redwood forest background
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Due to CalFire work at our primary transmission site, we will be experiencing periodic outages lasting approx. 30 minutes on various days of the week. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Local News

Board hears pitches for settlement funds

April 12, 2021 — The regional behavioral health training center in Redwood Valley, which was purchased with Measure B funds, could open after the pandemic as an emergency operations center and hub for public safety trainings.

The Board of Supervisors held the first of four listening sessions with entities making a pitch for some of the $22 million PG&E settlement money last week. 

 One petitioner was Brentt Blaser, the Office of Emergency Services director, who reports to the sheriff. He asked for $500,000 to remodel and equip some offices in a building on the county campus in Ukiah. 

A significant portion of the money, he said, would go toward buying a generator and hooking it up to the building. But the space he had his eye on is already slated for the cannabis department and fiscal recovery. Supervisor Dan Gjerde suggested using the justice center in Willits, and CEO Carmel Angelo proposed using the training center in Redwood Valley. The mental health community, she said, has not embraced the training center, which is now equipped with various law enforcement training tools. The state provided a firearms simulator for use of force training, and the board approved an $8000 gun locker where officers can store their weapons during workshops.

In a brief interview, Angelo added if the training center were dedicated to the sheriff’s office, the Measure B fund would have to be reimbursed.

Scott Cratty, of the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, also made a case for some of the funds. To pursue this goal around the county, he requested basic annual funding, a yearly investment in helping low-income or elderly residents with home hardening, more chipper days, a chipper truck, and money to implement the county’s hazard-abatement ordinance. The Fire Safe  Council used state funds last season to hire crews from the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians to clear vegetation from 48 homes. Cratty would like to expand that to 2,500 homes, and offer 100 chipper days a year.

Technology and training featured largely in the budget proposal from Jen Banks, the county’s emergency medical services coordinator. A computer assisted dispatch upgrade would be $62,000, with a recurring monthly cost of $2,000. Equipment and supplies for fire departments and EMS agencies would come out to about $860,000. Banks also requested a $200,000 education staffing contract for those departments. And she had a plan to encourage local students to embark on the new paramedic training program at Mendocino College, starting this fall. 

Howard Dashiell, the Department of Transportation director, said he’s spent a lot of money repairing disaster damage in the last four years.

Dashiell also requested $1.5 million to bring the fleet into compliance with air quality regulations, and funds to make improvements at the airports in Little River and Round Valley, arguing that the airports are vital to emergency operations. The total allocation he requested for all the projects he wants to tackle is $4 million.

Nash Gonzalez and Adrienne Thompson, of planning and Building Services, requested close to $3 million. They argued that the department is still feeling the effects of the 2017 firestorm, and cited all the work its personnel did for cleanup and recovery.They want additional staff, software, and an overhaul of the permit process to make it more efficient.

Supervisors did not vote on any of the proposals, though most of them got a nod from at least one member of the board. The next round of presentations is scheduled for May fourth. The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council will discuss the settlement fund  at its meeting this Wednesday at 5pm.


Local News