Board Notes 051810

Board Notes 051810

Editor’s note: Writing Board Notes is the pots and pans of Board reporting; what made for a good meal makes for a lot of scrubbing. I stifle a powerful urge to just scan my notes and put them up, because that would be wrong. Also: most quotes are paraphrased. We typically condense 10-20 minutes of boilerplate, stuttering and "uh" and "um" –ing, moments of confusion and the wandering and subtext of normal speech into one or two lines. Sometimes we mis-interpret, or sometimes people are unclear and at least occasionally people B.S. and we report what they meant instead of what they said. We can do that, it’s called "journalistic license".

Cryptic: board notes
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in continued regular session in Loyalton on Tuesday, 18 May 2010. Supervisors Adams, Huebner, Nunes, Whitley and Chair Goicoechea were present.

Mike Filippini asked the Board not to give up on the Williamson act. Readers probably know the Williamson act and the Super Williamson act provide tax relief to holders of ag land, and used to repay the counties for lost tax dollars. The state no longer compensates the counties, meaning the cash strapped counties are hit again.

Loyalton school kids came into the meeting with an enormous green dragon. Somehow an enormous green dragon is supposed to keep kids off of drugs, though it had the opposite effect in the 1960s.

Puff's straight brother, Dandy.  Don't smoke tobacco around the entrances of public places.
The Prospect has taken a beating before for having fun with tobacco kids. This editor was schooled by Loyalton High School Principle Marla Stock for making fun of impressionable little anti-smokers, so we won’t make that mistake again. The first group of kids explained about tobacco free entrances. Entrances to public buildings, they explained, are supposed to be tobacco free. Several young anti-smokers spoke about tobacco, mostly against. One bad location for entrance way second hand smoke is near the Downieville Courthouse Door, where Don Russell smokes, see below.

Tot lot tots stopping druggies from dropping their delivery systems.  Filthy habit, smoking.
Subsequently, yet more kids appeared with a cardboard fold out, which is an early form of Powerpoint. They talked about "tot lots" which are not what you might think at all, but are parks, playgrounds, parking lots for parks and playgrounds and other public places which are governed by the rules about children. The young people talked about how they found cigarette butts and so on in places where children can be expected to play. There were many disgusting cigarette butts which might carry TB or who knows what, and the children had to pick them up and count them. We hope the adults responsible for leaving their drug delivery devices laying around are ashamed. We are, however, relieved the children didn’t report finding any hypodermic needles or deflated Sheiks, or perhaps they found some, but without government dollars to educate them, didn’t know what they’d found and so left them alone.

Supervisor Lee Adams preparing to smoke a pen.
So far, no groups have formed in response to pen smoking. Yet

In any case, we continue the hope that our community’s young people will avoid tobacco, and indeed, all drugs and bad habits. The Prospect supports tobacco and other drug education, and is pleased the programs in the schools can bring such bright and motivated children to chide their elders about tobacco use, littering, and not caring enough about the future.

In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, we give you Mountain Messenger editor Don Russell, who smokes his butts until they burn his lips, and so doesn’t litter, and who has expressed gladness for the way his tobacco taxes are spent in the schools.

In the interest of balanced reporting, local curmudgeon Don Russell
who has contributed heavily to no smoking kids.  What is that he's

Director of Land and Water Tim Beals reported on progress on the Sierra Brooks water system upgrade. The progress hasn’t all been skittles and beer, with key federal and state agencies prepared to complicate things, but in general the project continues according to plan and budget.

Mr. Beals also reported an increasing number of city slickers getting lost on roads that look great on Mapquest but turn out to be clogged with snow and mud and quickly become indistinguishable from the small dirt roads that lead to miners who haven’t seen a woman in years and meth labs and roads that go nowhere but are well traveled because people drive in and out so other people drive in and out and probably somewhere in an area roughly described by Smithneck Road, Henness Pass Road and Long Valley road there is a cliff which is rapidly filling with BMWs and Priuses whose GPS screens bear the last nose print of some technology dependent geek. Not his words. Anyway, he intends to put signs in key areas explaining the difference between ruts and oil pan bashing rocks and a line on a screen. Not his words. There will be signs.

There will be signs
The Sierra County Child Abuse Prevention Council is bringing an interactive dance troop to the county to dispel those end-of-winter blues.

There are, SC Health representative Elizabeth Morgan said, changes in the rules governing water systems with 5-15 users, which the state was monitoring but which they now thrust on to the counties.

Ashley Cabrera gave her compelling presentation on work she did with local teens. The upshot is: they want a teen center. Working with Dr. Carol Roberts, Ms. Cabrera is moving toward accomplishing a teen center in Loyalton.

Dr. Roberts reported the success of the S.O.S. jobs program. She noted that the time line was tight on the project, but that working with Merit Systems she had been able to create a position, which has been filled by Tamara Powers, whom Dr. Roberts credits with the success of the program. Nearly 40 people have found work in the county thanks to the program, and that means 40 families who are able to pay rent and bills. Director of Public Thanks Tim Beals thanked Ms. Roberts, Tamara Powers, and the "vision of the Board" for the program.

The Prospect also thanks Dr. Roberts and Ms. Powers for their work to put the community to work. There is nothing like honest labor to put a community right.

Stan Hardeman, County Superintendent of Schools, spoke about the likelihood of diminishing revenues to the county and to county schools if funding from the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act continues to be reduced. The act compensates rural counties for revenues lost when land is used for trees instead of development. He outlined the problem that we, rural people, are expected to maintain infrastructure and protect the environment at the cost of tax dollars. He considered the money from SRSCA to be something rural counties have earned. Without it, our schools simply could not stay open, since they would lose 87% of funding needed to operate. He urged the Board to visit the website for the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition. We urge readers to go to the site and read this brief HISTORY. The Prospect concludes that our schools could use much more money, not less, to compete with the opportunities afforded to kids from wealthier areas.

Director of Political Concern Tim Beals indicated that any contribution the county would make to the organization must be limited to dues and membership fees, and can not be used for lobbying.

The Board, and County Cautionary Jim Curtis discussed with Dr. Roberts the issue of insuring youths who take part in the "wilderness adventure" which this year is provided by Tahoe Adventure Company.




Me, me, I want to go! TAC link

There seems to be sufficient funding available to protect the county in case a child experiences an injury, or a near-death experience, or sexual touching by an adult or another child, or drug use; in short, the county is insured in case a child has an actual adventure during one of the adventures. However, while the Board accepts that we all do dangerous things, and that doing dangerous things are fun and important, there has to be a balance, by which Chair Goicoechea meant "risk to the general fund" as well he should. The adventures were approved provided all parties are properly protected; take that for what you will.


The Board entertained a discussion about quagga mussels, zebra mussels, Asian clams and a host of invasive plant and animal species. Read about it HERE (page link)

The Board declined to simply renew their contract for public defender purposes with Mr. Cooper until some kind of evaluation of his performance can be made. The Prospect suggests that residents who have enjoyed Mr. Cooper’s services report to their supervisors about how they feel he performed. The judges might have their opinions, but it is the residents who use his services, and they should provide input.

The Board did some administrative housekeeping, including receiving the solid waste budget (the summary is found HERE).

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