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Comments by Gandalf47

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Posted on May 23 at 9:17 a.m.

Agreed that the will of the people (overwhelmingly) in the past decade has clearly rejected expanding the County Jail in the North County (or at all) TWICE. Unfortunately, there is one resident of the County, Bill Brown, who really, really, really wants it! And his desire for some sort of "legacy" to build a temple to his memory seems to trump the will of the people at large. If the jail is built, this is not only on Brown's shoulders, but the BOS, who seem to buy whatever Brown feeds them.

Not only is this a bad idea, there is no concrete operating budget proposed to operate it, going forward, just Brown's assurances, which are worth ...... nothing! Whatever he claims it will cost, it will cost more.

I agree that there are more pressing issues at hand for the County to address, not the least of which is proper Mental Health Dept. treatment and long-term management. The mental health issue will ease the overcrowding in the current jail. If it needs upgrading, so be it, but a new jail is just the best/worst example of PORK on a local level that I have ever seen.

On Wanted: Get Out of (North County) Jail Card

Posted on April 26 at 11:27 a.m.

I am glad to hear that after "forever", ADMHS is trying to finally get it's act together - it is a necessity.

I read with interest that it currently takes 40 days(down from 66) for an adult to see a psychiatrist, and that they are striving to make that even better. Kudos for that, though I am still concerned about emergency options, but that's not why I am commenting this time.

I currently have a Medicare Complete HMO plan with the Sansum/Santa Barbara Medical Clinic (the Clinic), and the wait to see a psychiatrist in their plan is more than a year! Apparently, other psychiatrists who used to handle the "overload", or understaffing by the clinic, as I see it, will not see Clinic patients under this plan. My PCP is trying to personally appeal to a participating doctor to see me for a consult, and so far, he has not been successful.

My point is that if the County can get a patient into their system in 40 days, why can't a well-funded local SB HMO do as well or better? They will likely claim that reimbursement is not adequate from Medicare, which is probably true, but then they should not market that they provide these services without a disclaimer about the wait. (As an aside, there are many things in the Clinic advertising and handouts that are not disclosed, and are only discovered "in the moment", and usually end up costing me more money. Even with the higher co-pays for mental health services (that's a conversation for another time, as I thought that the ACA changed that), the Clinic still can't provide even a County level of service, due to a small number of doctors, and a large demand for their services.

For those of you who will say, "Why don't you just go to the County?", you are missing the point. I am PAYING a premium based on information provided by the Clinic, and I should be able to get the care that they profess to provide in a reasonable time frame. Other specialists can be seen in a week or two, depending on the severity of the need. I used to have to go to the County when I was uninsured for THREE YEARS after losing my job due to the Recession until I reached Medicare age. I really don't think I should have to need to go back to the County just because my insurer can't provide adequate care, even though the Clinic has a lot of resources and treats tens of thousands of SB patients, and advertises that they provide these services without qualification.

On Patient Care in Crosshairs

Posted on April 21 at 6:45 p.m.

@whatsinsb - Your assertion that "Before a person makes it to this jail they likely would have made use of all the rehab, half-way house(s) and soul searching facilities available to those convicted of crime. They didn't take advantage of the "redemption and revitalization" opportunities and is likely why they are sent to jai/prison". Had you not used the qualifier, "likely", I would have accused you of having had a proctological procedure in which you derived this information, as flawed as it is. The truth is (and I speak from first-hand experience over many, many years) that, due to the multiple and draconian Mental Health cutbacks to the County in recent decades, and the fact that the PHF (the facility for the MOST ACUTE psychiatric cases in the County) is ONLY SIXTEEN BEDS , and has been "forever" (what's the new jail - 356 beds, with the capacity to expand to 1,500?) To make matters worse, it is only licensed for patients who are 18 years and older, so any kids with psychiatric problems (and there are lots) must be transferred to Ventura or further away to contracted (more expensive and less effective) for-profit hospitals, or into the juvenile justice system.

Since there are not enough locked psychiatric beds available at any given time, where is the only other locked place available? Jail. A schizophrenic acting out in a violent manner does not belong in jail, or if so, in a mental health wing with competent mental health professionals supervising his/her patient care within the jail setting. If a patient broke their leg, they would get the necessary medical care while incarcerated. Not so with the mentally ill, who are treated like criminals and circulate in and of the system, usually due to lack of treatment, housing, and resources.

So know of what you speak before you speak it, for you might be perceived as uninformed or, worse still, ignorant.

On Big Plans for the Big House

Posted on April 17 at 7:54 p.m.

@Beachgirl77 -I couldn't have said it better myself. This is all about Brown. I know from personal experience that your description of what it's like in the County jail - the brutality, the abuse, the demeaning of the mentally ill, guards who have disdain for the inmates, regardless if they had just murdered their mother or got busted for a joint.

This is interesting, and explains, at least in part, why the Deputy Sheriff's Association supports this make-work program.

http://salaries-by-city.findthedata.o...

Let's see - 73 corrections officers @ $61K per employee, plus 25% benefits = about $5.6 Million in just salaries and benefits for the new jail. If $15 million is the latest estimate, then there is a lot of additional overhead, and we know it isn't the food.

Bill Brown seems to me to be an ego-driven zealot who flies in the face of conventional wisdom about incarceration.

BOS - Take the money and put it into prevention, support, rehab, supportive housing, and other PROACTIVE measures designed to decriminalize and care for the mentally ill and minor non-violent offenders, thus freeing up space in the existing jail, and allowing some staff REDUCTIONS. Take some of that money and upgrade the deplorable conditions here, so that criminals are at least treated humanely. We don't need a new "Mission-style" jail.

On Big Plans for the Big House

Posted on April 16 at 8:46 a.m.

If this kid did what he is accused of, he should do some jail time. Assaulting an officer is not just a kid "blowing off steam." I went to UCSB and attended my share of wild parties in IV, and never once did anyone EVER attack a police officer, who sometimes hassled us for no good reason. Self control is just that - a personal responsibility. We live in a civilized society in which assaulting ANYONE is not legal, and it is just plain insanity to assault a police officer, because anyone with common sense (yes, even a 17 year old is expected by society to exercise common sense and obey the law) knows that police take attacks on them as a "special case". I'm not sure that's OK, but that's reality in the world in which we live.

About five years ago, I served on a jury in which we had to convict a young 20-something (an otherwise "good kid" with a wife and infant child who was on the SBCC football team and who was drunk at a party in IV with his teammates. A smaller guy who was even more drunk provoked him, and even struck him, and he retaliated by punching him in the face. No major damage was done, other than the "victim" being taken to GVCH and released. The DA thought it was a good idea to make an example out of this guy and charged him with felony assault and tried him (the rationale was largely that the accused was much bigger than the "victim"). I was the one holdout on the jury against conviction because someone gets punched out in IV every weekend, and almost NONE of them ever are arrested, let alone prosecuted. The football player was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and should not have punched anyone, but retaliated and got arrested. I finally had to vote to convict, as the judge's jury instructions were very clear, that if we found that he did what he was accused of doing - it was a crime and we HAD to find him guilty, according to the law, whether we agreed with it or not, and I finally reluctantly gave in. He was convicted and served jail time. If this guy had to go to jail, the kid who assaulted the cop should go to jail.

On Teen Charged with Assaulting Officer During Deltopia Pleads Not Guilty

Posted on March 16 at 3:02 p.m.

Since someone brought up Guidestar, one would be surprised to see what the executives at Cottage Health Systems make (be sure to look at both the Hospital System, as well as the Foundation, as the salaries are split).

One might also want to take a look at other foundations in SB who serve the low income housing population and the homeless.

Much of this information will surprise most people, and make a lot of people angry when one sees how much some local non profits pay their executives. If anyone felt that Mr. Foley and Ms. Loza were overpaid, wait until you see these numbers!

On Homeless Shelter Directors Laid Off

Posted on August 7 at 7:31 p.m.

To the last two commenters, I would suggest that is why the driver was arrested at the scene, along with the fact that his disregard of the law(s) cited resulted in a death, which could either be Murder 2 or Manslaughter (or some other lesser charge resulting from a plea bargain). I doubt that he will be tried as an adult, unless there are circumstances about which I am not aware, so whatever charges tare proved will not last beyond his 21st birthday, since he is a minor. So, the maximum sentence he could get is less than 5 years, vs. the loss of a 19 year old girl's entire life, plus the lifetime of grief and pain that he has caused her family and friends.

Granted, the deceased victim and the others in the bed of the truck exercised pretty poor judgment, and it cost her her life, but the penalty for bad judgment by a teenager should not be death, or there would be very few teenagers around. The driver will have to live with this for the rest of his life, but at least he will have a life to live.

(Aside to Bill Clausen: the driver's actions may have been "ill-advised", but they were also ILLEGAL. I don't think you were trying to euphemize what he did, and even your description of the regular disregard of the law on 154 is disturbing).

I would like to believe that the CHP, or whichever agency has jurisdiction over that route has done all that they can to reduce the regular disregard of the speeding law on 154, but having lived here for more than 50 years, I refuse to drive "The Pass" any more - ever, since the descriptions that you gave have been the norm since back then, and probably before that, and continue today. I refuse to believe that there is nothing that can be done.

This is a very sad and tragic situation for all concerned, and my heart goes out to the family of the young girl who died, as well as to all those affected by this tragedy.

On Teen Arrested For Fatal Rollover Crash

Posted on July 19 at 3:40 p.m.

One note to pay close attention to - As soon as the bankruptcy filing becomes public record, the predatory credit card lenders will "come out of the woodwork", offering you credit cards, to "rebuild your credit". These cards usually offer a credit limit "up to $1,000), but they are always "approved for $250", due to your bankruptcy. They always have a "One-time Approval Fee" of $99), an "Annual Fee" of $49,and some sort of an "Initiation Fee" of $35 or so, So, when the card arrives, it already has a balance of about $185, leaving an available balance of about $65. To use an ATM, there could be a fee as high as $3.50 PLUS the fee that the ATM vendor charges. If you make monthly payments, and are even late one day (mail ten days before due date), there is a late fee of $45, and, if that $45 puts you over your $250 limit when added to your first purchase of say, "$66, they charge you an "Over limit fee" of another $35. So, for the "convenience of buying $66 worth of anything using your credit card, within one month of it being issued to one, one can already be over one's credit card limit, and beginning to wrack up endless fees and penalties in perpetuity, unless one can pay it all off and cancel the thing! BEWARE, and read the fine print!

On How Bankruptcy Affects You as an Individual

Posted on July 18 at 11:18 p.m.

Just out of curiosity, Nick, exactly what ARE the "host of bureaucratic and stubborn reasons" (an interesting descriptive phrase)?

There are many statements which have been made about this situation since the news broke a month or so ago about the dire nature of the SBNC which are "sort of true", but not exactly true.

There are many variables that go into calculating health care reimbursement (particularly for the poor and uninsured) at a public health level, and there are multiple manners in which reimbursement is paid, based upon the type of clinic that is operating, and, more importantly, the type of patients that it is predominantly being treated. I would like a little more specificity in exactly what those factors are, so that the public can better understand what really happened to the SBNC. If she doesn't already, I am sure that Ms. Breuninger would benefit from knowing that, too.

I have asked twice before on the Indie site for the name of the consultant who was engaged by Cottage to study the SBNC problem. Was the report delivered? To whom? What did it say? How much did it cost? Is it available for public review and/or input? If not, why not?

I'm just an interested citizen who wants the SBNC to survive, as the existing system cannot "pick up the slack" left by the vacuum in patient care delivery that will exist if the SBNC "goes under".

We have gone from "We are almost broke, and we're going to have to close the doors at the end of July" a couple of months ago, to "Cottage has hired a consultant to study this", to the CEO resigning and the Board Chair taking over CEO duties temporarily. Then, less than two months before the public even knew there was a problem they have HIRED an interim CEO! When was the recruitment process? How was in conducted? How was this person selected (AIH&S is the designated Indian clinic in SB, and is reimbursed accordingly, along with numerous IHS grants) so her Native American background won't necessarily apply with the SBNC). How could ANYBODY turn around a sinking ship in 100 days, especially coming in cold? Has ANYONE asked ANY of these questions before now?

On Health Clinics Secure Donations, Hire Temp CEO

Posted on July 16 at 9:54 a.m.

I am an interested citizen, as I have both been a patient at the SBNC, have family members who currently are patients there, and I was a consultant to them when they were awarded FQHC status, and assisted them in getting a favorable reimbursement rate for Medi-Cal patients.

I am curious as to who the consultant is that was hired by Cottage, and if his/her/their report is completed and is available to the public for review and comment.

Usually, if Cottage puts up the money for ANYTHING, they expect something in return, so I would like to see whether or not the consultant examined this situation from the SB community's best interests or Cottage's best interests, or, as one would hope, both.

On Neighborhood Clinics Buying Time

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