Warm Dry | 18 New Cases | Dodgers Win | Bear Ransacking | 128 Sightings | Homicide Search | Grant Relief | Chestnut Gathering | Slim Updates | Proto Hippie | Agenda Highlights | Salvage Logging | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Longest War | Logger Break | LakeCo News | Little Moon | Uncertain Future | Chimp Art | Lunatic Abuse | Gruden Visit | Laurel & Hardy | Stealing Home | Out of Candy | Outdoor Work | JDSF Battleground
DRY WEATHER with warmer daytime temperatures are forecast today through Saturday. A cold front will bring rain to the area on Sunday, followed by dry weather on Monday. Additional periods of rain are forecast for the remainder of next week. (NWS)
18 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
THE DODGERS BEAT THE GIANTS in a tense game 5 of the National League West Playoffs Thursday night in San Francisco. Except for the Giants’ losing, Thursday night’s hard-fought, well-played game was a fitting conclusion to the series between the teams with the two best records in the majors this year — except for the way it ended: a check swing that replay clearly showed was incorrectly called a third strike against Wilmer Flores for the last out of the game. The Giants had a good season with a record breaking number of wins. But losing to the Dodgers like this hurts.
BEAR ATTACKS CAR ON D ROAD, ALBION
A few nights ago a bear attacked a friend's car and totally destroyed the inside. There may have been some peanuts in a bag in the car. The car door wasn't locked and it looks like the bear actually opened the car door. Two cars parked nearby weren't damaged, although it looks like the bear may have tried one of the locked doors on one of the other cars. Maybe locking the car helped. We really don't know for sure. Be safe - don't leave food in your car!
COLIN WILSON WRITES:
Highway 128 Sightings — Andres (Avila, AV Fire Chief) told me he saw a full-grown bull elk with a big rack on the north side of 128 just east of Fish Rock Road. Didn't get a pic but Andres knows his elk so I don't doubt what he said.
On my way to SF this morning I saw a Billy goat following his harem consisting of a doe goat, two deer does and a yearling fawn. Seemed quite pleased with himself.
On my way home a little after 4pm I saw 5 or 6 of the PG&E contractor trucks I told you about last week. All of them had two people in them which is better than what I thought might be going on but it still seems like a large and expensive misuse of resources.
DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING COVELO HOME Thought to be Connected with the Killing of Man Found in an Abandoned Vehicle
On Sunday, October 3, 2021, a Fish and Wildlife Game Warden found an abandoned vehicle on Mendocino Pass Road and located a dead, decomposing body in the trunk. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department later determined the body belonged to an out-of-the-area man who was the victim of a homicide.
Yesterday and today, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office detectives have been actively serving a search warrant on a home on Covelo’s Henderson Lane that Captain Greg Van Patten said is thought to be connected “with the homicide in Covelo involving the deceased male in the trunk of the vehicle.”
CHESTNUT GATHERING 2021
The 38th annual Chestnut Gathering will be on October 30th at the Zeni Ranch on Fish Rock Road from 10-4. Covid rules will be followed. No potluck this year but you can bring a lunch and enjoy one of the picnic areas. There will be adult and kids’ costume contests, and pumpkin carving. If you cannot bring a pumpkin to carve, some will be available. For sale will be fresh raw chestnut honey, Zeni Ranch T-shirts, and nut sacks. Chestnuts are $3.50 a pound if you pick and $4.50 a pound if already picked. Call or text Jane Zeni 707-684-6892 for more information.
LATEST UPDATES FROM SUPERVISOR MAUREEN MULHEREN:
“Wednesday (October 6): We had an additional Mental Health Data Statistics Ad Hoc meeting. We are working on charting the data with the ANSA scores in a different way to share if people are improving over a variety of factors including; danger to others, meds compliance, suicide risk, anti-social behavior, substance use, residential stability.”
Mark Scaramella notes: When do you expect to complete this long-overdue task and report any improvements?
“Saturday (October 9): I attended the MWPC Training for future political candidates. My most important message to those folks is to remember who you were before the campaign, and if you are lucky enough to be elected to not lose yourself to the position. At least that’s what I keep reminding myself.”
Mark Scaramella notes: 1. Please spell out your acronyms. I know what MWPC stands for (and I confess to not being impressed at all) but not everybody does. 2. What was your full message besides remembering who you are and so forth?
“Tuesday (October 12): I had a check in with Anne Molgaard to hear about how things were going at Child Support Services and Public Health.”
Mark Scaramella notes: And…?
Conclusion: Dear Ms. Mulheren: It’s not an update if all you do is report that you spoke to someone without reporting at least a summary of what was said. Otherwise please don’t waste your time or ours.
MENDO/HUMCO PIONEER, SETH KINMAN
SUPERVISORS AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS
by Mark Scaramella
MENDO TO SPEND $307k just to re-establish the County Water Agency. (Staffing and admin separate.)
Agenda Item 5b: Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolution Approving Department of Transportation Agreement Number 210054, Professional Services Agreement with GEI Consultants, Inc., in the Amount of $306,808, for the Term Starting Upon Execution of the Agreement through December 31, 2022, for the Re-Establishment of a Stand-Alone Mendocino County Water Agency (Countywide)
(Sponsor: Water Agency)
Adopt resolution approving Department of Transportation Agreement Number 210054, Professional Services Agreement with GEI Consultants, Inc., in the amount of $306,808, for the term starting upon execution of the agreement through December 31, 2022, for the re-establishment of a stand-alone Mendocino County Water Agency (Countywide); and authorize Chair to sign same.
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions:
By Resolution Number (No.) 21-051 (April 20, 2021), the Board declared a local emergency and imminent threat of disaster due to drought conditions. By Resolution No. 21-079 (June 8, 2021), the Board renewed its declaration and extended the existence of the local emergency. On June 8, 2021, the Board directed the Executive Office to proceed with re-establishing the Mendocino County Water Agency as a stand-alone agency, use a loan from Disaster Recovery Funds to complete a work plan for the Agency, determine staffing resources necessary to address the Water Agency's critical responsibilities, including health and safety issues related to the drought and other key tasks, pursue interim staffing capacity as necessary for interim enhanced operations, and prioritize completion of a competitive process to identify contract assistance for this effort.
Summary of Request:
At the direction of the Board, Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to assist the County in developing a work plan and updated action plan to address current and projected County water concerns, including re-establishment of a stand-alone Mendocino County Water Agency. After a review of the proposals received, GEI Consultants, Inc., of Rancho Cordova, California, was determined to be the best qualified firm to perform the desired services. DOT Agreement No. 210054 provides for the following tasks: conducting a stakeholder and needs assessment, shaping a mission, vision and objectives, defining agency requirements and identifying resources, determining and pursuing funding mechanisms, and developing a work plan and updated action plan for a re-established stand-alone Mendocino County Water Agency. GEI Consultants, Inc., has agreed to perform the desired services at a negotiated not-to-exceed amount of $306,808. DOT staff recommends and respectfully requests the Board adopt the resolution approving DOT Agreement Number 210054, Professional Services Agreement with GEI Consultants, Inc., in the Amount of $306,808, for the term starting upon execution of the Agreement through December 31, 2022, for the re-establishment of a stand-alone Mendocino County Water Agency.
Do not approve Agreement and provide further direction to staff.
source of funding: Budget Unit 2910 (Disaster Recovery)
budgeted in current f/y: No
current f/y cost: $306,808
annual recurring cost: N/A
budget clarification: This Agreement provides for a work plan to re-establish the Mendocino County Water Agency and will determine the funding needed and potential funding mechanisms to support the Agency in future Fiscal Years. The Board allocated $1,500,000 in PG&E Settlement Funds for drought relief efforts, to be paid back using General Fund carryover or other funds. To date, less than $250,000 of those drought relief funds have been expended or allocated and it is highly unlikely the total amount will be necessary. The Executive Office fiscal team has determined, with high confidence, this Agreement can be funded using a portion of the remaining funds allocated for drought relief efforts without any additional funding allocations required.
ms notes: The last time they “established” the Water Agency more than a dozen years ago they simply hired the Water Agency Manager (Roland Sanford) and told him to “establish” his own agency. Now, more than a dozen years later they want to spend over $300k to do the same thing. OVER $300k! At the same time they’re nickel and diming the Sheriff on his overtime! This fits right in with CEO Angelo’s famous $50,000-kitchen approach to everything the County now does. Money is no object. They’ve got lots of unused money with apparently nothing better to do with it. What the hey! Hire another expensive consultant!
* * *
JUST AS PREDICTED
Apparently the County’s relatively recently hired Cannabis Program Manager Kristin Nevedal, has quietly resigned, as we expected. No presser, of course, just this closed session item on next Tuesday’s agenda:
“Closed session Item 9c: Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957 - Public Employee Appointment - Cannabis Program Director”
(From a County presser back on March 15):
“On March 9th, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to hire Kristin Nevedal as manager of the county’s cannabis program. She began her duties Monday, March 15th.”
Background: "Supes Hire Another Pot Manager"
Where we wrote back then:
Supervisor Williams notes that Ms. Nevedal will be “a direct report to the Board of Supervisors, a somewhat unorthodox arrangement, but suited given the eventuality of the program.”
We have no idea what “the eventuality of the program” means. We doubt that Williams knows either. Whatever it means, it’s hardly a reason for such an “unorthodox arrangement.” To us, it’s worse than “unorthodox,” it’s unworkable.
Imagine yourself working for five different people with varying degrees of knowledge about “your program” who cannot meet or talk among themselves without complying with the Brown Act and who each have political constituencies who don't hesitate to offer their strong ideas about how “your program” ought to work. Oh, and did I mention that the program is a hot mess to begin with?
I had a job something like this once and at the time I used to joke whenever I left the building, “If my boss calls — get his name!” But in my case I really did act almost entirely on my own authority, not my various program manager bosses. When my father was manager of America’s largest ag-co-op, he had the “Challenge” of working for a board made up of people who he bought produce from. It’s a management arrangement that is fraught with problems in the best of circumstances.
Add to this the fact that Ms. Nevedal will have no direct subordinates or staff of her own and will have to have to seek staffing from one department head or another, presumably under the authority of the Board, but which in fact will be controlled by CEO Angelo and her Yes, Ma'am chorus. Then you have the accumulated expectations that will be imposed on Ms. Nevedal who seems to have been appointed to do an impossible task under a tight deadline.
We understand that the Supes were probably unhappy with previous cannabis organizational structures. After all we’ve had, what? six cannabis program managers since Prop 64 so far, and each in a different place in the County’s organization — all of them unable to make any headway on permit approvals, provisional or otherwise.
On its face, this “unorthodox arrangement” of five supervisors supervising her seems to be the worst. We agree with Williams that Ms. Nevedal seems quite knowledgeable with pot and pot admin and pot regs. But since she’s obviously qualified to do pot admin somewhere other than Mendo, and people like her are in demand both as government workers and consultants in the pot legalization biz, we doubt Ms. Nevedal will last very long in Mendo. If she can untangle the Mendo mess she will be considered a miracle worker. The Supes need to rethink this. They’ll never ask us, of course, but we’d be happy to suggest a more conventional management arrangement.
* * *
HERE’S A RETROACTIVE CONSENT CALENDAR ITEM that actually made us groan and laugh at the same time.
“Consent calendar item 4k: Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Granicus LLC, in the Amount of $29,250 for a New Total of $58,500 for Live Closed Caption Services During Board of Supervisors Meetings, Effective July 31, 2021 through a New End Date of August 5, 2022 (Original End Date July 30, 2021)”
Approve retroactive Agreement with Granicus LLC, in the amount of $29,250 for a new total of $58,500 for live closed caption services during Board of Supervisors Meetings, effective July 31, 2021 through a new end date of August 5, 2022 (original end date July 30, 2021); and authorize Chair to sign same.
Summary of Request:
Mendocino County first began contracting with Granicus LLC for live closed captioning services in July 2020, when virtual meeting accessibility related to the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted an already existing need for these critical services. Granicus hosts a vast number of programs utilized by Mendocino County related to live meeting services, agenda publication, and government transparency, making them the most logical, functional, and cost effective option for captioning services. Live captions are an essential service for compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements to provide increased accessibility to Board of Supervisors Meetings for the hearing impaired. The original, department level Agreement stipulated an option to renew for an additional year, which began on July 31, 2021. Staffing changes led to a late discovery of this amount coming due, necessitating retroactive approval.
* * *
Board Of Supervisors Meeting Agenda - October 19th, 2021
Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:
The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the Tuesday, October 19, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website: https://mendocino.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.
SALVAGE LOGGING, NAVARRO RIVER
NO SOONER had I complained that state senator McGuire and assemblyman Wood are dependably among the missing in local controversies such as the one raging over logging at Jackson State Forest than I read in a Chron piece on Jackson State..... “McGuire and Huffman have not responded... But Wood wrote back....”
WOOD WROTE BACK! My heart soared! Had I rushed to judgment that the Healdsburg dentist cum state official was merely one more mealey-mouthed officeholder?
WOOD would have been wise to keep his molars clenched because here's what he said re Jackson State:
“The circumstances that existed when the demonstration forest concept was created have changed,” Wood wrote in the letter shared with SFGATE. “We are in a climate crisis.” While Wood agreed that it was time to re-examine the way California manages demonstration forests, he said that a new strategy would need to “meet conservation goals but also overcome many hurdles, including significant opposition, which will require a tremendous amount of time and effort. For this reason, I am unable to take (sic) on this issue." (talk?)
GIVEN THAT THE GOVERNOR has steadily advocated for big trees as agents of carbon sequestration one would think that the big redwoods in publicly-owned Jackson State, would be spared the chainsaw. And Wood could intervene to prevent public-agency CalFire from cross-cutting the Governor's planet-saving campaign to keep big trees vertical.
A READER ASKS:
How much wood
could a Jim Wood save
if a Jim Wood
could save wood?
MY OLD FRIEND LEE EDMUNDSON, fanatical Democrat, is terrified that Mendocino, precious village of, might be re-districted into the 4th supervisorIal district. Shoulda been done ten years ago. I say move Mendo into Fort Bragg where, sad to say, middle-of-the-road extremists of the effete Mendo type took over years ago. And take Elk, Mendo's spiritual adjunct, into the 4th, too. But leave Laytonville where it belongs — the 3rd District.
JOAN VIVALDO wrote in yesterday to say that she and everyone else involved in the case of rogue firefighter Douglas Stone turned tweeker-bandit in Redwood Valley had assembled promptly at 10am in the County Courthouse for the endlessly postponed preliminary hearing for Mr. Stone. Everyone was present but the prosecutor, Heidi Larson. According to Ms. Vivaldo, whose home was broken into by Stone one night just as she was about to turn in, retreating when Ms. Vivaldo boldly confronted him,
“The Prosecutor for the People, Ms. Heidi Larsen, was taken ill Monday. She brought the Stone files home with her over the long weekend to study them. Knowing on Monday that she would need to seek medical attention on Tuesday, and thus unable to attend the PX, on Monday she notified the witnesses that they need not attend Tuesday, thus foreclosing the possibility of retrieving the files from her and assigning the PX to someone else to act for the People on Tuesday, when all the law enforcement officials were available to testify.”
UNACCEPTABLE, and one more of the endless examples of the casual way the County of Mendocino does business. The case is almost two years old, and we're just getting around to a prelim? And the prelim is all set and the prosecutor suddenly comes up with a suspicious reason she can't make it? (Doctor's note, please.)
MS. VIVALDO drove up from San Francisco where she now lives. Everyone else involved was similarly inconvenienced.
I SUSPECT all these delays are headed to no more jail time and probation for Stone who, apparently, has gotten off the white powders and had enjoyed a solid rep as a dependable sort prior to his adventures in substance abuse. However, Mendo being Mendo, where everyone at the County offices is at least a second cousin to everyone else in the County offices, and Stone being a good ol' boy before he ran off the rails… This farce next rolls up State Street on November 23rd.
CHECKOUT LANE, SAFEWAY.
Clerk: Lemme guess: you're a lawyer.
Me: Worse, journalist.
Clerk: You're right.
SIX YEARS AGO, Alicia Clow found an “orange-ish-brown” little creature at Navarro-by-the-Sea. “I thought maybe it had drowned but when I touched it it jumped right up.” Alicia took it to the Coast's premier animal rescue person, Ronnie James, where Ronnie identified it as a Fisher Marten Mink, an endangered species once common in this area. When little “Clow,” as Alicia had dubbed her rescue, was all grown up he was released back into the wild at Van Damme.
MORE ANIMAL TALK from the ava's comment line:
Stanley Kelley: Rode up behind a fisher out in the Woodlands Camp 2 last year. Sleek fellah.
Dave Severn: Not long ago when the Navarro was still a flowing river I spotted a marten fooling around the River’s edge here in Philo. When queried old timers told me they were common along the coast. I believe that’s what you saw.
Dick Whetstone: I agree. Fishers are a next step bigger and stockier
YEARS AGO, the Moonies set up a mink farm in the east hills of Boonville where Sheep Dung Estates now rests. The Rev's disciples, a German national married to an Italian national in one of Moon's mass ballpark weddings, presided over this odd enterprise, often hiring local high school kids to help out. One of these kids showed up at my place one day with a mink he'd smuggled out of the farm. Turned out the kid liberated as many as he could get away with but it's not known if any survived. I've never heard of a sighting in that area. I'd rather not think about what the Moonies did with the residual mink when they closed up shop and sold the six hundred-plus acre property, but they soon moved from nutball cult status into respectability when Rev Moon bought a Washington newspaper and spread a lot of cash around welcoming elected officials, traditionally the most direct path to respectability in our cash and carry country.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 14, 2021
CHRISTOPHER ABSHIRE, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
DAVID BURNS, Fort Bragg. Burglary.
MICHAEL ENOCHS, Willits. DUI.
CHARLES NEUMAN, Glenhaven/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, addict driving vehicle, paraphernalia, suspended license.
JOSE PLASCENCIA, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JASMIN PRINGLE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Burglary.
FRANCISCO TAFOLLA-RIVERA, Ukiah. Attempted murder, killing/abusing animals, controlled substance.
MEMO OF THE DAY
October 13, 2021
Dear Mr. Bensky,
Thank you for writing. The United States went to Afghanistan two decades ago with clear goals: to take out the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001, to deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, and to keep Afghanistan from being used again as a base for attacks against the United States. We eliminated bin Laden a decade ago, and al Qaeda has been severely diminished. Our only vital national security interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing another terrorist attack on American homeland. That mission is enduring, and we will continue to monitor and disrupt terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan with our over-the-horizon capability, just as we do to meet the terrorist threat in countries all around the world.
When I became President, I undertook a rigorous review of our mission in Afghanistan. The choice before me was clear—I could either follow through on the agreement that the previous administration made with the Taliban to withdraw our forces, or be prepared to send thousands of American troops back into Afghanistan to fight the Afghan civil war. I could not in good faith send thousands more of our brave Service members—another generation of our daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers—to risk their lives in a third decade of conflict.
After nearly 20 years on the ground with our Allies, as much as $2 trillion spent, and thousands of Americans wounded or killed—including 13 heroes killed by an ISIS-K attack at Kabul airport—I stand squarely behind my decision to end America’s longest war. As a country, we will forever honor the sacrifices and bravery of our Service members who served honorably in Afghanistan and gave so much of themselves for our Nation. And I am grateful to the women and men of the United States Armed Forces who worked with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve to immediately execute one of the largest, most dangerous, and most difficult airlifts in history.
While our military evacuation efforts have concluded, our diplomatic mission and our efforts to support safe passage for Americans, Afghan partners, and foreign nationals continue. We will continue to support the Afghan people, working in close coordination with the international community. Together, we will continue to speak out for the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and girls. We will engage in robust regional diplomacy seeking to prevent violence and instability. And we will address terrorist threats.
After 20 long years, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is over. I ask every American to join me in grateful prayer for all those Service members who risked—and those who gave—their lives throughout the 20 years of this conflict. We owe them, their families, caregivers, and survivors a debt of gratitude we can never repay, and we must never forget.
(Blank, Poor Old Joe seems to have forgotten to sign his memo.)
SCORES & FUMBLES - Highlights and lowlights of this week's news in the Lake County Record Bee
Excerpted from the Lake County Record-Bee today, October 14, 2021:
"Fumble: A bizarre turn of events also occurred last Thursday during a special meeting of the BOS in which, prior to being terminated by the board, Lake County’s Health Services Director Denise Pomeroy resigned. No indication this would happen had been previously given, although astute observers of the board did notice the inclusion of several closed session items in the board’s agendas over the past few months. The closed session for Thursday’s special meeting detailed evaluations for several county employees including the Air Quality Control Director and the County’s Administrative Officer but an addendum to the agenda included an item for evaluation/ termination of the Health Services Director.
"We think BOS Chair Bruno Sabatier’s passive aggressive announcement of Pomeroy’s departure the following day in the form of a press release in which he simultaneously thanked Pomeroy for her years of service while also stating: 'We will not publicly announce the reasons that prompted this leadership change; it is a confidential personnel matter.' raised more questions than it answered. While Sabatier is correct in clarifying that personnel matters are confidential and details are almost never disclosed publicly, only recently has the board engaged in the lawful protocol of coming out of closed session and reporting out any actions taken. We believe for the sake of transparency the board needs to continue doing this and could do a better overall job of communicating to residents a lot of the business they routinely engage in on behalf the constituents."
To this regular observer of Lake County's management operations, the action taken by its elected officials on October 7, 2021, to "terminate" the employment of our Public Health department director, resulting in her resignation (pre-empting the clearly intended Board action) -- was shocking enough. But the fact that the action was taken simultaneous with the sorrowful demise of the director's husband (a revered local citizen in his own right) -- when no justification for the dire action against the director can even be imagined -- completely undermines the moral rectitude of the Lake County Board of Supervisors who, on October 5, 2021, congratulated themselves on their beneficence and "progress" toward fulfilling state-mandated responsibilities for protecting the health and welfare of all county inhabitants by putting some of the District representatives' plush "discretionary funds" into the kitty for a greatly needed fire protection project, and subsequently lauding themselves lavishly for the accomplishments of the county's "Risk Reduction Authority" -- for successfully engaging the services of a highly competent employee of North Coast Opportunities (after nearly three years of passively hearing the proposals from non-governmental organizations and federal/state agencies to conduct the needed fire prevention projects) -- leaves nothing more than a bad taste in my mind.
Throughout the past 18 months of managing the federally-declared COVID-19 pandemic health crisis with the standard Lake County shortfalls of staff (every department is known to be generally about 20% short-handed), plus the very obvious lack of "unified command" support in 2020 from the Sheriff and two elected Supervisors -- one of whom retired at the end of the year -- and extreme disrespect for the most excellent Public Health Officer (Dr. Gary Pace) coming from anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers in public hearings and in flame-throwing exchanges on social media, the former Public Health department director exhibited nothing but professionalism and dedication.
Adding insult to injury, the Lake County Board of Supervisors then designated responsibility for the Public Health department direction to the county's Chief Administrative Officer and placed a very junior employee in the position of day-to-day operations under her direction. Inasmuch as the search for a permanent replacement for Dr. Pace has yet to produce results, and the county is being "advised" by the medical director of emergency services at a Sonoma County hospital for continued efforts to reduce the health risks for our population, with regular authority for state-required Public Health Officer leadership provided by Dr. Pace on a very limited service contract, the action of our Board of Supervisors -- under the "leadership" of the 2021 Board Chair -- seems unwise at best. Even worse, the manner in which their intentions were carried out, hastily placing an "urgent" item to the planned agenda for the October 5 regular meeting -- and carrying out the action announced by two additional "urgent" items not voted on by the Board at the time of the regular meeting, belies the tone of the Chair's press release (appended below), in which sympathy and conciliation are implied but not produced. Bizarrely, the press release announces the appoint of two individuals to the same position of "Interim Director" -- both the CAO and the junior staff member.
The indignity thus imposed on the stature of their official roles adds to the incredulity of at least this member of the public, and we appreciate the comments made by the Record-Bee's Editorial Board, just as we wish the best for our former Public Health department director. WTF, over?
"A Statement from Bruno Sabatier, Chair of the Lake County Board of Supervisors, on Recent Changes in Lake County Health Services Department Leadership.
"Lake County, CA (October 7, 2021) — Today, our Board accepted the resignation of Health Services Director, Denise Pomeroy. Out of respect and appreciation for her service to Lake County residents and the Health Services Department for many years, we will not publicly announce the reasons that prompted this leadership change; it is a confidential personnel matter.
"The County Administrative Office’s Human Resources Division has already begun efforts to recruit for our next Health Services Director, and we are poised to move efficiently through the process. It is important to not only attract quality applicants, but fill the position with a long-term Director.
"In the meantime, County Administrative Officer, Carol J. Huchingson, will additionally serve as Interim Health Services Director. CAO Huchingson has been involved with and led Public Health-focused efforts as Incident Commander for the COVID-19 Health Emergency.
"We are grateful Gary Pace, MD, MPH, has remained our Public Health Officer of record, and continues to serve as Interim Health Officer under contract. Dr. Pace’s insight and leadership throughout the pandemic have been invaluable, and he will remain a key figure in ensuring the Health Services Department’s efforts are effectively oriented, moving forward.
"Eileen VanCleave was also recently appointed Director of Nursing, and has brought a tremendous skillset and quality leadership. Finally, we are very pleased that Jennifer Baker has likewise stepped up, and is serving as Interim Deputy Health Services Director.
"These latest additions and changes will ensure our Health Services Department remains focused on the ongoing pandemic and the health of our community through its various programs.
"CAO Huchingson looks forward to collaborating with the many members of the Health Services team to ensure the continuity of each area of the scope of this key County department. The past 19 months have demonstrated the resilience and many great strengths of our tireless Public Health staff. We truly appreciate and value the sacrifices they have made to keep Lake County residents safe.
"The future remains bright for the County of Lake, and our Board is committed to continually striving to strengthen our workforce and the services the County provides.
"Chair, Lake County Board of Supervisors"
The Essential Public Information Center
Upper Lake, CA
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
We currently own and drive a Toyota RAV 4 hybrid, which we had purchased new from a local large Toyota dealer. We have been doing business with this particular dealership for about 17-18 years. My wife – not me- went in to see the new RAV 4’s. Now this place is always bustling. She was shocked when she walked in. There were only 3 cars in the showroom, when in the past they always had 15 or so (it’s a vey large showroom). There seemed to be very few sales staff, whereas you used to bump into one of them every 10 feet.
Turns out they got rid of most of the managers and salespersons, and have only kept a handful of old timers who had been there for years. They even got rid of their cashier who handled payments for car servicing (now the mechanics have to collect and handle payments).
When we bought our current RAV4 a few years ago, we had to wait 6 weeks for the dealership to receive the new car from the factory. My wife said today she was told if she ordered one today, it would probably take 5 or 6 months to get it delivered.
I don’t really want to buy a new one now. Why bother when the future is so much more uncertain? We’re currently getting about 42 or 43 mpg. We don’t spend that much for gas, as we don’t drive that much, and have about 20k miles on the car. My biggest trips are to Foxwoods Casino every several months, a round trip of 180 miles.
Anyway, it just feels like things are obviously falling apart. I’m hoping what we are experiencing is just change due to rapid technological advancement, where a lot of the traditional ways of 20th century living are being replaced by 21st century values, causing a lot of strife until we get used to new living arrangements. We shall see.
I WATCHED a poor woman on a School Board in Florida... elected to do the right thing to protect the children of her district from a dangerous health threat. That wasn't her original goal. As a professional educator herself, married to a professional educator, from a line of educators, and her own daughter turning 5 and heading into Kindergarten, she felt a calling to ensure equality in education in a school district that had seen a growing divide between haves and have nots. But the Pandemic put those plans on hold and forced her to confront the problems staring them all in the face.
The woman she beat out for the position was an anti-vaxxer, and conspiracy fanatic. She rounded up a group of like minded folks and made sure to disrupt each school board meeting, but she didn't stop there. They arrived on this poor woman's front lawn and protested daily, claiming atrocities, threatening her, her family, and her neighbors. Someone snuck into her backyard and spelled out curses and threats on her backyard lawn using weed killer. She began receiving threats against her and her husband at all hours of the day and night. People would follow her around town. Notes were left telling her we know what you do and when you do it, where your daughter is, where your family is, get ready to pay. She had just left her daughter at a playdate, when a representative from state child welfare informed her that she had been reported for abusing her child and they had to back and examine her child. She contacted the police who explained that she was the victim of a vicious campaign of public abuse, and the state representative was very sorry and incredibly professional, but still had to check and reported there were no signs of abuse (they were looking apparently for cigarette burns.)
— Marie Tobias
TEA WITH GRUDEN: Notes from a Surprise Visit
by Matt Taibbi
I drop two of my sons at elementary school every morning at about 8:20 a.m., then circle back home a mile away. The first minutes after I walk back through the door are usually the most peaceful of the day, but today, just after kicking on slippers and refilling a coffee cup, there was a knock on the door.
I craned my neck to look outside. A puffy white guy in a hoodie was standing on the landing of my front step, tapping his foot on the ground like a nervous adolescent. His face was obscured; he mumbled something.
“What’s that?” I said.
“It’s Jon Gruden!” he shouted, looking around. “Can I come in?”
It was him! Same straw hair, same psycho half-smile, same exaggerated eyebrow-raise. What was he doing at my house? He was already opening the door and rushing past by the time I decided to let him in.
“Is there a place I can sit?” he said, exhaling as he tore off his jumper. “Like that you can’t see from the road?”
“Yeah, sure. Over by the kitchen there,” I said. “Uh, you want some coffee? Or tea?”
“Tea? That’s for faggots!”
Was he serious? I bent over to look, but he got up from his chair, went to the window, and looked through the blinds toward the road.
I shrugged, looked in the fridge, and found two Rolling Rock bottles in the back. They were old and tasted mildewy. He returned to his seat and we nursed them in uncomfortable silence.
“You know I read your book once?” I said finally. “Do You Love Football? The one you wrote with that guy from Buffalo with the serial killer eyes — Vic something?”
“Vic Carucci, exactly. Anyway, I was on acid when I read it. I was covering the John Kerry campaign and got bored and dosed during a speech. We were at a school in Jackson, Mississippi. I don’t remember what Kerry was talking about, because I was so glued to your book. There was a part where you talked about all the hours you spent practicing drawing circles. It was the most amazingly insane thing I’d ever read. I laughed so hard, they ended up asking me to leave! So I went outside, sat under a tree, and really focused on it, like it was the Bible. Seriously, it was like a religious experience.”
I took a sip of Rolling Rock, which now tasted good. “You know what, I think I still have that copy here, hang on. Maybe you can sign it!”
“This will just take a second!” I shouted. “Yeah, here it is. Here’s the part that blew my mind.” I cleared my throat and read:
You want to present yourself properly and professionally, which means being able to draw nice, round circles. Some people might think this is funny, but I’m serious when I say I’m one of the best there is at drawing perfect circles. I got that way by drawing hundreds of them, thousands of them.
“I must have read that passage like a hundred times. Look, I spent the rest of the day drawing circles in the margins, do you see that?” I showed him. “The other thing about that day is that I was wearing a Viking costume.”
“I fucking hate the Vikings,” Gruden said.
“Yeah. You get up there with Tirico, and every time, he’s like, ‘If you get in the red zone against a Mike Zimmer defense, you better come away with points.’ Like we’re talking about the ‘86 Bears! Well, I’ll tell ya. Zimmer can run that goddamn double A gap blitz all he wants, but I’ll hit him right back with Spider 2 Y Banana, wham, right up his ass for six. The center takes one ‘backer, Jacobs stones the other, and either the fullback’s wide open or Waller’s standing by himself in the end zone. Even Carr doesn’t miss that.”
“Spider 2 Y Banana?”
“Yeah. The key is, the primary is always the fullback.” He looked up and noticed a whiteboard on my wall, which my wife and I use to teach our kids reading and writing. The last lesson had been silent E, so the board was filled with words like CAKE and CARE and DARE and FREEZE. He grabbed the eraser, wiped the words all off without a thought, and started diagramming the play.
“This is actually Green Right Slot Spider 2 Y Banana, which means the Z shifts inside.” He started drawing Xs and Os, filling the room with squeaking sounds, then took a swig and winced. “How old is this beer?”
“It tastes like shit. You know I used to work at Hooters?”
“I think I did know that. It’s in the book.”
“Two months. I tell you, man, I did everything there. Shucked oysters. Shook wings. Mopped floors. Wiped tables. Changed kegs. And looked at a lot of tits. This was Tampa, Florida, son. You think they don’t know how to make tits in Tampa, Florida?”
“Boy, those were the days,” he said, drinking again. Then he looked up. “Hey, you don’t know, do you?”
“Know what? Know about me.”
“What about you?”
“What about me?” he laughed, slapping his thigh. “Don’t you have the Internet?”
“Of course we have the Internet. I’ve just been off for a few days — writing this long piece about Konstantin Kilimnik.”
“About what?” he roared.
“It’s a Russia thing. Never mind. It’s not important.”
“What the everlasting hell is a — a what? A clam neck?” He slapped his thigh again. “Man, that’s rich.”
I was already scrolling Twitter.
“Wow,” I said. “Did you really say DeMaurice Smith had lips like Michelin tires?”
“Well, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“How else can you mean it?” I scrolled some more. “Oh, man. Shannon Sharpe even compared you to John Wayne. No bouncing back from that.”
“Sharpe? Hell, I coached his brother in Green Bay. Incredible receiver. Incredible voice. When he talked it was like he had loudspeakers in his shoulder pads, like standing in a Mötley Crüe concert! His splits were always too wide, though.”
A silence fell over the room. He looked at me with curiosity for the first time.
“So, you were writing about something?”
“It’s nothing, honestly, I just lost me temper in an argument and — coach, what are you doing here?”
“Yeah, that happens,” he said. “Reminds of this time I went to visit my brother’s locker room. Washington Football Team, Redskins, whatever. Smith’s his quarterback at the time, he’s already like sixty years old, and he’s trying to tell me how to run the West Coast offense. Me! I said, ‘Alex, a Jon Gruden West Coast scheme is the best—”
“According to Wikipedia,” Alexa said, interrupting, “John Daniel Gruden is an American former professional ice hockey defenseman and assistant coach of the New York Islanders. He previously served as the head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs and inaugural head coach of the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League…”
Gruden stared over at the circling blue light of Alexa with horror.
“What the hell, I’m already off Wikipedia?”
“That was fast,” I thought.
He held his forearm up. It was starting to blur. “Oh, my God. I can see through my arm!”
“Well, you did write some crazy shit.”
“But I apologized!”
“Since when does that matter? Also, what does ‘I never had a blade of racism in me’ mean?”
“You know, like a blade of grass!” He was watching his hand fall away like a sand sculpture. “For Christ’s sake, hide me!”
“It won’t help. That’s not how this works.”
“Come on, I’m disappearing! We’re burnin’ daylight, man!” He started running around the house, pulling at closet doors. Bottle in hand, I followed slowly behind, lost sight of him, then heard him calling out from my bedroom. “How about in here? Hey, what the hell? What kind of man only has three suit jackets?”
“Take it or leave it.”
“I’ll take it, I’ll take it!”
There were nesting sounds behind the closet door. I went back to the kitchen, wiped the counter, put the empties outside. Then returned to my room and knocked. “Still there?”
“I think so,” a faint voice answered.
Throwing the door open, I could still see him for a second in outline, like Wonder Woman’s Superfriends plane, crouching in my shirt-rack. Then, in a flash, he was gone. The shirts fell back into place. All that was left was a voice.
“Is this forever?”
“I’d put your over-under at nine years.”
“Work on your Os,” I said, tossing in a pad and paper. Then closed the door and heard him scribbling, scribbling, scribbling, until I couldn’t hear him anymore.
A Reader Writes: Steals home without a pickoff play
Regarding your comment in MCT about no pros stealing home anymore.
This happened just recently:
The 26-year-old outfielder flew around the bases to score a first-inning run, launched a moonshot home run to left field in the fifth and, in his most daring playoff act yet, pulled off a straight steal of home in the seventh inning of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 5-0 win over the Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Stealing home without a play at first or second? Wow.
YAZ STILL ON THE HUNT
I Need A Good Worker! Great Worker needed for various land jobs: Split/move firewood, haul brush and burn it when safe, clean roof and gutters, gardening, and much more. Chainsaw and blower helpful. $30/hour for hard, good work. Please be nonsmoker with good transportation. I live between Pt. Arena and Anchor Bay. Please phone 707-884-4703 and let it ring 5 times for voicemail. No screens at my home. Thank you for any leads.
HOW A CALIFORNIA STATE FOREST BECAME A BATTLEGROUND for logging redwoods on public land
by Ashley Harrell (courtesy sfgate.com)
Its trunk has been sawed into two large sections, a message scrawled on its stump in red marker: “STOP.” Beneath, the stump’s diameter is recorded: 55 inches, about the height of a 10-year-old child. Lower still, in smaller letters, another message: “This is not fire prevention.”
Surrounding this tree are other redwoods that have been felled or girdled, meaning large swaths of their bark have been carved away from their trunks. More redwoods are marked blue — they too are slated for a timber harvest. Dead foliage and piles of branches abound.
The wounded and dead trees look like casualties left behind on a battlefield. And in a way, that’s what they are.
Welcome to Jackson Demonstration State Forest, a 48,652-acre forest managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Although it’s little-known outside the coastal Northern California county of Mendocino, Jackson has become ground zero in an escalating war over the management of redwoods on public land, with catastrophic wildfires and global climate change necessitating urgency and raising the stakes.
Back in April, activists began protesting the timber harvest plan at the Caspar 500 site within Jackson. They’ve been doing tree-sits and blocking the logging operations throughout the forest since.
But forestry academics and professionals are largely in favor of redwood timber harvests. For decades, the harvests have paid for the upkeep of a public forest with three stated objectives: demonstrating best practices to private timberland owners, hosting research and providing recreational opportunities. The research going on in Jackson, which regularly involves cutting large redwoods, has become more important than ever, they say.
The self-titled “forest defenders,” including local activists, environmental advocacy groups and the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, want a moratorium on logging and for all stakeholders to sit down and re-evaluate redwood harvests. From their perspective, forest managers are prioritizing and participating in the timber industry instead of environmental conservation.
“You can't fight over fallen trees,” says Michelle McMillan, media representative for a direct action group called the Mama Tree Network, which has thwarted multiple logging attempts over the past six months. “We want to change the long-term management of this forest.”
The debate can feel complicated, but this much is clear: Jackson contains some of the most important second-growth redwood stands in the world. And this time, they aren’t going down without a fight.
The logging of redwoods in Jackson and the controversy it incites aren’t new, but this round comes as the state faces catastrophic wildfires brought on by global climate change. As the state agency tasked with both fire protection and managing forests, Cal Fire’s responsibilities have significantly increased as new priorities have come to the fore.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing state agencies to develop nature-based solutions for addressing climate change by sequestering carbon, creating wildlife habitat and benefiting all Californians, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. Since the announcement, Cal Fire has contracted timber companies to harvest large, second-growth redwoods in six areas of the forest. These timber harvest plans are part of its mandate to manage the land, which traces back to the 1940s.
Logging on this land stretches still further back to the mid-1800s, when California seized it from the Coast Yuki and Northern Pomo tribes, who had called the land home for thousands of years. After California sold the land to the Caspar Lumber Company, loggers clear-cut nearly all of the old-growth forest. When the company sold the land back to the state in 1947, regulations on forest practices were in their infancy, and loggers paid little attention to post-harvest recovery.
Today, Jackson remains a self-funded program supported largely with proceeds from redwood timber harvests. “They have given us the timberland with the mission to manage it sustainably, including the economics,” says state forests program manager Kevin Conway.
Of the state’s nine demonstration forests, Jackson is by far the largest, covering more than twice as many acres as all of the others combined. Although redwoods dominate Jackson, it also contains Douglas firs, tanoaks and other trees. There are some old-growth areas, Conway says, along with second-growth areas where Cal Fire is trying to develop the forest or re-establish optimal forest structure. There are also denser areas along watersheds, areas set aside for scientific research and areas of unevenly aged forests, a strategy for maximizing timber productivity.
In the fiscal year 2019/20, Cal Fire brought in $6.7 million in revenue from timber sales in this forest, according to the agency’s most recent annual report. Redwood timber accounted for 55% of the wood sold and 95% of the revenue. The forest supports 160 local timber industry jobs and supplies Mendocino County with about $250,000 a year in taxes, according to Cal Fire, and recreational users and travelers spend about $35,000 a year on vehicle and camp fees.
As part of each contract for timber harvesting, logging companies also agree to perform maintenance projects, decommissioning a road here, building a trail there. The forest’s costs and revenues are roughly equivalent, Conway says, its upkeep largely outsourced.
If you ask forestry academics and foresters, this model is ideal. Removing large redwoods serves to improve the structure of the forest from a timber productivity standpoint, which is in line with the forest’s objectives, they argue, and redwood removal is also a component of many experiments. Because Cal Fire regulates private timberlands, they say, such research is important to understand the impacts of timberland management on the environment.
“The research that comes from Jackson helps landowners and forest managers make better decisions to help steward California’s forests,” says Yana Valachovic, an extension agent with the University of California Cooperative Extension program. “Those landowners provide numerous resources that benefit everyone, including things like clean water, clean air, pollination and wildlife habitat. … Without places for research and innovation, guidance on forest management would stagnate.”
For Humboldt State University forestry professor Pascal Berrill, who has been conducting research in Jackson for the past two decades, the aftermath of recent logging should be thought of in the same way as a bad — but necessary — haircut.
“It’s going to grow back within a couple of years and everything is going to go back to normal,” Berrill says. “In fact, your hair is going to be healthier because you trimmed the split ends.”
For Jackson’s forest defenders, however, the continued logging of large redwoods on public land, in the face of climate change, is preposterous. They point to losses in sequestered carbon, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, and while they do see value in scientific research, they aren’t impressed with the studies coming out of Jackson.
“Unfortunately most of the research that takes place in Jackson is specifically geared towards the logging industry, which is not, I would say climate-relevant research,” says climate scientist John O’Brien, a researcher with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and resident of Mendocino. “There's a lot of opportunity to do what I would consider far more relevant research towards repairing our ecosystems that were devastated over the last 150 years.”
At a time when nearly everyone can agree that research is paramount, there are indicators that the studies out of Jackson haven’t always proven useful. In a May 20 letter addressed to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, Marc Jameson — Jackson’s manager from 1997 to 2009 — criticized the forest’s research program.
“Historically, research in the forestry realm has been spotty and disjointed in my view,” he writes. “Very good work has been done, but it is difficult to assimilate it into a larger forest management picture.” Although there are a few long-term projects and abundant short-term ones, he writes, obstacles with budget, staffing stability and flaws in experiment setup have resulted in projects being “largely abandoned after a period of time.”
It didn’t help that during much of Jameson’s tenure, the forest was hamstrung by a series of lawsuits over logging.
The first person to take issue with redwood logging in Jackson was a software company owner named Vince Taylor. After moving into a house near the state forest in 1990, he set out on a hike.
“I went like 100 feet or so and I came into this patch of just total annihilation,” he says. “It was all logs and brush and everything lying there that was hard to get through. … I said to myself: this shouldn't be.”
When Taylor retired a few years later, he began investigating Jackson’s management, and in 1995, he joined in the first-ever protest against logging in the forest. Nothing came of it, and in fact, Taylor says Cal Fire started taking more trees than before.
After a couple of citizen advisory groups formed but were ignored, Taylor started filing lawsuits, which were effective for many years in delaying logging projects.
In the mid-2000s, a new forest manager came in and another advisory group formed. The group spent more than two years on a new management plan, but the Board of Forestry made changes that undermined the plan and removed binding language, Taylor says.
“A huge part of the report was on setting up a really world-class research forest in Jackson,” Taylor says. “The Board of Forestry completely gutted all of the recommendations and turned it over to their internal people at [Jackson Demonstration State Forest] to run the research program. So it went right back to what it always had been.”
As time went on, the battle became more pitched as the reality of climate change set in. Studies showed that redwoods — especially coast redwoods — store more carbon than any other trees in the world. Catastrophic wildfires began tearing through the state like never before.
When the redwoods started hitting the ground in Jackson this year, a new generation of activists sprang into action. A high-school senior stayed for nine days in a tree-sit. Then, nonprofit directors, community group leaders and outdoor enthusiasts took turns as forest defenders. Locals marched in protests, while bolder activists walked right into active logging sites and placed their bodies in close proximity to chainsaws.
In speaking with the press, activists began zeroing in on two main issues concerning forest management in a time of climate change: fire safety and carbon sequestration.
The best way to safeguard forests from catastrophic fires, nearly all fire ecologists agree, is prescribed burns. Although Cal Fire has regularly burned slash piles from management activity, Jackson has only seen one controlled burn, which took place last spring, state forest program manager Conway wrote in an email.
There is a lack of resources to plan and conduct prescribed burns, he added, but foresters are researching future burns within timber harvest plans.
For O’Brien, that’s unacceptable. “You have 50,000 acres of one state-owned piece of land and they do no prescribed fire. And this is our firefighting agency,” he says. “They suppressed fire here for 100 and some odd years … the undergrowth is just dense.”
Removing large redwoods exacerbates the problem, O’Brien says, because then more sunlight hits the forest floor, allowing underbrush and small trees to proliferate. That’s good if you’re maximizing the productivity of a timberland, but “ultimately, it leaves the landscape more fire prone,” O’Brien says.
The other cost to felling large trees is carbon sequestration. While standing, redwoods absorb carbon from the air and store it away in their wood, preventing it from escaping into the atmosphere. But if they burn down or decay or are chopped into short-lasting wood products, the carbon goes right back to warming the planet.
Out of all the trees on Earth, coast redwoods store by far the most carbon, and that includes trees in both old-growth and secondary forests. Because secondary forests can accumulate more biomass annually than old-growth forests, some supporters of the timber industry have made the argument that well-managed timberland can sequester more carbon than old-growth forests.
This is false, according to Humboldt State University forest ecology professor Steve Sillett, the first scientist to ever enter an old-growth redwood canopy.
First of all, old-growth forests have much more total biomass, which takes centuries to accumulate, Sillett wrote in an email to SFGATE. Secondly, there are two different kinds of wood in redwoods: a more durable, decay-resistant kind called heartwood, and a less resilient wood called sapwood.
“The annual rate of heartwood accumulation is highest in primary forests, making these the carbon sequestration champions!” Sillett wrote.
Although the professor acknowledges that massive areas of new redwood forests would need to be planted across the world for them to have a global effect, “this does not mean we shouldn’t bother restoring tall redwood forests in California,” he wrote. “We certainly should, and I hope this happens at [Jackson].”
Cal Fire’s Conway points out that far more redwoods are being grown than cut in Jackson, and that the goal in some areas is to re-establish old-growth. Still, he says that Cal Fire could do better with quantifying the forest’s carbon storage and sharing that information with the public.
Activists point out that in all but the most recent timber harvest plans, Cal Fire used the language of a climate-change denier: “For now, the consensus is that temperature within the earth’s atmosphere is increasing,” the agency writes, “although exactly how and to what extent human activity plays a role in global climate change appears to be unknown.”
There are three ways of making changes to how much logging takes place in Jackson. The first is at the level of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest Advisory Group, a Cal Fire advisory body of seven that was created to represent all of the interest groups with a stake in Jackson. They have backgrounds in the timber industry, recreation, forestry, biology and conservation.
The group fields public commentary about the forest and must approve every timber harvest plan. And while some plans are delayed or altered, eventually all are approved. In some cases, hundreds of comments in opposition to the plans have been ignored.
“They have a very limited mandate,” Mendocino Trail Stewards President Chad Swimmer says of the group. “They can say, ‘This timber harvest plan doesn’t fit the management plan.’ But they can’t say, ‘The public doesn’t want this, so you shouldn’t do it.’”
The second way of enacting change in Jackson is through a revision of the management plan, which becomes possible every 10 years. The next revision is scheduled for 2026.
The third avenue is through legislative action. But lawmakers have thus far steered clear of the hot button issue. Michael Hunter, the tribal chair for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, collected signatures from dozens of tribes and tribal councils, then wrote to politicians including California state Sen. Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Jim Wood, U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot.
Hunter is calling for a moratorium on logging in Jackson. And in step with a national reckoning over stolen Indigenous land, the Pomo tribe — who for centuries gathered food, medicinal plants and materials for woven baskets in the forest — want to co-manage it.
“That's where our people lived until they were pushed out of the redwoods,” Hunter says. “And we have many, many of our archaeological sites there that are supposed to be protected. But [Cal Fire] doesn’t protect them.”
McGuire and Huffman have not responded, Hunter says. But Wood wrote back.
“The circumstances that existed when the demonstration forest concept was created have changed,” Wood wrote in the letter shared with SFGATE. “We are in a climate crisis.”
While Wood agreed that it was time to re-examine the way California manages demonstration forests, he said that a new strategy would need to “meet conservation goals but also overcome many hurdles, including significant opposition, which will require a tremendous amount of time and effort. For this reason, I am unable to take on this issue."
On Sept. 23, Crowfoot showed up at a California Tribal Chairpersons meeting in which Hunter gave a presentation calling for political intervention in Jackson. Crowfoot spoke about the importance of demonstration forest research and incorrectly stated that there are 12 demonstration forests in California (there are nine). But the most surprising thing he said was this:
“It’s my clear understanding that there is no timber harvest happening right now. No logging happening. And I commit to a responsible government-to-government consultation that’s honest, that’s direct, that incorporates all tribal perspectives that want to be involved before timber harvest resumes.”
On Sept. 24, activists learned that more logging was underway in Jackson. On Oct. 4, Hunter and a direct action team interrupted a project at Soda Creek and captured the heated confrontation on video.
“You are trespassing,” a voice calls out over a loudspeaker as they enter the area. A logger who identifies himself as a safety officer tells Hunter he isn’t authorized to be there, that it’s a hazardous area with active logging happening.
“I’m at the Jackson Demonstration State Forest,” Hunter says to the camera. This is a state forest. I ain’t trespassing. This is more my f—king land than these f—ks’ land. S—t. Acting like it’s their land.”
He walks around, filming cleared areas of the forest and piles of downed logs, then circles back to those felling timber. More heated words are exchanged and a siren goes off. A logger cranks up a chainsaw and holds it to a tree while Hunter stands several feet away in the footage. “What the f—k!” Hunter yells.
“Hey, Mr. Crowfoot,” he says, again addressing the camera, “I thought you said they weren’t logging. You told all the tribes they weren’t logging. I got your proof right now, Crowfoot.”
Eventually the loggers realize Hunter and the other activists aren’t backing down and they cannot safely continue their work. The loggers pack their equipment and go.
With the forest’s revenue source in doubt, some Cal Fire employees have been wondering whether they need to start looking for new positions, says Conway. The budget reserve is only about a year of operating revenue, he adds, meaning that plans to add recreational facilities and commence new research projects are mired in uncertainty. At several partially logged sites, numerous downed trees, branches and other fuels remain fire hazards.
Up to this point, news of the conflict at Jackson has largely remained “behind the redwood curtain,” as those in Mendocino County refer to their secluded coastline. But as the consequences of climate change in California grow increasingly dire, the fate of these redwoods — and the need to reach a consensus on managing the precious resource — has become more important than ever.
In all of California, there are just 345,000 acres of coast redwoods set aside for conservation in parks and reserves and on private land. In other words, if logging ceased in Jackson, its redwoods would comprise more than 12% of all the protected coast redwoods in the state.
Back at Caspar 500 — down the trail from the site where the trees lie dead on the forest floor — there’s a magnificent redwood stretching toward the sky. At its base, someone has affixed a small sign with bright and colorful letters.
“Think of the future,” it says.
(more photos can be seen at sfgate.com/california-news/article/norcal-jackson-forest-redwood-logging-controversy-16530191.php)