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.
Mendocino County is now on the state watch list for coronavirus since our numbers of cases and deaths are increasing rapidly. I along with everyone I talk to is tired of this new normal. Please reach out to those who might need a phone call, words of encouragement, or a personal connection. The Crisis Hotline is 1-855-838-0404 and always open. The County’s warmline (707-472-2311) is still available M-F 8-5 to those who just need to talk with someone. As the saying goes, we are all in this together.
I want to express my appreciation to the Willits, Ukiah and Fort Bragg Chambers of Commerce and especially Ron Morehead for creating the Mask Up Mendocino program. This is a grassroots people to people program that will provide education and outreach to the community. It will be a collaborative effort between the business community and the County. There will be radio ads, volunteer ambassadors, written materials and more provided throughout the county. Supporting our local businesses while maintaining the community’s health is the goal. This is another example of what can be done when we work together.
At the July 21st Board of Supervisor meeting, we had a presentation on health disparities in our county. This was a new version of a presentation I had been working on with leaders of the LatinX communities which was scheduled for March but got postponed due to the onslaught of Covid-19. Our Public Health Officer and CEO contacted me asking that we go ahead with the presentation due to the fact that almost 60% of the positive cases in Mendocino County are in the LatinX community. I will be working with the CEO Angelo and the LatinX community to ensure that the County is doing all that it can to ensure that materials are available to all in our community and that a task force be formed to look at equity, diversity, and inclusion. These are certainly worthy goals in these times.
Dr. Andy Coren has been named as the new Public Health Officer. He is a long time family physician in Ukiah. Dr. Coren speaks Spanish which should help with some of the above mentioned issues. He is well respected in the local medical community and has worked with Dr. Doohan in setting up the residency program at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. He will be starting as soon as possible as he transitions into this new role.
Changes to the cannabis program are on the agenda for Aug. 4. The cannabis department provided an update on interactions that the County has had with CalCannabis and CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. I know that this was incomplete and certainly didn’t address how a new program based on land use process would be implemented and what would be the implications for all of our communities. At this point, there are many more questions than answers.
Covelo lost three center of town buildings on July 19 to fire. Arson is suspected. Sheriff Kendall and I had a Town Hall style phone conference on July 22 with residents of Covelo. Concerns about illegal cannabis grows and economic development are top of the list issues. I look forward to working with the civic-minded people of Round Valley as we all try to create a better future
Take care and stay well, John