Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Feb 10th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

neal-coonertyThe county is concluding its budget hearings this week. Can you provide an update on the county budget and any programs that may be of interest to the public?

The proposed County Budget for 2012-2013 reflects a fifth difficult year for county finances as we struggle to emerge from the sluggish economy. Significant savings to the proposed $387 million General Fund Budget were achieved by extending furloughs for a fourth year for virtually all county employees and budget reductions up to 15 percent in most county departments. However, even in these difficult times, by working together with other jurisdictions and the private sector, we have been able to spearhead new and innovative programs to address some very serious needs in the City of Santa Cruz.

Since being elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2007, I have been a member of the Mental Health Advisory Board and have worked hard to try to address some of the needs of the mentally ill in our community. This past January, I convened a task force to seek a way to address the issue of mentally ill in the jail and the impact of mentally ill offenders in the community, particularly in Downtown Santa Cruz. I sought the advice of county mental health professionals as well as law enforcement and county health services staff. They recommended that we attempt to re-start a once successful program called the MOST program (Maintaining On-going Stability Through Treatment).

The MOST program has had success in dramatically reducing incarceration rates and recidivism of mentally ill offenders in the past when the program was fully funded. The most recent fully funded program was July 2007 - September 2008. Individuals enrolled in this program had a total of 3,216 jail beds days prior to participating on the MOST team. For the 12 months individuals participated, the total jail bed days for the same individuals were 135. 

This program has been shown to reduce jail bed days, the occurrence of new offences, and probation violations. In addition to demonstrating improved stability in the community, the program seeks to reduce psychiatric inpatient bed days, reduce the days of homelessness, increase treatment compliance, and increase days in the pro-social activities such as employment. Since the state funding ran out, the county has managed to keep a skeleton MOST team alive without many of the wrap-around services the county provided when the program when was fully funded. 

With the help of new county funding, and a contribution toward this program from the City of Santa Cruz, we are able to re-start the MOST program and provide the auxiliary services that are so vital to promote stability and prevent decompensation among the mentally ill. The MOST program will put qualified staff on the ground to interact with this population in order to address a known, persistent, and current issue in Santa Cruz and the downtown area.

I care about this population and know that the best place for those living with mental illness is not on the streets and not in jail where the cost to the individual, the city, county, and community is high, but working with professionals to get services that they need and bring stability to their lives.

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by rslack@gtweekly, July 02, 2012
Working with those who most need assistance is most necessary to make us a stronger community.
It seems your efforts could be coupled with what the Homeless Service Center is doing with 180/180. Perhaps you can be an asset and a partner in working together to ensure a better life for all of us.

Thanks for your community service.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster