This is personal. As a Ukiah native, I want to make sure that my kids have the economic opportunities to thrive and continue to make Mendocino their home. At the current pace of societal, economic, and technological change, government must be responsive to the needs of our business community and create and maintain the infrastructure businesses and residents need to thrive. My work on the Ukiah State Street revitalization, City of Ukiah recycled water project, and work to bring Costco to Ukiah with its accompanying street improvements to the Talmage exit are examples of the kind of public/private partnerships I support and that are bringing positive economic results and resiliency to our region.
Communication and responsiveness are key to creating these kinds of partnerships and successes. As the county seat, Ukiah is in a unique position to work with our regional partners. I look forward to using my experience as Ukiah's Mayor to build coalitions throughout the region to ensure our economic vitality in all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. The cannabis industry has emerged as a key partner in our regional economic success. As Supervisor, I will work closely with the industry to continue bringing it into compliance with local and state regulations while ensuring public safety and our quality of life.
Housing for all means something different to just about anyone you ask. But in practical terms, it simply means that we need the right kind of housing for our residents at the right time in their lives: whether they're students, working people, young families trying to save for a home, or empty-nesters looking to downsize. This is where government needs to listen to the community, partner with developers, streamline services, and respond with bold solutions to meet our current and future housing needs. And make no mistake: having the right housing available at the right price is essential for local businesses to attract and retain the talent they need to grow their businesses, so that together, we can grow a vibrant local economy that benefits all.
This is why I feel called to serve. I'm keenly aware that every vote I cast or position I take as Mayor ultimately impacts the health and wellness of everyone in our community. Whether it's an infrastructure project that makes it easier to bike or walk, a recycled water project that improves our environmental resiliency, community policing policies that strengthen relationships and develop trust, or universal pre-K to put all kids on track to be lifelong learners, I understand the impact that one vote makes. As Supervisor, I will make Whole Person Wellness—mental, physical, educational, economic, and environmental—a top priority.
The environment and disaster preparedness play a role in the lives of everyone in Mendocino County. We can find ways to leverage partnerships to move forward with policies that make sure we are being good stewards to the beautiful land we live on. We must make sure that we are prepared for disasters as we move forward whether that be earthquakes, floods or fires. Every household, every employee, every business, every government agency has a role to play in the environment and leaving a sustainable planet for future generations.
This is just a short summary of my vision for Mendocino County. I'm dedicated, accessible, and ready to get to work for our community. To continue the conversation, contact me or follow me on social media.
Connection * Dedication * Positive Change
#connectmendo #themoyouknow #votemo
I could give you policy platforms but I think it makes more sense to share the answers to your questions. Many local organizations present questions to candidates that are framed around their organization's core concerns. You might have the same questions! If you don't find my answer to your question here please send me an email and I will add it. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is your level of commitment to our community:
Born and Raised in Ukiah (40 years old)
Kasie Gray, age 21 Real Estate Broker at W Real Estate
Andie Kathryn, fourth grader at Grace Hudson Language Academy
Small Business Owner since 2008
Elected to Ukiah City Council 2014, re-elected 2018, served as Mayor 2019
I have been campaigning for Supervisor since January 2019
I love Mendocino County and I'm not going anywhere. I want to help shape the future of Mendocino County for future generations.
Tell us about your experience:
Successful small business owner and community volunteer
League of California Cities past President Redwood Empire Division
Member of State Revenue and Taxation Legislative Committee for California League of California Cities
Vice-Chair, Russian River Watershed Association
Former Mayor, City of Ukiah; Disaster Council, City of Ukiah; Board Member, Mendocino Transit Authority; Vice-Chair, Russian River Watershed Association; Alternate Member, Mendocino Council of Governments; Alternate Member, Mendocino County Local Area Formation Commission; Alternate Member, Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency; Workforce Alliance of the North Bay: Mendocino Advisory Subcommittee; President, Redwood Empire Division League of California Cities; President, Ukiah Valley Networking Agency; Adopt A Highway Sponsor, CalTrans District 1; Board Member, Northern California Outdoor Education & Mentoring Program; Affiliate, North Bay Association of Realtors, The Saturday Afternoon Club Endowment Fund Selection Committee, Community Foundation of Mendocino County; Member, North County Women in Business; Member, Willits Chamber of Commerce; Promotions Committee, Ukiah Main Street Program; Volunteer, Pac Out Green Team; Census 2020 Action Team
Accomplishments as a Council Member
The Palace Hotel was placed in receivership within a month of being on the Council in 2014, receivership is a process that does take time however the property is now under local ownership and "under contract" for sale and I'm looking forward to the future of this historic piece of our Downtown.
The City of Ukiah is one of 12 cities in California that is meeting its Rural Housing Needs Assessment goals with 143 new units of both subsidized and market rate housing built in the last five years.
Measure Y is a sales tax and now we have $3 million dollars per year to repair streets, my focus has been on transparency and balance in the repairs with arterial streets and spread between residential streets in every neighborhood in Ukiah. We can't fix all of the streets over night but we can use a scientific Pavement Conditions Index to see which streets we fix when and help balance that budget so that our community is treated equally.
Measure P for police and fire is a sales tax to ensure that we have a fully funded public safety department with a citizen oversight board to make sure that the funds are used as the voters intended.
Recycled water – exponentially beneficial use of waste water for future generations. This project will also provide numerous integrated benefits and meet various State and regional objectives: helps meet State water conservation objectives, improves environmental habitat by providing alternative source for frost protection, reduces diversions from the Russian River, reduces cost associated with wastewater discharge management, promotes a vibrant agricultural region, demonstrates regional cooperation
Budget transparency – it is important that tax payers how their money is being used. Glad that the County is going to be using the open gov platform to increase ease of access to our constituents.
We now have people in the parks program encouraging people to give back by helping in the parks. One of my favorite things about being a local elected is to help our community find solutions. When a group of concerned residents came to the City with objections to using chemicals in the parks we were able to come up with a plan for moving forward.
To encourage more awareness around the Youth Activities we have I have created a facebook group to share activities for families and youth. There is plenty to do you just have to find it! @ Ukiah Area: Kids and Teens “things to do”
As our population ages it is important that we have safe access to sidewalks and infrastructure as well as plenty of things to keep folks of all ages busy. Check out our Facebook group @ Age Friendly Ukiah
As a council member I have prioritized adding bike lanes and safer sidewalks and crosswalks with every updated street that is being treated with Measure Y funds
The western hills fire mitigation was a big step forward to making sure that the community remains safer. The City, County and CalFire worked together with other agencies and property owners to collaborate on one of the larger projects our community has seen.
Its important that the community understand the need for mixed waste organics recycling as a way to remove food waste to create a usable product. When I first got on the Council there was an ongoing argument and the project was stalled. I am proud to have moved this forward.
The City of Ukiah has moved forward with an active transportation path next to the railroad. Its currently 1.8 miles and is roughly the length of the City limits but its only a small piece in the bigger picture. There are community members that have not used it and are unsure so I have created a group that has community walks once a month to give people an opportunity to try the trail in a group. The Great Redwood Trail Ukiah is a small portion of a much larger picture.
The City of Ukiah currently uses Open Gov for their budget platform and I have worked diligently to make sure that there is increased transparency so that the public knows how tax payer funds are being spent
The library provides crucial access to our area for not only information but a place to engage with your community through activities and events. The library advisory board has worked hard to communicate with the Board of Supervisors to make sure that they are syncing their opinions and goals
Its important to use public transportation for the future of the planet. I have been advocating through the MTA board for technology and we now have an app so that folks will be able to see right when the bus is on its way. Additionally I have been advocating for a more consistent route so that people can ride the bus. Soon we will hear about a plan to bring bus service from East Gobbi to Todd Grove Park so a full east west route in addition to growing service throughout the county
Although there is still plenty of work to be done with the relationship with UVSD the litigation was closed and ongoing negotiations are improving including that this month both Boards have worked to refinance the bonds to save the rate payers money.
Final closure of the City of Ukiah Landfill is pending but fully funded
Disaster preparedness workshops are now a very important part of our lives in rural Northern California. I am on the City of Ukiah Disaster Preparedness Board and last year we held four workshops with information from Fire, Flood, Earthquake and Neighborhood watch to improve awareness in our community.
Why, specifically, are you running for Supervisor? Which county-wide problems do you see as primary? What specific improvements do you want to make?
I was born and raised in Mendocino County and I am raising my family here. I want my children to have a future full of opportunity and I want to work to make that happen for all families for future generations. I have the drive, determination and leadership experience to bring to the table. As a Councilmember I serve on 13 ad-hocs and committees and am Past-President of the Redwood Empire Division f\or the League of California Cities, Vice-Chair of the Russian River Watershed Association in addition to my other volunteer and community obligations. I don't take days off , which is good because we have a lot of work to do.
Across Mendocino County, we need more investment in what's already working for us, a more diverse housing stock to meet current and future demands, and to address the the drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness crisis. As a City Council member for the last five years, I’ve learned that if I want to affect change through Human Services, I need do this from a seat on the Board of Supervisors.
Another challenge that we need to address is that every incorporated city needs to negotiate a fair annexation and tax sharing plan with the County in order to encourage city-centered growth and protect our agricultural and open spaces--the economic drivers and natural treasures of our region. These annexations have been put off for far too long. It will take hard work to get it done but we need to work out a fair and equitable arrangement with each city.
I also intend to bring my style of inclusiveness and proactive communication to the Board of Supervisors and work to improve how the Board and County departments communicate with constituents. I will advocate for fiscal responsibility and transparency. When local government is spending taxpayer money, the taxpayers have right to be part of the decision-making process and to complete transparency, we can't make these decisions without improving and analyzing data.
And, if elected, how will the public be able to measure your success?
Community engagement is the cornerstone of everything I do. The public will see an immediate difference in their ability to engage with me in person, online, and via email and that I'm responsive to their concerns. The highest compliment a local elected can receive is "I may not always agree with you, but I'll vote for you because you listen." I'm always shocked when people are surprised that I answered their email. We are here to serve the constituents--that's the job. I know by the number of votes I received from winning by a narrow margin in 2014 with 1368 votes to taking the lead in 2018 with 2722 votes that I continue to earn the voters' trust. If I'm not listening to the will of the people, if I'm not advocating for policies that benefit the community as a whole, I will hear about because I've built that engagement and those relationships over time.
Response: Housing, Economic Development and Whole Person Wellness: They are all connected. We can’t grow our local businesses without employees and we don’t have enough housing for the employees we already have. The Mendocino County Housing mandated goals are very large—over 1300 units—and that is going to be a challenge. We are limited by geography so we need to make sure that we plan out where we are building the housing and make sure that we are creating the right types of housing to retain employees and attract new ones. Making sure that new developments are planned with transportation and accessibility in mind is a place where we can improve. I realize that “Whole Person Wellness” might seem like a buzz term but it’s the best way I can think of to describe the need for strong leadership in all areas from infrastructure, to housing, to education—making sure that decisions and planning are made with a human scale in mind. The funding for addiction, mental illness and homelessness all comes through the County. We need strong accountability and a very comprehensive plan for dealing with these issues with the whole person in mind.
If elected, what specific reforms or improvements would you pursue in the following:
Creating jobs and increasing economic competitiveness
Our agricultural industry and economy
Homelessness, and housing availability and affordability (at all income levels)
The process of real property development – permitting, review, finance, etc.
The County Budget and fiscal responsibility
Your views on regular (monthly) departmental reporting?
They are essential and should be required. We need more accountability and public input. Regular monthly reporting often reveals important trends over time. Once we have several months of consistent data, trends will reveal themselves and it may be clear that some departments can go to quarterly reporting as appropriate.
Do you think promotion is among the best uses of bed tax revenue? (Roughly $5.5 million a year)
The annual budget for promotion is a $1.4 million dollars, guests in hotels pay $989,622 through a 1% BID assessment and the general fund matches half or $494,811 (and then the county keeps $29,689 of that for administration). We must spend money on tourism marketing in order to receive the $482.2 million in revenue that the industry puts in to our economy. If you've been around here for any length of time you realize that tourism is a key industry in Mendocino County. And why wouldn't it be? we live in a beautiful place. Tying the bed tax revenue to the budget for promotion makes the most sense, the programs do well the budget goes up, the programs are not successful the budget goes down. We need to invest in marketing and I would much rather see this money being spent on local people that know our community than to have consultants from out of the area get the money and try to guess how to market Mendocino County. The old adage you have to spend money to make money applies for this line item. The key is oversight, management and making sure you have the right team on the job. We have many needs in Mendocino County and each line item should be managed and constantly reviewed, I intend to do that as your Supervisor.
Your ideas on how to make an effective cannabis program.
- Apply for an Equity Grant Program to ease capital costs for Legacy Cultivators to address environmental and building permit process concerns when possible
- Keep program open for legacy cultivators to enroll in the permitting process
- Remove County Regulations that are redundant with State Regulations
- When appropriate provide an exception through mitigation to the County Tree Removal Program when the program inhibits compliance with other regulating agencies
- Streamline the permitting process for under 10,000 sq ft
- Reduce redundancies with renewal process
- Extend the deadlines for those in the permitting process to ensure they have time to gain compliance
- The earliest reference to cannabis in Mendocino County as an agricultural crop was in 1979, Mendocino County should look at the regulate cannabis as they do other agricultural crops such as vineyards and orchards
- Provide education and training to cultivators for the permitting process and provide access to licensed consultants for permitting, surveying, data management etc
- Advocate on a State level for reduced regulations and streamline processes
I am a member of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance and will continue to support the industry as a Supervisor. When I was an insurance agent I helped many cultivators get their Surety Bond to get in to the regulated market. I saw the struggle that they had to go through to qualify for the permitting process. This is Mendocino County we all spend the same green money our cannabis cultivators are plumbers, teachers, nurses or a stay at home mom on the PTA we need to move forward past the stigma ad work to create economic development for our friends and neighbors.
What is your opinion on the status of the County ordinances related to cannabis cultivation and manufacturing? What do you agree and not agree with in the ordinances?
Response: This is a volatile time for the cannabis industry and we need to keep up our end of the bargain by not over-burdening the small farmer. Otherwise, the only ones that will be able to survive will be larger corporate entities. We have a stake in making sure that the small farmers and long-time local businesses are able to survive and thrive. They are the ones that want to produce the highest quality product, hire locally, and re-invest in our community. I’m committed to making sure county ordinances and requirements are reasonable, navigable, and equitable.
The Board of Supervisors approved unlimited cannabis cultivation in the coastal zone with no public input or environmental review. Do you approve of this process and/or the results?
Do you have experience with Conservation Easements?
On November 6, 2019 at its regular Council meeting The City of Ukiah pursued the acquisition of 518 acres of wildlands in Ukiah’s western urban interface to restore and conserve forest and stream ecosystems, provide large-scale wildfire mitigation and to protect the Upper Russian River Watershed to benefit fish, wildlife and the greater Ukiah community. This acquisition of open space in the western hills will create a beautiful vista for future generations to enjoy. Open spaces are land and/or water areas that serve as a protected resource in which the area is generally finite, exhaustible, and vulnerable. Generally, open space preservation contributes to three broad areas of the community including social quality of life, environmental preservation, and economic vitality. Open space benefits include: -creating a passive recreation area -providing opportunity for unique educational experiences -controlling sprawl and growth patterns -establishing and maintaining aesthetic appeal -stimulating economic vitality -creating important buffer zones between developments and the local water shed -preserving water quality and wildlife habitat -developing eco-tourism opportunities -protecting property values -creating ecological balance The City of Ukiah has successfully secured open space in the past and under Council’s direction continues to work towards finding other opportunities for continued open space acquisition.
When faced with the option to purchase 133 acres of vineyard land off of Lovers Lane in 2018 I voted to decline the offer, not because I don't care about the environment but because I am concerned about what that property looks like 50 years or more from now. I used to live at 1019 Despina Drive. Its the first house across the street from the high school next to the vineyard which is between the cemetery and the housing subdivision. I have been told this was a conservation easement that was required when the Vineyard View Estates went in in the early 70's or late 60's. While I lived there people did come and "work" the vineyard, spray and do some maintenance although I don't know how profitable of a vineyard it is or who owns it. There were no warnings about the spraying I realized it when I went to use the restroom early in the morning,I don't know if when the easement was created there were requirements for notifying residents. When you look at the area from google images it looks like a missed opportunity to have contiguous housing to the tune of about 50 or so houses. When you are talking about sprawl and reducing ag land it certainly makes sense to most people I know to have housing in that location instead of a vineyard that no one can really see (most houses have fences) or access because its a working vineyard. When looking at Lovers Lane I have often viewed that property as the next closest property that it makes sense to develop, not all at once of course but over time. In between Lovers Lane and Orr Springs Road is an opportunity to create housing that can have active transportation circulation north to Mendocino College and south connecting to Bush Street and Despina Drive. When I lived on Despina I ran a regular loop North on Despina and east on Lovers Lane. The area could benefit from improved infrastructure like bike lanes and sidewalks and an eventual housing development would help pay for that. The County needs to place 1,300+ units of housing in the next 7 years and who knows what requirements will come down in the future. I would much rather see this housing be considered close to the urban core (Lovers Lane is the next closest area to the North) than to go in to areas like the property that the County Board of Supervisors just considered in Talmage (on Sanford Ranch Road). When making these decisions it can be challenging to balance our need to preserve the environment with having the foresight to not tie the hands of future generations to create housing for their families, be that 50 years or 100 years, forever was just too long when I was looking at that site. I certainly don't think it will be developed all at once and wouldn't encourage it either but sometimes the things that people from previous generations did with good intentions don't make a whole lot of sense 50 years later.
How do you see the County moving toward a sustainable timber and fishing balance?
Currently there are protections for the unique Pygmy Forest habitat only within the Coastal Zone. Would you support County protections for the Pygmy Forest outside the coastal zone?
Mendocino County has the longest coastline of any county in Ca. The County Board of Supervisors has an important role to protect the natural resource for all the world. How would you ensure our local resources, view shed trails and coastal access will be protected?
What are your ideas as to dealing with waste reduction and management in the County? Is it important to educate about choices for waste stream reduction?
How will you advocate for a sustainable green planning policy for our County?
How will you ensure that Measure V, the dead standing tree ordinance, will be implemented?
Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?
It is imperative that the Board of Supervisors work with the community and businesses to make sure that we are not leaving our residents vulnerable to fire risk from dead standing trees. The voters passed Measure V and deserve to know why the Board is not enforcing it. I don't believe that anyone has presented a cost analysis for enforcement of the ballot measure, I also don't believe that government run agencies should lead with a "let them sue us" type attitude that has been occurring at the Board level for at least the last decade (I wonder how many millions of tax payer dollars have been spent on lawsuits). At the end of the day it isn't up to the County or the people to determine what the costs are to private property owners to mitigate the enforcement of Measure V. It was a measure passed by the voters and should be enforced or put on the ballot to have it be recalled. Given that the measure was about the dangers of dead standing trees we need to realize that there are 189 million dead standing trees in the State of California and we all have a role to play in mitigating the risk that this causes for our community.
Where can I find your position on the importance of protecting the western hills from a huge wildfire?
I am a supporter of the work that has been/is being done on the Western Hills. Its important that we are able to capture funding for these projects when they are available and to continue to maintain these projects. I'm also very proud of the work that has done by the community to create the neighborhood safety groups and I hope those continue as well. I am on the Disaster Preparedness Committee for the City and we will continue to hold community forums so that we are prepared before a disaster strikes.
How will you implement the State policy mandate that local office holders make decisions with climate change in mind?
Do you believe we are in a climate emergency?
If yes, what ideas do you have about how we can respond to that in our county? Yes, there is much work to do especially considering that there is new science and data daily from across the world. I think that one of the most important things we can do as a County is to be prepared to adapt our climate goals as things change. I believe every department, every household, every business has a role to play in improving the impact to the environment. In light of the statewide goal of 75 percent recycling, composting, or source reduction of solid waste by 2020, we still have much to do as a County to reach this goal; and exceeding it is key to our long-term sustainability. As a councilmember, I understand how challenging it is to change behavior. But as with all public policy, often the job of government is to make it easy to do the right thing. It's essential that our households, businesses, and construction and trade industries in particular have the tools and support they need to minimize consumption and maximize diversion. As with the first environmental and littering campaigns, starting with kids and having them bring new practices home is often the most effective strategy in changing behavior. As Supervisor, I will work with our educational partners in K-12 and our community college to develop educational programs as well as work with local businesses to improve diversion and their bottom line. Any county-wide programs should include the tourism industry as eco-tourism and the sustainable lifestyle is one of Mendocino's most powerful draws. One the things that I have been advocating for and will continue to advocate for is the use of both public and active transportation. In Mendocino County our Public Transportation system is MTA I have been the City Council liaison for that board and am proud to have seen adapted routes as well as the use of technology with the app. I have also scheduled a tour so that people have not yet tried the MTA to get the ropes. Regarding active transportation every time the City of Ukiah does a streets project I look at it with the lens of how will this be easier for bikes and pedestrians and we have made many improvements including sharrows on Scott Street and others and the beginning of the Great Redwood Trail through the City of Ukiah from Brush Street to Commerce. I will continue this work as a Supervisor as well as working on solar, recycled water and tree planting projects as a Supervisor.
Do you believe that Mendocino County government has a responsibility to take effective action to address climate change on the local level? If yes, how would you propose to do that in conjunction with the Mendocino County Climate Action Advisory committee? Yes, some of the responses are above but in regards to the MCCAAC I am looking forward to the group bringing back initiatives for the Board to adopt. However as a Supervisor I won't be waiting for that to happen I will be looking at every decision with an awareness that our planet is changing and that we need to do everything we can to protect it.
As a rural county we have great potential for sequestering carbon** to be part of the solution to global warming. How can we get that to happen? ** Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change. Forest management and agricultural practices are critical ways to do this.
This is an opportunity to lean on industry experts for instance in my research I found that Innovative farming practices such as conservation tillage, organic production, improved cropping systems, land restoration, land use change and irrigation and water management, are ways that farmers can address climate change. Fostering a culture of stewardship, following best practices, and community input are key in developing a sustainable plan that is responsive to a changing climate and the effects on our forest and fish habitat we are already seeing. As a council member, I have a record of forming strong relationships with government partners. As Supervisor, I will work closely with our State and Federal partners to enact policies that protect our valuable natural resources.
Would you support a goal of working towards net zero carbon emissions in our county? If yes, what ideas do you have about ways to move towards that? Yes, the global goal to reach net zero emissions is 2050 and we have to help work towards that goal. Mixed waste organics and the reduction of food waste going to the landfill, increase the use of public transportation, invest in clean energy, shift to electric vehicles and restore forested areas and plant more trees are top priorities but I look forward to regularly meetings with groups like yours and the MCCAAC to be able to address new topics.
Would you support using County staff to develop and disseminate information about personal actions that either increase or lower the carbon footprint of individual households?
Yes communication with the community is vital. The County has tools to do this with including a Youtube channel, social media pages a website and of course the board of Supervisors should each play a role by bringing the information to the community in town hall style events in their districts and individual social media accounts.
What concerns do you have about the impact on our county of the recent PG&E Public Safety Power Shutdown (PSPS) events? There is much to be concerned about with the PSPS and the potential for more of these events in the future. One of the most urgent is protecting the most vulnerable population, the elderly. We need to keep up with the goal to make sure the community is sustainable without the use of PG&E provided electricity. The City of Ukiah is exploring options to add solar and reduce this vulnerability. The City and the County can work together on this.
Will you support an investigation into how our county seat of Ukiah, and perhaps our entire county, could become power resilient so we are not impacted by PSPS events in the future? Yes of course and I have been. The County uses Sonoma Clean Power and I have a lot to learn about that agency and how it affects our community. I intend to attend the next meeting to learn more and will continue to understand so that as a Supervisor I would be able to "hit the ground running" as to the effects on the County.
Will you support obtaining funding for and installing renewable power production and energy storage as an alternative to PSPS events?
Yes and I believe that due to the current climate crisis and PG&E PSPS there is funding out there and available and we should capture that. In the City of Ukiah we were able to capture funding for the Recycled water Project which paid to take the water from the wastewater treatment plant to provide water for agriculture and landscaping uses as well as find funding to bring the power lines on State Street and Gobbi underground for resiliency.
Are you aware that the biomass pellet plant located close to two elementary schools in Calpella did not complete an EIR even though its emissions appear to impact the health of our precious children, nearby vineyards, and the patients at the Consolidated Tribal Health clinic?
I am not sure about the use of an EIR before the project began but I was at the Board of Supervisors meeting when the Air Quality Director Barbara Moed came before the Board to let them know that she was aware of the pellet plant and that it was being monitored and not violating any regulations. That was a few months ago so I am not sure of the tests either before or after that but I believe that the Board of Supervisors should provide that data regularly to the community, particularly whomever Supervisor district it is located in. For instance if my District Ukiah had a new business that went in without proper permits and information to the community I would reach out to both the community and the Air Quality District right away to give that information to the public and keep them updated. Additionally the BOS is responsible for making sure that the California Quality Environmental Act are followed for the health and safety of our community and that is what I will do as a Supervisor.
Do you believe the County should be monitoring the activity of this plant more closely to protect the health of our residents? If yes, how would you propose to address this?
Its my understanding that that project is currently being monitored from four or five different locations including the school and the tribal properties to the north, if its not it should be. I think its important that we have ongoing monitoring for projects that might have an impact on the health quality and future environmental impacts on our planet.
Some questions that often come up at the monthly climate action mendocino meetings regarding the City of Ukiah include updating street lamps so I wanted to share that information
· 50% of Ukiah’s street lights will be upgraded with LED lights in this budget cycle.
· This represents 650 High Pressure Sodium (HPS) fixtures upgraded to LED fixtures.
· We are installing 80-100 LED street lights per budget cycle.
· Street lights are upgraded when 1. An existing HPS fixture fails & 2. We group replace fixtures based on lighting needs or the mix of LED & HPS on a specific street.
Also please take a look at the Recycled Water Project and visualize future projects so that can think about leaving a better planet for future generations: cityofukiah.com/projects
If you are elected to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, will you commit to 1) support and advocate for Mendocino County to use non-lethal methods to manage human conflicts with wildlife, except in emergency situations where human health and safety is at immediate risk, or an endangered species is threatened by other wildlife; and 2) require that a qualified county agency or a regional non-governmental organization operate the County's wildlife management program, instead of renewing the contract with the federal Wildlife Services agency, that for decades has needlessly killed so much wildlife?
I believe that there are important opportunities to change the status quo and work towards a more progressive program . We need to make sure that we are communicating with our local partners. We can't meet everyone's needs all the time but I believe that there are compromises that can be achieved. There will be a Sonoma County Animal Rescue presentation to the Board in February about ways to remove animals with non-lethal options and how to have a similar program in Mendocino County. I look forward to seeing that presentation and wish that the Board had scheduled it before they made their decision to renew the contract with the USDA Wildlife Service.
I'd prefer a non-lethal method but understand that ranchers or property owners may need to use lethal force by gun shot in an emergency. The lethal predator control methods that the USDA Wildlife Service employs are ineffective and outdated, we need to move in to the future and understand the natural ecological system and respect what nature itself would do. Private industry can manage their livestock and control wild animals more efficiently with a new plan.
I would not have renewed the program with Wildlife Services and instead would prefer that the government funding of $170,000 of our tax dollars be spent locally in the following ways.
1. Education to the community and reconstruction of the "Mendocino Wildlife Association" or an organization that the public can coordinate with
2. Offering assistance to property owners to prioritize a focus on prevention plans including fencing, night shelters, fox lights and a compensation program for local ranchers for livestock loss if all reasonable measures were met to protect livestock
3. Increase Spay and Neuter programs in Round Valley and other rural areas of the community
4. Increase use of Feral pig hunting licenses
There might be more non-lethal options we can learn about as well. We should keep our options open.
When I was elected to the Ukiah City Council in 2014 this was a common complaint. We reduced the number of out of the area consultants and created a local purchase ordinance giving a competitive advantage to suppliers within Mendocino County the County should offer a similar ordinance.
Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on public works projects? (Do you support under any circumstance)
Are the walking wounded getting attention in proportion to the money spent on them?
Given that we have lost three unhoused individuals so far this winter I would say no. I understand the liabilities and challenges with trying to provide services to those unwilling to accept them however the health and safety of their lives and that of the community are being impacted so we need to look at what opportunities we have to get people in to services that clearly need them.
Do you think the County is doing enough to promote creative solutions to homelessness, e.g., trailer parks, tiny houses, FEMA trailers etc.?
As a lifelong resident and a Council Member I can say that no, we aren't being creative and frankly the process has been far too slow. Our ultimate goal should be to develop permanent supportive housing with temporary shelter being exactly that--temporary. I generally don’t advocate for tent camping but as a very temporary solution it needs to happen in a location with restroom and shower facilities in order to maintain public heath for everyone. The project I saw for tiny houses seemed like nothing more than tuff sheds with a light bulb and that’s not a permanent solution. Travel trailers or even modular homes seem like a better temporary fix than tents. Long term I would like to see dorm style housing or renovation of motels to housing. There needs to be on site supportive case management for anything low barrier to reduce calls to law enforcement and disruption to neighborhoods. The guests at Building Bridges in Ukiah pick up a considerable amount of trash. As we know it only takes a few to disrupt and cause a scene so the more active engagement we have the better. Avoiding duplication of services should be a priority as well as providing access to data. The Point In Time Count is coming up later this month and you can see the results for the last five years on the County website handupnothandoutmendo.com .We need to see these numbers consistently go down and the website mentions a special "HOT Team" I do not believe this is anything that has been implemented but should be ASAP. Homelessness is a controversial topic and we live in such a small community that it doesn't need to be. When I look in the eyes of homeless individuals on the streets I see people that I know, that I went to high school with, that owned businesses, people that I knew when I was a kid. We have to work together as a community to make tough decisions about who we are serving, for how long and where. This process should be open, transparent with a lot of community input.
Sadly we will always have some level of homeless individuals, we will always have drug addiction, mental illness and individuals that find themselves without a home for whatever reason but we won't be able to do anything about the current homeless crisis if we don't have more housing.
Ok Supervisor Candidates, this is a hot button with a lot of people in the community. What do you propose to deal with the Homeless situation? Community members are frustrated with the damage to property and safety issues. Your thoughts? (Question from Mary Chadwick on Facebook)
It’s frustrating that we don’t see less of an impact to business and property owners with the funding that the COC and County receive. I believe Step 1 take law enforcement out of the equation of social services. No one signs up to become a cop to chase around the houseless. Have One centralized number citizens and individuals experiencing homelessness can call, there will be a team of social services, probation, and volunteer go out to counsel individuals setting up camp to prevent encampments in the first place. We can’t require people to leave a public place without having a place for people to go - we could create a dorm like shelter in old hotel or apartment building with wrap around case management services in the long run but more urgently we need temporary housing in portable shelters to get people off of the streets. The BOS has not been as proactive as most of us would like to see, we need solutions as new challenges arrive.
While I understand that people get frustrated but homelessness is not a crime. Having no place to store your belongings is not a crime. Most of our homeless individuals (over 80%) identify as local residents so
we need to offer ongoing classes and information for those experiencing potential eviction and to those that are newly housed to make sure we don’t continue to cycle people through the streets. I want to figure out how we reunify people with their families. Anecdotally many people I see I KNOW these are people I went to high school with or have seen for many years, their families said go hit rock bottom and it hasn’t happened. What kind of support to we give to those families so they can care for their human instead of it becoming a community problem.
Camping, shopping cart and littering ordinances need to be consistent throughout municipalities.
It’s imperative that the Continuum of Care function at a high level in order to receive our fare share of the State funding allocation.
The Board of Supervisors is responsible for the funding that goes to various service providers. Everyone must work together to make sure that there are data driven goals and objectives and that those are being met by sub-contractors.
I would like to have a homeless work plan for those that are able to assist with trash clean up, curb painting, and various other tasks.
Every individual experiencing homelessness has a different story and different needs, some are mentally ill, some have substance abuse issues, some aren’t from here and need to be returned to their communities so that they can be closer to their support system. We are a small community with limited resources and it’s important that we have these important conversations in real life so that everyone can be in the same room getting the same information. I am available this Sunday at 11am at 104 N School Street.
I would encourage you to visit the handupnothandoutmendo.com website to read the actual data of how many people are homeless in our community. Before 2017 the numbers were not accurate, there have been many improvements to the way that the Point in Time Count is conducted that have left us with about 645 people homeless in the County on 2019 down from 1200+ in 2017. This is why it’s so important that the data is accurate. We can’t provide solutions to a problem if we can’t set goals and measurable outcomes. I went to a BOS meeting when they were giving out contracts and asked them to consider creating a set of goals and data for the contractors. They looked at me like I was from Mars. Every contract for social services and every internal department should have a clear set of data driven goals. X = of people in to housing X = of people got jobs X = of people did x numbers of community service hours etc
It is undeniable that homelessness is a complicated issue and every individual has different needs but we need to have a community plan, with clear financial responsibilities and an understanding of who is in charge of which task and what are the measurable outcomes the community wants to see. When we know the goals we can figure out what’s working and what’s not and adjust so that we can have greater success. There is another uncomfortable conversation that needs to occur around where to help. It’s easy to drop off a pizza or a sandwich but you aren’t helping that individual get out of homelessness. If they have to go to Plowshares or Building Bridges to get food they also have access to people that can address their medical needs and help find out how to support them through whatever that might be medication, sobriety etc each situation is different. Many well meaning people create challenges to the professionals that are trying to provide support. If you could please donate directly to the organizations that are offering services I believe it will help improve the number of people that are getting services and hopefully having measurable outcomes. We are always going to have some level of homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse but if we have the programs in place that are helping people achieve measurable goals there will be better community outcomes. Again happy to have this conversation offline as well I’ll be in my office on Sunday at 11a 104 N School Street.
I'd like to tell you about the circle of life of housing that used to exist and use myself as an example. 1. You live with your parents until you graduate. 2. Move in to a small affordable apartment. 3. Save to buy your first home (in my case a single wide 2bd 2ba modular in a trailer park) 4. Sell that starter home to buy a nicer home for your expanding family 5. The kids move out you are empty-nesters (ok this part hasn't happened for me yet but follow along) and you down size to a condo or apartment. What happens in this equation is that there is constantly stock being freed up because of the evolution people are taking in home-ownership. Right now we have people that are overqualified for subsidized housing but can't get in to a starter home because they are occupied that would like to upgrade but can't because there isn't enough housing stock for middle market. And what happens when the subsidized or low income housing stock is opened up? we can get people off the streets, out of the shelter, out of tents and in to an apartment. We need new housing of all types so we can see this evolution.
Please give us your intentions having to do with homelessness as well as housing for the working class?
This is where my experience as a council member will be particularly valuable and applicable as the County needs to work closely with the cities to address the regional factors and challenges around homelessness and housing. Regarding homelessness, I support Mendocino County's Continuum of Care approach. As Supervisor, I will work to ensure that our partners have the resources they need to respond to our homeless crisis from mental health and intake services, to temporary shelter, to permanent supportive housing. My relationships with our state legislative team, the League of Cities, and other regional leaders will be invaluable as we seek funding and innovative solutions as the Continuum of Care evolves. To protect our remaining open spaces and agricultural lands, Mendocino needs to focus on city-centered development; dense, walkable neighborhoods; and a robust pedestrian, bicycle, and bus network. Increased density and the County working with the cities to prioritize low, moderate, and affordable housing and breaking down barriers to this kind of development is essential. Subsidized housing helps many in our community, but working people often still struggle because they make too much for subsidized housing but can't afford market rate housing. As Supervisor, I will make addressing the housing needs for students, working people, and seniors a priority. Because cars are Mendocino's biggest GHG producer, the importance of integrating transportation planning and housing can't be overstated. I will look at all policies and projects through the lens of how to make Mendocino carbon-neutral, socially just, and economically sustainable.
What do you think about the possibility of restricting short term visitor housing in favor of long term?
The adoption of local rent control/stabilization or “just cause" eviction policies? Do you support, under any circumstances:
· Prioritize finding a developer for Veterans Housing project like in Windsor
· Housing for women and families
· Housing for our aging and retiring low income residents
How do we have more money for County roads, apply for grants and special funding.
Annexation for Ukiah and Fort Bragg will provide more City funding for the roads outside of the City limits with this and prioritizing the budget we can spread local dollars farther.
We can't rely on SB1 funds as they are likely only to keep existing roads at their current level and not improve them.
Promote Public Transportation and a transportation hub to reduce the affects of daily vehicle trips when alternatives are available.
How do you view the functioning of the present board?
After reading the Grand Jury reports and seeing the Board's response, I was disappointed in the Board's failure to take ownership and responsibility for many of the issues raised. It is the Board's responsibility to set policy that is responsive to the needs of the community and enhances the quality of life of the people of Mendocino County. The County’s mission is to deliver services that address public safety, infrastructure, health, social, cultural, education, transportation, economic, and environmental needs. Instead of setting long term goals and creating plans to meet them, the BOS tends to be reactionary. If essential tasks are not being completed or reports not being turned in, we’re missing the opportunity to measure success or failure of policies. This has resulted in a lack of transparency and erosion of public trust. There also seems to be a tremendous amount of siloing and not wanting to cross district lines. As Supervisor, I will bring my collaborative style and ability to bring stakeholders together from diverse backgrounds and interests to get the job down for not only my district but for the entire county. The BOS should represent everyone in the community and make decisions based on the greater good not only the individuals in their specific district. I plan to work closely with neighboring districts in order to share responsibilities of community engagement, especially with the geographically much larger District 5, which is geographically tied to District 2.
How will you reach out to your constituency to realize your goals? Again, my experience and track record as a councilmember show that I'm engaged, accessible, value, and utilize community input. As Supervisor, I'll continue to use newsletters, editorials, open door meetings, community events and social media to engage and involve our community at all levels.
How have you prepared yourself to serve as a County Supervisor, and what are your most important contributions to your community to-date?
Response: I’ve been the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Main Street Program and on the Ukiah City Council since 2014. I am proud to have served as Ukiah Mayor in 2019. As a City Council member, I have contributed in many important regional and state boards including Past-President of the Redwood Empire Division, Vice-Chair of the Russian River Watershed Association, City Selection Committee, Disaster Council, Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) Board of Directors, Ukiah Unified School District (UUSD) Committee, Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) – Alternate, Mendocino County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) – Alternate, Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) – Alternate
What public administration or leadership experience do you have? Please explain the programs you have developed and implemented for the benefit of the public.
I have been on the Ukiah City Council since 2014, I currently serve as the Mayor.
I am very proud of the work I have done as a Council Member and just a few highlights are the Recycled Water project which brought a $34 million dollar investment in to our community for two purposes one to insure that we have the minimal amount of discharge in to the Russian River and it delivers water to the vineyards and green spaces throughout our community to the East of Hwy 101 using recycled water reduces impacts of water usage during droughts.
Something that seems small to a lot of people but has a valuable return is bringing the Business License Administration back to City Hall. In the past this function was outsourced which really caused a disconnect between the City and the businesses and I’m glad that it is back at City Hall and this was a common complaint from the community.
When the community came to the City and asked that they make a commitment to not spray any glyphosate pesticides in the parks the City agreed and created a Volunteer program where each month volunteers would come and help pull weeds and spread mulch to insure that the parks looked nice and there were not pesticides being sprayed in the park. That is a program that provides youth the opportunity to put in work at a community facility that they use which helps them feel connected to the the community that they live in.
The Ukiah Hometown Heroes banners is a program that works to show the youth of our community that they Military is an optional career path and that we support those members of our community that have gone on to serve our country.
A big reason that I ran for City Council was to bridge the gap of communication between the City and the community. I am proud to have helped create the use of a Projects tab on the website to highlight hot topics and special issues so that the community can stay informed and engaged. Cityofukiah.com/projects
Additionally we have a half cent sales tax measure in the City of Ukiah to repair streets. That’s $3 million dollars per year to be able to repair our failing streets. More importantly than the tax being created is the fact that all of the projects and money spent are kept front and center on the City website on the Streets tab this is very important to our community for transparency of Government spending.
There are more but I will leave it at that for now.
Under what circumstances, if any, do you favor privatizing existing government services?
Sometimes it needs to come down to efficiency and abilities of the organization. I will use the City of Ukiah as an example. When the City started being able to do more projects for the streets with the funding from Measure Y the City Council voted to hire staff that could be used as inspectors for those projects, however the City doesn’t do the work on these large projects, they contract out with larger firms that can complete the project more efficiently. By having locally employed inspectors we find that they have more of a tie to the community and want to see the projects completed to their highest standard, however the City does not have enough staff to do the large construction projects of this nature "in house".
In the event that any public services were to be contracted out, would you support or oppose the requirement that the private contractor would have to offer its employees comparable wages and benefits?
I would support having comparable wages and benefits.
(This question is for candidates who now serve or have held public office) What public services have been privatized while you have been in office and why were they privatized?
Parking ticket collection, I’d like to bring it back in house. It was placed into private enterprise to reduce the perception of favoritism and increase efficiency for the police department clerks that were having to take money for the fines. I don’t believe that contracting out has had an impact and it is detrimental for the community morale to have to work with an out-of-town provider. I’m hoping to have a report brought forward to show whether it has been economically efficient and if there is a way for the front utility staff to accept the payments instead of the police department.
Why are the County’s social services programs understaffed?
A lack of empowerment by the BOS and affordable workforce housing have both contributed to the staffing problems. The lack of affordable county workforce housing is a challenge in every county department. We can't expect those who are currently employed to rally friends and neighbors to come and work for an agency that they are dissatisfied with. The BOS needs to commit to the Continuum of Care, support and empower our staff, and take real steps to address the workforce housing crisis.
How would you rate Mendocino County services? How do you think the services could be improved?
"Needs improvement". It seems to me that employee morale is very low and you’re trying to provide excellent customer service to the community you likely aren't going to get the results you want. We need to take a close look at the technology that our employees are using and how they could have some of their work streamlined. Additionally I feel like we have a gap between leadership and workforce and we need to work to bridge that gap and empower our employees to have more of an impact and a broader role in decision making
What are your thoughts about the current ratio of management employees to service providing employees employed by the County, as it relates to the ability of the County to provide the best services possible to the public?
As with all things it depends on the department and duties. As a general rule I am in support of service employees collaborating and participating in the decision making at all levels and helping to bridge the gap between management and line staff.
The 2019 Grand Jury Report took the Board of Supervisors to task for its perceived subservience to the County CEO and for its failure to insist on transparency and accountability from the CEO. Do you agree with this assessment? What would you do differently as Supervisor?
I am concerned that the BOS is using the CEO as a political scapegoat. During their conversation in a Public Meeting about the Grand Jury report some of them admitted that they were aware of and in support of some high level employees being let go, that simply is not transparent as in the public they would throw up their hands as if it was all the CEO. As far as I'm concerned the Board of Supervisors that means the buck stops there and they are elected to serve the constituents. However I do see that the CEO makes some decisions without public engagement from the BOS . As an example recently on October 22 the board heard an item to purchase a sound system for use at Measure B meetings. When I arrived to attend the meeting for Measure B on October 23 the sound system was already in place. This means that the department had already purchased the system and then put the agenda item on the agenda for October 22 for the board to consider. I don’t believe that this is an approach that leads to transparency of local government dollars being spent. As a Supervisor it would be my expectation that items presented to the Board would be accurately represented for instance the Agenda item could have noted that staff was going to move forward to fill the need of the sound system and wanted to let the BOS know they could pay for it out of Measure B funds or General Funds that framing would not have created a scenario where the CEO's office appears to have been working out of turn.
What was the candidate’s position on approval for $300,000 pay for our city manager, if they were in any position to express an opinion or show support or not? I voted to hire Sage, a local with a family here in Ukiah and a leadership role in the agency instead of hiring someone from outside of our community. The City of Ukiah has a $100 million dollar budget and 221 employees, I don't know if people realize how much responsibility he has and I believe his pay is commensurate with that.. If you look at Transparent California you will see that the City Manager of Ukiah makes about the same as HALF of all the City Managers in California between $250,000-$325,000. Also please make sure you look at the difference in salary and benefits and the retirement liability is also included. https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/search/?q=city+manager Transparent California is also a good place to look at the pay and benefits of all government employees you can search; City, County or job type. Also just so people know the Governor of California also receives, a home, transportation, lots of staff etc that is not included in his "salary". I know that salaries are a touchy subject but its important to me that we do market research to determine who is being paid what and not have an emotional response
How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qYnuV-6Dg&feature=youtu.be
Fiscal analysis should always be a part of the voter initiative process so that voters understand the impact they are placing on themselves as tax payers. If voters mobilize and place an item on the ballot that work should be respected and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors should carry the duty to enforce the law.
Why didn't you use a Union printer for your postcard mailing and business cards? (Phone call)
My campaign is grassroots and low budget. We have been printing most things in house using a donated xerox and paper I bought on clearance. The business cards I've been printing myself on Avery pre-fill business cards. For the mailing that I did I used a local printer that also did mailing. Of course I value Unions but I also value keeping my dollars local and we don't have a Union printer in Mendocino County so I was happy to give Xpress It Mail Service my business during this election.
Do you think the County’s Mobile Outreach Program is working as funded?
The MOPS program is not active in the Ukiah Valley but in the outlying areas of the County. As a Council Member I have not had much experience with MOPS which leads me to say "No, I would like to see much more outreach to those on the streets and families with a loved one in need". There should be one centralized number that is well marketed so that everyone knows who to call. Outreach workers should be the first call and law enforcement only involved when necessary. I want to learn more about how as a County we can implement a system that is easy to use, not redundant and gives patients, their families and the concerned public a resource when someone is having mental health issues. There is more work to be done with this program. ( I have a plan for this now! Since this question was asked)
Whole person wellness and wrap around services should be priorities and the State funding is constantly shifting. What are your solutions? The County needs to be active with service providers to make sure that the appropriate resources are given to clients so they can have success. We need data and measurable outcomes. Without them there is no room for adjustments and improvements.
The Mental Health Treatment Act (Measure B) provides funding through a sales tax to build and staff a psychiatric health facility and a regional behavioral health training facility. These are functions that have previously been done by County employees. Would you support these services being provided and overseen by County employees?
Yes in the case of Measure B mental health funds I believe our community expects transparency and access they want to see their tax dollars at work by the County and not out sourced. Additionally having people that are rooted in our community will set the programs up for success. It will be very important that the community understands expectations and what results they might expect to see to not set programs up for failure with unattainable goals.
Are you aware of the reduction in the County workforce? How do you feel it has affected workers and the services this smaller workforce is able to provide to the public?
Yes I am aware as a former county employee and active community member with many friends that work for the county. At the end of the day service is the counties job and overworked and underpaid employees are likely to not provide excellent service to the community. I often ask employees if they have been asked by their department head how they can improve services to the community most respond that they haven’t even been asked. The employees on the front line know where the inefficiencies are and how to improve them and what positions are needed and what vacancies can be removed to allow for current employees to receive better wages and benefits.
What is your opinion of effectiveness of the $20 million the County spends with the privatized Redwood Quality Management Company for mental health services?
I see that RQMC has stepped in to take over a very failed system under Ortner Management Group, I believe they are working under the same $20 million budget that has been in place for years. I was at the BOS meeting where RQMC provided an update on their data dashboard and that is a step in the right direction. We need regular data and updates to the BOS and the statistics are showing improvements they are serving more patients and I believe we can see a difference on the streets. Leadership must constantly review, revise and adapt to any changes that need to occur. Anecdotally , the service providers in our community are working more collaboratively than I have seen in the last twenty years. Even to the point that they (service providers) are FINALLY getting together and shifting priorities to avoid duplicating services. We are a small community with limited resources and clear goals and objectives, receiving regular updates on data and continued comprehensive planning among service providers is imperative to the success of the mental health dollars that come in to our community.