Posts Tagged ‘Contra Costa County’

If you have seen newspaper articles / news on TV about possible strike on July 4th & 5th at East Bay Regional Parks OR received a mysterious letter (…or read it on EBRPD website) from the general manager at East Bay Regional Park District . . . please do NOT be fooled by misinformation.  Please ask questions and use your mighty voices to express your concern for fair treatment to ALL employees of a public agency that is thriving because of YOUR property taxes (Measure WW), YOUR patronage, YOUR support, and 600+ employees’ dedication and labor.  Please ask the 7 EBRPD board members to ”Give your employees a fair contract now.”  (Their contact information is listed below.)

HOW CAN WE SAY “Thank you” to the employees who make East Bay regional parks and trails safe, clean and beautiful?  Write or email the 7 EBRPD board members (names and addresses below)  a simple note: ”Give your employees a fair contract now.” and cc: Local 2428 President. IF employees do go on strike, give them smiles and “Thank you” when you are entering the park on July 4th and 5th.

It’s so easy for us to complain “Oh how inconvenient . . . that this group and that group are going on strike.”  Workers do not go on strike for the fun of it.  Workers do not get paid when they go on strike; they are the ones who are severely inconvenienced. The universal desire to receive fair compensation for labor (in order to provide for our families, loved ones, and ourselves) makes us human.  This great nation has a long history of speaking up and speaking out for what is fair.  We are Americans, thank goodness  :)   We, the workers, are speaking up and speaking out!

On June 27, 2013, General Manager of East Bay Regional Park District sent “A Message to our Community – Possible Employee Strike Action at Regional Parks on July 4-5″  That document from the general manager contains incorrect and misleading information.

As I read the “Message” from the GM . . .  lines from E. B. White’s children book Charlotte’s Web came to mind.

“What are you thinking about, Charlotte?” Wilbur asked.

“I was just thinking,” said the spider, “that people are very gullible.”

“What does ‘gullible’ mean?”

“Easy to fool,” said Charlotte.

If we are to read the GM’s “Message” and accept the document as the whole truth (without conducting fact-checking), then, yes, we are gullible.

The ”Message” says that the District is offering an overall pay increase of 8.5% over a four-year contract. What his message doesn’t say is that employees’ buying power has eroded by 11.5% over the past four years.

The District is offering 2% wage increase for July 1, 2013–March 31, 2014 (previous contract has already expired on March 31, 2013) while 2013 Consumer Price Index is 2.4%.

CPI figures confirmed by http://www.bls.gov/ro9/9240.pdf

2010 2.4%

2011 2.1%

2012 3.5%

2013 2.4%

GM’s Message says: ” . . . current average total compensation (wages and benefits) for the basic park maintenance worker as a Park Ranger 2 with a high school education and three years of service is $102,000.” What GM’s Message doesn’t say is that (according to District’s website) the minimum monthly salary for Park Ranger II is $4,310.80 and maximum monthly salary is $4,693.87.  Office Assistant/Senior Office Assistant min. salary $3,800.88/month; max. salary $4,286.75/month. And, those salary figures are gross, not net.

Ask a Park Ranger II or Office Assistant what his/her take-home pay is.

Ask a Park Ranger II or Office Assistant what losing 11.5% buying-power over the past four years means in terms of paying:

  • rent or mortgage and property tax
  • food
  • utilities
  • hygiene products & clothing
  • transportation or gasoline, car maintenance and insurance
  • home owner or tenant’s insurance
  • doctor-visit co-pays
  • living expense for dependents

What the GM’s ”Message” doesn’t say is that while the EBRPD board members approve “merit increases” for managers . . . the job classifications and salary schedules for many non-management positions are outdated.

EBRPD is a special district (not state, not city). The District reports 2012 General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.7 million, or 10%, which means General Fund revenues grew by $3.4 million. In 2011, General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.3 million. In other words, the Park District is indeed financially healthy. Even during the recession, the District had a surplus of $5 million. Why erode skilled and loyal employees’ wages/benefits/buying power?

HOW CAN WE SAY “Thank you” to the employees who make East Bay regional parks and trails safe, clean and beautiful?  Write or email the 7 EBRPD board members (names and addresses below)  a simple note:  “Give your employees a fair contract now.” and cc: Local 2428 President. IF employees do go on strike, please give them smiles and  say “Thank you” when you are entering the park on July 4th and 5th. Join them on the picket lines.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On June 26, 2013 AFSCME Local 2428 had released this statement: AFSCME LOCAL 2428 EAST BAY PARK WORKERS ARE PREPARING TO STRIKE JULY 4TH AND 5TH FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

WHY WOULD WE GO ON STRIKE ?

•We are trying to reach a fair contract with our employer the EBRPD. If we do not reach agreement by the evening of July 3rd, then, yes, we shall proceed with work-stoppage on July 4th and 5th; Local 2428 had already notified the public last week; mediation session is scheduled for July 1st, 2013.

•Our wages are 17% less than our counterparts in other public agencies.

•The District’s offer does not keep pace with inflation (our buying power has already eroded by 11.5% over the past four years)

•The District’s offer amounts to a net wage increase of 1.125% each year over 4 years; if CPI stays at 2.4% each year, we would fall further and further behind.

•If Board Members grant merit increases to one group of employees (highest-paid group), then it’s only fair to not erode the wages of the lower-paid groups.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What is Local 2428 Negotiations Team asking on behalf of their 600+ members?

a 3-year contract April 1, 2013 — March 31, 2016 that offers:

•Year 1 – current CPI of 2.4 plus 1% = 3.4%

•Year 2 – CPI plus 1.75% — with 2.5% floor / 4.75% ceiling

•Year 3 – CPI plus 1.75% — with 2.5% floor / 4.75% ceiling

Since no one can predict future years’ CPI, percentages for floors and ceiling are used.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 Here are names and email addresses of the 7 EBRPD Board Members and General Manager:

EBRPD Board President John Sutter” <jsutter@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Vice President Ayn Wieskamp” <awieskamp@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Secretary Ted Radke”  <tradke@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Treasurer Whitney Dotson” <wdotson@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Member Beverly Lane” <blane@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Member Doug Siden” <dsiden@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Member Carol Severin” <cseverin@ebparks.org>

EBRPD GM Robert E. Doyle” <bdoyle@ebparks.org>

Please cc   “AFSCME Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha” local2428negotiations@gmail.com  510-566-5985

U.S. mailing address to Board Members and General Manager: EBRPD Board, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605 1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), extension 2020 for Clerk of the Board

Please cc Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha: Local 2428 East Bay Parks, 80 Swan Way, Suite 110, Oakland, CA 94621 Tel: 510-566-5985

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Yes, I am one of the 276 employees who voted “NO” to the District’s proposed contract that would further diminish my buying power and narrow negotiating parameters for future contracts.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I cheer for all EBRPD coworkers (Local 2428 members, seasonal and temporary employees, management, confidentials, public safety) current and future, retirees, volunteers, family, friends, neighbors, Alameda County and Contra Costa County property tax payers, advocates of Measure WW, EBRPD board members, all EBRPD park and trail users, all the Charlotte(s), Wilbur(s), Templeton(s), and Fern(s)!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you, Local 2428 Executive Board, Negotiations Team, and Business Manager Brenda Wood!

I am Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan, asking YOU to also speak up for current and future East Bay Regional Park District workers. Do NOT be fooled by misinformation from the GM’s Message or the media.  Please ask questions and use your mighty voices.

I thank you!

Sincerely,

 

Teresa LeYung-Ryan

  • Berkeley resident
  • tax payer
  • user of EBRPD parks and trails
  • supporter of Measure WW
  • part-time Sr. Office Assistant for EBRPD
  • fan of all employees at EBRPD
  • published author and writing coach

http://writingcoachTeresa.com for more resources for writers and readers

 

Dear Coworkers, Volunteers, Neighbors, Family & Friends,

Thank you for being in my life.  This is my open letter to you and the community.

Something mysterious is happening at East Bay Regional Park District. You can help if you:

  • * have used a trail or open space or visited a park (including Regional Parks Botanic Garden—that’s where I work half-time as a Senior Office Assistant)

or

  • * are a property tax payer of Alameda County or Contra Costa County, CA
Here are my concerns related to the mystery:
  • * Are We the Workers going to accept or reject the Park District’s latest proposal of another contract that will further erode workers’ buying power when wages have already been lagging behind inflation over the last ten years? . . . while the District reports that 2012 General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.7 million, or 10% which means General Fund revenues grew by $3.4 million. In 2011, General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.3 million. In other words, the Park District is indeed financially healthy. Even during the recession, the District had a surplus of $5 million.
  • * Do We understand what CPI (Consumer Price Index) is?  Or COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment)?  Do we know that many of us are already working under-wage because job classifications have not been updated for many years?
  • * In his open letter (dated May 24, 2013)  to the EBRPD community, Board President John Sutter says: “ . . . because our employees, whether they be AFSCME Local 2428 Union Members, Police, Fire, Confidential, or Management, are the heart of our organization”   Why is the latest proposed contract (presented to our Negotiations Team on June 5, 2013 after two mediation sessions) so incongruous to these sentiments ?

While the District Board Members and General Manager are visionaries (you can see accomplishments from Google Earth), We the Workers are also visionaries (you see our accomplishments from relationships we form with park visitors, trail users, volunteers, with each other, with ourselves).
From my point of view . . . The “heart” of our organization = every employee  contributing toward relationship-building that takes place everyday in the park district (in person, over the phone, via emails).  If Board Members grant merit increases to one group of employees (highest-paid group), then it’s only fair to not erode the wages of the lower-paid groups.  A heart does have many parts; all parts deserve to be healthy.

This is how YOU & I can help transform mystery into Healthy Parks Healthy People:

Coworkers: If you’re not already receiving emails/updates from Local 2428,  please email our Negotiations Team at <local2428negotiations@gmail.com>.  Please open and read mail from AFSCME Local 2428 and attend informational meeting Monday June 17th—6 pm – 8 pm at Trudeau. We are in this adventure together.  Then, vote in person on Wednesday, June 19th at Trudeau between 12 pm and 8 pm. Each vote of  ”no” or “yes” to the proposed contract will have consequences.  Our accepting or rejecting will affect not only the next 4 years of our lives but also set the stage for the next contract negotiations. If we’re going to be retiring soon, then, our vote will impact our coworkers who need to work beyond this contract term.  Please ask questions, express your concerns, listen to coworkers’ concerns, ask more questions; information is power.

* * * * *
Volunteers, Neighbors, Family Members & Friends:
  • * Please write letters or emails to the board members and general manager (their addresses below) and cc Local 2428 Negotiations Team; be sure to provide your full name and address on your note (our board members care about what their constituents want)
  • OR
  • * Please ask an employee to give you paper and pen the next time  you’re at a regional park so that you can write a note on the spot; ask us to make copies so that you keep a copy, we send a copy to Local 2428 and forward your letter to our board members.  Be sure to provide your full name and address on your note (our board members care about what their constituents want)
  • OR
Thank you to the friends and volunteers who have already written letters, emails, and attended board meetings! Please tell your friends.
* * * * *

“EBRPD Board President John Sutter” <jsutter@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Vice President Ayn Wieskamp” <awieskamp@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Secretary Ted Radke”  <tradke@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Treasurer Whitney Dotson” <wdotson@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Beverly Lane” <blane@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Doug Siden” <dsiden@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Carol Severin” <cseverin@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD GM Robert E. Doyle” <bdoyle@ebparks.org>

Please cc   “AFSCME Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha” local2428negotiations@gmail.com  Tel:  510-566-5985

U.S. mailing address to Board Members and General Manager:    EBRPD Board, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605    1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), extension 2020 for Clerk of the Board

Please cc Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha:  Local 2428 East Bay Parks, 80 Swan Way, Suite 110, Oakland, CA 94621   Tel:  510-566-5985

* * * * *
I’m voting “NO” to this and any proposed contract that would further diminish my buying power and narrow negotiating parameters for  future contracts.
Thank you, Coworkers, Volunteers, Neighbors, Family & Friends, from the bottom of my heart!
Sincerely,
Teresa LeYung-Ryan
tax payer
user of EBRPD parks and trails
supporter of Measure WW
half-time Sr. Office Assistant for EBRPD
fan of all employees at EBRPD
published author and writing coach

Next EBRPD public board meeting – Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 2:00pm,  2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA

Let’s all be there to express our concerns.  

When you  speak, our board members do listen.

 

Great slogans, let’s practice fairness too!   EBRPD Board Members, Please be fair to the Workers who walk the talk of “Healthy Parks Healthy People” at East Bay Regional Park District’s Open Space, Parks, and Trails in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, CA.

Healthy Parks Healthy People

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

If you cannot voice your opinion in person at the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) public board meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 2:00pm (I shall be there by 1:00pm with coworkers) at 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, please use your mighty voices (before or after May 7th)  with your emails or regular mail.  Tell your friends and neighbors.   When you  speak, our board members do listen.

In the literacy community, I am known as Writing Coach Teresa who speaks up for public libraries and public schools.  I am also an employee of the East Bay Regional Park District.  My coworkers and I need your help if you believe in fairness.

Please join me in emailing the Park District board members (I’ve made it easy for you by providing their email addresses) and asking them to be fair to the workers who walk the talk/ who deliver what board members and management have pledged in the Park District’s  Core Mission statement ” and the Dedicated to Quality of Life Community Report: A Look Back at 2012; A Look Ahead to 2013 

While workers took hits to our take-home pay over the previous two-year contract, management gave themselves a raise (but called it a different name)

Workers’ buying power has eroded by 11.5% over the past four years.

We the workers care about our volunteers and everyone who visit us at our parks, trails and open space. We’re asking the board members to care about us by practicing fairness.

One simple email from you (to the folks listed below) would be greatly appreciated by me and my coworkers.

  1. Pop the addresses into the “To” line of your email so that you’re sending only one email, not nine; depending on your email provider, you may have to add commas or semicolons to separate the addresses.
  2. In the subject line, you might insert   “Park District Workers”
  3. In the body of the email, express your experience at a regional park, trail, open space (or services you’ve received over the phone or email) and ask the board members to be fair to the workers who walk the talk of “Healthy Parks Healthy People”

“EBRPD Board President John Sutter” <jsutter@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Vice President Ayn Wieskamp” <awieskamp@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Secretary Ted Radke”  <tradke@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Treasurer Whitney Dotson” <wdotson@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Beverly Lane” <blane@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Doug Siden” <dsiden@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Carol Severin” <cseverin@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD GM Robert E. Doyle” <bdoyle@ebparks.org>

“AFSCME Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha” local2428negotiations@gmail.com  Tel:  510-566-5985

U.S. mailing address to Board Members and General Manager:    EBRPD Board, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605    1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), extension 2020

U.S. mailing address to Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha:  Local 2428 East Bay Parks, 80 Swan Way, Suite 110, Oakland, CA 94621;   Tel:  510-566-5985

    embrace life!   Great slogans, let’s practice fairness too!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 More information  from AFSCME Local 2428 East Bay Parks:

The AFSCME Local 2428 contract with the EBRPD expired on March 31, 2013 and the District declared an impasse seventeen days later on April 17, 2013.  Prior to impasse declaration, the Union had already filed an Unfair Practice Charge against the District for bad faith bargaining.

Our Rangers IIs are compensated at an average of nearly $6.00/hr. than their counterparts in other East Bay agencies. Our Senior Office Assistants are compensated at an average of nearly $5.00/hr. than comparable positions.

We the Union Employees are seeking a three-year contract that keeps pace with inflation and provides for wage increases that would offset any additional contributions made to retirement while maintaining current health insurance benefits.

The District can well afford a fair contract.  Revenues continue to grow and exceed expenses–boosting a healthy General Fund balance to levels equal to 48% of budget.

While workers took hits to our take-home pay over the previous two-year contract, management gave themselves a raise (but called it a different name)

Workers’ buying power has eroded by 11.5% over the past four years.

Workers were given only two 1% COLA over the past four years;  the 1% didn’t even go into effect until April 1, 2012 which was the second year of the two-year contract that ended March 31, 2013 . . .  while CPI were:

2010  2.4%

2011  2.1%

2012  3.5%

2013  2.4%

These figures are confirmed by  http://www.bls.gov/ro9/9240.pdf

The Park District Board approved “Affirming that Retiree Health Benefits Provided to Management and Confidential Employees Hired or Promoted before January 1, 2003 Were Intended to Be and Are Vested in Said Employees”

while imposing a contract to Workers that:

* offers no wage increases

* forces Employees to pay 2% more toward retirement in violation of the new pension law

* attacks Employees’ rights to vested benefits such as retiree medical

* forces Employees to pay even more for health insurance

* * * * * * * * * * * *

According to Approved Minutes Board Meeting Dec. 4, 2012

C-1-d. Affirming that Retiree Health Benefits Provided to Management and Confidential 
Employees Hired or Promoted before January 1, 2003 Were Intended to Be and 
Are Vested in Said Employees
Resolution No. 2012 – 12 – 277 

According to Approved Minutes Board Meeting Dec. 4, 2012

C-1-e. Approval to Modify Management Job Classifications, Titles and Salary Ranges Within the Planning/Stewardship and Development Division

Resolution No. 2012 – 12 – 278 
Director Siden asked why it was necessary to take action today since the study results are still pending.

AGM Mike Anderson explained that staff is trying to get the Chief of Stewardship position filled;

GM Doyle added that it will take some time to go through the hiring process and staff would like the new Chief to be involved in the reorganization process.

According to Approved Minutes Board Meeting August 14, 2012

C-1-z. Approval to Establish the Classification of and the Salary Range for Accounting Manager 

Resolution No. 2012 – 08 – 213 
By motion of Director Wieskamp and seconded by Director Dotson, the Board voted unanimously to adopt Item C-1-z.

Directors Present: Whitney Dotson, Beverly Lane, Carol Severin, Doug Siden, John Sutter, Ayn Wieskamp.
Directors Absent: Ted Radke.

Cliff Rocha, President of AFSCME local 2428, proposed an alternative to the new Accounting Manager position
discussed at Meet and Confer that will keep the position within the bargaining unit to create an opportunity for
promotion for existing union members. At the same time, it would allow work to be done for less cost.
Mr. Rocha provided the current job description of the Assistant Finance Officer to the Board, who he indicated
is responsible for preparing the CAFR.

Brenda Wood, Business Agent for AFSCME Local 2428, asked the Board to vote against this item as the Union
has concerns that the internal process for a new job description was not followed.

Matt Harray, Water Management Assistant, stated that this proposal for a new position lacks vision, and that
Management should fix the District infrastructure.

Sue Kyle, Administrative Analyst, stated that there will be a change in FTE’s contrary to what was written in the
material and that there is no available funding for this position.

AGM Collins stated that the Board material explained that the District has expanded in capacity and complexity
in the past 30 years. CFO Rubaloff responded that there are three managerial positions and explained their
current and expected duties.

Director Wieskamp added that the Assistant Finance Officer has done a tremendous job and sees the need for
the reorganization and that any reorganization plan will still be discussed with the Union. Director Sutter
commented that he has tremendous respect for the CFO and is convinced that there is need to have someone
prepare the CAFR.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

AFSCME Local 2428 East Bay Parks

We are the more than 600 park district employees who are responsible for designing and maintaining park lands and trails; developing naturalist and stewardship programs; and providing fire protection and water safety at the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD).

President: Cliff Rocha
Vice President:Mark Pearson
Secretary: Christina Garcia
Treasurer: Sue Kyle

Eboard At Large
Sharon Corkin
Matthew Harray
William Nichols
Sergeant-At-Arms
Dave Kalahele

Trustees
Marie Arnerich
Donna Cuoco
Greg Mueller

Business Agent - Brenda Wood

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan Asking You to Please Use Your Mighty Voices to Ask EBRPD Board Members to Be Fair to Workers.

Thank  you!

 

Author and Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan celebrates “Library Card Sign Up Month” in September. She says: “Writers who want to write better, read more books. Go visit your local library. I have library cards from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda County and Contra Costa County. I love libraries.” This video was filmed by author Birgit Soyka.

If you love libraries too, please click on title-bar of this post, scroll down and fill in the boxes, then press [submit]. Thank you!

Teresa LeYung-Ryan speaks out for public libraries

What else is happening in September?

Saturday, September 24, 2011, 10:00am–4:00pm

Sonoma County Book Festival

Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter members and California Writers Club-Redwood Branch members at Sonoma County Book Festival, Santa Rosa, CA

Look for Teresa LeYung-Ryan, Margie Yee Webb, Kate Farrell at their booth and on the Redwood Village/Readers Circle Stage.  Leigh Anne Lindsey, Linda Joy Myers, Zoe FitzGerald Carter, Laurel Anne Hill. Who else?     Ana Manwaring orchestrates Redwood Writers Village Stage! Stage times: 1:00pm Redwood Writers Vintage Voices; 1:45-2:00pm Margie Yee Webb & Teresa LeYung-Ryan; 2:00-2:45pm Kate Farrell and anthology contributing authors

 

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Coach Teresa is the author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

$9.81 for ebook; $22 for print edition

Teresa is the author of Love Made of Heart (available at public libraries) –the book inspires adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families.

As a manuscript consultant, Teresa LeYung-Ryan loves helping writers identify their themes and archetypes.

Coach Teresa’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/teresaleyung

Teresa on facebook!

She’s also involved in Women’s National Book Association and California Writers Club.

Are There Publishing-Writing Opportunities for Students-Young Writers-Children?

The Capitol City Young Writers have opened submissions for a literary journal by writers aged 10-18. Deadline is March 15, 2011. Check it out and help spread the word. Thank you, Linda McCabe and Margie Yee Webb, for telling me.

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On January 22nd Elisa Southard will be co-chairing the judging for the Bay Area Travel Writers Student Contest Submission deadline was January 1, 2011.  Keep them in mind later in the year so that you can get in on their next contest.  How perfect for Elisa Southard, the travel writer, to co-chair this event. Elisa is working on a new book—Big City Travel Skills–for young, first-time travelers.

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The Mt. Diablo Branch of California Writers Club
Young Writers Workshops and Contest “Honoring a New Generation of California Writers”
6th – 7th – 8th Grades,  Contra Costa County, California

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Check out Stone Soup for young writers and artists

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Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung Ryan–creator of “Heroes, Tricksters & Villains” workshop for young writers

Manuscript Consultant / Writing Career Coach / Author / Publisher

http://WritingCoachTeresa.com and click on “Writers’ Resources”

Mentally Disabled & Being a Non-consentable Person

This is Post #3 to follow-up on my two posts published on July 25 & 27, 2010

My cousin’s brother is one of the primary advocates for my cousin.  My cousin’s sister (who lives a thousand miles away) is another primary advocate.

This is the email I received today Tuesday, July 27, 2010 from my cousin’s brother (San Francisco):

“I just got off the phone with Detective ____ from Alameda County Sheriff’s department.

He told me that he will be handling the case. First thing he will do is to contact BART for the video. I already told him it’s from Contra Costa County (not Alameda County).

He mentioned that other than Sis’s mental capacity, there is no crime because she went willingly and based on Sis’s statements, the suspect stopped when asked to.

I told him that the SFGH examiner said Sis is a non-consentable person, meaning her “yes” answers do not qualify as consent. This is similar to a child consenting for sex. It still does not qualify as a real “yes”.

He will contact me after investigating.

I asked for a case number but he has not generated one yet because it is not yet determined how this will be handled.”

* * *

We are not going to give up on our family member or our community. The man in the car who stopped my cousin (between late night July 22 and early morning of July 23) asked her “Do you need help?” and she said “Yes.”  His not calling the police but taking her to his home, sexually battering her, and keeping her there until morning is helping ???

My cousins are brave and I am going to continue to support their efforts. I am contacting NAMI http://www.nami.org ,  Community Violence Solutions  http://www.cvsolutions.org/ and other agencies.

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung Ryan

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

From the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI’s website, I found the “How You Can Help” page http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?section=Take_Action :

Contact Your Representatives

It is important that you contact your state and national representatives to ensure they are working for people with mental illness.

A list of current legislation impacting mental health is available along with an easy way to contact your representative with just a few clicks of a mouse.

(For California  http://www.ca.gov http://www.senate.ca.gov/ http://www.assembly.ca.gov/)

Issues and Legislation http://capwiz.com/nami/issues/

The NAMI Newsroom http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=press_room the place for reporters, advocates and other media professionals. NAMI’s communications services team is available around-the-clock to news media for:

  • Expert analysis on a wide range of issues related to severe mental illnesses or brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder/manic-depression, major depression, and anxiety disorders.
  • Current data on research, treatments, rates of prevalence
  • Interviews with national spokespersons and technical experts
  • Access to persons with serious mental illness and their families who are willing to share personal stories with the media
  • Comment on breaking news

Christine Armstrong, Media Relations Associate
Colonial Place Three
2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201-3042
Telephone: (703) 524-7600 · FAX: (703) 516-7238  ·
Email:  christinea@nami.org

Please be careful. Please call 911 when you see/hear/sense anything that tells you “something isn’t right” because you could be preventing or stopping a crime.

My cousin (a Chinese woman in her thirties, mentally disabled) lives with her family in the outer Sunset area in San Francisco, CA.  She has never left the house by herself.

Between 11:30pm and midnight Thursday night, July 22, 2010, she had gone to her bedroom. Around midnight, a family member realized that she wasn’t in her room. She was nowhere inside the house. The front door was left opened.  The SF police was called.

My cousin was wearing her slippers and a fleece jacket. She was recovering from surgery.  How far could she have walked in her condition?

My cousin’s brother drove all over the neighborhood for 5 hours.

In the morning, my cousin’s sister called me.  I raced to San Francisco.  Our plan of action was to make hundreds of copies of the Missing Person flyer (with a photo of my cousin; my uncle had added Chinese words “Please help us find our daughter”)  and we would fan out and ask neighbors if they saw anyone walking late last night.

My cousin is now home, safe.  My cousin (who has never ridden public transportation by herself) was reported to be riding on a AC Transit bus.  The bus driver had noticed her riding for a couple of hours, back and forth; he remembered seeing her board at Downtown Berkeley; he called AC Transit Police; Alameda County Sheriff’s Department responded). However Alameda County had no record of her as a “missing person.”

How did she get there?  According to my cousin’s report to her brother approximately 24 hours later:

She had walked only a couple of blocks (remember–this is outer Sunset district in San Francisco) when a man in a car asked if she needed help.  She said “Yes.”  My cousin has the mental capacity of a child.  Instead of helping her by calling the police, the man took her to his home in the East Bay and sexually assaulted her and kept her there until morning when he took her to BART (Contra Costa County), bought her a ticket and told her to go home.

After hearing this from my cousin, my cousin’s brother called the police again. The police took my cousin to SF General Hospital for physical examination and interview.

This case is complicated – my cousin might have gotten into the man’s vehicle in San Francisco County; the BART ticket originated in Contra Costa County; she was found in Alameda County. Three counties.  Who’s case is it?  That BART ticket is a key evidence.

The main message in this post is this:

Family members didn’t hear my cousin leave her room, walk down the stairs, or open the front door. No one thought she would ever leave the house by herself. Friday night we asked the police how we could make the house safer (probably the same concern that families of Alzheimer’s patients have).  One tip:  use an alarm system so that other people in the house would be alerted when the alarm is tripped. Be safe, everyone. Talk to public safety representatives in your neighborhoods.

I thank our angels and the kind people who helped find our cousin.

Here’s the website for the Taraval Police district of San Francisco http://sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=858 Click on Community Updates http://www.sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=3323 to get a list of police stations that offer newsletters which inform residents of incidents occurring in their districts.

List of Stations in SF:

Central Station
Southern Station
Bayview Station
Mission Station
Northern Station
Park Station
Richmond Station
Ingleside Station
Taraval Station
Tenderloin Station

San Francisco Police Department Missing Persons

http://www.sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=84

Contact the police department in your city and ask to receive Community Updates.

Monday night, January 18, 2010
Three weeks ago, I thought I would be working today at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. REGIONAL SHORELINE in Oakland. However, because of overwhelming registration, the organizers didn’t need me.

In a way, I did have a Day of Service. I made phone calls on behalf of my friend (to report elder abuse from a home-care agency).

The phone numbers below came from mental health advocates from Alameda and Contra Costa counties; they encouraged me to file reports.

Adult Protective Service 925-646-2854 serving Contra Costa County, CA

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/agedblinddisabled/

Disability Rights CA 510-267-1200 (formerly State Protection & Advocacy) http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/

Consumer Assistance 1-800-779-0787

After I made the phone calls (left voicemail at the second & third numbers; a person answered at Adult Protective Service and told me a social worker would call me back even though today was a holiday…so professional and reassuring).

Jan. 22, 2010

I learned from  Adult Protective Service and Disability Rights CA that because  home-care services are “businesses”I would need to make a complaint and also report abuse http://ccld.ca.gov/ as well as contact Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org/us/ Complaints: http://www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Complaints/

While researching, I found http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/home-care-services/HO00084 Mayo Clinic website which has and answers regarding home care services. The text below inside [   ] came from the Mayo Clinic website:

[ If you’re considering a home care services agency:

  • How does the agency hire and train caregivers? Does the agency provide continuing education?
  • Are the caregivers licensed in their fields and insured?
  • How closely does the agency’s supervisor evaluate the quality of home care?
  • Do the agency’s employees seem friendly and helpful? Make sure you feel comfortable with the agency’s representatives.

If you’re considering a home health aide:

  • Does the home health aide have a good temperament? Make sure you or your loved one feels comfortable with the home health aide. ]

http://www.hcbs.org/ which I will review later.

Jan. 18, 2010

I’m blogging about this because: 1) I want to share those phone numbers and URLs; 2) I think writers make for great advocates (writing down our observations; reporting the observations); and 3) I need to remind myself to be true to myself and honor the powerful voice of the written word.

On Saturday, 40 writers at California Writers Club-SF Peninsula Branch heard how VP Linda Okerlund introduced me.

“Teresa LeYung Ryan wears 3 hats . . . [the third hat] She is a community spirit who uses her first book Love Made of Heart to inspire adult-children of mentally-ill parents to speak openly and unabashedly about the stigmas their parents suffer.”

To speak openly about illness and stigmas and continue being aware–these are my duties.

Today after I made the calls, I was rewarded by wonderful comments on my blog post from the writers at Saturday’s “Major League Tryouts for Building Your Name.”
I thought about my mom (who’s my biggest angel); I remember how she needed someone to speak up on her behalf.

I’d like to think that Mom is watching over me, inspiring me to use words to help people. Writers need help too. A dear writer-friend said to me today: “How do we find time to blog and build our names when we’re writing books?” My respond was: “Our books deserved to be read by people. But, how would people read our books if they don’t know that our books exist?”

To all writers who want others to buy your work, read your work, talk about your work, I encourage you to tell yourself this everyday: “My work deserves to be read by many. My work deserves to be promoted; I’m the best person for the job.”

Sincerely,
Coach Teresa
Teresa LeYung Ryan

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