By Donna Westfall – January 17, 2019 – Our politicians can make a difference in the quality of life of their constituents, taxpayers/ratepayers and residents. For example, the wise management of our forests could cut down on the devastation and destruction we witnessed this past year in the lost of homes, lives and trees in part due to the logging industry being decimated.
Supervisor Bob Berkowitz lists this as one of his top 10 priorities:
# 6.) Forest Health – Support state and federal programs that promote forest health management and fuels reduction program.
# 7.) Education – Support programs that will provide students with the first two years of community college. Student responsibiility to maintain an average grade point should be a part of the program.
“We need to see that the state maintains support for the “First 5″ program to make sure that our children come to school ready to learn.”
Since interviewing gubernatorial candidate, John Cox, I became aware that California was 47th in the nation for public education. This is a far cry from being first in the nation back in the 1950’s. Since then I started attending School Board meetings to learn what’s going on along with making some suggestions.
Being that Berkowitz was on the School Board for 12 years, he has insight that the majority of us do not possess. I didn’t know that the Democrats make up the majority of our teachers, along with the teachers union whose contributions go to Democratic candidates, that books and curriculum come from a legislature that is predominantly Democrats. It reminds me that we are no longer a democracy, but instead having one political idea foisted upon our children much like the 70 years of Marxist-Stanlist Russian Communism which ended around 1990. That and common core have to change.
I’m not at a point of assigning total blame to the Democratic party for the failure of our California children to learn enough to have the life skills to be successful….. but they certainly have to take the lion’s share of responsibility for this mess. Something drastic has to change. Even their hiring policies listed as “equal opportunity will be provided without discrimination with respect to’…….: they list 11 things like race, sex, color, etc. You want to know the one thing that is not listed? Political affiliation. Now I don’t care if someone is Democrat, Republican, or Martian. I want to see our children get a great education. That’s not happening and something has to change. If I were a “Republican” teacher or let’s say to make it clearer, a teacher looking for a job in this state, but not a registered Democrat, and found I was not hired though fully qualified, I would suggest a class action lawsuit.
#8.) Secure Rural Schools – Support legislation that provides an endowment fund for schools and rural communities impacted by the forest timber harvest shut down.
#9.) Human Trafficking Crimes Against Women – More attention needs to be brought to bare on Human Trafficking. In addition, we need to make sure that used rape kits are processed in a timely manner. We discussed problems that seem to be more prevalent in the Klamath area. I was not aware that this was going on in our county. The women are imported into this country, mainly Hispanic or those with intellectual disabilities and forced into labor or sex slavery and held against their will. I have no idea of the numbers involved. But, I have learned that there is a lot of psychological brainwashing that keeps victims in their situation rather than escaping.
We spoke about the rape case involving Nolan Bruder for drugging and raping his underage sister (served 240 days) where we can’t find out if he ever registered on the sex offender’s list. Our Probation Department is stonewalling the release of any information stating it is “confidential” without stating why it is confidential, while Megan’s Law states they have received nothing from the courts showing that he registered.
Then there’s the Wilson Lor case (teenager tried as an adult currently serving 25 years to life) which is in appeal because he was never given a hearing on being tried as a juvenile or as an adult. He and two other boys/men took a woman in her 20’s off the street and raped her. One of the other men, David Lee, was not convicted at his trial. At Lor’s first trial which was a hung jury, some of those sitting in the courtroom watching the case were not convinced of the woman’s sincerity. One question came up. Since the woman was in her mid 20’s and Wilson Lor was underage, was the “victim” more concerned that she could be found culpable of raping a minor?
Then there’s the Bryan Ranger case in appeal in part due to the poor defense by his attorney, William Cater and in part to the alleged lies told by his children on the stand. Ranger is set to spend the rest of his life in prison. There is not one shred of forensic evidence in this case. Under former Judge Follett, Ranger’s nine children were removed and placed in foster homes or adopted out without the benefit of a trial while Bryan was held in jail for four years. In analyzing this case, the local taxpayers association realized that his oldest daughter, Mercy Ranger, was having an affair with the landlords son, Marcus Nash (in his 40’s) from the time she was 14-16 years old and withholding that information from family court. That truth came out during his trial in 2017. While Bryan Ranger didn’t fit the profile of a rapist according to his psychologist, and didn’t have porn on their computers according to law enforcement, and tried to live the life of a fundamentalist Christian, not so with Marcus Nash.
It still amazes me that no one, not the District Attorney, law enforcement, psychologists, parents or politicians in this county seem the least bit interested in prosecuting Marcus Nash. I will never understand why Marcus Nash got a free pass for raping a teenager.
#10.) Homeless – “Develop regional plans to address homelessness. We already hae $75,000 for planning We should develop pans to utilize “our daily bread ministries” to expand their capabilities to handle the homeless. This will allow us to utilize other state funds for this problem. With the Governor to streamline the CEQA process for the construction of homeless shelters, and new supportive housing units.”
I attend meetings held weekly on Thursday nights at 5:15 at True North Organizing Network. One of their goals is to end homelessness in our County through public-private partnerships. At their January 10th meeting, they discussed the recap of a prior meeting wherein some of our elected officials attended. Mayor Blake Inscore, Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen and Supervisor Lori Cowan. Complaints about Cowan was prevalent. They said she spoke over everyone else and was negative. The committee can request she be replaced.
One of the other concerns was making sure that the consultant hired to receive that $75,000 knows what they’re doing. Not someone who is going to parrot the same nonsense that has stalled this community from making progress on this issue for decades. The consultant will need to coordinate with True North Organizing Network, Our Daily Bread Ministries, the homeless,, the Department of Health and Human Services, the public schools at the very least since more and more people are becoming homeless.
In other communities, the Veteran’s Hall is used for housing the homeless during the winter months during the evenings. In our community, it’s not being done. The hang-up seems to be with the County.
Supervisor Bob Berkowitz is approachable through his Daily Town Hall meetings held from 6 to 7 am at Fisherman’s Restaurant from Monday through Saturday.