The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved nine different contract agreements totaling more than $18 million to provide mental health, substance abuse, transitional housing and child abuse prevention services throughout the county.
The contracts, largely funded with state and federal assistance (nearly $16 million of the $18 million total cost), help Placer County provide a broad spectrum of services to support the county’s most vulnerable residents.
“Caring for our most vulnerable citizens is one of Placer County’s greatest responsibilities, and we are tremendously fortunate to have such a strong network of caring and professional partners to help us fulfill this duty,” said Jeff Brown, Placer County director of Health and Human Services.
Agreements totaling more than $11.5 million with six service providers – Aegis Medical Systems Inc., Community Recovery Resources, Koinonia Foster Homes, New Leaf Counseling Services, Progress House and Recovery Now LLC - were approved through June 2018 to provide substance use treatment services and transitional housing.
The board also approved a one-year contract for $4.5 million with Telecare Corporation to operate the 16-bed Placer County psychiatric health facility, which provides acute psychiatric healthcare services to county residents requiring psychiatric stabilization and treatment. The facility provides treatment for patients who are temporarily unable to ensure their own safety or adequately care for their basic food needs, clothing, and shelter due to a mental disorder.
KidsFirst will provide child abuse prevention services and operate family resource centers in Roseville and Auburn under a one-year, $725,988 contract. In the previous year of its contract, KidsFirst helped Placer County serve more than 3,000 families with counseling and parent education, helping prevent child abuse and neglect.
Whole Person Learning will provide housing assistance and counseling services to emancipated foster youth under a two-year, $1.18 million contract. The program also provides career education, problem solving, budgeting and other support to help foster youth successfully transition to independent living as adults; helping prevent homelessness, substance abuse and deter criminal behavior.
This year’s Placer County Grand Jury Final Report contains some individual reports which are critical of local government operations. In reference to the temporary homeless shelter “the Grand Jury believes that the discussion has gone on far too long” and that “it is time for the Placer community and Board of Supervisors to adopt and implement a comprehensive long-term strategy to meet the shelter and service needs of Placer County’s homeless citizens.” The Grand Jury was also critical of the county’s decision to close the Meadow Vista and Loomis libraries and they titled their report on county code enforcement complaint feedback and tracking efforts “Inconsistency and Confusion.”
The Grand Jury also commended some agencies for a job well done. In a report on the hot topic of law enforcement use of force “The Grand Jury concludes that Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s internal policy, training, and procedures regarding use of force, and complaint submittal and investigation process, demonstrates a positive level of dedication and professionalism.”
The report also tackles local issues such as alcohol testing at Del Oro High School, code enforcement policies of cities within the county, child abuse and neglect, and the county’s implementation of mental health Assisted Outpatient Treatment. This year’s grand jury also took another look at the Newcastle Fire Protection District as they did three years ago.
The Grand Jury is tasked with inspecting all county and city juvenile and adult jails and holding cells within Placer County. The final report contains individual reports of each inspection.
Sharon Stanners, who served as Foreperson of this year’s Grand Jury, stated “I am very proud of the work that the Grand Jury has done this year. The Grand Jury speaks with one voice and this report documents the outcome of countless hours of work by 19 dedicated Placer County citizens. Our investigations discovered numerous instances where government is functioning properly, and our report gives credit where credit is due. We also documented some deficiencies in local government operations and we hope that this report will lead to some positive changes where they are needed.”
The 2015-2016 Placer County Grand Jury Final Report can be viewed on-line at www.placergrandjury.org
The Placer County Grand Jury is an investigatory body with the authority to act as a watchdog on local government, investigate citizen complaints, and assist in criminal matters at the request of the district attorney. Grand jurors are sworn to secrecy and, other than final reports, their work is kept strictly confidential. The current Grand Jury was impaneled on July 7, 2015 and has worked for the past 12 months investigating government operations of the county plus special districts and cities within the county. Today’s release of the 2015-2016 Placer County Grand Jury Final Report is the culmination of a year’s work by 19 dedicated Placer County citizens.
British Blues Hall of Famer Matt Schofield has been making his mark globally as one of the top players in the new class of six-string wunderkinds. Schofield is lauded as the British blues guitarist of current times. Vintage Guitar magazine said, “The best of his generation’s European blues players. His feel for the music is incredible. His playing is so interesting that latching onto his records will reward any guitarist.”
Matt Schofield was rated in the top ten British blues guitarists of all time by Guitar & Bass Magazine alongside such icons as Eric Clapton and Peter Green. His prowess as a blues guitarist has seen him trade licks with iconic guitarists like Buddy Guy and Robben Ford; and brought him high praise.
The recipient of major awards: British Blues Awards Guitarist of the Year 2010, 2011 & 2012, Mojo Magazine Blues Album of the Year 2011 and British Blues Awards Album of the Year 2010, he imbues his playing with stunning musicianship; but never at the expense of heart and soul.
Far As I Can See is his fifth studio album. The new collection finds Schofield well able to justify both his fearsome reputation and also the sense of anticipation around this release. Alongside two choice covers from his musical heroes, the album’s nine original tracks showcase his continued growth as an exciting songwriter within the genre, delivered with impassioned vocals to create a diverse and unique take on the blues.
The Los Angeles Daily News wrote, “In Schofield, the UK has produced the best Blues guitarist from any country in decades… head and shoulders above the herd.”
Date and time: Sunday, August 7, 2016, 7:30 pm
Run Time: 2 hours with intermission
General Admission: $24 Advance, $26 Day of Show
Location: 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn CA
Box Office: www.livefromauburn.com or 530-885-0156
Placer County, like all other counties in the state, is required to provide legal representation to criminal defendants who cannot afford their own legal counsel. Because of the specialized nature of public defender work, the county contracts with law firms to provide these services.
Today, the board of supervisors approved a six-month contract extension with the criminal defense firm that currently provides public defender services and directed county staff to further evaluate a proposal from a new firm, as well as the feasibility of creating a county public defender office.
There are three ways counties can offer legal defense: by letting the court assign counsel to defendants; contracting for public defenders as the county currently does, or creating a county department where attorneys and staff are public employees. Placer County has been contracting for this service since 1971.
Periodically, the county will solicit proposals to continue providing public defender services to ensure it is meeting legal requirements and doing so with efficiency, economy and accountability. Last year, the county solicited initial proposals from law firms for public defense work. Working with the local superior court, proposals from four firms were evaluated. Of those, two were invited to submit full proposals.
The two submitted proposals showed a wide variation. One was for $20.5 million and the other bid was $27.7 million. Both bids were for a four-year period. The significant difference in the two bids is due to different models for defense work.
Staff did an initial evaluation of the cost of providing those legal services through a county department. Based on staffing models similar to the proposals, staff estimates the four-year total for a county public defender office to be about $30 million. A separate county department could create greater budget predictability. The county’s current contracts do not cover death penalty murder cases. There are two such cases working their way through the county’s superior court and cost estimates for defense counsel for these two cases is well in excess of $2 million.
“This is the opportunity to take a look at where we want to go. It makes sense to move in the direction of an in-house shop,” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “And not only for the cost savings, but to manage how justice is dispensed in our county.”
The board took the following actions:
Approved a six-month contract extension for $2.4 million with Richard Ciummo and Associates, the county’s current public defender contractor;
Approved a two-year contract extension for $3.2 million for conflict public defense services with the Law Offices of Mark A, Berg;
Approved a two-year contract extension for $636,000 for second level conflict public defender services with the Law Office of Dan Koukol;
Negotiate with the Law Office of Dan Koukol for primary public defender services; and
Directed staff to evaluate and develop an implementation plan for the possible creation of a county office of public defender.
Staff is expected to return to the board in about a month to present further analysis of a new proposal from the Law Office of Dan Koukol, as well as the feasibility of a county public defender office.
Commercial medical marijuana cultivation and sale will not be allowed in unincorporated Placer County, after the board of supervisors today voted 3-2 to limit marijuana cultivation to small, indoor grows by medical marijuana patients only. The board directed county staff to return with an ordinance codifying the approach they approved today for their consideration in the coming weeks.
The individual right under California state law to marijuana for personal medical use is unaffected by today’s vote.
The board voted in January 2016 to approve a placeholder ordinance asserting the county’s authority to regulate.
With the placeholder ordinance in January, the board directed county staff to seek broad public input in developing recommendations for an approach to regulation for their consideration, and adopted the following goals for any potential regulation:
Promoting public health and safety.
Reducing the size of the illicit market for cultivation and retail sale.
Preventing non-medical access and use by youth.
Reducing environmental harm to water, habitat and wildlife.
Providing clear criteria for responsible businesses and patients who wish to operate within the law.
Developing a fair system of regulation and taxation that supports public purposes.
Providing flexibility and authority for modification or adoption of additional measures into the regulatory process to ensure effective implementation.
As staff explained in previous presentations to the board and community members, a sizeable and mostly-unregulated medical marijuana industry already exists in Placer County, resulting from the absence of a clear county ordinance. Drug trafficking, crime, environmental damage and neighborhood nuisances are among the impacts following from the unregulated market in Placer County, all of which the county proposed to reduce through a clear regulatory framework.
Since January, county staff have conducted or presented at more than 25 public meetings, including town hall meetings in Auburn and Rocklin, to solicit input on the direction of a potential regulation.
Placer’s incorporated cities of Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville sent letters to the board indicating opposition to allowing commercial medical marijuana cultivation and sales in the county’s unincorporated areas, and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney Scott Owens also expressed opposition. The law enforcement community and the cities also spoke during public comment at the meeting, reiterating their opposition to commercial cultivation.
In a presentation to the board today on their findings, staff outlined the feedback they received from community members on a regulatory direction and presented for the board’s consideration five regulation model alternatives; ranging from allowing limited personal cultivation to a comprehensive regulatory program that would allow for commercial medical marijuana cultivation and sale.
For any of them, staff recommended a slow, conservative approach, allowing for frequent review and adjustment. Staff also recommended convening an advisory council comprised of city representatives, concerned citizens, law enforcement and other stakeholders to continually evaluate and make recommendations on the county’s regulatory approach.
The board heard nearly two hours of public comment at today’s meeting. Board members thanked the community and partner agencies for their input throughout the past few months in shaping the recommendations to the board.
“There’s no one I’ve spoken to in any part of this last 12-month period that didn’t share the concern that we need to regulate in a way that dramatically minimizes access of this drug illegally, but particularly to the adolescent population,” said Board Chairman Robert Weygandt.
All board members reiterated their support for patients’ right to access medical marijuana under state law.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved the closure of the Loomis and Meadow Vista libraries, continuing the county’s plan to provide more modern and sustainable library services throughout the library system.
Two years ago, the supervisors gave direction to the Placer County library administration to develop a plan to provide sustainable libraries. Since then, county staff has engaged the public on the issue and given concerned citizens the opportunity to help find alternatives to the closures.
As recommended by the library administration in its library strategic plan, closing the two branches and redistributing resources and staff to other branches in the county with greater use will help to modernize and maintain the viability of the entire Placer County Library system.
The Loomis library is scheduled to close on July 30, and Meadow Vista on Sept. 3, remaining open through the completion of the summer reading program, Placer County Library’s most popular program.
County staff are currently in talks with the Town of Loomis to lease the Loomis library building to function as a community learning center or possible municipal library.
“I am excited at the potential for the beautiful Loomis library building to continue its use as a critical community amenity,” said District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “The lease agreement between the county and Town of Loomis will ensure the building will continue to be an important asset to the people of Loomis.”
Library staff are currently in discussions to determine the best alternative service delivery models for the Meadow Vista community, including increased use of the Placer County bookmobile and book drops, as well as potential mobile library services at the local community center.
“While I know there are people disappointed at the closure of the bricks and mortar library, we can very confidently let people know they will continue to have library service in Meadow Vista, it’s just going to be a different model,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. “This model will continue to let us have a more sustainable library system that will serve the entirety of people in Placer County.”
Budget shortfalls for the past eight years have forced the library to dip into reserves to maintain services throughout the county. The use of reserves to cover operational costs has caused the entire system to fall behind in its ability to improve library infrastructure and facilities, offer customers desirable materials in various formats, provide adequately trained staff and offer convenient branch hours. The flat budgeting has also hindered the library’s ability to add new technologies such as e-resources and increased broadband Internet.
“While I would have preferred that we could have found a way to prevent the closures,” said Montgomery, “we are still an incredibly library rich environment, with six libraries still serving eastern county communities, and the goal of all this is to get us to a sustainable, modern library system. This action, as painful as it is, will allow us to do that.”
Placer County will continue to partner with The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to provide tourism and development programs in North Lake Tahoe, after the county board of supervisors on Tuesday approved a contract for $5.64 million.
The contract funds NLTRA’s continued efforts on Placer County’s behalf to promote tourism and provide guidance on transportation and infrastructure project expenditures in North Lake Tahoe.
The NLTRA serves to help enhance the built environment in North Lake Tahoe communities and benefit business through efforts that enhance the economic, environmental, recreational and cultural climate of the area.
The contract amount will fund NLTRA administrative costs, direct marketing of the North Lake Tahoe region, program research, visitor information and various infrastructure projects through transient occupancy tax funds collected in eastern Placer County.
The NLTRA’s marketing department will continue to focus on increasing lodging stays during the week and during the months of June and September, as well as increasing the number of visitors arriving by air and the number of conferences and meetings held in North Lake Tahoe.
The contract amount is 7 percent less than last year, reflecting a transfer of responsibility to Placer County for direct public transportation operations, rather than a reduction in services to North Lake Tahoe. TOT allocations for services in the North Lake Tahoe have increased from last year.
In 2013 Placer Community Foundation reached out to our donors to fund a pilot program in Placer County. Grants to the nonprofit iFoster would purchase a refurbished laptop loaded with software, a backpack and technical support for each child in formal foster care (i.e. foster homes, group homes, etc.). We understood as many as 300 kids would be impacted by this program and believed this was a unique opportunity for local philanthropy to address a tangible, basic need. The response was overwhelming and swift. Many of you contributed generously to our Fostering Futures Fund, providing every eligible child in our county’s foster care system with a laptop over the course of three years. Today we are thrilled to report your giving is receiving national attention.
iFoster expanded the Laptop Program to Madera and Los Angeles counties and commissioned an independent study by University of Southern California to understand the program’s effectiveness. Data from the three counties was collected, the results of which were highlighted in federal policy level discussions at the White House just this last week.
According to iFoster’s founder Serita Cox, results of the Laptop Program are a key component to “mobilize Government, Philanthropy and the Tech Sector to solve the digital divide in foster care.” The organization recently announced they anticipate 10,000 laptops will go to every foster youth in California.
Combined results from iFoster’s three-county study found:
We are very excited to share this report. At Placer Community Foundation we work to bring you opportunities that leverage your giving for high-impact results. Pooled gifts to our Fostering Futures Fund have helped provide our county’s foster youth the same opportunity to succeed as other kids in America. Thank you!
Grants supported the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center's Historic State Theatre-offering a variety of performing arts, film and educational experiences to people of all ages in the community.
Through much hard work and dedication, Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center completed a significant expansion phase in 2014 to return the State Theatre to its original historic grandeur. Honoring its 1937 Art Deco design and aesthetic, the theatre expanded from 130 seats to 340. Offering excellent visibility from every seat, the larger space required equipment to improve the sound and technical management of the Theatre's many stage productions.
Funding from Placer Community Foundation provided for new choir microphones and a headset intercom system. The equipment will be used by many local organizations and traveling productions during concerts, plays, musical productions, speaker and other community events; providing deeper sound throughout the Theater, quality lighting and synchronized vocal cues.
Altogether, the equipment will enrich the audience's experience and help to provide a world class arts experience for all who attend.
Grants supported the work of Placer Land Trust. As of July 2015, Placer Land Trust has protected over 8,000 acres of land that include natural habitat, family farms and ranches, river and canyon lands, and public parks and trails. Currently they are working to build a 20-mile trail system which will connect Coon Creek to the Bear River, and will be linked to 30 miles of trails already at Hidden Falls Regional Park, which will eventually create a 50 mile continuous trails system (unprecedented in the Sierra foothills).
Protecting and enhancing the land, including restoring habitat and building trails, ensures that natural wonders and natural playgrounds remain a part of our community, now and forever.