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April 4, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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April 4, 2012
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, April 4, 2012 111 COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Don't malign agency attorney for being fair WHERE I STAND JAMIE ROSEN OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL, U.S. FOREST SERVICE I am writing in response to the false statements made about me by Randy Pew and Bill,Wickman in Dan Mc- Donald's articles of March 21 and March 28. I am putting my response on paper so there can be no misunder- standing about my remarks, as seems to have occurred with my statements from my meeting with Mr. Pew and Mr. Wickman Jan. 26. First, it is simply not true that I told Mr. Pew: "I don't care about you. I don't care about your family, the peo- ple who work for you, or your county." Not only did I not say this, but I said quite the opposite. I told Mr. Pew that I did care about him and his business. However, I also told him that my personal feelings about his business were not at issue in the legal dispute before the Board of Contract Appeals, which concerned the interpretation of the con- tract Mr. Pew had entered with the Forest Service. As you are aware, the Board of Contract Appeals agreed that the language of the con- tract was determinative. Second, I realize it is possi- ble that Mr. Pew misunder- stood my statements to mean that I didn't care about him or the community, since I stated that I wanted to focus on the language of the con- tract and the case law relat- ed to it, rather than dis- cussing Mr. Pew's financial situation. So, to the extent Mr. Pew misunderstood my meaning, I apologize. I made clear during our meeting that I most certainly cared about the Indian Val- ley community and Plumas County. I have spent the last 14 years working with the Plums National Forest and Region 5 of the Forest Ser- vice to defend the agency against lawsuits that seek to stop beneficial forest man- agement in the area that supports the local communi- ty (and the forest manage- ment infrastructure upon which the Forest Service re- lies). Additionally, I have good friends that live in In- dian Valley and Plumas County, and I have spent many great summers in the Quincy area, so there is ab- solutely no reason why I would ever say that I don't care about the county or the people that live there. Third, I am very surprised that Mr. Pew and Mr. Wick- man think I acted coldly and without compassion, since I made extra efforts in this case to be helpful and friend- ly, particularly since Mr. Pew did not have legal coun- sel. Indeed, for the first time in my career, I actually pro- vided legal research for the opposing party, and provid- ed Mr. Pew and Mr. Wick- man with case law citations that they might find helpful. I dare say that you will not find many attorneys that go to such ends. Ultimately, Mr. Pew, Mr. Wickman and I disagreed about what the contract required, so there was a gap that could not be bridged, no matter how friendly or professional I tried to be. I expect that if you asked the judge who handled this matter how I behaved during the proceed- ings, he will agree that I act- ed in a cordial and profes- sional manner. Finally, because the dis- cussion we had Jan. 26 was not recorded, there is no way of ultimately unraveling what was said during that meeting. However, I did go through my notes from that period and have retained the outline I prepared before the meeting, which formed the basis for my comments dur- ing the meeting. These notes show that my intentions were to "ensure fairness," "have a pleasant and friend- a ly process" and "follow the law." I believe that I communi- cated these sentiments dur- ing our meeting and lived up; to them throughout the con- tract dispute. I find it unfor- tunate, and hurtful, that Mr.. Pew and Mr. Wickman have made allegations that are en- tirely inconsistent with what actually happened. I strive to be an honest, fair and h.ard-working public servant and believe that I de-: serve more than to be ma- ligned for fulfilling that role. Children's Council wants to see the power of blue I WHERE I STAND support strengthening fami- ...................................................................................... lies by signing a simple PLUMAS CHILDREN'S statement of commitment. COUNCIL Blue skies, blue birds, blue ribbons... The'Plumas Chil- dren's Council wants to see blue in April. Every April the Children's Council gives a brief presen- tation to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. We give out blue ribbons, we ask them to sign a proclamation and we remind them of the importance of nurturing healthy families in Plumas County. On April.10, we'll be ask- ing the supervisors to We are asking others to join us in this commitment too. We know that children who are emotionally, physi- cally and intellectually healthy are raised by par- ents and caregivers who are also healthy in these ways. Common sense, as well as re- search, tells us that healthy families have: --Parental resilience, which is the ability to cope and bounce back from chal- lenges. Social connections are the friends, family, neigh- bors and other members of the community who provide emotional support and con- crete assistance to parents. --Knowledge of parent- ing and child development with accurate information about raising young chil- dren and appropriate expec- tations for their behavior. --Concrete support in times of need includes fi- nancial security to cover day-to-day expenses and un- expected costs. This support may be formal from public and private agencies or in- formal from community net- works. --Children's social and emotional development is a child's ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions successfully. Many families in Plumas are currently "feeling the blues." Lost jobs may mean an inability to provide for their families. A sense of hopelessness can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Sometimes these behaviors can result in an increase of children who are neglected and abused. We do want to prevent child abuse and we know that the way we can do this is by helping families to be strong and surrounding them with the five protective factors that I described earlier. Sometimes we over- look the simple ways that we can help. April is recognized as na- tional Child Abuse Preven- tion Awareness Month, and the symbol is a blue ribbon. As much as we believe in strengthening families, we know that child abuse and neglect is the other side of the same coin. I encourage you to join the Children's Council and your community by reaching out to your neighbors and other local residents who may need you. Don't underesti- mate the power of a kind word or smile. Bake cookies, invite folks to dinner, play games. Make someone's day! Many local businesses are also helping and committingi their support for strengthen- ing Plumas families. They I will be decorating with blue ribbons later this month. , If you too are committed to: working with others to cre- j ate and sustain a community network that builds strong , families, we hope that you will be wearing blue in J April, especially Tuesday, April 10, when the Plumas County supervisors sign their commitment. Our com- munity awareness and sup- port of strengthening fami- lies will be illustrated with lots of blue in April. T Trustees should re-examine numbers, cut expenditures:'! WHEt-I,:.STAND FORR,IER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER In a letter to the editor a couple weeks ago an individ- ual humorously wrote about the JK gang and an ambush at Boyle Ravine. Aside from impugning the independence and thoughtfulness of the group that launched the re- call, this individual called us a bunch of vigilantes who should focus our attention on the state and allow the school superintendent and district to do its work to deal with the budget crises. I would have thought this facing a severe budget cr{- -Last year, Plumas Unified --..Pr0n-would-hbet4e'., :! ,s)During this t .::,flol.Distriet.fait.4o meet understanding;he s em- ever, the district ha'da Bud: the state requirement that 55 ployed in the school dis- trict's financial office. The district's budget numbers tell a story quite different from what we've been hear- ing from Superintendent Glenn Harris and his admin- istration. Harris and Director of Business Services Yvonne Bales have been underesti- mating revenue and overes- timating expenses for each of the last three school years. The superintendent and Bales have been saying over and over again, "We're get surplus of more than $7 million. That's based on the district's numbers. In my home or business, if we're facing a budget crisis we cut expenditures. Using the district's own numbers again, expenditures over these three school years were not reduced, even though the district lost 200 - 300 students. It begs the question: Where is the mon- ey going? One part of the answer is that not enough money is go- ing to student education. percent of the district's funds go to direct student ed- ucational services. Who has legal responsibility for as- suring that it does? County Superintendent Glenn Har- ris. How dire is the financial condition of Plumas County schools today? A few months ago, Harris and Bales projected a 2011-12 school year deficit of $4 mil- lion. Coupled with this num- ber and future projections, the district has been trum- peting the message "the sky is falling and drastic mea- deficit was inflated by as sures are needed:" The, dis .... , mueha750000bmtse- trict administration then an- nounced school closures and a layoff of more than 30 teachers. At a recent board meeting, and largely the result of in- creasing outside scrutiny, Bales reported a revised 2011-12 deficit of $2.8 million. Some of us believe the cur- rent year deficit is around $1 million or less, but it's hard to know because of the way the district moves money around in its accounts. At this same board meet- ing, Bales did not refute the point that the district's this money was moved into deferred maintenance, and [ "unavailable" for other uses.: Make no mistake, the board : retains control over this  money and can make it available for direct educa- " tional services. Harris and Bales have cre- ated a budget crisis as an ar- gument to close schools and 2 to justify measures of their own choosing. The adminis- : trative response to the crisis " included no discussion of al- ": ternatives, no discussion of > See Cut, page 13B LETTERS To THE EDITOR Reliance I think there might be a le- gal point concerning our Plumas Unified School Dis- trict budget deficits that needs to be explored. It's called "re- liance." Our school budgets have relied heavily on Forest Service reserve funds for years. Those funds were not allocated bY the federal gov- ernment arbitrarily; they were allocated as a way to ease the burden to local tax- payers due to the fact that 75 percent of Plumas County is government lands, which se- verely limits our assessed val- uation. If the federal government can't meet that obligation to PCOE via timber sales, then it needs to figure out another way to honor their obligation. Timber sales were only the designated funding source, not the reason for funding. Nansi Bohne Quincy Forecasts With the austerity mea- sures PUSD Superintendent Harris is recommending, you would think that the school district is on the verge of total financial collapse. What justi- fications did they cite to lay off 32 teachers and close sever- al schools? The district stated that en- rollment is on the decline -- losing 100 students per year. However, the California De- partment of Finance projects an average total county en- rollment of 2,110 students per year through 2021. The district projected a deficit of $4 million this year. Now, the second budget fore- cast shows a deficit of $3,432,906. Each forecast in- cludes $780,000 transferred in- to savings money that does not leave the district coffers. How can that be part of the deficit? How accurate are these forecasts? In 2008-09, they fore- casted a surplus of $19,000, yet the audit shows an increase of $3.9 million in the operating funds group (per GASB 54). In 2009-10, it was a surplus of $4,000 yet the funds group increased by $2.6 million. In 2010-11, the forecast was for a deficit of $1,350,987 yet the funds group increased by $538,185. The budget forecasts have been ultra conservative consistently understating revenues and overstating ex- penses. The audited fmancials show where the district began the school year with $14.6 million in combined operating fund accounts and $1.9 million in the PCOE forest fund that can be used in emergencies. It seems reasonable that the school board and 7-11 commit- tees consider this information in their decision. To me, it makes sense to re- instate all teachers to main- tain proper teacher/pupil ratios and to consolidate the Quincy elementary schools. It makes sense to maintain PUSD K-12 public schools in each community and to seek and implement cost cut- ting measures. And it seems reasonable to wait and see what the end-of-year finan- cials are before ripping apart our real public education sys- tem. Mark Mihevc Graeagle Rabble? How dare Mr. Harris call for the sheriff to provide armed deputies to keep the non-existent unruly and dan- gerous attendees, those who create a tense nature during discussions concerning school closure? The truth, the con- duct of the attendees was calm and respectful, no one acted out, or got out of control. The reality, Mr. Harris applied a tactic he has a reputation of using, intimidation. Mr. Harris somehow has the impression the residents of Indian Valley and the rest of Plumas County as just out- of-control rabble. Bringing the armed deputy sheriffs into the meetings showed complete disrespect to the several hun- dred concerned citizens that attended the board meeting. If Mr. Harris is so paranoid he should resign and get out of Plumas County. Recall Glenn Harris. Richard E. Naas Greenville Recall We are beginning a season of special elections to recall government officials. Their performance, policies and con- duct are offensive to some members of the community. Their perspectives and plans are impacts on the present and the future of our communities. The first of the initiatives is the recall of Dan Wilson with the April 10 special election. Wilson's supporters are cir- culating fliers stating not to recall Wilson. They provide no justification, to retain him. The recall committee has a long list of complaints to justi- fy the recall expense. From my perspective Mr: Wilson was elected to represent the people rather than to continue the status quo of the city's management. Wilson support- ers believe that he has ade- quately studied city govern- ment and its laws. Mr. Wil- son's performance as an elect- ed official is the issue. Performance-based Manage- ment - A City Official's Guide to Achieving Result-Oriented Government should be a re- quired course for elected offi- cials. It wag published by the League of California Cities in 1999. It states the following: "As municipal governments in California progress into the 21st century, they face the challenge of an evolving polit- ical climate in local govern- ment. The first priority for city officials has always been .... t; ,,, E11, ,II et L, ........ ..1[, demonstrating to residents that local governments are careful and effective stewards of public trust and resources. This ideal is even more impor. tant in the wake of Proposi- tion 13, 62 and 218. Voters have clearly indicated they want greater involvement in the financial aspects of local decision making process." Mr. Wilson has gotten his instruction from other re- sources. He has failed to demonstrate that he is a care- ful and effective steward of public trist and resources. He has not permitted voters'to he involved in the financial as- pects of local decision-making process. Vote "yes" to recall Dan Wilson. Larry F. Douglas Portola Saying no Mr. Wilson, like many other public servants, has chosen to continue to give back to his community after several years of teaching. He's not a career politician. Dan is a husband, father and teacher. His job as a representative of the City Council of Portola is to get the facts and make tough decisions. He's had to say no more than once. People do not like to be told not The truth often hurts. The truth is we are in a grim fi- nancial situation. Perhaps, if we as a society were told no more often in the last 15 years, our economy and housing situation wouldn't be in sham- bles. I'm urging you, the citizens i of Portola, to get involved.! Read up on both sides and I make an informed decision. It's not just about water rates. ! However, if you chose a land-I scape design that requires ai lot of water then you need to i pay for it; our family does. { Melissa Leali Portola I ! Hard pressed After reading last week's l letter to the editor with two i more letters attempting to I build a case against Dan Wil-i son, I need to respond. I'vel been on many boards and! councils, and I've seen inci- dents of"conduct unbecom- ing" public officials all over the place. The argument against Dan seems to stem from his sharp responses to some ugly business over rats-i ing Portola's water rates. I un- derstand he did the right thing and apologized for any remarks that might have up- set the public. To recall an individual, that person has to show ongoing, consistently bad behavior that i goes against the position I to which heor she was elected i or appointed. It can be persis-,t tent intrusion into the daily! affairs of staff wherein subor- dinates feel intimidated by the intrusions, or it can be a l See Letters, page 12B