By Dr. Kevin McNamee February 20, 2020
Thousand Oaks City Council voted 5-0 to send the city’s trash-hauling contract to open bid. Good news for lower rates until you read further.
Council approved $200,000 for the “city staff to work with a consultant to write the request for proposals and the system the city will use to select a service provider.”
Holy cow Batman, that is a lot of money for a proposal. Is the consultant working overtime on this proposal? Put into perspective, $200,000 is more than double the annual gross income of the majority of city residents. City management, please justify this number.
The city softens the consultant price tag by saying “($200,000) is typically reimbursed by the company winning the bidding process.” Not true. The company winning the bid is not paying for the consultants fee, the Thousand Oaks residents are. The bid will price in the consultants costs ($200,000) which the consumer ultimately pays through higher trash pickup fees. Absent the high consultant fee, the bid amounts would be lower.
Also, the city should move away from a 15 year agreement which chases competition out and raises rates. A three year bid renewal is reasonable. It will keep competition interested, remain in the area and compete for our business. Previous request for proposal can be used for future bids reducing consultant fees.
As General McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne Divisions famous single-word reply when he was surrounded at Bastonge by the Germans during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, and was given a surrender ultimatum. He responded with “NUTS!”
To the city council and managers, $200,000 for consultant fees to write a proposal – NUTS!Read More
By Dr. Kevin McNamee March 7, 2019
Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel estimates 90 percent of his officer’s calls concerning the homeless stem from those with mental health and/or drug addiction issues.
Part of the problem, I believe, is a MediCal Catch-22 that I heard a mental health expert talk about. MediCal provides free counseling and medication for the homeless. Once the person is stable, they enter the work force and transitional housing, eventually moving into their own housing. But to
qualify for MediCal services, a person can have no more than a dollar maximum in the bank.
So, if a mentally ill person is benefiting from these services and gets housing and a job, as soon as they accrue more than the dollar maximum in the bank, they lose free counseling and medication. The patient cannot afford the medication and counseling services and becomes unstable, loses their job and housing and are back on the street. Now they’re eligible for the counseling and medication that will get them stable. The cycle continues.
The current maximum in the bank rule to qualify for MediCal needs to be adjusted upward to today’s cost of living. Most homeless don’t want to seek services at outpatient mental health facilities because of transportation issues and fear of losing their shopping cart full of “stuff” when inside.
The expert suggested that mental health services go to the homeless. See them in the field.
Currently, Thousand Oaks Police Department has two mental health professionals who ride along to calls concerning mental health. I asked at a recent meeting, “Why not combine services of a mental health professional, riding with and protected by the police, and go see the homeless to provide their medication in the field? Can the city support such a service?”
A city official said it’s the county’s responsibility, not the city.
I say we need to find a way to support an “in-field” therapist to provide the needed medications to the homeless unwilling to come into the outpatient facilities.
At the very least, the homeless becomes less disruptive and stop consuming valuable police resources. The best outcome is they become purposeful and enter society again—permanently.