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The Sheriff’s Challenges

Since Matt Kendall took office as Mendocino County Sheriff in January 2020, the unprecedented has become pretty standard, yet he usually brings an easygoing, confident humor to even the toughest shocks.

But events over the past month on the North Coast clearly have Kendall disturbed.

Sheriff Kendall

The backdrop: sustained social protest, whether public demonstrations or calls to his cellphone; the enforcement issues around COVID which has put American law enforcement and government power generally into areas of American life never envisioned; the drumbeat of crisis events, most on the national level that have elected officials and especially elected sheriffs waiting for the next shoe to drop.

In Ukiah, on April 1, a group of Ukiah police officers severely beat a naked man, Gerardo Magdaleno, in the course of arresting him after he ran into traffic on a busy Ukiah street on a Thursday afternoon. Parts of the violent arrest were videoed by a number of passersby.

Ukiah now has its own full blown police scandal. So does Eureka after its police officers were shown, in an investigation by the Sacramento Bee published in March, to be texting each other things like “face shoot the fucker” — that from Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez — and “I'm going to beat those hippies down” at a Black Lives Matters protest scheduled for the Eureka courthouse steps (Officer Mark Meftah).

These events clearly disturb Kendall. But in an interview last Tuesday, he didn't find villains or quick fixes— the “young officer,” who first responded to the Magdaleno call, he said, was probably scared, and put in a position of having to act quickly, since Delgado was running into traffic.

“What do you tell people when he gets hit by a car?,” Kendall asked.

Kendall talked about the legal and moral duty to “do something” once an officer engages with a situation. The pressure is always to act, he said, because the officer has become responsible for the outcome.

Kendall didn't address how the other officers acted as they converged on a prone Magdaleno and subdued him with multiple taser charges and “distraction blows” to the head and body. The Ukiah police department, in a press release, without going into specifics, described what the officers did as part of their training.

“Why is it that police officers are still the ones who are dealing with this?,” was Kendall's core answer last week. “We aren't the ones who should be dealing with this.”

Kendall wasn't idly complaining or passing the buck. He has pushed the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for two years to create “Dual Response Teams,” — what the AVA’s Mark Scaramella calls the “crisis van” — combining law enforcement and mental/behavioral health workers to go on calls exactly like Magdaleno's. The idea is along the hammer-nail analogy. If you bring more than a hammer to a problem, you don't have to treat everyone like a nail.

But in the real world, these things take time. In the real world, the county's mental health bureaucracy is said — though not by Kendall — to be unenthusiastic about Dual Response Teams because the insurance reimbursement the agency gets for your typical drug abuser is very low.

But three mental health workers, even in this lightly populated rural county, will just barely begin to address this raging problem, and no one in their right mind is talking about doubling or tripling funding, much of which is coming out of the money Mendocino County voters approved in 2016 as part of Measure B, to build a better local mental health system.

Kendall is disturbed by local politics too. He said his predecessor, Tom Allman, met with County executive officer Carmel Angelo every week. Kendall does not, by his choice. The relationship, he says, is not a trusting one.

The message Kendall says he keeps trying to deliver to the county bureaucracy is: “I am really good at keeping people safe. I am no good as a counselor.”

County sheriffs across California have found themselves on the hot seat over the past couple of years. They are the only local elected law enforcement officials around. They are also responsible for the morale of their departments. Some of their constituents (State of Jefferson separatist types) want them to help overthrow the U.S. government. Other constituents (call them Nanny State Overdrive) want to see sheriffs crack down hard on every violator of every Public Health order.

Meanwhile, violent, racially charged police confrontations keeping showing up on screens across the country. Kendall points out, in Mendocino County, his deputies are facing an armed and organized black market marijuana industry like they have never experienced before. Last summer saw full-on gun battles in Round Valley — no one arrested — and eerily empowered weed growers hijacking water trucks that were supposed to be headed for the wildfires.

All this combined has Kendall focused on another statistic: the number of new law enforcement students at the academy at College of the Redwoods in Eureka is at record lows.

“There used to be 30-50 applicants every year,” he said. “Last year's class, I think, there were 13-14.”

The job of law enforcement officer is changing very quickly, Kendall points out, in any number of ways. It has become in large part a social worker's job, and at the same time quite a bit more dangerous. It's also on candid camera now. It is not the job that the young men, mostly, who have signed up for the College of the Redwoods police academy in the past, really want to sign up for now.

Kendall did not say this, but the job of a Mendocino County deputy doesn't pay very well, especially when compared to more populous counties to the south.

As a sheriff in the face of pretty relentless change these days, that particular statistic seemed to disturb Kendall as much as anything else.


  1. Mark Laszlo April 19, 2021

    Sherriff Kendall, i want to be fair to you. But why did you make war on US citizens and rob them like bandits with badges at the legally placarded grow of “Eagle” in Covelo?

  2. Jim April 19, 2021

    When you lost Allman you lost all nuance in county law enforcement.

    Now, all you have is the shoot em up thin blue line gang. Good luck to law abiding citizens as they square off with the entrenched criminals in covelo, round valley, etc. Maybe time to consider moving on before getting caught in the crossfire.

    • Michael Koepf April 20, 2021

      Excellent idea. Move on.

  3. Estelle Clifton April 19, 2021

    I appreciate Sheriff Kendall’s awareness that cannabis regulation and permitting should require the involvement of scientists with specialized training. Political counseling only goes so far.

  4. Mark Laszlo April 20, 2021

    Sherriff Kendal,
    please bear in mind i respect you and your deputies, even though i criticize you and the system you serve. Of course you can’t please everyone. You get scarce thanks for what you and your deputies do right. Your job is to be heros. I don’t envy you. Although i am bitter at points, it is with thanks for the good you do for the People of Mendo.

    Constitution of United States of America, 1791

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment IV
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Amendment VIII
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    At “Eagle'”s legally placarded farm in Covelo, deputies saw everything of value as fair game for their theft via civil asset forfeiture.

    Civil asset forfeiture gives LEOs privilige to confiscate for the slightest claim of evidence of crime, subverting the 4th Amendment of the Federal Bill of Rights. Power of search and seizure falls under the purview of criminal law that requires good reason and a judge’s permission before hand, every time. But Civil Asset Forfeiture let’s LEOs confiscate anything of value for the least excuse for suspicion of crime, misplacing power to search and seize property that has always been limited to criminal law until recently to protect the People from official predation, into the purview of civil law, making it a billion dollar national police racket. It subverts the 1st page of the constitution and quenches our beacon of liberty for the ultra rich who move corporate headquarters from America overseas and pay no taxes to the USA. That shifts the burden of supporting LEOs onto the People and makes Our country like communist era Russia where people were punished for mere suspicion of crimes and like Mobutu’s Zaire, where the people were preyed on by cops to support them.

    Welcome to the The Kleptocratic Banana Republic of America.

    At Eagle’s farm suspects were tortured, in violation of the 8th Amendment of the federal constitution’s 1st page, that outlaws “cruel and unusual punishment”; to force them to sign away rights.

    The government that used to belong to all citizens has been subverted by the military industrial complex and the rich, to take rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” from the rest of us, to delimit the accumulation of wealth, for those who already have more than they can ever use.

    Laws and policies that are crimes for the rich, at the hands of cops, now normalized, must be resisted. But nowadays suspects get assault weapons pointed at them with no provocation, violating the basic right of no threat to a person’s life when none is made.

    I’m very non-violent. I was raised to abide by the law and i like to, but self defense against anyone is a basic human right. At a different place and time, your deputies threatened my life when i made no threat to them. It being my right to live if i don’t threaten them. In principle, it would be my right to defend my life from anyone who threatens my life gratuitously, even them, if i could. I like law and order. I talked to them,
    but that was a mistake, because Deputy Moore is a bad listener and wrote down something i did not say.

    When suspects in sleeping bags get guns pointed at them and are stomped in the back, in case deputies are confronted with puny or non-existent weapons, it is not justice, but crime against suspects who offer no threat and may be innocent.

    What’s wrong with your deputies, that they don’t talk to non-threatening suspects before pointing guns at them? Such things prove whether we live in a free country or not.

    How the US government at all levels treats the People routinely now, exceeds outrages we kicked the Brits out for doing to us, by the same government we made to be free.

    It’s laws and policies that are unconstitutional, therefore illegal. It’s policies and orders from their superiors, that cause these crimes by the government against the People, as much as individual cops, that break the highest law of the land. You can’t call it law enforcement when it’s unconstitutional.

    We should be patient, since we have judges to strike down unconstitutional laws, and our legislatures can change bad laws,
    but when a terrible laws are imposed by the government too long, they don’t get changed without breaking them.

    It’s over-regulation in cannabis farming laws that creates conditions for criminal types, who don’t respect other’s rights or the environment, to thrive.

    I think to correct the confounding mess of cannabis laws and ordinances would be primarily by streamlining them. If you let the same people who wrote the red tape reform it, it’s still going to be messed up, because they want it to be dysfunctional. I think part of the dysfunction by design is to dispossess hippies with small land holdings because they are contemptuous of hippies and non-materialists. Also, if all the grows are of maximum size and owned by people who can invest to maximize production, revenue for the govt is also maximized. Those are motives that have nothing to do with whether the growers respect their neighbors and the environment. The latter 2 motives serve as excuses for the former motives. I’m thinking of the local “Harper Valley PTA”s of Humbolt and Mendo, but dysfunction by design works for bigger oligarchs also, to hand them the lion’s share of the industry instead of letting people at the bottom improve life for whole communities.

    And there must be ways for legalization to be gainful for LEOs, because otherwise, they lose a great source of income, So legalizaton has to be a SNAFU, just as prohibition was made for them and other vested interests.

    And they have no more conscience shaking down people in the new regime of law than the old. Washington, Jefferson, the sick and the small organic growers be damned. True cannabis history should be part of LEOs training. Y’all seem to still believe lies it was considered you job to teach to children about cannabis. The smearing of it was renewed by the same fascist, racist crook who standardized civil asset forfeiture: Jeff Sessions.
    And doctors still lie about it. Such is the influence of big pharma that .peddles so many brain damaging, addictive and deadly synthetic drugs. If anyone could grow their own medicine that helps so many afflictions safely, like pediatric epilepsy and cancers, it would be a disaster for dealers of legal poisons. If legalization must be, it has to be limited and they have to invent new diseases like “maijuanna psychosis” to scare parents and kids into taking brain shrinking antipsychotics and antidepressants. God help the mentally ill at the mercy of our new county mental health bureaucracy!

    Google Search “antidepressant antipsychotic brain damage”.

    I think, from petty oligarchs in California’s local governments, to Iowa’s John Boehner, who ruined many innocent lives and is now a drug kingpin w/o conscience, from our “Harper Valley PTA”s to billionaires who buy laws, even little guys who do their best to comply with current laws are screwed by greedy power freaks who see the industry as their cash cow,
    squares who hate hippies, who risked their liberty to produce life saving medicine that never killed anyone, that George Washington said everyone should grow to have a free country. We got it legalized, but with mind numbing, obfuscating regulations to take the right to grow from poor and middle class people with small grows, who respect the environment and their neighbors. With legalization like this, that makes criminals of good people. They are not likely to inform on the criminals who grow it. You treat the good and the bad as criminals, because the law is criminal.
    How peculiar, this legalization, that preserves conditions for both illegal and legal rackets so cops never run our of business! The same as with prohibition you never run out of business busting people. Always have a reason to ask for more personnel and resources. That was a reason for prohibition and it is a reason for legalization that criminalizes ethical growers along with the bad: An ever vaster army and gulag archipelago to control the People. There are just not enough people with the right stuff, so police and sherriff departments have to hire some bad people to fill the ranks and get full funding and military hardware.

    I suggest reform of local cannabis ordinances by streamlining them, cutting out clauses that steal the industry from ethical small growers of humble means who need material improvement. And it should all be organic to be wholesome. If it’s not organic, that should be a reason to bust a grower. Likewise GMOs.

    The herb that’s a medicine chest of wonder drugs makes over 400 natural flavinoids for healing, but GMOs are like synthetic cannabis that can make people eat faces, like the guy in Florida 10 years ago. Like synthetic drugs, their safety can’t be known until millions of human guinea pigs are used to test GMOs, but natural, organic cannabis is a safe mainstay medicine of record, since Chinese Emperor Ma recommended
    it for women’s fertility in his pharmacopaea 5,000 years ago, the Vedas, Herodotus, the Royal Medical society of Britain, Washington, Jefferson and the American Medical Association, until it’s testimony to Congress was suborned.

    George Washington wanted America to be free. I came to Mendo thinking cannabis legalization would allow me to practice a right Washington and Jefferson enjoyed for the sake of being a free man. Since then i found myself in a mess of red tape. “legalization” like this does not make us more free. It is contrived to take liberty away as much as possible.

    It’s the mentality of greed, tryanny and over-regulation that makes people want to leave California. But where to? Our subverted govt started WWIII with micronukes in West Asia and this whole country is ground zero.

    I told Deputy Moore WWIII was not started in SE Asia. I told him children need fallout shelters or there will no future here in Mendocino county.

    I told him to Search Youtube “nuke baghdad”, nuke homs”, “nuke yemen”, Sorry to tell you, but the greatest resource of our county, the children, are in immanent danger of nuclear war. That is our greatest danger that very few dare to check the smoking nuke proof on the internet, that WWIII was started by 2003 at Baghdad (A Female Faust), video tab, CNN’s own video in her compilation showed the two closest tactical micronukes
    with clear views. The brave, rooftop, camera crew’s emotional reactions and comments showed they knew they they had scooped the biggest story since Hiroshima: That the long restraint of all nuclear powers not to use nukes for war, to prevent uncontrolled escalation to total, global war with WMDs, is over, Our govt, subverted by rogues in our military industrial complex started WWIII with miniaturized H-bombs. They are not “thinkable”. Any size nuke must be perceived as an existential threat by nations they are used on, just as American would, and call for the nation that used it on them to be wiped out. The day is soon when all the nations in the world our nuclear warlords existentially threaten, will act together with all the WMDs they’ve got, when they see no better chance to survive.

    Children need fallout shelters now. Sherriff Kendal, if you treasure the children of Mendocino County, this is your greatest challenge to protect them. Proofs are on the internet. You must make sure if i am right. I researched for many years to find and test the truth of it, like almost nothing else mattered, but Mendocino County is full of cowards, like Deputy Moore, to know the truth of it. Homs, Syria was hit by a Hiroshima scale A-bomb, recorded from two sites in the city. Nuquom Mountain was hit by a neutron bomb next to a city, where 20 people recorded it from different sites there. Sparkles around the fireball and mushroom stem appeared, showing CCD cells overloaded by neutrons. You can find links to the youtube videos on the 1st google search page. These are not nuke test videos or movie or game simulations. The physical reaction is more energetic than of chemical combustion.
    Some are in denial. Some are involved in damage control, like Bellingcat. But Jeff Prager at Quora explains the miniaturation of nuclear weapons eruditely. Chris Busby et al found U-235 in a crater and in hair of parents of genetically damaged children at Falluja, where there is a hospital full of cancer ridden freak children. Google Search “birth defects fallujah” (images tab). Scroll down. Very graphic, but it’s the duty of adults to know true dangers to children and protect them. Our military used depleted uranium, thermobaric weapons, white phosphorous and a micronuke at Falluja. Every nation where the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia make war now suffers genetic warfare. I believe as Thomas Jefferson did. He said “I tremble for my country when i consider God is just”. I tell people everyone needs a Geiger counter and a fallout shelter to protect children now. Properly built with air filters, they can save people from all kinds of fallout and fires. Reconstruction aboveground only is sure to burn down at some time, but a well-built fallout shelter can protect families from the most dangers that exist in reality, but the only part of most people still alive that’s underground yet, is their heads. You want to protect children? You must make sure you know for sure if i am right. Then you need to plan accordingly to protect the people of our county in WWIII, as is possible to. Possibly, you will need to protect preppers from your own deputies and the army, if you can do anything about it.

    As it is, i suspect the stores of preppers will be confiscated, because no-one can build w/o the govt knowing everything about it. Meth zombies and fascists are reasons enough for honest people to be armed in the country, but the odds are worse if rogue cops and feds raid preppers.
    Do not prey on the People. Help them protect themselves, or there will be no children, no future here.

    When Jesus said “The meek shall inherit the Earth”, surely he did not mean “essential personnel” of the government, and their minions, and the very rich, who have the best fallout shelters already, and plan to let the rest of us die.

    Would it be worse if honest people would arm and organize to get rid of
    the real criminals in our rural areas? People have a right to self defense.
    That is fundamental.

    But i prefer law, order and regular justice. I am greatful for LEOs better than average, at least. It’s a hard, thankless job for heros. Thank you all for what you do right. But think about the system we are all caught in now. Think about following the constitution instead of laws and policies that are crimes.

    And please, Sherriff Kendal, tell us what technicality you used. And the real reason you made war on the People at that legally placarded grow in Covelo.

    Mark W. Laszlo

  5. Michael Koepf April 20, 2021

    “George Washington wanted America to be free. I came to Mendo thinking cannabis legalization would allow me to practice a right Washington and Jefferson enjoyed for the sake of being a free man.” Mark W. Laszlo. I wish to respond to Mr. Laszlo’s self-serving and rambling commentary as elegantly and as kindly as I can; thus: what a bunch of patriotically-pretentious crap.

    As the semanticist S.I. Hayakawa once wrote: “cow one is not cow two.” Mark W. Laszlo is not George Washington nor Thomas Jefferson. He’s just another scammer, with his own set of laws in his mind, who came to make a buck and go away.

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