Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why I can't support the L.A. Chargers


Stan  Humphries, still the only Chargers QB to play in a Super Bowl

The rumors persisted all of last football season that the San Diego Chargers were getting ready to join the Rams in the Los Angeles market but I guess I still held out hope and was skeptical of the reports even though the Chargers had registered an L.A. based web domain and had been the only team on the TV landscape in Southern Cal, even prior to my moving to Texas three years ago.

From a journalism and specifically sports writing and sports coverage perspective, the Chargers moving to L.A. was an interesting story and presented the dilemma of how the San Diego fans would react to the announcement that their team was abandoning them this season. Also, would the media outlets in the San Diego market continue to cover the team?

So after it finally happened and team owner Dean Spanos took the cowardly way out and announced the team's move via the web, fans were upset and understandably bitter about the decision. A number of them gathered outside the team's practice facility in San Diego to burn their jerseys and gear and to say "good riddance" to a team and an owner who had turned their back on them after 55 years.

I have been a football fan all my life and I remember as a 10 year old choosing the San Diego team as my favorite even though I lived in the L.A. area and this caused conflicts. Nobody liked the Chargers in LA. while I was growing up, most were fans of our bitter rivals the Oakland-then L.A. Raiders then back to Oakland in the 90s. Others favored the Rams until they decided to move to St. Louis in 1995.

As long as I can remember I looked forward with great anticipation to another NFL season and especially to watching my favorite team. There were many frustrations over the years watching the Chargers because they were rarely contenders and often times they seemed cursed. There was a contest in the early 80s where they lined up to kick a game winning field goal in the waning moments of a game against the Denver Broncos, only to have the kick blocked and ran back for a winning score. There was also a Monday night game against Chicago when a player seemed on his way to a sure touchdown, only to fumble the ball away before crossing the goal line. Such misfortunes seemed par for the course if you were a Chargers fan.

There were some good moments though. I remember vividly listening to a San Diego radio station, Extra Sports 690 in 1992 in disbelief as the Chargers won the AFC West after posting an 11-5 record. They had started the season 0-4 and turned it around to make the post season. Two years later they had an even  better season guided by coach Bobby Ross and quarterback Stan (the man) Humphries, still the only quarterback to have led the team to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately the 49ers were better than SD that season and they trounced my beloved team in the big game. What I remember most about that championship year was the game against Pittsburgh which the chargers won to get into the Super Bowl. I remember watching and screaming in joy at the TV as running back Natrone Means ripped through the Steelers' run defense like a runaway train on several long runs.

The Steelers had proclaimed and boasted that the Chargers would not score that day but sweet revenge, the Bolts posted 17 points on their way to the Super Bowl.

Finally, there was L.T. the magic back, the guy who shattered the NFL single season TD record in 2006 with 28 scores. That's a record that still stands today and L.T. was a complete back. He could run, he could even pass for touchdowns! Unfortunately, following a season with a 14-2 record in 2006, the team fell in the playoffs to New England and would do so again two years later with an injured L.T. watching the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl instead. It felt like someone punched you in the gut to experience that bitter loss.

Fast forward to 2017 and the punch in the gut was even worse. I had been a SD Chargers fan for 28 of my adult years prior to this season! I was sitting at a pizza joint watching last Monday night's opening Monday Night Football game between the Chargers and the Broncos and I experienced a flurry of emotions. I felt angry that my former favorite team was now referred to by the play by play guys in ESPN as "L.A." and I cursed Dean Spanos for taking the joy of another season opener away from the San Diego fans. But the sports media in San Diego has not completely abandoned the team and neither have some fans. According to a poll conducted by the SD Union Tribune, most fans still consider the Chargers their favorite team in SD.  The media has also not abandoned the team.

I may yet rejoin the Charger fandom, at the moment I don't like the L.A. Chargers brand, but I won't "hate watch" or root against them to perform badly in L.A. Mostly I will go through this season like the last, mostly in blissful ignorance of the team's performance.
Management has always made terrible moves and always sell away the best players, this time they ripped the heart out of a loyal fan base the greedy bastards. The Chargers still have a  hall of fame caliber quarterback in Phillip Rivers. However, they don't feel like my team anymore and all the fake fans who could not have cared less about the team have jumped on the bandwagon egged on by the L.A. sports hacks who are forced to cover the team along with the hapless Rams.

Most can't even remember Lionel "Train" James, Natrone Means, Air Coryell or all the other great players who have donned the powder blues or the lighting bolts on their helmet. That's a real shame.




Thursday, August 31, 2017

Non profit analysis states education proposal has problems

source: The Willits News 8/30/2017

A national nonpartisan nonprofit commended the development of the state’s plan for student success designed to comply with the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), but criticized its lack of a clear implementation process according to a report released last week.

“California’s plan includes several weaknesses that will limit its ability to effectively communicate with educators, parents, and other stakeholders,” the report hstates.
According to the report by the Boston-based nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners in collaboration with the Collaborative for Student Success, while the state appears to have solicited and utilized stakeholder feedback in the development of the plan and has also adopted high-quality standards and assessments, it is unclear how the state’s proposal for a “dashboard” accountability system will be gauged and incorporated into a comprehensive measure of school quality.

The U.S. Department of Education made public specific provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act after then president Barack Obama signed it into law on Dec. 10, 2015.
The law, among other provisions, advanced equity by upholding critical protections for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students, ensured that vital information was provided to educators, families, students and communities through annual statewide assessments and maintained an expectation that there would be accountability to effect positive change in low performing schools.

One specific concern outlined by the report is the state’s inability to completely spell out its approach to identify low-performing schools, which it says it will submit to the U.S. Department of Education in January 2018.
“The current method of measuring growth does not actually capture individual students’ improvement over time,” the report states. “Instead, it only tracks year-over-year changes at the school level, which is susceptible to differences in the student population enrolled in a given year.”

The report ranks the plan on a five point scale in nine categories. California earned low ratings in several of the plan’s component including a score of 2 for its overall vision articulated in the state’s academic goal for all student subgroups to achieve and sustain high performance.
“The state may find it somewhat difficult to quantify and track district, school and student progress towards realizing it,” the report states, adding the goal of all students achieving and maintaining high academic performance is tied to scoring high on state exams, which corresponds with meeting standards.

STATE RESPONSE


“The state has not yet determined the time frame over which schools must achieve this goal, or the time frame for schools identified for improvement to make sufficient progress. As such, it’s impossible to know if this goal is ambitious or achievable,” the report states.
The Bellwether Report also questioned the state’s plan to identify schools for comprehensive support and its methodology for identifying student groups most in need of targeted support.
The plan scored a 1 on this specific category because according to the analysis, “California has not clearly articulated how it will combine a school’s various scores across multiple indicators.”

The state’s proposal is based on multiple tiers of matrices designed to track performance levels using the School Dashboard. The average status score is a school that achieves around level three on an the state assessment, these schools are colored yellow. The average change score is also colored yellow and corresponds with little or no change from last year. For both these measures, the highest scores are colored green and blue, while the lowest are red.
The report said the current approach could potentially ignore some very low performing schools, for example, a high school could score red in both achievement and graduation rates but not be identified if it scored yellow on suspension rates.

Additionally, the state ranked poorly on the academic progress category, with a score of 1. The report points out there is little incentive for schools already performing above the state’s goals to reach toward higher levels, particularly because schools can score slightly worse performance from the first year to the next and still qualify as achieving its growth goals.
The state did however score high on the standards and assessments category with a score of 4 for its use of the Common Core state standards for mathematics and English language arts.

LOCAL RESPONSE


Although the implementation of the Common Core standards was controversial initially, local educators said there are advantages to using them and teachers have warmed up to them over time.
“It seems to me over the last few years the opposition from families has gone down,” said Jennifer Lockwood, director of Willits Charter School who added people were in an uproar at first over the fact students were not being taught skills in the same manner they learned, especially in mathematics.

“I like how the standards tie together to create a clear plan across grade levels,” she said. “It’s the same standard, but it expands over time. I think there was a lot of thought behind the creation of the common core standards to come up with a cohesive plan, before that was not the case. In math, for example, students have to know how to use skills and apply them to real life situations. I think California was pretty progressive when it came to implementing and training of Common Core.”
Willits Unified School District Superintendent Mark Westerburg said the issue is not with the standards, the real issue lies with state assessments.

“The problem is measuring the standards’ success,” he said. “We are implementing them and using them at every grade level but they aren’t very consistent. The state has created a test that is not widely acceptable so a lot of districts have gone to using third party assessments.”
Westerburg said California is one of the few states that does not require a national standardized test to measure student success compared to national standards.
According to Janet Weeks, communications director for the state board of education, the state has been working on a plan for how state funding will be implemented since 2013.

Weeks said the federal government provides funding for low income students, English language learners and foster youth, approximately $1.8 billion a year or about 2 percent of California’s overall education budget and added the nonprofit’s report did not look at the entire educational funding picture. She said instead of looking at all the federal requirements, they came up with their own rubric based on what the group felt the state should be doing.
“Our response is that it’s kind of unfair to rate us without looking at everything the state is doing,” she said. “We are really proud of what we are doing in California. We have increased the amount of money school districts have been getting and we have given local school boards more power on how they spend those funds based on demographics and other factors.”

Children Now, a policy and advocacy group based out of Oakland analyzed the state’s ESSA plan and stated the final opportunity for public comment will be available during the Sept. 13-14 State Board of Education meeting.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Higher Education report card alarming


source: The Willits News, Friday Aug.25, 2017

According to a new report from the California Campaign for College opportunity, the state is falling short in meeting both the needs of an economy in need of a well educated workforce and students in regard to college preparation, access, affordability and completion.
The report, issued earlier this summer grades the state on those four criteria and the results are not encouraging. The Golden State fails in providing college access to students and in college completion and also scores a “C” in affordability. College preparation ranked the highest with a “B-” grade for a less than stellar overall grade point average of 1.17.

The college preparation grade measures whether the state’s high school graduates are academically ready to successfully engage in college work. According to the non-profit’s analysis, to produce 1.7 million additional adults with college credentials by 2025, California would need 100 percent of students to finish high school, but only 69 percent actually do, according to the cohort graduation rate for the class of 2014.
Additionally, the data shows only 47 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds enrolled in college, while only 6.3 percent of 25 to 49-year-olds with no college credentials enrolled. To produce the required number of adults with college credentials over the next eight years, the report’s authors estimate the state would need to increase production of undergraduate degrees annually by 23,000 from a baseline of 420,000. Only 12,584 additional degrees were given over the baseline in the 2014-15 academic year for completed university work.

It is alarming that today, just under half of adults in our state have a college degree or credential, as is pointed out by the report’s metrics. If a growing demand for a more educated workforce requires that 60 percent of adults have a college degree or credential by 2025, as Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity asserted, that means the state must produce close to 2 million more degrees over the next decade, a daunting task but one which can be achieved with some dedication and with a commitment from elected officials to provide much needed resources and funding.

Locally, educators are taking some steps to ensure that students have the tools to succeed and to meet the workforce demands of the future. Sanhedrin High School, once a credit recovery school has been transformed this year by the Willits Unified School District as a career Technical Education (CTE) site.
WUSD Superintendent Mark Westerburg said last year his first year on the job would be to focus on repairing the district’s aging facilities and added he would direct his efforts, along with district staff, during his second year to curriculum. So far he seems to be on track with his stated goals.

According to Westerburg, high school students who don’t attend WHS can instead choose to go the vocational education route by participating and choosing vocational programs at Sanhedrin, in order to graduate with marketable skills in multiple focus areas, or develop a personalized program that best fits their needs.
Willits students in grades 6 through 12 also have the option of attending Willits Charter School where this year staff are updating technology, including use of Google classroom and giving upper class students access to Chromebooks, as well as other platforms to ensure academic success and engagement.

Director Jennifer Lockwood said more Advanced Placement classes have also been added to address college accessibility at the school including the addition of AP courses in US history, environmental science, Spanish and calculus.
Educational success of course starts at the lower grades and Willits families have access to Willits Charter School, a free K-5 school for local students. According to Director Kara McClellan, this year teachers plan to emphasize history and social science, along with core academic subjects. There is also a push to strengthen the school’s art programs, music and other academic programs.

Westerburg said the district offers a smaller sized school like Sherwood Elementary where multi-grade classrooms allow for more one-on-one instruction with teachers. Middle School students can also select independent study options managed through Sherwood.
There is a lot state elected leaders can do to achieve the goal of ensuring students have the degrees and credentials needed to succeed and meet the state’s workforce demands including expanding financial aid funding in state and community colleges for low income families and students, reducing the time it takes for students to get through college programs and making sure completion of the college ready (referred to as A-G requirements) for students becomes a reality to open up doors for more of them to gain admission into the UC and CSU systems.

Only by maximizing our local efforts in these areas with the support and accountability from elected officials can the gaps in college preparation access, completion and affordability be bridged.
Ariel Carmona Jr is the city editor for The Willits News. He can be reached by email at acarmona@willitsnews.com or by phone at (707) 841-2123.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sunday rumination: Federal probes of leaks threaten our Constitutional rights


According to The Washington Post, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday the government was stepping up its efforts to crack down on unauthorized sources of sensitive information.

Presumably the announcement that the Justice Department has more than tripled the number of leak investigations compared to the number under the Obama administration was made to appease President Donald Trump who has attacked the attorney general for not doing more to clamp down on leaks and, according to the report, to scare government officials away from talking about sensitive matters.

As the Post article points out, Trump "has complained vociferously" about unauthorized disclosures of information, especially when the leaks result in stories that are unflattering to the administration. (And there have been a lot of those since he took office as we all know.)

The most disturbing part of the report in my estimation is when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to rule out the possibility that journalists would be prosecuted saying, "I'm not going to comment on any hypotheticals."

The Post article goes on to state that it has long been Justice Department practice in leak probes to try to avoid investigating journalists directly to find their sources.

It's hard to imagine that in the Trump era, where the commander in chief has branded legitimate news outlets like CNN and The  New York Times as "Fake News," an appellation which is as unfair as it is inaccurate, that previous policies such as those which were in place when then Attorney General Eric Holder Jr said that as long as he was  heading the Justice Department no reporter would be jailed for doing his or her job, will remain unaltered.

Admittedly, and to be fair, attacks on the fourth estate have never been exclusive to any partisan agenda. As the Post also pointed out in their report, prosecutors in the Obama era brought nine leak cases, exceeding the total of all previous administrations combined, and in the process called a reporter a criminal "conspirator." and surreptitiously went after a journalists' phone records in an attempt to identify the reporters' sources.

When the leader of the free world embraces the phrase "Enemy of the People" to describe the American news media, there are real negative consequences and he makes it okay for the public to view journalists with more distrust than they already do and recklessly puts journalists doing important work in danger.

Don't believe me? Think this is mere hyperbole on my part? Well considered what happened to  Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs earlier this year.

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter. In other instances, Trump supporters have been photographed at rallies wearing t-shirts emblazoned with such dictatorial rhetoric like "The best journalist is a dead journalist."

Americans who support the First Amendment and its guaranteed freedom of the press and who are also supportive of journalists' role in a democracy should shudder in fear when Sessions states that the government is reviewing the entire process of how media leak investigations are conducted, adding that they don't know yet what changes are coming down the pike, because they are taking a "fresh look."

The cornerstone of a free and democratic society is a free press. In America we don't jail members of the press for doing their jobs and part of that job entails speaking to sources and not compelling reporters to reveal their sources. Doing so would undermine a process that has been in place for years and which works to the benefit of society, not the converse, which the Trump administration would have us believe.

Without insiders providing information, journalists would be hampered in conducting probes and investigating government, an essential part of the checks and balances in our democratic process. Can you imagine Woodward and Bernstein being able to break a huge story like Watergate in the Vietnam era without the protections politicians have been trying to erode ever since?

Of course, Trump has shown himself to be either ignorant of these fundamental Constitutional processes freedoms and guarantees, or worse yet, he flaunts them openly in an attempt to conduct government in a fashion that dangerously borders authoritarian practices.

 So when Rosenstein, Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, among others in the White House elite announce they will be looking at reviewing policy in regards to leaks, it makes me very nervous and concerned. You should be as well. 
    

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mental Health tax ballot measure is a step in the right direction

Source: The Willits News,  July 28, 2017

It doesn’t take a whole lot of detailed research to see that mental health facilities are still badly needed in Mendocino County. According to the county’s Behavioral Health Advisory annual report for 2015-16, the committee recognized the inadequacy of both substance abuse and disorder treatment services and urged the Board of Supervisors to prioritize financial resources.
Board members in their report supported maximizing the use of all available funding resources, locating and staffing substance abuse treatment disorder options county-wide and providing transportation support for those remote locations, among some suggestions.

On the law enforcement end, earlier in the year the MCSO announced they planned to stop responding to crisis calls and non-violent 5150s. Section 5150 of the state’s Welfare and Institutions Code authorizes a qualified law enforcement officer or clinician to section a person suspected of having a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves or others.
As reported by the Mendocino Beacon earlier this year, the costs are staggering with emergency room visits by people placed on 5150 holds.

Since the county has had no emergency facilities for mentally ill patients since the shuttering of the psychiatric health facility, known as the PHF unit in 1999, law enforcement and regional medical facilities have been burdened with a lack of resources to deal with the growing demand for services.
To address some of the issues, an ordinance was developed by Sheriff Tom Allman and a 12-member planning team which he assembled and placed on the November 2016 ballot.
The ordinance proposed to levy a half cent county sales tax limited to five years and was projected to raise $22 million towards the creation of a locked psychiatric facility in the county. The initiative also included development of a training facility for mental health and public safety professionals and citizens.

Dubbed Measure AG, the measure was defeated by voters when it failed to reach the two-thirds super majority vote required during the November election. As reported last week, county social service employees and Allman are taking a second stab at passing a mental health tax bill.
Members of the Board of Supervisors said they hoped the new measure has enough for approval from voters. It is clear that whatever shape the proposed retooled initiative takes that services in Mendocino and Willits are still desperately needed and this has been the case for quite some time.

While doing research for an article regarding drug prevention and health, I discovered last year there are few resources available locally in the Willits area and the services that are available for mentally ill patients are scattered throughout the county. For example, Redwood Community Services offers mental health crisis support in both Ukiah and Fort Bragg.
These centers are designed to deal with treatment options such as psychiatric consultations, referrals to follow-up services and assessment and crisis intervention.

This type of facility is non-existent in Willits and Frank R. Howard Hospital does not have the capacity to deal with the mentally ill.
Although drug abuse and mental illness are often linked, qualified therapists and specialized services can best be managed at a localized facility equipped to deal with the staggering demands in psychiatric care. Currently, there are not enough services offered and there is a lack of constant outreach and support on the local level.
The Frank R. Howard Hospital Foundation has been exploring the possibility of utilizing the old Willits hospital as a locked facility for in patient psychiatric care, but according to its board of directors President Margie Handley, it will still take two to three months even after (if) the new tax measure is approved by voters, to determine what it would cost to rehab the facility. She said it could be up to an advisory committee if the ballot measure passes to decide if the envisioned facility would become reality.

If more resources and funds become available as a result of voter approval of the retooled health tax measure, that is a step in the right direction.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bravo to Rodriguez for speaking up in favor of immigrant resolution

source: The Willits News, June 22, 2017

Earlier this month the Eureka Times Standard reported the Arcata City Council adopted an ordinance making Arcata a sanctuary city.
According to the news report, a round of applause rang out in the council chambers after the council voted 3-1, with one councilman dissenting, to pass the sanctuary ordinance.
Contrast this with Willits City Council which recently passed a resolution by a 3-2 vote championed by Councilwoman Saprina Rodriguez affirming a commitment to non-discrimination and supporting immigrants in the community. The resolution was passed by City Council late last month, but not without controversy.

Although Rodriguez said she had to fight to get the item on the council’s agenda, on the night of the May 24 meeting, Mayor Gerry Gonzalez had announced that he was pulling the item from the agenda on advice from City Attorney Jim Lance.
Gonzalez took issue with the original resolution’s wording which he felt could potentially result in the city losing federal grant funding. Although the mayor had pulled the item from the agenda, fellow council members and members of the public in attendance urged him to proceed with the discussion of the resolution. By all accounts, by the time the item was brought back for discussion, a crowd of residents seeking to give input on the matter had thinned out. Some went home in disappointment upon hearing the item had been originally pulled.

Rodriguez said she let her fellow council members know she felt pulling the item was not OK and it was also an abuse of Gonzalez’ authority.
A controversial paragraph in the resolution which in part stated the Willits Police Department would continue its long-standing practice of not participating or aiding in the enforcement of federal immigration laws was revised, taking out the phrase “long standing practice.”
Rodriguez is to be commended for her staunch determination to bring the Willits City Council in alignment with many cities in the state and the nation with regards to supporting their immigrant populations.

The councilwoman said she felt it was her obligation to bring the resolution forward, despite being shut down initially by Gonzalez. She said she gave a draft copy of the resolution to Lance and City Manager Adrienne Moore on May 10, but the item had to make its way through a process before it could make its way to the council’s agenda for the May 24 meeting.
Even though Hispanics and other minorities comprise a lower percentage of Willit’s population and demographics, as Rodriguez correctly points out, there was clearly enough interest in the issue as an immigration town hall held in late March turned out to be one of the highest attended events in recent years, despite a low attendance by the population it was intended to serve.

We can hardly blame Hispanics and immigrants for staying away from this and other forums held throughout Mendocino County, despite reassurances from Sheriff Tom Allman and other law enforcement and county officials that they will have no direct involvement in carrying out federal immigration law in the wake of a federal executive order signed by President Donald Trump this January, there has been great confusion spreading over social media regarding possible ICE raids in Lake County.
I believe Rodriguez is also correct in her assertion that the loss of federal funds is an overplayed argument in opposition to these types of resolutions.

As public sentiment throughout the nation evolves and changes, support for local resolutions has increased from cities across the nation and they continue to be approved at a rapid race.
Gonzalez and other local leaders in Willits have advocated for restraint, fearing the loss of federal funds and citing direction from organizations like the League of California Cities in regards to adopting a sanctuary city ordinance, but as Rodriguez said, the threat of federal funding should not be a critical factor in adopting a resolution when it comes to safeguarding residents and allaying mass fear or confusion.

Leaders don’t always make a decision based on funding, and Willits is not out on an island, nor would it be alone in supporting its immigrant population - joining cities like Santa Rosa and Windsor which have passed similar resolutions or declared themselves as sanctuary cities, despite threats from the federal government.
I add myself to the list of those whom Rodriguez said have overwhelmingly thanked her for her moral leadership.


Sunday, June 11, 2017



I spent part of Saturday visiting the Brooktrails Township and covered the Brooktrails Fire Department Open House for TWN.

In partnership with CAL FIRE, the department put together an open house/preparedness event this weekend for residents. With hot summer temperatures and fire season right around the corner, the Fire Department wants residents to be ready for any contingency or emergency.

There were tables full of pamphlets, information about preventing and dealing with emergency situations, as well as T-shirts and raffle items and baseballs with "Smokey The Bear" logos emblazoned on them.

I actually felt badly for the volunteer firefighters that were assembled there. There was only one thing missing: the Brooktrails Township residents.

Where were the residents?
Except for one lone straggler toward the end of the allocated time for the event, most of the Brooktrails residents were no shows. Now you can argue that there were a lot of events going on this weekend and that the forecast called for rain, but it still seemed like a shame to me that the FD would go to the trouble of advertising the event and it ended up being sparsely attended.

The same story was true for a tour of the Brooktrails Community Garden in which resident Anthony Ward was scheduled to read excerpts from his book on gardening and spirituality. 
The pending threat of rain and cold weather in June seemed to deter residents from stopping by.

But for the other events, is it a lack of marketing to blame? I can't be sure.
This isn't the first event in North Mendocino County I have covered which suffered from a lack of participation from the very people it is intending to serve.

A couple of months back I attended a workshop of the Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Committee aimed at educating community members, particularly cultural groups such as native Americans and Hispanics, about the services available to them in terms of counseling, mental health and other areas.

Once again that workshop was missing members of the community, despite the fact I was told that there is a staff member employed by the county whose job description includes driving around the county promoting such events. Sadly, the counselors and presenters may as well have been talking to themselves because there was zero community input.

I have not attended other workshops, though I am told others have been better attended. Later this month on June 29 in Redwood Valley, another event, this time a cross cultural training, the byproduct of a collaboration between the Consolidated Tribal Health Project and the County's Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will feature a couple of speakers and discuss topics such as sharing of local practices.

I hope this workshop will see better community attendance and participation. The event is scheduled from 9 to 4 p.m. and lunch will be provided. Those interested in attending should contact Dustin Thompson at thompsondu@mendocinocounty.org