The housing crisis affects a broad sector of Mendocino County. It is not limited to the homelessness we observe in the streets. Public and non-profit social service agencies all attest to the strain that high rents and scarce supplies place on working families. Mendocino County public employee turnover is high in part due to the housing shortage. Our hospitals, schools, and private employers all have difficulty attracting and retaining qualified employees. Our rural fire districts lose volunteers on a regular basis. Our elders are cast aside.
This is a crisis of community. All factors that reduce the housing supply must be considered. We must be creative and courageous in finding resources to fund affordable projects. I will work closely with all groups that are creating solutions. I will network with our elected officials at the local, state and national levels to bring resources to our County.
Mendocino County has been a bulwark against offshore oil drilling. We must maintain our position against any efforts to weaken or remove ocean protections. A healthy ocean is essential for our tourism and fishing industries, Native American cultural practices, and emotional and spiritual well-being. Offshore and onshore oil and natural gas drilling should never be allowed in Mendocino County.
Our forests and rivers are world-renowned treasures. In order to ensure a solid economy and a healthy environment I will work to encourage sustainable, community-based forest practices. Non-toxic methods of forest regeneration are to be encouraged.
Climate change is real and will have a profound effect on our planet. I will partner with our agricultural, ranching, timber and fishing interests to see that all remain robust as the changes arrive. I will collaborate with Caltrans and all pertinent Resource Agencies to see that our low-lying coastal roads and natural habitats are ready for sea rise. Our County is filled with brilliant, activist minds. Working together we will be a part of the movement toward a carbon neutral future for our planet.
The rural nature of the 5th District presents a number of public safety challenges. Law enforcement has considerable ground to cover with low levels of staffing. Our rural Fire Districts face myriad challenges. And we face fire danger from thousands of acres of dead standing timber left behind when timber companies spray herbicides.
Too often our law enforcement officers are stretched thin. I will work closely with local government and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the 5th District gets the law enforcement coverage that it needs. Resources must be found to attract and keep deputies in our County.
Our rural Fire Districts face formidable obstacles in fulfilling their mission to protect the lives and property of their residents. Volunteer Firefighters are the backbone of our communities and deserve our commitment to giving them the resources they deserve. I will advocate that they receive a larger share of County funding to assist them in their goals.
Logging companies continue to spray herbicides on thousands of acres of Mendocino County forests leaving dead standing trees behind. I will advocate that the County enforce Measure V, which has already been passed by the voters and declares these dead trees to be a public nuisance. We have thousands of diseased and dying pines in our coastal area. I will work with landowners and state agencies to remove them from areas where they can impact infrastructure.
A strong local economy will stabilize our tax base and assure that Mendocino County can provide robust mental health services, adequate law enforcement coverage, and healthy staffing levels through all departments. I support a Public Bank that will enable us to keep our money out of corporate hands and allow us greater flexibility to fund local projects.I will work for countywide broadband services to promote greater economic opportunity and ensure good medical and educational access.
Corporate businesses often take resources out of a community. I will always work toward business development that keeps value in our communities and pays good wages. I will work closely with our commercial fishermen and our ranching and agricultural industries to see that these economic sectors have every chance to thrive. Protecting and preserving the environment and natural resources of our beautiful county will ensure robust tourism.
Cannabis has been an economic driver in Mendocino County for decades. As we move into the realm of full legalization we must maintain a competitive position in the emerging legalized marketplace. Mendocino County has been a world leader in cannabis cultivation and innovation. We can take steps to promote and protect the small farmers who have been good community members and local economic participants.
I will work to encourage the County to embrace this new opportunity. Successful cultivators will invigorate our economy, stabilize our tax base, maintain property values, and strengthen our social fabric. I will advocate that County staff work closely with cannabis cultivators in this time of regulatory transition to encourage business development, economic certainty, and environmental protection.