Late Breaking Update: SCD Board arbitrarily cancels Board meeting in front of angry crowd


by Elaine Roberts-Musser

About  60 interested seniors were in attendance at the Aug. 28, 2012 scheduled Senior Citizens of Davis (SCD) Board meeting, ready to weigh in on agenda items.   They gathered in the previously arranged for MPR East at the Davis Senior Center, which seats well over a hundred people.  On the agenda were the following items:

  • Cancellation of the Aug. 14 Special Membership meeting to vote on the proposed bylaws
  • Resolution to retain legal counsel for all matters pertaining to SCD and its membership

Senior Citizens of Davis President’s Asset-Grab Attempt Fails

davis-senior-centerBy E. Roberts Musser

If the reader will remember, the Board of the non-profit corporation Senior Citizens of Davis (SCD) was proposing radical changes in its bylaws.  The new proposed bylaws would have: a) given much more power to the President and the Board, taking it away from SCD members; b) removed independent oversight of SCD assets, investments, and financial transactions; and c) omitted all mention of the Davis Senior Center from its mission and as the beneficiary upon SCD dissolution.  Currently SCD should have approximately $560,000 in assets sitting in its accounts.

In my capacity as an attorney and as a consumer advocate, I was asked by SCD members to review the new proposed bylaws.  I gave my honest legal opinion the proposed changes were not in the best interests of SCD, nor its membership.  Some concerned SCD members took their complaints to the Davis Senior Citizens Commission.  It was there that SCD Board President John Gerlich was encouraged by Commissioners to slow down the process and obtain more member input before putting the matter to a vote.

Word To The Wise: Controversial Proposed Changes to Senior Citizens of Davis Bylaws

davis-senior-centerBy E. Roberts Musser

A controversial issue arose during the June 12, 2012 Davis Senior Citizens Commission meeting.  Members of the 501(c)(3) non-profit Senior Citizens of Davis (SCD) came to the Commission, to voice their concerns about major proposed changes to the SCD bylaws approved by the SCD Board.  In the current bylaws, SCD had as part of its mission, the requirement of mutual cooperation between SCD and the Davis Senior Center.  However, the new proposed bylaws completely omit and do not mention the Davis Senior Center whatsoever.

Of particular concern is the clause about winding down the nonprofit corporation.  The current bylaws require that upon dissolution, any remaining assets be used for the purposes of enhancing the programs for older adults offered through the Senior Center.  Right now, approximately $560,000 is sitting in SCD accounts.  Much of it was donated by a single benefactor, who assumed the terms of the current bylaws would continue to be controlling.  The proposed bylaws will now allow any 501(c)(3) non-profit to be the beneficiary of an SCD dissolution – including a nonprofit any SCD Board member might decide to set up in the future.

Word To The Wise: When Is The Use Of Antipyschotic Drugs On The Elderly Unwarranted?

drugs-nursinghomesBy E. Roberts Musser

A cause for concern, that has come to the forefront of public discussion recently, is the overly frequent administration of psychoactive drugs to nursing home residents.  California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) are strong activists against such practices.  According to a quote in their brochure Toxic Medicine: What You Should Know To Fight The Misuse Of Psychoactive Drugs In California Nursing Homes, “Tens of thousands of nursing home residents with dementia receive powerful antipsychotic drugs that are not intended or approved for their medical conditions.  Rather, the drugs are often used to sedate and control them, a terrible substitute for the individualized care they need and deserve.”

It continues by noting “Antipsychotic drugs don’t just hasten death, they often turn residents into people their own families barely recognize by dulling their memories, sapping their personalities and crushing their spirits.  When families win battles to take residents off these drugs, they sometimes find that the person they’ve always known is still there.”  This issue was recently discussed at both the Yolo County Commission on Aging & Adult Services, and the Davis Senior Citizens Commission.  I would like to share three different experiences various citizens and professionals in the field have related in the commissions or to me as an individual on this very issue.

Word To The Wise: Hospice Forum

hospiceBy E. Roberts Musser

The Davis Senior Citizens Commission convened a forum on hospice issues.  There was a selected panel composed of an internest/geriatrician from Vitas Innovative Hospice Care, a social worker from the UC Davis Medical Center, and a representative from Sutter Hospice.  Three Commissioners shared their own hospice experiences, and an attorney-commissioner described two of her clients who had less than optimal hospice encounters.

For the uninitiated, hospice care is of two types:

Broaching The Subject of Taking The Keys Away From An Older Driver

senior-drivingBy Elaine Roberts Musser

If a driver is physically or mentally impaired to such an extent that it seriously interferes with the ability to drive safely, what should be done?  According to California Highway Patrol Chief Mona Prieto, “There are 11 million drivers 75 and older in the United States.  With the baby boomer population aging, in twenty years one in four drivers will be elderly.  And studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety find that older drivers themselves suffer the most severe consequences of their crashes.”

As CHP Deputy Commissioner Joe Farrow reminds us, “Unlike the legal age set for when you can start driving, there is no legal age for when you should stop.  It varies person to person on a number of factors, including physical health, eyesight, and what medications you may be on.”

Word To The Wise: How To Assist With Avoiding Minefields of Old Age

senior_coupleBy E. Roberts Musser –

As the winter holidays approach, adult children often visit aging parents. Adult children should use this time as a golden opportunity to protect their elderly loved ones from the many mine fields of old age. This is not an exhaustive list of issues, but you should be able to use it to start a productive conversation for your family’s particular situation:

Asset Protection (for the benefit of the elderly loved one)

Word To The Wise: Scammers Know No Bounds!

Scam-AlertBy E. Roberts Musser –

Financial predators are becoming highly sophisticated, and their ranks are swelling as legitimate businesses join in the scamming free-for-all. Some sordid examples will illustrate this premise. A case in point is one gentleman who was in his eighties, and becoming very forgetful. In consequence, his wife had to take over the financial duties of the household. With elderly couples, this is not an unusual pattern. Often one becomes the caretaker of the other, if there is a severe decline in mental or physical health of either partner.

Requests for subscription renewal would come in the mail for the husband on a steady basis, to magazines he had already paid for ten times over. Because of his failing memory, he would completely forget he had already paid for the subscription on numerous occasions prior in a matter of a few months. The more frequently he would pay, the more often the subscription renewal forms would come in. Eventually the deluged old fellow was getting one notice a month for each of numerous magazines and newsletters.

Word To The Wise – Universal Health Care: A Perfect Solution or Pure Folly?

By E. Roberts Musser –

The current political mantra at both the federal level and here in the state of California is the perceived need for “universal health care”. It is seen as the solution to the crucial issue of health care reform. Rather the more important question should be: “Is universal health care the answer to rising health care costs and the ever increasing number of uninsured, or are there other options to consider that might be better?”

One of the problems with the idea of “universal health care” is that the term itself is not well defined. It can mean many different things to different people. The devil is in the details, as Congress and our President are just beginning to find out. Let’s take a look at three “universal health care” models, and see how they are faring: Medicare; the Massachusetts model; and the Canadian system.

Word To The Wise: Food For Thought

citycat.pngBy E.A. Roberts –

Item 1.  In the Sunday, May 17 Davis Enterprise appears an editorial entitled “Those at the top are easy targets”, defending recent pay raises to the wealthiest public employees.  What is interesting to note is another article “They’ll drink to that” announcing UCD’s plan for its new cutting-edge winery, along with a front page headline screaming “Budget is in hands of angry electorate”.  Apparently no one at the Davis Enterprise put two and two together.  Perhaps the electorate is angry because they see fat cats at the top levels of state government still pigging out at the public trough as per usual, while the state budget takes a nose dive into deep, dark oblivion.
In the past several weeks, the Enterprise has reported on the following:


A Bombshell Was Dropped – What Next?

Word To The Wise


A Bombshell Was Dropped – What’s Next?

By E. Roberts Musser

In our Davis Senior Citizens Commission meeting on Thursday, March 12, 2009, our City Council liaison Sue Greenwald dropped a bombshell. At least it felt that way to some of us on our commission. Councilmember Greenwald said there was a “cost saving” move afoot to consolidate the city’s commissions – yet again. The rationale behind this move is supposedly to cut down on city staff expense.