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. We encourage the other supervisors to submit letters — we will happily publish them. You can see Haschak’s previous letters to his constituents here. The opinions expressed in this letter are the author’s, not those of The Mendocino Voice.
June 30, 2020
Covid-19 cases are increasing in Mendocino County. Most cases are now in the Ukiah Valley. The modeling that the state has done thru UCLA shows that Mendocino County will surge in late August-early September. Just as schools are scheduled to start back up, the modelling shows a spike.
There are so many businesses trying to adhere to the masking, social distancing, and other strategies so that they can do business and still keep customers and the community safe. That is very much appreciated. We have stayed healthy and kept our numbers low but we are not immune. Please follow the public health orders so that we can keep our community safe and healthy. In comparison, you can see the results in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and other parts of California.
We passed a budget for the next fiscal year. It includes stable funding for our fire districts, another $100,000 for the Mendocino County Fire Council which has been doing stellar work in coordinating fire safe programs throughout the County, and no lay offs though there is a hiring freeze. There are many variables such as state and federal funding, local sales, property, and transient occupancy taxes which will most likely drop. The County has so many funding needs such as to ensure the proper functioning of our critical emergency communication infrastructure and fix roads and not enough dollars to even patch up existing problems.
The Board is discussing the future direction of the cannabis program. It was proposed to do away with the ordinance and use the state permitting structure. I have concerns about this approach for several reasons such as environmental and community protections, local control, support for the mom and pop growers who have gone through the permitting gauntlet now having to start over and compete against large and well financed growers, and the ability and capacity of the county to actually switch to a land use approach. I am sure that there are other concerns that haven’t even been brought up yet.
There is also a push to expand and extend cannabis grows. I am against this too for many of the same reasons mentioned above. Protecting our resource lands and enforcing the laws that we have seem to be more than enough for our limited code and law enforcement staff. To open cannabis cultivation on a big scale doesn’t seem like what is best for our communities until we get the current people through the permitting system, are able to regulate the illicit grows, and ensure that the cumulative impacts of opening up will not damage the beautiful lands that we have in Mendocino County. Please contact me and the other Board members if you have an opinion about these issues. This is on the agenda for July 21.
Take care and stay well. Happy 4th of July!
The preceding was an opinion column, to be construed as the personal opinions of the author, not as fact, nor as the opinions of this publication. Furthermore, it was not edited for punctuation or spelling, all errors are those of the author. It was likewise not fact-checked. However, we reserve the right to fact-check opinion pieces and letters to the editor, run in this publication, and to annotate such pieces with fact-checking.