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.
While smoke covers the skies and fires are a constant threat, there are some bright spots to create healthier forests in our area.
The $5 million CCI Forest Health proposal for the Northern Mendocino County Forest Health Collaborative was approved. This project will provide ecological and economic benefits in the 3rd District. Another proposal submitted to the State Water Board for the Eel River Road Sediment Treatment Project – Phase 2 was approved for funding and will storm-proof two unpaved road networks west of Brooktrails/Willits. Construction will begin next spring. These projects will create safer, healthier forests and communities.
The county received a settlement of $22.8 million from PG&E for the 2017 Redwood Complex Fire. The tragedy of the loss of life and harm inflicted on the communities will not be forgotten. The goal of the funding is to make our communities whole and better prepared for the next emergency. With this funding, Long Valley Fire Dept. will acquire a new ambulance, Little Lake and Brooktrails Fire Depts. will purchase new Polaris UTV side by side rescue vehicles. All fire departments will receive an additional $20,000 for emergency medical supplies. Mendocino Fire Safe Council operations will be fully funded for 5 years, the defensible space assistance program will receive $500,000 and another $500,000 for hazardous tree removal. A community chipper was acquired with a Coastal Conservancy grant. These projects will prevent wildfire destruction, provide our first responders with more of the tools they need, and make our communities more resilient.
The referendum to rescind the new cannabis ordinance had more than 800 signatures over the required number. The Board has two options: either rescind the ordinance or put it to a ballot for the people to decide. A ballot would be costly, divisive, and probably not happen until June of next year. My hope is that the Board rescinds the ordinance and that we get to work on implementing the favorable components of the ordinance such as no water hauling, preservation of agricultural soils, and limiting hoop houses while supporting the small growers so that they can get state licensure.
Water issues continue as we pray for early and abundant rains. The County will ship water from Ukiah to the Coast since the situation on the Coast is dire. The aquifers in Ukiah and the 3rd District are still producing. The Board discussed options on restricting water hauling since that is an ongoing concern for many people who rely on wells. We are looking at limiting water hauling to daylight hours, requiring detailed manifests of where water is delivered, quantity, etc., and regulating the sale of water from one’s well.
Covid-19 and the Delta variant surge have put a real stress on our health systems. We are seeing over 50 new cases a day, hospitals full, no beds available, elective surgeries postponed, and more restrictions. Vaccination clinics are still happening. For more information, go to https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus.
You can always contact me at [email protected] or 707-972-4214.