MENDOCINO Co., 8/27/19 — The following is a letter-to-the-editor submitted by Mendocino County District 3 Supervisor John Haschak, published here as a column, in which he updates his constituents on the past month of activity. You can see Haschak’s previous letters to his constituents here.
Third District Supervisor Report August 2019
Measure V, (aka: hack and squirt or the dead standing tree measure), was passed overwhelmingly by Mendocino County voters in 2016 to abate the nuisance created by Mendocino Redwood Co. of leaving thousands of dead standing tan oak trees that represent a potential catastrophic fire hazard.
After Mendocino Redwood threatened to sue the County over enforcement of Measure V in 2017, the County requested an opinion on the Measure’s legality from the State Attorney General’s office. Now, two and a half years later, the AG’s office finally responded that they have a “conflict of interest”, so no legal opinion will be forthcoming from Sacramento.
There are many twists and turns to this saga, but the bottom line is that in 2016 County Counsel approved Measure V going on the ballot, the people voted for it, and it should be enforced. In the interest of my constituents and all the voters of Mendocino County, I will work with my colleagues on the Board to see that Measure V is fully implemented.
Rather than creating a fire hazard with dead standing tan oaks, I would like to see Mendocino County reduce fire risk by putting native hardwoods to beneficial use, for example: tan oaks make beautiful hardwood flooring as I observed recently in Laytonville at the Long Valley Garden Club. Such value added products can provide good jobs in our County. Let’s manage our resources wisely
PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs are looming over every residence on the grid in the County. All services such as gas stations, grocery stores and medical facilities will also be affected. The County will spend $126,000 on generators and electrical work just to keep the administrative center open. Chief Wilkes of Little Lake Fire Dept. said that a power shutoff might cause 2, 3, even 4 times as many fires due to people using generators in unsafe ways.
The BOS approved sending a letter to PG&E that I wrote with Supervisor Williams requesting reimbursement for that amount and that PG&E stop spraying herbicide on or near our roads. Due to public pressure, CalTrans no longer sprays herbicide in Mendocino County and PG&E shouldn’t either. The issue arose from sprayed brush left by the roadside and under power lines which is a fire hazard.
Negotiations have been completed with SEIU 1021 (which represents most of the County employees) and MCPAA (attorneys). The problem here in Mendocino County is keeping qualified trained employees. Employees will learn the job here, get some experience, and then move on to other higher paying counties since our county employees earn 22% less than comparable counties. The result has been a brain drain of talented, knowledgeable employees at considerable cost to the County for constantly training new employees. I think that this three year agreement treats our employees fairly and is perceived by all sides as a win, win situation. It will also improve County services by helping retain good, qualified, experienced employees.
Mendocino County has ten federally recognized tribes; the 3rd District has three. Supervisor McCowen and I sponsored an ordinance change to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day as the official holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October rather than Columbus Day. Mary Norris, Cahto Tribe Chairwoman, said, “We have a chance at righting one of the many wrongs and just our ability to acknowledge, accept and take steps in the right direction is phenomenal.” There were many heart-felt speeches and the resolution and ordinance changes passed unanimously.
Best wishes to all and be safe.
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