By Liz Bowen
Support Rural America Publicist
Posted July 20, 2012
All photos by Liz Bowen
From left to right: Humboldt Co. Sheriff Mike Downey, Tehama Co. Sheriff Dave Hencratt, Del Norte Co. Sheriff Dean Wilson, Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey, Modoc Co. Sheriff Mike Poindexter and Mendocino Co. Sheriff Tom Allman participated in a panel during Del Norte Support Rural America Sheriffs’ Event on July 14, 2012 in Crescent City, CA.
Northern California Sheriffs defend public safety
Crescent City, CA – Diverse economic problems and challenges face law enforcement, but in Northern California elected county sheriffs are doing something new by holding regional Town Hall-type meetings to communicate with their citizens. Powerful networking and a broadening of understanding is the result. But there is also an unexpected bonus: An increased respect for sheriffs protecting and working with citizens.
A fifth Support Rural America Sheriffs’ Event, held on July 14, 2012, was hosted by Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson up in the far northern coastal corner of California. Previous regional events have been held in Siskiyou, Modoc, Trinity and Tehama Counties this year.
The next event will be hosted by Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah on Aug.18, 2012. Time is 10 a.m. Admission is free.
Del Norte Co. Sheriff Dean Wilson
Sheriff Wilson knows full well the implications of economic downturns and the resulting public safety concerns facing his citizens. In March of 2011, the devastating tsunami hitting Japan also took out Crescent City’s harbor infrastructure needed for small commercial fishermen. And government agencies have not been in a hurry to aid the re-building.
Finally, on July 11, 2012, a ceremony was held to celebrate the beginning of re-establishment of desperately needed docks – more than a year after nature’s destruction. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, there are many government agencies with numerous hoops to jump through. Yes, red-tape is humiliatingly slow.
Sheriffs with like-minded frustrations attended this Support Rural America Event from Northern California counties including Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey, Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter, Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey and Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt.
Sheriff Wilson welcomed the audience and began with a statement: “Our issue is public safety, which has always been and shall always be the paramount consideration for government.”
Each man firmly believes his role, as an elected sheriff, is public safety. With rural economies taking hit after hit from unwarranted, but fear-gripping environmental regulations, livelihoods and businesses are on a steep slippery slope downward. As jobs and salaries are lost, each sheriff is noticing an increase in drug and alcohol abuse; also in domestic violence; and abuses of children and the elderly. Problems resulting from a poor economy are now a public safety issue. Crimes are increasing.
Audience before the event.
Not only do elected sheriffs have the job of enforcing the law, but they are responsible for keeping their constituents happy with the job they are doing. Yes, it is a balancing act.
Sheriffs are uniquely an American tradition and these men have sworn with an Oath of Office to defend and protect their citizens “from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”
Some bureaucrats in high levels of a few state and federal agencies are regulating activities that greatly affect life and livelihoods in rural areas. Citizens facing over-regulations feel attacked from newly-designed agency permits for legal irrigation water, timber harvesting or fishing rights. Escalating fees and gigantic fines are attached to the newly-written codes and regulations.
These sheriffs proudly appreciate the many state and federal agencies, which provide back-up and partnerships for a variety of serious situations. But, new to the equation are unbending over-regulations from environmental agencies stifling business and local economies dragging down revenues needed for public services.
Sheriff Wilson believes there is “hope” in standing on the Constitution as the “law of the land.” Additionally, the Bill of Rights protects liberties and freedoms for the individual. It is under the U.S. Constitution, where local governments are provided equal rights. So these men are speaking out, standing up and claiming their equality to the chagrin of a few government employees, socialists and leftists.
Sheriff Wilson praised his Del Norte County Supervisors for utilizing a legal process called “coordination” to demand equality from state and federal agencies. Through coordination state and federal policy must be “consistent” with local policy. Something Sheriff Wilson said has been ignored for decades.
“Congress recognized local communities and economies,” explained Wilson, when developing the coordination process.
Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey
Siskiyou Sheriff Jon Lopey spoke next lamenting that his county has so many things going on, “we are under siege” from over-regulations. Sheriff Lopey was willing to take the lead with several elected local fire and community districts in demanding federal agencies come to the table and do “coordination” government-to-government.
“There are policies that threaten and destroy rural America,” said Sheriff Lopey, who explained that in the 1970s there were 22 sawmills in Siskiyou County. “Now there are two partially functioning mills.”
Yet, the mountains are full of trees “10 times” the natural amount with fuel-loading extremely heavy – just waiting for decimation by catastrophic fire. Thinning the trees would provide a regional economy, bringing forests back to health allowing more water to flow into streams for fish. But environmental regulations have nearly stopped the harvest of timber.
Recently, Sheriff Lopey was slammed by the Huffington Post blogger Glen Martin, claiming Lopey was above the law, because he is demanding coordination with federal agencies on the potential removal of four well-functioning hydro-electric dams. These dams are situated 200 miles inland on the Klamath River. Eco groups and agency officials claim dam removal will aid salmon runs, which science and scientists can prove is not true, yet perpetuated by restoration grant-loving Non-Governmental-Organizations.
Modoc Co. Sheriff Mike Poindexter
Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter and Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt are also utilizing the “coordination” process addressing the U.S. Forest Service’s plans to reduce roads available for travel. Both sheriffs claim a significant amount of road miles are needed in the Forest Service managed lands for public safety and rescue. Recreationists continue to travel into the back country and there will be fires, natural and man-made, they explained. Both sheriffs said they must have access to and on Forest Service roads. Public lands cannot be closed to the public.
Tehama Co. Sheriff Dave Hencratt
Humboldt Co. Sheriff Mike Downey
Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said, “We are a Republic. We are a country of a rule of law – not of a mob. We are not a Democracy,” bringing shouts and applause from the crowd of 300.
Sheriff Downey said tremendous environmental issues surround the illegal marijuana business and has asked the Environmental Protection Agency for help — to no avail. EPA officials told him the agency only addresses those situations with permits. Illegal pot grows have no such permits.
Then, Sheriff Downey explained there is a chemical used by pot growers, which is toxic and killing the mammal fisher, spotted owls and deer. He also sees huge amounts of silting and sediment washed into streams from the plowed up fields and pads created by the growers. He has reported it to federal agencies. Nothing has been done.
“We are asking you to stand with us,” said Sheriff Downey to the audience, which verbally agreed, rising to their feet in yet another ovation.
Mendocino Co. Sheriff Tom Allman
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman was last in speaking, but not least in passion. He first mentioned this is “not a political year” for the sheriffs involved in these Support Rural America Events. So there is no campaign agenda. Next he said, “We are not going to trample the rights of the citizens we are sworn to protect. We will not turn away from enforcing the law.”
The year 2011was a watershed year for Sheriff Allman, who said pot growing in his county was out of control and he needed help. It is truly a global business, as he explained many arrests have been made on citizens from 14 other countries. Needing more law enforcement support, Sheriff Allman called up neighboring sheriffs and suggested putting together a multi-county Marijuana Eradication Task Force. They did. In just three weeks, more than 632,000 marijuana plants and 57,000 pounds of trash was found and removed by the county sheriff departments.
Sheriff Allman has invited neighboring Constitutional Sheriffs to the sixth Support Rural America Sheriffs’ Event on Aug. 18, 2012 in Ukiah. It is too early to have received confirmation from sheriffs, but if possible they do attend providing needed support. Also, conservative-type of citizens and Tea Party Patriots are so enthused over these sheriffs, some are becoming “groupies” attending as many events as possible. Friendships and networking is expanding.
Solutions to the myriad of over-regulations are evolving and have not yet been found for many issues, but through these Town Hall meetings a “we can do it” attitude is emerging.
After stating, “We will never, never ever give up,” Del Norte Sheriff Dean Wilson took a deep breath, smiled and finished with, “Just look at what we can do together.”
Youtube videos were completed by Phil at State of Jefferson Podcast.com and will also be available on the SupportRuralAmerica.com website, where more information about Constitutional Sheriffs and previous events can be found.
Minister Edwin Fleshman gave the flag salute, prayer and honored veterans.
This fuchsia was five feet tall. They just don’t grow like that — inland.
We really were at the Pacific Ocean in Crescent City, CA.