Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Tuesday June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.


Mendocino County
Measure V - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


16,300 votes yes (62.29%)

9,870 votes no (37.71%)

100% of precincts reporting (250/250).

26,170 ballots counted.

Shall the people of Mendocino county declare intentionally killed and left standing trees a public nuisance?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

County Counsel

This measure seeks voter approval to adopt an ordinance to add a new chapter to Title 8 of the Mendocino County Code.


  The Code would provide that trees taller than five (5) meters, which have been intentionally killed and left standing for longer than ninety (90) days (except those that are left for the benefit of wildlife habitat) be considered a public nuisance. It would make the responsible party liable for any damage if: 1) it is within one-thousand (1,000) meters of a structure, a public or private roadway or fire lane, electrical or telecommunication poles or lines, or water sources such as rivers, creeks, ponds or lakes; or 2) it is within the CAL FIRE State Responsibility Area.


  This measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.


  This measure requires voter approval by a simple majority vote of the qualified voters.


  A YES vote will be a vote in favor of adoption of the ordinance.


  A NO vote will be a vote against the adoption of the ordinance.


s/Katharine L. Elliott

County Counsel

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

  Citizens of our county have the right to protect their environment through self-governance. The timber industry has killed and left millions of trees standing dead over tens of thousands of acres with no end in sight. Industry has failed to self-regulate in the face of an unprecedented drought, burdening the people with unreasonable financial and health hazards. Dead trees can and do cause great bodily harm, including death.


Voting YES on Measure V:

Safeguards residents from the dangerous industrial practice of intentionally killing and leaving dead standing trees.


Declares this radical practice a PUBLIC NUISANCE and restores corporate accountability.


Protects emergency escape routes and critical infrastructure.


Puts the safety of people ahead of corporate profit.


Protects firefighters, many of them volunteers, from unnecessary manufactured perils.


Demands honest forest management, requiring project clean up by disallowing manmade hazards from littering the landscape.


Shifts financial burden from the people to the timberland owner/operator.


Provides an exemption for wildlife habitat.


Mitigates a controllable hazard from compounding with projected and unknown fire impacts of climate change.


Asserts the right of citizens to establish a reasonable standard, where regulators have favored corporate profit over public safety.


  State regulators and elected officials have been slow and lax in responding to the concerns of citizens, choosing to protect the bottom-line interests of the largest corporations. Last fall, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency over what he called California’s “worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history,” yet the largest timber company in Mendocino County continued to “hack and squirt” without regard to its impacts to residents and firefighters. Instead of pausing, the timber industry attempted to influence public policy by urging citizens NOT to sign the petitions that would put this measure on the ballot.


YES ON V !  


s/Michael Colton

Firefighter Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept

s/Ted R. Williams, Fire Chief

Albion Little River Fire Protection District

s/Katy M. Tahja, Retired Librarian

s/James Sibbet

Member Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept.

Chair. Comptche Community Services Dist.

s/Kirk P. Van Patten

Cal Fire Fire Capt. (Ret)

— County Registrar

Arguments AGAINST

  This Measure interferes with everyone’s ability to manage their private land in Mendocino County, including healthy forest restoration. The Measure touches nearly every acre of land in Mendocino County under the guise of “fire safety.” In reality it overreaches effective, existing regulations and laws in pursuit of stopping the restoration of forests in our County.

  In most redwood forests, tan oak is a minor player competing for light and nutrients. The forest Mendocino Redwood Company acquired in 1998 was overharvested, resulting in an unnaturally tan oak dominated forest. Our restoration efforts are ongoing and began 17 years ago. More than 1 million tan oaks have been treated, allowing the growth of more than 14 million redwood and Douglas fir trees.

  Treating tan oak is crucial to restoration of County forestland. The scientific, sensible and safe way to bring balance to our forest is to treat tan oak selectively, by hand, carefully, literally tree by tree. Forests are regulated by seven State and Federal agencies. MRC’s management practices have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for 15 consecutive years. Fire risk is complex. The stated reason for the Measure “to lower fire risk” is unsupported by the experience in treated tan oak stands of the 2008 Mendocino Lightning Fire Complex and subsequent wildland fires. In contrast, fire resilience in treated stands and the addition of millions of fire resistant redwood trees to the forest is well-documented.

  MRC is a local business employing over 200 county residents, including myself. We work daily as stewards of the land and the company is transparent in its operations; each year we take hundreds of people to whatever part of our forest they choose, to see for themselves. There is a better way than more regulations, laws, and restrictions . Vote No on Measure V.


s/Jesse D. Weaver

Registered Voter

— County Registrar

Replies to Arguments FOR

  The proponents of Measure V are well intentioned but their solution is flawed. Measure V would take current best practices and replace them with a less effective process that would be less safe.


  Forest managers today recognize that our forests are in a condition that makes them more susceptible to fire, disease and commercially less valuable and advocate and manage the forests to return them to a more natural, healthy state.


  Research has shown that our forests are over-stocked and the fuel load is leading to catastrophic fires like the ones that occurred last year. Reducing the volume of hardwoods in our forests will reduce the risk of catastrophic fire by increasing the volume of fire resistant redwoods and returning our forests to a more natural state.


  CalFire, local fire agencies and forest managers work together on maps, escape routes, placement of water tanks and other equipment throughout the forest. Seven State and Federal agencies oversee activities in the forest and insist on mitigations for fire safety. Opportunity for public comment and involvement is extensive and transparent.


  Managing for more sustainable forest will result in a more natural forest that is both fire and disease resistant. Our forest managers need to be encouraged to develop these more sustainable forests. Denying our forest managers the tools they need will ultimately put our forests at greater risk.


  Please vote No on V.


s/James E. Little

Fire Chief


s/Lilburn Bruce Strickler

Retired Deputy Chief, MEU

Resource Management, CalFire

— County Registrar

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

  Jesse Weaver’s employer, Mendocino Redwood Company, is responsible for the vast majority of intentionally killed trees left standing in Mendocino County.

  Weaver uses the term “guise” to imply that fire safety is not a real concern, completely ignoring the lethal risk dead standing trees pose to firefighters.

  Experts agree:

Mendocino County Fire Safe Council Director Madeline Holtkamp: “said the scope of work included a summary of the specialized scientific literature available on the question of whether dead trees left standing in the forest add to forest flammability. She noted most of the studies reviewed by county forestry advisor Greg Giusti concluded dead and standing trees in the forest did add to fire potential.” (Willits Weekly)



Governor Brown’s State of Emergency: dead trees “worsens wildfire risk across large regions of the State, presents life safety risks from falling trees to Californians living in impacted rural, forested communities.”



Valachovic Study: “rates of spread, flame lengths, and fire line intensities could increase significantly over the baseline, challenging effective firefighter response.”






Professor Varner: “These unnatural fuel arrangements can lead to fires so intense that you can’t combat them with standard, ground-based firefighting tactics”


  Measure V does not prevent “healthy forest restoration” --- as Weaver puts it --- but simply addresses the hazard of leaving intentionally killed trees standing.

  Measure V places public safety above corporate profit, shifting damage losses from residents to the corporations who profit from these radical forest management practices.

  YES on V.


s/Ted R. Williams

Chief, Albion Little River

Fire Protection District


s/Kirk P. Van Patten

Cal Fire Air Attack Capt. (Ret)


s/Katy M. Tahja

Librarian retired


s/James Sibbet

Volunteer Firefighter


s/Michael Coltan

Firefighter, Comptche Volunteer

Fire Dept


— County Registrar

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation





Title 8 of the Mendocino County Code entitled PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE grants Mendocino County the authority to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the county’s residents. The citizens of Mendocino County find as follows:


A.       The county has over 1 million acres of forest lands with much of it in private industrial ownership; and

B.       Some industrial owners manage their forest lands by intentionally killing but not downing unwanted trees; and

C.       Intentionally killed and left standing trees present an extreme fire hazard; and

D.       Intentionally killed and left standing trees can impede rapid suppression of fires; and

E.       Intentionally killed and left standing trees pose a life safety risk to firefighters; and

F.        Intentionally killed and left standing trees endanger the public health and safety of rural residents.


The citizens of Mendocino County, by their authority to adopt ordinances by initiative add a new chapter to Title 8 of the Mendocino County Code to read as follows:


Trees greater in height than 5 meters, intentionally killed and left standing for more than 90 days (except those created for the benefit of wildlife habitat) are a public nuisance and the party responsible shall be liable for any resulting damage when the tree is:


(1)      within 1,000 meters of one or more critical infrastructures:

(a)      roads including public roads, private roads and driveways, fire lanes

(b)      telecommunication infrastructure including poles, wire, fiber, terminals, towers

(c)      electrical infrastructure including poles, wire, substations, transformers

(d)      significant water sources, including rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes

(2)      within 1,000 meters of a structure

(3)      within CAL FIRE State Responsibility Area


The County shall not enter residential property to verify compliance.



If any section, subsection, sentence, phrase or clause of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the Ordinance. The citizens of Mendocino County here declare that they would have adopted the Ordinance and each section despite the fact that one or more section, subsection, phrases or clauses be declared invalid.


Date of Effect

This Ordinance shall take effect and be in full force immediately upon adoption by the voters of Mendocino County.


s/Ted R. Williams

Fire Chief, Albion Little River Fire Protection District


s/James Sibbet

Firefighter, Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept.


s/Mike Coltan

Firefighter, Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept.










MEASURE V – continued


s/Kirk van Patten

Cal Fire Air Attack Captain, ret.


s/Katy M. Tahja

Librarian, ret.


























































Use tabs to select your choice. Use return to create a choice. You can access your choices by navigating to 'My Choices'.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.