Need for More Law Enforcement, Abundant Pampas Grass, and Falling Marijuana Revenue Explored at Shelter Cove’s RID February Board Meeting

Shelter Cove

Shelter Cove Community Center and Lighthouse at Mal Coombs Park [Photo by Kelley Lincoln]

Lack of law enforcement, too much pampas grass, and a steep reduction in revenue from the sale of power as indoor marijuana grows appear to be decreasing grabbed the attention of attendees at this month’s Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District regularly scheduled Board of Directors Meeting.

Several guests spoke at the meeting. The first was Sheriff Billy Honsal who introduced himself and interacted with the Board and audience for a full hour. Honsal says that the Department is receiving more applications for Sheriff’s deputies, and is sending more people through the academy this year than in years past, including one person he hopes will be a good fit as the Resident Deputy for Shelter Cove. However, the timeline for the testing process, the academy and then the on the job training means it will be three-quarters of a year before these applicants are ready for duty.

Honsal says the Sheriff’s Department is still short 12 Deputies overall. And he says filling those slots is his priority before filling the Resident Deputy position. In the meantime, he does have Deputies patrolling Whitethorn and Shelter Cove at least 20 hours a week at this time.

The community talked at length about the types of problems they experience because they don’t have law enforcement available to them. Complaints included passengers riding in the back of open pickups, reckless driving, long-term squatters on vacant land and in vacant homes, fire lane access being blocked for months and years on end, unsafe use of firearms as well as murder and mayhem on occasion. An emphasis was placed on abandoned vehicles not being removed from the Resort and the road out to the Resort.

The President of the Property Owners Association and owner of the Lost Coast Inn voiced respect for Honsal while saying he remembered meeting with then Supervisor Roger Rodoni and then Sgt. Mike Downey 17 years ago and hearing very similar promises of hope as he was hearing today from Sheriff Honsal.

Honsal said, “Let me be clear, I cannot promise you anything.” Honsal reminded the room he has a 4,000 square mile County to ensure safety in and says that Measure Z is helping fund positions to make public safety goals more obtainable. But he said, “I’m being as honest as I can be; this has been difficult.”

Honsal told the room to expect a new crime mapping tool to be online soon. The data collection system will show where every crime is being reported. And the jail will soon be uploading arrest records with mugshots, time and date of incarceration, charges filed by law enforcement, time and date of release, and District Attorney action as well.

The next two guests were from BLM and the Lost Coast Interpretive Association (LCIA). Greg Wolfgang is BLM’s National Conservation Area Manager. He introduced himself and then Sandy Miles. In addition to her work with the LCIA, Miles also works for the tank program at Sanctuary Forest. The two addressed the Pampas Grass problem.

Miles described a committee of the LCIA that wants to stop the spread of pampas grass into the wildlands. In addition to competing with native plants, it is also a fire hazard and a hazard to firefighters. Firefighters have described moving through the pampas grass as “running through a field of razor blades.”

The community is enthusiastic about removing the invasive grass, and the Board voted to support the effort by making classroom space available at the community center, making a place available to deposit pampas grass until BLM staff can come haul it to appropriate composting facilities, and to send information on the effort to the residents of Shelter Cove in their monthly newsletter.

Board member Dave Sommer is looking closely at the income from the RID’s electric contract. RID purchases wholesale power from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and resells it to the residents on infrastructure owned by PG&E. WAPA’s purpose is to sell wholesale power created by federal hydropower facilities operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and other federal agencies.

Each month RID is seeing a 10 to 15% reduction over last year’s power revenue. Sommer is looking to understand what the District’s break-even point is on the WAPA contract and to evaluate how much further use may drop as marijuana regulations potentially decrease the number of people in Shelter Cove who will be growing indoors. His evaluation is ongoing and he is not making recommendations as of yet.

And the RID Board respectfully declined the offer of a landowner to donate a buildable lot to the District. In a phone conversation after the meeting, President Suzie Fox said the Board only wants to own parcels where projects will be located or when access to the greenbelt or project locations is needed. She said, “We don’t want to be in the business of land speculation, or of buying and selling properties.”



  • “Each month RID is seeing a 10 to 15% reduction over last year’s power revenue. Sommer is looking to understand what the District’s break-even point is on the WAPA contract and to evaluate how much further use may drop as marijuana regulations potentially decrease the number of people in Shelter Cove who will be growing indoors. His evaluation is ongoing and he is not making recommendations as of yet.”

    The answer to this is 100% of indoor powered by RID will cease in the cove. And for one reason: The $1 per KW hr price RID charges. There simply isn’t any profit margin at that cost anymore, there hasn’t been for quite some time now, and it is doubtful there ever will be again.

    RID NEEDS to sell their contract back to PG&E so the cove residents can get affordable power – not to run indoor scenes, but just to live. Just cash out and give the people relief! This scam has gone on long enough.

    This is a disturbing side effect of Humboldt County’s impending economic collapse. Obviously the powers that be do not understand how much of this county’s economy has been driven by the cannabis industry. We will all pay the price for their lack of comprehension, but the folks in the cove will pay a far higher price than most – as time goes on and RID refuses to let go of its ongoing profit margins, it is the regular residents who will be forced into selling their houses and moving out to survive economically.

    • Well they have talked about getting rid of dope growing scumbags for decades! They should be happy! Now crying because they don’t have revenue from illegal grows. Not much sympathy from me RID has been raping people on electric rates for a long time….

  • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

    They are running the same scams with the water districts in Redway/Garberville. Charging outrageous prices just to have service, trying to find any way to cash in for new hook ups at close to 9000 K, looking through people’s yards looking for pot. IT’S PATHETIC!!!!! These money grubbing tactics and the horrible local bureaucrats sitting on nearly all the boards in Humboldt County are bleeding residents and businesses dry and destroying any chance that the local economy can survive during the legalization transition. Most of the people need to step down and or go swim in a larger pond instead of bleeding small communities. Totally agree with your comment here. PATHETIC!

  • The Cove is an amazing place … From the first time I visited it, as a child, I have been enthralled by it.

    Can’t wait till the grower scum vacate it and I once again feel safe to visit it / potentiality purchase a house there.

    • Don’t you realize who will be REPLACING the growers who are forced to leave?

      Price out property & homes in the county. Then see which areas/towns compare to cove prices, TODAY.

      Then picture what will happen to the cove when it isn’t just the cheapest land in the county, but the cheapest land in the STATE. It’s already close. REALLY, look for yourself.


      It seems like you don’t fully understand why you have always valued the cove. Its not just because it is a stunningly beautiful place – in fact, it is a stunningly beautiful place PRECISELY because somewhere along the line, the people who lived there decided to KEEP IT THAT WAY.

      Have you not seen what happens to the towns where the land becomes nearly valueless? Look at Salton City. Or clearlake.
      Hell, look at Rio Dell.

      Wishing for “grower scum (to) vacate” is short sighted, ignorant, and as moronic as anything the Chump would say.

      (And by the way, I am not nor have ever been a grower, beyond the 2 plants I tried to grow 25 years ago in the midwest – although I did live in the cove for years. My only personal agenda here is my aversion to where stupidity inevitably leads, and my love of the cove and its residents.)

      • “Don’t you realize who will be REPLACING the growers who are forced to leave?”

        Yeah I do … the kinda folks who were there before. The kinda folks who built that original community.

        • Right. They be rebuilding that pier and shipping tanin down to San Fran any day now. Or maybe you’re referring to the mosquito fleet fisherman they’ll be back soon to take advantage of this abundant fishery before you know it. Or did you mean the sheep farmers are going to once again thrive in the cove
          I’m confused.

        • No tweekers and meth labs. Hire more cops and you get more crimes. Keep the cops away and problems seem to vanish

        • I’d come back…my mom (Leanne Eller) was supposedly last known to have gotten a ride to Shelter Cove. She’s been missing since July 2017. If all goes well, meth labs and selfish growers are “replaced” with good civilians, so many would come back!! (But to be honest were not going to be able to fully get rid of marijuana growing, especially in Humboldt)

      • ‘Look at Rio Dell’? Why don’t you? The town has made a remarkable turn around from what it was just a few years ago. Scotia as well.

    • If you don’t feel safe in shelter cove maybe you just need to grow a pair .
      Alderpoint i could could understand, but the cove ? Really ?

  • LED lights might have something to do with this.

  • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

    Small communities need people to operate businesses and provide services to residents and travelers. Wishing that the only strong economy here collapses entirely is so short sighted.

    Get rid of the criminal element that has totally disrupted this county. Get rid of the meth. That is the problem!! Get rid of the people who sit on every board in So-Hum year after year with total indifference to community collapse in exchange for $$$. Conflict of interest and corruption at it’s finest. Get rid of the of the people who have come here to rape the community and the land.

    It’s a beautiful county but you actually have to have people in business to make it possible. Business is leadership and direction and prosperity. Humboldt cannot exist with working poor and wage workers as the majority population — and that is all that will be left. You have to have enterprise on a large and smaller business scale to have a community. People who are driven and people who are educated. So Hum used to have a lot of these people and luckily, some are still there.

    Having a bunch of people in the middle of nowhere punching clocks is not going to cut it. You either have sustainable business or you have nothing……

  • Passengers riding in the back of pickups , definitely need more law enforcement if this type of activity is going down in the cove!

  • Place won't change

    Shelter cove is an amazing place! Always has, and always will be! Reguardless of the “bullshit”… People are making themselves look bad. Not the landwe live on.

  • tweek is the only black market left.

  • I get a kick out of seeing the Teahouse in most Cove pictures these days. Those eyebrow Dormers were a real pain in the butt, it’s too bad Marilyn and Lyle couldn’t get it off the ground. Another fine example of a nice retired couple investing their life savings into a venture only to have it dragged down by over-regulation and over taxation.
    Guess the cove will have a hard time charging people 30000 plus just to get utility hookups even if they don’t plan on using them.

    • Was it over regulation or a bad business plan? Who goes out to drink tea?

    • Appreciate your kind words. We did get the teahouse off the ground and it was just what we wanted it to be and expected it to be for 7 years. We wanted to break even and offer our services to a beautiful community that was new to us, so we could survive the guilt of living in such an envious business location. Our Tripadvisor rating was 5 star and we had a wonderful experience which to me was a miracle. We still love the cove, warts and all, nothing is perfect and is usually wat you make it for yourself. And thanks to all who enjoyed the teahouse just for what it was. And the eyebrow dormers turned out to be my favorite special treatment to a wonderful structure, thanks, Lyle

  • With the income being reduced so drastically, is it wise to take on debt to build a “New” clubhouse? Just sayin…

  • Resident Resident

    What also needs to be done is for lot owners to be held responsible for clearing the lots of Pine and Fir that the people planted and created a potential for fire to ravage our homes.The con crews come and cut the grass at the rid office and clear brush and trees near the power lines but thats all every resident should be allowed to clearcut the lots to mitigate fire damage.brush needs to be cleared from the roadsides obstructing the view on roadway so you can see on coming traffic, Pretty soon the two major slipouts are going to go and then what ? if you look at the old pictures of the Cove there were grasslands and as in many places these should be restored

    • The old pictures of the Cove show grasslands because the land was grazed by many sheep and cattle for decades. The fir was logged off in the 50s and burned off in the 70s and the ranch owner ringed as many fir as he could to make for more grazing.

  • Greedy, greedy, greedy Ripoffs In Denial. They have enough cash socked away to bury you, so don’t hold your breath waiting for any kind of reduction before you are on food stamps and living in Eurtweeka.

  • It’s going to get ugly. Have you seen the coal mining towns, or Detroit? When a local economy crashes the results are devastating. And shelter cove won’t be the exception. I’ll let bet my bottom dollar The brewery will fail in the first 2 years.

    • it doesn’t matter some person already spent all the money to have a brewery, the building will not disappear. if the individual looses everything o well, the building can be re purpoused and sold to a new buyer, it is still something new for the community to have!

  • With all the crime, drug addicts, thieves, homeless ignorance and numerous cartels and gangs growing weed how can normal people still live in Humbolt and Mendocino. A once beautiful are is ruined by greed and out of control poor governing.

  • Resident Resident

    Sorry they wasted their money I have been told their beer sucks and I wouldn’t want to spend my money at a place called Gyppo,the whole place has bad Fung Shei

    • The fungus swee flew from the old mans nose when he got punched out. Theres plenty more for the hopper. Lets cut al dem trees and make another concrete jungle ruled by government clones from LA.

  • Love Shelter Cove

    I LOVE Shelter Cove, it is experienceing a beautiful renaissance. We have such a great infusion of much needed positive investment, just like with the the new Gyppo Ale brewery, the old Pelicans landing has been bought and renovated by Blu and Maria and will be opening soon with their incredible South American cuisines, and Blair’s Chop Chop food truck is cranking out delish Asian .
    Shelter cove still has a thriving art community and of course is our fishing community….
    Plus we have one of the best Fire Departments filled with great people.
    All in all Shelter Cove is one of the best communities to live in in Humboldt County , great people
    AND we have our beautiful OCEAN 🌊RIGHT THERE.

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