Sheriff Allman confirmed late Monday afternoon that an investigation by the Sheriff's office is underway to determine if Carrie Hamburg, the late wife of 5th District supervisor Dan Hamburg, was illegally buried on the Hamburg family's property southwest of Ukiah. “It's under investigation but I'm not prepared to publicly discuss it right now,” the Sheriff said.
The Hamburg family is not denying that Mrs. Hamburg is buried at their home. Supervisor Hamburg has hired Ukiah attorney Barry Vogel to contest the Sheriff's implicit mandate to, if necessary, seize Mrs. Hamburg's remains.
Attorney Vogel, responding to our request for clarification, said by e-mail, “Yes, there is an investigation. We are still working to resolve the matter short of litigation. Home burial on large rural properties, distanced from watercourses and property lines, is allowed in most states. We believe this to be is a matter of individual privacy guaranteed under Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution.”
Mrs. Hamburg died from cancer on March 5th of this year. She was apparently buried on her 60-acre home property by her family soon after.
At least two, and sometimes three, legal signatures are required verifying that the deceased has not only died from the causes asserted by an attending physician, but that the deceased has been lawfully interred or the ashes of the deceased returned to the family. The Mendocino County Department of Public Health did not sign off on the disposal of Mrs. Hamburg's remains. It was the absence of that necessary sign-off that launched the rumors that compelled the Sheriff to find out where and how Mrs. Hamburg’s remains had been put to rest.
California law requires, “Every person who deposits or disposes of any human remains in any place, except in a cemetery, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
The fallout from this grisly standoff between the Sheriff and Supervisor Hamburg will be huge in Mendocino County. Hamburg inspires a cult-like devotion among his liberal supporters, who remain numerous up and down the Northcoast, so numerous Hamburg was elected to Congress where he served one term.
But local law enforcement is known to regard Hamburg as “a guy who thinks he's above the law.” That opinion is also prevalent among what can be described as the “straight” community, liberal and conservative.
Hamburg has always been a controversial character. As supervisor for the Ukiah area from 1981 to 1985 he was subjected to a recall election for opposing a tourist-related development north of town. The recallers wanted to install present-day Superior Court Judge Richard Henderson as supervisor in Hamburg's place. The recall failed. Running for Governor as a Green in 1998, Hamburg was found to have filed false claims for unemployment benefits. He has also been a member of the sinister Adi Da cult, a sex and drugs affiliation that operates a lush spa in Lake County. Hamburg is a public advocate for marijuana. The Hamburg property was subjected to a task force marijuana raid in October of 2007; that case was thrown out of court due to a faulty warrant. Elected 5th District supervisor in 2010 during which Hamburg's advocates routinely slandered his opponent, Wendy Roberts, a non-pot smoking liberal, the Hamburg family soon attempted to open a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Boonville. Hamburg currently functions as chairman of the County's board of supervisors.
Clearly, Sheriff Allman has been pressured to act in this case by anti-Hamburg forces, and he has no choice but to act since Hamburg is accused of breaking the law.
We understand that the Sheriff has given attorney Vogel until Monday, June 3rd to give the Sheriff a legal reason why the Sheriff should not exhume and seize for re-burial Mrs. Hamburg's remains.