October is here – the best month. Cooler days and chilly nights – well, not yet this year. It was 105 degrees in Red Bluff today, but maybe by Halloween we’ll dip into the 80s or, dare I say it? The 70s? Don’t want to jinx.
It’s still smoky, the fires are gobbling up more acreage and I haven’t quite developed a hankering for a pumpkin spice latte yet, but it’s coming. Everybody do a little rain dance or at least wash your car. That practically guarantees precipitation.
Mr. Standish and I got married in October thirty years ago. It was John Lennon’s birthday, but we didn’t know that until later, so don’t assume we’re cool or anything. We eloped to Tahoe (but married in Carson City because we were hungry – long story) after a one day engagement following four months of dating. I don’t recommend that time frame to young folks, but it turned out well for us. Sometimes you just know.
We were both working at Chico’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in 1990, doing comedy together, and drinking lots of very good beer. We each received a case of “handcaps” every week, those being bottles that had bad labels, low fills, high fills, wrong crowns, etc., so we were beer rich. Money rich, not so much, but we worked hard and somehow had plenty of time for hiking, doing weekly comedy shows, and seeing live music. Ain’t love grand?
Choosing to remain child free has been the right decision for us, allowing us to open our hearts and home to lots of critters in need, skunks notwithstanding. Plus not having kids means we don’t have to share our toys or be good role models.
And speaking of people no child should try to emulate, the board of supervisors had another volatile meeting Tuesday. This time county health care workers showed up en masse to protest the flu vaccine mandate. A parade of speakers hammered the board with their concerns and had a petition signed by hundreds of health professionals who couldn’t be there in person.
I am not a healthcare worker and had only minimal knowledge of this issue before the meeting, where I was well schooled. Apparently our Public Health Officer, Dr. Wickenheiser, sent out a mandate to all healthcare workers in the county saying if they didn’t have a flu shot by Nov. 1, they would be fired. The healthcare workers were angered by this ultimatum, as you might imagine.
William Bennett, RN, spoke with great passion for about a half hour, saying “BS” a couple times, which of course drew a scolding from Chairman Williams. Supervisor Bundy walked out at one point, and Williams finally called a recess and they all walked out except Supervisor Carlson, who stayed to talk with Bennett about the concerns of these valuable citizens who don’t feel very valued right now.
There has always been a “mask or vax” policy for flu season, and Bennett claims there has been a 98 percent vaccination rate among workers. Being forced to get a flu vaccine against their will with their jobs hanging in the balance is insulting to these people, who are highly educated and motivated to protect themselves and their patients.
Unfortunately, the board does not have the power to rescind the mandate. Only Dr. Wickenheiser can do that. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors recommended the mandate be reversed and the Health Official did so, albeit reluctantly. Tehama is one of only four California counties mandating a vaccine. Stay tuned.
In other supervisor drama – on Friday, Oct. 2 there was a continuation of the closed session from last Tuesday where planning Director Maze and Chief Administrative Officer Goodwin were evaluated and possibly disciplined.
Tuesday, Oct. 6 will have two public board meetings – the normal one in the morning and the special evening event at the Red Bluff Community Center, where Goodwin’s contract renewal will be the only item. The agendas for both were posted Wednesday and guess what’s back on for the morning meeting? Maze’s contract. Yes, her contract renewal was re-agendized before her evaluation and after the renewal was already voted down 3-2 at last week’s meeting. Putting it on the agenda before the evaluation took place makes it seem as though she has already passed. It also smacks of collusion.
They could have waited until after the closed session because her contract doesn’t expire until Oct. 31. So, there are some questions. Who put it on Tuesday’s agenda? Is that a decision made unilaterally by Goodwin or were one or more supervisors consulted? If there were supervisors involved, how many was it? I can guess two right off the bat – the ones who voted to renew her contract immediately after hearing the opinions of many citizens who want a new Planning Director.
How long are these supervisors going to continue to ignore the will of their constituents? People take time out of their lives to participate in the civic process and their opinions are tossed aside like Taylor Swift boyfriends. I guess the bigger question is, how long are we going to let them continue to treat us this way?
And it’s not just us. It’s their own employees. It’s law enforcement and every other county employee who has been asked to take a pay cut while department heads get raises and the board spends money it doesn’t have on pet projects and obsolete buildings.
I hope to see many of you at the meetings Tuesday morning and evening. You can attend by phone and make your opinion known, or follow the livestream on my Facebook page. I’ll bring the lattes.
Liz Merry has been half of Merry Standish Comedy for 30 years and is a former downtown Red Bluff business owner. She now has a home-based business and is locked and loaded in Manton. She can be reached at email@example.com.