Measure V: Arguments For & Against
by AVA News Service, March 23, 2016
Argument in Favor of Measure V
Citizens of our county have the right to protect their environment through self-governance. The timber industry has killed and left millions of trees standing dead over tens of thousands of acres with no end in sight. Industry has failed to self-regulate in the face of an unprecedented drought, burdening the people with unreasonable financial and health hazards. Dead trees can and do cause great bodily harm, including death.
Voting YES on Measure V:
- Safeguards residents from the dangerous industrial practice of intentionally killing and leaving dead standing trees.
- Declares this radical practice a PUBLIC NUISANCE and restores corporate accountability.
- Protects emergency escape routes and critical infrastructure.
- Puts the safety of people ahead of corporate profit.
- Protects firefighters, many of them volunteers, from unnecessary manufactured perils.
- Demands honest forest management, requiring project clean up by disallowing manmade hazards from littering the landscape.
- Shifts financial burden from the people to the timberland owner/operator.
- Provides an exemption for wildlife habitat.
- Mitigates a controllable hazard from compounding with projected and unknown fire impacts of climate change.
- Asserts the right of citizens to establish a reasonable standard, where regulators have favored corporate profit over public safety.
State regulators and elected officials have been slow and lax in responding to the concerns of citizens, choosing to protect the bottom-line interests of the largest corporations. Last fall, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency over what he called California’s “worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history,” yet the largest timber company in Mendocino County continued to “hack and squirt” without regard to its impacts to residents and firefighters. Instead of pausing, the timber industry attempted to influence public policy by urging citizens NOT to sign the petitions that would put this measure on the ballot.
Yes on V!
–Ted Williams, Fire Chief, Albion Little River Fire Protection District
–James Sibbet, Firefighter, Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept.
–Mike Coltan, Firefighter, Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept.
–Kirk van Patten, CalFire Air Attack Captain, ret.
–Katy M. Tahja, Librarian, ret.
Argument Opposing Measure V
This Measure interferes with everyone's ability to manage their private land in Mendocino County including healthy forest restoration. The measure touches nearly every acre of land in Mendocino County under the guise of "fire safety." In reality it overreaches effective, existing regulations and laws in pursuit of stopping the restoration of forests in our county.
In most redwood forests, tan oak is a minor player competing for light and nutrients. The forest Mendocino Redwood Company acquired in 1998 was overharvested, resulting in an unnaturally tan oak dominated forest. Our restoration efforts are ongoing and began 17 years ago. More than one million tan oaks have been treated, allowing the growth of more than 14 million redwood and Douglas fir trees.
Treating tan oak is crucial to restoration of County forestland. A scientific, sensible and safe way to bring balance to our forest is to treat tan oak selectively, by hand, carefully, literally tree by tree. Forests are regulated by seven state and federal agencies. MRC's management practices have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for 15 consecutive years. Fire risk is complex. The stated reason for the measure "to lower fire risk" is unsupported by the evidence in treated tan oak stands of the 2008 Mendocino Lightning Fire Complex and subsequent wildland fires. In contrast, fire resilience in treated stands and the addition of millions of fire resistant redwood trees to the forest is well documented.
MRC is a local business employing over 200 county residents including myself. We work daily as stewards of the land and the company is transparent in its operations; each year we take hundreds of people to whatever part of our forest they choose to see for themselves. There is a better way than more regulations, laws and restrictions. Vote no on Measure V.
–Jesse D. Weaver, registered voter