Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Dec 18th
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

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire