Kathy Marshall: The usual NCRC dance – January 20, 2010

I have been out-of-town during the City Council’s public hearings on the North Coast Resource Center’s (NCRC) proposed expansion of lunch services. I did not comment, publicly or privately, to any of the city councilmembers this time around.

In the past I have spoken out against NCRC/Endeavor expansions because I have not seen evidence of good management and I have seen no statistics reinforcing their assertions of success. I do try to keep an open mind and approach each new NCRC proposal with as fresh a perspective as I can manage.

However, again, I found their opening inquiries into expanding their lunch services confrontational and insulting. I don’t respond well to insulting insinuations that I am not a caring and compassionate person while being asked for my support. And after watching last week’s city council meeting I still have many unanswered questions and doubts.

Each time a city councilmember asked a specific question about a management or monitoring plan, John Shelter avoided answering the question. During his presentation, Mr. Shelter offered to sit down “one-to-one” with each councilmember to tell them how the NCRC had implemented suggestions in the Baron Report. Why didn’t he simply present a public report right there and then?

When asked repeatedly, first by Councilmember Mark Wheetley, then by Vice Mayor Susan Ornelas, about plans, Mr. Shelter gave anecdotal evidence and assured the council that, “we will do it right.”

Again when asked how the program would be monitored, Mr. Shelter suggested that the NCRC could partner with the business community to monitor the activities in the NCRC’s parking lot, stating that might work really well for everyone’s benefit. That actually may be very true, but I haven’t seen anything to suggest the business community has agreed to any such plan.

I have often been admonished to volunteer for or visit the NCRC and see for myself how it works. Unfortunately, my interactions with Mr. Shelter and various NCRC boardmembers in the past make that a very uncomfortable prospect. I also have other causes, issues and obligations that keep me very busy and limit my time.

In addition I don’t feel that I should have to experience an organization first-hand in order to support it. There are many organizations I support that I have not volunteered with, EPIC, the NEC and Arcata House being a few. Those organizations do, however, provide me with specific information that justifies my support; information in the form of reports with statistics and updates on issues and the implementation of their plans to meet their goals. And, none of those local organizations has insulted me before asking for my support.

I’m disappointed that the Arcata City Council is content to simply take Mr. Shelter’s word that, “we will do it right” as an appropriate plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the program and monitoring not only the challenges but the potential successes.

Rather than consider and require specific accountability guidelines to measure failure or success, the CC has turned over the onus of evaluating a management plan to an already overworked staff. They have essentially pre-approved the expansion without actually evaluating any concrete plan for themselves.

I thought I elected them to be more thorough and involved, not simply to be the well-meaning people they are.

Kathy Marshall is a Sunny Brae resident.

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  1. Julia Simmon said:

    and you can call me anytime at 41-373-0565 or my email of [email protected] and i will tell you more. And also Open Door Clinic System is the worst possible medical care. I was homeless due to them and their malpractice against my huge optical neuritis program. Save Arcata and be brave enough to stand up to these charity bullies. Most of them have just stayed homeless on purpose because it is so easy in Arcata. Go ahead and google it and you will see entries like I just did from cult members who consider it to be the big party thing to go to Arcata and leech. Every day I would hear other homeless brag and brag about shoplifting in all the stores. They sat and made plans of what and who to steal from right in public. this is a sick thing to let go on forever. Stop it now before it is too late.

  2. Julia Simmon said:

    thank you. You are very intelligent. I am a 64 year old disabled female graduaet of UC Santa Cruz. John Shelter is a sick evil man. I was homeless for the first time in my life in Arcata in 2006 approx. This man treated me like human garbage. Cult is the exact word to describe what goes on at NCRC. It is all about the kind of people Shelter likes and fawns on. Elderly women are not one of them. The leatherish bikerish young drug crowd are his thing. A fat sick old lady is not his thing. I have multiple sclerosis; could barely walk on crutches and was never helped in any way whatsoever for the year I was homeless. I fled there to Oregon where things are better. That place is destroying Arcata. I can tell you about the men who were homeless at that time: not one of them ever help old sick ladies and all they do is steal from you while you let them sleep in your van or garage. I could not sleep in shelter as it was overheated adn full of those same drug people who are a clique. You ought to get them out of there. Shelter lets some people be homeless forever and hang around there forever as they have it good when he likes them. They get special treats and foods n thier basket. People like me were ignored and taunted and given threatening looks by him every time they walked in there. Our choice was to try to come in when he wasn’t there as he is some kind of power monger and others who work there are afraid of him. He is the worst possible person to be in charge of anything let alone hundreds of american citizens he lords it over like aking.

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