Last week, we talked about Supervisor John Haschak joining myself, former Sheriff Tom Allman, and current Sheriff Matt Kendall, plus many others in requesting the Board of Supervisors hold a countywide election if their proposed Phase 3 Cannabis Ordinance includes the 10% cultivation of total parcel acreage and opening up Rangeland to cultivation.
I told you Allman deserves credit for being the first to suggest the election, and I’ve called for it since then, and Kendall joined with his support earlier this year.
On Wednesday, April 7, the Laytonville County Water District Board that I manage, held a special meeting to consider sending a letter to the Supes requesting they hold an election on the two proposals.
On my Saturday radio show on April 3, on KPFN, I had Haschak on and we talked about the election issue and how we believed the other four Supes (Dan Gjerde, Ted Williams, Glenn McGourty, and Maureen Mulheren, who support expanding cultivation with basically no controls and apparently no concerns about the adverse effects it will have on watersheds and water sources. They’ve gone on record touting the super-sized economic cultivation model because of what they believe will be the resulting enhanced revenue streams.
Haschak said when the Board meets on April 19 to possibly approve the proposed new Cannabis Ordinance, he will request that a county-wide election be held on the 10% rule and opening up range land to cultivation.
Here’s the letter the Laytonville Water Board approved requesting the election.
To: The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
Subject: Voter Election On Proposed Phase Three Cannabis Ordinance Provisions Regarding the 10% Rule and Opening Up Range Land To Cannabis Cultivation
Dear Honorable Supervisors,
Please be advised that the Board of Directors of the Laytonville County Water District (LCWD) met on April 7, 2021 and approved that the following comments and request be made to the Board of Supervisors.
There are two provisions in the Proposed Phase Three Cannabis Ordinance that are of grave concern to most of the residents of Mendocino County.
Those two provisions are:
• The so-called “10% Rule” whereby cannabis cultivation would be allowed on 10% of the total land of a parcel with a minimum size of 10 acres on lands zoned as Agriculture, Upland Residential, or Range Land.
• Currently Range Land, with the exception of a limited number of cultivators granted so-called “Grandfather Rights” under the Phase One Cannabis Ordinance, is off-limits to cannabis cultivation. However, the Proposed Phase Three Ordinance would allow cannabis cultivation to occur on Range Land.
As the Board is well aware, these two proposed rules are opposed by what appears to be an overwhelming majority of Mendocino County residents.
Therefore the LCWD Board of Directors hereby requests that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, on its own motion and without a voter petition, submit the above-referenced proposed provisions regarding the “10% Rule” and the opening up of range land to cannabis cultivation found in the proposed Phase Three Cannabis Ordinance, to the voters for final determination.
Thank you for your consideration of this most important matter.
LCWD Board of Directors
DWR: Third Driest Year In State History
While four members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors are pushing ahead with a proposed Cannabis Ordinance that will significantly and momentously expand cultivation in a county in its second year of drought conditions, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) declared this week that 2021 as the third-driest water year in state history.
California’s driest year on record was in 1977, when recorded precipitation was less than 35 percent the average.
This year rain totals are below 50 percent of average statewide.
DWR reports that the state’s water supply in its major reservoirs are at just 50 percent of overall capacity.
“There is no doubt California is in a critically dry year. State agencies, water suppliers and Californians are more prepared than ever to adapt to dry conditions and meet the challenges that may be ahead,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “With climate change impacting how precipitation falls in California, ongoing water efficiency and long-term efforts like recycling water, capturing stormwater, and planting water-friendly landscapes are essential to securing California’s water future.”
With dry conditions continuing to impact California’s water supply, DWR recently announced an adjustment to the State Water Project allocation for 2021. The department now expects to deliver 5 percent of requested supplies this year, down from the initial allocation of 10 percent announced in December.
Newsom Signs $536 Million Firefighting Plan
On a more positive note, Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week he has signed a $536 million funding plan found in new legislation to help improve California’s response to wildfires.
“With California facing another extremely dry year, it is critical that we get a head start on reducing our fire risk,” Newsom said. “We are doing that by investing more than half a billion dollars on projects and programs that provide improved fire prevention for all parts of California.
Newsom outlined key parts of the plan include such things as greater investments in forest health projects, improvements on defensible space, home hardening against fires, fire prevention grants, and prevention workforce training. The plan includes public and private lands vegetation management, community-focused efforts for prevention and resilience and economic stimulus for the forestry economy.
“Because we know that California’s fires are not limited to forested lands, we have built in attention to all kinds of vulnerable terrain and vegetation, with incentives for prevention that protects larger numbers of residents,” Newsom stated. “The $536 million funding packaging includes $125 million from Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds and $411 million from the General Fund. We also hope to draw federal disaster prevention grants to match money spent on home hardening.”