Next week’s program: an update on CalFire’s work in our area. Following the regular meeting, stay for planning our first Adopt-A-Highway clean up day!
President John Cottle opened today’s meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thought for the Day: “All things change, don’t get caught up in the moment, it will get better.” – Matt O’Halloran
Guests today are: Doug Hammerstrom, from the Fort Bragg Rotary Club. Lauren Sinnott-Hamburg (former Pt Arena mayor) and Dan Hamburg. Roger’s wife Fran joined us today as well.
- Gary: glad that Casino Night is over, and happy that he had a good night at poker.
- Bruce: also glad Casino Night is over, and glad to be part of such a dynamic club!
- John C: preliminary numbers show earnings of about $5000 from Casino Night, and he’s happy about that!
- Tom: Congressman Huffman came to Harvest Market and presented an award for the environmental and social impact of the store! Over $81,000 has been given back to community through the 10-cent bag tokens.
- Matt: has a friend who’s recovering from recent heart attacks… Matt is happy that technology is what it is today.
- Donna: happy to be celebrating two siblings’ birthdays this week.
Wilma is here to give the report in person!! Hooray! She reports that Chatter, Joe and Jerry are all doing better day by day.
- Jody, our President-Elect, reminded us that the District Training Assembly is coming up on March 21 in Ukiah. He encourages everyone to attend, especially next year’s club officers.
- Donna announced that youth services training is available at the District Training Assembly — and it is well worth it! Also, she went to the Interact meeting yesterday and heard the club making its plans for their community, international, and school projects.
- John C. announced that Donna needs to step down as Foundation Secretary. Kevin has volunteered to take on this role. Thanks, Kevin! We also need an events chair for Rotary Park — Ray has volunteered for coordinating outside events, and we still need someone to coordinate Rotary events such as the Easter Egg Hunt… Matt has taken the “head gardener” role for Rotary Park.
- Next Thursday after our regular meeting will be our first Adopt-A-Highway meeting. All those who wish to participate in our first highway clean-up should plan to attend.
Roger introduced Dan Hamburg, our County Supervisor for the 5th District. Instead of a round of Finemaster questions, Roger asked everyone to put $1 into the money pot; this was to allow Dan maximum time to talk to us.
Dan came last to speak with us about 3 years ago. Today he’ll answer 4 questions that were posed to him by Roger. Below are some highlights from Dan’s presentation:
What are the responsibilities of a County Supervisor?
- To hire really good staff. The Board of Supervisors just hired Carmel Angelo for 5 more years as County CEO, and they also have the responsibility to hire a new County Counsel.
- They deal with land use and zoning issues, including the Little River Airport, the use of wind machines in the Anderson Valley, road maintenance, libraries, and other constituent concerns.
- To attend meetings fully prepared to make informed votes. The Board of Supervisor meets twice monthly, and there are multiple subcommittees that meet as well.
- Making appointments to Boards and Commissions is another important role of the Board of Supervisors.
What are your critical concerns?
- Finances. Trying to maintain services and county employee morale while there are salary cuts, worries about pension funding, capital improvements and all the other needs, including the need for a reserve fund. They’ve come a long way in improving County finances in the past 5 years…
- Jobs/economic activity: the manufacturing sector has dropped from about 5000 jobs in the 1990s to about 2000 jobs today in the County. Redevelopment of the Masonite property is a major focus, to try to turn that back into a light manufacturing site.
- Transition to legal marijuana and the environmental impacts of production. Dan believes we’ll likely have legalized marijuana in CA within 3 years or so. Decision-making is needed to determine how Mendocino County will plan for and benefit from this. Legal agriculture (viticulture, etc.) also needs bolstering locally, and is a sector that faces challenges. Timber remains important as well, and has its own set of challenges.
What does the future look like for the county?
Climate change, austerity, a weak economy, and other large scale challenges that face the country and world also challenge our county. The County has about $60 million in discretionary revenue (which is back up to 2008 levels), and have about 300 fewer employees than pre-2008. The arts, the local food movement, sustainability and other strengths give a lot of hope for the future. Look at www.mendovito.com to read about a possible development in the Hopland area for the future (Mendo Vito).
How do YOU make a difference?
Dan has been involved in all levels of the local government since the 1970s. He knows how to get around in government — he doesn’t believe that government can provide all the solutions, but he doesn’t believe it’s the cause of all problems either. Campaign finance is rife with problems… but that’s a topic for another talk. Dan “plays well with others,” but isn’t afraid to tackle tough issues. He wants our county to move ahead with clean and renewable energy, and creative alternative energy programs. “Sonoma Clean Power” or “Marin Clean Energy” are the two examples so far in CA. It’s important for the BOS to function as a unit when hiring key personnel and dealing with the Union, and for Board members to behave respectfully and civilly in public. The current Board does well, in Dan’s opinion.
The problems between the promotional group in the County and the BOS are difficult; the TOT moneys going toward www.visitmendocinocounty.com are well spent, in Dan’s opinion. Some people would like more TOT funds to focus more specifically on lodging. They’re working to resolve the problems here.
They are looking specifically to place relatively non-polluting and sustainable light manufacturing businesses on the old Masonite site. There is one key tenant now. Another manufacturer of gluten-free products is being considered. Several other proposals are out there, too. First they need to find the investors who will put in the infrastructure; this process is ongoing.
One of the big issues with marijuana production, aside from the environmental issues of water use, pollution and energy use, is the dropping price of the crop. The price is about 1/3 what it was about 6 years ago. Is this leading to higher levels of production? That is the common wisdom, says Dan. It’s hard to estimate the full financial impact of this industry, since so much of it is still clandestine.
There was a discussion of what can be done to boost the fishing industry, as each “rod day” is worth $175 in spending in the local economy.
There was discussion of whether redistricting the County’s districts would help ensure that the coast gets its “fair share” of county services. Redistricting could ensure that all districts include some portion of the coast. About 2/3 of the county’s TOT and retail taxes come from the coast.
Today’s Raffle winners: Gary and Wilma, neither of whom drew the joker.