Board Notes 032012

Board Notes 032112


The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in continued regular session in Loyalton on Tuesday, the First Day of Spring, 2012.  All supervisors were present and relatively sober.

The Board began with an incantation to Old Glory, and the seminal spirit which birthed our liberties, and to the republic which has since deteriorated into a continent-wide technocrat hell and totalitarian democracy.  The board succeeded better than most such bodies these days to give the populace their chance to speak.

The first good example was Julie Osburn from Friends of Independence Lake, a local group which has gone like a terrier after a rat and simply not let go of the restricted access for historic and traditional users of the lake.  FOIL has vexed a number of dignitaries along the way but remains steadfast to the belief that IL should be open to access to the public as it has been in the past.  Osburn pointed out that the Department of Fish and Game considers Independence Lake open all year round but TNC only allows access to this publicly owned lake and its publically owned fish in late Spring.  She went on to personally ask the Board to avoid participation in an Aquatic Invasive Species program involving other counties and suggests AIS inspection stations at both ends of the road for IL and other lakes and rivers, and on both ends of Gold Lake road on the Sierra and Plumas sides to completely protect the Lakes Basin.  Huh. 

Director of Public Works, Planning and Building Etc. Tim Beals warned the Board of Supervisors about AB 1627 which takes the intelligent idea of green building and small carbon footprint to absolutely insane lengths.  Mr. Beals portrayed the bill as excessively intrusive, and that it will negatively impact homeowners and builders but swamp building inspectors.  He said, essentially, that the bill is the act of idiots and is completely unworkable, and he would like to say it doesn’t have a chance of passing, but past experience indicates this isn’t the kind of thing a rational man can call; it might pass. Lee Adams, the RCRC representative from the county, pointed out that RCRC is very concerned about the bill and will take what action is possible.


The bill would enact the Healthy Neighborhoods Act of 2012 and would require the Energy Commission to prescribe, by regulation, standards for reducing vehicle miles traveled by occupants of a building that would be applicable to new residential and nonresidential buildings and modification of existing residential and nonresidential buildings… The bill would prohibit a local building department from issuing a building permit for a residential or nonresidential building unless the department confirms that the building plan complies with the standards. Because a local building department would be required to confirm that a building plan complies with the vehicle miles traveled standards, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to prescribe, by ordinance or resolution, a schedule of fees sufficient to cover the costs incurred in the enforcement of these standards.  Read the entire mess HERE 


Senior Beals also talked about how the floodplain maps are showing that most of the East side of Sierra County is uninhabitable by anyone without webbed feet, meaning many on that side of the county wouldn’t be able to build or change what they have and might not be able to get flood insurance or loans to repair or improve their homes, all not his words; he believes the regulations will treat barns and other buildings the same as houses.  In short, those rural people who believe that bureaucrats and environmentalists are trying to drive them from the land or kill them are officially not paranoid anymore.  Mr. Beals encourages the Board to do what is possible. 

Newly appointed Director of Health and Human Services Janice Maddox stood before the Board and described the need for a replacement social worker.  Supervisor Adams reminded Ms. Maddox that there has been a problem in the past with too many staff for a county of 3200 people.  The position, however, seems necessary.

HHS Director Janice Maddox

Also under the heading HHS is a contract which provides a service to people in the county but which bills insurance where applicable.  County Council Jim Curtis alerted the Board to a problem which has been in discussion for some time: the over-indemnification of the County general fund for projects largely mandated by the state and paid for with special funds.  Mr. Curtis has been cautioning the Board about such clauses in contracts, and at this meeting he said that the growing trend means the Board will have to come to a policy decision about which contracts to approve.  He referred to these extreme and often poorly defined indemnification clauses as “insidious”.    

Director Maddox described how the contract affected the department, and suggested scenarios where SCHHS would have to make difficult decisions when providing mental health services to some clients.  Her description was brief but clear, and Supervisor Goicoechea complimented her on bringing forward issues which had, under a previous director, been “swept under the carpet”, and the business-like way she handled the explanation.  Supervisor Nunes clarified the need, and called for a risk-benefit analysis to guide the supervisors in decision making. 


The Board considered a request from NV Energy to allow the Nevada utility to conduct tests and research on a .5 acre parcel the county ones upon which resides a monument and soon a park.  The request regards a power line.  Mr. Curtis said the request document contained insufficient information for the Board to approve the request.  Supervisor Huebner was adamant that no power line should impact the monument and park.


Mr. Beals discussed the situation of methane and the Loyalton landfill.  He said the county was going to pay to have the source of methane identified, since there is a layer (and perhaps more than one) of goose poop and tule remains from when Sierra Valley was a lake.  The state would have to, we hope, deduct that natural methane from the gas supposedly produced by the landfill.  That would perhaps put the landfill back in compliance for methane. 

The Board discussed the Bureau of Reclamation’s plans to prepare Stampede Dam for a 250,000 year flood event, which is bullshit on the face of it.  Mr. Beals described a non-meeting with the BR, and reported on a resolution from Nevada County which says, in sum though not precisely, “the idea is bullshit on the face of it.”  The Board continues to agree that the project is a waste of time and a waste of money and bad for the county.

There was a very brief discussion about over the snow vehicles in which it was revealed that Director Tim Beals is absolutely not a part of Snowlands Network, a group of apparent elitist urbanites who want to “protect” the snow from anything but “muscle power”.  Beals denied with gusto any affection for the group whatever.  The group is one of an exhausting list of groups that want only people like themselves using public lands, and who assume, without any proof at all, that they love the “environment” more than people who don’t agree with them. What a freaking drag they are.

The Board met Loyalton Fire Department Fire Chief Shawn Heywood, who immediately began begging for radios, and so is well suited to be the chief of a rural volunteer fire department.


That’s all the notes I wrote.


Good Luck!

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