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.
With the end of the year quickly approaching, it is time for reflection on all we have been through and envision the work ahead.
Certainly the past year has had its challenges. We made it this far with the Covid pandemic and working to get the vaccine out to those who wanted it, and educate those who were reluctant. Mendocino County is doing pretty well as far as the statewide average in regards to Covid deaths and vaccination rates.
I worked with Senator McGuire and Sheriff Kendall until we received special state funding of $600,000 to go after the egregious cannabis grows in the County. After receiving the People’s Referendum with over 6,000 signatures, the other Supervisors revoked the cannabis expansion ordinance. This is what the people wanted all along and I am glad the others finally came around on the issue. There is much work to be done on the cannabis program and I am pleased that Supervisor McGourty is working with me as the cannabis ad hoc committee.
Drought conditions required a declaration of a state of emergency for the County by both the BOS and the Governor. Supervisor McGourty and I formed the drought ad hoc committee. As fast as government works, we were able to get water hauled from Ukiah to the coastal communities. Conditions were bad throughout the County with wells going dry, creeks and springs drying up. Now and into the new year, the BOS approved the creation of a County Water Agency. The purpose of this is to better prepare for future droughts amidst climate change and increased aridity. The County will help all communities gain knowledge about their aquifers, collaborate with the 42 water agencies in the county, and promote resiliency for the ongoing drought conditions. We are applying for a $2 million grant to study the water that we have and best create a balanced water portfolio.
Housing and economic development continue to be key issues in the County. Whether it be affordability, housing stock, or housing shortages due to short term rentals in the coastal communities, the lack of housing is hampering our economic development. Our schools, hospitals, and businesses are having difficulties hiring due to housing shortages. Supervisor Gjerde and I are on an ad hoc committee to work on housing issues. There are no quick fixes but there are barriers such as the length of time it takes to get a building permit that need to be reconsidered and policies (for example, limiting the number of short term rentals in residential areas) that will help.
The 3rd District is in need of a representative on the Public Safety Advisory Board and the Library Advisory Board. Please contact me if interested.
May you and your families find joy and peace in the upcoming Holidays!
You can always contact me at [email protected] or 707-972-4214.
Plenty room for housing available in the hills.. Certainly more than the 2 homes per 20, 40, or 160+ acre parcel that’s currently allowed!