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June 23, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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June 23, 2010
 

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14A Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Feather River Bulletin CONFLICT, from page 1A stand, these are fine." Kusel asked repeatedly, since the closed session item included the words "potential litigation," if the closed Session discussion, including said litigation, had to do with him. Cannon said repeatedly that the discussion would be a broad-based discussion of do'S and don'ts for the board in terms of filling out the Form 700. Kusel countered that this discussion should take place in open session as part of Item 6 on the agenda, which he had requested at the previous board meeting after Cannon produced a con- fidential memo detailing a potential conflict of interest between Kusel's role at Sierra Institute and his duties as a school district board member. Item 6, according to Harris, was "to just process for board members how to fill out the form ... specifics to the mem- orandum will be addressed in closed session." Kusel: "Here's my issue: if that's to be addressed in closed session, I want to know what (state govern- ment) code that's to be addressed under, and I want to have that conversation about whether that comports with the Brown Act. "Because there's been a memo and it directly responds to me and my instance. And what I want to do is, I request- ed that be an agenda item, and I'd prefer that be in (item) 6 and as part of a public session. "And, in fact, if it's a Form 700 violation, we're actually required by law to do that in open session." Kusel pointed out that a legitimate closed session item would be if the "poten- tial litigation" mentioned was'against the district. If, however, it was against Kusel himself, then the Brown Act directs that it should be conducted in open session. Kusel asked repeatedly if it was about him, and he repeatedly was told no, it was about the board in general. When he asked if it was about the particular memo, he was told yes. He kept hammering home the point that the memo wasn't general to the board or the district; it was directed specifically at him personally. Kusel: ,'I don't get out of the confidential memo that there is a specific exposure to litigation against the local agency (which is a closed session item under the Brown Act). I don't get out of that confidential memo that, there's any exposure what- soever to th.is agency. That memo is about my criminal liability as a result of a Form 700 and a potential conflict of interest, and that is about me personally." Cannon: "I disagree that's what that memo is about. And the second exception that you just read of the three is the one we're meeting under tonight." Kusel: "A significant expo- sure to litigation against the local agency?" Cannon: "That's right." Kusel continued to point out that if they're discussing what was detailed in the confidential memo, it per- tains to him personally and so needs to be in open ses- sion. And he repeatedly made it clear that he had nothing to hide, so why shouldn't it take place in the open? Finally, board chairman Brad Baker said he would "defer to counsel because I'm not a lawyer." At that point, Cannon threw in a wrinkle. "I'll leave it up to the board to decide whether you want to pull that agenda item or you want to go ahead and do it (closed session) with or without Mr. Kusel." Baker repeated that his "understanding was that this closed session wasn't di- rected at any one individual or member, but more to discuss with us collectively the necessity of being proper and avoiding litigation that may be generated by third parties." Kusel then pointed out that if that was true, it could be covered in Item 6, the discus- sion of how to properly and legally fill out the Form 700, so no closed session should be necessary. He continued, "I thought I heard Miss Cannon specifi- cally say that this was about the confidential memo sent out, and so I say if it is about this confidential memo, it' has nothing to do with the board in total. It has to do with me. Am I correct in that statement?" Cannon: "It does involve the issues that were raised in that confidential memo, yes." Later, Kusel said he was happy that Cannon had finally admitted the memo would be discussed and that it did have to do with him personally, which then meant to him that meeting in closed session was illegal. At that point in the discus- sion, Harris jumped in, "My suggestion would be that you go ahead and go into closed session. You can discuss the item in closed session and then you can discuss the item with counsel should you want to come out of closed session and then go into public session." Kusel, then, was the single dissenting vote as the rest of the board approved the agenda without amendment. During the public comment that followed, the issue came up again. Judy Gimple, from Indian Valley, said, "I really came feeling very positive tonight. And, I'm sorry to hear that the board or who- ever it may be has decided to utilize time and cost of legal counsel and aggravation to Mr. Kusel who spends his time without being paid. "What is the point? We're concerned about improving our schools, about getting our kids educated, and you're going to worry about a 700 Form for Pete's sake? I just think you need to think it through and to think about what's really important for our kids. "And Jonathan does an excellent job, he works his butt off, and those of us in Indian Valley, I hope this is not reprisal against our de- mands for better education for our kids." Gimple's remarks were met with resounding ap- plause from the audience, which was made up largely of Greenville and Indian Valley residents who had come, concerned about the fate of their schools and the envi- ronmental resource program in particular. Kusel also spoke during public comment, stepping down from his seat on the board and into the public sphere as he did. "I, Jonathan Kusel, hereby disclose that as to any contracts between the Sierra Institute for Commu- nity and Environment and the school district, I have and have had at all times only what's called a 'remote inter- est' -- a very significant difference -- in the Sierra Institute as an officer and or employee of that non-profit entity... "I, as a board member, do not have the formal interest so as to prevent or preclude this board from entering into a contract with theSierra Institute, provided that such action is carried out by the board without the neeci to count my vote. Pursuant to the political reform act, I have been and will remain disqualified from the making of such decisions. "I also appended to here the Sierra Institute's non- profit status... I also have amended my 700s. I appreci- ated the fact that it was brought up, and I looked at that and I'm now educated about Form 700s, which I have the feeling a few others might be in violation, but we don't need to get into that... "I respectfully request that any conversation about this come back out into open session so we can have that conversation among the full board." "We're going into closed session," said Baker. Upon returning from closed session, he reported that no action was taken, so that one-hour discussion will remain unavailable to the public despite Kusel's repeated requests. After that came the open session teachathon with attorney Cannon about how to fill Out Form 700s for the board, where it became very apparent that several other board members would soon be amending their own Form 700s. BUDGET, from page 1A efforts in a request-based system. Groups like the chambers, Plumas Arts and Plumas Corporation will likely be sending in proposals for that funding, but it appears that anyone with an idea will be able to apply. The draft budget the board settled on also used $215,000 in reserves, $200,000 in contingency funds and $60,000 from two furlough days, which the board added near the end of the budget workshop. Ingstad, who suggested the furlough days, said the county, including non- general fund departments, would be closed except for es- sential services on those two days. Ingsthd has voiced doubts t. .... ' The Wellness Column Presented by Christopher W. Anderson, DC High Fructose Corn Syrup High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener found in most sodas and many other processed foods. Recent research in the journal "Cell Metabolism" states: "it is well established that fructose is more lipogenic than glucose, and high-fructose diets have been linked to hypertriglyceridemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance." What this means is that HFCS is absorbed in the body more quickly than glucose (sugar) which can lead to increased triglicerides (fat) in the blood, liver disease and insulin resistance; a common contributor to type 2 diabetes. In the US, diabetes has increased by 90 percent in the last 10 years, and diabetes or pre-diabetes now strikes one in lbur Americans. These numbers are climbing at astronomical rates. And the evidence strongly suggests that HFCS is a contributor. On top of that, research also tells us that HFCS is the number one source of calories in the United States. The average American consumes about 12 teaspoons of it every day, though as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) pointed out, teens and other "high consumers" may consume 80 percent more than that. And last but not least, another study lbund that HCFS contains mercury. Yes, mercury, the neurotoxin that has gained so much attention because it has been linked to autism in children who may be getting exposure through childhood vaccines. In almost 50% of commercial samples tested, they found mercury. Mercury is bad for everybody, it is a cumulative toxin which means it accumulates in the body; more specifically, it accumulates in the central nervous system. As it accumulates it will begin to have neurological effects. Beware that the Corn Refiners Association just recently spent hround $30 million on an ad campaign to try to rehabilitate HFCS reputation; hopefully those of you reading this will understand the importance of eliminating this nasty chemical from your children's and your diet. Don't let these ads convince you otherwise. Dr. Chris W. Anderson is a Chiropractor in Portola. If you have questions nr are interested in seeing what Chiropractic has to offer you, he can be reached at 832-4442. at various times about whether furloughs would hold up against legal chal- lenges, as there are currently more than 30 ongoing law- suits in the state addressing that topic. He told the board it was still worth trying in hopes of avoiding anpther $60,000 expenditure from contingen- cies. The draft general fund budget's contingency line item contains $400,000, com- pared to $600,000 last year. The county's general fund reserves will be at $1.9 million, which Ingstad said was about the same level as when he came to the county, He said the reserves grew to a peak of $2.4 million in 2008 before falling. The contingency fund "has fallen in recent years from $700,000 in the 2008-09 budget to $400,000 in the current draft. In a day filled with num- bers, the most striking was 85.65, the amount of positions Ingstad reported the county had eliminated since the year 2006. Ingstad said the majority of those positions were vacant, but reminded the board that many of them also used to be filled. He said those positions would have cost $4.5 million if still in today's budget. That number doesn't in- clude non-personnel line item cuts that have occurred over that period. For many in the room, those figures were a re- minder of the tough decisions the county has made in he last fewyears to avoid the fiscal quagmire that the state, feds and other counties currently find them- selves in. Library saves position, cuts 00hours Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com Plumas County Library Director Margaret Miles effectively bargained with the county Board of Super- visors to save part of a youth servicesposition in her department at a Tuesday, June 15, budget meeting. Miles was facing the loss of the three-fourths position but found enough other cuts in her budget to keep a half-time Youth Services Librarian on staff. The department head told the board she was cutting $151000 from the book budget, 35 percent of that line item, l +. !ll i?77. "" i Pavers Gwk Sand TOP SOIL Retaining Walls w III tlllkilMIl Flagstone For your bulk landscaping needs - Manure IJW311U; Iflk]nll Utility Rock 00m00rline 00teriai,s we Deliver 1050 Hwy 36, Chester - near the diversion canal 258-7754 or 258-7714 Uc #691840 and closing on Saturdays at all four branches of the library for $10,800 additional savings in salaries and facility costs. She said the library closed on Saturdays for a year around five years ago and she only got two phone calls com- plaining about the change. Miles said she'd done studies in the past showing that Saturdays were the least busy days of the week at the library. She also explained that the department used temporary workers on that day so no permanent employees would be affected. In the afternoon, several parents argued strongly for the position at a public comment opportunity, and the board unanimously approved Miles' recommen- dation near the end of the day. Driveway Slurry Sealing Hot Melted Crack Filling LEWIS P. BECK JR. Beck Seal Coating (530) 532-1470 Serving Plumas County since 1993 3454 Hwy 70 Oroville, CA 95965 Lic. #669409 OPEN Monday-Saturday 8am- 5:30pm Qualit 9 Helping Hands i In Home Care Personal Services: Bathing, grooming, meal prep, shopping, house keeping and more. Specialized Services: Dementia and Alzheimer's care. 836-7299 Brenda Landry Licensed, bonded & insured 250 Bonta St, Blairsden 836-4646 NOW OPEN FOR FULL SERVICE LUNCH Full Bar and Wine List Outdoor Dining on the Deck Great Burgers Creative Salads & Soups Specialty Sandwiches Tues - Sat.: uam - 4:3opm To send a legal: typesetting@plumasnews.com mail@plumasnews.com To send an advertisement"