“Ranch concept” would deplete Measure B funds

Mar 24, 2021

March 23, 2021 — A detailed proposal for building a psychiatric health facility in a rural part of the county was filed under public expression on the agenda for yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, though the item came up Monday during Measure B discussions.

On Monday, the board asked staff to come back with two proposals for a psychiatric health facility, one called the Ranch concept for a rural puff, and the other for Whitmore Lane. 

Earlier this month, Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Mimi Doohan sent the Board a 12-page outline of the “Ranch concept,” proposing to use $30 million of Measure B funds to purchase an as-yet-unidentified property, construct the puff, and operate it for two years. 

The current Measure B fund balance is just under $23 million. Yesterday, the board authorized over $320,000 of Measure B money to remodel the training center, purchase a gun locker, and reimburse the sheriff’s office for a  law enforcement training.

Ongoing sources of funding for the puff, according to the Ranch proposal, are possible from philanthropy and the State of California through a $750 million dollar allocation in the new budget. The document states that “It is recommended that the County own the property and any buildings for a PHF;” partly to ensure that local people have priority.

The proposal leans heavily on a concept called “the lean startup,” and provides a link to an article in the Harvard Business Review, which describes this as an approach that “favors experimentation over elaborate planning,” and declares that “A business plan is essentially a research exercise written in isolation at a desk before an entrepreneur has even begun to build a product. The assumption is that it’s possible to figure out most of the unknowns of a business in advance, before you raise money and actually execute the idea.” 

The lack of a strategic plan has plagued the Measure B committee for years.

After quoting from the article, which is geared toward technology startups and small businesses, the proposal goes into a wealth of detail, including staffing ratios and the qualifications of the dietician. Social Services, rehabilitation, and pharmaceutical services, including a pharmacist who would make regular reports, could be provided in kind by the hospital, funded by cost savings. Security could be provi ded in kind by the sheriff’s department, also funded by cost savings. 

Adventist Health did not respond to requests for more information about its involvement in drafting the document, but Sheriff Matt Kendall said he was never consulted about the proposal.

He added that deputies are too valuable to provide security to a facility.