Board Highlights 040611
The Fringe often reports on the BOS with tongue in cheek. That is for your infotainment. Rest assured, the Fringe knows how serious the business of the Board is, and holds the supervisors is deep respect, all things considered.
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday, 4/05/11. After carefully calling role, it was determined that all supervisors were present.
The supervisors then praised the flag and the republic, not democracy, for which it stands.
Under public comment local resident and Friends of Independence Lake member Julie Osburn stood and said many things, not the least of which is that the Forest Service aaaaaaaall the way back in Washington is doing a Planning Rule public input period. Check it out HERE.
Health and Human Services Director Dr. Carol Roberts, and then Director of Planning Tim Beals warned the supervisors that AB885, the “you can’t poop down home” rule over septic systems is raising its ugly face again, in that the Department of Water Resources is being sued to bring the new regulations to enforcement.
The Residential Center in Downieville came up for discussion. Supervisor Huebner is on the board of the Senior Residential Center.
The Center is not supposed to function like a senior center; rather it is intended to be to be a residential center. It has a special use permit to function as a RC.
Dr. Carol Roberts is attempting to use Mental Health Services funds to “save” the house, but it is not clear if it would be able to operate even if it were open. Mr. Curtis issued a general caution about mis-characterizing the use of the funds.
During the discussion, Mary Jo Rust took the stand. She supports area seniors, and agrees the residential center might have been a good thing, but it isn’t being used that way now. It is presenting a problem to the neighbors and developing it as senior center would make it worse.
Liz Fisher stood to say that the senior residential center is very nice, but for its present use the Community Center would be better.
Tim Beals somehow felt empowered to remark about the Senior Residential Center. He gave the opinion that any discussion about the center was premature until Dr. Roberts found out if the funds were available.
Mr. Curtis again visited the issue of use of funds. He wondered how Mental Health Services act funds could be used for a senior center.
Dr. Roberts said it was appropriate because there would be “peer counselors” there.
Chair Adams said before the Board could approve using such funds, unless they were certain it would be appropriate, there would have to be a clear plan for continuing funding, the general fund would need to be protected from the debt, and the neighbors’ concerns would have to be addressed.
The Board agreed to allow Dr. Roberts to apply for the money.
Prospect Two Cent Opinionalysis: This is a project whose time has passed. The RC Board hasn’t been able to find an appropriate use, or an appropriate funding. It’s unfortunate, but like so many things these days, there isn’t the need or the money to keep it going.
The next issue of interest is the census. A change in census means it is possible the county might have to re-do the current supervisor’s districts, see the current map below. It is also possible not enough population has changed to require very much adjustment.
SC Supervisor Districts Now
SC Supervisor Districts Prospect
There was a lengthy discussion as to who should work on the project. The Assessor, the Registrar of Voters, and, because he’s so popular throughout the county, Director of Gerrymandering, Tim Beals were chosen, though it is possible it should have included Mr. Curtis and not Mr. Beals.
“21500. Following each decennial federal census, and using that
census as a basis, the board shall adjust the boundaries of any or
all of the supervisorial districts of the county so that the
districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be and shall
comply with the applicable provisions of Section 1973 of Title 42 of
the United States Code, as amended. In establishing the boundaries of
the districts the board may give consideration to the following
factors: (a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity,
integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of
interests of the districts.”
“If the board fails to adjust the boundaries before the first day of
November following the year in which the federal census is taken, a
supervisorial redistricting commission shall do so before the 31st
day of December of the same year.”
“21502. The supervisorial redistricting commission shall be composed
of the district attorney, who shall be chairman, the county
assessor, and the county elections official if he or she is elected
by the qualified electors of the county, or, if not, the county
superintendent of schools if he or she is elected by the qualified
electors of the county, or, if not, the sheriff.”
It was clear the Board felt the current district boundaries are odd. Supervisor Goicoechia noted that “Mayor Dailey would be proud” of the current gerry meandering district boundaries. Yet, we suspect that even though the law allows “(a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of interests of the districts” the big dog is demographics. It is difficult to see how the boundaries can change too much, except to account for the slightly greater decrease in population in Loyalton than in Downieville.
The Board, by a narrow margin, voted to assign the task of doing the work and making suggestions, but not actually drawing the lines that we’ll keep, to the three mentioned. Good luck!
Supervisor Schlefstein discussed action in opposition to Assembly Bill 720 which would limit the road department’s flexibility.
Suction dredging in Sierra County was discussed. It is largely illegal to suction dredge anywhere there is gold in Sierra County. At issue is a 1994 Environmental Impact Statement which was challenged by environmental groups and tribes successfully in 2006. The court ordered a new EIS because plaintiffs felt suction dredging stirs up too much mercury and lead. The Fish and Game was then prevented from issuing dredge permits.
Ted Gaines, State Senator, sponsored a bill suspending the Fish and Game from following the court order, but the bill has no chance.
Actual suction dredge miners were there. One told of pulling lead and mercury out of the river and asking how he could turn it in. Mercury is illegal to possess along the river and so miners are faced with either being criminals or returning the mercury to the river. The Yellow Legged Frog is alleged to be the reason for no sucking in the Yuba. Dredgers must use screens to prevent fish from being sucked through the dredge, though most fish know how to avoid an enormous sucking tube. According to one citizen giving testimony, those writing the new Environmental Impact Statement did no dredging and so don’t know the actual consequence of dredging. Chair Adams remarked that if you don't like someone's hobby, you sue them.
Prospect Analinion: In the name of God will people please stop trying to save the planet from 3000 dredge miners? The rivers in California have bigger problems than that, and we’ll wager the poop and toxic lawn run off from those who brought the suit pose more of a hazard to the environment than dredgers. The DFG should simply write a plan to collect mercury and lead from miners and make use of them as a resource. Otherwise, it will simply stay in the river, and isn’t that what everyone has their frilly knickers in a twist over? Is there no judge or bureaucrat in the state that can see reason?
Will Clark of the Chamber of Commerce gave a dazzling proposal and got the Board to turn out their pockets to give $3500 to the COC to encourage tourism in the county.
The Board engaged in a discussion of how the Sierra Nevada Conservancy should spend the last of their Prop 84 funds. Supervisor Nunes spoke for hazard fuel reduction.
Supervisor Dave Goicoechia, who owns a ranch, and knows ranchers and goes to ranchers’ ranches, suggested more money to buy conservation easements on ranches. He pointed out that the money spent on hazard fuels removal lasts only a few years, while money spent on development rights acquisition lasts forever.
Fringe Editor DeVita stood and admonished Goicoechia and said that both were wrong, that the money should be used to build biomass infrastructure in the county, to help provide for a stable economy, and so that the hazard fuel would have market value and we wouldn’t have to beg for money to remove it from the hills.
Supervisors Nunes and Goicoechia laughed at the Fringe, saying Prop 84 money couldn’t be used for that, and noting how sad it was when people got up to the podium and didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.
The Fringe stomped angrily from the room, or, more likely, went to his doctor’s appointment and so did not see about an hour and a half of the meeting. The Sierra Booster and the Mountain Messenger both covered the meeting, so we’ll probably never know what happened, unless we read the minutes or listen to the transcript available HERE.
When the Fringe returned, the Board was encouraging Dr. Roberts to apply for Title X funding to provide important reproductive and other services to clients. Prospect readers will recall a tiny little fuss was made by some right wing extremists insisting that no abortion services counseling will be provided with the money. Somehow that makes sense to them. The funding will pay for all appropriate medical counseling.
The Board officially stated there were severe storms in the county in March. There generally are.
Other stuff might have happened, but it probably didn’t amount to much.