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Letters (April 28, 2021)

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Attn: Dan Gjerde, Ted Williams, John Hasochak, Glenn McGourty, Maureen Mulheren

RE: Cannabis Ordinance Mendocino County

Dear Members of the Board,

How can I express just how grateful I am? As a grape grower that is fairly hands-off, and I have hired a vineyard management company, so I have completely relinquished my responsibility, yet I still reap the big financial benefits, and I couldn’t live this way without the political support of the BOS. I am writing to you from one of my vacation homes in Mexico. Growing grapes for wine has afforded me a very comfortable lifestyle. I just want to say ‘thank you’ for not implementing limiting ordinances on the grapes that I grow, and instead putting strict ordinances on cannabis. If my vineyard had to abide by a fraction of the ordinances the county and state has for cannabis, I wouldn’t be able to thrive as a business or own multiple vacation homes. Cannabis companies can’t even write-off business expenses like I or you can for our lifestyles or businesses. Check out Internal Revenue Code 280E for info about how businesses expenses can’t be tax deducted. This makes cannabis cultivation even more trouble than it’s worth, and I wonder if one must be a masochist to try going legal in Mendocino County. Then the local ordinances add insult to injury. So thank you; I am so comfortable right now as a grape grower in Mendocino County. 

I hope that more restrictions are added to the local cannabis ordinance; listen especially to input from vineyard owners because those are the opinions that matter the most, right? Is that logic? I do find it wildly appropriate for residents without experience in cannabis to speak to the legitimacy of it as an industry. While the entire country is on its way to legalizing recreational cannabis, Mendocino County is still debating if it’s an economic industry. I appreciate the filibuster-mannerisms of the BOS and residents of the county speaking about an industry they don’t know anything about. Some of the residents are complaining from homes on mountain tops and I must say, your views are incredible! The photos of the hoop houses almost look like they’re taken from an eagle’s point of view. Some of you, like me, have the luxury of complaining from our homes that tower over everyone else; even nature. Sometimes I wonder if I’m encroaching on nature myself, but that makes me feel like a hypocrite so I lean into Manifest Destiny, and I feel no personal responsibility about anything! Cannabis is a scapegoat. Please BOS, keep blaming everything on cannabis; it’s a great distraction. 

There is definitely a shortage of liveable wage jobs in Mendocino County and allowing more legal businesses to legitimize could create jobs, but personally I’d rather see Mendocino County become more like Napa; no middle class and a polarity of rich and poor. I mean, the disparity is already existent in Mendocino County, but I think the BOS should deny cannabis as an industry to bring respectable jobs to the county. I really just hope people don’t realize that the worsening economy in Mendocino is related to legalization and more relaxed county ordinances in almost any other county in the state, because the state itself has multitudes of regulations to follow already. By increasing regulation on one agricultural industry, but not another works extremely in my favor.sS again, thank you. Worsening economy exacerbates despair, but that doesn’t affect you or me that much, so why should we care? Sounds like the poor need to pull themselves by their own bootstraps and Mendocino County policies can continue to be influenced by the most affluent instead of the underrepresented. 

People are easy to herd into mob mentality and I really appreciate the herding, and scapegoating and blaming the lack of the county’s resources on cannabis. Blame wildfires, climate change, etc., all on cannabis. It also takes hundreds of gallons of water to yield a single gallon of wine, and sometimes I request to water my vines during the hottest part of the day just because I can without any scrutiny. Waving to you all from my deck overlooking the Gulf. 

Thank you for reading! Cheers. 

Terence Thomasson

Property/Vineyard Owner 

Mendocino County

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To the Editor:

I am sharing my thoughts and experience to bring light to the inadequate response and services in Mental Health Crisis in Mendocino County. Yes, I have had a lot of experience in mental health crisis over the last year. And trust me when I say it is the most awful traumatic and anger inducing nightmare! It is my hope that things will change so that other families do not have to experience this level of BS with our mental health system. The services are there they are inadequate to treat the needs of the people, period. It is infuriating to be told by the RCS Crisis Line they cannot help you when you call and they tell you to call police who then say did you call RCS crisis line? Literally this is a complete lack of responsibility in treating people appropriately in a Mental Health Crisis. So, whose responsibility should it be? There are of course a multitude of ways this could be handled so people aren’t traumatized by the system! Thank God the Mobile Crisis Unit is in the making and it needs to be put in place ASAP. With that being said, a Mobile Crisis Unit is a great tool for helping bridge the gap in services in a crisis but there is so much more that needs to be done!

Given the events that occurred on April 1, 2021 with Mr. Magdaleno and UPD I hope that it brings the community at large to understand that we are desperately in need of a transformation in mental health services and crisis response. Families have no help when someone they love is experiencing paranoia, delusions and psychosis; we have to manage it on our own and when it becomes dangerous we only have the police to rely on in a very volatile situation. You pray that the officers coming to help can manage a mental health situation with care and dignity and avoid any sort of conflict. Luckily for me I have experienced numerous positive interactions with Ukiah’s police officers that I am very grateful for. 

When police have to be called they listen to understand what is occurring even if they cannot intervene. Mental Illness Crisis is a life-threatening situation for the people experiencing it and possibly for those responding to help. This sort of crisis requires understanding, compassion with quick and knowledgeable action. If you are lucky you will not be witness to a loved one’s struggle with psychosis and paranoia and the scary behaviors that can cause a threat to their life or your own. 

I had to have four officers come to my house back in September to help my son — they came with one crisis worker, which was a miracle because after 9 months of this crap that was the first-time crisis came into the field to help! However, it was the police officers who shined in their handling of a very intense mental health crisis. The four officers were respectful, calm and managed the situation with understanding and compassion.

It was executed perfectly. My experience with Ukiah Police Department has been very good, I only had one incident that was unacceptable and infuriating. But if you let go of the anger you then see there is more at play than one entity causing the traumatic events that occur. That incident would not have happened if someone from RCS Crisis would have came to my house and done a mental health assessment. But since they were too busy we got jail instead of psychiatric help because officers did not do a mental health evaluation! 

So, it is a complete system failure since mental health does not respond to crisis calls! When we are blaming the entire police department for conduct based on something we witnessed via the internet but have no actual knowledge of, are we helping or making things worse? We really need to stop with our opinions and try to understand the whole picture, things are not always as they seem. Then ask the right questions to the right people, you know the ones making the rules and decisions! 

We have a police department that is really good and the Chief of Police has integrity he does the right thing, he shows up, he stands up and is accountable and transparent! That is a blessing which means we can move forward. If you are bothered by the inadequate response to mental health crisis, then speak up; do not anger or blame. Trust me, I have done my share of that. My point is don’t judge. Let’s work to understand and advocate for change, ask the right questions and fix the system. Families like mine need to speak up and demand adequate treatment! You cannot fight against change you must work with it, understand it, mold it, evolve it into a live working system!

In the case of what occurred with Mr. Magdaleno, I am disturbed more at the system as a whole than what transpired that day. If you are going to speak up against a certain condition or response to something you cannot use the same action that causes the condition. Such as violence. You are not solving violence when you react with violence! The problem is most people do not realize the violent nature of the words they speak, words are the propeller of action! 

Access to medications and proper support from service providers could have prevented the whole ordeal with Mr. Magdaleno’s mental crisis. It is of vital importance to look at and understand the bigger picture. We can all react with anger and opinions but that is not solving the fundamental problems in these mental health crisis situations. We need a direct approach to prevention and intervention that does not require police to be the service providers for mental health crisis issues. 

Prevention begins with building relationships, that should be the goal of the mental health providers, they need to build trust with patients and their families, they leave families out due to HIPAA, but families are the lifeline, if you are lucky enough to have one. The mobile crisis unit is a great concept and I am all for it. Families need to be able to get help, appropriate dignified help. Hopefully we can make that a great resource and not just a band aid to cover the wounds; they are deep. I would love to see the mobile crisis unit provide a family advocate to do the necessary follow up so that connection to services is made and hopefully maintained.

Mazie Malone


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After all is said and done

Black lives do matter

Jim Luther


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