Outing Wendy Roberts – Supervisor Candidate 5th District


From CHUCK HENDERSON
On Local ListServ

[Update: Wendy Roberts Responds, and Chuck Henderson wraps it up below.]

Ms. Roberts,

You make yourself sound so reasonable… and yet:

You accuse your opponents of “rejecting every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

Would you explain this please? Just what possibilities for economic revitalization are the “others” rejecting that you would embrace?

Please be specific...

Are you talking about pouring pesticide on forest land so it can be converted to grapes? (never mind the emaciated fish spawning downstream)

Are you talking about off-shore eyesores and navigation hazards disguised as “green” energy?

Are you talking about increased gravel mining in once-salmon spawning streams?

Are you talking about end-runs around the planning process to sneak in mega-developments like Walmart?

Again…. be specific.

You say we here in the 5th District have elected Supervisors who are:

“heartfelt individuals who lack either the technical expertise or the political will to get our outdated planning documents up to legal snuff”

Just what documents are you talking about?

Are you talking about the Gravel Ordinance component of the General Plan which _industry_ has prevented from coming to completion because they like the “limbo” of no gravel ordinance and reject the rigorous environmental controls we here in the 5th District have been insisting on?

Certainly you can’t blame DeVal and Colfax just because they have represented environmental interests in their pursuit of a decent Gravel Ordinance.

Or is it because you favor the idea of carving up our hillsides to promote the pesticide-dependent (and largely out-of-county and illegal immigrant based) wine industry?

You reject the idea of “swinging [away] from a century of destructive over-harvesting” in our forests to something a little more green (as if the environmentally-minded are some kind of nut cases). But you fail to understand that run-away industry has nearly turned Mendocino into one of its “dead zones.” No fish, no forests, just wine and tourism (and untaxed pot).

We watch in horror the growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico… brought to us by the same mentality that destroyed Mendocino County’s forest industry. The last thing we need is another representative that panders to the short-term interests of the “dead-zone” makers… and that I’m afraid is who you would represent.

Chuck
~

Wendy Responds in Capital Letters:

Ms. Roberts,

You make yourself sound so reasonable… and yet:

You accuse your opponents of “rejecting every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

ACTUALLY, I’VE NEVER SAID ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE THIS ABOUT MY OPPONENTS.  I HAVE SAID THIS ABOUT SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE DEDICATED TO WHAT I SEE AS DESTRUCTIVELY EXTREME POSITIONS.

Would you explain this please. Just what possibilities for economic revitalization are the “others” rejecting that you would embrace?

Please be specific…

Are you talking about pouring pesticide on forest land so it can be converted to grapes?  NO.  I BELIEVE YOU MEAN ‘HERBICIDES,’ BUT IN EITHER CASE THAT IS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, WHETHER IT IS FOR LEGAL OR ILLEGAL CROPS.

Are you talking about increased gravel mining in once-salmon spawning streams? NO.  AND I’VE HEARD OF NO SUCH PROPOSALS.  THE ONLY SPECIFIC GRAVEL MINING I’M AWARE OF RIGHT NOW IS ON AN INDUSTRIAL SITE AND WOULD NOT IMPACT ANY SUCH SALMON SPAWING STREAMS.  I AM INCLINED TO THINK THAT, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, IT IS BETTER TO MINE ESSENTIAL GRAVEL PRODUCTS LOCALLY, KEEPING CAPITAL AND DOLLARS IN THE COUNTY, THAN TO HAUL THESE MATERIALS FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S LOCAL ENVIRONMENT, USING FOSSIL FUEL TO DO SO.  OBVIOUSLY, EVALUATING WHERE TO SITE SUCH PROJECTS IS CRITICAL.  AN ALTERNATIVE IS TO STOP ALL CONSTRUCTION AND ROAD MAINTENANCE. I DON’T SEE THAT AS REALISTIC.

Are you talking about end-runs around the planning process to sneak in mega-developments like Walmart? NO.  (THE ONLY WALMART IN MENDOCINO COUNTY IS IN THE CITY OF UKIAH.) I DID NOT SUPPORT THE USE OF AN INITIATIVE TO DEVELOP THE MASONITE PROPERTY, BECAUSE ALL SUCH PROJECTS NEED TO GO THROUGH A TRANSPARENT PUBLIC PLANNING PROCESS.  I STRONGLY SUPPORT THE COUNTY’S ADOPTION OF A COMMUNITY IMPACT REPORT SIMILAR TO THAT USED IN SONOMA COUNTY (IN ADDITION TO AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT) TO EVALUATE ALL PROPOSED LARGE SCALE DEVELOPMENT.  WE NEED TO KNOW THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF JOBS A PROJECT WILL CREATE, ITS IMPACT ON LOCAL HOUSING AND SERVICES, AND BOTH FAVORABLE AND UNFAVORABLE ECONOMIC IMPACTS.

SOME SPECIFICS INCLUDE: THE PROPOSED MEAT PACKING PLANT.  IT IS STILL AT THE CONCEPTUAL LEVEL AND IS RECEIVING QUITE A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM LOCAL RANCHERS AND THE LOCAL FOOD PEOPLE.  MANY ARE ALSO ASKING FOR A PORTABLE UNIT THAT COULD BE TAKEN TO SMALL FARMS.   OTHER CANDIDATES HAVE ALSO SUPPORTED THIS AT THE CONCEPT LEVEL.  WE’LL NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE TO THE DETAILS, INCLUDING LOCATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS.

I’VE ALSO BEEN ATTENDING MEETINGS OF MENDO FUTURES AND THE BIOMASS PROJECT. BOTH GROUPS ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO DEVELOP A RESTORATION ECONOMY AROUND SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY, LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AND RESTORATION-RELATED TOURISM, INCLUDING ECO-TOURISM, FARM TRAILS PROMOTION AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.

I STRONGLY SUPPORT LEADERSHIP FROM COUNTY GOVERNMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF COUNTY-WIDE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE.  WE NEED IT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION AND DELIVERY OF MEDICAL AND OTHER SERVICES.

THERE ARE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. ADJACENT COUNTIES ARE APPLYING FOR THEM.  AT THE BOS ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION WORKSHOP I ATTENDED ON MONDAY, THE SUPERVISORS WERE URGED TO START DEVELOPING AND SUBMITTING PROPOSALS…AND NO ACTION WAS TAKEN TO MOVE THIS THOUGHT FORWARD.

You say we here in the 5th District have elected Supervisors who are: “heartfelt individuals who lack either the technical expertise or the political will to get our outdated planning documents up to legal snuff”

Just what documents are you talking about?  ALL OF THE CANDIDATES HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM, AS HAVE THE INCUMBENTS.  WE NEED A BOARD THAT WILL STOP RESTATING THE PROBLEM AND GET THIS WORK DONE.

THE UKIAH VALLEY AREA PLAN, LOCAL COASTAL PLAN, MENDOCINO TOWN PLAN AND GUALALA TOWN PLAN ARE ALL MANY YEARS OUT OF DATE AND NO LONGER IN COMPLIANCE WITH CURRENT LAWS.  THE COUNTY GENERAL PLAN WAS UPDATED BUT IMPLEMENTATION CODES HAVE YET TO BE WRITTEN FOR IT OR ANY OF THE OTHER LEGALLY MANDATED PLANNING DOCUMENTS.  THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR, LEGAL PLANNING DOCUMENTS AND PERMIT PROCESSES CREATES GRAVE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP ON PROPERTY OWNERS AND DELAYS OR PREVENTS EFFORTS TO DEVELOP OR EXPAND BUSINESSES AND CREATE JOBS. ONE COASTAL EXAMPLE IS NOYO HARBOR.  IT IS LITERALLY FROZEN IN TIME BECAUSE IT IS CURRENTLY ZONED FISHING VILLAGE.

Are you talking about the Gravel Ordinance component of the General Plan which _industry_ has prevented from coming to completion because they like the “limbo” of no gravel ordinance and reject the rigorous environmental controls we here in the 5th District have been insisting on?

Certainly you can’t blame DeVal and Colfax just because they have represented environmental interests in their pursuit of a… Or is it because you favor the idea of carving up our hillsides to promote the pesticide-dependent (and largely out-of-county and illegal immigrant based) wine industry?

ACTUALLY, GIVEN THAT INCUMBANT POLITICIANS HAVE FAILED TO COMPLETE SUCH ESSENTIAL AND BASIC TASKS OVER A PERIOD OF A COUPLE OF DECADES, I THINK IT IS AN ENTIRELY FAIR QUESTION TO ASK WHETHER REINSTATING THEM IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN A DIFFERENT OUTCOME IN THE NEXT DECADE.

I AM ALSO EXTREMELY CONCERNED THAT WE HAVE A BOARD WITH THE FINANCIAL EXPERTISE AND SENSE OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND REDUCE THE ACCUMULATED DEBT.  IT IS A SIMPLE FACT THAT MUCH OF THIS DEBT IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF FAILED FISCAL OVERSIGHT AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO SPEND WITHIN OUR BUDGET.  WE CAN’T AFFORD TO CONTINUE THIS BEHAVIOR.

You reject the idea of “swinging [away] from a century of destructive over-harvesting” in our forests to something a little more green (as if the environmentally-minded are some kind of nut cases). But you fail to understand that run-away industry has nearly turned Mendocino into one of its “dead zones.” No fish, no forests, just wine and tourism (and untaxed pot).

THIS IS SIMPLY INACCURATE.  I HAVE SPECIFICALLY SUPPORTED ‘SWINGING AWAY.’ WHAT I REJECT IS SWINGING SO FAR IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION THAT WE SIMPLY TRADE AN ENVIRONMENTAL ‘DEAD ZONE’ FOR AN ECONOMIC GHOST TOWN.  NEITHER IS ACCEPTABLE AND NEITHER IS NECESSARY.  WE CAN HAVE A LIVABLE, PROSPEROUS AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE COUNTY AND THERE ARE MANY GOOD PEOPLE WORKING HARD TO CREATE THAT REALITY.

I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THEM AND WITH YOU.

REGARDS,
WR
~

Chuck Returns Volley:

Wendy,

So if we extrapolate your statements into one complete thought? you think there are: “Some individuals who are dedicated to what [you] see as destructively extreme positions” that “[reject] every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

This is the problem Wendy? The pro-corporate (short-term profit, out of county, LP-types) would like to paint folks who I consider really good people, citizens really keen on healthy environmentally sound solutions, as extremists.

Personally I don’t know of anyone in the Mendocino County political milieu that I would paint as extremist. But evidently you’ve got some folks in your mind that have some extreme positions and getting their voices out of the Supervisor’s chamber so you can make changes is a cornerstone of your campaign.

So please tell us who these people are and tell us what their “destructively extreme positions” are.

What I fear, and why I don’t see how I could bring myself to vote for you is that you buy into the notion that passionate environmentalists should be branded “extremists” and they should be excluded from the political process? in fact you believe they are the problem.

You say you don’t want to “trade an environmental ‘dead zone’ for an economic ghost town.”

Who in the hell is talking about policies or ideas that would lead us into that economic ghost town? I’m glad you admit our forests have become a “dead zone.” But our forests aren’t working because of a total lack of enforced forest regulation over the last 100+ years.

Let me tell you a little story? I had the honor to work with the late Mendocino Country resident Dr.
Hans Burkhardt who wrote a wonderful book entitled “Maximizing Forest Productivity” in which he outlined how reasonable forest practices could lead to an endless healthy vibrant forest industry right here in Mendocino County. But the corporate forest owners branded him (and the rest of us supporting regulated forest rules) as “extremists.”

The out-of-state corporate forest owners and their lawyers got their way (thanks to then Governor Wilson) and now we’ve got our “dead zone.” The forests are gone and their logging practices silted up the streams so the fishing industry is gone too. Essentially they killed the goose that would have perpetually laid the golden egg of a healthy forest and a healthy fishing industry? with plenty of good jobs.

So please don’t hang your hat on the extremist label and hope to cleave the dedicated environmental community from the general voting public.

Time is short. Dead zones are appearing all over the globe. We need real honesty making important decisions in that windowless supervisor chamber for the 5th District, not a corporate ideologue dressed in “progressive” clothing.

Chuck
~~

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