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McGourty’s In!

Glenn McGourty Enters Race for 1st District Supervisor

Educator and Agriculturalist Glenn McGourty Enters Race for 1st District Supervisor

Talmage, CA — As the primary election approaches, longtime 1st District resident, educator, and agriculturalist Glenn McGourty has entered the race for 1st District Supervisor. 

In addition to being a founding member of the Mendocino County Promotional Alliance (Visit Mendocino), McGourty’s record of public service includes terms as a member of both the Ukiah Unified School District Board of Trustees (2009-13) and the Ukiah City Parks and Recreation Committee (1989-93). Professionally, McGourty has served as the UC Cooperative Extension Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor for Mendocino County since 1987, providing education and research to support farmers, winemakers, horticulturalists, and gardeners throughout the county. Additionally, he currently serves as County Director for the UC Cooperative Extension office. 

“With the many challenges faced by our communities, Mendocino County needs trustworthy leadership with experience and local knowledge now. The 1st District is Mendocino’s home to some of our most vibrant communities and amazing people. I’m excited to announce my candidacy for County Supervisor, and to continue building a more prosperous and vital Mendocino County,” says McGourty. 

The 1st District spans Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, and most residential areas surrounding the eastern boundaries of Ukiah. Carre Brown, who currently serves as 1st District Supervisor, announced her retirement from the Board of Supervisors in January 2017. The primary election will be held March 3rd, 2020. 

To learn more visit

Contact: Glenn McGourty - (707) 468.8632 -

Who Is Glen McGourty? 

(Probably the Farm Bureau's Next Supervisor)


Glenn McGourty, UC Extension Farm Advisor, Mendocino County branch, is a truculent little fellow paid out of tax money to give free technical advice to grape growers about how to nurture their thirsty fruit.

McGourty's advice is water-intensive. The grape growers plant shallow rootstock so growth can be controlled and pesticides delivered via drip irrigation lines. Shallow-rooted grapes are more vulnerable to frost than the old-style, deep-rooted, dry-farmed grapes such as those grown by Mendocino County’s original grape growers, those hardy sons of the soil, pre-Prohibition Italians. Deep-rooted vineyards can be planted in more frost-prone areas where less water is needed to protect them from spring freezes.

In December of 2009 McGourty and his fellow crybabies traveled to Sacramento where they informed the State Water Resources Control Board that any regulation of their water intensive irrigation and frost protection methods could retard high end booze production.

McGourty was accompanied by Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowen and former Ukiah Supervisor Richard Shoemaker. The latter at the time sat on the Russian River Flood Control District Board which exists for the primary purpose of ensuring that inland Mendocino County grape growers get more than their fair share of Eel and Russian River water at rates far lower than household water tolls. Shoemaker’s fellow board members were and continue to be more vineyard-friendly than he is, if that’s possible.

Elected in theory to represent the welfare of all their constituents, and magically regarded by many of those constituents as “liberals” and “environmentalists,” McCowen and Shoemaker function mainly as advocates for one enterprise — the inland wine industry and its ungaged, unregulated draws on the Russian River.

The hearing in Sacramento was prompted by a fish-kill near Hopland in the spring of 2012 when several vineyards simultaneously turned on their huge pumps for “frost protection,” sucking up so much water from that stretch of the Russian River that there was no water left for the stranded fish, which are nearly extinct in the county to begin with.

Some environmental groups were at the hearing to say that something should be done about the grape people’s habit of “self-regulating” themselves into massive fishkills.

McGourty, McCowen and Shoemaker, accompanied by a hyper-indignant grape grower named Dennis Murphy, opposed water regulation — *any* water regulation. The three of them insisted that the wine industry has built ponds to store water for frost protection and that an “educational” program has been devised to inform grape growers that the wise use of water is, well, wise.

Anderson Valley grape growers have built hundreds of ponds and they still get socked by the spring freeze. The ponds may theoretically help the fish by leaving more water where God put it, in rivers in the dry months, but only if the wine industry limits itself to taking water during high winter flows. And even then, not too much.

Murphy was so overwrought as he spoke to the Water Board that he was nearly in tears: “I’m extremely upset that a federal agency could come up here and make direct accusations about growers and the consequences of irrigation. And then clam up claiming it’s under investigation. That’s wrong! That’s not right! These are rumors. We need to know more.”

Murphy and his political gofers, Shoemaker and McCowen, were basically saying that the government shouldn’t accuse the wine industry of anything unless they have a smoking gun. Several thousand dead baby fish is not that gun, according to wine grape growers. But, of course, there’ll never be a smoking gun because the guns are ungaged, if you'll excuse the failed metaphor. Without gaging, there's no way to measure water extractions or identify the extractors. The grape growers have also staunchly resisted giving water regulators access to the Russian River’s tributaries were huge water draws for grapes also occur.

Over the years the Mendocino County Grand Jury has strongly recommended gages in the Ukiah Valley, but the Supervisors, also captives of the wine industry, refuse to even introduce a gaging ordinance.

Gages, if you still don't get it, would tell us who’s pumping how much and when, and we need gages on the County's major waterways because vineyards continue to be planted literally everywhere and there's simply not enough water to supply all of them without at least some regulatory apportionment.

The hysterical opposition to even the idea of monitoring was effectively captured at the Board of Supervisors meeting a couple of weeks earlir when Coastal Supervisor candidate (and B&B proprietor) Wendy Roberts told the board that “the idea of wine industry regulation scares me to death!”

No one had proposed wine industry regulation, just the “consderation” of it.

But leave it to McGourty to make the single most ridiculous statement at the hearing.

“Regulations never work. Look at marijuana. It’s illegal as heck and yet we have marijuana all over northern California and our county in particular. So people don’t necessarily go along with regulation.”

The difference between the two industries, Glenn, is considerable. The wine industry is legal, ultra-legal you might say, extra-legal perhaps, complete with its own elected representatives all the way up to Congressman Thompson. It also has fixed addresses and the names of its owners are public record. The dope industry at the time of the Water Board meeting was not legal. It can't be regulated until it is legal (and since then, as we’ve seen, it’s become so over-regulated and costly that most growers prefer the unregulated black market). Both the wine industry and the pot biz steal a lot of God's water and, of course, both industries exist to get God's children loaded, closer to God its partisans might argue. But according to McGourty, Mendo’s tax-paid ag advisor, neither need regulation. And neither would abide by it even if there was any. 

Running Against McGourty

Just a quick check in to the members of this page and all Mendocino County residents.

Some of you already know me personally and know my busy work schedule, but most don’t. As we get closer to March 3rd (Election Day) more people want to know about the candidates, me being one of them. I apologize for not being able to respond to your questions and comments, but my priorities now are with the Fire Survivors in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley.

The job of District 1 County Supervisor begins January 2021. If elected, aside from my family, the job of County Supervisor will be top priority. Right now, campaigning for that job is not a top priority, getting families back in their home, is.

I will reply to facebook posts when I have the “extra” time, but if you’re seriously wanting to discuss something with me and time is of the essence, please don’t hesitate to contact me personally. My cell number is 707-489-4647 and my email address is

I look forward to working for the entire county at some point, but for now, I have commitments to those who simply want to go home.

Jon Kennedy, Potter Valley


  1. Pam Strayer November 30, 2019

    I just have to say this “article”–more of a diatribe–is unfair, ill advised and ill tempered. No one has done more to promote responsible use of water in wineries than McGourty. And he is right about cannabis, as most environmentalists know, it’s marijuana cartels from Mexico up in them thar hills that are adding unregulated pesticides into waterways.

    McGourty supports the farming communities in two counties in his role as farm advisor. He has supported the health of hundreds of acres of organic and biodynamic vines in the county and brought proper U.C. and peer reviewed research articles for these farming systems.

    The battle between agriculture and the rest of the populace in the state will not be better off if McGourty is not elected.

    You may be concerned about water use in Anderson Valley, but wouldn’t it be better to go after the actual culprits? i.e. the Central Valley ag lobbying coalitions. The State Water Resources Control Board is actually going to clamp down. There is a local water board that is charged with making changes to comply with the new water regulations.

    McGourty has helped the little wineries all over the county to create an industry that brings tourists to the area. Anderson Valley vineyards are still, mostly, locally owned, even if some of the “locals’ are hedge funders. Now big money like Jackson Family is rolling in (buying Balo).

    Right now your wineries pollute through pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. They act like there’s something green about themselves, with rustic wooden tasting rooms and farmhouse cheese. They still spray carcinogens (herbicides) and neurotoxins (fungicides). McGourty has helped farmers who grow using more natural systems in some of the biggest Anderson Valley vineyards and decrease their use of agrochemicals.

    So you don’t like that? You want to prevent him from helping the county?

    What kind of country bumpkinism is that?

    He’s been a great leader in ag and I hope the good people of Mendocino County recognize that and support him.

  2. Pam Strayer November 30, 2019

    PS Where are the stories about the Mexican cartels growing cannabis? Or is that the kind of REAL investigative journalism you DON’T DO….Who are they? Where do they come from? Why are Berkeley forestry researchers terrified? They find pit traps in the woods from cartel types. You’ve got a lot of REAL criminals to go after. So muck rake away!

    Or is that kind of journalism cost prohibitive? Would it hurt your advertising base? If you really cared about water use, you’d go after them. But aren’t you funded by a lot of ads for pro-cannabis attorneys? Is there some possible editorial bias there?

    Have you read Mark Arax’s book The Dreamt Land? How about a book review on THOSE powerful Central Valley water barons who are the worst offenders in the water-ag wars?

    • Mark Scaramella Post author | November 30, 2019

      We’ve run plenty of stories about pot criminals in Mendocino County, both on line and in print. Not that you’d count them or change your opinion. We have no pot-related ad base or funding. Not that that would change anything we publish. The Central Valley is not in our coverage area. As things stand now, we expect Mr. McGourty has a good chance of becoming supervisor, replacing a similarly single-minded wine-supervisor who has done nothing at the County level to help small wineries except for those who get a very nice price break on diverted Eel River water. We know of nothing Mr. McGourty has done to support “farming communities” other than grape growers who produce and sell an alcoholic beverage which is neither food nor fiber at a very nice mark-up, most of whom use the pesticides you seem to be decrying, no matter what size vineyard they pay Mexicans to operate and maintain for low seasonal wages. But we certainly agree that the larger Anderson Valley wineries do a lot of bad environmental things with impunity that pot growers with permits are strictly prohibited from doing. Mr. McGourty’s occasional appearances at the Supervisors meetings have indicated no interest in general County matters other than the one subject you apparently approve of. A lack of experience or interest in County matters however, has never been a problem for Supervisors candidates in the past and is certainly not a factor in any of this year’s candidates judging by their cliché ridden campaign statements so far.

    • Mark Scaramella Post author | November 30, 2019

      FIRST OFF, the Central Valley water barons, connected at the hip to Dianne Feinstein and her wing of California’s Democratic Party, are only a larger version of Mendo’s water barons in their greed and tenacious defense of what they seem to regard as their God-granted draw on the Eel River Diversion. The Napa Valley has instituted some basic rules re water use. Given the influence of Mendo’s wine mafia, Mendo has none, and has even resisted a state suggestion that they write their own water rules!
      ADVERTISING BASE? What advertising base?  Anyway, if the cops can’t get into the cartels, assuming they exist beyond family groups as mafia-like associations, let us know how we might get a Mexican cartel grower to talk to us? It’s a big subject, so big that the big media, at least the accounts on the cartel subject I’ve seen, have been merely vaguely incriminating. Which isn’t to say that organized drug operations aren’t present in Mendocino County, as evidenced by the readily available but hopefully not prevalent methamphetamine and opioids. Water? To compare the water consumed by widely dispersed marijuana grows to the water consumption of the ever-proliferating vineyards defies logic. How many cartel grows would it take to equal in water (and chemical) consumption a forty acre vineyard? Lots. Anyway, outlaw pot grows in the Emerald Triangle these days seem to be a veritable United Nations of growers, ranging from Bulgarians in east Mendocino County to Cambodians in Trinity County, a whole new ballgame from the long ago days estranged hippies began their evolutionary botanic experiments that brought the world’s stoners Mendo Mellow.
      WHICH isn’t to say organized crime isn’t a problem in Mendo. Quick story. In March of 2001, a young man named Jaime Vasquez  was shot to death in a vineyard less than a mile from my house. Someone had persuaded him to drive out for an isolated rendezvous on some pretext or other. When he arrived at dusk with his wife and infant, several men jumped from hiding and shot him to death. His wife, carrying the couple’s now fatherless child, made her way back to Boonville. The body of Vasquez was never found, but the Sheriff’s Department’s dogged investigation did result in the arrest of one man eventually convicted of being an illegal in possession of a weapon, a handgun, but, as I recall, not the murder weapon. That man was packed off to the state pen but never revealed who else was involved in the disappearance of Mr. V. We asked around on our own and, no surprise, found out zero. I know from my experience of trying to get information on much less serious matters from the immigrant community that no one in that community, a large one in the Anderson Valley, is going to talk, least of all to a nosy gringo. Philosophically, I think things are out of control in so many ways that wealthy water hogs are just one more contributing factor to the prevailing social-environmental breakdown. PS. In terms of scale, the biggest crime in the history of Mendocino County (apart from environmental atrocities) occurred in 1987 when well-organized gringo criminals burned the heart out of Fort Bragg. And got clean away with it. And the twenty boxes of incriminating evidence “disappeared” from the DA’s office. (DA Susan Massini presiding.)
      — Bruce Anderson

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