Campaign Succeeds in Modifying
Resolution On Jackson State Forest
On March 12, the Mendocino Board of
Supervisors considered a resolution passed to it from the Mendocino
Forest Council. As passed by the Forest Council,
the resolution commended the California Department of Forestry (CDF)
for its past management of Jackson State Forest, supported future
large-scale logging, and urged resumption of logging as soon a possible.
The mills and logging companies were behind this resolution.
The Campaign fought against the resolution
earlier at the Forest Council, gaining some
important changes in language but failing to remove
its emphasis on timber production to exclusion of all else. The
Campaign mounted a major drive to alert the public and its members to the
effort by the timber industry to get Mendocino County endorsement of future
large-scale logging of our largest State Forest.
The issue and the stakes were
summarized in an article in the local newspaper.
Although the final numbers are not available, perhaps
500 or more letters, e-mails, and phone calls in support of restoration
deluged the supervisors. Despite the location of the meeting, one and
one-half hours away from the coast where most Campaign supporters live,
between 60 and 75 turned up for the meeting. The timber industry,
threatened by the first real challenge to their control of Jackson State,
turned out an equal number of mill and logging company
owners, foresters, and timber unionists.
prepared statement, Vince Taylor,
Executive Director of the Campaign urged the Board not to take any position
at that time on the future use of Jackson State Forest. He said, "Any
position taken today would be without factual foundation and would deny the
citizens of this county their right to be fully heard and counted."
The Board failed to heed this sound advice.
At the end of almost four hours of testimony and
Board debate, the Board passed a resolution significantly different from
the one passed to it by the Forest Council. Although it did endorse
future logging of Jackson State Forest, it also called for "balanced"
consideration of recreation, wildlife, research and education. This
was a small but real step toward recognizing that the public forest needs
to be used for the benefit of all the people of California, not simply the
local timber industry.
There were other positive results
from the mobilization of support for restoration. For more on what was achieved, as well as details of the
meeting, see Report to
Members on the Outcome
of the Meeting of the
Board of Supervisors.
Failure of government
The Board failed to fully consider
written public comments or to collect and evaluate in-depth
information about the benefits of alternative futures for Jackson State.
In failing to do both of these before voting on the resolution, the Board
failed a basic tenant of good government: to make decisions based on the
best available facts and evidence and upon full consideration of public
Written comments received from the
public were not read by all of the Supervisors. At one point, the Board was
asked by a member of the public to hold up the written comments received.
The Board secretary held up a folder that was 2 to 3 inches thick.
The member then asked who among the supervisors had read the comments.
There was complete silence. Indeed it would have been impossible for
them to have read all of them, because they were meeting since early
morning and comments were still coming in up until the 3:00 P.M.
No staff report on the alternative
resolutions was prepared. No hearings and collection of evidence
preceded the meeting. At the meeting itself, the supervisors
restricted all public speakers to three minutes, eliminating the
possibility of receiving a factual analysis of the benefits of the
alternatives. Their decision was not based on systematic collection and
analysis of facts and public opinion, but upon their preconceived views and
What is most disturbing about the
behavior of the supervisors is that it represents the normal way of
reaching decisions in Mendocino County. The lack of a mechanism for
providing the supervisors with an informed basis for making decisions on
complex and important issues is a fundamental failure of our county
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
Below is a brief history of the origin of the
resolution, together with an annotated sequence of the Jackson Forest
resolutions from inception at the Forest Council through the final
resolution passed by the Board, together with versions put forth by the
The resolution originated in the Mendocino Forest Council, an official
advisory body to the Board of Supervisors. It was added to the agenda
of the February 20 meeting of the Forestry Council only five days before
the meeting, after the agenda had been mailed out. In spite of the
short warning, supporters of restoration sent over 100 messages to the
Council via fax, phone, and e-mail. The Council ignored all public
input, not even taking the time to read the letters received before it
passed the resolution.
The supposed motivation for the resolution initiated
by the Council was urge the California Department of Forestry (CDF)
to expedite preparation of a new management plan and Environmental Impact
Report for Jackson State Forest. The true
motivation was to put the county on record in support of future large-scale
logging in Jackson State, as desired by the local timber industry. This is
apparent in the language of the original resolution.
- Original resolution introduced by Duane Wells
At the Forest Council meeting, the Campaign presented
an alternative resolution. This resolution stated the broad values of
Jackson State Forest and urged expedited preparation of an new management
plan, omitting all mention of the future use of Jackson State
Although the Campaign resolution as a whole was never
seriously considered by the Forest Council, at the urging of several of the
members, several "whereas" clauses from the Campaign resolution were
incorporated in the resolution passed by the Council. These clauses
recognized the broad scope of values of forests and the great importance of
Jackson State to the future of Mendocino County. Given this
recognition, the resolution's concluding emphasis on timber production was