Fours days into his new job as the county’s new interim mental health czar, Doug Barton found himself putting out some significant fires. He denied his agency was facing a $5 million deficit and that mental health providers subcontracted to the county could face serious cuts, claiming the deficit was “about 30 percent that figure, if even that.” Barton, who retired as Orange County’s mental health executive three years ago, is filling the shoes of Santa Barbara’s outgoing Dr. James Broderick. The long-troubled department seemed to be steadying in recent years. But when Broderick’s income projections came in lower than anticipated last year, traditional mental health programs found themselves $5 million short. Cuts and adjustments have since brought the current deficit to $1.8 million.
A woman whofell approximately 70 feet from a cliff at Shoreline Park on 3/5 was rushed to Cottage Hospital, where she is listed in serious condition. The impact with the sand below resulted in broken bones and injuries to her head. Witnesses said she was listening to an iPod atop a rock overlooking the beach when she fell without any apparent provocation.