All posts by dricketson6464

Cringeworthy…

Hello all,

It has been a LONG time since I wrote anything on this blog. Of course, it’s not because I have nothing to say on the subject of my dealings with the family court system and my virtual imprisonment by it. Oddly, it was a comment by the rare reader of my blog that motivated me to reset my password and throw some more words onto the screen. This commenter had asked if I was still planning on writing a book about my experiences. I responded, “Absolutely!”

In fact, over the distant holidays back in December, I had actually gotten quite a bit written on the subject and had been able to take a look at what I had written up to this point. As the title of this post attests, I found much of what I had written was CRINGEWORTHY. I cringed at its shrill, self-righteous, self-absorbed tone.

I am sorry for that.

Ultimately, the troublesome tone is very self-defeating to my purposes. The tone of the writing that I read can be off-putting, self-righteous and ironically, self-pitying at the same time. I will make an effort to do better.

I will get the opportunity to “change  my tone” in the next several weeks as I prepare yet another plea and request to my elected representatives. You see, my child support obligations, and thus my bureaucratic incarceration, should be concluding in July of this year. Given my experiences with “the system”, I am going to insist on affirmation of this belief. These are governmental entities that are not to be trusted.

Until then…

 

Douglas O. Ricketson

They finally got it…

My license that is. The DCSS finally got my CA drivers license. Not to worry, everything has been rectified and straightend out, but man what a hassle! Below is my account of the events as they unfolded. This is what I sent to the State Hearing review board in my efforts to get some acountability from the Dept. of  Child Support Services

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1/7/2016

To Whom It May Concen:

Enclosed are the necessary documents to request a state hearing for the complaints that I have regarding my treatment and chronic issues that I have had with the California Department of Child Support Services in Los Angeles County(LACSSD). What follows is a retelling of the events surrounding the suspension of my California driver’s license and my subsequent efforts to rectify this unjust and erroneous situation. I follow this with my extensive experiences dealing with the DCSS over the last 15 years. Next, I will examine the role my elected officials have had in this process and finally I will conclude with some thoughts on reform of the tragically flawed Family Law bureaucratic complex.

The specifics on this case are as follows: In an effort to retire a balance owed in Child Support, I made 3 payments of $475 in July 2015. Assuming, somewhat erroneously, that the DCSS would apply these payments correctly so that I was not license to drive was not subject to suspension. I should have known better. Admittedly, there was no payment made in August. The reader has to understand that my court established child support is $421. It would be $441 if you included the court-ordered and agreed upon $20 per month payment arrangement. This payment agreement is proven and validated by the DCSS/SDU’s own monthly billing statement which I have included. In essence, in the month of July I paid $1370. That would be $528 in excess of what I was obligated to pay for the months of July and August! This is the reason that I did not make a payment in August. This is where this mole hill is turned into a Mount Everest of a problem. On September 5, 2015 the Los Angeles County CSSD issued a letter stating that I was behind on my child support payments, and in typical fashion, threatening all sorts of consequences if this these payments are brought current in CSSD’s eyes. Ironically, as the payments history indicates, my payments were not late, but misapplied by State Disbursement Unit/SDU and CSSD. Next comes, Notice of Intent to Suspend my California driver’s license issued by the CA DMV. This is getting serious…yet again. As an aside, I am including my Child Support account statement the month of October. This establishes, the payment agreement that I am subject to and in compliance with. Next, I make contact with the general DCSS number and I am informed that I need to get in touch with my case worker. I was even given a direct phone number and e-mail address for “Ms. Harrison” who is now the person assigned this case. I called this person repeatedly called and even e-mailed her and got no response. I was finally able to make contact with her and she assured me that she would rectify the situation. I thought this was dealt with and fixed. I was away from California for approximately one week in the middle of October and I return to find the situation has not been addressed. At this point, I get in touch with my elected officials. I am able to make contact with Abel Pineda, a staff member from Assembly Member Tony Thurmond’s office. I believe that his assistance was instrumental in rectifying this unjust situation. The result being the not one, but two STATE LICENSE RELEASE forms. Now, how is this possible? My license is either valid or it’s not. I do not know how to explain this one. Finally, I am including my Driver History Report from CA DMV. It took me from 10/22/15 to 11/10/15 to reestablish my driving privileges. It wasn’t easy. You have to understand that once I was able to get this situation corrected with the DCSS I still had to deal with the Mandatory Actions Unit of the CA DMV to actually reestablish my driving privileges. To their credit, the individuals at the Mandatory Actions Unit of the CA DMV were very responsive and helpful with this situation. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do anything with my driver’s license until the DCSS contacted them to release it. This leads back to the DCSS and those fundamental questions. What are they doing? How are they doing it? And can the process be improved?

My fundamental premise is this: the Ombudsman/Complaint process actually obstructs the complainant. It does not act as a neutral body that seeks solutions to problems, but rather as an obstructionist flack whose unstated, yet tacit function is to protect the bureaucracy in question from legitimate scrutiny. Just because the law says you can get away with something, does not necessarily mean it’s a legitimate law. Admittedly, my fundamental arguments are not about the law, they are about right and wrong. While it is my intent to utilize and adhere to the administrative processes that are available to me and are required for this type of conflict resolution, based upon my experiences with the DCSS and the family courts in general, it is my conjecture and speculation that I will exhaust the administrative options available to me. Unfortunately, I fear that I will need to seek redress of my grievances and injuries through other legtimate legal means.

It is an interesting comparison and contrast between the points of contact of the state hearing and the LA County CSSD. It is amusing that the LA CSSD was brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century. This is the first formal correspondence that I have had that actually references an e-mail address for contact. I’ve always felt that to be able to communicate about the issues of my case via e-mail would be much more efficient and would facilitate clearer communications between myself and my case worker, I still haven’t been formally given my case worker’s e-mail address as point of contact. Perhaps, if we had been able to communicate via this medium, many of the issues that I currently have would not have arisen.

The correspondence from Mr. Banuelos does represent a first for the DCSS: an apology. It’s not the correct REASON for an apology, but an apology none the less. Sadly, the apology is not for the many flaws and failings of the operational mechanics of the DCSS, but for the failure of one its employees to get back in touch with me regarding my license suspension. Well, this may come as a shock to Mr. Banuelos, but this is not the first time that there has been a lack of responsiveness by the employees at the LA County CSSD. In my conversations with Mr. Banuelos I am left with the distinct impression that he believes that this is an “HR” issue that is directly related to the deficiencies of and lack of responsiveness “Ms. Harrison” as a case worker. From Mr. Banuelo’s perspective the situation is an anecdotal aberration. It is a “one-off” situation that does not accurately represent how the DCSS conducts itself.

Oh really, well, I respectfully disagree. This is the first time in the entire 15 years of my dealing with the DCSS that I have ever gotten an apology for any of their conduct. Unfortunately, this apology is representative of the deceitful duplicity this agency represents. The DCSS seems fine with throwing one of its own, presumably over-worked, employees under the bus for lack of responsiveness and “discourteous service.” What is the DCSS’ obsession with the trivializing term, “discourteous service.” This is not some store clerk being dismissively rude to me. No. This is about systemic failings of a system that is supposed to be executing on its fiduciary responsibilities to me and children that I have fathered. Repeatedly…time and time again I have had to battle with this agency over issues that should have been obvious and apparent. The zealotry in the punitive measures that I’ve been threatened with are appalling. I am including a Child Support Warning notice that I received July of 2015 as a representative example of the typical coercive correspondence that I receive from the DCSS. What this letter does not acknowledge or reference is the fact that there was a court-ordered payment agreement in place that would negate any of the punitive actions spelled out in this form letter. But since we are on the subject of apologies, here is what I feel the DCSS should be apologizing for. Let’s start with the audit of my child support account in the spring of 2013 and the unilateral finding that I somehow owed an additional $4400 in child support obligations(later, mysteriously reduced to approximately $1500). This was contradicted by the fact that over the preceding 5 years, I had either been ahead of or on time with all of my Child Support payments. In fact, the DCSS even issued checks to me for OVER payments. It is suspiciously coincidental that this audit was conducted immediately after my successful challenge to the garnishment of my wages by the DCSS as well as the removal of my obligation to pay for health insurance in accordance with family code sect. 3751 sub-section 2. How about an apology for that?

How about an apology for the liens department of the DCSS draining my bank account on 12/26/14 of all the funds that I had in it and the subsequent banking charges that I had to pay? This action also completely ignored the payment plan that was set in place earlier in the year as referenced above.

Overall, how about an apology for the countless times that I have had to fend off your attempts to suspend my driving privileges through the seizure of my California drivers license. The DCSS was only able to succeed in these efforts because of the unresponsiveness of my over-burdened, inept caseworker, “Ms. Harrison.”

Finally, how about an apology for the dread that I feel every time I am behind the wheel of my vehicle and I see a member of law enforcement. This dread emanates from the fear of nothing that I have done or failed to do. This fear is derived from the knowledge that I am subject to the bureaucratic ineptitude and callous indifference of how the DCSS conducts itself. This fear says to me, “Is this the time that I get pulled over, carted off to jail and my vehicle impounded because of some error by the DCSS?” Can you apologize for that?

Needless to say, I strictly adhere to the rules of the road.

As I stated above, I’ve successfully regained my driving privileges. Through persistence and sheer force of will, I was able to rectify an unjust situation. I am not, however, everyone. A cursory evaluation of my situation would bring even the most casual reader to understand how such a situation could be profoundly frustrating. This frustration could evolve into anger, and that anger could further devolve into rage and finally explode into violent acts. No worries. I am not that guy. The fact that I am taking my frustrations to the page instead of the street is proof of this. We all know, based on current events that there are plenty of these guys out there who cannot contain their rage.

It’s interesting. We’ve been inundated with the gory details of mass shootings in recent days. The terrorists have us in a terror. Ironically, the underreported fact of the matter is that the underpinning motivation of most mass shootings is not terrorism, but domestic violence. I would direct the reader to the work of USA Today and Mother Jones at the links below as evidence of this. Their work is quite revealing and detailed in illuminating the origins of mass violence over the last 20 years. The USA Today work specifically reference 157 instances of what they term, “family killings.” This data driven journalism doesn’t even pickup or document those smaller incidents of violence that fly under the radar.

To be fair, it is a stretch to conjecture that someone getting thrown in jail because they are caught driving on a suspended license and then getting out of jail and committing a violent act. It’s a bit of a stretch. Fortunately, there is now data that we can dig into to gain an understanding of what motivates this violence. I know my frustrations and anguish. There is a saying, “An evil soup is made of many ingredients.” Now, it is not too big a conjecture or speculation to believe that the callous indifference of agencies such as the DCSS and the Family Courts have played a causal factor in many of these tragic incidents. Fortunately, what I believe is completely irrelevant because we now have the data and the cumulative anecdotal evidence to prove my assertions. Finally, while it would take too long to fully explore how the incentive structure of the Family Court system is misaligned and contradictory to the stated purpose of the family courts, let me just simply state that the Family Law Bureaucratic complex is motivated to foment and exacerbate conflict, not alleviate and quell it. If granted a hearing, I would more fully expand and substantiate this point.

This next section is directed towards my elected officials. Throughout the time that I have been dealing with the DCSS, my elected officials have assisted me with varying degrees of efficacy. I am still appreciative of the efforts of then State Senator Tom Torlakson and Assembly member, Joe Canciamilla and their respective staffs. Their assistance has made all the difference in the world. Currently, I am very appreciative of the efforts of a staff member in Assembly member Tony Thurmond’s office by the name of Abel Pineda. I am certain that his efforts have contributed to the eventual rectification of the problems that I had with the DCSS and the restoration of my driving privileges.

Now, I am sure that the observant reader noticed the phrase, “varying levels of efficacy.” I have experienced “varying levels” during my interactions with many of my local elected officials. As my efforts transition from my own anecdotal problems to the larger systemic problems that affect all citizens in this state, I hope to inspire and motivate my elected officials to begin to deal with the larger systemic problems of the DCSS and Family Court system. They need to recognize the seriousness of the issues and begin to take the appropriate actions for reforming the DCSS and the family courts. Specifically, there needs to be review and over site of the practices and processes that these agencies employ. Now, as I attempt to persuade my elected officials to review and evaluate the practices and processes of these agencies as they apply to everyone, I want my elected officials to keep this in mind: what I am advocating for applies to everyone who has dealings with the Family Law system in this state. As such, EVERY SINGLE ELECTED should be concerned about the issues that I am raising. While the Family Law system is largely thought to be the domain of state control, I would beg to differ. The specific complaints are about an agency, the Department of Child Support Services(DCSS), is one where almost 50% of its funding comes from the Office of Child Support Enforcement(OCSE)…a FEDERAL agency. When I say every single elected official, I mean it: State Assembly…State Senate…U.S. House of Representatives…U.S. Senate…all. I guess the point that I am belaboring ad nauseum is the fact that if you’re paying for it…you’re responsible for it, so in turn, that makes Federal government responsible for helping to fix it.

In conclusion, I believe that I have shown and documented the need for a STATE HEARING in relation to the specific events relating to my child support case during the last 6 months.

I understand and appreciate that the background context of what I have provided is a bit…extensive. Unfortunately, this is an accumulation of 15 years of conflicts and acrimony that I’ve had with the family court system. I believe that the problems that I’ve had with the family court system are not unique to my own situation. The events that that I described in this case are not unprecedented. I’ve been through this before. I have a high degree of confidence that others have experienced what I have. Think about it: if this system were functional and operating in the interests of those who are supposedly being served, would I have to plead for intervention from my elected officials?

Regardless, I will end there. With that, I respectfully request that you grant a STATE HEARING to review the issues that I have raised.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Douglas O. Ricketson

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/GDContent/mass-killings/index.html

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data

I am Walter Scott….

May posting

It has been a couple of months since my last posting. As it is my intent to write a book of my experiences and those of others, I will end this posting with a plea that you might have seen before.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the tragedy of Walter Scott. As many will recall, if you have been paying attention to the news, Walter Scott was the 50 year old North Carolina man who was shot in the back 8 times by Michael Slager, a North Charleston police officer. Walter Scott was no saint. That is made clear by the Wikipedia posting relating to the shooting. That being said, as an unarmed man, he did not deserve to be shot 8 times as he attempted to flee the terror that motivated him to run. What was the source of Mr. Scott’s terror? He was terrified by the prospect of going back to jail because of his back child support obligations. I can certainly relate. Granted, my freedom has never truly truly in jeopardy due to child support obligations, but I’ve come close. As anyone who has read my blog is well aware, I know what it’s like to be threatened with 5 days in the graybar hotel for every count of Contempt of a Court order. More needs to be written about the life of Walter Scott. We need to know the “tick-tock” of this man’s life. How did he come to that state of terror on that fateful morning of April 14th, 2015?

As I post to my blog in my quest for some rational, well-drawn stories about people’s experiences dealing with the California Family court system, I will continue to research the Walter Scott incident. The family court system of North Carolina may be completely blameless in this matter, but my experiences here in California point me in a different direction. The cruel and vicious irony is this: invariably, after the criminal trial, there will be some sort of civil, wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family, namely, the children of Walter Scott. Whatever dollar amount is settled upon, it will certainly be more than he could have provided for them had he been alive. My thoughts and wishes go out to the family of Walter Scott. I’m sure they would rather have him back in their lives.

It is my sincere hope that the cost of the resulting lawsuits will give the family court system of North Carolina pause as to the policies of enforcement that they employ. The position of compassion and understanding, in the long run, will always be far more effective than the brutality and oppression that so many family court systems employ in this day and age. While the aftermath of the Walter Scott shooting will play out for years to come, changes in the state of marriage will on a much shorter time horizon.

The subject of gay marriage is not an issue of much debate here in California. Homosexuals are citizens of this country and as such, have the right to enter into contracts, including social contracts like marriage. It is not gay marriage…it’s just marriage. I am fully supportive of the hopes and ambitions of any two adults in love who commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives I am reminded of the Oscar Wilde observation, “Love is the triumph of hope over experience.” I applaud your hope. I envy your bliss. I respect your union. As it relates to marriage, the question for me is this: why would you want to?

While I sincerely hope your union lasts for eternity, what if it doesn’t? You will be at the mercy of the incompetent, vicious, and self-interested jurists and bureaucrats that arbiter such dissolutions: the Family Court system. It will be all the worse, on a logarithmic scale, if you have children. My writings have focused on my own battles with the family court system and the Dept. of Child Support Services in particular, so I have what some would call a biased perspective on these matters. Marriage, or any other committed union is not something to be taken lightly. It has always struck me as ironic that endeavors that can have such devastating impacts on your life are so casually easy to enter into.

As someone who was a miserable failure at marriage, I would advise anyone…anyone…gay or straight, would be well advised to at least consider an alternative to marriage. As a starting point, I would recommend looking at, “Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples” by Nolo Press. This book provides an extensive framework for the many issues and considerations that any couple will face. If nothing else, this book, or one like it, conveys the seriousness that a lifetime commitment infers. BEFORE you get that marriage license, it bears reading and considering.

Please remember, that while your commitment to your partner is sacred and eternal…now. It might not always be that way. It bears repeating…often, that if your sacred partnership rips asunder, you do not want to be at the mercy of the racketeers in the family court system and its attendant bureaucracies. These institutions are populated by individuals who are compensated by fomenting conflict and discord rather than reconciliation and civility. Avoid them at all costs.

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The Search Continues…

I am still looking for people’s stories and experiences with the Family Court System in the State of California as well as the Child Support system in this state.

The point of this endeavor is to bring to light anecdotal examples of the many flaws with this system. Ultimately, these anecdotes will serve as starting point for much needed reform in the California Family Court System

I found that people were looking for a more specifics on what I’m working on. Below is a more detailed description

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Here is what I’m doing: I’m working on a book that explores the

issues and abuse that people are suffering at the hands of the family

court system and the parasitic bureaucracies that feed off family

conflicts and dissolution. The focus will be on the bureaucracies

involved and the methods by which they can be held accountable.

The vehicle that I will use explore these issues will be the

individual stories that people submit to me. I am projecting 4 to 6

stories, underpinned by an exploration of the laws and tactics that

were applied in each individual case. These stories will be followed

by a chapter that will dissect the laws, the bureaucracies that

execute them and offer methods of countering and contending with them.

Finally, the book will close with a chapter that provides contact

points for organizations that could be of help to individuals that are

dealing with the condescending, unjust bureaucracies. Basically, a

clearinghouse chapter of organizations that are involved in these

issues. Ironically, the stories that will be included in this book are the

worst, most egregious examples of bureaucratic overreach. Also, these

anecdotes or chronologies will need to be substantiated by relevant

court, agency documents, and correspondence. Simply put: the bad acts

have to be obvious and in your face. If you are still interested in

being considered, please include relevant court case numbers,

timelines, and agencies involved. Also, please include and contact

information that might be relevant. I am projecting 2.5 to 3 years for

the completion of this project. I cannot emphasize enough the need for

your anecdotes to be able to be vetted and confirmed. Unfortunately,

anonymity will not change a damn thing.

In my contentious run-ins with the DCSS, I’ve come up with a phrase

that sums up the mental state of that bureaucracy and so many others

like them. Their attitude is as follows: We have done so much to so

many for so long, we can do anything to anyone.

It bears saying. . ..yet again, that I am interested in you stories because these tragic stories will serve as the building blocks of change. In order to serve this purpose, these stories need to be full of all of the details to be credible. Times, dates, agencies involved, and the actors involved. . .EVERYTHING. It’s the only way

Thanks for your time

STILL NO PAY, but change has to start somewhere.

Thanks

Hope to hear from you!

DougO

A letter to my elected officials…

28

Like usual…it has been a while. Some might think
that because I started this blog, I really enjoy typing out every little thought goes through my head relating to this case. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is an arduous task to motivate myself to write on this blog because is a very painful subject for me. That being said, it is a very necessary undertaking to execute if any change is ever going to occur.

Below you will finds a letter to my elected representatives: Mike Thompson – 5th Congressional, Loni Hancock – CA Senate 9th, and Tony Thurmond – CA Assembly 15th. I always believed that this was where you eventually wound up, if you had grievances as deep and profound as my own. Over the coming weeks, what reaction, if any that i receive from them. I’ll keep you posted.

THE MARCH EDITION

Several people have sent me their  stories of abuse at the hands of the family court system. As Empathetic as I am to their situation, I am struck by how often these stories devolve in hateful unproductive rants that do not progress any worthwhile agenda. PLEASE….PLEASE, the more information that you can provide relating to your case, the more powerful and compelling your story of injustice will be. Who, What, Where When…Why. All of those elements will be necessary to make a driving and rational case for change.

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March 5th, 2015

RE: Case MD022782 – Los Angeles County Superior Court

To Whom It May Concern:

Tracking numbers 9405 5036 9930 0005 5170 76, 9405 5036 9930 0005 5003 06, 9405 9036 9930 0372 9464 08. I am putting into writing what I have been communicating to representatives in your respective offices. I am not going to be rehash the last 14 years of my dealings with the CA Department of Child Support Services(DCSS). If you truly want the full background on my situation and numerous complaints that I have about the DCSS, please refer to my blog, ricketsondouglas.wordpress.com. Briefly, however, I would like to focus on two incidents that happened to me in the last few months. The first occurred when the DCSS directed the CA DMV to suspend my driver’s license due to non-payment of child support. The problem is this: I was completely current in my child support payments. It took weeks to resolve and if I had not picked up on it promptly, I would have had a whole other world of problems with which to contend. The second happened on 12/26/14. The bank levies division of the LA County DCSS decided that it was an appropriate idea to drain my checking account of almost $900.00. Fortunately, although, I was able to resolve this issue, I have still not been given any sort of rational reason why they decided to do this or what legal basis they had for doing it. Also, for being legally serviced in this way, JP Morgan Chase, my bank, decided it was appropriate to charge me $75 for the experience. Nice.

While my focus has been on my experiences with the DCSS, I assure you, this is not about me. My experiences are MILD compared to the anecdotes that I have been reviewing from other non-custodial parents.

At this point, I find that I need to take my elected officials to task and communicate my profound disappointment in their responsiveness to my situation and those of other non-custodial parents dealing with the DCSS. I am told any one of a myriad of excuses for their not dealing with the failings of the agencies involved.

“Oh, there’s nothing we can do because this is a personal matter.”…or “This is not an issue we are going to be bringing up this term, sorry.”…or “This is a legal issue, you will have to deal with this through the courts.”

Well, yes, it’s a personal matter, for myself and thousands of other non-custodial parents, but that did not stop the CA state legislature from writing the statutes that govern it. It may be personal but the laws that govern it are a public concern, which makes it your concern. As far as the timing issue is concerned, well, not to be a drama queen about it, but because family court issues have often had the potential for devolving into life and death situations, it begs the question, “If not now, when? If not you, who?” And what luck! Both of my state representatives are sit on the Health Services committees. These are the committees that have some degree of oversight of the DCSS. Certainly, some reasonable inquiries could be made into how this agency performs its duties and treats the citizens that are subject to it.

Finally, as far as this being a, “legal matter” that only the courts can deal with, I am reminded of a quote by Einstein, “The problems that confront us are not going to be solved by the institutions that created them.” The family court system needs to be torn down and rebuilt in an image that in NO WAY reflects the current one. That being said, the legislature has little or no legitimate jurisdiction over how the courts conducts its role. The DCSS is entirely another matter. The lines of oversight are clear because it is a publicly funded state agency.

I would like to lay to rest any notion that the federal government has no role in policy issues concerning the DCSS. Please, follow the money. Line item 5175 in the California state budget is the budget of the DCSS. From my reading of this very rough overview of this agency’s budget for fiscal year 2015-2016, it includes $537 million in funding from the “Federal Trust Fund.” 53% of a state agency’s budget…at a minimum, seems pretty connected to me. This salient fact leads me to assert that representatives of the federal government have a responsibility to know, understand and oversee how that Federal Trust Fund money is being spent.

Before I conclude with a couple of telling anecdotes and make my final points, I want to state for the record that I do not condone violence in any form. Ultimately, on top of the pain and suffering it causes, it is an ineffective tool for resolving disputes and only causes more violence. That being said, I am compelled to relate the tragic tales of Scott Evans DeKraii and Bradley Stone.

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Scott Evans Dekraii

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Seal_Beach_shooting

The Seal Beach shooting was a mass shooting that occurred on October 12, 2011, at the Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, California. Eight people inside the salon and one person in the parking lot were shot, and only one victim survived. It was the deadliest mass killing in Orange County history.[2]…

 

Perpetrator

Scott Evans Dekraai (born October 17, 1969) divorced his wife Michelle in 2007 after four years of marriage. Court records showed that he had been engaged in a bitter custody dispute over his eight-year-old son. His personality was said to have changed after an accident on board a tugboat in February 2007, which left him with serious leg injuries. Following an incident later in 2007 involving his stepfather, a restraining order was filed against him, barring him from possessing firearms. The order lasted a year and had expired at the time of the shooting. Court documents filed in September 2008 diagnosed him with posttraumatic stress disorder. A court hearing had taken place on Tuesday, October 11, 2011, the day before the shooting, which recommended a near-equal custody arrangement.[34][35][36]

 

Bradley Stone

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/us/bradley-stone-autopsy-finds-overdose.html

 

A former Marine Corps reservist who killed his ex-wife and five members of her family in Pennsylvania this month committed suicide by overdosing on a combination of drugs used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and a recreational drug similar to ecstasy, according to his autopsy report….

Mr. Stone’s body was found Dec. 16 in a wooded area about a half-mile from his house, one day after he embarked on a 90-minute rampage across three towns in which the authorities say he variously used an ax, a machete, two knives and a gun to kill his ex-wife, Nicole Stone, 33, and five members of her family while they lay in bed. The killings occurred between 3:30 and 5 a.m.

The killings occurred in an area of Upper Hanover Township about 45 miles north of Philadelphia.

 

Mr. Stone was a Marine reservist from 2002 to 2008, and was deployed to Iraq for several months in 2008, according to a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Forces Reserve. He served in the Individual Ready Reserve until 2011, when he was discharged. He was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Now, it would be absurd, unbalanced and unfair to assert that the interactions that these two individuals had with the family court system were THE causal factor in their commission of these tragic acts, but they were in the mix. A toxic soup like this is comprised of many ingredients. Would things have turned out differently, had these individuals had a more positive, empathic experience with their respective family court bureaucracies? Who knows? It couldn’t have hurt. Granted, the tragic events surrounding Scott Evans DeKraii and Bradley Stone are extreme outliers. But for every extreme tragedy, there are thousands of small, unheard ones that go unnoticed and unfelt. The family court system is where our most intimate selves intersect with governmental bureaucracies. After living and reading about the countless stories of people’s experiences with a callous, and uncaring family court system, I am here to state…unequivocally, that this system is BROKEN.

You’re my elected representatives. That is why I am addressing this letter to you. As I still labor under the delusion that we dwell in a civil society governed by laws and processes, you are the individuals who are in the position of doing something about this issue. I am often counseled by my friends to, “just move on.” I wish I could. When I have to worry about what episode of DCSS abuse and incompetence I will find awaiting me in my mailbox, I cannot, “move on.” When I look at my checking account and wonder whether or not my money will still be there in there in the morning, I cannot, “move on.” By my best estimates, I will be an indentured servant to the DCSS and the family courts for the next 28 months. My daughter will, “age out” of the system in the summer of 2017. I understand how this dysfunctional system operates. I can deal. What you have to worry about are the individuals who have no idea how abusive the family court industrial complex can be…particularly when the individuals involved are experiencing intense emotional distress…like when you’re going through a divorce.

The first step in dealing with dealing with any problem is recognizing that there is one. Now, the question becomes, what are you going to do about it? Remember how I opened this correspondence with the tracking numbers for these letters? Well, it’s essentially, my unsubtle way of putting you on notice that THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH THE FAMILY COURT SYSTEM IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. You cannot feign ignorance now. I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at any of the points of contact below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Douglas O. Ricketson

751 Smith Ave

Pinole, CA 94564

ricketsondouglas@gmail.com

510-417-0923(cell)

208-441-5686(fax)

ricketsondouglas.wordpress.com

Enclosures: CD relevant court family – Case MD0022782 Los Angeles Superior Court.

Recipients: Congressman Mike Thompson – CA 5th District, State Senator Loni Hancock 9th District, Assembly Member Tony Thurmond – 15th District

Some things just go on and on and on…

Like this posting to my Blog…

Below is what I sent off to the OCSE(Office of Child Support Enforcement). Admittedly, it does seem like it goes on forever at times. It could be worse. You could be reading the actual OCSE documents. That is some snoozy reading.

Please feel free to go to the OCSE website and offer your on comments on this issue. Every comment matters

Take Care

DougO

1/14/2015

Before I begin my comments on the proposed changes of the child
support laws, I would like to sincerely thank the OCSE for the
opportunity to do so. It is my hope that the volume of documents that
I am presenting to you is not overwhelming. I am including these
documents on an enclosed CD, as they are too voluminous to print. Much
of what I am sending you are the court documents pertaining to my case
as well as the accumulated postings to my blog. The postings relate to
my dealings with the Family Court system, and as such, relate to what
I am going to commenting on today. I am including a short introduction
of where my case is currently and where the most recent conflicts
arose. I only mention this as it serves as a context for the comments
that I will be making on the various sections of the law under review.
I certainly apologize for the lateness of this submission. I believe
that you will understand the reasons for the lateness after you read
the introduction.
I will endeavor to keep my tone civil and respectful. As you read
through my various court documents and blog postings, you will see
that often the only tone and tenor that I can muster is one of disdain
and disgust. Please realize and understand that these words are born
out of 14 years of deep and profound frustration with the California
Family Court System.
My own situation is currently stable, yet tenuous. While I am in
complete compliance with all of my Child Support obligations, I had to
fend off two unwanted intrusions into my life by the California
Department of Child Support Services(DCSS). One was an unjustified
attempt in November 2014 to suspend my California driver’s license.
The other was a bank levy that was imposed upon my account that
removed all of the funds from my checking account. Fortunately, I was
able to beat back these illegitimate actions. At the risk of seeming
paranoid, it has been challenging to contend with a bureaucratic
entity that constantly seems bent on “getting me” even though I am in
complete compliance with my financial child support obligations. This
partially explains why it took so long to submit comments to the OCSE.
The fact that I did not hear about the call for comments until just a
few days ago, also had an impact. Honestly, I do believe that a more
robust effort could have been made to let the primarily impacted
parties, namely custodial and non-custodial parents, know about this
comment period.
As you read my blog postings and my court papers, please keep in mind
that these declarations are submitted under oath on pain of perjury. I
take the possibility of committing a felony very seriously. These
declarations are accurate and true.
Before I get into my comments of specific sections, I think that I
should give a bit of background on the nature of the comments
themselves. As you will read, my comments concern the “big picture” of
the section under consideration. I am more concerned with the overall
intent and effect, and not so much the specific word or comma
placement. Also, for the purposes and benefit of those being most
impacted by the actions of the OCSE, I would suggest creating a more
“refined” or “dumbed down” verision of the changes under
consideration. I believe such a document would make this process much
more approachable and open for those being effected. Also, while this
task might be rather cumbersome and overwhelming, I would suggest that
whatever changes the OCSE is contemplating, be explained in the
context of the individual state implementing the changes. I live in
California. I would find it useful to know and understand how the
changes that the OCSE is contemplating effect the legislative statutes
of California.

That being said…

SECTION 302.32: COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT OF SUPPORT PAYMENTS BY THE
IV-D AGENCY

As a noncustodial parent(NCP), I have never known the state of
California to have a problem collecting money. Whether it is through
wage garnishment or simply using their bureaucratic overreach to seize
funds in my personal checking account, they’ve always been very good
at collecting the money. There is one slight exception: when I make
the electronic payment to the CA SDU through my bank, it can take 10
to 14 for that payment to post. That is unacceptable in this day and
age. I have gotten around this deficiency by making the payments
directly through the SDU website. I have no idea how well they
disburse it. You would have to talk to a custodial parent for that
perspective.
Tracking the funds that I pay and having them credited to my account
balance is another story entirely. I find the CA SDU and CA DCSS to be
utterly incompetent and malfeasant in the execution of their fiduciary
duties. How else could you explain the audit that I endured in the
Spring of 2013. An audit of my Child Support payments account informed
me that I was almost $4500 in arrears. This after almost 5 years of
statements from the DCSS stating that I was either ahead or on time
with my payments. In fact, the DCSS even sent me checks for
overpayment of my account. Please see the court-filed declarations and
exhibits for more detailed explanation this point. Suffice to say, if
an entity in the private sector were executing their fiduciary
responsibilities in such a grossly malfeasant way, I would be suing
them in civil court …and winning. I will touch on this again when I
comment on section 307.11
Finally, I will say this here, but it applies to many of the other
sections that I am commenting on as well. In addition to collecting
funds from the various cources, the DCSS collects data as well. They
know where I work, my bank accounts, my court case number, my social
security number,  driver’s license number, etc., The list goes on and
on. Up to this point, it has been my position that the access the DCSS
has to this information has been used to control and abuse
non-custodial parents. If the OCSE is genuine and sincere in its
intent for the NCP to have at least a basic “subsistence” existence,
then perhaps this information could be used as a red flag to DCSS
caseworkers. These red flags could serve as an indicator to the case
workers that basic subsistence levels are not being met for the NCP
and that action needs to be taken.

SECTION 302.56: GUIDELINES FOR SETTING CHILD SUPPORT AWARDS

From many perspectives, this is the crux of where my comments lie. I
can only speak to the situation in California, as that is where I
reside. The focus of guideline Child Support can be found in Section
4055 of the California family code.  Also, on the DCSS website, there
is a very useful if NOT comforting child support calculator. The
information is there. I had a rather disconcerting experience when I
ran 2 different scenarios through the calculator. I currently earn
approximately $30K per year. I am including printouts of the
calculations that I have made. In this scenario I am paying 20.4% of
my pretax income in Child Support. Please keep in mind and acknowlege
that these Child Support payments are still taxable income and that I
would be paying 5 to 10% more in taxes on top of the child support. I
ran two other scenarios. The first being one where I changed one
variable: income. I raised it to $100k per annum. The amount of
monthly child support due was $1214 per month. This constituted only
14.5 % of income in that scenario. I was appalled. Not only does the
$30K scenario NOT take into consideration basic subsistence needs of
NCPs, it is profoundly regressive when compared to $100k scenario.
Also, I ran the scenario as it was up until January 23, 2014 when Joe
Ricketson, my son, “aged out” of the system. The monthly child support
amount was $816 and it constituted 33% of my pretax income. It boggles
my mind.
At this point, I have to turn my attention to the concept of
subsistence living. Granted, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one
of the most expensive places in the universe. That being said, I make
a minimal wage for this area. Now having read through the OCSE
proposal, I found nothing but vague references to what a “subsistence”
wage actually is. I do not know. I can tell you this though: based
upon my income level, according to the Affordable Care Act(ACA) I am
entitled to a rather substantial subsidy on my health insurance
because of my low income. FYI: these subsidies begin at approximately
$46K per year or $23 per hour on a 40 hour work week. This is just my
opinion, but I think that the CoveredCA folks have a pretty good
handle on what constitutes lower or lower/middle income in the context
of the SF Bay Area. Maybe to OCSE and the CA DCSS should consider the
CoveredCA analysis in determining what constitutes a “subsistence”
wage.
I would like to conclude the comments on this section with some
perspectives on the concept of subsistence living. It begs the
question: is that really what you want? Don’t you want to create an
environment where NCPs thrive? A rising tide raises all boats.
Shouldn’t the OCSE be creating an environment where NCPs thrive and
grow, not just subsist. Ultimately,… ideally, this scenario will
create a circumstance where the children benefit from an economically
viable and stable Non Custodial parent.

SECTION 303.3: LOCATION OF NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS IN IV-D CASES

In a way, I consider this section to be a big joke. Not to be
disrespectful, but as I explained in an earlier section, the DCSS
knows everything about me. You should be able to find me pretty
easily…or any other NCP that wants to live a “legitimate life.”  I
define this “legitimate life” as one where I use my actual SSN, I have
a bank account in my name, I can and do file taxes. You get the
picture.  I am not a problem to find. Who you are really looking for
are the individuals who operate in the underground economy. I don’t
have any real suggestions for you on this front. I am surprised that
this is an issue of much consequence for the local child support
agencies given their penchant of utilizing very invasive method of
enforcement available to them. Anyone is findable, given the resources
that are at the disposal of the local child support agencies. It would
seem to me that the OCSE and DCSS should focus on the monitoring of
individuals off the economic grid, not “legitimate” NCPs who are
simply trying to make their Child Support payments.

SECTION 303.6: ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS

My comments and my sworn to experiences attest that the DCSS has more
than enough means or tools to enforce payment for NCPs. What the DCSS
need is more discretion, perspective, and restraint in how they use
these tools. My experiences are documented proof that the CA DCSS acts
in an overzealous manner in how they use the enforcement tools
available to them. There has to be some consequence for these
unjustified and excessive acts.

IV. SECTION 303.8: REVIEW AND ADJUSTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS

The included court documents go into great detail about my efforts to
adjust my child support obligations and the length of time that it
took to accomplish this. I am asking that you review the chronology of
my case as validation for this point. it bears repeating considering
that it took me almost 4 years to accomplish a simple modification to
my child support obligations.
In fact, I was only able to finally get this situation considered when
I appealed to my elected representatives at the time and they
intervened on my behalf.
It should not be this difficult to get modifications on child support
amounts. This needs to be addressed and streamlined.

V. SECTION 304.20: AVAILABILITY AND RATE OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL PARTICIPATION

For this section, I am including a copy of the California State budget
that spans from the 2013-2014 fiscal year to what is projected for the
2015 – 2016 fiscal year. I fully acknowledge that this document is not
the perview of the OCSE, it rests with the California state
legislature. That being said, this is a Billion dollar budget. Perhaps
it is my ignorance of the process, but I find much of what is laid out
in it, oblique and indecipherable. There are, however, 2 areas that
are very readily apparent to me: 1) there is quite a bit of federal
money going to this agency…easily ½ to 2/3 of the budget comes from
federal sources and 2) that this agency is going through an
unprecedented and unjustified personnel expansion which will make this
agency even more expensive in the long term
Admittedly, I understand that I need to be asking these questions of
accountability and transparency for this agency to my state
assemblymember and state senator, but it begs the question: as the
DCSS’ largest funder, aren’t you interested in where exactly this
money is going? I am hoping to get a more detailed accounting of where
exactly these tax dollars are going. Of course, as I said above, I am
going to need contact my local representatives to pin this down.

VI. SECTION 307.11: FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPUTERIZED SUPPORT
ENFORCEMENT SYSTEMS IN OPERATION BY OCTOBER 1, 2000

Based upon my experiences in my 2013 audit, my personal opinion is
that the accounting systems are woefully deficient. Please see the
.pdf of my blog posting for full details of what I experienced during
2013. It could just be me. I could just be an aberrant, outlying
anecdote that is reflective of nothing.
I don’t think so.
The article below by Lisa Vorderbrueggen details some of this problems
that have been happening in Contra Costa county. Unfortunately, this
was a statewide phenomenon as well.

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Contra Costa Times
Posted:   12/22/2011 07:01:10 PM PST0 Comments | Updated:   3 years ago

Hundreds of parents in Contra Costa County who owe child support could
have a nasty surprise waiting for them.
The county’s Child Support Services Department has switched computer
systems four times in 10 years, and in the transitions, some parents
were never charged interest.

Until now.

The county is cleaning up old cases, and where audits reveal late
child support payments to which no interest was applied, the county
will add it to the parent’s bill.

It could add up to thousands of dollars.
Just ask James Coe of Antioch.

In July, he owed $1,842.
After the audit, he owed $55,806.

“I’m 63 years old and on Social Security disability,” Coe said. “I’ll
be dead before this is ever paid off.”
His July bill does contain an asterisk next to the $1,842, which
referred to a footnote: “May not include accrued interest.”

They weren’t kidding.

Coe had stopped paying for his two children in mid-1991 when he says
he suffered from bipolar disease and couldn’t work.

He applied for disability, but it took years to secure it. He didn’t
start paying again until late 1999, when the county began taking $216
a month out of his $1,200-a-month disability check.

Coe didn’t know it, but the interest clock started ticking in 1991 at
a rate of $150 to $250 a month. A parent owes interest only on late
child support payments, and there is no time limit when it can be
collected.

Coe’s two children are in their 30s. His ex-wife receives the money.
“I know I owe the money, but to get a bill like this is a heck of a
final note to your life,” he said.

The glitch started with the county’s original 1983 computerized child
support collection system. It was the state’s first such system, but
it couldn’t calculate interest.

The county’s second system, installed in 1998, included the feature,
but the law required staffers to audit every individual case before
flipping the interest calculation switch, said Peggy Hawkins, chief
assistant deputy director of the Child Support Services Department.

“At the time, we had 70,000 cases, and there was no way we could
perform a financial audit on every case,” Hawkins said.
All California counties in 2008 moved to a centralized child support
payment computer system.

The interest glitch has surfaced elsewhere, but Contra Costa has had
more trouble because it had to import data from the old computer
system, said a spokeswoman for the California Department of Child
Support Services.

In the meantime, Hawkins’ staff has been chipping away at the audits.

Hawkins has about 1,000 remaining cases that date back to the pre-1998
computer system.
She estimates it will take about six months to finish the audits.

She doesn’t know how many parents will find themselves in Coe’s
position. The details of each case vary, and privacy laws preclude
releasing information about individuals.

“It is unfortunate that we didn’t have the ability to turn on the
interest in the past,” Hawkins said. “The new system is doing it
automatically. But we really want to work with parents. If they find
themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay their child
support, we urge them to contact us.”

I took a look at the OCSE website in search of documentation on how
well the state of California implemented their payment automation
system. I was not able to find what I was looking for. I do recall
that the state of California had many problems implementing their
automated payment systems. As the above article illustrates, the DCSS
is still having them, and NCPs are paying the price.

CONCLUSIONS

I really need to draw these comments to a conclusion as time is
running short to get this in the mail for submission. Let me
reiterate, I am very appreciative of this opportunity to submit
comments on the problems that I am experiencing with the DCSS in the
state of California.
The OCSE holds a unique position in that it is one of the few
entities that can actually hold any sway over this out of control
agency. The OCSE holds this position because much of the funding for
the DCSS comes from federal sources.
I applaud the perspective of the OCSE that there needs to be a basic
level of subsistence for noncustodial parents. These efforts and
perspectives need to go further and recognize that as NCPs grow and
prosper, so do their children.
As I write these words, the irony is not lost on me that none of what
is under consideration will affect me. I will be done with this system
by the time any of these reforms even hope to be implemented. I make
these comments because it is the proper thing to do, and I sincerely
hope that change can occur where change is so strongly needed.
While these comments are intended for a federal body, the OSCE, the
oversight of the recipient agency, the DCSS, falls to both houses of
the legislature and the executive branch of the state of California.
In every district in this state there are individuals who are being
abused by DCSS. The legislators have an obligation and responsibility
to represent the interests of their constituents by reigning in this
out of control agency.
As I live in California, I can only speak to my experiences with the
DCSS here. This state agency is the empirical example of the problems
with over reaching, over expanding bureaucracy. Truly, if they were
performing their function in accordance with societal needs, their
effectiveness would be growing and their size would be shrinking. In
fact, the opposite is true. This is a bureaucracy, like so many others
in government, where they have become an end unto themselves. Their
original purpose, while needed by society, has become secondary to
their own self-promulgation.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my comments on this
critical issue. Please feel free to contact me at any of the contact
points below

Douglas O. Ricketson
ricketsondouglas@gmail.com
510•417•0923
751 Smith Ave.
Pinole, CA 94564

You can make a comment, but is the OCSE listening??

Hello All,

As I have to maintain a certain level of hope about my ordeal and all of your respective family court battles that are still raging, I will be submitting comments to the Office of Child Support Enforcement(OCSE)prior to the January 16, 2015 deadline for submissions. I am not a person of faith, but I craft these comments in the belief that someone is actually reading them and that they will be used to form fairer, more socially constructive law.

Then, again, after the 14 plus years of misery that I have experienced at the hands of the California Family Court System, perhaps I am just delusional.

If you have something to say in these matters, I request, implore and beg you to make comments to the OCSE on the Family Court issues under consideration. Please refer to the postings below for more information.

Thank you for your time, and my thoughts go out to you

https://nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/22068-office-of-child-support-enforcement-proposes-constructive-new-rules-for-states

http://www.regulations.gov/

Merry Christmas Mr. Ricketson, your account balance is $0.00

30 or maybe 42

On December 26th, I awoke to the relief of knowing that Xmas had passed for another year. In fact, I am at the furthest date from Xmas that I would be for the entire year. Note: my antipathy towards Xmas is legendary…ask anybody, it has always been a cruel irony that most of my life has been spent working in retail where every Xmas season, I’ve been treated to at least half-a-dozen plays of, “Jingle Bell Rock” per shift. But, I digress.

My relief turns to horror when I am greeted by an alert on my iPod informing me that my bank account was now $0.00. This is not good. Given my experience, I immediately knew the culprit who drained my bank account of approximately $813. The Department of Child Support Services(DCSS) for the State of California.  I begin to freak out…seriously freakout. Like everyone else, I have bills to pay. I call JP Morgan Chase, they confirm my suspicions: the Department of Child Support Services enforced a bank levy on my account completely draining it of all funds. I call the case worker, Desiree V-O of the Palmdale branch of the DCSS, nothing but voice mail. I leave a message communicating the urgency of the situation. No doubt, probably scheduled off…the day after Xmas. Miraculously, I am able to get through to the Bank Levy Department of the DCSS. I get through to a “Ms. Carillo” who informs me that I will be able to have the levy removed…for the moment, if I am able to provide proof that my bank account had less than $3500(where that number comes from, I have yet to determine), I am able to calm myself enough to simply ask what would be considered proof of my account balance. She said that a .pdf of my account activity would be sufficient. In a profoundly rare moment, she gave me an e-mail address to send it to. You have to understand, these bureaucrats consider Non-Custodial Parents, such as myself, to be a nuisance, and they would never want your concerns to clutter up their inbox. Amazingly, I sent the .PDF and by the end of the day, the funds were back in my account. Am I grateful for the speed at which they were able to correct the “error” that they made? Not in the least. I feel that I should never have subjected to this bank levy in the first place.

You have to understand, as I have stated several times in my postings, I am completely up to date in my Child Support payments as well as the agreed upon payment plan for the arrearages that were imposed upon me by DCSS. Also, please refer back to how these arrearages came into existence in the first place. That is an appalling episode in and of itself. It was because of the admitted errors by the DCSS in the administration of my account, that I was in arrears to begin with. I am completely compliant, yet the DCSS still feels that they have a legitimate right to seize my bank account and leave me penniless. It still boggles my mind. The rational and reason that “Ms. Carillo” provided was that they had the right to seize my account to prove that I had less than $3500 in my checking account. The result of this seizure was a $75 legal processing fee levied by my bank, JP Morgan Chase.  While not a huge amount of money, in the context of living hand to mouth, it was significant.

This latest episode, is just another in a long line of indignities and injustices that I’ve suffered at the hands of CA DCSS and the Family Law system. I was in compliance and all they would have had to do was ask how much money I had in the account. I certainly could of provided proof of that prior to them seizing my account. They did not need to unilaterally seize my account,  moreover,  they should not have been given the right to do so in the first place.

I could go on and on about the unfairness of this situation, but I will stop here for now. Invariably the bureaucrats who implement and wield these overzealous and heavy-handed tactics do so because “the law” gives them the right to do this. Well, if this is the case, I have no reverence for the law. The law is malleable and it needs to be changed…the sooner the better.

Going forward, I will be contacting my elected representatives, Tony Thurmond of the Assembly 15th, Loni Hancock of the Senate 9th, and Mike Thompson of the Congressional 5th district regarding the issues that have been raised regarding the family law system in this state and the Department of Child Support Services specifically. Let me be clear: I am not asking for special favors…or miracles,  I am simply asking that my elected representatives do their jobs by reviewing and evaluating the abuses that have been perpetrated on one of their constituents by the state agencies that are tasked with administering the family law agencies.

Perhaps in coming posts, I will be able to report on progress on this front.

That’s all for now.

And the Beat Down just keeps on…

The nail that stands up...

Below is an interaction that I recently had with the fine folks at the CA Department of Child Support Services (DCSS.) It would seem that they are trying to take my CA driver’s license. Well, in the exchange , as you will read if you read it all the way through, I set them straight on my payment history…along with a few other things. Hope you enjoy the read. For anyone who reads this, I’m looking for stories similar to my own miserable one. Right now I am just one outlier anecdote by anyone’s casual estimation. Hearing and relating these stories may light a fire underneath some of our elected officials to do something about this den of bureaucratic thugs

/////////////////////
Ms. D V-O,
I retained your form letter dated 9/30/2014. It detailed all the
ways that your agency, the Department of Child Support Services, could
bring misery and disruption…

View original post 1,160 more words

And the Beat Down just keeps on…

Below is an interaction that I recently had with the fine folks at the CA Department of Child Support Services (DCSS.) It would seem that they are trying to take my CA driver’s license. Well, in the exchange , as you will read if you read it all the way through, I set them straight on my payment history…along with a few other things. Hope you enjoy the read. For anyone who reads this, I’m looking for stories similar to my own miserable one. Right now I am just one outlier anecdote by anyone’s casual estimation. Hearing and relating these stories may light a fire underneath some of our elected officials to do something about this den of bureaucratic thugs

/////////////////////
Ms. D V-O,
I retained your form letter dated 9/30/2014. It detailed all the
ways that your agency, the Department of Child Support Services, could
bring misery and disruption to my life. Of course, I really did not
feel that I had anything to worry about because I was in complete
compliance with my obligations and payment agreements. That was until
I received the Notice of Intent to suspend my driver’s license by the
CA DMV.
A wise man once said, “If you are angry, count to ten, if you are
very angry, count to one hundred.” Well, I can assure you that a count
down of the federal deficit does not have enough digits in it to
lessen the seething rage that possesses me over the latest episode of
vindictive incompetence foisted upon me by the CA DCSS. After reading
this communication, I am sure that you will be surprised to hear that
this is the “toned down” version of this letter.
First, included in this communication is documentation that supports
and serves as the foundation of my position that I have been
erroneously, unjustly, and intentionally targeted for harassment by
the DCSS. The fundamental problem at issue is the instruction by the
DCSS to direct the CA DMV to suspend my driver’s license. I am
including original documentation that shows that the NOI by the DMV
should never have been issued.
It was really quite easy find the error of YOUR ways. I simply went
to the CA Child Support web site (list web site) and got a listing of
my payments through the last 9 months. I then compared this payment
history to the monthly statements of my DCSS account (also on the same
child support web site) and compared the two. A glaring omission of
credit for a payment on 9-30-14 became readily apparent.  An honest
mistake? I don’t think so. I point to the relative swiftness with
which the DCSS directed the CA DMV to seize my driver’s license. This
latest action by the DCSS is one in a very long line of illegitimate
indignities that I have suffered at your incompetent hands. The
history of our tense animosity is epic. Look at the records or my blog
for evidence and perspective on my experience.
What do I want? Well, for obvious starters, I want this NOI
rescinded. I don’t want to even pay the nominal $15 required by the
DMV. Like so many of the inept and incompetent actions by the CA DCSS,
it’s not my fault. I should not be paying ANYTHING to correct them.
Next, I want an apology and admissions of the errors committed. I
think that this is the least this agency should do, given their
arrogant and callous actions.
I will stop there for now. This morbid fascination with trying
to take my driver’s license away has got to stop…particularly when
it’s based upon erroneous data and processes. I am very pleased that
your agency finally got e-mail. How 20th century of you. I will be
faxing these documents to you as well. I don’t think that you have
gotten up to speed on the ability to handle the supporting evidence
that I am attaching to this e-mail.
You can certainly confer with the former caseworker, Rae Lynn
Block, on the specifics of what has transpired with my case. I am a
big believer that all entities even remotely concerned or involved
with the administration of your agency (federal, state, and county)
should be fully appraised of my perspectives on your incompetence and
ineptitude.
On that happy note, please feel free to reach me any of the points of
contact below.

ricketsondouglas@gmail.com
510-417-0923(cell)
208-441-5686(efax)

or get up to speed on the misery that your agency has brought to my life at

https://ricketsondouglas.wordpress.com/

I do have one suggestion for your agency…a motto really:

The California Department of Child Support Services – “We have done so
much, to so many, for so long, we can do anything to anyone.”

I’ll be in touch

Douglas O. Ricketson

////////////////////
…AND RESPONSE

Good Morning Mr. Ricketson:

Upon reviewing your case we received a payment for $225.00 in the
month of October. Since the  amount received was below the $450.00
dollars due for October 2014, the auto submission took place.
Payments are due on the first of each month.  If payments are mailed
to the State Disbursement Unit, please mail by  the 20th of each month
at the latest. This allows for sufficient time for the processing of
the payment. Payments in excess over $450.00 made in each month are
applied to the arrears balance.      At this time a license release is
being issued as a payment for $670.00 posted 09/2014.  In order to
avoid notification to DMV the total monthly obligation should be
received each month.    Payments can also be made by credit card on
the Child Support Mobile App “CAChildSup”.

Desiree Villalobos- CSO II
County of Los Angeles
Child Support Services Department
Antelope Valley Division
Enforcement Team
Tel:  (661) 940-2051
Fax: (661) 940-2091
Email: desiree_villalobos-ordenis@cssd.lacounty.gov

/////////
AND FINALLY MY RESPONSE TO HER…

11/25/14
Ms. V-O
Your response is just too perfect. You screw up in how you apply my
timely payments and you then have the unmitigated gall to tell me that
it’s my fault. Nice. Also, you then proceed to condescend to me after
your “review” of my case of the many ways I have to make payments.
There is only reliable and timely way to pay my child support: that is
through the SDU/DCSS website. All others take inordinately long and
are prone to mishandling by your agency. It’s ok. I’m sure the OCSE
will be very interested in hearing about the inept and malfeasant
nature of the payments system DCSS operates. You know the OCSE? The
Office of Child Support Enforcement…the Federal agency that provides
2/3 of your budget. If my recollection serves me well, it would seem
that the DCSS had some problems in the 2000’s with their data and
payments system. Sorry to see you really haven’t gotten it fixed after
all.
Here’s the irony: I fundamentally agree with the authority the DCSS
has to seize people’s drivers licenses if they are not paying their
legitimate child support. Your problem is that your enforcement is
based upon flawed systems. The DCSS is like a 5 year old waving around
a 9MM pistol. You have no business using your enforcement mechanisms
until you get your house in order.
Unless of course, their is some sort of malicious intent on the
part of the DCSS. The history of your agency attempting to seize my
driver’s license is epic. It constitutes a pattern, which some might
believe constitutes intent.

You may feel that your releasing my license is the end of this
episode. It’s just the end of the beginning.

This ain’t over by a long shot.
///////////

I want to hear your stories…about your stories about your battles with the government bureacracies, not your Ex. There might be something that can be done about the DCSS, but nothing can be done about your Ex.

It Could Be worse…

Hello all…,

   The above sentiment is cold comfort. Any of you who have been reading my postings about my conflict with the CA Department of Child Support Services and its arbitrary methods of auditing child support cases, know what I am talking about. I always think of the below article by Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Contra Costa Times when I think of the callous bureaucratic abuse that I’ve suffered at the hands of the DCSS. I am always amazed at the indifferent and casual attitude that the DCSS takes as its incompetence destroys someone’s financial life. In all my dealings with the DCSS I have never gotten a clear explanation on why NonCustodial Parents have to financially suffer because of the errors of the DCSS. I’m also appalled at the bemused, “sucks to be you” tone of the article. Anywayread on to see what I’m talking about. 

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen

Contra Costa Times

Posted:   12/22/2011 07:01:10 PM PST0 Comments | Updated:   3 years ago

Hundreds of parents in Contra Costa County who owe child support could have a nasty surprise waiting for them.

The county’s Child Support Services Department has switched computer systems four times in 10 years, and in the transitions, some parents were never charged interest.

Until now.

The county is cleaning up old cases, and where audits reveal late child support payments to which no interest was applied, the county will add it to the parent’s bill.

It could add up to thousands of dollars.

Just ask James Coe of Antioch.

In July, he owed $1,842.

After the audit, he owed $55,806.

“I’m 63 years old and on Social Security disability,” Coe said. “I’ll be dead before this is ever paid off.”

His July bill does contain an asterisk next to the $1,842, which referred to a footnote: “May not include accrued interest.”

They weren’t kidding.

Coe had stopped paying for his two children in mid-1991 when he says he suffered from bipolar disease and couldn’t work.

He applied for disability, but it took years to secure it. He didn’t start paying again until late 1999, when the county began taking $216 a month out of his $1,200-a-month disability check.

Coe didn’t know it, but the interest clock started ticking in 1991 at a rate of $150 to $250 a month. A parent owes interest only on late child support payments, and there is no time limit when it can be collected.

Coe’s two children are in their 30s. His ex-wife receives the money.

“I know I owe the money, but to get a bill like this is a heck of a final note to your life,” he said.

The glitch started with the county’s original 1983 computerized child support collection system. It was the state’s first such system, but it couldn’t calculate interest.

The county’s second system, installed in 1998, included the feature, but the law required staffers to audit every individual case before flipping the interest calculation switch, said Peggy Hawkins, chief assistant deputy director of the Child Support Services Department.

“At the time, we had 70,000 cases, and there was no way we could perform a financial audit on every case,” Hawkins said.

All California counties in 2008 moved to a centralized child support payment computer system.

The interest glitch has surfaced elsewhere, but Contra Costa has had more trouble because it had to import data from the old computer system, said a spokeswoman for the California Department of Child Support Services.

In the meantime, Hawkins’ staff has been chipping away at the audits.

Hawkins has about 1,000 remaining cases that date back to the pre-1998 computer system.

She estimates it will take about six months to finish the audits.

She doesn’t know how many parents will find themselves in Coe’s position. The details of each case vary, and privacy laws preclude releasing information about individuals.

“It is unfortunate that we didn’t have the ability to turn on the interest in the past,” Hawkins said. “The new system is doing it automatically. But we really want to work with parents. If they find themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay their child support, we urge them to contact us.”

Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, www.ibabuzz.com/politics or at Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.