Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters (September 26, 2023)

* * *



Following the legalization of marijuana, I answer a lot of questions regarding why we are continuing to dedicate resources to the marijuana issues in Mendocino County. Many folks, including myself, hoped the legalization of marijuana would simply end the criminal issues associated with cultivation. Sadly, extremely dangerous behaviors which are associated with the illegal cultivation of marijuana are continuing in our county. 

During the month of August 2023, our deputies participated in several search warrants throughout Mendocino County. Over twenty locations were targeted for illegal cannabis, where serious environmental crimes were suspected of taking place. We worked with partnering agencies including California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California State Parks. We were also assisted by CDFW environmental scientists, California State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Cannabis Control, California Highway Patrol, and the Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis (EPIC).

During these operations, over 70,000 marijuana plants were located and eradicated. Over 9,000 pounds of processed marijuana and 23 guns were seized.

Out of the 20 locations, more than half had highly dangerous pesticides that are banned in the United States due to their toxic potency. All locations had severe environmental impacts, which included: polluting of the waterways, illegal grading, water diversions, dammed creeks, fuel/oil in the creeks, and water pumps diverting water from creeks. Several of these locations had deplorable living conditions with minimal food. One location had a poached deer.

Here are just a few of the very toxic chemicals we found being used in these grows sites. These chemicals are commonly known as, Monitor, Zinc Phosphide, Methyl Parathion, Methamidophos, Carbofuran, and Weevil-Cide. These are all banned in the United States. These recent issues are becoming a pattern.

These items can poison waterways and leave lands uninhabitable. The chemicals used have been described as “a circle of death.” Research has shown a quarter teaspoon can kill a 400-pound bear in minutes, scavengers then feed on the carcass and are also poisoned. This cycle continues until the chemical has killed several times. 

Many of these chemicals were banned from the US markets in 2009 however we are continuing to see them in the illegal grow sites. These chemicals have likely been smuggled from Mexico and South American Countries. 

This is creating a dangerous situation for persons tending the grow sites as well as the law enforcement teams who are investigating and eradicating the sites. As we continue to investigate these grow sites, we have adjusted our tactics in an attempt to keep our personnel safe. Working with the state’s environmental scientists has been a great assistance. I am hopeful state and federal resources may help us get a clear picture of what our next steps will be in the remediation of these locations. 

Sheriff Matt Kendall


* * *



One of the very complicated issues with adults and Serious Mental Illness, is estrangement from family. It is not something that we really talk about with others, unless you are in the club, a parent whose adult child has made you a villain & removed themselves from any relationship with you. Unfortunately, it is an all-too-common occurrence that families endure, and it is an isolating and painful experience. I myself have been estranged from both of my adult children, currently just the older one. Regardless as a parent the grief that comes with estrangement is horrendous.

It is interesting to note that estrangement is something that can be passed down through our families, and definitely a common story in mine. I was abandoned by my own mother for most of my life, I literally did not know her, she deserted her kids when we were young. She also had been rejected by her own mother for a time. I am estranged from 2 of my brothers and I recall my dad many times getting mad at his parents and siblings and not talking to them for long periods of time, but always getting over it at some point. Not a very good track record or example for communicating and working through relationships. Our well-being is directly connected to our relationships and how we communicate within them, with truth and honesty. Estrangement is avoidance of dealing with any uncomfortable feelings and ideas that the person has built up in their head, rather than communicating to understand another, it is easier to stick to a false or delusional belief. If there is no communication the delusional belief stays fixed in place with little chance of it releasing its grip.

As the recipient of many rejections in my life, the most tragic was being shunned by my own children. It is easy to understand a person who has chosen no-contact with a parent if they were victims of neglect and abuse by said parent. When a parent that has never caused harm becomes the victim of hatred and false beliefs because of Serious Mental Illness it is a whole different level of hell and grief. In recent times I have seen a multitude of so called "therapists" and whomever wants to put their dumb ass 2 cents in via social networking videos, make declarations about people "choosing" to be estranged from their families. In essence blaming the parents for causing harm and trauma to these individuals who have decided to retreat from their family unit. It is of course quite generalized, but this kind of peddled crap is harmful to us all. The fact is Serious Mental Illness is a key contributor to family estrangement and there are not any solutions until or if the estrangee decides to reconcile. And they may never come back, or they can cycle in and out of connection and deprivation.

So, what can we do/what should we do? The most important thing to do is allow yourself to feel sad & cry, to be mad, to cuss at it and get it out from the inside. Even with that conscious effort the pain will not completely go away, grief is the gift that keeps on coming. Of course, it always returns when you least expect it, but it's ok, let it out. Recognize that you are not at fault, that there is an issue in the other persons thinking and processing that has nothing to do with you. Love and appreciate yourself for the good parent you were, acknowledge the imperfections they were teachers. Please allow space between you and the other person, I had to learn this the hard way, because I wanted to fix it and make it right because it was so wrong. My need to correct it consumed me, until I realized I was making it worse for myself. I had to step back and allow the distance to take hold and it has remained there for 7 years. Creating that space has not been easy but it's a necessary component to surviving the harrowing grief of being disowned by your adult child. Absolutely seek out therapy if you need professional counseling to process all the emotions that come with estrangement and grief.

Always remember you are not alone!

Mazie Malone


* * *



Money is a symbol, nothing more. It gains value from trading objects made of the planet’s resources. Money doesn’t sustain, nurture or maintain any organism. Nothing will survive by eating, drinking or breathing it. And yet we value the dollar more than the resources that sustain our economy and ecosystem.

The almighty buck is a construct of an ideology, but the capitalist reaction to it replicates a pattern of addiction. More wealth equates to greater gratification, regardless of the consequences.

When climatologists concluded fossil fuel is destroying the planet, the oil and auto companies spontaneously denied years of meticulous research.

Americans believe capitalism is an ally of democracy, but it isn’t. Democracy promises independence. Capitalism thrives on control. Though capitalists aren’t a political party, they have unelected delegates (lobbyists) bidding to protect their practices at the expense of voters.

When the pandemic hit, oil companies lobbied to protect their prices. After the quarantine, oil companies raised prices as if they were recovering from a recession. Since oil prices affect every area of the economy, the cost of living skyrocketed. Yet their stock reports shamelessly bragged record profits. So beforehand, taxpayers protected oil profits, and now consumers are feeding the addicts with their drug of choice.

Tom Fantulin

Fort Bragg

* * *


Dear Editor,

During the Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting Tuesday, Fort Bragg Police Chief Neil Cervenka gave a presentation about the City of Fort Bragg's Care Response Unit (CRU) addressing their homeless, addicted and mental health citizens. 

I was so impressed at their achievements and that this program has been successfully implemented in our County. This is actually solving these problems, not just throwing money at them. Solutions not symptoms was one of their key points. 

This program is being ran by two social service liasons, Hannah and Janet, with the help of Bethany Brewer and several success coaches. The liasons help with keeping track of and getting these citizens to appointments and court dates as well as checking in on them to make sure they are following through on their progress. This follow through is part of what is making this program so successful. Most of those in need won't make appointments or have the ability to keep track of them. There is zero tolerance for encampments. 

The police department has been instrumental in its outreach and referral of vulnerable individuals to CRU. The last two years, the police department has had a 27% decrease in calls for homeless issues and 20% fewer arrests of the homeless. Which in turn, has freed up over a hundred hours of police time so they can focus on actual police work. This has also saved time and money for our Sheriff's Office and jail. 

Bernie Norvell, Mayor of Fort Bragg, stated during public comment, that he wasn't able to get any funding from our state representatives, Wood, McGuire or Huffman to support the program. I spoke with Bernie today, Thursday, and McGuire did reach out to him after the BOS meeting. 

The state, in my opinion, should be enthusiastically supporting this program and making it a model for the entire state. We continue to give more money to these services yet the situation continues to get even worse. 

The CRU requested that the BOS help them to secure more funding, since their funds will be exhausted in June 2024, so they can continue this successful program. The BOS will be assisting with their request. 

This has been such a groundbreaking program that CRU has been contacted by researchers from UCLA wanting to know more about the program. 

I would like to give my sincere appreciation to the Fort Bragg Police Chief and officers, Mayor Norvell and the CRU team for all of their hard work and dedication in making this program a success. This groundbreaking program is the solution that is needed to help our citizens succeed. 

CRU=Bridge from the street to services to wellness!

Warmest Regards,

Carrie Shattuck

Candidate for 1st District Supervisor 




I noticed this man, Michael Langley, in the Catch of the Day line up yesterday. 

I'm assuming this photo I took Wednesday on Talmage Road, Ukiah is the same man? He is in socks in this photo but is generally barefooted even when it's 110 degrees outside. He'll stand next to road, staring, all day. He recently stepped in front of my vehicle as I traveled over the Talmage Road overpass, I called it in as he was obviously having some sort of mental crisis. 

Is this man getting any services from the tens of millions we're spending in this County? Are these services working? The fact that services are voluntary and most of these people in need cannot or will not ask for help perpetuates the never ending cycle. 

The model of Fort Bragg's Care Response Unit (CRU) should be implemented immediately in Ukiah, although the City of Ukiah Police Chief, as I understand, is unwilling to initiate the program. 

* * *



It is so disturbing to find yourself in a crisis due to the Serious Mental Illness of a loved one who is in immediate need of help. Because there is no help.

Or was no help, we do have a mobile crisis unit now, which is one mental health worker and one LE officer. If you are in city limits you call UPD and inform them you need the mobile crisis team for an assessment. In the county same protocol but call the Sheriffs office. You can also call the RCS Crisis line.

UPD- 707-463-6262


Crisis Line- 855-838-0404

I am always skeptical, a byproduct of experience. However, I do hold out hope that things will change. But it takes dedication, education and community.

And part of that education is understanding that Serious Mental Illness, is a brain illness, not a character defect or addiction. It is a debilitating illness that effect moods, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and cognition.

Addiction is a secondary component or co occurring condition very common in Serious Mental Illness. Combined it can be very disastrous even deadly.

The rate of suicide is high, wether accidental or purposeful, it is frightening to think about. Dial 988 for the Suicide/Crisis Lifeline You can also find support groups online or through our local NAMI Mendocino (707) 485-2008.

As families our experiences are valid, and should be acknowledged! It can be a very dark & lonely place, but you are not alone! Stay strong, reach out!

Mazie Malone


* * *



Media reporting of sympathetic personal situations in Sonoma County mobile home parks shows there are financial hardship cases, but these should be handled through normal charity and public welfare channels, not heavier market regulation.

These personal poverty problems will only be temporarily alleviated by regulations that force property owners to subsidize rentals and provide eviction payments. Such short-term fixes will make mobile home parks even more uneconomic and accelerate extinction of this important affordable housing segment.

Politicians claim this will preserve affordable housing. Yes, for a short term, until opportunities arise for mobile park owners to close and repurpose their properties. Ignoring the long-term (not that far away) impact of more stringent regulations will cause further park closures, solidify that new ones will not be built and confirm that overregulation with pro-tenant bias does not preserve but ultimately destroys affordable housing. Census data shows mobile home units for the past 15 years down 8% nationally, with virtually no new supply. Is this preservation? Basic economics usually prevail.

This increasing overregulation burden also impacts the broader market of affordable rental housing. Can we convince our politicians to think about long-term impacts of expedient short-term solutions? Any surprise we have an overall affordable housing shortage?

R.G. Williamson

Santa Rosa

* * *



Lol double take and…

There I was ice cream in hand sitting in my car and a beautiful lady in a SUV is checking me out or just wants to be recognized.

After she gets right next to my passenger window she does an about face go back to her car and moves it five parking spots over. Huh so what changed her mind? Maybe it’s because I’ve been living in my car that was the “tell,” but in a fleeting moment it was fun. 

Sincerely yours,

Greg Crawford 

Fort Bragg 

* * *



United States Senator Barbara Boxer started her political career as a Marin County supervisor and I first met her at a neighbor's coffee klatch when she was rounding up votes for her run at that office. She seemed sincere enough so I told her she had my vote.

Two weeks later I ran into her again at a Beer Fest in downtown Fairfax.

I was sitting with my coffee klatch neighbors drinking beer and a live polka band was just getting warmed up on stage.

Now I'm no dancer--just ask my wife--but the mood was there and Mrs. Boxer and I galloped around the floor together a few times. I'm six feet tall and she's about five feet so probably it wasn't a pretty sight.

But beer has a way of making everything fun and wonderful and CNN and Facebook hadn't been invented yet so there's no proof that it ever happened....

Steve Derwinski


* * *



What kind of person takes the time and makes the effort to pick up and bag their pet’s poop, only to leave it beside the trail they are hiking? Just asking.

Dave Heaney


* * *



As a 76-year-old who occasionally enters his garage and wonders why, can’t find the car after shopping sometimes or remember names, I ponder why America reelects politicians in their 70s. If the minimum age to be president is 35, why are vacuous geezers wandering the halls of Congress in their 80s? How about a maximum age?

Nineteen members of Congress are over 80, and nearly 25% are over 70. Kira Marie Peter-Hansen was recently elected to Parliament in Denmark at age 21, and most EU politicians are under 66 and less experienced, but their parliaments function.

With America’s government unable to pass social needs legislation and balance the budget, it is time to vote in younger talent who will be tasked in surviving these mismanaged affairs and more. They are our future.

Dave Heventhal



  1. Get Real September 26, 2023

    Every time this unelected, appointed sheriff scribbles something to justify his Cannabis enforcement actions I think of all the grape growers getting a free pass for similar or even worse behavior. Plenty of guns, hard drugs, human trafficking, tonnage of herbicide/pesticide/fertilizer, deforestation, land grading, watersheds sucked dry all to be found in mendo vineyards… but that’s all just fine as long as they are growing vast monocrop acreage of wine grapes instead of a couple hoop houses of weed in the yard. County rubber stamps any and all vineyard development, but stymies the mom and pop cannabis farmer by refusing permits. Then the sheriff can go raid the little guys, maybe steal some cash and assets, and claim a victory.

    Wake the hell up! Cannabis growers aren’t the ones who destroyed the Navarro and Russian

    • Lazarus September 26, 2023

      This guy told me that the previous Sheriff and DA told him, we only bust the stupid ones.
      Be well and good luck.

  2. Norm Thurston September 27, 2023

    “What kind of person takes the time and makes the effort to pick up and bag their pet’s poop, only to leave it beside the trail they are hiking?” If I am on the outbound portion of an out-and-back hike, I will leave the bag at the edge of the trail and pick it up on my way back. That way I do not have to carry the bag for the entire hike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *