The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council met on November 9, 2022, at 5:00 pm in a hybrid live/Zoom meeting at the Redwood Valley Grange. Chair Dolly Riley, Vice-Chair Jini Reyolds, Members Patricia Ris-Yarbrough, Chris Boyd, Alternate Members Marybeth Kelly, and Fran Laughton were present at the meeting. Members Sattie Clark, Adam Gaska, and Treasurer Katrina Frey were absent.
New Brown Act Meeting Rules starting in January 2023
Chair Riley announced that beginning January 2023, for meetings using teleconferencing (Zoom) a quorum of members must be present in person. MAC members are limited to participating via Zoom twice per year. Beginning in 2024 the Zoom meeting link must be posted in the agenda. The RV MAC will add the Zoom link to the agenda beginning in January 2023. Here is a link to the changes to the Brown Act.
Cathy Monroe, a Member of the County Climate Action Advisory Committee, announced that the Board of Supervisors declared a forest state of emergency at the most recent meeting. This may open the possibility for funding. Monroe hopes to acquire funds for cleanup and possible controlled burn at the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, as the trees there are extremely stressed.
Member Patricia Ris-Yarbrough announced that PG&E was sending a representative to inspect the debris left behind from their contractor’s work on her and her neighbor’s properties. At the October MAC meeting, Jeanne Chinn of the Utility Wildfire Working Group gave advice on contacting PG&E to discuss the cleanup of PG&E contractors’ tree-trimming debris.
Community member Gizmo Henderson wanted to know if the MAC had heard from the County Planning and Building Department on the status of the RV Community Action Plan. They had not.
Matt Kendall reported that six newly-hired correctional officers were sworn in on October 31. There are two deputy sheriff’s candidates at the police academy, and two more in the pipeline to be hired. There are still openings for correctional officers, deputies, and dispatchers, so please spread the word to anybody who might be interested. There are a lot of job openings in the county in every department. The Tehama County Sheriff is suspending daytime patrols because of staffing shortages. Thankfully Mendocino County doesn’t have to resort to this.
There have been several horrific traffic accidents recently due to speeding in bad weather. He asks that drivers please slow down. During the past two years of COVID, training for department personnel did not keep pace, and there is a backlog of training needs that he hopes to catch up on soon. Several new patrol cars were purchased to replace aging vehicles.
Member Chris Boyd asked if he could provide any information on the large cannabis bust at an unlicensed grow site on Road E a few weeks ago. Kendall did not have the exact figures off the top of his head but said it was probably over 1,000 plants. Code enforcement officers will levy fines and the case has been turned over to the District Attorney. A lot of illegal cannabis growers are packing up and leaving Mendocino County.
Update from Glenn McGourty, County Supervisor
The County is in labor negotiations with employee unions. Employees are vocal about needing a raise. There is uncertainty about the status of the County’s financials, which is holding up the labor negotiations. As far as water matters, he is in favor of the consolidation of the water districts. The flow rate through the Potter Valley diversion tunnel will be increased to its winter rate. An attendee asked if McGourty thought Lake Mendocino might be filled next summer for recreational purposes. It’s doubtful.
Regarding cannabis, he recently flew over the County and saw many abandoned cannabis grows, which will need to be cleaned up. Chair Riley remarked that the landowners of these sites will be billed for environmental cleanup. Ris-Yarbrough requested that the County take action on the provisional cannabis licenses. Henderson thanked McGourty for suggesting that the County use experts residing within the County rather than hiring so many outside consultants for County projects.
Update from Travis Killmer, County Disaster Recovery and OES
The contract for the emergency sirens is almost finalized and the sirens should be set up soon.
Ris-Yarbrough shared the Letter to Ukiah Daily Journal from Jim Shields, publisher of the Mendocino County Observer and the District Manager of the Laytonville County Water District, regarding the proposed county ordinance for commercial well drilling. McGourty said that there is going to be a meeting on this subject on November 15 at 5:00 pm at Barra Winery. Redwood Valley County Water District Board Member Bree Klotter reported on the Upper Russian River Water Agency’s efforts to consolidate Redwood Valley, Willow, Millview, and Calpella County Water Districts with the City of Ukiah. They finally have a preliminary draft working document to use going forward with the consolidation. Klotter also reported that the Russian River Flood Control District is looking for a source of ag water that they can sell to Redwood Valley next year.
Update on the Redwood Valley School Campus
At the October 13 Ukiah Unified School Board meeting the Redwood Valley campus was declared “exempt surplus,” which means they will try to sell it, first to a government entity, and if no interest, then it will be offered to the general public. Chair Riley drafted a letter to State Senator Mike McGuire requesting that the campus be purchased as a park that could be part of The Great Redwood Trail Agency because the trail will run alongside the campus. Ris-Yarbrough suggested that the letter include an invitation for Agency representatives to join MAC members in a walk around the site. The board approved sending the proposed letter.
RV-Calpella Fire Department Update
Member Boyd, who is also on the Board of the Fire Department, reported that the passage of Measure P should bring in approximately $250,000 per year and this means the Department will not have to cut programs. Two new Board Members were elected: Tony Howard and Stephanie Dunken. There was a third person on the ballot, Shannon Johnson, who was also very qualified. We are lucky to have had three strong candidates running. The new board members will be introduced at the November 10 meeting.
Cannabis Policy Standing Subcommittee Update
Subcommittee Member Ris-Yarbrough reported that the proposed California bill AB 2691 authored by Assembly Member Jim Wood and State Senator Mike McGuire, which would allow small, licensed cultivators to sell cannabis directly to consumers at a limited number of events per year, has been shelved. It will be reconsidered next year. She has been pressing the County for clarification regarding growers who have provisional licenses. Many of the provisional license holders will never be approved for a license, yet they continue to grow and sell cannabis using the provisional license. This is a gray area that needs to be clarified. Ris-Yarbrough is primarily concerned about provisional license holders who are growing where Rural Residential zoning borders Agricultural zoning. McGourty added that many of the provisional license holders are not paying taxes. The County Counsel’s office is reviewing the proposed Cannabis Exclusion Zones.
Development Review Standing Subcommittee
Alternate Member Marybeth Kelly reported that she has not received notice from the Planning and Building Department of any new developments.
Vice-Chair Jini Reynolds reported that the October 30 Trunk or Treat Halloween event was a big success. She thanked the sponsors who generously donated to the event: Ruiz Detail auto detailers $400 gift certificate; North American Organics $400 gift certificate; Redwood Valley Market two $50 gift certificates; La Palapa Restaurant gift certificate. The 4H kids helped with the event and it was gratifying to see the next generation get involved with the Grange. 4H will also help by running Santa’s Workshop and children’s activities at the December 3 craft fair. Reynolds will attend the November 15 National Grange Convention in Sparks, Nevada. The purchase of new communications equipment will wait until after the National Convention. Alternate Member Kelly said the proposed upgrade to a commercial kitchen is waiting for the release of PG&E settlement funds from the October 2017 fire that are allocated to the Grange.
Officers and Members Reports and Announcements.
Ris-Yarbrough commented that the MAC should acknowledge that the land on which we live is recognized as originally belonging to the Native Americans. The best way to celebrate Native American Heritage Month is to educate yourself by speaking with Native American people. Chair Riley contacted Deb Ramirez of the Redwood Valley Little River Band of Pomo Indians and Michael Hunter of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians to invite them to speak at a future MAC meeting. Ramirez may be able to speak in January. Hunter is very busy and may not have a chance until February or March.
The RV MAC Bylaws, approved by MAC members at the previous meeting, are waiting for final approval from the County.
Reynolds reported that there were only two inspectors for the three polling places in Redwood Valley at the November 8 election. She worked a long day at the Sheriff’s Training Center polling place, from 5:45 am to 11 pm. Please consider signing up as a poll worker for future elections.
There is an illegal dump site on Road A. Reynolds would like to organize volunteers to clean it up. Monroe suggested contacting Mendocino Solid Waste Authority for assistance.
Next Meeting is January 11, 2023, 5:00 p.m. at the Redwood Valley Grange, or via Zoom, and is open to all. The MAC will take a break in December.