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North Coast Journal CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

Coming Soon

The 2011 achievement awards It is not too early to start planning for Awards Season. The applications will be coming your way in early March, so start thinking about which projects you would like to enter this year. There is no North Coast Chapter Dinner Meeting this month!! We are currently working on lining up our meeting topics for 2011 and would love to have input from the membership as to what you would like to see at our monthly dinners!

Please contact Connie with your suggestions @ 829-5487 or heyconniesalinas@hotmail.com CLCA North Coast Chapter

www.clcanorthcoastchapter.org

FEBRUARY 2011


PRESORTED STANDARD MAIL U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #105 PETALUMA, CA

CLCA

North Coast Chapter

P.O. Box 1621 Sebastopol, CA 95473

RESPECT THE EARTH…

RECYCLE

February 2011 In this Issue PAGE 2 ………….…New North Coast Sponsorship Program PAGE 4……………..Ordinance 421 and You PAGE 5….................Lowering Operating Costs with Propane PAGE 6………….….California’s Hope to Enter Rainwater Harvesting Paradigm PAGE 8……………..Sting Operation – Bad Day for Unlicensed Contractors PAGE 12……………Lawn Care Reform PAGE 15……………HR Alert – Employment Laws Passed in 2010 PAGE 18…………....Suggested Reading This Publication is Printed on Recycled Paper North Coast Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association


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New sponsorship program


Page 3 North Coast Chapter Board Members

Immediate – Past President Charlie Thompson Cagwin & Dorward (415) 892-7710 Charlie.Thompson@cagwin.com President Charlie Thompson Cagwin & Dorward (415) 892-7710 Charlie.Thompson@cagwin.com Secretary Lyndsey Kornmaier Coast Landscape Mgmt. (707) 332-8999 lyndsey@coastlm.com Treasurer Lisa Stratton Cagwin & Dorward (415) 798-1753 lisa.stratton@cagwin.com Web Guru & Golf Guy Michael O’Connell O’Connell Landscape (707) 462-9729 ocl@oclandscape.com

Associate Member Chair Kevin Kohl Ewing Irrigation (707) 457-9530 kkohl@ewing1.com Membership Co-Chairs Jeff Hausman Gardenworks, Inc. (707) 974-5799 jeff@gardenworksinc.com CLT State Committee Liaison Dave Iribarne City of Petaluma (707) 778-4591 diribarne@ci.petaluma.ca.us Programs Chair Ben Kopshever Sonoma Mountain Landscape (707) 695-2429 sonoma_mountain3@msn.com Legislative Chair Kjell Kallman Grab n’ Grow (707) 333-7694 kjell@soilandrocks.com

Education Chair Salvador Ledezma Jr. Gardenworks, Inc (707) 974-5800 slj@gardenworks-inc.com Chapter General Board Members Jeff Jones John Deere Landscapes (925) 595-6115 jjones@johndeerelandscapes.com Luis Lua Cagwin & Dorward (415) 720-6624 lelua99@yahoo.com Will Jenkel Lampson Tractor (707) 206-2294 wjenkel@lampsontractor.com Owen Mitchell Mitchell Landscapes (415) 717-6214 mitchland@att.net Tyler Doherty Cal West Rentals (707) 694-9108 tyler@calwestrentals.com

Awards Chair Brigid Flagerman Bertotti Landscaping (415) 720-0065 brigidf@bertotti.com

North Coast CLCA Executive Director & Journal Editor

Connie Salinas P.O. Box 1621 Sebastopol, CA 95473 Phone 707-829-5487 Fax 707-829-5487 heyconniesalinas@hotmail.com

CLCA 2010 State Officers PRESIDENT Robert Wade, CLP,CLIA Wade Landscape Phone: (949) 494-2130 WLI2006@gmail.com PRESIDENT-ELECT Eric Watanabe Majestic Pools & Landscape (818) 831-1390 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Sharon McGuire Phone: (800) 448-2522, ext. 13 FAX: (916) 446-7692 sharonmcguire@clca.org


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2010 and Beyond ... Lowering Operating Costs with Propane Q: How has the response been from landscape contractors to the idea of converting their gasoline-powered equipment to propane? A: The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is finding that commercial lawn and landscape companies are seeking ways to operate more cost effectively, while at the same time providing customer benefits that differentiate them. Using propane-fueled lawn mowers provides the ability to continue work on Ozone Action Days when gasoline-fueled mowers are limited or prohibited. Q: Where has the most interest been? A: PERC has found that with some companies, adopting one equipment type naturally leads to use of another. For example, with the availability of propane-fueled commercial mowers from more than a dozen manufacturers, some companies are realizing that benefits like an almost 50-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced costs due to virtual elimination of fuel spillage, leakage, and theft. Q: How was the 2010 response different from previous years? A: The sheer availability of a more diversified offering of propane-fueled equipment from industry-leading manufacturers has certainly been key. More than 29 propane-fueled commercial lawn mower models are available today. Roush CleanTech's development program resulted in the first liquid propane-injection technology for Ford F-150 conversions in 2007. Refueling options for those equipment types is readily available. The established forklift-refueling infrastructure is the same business model that is being directly applied to the commercial mower market for refueling of propane-fueled commercial mowers. Q: What return on investment can one expect from propane conversion? A: A landscape contractor in Chicago began converting both his commercial mower and work truck fleets to propane fuel two years ago. He plans to have both fleets completely converted to propane within five years. Once that conversion is complete, he estimates his business will save about $2,500 each month through usage of propane fuel. Q: What incentives are available to contractors who convert to propane? A: PERC's partnership with states program is a demonstration program offered with state propane gas associations to help offset incremental costs for purchasing propane-fueled equipment, and support safety and training initiatives. The Commercial Mower Purchase/Placement Data Collection program model encourages increased understanding and support for recently commercialized propane-fueled, off-road equipment. A dollar-for-dollar match of up to $2,500 can be accessed via participating state propane gas associations for the purchase of a new propane-fueled mower. Q: What are your main arguments for switching to propane? A: Since propane is a low-carbon fuel and burns cleaner, it makes oil changes easier and virtually eliminates fuel leakage, spillage, and theft, all of which are crucial issues for many companies.


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California's Hope To Enter the Rainwater Harvesting Paradigm By Neal Shapiro, CSM - ARCSA Member 2011 could become a "watershed" year for California with the passage of AB1834, literally. While many states, and other industrialized countries, have and continue to move toward a more sustainable approach to local water management, California has been silent on regulations to permit rainwater and stormwater harvesting for indoor and outdoor non-potable and potable end uses at a critical period when reliance on imported water resources is unreliable and unsustainable state-wide. While the state water code defines potable, recycled and gray water resources, it is silent on rainwater and stormwater. Some interpret this to mean that their uses are allowed, though no uniform set of guidelines and regulations, permitting and inspections exists to provide a regulatory system that is user-friendly to those who want to use these local water resources. Due to this void, to make this a permissible activity, regulations for another water resource are used to formulate a regulatory framework, resulting in a cumbersome system that is a regulatory maze, cost-prohibitive and fails to promote a sustainable activity. AB1834 will provide a uniform standard for rainwater harvesting and use, and give flexibility to local agencies to implement this sustainable strategy. At a time when the state and the western United States continue to face drought, adding a local water resource to the overall water management mix is a welcome, necessary, and bold step. AB1834 is expected to be re-introduced by Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana, 69th District) into the state legislature in the first quarter of 2011. The bill defines rainwater, rainwater capture system (systems on a parcel, onsite catchment), stormwater and stormwater capture system (systems with offsite catchment from the MS4 and surface waters); it will allow indoor and outdoor end uses; and it focuses on rainwater use on private and public parcels. Stormwater applications are not authorized due to the need for a stakeholders' discussion on how stormwater harvesting impacts the balance between local uses and water rights of water agencies. Western water law is a unique challenge for many states and locales when it comes to rainwater-stormwater harvesting. Utah and Colorado are two examples where this has become a roadblock for rainwater harvesting. And it could be in California areas where surface waterways are used for recharging aquifers. A small group of interests, including non-governmental organizations, cities, and water agencies, has been working with the Assemblyman's staff to craft a bill that at a minimum can put California on a preliminary sustainable water management path. Once this bill is passed and positive experience is gained, further steps can be taken to expand rainwater uses to larger government stormwater use projects and potable applications. In the meantime, some rainwater harvesting programs exist around the state. San Francisco, the city and county of, passed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2008 that establishes a legal framework for rainwater harvesting projects for non-potable indoor and outdoor intended uses. This MOU is unique because it involves the city and county, building and public health offices, and the public utility commission. The cities of Los Angeles and San Diego did pilot projects and studies to determine the effectiveness of a permanent rainwater harvesting program. Santa Monica has a rebate program for downspout redirect, rain barrels and cisterns. Berkeley has a very effective rainwater harvesting regulatory framework. And in Southern California, as a region, a small group of cities, LA County Public Works and Public Health, and NGOs have been working for a few years to develop a matrix that allows for a limited number of applications for rainwater and stormwater and under specific filtering and disinfection standards; this document has not been approved.

Indeed, California is on the brink of a significant and bold step toward sustainable water management at a critical time of water supply uncertainty and of climatic change influencing precipitation patterns. Given the urgency of creating a uniform legal framework for rainwater and stormwater harvesting, 2011 is our year in California for a Rainwater Catchment Act. For more regulatory and how-to manual information on rainwater harvesting around the country, contact Neal Shapiro, City of Santa Monica, neal.shapiro@smgov.net, and ARCSA Board Member Doug Pushard's web-site, http://www.harvesth2o.com/statutes_regulations.shtml#. ** ARCSA and its members continue to push for changes in RWH codes and statues around the country. This is another reason you should support ARCSA and become a member today!


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Sting Operation Results in Bad Day for Unlicensed Contractors By Larry Rohlfes, CAE - CLCA Assistant Executive Director Wearing blue jeans and a nondescript tee shirt—not my usual work attire—I stood in front of a West Sacramento police station at 7:45 on a crisp October morning, waiting for a police officer to swing by in his squad car and guide me to a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) sting site at a location still unknown to me. Only three days earlier the district attorney of Yolo County, Jeff Reisig, had invited me to be an observer at this undercover operation. I immediately accepted, knowing that CLCA’s members are more concerned than ever these days about the devastating competition they face from unlicensed contractors and the underground economy. Hopefully I could learn something from this experience to pass along to CLCA members as well as all legitimate landscape contractors. Sure enough, at 8 a.m. a West Sacramento police officer drove into the parking lot, introduced himself, and asked me to follow his car. We drove to a residential neighborhood and parked our cars a couple blocks from the sting site, a community organization property that was clearly in need of exterior repairs. We approached the building cautiously, not wanting to be seen by the first unlicensed contractor of the day, should he arrive a little early for his appointment to bid work. Luckily that was not a problem, and we entered the building. In addition to the West Sacramento police officer, the sting operation team that day consisted of three investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), a CSLB intern who performed support duties, a deputy labor commissioner from the Department of Industrial Relations, a peace officer from the Department of Insurance, and a videographer from the Department of Consumer Affairs. With the exception of the uniformed police officers, they were dressed very casually. I fit right in, thanks to the following succinct advice I received the previous day on proper dress for the occasion, “Don’t wear a suit!” We quickly introduced ourselves and then quietly waited for our first visitor. Appointments were scheduled with suspected unlicensed contractors every half hour of the day, except for a lunch hour. The invitees included landscapers, roofers, painters, fence builders, and cement and masonry installers— individuals who had advertised for or were suspected of doing outdoor contracting work illegally. Posing as community organization volunteers, the three undercover SWIFT investigators took turns meeting the invitees in front of the building and discussing needed repairs or upgrades, which varied depending upon the purported trade of the particular individual who was then offering to do the work. In the case of the landscapers who came calling, it was the laying of some sod and installing a basic sprinkler system. These conversations were secretly taped, and we could listen in on them inside the building. Once these individuals offered to do the discussed work for $500 or more, they were asked to come inside the building to finalize things. The “net” fell as soon as they entered the building. The police officers suddenly revealed themselves and asked the suspects to show their CSLB contractor’s license. If the suspects could not produce one, they were immediately arrested, frisked for weapons, usually handcuffed, and read their rights. Photographs were taken of all of the subjects, and fingerprints were taken if they couldn’t produce identification. Checks were run to see if they were on probation from jail, had a valid drivers’ license, were registered sex offenders, had arrest warrants, and so forth. The phony contractors were then interviewed by the CSLB investigator who only a few minutes before had represented himself or herself as a consumer looking for a contractor. This investigator typically handed them a notice


Page 9 to appear in Yolo County Superior Court to face misdemeanor criminal charges of contracting without a license and advertising as a contractor without stating in the ad that they were not licensed. Next, the deputy labor commissioner interviewed the unlicensed individuals. If they had mentioned in the outdoor discussions that they had employees and didn’t have or need workers’ compensation insurance for them, the deputy labor commissioner presented the unlicensed contractor with an administrative citation that carried with it a $1,000 fine per employee. One of the unlicensed landscapers, for example, received a $4,000 fine because he had said a few minutes earlier that he had four employees. Of course nearly all of the unlicensed contractors denied or tried to explain away what they had said a few minutes earlier. Unfortunately for them, what they had said a few minutes earlier was captured on tape. If an unlicensed person came to the sting with an employee, he or she was really in “hot water.” The Department of Insurance peace officer would interview the employee, and the result would likely be a criminal court prosecution of the employer for not having workers’ compensation insurance as well as for not withholding payroll taxes. Video footage of the arrest and interviews would be distributed to media around the state at a press event conducted by CSLB’s Public Affairs Office, along with a warning about the risks consumers face when they hire someone who is not properly licensed. All in all, it was a bad day for all of the unlicensed contractors who responded to the CSLB’s invitation to bid construction work that day. This was especially so for the unlicensed contractor with a suspended drivers’ license who was not allowed to drive away in his car when the interviews were concluded. This was even truer for the unlicensed contractor the day before who was arrested for violating probation and failing to register as a sex offender. Contracting for construction work without a license is by definition a violation of probation, I learned. One thing that struck me, though, was the “at your service demeanor” of the sting operation team during the interviews. The handcuffs were removed prior to the interviews if the unlicensed contractors were deemed not to be dangerous. The investigators took the time to explain the law and answer questions. They also handed the unlicensed individuals their business card and a packet of information on how to get a license. Some of these conversations were downright friendly! Not everything went perfectly that day. Sometimes the invited individuals didn’t show up. Sometimes they arrived late or the discussions about the project took too long. When that happened, the investigators would sometimes have to call the next scheduled invitee and tell that person that he or she wasn’t needed. One unlicensed individual apparently smelled a rat and refused to enter the building. Each appointment was its own unique adventure! What does all of this mean for legitimate landscape contractors? I think it means that these sting operations are by and large effective. It simply isn’t a good day for the individuals caught up in them. For that reason, licensed contractors should make a priority of reporting their most notorious unlicensed competitors SWIFT. The best way to proceed is to go to the following page on the license board’s website: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/ReportUnlicensedActivity/ . Download a Lead Referral form there and send it to the appropriate SWIFT office (Northern Swift, Central Swift, or Southern Swift), based on the county where the unlicensed activity is taking place. Information on the appropriate SWIFT office is on the website. It’s important to provide SWIFT with complete and detailed information about the unlicensed activity and indicate if there are employees on the project. The more information and evidence, the better. Unfortunately, the license board’s SWIFT unit typically does not have the ability to come out to a project when a licensed contractor submits a Lead Referral form on an unlicensed competitor. But it will put the unlicensed individual on an invitation list for a future sting operation. And these operations have a very good success rate: about 90 percent. Sending investigators to job sites in response to an industry lead has a much lower success rate, I am told.

To conclude, make sure your unlicensed competitors get an opportunity to be a special invited guest at the next CSLB sting operation.


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Wholesale


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Immigrants & Worker’s Comp An illegal immigrant injured while working can receive workers' compensation, the D.C. Court of Appeals highest court has ruled. The workers' compensation board awarded Palemon Gonzales benefits and the appeals court ruled that is legal under the District's workers compensation laws because, in part, doing so is "consistent with the principle that the [workers' compensation] Act is to be construed liberally to achieve its humanitarian purpose."

Moreover, federal laws designed to deter illegal immigrants from coming to the U.S. do not usurp the local law, the appeals court said. Those laws were meant to disrupt the "magnetic" pull of U.S. jobs on illegal immigrants. Allowing employers to get out of paying workers compensation for illegal immigrants would create "powerful incentives for employers to hire such individuals," the appeals court ruled

State wants to limit 'Erin Brockovich chemical' in drinking water January 5, 2011 | Susanne Rust - Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

If state environmental and health regulators have their way, the chemical inspiration behind the true story of Erin Brockovich will be limited in state drinking water. The state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment submitted a draft proposal last week to limit the amount of hexavalent chromium in to 0.02 parts per billion. If the proposal is adopted, California would become the first state to regulate the notorious cancer-causing chemical in drinking water. The office had issued an earlier goal of 0.06 parts per billion but toughened its proposal after the draft was reviewed by state health scientists. Sam Delson, spokesman for the environmental health office, said the public health goal is "scientific guidance, not an enforceable standard.” Now it’ll be up to the state's Public Health Department to establish an enforceable standard in line with the new goal, Delson said. Health Department spokesman Ken August said the law requires his department to set a standard as close as possible to the level recommended by the environmental health office but that the state will also consider factors such as whether the agency's goal is economically feasible. August added that the state already has an enforceable standard for total chromium – hexavalent chromium is just one form of that metal. Chromium is a naturally occurring metal found in rocks, animals, plants, soil and volcanoes. Hexavalent chromium is generally produced by industrial processes. It’s used in electroplating, stainless steel production, leather tanning, textile manufacturing and wood preservation. It has been shown to cause lung cancer in humans when inhaled and is considered a human carcinogen by the U.S National Toxicology Program. The Toxicology Program also found that it caused cancer of the digestive tract and mouth in laboratory animals that ate or drank the chemical in their food and water. Just last month, the Environmental Working Group found levels that exceeded the state’s suggested limit in the drinking water of 31 U.S. cities. The highest amounts were recorded in Norman, Okla., Honolulu and Riverside, Calif. In California, the contaminant was also found in San Jose, Sacramento and Los Angeles. California’s latest proposal is a draft, and the public has until 5 p.m. on Jan. 30 to provide written comment.


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Lawn Care Reform Lawns account for up to 50 percent of residential water use in some areas, and government conservation efforts are pressing for change. Water management may become the single biggest challenge for landscapers in the near future, and those who are savvy on the subject stand to profit.

“Lawn Care Reform is not antilawn or about eliminating lawns, but more about the appropriate use of the ground around our homes and business parks,” says Saxon Holt, garden photographer and coauthor of The American Meadow Garden. “This has huge business potential if existing professionals could help lead the way and expand their knowledge.” Another LRC member, professional horticulturist Thomas Christopher, agrees lawn reform offers great opportunities for imaginative and adaptable landscapers. “As the need for conserving water and reducing the use of fossil fuels increases, our traditional reliance on poorly adapted, resource-intensive types of turf grasses will have to change,” he says. “Landscapers who can provide their customers with alternatives will find themselves much in demand.” Gene Ebertowski, owner of FloraTerra Landscape Management, says he’s working 12-hour days to keep up with the demand for clients who want his eco-friendly landscape services. “Water conservation is the single most important challenge to the future of landscape management,” he says. “New irrigation system technology and rebates from local water authorities make water conservation more affordable than ever.” FloraTerra’s design team focuses on choosing low-water-use plant alternatives, converting older lawns to seasonally flowering, drought tolerant, insect and disease-resistant shrubs, trees and ornamental grasses. “We often convert inefficient overhead spray irrigation to efficient drip irrigation systems,” Ebertowski says. “Smart irrigation controllers apply water to current ET [evapotranspiration] rates in the precise amounts of water needed to keep plant material vibrant and healthy through changing seasonal weather patterns. This results in sustainable landscapes that are attractive, last a long time, save water and use less fertilizer and pesticides to maintain.”

Eco-friendly Lawn Care Tips 1. Plant climate-appropriate grasses and grass-like species. Drought-tolerant

doesn’t mean dull when it comes to planting. 2. Shade lawn from hot, midsummer sun. 3. Use redirected drainspouts and/or bermed plantings to direct runoff to the lawn area. 4. Add organic matter such as grass clippings and chopped leaves to lawn, and aerate compacted soil so

it can absorb more moisture, which makes the lawn more drought-tolerant. 5. Use evapotranspiration controllers (ET or smart controllers), a self-adjusting controller that automatically adjusts irrigation schedules based on specific landscape needs and local weather conditions.


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H.R. ALERT from Larry Levy - Employee Relations Management

Employment Laws passed in 2010 Is Travel Time Compensable? Heads up, contractors! As most of you know with non-exempt workers when they may drive your company truck from their home to the first jobsite the time is not compensable (you do not have to pay). The exception is when they are transporting building materials, lumber or heavy power equipment. If they stop at the lumber yard the compensable time starts when they pull into the lumber yard’s parking lot. This may be changing. In a recent federal case (Rutti v. Lojack Corp., Inc.). Rutti was a technician who installed the Lojack system and argued he should have been paid from the time he left his home to the time he arrived at his first customer location. The federal court reviewed the case and stated even with Rutti driving a company vehicle to the first location the time was not compensable. The court did find, however, that Rutti’s commute time was compensable under California law. California law requires that employees be compensated for all time “during which an employee is subject to the control of the employer”. The court did note that Rutti was required to drive a company vehicle, could not stop off for personal errands, could not take passengers, was required to drive the vehicle directly from home to his job and back and could not use his cell phone while driving. Therefore, during both his commute to his first customer location and from his final installation at the end of the day, Rutti was subject to the control of his employer, making his commute time compensable under California law.

So, what can you do? Consider the following: 1. No longer require employees to drive your trucks. Let them drive their personal vehicles. 2. Stipulate the time an employee must be at the jobsite and allow them to make personal stops enroute, e.g., stop for coffee and doughnuts. 3.

No longer prohibit employees from making personal calls on their personal cellular phone while enroute.

Same-Sex Marriages The Governor signed into law SB 54 amending the California Family Code and stipulating that California will recognize same-sex marriages contracted outside California prior to the passage of Proposition 8. Practically speaking this means that the same sex couples will enjoy the same rights, benefits, obligations, responsibilities and privileges as heterosexual couples.

Pregnancy Disability’s Accommodations This law was passed on September 15, 2010 and focused on expanding and clarifying current regulations. The current law allows pregnant women to take up to four months of unpaid leave before, during and after the birth of their newborn children. The law affects all California employers with five or more employees. Further, the law directs the employer to make certain accommodations to the pregnant woman before and after the four month leave. The following is a summary of these changes:

The law used to address only morning sickness as a disability but now has been expanded to include gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, preeclampsia and loss or end of pregnancy as a pregnancy related disability.


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√ √

The amendments allow a women wishing to take intermittent leave (leave taken in hours, days, months, etc.) must be allowed to take the leave in the shortest time frame (one hour, etc.) that is taken with other leaves, e.g., victims of domestic violence, etc. The old law required employers to make accommodations including, modifying work stations, equipment, and schedules. The new accommodations include more frequent rest breaks including the use of restrooms to express a mother’s natural milk. The new accommodations prohibit an employer from transferring an employee to a different location unless there is a medical necessity for doing so. The new accommodations place a burden upon the employer to protect the pregnant worker from any form of harassment as a result of her pregnant condition.

Required Medical Services Since September 2009 all California employers are required to make provisions in advance where employees become seriously ill or sustain a fall on the job. These provisions require the employer to do the following:

√ Develop a system of communication with physicians, hospitals and the use of dialing 911. √ Consider an onsite medical facility to deliver treatment to an ailing employee sustaining an injury or fall. √ Develop a system to transport an injured worker to a local medical facility. Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Effective September 2010 this new leave requires employers to grant a thirty (30) day paid leave of absence to any employee who donates one of his or her organs or a paid five day leave of absence for any employee who donates bone marrow. This leave can be taken at any time within one year of the donation. This leave may not be taken concurrently with either the Family Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act but must be provided in addition to these leaves. However, an employer may require that the employee take up to five days of accrued and unused paid sick leave or vacation for the bone marrow donation and up to ten days of earned and unused sick or vacation benefits for the organ donation. Contact me if you would like me to write a policy for inclusion in your employee handbook.

Meal Period Exemption for Construction The meal period requirement that directs employers to provide an uninterrupted thirty minute unpaid meal break for every five hours is waived if the employer retains workers who are in the construction industry, employees of commercial drivers, security officers in the security business, employees in the electrical and gas corporations or publicly owned electrical utilities. All these workers must be covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Workers’ Compensation The new law amends the California Labor Code by adding a new section that provides: “regardless whether an employer has established a medical provider network or entered into a contract with a health care organization, an employer that authorizes medical treatment shall not rescind or modify the authorization for that portion of the medical treatment that has been provided after that treatment has been provided including but not limited to, the employer’s subsequent determination that the physician who treated the employee was not eligible to treat that injured employee”. Confrusing? Call me for an explanation.


Page 17 Employment of Sexual Offenders The California Penal Code is amended to prohibit sexual offenders from applying for work or working in positions where the offender would be working directly with minors unaccompanied (without another adult present).

Cal/OSHA’s focus on Serious Violations This law revises the definition of “serious violations” found in section 2774 of the Labor Code where employers tolerated a serious safety hazard and are now subject to a $25,000.00 fine. The revision creates a presumption if the Division of Occupational Safety and Health can show a “reasonable probability” that death or serious injury could have resulted from the violation. Under the new law employers may find it more difficult to succeed in the appeal of the citation for these serious violations.

Workers’ Compensation Changes The California Division of Workers’ Compensation changed its amendments regarding medical provider networks. To avoid a $7,000.00 fine every California employer must: √ √ √

Post a new “Notice to Employees – Injuries Caused by Work” poster (DWC7) available at http:/bit.ly/dbZuEO. Provide the updated “Your Rights to Workers’ Compensation Benefits” pamphlet to new employees. Use an updated Workers’ compensation claim form (DWC1) and “Notice of Potential Eligibility” form.

The purpose of these requirements of these documents is to inform employees about the existence and use of medical provider networks

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (National Healthcare) As you know this is an exhaustive and very complicated piece of legislation that is currently being litigated in the courts. Please contact me by e-mail (llevy@employeerelationsmanagement.com) and I will send you for a small fee, a three page summary on “How National Healthcare Affects Employers”. The bottom line is to begin the planning process now by contacting your medical insurance broker. Unpaid Internships In the past California’s Department of Labor Standards Enforcement issued an opinion letter detailing under what circumstances interns would be considered employees and thereby be subject to both federal and state minimum wage laws. The DLSE recognized interns may work as part of their training as part of their training. An employer must satisfy each of the following criteria to be excluded from federal and state wage and hour laws: 1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the employer’s facilities, is similar to training given in an educational environment. 2. The internship is predominately for the benefit of the intern and not the employer. 3. The intern does not displace any existing employee but works under the existing staff’s close supervision. 4. The employer does not derive any financial advantage from the intern’s activities. 5. The intern is not entitled to a job upon conclusion of the internship. 6. Both the employer and the intern understand the intern is not entitled to wages for time spent as an intern.

Larry Levy - Employee Relations Management (P) 415.892.1497 (C) 415.254.3688 (E) llevy@employeerelationsmanagement.com


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Suggested Reading At our January Dinner Meeting these were just a few of the books mentioned as great resources.

GARDENING AT THE DRAGON’S GATE

By Wendy Johnson Perhaps a more appropriate subtitle would have been Zen and the Art of Horticulture Maintenance, since Johnson infuses every aspect of gardening with the philosophy that has been her guiding light for more than 30 years. A Zen Buddhist master, Johnson has served as head gardener for San Francisco’s Green Gulch Farm Center, a place of exceptional tranquility and vibrancy where her daily devotional meditation practices became as essential to the health and productivity of her gardens as they were to her body and soul. Recommended by Dave Phelps – Cagwin and Dorward

LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR CALIFORNIA GARDENS

By Bob Perry There have been several good books on California landscape planting published in the past few years but this is best of all. Its very comprehensive for plant selection in California's mediterranean and desert climates. Its very difficult to do this considering the rich palate of planting adaptable to mediterranian climates. It includes plants from temperate, mediterranean, sub tropical, and desert floristic zones that are adaptable to the subject region. Recommended by Dave Phelps – Cagwin & Dorward

GAIA’S GARDEN by Toby Hemenway Hemenway, a permaculture expert and associate editor of The Permaculture Activist, explains how gardens can function as ecosystems, describes the basic parts of an ecological garden (soil, water, plants, and animals), and shows how to create backyard ecosystems through guilds. Guilds, the author tells us, are groups of plants that function as an ecosystem to provide products for humans, create cover and food for wildlife, nourish the soil, conserve water, and repel pests. Recommended by Cynthia Sumner – Equinox Landscape


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Logo Patches

ORDER FORM

CLCA North Coast Chapter COMPANY NAME____________________________ PHONE #____________________ # ordered _____LOGO PATCH: small $ 20 _____LOGO PATCH: large $145 _____HATS: $25 _____GOLF SHIRT: $35 _____FLEECE sm.Logo on front: $65 _____FLEECE lg. Logo on back: $170 _____FLEECE lg. & sm. Logos: $210 _____VARSITY JACKET sm Logo: $180 _____VARSITY JACKET lg Logo: $300 _____VARSITY JACKET lg & sm Logos: $325

circle color & size: Green, Black, or Pale Burgundy Green or Black /Sm, Med, Lg, XL Green or Black /Sm, Med, Lg, XL Green or Black /Sm, Med, Lg, XL Green or Black /Sm, Med, Lg, XL Sm, Med, Lg, XL Sm, Med, Lg, XL Sm, Med, Lg, XL (XXL Available at a slightly higher price)

Call or Fax to Connie @ (707) 829-5487


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Change in the Chapter By-Laws Attention North Coast Members, please see Article VII (old and amended) below. These by-laws may be amended or repealed and new by-laws adopted by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the regular members in attendance at a General Membership Meeting, and subsequent to submission to the regular membership at least thirty (30) days prior to voting. Article VII (OLD) Officers: The regular and designated officers of the chapter shall be, but not limited to: Immediate Past President, President, President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Associate Member Representative. All Chapter Officers must be regular or associate members in good standing of the Chapter. All Chapter Officers are elected by the general Chapter membership. Article VII (AMENDED) Officers: The regular and designated officers of the chapter shall be, but not limited to: Immediate Past President, President, President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Associate Member Representative. (a) Only one person from a company, including affiliated companies may serve simultaneously on a chapter board; (b) A maximum of two voting Associate Members in addition to the Associate Member representative who is elected by the Associate Members in the chapter may serve on a chapter board; And (c) Affiliate, Honorary, and Student Members cannot hold office or vote in a chapter. In the event more than one person from the same company occupies officer positions, the chapter president may substitute a board director (from another company) for that officer’s position. All Chapter Officers must be regular or associate members in good standing of the Chapter. All Chapter Officers are elected by the general Chapter membership.

The full set of By-Laws can be accessed through our chapter website www.clcanorthcoastchapter.org If there any questions or concerns, you can direct them to our President, Charlie Thompson @ Charlie.thompson@cagwin.com

New Year rings in cautiously optimistic water supply outlook The Sonoma County Water Agency is cautiously optimistic about this year's water supply outlook. A series of late-December storms brought in the New Year with both Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino water levels entering the flood control pools. The Water Agency is pleased with the current water levels, but would like to remind the community that both our reservoirs rely heavily on spring rains to remain filled. A more accurate water supply outlook will be made available in the spring. Unlike a majority of California reservoirs that rely on snowmelt runoff to fill, Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino rely solely on rainfall, which is why spring rains are crucial to our water supply. Water from early winter rainfall that fills the reservoirs into the flood control pools typically does not stay in the reservoirs through spring. Some of this water is released based on a storage curve operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. As described by the Corps, reservoirs are like a two-layered cake. The bottom layer is for water storage, and the top layer is for flood control. Once water levels enter the flood control layer, the Corps controls water releases from the reservoirs. The Corps releases water to ensure storage is available for future storm events. The Water Agency works closely with the Corps to maximize storage capacity in both reservoirs when spring approaches in order to keep the reservoirs full to meet summer water demands.


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LANDSCAPES UNLIMITED NURSERY 4330 Bodega Avenue, Petaluma, CA 94952 Phone: (707) 778-0136 Fax: (707) 778-0633

Proverbs of 6 year olds A first grade teacher collected well-known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. 1. Better to be safe than................................................................ punch a 5th grader. 2. Strike while the ........................................................................... bug is close. 3. It’s always darkest before........................................................ Daylight Saving Time 4. Never underestimate the power of......................................... termites. 5. You can lead a horse to water but........................................... how? 6 Don’t bite the hand that ............................................................. looks dirty. 7. No news is...................................................................................... impossible 8. A miss is as good as a ................................................................. Mr. 9. You can’t teach an old dog new ................................................. math. 10. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll ............................................. stink in the morning. 11. Love all, trust .............................................................................. me. 12. The pen is mightier than the .................................................. pigs. 13. An idle mind is ............................................................................ the best way to relax. 14. Where there’s smoke there’s ................................................. pollution. 15. Happy the bride who ................................................................. gets all the presents. 16. A penny saved is......................................................................... not much. 17. Two’s company, three’s ............................................................. the Musketeers. 18. Don’t put off till tomorrow what............................................ you put on to go to bed. 19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and ......... you have to blow your nose. 20. There are none so blind as ...................................................... Stevie Wonder. 21. Children should be seen and not............................................. spanked or grounded 22. If at first you don’t succeed.................................................. get new batteries. 23. You get out of something only what you .............................. see in the picture on the box. 24. When the blind leadeth the blind ......................................... get out of the way.

And the favorite:

25. Better late than……………………………………………………………………….pregnant

Profile for Michael OConnell

CLCA NCC February 2011 Journal  

February Journal

CLCA NCC February 2011 Journal  

February Journal

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