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County Notes (October 7, 2020)

What happened to the Measure B meeting & video?

We asked Measure B Project Manager Alyson Bailey Tuesday what happened to the video of the Measure B meeting on Wednesday, September 23 and got this response:

“The IS department is going through some personnel changes and they were unable to film the meeting as a result. If you would like to know about the outcome of the any of the agenda items, please contact the Executive Office. I am sorry for the inconvenience, and IS has installed placeholders for the rest of 2020 to keep this from happening again.”

Which sounds like a bureaucratic version of “we forgot.” Which would be an acceptable answer, if not particularly impressive, because it’s simply what happened. (Hell, I’m at an age when I forget lots of stuff, but I’m not on the County’s payroll.) The next question would be, of course, Why not post a note on the Measure B webpage explaining the problem and describing what happened at the meeting and what will be done to prevent it in the future? But we didn’t want to bother Ms. Bailey with that one; probably asking too much. Besides, she referred us to the CEO’s office.

When we forwarded Ms. Bailey’s reply to the CEO’s office as she suggested, our note was auto-converted into a Public Records Act request and “It is currently under review and is not available for the general public to view.”

Oh boy. 

But soon we received a note from CEO Angelo: 

“I would ask that you contact the person listed on those two agenda items for the update, or Ms. Bailey who is the Measure B Project Manager. I am only one person on the committee. Since you are submitting a PRA for information to the Executive Office, this will be referred back to the Measure B Program Manager as the Subject Matter Expert and the best person to respond to your PRA. The Executive Office manages the PRA database and sends a response for the specific department or program, but rarely are we the Office that has the information. Thank you.”

To which we replied:

“As you can see by my original email I sent my first inquiry to Ms. Bailey who referred me to your office. I was hoping to avoid the cumbersome PRA process. So I am now replying with a cc: to Ms. Bailey. There were two substantive items on the agenda which I am pasting into this email below which are of primary interest. A simple description of the outcome of these two items would be fine for the time being pending the minutes of the meeting:

“Discussion and Possible Action for Measure B to Recommend to the Board of Supervisors the Hiring of a Consultant to Develop a Business Plan” and “Report on the Status of the Kemper Services; Discussion and Possible Action of BOS Outcome, and BOS Measure B Ad Hoc.”

We cc’d: Ms. Bailey on the above email as suggested and later Tuesday afternoon Ms. Bailey replied:

“Here are the action items from the Measure B meeting on September 23, 2020:

Agenda Item 3a: Approval of Minutes from the August 26, 2020 Meeting – Minutes approved with some edits.

Agenda Item 3b: Acceptance of Action Minutes for Committee Meetings in Place of Summary Minutes; Discussion and Possible Action – Action minutes approved.

Agenda Item 3d: Discussion and Possible Action for Measure B to Recommend to the Board of Supervisors the Hiring of a Consultant to Develop a Business Plan – Motion made and approved to have the Kemper Ad Hoc Committee work with the Measure B Project Manager to complete a strategic plan with financial analysis. 

Agenda Item 3e: Report on the Status of the Kemper Services; Discussion and Possible Action of BOS Outcome, and BOS Measure B Ad Hoc – Motion made and approved to expand the Kemper Ad Hoc Committee role to include program and financial strategic planning. Information provided regarding the Request for Proposal process, Request for Proposal Crisis Residential Treatment Operation, and Request for Qualification Operation Services for Mendocino County Psychiatric Health Facility. Update provided on Board of Supervisor meeting and the formation of a Board of Supervisors Measure B Ad Hoc Committee.

Agenda Item 3f: Discussion and Possible Action of Landscaping Services for the Behavioral Health Regional Training Center Property – No action was taken. Direction provided to Measure B Project Manager.

Thank you for your patience, and I am permitted to take your requests in the future.

Alyson Bailey 

Measure B - Administrative Project Manager

Translation: As we’ve come to expect, the Measure B Committee took no significant action — again. (We kinda knew that, of course, but at least now it’s on the record.)

PS. It’s nice to know that the Measure B Project Manager now has formal permission from the CEO to “take our requests” about what happens at her own meeting.

Given the lack of a measure b meeting video, we might get a bit more info about the meeting at next Tuesday’s Board meeting where the Supes are scheduled to get an “update” on what they are generously calling “progress” since the last update. It will be interesting to hear if anybody fesses up to the staff’s having forgot to video the meeting. 

Last week Sheriff Matt Kendall posted a lengthy summary of the major crimes in September asking the Supervisors to revisit his budget on his facebook page. 

September has been an extremely hard month for Mendocino County.

If the wildfires in our County being the worst in recorded history wasn’t distressing enough, crimes like the one that occurred yesterday, September 27, 2020, also reflect some of the worst criminal activity our County has seen. 

These issues are causing me to reach out to the people of Mendocino County.

As we move forward towards the future I believe it is time we

reexamine where Mendocino County is going with several of these issues. Recently we learned of an incident where fire personnel have been threatened, intimidated and ordered by illegal marijuana growers to water their marijuana crops with water tenders, which have been dedicated to the fire suppression efforts. There has also been theft of water supply systems that have been put in place to draw water for fire suppression efforts in the field, thus cutting response times to get more water to the fire lines.

Even more concerning to me, as we further investigate the kidnapping and robbery case which began on the Covelo Road, we learned these men were planning on murdering deputies if they were discovered and detained. These subjects were not residents of Mendocino County, coming from the state of Nevada and Riverside County California. However, they were drawn here by the lure of easy money. Monies that are funding the problems we are experiencing now. We see this time and time again. People from outside of Mendocino County and well outside of the law are continually drawn here like a moth to a flame.

The suspects, in this case, were equipped with military-grade weapons, and body armor. They had planned to open fire on deputies with these weapons. Our brave men and women who serve Mendocino County aren’t paid to be murdered. I will not stand by and allow this to happen.

I fear robberies, murder and constant threat to human life will become the new normal for Mendocino County if we don’t try to address the problem now. I have grown weary of hearing marijuana is a victimless crime. If this were true, we would not be dealing with murders and robberies clearly tied to marijuana. We can clearly see criminals lured by greed, and greed, in turn, leads to a marked increase in violence.

Anything causing this much violence must be stopped.

I have grown weary of hearing the marijuana trade is providing an economic base for our county. I don’t believe this. This falsehood is reflective in our County's general fund budget. The multibillion-dollar industry has provided us no financial benefit in taxes however has continued the social degradation combined with damage to the environment. The violence has become too much for our county to carry. Now is the time to stop pretending the illegal marijuana trade is a good thing.

I can’t count the number of calls we receive from residents in our rural areas who are tired of being intimidated and are tired of sheltering in their homes while armed subjects roam vast areas of the county protecting their crops. Gunfire is heard all night in the rural areas within our county. It is being used as a constant warning to anyone who would venture out of their homes in the evening and night.

The Round Valley area is approximately 19 square miles. Our best estimation is there are over one million marijuana plants cultivated in Round Valley every year. Round Valley is approximately 0.5% of the total landmass of Mendocino County. This is completely out of hand.

The market has been so saturated we can’t possibly expect the legal market could support this much marijuana. My estimation is less than 1 percent of the marijuana produced in Mendocino County is for the legal market.

I continue to support legal marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County as the laws are clear in California. I applaud those who strive to build this emerging market. We owe it to the folks working in this emergent industry to protect them as well.

The people involved in the illegal market must be dealt with in order to provide safety for our county. This industry has run wild with little to no enforcement against those who will continue to murder, rob and intimidate. We must take a hard look at the systems in place, we must look with honestly and recognize these systems aren’t working.

Recent changes in legislation, with little to no planning to deal with the consequences, are placing all rural counties at risk. While the state fails to address the illegal marijuana problem, we are tasked with unfunded mandates, which take away from the work we should be doing.

Simply changing the law does not stop people from being victimized. We are in a strange time where we have forgotten about the rights of our victims, and the good people in our communities. It is clear everyone knows their rights, however, many have forgotten their responsibilities.

I will be taking a much harder line on those who choose to work in the black market. The future of our county is dependent on the decisions we make today. 

Staffing and personnel have always been an issue for Mendocino County. While other departments have grown at a staggering pace, the Sheriff’s Office has the same number of patrol personnel that we had when I was born, 51 years ago. This has to be dealt with. The safety of our citizens demands it.

I am asking all residents of Mendocino County to stand with me and with our Board of Supervisors to give this problem top priority. Our Board of Supervisors has shown time and time again they support public safety.

We all need to stand together to secure the personnel needed to truly combat this problem. We simply need the support of our communities to say enough is enough.

I will be moving more personnel into the Detectives Bureau as well as the Marijuana Enforcement Unit, however, these personnel will leave a void in the patrol force if we don’t begin some growth in our numbers.

Mendocino County has always been resilient and strong, our pioneering spirit is unmatched. We can deal with this problem if we have the support of our communities.

I know our Board of Supervisors agrees with me that all Mendocino County residents deserve a better quality of life. I’m asking each of you to contact your Supervisor by reaching out to them on social media or just tag them in a comment below. Let them know you stand with us in wanting all of us to live in a safer community.  

As we continue through this year we are continuing to see a rise in violent crime in Mendocino County. Much of this is due to the illegal marijuana trade in our county while some is simply due to human nature. 

To put this into perspective, we have had 10 marijuana-related arrests for armed robbery, 2 kidnappings and the burglary of a home for marijuana and cash in which a child was home during the crime. This child was able to hide in the residence after suspects kicked in the door. We also had a murder which was not related to the illegal marijuana industry. This all occurred in a 12 day time frame. The frightening portion of this is I realize our season for violence is still to come. 

Normally Mendocino County sees a marked increase in violence including home invasion robbery, assault and murder during and shortly after marijuana harvest season. 

This increase in workload over a 12 day period due to violent crime is what our Detective Bureau would expect to see over a one year time period. All of these investigations are taking valuable time and energy away from cases that we also need to be working, such as homicides, missing persons, crimes against children, as well as our duties with the fires and standard calls for service.

Many of these investigations have suspects who are not from our area and take our detectives out of the county or out of state. This causes a dramatic increase in the price of investigating these crimes. 

Daily calls for service have not slowed down, however, we have seen a large decrease in self-initiated activities as there simply isn’t time between calls to initiate investigations. Therefore we are experiencing less proactive approaches to crime. We are experiencing several issues with the physical, spiritual and mental health of our communities. Our suicide rate is continuing to climb as are the number of overdoses within the County. 

As you know from my previous posts, The Sheriff’s Office needs more deputies to handle the increase in crime. Our Board of Supervisors have agreed to help the Sheriff’s Office receive more funding to hire more deputies, but being only reactive is not a permanent solution. We need to make changes at a higher level.

I’m currently working with the members of our Board of Supervisors to join me in contacting our state representatives to make some changes. Much of the increase in marijuana-related crimes come from legislation at the state level. Decisions made at the state level are made, of course, for the entire state, but the negative impact of those decisions hit Northern California the hardest. 

22 of our Northern rural counties comprise less than 5% of the vote for the state. I fear the decisions which are being made in the urban areas will continue to cause our residents to be victims of poor policies and legislation which only effects a small portion of the state. That small portion is *all of us*. 

The many hundreds of comments you’ve made on this page just in the last month or so tells me you stand with me. You want to see our communities safer again. So I’m asking for your help. We need to reach the people at the state level that make decisions that make life much harder for us here. We have Supervisors who are committed to public safety by helping the Sheriff’s Office receive funding for more deputies, but we can’t stop there.

Our Board of Supervisors are dedicated people. Together we will begin carrying this message to the officials at the state level. If this is a direction you think we should take, please go to, fill out that form with your message, even something as simple as Yes! so I know we’re in agreement. If you want to send this message to your Supervisor as well, but don’t know how to reach them, leave your message at and I’ll make sure they know you’re with us in making Mendocino County safer. Let us know you want all of us to take action, to talk with our state policy and lawmakers to make a positive difference in our quality of life. This is a big undertaking and I want to make sure this is a direction we can all move in together.

Thank you.

HERE’S AN IDEA: Reduce the CEO/Supervisors’ combined $1 million budget by $300k and hire two additional patrol deputies with vehicles.

Accordingly the primary item on next Tuesday’s agenda is Supervisor Williams’ proposal to “analyze the need for increased law enforcement to address organized crime.” 

Before allocating any new money to the Sheriff, among other things, Supervisor Williams wants Sheriff Kendall to “report on current criminal activities and areas associated (including detailed long-term crime trend chart from the Sheriff). It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the Sheriff offers in this regard. But it will be even more interesting if they discuss the Sheriff’s already busted overtime budget.

On Monday, Supervisor Ted Williams attempted to dispute our claim that what the Board approved for the cannabis permit program last week was “impossible.”

Williams first quoted us: “In effect, Tuesday’s decision is an ill-considered split approach which, on the one hand expects the current applicants pay to the County to salvage their own long pending permits, then switch to a zoning-use permit approach sometime after that.”

Williams commented: “This is not accurate. The action on Tuesday did not ask cultivators to “pay to the County to salvage their own long pending permits.” Cultivators who submitted applications with payment deserve follow through. Which step of the process do you see as not feasible? I see a trail of inaction, but conceptually, I don’t see impossibility. Nobody is talking about switching permitted cultivators from one model to another. It’s foreseeable that the appropriate model for grandfathering legacy cultivators is not the same as the ideal model for new applicants. — ted”

Obviously, this is not going to be a particularly productive discussion. You have correctly noted that it will take millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours (or costly outside consultants) just to clean up the existing applications mess and you/the Board have asked that those applicants provide “cost recovery” to, well, recover that cost? If you can’t see the substantial difficulties, much less the other conglomeration of unlikely, contradictory and kick-the-can items in that agenda item — what lawyers might call unconstitutionally general and vague —then there’s not much point in discussing this. By “impossible” we mean that taking all this together — including several items that are highly unlikely — reduces the likelihood of any kind of practical pot permit program success, however measured, to near zero. I suppose you could tap that equity grant money for some of this, but that’s not what it was intended for and even that remains unquantified and seems insufficient and wouldn’t be necessary if the program wasn’t so screwed up. But good luck. We’ll be very pleased to be proven wrong, much less “not accurate.” 

Ghilloti Construction is doing their standard good job on the Ukiah Streetscape project as documented by Ukiah’s Deputy City manager Shannon Riley. But the construction work is not the problem. The problem is that after all of Ghilotti’s fine work, Ukiah will be an even more unpleasant place to visit because the project turns Ukiah’s State Street — the town’s primary traffic artery — from four lanes to two. We didn’t realize how bad this was until we saw the recently posted “typical” intersection diagram, which not only shows the lane reduction (turning the middle lane into a left-turn only lane) but the stupidly dangerous build-outs at the corners. 

Anyone who’s driven in Ukiah knows that not all drivers observe the niceties of the lanes, especially at night. And yet here’s a “streetscape” that sticks large lumpy odd-shaped concrete obstacles right into the lanes in both directions and the cross-streets. (Did someone think this was “traffic calming”? What could possibly go wrong?) We wonder if Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt approved this typically unworkable Ukiah-ish design — because this crazy scheme is an accident waiting to happen at every streetscaped intersection and is guaranteed to make his department’s job harder. PS. And of course all of Ukiah’s drivers will never use the left turn lane to get around slow moving traffic only to realize there’s a car waiting to turn there. 

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