Home > Uncategorized > Friday 11/9 light up the night for IHSS caregivers

Friday 11/9 light up the night for IHSS caregivers

[The Not a Native Disclaimer:   Mitch is a disgruntled ex-employee of DHSS, which struck him as by far the worst employer he’d ever encountered (that is, worst employer for anyone who actually wanted to work.)  –Mitch]

From: Shane Brinton <shaneb@cuhw.org>

More than 1,400 local IHSS Caregivers live on poverty wages while
caring for our seniors and people with disabilities. Join us this
Friday, November 9 and help light up the night in support of those who
care for our community.

5:30 pm – Gather and prepare to march from the California United
Homecare Workers (CUHW) office
314 L Street, Eureka

6:00 pm – Candlelight vigil at the Humboldt County Courthouse
825 5th Street, Eureka

6:30 pm – Return to the CUHW office for an evening of food, fun, and
live music by Joanne Rand. This is a free event.

For more information, call: (707) 407-0542

  1. Obvious
    November 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    They could have earned more working at WalMart.

    Just sayin’.

  2. November 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    “Join us this Friday, November 9 and help light up the night in support of those who
    care for our community.”

    Like the local Humboldt County Board of Supervisors care and all the people that voted them into office?

  3. Plain Jane
    November 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Do you think Walmart clerks or burger flippers have a more important job with more responsibilities than someone taking care of your Grandma, Obvious?

  4. Goldie
    November 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    There definitely is money to pay these workers. There is some confusion about if the In Home Health-care Workers get a raise then every one in the county gets a raise. It’s called the “me too” clause which only applies to County workers. Fred mentioned this in one of his comments. IHSS workers are NOT county employees. The county sets their wage but it is not their employer. Therefore the clause does not apply.
    Showing support for these workers will encourage the Board of Supervisors to educate themselves further on this issue and find the path to give IHSS workers the raise they were promised in 2006.
    I don’t like going out on cold nights and I don’t like reading dull important reports like the Independent Fact Finder but I can not stand the thought of these good hearted folks living on such a low wage. So I will be there.

  5. Gil Yule
    November 9, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I’m so there!

  6. anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Explain why the Bd of Supervisors won’t give them a raise if the state will pay it and it costs the county nothing.

  7. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

    First explain where you got the idea that “the state will pay it and it costs the county nothing,” #1

  8. anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Post 4 said they were not county employees.

  9. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

    They are contractors, #8, and as such are not county (or state) employees so giving them a raise won’t trigger an across the board raise for county workers.

  10. November 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

    People talk about: “jobs, jobs, jobs..” but they never talk about the condition of those jobs. How American jobs have gone from good-paying manufacturing jobs to low-wage service jobs. The Ruling-Elite says jobs will come back to America when unions have been banished and Americans are willing to compete with Chinese Prison-workers on a level playing field.
    I’m torn between wanting my government to intervene on these issues, using the power of the state to “force” the wealthy owners of the means of production, to consider the American worker over small profit increases. But I can’t trust this government to do anything for the working man. if you yell for regulation on these global companies like “Baine-Capital” Baine-Capital is invited to help draft the regulation to make sure they fall only on small business. Big business writes the regulations that were supposed to reign them in. But it never touches them. It lands on companies with 50 employees and less. No wonder small business aligns themselves with Global criminals. They know they’re the target of any public controls.
    So we know what needs to be done, but we don’t have people with enough integrity to do it.
    This is true on the county level as well. They pay themselves over a $100,000 a year or public money to work on behalf of those already rich. and face it, they don’t give a damn about you and me. They are on their way up, and we’re a bunch of losers. This is the “New American Century” The “Good-Germans” are rewarded for their compliance with injustice. You don’t succeed in America by standing up for fairness, unless the poor, oppressed class you’re talking about are the billionaires, and the uber-wealthy recipients of governmental economic welfare.
    I’m ok with paying more taxes to improve our country, but dammit! How do you do that when they hand that money over to criminal bankers, and oil companies? I feel like a battered spouse who continues to stay with the abuser because there is no where to go, there is no other option; and the abuser knows it and uses it to their advantage.

  11. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

    If it were only them who had to suffer, I would savor the idea of these selfish idiots being neglected in their last years by underpaid, resentful and desperate people who can’t even qualify for a job at Walmart. I think its safe to assume that most of us would rather have home workers who are well-trained, well-paid and happy caring for our loved ones. People who can live quasi-independently with a few hours of help a day will cost a lot more if they are forced into nursing homes because of inadequate care in their homes.

  12. November 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

    moviedad says: “I feel like a battered spouse who continues to stay with the abuser because there is no where to go, there is no other option; and the abuser knows it and uses it to their advantage.”

    And that way, the way most victims feel, is exactly what the Bully (wife beater) is counting on. Such unfounded beliefs paralyze the victim from responding in any way. The first thing the victim has to do is realize there are options; a third way if you will. Problem is, you can only see that “way out” when you are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Surprising things happen at that point. Once experienced it is never forgotten, by the bully or the so-called victim.

    By the way, this is the lesson the World is about to teach America. Rampant criminal corruption, and wanton disregard for Law and the Constitution has left this country illegitimate and vulnerable.

    Good post.

  13. Goldie
    November 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Federal dollars pay for 50% of the cost of the IHSS program. State dollars pay for 32.5% of the program. Humboldt County pays 17.5%. So if the BoS would grant them a one dollar raise the county pays 17.5 cents of that dollar.

  14. anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Thank you Goldie for an intelligent response to my question. So I ask again, why won’t the Supervisors grant a raise?

    I think the answer may be the amount of money they get from the federal & state programs is fixed. The county budget is very tight. A raise means that current employees of IHSS will have to be laid off and lose their jobs.

  15. Buddy
    November 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Lower the Supes wages to about 40k or so per year, that will loosen up about 200k from that budget “tightness.” Its a start.

  16. Leon Trotsky
    November 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    “So I ask again, why won’t the Supervisors grant a raise?”

    The full stomach does not understand the empty one.

  17. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    There are people who expect they will never need the services of IHSS caregivers, feeling secure that their wealth and/or family will provide for them and their loved ones; and, as on every other socioeconomic issue, they have only self-interest at heart.

    “If IHSS caregivers get a raise all the grannies’ and aunties’ private caregivers are going to demand a raise and that is SERIOUSLY going to cut into my inheritance and cost me even more for help when I get old!”

  18. Thread Jack
    November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Good luck with that………

  19. 713
    November 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    There was a letter recently that stated the county unions all have “me too” clauses in their contracts and a raise for one group opens up negotiations with the other groups. I don’t know if it is true, but it makes sense.

  20. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    713. They don’t have a union contract and a raise for them won’t trigger a raise for county employees because IHSS caregivers are contractors, not employees.

  21. Big Gamble
    November 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Plain Jane, that’s a potential $24million per year bet. Are u willing to take that? Or would u be ok with seeing the county go bankrupt, and these workers again be left without a job?

  22. Big Gamble
    November 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Btw, how much does Shane get paid to “support” these guys? Ha! Seems to me he knows there’s no way this raise gets done, but its going to be a long, drawn-out process, which means lots of paychecks for him to “fight” for ihss workers. What a sham.

  23. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Why is it a gamble, BG? They are not county employees so their pay has nothing to do with county workers’ pay any more than paying higher prices to county suppliers. It’s a bogus argument meant to scare people from supporting a pay increase for people who do important and difficult work for wages they can’t live on. You should be ashamed for resorting to such despicable tactics.

  24. Big Gamble
    November 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Hey, if theres a way around it, and the raise is economically sustainable, I’m fully confident the county will give the raises. They aren’t the bad guys everyone makes them out to be. N that note, I don’t think it ever helps, when you’re asking for a raise, to insult and demonize the person(s) who ultimately get to make that decision…

  25. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Don’t use deceitful tactics if you don’t want to be insulted for doing so, BG. Are you implying you are one of those who gets to ultimately make that decision?

  26. Not A Native
    November 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    FWIW, I was talking with a supervisor lately and told the reason they voted against a raise is they had seen data that they believe shows that the IHSS program has a large amount of fraud. But the fraud is scattered widely and individually small so its more cost effective to overlook it and limit the total program cost.

    That’s a typical HumCo government attitude, looking the other way, acting only on complaints. It incentivizes the crooks, penalizes the honest, and destroys everyone’s respect for government. Course, one reason many come or stay here is they didn’t have much respect to start with.

  27. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Which supervisor told you that? I’d like to call them and confirm your claim.

  28. Plain Jane
    November 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    People will grasp at justifications for doing what they want. If the workers were paid a decent wage maybe they wouldn’t feel pushed to pad their hours and maybe the people they take care of wouldn’t be sympathetic enough to help them do it.

    I get so sick of your negative attitude about Humboldt County, Nan. There are positive and negatives in every area and whether you are happy where you are is more likely due to your own attitude than the people around you. Why you don’t leave and find some place worthy of you where you could be happy is a mystery, but I suspect it is because no such place exists.

  29. 713
    November 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    What is cuhw? I thought it was a union.

  30. Obvious
    November 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Do you think Walmart clerks or burger flippers have a more important job with more responsibilities than someone taking care of your Grandma, Obvious?

    Oh Jane, Jane, Jane… The nobility of the profession isn’t being debated. At issue is plain ol’ fashioned money. They have many choices for earning more money, including working for WalMart.

  31. Goldie
    November 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Dear Obvious, In home care providers provide a service that saves the county thousands of dollars. Their work allows people to remain in their homes instead of going to a facility. Should these workers leave their field and choose a different occupation the county would end up spending more. We pay more to have someone clean up the pens at the zoo than to take care of our fellow citizens in the most basic of ways. I would assume by your attitude that you have had the good fortune of good health within your family. I am very happy for you.
    I do believe that once the Board of Supervisors becomes more aware of specifics of the situation they will grant the humble raise the health cares workers seek.

  32. Obvious
    November 10, 2012 at 8:06 am

    In home care providers provide a service that saves the county thousands of dollars.

    Irrelevant to my point. As I wrote quite clearly, “The nobility of the profession isn’t being debated.” If you like, I’ll further explain, the usefulness of the service that these providers provide isn’t being debated. Their issue, as they’ve defined it, is money. If money is important to these providers, they can earn more working at WalMart. Shout at the darkness, or turn on a light.

    I do believe that once the Board of Supervisors becomes more aware of specifics of the situation they will grant the humble raise the health cares workers seek.

    You think the supervisors haven’t increased the wage because they just don’t understand what the providers do in their job? LOL! The issue is money and will always be money. If you don’t like what your employer is giving you, you switch to a better employer. There are a multitude of jobs available that pay as poorly, but are dramatically easier to perform, and, of course, lots of jobs that pay a little bit more than the county.

  33. November 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Obvious is right. This is the “compassion trap.” For example, teachers and nurses historically have a hard time going on strike, because they realize it will cause hardship for the people they want to help. Society as a whole has taken advantage. Only in recent years have people in compassion-oriented professions learned to stand up for themselves as they stand up for others.

    The difficult challenge is figuring out how to apply pressure not to the vulnerable and fairly powerless people you wish to help, but on the mean-spirited bastards who obtain political power. I think the IHSS workers are wise to point directly to the Board of Supervisors, which is well paid and has demonstrated its contempt for the compassionate with complete clarity. They ought to hang this issue around the necks of the Supervisors at every single BoS meeting, until the BoS smells as bad as it is. And they ought to be taking it to the Supervisors’ homes as well. The Supervisors’ refusal of this raise is contemptible, and they deserve contempt.

  34. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Obvious, where are these “multitudes” and “lots of jobs” that pay anything at all?

  35. November 10, 2012 at 8:40 am


    The jobs are at Wal-mart. If every IHSS worker quit and went to work at Wal-mart, the cost to the county would be enormous. But, as everyone knows, it would cause enormous suffering. So, essentially, the Board of Supervisors is content to use those who need home care as hostages in their war against caregivers.

    Obvious is correct, though. IHSS workers could earn more for themselves by working at Wal-mart. How sad is that?

    At an absolute minimum, the county should bring in an out-of-the-county auditor to examine management layers at DHHS. If they exceed the state average, management jobs should be trimmed or slashed. That will clear up the money the County claims it doesn’t have. DHHS is mostly a welfare program for bad, overpaid managers — the County can no longer afford to waste millions on people who destroy the capability of government to conduct its tasks.

  36. November 10, 2012 at 8:43 am

    You’ all are so wrong about what’s really going on here. It’s about “Stuff” Bill (Mother-Night) O’Reilly and George Carlin, can both tell you about “stuff,” See, the reason Americans vote for the candidates that promise to show compassion and see to it there’s a safety net for people stricken by illness, loss of employment or natural disaster; is because we want stuff. Now of course Bill O’Reilly and his band of anti-American, greed-heads don’t want stuff, they only want what’s best for the country. They’re willing to accept salaries of millions of dollars a year for doing their best to justify Baine Capital and others, moving of factories to south Asia and China to take advantage of the non-existent labor laws, and the dictatorship of the government just to make a few more percentage points on the profit margin. They’re willing to suffer huge amounts of personal wealth, to propagandize uneducated, racists into believing they’ll never get sick, they’ll never need a hand up, they don’t rely on the infrastructure. They’re rugged-individuals; and the rest of us are selfish, lazy, uppity, parasites, who want to take part of the obscene profits that executives pay themselves and use it to raise up the employees who do the work, to at least enough money to not qualify for food-stamps.
    So, where’s our stuff? Looks to me like the boss is still getting tens of millions of dollars in “bonuses” while lifting the stock by laying off the workers. Looks like “Kodak” and “Beacon Power corp.” still get to pay their huge bonuses to executives who bankrupted the company. Looks like the resource extraction companies still get to “own” our people’s oil, minerals and timber-resources, and pay almost no taxes. But of course they don’t want “Stuff”, they already have all the stuff.

  37. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Is Walmart still hiring Mitch? I thought they hired a full staff before they opened. Again, where are all these multitudes of jobs?

  38. November 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

    OK, maybe there aren’t even jobs at Walmart.

  39. Just Watchin
    November 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Moviedad……if you’re going to blame “Baine” Capital for the next four years, at least learn how to spell it.

  40. Goldie
    November 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

    The turn out for the vigil last night was impressive.

  41. Just Watchin
    November 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I saw a picture of some of the workers holding a sign that they are local 4034 of AFSCME / SEIU, which I assume makes them union members. As such, doesn’t the union negotiate wages on behalf of the members? If that’s the case, doesn’t the union brass bear at least some responsibility for the low wages?
    And before someone jumps…….I believe that they should have a livable wage.

  42. Goldie
    November 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Here is the California United Homecare Workers site… http://www.cuhw.org/
    The union is helping them ask for a raise.

  43. 713
    November 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    So they are in a union, but the county is not their employer. the county is responsible for setting their wages though. since they are contractors the “me too” clause of the other county workers doesn’t count.

    It seems to me there is more to the story. I had heard the fraud rate is high and there are a bunch of people who are being paid to take care of their family members. I didn’t know you could get paid for that.

  44. November 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I think I’ll keep the “e” and change it “Bane” Capital. The next four years? They are just one example of predatory capitalists. There are thousands out there. Even after Romney’s run, people still know less about the way this company makes its money than they do about Obama’s Kenyan ancestors. I wonder why folks support aristocratic companies like these, when they’re trying to turn working people in neo-slaves?
    Please feel free to correct my spelling.

  45. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    You see how it goes? “We’d have to give other people raises too.” “No?” “Well, anyway, I heard there’s a lot of fraud and besides people get paid to take care of their family members.” It the same old crap regurgitated to justify a “don’t give a fuck” attitude. Some people will never have to worry about strangers caring for their loved ones or the quality of care they will receive because they can do it themselves. But for the poor who can’t afford to care for their own because they have to earn a living, no concern for your granny. You go to work at Walmart for minimum wage and we’ll pay a stranger minimum wage to care for your grannie or off to the nursing home with her. They always want to punish all users of a program for the poor if a few may commit fraud (or they hear a rumor that there may be some fraud), but when it’s multi-national corporations they justify it with, “everyone does it so why blame them?”

    There are people who view labor as an important and valuable part of the team and those who view labor as an increasingly unnecessary evil, to be erradicated as soon as inhumanely possible. If only we could figure out a way to automate nursing homes…..

  46. 713
    November 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    you have to have enough money to pay your bills PJ, this includes the county. what programs will you cut to give the raises? i wasn’t aware the county had a big surplus in their budget. everything i read points to the contrary.

    maybe if the county hadn’t pissed so much money away on the general plan – $10 mil; redevelopment – half a million; falor payout – quarter million; tooby lawsuit – 2 mil; they could be giving lots of raises.

    if there is fraud, it needs to be rooted out. the version i heard was that people are working and then taking care of a family member as well and getting paid while they are at their regular job. that is wrong if that happens.

  47. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Lots of “ifs” there, 713. Don’t we usually wait for evidence of a crime before we start punishing everyone who is capable of committing said crime?

  48. tra
    November 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Awww, P.J., that’s so quaint.

  49. 713
    November 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    ” If the workers were paid a decent wage maybe they wouldn’t feel pushed to pad their hours and maybe the people they take care of wouldn’t be sympathetic enough to help them do it.”

    sounds like you have a little insight on this.

  50. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I know people from every walk of life, 713. I know rich people and poor people. I know people who do and have worked in home health care and those who need home health care to remain in their homes. Several people I know have been accused of padding their hours with the help of their clients and some who have been accused by confused clients of padding their hours. It’s mostly a thankless job for starvation wage even if they get 40 hours a week, and most don’t and then they get smeared by elitists who would just as soon put the poor through the meat grinder for dog food.

  51. anonymous
    November 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Big Gamble :
    Plain Jane, that’s a potential $24million per year bet. Are u willing to take that? Or would u be ok with seeing the county go bankrupt, and these workers again be left without a job?

    BS BG. $24Mil? Show us the math. Can you do that? I guess you can’t.

  52. 713
    November 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Fraud is fraud. You thnk if they got a raise try would stop screwing the honest people?

  53. Big Gamble
    November 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    PJ, I am nowhere near someone who can make that decision. I wouldn’t want to be, either. I am someone watching this from the sidelines who doesn’t cast everyone who disagrees with them as evil or picking a fight with the poor. The cuhw rep mentioned a few other counties who got raises for their ihss workers without triggering raises for the rest of their county. I know one of them, mendo I think, actually had the negotiating rights for their county workers suspended for one year while they negotiated the ihss raise. The ihss negotiations didn’t cause the suspension in negotiating rights, it was in reaction to a bad economic environment, but it did pave the way for the ihss raise. You keep on saying that because they’re contractors, it won’t trigger the me too. What examples from other counties can you point to where this didn’t happen, where a raise didn’t take place while negotiations were going on at the same time as the county union? I just punched a hole in one of the examples the cuhw rep (dishonestly) provided. Punch a whole in the other side of the argument – use examples, policy codes n shit. Otherwise it’s hard to think your claim will stand up in real life.

  54. tra
    November 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    First of all, no one here has offered any evidence that there is widespread fraud being committed by IHSS workers. Second, if there is any fraud, then the answer is to catch and punish those who are committing the fraud, not to withhold raises from everyone, including those who aren’t doing anything wrong. Third, if the fraud is at all widespread or systematic, then top-level management should be held accountable for allowing such a situation to develop and persist.

    But again, “fraud” is not a reason that the Supervisors have offered as justification for failing to give the raises. If that’s their reasoning, they should say so publicly, and explain their reasoning as to why punishing all workers by withholding a raise is an appropriate response to a situation in which some subset of workers is committing fraud while management fails to take action.

    However, I doubt very much that concerns about fraud are why the Supervisors have not approved the raise. It seems pretty clear that this whole fraud tangent is just a bit of mis- or dis-information being thrown into the conversation by people who are either poorly informed, or actively working to deceive and misdirect.

  55. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Why would it trigger the “me too” raises when the contractors are not employees? If this really was an issue, why wasn’t it raised by the BOS? If this was really an issue, why wasn’t it mentioned by Phil Crandall who also opposes IHSS raises? Anyone can make any claim, no matter how false, in a letter to the editor, that doesn’t make it true. If you think the BOS and Crandall would just ignore such a good excuse to say no, you might not be thinking clearly.

  56. Big Gamble
    November 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Burden of proof is on you. cuhw is in no position to demand squat. I bet u need the county union to agree to hold off on demanding an relative raise before granting one for ihss. And its labor negotiations, even the cuhw rep was super careful to parse his words in public. U think the county’s gonna say anything like that in public, especially when they already have other legit reasons to deny the raise? An earlier post asked for the math, just take the county payroll and multiply by the percentage raise cuhw wants. Big bucks.

  57. Plain Jane
    November 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    You are the one who introduced a claim that you haven’t supported in any way, BG. The burden of proof is on you. I can’t prove a negative.

  58. Big Gamble
    November 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm


  59. tra
    November 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Looks like all the evidence BG has to back up his claims is contained in his comment #58.

  60. Not A Native
    November 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Gee, tra writes that if laws are being broken they should be enforced to the limit. Well. its not so easy with limited law enforcement resources and the high hurdle to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Especially when the ‘victim’ IHSS isn’t the employer but merely the payee. When large numbers of people willfully violate laws in individually small ways that don’t cause immediate injury, its very difficult(and expensive) to enforce those laws.

    How successful has law enforcement been at upholding cannabis laws? Tra seems to be claiming that’s just because of poor “management”. Nonsense!

    Anyone who has the confidence of a supervisor can ask them why they voted against a IHSS raise and get a complete answer. If you don’t have such a relationship, as it seems tra doesn’t have, you’re stuck with half truths from press reports and public meetings. I bet tra is the only person in HumCo who believes that the only facts considered by the supervisors are those which appear in the official record.

  61. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Successful prosecutions of fraud are evidence of fraud. Rumors are not.

  62. 713
    November 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

    You said you know about the fraud and it is ok because they aren’t paid well. I had heard there was widespread fraud from a couple of sources and you seem to confirm it.

    TRA – correct, nobody has offered evidence of widespread fraud but PJ knows people who are doing it. It seems reasonable that if a number of people have direct or indirect knowledge of the fraud and abuse, it must be more than just PJ’s friends who are ripping off the system, doesn’t it?

    I don’t know how you would ever find out if somebody is padding their hours while they are taking care of their family.

  63. PlunderZ
    November 11, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I was at the CUHW reception and there was a striking chart on the wall showing Humboldt County to rank 56, 57, etc in numerous public health measures like heart disease, suicides, etc etc. so Humboldt County must be among the worst in health care of all California counties. We are as bad as some very tiny counties up in the Sierras.


    Maybe someone can post a pic of the chart.

  64. Mitch
    November 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

    The word “fraud” is fascinating. For example, depending on who makes the laws, accepting hundreds of millions of dollars of money from anonymous donors in order to repeat lies on television thousands of times is not fraud.

    Here’s an example of something that is fraud under California law, and something that is not. See if you can tell which is which.

    1) Being allocated fifteen minutes in order to cook breakfast for a client. Cooking breakfast for two clients simultaneously and charging your minimum wage rate for thirty minutes.

    2) Getting paid a six figure income for managing a program but not knowing anything about the program or assisting it in any way, because you think the program is pointless anyway and its clients are garbage.

    In Living in Truth, Vaclav Havel pointed out how a dysfunctional society mis-shapes language so that language no longer communicates truth. I think his example was the remarkable ability to use the phrase “mistakes were made” so as to eliminate accountability. I’d have no idea of what he’d have to say about the remarkable ability of bureaucrats to turn efficiency (on an individual basis) into fraud.

  65. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2012 at 7:37 am

    You are mistaken, 7:13. I said I knew people who had been accused. I don’t know anyone who admitted to it and I don’t know anyone who was prosecuted for it. I do understand what would motivate people to cheat and their clients to help them, but understanding a possible motive isn’t evidence of fraud any more than an accusation is. There is fraud in virtually every endeavor so I have no doubt that some people cheat IHSS for more pay. That isn’t justification for denying a living wage to people who do such important and economically beneficial work for society.

  66. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Is it true that IHSS workers have to run errands and transport clients in the vehicles they purchase and pay for insurance and fuel without reimbursement? If so, they are making considerably below minimum wage and paying payroll taxes on income that they shouldn’t be.

  67. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2012 at 7:54 am

    And they have to pay the full amount of FICA, not the half that regular employees pay.

  68. 713
    November 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    #1 is fraud because you are getting paid for your time, not per egg you cook.
    #2 is an asshole, but probably legal.

    Am I close?

  69. PlunderZ
    November 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

    “Widespread fraud in IHSS” is a right wing Republican meme here in California so given the make up of the Supes it is not an unexpected response. Of course there is widespread corru;ption in county gov but the Supes stlll give themselves raises. Go figure.

  70. November 11, 2012 at 9:11 am


    Not just close, you are “spot on.” This is a field in which you, as an independent contractor, are not allowed to take advantage of the precise efficiency improvements which you produce — basically the exact opposite of what the “free market” supposedly worships. And the asshole in charge pays (quite well, actually) fleets of truly worthless analysts, programmers, administrative assistants, secretary to the analyst’s administrative assistant, etc., etc., to redetermine every year or so exactly how many minutes one wipe of one arse should take, on a form that takes advantage of all the new principles of font design that have been uncovered over the last year.

    And the asshole in charge shows up weekly at the Board of Supervisors to convince them he is saving the county great amounts of money by reducing the minutes per wipe from two to one, because although it takes two to do it properly, most IHSS providers will take two even though they will only be able to bill for one, because they don’t like the idea of someone spending the next twelve hours with an itchy butt.

    And the Board of Supervisors will ask, “the state’s still paying for 98% of this, right? Because we don’t want the County paying for that “wasted” minute if it will cost some fucking developer” — actually, that would be you, 713 — “another three cents on their taxes to pay for some elderly woman’s butt not itching. Bet she doesn’t vote.”

    And the asshole will say, “yup, the state’s still paying. I’ll need another 10% next year for myself, and another three secretaries for my secretary’s administrative assistant.”

    And the taxpayers will be upset at how much it’s costing to wipe people’s butts, and join the tea party, of which the asshole is almost certainly a member, given that he knows how inefficient government is.

    This is IHSS. This is the County of Humboldt. This is America.

    Nearly left out the best part. The asshole, the programmers, the administrative assistant to the third secretary: they all think they are doing overwhelming work in difficult circumstances, because not one of them has ever seen a functional workplace. That’s what makes the whole thing sit-com material.

  71. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2012 at 9:12 am

    But widespread fraud in tax paying, epidemic at the top, is justified by saying it’s because taxes are too high.

  72. November 11, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Has there ever been one case of fraud in IHSS prosecuted? Seems like all one has to do is make stuff up, and insto-presto; it’s an issue.

  73. tra
    November 11, 2012 at 9:27 am


    (1) Fair point about difficulty in enforcing laws when large numbers of people are breaking them. But of course no one here has offered any evidence this is actually the case with IHSS. Furthermore, this still wouldn’t justify penalizing non-fraudsters by withholding a raise from them. It would justify replacing ineffective managers and/or reforming an ineffective bureacracy.

    (2) Not a very good comparison, as the IHSS is a program run by government, with taxpayers’ money, whereas cannabis growing (and selling) is not. In other words, in the former case there are taxpayer-funded supervisors and administrators who are responsible for the way the program is conducted, which is not the case with cannabis growing.

    (3) Basically you’re saying that the supervisor you talked to is being dishonest with the public about the “real reason” they oppose the IHSS raise, and will only tell the truth to those they have a “personal relationship” with. That may be true. But, where does that leave the rest of us? They have taken a policy position (against giving the raises) and offered the public a rationale (that the county can’t afford to give the raises). In my judgement the rationale offered is unconvincing. Now along comes an anonymous blog commenter claiming that one of the Supervisors (which the commenter has declined to name) told him there’s a different rationale which that supervisor (and others?) based their vote on, but which is being concealed from the public. So, what are we supposed to do with that allegation? My answer is continue to point out that their stated rationale doesn’t hold water. If they think their “secret” rationale is more defensible, they can reveal and defend it. If not, then they’re left trying to defend the public rationale. In my opinion, the (alleged) “secret” rationale in this case is no more defensible than the stated one, so it’s kind of a moot point.

  74. tra
    November 11, 2012 at 9:35 am


    It’s a huge program, so it would be surprising if there were not at least some cases of fraud or other misconduct. But that’s true of any other large program, and plenty of medium and small ones. Regardless, it’s not a logicaly or ethically defensible reason for withholding a raise from those who aren’t involved in fraud of other misconduct. I

  75. Not A Native
    November 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

    [Nope NAN. As long as you are anonymous, go fuck yourself. The stated rule is I delete criticism from an anonymous of a named individual (that would be me) unless it actually provides something more than a simple assertion. I’m leaving it up this time, so people can see the rule. But I’ll flush your crap next time. –Mitch]

    [[Oh fuckity fuck fuck. NAN, carry on. I just glanced at the slumlord thread and realized there just ain’t no way I’m going to be hall monitor for the Herald. Insult me to your heart’s content. And go fuck yourself. –Mitch]

    This thread has finally come to another rant by Mitch, making undocumented allegations against Phil Crandall while pooh poohing semi-documented allegations of fraud in IHSS. This is what most of Mitch’s threads are, thinly veiled expressions of his personal anger, disgruntlement, and immaturity. He’s boring and predictable.

    As far as IHSS workers, I agree they should be paid more. But the electorate in HumCo has chosen a majority of supervisors who are essential conservatives that believe direct assistance by Government to individuals harms them morally and is a misuse of public funds. So, they’ll accept grants as “free money”, but are unwilling to add their discretionary share. We’ll find out who is more appealing to the public, Shane or the gang of four.

  76. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Nursing home owners probably approve of this decision. It’s another example of “penny wise and pound foolish.” Forcing the elderly into nursing homes because they can’t receive adequate care at home is profitable for some, not so much for the taxpayers.

  77. November 11, 2012 at 9:45 am

    And here’s a paper on IHSS in Southern California counties including LA and Orange: http://theacademy.sdsu.edu/programs/SACHS/research/IHSS-Descriptive%20Data%20Report-FINAL%20May%202011.pdf

    The caseload in LA is around 200,000; the number of annual fraud referrals is around 500 — that’s referrals, not substantiated cases. That’s one quarter of one percent. And here’s a description of what constitutes fraud, from the report:

    IHSS fraud can involve the provider or the recipient or both. The major types of investigated fraud   include: overstated needs; shared checks; unreported people in the home; unreported marriages;  unreported deaths; and unreported in‐patient hospital stays. The major types of provider‐fraud are typically where the  provider is not actually working, or the recipient is either deceased or in a hospital and thus ineligible for services. The provider will fill out a timesheet and forge the recipient’s signature or force the signature of the recipient.

    Call me crazy, but I suspect a state audit of a single taxpayer with an income in excess of $1 million is likely to come up with an increase in revenue equivalent to hundreds of IHSS investigations revealing that someone was actually able to make it to the bathroom without help on good days.

  78. tra
    November 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Gang of Four? Really? Several previous boards also declined to give the IHSS workers a raise, including when the majority included Lovelace, Neeley and Clendenen. And Lovelace continued his opposition this time around. Sorry, not everything fits neatly into the “Gang of Four” framework. And, by the way, Estelle Fennel hasn’t even taken office yet, so in addition to being historically and presently inaccurate, it’s also a bit premature to blame this on a “Gang of Four” faction. If it had been a 3-2 vote with Lovelace and Clendenen supporting the raises, and Bass, Sundberg and Bohn opposing them, then you could argue that a “Gang of Three” was the problem, but as it stands, the problem has been the whole Gang of Five.

  79. 713
    November 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Sounds like they need to clean house. I suspect these conditions aren’t new, yet you blame the sitting supervisors who have been on the board less than 1 term. We’re they getting more money 4 years ago?

  80. November 11, 2012 at 10:10 am


    Ask for three numbers: ask how much money (all sources) goes to DHHS, how much of that money (all sources) goes to IHSS, and how much of that is actually disbursed to IHSS caregivers — not the social workers or the eligibility workers or the analysts or the auditors or the managers.

    If you have someone honest and thorough and from outside Humboldt County get you those three numbers, you’ll have an idea of whether or not money is being allocated properly.

  81. tra
    November 11, 2012 at 10:21 am

    My understanding is that the stated position of the board is that the county can’t afford the raises because although the county’s fiscal position has improved, the county has not yet been able to restore an adequate level of reserves.

    I’m willing to take the board members at their word when they state that their rationale is that the county simply can’t afford the raises, at least not yet. But what can and cannot be “afforded” is, at least in part, a matter of priorities, and if we the people decide that better IHSS pay should be a higher priority, we can and should demand that our representatives reconsider their position. Considering the importance of the work these workers do, considering that they are the lowest-paid county workers, considering how long it has been since they have received a raise, and keeping in mind the fact that the majority of the funding for the program comes from the federal and state governments, I think there’s clearly a very strong case to be made that giving these folks a raise should be way up toward the top of the list of priorities for County Supervisors as we go forward.

    My hope is that two things will happen in the coming months: (1) Enough people will contact their County Supervisor to express their support for the raises (I already have, and will do so again) and that many will take other public actions demonstrating their support, and (2) County revenues will continue to come in at a steady enough rate to allow the Supervisors to say “we always wanted to give these raises, but felt we had to wait until the County’s fiscal condition was stable enough to support them, and now we are pleased to find that it is, and we can.”

  82. tra
    November 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

    “This is what most of Mitch’s threads are, thinly veiled expressions of his personal anger, disgruntlement, and immaturity. He’s boring and predictable.”

    And congratulations to NAN for winning the prestigious PotKettleBlack Award!

  83. November 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

    But tra,

    That makes me the kettle. Oh well. KETTLE PRIDE! And it’s tortoises.

  84. tra
    November 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Turtles, you heretic!

  85. 713
    November 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

    King phil is beyond reproach. at least that is what i hear.

  86. November 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Well-phrased, 713. As beyond reproach as J. Edgar.

  87. November 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Mitch, you need to learn to stop taking things personally. I have another book for you to read if you haven’t already read it: The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. Or his “The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery” that also includes his Four Agreements. I think this one is easier to understand than Chopra. Easy to read, not so easy to do.

  88. Goldie
    November 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I can not say what Mich needs but the Fifth Agreement is “Be skeptical but learn to listen.” I think Skippy read it and then elevated himself to another blog.

  89. November 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm


    I don’t care what any of you say. It’s tortoises.

  90. Not A Native
    November 12, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Mitch, you’ve voluntarily taken a role of thread poster here, enhancing your visibility and ability to determine the topics. But you haven’t taken on the responsibilities that come with that role, namely open criticisms and challenges to your style, methods and objectivity. Other notable bloggers in HumCo edit out only off topic posts or pointed criticism of third parties who aren’t participating and so haven’t demonstrated their willingness to engage. I’d say some of your comments directed to DHHS might qualify for such censorship. But you choose to use your ‘authority’ here in a manner similar to Rose and the Mirror. I think you’re lowering the quality of the Herald.

    The charge here is hypocrisy, you write promoting open dialogue and evaluation but apparently not when it applies to your opinions and passions. You can’t take the heat but still claim the kitchen as your domain.

  91. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Speaking of Rose, has anyone seen her lately?

    DHHS is a publicly funded agency which is as open to public criticism as the building dept, the BOS, Cal Trans, the federal government, public schools, city councils, etc. Why should DHSS be treated as a sacred cow, Nan?

  92. November 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Well, Nan, a few points.

    First, you’ll notice that your comment in its entirety is still present, though the part that is of no value other than insult is presented with overstrike.

    Second, you’ll notice that I’ve said I’m not going to be hall monitor and invited you to post your bullshit to your heart’s content.

    Third, I make no claim of objectivity, and have already said I’m a disgruntled ex-employee of the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s why I feel I have information about DHHS and its leader.

    Fourth, I do not value your opinion at all. So, by all means, crap away. Somebody might pay attention if you used your name.

  93. Not A Native
    November 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Well to be more clear PJ its the personal attacks on Phil Crandall not DHHS. You’re right, the actions of public figures are rightly subject to any sort of criticism. But impuning their motives is a little hazier. And to be more specific, I think Eric Kirk and H, while not perfect, have mature and impartial attitudes toward their threads and being held to account for them while Mitch does not.

    I’ve opined that Mitch is a disgruntled ex employee of DHHS. He has tacitly acknowledged it and rightly should disclose of that truth whenever he chooses to post threads on DHHS matters. I believe Mitch is also disgruntled in other, less obvious ways, and point that out when it seems appropriate.

  94. Mitch
    November 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

    To save space, I’ll just refer people to comment #81.

  95. janelle
    November 13, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Today the Bd of Supes will become the Governing Board of the Humboldt County Public Authority for In-Home Support Services for a closed session review of their position and to instruct their negotiators.

  96. Annonymous
    November 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Would one compromise be distinguishing between IHSS workers who are paid to care for their own child or parent and one who is paid to take care of the general public?

    Give the raise to the one taking care of strangers. The ones being paid for taking care of their own child or parent should consider themselves lucky to being paid by the taxpayers at all.

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