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.
This beautiful winter weather has been wonderful except for the fact that we need lots more rain. What started as record rainfalls and snow in the Sierras is now below normal. However, we still have a few months of rainy season left and we are hoping for rain. The drought task force that I am on has continued working to prepare for next summer. The water agency study is ongoing and should be done in June with the goal being to provide greater capacity for our smaller water agencies, grant writing help, inter-ties between water agencies, and increased knowledge about our aquifers.
It is widely known that cannabis prices have dropped which has an impact on our local economy. While the County can’t do anything about the economic downturn, it does have responsibility in making the process fair, efficient, open and transparent to those attempting to get their County permit and State annual license. I have been working to ensure that the processes are efficient, communication is open and respectful, and guidelines and standards are clearly expressed. We also need to ensure that an appeal process is in place so that farmers who have been denied for reasons they feel are incorrect have the chance to be heard. The legalization of cannabis has been a torturous experience for many but the commitment of the County has to be ensuring that small, legal growers in Mendocino County have a straightforward process to licensure.
With ongoing drought conditions, increased aridity in our region, and unpermitted cannabis grows in the hills, there have been many complaints about water extraction in valley floors and the selling of that water to water haulers who then haul the water in an unending stream of water trucks up to the dry hills. People whose wells go dry because a new business opens up on the next parcel selling water that is hauled off often call me in the summer and fall. Supervisor McGourty and I have been working
on this issue with many different people including ranchers, farmers, law enforcement, environmental health, concerned citizens, water haulers, and legal counsel to figure out how to best address the issue. We will be recommending that water extraction for commercial purposes requires a business license and a water hydrology study to ensure that the extraction is not harming neighbors, that water trucks be prohibited from 11:00 pm till 5:00 am, and that water businesses and haulers keep a
log of the quantity of water being sold and delivered, the destination, etc. Code enforcement, law enforcement, and environmental health are all on board with this proposal. The BOS will hear this on March 15 with the goal of protecting the valuable resource of water in our communities, regulating the water truck traffic, and providing for safer roads.
On a happier note, Edie Ceccarelli celebrated her 114th birthday. Edie was born and raised in Willits and has lived here longer than anyone else. She was honored by many from the community in a drive by party. Being the oldest native Californian, the 3rd oldest person in the country, and moving into the top ten in the world is quite an accomplishment. Her amazing spirit has been a blessing to the community. May we all live lives with the gusto that she has been living these last 114 years.
You can always contact me at [email protected] or 707-972-4214.