Candidate Responses

5th District Supervisor Williams posed the following seven questions to the candidates running for 1st and 2nd district supervisor. We will post their answers below as they appear.

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS WRITES:

Candidates, the 60 second answers at the forum didn't give me a full sense of where you stand. Please provide unambiguous answers:

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

5) How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qYnuV-6Dg&feature=youtu.be

6) Describe your support for the Great Redwood Trail and explain your personal involvement to date.

7) What’s your position on RQMC & RCS? How would you have voted on https://www.kzyx.org/post/bos-approves-19-million-mental-health-contract


CANDIDATE RESPONSES

* * *

MO MULHEREN [2nd District]

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

Yes

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

It is imperative that the Board of Supervisors work with the community and businesses to make sure that we are not leaving our residents vulnerable to fire risk from dead standing trees. The voters passed Measure V and deserve to know why the Board is not enforcing it. I don't believe that anyone has presented a cost analysis for enforcement of the ballot measure, I also don't believe that government run agencies should lead with a "let them sue us" type attitude that has been occurring at the Board level for at least the last decade (I wonder how many millions of tax payer dollars have been spent on lawsuits). At the end of the day it isn't up to the County or the people to determine what the costs are to private property owners to mitigate the enforcement of Measure V. It was a measure passed by the voters and should be enforced or put on the ballot to have it be recalled. Given that the measure was about the dangers of dead standing trees we need to realize that there are 189 million dead standing trees in the State of California and we all have a role to play in mitigating the risk that this causes for our community.

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

My statement at the Forum:
I believe that there are important opportunities to change the status quo and work towards a more progressive program. We need to make sure that we are communicating with our local partners. We can't meet everyone's needs all the time but I believe that there are compromises that can be achieved. There will be a Sonoma County Animal Rescue presentation to the Board in February about ways to remove animals with non-lethal options and how to have a similar program in Mendocino County. I look forward to seeing that presentation and wish that the Board had scheduled it before they made their decision to renew the contract with the USDA Wildlife Service. 
I'd prefer a non-lethal method but understand that ranchers or property owners may need to use lethal force by gun shot in an emergency. The lethal predator control methods that the USDA Wildlife Service employs are ineffective and outdated, we need to move in to the future and understand the natural ecological system and respect what nature itself would do. Private industry can manage their livestock and control wild animals more efficiently with a new plan.
I would not have renewed the program with Wildlife Services and instead would prefer that the government funding of $170,000 of our tax dollars be spent locally in the following ways. 
1. Education to the community and reconstruction of the "Mendocino Wildlife Association" or an organization that the public can coordinate with  
2. Offering assistance to property owners to prioritize a focus on prevention plans including fencing, night shelters, fox lights and a compensation program for local ranchers for livestock loss if all reasonable measures were met to protect livestock 
3. Increase Spay and Neuter programs in Round Valley and other rural areas of the community
4. Increase use of Feral pig hunting licenses 
There might be more non-lethal options we can learn about as well. We should keep our options open. 

I believe you voted no because you didn't want the money to subsidize the agriculture industry and I believe that there are alternatives to non-lethal options but would continue to offer supportive services to the Agriculture industry as in example two. The agriculture industry contributes no less than $3.6 million dollars to the County tax levy, if we can do things to help educate on the importance of restoring our environment and biology using non-lethal methods I think its worth the investment. 

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

Let's start with these and put a big emphasize on working with industry partners for ongoing adaptions of the policy.
Apply for an Equity Grant Program to ease capital costs for Legacy Cultivators to address environmental and building permit process concerns when possible
Keep program open for legacy cultivators to enroll in the permitting process
Remove County Regulations that are redundant with State Regulations 
When appropriate provide an exception through mitigation to the County Tree Removal Program when the program inhibits compliance with other regulating agencies
Streamline the permitting process for under 10,000 sq ft
Reduce redundancies with renewal process
Extend the deadlines for those in the permitting process to ensure they have time to gain compliance 
The earliest reference to cannabis in Mendocino County as an agricultural crop was in 1979, Mendocino County should look at the regulate cannabis as they do other agricultural crops such as vineyards and orchards
Provide education and training to cultivators for the permitting process and provide access to licensed consultants for permitting, surveying, data management etc
Advocate on a State level for reduced regulations and streamline processes

5) How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qYnuV-6Dg&feature=youtu.be

Fiscal analysis should always be a part of the voter initiative process so that voters understand the impact they are placing on themselves as tax payers. If voters mobilize and place an item on the ballot that work should be respected and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors should carry the duty to enforce the law.

6) Describe your support for the Great Redwood Trail and explain your personal involvement to date.

When I was first elected to the City Council in 2014 the construction of the first phase of the GRT was just wrapping up. The budget process occurred before I was on the Council, most of the funding was from an Active Transportation grant by the State of California unfortunately the Council lacked the foresight to include lights in the construction costs. There were additional funds that either came from the Streets budget or the General Fund I am not sure which I believe it was about $200,000 it was before I was on the Council so I'm not certain how that all came about. NWP Rail Trail Phase 2 extends the rail trail from Gobbi Street south to Commerce Drive and includes a bridge crossing of Doolin Creek. Staff obtained Caltrans funding for $1,500,000 through the Active Transportation Program (ATP) for the design and construction of this project. Phase 3 extends the existing rail trail from Clara Avenue north to Brush Street, and includes a bridge crossing over Orr Creek. Staff obtained a California Natural Resources Agency grant in the amount of $1,400,067 through the Urban Greening Program for the design and construction of this project. This project completes the Rail Trail to the north boundary of the city limits. Phase 3 is an amazing example of community partnerships with close to 27 community partners. I went to the presentation by the community partners to the CNRA and it was powerful to see how a project could have a such a broad impact. The director of Ukiah Valley Trail Group Neil Davis has worked tirelessly to plan this project, my daughters and I volunteer for the trail group including helping with the planting on Phase 3. We also volunteer with the PacOut Green Team and we have done several clean ups on the trail. When I first got on the Council in 2014 there was a lot of misinformation about the trail and its safety so I started a walking event monthly on the trail, this helps people that have never tried it use the trail so they can see what it truly looks like. I have been holding those walks for five years and we have one coming up on February 15th I hope that people that have never used the trail will join us. I also created a Facebook group so that people could find walking buddies, see community walk dates and receive accurate information instead of relying on rumors. I have some plans for this year now that the project is complete including creating fitness stations, a girls running group and an adopt-a-park program for advocates. On the next Ukiah City Council agenda we will hear the proposed rules for the trail so that UPD can enforce certain standards of behavior. For me the health and safety of our community are priorities and the GRT is a piece of $3 million dollars in grant funds that would have gone to a community with a higher population and heavily paid lobbyists. I want our community to use this resource as a benefit to them as much as possible. Here is a link to the Facebook group in case anyone wants to join https://www.facebook.com/groups/greatredwoodtrailukiah

Healthy active communities are a key focus of my role as a local elected and I can't wait to expand on that if elected to the Supervisor position.

7) What’s your position on RQMC & RCS? How would you have voted on https://www.kzyx.org/.../bos-approves-19-million-mental... ?

I see that RQMC has stepped in to take over a very failed system under Ortner Management Group, I believe they are working under the same $20 million budget that has been in place for years. I was at the BOS meeting where RQMC provided an update on their data dashboard and that is a step in the right direction. We need regular data and updates to the BOS and the statistics are showing improvements they are serving more patients and I believe we can see a difference on the streets. Leadership must constantly review, revise and adapt to any changes that need to occur. Anecdotally , the service providers in our community are working more collaboratively than I have seen in the last twenty years. Even to the point that they (service providers) are FINALLY getting together and shifting priorities to avoid duplicating services. We are a small community with limited resources and clear goals and objectives, receiving regular updates on data and continued comprehensive planning among service providers is imperative to the success of the mental health dollars that come in to our community. Interestingly I spoke up at a Board meeting when the Supes approved a $3 million dispersement for various service providers. I asked that the Board require statistics and measurable outcomes in order to receive that funding. There didn’t seem to be a majority of interest from the Board for accountability and I look forward to being able to ensure that the funding that goes through the Board of Supes is accounted for with measurable outcomes.

* * *

JOEL SOINILA [2nd District]

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

I did support Measure V. I remember being confused though, and looking to who supported the measure and aligning with other environmental groups that I align with on supporting the removal of intentionally killed trees left standing. I was confused on why in a time of climate change being such a focus, we would want to kill trees of any kind, the conversion of CO2 and then storage of CO2 and the creation of pure oxygen is such a huge need in combating climate change. The other confusion I had is why we couldn’t find a use for this tan oak and other wood products, seems like a waste of many years of growth and resources that could be re-purposed as opposed to killed off and left standing. Seems wasteful and profit margin/manufacturing driven. 

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

I wouldn’t vote on anything without further research or studies. I would want to talk with a wide range of people in the industry, and in the community to understand all sides. I would then like to talk with scientist and environmental ecologists in order to wrap my head around what is best for our environment not just profit margins and production of wood products. 

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

I want to see a non-lethal options added to the mix to allow people/farmers to have a choice. In time, we can compare services and see which has the greater impact on ecological systems. Non-lethal options are limited, but becoming more readily available as people demand them. I don’t get why it always has to be one or the other. I believe trapping is an awful tactic and inhumane, the error rate of animals who accidentally find their way into the traps is far too high. The non-lethal tactics include things such as propane cannons and pyrotechnics, both things that I believe with the rising rate of catastrophic fires are poor options. Other things like auditory, visual tactics and laser technology (not Austin Powers shark laser status but light laser technology) seem to be achievable and options we should be exploring. However, these methods apply mostly to small animals and birds, not larger animals like bears, mountain lions, and coyotes. 

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

I would push the county to allow cannabis farmers to set policies for their own industry. It is a joke that people who have never set foot on a cannabis farm are creating rules and regulations for the industry. Cannabis farmers know their industry in and out, why would we not be allowing the people who are at the forefront of the industry to shape policy. Also, as a county, coming out and making a stance for it to become federally legal would help the national fight against cannabis that is still happening. We can not hide in the shadows and allow our cannabis cultivators to continue to get pummeled by state and national laws, we need to set our own county policies and say we control our people and we approve of cannabis farmers. This struggle with the “illegal” cannabis industry by local law enforcement is a waste of tax payer dollars, we should be putting that energy into many other areas. Another thing that we need to be doing, is expunging people’s legal cases around cannabis. There shouldn't be a single person whose court case and trial doesn’t get dropped if it has anything to do with previous laws before the state legalized the industry. It is once again a waste of tax payer dollars to pursue, unless other felonies were involved then those need to be continued, but the part about cannabis needs to be thrown out due to the state laws going legal.

* * *

MARI RODIN [2nd District]

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

I voted yes on Measure V.

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

When the voters pass an ordinance, it is the Supervisors' and county government's job to implement it. While I’m interested in hearing more from ecologists, fire scientists, and stakeholders, ultimately, the County should enact any voter-passed measure in a time frame that honors the will of the people.

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

I completely agree with the goal of creating non-lethal wildlife services. As Supervisor, I will support and advocate for the use non-lethal methods to manage human conflicts with wildlife, except in emergency situations in Mendocino County. However, before I make an absolute commitment to do so, I want to confirm first hand with program staff and ranchers in Sonoma and Marin Counties—where non-lethal programs are a purported success—that the program is working. Assuming that their responses are affirmative, I will be a strong advocate for ending the County’s wildlife services contract. As for the recent vote, I would have favored a third path: approving a one-year contract for WS and directing staff to develop non-lethal alternatives for review.

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

While State regulations have made it challenging for the County to create programs that support participation in the Proposition 64 marketplace, small-scale cannabis production is an essential part of Mendocino County’s economic and community fabric. We must work to reduce the barriers to program entry while applying standard agricultural zoning and protecting the environment. We can start by taking out any unnecessary duplications and contradictions between local and state regulations, advocating for changes to State laws that affect small growers’ ability to form agricultural co-ops, and ensuring adequate staffing for departments tasked with implementing and enforcing the cannabis program.

5) How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process?  

The County has a near absolute duty to implement voter-passed initiatives.

6) Describe your support for the Great Redwood Trail and explain your personal involvement to date.

Of course I support the creation of the Great Redwood Trail: "I wrote the damn grant" for two of the three segments that run through the City of Ukiah. The Great Redwood Trail is an incredible opportunity for our community to use the abandoned railway that is set amidst incredible natural beauty to benefit the local economy. It is a form of economic development that is productive rather than extractive. We should do everything in our power to support creative ideas like the Great Redwood Trail.

7) What’s your position on RQMC & RCS?

RQMC is contracted with the County for an essential and extremely challenging job—providing adult mental health services to our community. While I generally favor public employees performing public service, in the event that services are carried out by a private contractor, the County should prefer local contractors like RQMS. That said, we need a clear standard for and system for evaluating the services provided. The quality and value of RQMC’s performance should be assessed at regular intervals, especially given the high degree of importance and sensitivity involved in mental health services. As supervisor, I will always hold contractors to the highest standard.

* * *

JAMES GREEN [1st District]

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

Yes I voted for measure V. I believe leaving dead trees standing is a fire threat. My understanding of the measure also is that it does not stop the act of "hack and squirt", but rather alleviates the fire threat of the trees left standing to die.

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

Supervisor Williams, we all may need a lesson in Mendocino County legal process here. Would you be able to provide some background for everyone's education? Why would the BOS have to vote for enforcement for this or any other measure that was approved to go on the ballot to begin with? I was at the BOS meeting for this, but still didn't receive a substantive, legal explanation on why this isn't being enforced other than MRC has declared they have no intention of complying. Brent Schultz stated (when asked by you) if there had been a recent nuisance complaint filed about a dead tree and Mr Schultz replied in the positive. How would the county enforce Measure V today? Is it a fine for MRC? What does enforcement look like here? I really want to answer "yes" to this question if there's no financial impact to follow enforcement forward. Democracy should have its day here.

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

I spent my 3 minutes in front of the BOS speaking out against the IWDM overuse with lethal measures, and then again in my 60 second answer. I believe having the contract to deal with public safety issue animals (rabid or near schools, or other truly public safety concerns) is valuable but not using the IWDM as a subsidy for a specific group to gain an economic advantage. I do commend the board for voting to put on the county website the best strategies for measures to best avoid conflicts with wildlife and "non lethal" measures to deal with nuisance predators. So I would have voted "no" until I was satisfied that "non lethal" measures were being explored, exercised and advertised.

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

The BOS has done a tremendous job dealing with cannabis with limiting ordinances to keep out "big grow" and establishing opt-in zones, and researching economic zones, range land opening, etc. Yes, this issue has taken up a significant amount of the BOS and staff's time because they are trying to get it right. They have been open to input from every resource out there. It's a fledgling legal industry and adjustments will be made as the industry evolves. The MCA (Mendocino Cannabis Alliance) just released the results of their survey regarding, yet, more input for the BOS. and I'm sure they will do their due diligence and consider options. Now for the specifics of what I would do: Vote to keep Phase 1 extended with no Phase 3 until the county understands why there is such a low participation rate in the program and address causes appropriately. I would not support any direct financial assistance from the county budget to provide assistance with the industry. I know the BOS and Mr. Schultz have declared that 90% of pending permits are stuck at state level. So the county needs to continue to work with the state agencies to try and address this as well.

* * *

JOHN SAKOWICZ [1st District]

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

Yes.

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

Yes. Although Measure V may be unforceable, the people voted for it and I'm all about "we the people".

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

I would have voted no. I'm a serious student of Buddhism and have taught at the School of Developing Virtue and Instilling Goodness at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhism. It is one of the dharmas to "do no harm". 

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

REOPENING LEGACY APPLICATIONS
● Allow all properties with legacy cultivation to apply (except in exclusionary
overlay zones).
● No application cutoff period, just reopen.
● Look at property not person with review at these levels:
○ Up to 10,000 sq. ft. require a Zoning Clearance plus Appendix G (site
specific questionnaire that State and County are trying to agree on)
○ Adherence to all State environmental rules (water right, water quality,
CDFW).
■ Proof of submission plus state cultivation license = adequate to
prove adherence to water board and CDFW,
OR
■ Actual permits from water board and CDFW (NOA, SIUR, LSA)
and an application for State cultivation license
○ Administrative Permit (AP) if expanding (see Expansion topic, below)
● Ensure Accommodation Zone cultivators are included in legacy (if they prove
some cultivation prior to 8/1/16 baseline date).

PHASE 3 "NEW" CULTIVATION PROPERTIES
● All properties that did not have proof of prior cultivation (except accommodation
zones):
○ Include Rangeland in addition to all other zoning currently listed in Phase
3 portion of ordinance. Site-specific review will protect against
inappropriate land use.
○ Administrative Permit (AP) for any cultivation up to 10k
○ Use Permit (UP) for cultivation over 10k

EXPANSION
● Allowed expansion based on cultivation type:
○ Outdoor: up to 1 acre
○ Mixed Light Tier 1: up to 22,000 sq. ft.
○ Mixed Light Tier 2: up to 10,000 sq. ft (unchanged from current language
in ordinance for Phase 3/no expansion)
○ Indoor: up to 2500 sq. ft. except for Industrial zoning (unchanged from
current language of ordinance for Phase 3/no expansion)

OTHER CANNABIS TOPICS
● I am committed to supporting the County in the development
and implementation of a cannabis equity program and the pursuit of state funding
for it.
● Local Building Permit Policy and Ordinance: We have authored a Memo together with Scott Ward advocating for some commonsense local changes that might help farmers while we wait for further state law changes being advanced by a regional consortium of rural counties● Line-byline ordinance changes: We will be authoring a memo regarding other
technical changes that should be made to the cultivation ordinance.

5) How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process?  

I affirm the County’s duty to implement and defend laws created through initiative, although the County does not have a mandate to enforce its own laws. Politically, the Board has a duty to the citizens. Is that the same as a mandate? Former County Counsel Kit Elliott stated the Board needs to understand the fiscal impact of implementing and defending laws, and of enforcement.

6) Describe your support for the Great Redwood Trail and explain your personal involvement to date.

I support the Great Redwood Trail, of course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.