Sunday, March 30, 2014

No Guns for City Employees

Redding City Council, March 18, 2014
by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity
The Redding City Council met at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at City Hall on Cypress Avenue.  All five council members were in attendance.  A brief summary of the meeting agenda follows:

1.  Call to Order

A.  Pledge of Allegiance
B.  Invocation
C. Roll Call
D. Introduction of Meeting Participants

2. Presentations

2A. Citizen’s Award - A Citizen’s Award certificate was presented to Demenn Spade by the Redding Police Department.  Chief of Police Robert Paoletti described an incident where Mr. Spade helped an RPD officer apprehend a fleeing suspect.

2B. Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day - March 30, 2014 was proclaimed “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” in Redding.

2C. Macy’s Heart Your Park - The council heard a report from Community Services Director Kim Niemer concerning the Macy’s corporation’s Heart Your Park program.  She told the council that Macy’ s had adopted Enterprise Park for their Redding location and that customers would have the option of donating at the register from March 7 – March 31, 2014.  Donations collected will be donated to the city to be used for Enterprise Park.

Photo by Joe McGarity
2D. Congressman Doug LaMalfa - The council heard a report from Congressman Doug LaMalfa on federal issues affecting the City of Redding.  He spoke first of getting a handle on the budget, noting that Redding was able to do that for itself but the federal government could not.  Other issues of local interest raised by the congressman were the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program, too much snooping on citizens by the federal government, an amendment to the Clean Water Act which would defund certain regulatory activities of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Sykes Dam Project and the raising of Shasta Dam.

Public Comment

George Clarke said that a highly compensated city council always seems to vote for City Manager Kurt Starman’s proposals for employee compensation which Clarke characterized as overly generous.

Gary Hollahan continued George Clarke’s written statements adding that when the prior city manager, Mike Warren took over, the pension plan enjoyed a surplus of funds, a situation which has turned around under the last two managers.

Dick Fyten suggested that the city could save money by increasing the employees’ contributions to insurance premiums or decreasing benefits.

Tina Brown, Program Manager at Golden Umbrella/Dignity Health told the council that Senior Corps and AmeriCorps grantees are funded by the Corporation for National Community Service.  She mentioned Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion programs.  She told them that the Mayor’s Day of National Recognition of Public Service will take place on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.  She offered to email the council suggestions on ways they could participate in honoring volunteers.

Terry Rapoza said it was great to have Congressman LaMalfa attend the city council meeting saying it showed he was “hands on” with the community.  But, he said, the State of California is over $418 Billion in debt and the country’s debt is over $17 Trillion.  Even worse, Rapoza said, is the $30 Trillion in unfunded liabilities at the federal level and $875 Million at the state level.  He didn’t claim to have a solution but he urged the council to take the matter seriously.

4.  Consent Calendar

4.2(b) Win-River Donation - Councilman Patrick Jones wished to comment on item 4.2(b) recognizing the efforts of Win River Casino’s Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Fund for donations to the city’s Police, Fire and Public Works Departments totaling $179,000.

4.10(a) General Fund Monthly Report - Councilwoman Missy McArthur noted the increased tax revenue in the current financial report.  City Manager Starman said the City’s share of sales tax revenue for the most recent quarter for which they have data is up by 9%.  Councilman Gary Cadd asked him when we would have the data on specific economic sectors.  4 – 6 weeks Starman told him.

4.11(b) National Surveyors Week - City Manager Starman noted that this item designates March 16 - March 22 as National Surveyors Week and wanted to call attention to the City’s lone surveyor, Bruce Watkins who was present for the meeting.  Starman praised his work.

The Consent Calendar passed unanimously with no changes.

6.  Public Hearings, Petitions and Protests

6.1 Downtown Business Improvement District - Deputy City Manager Greg Clark presented a report on the Downtown Redding Business Improvement District.  The council was asked to accept the report and approve the recommended assessments for the 2014 - 2015 fiscal year.  No public speakers came forward and the item was passed unanimously.

9.  Reports & Communications

9A. Allow City Employees to Carry Weapons - A modification of the City of Redding’s Workplace Violence Policy was proposed which would allow city employees who hold a valid Concealed Carry Weapons Permit to carry their weapons while on the job.

Councilman Patrick Jones presented his reasons for putting this issue on the agenda, saying that this has been an issue of interest to him for as long as he’s been on the council.  He said that right now citizens who have such permits are allowed to carry weapons onto city property but city employees may not.  He noted that council members are already exempt from this policy.

Several speakers wished to discuss this item.  This reporter counted eight in favor and two against.

Councilwoman McArthur asked Chief Paoletti his opinion on the matter.  The Chief said he supports the Second Amendment for citizens to protect themselves but he thought the policy of allowing city employees to carry weapons could lead to hostile work environment complaints from employees who aren’t comfortable around their co-workers who carry.  He recommended extra training for city employees should this policy be adopted saying that the CCW class is not sufficient.  He said the city would need to develop a “staunch discipline process” to deal with employees who misuse their weapon.  He brought up the potential liability of the city should one of its employees be involved in a shooting while on duty.  And he asked the question who would investigate complaints?  Would it be his department or the Sheriff’s?

Councilwoman McArthur said that if the issue were “employee-driven” she would be more inclined to give it greater consideration.  She said that in five years on the council no employee has ever approached her with this concern.  She made the motion that they should “leave this be”.

Councilwoman Francie Sullivan seconded the motion saying that city employees had not raised this concern and that she was also concerned about city liability.

McArthur compared the city’s policy to the policies of private employers saying that if one worked for a corporation one would not be allowed to carry at work even if one had the proper permit.  She also noted that one is not allowed to carry a weapon into a bar even with a permit.

A member of the public temporarily interrupted the meeting at this point with an outburst.  Mayor Bosetti told him, “You’ve been here enough.  You know the rules.”

Councilman Gary Cadd asked City Attorney Rick Duvernay if the city would be liable if an employee who was assaulted sued for not being allowed to protect himself.  Duvernay said no, the city is not liable for the criminal actions of others but it could be liable if it failed to correct a known dangerous condition such as the lights being out.

Mayor Bosetti asked him for further clarification.  Can we be sued?  Duvernay said he was not aware of any agency of government that had ever been sued for having a workplace policy prohibiting weapons.

Councilman Jones said that Sheriffs who are elected generally support Concealed Carry Weapons Permits but Chiefs of Police who are usually appointed do not and he noted that that was true in this case.  He said that if the Chief’s position were an elected one and he opposed the issuance of CCW’s he would not be Chief here. 

Councilman Cadd said that hiring Paoletti as Chief of Police was “a great thing for the city.”  He said this was the first time he had ever disagreed with the chief and that he continues to support the policy of allowing employees to carry while on duty.

Mayor Bosetti pointed out that according to the staff report, any changes to the Workplace Violence Policies must be approved by the nine bargaining units representing city employees.  “We can’t just invoke anything here, folks.  We can maybe open up the door to it but we still have nine unions that would have to agree with this.”  He said also that if the issue were to be brought forward by the city employees through their unions at the regular negotiations he would be willing to discuss it.

The motion “not to move forward with this” passed 3 – 2 meaning that the original item was actually defeated 2 – 3.  Jones and Cadd cast the dissenting votes.

9.3(b) Award Bid to Tehama Tire Service, Inc. – Rod Dinger, Support Services Director presented a report to the council on how this company was selected.  He praised Fleet Manager Jim Schmitz for his pilot program which discovered methods to extend tire life by as much as three times.  This passed unanimously.

Photo by Joe McGarity
9.4(a) General Plan and Housing Element Annual Progress Report – Development Services Director Bill Nagel presented the report.  He told them an annual report on the status of the city’s General Plan is required by state law and that a copy is forwarded to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and to the California Housing and Community Development Department.  The council accepted the report unanimously.

9.11(a) Formation of Hidden Hills Landscape Maintenance District – Brian Crane, Director of Public Works presented some historical background on landscape maintenance districts.  The action before the council tonight would not immediately created the district.  The items before the council tonight would approve the Engineer’s Report and Map, approve the mailing of ballots to the affected residents and set a Public Hearing for 6:00 pm, May 6, 2014 in the City Council Chambers.  This passed unanimously.

10.  Travel Reports

Cadd and McArthur attended a National Association of Clean Water Agencies meeting in Chico.  Cadd also attended a League of California Cities district meeting.

11.  Suggestions for Future Agendas

No suggestions.

12.  Closed Session

12A. Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation.

No reportable action.







Monday, March 17, 2014

Take a Moment

by Susan Bradfield



In the June 23, 2012 issue of Nature there was an article that outlined recent findings of brain activity, stress and city living.  The amygdala "has been strongly implicated in anxiety disorders, depression and other behaviors that are increased in city living such as violence."  The pregenual anterior cingulate cortex "is implicated in processing chronic social stressors such as social defeat."  A very interesting article if you like science based information.  I on the other hand tend to come from the feeling level.  Stress is something I have played with for almost 60 years.

There came a point where my body said that's enough!! and caused symptoms to draw my attention to how I did life. Through the years I studied outside of traditional education, mostly in the healing arts.  Now I have fun sharing stress reducing techniques using the mode of meditation.  I wrote Any Time Any Place Meditation for your Earthwalk, which is available locally at the Enjoy store, Redding Acupuncture Health Care or Women's Health Physical Therapy using the first seven classes of a three year program.  My editor is hopeful that I will send more of the classes in a book format to share in the near future.

Take a moment in your day to look at the sky.  Are there clouds passing by?  Which way is the wind blowing them?  Take a nice deep breath in feeling your abdomen rise and fall.  It calms you through and through. Our bodies are designed to fight or flight just not All the Time.  May you find some moments in each of your days to be present within yourself.  It is said, "as above so below as within so is without."  Wise words from our collective past.  Here's to some happy moments sprinkled through your day.




Susan Bradfield mother, grandmother, wife, teacher, reader and CMT

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

The Soapbox
by Joe McGarity



Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  And this is coming from a McGarity, so it’s an entirely legitimate Irish Greeting!  The spring-like weather is here and you can hardly walk down the streets of Redding without getting hit in the face with a wind full of blossoms.  The Earth itself is participating in the wearin’ o’ the green with baby blades of grass shooting out from every former muddy patch.  Nature, it seems, is waking up, yawning and putting the coffee on this March 17th.

Taverns are stocking up on Guinness and Jameson.  This Irishman prefers Bushmills, but I suppose it’s a matter of taste.  It’s important to have a ride or a safe house within walking distance.  Those of you who don’t have to be at the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting at 9:00 am the next morning should have no trouble enjoying yourselves.


I do expect to see a lot of you at that meeting.  The board will be officially recording their response to the signatures gathered in opposition to their total ban on the outdoor cultivation of cannabis.  They must either repeal it or send it to a popular vote.  I’ll be there covering the story in my dark shades.  Please don’t speak any louder than necessary during the public comment period.  There are recovering Irish present.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Casey Lie - Them Wreckin' Boys
Fantom Penguin Music Beat

by Joe McGarity



http://www.FantomPenguin.com

Music Beat was at Bombay’s in Redding on March 15, 2014.  The Fantom Penguin talked to Casey Lie about Them Wreckin’ Boys.

“It’s kind of a dark, piratey sound.  It appears to be Bluegrass on the outside but it’s more so like a band of drunken assholes like us just happened to find folk instruments laying around and made sound with it.”

Beyond Outlaw Country, is that fair to say?

“Yeah!  It’s like a Rebel Gospel, you know, for world-weary people who’ve just have had the shit kicked out of them yet they still show up and they still pound their beer and they have a good laugh and they have a good time.”

And you guys are right here in town, in Redding?  You’re from Redding?

Photo by Elizabeth Sealey
“We’re blended across the area. Pat’s from . . .  There’s four of us.  Theres Patryck McAuliffe.  He is our lead guitar, our only guitar and our singer/songwriter.  There’s me on accordion.  I live in Anderson.  There is Tony.  He is from Redding and Lucas is also from Red Bluff with Pat.  And we just kind of came together.  I didn’t know any of them.  I was a poor little orphan on the street just playing on corners for nickels and dimes and Pat said, ‘Hey, you have an accordion.  We need an accordion player.’  And thus this unholy union was born.”

And who knew that he just happened to be walking by in need of an accordion player?

“Exactly!”

So do you guys tour?

“Oh yeah!  We’ve done so many festivals and other stuff.  Bombay’s is just . . . it’s like our home, you know?  I love this place.”

Alright, man!  Well, thank you for talking to the Fantom Penguin!

“Fantom Penguin rules!  I love the Fantom Penguin.”

http://www.FantomPenguin.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shasta County Board of Supervisors, March 11, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity
The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at the County Administration Center on Court Street.  All five supervisors were in attendance.

A brief summary of each agenda item follows:

Call to Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

Board Matters

R1 – March 2014 was designated “Women’s History Month” in Shasta County.

Presentations

R2 - The Board received a presentation regarding Lassen Volcanic National Park presented by Park Superintendent Darlene Koontz.

Public Comment Period

No Speakers

Consent Calendar

C1 and C4 removed from consent calendar by Supervisor David Kehoe.

C1 – A resolution to accept a report of shortages in the amount of $8,198.66 and grant a relief of liability for the treasurer.  Shasta County Auditor-Controller Brian Muir presented a report.  He told the board that the amount represented a total of three fraudulent checks drawn on county account.  The first fraudulent check was from as far back as 2008 with two others more recently accepted and cashed by Bank of America.  Muir called the checks “excellent forgeries.”  He told them also that new procedures have been put into place that would have prevented these checks from being processed.  Supervisor Kehoe observed that Bank of America was “disinclined to make these loses good to the county.”

This passed 5 – 0.


C4 – Angela Davis, Director of Support Services presented a report on this item.  She told the board, “This board report pertains to the Risk Management Department’s liability in worker’s compensation self-insured programs in which the programs as funded by rate setting through the county departments and how we receive funds from the various county departments, experienced and as well as program costs.  Currently the confidence level is set at 80%.  It’s a specific percentage.  What the recommendation before you today is to adopt a range which is from 80% - 90%, which will allow the department a greater flexibility in managing those funds in particularly if the funds are in excess of the funds that are collected versus what needs to be expended.”

This passed 5 – 0.

C7 – Supervisor Kehoe votes no.  This would authorize an agreement with BtB Software for a laboratory information management system.  Kehoe said he was “not supportive of advance payment.”

General Government

R3 – The board considered sending a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture regarding aid in drought situations distributing water for rural livestock.  The letter specifically asks the department to extend the deadline. 


This passed 5 – 0.

Independence and Freedom

The Soapbox
by Joe McGarity


Okay, just a couple of things here.  I try to keep this column positive.  I know that technology marches forward and I don’t mean to complain but how bright do headlights have to get?  It’s alarming to think where this trend is headed.  Can we stop now or maybe even go back a notch?  It doesn’t seem as safe when you’re headed into them.  The whole world disappears for two seconds.

And while we’re on automotive subject matter, I suppose I should follow up on my own automotive history.  I sort of left everybody hanging.  The Ford Tempo went the way of all Ford Tempos and rests peacefully in the fires of Hell . . . with all the other Ford Tempos.  It served me well for many years.  I built the Fantom Penguin’s distribution route on its back and eventualy sacrificed it to the cause of independent journalism.

With the help of my family I acquired a small Toyota pickup which I really love.  Sadly, the clutch burned out less than three weeks after acquisition.  Fortunately, with the help of my very understanding and very helpful family and the fine folks at A-1 Smog on Bechelli Lane, a new clutch has been installed and the Penguinmobile is rolling once again delivering independence and freedom to your favorite Fantom Penguin location.

Independence and Freedom are in the air.  A full house packed the Redding City Council last Tuesday as the council sat through a rather larger than ordinary number of public comment period addresses on the subject of a land sale to the McConnell Foundation.  There’s a lot of detail in the specifics, but what it boils down to is whether or not the sale of the land at $600,000 constitutes a fair price on the open market.  If it doesn’t, the discounted price would count as a government subsidy. Projects receiving government subsidies must conform to regulations regarding minimum pay for construction labor called “Prevailing Wage”.  Some trade unions and other members of the public strongly promote this position.  Those directly involved with the real estate transaction, the McConnell Foundation and the City of Redding do not.  According to the report presented at the council meeting a judge has ruled once that this is not a prevailing wage project and then that it was.  A third decision is expected to be decisive.

Although many people were there for the subject of the controversial land sale, others seemed to have come just to provide a breath of fresh air to the meeting.  A few speakers came to the podium merely to say how great they thought it was to live in Redding.  The council seemed understandably appreciative.  People don’t ordinarily address the city council unless they have a problem with the city council (or they work for them).  It did make this reporter wonder about the rules of decorum though, which had been discussed at a prior meeting.  Although some of the speakers mentioned the trail systems which are within the city’s jurisdiction, at least one speaker seemed never to touch on any item that technically falls within the business of the city.  Were the rules of decorum to be enforced equally in all cases I thought to myself, they should have this wonderful woman who loves the spirit of the City of Redding hauled off by the Sergeant at Arms, arrested and charged with disrupting a public meeting.  There were other speakers too who very politely and respectfully discussed their concerns which clearly fall within free speech, but not so clearly within the city’s ability to do anything about and they were not interrupted or issued any kind of warning.  Clearly that would serve no purpose.  The only time it should really be necessary to interrupt anyone at public comment would be if they were just on meth and barking like a dog.


Or on LSD and barking like a chicken.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Redding City Council Okays Land Deal with McConnell, March 4, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Redding City Council met Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm at City Hall on Cypress Avenue.  All five council members were present.  A brief summary of each agenda item follows:

Call to Order

1A – Pledge of Allegiance
1B – Invocation
1C – Roll Call
1D – Introduction of Meeting Participants

Presentations

2A – Mike Reed was presented with a clock on the conclusion of his service the Community Advisory Committee.

2B – The City of Redding was presented with the Tree Line USA and Tree City USA awards by the Arbor Day Foundation.  CalFire Forester Glenn Flamik made the presentation.

Public Comment

Bruce Deile – Against medical cannabis.  Says he smoked it as a teenager and it had a “very negative effect” on him.

Bill Head – Objected to an article written by Councilwoman Francie Sullivan defending pay raises for city employees.  He read from his published response.  He recommended pay cuts starting with the city manager.

Gary Hollahan – Read more of Bill Head’s letter which characterizes the city’s compensation packages for employees as unduly generous.

George Clarke – Recommends the city consider outsourcing electrical engineering positions at Redding Electric Utility.  

Murray Blake – Questioned the hiring practices of Redding Electric Utility.  He suggested the utility threatened to shut down all new development unless 31 open positions were filled.  A lack of engineers was blamed for a six month delay in the issuance of permits for commercial remodels or new development.  He says they spend $50,000 on a compensation study which recommended a generous compensation package as a recruitment incentive.  Then, Blake claims, they brought back one person part time and avoided a shut down.  He asked to be present during the hiring process.

Marimba Giam – Originally from Singapore, she moved to Redding with her son a year and a half ago to attend Bethel.  She praised the city very highly saying “community spirit is found in every school.”

Ken Strafman – Hacienda Heights neighborhood promised a park.  Won’t take kids to Kid’s Kingdom because it’s not safe.

Tyler Williamson – Praised the city very highly especially the parks and trail system.

Olivia Perry-Smith – Also praised the city for allowing access to the outdoors and the River Trail.

Kip Lee – Announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 2016.  Objected to the placement of a “crossroads ahead” symbol sign which he says is partially obscured by a lamp post.  He says the sign should be mounted on the lamp post itself.  He said he had asked the mayor to put this on the council agenda but was denied.

Joanne Owen – Urged the council to ban all outdoor cannabis grows as the county has done. 

Consent Calendar

Councilman Gary Cadd asked for a staff report on item 4.1(a) Project Status Reports concerning Olney Creek and the Sacramento Drive area.

City Manager Starman said that the two projects taking place there were the Sacramento Drive Bridge and a levee on the creek itself.

Public Works Director Brian Crane told him that bridge would be funded 100% by Caltrans through their highway bridge program.  Bids for the project are currently being reviewed.  As for the levee, the city has received a grant through Proposition 84 to evaluate refitting the levee to bring it up to current FEMA standards.

Councilman Jones noted that one of the items on the consent calendar included 8 new police vehicles which he says the city will see soon.

The consent calendar was passed unanimously with no changes.

Appointments

7.1 – Walt Swift is appointed to the Community Development Advisory Committee replacing Mike Reed.

Reports and Communications

9.2(b) – Resolution approving Purchase and Sale Agreement with the McConnell Foundation relative to 14.17 acres within Turtle Bay Exploration Park leasehold and associated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documents; Resolutions regarding Grant Deed restrictions, easement on Joint Powers Financing Authority Property.

The council convened a joint meeting with the Redding Joint Powers Financing Authority.  City Manager Starman explained that the council was acting as two bodies, holding two meetings simultaneously because some of the recommendations in this item require a vote of the JPA.

Deputy City Manager Greg Clark presented a report to the board, “Before you tonight is the approval of a purchase and sale agreement with the McConnell Foundation for 14.17 acres within the Turtle Bay Leasehold for a total amount of $600,000.  The action includes, as Mr. Starman just mentioned, both city council and JPA or Joint Financing Powers Authority consideration of a number of resolutions that address grant encumbrances and easements and various aspects of the purchase.”

“As you know, just by way of background, since 2010 Turtle Bay Exploration Park has been actively working to construct a hotel and restaurant on the property essentially to give them an additional source of revenue, reduce their dependence on McConnell Foundation for operating revenue.”

Turtle Bay’s agreement with the City gave them a 100-year lease on the property of which they still have 88 years remaining.  Three separate appraisals varied widely in the way in which this would affect the property’s value.  The values ranged from $75,000 to $443,000 with one in the middle at $175,000.

A report was also presented by Mike Ashby an attorney representing the McConnell Foundation.  He emphasized the agreed fair market value of the property was $231,000 and that the agreement to pay $600,000 was to eliminate any possibility of a discounted price being considered a government subsidy.

A large number of speakers wished to comment.  This reporter counted ten speakers in favor and sixteen against.  Most of the controversy surrounded the legitimacy of the purchase price.  If the price is far less than the actual value of the land that would count as a government subsidy and the law would require all workers on the project to be paid at a minimum level known as “prevailing wage”.  Some speakers felt that McConnell Foundation receives favorable treatment from the city.

Councilmen Cadd and Jones attempted to restrict the sale of the property to only the five acres needed for the hotel but were overridden by the majority of the council.

This passed 3-2 with Jones and Cadd casting the nay votes.

9.3(a) – The council received an update from the Shasta County Arts Council which is now running Public Access Television.  Charter Cable wants to move the Public Education and Government Access Channels to channel numbers higher than 100 and the Arts Council is against it.  The Mayor suggested that the city might not wish to renew Charter’s franchise agreement if that happens.

9.11(f) – Speed limit changes in the City of Redding:

25 MPH Girvan near the park
40 MPH E. Bonnyview from Radio Lane to Bonnyview Drive
40 MPH Victor north of Cypress
30 MPH Dana in front of Wal-Mart
40 MPH Rancho Road from Churn Creek to Saratoga

This passed 5 - 0


This Just In:

Speaker to Discuss California Water Issues



The following press release was received by the Fantom Penguin:



PRESS RELEASE ~ "40 Years of Covering California's Water Wars!"

An upcoming Two Day Event in April promoting information about your water rights!

Featuring Guest Celebrity Speaker:

LLOYD CARTER, a retired reporter and water law educator

When:  Saturday, April 5th at 2 PM
VFW Hall
3210 West Center St
Anderson, CA  (near Shasta County Fairgrounds)

When: Sunday, April 6th at 2 PM
Redding Library
1100 Parkview Ave
Redding, CA  (near Redding City Hall)

Following the show there will be a chance for the public to ask questions and network at our potluck social after the event.  

Admission is free.  Everyone is encouraged to come.

Lloyd Carter is a water law expert who has agreed to help us protect our water rights in Northern California.

Lloyd Carter was a reporter for United Press International and the Fresno Bee from 1969 to 1990.  He covered water and agriculture issues in the San Joaquin Valley.

Lloyd Carter graduated from San Joaquin College of Law in 1994 and later taught water law at his own Alma Mater.  

Currently, Lloyd Carter sits as President of the California Save Our Streams Council.   He is also a board member of the Underground Gardens Conservancy.

Lloyd Carter hosts a monthly radio show on KFCF, 88.1 FM in Fresno.

Everyone in our community is invited to come and learn about California's Water Wars!

Admission is free.  Donations to help cover costs are encouraged and can be deducted for tax purposes.

Sponsors:
Shasta County Citizens for Democracy
Sierra Club, Mother Lode Chapter
Redding Humanists

Friends of the Delta Watershed

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shasta County Board of Supervisors, March 4, 2014
by Joe McGarity

Shasta County Grand Jury with Supervisors, photo by Joe McGarity

Pollution Control Board

The Shasta County Pollution Control Board met at 8:30 am on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at the County Administration Building on Court Street in Redding.  The Pollution Control Board is made up of three members of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors and one member each of the Anderson and Redding City Councils.  The supervisors who serve on the board are David Kehoe, Les Baugh and Leonard Moty.  They are joined by Missy McArthur of the Redding City Council and Mayor Debe Hopkins of Anderson.

The Pollution Control Board received a presentation on the Emission Reduction Credits System by Ross Bell of Shasta County Air Quality Management District and passed a Consent Calendar.

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am.  All five supervisors were present.  A brief summary of their agenda follows:

Regular Calendar – Board Matters

R1 – Al Cathey, Supervising Engineer, Department of Public Works was named Shasta County Employee of the Month.

R2 – March, 2014 was named “Grand Jury Awareness Month” and the Board received a presentation from Eleanor Townsend, Foreperson of the Shasta County Grand Jury.

Public Comment

No Speakers

Consent Calendar

Passed Unanimously with no changes.

Regular Calendar – Reports

R3 – The Board received a report from County Administrative Officer, Larry Lees regarding Senate Bill 848 which concerns safe drinking water.  Lees suggested the County send a letter commenting on the bill.  Parts of the bill concern the dissemination of money from future water bonds.  Lees suggested the County adopt the position that counties which are sources of water for the state are under-represented in terms of that potential bond money.  The letter would suggest greater representation for rural counties.

This passed unanimously.

Lees also commented on Assembly Bill 2703.  This bill would make some money available for County Veterans Service Officers in the Northstate.  Lees recommended sending a letter in support of the bill, noting how a small amount of money to these programs can have a great impact on individual lives.

This also passed unanimously.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Congratulations Cannabis Cultivators

by Joey Ortez

Photo by Joe McGarity
About 30 days ago, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors decided to completely ban outdoor cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county.  Here's a county with over 40,000 registered medical marijuana patients, most of which live in situations where they must go to a co-op or collective to purchase their medicine. Some patients have other patients grow cannabis for them due to their living situations. Since the ban on co-ops and collectives earlier this year both in the city of Redding and parts of Shasta county, a lot of patients took advantage of the season prior to the county-wide ban on growing and many took a stab at growing their own medicine.  The grows were completely out of control.  There were people whose doctors gave them prescriptions to grow 99 plants. Which in my opinion is total bullshit because no one person can use all that medicine for themselves. You would have to smoke every waking hour of every day for the entire year (and a few hours during the night) to even consume that much medicine. These "99ers" pretty much ruined the whole cultivation compromise between county officials, their own neighbors and other small-time growers.  By exercising their rights to grow 99 plants, they became nuisance neighbors and created problems that led to complaints from around 350 assholes that went to the Board of Supervisors demanding something be done about all the weed growing around their neighborhoods.  Pardon all my filthy language in this article, this subject gets me a bit worked up because I am serious about the rights of citizens and medical patients whether it's here or in another country.  

Section 1. (a) of senate bill 420 from Feb. 20, 2003 states "On Nov. 6, 1996, the people of the State of California enacted the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 [referred to as prop. 215], codified in Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code, in order to allow seriously ill residents of the state, who have the oral or written approval or recommendation of a physician, to use marijuana for medical purposes without fear of criminal liability under Sections 11357 and 11358 of the Health and Safety Code."  In Section 1. (b) states "It is the intent of the Legislature, therefore, to do all of the following..." skip to Section 1. (b)(3): "Enhance the access of patients and caregivers to medical marijuana through collective, cooperative cultivation projects."  So, quite literally Shasta County is taking away your prop. 215 rights and your s.b. 420 rights by not allowing you to cultivate the medicine your physician recommended to you.  
Flash forward to Feb. 27, 2014: For 30 days, volunteers along with paid signature gatherers hit the pavement to petition for referendum against the county's cultivation ban.  The referendum basically states that either (a) the county lift their ban entirely (which you know they won’t), or (b) let the voters of Shasta county decide.  Okay, so here's the heroic part: those signature gatherers made history (possibly national history) by registering more than 3,700 NEW voters in Shasta county. Not only that, they exceeded the needed 6,500 signatures on their petition... they collected 13,080 signatures.  Those signatures will be going through the validation process at the county clerk's office for up to 60 days.  They had to hire new staff just to process all the new voter registrations, too!  So for the democratic process, I say HOORAY and congratulations to these people for standing up for their rights!

Now, I don't normally take political issues into my place of business for fear of judgmental customers. However, I felt so strongly about this subject and how the Board of Supervisors needed to be held accountable for acting like a posse with this ban that I myself decided to collect signatures in my place of business (just so you know I'm a print shop not affiliated with cannabis in any way shape or form).  One supervisor publicly claimed that more than 75% of their constituents were "for" the ban.  I just so happen to be in this supervisor's district, and I will tell you I never heard of any survey to warrant the resulting claim of that 75%.  No one ever asked me as a constituent of this district if I was "for" or "against" cannabis.  Honestly, that specific district is in the section of the county where cannabis growing is more favorable, leading to an overwhelming amount of grows in that district.  75%, pshaw!  
It is my belief that most of the 99ers have been making untaxed income on their grows.  That is something I am strongly against as a self-employed tax payer. A good portion of my income goes to one tax or another because legally I must claim my income.  I feel that if you are allowed to grow 99 plants you should be considered a business.  You should have a registered agricultural site just like any commercial garden, and you should pay taxes just like all the rest of us business owners in the state.  Not only would it create legal jobs for workers, it would also contribute to California's failing economy.  I actually personally know a 99er who collects a welfare check because neither he nor his domestic partner or their 2 teenaged kids have "real" jobs; yet he drives a nice new truck and has his iPhone and flips out hundred dollar bills every time he goes to Home Depot for supplies.  It's just not fair.  Here I am, 8 years in business and I struggle to pay my PG&E bill every month because the IRS takes $400 a month for payments on my federal taxes and the state takes about $300 a month for sales taxes.  So if you happen to be a 99er, please think about all the other business owners like me and help everyone out by lowering the burden of our taxes by your contributions to the system via paying income tax and sales tax on your income from the sales of your cannabis to collectives or patients.  If there were some sort of regulation in place it would become more fair across the board.  Not to say that some asshole won’t find a loophole or not report his income, because heck, even Willie Nelson avoided his taxes for some time!


I will close with another congratulations both to the signature gatherers and supporters of the referendum, and words of encouragement to the NEWLY registered voters:  Get up off your couch, put down the bong and make sure you vote to keep cannabis cultivation legal in your county!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shasta County Board of Supervisors, February 25, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at the County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding.  All five supervisors were in attendance.  A brief item by item summery of the meeting agenda follows:

The meeting began with a public prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.  The first agenda item was the presentation of a certificate to Joy R. Willis on the occasion of her retirement from SHASCOM 9-1-1.  She was praised by Sheriff Tom Bosenko for many years of service.

Item R2 on the agenda proclaims the week of March 1 – 7, 2014 “Weights and Measures Week” in Shasta County.  The Board received a report from a staff member.

R3 on the agenda was also an informational report by Shasta County Vector Control.  Peter Bonkrude presented the report.  He said that in 2013 only one human case of West Nile Virus was reported to the department.  Additionally testing positive were 21 chickens, 15 mosquitoes, 38 birds and one squirrel.  Supervisor David Kehoe asked about other vectors such as ticks carrying Lyme Disease.  Bonkrude said that there have been no reported cases in the county in the last 2 – 3 years but that the risk still exists.

The next item was the Public Comment Period.  Russ Wade addressed the board saying that the world’s economy is carbon-based.  He said it degrades earth, air and water quality.  He says that Redding could install a large solar array on the city dump to collect clean power.  He said that the county should ask Sierra Pacific Industries to sequester carbon dioxide emissions.  He also recommended ethanol from food waste as a fuel source and the legalization of cannabis as an alternative to wood-based products.

Rob McDonald owner of NorCalBeat.com spoke next.  He said he was there primarily to place into the public record that the Supervisors, the judges of Shasta County and the Sheriff’s Department have been made aware of the rights of petitioners and people who are registering voters.  He said that an incident had taken place in Palo Cedro that he said he believed was a federal offence when an officer of the Sheriff’s Department interrupted a voter registration and handcuffed the person administering the registration who was there seeking signatures for a petition to repeal the county’s ban on outdoor cannabis cultivation.  McDonald said the authorities have been made aware of the incident.

After public comment came the consent calendar.  These routine items are grouped together into one package and generally passed without discussion or changes.  The consent calendar was passed unanimously.

Item R4 approves and authorizes the chairman to sign a letter in support of Senate Bill 963 concerning election finance.  This bill would provide some reimbursement for local governments when special elections are called for.  Also part of this item were the board members’ reports on countywide issues.  Supervisor Kehoe mentioned problems with squatters, vagrants and homeless people living in the Oasis Road, Cascade Boulevard area.  Kehoe said that several government agencies worked together taking a “field trip” to the area to survey the problem.  Supervisor Bill Schappell told the board of his meeting with representatives from various water agencies in the county.  Identifying locations of leaks causing water loss is an issue.  Supervisor Leonard Moty reported that he had attended a meeting in Igo with victims of the Clover Fire.  He also reported attending a meeting of the California State Association of Counties.  He said the organization is developing a policy towards medical marijuana that allows each county implement a plan that they feel works best for them.

Item R5 saw the board receive the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Mid-Year Budget Report from County Fiscal Chief Bebe Palin.  She reported that the county’s budget for the year was just over $400,000,000.  She said the county started the fiscal year with a contingency fund of just over $5,000,000 and that they’d only spent about $300 of that.  This fund is for unexpected expenses.  She used the recent incident on Chaparral Drive as an example of the type of incident for which these funds are used.  A state of local emergency was declared there after explosives were discovered in a residence there as reported in last week’s Fantom Penguin.  Palin also mentioned the “budget principles” adopted by the county which are:

-Controlled Hiring Process – No positions are filled unless they are “revenue supported”.

-No new programs or positions are created unless the money to pay for it has been located and set aside.

-Grant funded positions are regularly reviewed and eliminated if the funding for them no longer exists and cannot be replaced.

-Contracts with community organizations are similarly reviewed and if necessary brought back “in-house”.

-County Chief Administrative Officer reviews all requests for technology purchases.

-The County reviews all positions which have been vacant for eighteen months to determine if they should be filled or left vacant which allows money which would have been paid in salary to be used for other things.

-Finally departments are encouraged to spend less than their full budgets when possible so that savings can be carried over to the next fiscal period.

The board voted unanimously to accept the report.

Agenda item R6 asked the board to approve a transfer of $45,000 from the Elections budget to the County Clerk’s budget.  Cathy Darling Allen who is both the Shasta County Clerk and Registrar of Voters presented the report.  She told them that the two departments are combined in Shasta County.  Her staff performs the functions of both offices.  However the law requires each to have its own separate budget.  The action here would not change the way in which her office operates but would more accurately reflect how that money is being spent in the budget reports.  This type of item requires a 4/5 vote to pass.  It received a unanimous vote.

Item R7 on the agenda regarded the negotiations between the county and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Administrative Association bargaining unit.  The agreement would authorize a 3% raise.  This passed 5 – 0.

The next item, number R8 had Sheriff Bosenko report on the incident on Chaparral Drive.  He began by explaining that he would be asking the board to recognize that the emergency no longer exists and that there was no longer a need to continue the declaration the Sheriff had made in his role as Director of Emergency Services and that the Board of Supervisors later recognized.  He said that after an individual was injured in an explosion his department discovered explosives at that individual’s home.  When the bomb team decided the house was not safe to investigate a local emergency was declared by the Sheriff and later recognized by the Board of Supervisors.  A Special Meeting was held wherein the Sheriff told them the incident could drag on for weeks, but today he reported the situation was resolved in twelve days with the help of 26 local, state and federal agencies as well as some non-governmental organizations such as the American Red Cross whose volunteers manned evacuation centers.  Originally residents within one thousand feet of the house were evacuated but that was expanded to two thousand feet when the decision was reached to incinerate the building.  The Sheriff told the board that the many agencies involved in the effort set a good example for intergovernmental cooperation showing good communication and teamwork. 

The Sheriff displayed a video of the incineration and afterward took questions from the supervisors.  He told the board that he had reached out to the San Diego Sheriff’s office to for information on how they had dealt with a similar situation.  Supervisor Pam Giacomini asked him if there was a way to recover some of the cost of the effort.  Bosenko replied that the department may seek liens against the property or “go after” the property owner.  Supervisor Kehoe asked the Sheriff about the difference between a local emergency and the governor’s declaration and why had the governor not issued such a declaration.  He responded by saying that the governor’s declaration makes some resources and personnel available from the state.  He added that the governor’s declaration can have the effect of “freeing us up from some liability due to certain laws such as maybe CEQA or environmental health, air quality.”  CEQA is the California Environmental Quality Act which defines the state’s environmental review process.  He noted that the California National Guard 95th Civil Support Team and the California Air Resources Board were involved in monitoring local air quality, setting up equipment to take samples in nearby locations and that their equipment monitored no significant levels of toxic chemicals.  “We wanted to ensure it was safe for the nearby residents,” he said.  “Following up there will be ground testing.”  As for Supervisor Kehoe’s second question about why the governor had not issued an emergency declaration the Sheriff said, “It certainly was not due to a lack of effort to request a governor’s declaration.”  He listed the many contacts he had made in this effort concluding, “the person that can best answer of why he did not approve a declaration would, of course, be the governor and I did not have privilege to receive a reasoning as to why.”

Kehoe then asked and included County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Lees if there was any value in the board sending a letter to the governor’s office expressing their disappointment.  The Sheriff said he’d like to hear Mr. Lee’s opinion first.  Lee’s said he felt the board should allow staff to handle the matter.  Supervisor Schappell asked whether there would be compensation for the evacuees.  The Sheriff said only “through litigation”, noting that an evacuation center had been set up.  Chairman Baugh thanked Sheriff Bosenko for his presentation, praising him for making public safety his primary goal.

The board voted unanimously to end the declaration of emergency.

The last item on the regular calendar was a public hearing concerning a change in the fee schedule for services in County Clerk/Registrar of Voters office involving marriages.  The board again head from Cathy Darling Allen.  She told them the item before them involved the introduction of three new fees.  The first would be for a program called Deputy for a Day where one could, for a fee, become a Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriage for a single ceremony.  For the fee one would receive a training orientation including information on how to properly fill out and file all of the necessary legal documents.  The second proposed fee would be a “witness fee”.  Legal civil marriage requires at least one witness to the ceremony.  If a couple does not provide a witness, a staff member is asked to fill that role.  The third fee, which would not result in increased revenue but would pass along costs, would be an option for expedited shipping through OnTrac shipping.  Supervisor Kehoe asked how often staff is asked to witness a ceremony.  She told him 3 – 4 times a month.  He suggested that the county should take the opportunity to offer “good offices” to the happy couple on their big day and waive the witness fee.  “The significance of the money is marginal.”  Supervisor Moty also had questions about the witness fee and eventually sided with Kehoe agreeing that the fee should be waived.  A motion was made to pass the item without the witness fee and this passed unanimously.



The Soapbox
Interesting Times

by Joe McGarity



These are interesting times.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passes a ban against all outdoor cannabis cultivation and the citizens collect double the number of signatures needed to overturn it.  A petition gatherer is interrupted in the process of registering a voter and handcuffed by the Sheriff’s department.  A guy blows his hand off making rocket fuel in his house and the county burns it to the ground.  (The house, not the hand.)  Everybody is worried that the government is overreaching.  The government thinks it’s doing the best it can under the circumstances.  And I’m just a flightless water bird trying to figure it all out.

As I’ve said before, I don’t promise to get everything right or even to understand everything that’s going on.  I just show up to the government meetings and take notes, lots of notes.  I’ve taken as many as thirty pages of handwritten notes at some of these events.  And I review the online videos to make certain that I get it all right.  Of course I don’t always.  So please feel free to write me and correct my mistakes.  Unlike some other Soapbox columns that offer only a “no-prize” for uncovering and correcting errors, this publication will run an archaic newspaper content type known as a “retraction”.  A “retraction” is a brief sentence or two admitting that a newspaper made an error and correcting that error.  You usually get an apology on the side.  Never heard of such a thing?  I’m not surprised.  You don’t see them much these days.  Maybe newspapers don’t make mistakes anymore.

I’ll tell you this, making a purchase from one of the fine local businesses which advertise in the Fantom Penguin without asking for your Fantom Penguin Discount is a big mistake.  Most of the advertisers in here offer one.  Our newest sponsor, Endless Treasures on Court Street in Redding offers a whopping 15% off your purchase just for mentioning the Fantom Penguin.  De Ja’Vu Salon in Anderson offers a 10% off discount for secretly whispering the F word.  (I meant Fantom Penguin, but knowing Mr. Deazmond he’ll probably give you a discount for the other F word as well.)  Takeables offers $2.00 off any two large pizzas.  It’s supposed to be with a coupon but just tell Dave you can’t bear to cut up a Penguin.  It’s cruel and unusual.  His wife Joey next door will give you 10% off your business card order and if you know what’s good for you, DO NOT attempt to cut up a Fantom Penguin in front of her.  I’ve seen what happens.  If you don’t see a Fantom Penguin discount in an ad, ask for it anyway.  In fact, you should really ask for your Fantom Penguin discount everywhere you shop.  If they don’t offer one, get really indignant.  “What!?!  No Fantom Penguin Discount?  How do you expect to stay competitive in today’s market?”  If they’ve never heard of the Fantom Penguin, give ‘em one! 

You can get another one cheap.