Concerns About ‘Goal Post Changes’ in Cannabis Permitting, Project Trellis Bylaws Revised, and Much More From Board of Supervisors Meeting

Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors addressed complicated cannabis concerns as well as regular agenda items including Measure Z funds for Eureka City Schools, accepted the unexpected resignation of the County Health Officer, celebrated a lifetime achievement award for a local science guru and handled several other matters of county business.  Here, we recap some of the highlights from the meeting, which spanned six hours and forty-nine minutes, not including breaks and lunch. 

The BOS website provides information on how to submit information or agenda item inquiries in writing. All five Supervisors were present for this extensive meeting.  Notably, the open public Comment has been moved to the tail end of the meetings, in order to allow the Supervisors to first address agenda items, many of which also offer opportunity for public comment as well at the time the item is addressed. 

EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION ON PROJECT TRELLIS

In March of 2019 the Supervisors adopted a framework for Project Trellis, the County of Humboldt’s “Cannabis Micro-grant, Marketing, and Local Equity Program”.  Then, in May of 2019, the Board adopted a resolution creating the Project Trellis Committee, formerly known as the Humboldt County Cannabis Micro-Grant & Loan Advisory Committee. 

As explained in the timeline included in the staff report for this meeting, “[T]he committee met in open session to discuss and act on several agenda items related to enhancing the purview of its committee. During that meeting the committee voted (4:0 with one abstention) to recommend the following changes to the committee’s purpose.”

Screenshot of revised Project Trellis Bylaws, January 11, 2022. 

Screenshot of revised Project Trellis Bylaws, January 11, 2022.

Applicants that want to be considered should read the amended bylaws, which detail what applications need to include in order to be considered.  Per the County of Humboldt Project Trellis Committee Bylaws Amended January 11, 2022, all applicants need to provide “a detailed project description for use of grant funds” which could entail describing everything from business activities to use of funds, proof of compliance, and anything else that would inform the committee. 

Also, favoring locals and projects that would bolster the local employment landscape, the project would “give weighted consideration to applicants and applications whose operational activities are from Humboldt County residents, or whose businesses are majority owned by owners residing in Humboldt County.”  

‘MOVING THE GOAL POSTS’: PLANNING DEPARTMENT WANTS CHANGES TO PERMITTING PROCESS FOR CANNABIS GROWERS

The Humboldt County Building and Planning Department submitted a letter from the Planning Commission requesting the Supervisors address issues they have identified relative to cannabis permitting.  The staff report states briefly, “Each of the areas of concerns has requests associated with the concern.” and explains that the letter asks specific questions of the Board of Supervisors, which the Planning Department was hoping to have answered.

Part of the submitted feedback from MARGO Advisors outlined specific locally owned and operated farms that would be hindered by changing the requirements for growers.  

Part of the submitted feedback from Margro Advisors outlined specific locally owned and operated farms that would be hindered by changing the requirements for growers.

In addition to the letter, included in the agenda documents is a public comment written submissions totaling 21 pages of feedback by emails and letters provided from the community, in regard to the planning commission’s concerns and related cannabis policy issues recognized by members of the growing and farming community.  A lengthy conversation ensued regarding use of wells, and solar power versus generators, and the complications each of those resources present in various corners of the county.

Supervisor Bushnell was careful to acknowledge the nuances of the Southern Humboldt community’s interest in this particular agenda item, and advocated for assisting financially with “upgrades” if the BOS would decide to change the standards regarding use of generators for Cannabis production.  

Supervisor Bushnell was careful to acknowledge the nuances of the Southern Humboldt community’s interest in this particular agenda item, and advocated for assisting financially with “upgrades” if the BOS would decide to change the standards regarding use of generators for Cannabis production.

One notable contribution to the pile of written feedback was provided by Margo Advisors, outlining “Ramifications of moving the goal posts” as related to local Cannabis ordinances regulating production. Others providing input were Humboldt County Growers Alliance, as well as several  community members who expressed concerns.  

Concluding the feedback from Margro Advisors, Director John Ford wrote, “The changes recommended by the commission should not be so harshly broad stroke unless the intention is to eliminate the rural Humboldt cannabis farm community. Otherwise, we agree with the Director’s comments during the meeting, that it should be based on addressing specific identifiable issues.”  Pushing the Supervisors Commissioners to dig deep, Ford wrote, “I would just ask the commission to specifically identify what is it that are the impacts or the specific changes that are unaddressed, if there are any? And then identify what it is the commission would recommend to the board— what action be taken in response to those.” 

In response to the letter received from the Planning Commission, the Supervisors  authored a letter encouraging the Planning Commission to “exercise appropriate discretion” in regard to permitting, and stated the following, 

“On January 11, 2022, the Board discussed the contents of this letter and considered the questions raised relative to the use of generators, the practice of self-certifying roads, and the requirement for water storage associated with wells. 

The Board wants the Planning Commission to exercise appropriate discretion when acting on permits, particularly cannabis permits. If the Planning Commission finds it necessary to condition a project to restrict the use of generators, require additional water storage, take actions on a road, or add other conditions not addressed in the Humboldt County Code, the Board requests the Planning Commission make explicit findings to identify the concern, how the concern would be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare and explain how the added condition addresses the concern.” 

After much discussion and a few clarifying questions asked by the Supervisors, this agenda item was passed.

PETER LEHMAN RECOGNIZED FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

In recognition of his decades of service and professional contributions to Humboldt County, the Supervisors wanted to acknowledge the hard work and outstanding accomplishments of a local doctor, Peter Lehman.  Bringing scientific advances in education to local students and to the public, the Supervisors were happy to congratulate Dr. Lehman on the scope of his impressive work which included founding HSU’s Schatz Energy Research Center in Arcata. 

The staff report for this agenda item reads in part, “The Board of Supervisors is honoring Dr. Peter Lehman for his lifetime achievement award and his many years of innovation and service to advance clean and renewable energy solutions to help fight climate change.” 

PROCLAMATION SUPPORTING LOCAL YOUTH MENTORING 

The Supervisors wanted to recognize the efforts and impact that our local youth mentoring programs have made on the North Coast.  Among them, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Boys And Girls Club have collectively offered over 137 years of service to the community’s youth. 

The staff report reads in part, “In recognition of National Mentoring Month, the Board of Supervisors wishes to recognize the positive contributions local mentoring programs bring to the youth in our community to proclaim January 2022 as National Mentoring Month in Humboldt County.”

Award

MEASURE Z FUNDS EUREKA CITY SCHOOLS RESOURCE OFFICER

The Supervisors committed a fair amount of the board meeting time to this agenda item, and ultimately approved the staff recommendation for the funding requests described below. 

According to the staff report detailing each of the funding proposals, “The Humboldt County Department of Public Works requests that your Board approve the carry forward of $51,808 in unspent funding.  These funds were specifically allocated to fund efforts to clear the illegal dumping site at Wymore Road.”  

The report then outlines funding requests submitted from outside agencies such as the Humboldt County Fire Chief’s Association (HCFCA), which asks for the Supervisors to approve its request to “carry forward of $318,625 in unspent funding” as well, which were “specifically allocated for the purpose of paying the costs and expenses associated with purchasing fire-related equipment and other necessary supplies, such as protective clothing, fire hoses and building materials necessary to construct fire stations and training facilities, compensating certain fire protection districts for the provision of emergency services and providing planning-related services regarding fire district boundaries.” 

 Per the Staff report, the requests include $51,808 for Humboldt County Department of Public Works, and $318,625 for Humboldt County Fire Chief’s Association, totaling $370,433. According to the report, “this brings the grand total of Carry Forward from FY 2020-2021 into FY 2021-2022 to $647,328.” 

The Supervisors considered the request from Eureka City Schools to have a School Resource Officer (SRO) position added, using the $79,000 in Measure Z funds which was awarded by the Board to Eureka City Schools last April for that purpose, through a partnership with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.  This was not possible, according to the staff report which explained that in the time of COVID-19,  “given staffing levels in that department, the Sheriff’s Office is unable to provide the requested position.” 

The Staff Report offered a solution, explaining that Eureka City Schools proposed that “$45,000 to be allocated to partially fund a Eureka Police Department SRO position currently filled to support all schools within the city limits” and that “$34,000 to be allocated to a parent education program dedicated to achieving social and economic equity through education.”  The staff report further suggests that as an “integral part of this program” there would be “an opportunity for parents and law enforcement to interact in a positive educational experience” within the Eureka City Schools (ECS) network. 

 The report to the Supervisors considers these allocations of Measure Z funding appropriate, citing the “spirit of Measure Z” and suggests that “it is recommended that the Board approve, and authorize the Chair of the Board to execute, the attached first amendment to the MOU with Eureka City Schools.” 

In regard to financial impact to the county, the staff report informs, “Because these funds were awarded to Measure Z recipients in the previous fiscal year and accounted for in the approved FY 2020-2021 budget in Fund 1100-197, there is no cost to carrying forward dollars into FY 2021-2022. Similarly, the costs included in Eureka City Schools’ amended proposal maintains levels approved by the Board in April 2021. As a result, approval of the noted requests results in no net impact to the Humboldt County General Fund.” As a modified use of Measure Z – the carryover of measure Z funds – to supply the position 

Particulars of the proposal from ECS regarding feedback from the program are contained in the attached documents within the agenda. Among the information, in addition to details about financing in Memorandum of Understanding, are specifics about how the Resource Officer program will present information to the community.  Social media will be used to “post summaries of the information contained in the quarterly and final reports submitted pursuant to the terms and conditions of this MOU on ECS-maintained social media accounts,” and specified “social media includes, without limitation, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.”

The program was strongly advocated for by Eureka City Schools Superintendent Fred Van Vleck at the meeting.  The MOU with Eureka City Schools also offers a plan for “a parent education program that is designed to achieve social and economic equity while fostering positive relationships between parents and law enforcement. The parent education program developed pursuant to the terms and conditions of this MOU shall be open to all parents in Humboldt County, but will focus on families in the Eureka City School District.” 

Supervisor Madrone made a motion to adopt the staff resolution, which passed 5–0. 

SUPES SHUFFLE BOARD APPOINTMENTS 

In regard to the Supervisors deciding on various county-wide board positions for the term ahead, musical boardroom chairs were enjoyed by all.  Although many board positions and alternate placements were rearranged, the Supervisors had no problem sharing space across the many county-wide seats.  

One debate among the BOS was particularly animated, with a dialogue between board members that drew laughs as well as awkward exchanges. Deciding who among them would sit on the Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) board going forward, the Supervisors would choose a board member, an alternate, and a second alternate member – of the Supervisors and by the Supervisors.  

Supervisor Rex Bohn weighed in that his preference would be not to make any changes. In favor of continuity, considering that they’ve recently welcomed a new Director. Bohn stated he had yet to make the acquaintance of the Director due to COVID-19 circumstances, but was confident that no adjustments needed to be made. “My relationship with HWMA over the last 30 years, I can help with that.”  

After nine years on the Humboldt Waste Management Authority board, Supervisor Bohn reluctantly passed the torch. 

After nine years on the Humboldt Waste Management Authority board, Supervisor Bohn reluctantly passed the torch. 

Supervisor Madrone expressed his interest in joining the Waste Management board, and cited his extensive experience in related fields. “I’d be interested in stepping up as a member” referencing the green transition to renewables, and stated he would be agreeable to being a member. Supervisor Wilson then inquired as to how long Bohn had been on the HWMA board, and informed his Supervisors that he had been the member for the last 9 years.  

Referencing his knowledge of trucking and transport, Bohn added that his history with Waste Management goes back as far as “a previous lifetime” from his dirt-moving days “thirty years ago”.  Wilson suggested that 9 years on a board is ample time to make an impact, saying he was inclined to vote toward “moving things around” noting that “we do have to cycle things around a little bit.”  

Supervisor Bohn, responding to Wilson’s suggestion that new blood would benefit the Humboldt Waste Management (HWM) board replied, “If you don’t think I bring anything to the table on the Waste Management, that’s fine. I mean with the new director on the board and the new members it’s just going to be a lot to it.”  As the Supervisors considered how to rearrange positions, with Supervisor Madrone vying for the member position on the HWM board in place of Supervisor Bohn, it did not appear that Supervisor Bohn was ready to relinquish his position just yet.  

As the Supervisors let the dust settle on the suggestion that Madrone be nominated as the member in place of Bohn, Wilson assured him, “I don’t think you don’t bring a lot to anything – I think you bring a lot to everything.” 

This exchange gave Bushnell an opportunity to inquire about Bohn’s comfortability with the suggested change, noting that as the newest Supervisor, she had the fewest additional board member placements.  Bohn replied that he was accepting of the suggestion that he pass the baton, saying, “I’m fine with it,” adding, “all these positions are county-wide, they’re not district centric positions – so just as long as everybody knows. There is a waste facility in Redway.” In response to this comment, Bushnell said, “That’s why I opened my mouth.”  

Ultimately, Madrone was nominated to be the member, Bohn was to be the alternate member, and Bushnell was designated as second alternate – and so it was affirmed.  

In Regard to all the board positions and reappointments covered by the Supervisors at this meeting, no public comment was offered much to the surprise and relief of the Supervisors, and this agenda item was passed with a 5-0 vote.

HOFFMAN’S NOTICE OF RESIGNATION AND COVID-19 UPDATE 

Screenshot of Dr. Ian Hoffman, whose final day as Humboldt County Health Officer is expected to be March 4th, informed the Board of Supervisors January 11th that he has taken another position, and is resigning as Health Officer for the County. 

Screenshot of Dr. Ian Hoffman, whose final day as Humboldt County Health Officer is expected to be March 4th, informed the Board of Supervisors January 11th that he has taken another position, and is resigning as Health Officer for the County. 

Dr. Ian Hoffamn surprised the community on Tuesday morning when he informed the Supervisors, referencing a letter he sent them the evening prior, that he would be taking a new position in order to have more time with his family and young children.  Dr. Hoffman emphasized that his resignation as Public Health Officer was a difficult and personal decision, while thanking the Supervisors and his co-workers for the 13 month experience. 

As for the COVID-19 report, there was no written report provided to source data from included in the agenda item.  

Hoffman did, however, provide an extensive update in person to the Supervisors before delving into his decision to resign.  In the extensive feedback Hoffman provided, there were new CDPH guidelines, as well as a mention that since the state has extended the masking mandate to February 15th, that so too has our local masking order. 

Both isolation (if you test positive for COVID-19) and quarantine (if you were exposed to COVID-19) recommendations for those who are exposed could be reduced to five days, with a negative test on day five following the exposure or previous positive test. “So if you test negative on day five, you could end your isolation the next day, on day six.” Hoffman added, “Or, If you test negative after that. If you don’t test, or your symptoms are still going on – you’re not resolving – we recommend the full 10 day isolation period. And certainly if you were on quarantine, you felt sick or ill, we would want you to start to isolate and get tested immediately.” 

Humboldt’s COVID-19 dashboard January 21, 2022 reflecting positive cases trending sharply upward since mid December, and a current positive case rate of 23.7% of the last week. 

Humboldt’s COVID-19 dashboard January 21, 2022 reflecting positive cases trending sharply upward since mid December, and a current positive case rate of 23.7% of the last week. 

REMOTE SUPES APPEARANCES CONTINUED 

The attached staff report recommends that in the midst of the COVID-19 omicron surge, that the Supervisors “authorize the Chair to sign the resolution re-authorizing remote teleconference meetings for the period of January 11, 2022 through February 8, 2022.”

According to the Governor’s Executive Order (N-08-21) which authorized a “waiver of certain teleconferencing requirements under the Brown Act” expired on September 30, 2021.  The staff report explains that ASsembly Bill 361 signed by Governor Newsome on September 15, 2021 “allows teleconferencing to continue without certain existing requirements, such as public access to all teleconference locations through the end of 2023.” 

The Supervisors are required to make the finding that in-person meetings “present a risk to the health and safety of meeting attendees. These findings regarding risk to health and safety need to be reconsidered every 30 days to determine if the emergency still exists.” While the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, so too are virtual board meetings.  

Email Public Comment: 

To submit public comment to the Board please email [email protected], provide your name and the agenda item number(s) on which you wish to comment. 

All public comment submitted after the agenda has been published will be included with the administrative record after the fact. 

Zoom Public Comment: 

When the Board of Supervisors announce the agenda item that you wish to comment on, call the conference line and turn off your TV or live stream. Please call 720-707-2699, enter Meeting ID 859 5807 0911 and press star (*) 9 on your phone, this will raise your hand.

You’ll continue to hear the Board meeting on the call. When it is time for public comment on the item you wish to speak on, the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors staff will unmute your phone. You’ll hear a prompt that will indicate your phone is unmuted. Staff will then ask you to state your name and begin your comment. You will have 3 minutes to comment. 

You may access the live stream of the meeting by using the following link: https://humboldt.legistar.com  

 

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15 Comments
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Legallettuce
4 months ago

DEP/Indoor versus Outdoor, funny shit!!! Anyways glad to see that Rough Road Ahead sign back up along AP, progress!

Redwood Dan
Redwood Dan
4 months ago
Reply to  Legallettuce

Yeah, Madrone seemed a little out of touch in that regard. He kept talking about how he believes full sun outdoor is so much better. I’m sure many farmers would rather grow full sun, but “Outdoor” buds only make up about 15% of sales in the current legal marketplace vs the approximately 35% for greenhouse and 50% for indoor. Farmers are going to grow what they can sell. The county can incentivize and persuade farmers to do Outdoor all they want, but if it ain’t selling, farmers are going to grow what is.
I wish they would fix all the county roads ad culverts before they start critiquing all the neighborhood roads. Lead by example, then they would have some ground to stand on.

well . . .
well . . .
4 months ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

It’s the naturalistic fallacy at work.

Legallettuce
4 months ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

Legally out of touch I agree. Interesting you mention percentages. The baggie brigade (traditional market) has a much different percentage breakdown on Main Steet, USA. It’s the primary driver why legalization is failing using this “vertical integration” strategy. No complaints though keep marketing that legal indoor/DEP strategy, it’s fun to watch (full circle, ’96v2, but now the shoe is on the other foot, lol).

Steeze
Steeze
4 months ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

The reality is that when federal legalization happens, there will be 0 shelf space for mediocre outdoor, or of any kind, but outs is just almost always sub-par. Perfectly grown outdoor (and I mean perfect) is definitely better than indoor, but nature almost never allows for that. So the issue remains that once 10k acre farms can produce autoflower for distillate, mids will be completely useless, even with a national market. Cookies is the perfect example. They are absolutely killing it because the whole business model is to create the best genetics, and produce them inside, selling them directly to the consumer. That’s where the profit is.. hemp farmers in Oregon are getting 5 dollars a pound. Yes you read that right. 20k lbs for 100k is what my neighbors contract was for. It’s the same plant. And they were still getting $10k an acre at that price. No other plant will produce nearly that return. It’s a losing battle, so any small farmers complaining that it’s unfair need to realize that farming is not a get rich quick scheme, and sell their farm before it’s too late

Really?
Really?
4 months ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

The BOS are definitely out of the loop , interesting since several of them are invested in the cannabis business personally 🤷‍♀️ But anyways, ya, no one wants outdoor! Can’t even give it away right now.

RealityCheck
RealityCheck
4 months ago
Reply to  Legallettuce

Indoor/Light dep farmers = Perverts

Last edited 4 months ago by RealityCheck
Jeffersonian
Jeffersonian
4 months ago

“Equity” for pot growers. I don’t know whether to vomit or laugh.

Connie DobbsD
Connie Dobbs
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeffersonian

We already have equality of outcomes. Look around.

Really?
Really?
4 months ago

Ridiculous! Small farmers are struggling to even survive and now the county wants to change up the rules again? Oh my goodness….

Fndrbndr
Fndrbndr
4 months ago

” Goal post Changes”? That’s the only consistency throughout this whole process. Don’t stop changing the goal post or you’ll ruin your track record.

Molly
Molly
4 months ago

Dudes California is the biggest bureaucracy known in the history of mankind. The goalposts are constantly moving.
They are.
Lets just say…. fluid.

willow creeker
willow creeker
4 months ago

If I’ve ever heard a warm crock of bullshit this is it. I can’t believe these people are elected by us. I know it’s a tough job, I can’t imagine who would ever want to govern such a bunch of complaining growers. But really, such a sad situation we we have.

Guest
4 months ago

“Tomorrow is January 15th, 2022, and today we are at 62.80% fully vaccinated population.”

(The CDC says it’s 63%, but, according to ‘nooo’, that INCREASED number is just, “due to a time lag”).

“But we do have until tomorrow, to reach 70%, like I said we still could…”

“Sooo, it’s still possible, right”?

“It’s a good thing that the state mandated masks for another month, so I could kick the can down the road for another month before I have to admit I was full of it…”

Screenshot_20220113-145209.png
thetallone
thetallone
4 months ago

Trellis (n): Something that supports a plant structure that cannot support itself.