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Jacob Patterson’s Fort Bragg Fixation

On Friday, April 9th, the City of Fort Bragg received a letter from the Service Employees International Union. SEIU represents nearly two million workers in the United States and Canada, including many employees of governmental entities. This particular communication was signed by Patrick Hickey, field representative for SEIU Local 1021 and Alden Ramos, President of the City of Fort Bragg Chapter of SEIU Local 1021.

The letter is addressed to the Mayor and city council members, with a heading about “harassment of City of Fort Bragg staff.”

The letter itself: “We are writing to express our concern regarding the ongoing harassment and borderline stalking that city staff have been enduring at the hands of a community member, Jacob Patterson, who has developed an unhealthy fixation on the city staff members.

“This individual's obsessive and unrelenting actions should raise alarm bells. It appears that this individual has gone so far as to visit city staff's homes and taken photographs of their houses. His rambling missives to the city cite fictitious organizations that seem to exist only in his imagination, leading many to be understandably concerned about his mental stability.

“The past year has been particularly challenging for staff, with furloughs and restrictions brought on by the pandemic. But city staff has performed admirably under these difficult circumstances.

In addition to their normal work, staff have had to deal with exhaustive and frivolous public information requests, insulting emails, and attacks on their integrity and professionalism from Patterson. This is a waste of scarce city resources and the time of the small but dedicated staff.

“We understand that as a public entity, the city is obligated to be transparent and open to the scrutiny of the citizenry, and we fully support this. But in this instance, the individual [Patterson] is using this openness as a weapon and a way to torment, belittle, and attack hardworking city staff members. As City Council members, you have an obligation to keep city staff safe.

“We ask that you send a clear message that this sort of behavior will only serve to undermine this individual's positions and quixotic goals.”

The letter was cc-ed to Fort Bragg's city manager as well. Writing publicly to criticize someone's behavior is not a matter to be taken lightly. Believe me, I find it an onerous task, particularly because most of us live in figurative houses constructed from something akin to glass. For a service worker's union to publicly criticize an individual citizen, and an attorney at that, that union certainly must believe they possess something very much like just cause.

Seeing this letter from the SEIU is not an out of the blue surprise to this observer of coastal politics and government. Eight to nine months back I had conversations with someone, not a council member or staffer, who had personal knowledge about the Patterson situation. This person alleged that Patterson was “bullying” city staff. The same person claimed that Patterson had sent “over 500 emails” to Fort Bragg City staff and council members in little more than half a year's time. This person added, “The sheer number of PRAs [Public Records Act requests] that he does, along with the emails, calls, and texts… have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.”

That same source also stated, “I assume you know that he [Jacob Patterson] did the same thing when he lived in the city of Claremont.”

Having heard the same claim from at least two other fairly reliable sources, I contacted someone in Claremont familiar with Patterson and city government goings-on there several years ago. The Claremont citizen verified that Patterson went through a prolonged period of inundating the city government and city staff with similar requests to the point that the city created a new rule specifically based on Patterson's pattern of harassing behavior. In that scenario, Patterson's requests were filtered through the city attorney before council or staff responded to those requests deemed meaningful enough for action. The Claremont citizen indicated that the city council seemed to be forced to expend an exorbitant amount of time dealing with relatively petty issues raised by Jacob Patterson in public and closed session.

Patterson presents a further problem for Fort Bragg government. His mother, Michelle Roberts, sits on the Fort Bragg Planning Commission. Jacob doesn't seem to hesitate to criticize city staff. Case in point can be found in the April 10th AVA online comments section. After a hearty slam of city staff he goes out of his way to state, “Luckily, we have a good Planning Commission who have been serving on a check on the questionable work of the City planning and engineering staff.”

There are those in the county's second largest city who see these examples of the son slamming a professional staff that has to turn around and work with his mother as troubling.

A bit of counterbalance is due here. I am aware of at least one situation in which Jacob Patterson has gone somewhat out of his way to lend his legal services in an effort to assist a working class citizen to get what was due them from an organization apparently taking economic advantage of the worker. This just goes to show that, as with most folks, there are dark and light as well as gray areas in many a personality.

It can also be said that Jacob Patterson attends a wide variety of public meetings that most citizens don't bother to pay any attention to. He has been seen in person or Zooming into meetings of the Rec & Park District, the local healthcare district, the harbor district, along with Fort Bragg City Council meetings. I don't even attend all of those anymore, even when teleconferenced or Zoomed, so it cannot be said that Patterson doesn't pay attention to what is going on.

The fault, alas, may be that he pays too much attention.

*During the public comments section of the April 12th Fort Bragg City Council meeting, the SEIU letter was read aloud by the city clerk.


  1. Marmon April 13, 2021

    “The same person claimed that Patterson had sent “over 500 emails” to Fort Bragg City staff and council members in little more than half a year’s time. This person added, “The sheer number of PRAs [Public Records Act requests] that he does, along with the emails, calls, and texts… have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.”

    That’s enough for a restraining order in Mendocino County, the Judge in my case was concerned about the number of complaints and emails I was sending to the Board of Supervisors about Carmel Angelo and staff when the County filed a restraining order against me. He thought it was disturbing.


    • Marmon April 13, 2021

      For 3 years I was not allowed to email or have contact with anyone in the County employ, including BoS members. They were concerned about my mental stability, go figure.


      • Marmon April 13, 2021

        The County attempted to keep me from the public square for another 3 years but I contested and argued first amendment violations. The judge sided with me and ordered that I could go to board meetings but I couldn’t look at or address Carmel Angelo in any fashion whatsoever.


      • Stephen Rosenthal April 13, 2021

        How prescient of them.

  2. mr. wendal April 14, 2021

    I don’t know him personally. He does bring up a lot of good points and corrections of staff reports at the public meetings that cannot be ignored. His public records requests for this year don’t seem to be excessive and look to be worded politely. I hope he isn’t muzzled.

  3. Bruce Anderson April 14, 2021

    Patterson strikes me as a Mom’s Basement kinda guy who, not long ago, bilked Fort Bragg outta thousands for himself via a phony civil rights suit alleging that the town’s Hispanics were discriminated against. Since, with Mom sitting on the town’s planning commission, and probably feeding her little sweetie pie info, Patterson has, by any objective standard, cost FB many more of its scarce dollars in public time with harassing public records requests.The guy oughta be suppressed, Mom removed from the planning commission.

  4. Marmon April 14, 2021

    SEIU didn’t like me reporting illegal activity of some of their other members, such as Bryan Lowery. At the time social worker supervisors were also represented by SEIU so their attorney’s wouldn’t go after him. As for some of the other workers, I went to SEIU and asked them to intervein because I did not want them to end up in Court some day and be sued. I had learned that a bay area Attorney Robert Powell had just won a landmark case where he successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on several occasions, and it was his case, Beltran v. County of Santa Clara, that made it clear social workers were not entitled to “absolute immunity.”

    In 2016 he filed a lawsuit against several Mendocino County Social Workers and was successful in winning that case. Two of them were found liable along with the County.

    Mr. Powell also successfully won a wrongful death lawsuit against Mendocino County a couple years earlier regarding the murder of “Baby Emerald” in Fort Bragg.

    I warned both the County and SEIU that lawsuits were coming if they didn’t do something about their Child Welfare Services employee’s , but I was dismissed and eventually muzzled.


    • Lazarus April 14, 2021

      With all this litigation talk and your personal issues with the County, did you ever file a lawsuit for wrongful whatevers? And if you did, how did it go?
      Be well,

      • Marmon April 14, 2021

        Yeah, they had to pay me $49,000.00 in back pay for my wrongful termination, ordered by the State Personnel Board. The restraining order, as written, prevented me from taking further actions for the next 5 years. I ran out of time and money.


        • Lazarus April 14, 2021

          I wonder how many other Angelo victims are out there. And I wonder how they faired against her authoritarian rule? Since the County is a secret society we’ll likely never know.
          Be well,

  5. Jacob April 14, 2021

    Malcolm, I also sometimes attend County meetings, including the Board of Supervisors, Mendocino County Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator, and Coastal Permit Administrator if there are items that relate to the Fort Bragg area. I have no problem confirming that my former town did create a protocol of running my questions and comments through the City Manager’s and City Attorney’s offices but it is my understanding that was more because they brought up so many legal issues that needed review by the city’s legal counsel, many of which were addressed and actually helped resolve what could have been controversial situations. Claremont had a very professional planning and engineering staff when I moved back to Fort Bragg. I have even sent examples of their excellent work to the Fort Bragg staff so they might use them as models because much of the work here has needed significant improvement. (I am happy to state that recent staff reports have shown promising improvement, IMO.)

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the letter from SEIU contains several false and potentially defamatory allegations, including a ridiculous claim that I have a fixation on City staff and have even been taking pictures of their houses. The truth is that I took two photos of the alley behind a house for a public comment about a Minor Use Permit application that was proposed one block from my residence to look into privacy issues from second-story windows that the adjacent neighbors expressed concern about. That permit application was submitted by a staff member and her husband but that is only coincidental since I comment on most permit applications under public review (receiving public review and comment is the purpose of holding public hearings).

    Unfortunately, Fort Bragg still has a lot of problems that need looking into if we are going to grow and develop our local resources and economy. Revitalizing our community, including the local economy, depends on avoiding poor planning decisions and making sure all actions the City takes are in line with our governing documents, which express our community values and local policies. We can’t do that if we have staff or consultant recommendations that largely ignore the City’s general plans or staff reports that misrepresent the facts, which has been an all-too-common practice, IMO. Anyone who has been paying attention can probably point to examples of City staff apparently pushing agendas rather than presenting objective recommendations in an open and transparent manner with meaningful public notice (e.g., the Old Coast Hotel controversy). I am mainly involved to make sure decisions aren’t the product of a deficient process and trying to restore public trust in the information that is presented in staff reports. It seems easy for some insiders to forget that all government activities are supposed to be made on behalf of all the public and not just to advance the goals and objectives of the few or their own preferences. Fort Bragg has a lot of hard-working people on the staff who produce competent work and follow the direction of the City Council, just not all of them, and some recent developments appear to be designed to minimize public input and participation, which I am rightly concerned about.

    Finally, I have no problem with genuine criticism or questions directed my way, at least to the extent they are not based on false and potentially defamatory accusations, but definitely take issue with anyone criticizing my mother’s service on the Planning Commission. She has very different opinions than I do and often votes contrary to the recommendations I offer in my public comments. As is the case with the other Planning Commissioners, all of whom are thoughtful and diligent. My prior comments were meant to point out that although some staff have demonstrated a pattern of ignoring or dismissing applicable provisions of the City’s planning documents as they present their recommendations on agenda items, the Planning Commission has pushed back when necessary and insisted that projects actually be consistent with all provisions of our governing documents, not just those which are convenient to acknowledge. If we don’t like the outcomes of the policies in our general plans, the response is not to ignore them and approve permits anyway, the proper path is to revise the governing documents to match our current preferences or to change the projects themselves to remove the components of the proposals that are inconsistent with our local regulations and policy documents. I encourage everyone to participate in civic matters, particularly land use and planning decisions, which have long-lasting ramifications for the entire community.

  6. Concerned citizen April 14, 2021

    This person is one of the reasons I quit working for the city of fort bragg. I moved away and have not looked back. My spouse and I loved the city and dreamt of living our days out there. I soon found that the management of the city did not have staff best interest in mind. Jacob is as petty as a lot of the citizens but he takes it to a new level. I had to provide my resume to a citizen because they felt I was unqualified and in her words “murdering citizens with radio waves.” Jacob is no different, in fact on one occasion he hid behind the shield (falsely) of LGBTQ harassment to have a colleague written up for something she never would do. As a member of said LGBTQ community this is especially troubling. Jacob wasted hundreds of labor hours and continues to do so. He manipulated council and spineless managers. It continues to be a shameful shadow on the city as a whole.

  7. Marmon April 14, 2021

    I find it ironic that SEIU 1021 is worried about the wasting of taxpayer’s dollars.


  8. Mendocino Coast resident April 19, 2021

    Jacob Patterson has had a devastating effect on the City of Fort Bragg. Thank you for bringing some of his antics to light.

    Patterson has diverted finances and attention away from important community issues. He is not concerned about “city finances” or “community values” or “public policy”, but rather exploiting the city for his own gain and personal vengeance.

    Currently, Patterson has numerous personal false claims filed against the city that falsely claim employment discrimination and harassment. Patterson’s personal claims have cost the city tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees alone.

    Aside from his personal claims, Patterson purports representation of several “citizen committees” that appear to be devoid of citizens. Not a soul has stepped forward claiming membership in any “committee” that Patterson represents. This includes the “redistricting committee” that forced Fort Bragg tax payers to pay Patterson over $20,000 in legal fees.

    Yes, he regularly attends City Council and other government meetings, but it not because he is altruistic. It is because he has NOTHING else to do. His law practice and his clients are figments of his imagination.

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