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March 17, 2010     Chester Progressive
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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, March 17, 2010 7B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Tke Legislature needs to restore child protection funds WHERE I STAND ELLIOTT SMART DIRECTOR PLUMAS,COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES Last year, after many years of touting the need to protect California's most vul- nerable populations from budget cuts, Governor Schwarzenegger inexplica- bly vetoed $120 million in funds that had been ap- proved by the Legislature for Child Protective Services. Across the state, vulnera- ble children, their social workers and the counties that provide protective ser- vices have paid the price for the governor's reduction. Now the health and safety of abused and neglected chil- dren continues to be jeopar- dized by the governor's pro- posal to maintain this devas- tating cut in the next state budget. Because the governor's ve- to was layered on top of years of underfunding to counties for their costs to op- erate child protection pro- grams, the veto added new levels of harm to services that- by just about any- body's measure -- were al- ready stretched far too thin. As a result, many counties have been forced to delay re- sponse times to investigation referrals that don't appear to require an immediate re- sponse. County social workers have also had to delay re- ports to the courts regarding the status of families whose children have been removed. Some children in foster care have had to remain there, waiting to be reunited with their families because the counties lack resources to fully engage families in re- unification services. The trouble is that after years of not receiving ade- quate funding from the state for this program, county offi- cials have seen the child pro- tective services bolt of cloth fray beyond recognition. For some county programs, the consequences have been se- vere and even tragic. In Plumas County, thanks to the hard work of a dedicat- ed group of social workers, we kept most of our core child protective services in place. While we worry con- stantly about our ability to keep up with it, we have had the good fortune of seeing the number of children held in foster care actually go down. Typically, when a child is removed from her home be- cause it is not safe, a social worker has to multi-task con- stantly to keep up with the myriad elements required by laws and regulations. When a child is removed from his home because it is not safe, a social worker takes on the huge responsi- bility of making sure that child does not fall through the cracks --while dealing with higher caseloads and fewer resources. They carry the deep concern and worry that something essential might get overlooked that is critical to determining whether a child is now safe and will remain safe. Unfortunately, because of limited resources and less funding we must focus al- most entirely on the core ser- vices. Our need to dedicate our limited resources to core services leaves little left to initiate and maintain pre- ventative activities that may have kept the child safe in her home. However, thanks to our community-based partners (who have their own finan- cial concerns) we have some limited services to offer. Plumas County has worked hard to improve the child welfare system -- im- provements targeted toward enhancing outcomes for chil- dren who are abused and to- ward strengthening their families. We have also worked to help children who are aging out of foster care to ease their transition into liv- ing independently. We do those things, be- cause as a community we share in the task of caring for abused and neglected children. They are children who go to school with our children, play in our commu- nities and live in our neigh- borhoods. Caring for these children means not only in- vesting in their futures but also investing in the safety and quality of our communi- ties. But in the absence of ongo- ing state dollars to maintain improvements to child safe- ty, our child welfare system will slide backward. These children will continue to suf- fer. Abused and neglected children, who often already feel abandoned, won't be giv- en a fighting chance to thrive in our communities. By not investing in these children now, we set ourselves up for larger costs down the road. For all these reasons and many more, it is critical for the Legislature to restore the funds the governor vetoed and for the governor to re- member the commitment he made to California's abused and neglected children. A coalition of stakeholders that includes numerous county and community- based organizations has come together to urge the Legislature to restore the ve- toed funds. Why? Because abused and neglected children can't lobby for themselves; they depend on us to be their voices; because doing our very best to keep abused and neglected children safe and protected from harm is the right thing to do. Feeling petition pressure? Know ),our rights before signing WHERE I STAND DEBRA BOWEN SECRETARY OF STATE With 80 initiative proposals currently circulating throughout California, as sec- retary of state I want to re- mind voters of their key rights and responsibilities when deciding whether to sign petitions. Anyone walking into a gro- cery store knows election sea- son is in full swing. Voters have many rights when it comes to dealing with peti- tion circulators, and it is im- portant that voters not be bashful in exercising those rights. you changed your mind after signing? You can withdraw your signature. Voters may call the secre- tary of state's voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE to ask elec- tion-related questions, or to report potential election fraud or voter intimidation. The initiative process al- lows any citizen to place a measure on a statewide ballot to create or change laws, or amend the state constitution. After the attorney general writes an official title and summary for a proposed ini- tiative, the secretary of state provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to coun- ty elections officials. The initiative proponent tures of 433,971 registered voters; an initiative constitu- tional amendment petition needs signatures of 694,354 registered voters. The deadline to qualify an initiative for the Nov. 2 Gen- eral Election is June 24. The deadline to qualify an initia- tive for the June ballot has al- ready passed. For details of the initia- tives currently in circulation and contact information for the proponents, go to sos.ca.gov/elections/baUot- measures/cleared-for-circula- tion.htm. To sign up for regular bal- lot measure updates via e- marl, RSS feed or Twitter, go to sos.ca.gov/multimedia. A list of key dos and don'ts t, h e.n has 150 dgys to circulate- To view this and other sec-  .r'uk ,:  , :: : , ',.o": i.,  ,1 .   ..... i  ! ..... for anyone ca.fg !ietr , ,et ,on f0r tle meai.reci  ,, ttay Of state press re!ei to sign anrafiv'e petition collect th requisite number: g0 5 sos.ca.gov/admin/news- is attached. ' ' of registered vter signatures releases.htm. Want to know if someone is to qualify the initiative for paid or volunteering? You the ballot. An initiative Dos and Don'ts have the right to ask. Have statute petition needs signa- Do: Ask a petition circula- tor if he or she is being paid to collect signatures. The law allows petition circulators to be paid per signature collect- ed. However, you have a right to ask the circulator whether his or her efforts are volun- teer or paid. Don't: Accept any incen- tive to sign a petition. It is il- legal under state law for a cir- culator to give you cash or other valuable items in ex- change for your signature on an initiative petition. Do: Know your right to change your mind. Any voter who has signed an initiative petition may withdraw the signature by filing a written request with her or his coun- ty elections official. The sig- and summary, which is pre- pared by the California attor- ney general, must be printed across the top of the petition page you would sign. The full text (sometimes several pages in length) must also be avail- able to you. It is illegal for a petition circulator to obscure the offi- cial title and summary from your view. If you are asked to sign multiple petitions, be sure to read each petition carefully because every ini- tiative is different. Do: Equip yourself with the facts. In addition to read- ing the official title and sum- mary on the petition, you can research any of the initia- tives in circulation at sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot- measures/how-to-qualify-an- initiative.htm. Do: Be a registered voter. Only people who are regis- tered, qualified voters at the time of signing are permitted to sign an initiative petition. If you want to double-check your registration or confirm the accuracy of your informa- tion (such as address and po- litical party choice), call your county elections office. Con- tact information is at sos .ca .gov/elections/election s_d.htm. Do: Fill out the petition for yourself. If you choose to sign a petition, personally print your name, residence address and city, and sign nature withdrawal request ....... sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot- . whe:e indicated. Thse are r: ,- must be r.y th :7:asurcsfcleared-for.cirq!a: .:, e:og!.Y: iiems that. a yoteris proponent submits the peti. tion:htm. To learn more  legally required to provide tion to the county, about how an initiative can on a statewide initiative Don't: Sign if you can't see qualify for the ballot, check petition, and you must the entire petition. By law, out the Statewide Ballot Ini- "personally affix" them to the initiative's official title tiative Guide at the petition. LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone number. We publish only one letter per week, per person and only one letter per person, per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The editor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words,The deadline is Fri- day at 3 p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed at mail@plumasnews.com So wrong First, our thoughts go out to Rose Buzzetta and Linda McDermott. We adopted a great dog from the Friends of the Plumas County Animal Shel- ter who at the time was be- ing cared for by Rose. Molly (the dog who was shot and killed) was also at the resi- dence at the time so we got to meet her as well. She was a great little dog, friendly and full of life. To hear that someone took it upon himself to torture and eventually end the life of someone's pet really saddens us. How pathetic a person is this? If they are adults, we hope they are found and giv- en their due justice on sever- al accounts. If they are kids, we hope the parents take the proper steps to deal with them. This incident is so wrong on so many levels. It needs to be resolved. Donna Mack Dennis Hayes Crescent Mills Art form You may want to throw this letter in the trash, but I think that excuses are an art form. So here are some of my favorites: My memory broke down, and I am waiting for new parts. My mind is on vacation. Our local card shop could not cash my $10,000 bill. It was time for my head's annual termite inspection. My calendar lied to me again. My elevator shoes got stuck between floors. My patent on thinking is pending. I am heartbroken because my pet tarantula eloped with a rock star singer. Some creatures from a UFO held me prisoner. I just plain forgot, and I'm so sorry. Mary June German Quincy Empty promises I am a concerned parent who is frustrated with the education PUSD is provid- ing. My daughter is a fifth- grade student in Mr. Graf's fourth-fifth split class. PUSD cut all teacher's aide positions for split classes this year, leaving our teach- ers shorthanded and expect- ed to teach two separate cur- riculums. In addition to the already increased workload, Mr. Graf agreed to be a literacy coach for the new CELL pro- gram PUSD purchased for $700,000. Mid-year Mr. Graf's new literacy coach duties re- quired him to be out of the classroom for one-half of every school day. A long- term substitute teacher was hired to finish each school day in the classroom. After several weeks, I was informed she could only sub- stitute for 30 school days per year, per class. This equates to three substitute teachers before the end of my daugh- ter's fifth-grade year. This oversight is the fail- ure of our principal, super- intendent and board mem- bers. I have always been an advocate of public education and strongly support the teachers and staff at C. Roy Carmichael. However, I now fully understand why fami- lies have decided to educate their children elsewhere. Six families have removed their students from Mr. Graf's class this year. These families have not left the area. It is no secret that PUSD preaches the "No Child Left Behind" campaign. "We have to get our STAR scores up," "We put students first." Why does a program that is designed to help students, actually harm them by tak- ing my child's teacher out of her classroom? With budget reserve esti- bottom feeders such as carp, suckers, catfish, etc., that was as ugly and disgusting as Nancy Pelosi. I chuckled at the offer and immediately thought of the TV program of the mid-60s and early '70s: Mission Im- possible. That generous of- fer remains unclaimed as of this date, despite thousands of fish being submitted for consideration. Perhaps this year will produce a winner, but I doubt it. Dale Nichols Yuba City Experiment Is the Great Lakes under the threat of an invader? Was California under the threat of an invader? Asian carp, northern pike and oth- er non-native predators have caused environmentalist mates of $9.5 milli0n { feel and other lawmakers to see PUSD can do better for our children. We are customers with options, and what PUSD is offering is very un- appealing. We do not need more pro- grams filled with empty promises. We need people! We need better stu- dent/teacher ratios. Pro- grams don't raise test scores, teachers do! Antoinette Quesenberry Portola Mission impossible As a member of a local fishing club, I went to one of my neighborhood banks a couple of years ago to open a checking account for the club. I explained to the bank officer that the funds in our account would be used to pay for awards at our month- ly fishing tournaments -- largest fish, most fish, etc. The bank officer, after con- sulting with a bank vice president, offered to award $1,000 to any club member catching a fish, including fish poised to invade their water system, destroy their economies and ecosystems. In other states they are Cali- fornia's beloved trout. It is time to use scientific ap- proaches rather than an emotional reaction. Pike and all members of the Family Esocidae are con- sidered "detrimental" and restricted in California by law before their presence has been evaluated. The ille- gal fish populations were out of control before the discov- ery of northern pike in Lake Davis. Its fish management suggested poisoning the lake. The dam at Lake Davis and its ecosystem has pre- vented a sustainable trout population. The pike served as top predator and an alter- native game fish when it was present. Lake Davis seems an ideal location for the practice of holistic ecological studies in fish management. Plumas County is already leading the way in holistic forest management practices. A union with the US Fish and Wildlife, US Department of Forestry, the California De- partment of Fish and Game, the California Department of Water Resources and Feath- er River Community College could implement the Nation- al Habitat Action Plan to cre- ate an ecosystem that can maintain a sustainable trout population with the biodi- versity of other fish. It could fulfill the mission of CDFG at dams. Since the lake already has a pike containment system and the lake's water level is managed by the Department of Water Resources it makes an ideal laboratory for ex- perimentation; especially, if the pike should reappear. Asian carp could be intro- duced to see if they could control the dominate species of the "Bullheads" and other illegals that inhabit the lake. Other members of the Esoci- dae could be introduced as top game fish and controls of fish populations. Fishermen could focus their activities on the most dominant species to maintain the biodiversity of the lake. Lake Davis could be the lake that it was originally intend- ed to be. Larry Douglas Portola Contact your elected officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 28.3-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW WashIngton, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-mail: whitehouse.gov / contact / U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TYY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 E-mail: go to website "feinstein.senate.gov." U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 I St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3,553. FAX (202) 2284)454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 4TH DIST. - Tom McClintock. 508 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-2511; FAX (202) 225-5444. mcclintock.house.gov. District office 4230 Douglas Blvd., Suite #200, Granite Bay, CA 95746. (916) 786-5560, FAX: (916) 786-6364 STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Dave Cox (R), District office: 2140 Professional Dr., #140, RoseviUe, CA, 95661. (916) 783-8232, FAX (916) 783-5487; OR: State Capital, Room 2068, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680; assemblymember.cox@assemby.ca.gov; i Quincy office: 2094 E. Main St., Quincy, 530-283-3437. FAX 283-3439. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 3RD DIST. - Dan Logue, State Capital, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 319-2003; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 1550 Humboldt Rd., Ste. #4, C_hico, CA 95928; (530) 895-4217, FAX (530) 895-4219. GOVERNOR - Arnold Schwarzenegger, office of the Governor, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160. gov.ca.gov / interact# contact t 1