government meetings at Shasta County Board of Supervisors and Redding City Council.  I said that I didn’t believe that it would be possible to process so much information and turn around articles so quickly without making any errors.  I enthusiastically encouraged readers to let me know when I make mistakes so that I can correct them.  Of course deep down I knew that there wouldn’t be any mistakes.  After all, I’m better than that.  Perhaps every once in a while there might be a typo or a minor misspelling.  Well I have no fewer than three retractions to print today.  First of all, I’d like to thank the public for stepping up and requesting these changes.  It proves to me that you expect accuracy from me and it gives me the opportunity to show that the Fantom Penguin is more committed to accuracy than to its own ego (although we are quite committed to that). Okay, so out with the preamble, in with the darned retractions:


In the October 26, 2013 issue of The Fantom Penguin in the article Local Government – Shasta County Board of Supervisors – October 22, 2013 in reference to agenda item R5, the article correctly introduces Treasurer Tax Collector Lori Scott and then refers to her incorrectly by the name “Davis” apparently mixing her up with Director of Support Services, Angela Davis.  The Fantom Penguin apologizes to both women.  Thank you to Glenda Tracy, Shasta County Deputy Clerk of the Board for bringing this error to my attention.


In the October 26, 2013 issue of The Fantom Penguin in the article Local Government – Redding City Council – October 15, 2013 in reference to agenda item 9A the Fantom Penguin incorrectly defined “coordination” as a function of California state government when in fact it is a function of the United States federal government.  The Fantom Penguin apologizes to the public for this factual error.  The Fantom Penguin thanks Redding City Councilman Gary Cadd for mentioning this in open council (while only occasionally glancing in my direction).


In the October 19, 2013 issue of The Fantom Penguin in the article Local Government – Shasta County Board of Supervisors – October 15, 2013 in reference to agenda item R5, the article incorrectly stated that Charles W. Alexander said that a “medium security facility would not be appropriate at the proposed location” when Mr. Alexander actually said “minimum security” in reference to the original plan discussed at the February 5, 2013 Board of Supervisors meeting.  Thank you, Mr. Alexander for bringing this to my attention.    To you I say, “Пожалуйста простите меня.”