We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?

A ballot measure aimed at halting the controversial timber harvest practice of poisoning unwanted trees and then leaving them to die and decompose is among three initiatives Mendocino County voters will decide in the June 7 election.

If approved, Measure V would create a county ordinance declaring trees that are killed and left standing for more than 90 days to be a nuisance and fire danger.

Companies conducting such operations would be liable for any damage the practice causes to structures, water sources and telecommunication lines within 1,000 meters of the trees. The ordinance does not state who determines liability.

The ballot measure’s proponents, led by local fire district officials, say the current practice increases the risk and intensity of wildfires, endangering both rural residents and firefighters. They claim the timber industry has left millions of trees standing dead across tens of thousands of acres.

“Measure V protects our residents from indefensible forests,” said Albion-Little River Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ted Williams, who is at the forefront of the ballot effort.

Opponents of the measure include Mendocino Redwood Company, whose forest practices — on land it owns — triggered an outcry from area residents and fire officials alarmed by the massive number of dead trees in the area. Williams estimates 1.5 million trees are being killed annually in Mendocino County forests through the practice, dubbed “hack-and-squirt” for the way the herbicide is applied.

The company did not have an estimate for the number of trees killed annually. But John Andersen, director of forest policy for Mendocino Redwood and its sister company, Humboldt Redwood Co., argued the practice does not significantly increase fire risks and called the proposed ordinance excessive and unnecessary.

He said the practice of removing hardwood trees through poisoning is crucial to restoring forests damaged by past practices — including massive overcutting. Because hardwoods grow quickly, they can prevent sunlight and other resources from reaching conifer trees, whose timber is prized for its higher monetary value.

“That’s what this whole issue is about,” Andersen said.

The Mendocino and Humboldt timber companies have spent almost $200,000 opposing the ballot measure through advertising, social media and mailers, according to Andersen and campaign documents.

The pro-Measure V campaign has spent less than $2,000.

Williams said he’s not concerned about the spending discrepancy because the evidence should be clear to voters that dead trees are a fire hazard.

Another measure on the June ballot would ban social services organizations from operating within Fort Bragg’s historic, central downtown district.

Measure U stems from the conversion of a 123-year-old hotel into offices for a nonprofit agency providing homelessness, mental health and drug rehabilitation services. The Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center also is converting at least five of the historic Old Coast Hotel’s rooms into transitional housing units.

Opponents say it’s the wrong place for such services. They’d previously sued to stop the project but failed to get an injunction. Even after 1,200 area residents signed a petition opposing the hotel as a location for social services, the project moved ahead.

The ballot measure seeks to ban similar operations that were not established before January 2015, prior to the hotel’s conversion to offices.

The third ballot initiative, Measure W, is a first step toward changing Mendocino County from a “general law” county to a charter county.

Complete Bay Area storm coverage



Santa Rosa Junior College

Sonoma State University

Alexander Valley Union (Healdsburg)
Alexander Valley School

Bellevue Union (Santa Rosa)
Bellevue School
Kawana Academy
Meadow View School
Taylor Mountain School

Cloverdale Unified
Cloverdale High
Eagle Creek Community Day School
Jefferson School
Johanna Echols-Hansen Continuation High School
Washington School

Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified (Cotati/Rohnert Park)
El Camino High School
Evergreen Elementary School
Hahn (Marguerite) Elementary School
Lawrence E. Jones Middle School
Monte Visa Elementary School
Page (Thomas) Academy
Rancho Cotate High School
Reed (John)School
Rohnert (Waldo) Intermediate School
Technology High School
Technology Middle School
Phoenix High School

Dunham (Petaluma)
Dunham School

Forestville Union
Forestville School
Forestville Academy

Fort Ross
Fort Ross School

Buena Vista High
Geyserville Elementary
Geyserville Middle
Geyserville High

Gravenstein Union (Sebastopol)
Gravenstein Elementary
Hillcrest Middle
Gravenstein Community Day School

Guerneville School

Harmony Union (Occidental)
Harmony Elementary
Salmon Creek Charter

Healdsburg Unified
Healdsburg Charter School, Fitch Mountain/HES Campuses
Healdsburg Elementary School, Fitch Mountain/HES Campuses
Healdsburg High
Healdsburg Junior High
Marce Becerra Academy

Horicon (Anapolis)
Horicon School

Liberty (Petaluma)
Liberty Primary/Elementary School

Montgomery (Cazadero)
Montgomery Elementary

Monte Rio Union
Monte Rio School

Oak Grove Union (West Santa Rosa/Sebastopol)
Oak Grove Elementary
Willowside Middle

Petaluma City Schools
Live Oak Charter
Penngrove School

All schools

Santa Rosa City Schools
All campuses

Sebastopol Union
Castle Preschool and Afterschool
Brook Haven School
Park Side School
REACH Charter School
Sebastopol Charter

Twin Hills Union (Sebastopol)
Apple Blossom School
Orchard View School
SunRidge School
Twin Hills Middle

Two Rock Union (Petaluma)
Two Rock School

Waugh School District (Petaluma)
Corona Creek School
Meadow School

Westside Union District (Healdsburg)
Westside Union Elementary

West Sonoma County Union High (Forestville/Sebastopol)
Analy High
El Molino High
Laguna High
WSCUHSD Community Day School

Windsor Unified (Windsor)
Brooks Elementary
Cali Calmecac Language Academy
Mattie Washburn Elementary
Windsor Creek Elementary
Windsor High
Windsor Middle
Windsor Oaks Academy
Village Charter School, Santa Rosa

Non-Public Schools
Greenacres School (Sebastopol)
Journey High School (Sebastopol)
New Horizons School (Santa Rosa)
Plumfield Academy (Sebastopol)

Mendocino County
Anderson Valley Unified
Fort Bragg Unified
Leggett Valley including Whale Gulch
Point Arena/Arena Schools

Lake County
Konocti Unified
Kelseyville Unified
Upper Lake Elementary
Upper Lake High
Lakeport Unified
LCOE schools (Hance and Creativity)

Its approval would create a 15-member commission to draft a charter defining the county’s operations and policies. Seventeen candidates on the ballot are seeking a spot on the commission.

The charter they would be charged with drafting would be the subject of a future election.

A California State Association of Counties presentation on charter counties to the Mendocino Board of Supervisors in April showed the powers of a charter county are limited.

They include some say over the election, compensation, terms, removal and salaries of county officers, according to CSAC. Currently, only 14 of California’s 58 counties have charters.

Proponents say a charter would create a more democratic government and allow for creation of a public bank. County officials have said the county already has the authority to create a bank, but doing so would create financial liabilities for the general fund.

Supervisors also voiced concerns about the potential costs of becoming a charter county because any changes to the charter would require another election.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@press democrat.com. On Twitter@MendoReporter

Show Comment