Sunday, January 29, 2023

Mendocino County’s Public Record Fees Are ‘Wage Warfare’ on Local Residents—Letter to the Editor


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Hello, my name is Annelise Beck, Willits resident.

I read about your intent to charge for public records sometime in the future. The article made many points regarding the various Mendocino news media across the county and the issues they may face. The outlining they described does raise many red flags and frankly sounded like it would be illegal, or should be. Historically, state ran media rarely leads to anything good. 

This public records “fee” will have an effect on the common citizen though as well. I, as well as MANY other residents in our county, have a hard time getting by as it is. I work hard and get by. I watch our tax dollars get spent and mismanaged. It’s disappointing honestly. I love this county. I grew up here and chose to stay. Did the Mendocino college route and got myself a career in Ukiah. I keep up with the news and I’m tired of what I read. What do those employees who were “generating mailing lists to sell products” even have to do with us? We shouldn’t have to pay for those employees messing up, that doesn’t even make sense. Just fire them?? Or outline some other plan of action you can take. Anyways, them selling us stuff and advertising and that isn’t new at all. Everyone gets spam calls and things, they actually have a spam warning now. These people can find email addresses and whatever they need without public records anyway. I can see charging people out of the county, I guess that makes sense if you’re really so worried about it. 

What it really seems like to me is that you’re attempting to seriously limit what people can and can’t know in this county through some type of “wage warfare” for lack of better terminology. Historically, this hasn’t led to anything good either. Mr. Haschak was a history teacher at my high school, I’m sure he could elaborate. That’s partly why I voted for him! So he could make these connections and help stop others from doing dumb stuff, exactly like this public records fee. The people, different news media, and other various groups in our county need the ability to receive whatever information they need, especially after the “Carmel Angelo ” debacle has come to light. I have to wonder if someone used to public records to figure that out. The timing is quite suspicious. Not even just that though, all kinds of information. That’s ours, the PUBLIC. Our tax dollars pay for those records and we shouldn’t have to pay again. That’s just insane. I hope the board strongly reconsiders this plan. I don’t even know what kinds of consequences this will cause but it can’t be good for anyone.

Anna Beck, small business manager



  1. Ann Beck makes some excellent points. As a senior who pays about 25% of my annual income on property taxes, this proposal to charge the public to access public information after the BOS spent $350K on remodeling their offices is outrageous. Charging additional money to access public information is a financial assault against the already overtaxed. It’s literally taxation without representation. Stop it.

  2. Could this effort to inhibit public access to records have anything to do with Mendocino County’s three sets of books that don’t balance and no one can account for why? Or does it have to do with elections? For example, how did Mendocino County post online 100% of state ballot issues by the day after the election, but weeks later we saw an article featuring stacks of unopened ballots still waiting to be counted? Does BOS inhibiting access by levying fees on public records suggest complicity? How were the COVID funds spent? So many questions. Follow the money….oh wait….no one can…..and furthermore it’s gonna be very expensive it you try.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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