Thursday, February 21, 2008

Recovery 101, Part Duh

Well, the De Vaul Ranch's "Sunny Acres" is back in the news. Property owner Dan De Vaul has been at loggerheads with the county over having un-permitted residents staying in a non-permitted structure while they are part of a privatelyoperating, self-supporting Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program on his ranch on Los Osos Valley Road & Madonna Rd.

In the latest Tribune story, it's noted that Mr. De Vaul "won't go through the $200,000 permit process the county is demanding. The final step is a public hearing, and he believes neighbors will persuade the Board of Supervisors to reject whatever project he presents."

Well, he's certainly right about that. The De Vaul Ranch, like so many ranches, had the misfortune to be trapped and surrounded by encroaching high-end homes. And people who live in million-dollar homes don't like looking out of their million-dollar windows to see rusting farm equipment and, for God's Sake, homeless people across the road or across a marsh from them!

It's all a matter of proper zoning, really. Expensive homes and upscale businesses go here. Slaughterhouses, recycling operations, sewage treatment plants and the mentally ill, sick, drug-addicted and/or homeless people go over there.

The problem, of course, comes when there is no "there" there because the County's broke, the State's broke, the Nation's broke, we have decided as a nation not to have national health coverage for sick, addicted people, and property values, not human values, determine how and where a community will grow. And homeless people, especially sick, addicted or mentally ill homeless people, have no value in our society so are always in the category of Also Rans -- a constant problem for local governments and police and neighbors to deal with piecemeal, as budgets and the political will allow.

When I first posted a blog entry on this dust-up between De Vaul and the County, I noted that another live-in detox program, Project Amend, was chugging along in SLO-Town, getting all their permits, making sure their buildings were up to code, & etc. And I noted that one of the first rules of Recovery when dealing with addicts is to Accept Responsibility, Deal With Reality, No Excuses, No Games, and further noted that Mr. De Vaul's snook-cocking game with the county -- which has been going on for years -- is the wrong example to set for people who must stop game playing, bite the bullet, play by the rules, fly right.

To which I got an email from a person involved with "Sunny Acres," asking me to consider "what Project Amend charges for their detox program and then check with Sunny Acres as to the cost of their program" and to understand that "a conditional Use Permit on AG land costs much, much more than a small 16 bed facility that is looking for a handout to help pay for it. Sunny Acres uses no taxpayer funds . . . it is self-supporting; the people are self-supporting."

All of which are certainly important points while missing my point. But the author, like Mr. De Vaul, continue to pose a question that still remains unanswered: So, what shall we do?

Taxpayers don't like homeless addicts, neighbors don't like homeless addicts, our real estate market has no place for homeless addicts, even self-sustaining ones. So we keep coming back to that questions: What do we do with the people at Sunny Acres who are trying to turn their lives around? Send them back to the creeks and railroad yards and highway underpasses? Let our tax-supported jails and prisons serve as a catch all for our lack of proper medical treatment? Tax ourselves to build decent medical de-tox facilities to treat the many medical issues often faced by the homeless? Ignore the whole thing and hope some churches will continue to offer teaspoons of heroic charity when cupfuls are needed to address the problem?

Back on square one.

Rabenaldt Rides Again

This morning, the Tribune reports that Pismo councilman Bill Rabenaldt will ask the City council to reverse his censure and apologize and return his city laptop computer and city credit card.

Mr. Rabenaldt made an interesting and serious point in the story, saying, 'We are all equals on this City Council, and by taking away my ability to communicate with the public or denying my right to go to additional meetings where I can learn new things to better serve the city is ridiculous."

Hmmm, is it time to take a look at the City's by-laws concerning councilpersons? As in, Censure is O.K. for Behaving Badly, but if it's anything more than a verbal/written hand-slap, if the censure involved limiting the ability of the councilmember to fully serve his constituents, then should the proper step be impeachment or recall by the voters? Short of being convicted of committing a crime, or being suspended pending an investigation into illegal activities, how can a Board limit the ability of one of their co-equals to function without disinfranchising the councilperson's constituents?

Well, maybe if the issue is put on the agenda, that will be part of the discussion. And people thought Los Osos' CSD's were lively.


Mark said...

*Michelle Obama's America -- And Mine**
*By Michelle Malkin February 20, 2008 Like Michelle Obama, I am a "woman of color." Like Michelle Obama, I am a working mother of two young children. Like Michelle Obama, I am a member of the 13th generation of Americans born since the founding of our great nation. Unlike Michelle Obama, I can't keep track of the number of times I've been proud -- really proud -- of my country since I was born and privileged to live in it. At a speech in Milwaukee this week on behalf of her husband's Democratic presidential campaign, Mrs. Obama remarked, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." Mrs. Obama's statement was met with warm applause from other Barack supporters who have apparently also been devoid of pride in their country for their adult lifetimes. Or maybe it was just a Pavlovian response to the word "change." What a sad, empty, narcissistic, ungrateful, unthinking lot. I'm just seven years younger than Mrs. Obama. We've grown up and lived in the same era. And yet, her self-absorbed attitude is completely foreign to me. What planet is she living on? Since when was now the only time the American people have ever been "hungry for change"? Michelle, ma belle, Barack is not the center of the universe. Newsflash: The Obamas did not invent "change" any more than Hillary invented "leadership" or John McCain invented "straight talk." We were both adults when the Berlin Wall fell, Michelle. *That *was earth-shattering change. We've lived through two decades' worth of peaceful, if contentious election cycles under the rule of law, which have brought about "change" and upheaval, both good and bad. We were adults through several launches of the space shuttle, in case you were snoozing. And as adults, we've witnessed and benefited from dizzyingly rapid advances in technology, communications, science and medicine pioneered by American entrepreneurs who yearned to change the world and succeeded. You want "change"? Go ask the patients whose lives have been improved and extended by American pharmaceutical companies that have flourished under the best economic system in the world. If American ingenuity, a robust constitutional republic and the fall of communism don't do it for you, hon, then how about American heroism and sacrifice? How about every Memorial Day? Every Veterans Day? Every Independence Day? Every Medal of Honor ceremony? Has she never attended a welcome home ceremony for the troops? For me, there's the thrill of the Blue Angels roaring over cloudless skies. And the somber awe felt amid the hallowed waters that surround the sunken U.S.S. Arizona at the Pearl Harbor memorial. Every naturalization ceremony I've attended, where hundreds of new Americans raised their hands to swear an oath of allegiance to this land of liberty, has been a moment of pride for me. So have the awesome displays of American compassion at home and around the world. When millions of Americans rallied to help victims of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia -- including members of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group that sped from Hong Kong to assist survivors -- my heart filled with pride. It did again when the citizens of Houston opened their arms to Hurricane Katrina victims and folks across the country rushed to their churches, and Salvation Army and Red Cross offices to volunteer.

* How about American resilience? Does that not make you proud? Only a heart of stone could be unmoved by the strength, valor and determination displayed in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., on September
11, 2001.*
*I believe it was Michael Kinsley who quipped that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In this case, it's what happens when an elite Democratic politician's wife says what a significant portion of the party's base really believes to be the truth: America is more a source of shame than pride.*
*Michelle Obama has achieved enormous professional success, political influence and personal acclaim in America. Ivy League-educated, she's been lauded by Essence magazine as one of the 25 World's Most Inspiring Women; by Vanity Fair as one of the 10 World's Best-Dressed Women; and named one of "The Harvard 100" most influential alumni. She has had an amazingly blessed life. But you wouldn't know it from her campaign rhetoric and her griping about her and her husband's student loans.*
*For years, we've heard liberals get offended at any challenge to their patriotism. And so they are again aggrieved and rising to explain away Mrs. Obama's remarks.*
*Lady Michelle and her defenders protest too much.*

Sewertoons said...

Hungry for change? How about the 60's? How about Rosa Parks, how about the women's movement. And what was going on prior? Think change was in order then?

Take a poll in Europe. See how well we are liked. Compare now with 10 years ago. Think some change might be in order?

Ask the citizens of New Orleans how responsive the federal government was to them? Next time, might we not want a change of response to devastation?

Just because the people of America respond to each other in great ways doesn't mean there isn't need for change, or that Michelle Obama isn't aware of the wonderful things about America. She worked hard to get to where she is - she wasn't born into it.

How about this - one out of every one hundred persons in America is in jail. Think we might need to change that?

Ragging on Michelle Obama by Ms. Malkin seems driven by some other motive than pointing out how great America is. Change happens because change becomes a word spoken by enough people with enough conviction to make it actually happen. It happens when it becomes a popular word on everyone's mind. It comes in cycles and it is often inspired by the right person at the right time. How about keeping what is great about America and start CHANGING the parts we are now inspired enough to start fixing?

Isn't the fact that a mixed race person, living as a child in a foreign country, not growing up in the best of circumstances, now a front runner in the presidential race, proof of what is great about America?

Mark said...

What if 20 Million Illegal Aliens Vacated America?

Tina Griego, journalist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News wrote a
column titled, "Mexican Visitor's Lament" -- 10/25/07.

She interviewed Mexican journalist Evangelina Hernandez while
visiting Denver last week. Hernandez said, "They (illegal aliens) pay rent,
buy groceries, buy clothes...What Happens to your country's economy if 20
million people go away?" That's a good question - it deserves an answer.
Over 80 percent of Americans demand secured borders and illegal migration
stopped. But what would happen if all 20 million or more vacated America?
The answers may surprise you!

In California, if 3.5 million illegal aliens moved back to Mexico,
it would leave an extra $10.2 billion to spend on overloaded school systems,
bankrupt hospitals and overrun prisons. It would leave highways cleaner,
safer and less congested. Everyone could understand one another as English
became the dominant language again.

In Colorado, 500,000 illegal migrants, plus their 300,000 kids and
grand-kids - would move back 'home', mostly to Mexico. That would save
Coloradans an estimated $2 billion (other experts say $7 billion) annually
in taxes that pay for schooling, medical, social-services and incarceration
costs. It means 12,000 gang members would vanish out of Denver alone.

Colorado would save more than $20 million in prison costs, and the
terror that those 7,300 alien criminals set upon local citizens. Denver
Officer Don Young and hundreds of Colorado victims would not have suffered
death, accidents, rapes and other crimes by illegals.

Denver Public Schools would not suffer a 67 percent
drop-out/flunk-out rate because of thousands of illegal alien students
speaking 41 different languages. At least 200,000 vehicles would vanish from
our gridlocked cities in Colorado.

Denver's four percent unemployment rate would vanish as our working
poor would gain jobs at a living wage.

In Florida, 1.5 million illegals would return the Sunshine State
back to America, the rule of law, and English.

In Chicago, Illinois, 2.1 million illegals would free up hospitals,
schools, prisons and highways for a safer, cleaner and more crime-free

If 20 million illegal aliens returned 'home' --

If 20 million illegal aliens returned 'home', the U.S. Economy would
return to the rule of law. Employers would hire legal American citizens at a
living wage. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes because they
wouldn't be working off the books. That would result in an additional $401
Billion in IRS income taxes collected annually, and an equal amount for
local, state and city coffers.

No more push '1' for Spanish or '2' for English. No more confusion
in American schools that now must contend with over 100 languages that
degrade the educational system for American kids. Our overcrowded schools
would lose more than two million illegal alien kids at a cost of billions in
ESL and free breakfasts and lunches.

We would lose 500,000 illegal criminal alien inmates at a cost of
more than $1.6 billion annually. That includes 15,000 MS-13 gang members who
distribute $130 billion in drugs annually would vacate our country.

In cities like L.A., 20,000 members of the '18th Street Gang' would
vanish from our nation. No more Mexican forgery gangs for ID theft from
Americans! No more foreign rapists and child molesters!

Losing more than 20 million people would clear up our crowded
highways and gridlock. Cleaner air and less drinking and driving American
deaths by illegal aliens!

America's economy is drained. Taxpayers are harmed. Employers get
rich. Over $80 billion annually wouldn't return to the aliens' home
countries by cash transfers. Illegal migrants earned half that money
untaxed, which further drains America's economy - which currently suffers an
$8.7 trillion debt.

At least 400,000 anchor babies would not be born in our country,
costing us $109 billion per year per cycle. At least 86 hospitals in
California, Georgia and Florida would still be operating instead of being
bankrupt out of existence because illegals pay nothing via the EMTOLA Act.

Americans wouldn't suffer thousands of TB and hepatitis cases
rampant in our country-brought in by illegals unscreened at our borders.

Our cities would see 20 million less people driving, polluting and
grid locking our cities. It would also put the 'progressives' on the horns
of a dilemma; illegal aliens and their families cause 11 percent of our
greenhouse gases.

Over one million of Mexico's poorest citizens now live inside and
along our border from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California in what
the New York Times called, "colonias" or new neighborhoods. Trouble is,
those living areas resemble Bombay and Calcutta where grinding poverty,
filth, diseases, drugs, crimes, no sanitation and worse. They live without
sewage, clean water, streets, electricity, roads or any kind of sanitation.
The New York Times reported them to be America's new "Third World" inside
our own country. Within 20 years, at their current growth rate, they expect
20 million residents of those colonias. (I've seen them personally in Texas
and Arizona; it's sickening beyond anything you can imagine.) By enforcing
our laws, we could repatriate them back to Mexico.

We should invite 20 million aliens to go home, fix their own
countries and/or make a better life in Mexico. We already invite a million
people into our country legally more than all other countries combined
annually. We cannot and must not allow anarchy at our borders, more anarchy
within our borders and growing lawlessness at every level in our nation.
It's time to stand up for our country, our culture, our civilization and our
way of life.

Interesting Statistics. Here are 14 reasons illegal aliens should
vacate America, and I hope they are forwarded over and over again until they
are read so many times that the reader gets sick of reading them:

1. $11 billion to $22 billion dollars are spent each year on welfare
to illegal aliens.

2. $2.2 billion dollars are spent each year on food assistance
programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal

3. $2.5 billion dollars are spent each year on Medicaid for illegal

4. $12 billion dollars are spent each year on primary and secondary
school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of

5. $17 billion dollars are spent each year for education for the
American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.

6. $3 Million Dollars PER DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal

7. 30% percent of all federal prison inmates are illegal aliens.

8. $90 billion dollars are spent each year on illegal aliens for
welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.

9. $200 billion dollars per year in suppressed American wages are
caused by the illegal aliens.

10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's
two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their
children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US.

11. During the year 2005, there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens
that crossed our southern border with as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from
terrorist countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine,
and marijuana crossed into the U.S. from the southern border.

12. The National Policy Institute, estimates that the total cost of
mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion, or an average cost
of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.

13. In 2006, illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances
back to their countries of origin.

14. The dark side of illegal immigration: Nearly one million sex
crimes are committed by illegal immigrants in the United States!"

The total cost is a whopping $338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR!!!