Tom Allman and Estelle Fennell–A Newsy Tuesday at SoHum's Rotary

Incidentally, if you get invited to the Garberville Rotary luncheon, Go.  Not only is the food fantastic (catered by Amelia’s) but I found a plethora of juicy news.

First, Estelle Fennell, former KMUD news director and HumCPR executive  director, announced that she is formally going to announce her campaign for 2nd District Supervisor (that’s SoHum up to Fortuna roughly) this Thursday in Fortuna at 11:45 and then later that day at 5pm she’ll be at the Garberville Square for her southern kickoff event. [see below the fold for her announcement. Read the comments at Heraldo’s for a broad sense of how Humboldt is looking at the race early on.]

Second, Tom Allman, Mendocino County Sheriff spoke on a variety of subjects.  Of particular interest to me was the fact that most people arrested in Full Court Press were non-hispanic which seems to run counter to the Mexican Mafia in the National Forest story we have heard so much of. Tom gave a great deal of information.  For ease of use, I’ve just grouped them by subject and bolded the title.  I suggest at least skimming the various items though as there is a lot of valuable information.  Assembly Bill 109 has some potentially earthshaking effects on Humboldt and Mendocino County.

Operation Full Court Press: Allman describes this operation as a six county multi-agency mission into the Mendocino National Forest to reclaim public land for the public. He asked, “Are public lands public or have they been turned into private lands because the rest of us are too afraid to go there?” He hopes this operation helps return the lands back over to public use. Full Court Press resulted in the arrests of 152 people.  There have been 17 indictments (probably not coincidentally almost all indicted were illegal aliens.)  For the most part though, Allman said, those arrested were white Caucasians.

Allman is concerned about the environmental consequences of illegal grows in the Mendocino National Forest. Eleven dams were removed from the headwaters of rivers at a time when he would like to see steelhead runs return to the river near Covelo. Over 40 miles of black plastic pipes were hauled out.  There were 125 encampments removed with their piles of trash and support systems for the growers–everything from kitchen sinks to garbage pits. Because some areas were designated wilderness, no vehicles or even helicopters could come in to remove the trash. Then volunteers (over 40 people) had to hike it out on their backs.  And he promises that next year, a similar operation will again take place.

Assembly Bill 109: AB 109 goes into effect Oct 1st.  Then Allman says the “paradigm of the county jail will change.”  Parole violators who would have gone back to state prison will now go to county jails. Surprisingly, Allman isn’t against the change even though he says that Mendocino County currently spends “$92.10 per inmate per day” and they will only be reimbursed by the state around $66.  He appears to look forward to a chance to turn around a convict’s life.  He says that there is around 70% recidivism for those released from state prisons while county jails have only 40%.  He touts programs in Mendocino Co. that help inmates return to civilian life. However, he does have concerns.  For one thing, he worries that the 500 felonies that allow a convict to go to county jails aren’t consistent. For instance, he points out the fact that someone arrested for manufacturing meth would go to a county jail but a person convicted of selling horse meat would go to state prison.  He also worries that counties like Humboldt and Mendocino that rely on Con Camps for fire and flood control as well as trash pickup would suffer as those programs would likely see large reductions. He added later that non-profits may benefit from this bill as judges may sentence more people to help out as part or all of their punishments.  This, he believes, is good for the community and good for the criminal who therefore might learn useful skills and build ties that help keep him or her on a solid footing.

The Aaron Bassler Hunt: “for the most part local government” is dealing.  If this was a fire, though, Allman points out, there would have been engines from all over the state here to help.  As it is, much of the cost falls to his dept.  He is grateful for the 30 Marshals helping out in the search.

On prisoner treatment: “If you treat someone like an animal, they are going to act like an animal.”  That is why, Allman says, that he tries to treat each person in the county jail like they are “someone’s son or daughter.”

Estelle’s press release:

Estelle Fennell, Redway resident and former HumCPR Executive Director, will formally announce her campaign for Second District Supervisor on Thursday September 22nd.

Estelle, who has received numerous awards in recognition of her decades-long service to her community, has a proven track record of doing the hard work and making the tough choices required of a good leader.  Her strong desire to help has benefitted residents throughout the district and beyond during times of emergency and natural disaster and has helped it through the numerous challenges that can face a rural county like Humboldt. She has been a tireless, strong leader fighting for our rights at the county level.

Estelle decided to run because she cares deeply about the 2nd District and is concerned that our current Supervisor has not effectively addressed the many larger issues facing the 2nd District much less the day-to-day issues/concerns brought forward by his constituents.

“Again and again, from Fortuna to Garberville and everywhere in between, countless Second District residents have told me that they do not feel well served at the County level. They are genuinely concerned that the current Supervisor is not a strong enough representative for these challenging times,” she said. “The Second District deserves better, Humboldt County deserves better.”

Longtime local rancher Joe Russ also thinks it’s time for a change; “We need a Supervisor who is willing to take a stand for our community. I am very confident that Estelle is up to the task.”

Karyn Lee-Thomas, owner of Redway based Signature Coffee Company who has known Estelle for years, remarked, “I can not think of anyone that would be more fair, open-minded and dedicated. I can only envision a positive change for the entire county with Estelle as our Supervisor.

During her announcement Estelle will lay out her priorities as Supervisor and how important it is to have a strong and effective leader given the critical issues facing the 2nd District and Humboldt County as a whole.

Estelle will kick off her campaign at 11:45 AM this Thursday, September 22nd at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Fortuna. Later on Thursday residents of the Garberville Redway area will have a chance to meet the candidate at her Southern Kick-off event in the Garberville Town Square beginning at 5:00 p.m.

[Estelle currently serves on several Board of Directors including: the Briceland Volunteer Fire Department, the Healy Senior Center, the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Preservation Society and the Mainstream Media Project. She is also a Southern Humboldt representative on the KEET Community Advisory Board and is a Co-Administrator of SoHum Awareness (a web-based community safety service) as well as former News Director of KMUD (1990 – 2007)]

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Estelle’s photo from her Facebook page. Allman’s photo taken by me about a mouth ago at the Gaia festival.

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7 comments

  • Very interesting and informative post, Kym. Thanks!

  • I can guess the Sheriff was never in the forest with the line troops who were dealing with the Mex cartel grows all summer, this is like the generals in WWII who wrote about the great battles they were 100 miles from. The bottom line is the majority of arrests for public land grows lately are usually illegals from S. America with a few US residents thrown in which can be ex-cons and transients who are generally hired by others which can be cartel higher ups. The Sheriff also made a curious statement about the soon to be flood of parole violators being sent to counties with full jails and broken budgets. The state has plenty of room for these parolees in the closed youth authority complexes across the state, but the state wants to stick counties with these costs, which the counties don’t have unless they cut elsewhere. There will soon be a flood of parolees released into local communinties with no jobs to offer and already overtaxed food banks and welfare departments. This is a nightmare and crime-wave waiting to happen.

  • I can guess the Sheriff was never in the forest with the line troops who were dealing with the Mex cartel grows all summer, this is like the generals in WWII who wrote about the great battles they were 100 miles from. The bottom line is the majority of arrests for public land grows lately are usually illegals from S. America with a few US residents thrown in which can be ex-cons and transients who are generally hired by others which can be cartel higher ups. The Sheriff also made a curious statement about the soon to be flood of parole violators being sent to counties with full jails and broken budgets. The state has plenty of room for these parolees in the closed youth authority complexes across the state, but the state wants to stick counties with these costs, which the counties don’t have unless they cut elsewhere. There will soon be a flood of parolees released into local communinties with no jobs to offer and already overtaxed food banks and welfare departments. This is a nightmare and crime-wave waiting to happen.

  • The “Mexican cartels” growing pot in the national forest story is a much-hyped propaganda myth. So is the supposed danger to ordinary folks using the state and national forests and parks. Those are fear tactiics designed to get more money for law enforcement. The hard fact that Elk Ridge is in denial about is that the great majority of arrests in operation FCP were non-hispanic. You can’t explain that away by speculating that maybe they were ex-cons and transients hired by the bogey man Mexican cartels. People wouldn’t bother to grow on remote public land if they could do it on their own land without risking the seizure of their land. Of all the reported shootings involving pot grows, none of them involved people innocently blundering into them while out recreating with their families. Instead they involved disputes between the growers, thieves trying to rip them off, or law enforcement coming to bust them.

  • The “Mexican cartels” growing pot in the national forest story is a much-hyped propaganda myth. So is the supposed danger to ordinary folks using the state and national forests and parks. Those are fear tactiics designed to get more money for law enforcement. The hard fact that Elk Ridge is in denial about is that the great majority of arrests in operation FCP were non-hispanic. You can’t explain that away by speculating that maybe they were ex-cons and transients hired by the bogey man Mexican cartels. People wouldn’t bother to grow on remote public land if they could do it on their own land without risking the seizure of their land. Of all the reported shootings involving pot grows, none of them involved people innocently blundering into them while out recreating with their families. Instead they involved disputes between the growers, thieves trying to rip them off, or law enforcement coming to bust them.

  • My information comes from good sources and I also read the news reports and looked at the pictures of the grow sites for items that indicate a cartel grow. The Sheriff is first a politician and desk jockey who has to answer to a voting base and has to think about the next campaign. I would say to ask a task force member for the truth of these operations and you will get it. The fact is the new raid technique is to hover the copters over the public land grow site and the actual growers usually flee and very few are arrested. This leaves now armed illegals on the run trying to escape. There were several Mexican Nationals killed in raids over the last few years locally in N. Cal, and several cases of deer hunters holding Mexican nationals or illegals at rifle point for the Sheriff. Innocent people have stumbled onto these grows in N. Cal and have been shot, shot at and threatened at gun point, numerous guns have also been recovered not to mention the tons of toxic waste, garbage and damage to the land and the watersheds . Try reading the Press Democrat about these grows and growers.

  • My information comes from good sources and I also read the news reports and looked at the pictures of the grow sites for items that indicate a cartel grow. The Sheriff is first a politician and desk jockey who has to answer to a voting base and has to think about the next campaign. I would say to ask a task force member for the truth of these operations and you will get it. The fact is the new raid technique is to hover the copters over the public land grow site and the actual growers usually flee and very few are arrested. This leaves now armed illegals on the run trying to escape. There were several Mexican Nationals killed in raids over the last few years locally in N. Cal, and several cases of deer hunters holding Mexican nationals or illegals at rifle point for the Sheriff. Innocent people have stumbled onto these grows in N. Cal and have been shot, shot at and threatened at gun point, numerous guns have also been recovered not to mention the tons of toxic waste, garbage and damage to the land and the watersheds . Try reading the Press Democrat about these grows and growers.

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