Monthly Update June 2022
|Posted on July 26, 2022 at 2:40 PM|
Hi, I’m Mo Mulheren the Second District Supervisor.
Each month the Board members submit a written report that updates the other Board members and the community on the work that we are doing. I would also like to use this as an opportunity to share with you all events I’ve attended as well as other updates from our community. Here is a list of pertinent meetings and links so that you can look at websites or videos and of course reach out if you have additional questions.
6/1/22 The first Wednesday of the month I meet with the City of Ukiah City Manager and the Mayor to discuss issues that affect the 2nd District. In June we discussed the need to improve the services from Mendo Recycle which is a Board that Mayor Brown and I both sit on.
I attended the Library Strategic Planning Meeting. They are trying to plan for the future community needs as well as discussing ways to improve current services. There was a lot of discussion on ways to get the word out about the services that are currently provided.
The Stepping Up Meeting is an initiative to have inmates being release from custody have the best foot forward through mental health, social services and probation coordination. They have been working to develop a one sheet that will provide relevant services to be able to give to inmates when they are released
Every Thursday I host a meeting on Zoom called Coffee and Conversation where folks can come and speak about whatever is on their mind. We had conversations about brush mitigation for cannabis cultivators as well as trash and conversations about homelessness and what’re the County outreach teams are focusing.
MendoRecycle or MSWMA is currently undergoing some challenges. I am on an Ad Hoc of that Board with City of Ukiah Mayor Jim Brown so we met with Interim GM Tom Varga to discuss possible next steps. Attempts to recruit a full time GM have not been successful so we are currently reviewing alternative means of providing the services in a way that will meet community expectations.
This month I completed my last class with CSAC Leadership Institute called Managing Conflict. I’m grateful for the opportunity to gather with Mendo and Lake employees and new Supervisors to receive these trainings.
100 Women Strong is a community group that offers local non-profits the opportunity to share their story and then receive a generous donation. In June the three non-profits that were presented were Building Bridges, United Disaster Services of Northern California and Shanel Valley Academy all very worthy causes. Building Bridges serves our homeless community in Mendocino County. Shanel Valley Academy is the new school in Hopland and this quarters recipient of $11,000 was United Disaster Relief Services which provides support to Mendocino County and beyond during times of hardship related to Fire, flood and other emergencies.
Once a month Supervisor Williams and I have been meeting as the MCAFD to work on Fire services issues regarding funding and communication within the County. Our fire services are under resources and I am happy to provide support. Our June meeting focused on the TOT Contracts and issues regarding permits from Planning and Building that some of our smaller departments are experiencing as well as an upcoming BOS agenda item regarding Ambulance service.
After the Fire meeting I headed to the Mendocino Village to watch the screening of Lady Buds. I actually own several copies of this movie and have already watched it. I really wanted to go and hear panel of speakers and to hear from the audience about how the cannabis industry is going. Several speakers that were featured in the movie talked about how they had to pivot their business and one from Humboldt County discussed using her property for hip camp. Distribution, taxes and of course getting through the permitting process were the other hot topics.
During COVID I started a birthday tradition of doing a food drive for my Birthday which of course I have continued. Here in Ukiah our food bank is able to leverage donations from the grocery stores and a small budget to make the staples go farther. The food drive is focused on gathering other items such as cake mix and frosting and spices to go along with the staples. If you have the means please consider donations to your local food bank.
At the Mendo LAFCO meeting the commission conducted a public hearing on CSA3 and discussed the upcoming budget and work plan. These meetings are held on Zoom and televised on the Mendocino County Video page on YouTube.
I was invited along with Supervisor McGourty to a meeting by Julie Golden about the Great Redwood Trail expansion to Redwood Valley. Two City of Ukiah employees, about a dozen property owners and Supervisor McGourty by telephone also attended. Supervisor McGourty and I both advocated for expansion of the GRT during our campaigns. Effective July 1 the North Coast Railroad Authority Board will officially become the GRTAgency Board. The explanation of the trail will bring much needed tourism dollars to inland Mendocino County and the majority of that proposed expansion is in the 1st District, because the 2nd District section of the trail is complete I will be participating in these discussions to help share the strengths and challenges and try to balance concerns of the property owners with community benefit. Many Redwood Valley and Lake Mendocino Drive residents that k have spoke. To are excited about the opportunity to be able to commute to work safely on the GRT with their eBikes.
On Tuesday I assisted the Sheriffs Office in identifying the abandoned railroad tracks from Brush to Kunzler Ranch Road as a no trespassing zone. The North Coast Railroad Agency did not have a budget to maintain the area for fire safety and security so it has been fenced off until the trail moves forward.
During our Supervisor Meeting we discussed the County budget which has about a $7 million short fall due to a health insurance plan deficit, lower than expected cannabis tax income and the mandated expansion of our County jail.
BOS Budget Hearings continued for a second day. The Board was adamant that Department Heads need to identify the reason for vacant positions over 18 months. I personally am concerned that as one of our County’s largest employers the fact that we have so many unfilled position does not look good to future industries that may want to relocate or expand here. Also if the work is being done without those positions filled then we should pay the employees that are doing the work. I look forward to hearing back about these positions as well as receiving a report about health insurance options. Over the time that Mendocino County has self-funded it’s health insurance plans there have been ups and downs where sometimes there was a large increase in rates and sometimes no increase at all depending on the health needs of our employee members. The inconsistency doesn’t leave the BOS many options when we are relying only on our own pool of employees. I will say that this does or at least should encourage this Board and future Boards to emphasize upstream initiatives to make sure our employees are leading healthy and active lifestyles for themselves, their families and their fellow employees.
Every Thursday I have a meeting called Coffee and Convo. This week the topics hadn’t changed much; we talked about cannabis brush mitigation and the disbandment of the homeless encampment on Brush Street. I sought three quotes for an estimate to clean up that site and the only company to respond was the company that the State uses for clean ups and it was a price tag of $291,000, clearly that’s not something Mendocino County can afford so I will seek alternatives.
During our Monthly Parks Ad Hoc we discussed the upcoming budget, Supervisor McGourty and I were able to get the other Supervisors to agree to have the parks budget be a specific line item, get some funds to clean up some of the tree issues that present a liability to the County and we will continue to work with staff to find revenue streams to facilitate keeping these community open spaces available.
I was invited to the Ukiah Recovery Center for a tour. Ukiah Recovery is an inpatient detox and rehabilitation center for misuse of substances. It’s a closed campus so I appreciated the opportunity to receive an update and take a tour. The last time I was there was during the opening when I was on the City Council so it was nice to see that the maintenance and upkeep are doing well and that the kitchen is still going strong. I personally appreciate the work that URC and the team does, if you or a friend/family member are seeking treatment this is a good local option to research.
HHW&Illegal Dumping -MSWMA conversation with Amber and Howard from DOT to discuss alternative ways to use the Mendo Recycle dollars to clean up illegal dumps and still collect the household hazardous waste. This meeting provides me with a historical perspective from the County side that is important as a member of the ad Hoc with City of Ukiah Mayor Jim Brown.
The people at the Brush Street Encampment were offered one more opportunity to retrieve their possessions under supervision. I met with MCSO and the City of Ukiah on the site during that time to see if the City of Ukiah might be able to help with the clean up for a lot less money.
I spent about 30 minutes on the phone for a Tobacco Survey. The questions were generally about tobacco use impacting my life and the life of those in the community. One thing that I’ve been very vocal about is that we aren’t spending time finding out why kids are using vape or chew etc in the first place. This is that Upstream theory of giving them the tools to handle anxiety and peer pressure before tobacco every plays a role in their lives. We could do a lot better as a community with more resiliency training for our youth.
On Saturday I went to the Mendocino County Museum in Willits for a Reception honoring its founders and showing the current exhibits. Our Museum is a County treasure, please make a commitment to visit once a quarter.
I had a couple of meetings today that were sports related. Supervisor McGourty and I met with some folks that were hoping the County could take over the tennis courts in Redwood Valley. It’s currently under escrow and the County doesn’t have capacity to bring on any other parks facilities.
We also met with a group of people that would like to have a pickle ball court and are looking at a County park or City of Ukiah park to do that. Pickle ball is currently a very popular sport. A project like this would need collaborative support front he jurisdictions as well as community sponsors. I look forward to sharing more information and hosting some community meetings regarding future opportunities for our parks.
I went on Mari Rodin’s radio show re sales tax discussion that the Board of Supervisors is having. Her radio show is called Citizen U on KZYX, we discussed the progress of the Measure B funds in the last year and a half, as well as what the fire and water sales tax funds could potentially be used for.
After the radio show I went to Anderson Valley for the MCAFD Fire Meeting, we discussed amongst the Fire District Board appointees what a potential fire tax revenue stream could mean to their departments. There was good conversation and some negotiation amongst the districts and they came up with a percentage of 40% base funds to each of the 22 fire districts and then 60% divided by population. I am grateful for their work and communication during this process.
Visit Mendocino County is hosting a series of Meet and Greet networking mixers for those in the hospitality industry. Hoteliers, restaurants, breweries, wineries etc were invited to Rivino to discuss how the industry is going and how to move forward after the pandemic. Those that attended were grateful for the marketing support and the opportunity to meet each other to build relationships.
During my Coffee and Conversation this Thursday we talked about how to incentivize and encourage more employability amongst our residents as well as cannabis and homelessness. This is an open meeting every Thursday morning at 7:15a-7:45a
During the pandemic I started a meeting where local leaders and business relationships could meet to discuss their needs; this meeting is called Mendo Business & Government Leaders and I’ve continued to host these meetings as a County Supervisor. Dr Coren discussed that Covid cases are up, hospitalizations remain handleable. Some businesses are going back to masks and there was a request for PH to possibly bring the dashboard back. There were no additional funding announcements besides the grants available through EDFC.
MSMWA FB hazmat will be in Ukiah this month and next month Willits Solid Waste will help it be at the Caspar. DMV Certification of vehicle issue has been resolved thanks to Sally. The team still needs to work on finding replacements for the trucks because of the Air Resources Board CARB Regulations due by the end of year.
I went on a tour of new dispensary on South State Street in Ukiah. This will be the same owner as Mountain Mikes pizza and he is looking for local cultivators to stock in the store. It will be a Cookies dispensary which is a large brand that the owner is hoping to draw tourists with.
I went to the Redwood Valley Fire Board Meeting on Thursday night to discuss the potential tax being discussed by the Board of Supervisors. At this time the RV Fire Department has decided not to move forward with a parcel tax and instead focus on the sales tax instead.
I met with City of Ukiah parks department at the abandoned railroad on Brush Street at 5am along with a clean up team from MCAVN. We worked to get some of the larger items out of the site as well as propane canisters. MCAVN picked up over 7,000 syringes. The environmental damage that this encampment has done is an important community conversation about making sure encampments aren’t allowed to take hold and grow. I have commented many times on social media that the majority of items in the camp were things that people left for free on the sidewalks and I would love to have a community commitment to either donate items or throw things in the trash so they don’t end up in our creeks.
The Workforce Alliance of the North Bay meets quarterly and serves Mendocino, Napa, Lake and Marin Counties. We met to discuss the upcoming budget and hear reports about career services in each county. The CareerPoint center for Mendocino County is located at 2550 North State Street.
Father’s Day was the first Sunday in the Park. I’m happy to be able to be back volunteering for the Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance wine and beer booth
The Great Redwood Trail Agency is hiring staff to be able to run the public meetings and launch next steps for the trail agency. The North Coast Railroad Authority officially changes to the Great Redwood Trail Agency on July 1st, 2022.
At our regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors we recognized our employees that have served between 15-40 years, approved Behavioral Health and Recovery Services contracts for our community specialty mental health services for those that are Medi-Cal eligible.
The MSWMA Board had a Special meeting to discuss the findings of the ad hoc on the search for a new General Manager.
A local citizens group had a meeting about sanctioned homeless encampments at Barra in Redwood Valley. They invited the service providers that manage other encampments and the security of several encampments in Sonoma County. They described the lessons learned from operating these encampments. I attended this meeting to learn what they were sharing about the strengths and challenges. Locally we have a group of our Homeless Continuum of Care that has looked in to encampments in the past but has decided to focus on a housing first model of getting people in to housing.
The Tax Sharing Ad hoc met with the City representatives to discuss possible agreements and next steps between the agencies to evaluate the financial impacts of annexation for our agencies and communities.
The Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability agency met to discuss the upcoming budget, streamflow and groundwater monitoring contracts, and grant opportunities.
On Friday I attended a full day Opioid Summit. This was presented by County Behavioral Health and our partners that serve those with opioid misuse issues. Many of the speakers spoke about harm reduction efforts, catching people upstream, changes with the laws and the need for housing.
As requested by the Board during our 6/21/22 meeting I had a brainstorming session with Gjerde re water funding for our community as it related to my proposal to use a portion of the sunsetting Measure B funds. We were unable to agree on a General Fund funding source that would match the $2 million that would have been brought in if we transitioned that sales tax and asked the voters to approve using it for water.
On Saturday I attended the Mendocino Cannabis Producers Guild Event in Laytonville. I spoke with the cultivators about their concerns with the County permitting system, the amount of taxes that they pay and working with distributors. Some have been able to navigate and work within the systems that they’ve been presented with other have had many hurdles in front of them. I personally am glad that they are continuing their efforts to support the legacy cannabis industry in Mendocino County.
I had a variety of meetings today including a Jail update with Kate Feigin on the new initiatives to reduce recidivism in our jail, a Brush Street Homeless Debriefing with MCSO and the Social Services and Behavioral Health Directors to discuss strengths and challenges of that process, as well as a monthly scheduled check in with Darcie Antle the Interim CEO to go over any concerns that didn’t have an urgent need to be addressed.
I attended a Ukiah Women in Business Planning Meeting. Met with Tom Varga and Ukiah Mayor Jim Brown regarding Tom’s contract with MSWMA. He will continue on in a limited basis while the Board discusses next steps.
No one attended my Coffee and Conversation meeting today but I still hold the space. This is free to anyone to attend and is virtual on Zoom Meeting ID 7079548230 and Password LOCAL707
I attended the RCRC Legislative Call-In session to hear legislative platform updates.
The Trash Pilot Program Ad Hoc regarding the opportunity to provide trash vouchers to those in our community that might income qualify. We are going to receive a report next month of how many residents this would be able to assist.
In 2019 the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors heard from Chris Brokate and Luca Szabo of Clean River Alliance about incorporating a homeless trash program in Ukiah. At the time there was not Board support to move the item forward. In April of 2021, Supervisors Mulheren and Williams sought Board Support to do community outreach and develop a plan. This would be a self-sustaining humanitarian and environmental effort that allows homeless individuals an opportunity to live with more cleanliness and benefits the entire community of Ukiah. The City of Ukiah, and many homeless service providers had previously acknowledged that homeless trash is a problem in our community causing harm to our waterways and environment. Through a coordinated effort it is possible to create a program in which homeless individuals have a known location to leave bagged trash for pick up. Supervisor Mulheren was asked to bring back a report of specific agencies collaborating, a schedule for pick up and an action plan for the Second District to be used as a pilot program that could then be replicated throughout the County.
This report is an update to the Board of Supervisors from Supervisor Mulheren.
I spent much of 2021 trying to coordinate a regular trash clean up schedule with the homeless service providers that were part of the discussion in 2019. Unfortunately, due to covid and personnel shortages they were not able to engage. At the end of the year, I decided to purchase a truck and start the program on my own.
I had a friend help me create a map of known camp locations to have trash staged. The City of Ukiah, County of Mendocino Adopt-A-Road and a private business owner helped supply the trash bags that were used to start the program. The bags were easily identifiable orange trash bags. This was a way to let everyone that was working on the program know that it was trash and not someone’s belongings. Homeless individuals were advised to bag any trash and stage it at the locations on the map and it would be picked up. With support from the City of Ukiah I was able to pick up trash a few times a week. The total that I spent at the transfer station for the six-month pilot was under $500. I also utilized a private dumpster as well as some City of Ukiah dumpsters. The City spent roughly 4 person hrs a week and utilized City dumpsters and the transfer station.
What I want to share about this project is that the majority of people that are living in homeless encampments want to help keep the area clean. I had women that would spend the day gathering trash and bringing it to the staging location. One young man would come and help me load my truck so that I could take it to the transfer station. A really big challenge is that some people that live in encampments are collectors of abandoned items. They will often visit “Free” boxes on the sidewalk and collect those items and take them back to encampment in addition to food and drink packaging I often found shower heads, nightlights, teddy bears etc. I did some outreach to our community to ask if they would be willing to stop putting items out on the sidewalk for free. I didn’t get a positive response; many people think that they are just doing something helpful to their neighbors by leaving these items out. This comes at a huge cost to our community. The one vendor that responded to my request for quotes to clean up the encampment on Brush Street was close to $300,000 a far cry from my transfer station fees and the City crews time.
It is clear to me that having trash staged in a way that it can be regularly picked up doesn’t happen for free, but it is more efficient and less expensive than cleaning up encampments that are disbanded. Through this process I was able to do outreach to our local service providers to talk about the importance of trash collection where we know that people are located. We also discussed the importance of having items returned either for laundering or disposal. What is more complicated are the “Free” boxes or individuals that personally bring items to the encampments. That is an important conversation around the cost of homelessness and the trash in our community.
The County Homeless Outreach Team has been working with the Ukiah Police Department and Mendocino County Sheriffs Office to create a protocol for encampment disbandment of camps with five persons or more, in the meantime I’d like to continue making sure we can get the trash picked up at various locations. Without the help of the City of Ukiah Parks and Streets crews I would not have been able to keep up on disposing of the quantity of trash at the location of the Brush Street encampment, so I’d like to thank them as well as City Manager Sangiacomo for their efforts in helping keep our community clean.
If there are any communities that would like to know more about this program, please email me at [email protected]
Categories: County of Mendocino