With Hwy 1 Closed for Nearly 100 Days, Local Businesswoman Writes Open Letter on Hardship to Locals


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An open letter to Dan Gjerde our invisible Mendocino County Supervisor.

I am remiss to complain as I love where we live, however there comes a time when enough is enough when our local government does not represent us and instead chooses to ignore our community as a whole while we deal with a road closure that is affecting the economy of every single business in this community. Since January 11th route 1 has been closed. Today marks day 98 of closure. 98 days… Nothing about that number is acceptable.

We understand the complexities of the road issues, as a heavy equipment operator with the Local 3 my husband has worked on several of the larger slides in the area caused by winter storms. There is absolutely no reason that route 1 could not have been opened at some point at least during daylight hours with flaggers. My husband has been to the slide sites as he serves as a Commissioner with the Leggett Valley Fire Protection District. Emergency calls to the other side of the slides must be served by the Westport Volunteers, a response time of 20 minutes to Hales Grove has now become an hour due to these closures. These minutes mean the difference between life and death in the event of an emergency.

Are you aware Supervisor Gjerde that we also have school students who although they only live 10 minutes from school must now go all the way to Branscomb road and over to the 101 to get to school? A partial opening would have alleviated these two issues, as well as allowing the tourists and travelers to complete their journey on the Coast Highway. Leggett is the first place they arrive at when completing that memorable drive, they stop at our store, they fuel up at the local gas station, and they venture on the The Drive Thru Tree Park all creating revenue for our community and county.

Furthermore those heading to the coast stop in and grab their fishing licenses from us as they head to the coast to enjoy a recreational day on the ocean. We have a minimum sales quota we are required to meet to be able to offer Fish and Game licenses to our customers at no additional cost to us, and this quota is now impacted jeopardizing our ability to offer this service, something we have been proud to offer for the first time in our rural area.

I awoke yesterday to the closure of Highway 101 due to the slide at Bridges Creek. What really has me at my breaking point at this latest road closure is that the South Leggett off ramp is staffed by a State Caltrans worker who is not only turning people around but isn’t even letting non local traffic into town! If people need gas he is telling them to head back to Laytonville. My business, the Leggett Valley Mercantile as well as the world famous Drive Thru Tree Park and our local gas station are essentially ghost towns right now.

When is enough enough? The tourist season is upon us, we cannot further shoulder the economic burden that 98 days of closure has caused. My husband is a current employee of Anderson Logging out of Fort Bragg, his commute now takes him over Branscomb Road or Highway 20, I wonder how the logging community will tolerate this closure as those trucks rely on route 1 to get to their logs to the mills north. I’ve emailed you, to no avail, so maybe you will see this, and maybe you will let the business owning constituents of Leggett know that we are more than just invisible property tax payers lining the county coffers and getting nothing in return, because that is what we get from the county up here, outside of a once a month visit from the Bookmobile we receive nothing from our county, NOTHING!

98 days Supervisor Gjerde, we deserve better.

Scott and Melissa Rosenthal.

  • Laytonville Rock
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37 comments

  • Well said Melissa, best wishes for a positive outcome for everyone.

  • nice letter but it is not a County Issue to deal with. It is the sole responsbility of the State as they are state highways….

    • Local representatives have a great deal of influence with State representatives. For Gjerde to not even acknowledge receipt of a constituent email is inexcusable. If one’s county supervisor won’t communicate with those affected by the roads being closed, what’s a person supposed to do?

      I would remember this lack of communication, lack of empathy and inaction when the next election rolls around. Meanwhile, I’d be raising holy hell with Gjerde and the other supervisors.

      • Dan Gjerde, Mendocino County Supervisor, District Four

        Proof — It was only yesterday, Monday, that Melissa contacted me. While in a meeting, just 90 minutes after she sent her email, I wrote to a representative of CalTrans in Eureka, including her comments. He wrote back an hour later and I thought I forwarded the correspondence to Melissa from my phone. Unfortunately, my phone did not forward the emails. My mistake. This morning she left a message for me and we now have spoken on the phone. I have also spoken with a representative from CalTrans. Tomorrow I hope to speak with district field representatives of State Assembly Member Jim Wood and State Senator Mike McGuire, and urge them to do what they can to have CalTrans move as quickly as possible on the State Highway repairs of Highway One and Highway 101. That said, CalTrans is saying both slides are vulnerable to more movement with additional rainfall. Here are photos CalTrans posted on Facebook of the Highway 1 slide back in March: https://www.facebook.com/CaltransD1/posts/1427818330592773

    • I support road closures. Let nature have her say. LOVE her. Tourist dollars ain’t worth the filth.

      Speaking from Wildwood, filth. help! buy bonds. not a junki., yet..

  • Stephanie Jenkins

    Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Rosenthal. You’re barking up the wrong tree. This is a State/Cal Trans issue, not a County/Supervisors issue. That aside, Cal Trans is required to put public and worker safety above everything else including community financial hardship. Cal Trans doesn’t take highway closures lightly. They don’t just keep highways closed for no good reason. The fact is, that slide is unstable and unpredictable with the possibility of turning deadly. It’s not worth the risk. I’m sorry for the hardships it’s causing but human life is priceless.

  • The slide continues to move. It is unsettled. Volatile. Say someone is killed after Caltrans opens it up. Saying they had to open it because it was too much of an inconvenience and hardship for the local community would be no defense whatsoever.

    • So now we know that if a slide is considered active , the road below it is impassable, so wasn’t confusion hill active for years and I just drove through, the slab was active for years and I just drove through, Carl’s slide was active for years and I just drove through, so when did everything change , did I miss this legislation or is it just a bunch of bureaucracy bs, fire some caltrans management and get something done ,or just plan scrap caltrans and contract everything

      • On 101 a by-pass bridge was built just west of (and a few hundred feet up) for the Confusion Hill slide area. The old 101 is closed north of Confusion Hill. From said bridge you can see that slide area has slid all over that old road.

  • Huffman cheerfully scores for the globalist agenda yet again. Will Brown give him another raise?
    Your representative is responsible for funding and defunding any and all issues. Roads, infrastructure is his number 1 constitutional authority, not land grabbing and campaigning.
    All need to call him every day until he gets off his arrogant arse.
    Enough is enough!

    Wake up northcoast. No hospitals, gas hikes, unpassable roads, the long planned agenda people laughed at, … get a clue. Tell your reps you’ve had it.
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-car-future-real-estate-20170405-story.html

  • Our governor does not control the salary of our U.S. Congressman. Our state representatives are Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood. Get a clue.

  • Gjerde , what can we say about this guy……. want to be fort bragger just doesn’t fit into our local system. Have not herd or seen one good thing this guy has done for our community.

    • Dan Gjerde, Mendocino County Supervisor, District Four

      Ozzy — In just four years I’ve helped with several issues of importance to Leggett, Piercy and Whale Gulch. To start, I was one of two supervisors who worked with the fire departments to ensure, for the first time, that the County of Mendocino shares some of its public safety sales tax dollars with all of the fire departments in the County, including the Leggett and Piercy and Whale Gulch fire departments. I’m also working to help the departments find additional funding, and expect last November’s voter-approved cannabis business tax revenues will enable to County of Mendocino to provide additional funding to all of the fire departments in the county. Also, at my urging, County supervisors have allocated record amounts of local tax dollars to the maintenance of County roads. This year, supervisors allocated $4 million above previous levels.

  • I don’t think the man at the road closure is turning people away from town. If the tourist ask about gas, the Tree, etc I don’t think he is telling them they are closed.

  • Kelley Automotive

    Due to the slide on 101, Ghilotti construction is turning people around at the 271 overpass and is effectively driving away all potential customers from Leggett businesses. Instead of placing roadblocks where they’ve been placed during every road closure in recent memory they’ve devised a new system which bottlenecks local traffic and keeps people from freely driving through Leggett. The closure has been done so poorly in fact that today was the first day in 19 years of business that my shop did not have a single customer come in.

    • Dan Gjerde, Mendocino County Supervisor, District Four

      A representative of CalTrans said this evening they recognized this was creating a hardship for businesses and that they would be relocating the traffic control location to Highway 101 and Highway 1, which should detour drivers through downtown Leggett. I urged them to have Ghilotti’s folks allow folks to drive as far north as Standish Hickey and the Peg House, but I’m not sure if they will do that. The CalTrans representative said they were concerned drivers might drive further north, to the slide area.

  • Ghilotti moved turnaround to Peg House this afternoon.
    Much improved from zero customers to a few.
    I feel bad for motorist not getting message at hwy 20 East and turning back for 70 mile backtrack.

  • Thinking allowed

    It is nice to see the power of people powered media to help in the current absence of attention by government and larger media. Without this site would attention have been paid?

  • Thanks to RBB !

  • Dan Gjerde, Mendocino County Supervisor, District Four

    This website is informative, and I’m now subscribing to it.
    On this issue, however, all of my emails and phone calls with Melissa, CalTrans and another Leggett resident took place before I was aware Melissa wrote an “open letter” to me on social media, or that it was posted on this website. I only ran across the social media content after leaving the office last night, when I logged onto my personal computer.
    For anyone who wants to reach me, here is my direct County number: 707-234-6046. Please leave your name and return phone number, if we don’t connect right then. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
    For email correspondence, the County advises I direct people to this link. Please include your own email and name. Thank you. http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/cgi-bin/feedback.pl?department=1&page=/bos/district4.htm

  • Jorge Cervantes

    Third world counties! Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the nation.

  • I would say Mr. Gjerde responded as quickly as was feasible, and from what I have read through the timeline of the comments, things were resolved as quickly and as positively as possible. Would the outcome have been the same, if the open letter hadn’t been written? I can’t answer that for sure, but I would suggest that the open letter helped if simply because more people who are very local to the issue, were able to comment on details of the situation that helped it get addressed in a seemingly more detailed manner.
    It would be nice if companies who are ‘sub contracting’ our road work and are from out of the area, would take a little time to LEARN the area and make more informed decisions based on how the local communities really rely on the roads that remain functioning.
    People do like to drive up to Leggett for instance, JUST to see the drive through tree 😉

  • I’m sure the Bullet Train isn’t lacking for funds.

  • Ya thanks cuz the prices at the merc are already pretty steep and they seem to be going up I guess supply and demand but geez. Gjerde you mind getting on that? Many blessings 😉

  • The government’s compelling interest in your healthcare, gives them the power (albeit, stolen power), to mandate what’s good for you.
    Roads not passable? Cycling is healthier for you. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/study-shows-that-cycling-to-work-could-cut-risk-of-cancer-by-45-percent.html
    After every junk science study, comes a mandate. Prepare.

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