Press "Enter" to skip to content

County Notes (December 9, 2020)

Kathy Wylie recently posted the following summary of this Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Agenda: 

BOS 12/8/20 meeting agenda is packed… 

Another packed BOS agenda for 12/8/20: 

• County hazard mitigation plan 

• August and Oak Fire debris removal rules 

• First reading - electric charging stations policy 

• Draft ordinance for Administrative Penalty Increases Relating to 

• Stormwater, Cannabis and Building Violations 

• Recategorizing Cannabis Cultivation as an Agricultural Activity 

• SWOW Caspar transfer station improvements 

• Mendocino County Air Quality Management District’s 2020 Annual Report 

• COVID update 

• CEO's report 

Mark Scaramella Comments:

YES, it’s “packed” with a few routine items that CEO Angelo requires the Board to rubberstamp.

IN FACT, there’s not much of general interest on the Board’s agenda for next Tuesday, even though there are numerous important issues to deal with. Not one single item on the long list of routine matters is sponsored by a Supervisor, everything’s from staff. Covid? No proposals to deal with the surge, merely a “discussion.” Cannabis permits? Nothing but “Review Additional Options for the Program Including Potential Consideration of Cannabis Cultivation as an Agricultural Activity.” Drought? Nothing. Winter Homeless Shelter(s)? Nothing. (The Fort Bragg homeless are already in deep freeze.) Long-delayed Measure B? Not a peep. What to do with the over $22 million in PG&E settlement windfall? Nothing.

THE MEASURE B Bunch, by the by, apparently met on Wednesday, November 18. We received their agenda packet in which Measure B project manager Alyson Bailey mentioned that she was setting up a separate youtube channel for Measure B meetings. But like the month before, there’s been no video posted, no mention of the meeting, no minutes or summary of what action may have been taken, nothing from Supervisors Williams or Haschak who are now on a specially designated Measure B ad hoc committee. We have sent two emails to Ms. Bailey asking for some explanation for the missing meeting — maybe things were delayed by Thanksgiving? — but no response yet. 

LAST MONTH Ms. Bailey told us that steps had been taken to make sure the IT department video’d the meeting and posted it. But at this point it looks like they may have dropped the ball again. We’re starting to wonder if it’s more than just an ordinary mistake.

AFTER A CLOSER LOOK at the “packed” agenda however we noticed a claim from the Calverts out in Albion for almost $10k — $9,339.04 to be exact to the penny — for several years worth of back fire protection taxes imposed by the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District parcel tax, which County Counsel recommends approving. 

THIS IS THE SAME Fire Protection District that Supervisor Ted Williams once ran as Fire Chief and which organized Measure V which declared poisoned dead trees to be a “nuisance.” 

“5d) Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Tax Refund Claim in the Amount of $4,220.40 by Karen A. Calvert, Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 5096and 5097, Regarding Certain Taxes Paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District (Sponsor: County Counsel) Recommended Action: Approve Tax Refund Claim in the amount of $4,220.40 by Karen A. Calvert, pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code sections 5096and 5097, regarding certain taxes paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District. 

5e) Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Tax Refund Claim in the Amount of $5,118.64 by James H. Calvert, Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 5096and 5097, Regarding Certain Taxes Paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District (Sponsor: County Counsel) Recommended Action: Approve Tax Refund Claim in the amount of $5,118.64 by James H. Calvert, pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code sections 5096and 5097, regarding certain taxes paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District.”

AS WE READ the Calverts’ claim, they seem to be saying that since MRC won a similar claim on appeal recently that the County/Albion-Little River Fire Protection should do the same for them. Never mind that the cost of lawyers and claim prep are more than the taxes they want back, and both MRC and the Calverts are far from paupers and both of them benefit directly from having a mostly volunteer fire protection service in the vicinity of their vast timber holdings — even if, technically, their property is ruled to be “outside” the Albion-Little River District boundaries its people like the Calverts who take the 'C' out of community.

THERE’S ALSO a proposal on the consent calendar to pay a consultant $650k (!) to “Provide Disaster Recovery (DR) Assistance and Special Planning Project Management and Review for Planning and Building Services (PBS), Beginning on January 1, 2021 and Expiring on December 31, 2023.”

ACCORDING to the attached consulting agreement, a white-shoe Davis-based consultant will “facilitate” some meetings, develop project management tools for emergency response and recovery and a “strategic recovery framework” and recovery plans, and “provide capacity building and development services…” etc. They will also “assist” with various planning document updates, attend relevant meetings, review code updates, etc. In other words, apparently, essentially privatize a bunch of vague Planning admin work for the Planning Department, probably on the grounds that this important work isn’t getting done because the County can’t hire staff to do the work. As a result of the county’s staffing difficulties — which the County attributes to Mendo’s senior planners only getting $70k or more plus generous perks— the County is proposing to pay through the nose for a consultant to do ordinary planning work. Funny, there’s nothing on the “packed” agenda about the County’s difficulties hiring planning staff.

Supervisor Williams

BoS Dec 8 agenda item: "treat cannabis as ag"

Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff Regarding the Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Program Priorities from September 22, 2020 and Direction to Staff to Review Additional Options for the Program Including Potential Consideration of Cannabis Cultivation as an Agricultural Activity

David King: The designation of cannabis as a commercial crop is decimating the legacy farmers and putting the entire industry on a path to collapsing. Consumer demand is increasing. The only way to fill the consumer demand with a safe product, produced in an environmentally-friendly manner is to have a regulated industry.

Mendocino shows very little projected growth in population in the next 30 years compared to the rest of the state. Mendocino presently cannot maintain its infrastructure, pension obligations, and presently cannot support its employees in a manner that would give them health coverage and financial security through retirement. As it stands we are working in a failed system. Our county government and citizens need an income. Cannabis grown correctly will produce the largest income with the smallest amount of land use combined with the lightest environmental degradation. 

So we are in the design stage of a new industry. Like it or not the cannabis industry is here. What direction do you want it to go. The small legacy farmers who raise their families here and support their communities or large out of town interests that wish to spend their profits elsewhere? With a failed system we can no longer afford to send profits out of the area. In addition to saving profit we want to keep our expenses and workforce local. Our current commercial model is designed for large commercial AG with a seasonal migrant workforce. Our current agricultural industries have difficulties filling their seasonal labor needs. The wine industry is no longer in its rapid expansion and is trying to find its balance. Designing the cannabis industry to depend on a migrant workforce will put pressure on other AG industries because they cannot compete with cannabis because it is such a high value crop. We have seen the devastation of other agricultural crops like pears because they could not compete with grape growers for laborers during harvest. 

If legacy farmers are able to grow their crop as agriculture it will greatly increase their survivability. The goal of the craft legacy farmer is to produce a crop in a regenerative fashion. Regenerative agriculture is no longer just an ideology. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are grown in a regenerative fashion. Many of them are receiving substantially higher incomes with greatly reduced impute costs. This is why large companies like General Mills are getting in the game. 

If given the opportunity Legacy craft farmers can offer a living wage with year round employment. Legacy craft farmers wish to offer more than cannabis. They want to offer other regenerative products, education and inspiration for a new way of running an industry. In the last 20 years who else has been investing in our community. In the next 20 years who do you see investing in our community?

Tammy Moss-Chandler Wafts Out On Great Gusts Of Vague Hyperbole

Proclamation of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Honoring Tammy Moss Chandler For Her Years Of Service As Health & Human Services Agency Director For The County Of Mendocino

WHEREAS, Tammy Moss Chandler came to the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) in May 2016 from Placer County Health & Human Services Agency; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Moss Chandler’s commitment to public service consumed untold hours of her time while she represented HHSA at several regional, state and national conferences and meetings; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Moss Chandler managed a large and diverse budget including funding from federal, state, local, foundation and private funding sources; and

WHEREAS, during Ms. Moss Chandler’s career, vast improvements in technology and information management demanded many progressive changes within the organization; and

WHEREAS, under Ms. Moss Chandler’s guidance, HHSA improved client services by means of creative financing initiatives, including the establishment of Mendocino County’s Whole Person Care program which provides support to vulnerable community members with partnering organizations, bringing millions of dollars of additional funding to the County through state and federal sources; and

WHEREAS, under Ms. Moss Chandler’s direction, the 2017 Disaster Recovery Team increased fiscal leveraging strategies to help rebuild a more resilient, sustainable community, and created an effective disaster mitigation plan during one of the most stressful times in our county’s history; and

WHEREAS, under Ms. Moss Chandler’s leadership, several shelters were established year-round, with the help of community partners, for those displaced by floods, extreme weather, and by wildfire; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Moss Chandler spearheaded employee safety and social worker protection protocols, ensuring ergonomic needs were met, and reduced Workman’s Compensation claims; and

WHEREAS, with Ms. Moss Chandler’s support, HHSA developed departmental quality assurance and improvement measures that included streamlining the employee hiring process, enhanced personnel problem solving, training, and ensuring all business technology and equipment needs were met; and

WHEREAS, with Ms. Moss Chandler’s support, Mendocino County Public Health tackled local response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining, and in many cases improving HHSA’s services to the public; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Mendocino, hereby recognizes and honors HHSA Director Tammy Moss Chandler for her years of service, dedicated leadership and commitment, and further, that this Board extends to Tammy its congratulations and best wishes for continued success on the occasion of her retirement.


John Haschak, Chair, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

Mark Scaramella Notes:

Funny, there’s no mention of Ms. Moss-Chandler’s role in the abrupt firing of Public Health Director Barbara Howe and the subsequent unlawful termination lawsuit (and accompanying expensive outside lawyer costs) that ensued after the judge ruled that Ms. Moss-Chandler’s bogus request for a restraining order wouldn’t hold water.

For this rather undistinguished tenure for which the County couldn’t come up with a single specific accomplishment or any statistics, Mendo paid Ms. Moss-Chandler over $270,000 in pay and benefits per year and Mendo is going to be paying Ms. Moss-Chandler around two-thirds of her base pay, or around $120k per year for the rest of her life. So at least in that sense she certainly has achieved “continued success on the occasion of her retirement.”

Supervisor Williams

We have a [cannabis] regulatory scheme virtually nobody can complete. Making outlaws out of good and bad players hinders enforcement. I don't support plastic, regular water shuttling or environmental damage of any type. Illegal pumping of water from the creeks and rivers is within the domain of the Sheriff and I support funding of the effort.

“How you will be able to enforce an expansion when you can't enforce what's happening now?”

By fixing the regulatory model to one which cultivators can complete. Under the current state deadline, 99% of cultivation in Mendocino County will be illegal come Jan 1, 2022. Before we can demand participation in a regulated market, there must be a path to compliance.

Imagine if nobody in Mendocino County had a valid state driver's license and we asked the Sheriff to enforce driver's licenses. The current ordinance doesn't work for the cultivators, community members with legitimate concerns, environmentalists, county tax collection — it's all intertwined with a faulty ordinance.

Without any expansion, outdoor cultivation will become 99% illegal in a year. The state has a hard deadline for state licenses. Cultivators in Mendocino County do not hold state annual licenses. They are operating on temporary licenses. These expire.

Show me a state-licensed farm causing havoc on the environment and neighborhood. The truly legal market isn't the problem. Transitioning all cultivation to legal and regulated is the solution. Creating outlaws has been attempted and the result is a massive failure.

Also from Supervisor Williams: 

We are scheduled [to discuss Measure B] for the December 15 BoS meeting. County departments have stepped up on ownership of the various Measure B projects. I see the oversight committee as less of a bottleneck now. Voila.

The November Measure B Committee Meeting Measure B 

Project Manager Alyson Bailey Reports:

Unfortunately, I had difficulty getting Zoom to stream on YouTube and ended up with a partial product.  I believe that the experts will be streaming our upcoming Mental Health Treatment Act Committee meeting on the 16th. 

Here are the discussion and motion notes. Crisis Residential:  Contractor Couples & Son won (via base bid) the construction award for the  Crisis Residential Treatment facility as accepted by the Board of Supervisors in November.

Psychiatric Health Facility: Regarding Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) Operations, legal review is underway for RFP  questions and the timeline for award has been estimated to be November 30th.

Behavioral Health Regional Training: It has been decided that the Behavioral Health Regional Training Center does not have to adopt a cost-recovery model.  The original plan (based on the cost-recovery model) has been revised, and will be developed further with a model based on long-term Measure B  support. In addition, the project has begun again and is estimated to be open by April or May of 2021.

Clarification on Measure B Costs: Costs to Measure B regrading the A87 invoice (an annual, internal countywide system billing process from all service departments to all customer departments) are measured through time studies and multiple audits. There has not been an A87 charge to Measure B yet because the billing cycle is on a two-year lag due to the extensive safeguards.  Measure B will be a part of the A87 charge for the first time in FY 2020/2021.

Aside from the A87 charge, MOUs and Direct Invoicing may be utilized instead between County departments, bypassing the A87 process.

If direct billing takes place, that exchange terminates then, and does not continue into A87 billing. Regarding County employees, Measure B Committee Members who are also Citizens Oversight Committee Members do not get paid to sit on the committee, nor do County employees who are spectating.

The Citizens Oversight Committee understands the processes under which Measure B may be billed, by whom, and why.  It agrees that internal billing is the most expedient way to do business as long as the services are transparent and can be exchanged for an outside vendor if fiscally appropriate. 

CIT Training: The Committee did vote to recommend to reimburse the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office for their countywide CIT training in the amount of $12,400. This is a three-day training for Law Enforcement specifically on managing mental health situations that they may encounter. Because of social distancing, the training was held in a large outdoor area with more than six feet of space available between participants.  Here is more information on the CIT training

Calendar: Concerning 2021, the Citizens Oversight Committee will continue with their current meeting schedule in expectation of increased, and further fiscal decision making.

This Just In: Planning & Building Services Director Brent Schultz resigned on Monday. Not only was he saddled with an impossible to administer pot ordinance, but most of his more than 30 years of experience was in urban planning for the city of Ontario in SoCal, nothing like Mendo’s outback “planning,” which is mostly paperwork for projects that take way too long to process — if they ever get approved. Schultz was also saddled with a chronically understaffed department and what staff there is is not very experienced and the experienced ones complain about both Schultz and their own nearly untenable situations with a large backlog that gets bigger by the month. Schultz seemed to give the pot ordinance a well-meaning try at first, announcing early on that he was going to do a “deep dive” into the pot applications and figure out what to do. Predictably Schultz soon drowned in the quicksand of pot applications and the program. Not long after he was brought in, the then-pot program manager Sean Connell quit in frustration. Connell was replaced by Megan Dukett, a well-known CEO loyalist with zero pot program experience who has kept a low profile since being assigned to the pot program. (We suspected Ms. Dukett might even have been assigned to Schultz as a way for CEO Angelo to keep her micro-managing eye on Schultz, given the turbulent history of the pot program and its many administrators/victims.) No sympathy for Schultz from here though. He was well paid and, although we were told he “resigned,” we suspect he might be retiring with yet another fat pension, much of it to be provided by Mendo’s over-stressed pension fund. 

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *