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Letter to the Editor: Mental Health Discussion at Board of Supervisors Meeting

There was little to no coverage of the events that transpired at the May 20 Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting regarding mental health. This is understandable as the most critical and newsworthy elements were not on the agenda. Significant discussions and actions were taken regarding the mental health budget of Santa Barbara County. I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing, word-for-word, the discussions and actions that relate to mental health (see below). On the document, there’s also a link to the video and note of the exact time of the start and finish of that which was transcribed. Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting regarding mental health. This is understandable as the most critical and newsworthy elements were not on the agenda. Significant discussions and actions were taken regarding the mental health budget of Santa Barbara County. I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing, word-for-word, the discussions and actions that relate to mental health (see below). On the document, there’s also a link to the video and note of the exact time of the start and finish of that which was transcribed. Click here for the Santa Maria Times report.

The following was discussed at the May 20 Board of Supervisors meeting:

1. Supervisor Salud Carbajal — calling it “an unprecedented predicament (in mental health)” – directed staff (county Chief Executive Michael Brown in particular) to quantify cost-avoidance of cuts to the Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services budget.
2. Supervisor Janet Wolf — who categorized the cuts to mental health as “overwhelming to the system” — reminded staff and stakeholders to meet and provide recommendations as to where logical cuts could be made. Mr. Brown replied that such meetings have not, after over a month, yet occurred and admitted, “That’s true, we do need to sit with them.” 
3. Supervisor Brooks Firestone conceded that “there is a certain amount of logic to this argument.”
4. Supervisor Joni Gray — who asked, “is it more cost-effective to put someone in jail or have them work in a garden?” — motioned to set aside $668,000 of Tobacco Settlement Endowment (TSAC) funds “with the goal of going to mental health.”
5. Supervisor Joe Centeno — calling it a “tragedy in mental health” — asked the board to hold the administrative funds of TSAC and possibly apply them to the mental health budget.
6. Supervisor Carbajal motioned that $4,000,000 be taken from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment reserve of $4,600,000, applying $1,400,000 to public health and the remainder to mental health. Mr. Brown replied that only $2,600,000 can be taken out without an investment loss. Supervisor Carbajal suggested that, to avoid the loss, they do a “swap and flip from the reserves knowing the money’s coming back in one or two years.” Mr. Brown didn’t know any details about the investment so the board ultimately agreed to give conceptual direction to take $2,000,000 from the TSAC reserve. However, they could take another $2,000,000 if a “swap and flip from the reserves” was approved. The motion was accepted but Supervisor Centeno questioned whether that much should be applied to public health and whether or not more should be applied to mental health.

And yet, no Supervisor motioned to add further discussion, apart from the allocation of TSAC funds, to the 5/27 agenda. There is still an opportunity for them to add such an item before the Brown Act’s 72-hour deadline passes.

I’m requesting that all local news media cover this very important multimillion-dollar social issue. I will be speaking at a news conference on Friday on the steps of the County Administration Building at 2 p.m. I will identify any news agency that fails to mention the events as they unfold as inadequate, biased and blatantly discriminatory of the mentally ill of our county. I will also make certain to point out contradictions between statements and actions that any Supervisor makes following the Tuesday meeting in Santa Maria. I suggest all media attend the meeting in Santa Maria on Tuesda and the Friday news conference. I will be making two addresses at the Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting — one during public comments and the other during discussion on the allocation of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment.

To the Supervisors, I would like one of you to agendize a discussion of the cost-avoidance analysis and other options being entertained between county officials and the CBOs or, if it is too late by the time you receive this, add it as agenda item-X. To my knowledge, Claudia Crawford, director of the Arlington Day Treatment Center in Santa Barbara, met with Supervisor Wolf this past Friday and asked that some leadership emerge and bring these issues to the forefront of the agenda. According to the Brown Act, it’s still technically possible to add that item to the agenda. And according to the transcript of the May 20 meeting, that’s exactly what you requested.

Roger Thompson
Santa Barbara

COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2008

PUBLIC COMMENT
http://bos-agenda.sbcgov.net/calendar/#current
ONLINE MEDIA: BEGIN 46:10 END 57:38

SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Next we have Roger Thompson to be followed by Ann Crosby.
ROGER THOMPSON, MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE:
Chairman Carbajal, Supervisors. It’s always an honor and privilege to speak before you. I had one such opportunity on April 22nd in Santa Maria. I argued that Ann Detrick’s proposed ADHMS budget was a laudable effort but one that fell short of satisfactory. The board directed county officials to explore a “myriad of options.” Despite waves of testimony you heard that day, arguments of morality aren’t options that often translate into economic realities. Appealing to this consideration, I caution that the proposed budget will eventually cost taxpayers more than saved from making those cuts. 
A cost-benefit analysis published in Denver County in December of 2006, examined services similar to those provided by ADHMS. The study found greater savings to taxpayers by maintaining services which treat the severely mentally ill compared to savings from the reduction of those services. The study examined the impact of 19 individuals on community services twenty-four months prior to receiving support compared to twenty-four months after receiving support. The report concluded that costs of health care decreased 44 percent, incarceration costs decreased 76 percent, and costs of detox services decreased 84 percent.
The taxpayers of Santa Barbara County deserve a similar study – if not for mental clarity then for economic stability.
This is one of a “myriad of options.” But I ask you, what are the others? What are the others? It’s been a month and I would like this board to agendize a discussion on next meeting’s docket to look at options currently being entertained. It is only to our benefit to have an open exchange of ideas before the proposed budget cuts are forced, to no one’s satisfaction, into adoption. I’d like to thank Supervisor Wolf for indicating, in our correspondence, a willingness to deliberate this issue at today’s public hearing. I’d also like to thank Supervisor Carbajal for his commitment to “continue to work to ensure that we minimize the cuts,” and, “perhaps doing further studies such as the one” requested.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
There is a chance that you have forwarded that Denver study to my office and it got lost in the stack of papers but would you mind doing it again?
ROGER THOMPSON, MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE:
Absolutely, you’ll have it before lunch.

JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Okay thank you very much.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
I would just like to follow up - we’ve had two speakers speak to the mental health issue. I do want to go back to that April 22nd meeting because as I recall there was direction from the board to staff to engage the stakeholders in looking at the budget and coming back to us with a draft even though we knew that Mr. Brown had put it into the budget book but that it was to be reviewed and to date I haven’t heard of a stakeholder meeting, I don’t know what the status is and I think it’s really important. I certainly agree with the issues you [Thompson] bought up about a cost-benefit analysis. It would be good to see the numbers in Santa Barbara. I don’t know that we can get it in time for the budget hearing but I will tell you that from everything I’ve heard it makes absolute sense. We cannot make an enormous cut to our adult mental health budget. A 20 percent cut will be overwhelming to the system. And it will have a rippling effect. So I guess my question is and maybe we can get an answer to this is some follow-up to that April 22nd meeting prior to our budget hearings so we have a better handle on what has been discussed and with whom?
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Mr. Chair, Supervisor Wolf. Yes we have been concentrating on the revenue side and as you know, given the tightness of the budget, I don’t think there are a lot of places to go on the expenditure side. So when you open your budget book you’ll see back on the transfers reserve that we have placed $3,000,000 for trueup problem so as not to hurt the department any more and preserve whatever budget is ultimately adopted for services so we’ve taken a major step. As you know, in the past weeks, we have been bringing you a variety of revenue items that you can choose from to help augment the budget. If that settles down we will talk to the group but the problem is [that] we do not have a silver bullet answer to provide an augmentation except by cutting other departments and as you know you’re in the process of doing many things on employee front working with employees and management and everybody to try to achieve savings which might become available if you choose to do so there are many, many things going on.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
Mr. Brown, I’m not sure that I got my answer. We had directed staff to meet with the stakeholders and then come back to us because indeed there may be some areas where there could be some logical cuts. As opposed to, if that doesn’t occur, there may be kind of wholesale cuts to a program. So wouldn’t it make sense and we had requested that everyone be involved in this process – not everyone.


MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
That’s true and we do need to sit with them because what we’re doing is we have a lot of, there’s some duplication of service where the county internally is serving the same people as the non-profits and that could be a fruitful area but I don’t want to mislead anybody that there’s a silver bullet.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
The speaker [Roger Thompson], the folks that spoke on the mental health issue today, might want to stick around because I’m jumping to item 5 where the public health will be coming in with the Tobacco Settlement Advisory. There’s $600,000 there that were using for the tobacco cessation program that I think maybe would be better spent to extend the mental health programs that we have going on with the CBOs. So I’ll be asking my fellow members of the board at that time to maybe look at, you know it’s desirable but I think that, cuts have to be made in mental health are more critical. We’ll be discussing that, at least I’ll be bringing it up, when we get to item five.
ROGER THOMPSON, MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE:
Excellent.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Mr. Brown, the only thing that I will add is that I mentioned in previous hearings on the mental health issue [and] that is it somewhat touches on what Mr. Thompson is alluding to although I think he’s asking for a much broader study and in light of the time frame involved I’m not sure if we can do anything more extensive but I think it’s really important that we try to have some kind of cost-avoidance analysis. With certain cuts, what is going to be the impact? How could that translate into a lot more expense for the county instead of just shoring it up somehow[sic]. I think it helps us understand if spending $1,000,000 for example is going to save us $2,000,000 in the long run. It’s really important for us to understand that picture. Because I think, unless we understand that picture, we could easily … I don’t know how to say that saying that well so I won’t say it but it’s important we understand that we understand that to the extent that we can. Once we understand the impacts of the cuts, how could that translate into further expense for the county and might it be more cost-effective to shore it up? If you could just look into that? To the extent you can quantify cost-avoidance, that would be helpful.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
I’ll be glad to do that to the extent possible.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Thank you very much Mr. Brown.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT: 
Supervisor Carbajal, just quickly, I think that Denver study may be as helpful as anything we can get our hands on. The issue is, is it more cost-effective to put someone in jail or have them work in a garden? I think… bottom line.

SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
It comes down to how we see our populations being impacted that way. So if you could get us that study I think we could look at the mythology of that study and see if we could superimpose Santa Barbara County’s impacts.
ROGER THOMPSON, MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE:
Absolutely. I actually have one question if I may – is it possible to put on the agenda for the next board meeting to discuss what we brought up here?
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Mr. Supervisor Firestone.
BROOKS FIRESTONE, THIRD DISTRICT:
Mr. Chair, um, and I think there’s a certain amount of logic to this discussion. However, think of all the other departments. If we cut the sheriff’s department, what will that do to law enforcement? What are the costs of that? If we cut the fire department, what are the costs to having extensive fires? If we cut the road department, what is the ultimate cost to the deterioration of our roads that then will then need rebuilding? I think this line of reasoning applies literally to everything we do. I have a great deal of sympathy for the mental health department but I think we need to understand that every department has a similar argument about what will happen to county and to the ultimate costs should their department be cut and unfortunately we’re cutting all departments.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Thank you, Mr. Firestone. I think we’re going to continue, the only thing I’ll add is that looking at roads and looking at people’s needs are slightly different but nonetheless. I think we have in motion as much as we’re going to extract for this next meeting. I appreciate your suggestion but I don’t hear anybody from the board requesting that we do that. But thank you for your suggestion Mr. Thompson.
ROGER THOMPSON, MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE:
Thank you.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
Well I do hope we’ll get an update prior to the budget hearings on some of the things…
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Thank you Supervisor Wolf, so noted.

TOBACCO SETTLMENT FUNDING (MENTAL HEALTH DISCUSSION)
http://bos-agenda.sbcgov.net/calendar/#current
ONLINE MEDIA: BEGIN 4:08:00 END 4:23:00

SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Thank you Supervisor Centeno I’m going to, being that I’ve been the liaison from the board to TSAC, I’m gonna go next and I will encourage us to give some consideration to approving those recommendations. It’s sort of the swansong of the TSAC Committee that is now sun setting in terms of the recommendations that are before the board, so it’s actually valuing the good work that they did in bringing those recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. Certainly we can do otherwise but I would encourage us to validate and value the work that they did and approve those recommendations but I’m going to go somewhere that I don’t think we’ve touched on to date in terms of the discussion today. We are facing difficult times in our mental health department and I want to remind us, it’s not in the staff report, but we have a $4,600,000 reserve. Irrespective of the monies that continue to come every year to TSAC to be allocated – we have a $4,600,000 reserve and I would like to propose – the TSAC reserve, there’s a TSAC reserve, not the ongoing funds we’ll be making decisions on for future years to continue either similar recommendations as are before us today or other recommendations – but there is a $4,600,000 reserve that exists. Certainly we can always build it back up again slowly but surely but we are right now facing a very difficult predicament financially at the county and just this year alone for public health we’re cutting $1,400,000. This board established guiding principles that said, ‘We will use TSAC money for health purposes.’ And I think we’ve being doing that and we’ll continue doing that based on those guidelines. But I think we have a unique opportunity to take at least $1,400,000 million of that TSAC reserve that we have and use it for this year and even consider it next year. I think we have an unprecedented predicament facing the services we provide to the most venerable. We have already informed the state that we can’t provide a $107,000 match for the MSSB program that goes towards the elderly and the frail and because of that we’re saying you fund it, we can’t provide the match, we’re noticing you by law so we can get let non-profit or other entity to administer that program because we can’t afford to provide $107,000 for that program. That’s just one little thing. There’s $1,400,000 of general fund that we are already cutting in terms of services from the health department. I would encourage us to really consider using at least $1,400,000 of that TSAC reserve to shore up that budget shortfall that the health department is facing. I would even be willing to spend the rest of the reserve on mental health as well. All the mental health shortfall that we’re facing whether it’s half of it now and half of it next year so we at least have two years till revenues get better. But we are in an unprecedented predicament. And I’d like to throw that out for discussion because I think maybe perhaps it’s an opportunity to use that reserve. Supervisor Gray.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Thank you Supervisor Carbajal and also Supervisor Centeno for your comments. I was on the board when we decided that we should have a reserve in the TSAC and that it was for a rainy day, I’m of the opinion that the rainy day is here so I’m okay with that. But I’m not okay with the $668,000 being spent for the tobacco cessation prevention program when I see the problems of mental health. We all felt it when we had the four hours of testimony but I feel it every single day because my office in Lompoc is directly under mental health and so I see those folks going in for eight hours a day. Now that’s not to say as Supervisor Firestone will point out that we have problems in other departments if we experience cuts. But in my scheme of things I would be willing to put the prevention element on hold if I have to do that in order to make certain mental health gets taken care of. That’s my position. I don’t know how to necessarily get there but I’m not today willing to support Part A of this with that prevention money going the way it is right now.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Mr. Brown, how much of the assumptions today regarding the TSAC recommendations were considered as part of the public health department’s balanced budget coming before us? Is it the recommendations that are in here?
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Mr. Chair as you can of course see as you pointed out.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Because the $1,400,000 that I pointed out would be more if we don’t approve the recommendations that are before us.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Right as you can see that most of this goes to direct clinical services of public health or we’re buying specialty services in the hospital or keeping the ER going for our patients.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
So in keeping with our previous board protocol and TSAC recommendations I understand why he did that because it’s almost a given that this board would very likely, unless we don’t, approve those recommendations. Whether we take one or two that we disagree or agree on that’s different but overall the general recommendations are before us. I’m hoping that at the very least we disagree on one or two of those recommendations that we take those separate. But I hope we can consider moving forward with the recommendations and perhaps having a split vote.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
You could if there’s one you want to carve out and hold till June.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Well I’ll make a motion that we take out the $668,000 with the goal of going to mental health. I mean that’s where I want to go.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Your final action will as part of budget anyhow but if you gave conceptual direction today, we’d know more
JOSEPH CENTENO, FIFTH DISTRICT, VICE CHAIR:
I would include of the list you have here just those two items the $668,000 and also the TSAC administration maybe there’s a way to reduce that cost I don’t know but for now I’d wanna back those two out and go ahead and deal with the others ones. I don’t have any problem with the other ones. We have had some great discussions about the tragedy in mental health and we really need to shore up some of that because I don’t know if we can sustain these monstrous cuts to our community-based organizations in mental health services so I think we need to look at that – we need to look at maybe here we have at least a few dollars we could throw in that direction so I would support the motion.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Supervisor Centeno before we move forward with a vote we do have one public speaker and we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Supervisor, why don’t we go to public comment and we’ll come back because I think we’re getting a….
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
I have a comment too.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Didn’t we have? We did have. I’m loosing it. Supervisor Wolf. Motion been made and seconded. Discussion.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
First of all I just want to although I’m not sure if it’s part of the motion but I agree with what Supervisor Carbajal and Supervisor Gray said about the reserve either part or all of it going to public health and certainly some of it going to mental health. The problem I have with what’s been discussed is taking allocation from tobacco prevention settlement only because when I look down here that seems to be the one area that there is a direct nexus to the TSAC money. Yet I understand the need to pull out money for mental health, I’m just wondering why would do that. Maybe if we sent it back to the committee and say ‘come up with other cuts.’ I just don’t feel like I’m in a position to say ‘cut out tobacco prevention settlement program’ maybe it’s better to take some money out of the hospital emergency room care. Maybe it’s better to take out some money from the primary care specialty physicians. Those are both getting almost $1,000,000 each. Maybe the dental varnishing. But I just think to take this whole tobacco prevention piece totally out - I’m just having a hard time with that.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
I’m hoping to come back to reserve. The motion has been made and it’s been seconded. Madame Clerk, roll call.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
Wait, can I hear the motion again?
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Supervisor Gray, could you reiterate your motion?
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Right, the motion was that we set aside the prevention part and the administration part and pull that out and not approve that today – until budget time. And this isn’t part of the motion but the goal is that if we have to make a choice the choice is that it goes to mental health, not to tobacco prevention – recognizing that both are incredibly important.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Madame Clerk, roll call.
MADAME CLERK:
Ms. Gray.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Centeno.
JOSEPH CENTENO, FIFTH DISTRICT, VICE CHAIR:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Ms. Wolf.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
No.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Firestone.
BROOKS FIRESTONE, THIRD DISTRICT:
Aye. 
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Carbajal. 
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
No.
MADAME CLERK:
Passes 3-2.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Is there a motion to accept the remainder of staff’s recommendations? A motion’s been made. Second. Madame Clerk.
MADAME CLERK:
Ms. Gray.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Centeno. 
JOSEPH CENTENO, FIFTH DISTRICT, VICE CHAIR:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Firestone. 
BROOKS FIRESTONE, THIRD DISTRICT:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Carbajal.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Passes 5-0.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
I would now like to make a motion that we take the reserve $4,000,000 of $4,600,000 and incorporate it into shoring up the public health deficit of $1,400,000 and the rest of it going towards mental health deficit.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Mr. Chair, how much again?
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
$4,000,000 out of the $4,600,000. I know $2,600,000 of that is in mid-term investment.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Only $2,600,000 you can get out without taking an investment loss.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Okay, well, I think that’s fine. Okay so it would be $2,000,000 that we could take – we could always do a swap and flip from the reserves knowing the money’s coming back in a year or two.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
That’s a pretty long investment.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
How long is the investment?
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
I’ll have to check that. I don’t know where the maturity is on those certificates.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Anyways my motion is that we take $2,000,000 of that to shore up the public health deficit and the remainder of that $2,000,000 balance that we utilize it for our mental health challenges that we’re facing as well.
BROOKS FIRESTONE, THIRD DISTRICT:
Is this a final…
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
To be brought back to the board… but conceptually.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
I’ll second that and I think… did staff want to talk to this?
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
I had a say on this…
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Supervisor Gray
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Do we have a noticing problem here? This is a huge… we’re taking… I mean, I don’t disagree with what we may doing… but we’re taking $4,100,000 of reserves that we have set aside without any noticing. I realize that we’ve got it but I think we might have to have more notice before we vote on this. Council.
COUNCIL:
Mr. Chairman, members of the board, that’s exactly what I was just talking with Mr. Brown about. I don’t see that issue noticed here adequately to make that kind of decision.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Okay, well, I’d like to perhaps modify my motion. Mr. Brown to have that item brought back to the board before budget just to make sure we’re on the same page as we’re kicking it to June.
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
We could probably do that next week.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Well, assuming there’s a second.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
I’ll second that.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
And there’s a willingness by the board to consider it. Further discussion on it or should we take a vote? Madame Clerk.
JOSEPH CENTENO, FIFTH DISTRICT, VICE CHAIR:
I was going to make a comment but I’ll wait until it comes back to us.
MADAME CLERK:
Ms. Gray.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
I think it should be discussed but I’m not sure if next week is the right time.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
I just think it might get us ahead of the budget because it’s going to be a challenging…
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
This is something you really need to read about so and I don’t know if staff will be ready so I’m just going to abstain until I know staff is ready.
MADAME CLERK:
Ms. Gray.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
I’m going to abstain.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Centeno.
JOSEPH CENTENO, FIFTH DISTRICT, VICE CHAIR:
I’m going to go ahead and support it but I’m not comfortable with making the call to send it all to public health. We’ve got some real problems in mental health and I don’t even know where we’re at with the children’s health stuff either.
MADAME CLERK:
Ms. Wolf.
JANET WOLF, SECOND DISTRICT:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Firestone.
BROOKS FIRESTONE, THIRD DISTRICT:
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Mr. Carbajal.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Aye.
MADAME CLERK:
Passes 4-A with one abstention.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
Okay I think we’re done with this item. We will now proceed.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Is that it?
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR: 
No, we have one more item.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Mr. Carbajal, if the staff can’t possibly put together the report for this for next week, can we just give them a little leeway?
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
I think they can…
MICHAEL F. BROWN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
Mr. Chair, Supervisor Gray. My understanding is that most of this has been conceptually approved. Because of the noticing issue, since we were discussing the reserve which was not mentioned at all in this item, you simply want us to come back, reaffirm what’s in the reserve and then you would have the opportunity to consider those two items with the proper noticing. So we’re not going to prepare any substantive report.
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Thank you Mr. Brown.
JONI GRAY, FOURTH DISTRICT:
Can I change my abstention to yes?
SALUD CARBAJAL, FIRST DISTRICT, CHAIR:
Alright, change it to a yes. So that’s 5-0.

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Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

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Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

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