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The interim Willits Police Chief is speaking out about the former chief and her would-be lawsuit against the city. Chief Fabian Lizarraga says there’s been rumors circulating and stories being told in the local paper about the police dept. and staff. The chief says there’s no lawsuit that’s been filed against the city or the police dept. and he’s not going to speak about specifics on the whole thing. But he says since he’s been in the department for about 4 months and in his 43 years of law enforcement experience, including at the command level in Los Angeles, and working in Fort Bragg, he sees only dedicated members. He says there’s a lack of resources, but everything is professional, with integrity and compassion.

As the state reports counties moving in and out of different colored tiers, Lake, Mendocino and other surrounding counties stay in the Purple tier. Napa, Santa Clara and San Francisco are moving to Red. Glenn and Colusa counties are also in the Purple.  The mayor of San Francisco says it’s a time to return to tourism and a great time to stay in the city and not travel outside the city.  There are also lower rents in the bigger cities. Also El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc and San Luis Obispo counties have all also been approved to move to the Red tier.  And the Gov. wants schools to get back to in person learning, and he’s been urging schools to use funding set aside for reopening after a deal with lawmakers.

As promised the Lake County Board of Supervisors has approved the sale of about 500 tax defaulted properties. At their meeting yesterday, the board approved a list of properties to be sold in June. The Treasurer-Tax Collector presented 490 properties to be sold. If they’re all sold at their minimum, it could bring in nearly $3,000,000. Owners who have fallen behind paying their taxes have some time to pay off their tax bill before that to get their properties back. The properties are put online at Bid4Assets, but not until 30 days before the auction. The Treasurer told the board she expected to have as many as 1,000 properties for sale each year. She expects a total of 500/year to sale based on past sales returns.

The Lakeport Unified School District Board has approved a plan to plug a budget deficit. At a special meeting last night the board discussed the deficit and its potential effect on the district’s financial obligations. The district has to certify to the county office of education that it can meet its financial obligations for the rest of this fiscal year and for the next two years also. Lake Co News reports the Lakeport Superintendent and the Superintendent of schools in the county had been sending letters back and forth about a $668,000 deficit. The school district is also trying to add a couple of teachers and a high school counselor. The plan moving forward incudes some cuts instead.

Mendocino County is dipping its toes back into the cannabis czar employment pool again. There have been three of them who have not worked out, and now the county is trying again to get someone to take on the cannabis permit program manager position, which they used to call the “cannabis czar.” The last person in the position stayed on the longest, about a year. The position is part of the planning and building department now so whoever gets the gig will report to county supervisors, not the CEO. The job requires a college grad, or equivalent experience and pays between $84,000 to nearly $102,000/year. The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 11th.

A proposed roundabout on the to-do list for the Ukiah City Council. The council to take up the proposal at their meeting today, but apparently there’s not enough money for the way this one is designed. It’s located at Low Gap Road and North Bush Street. On the report to the council, staff have put down the idea of mini-roundabouts which use more paint, but less concrete and are therefore less expensive. And apparently there’s grant money available that could cover the cost. But the California Transportation Commission has to okay the project, which is pretty standard, so the application has to be revised.

The city of Mendocino is entering a drought… potentially. Stage 2 anyway, according to the Mendocino City Community Services District. The board confirmed a Stage 2 drought designation at their meeting which will be reviewed again at the end of the month as they look at the water supply. Stage 2 drought essentially means, residents agree to a 15 percent voluntary reduction in water usage, there are designated irrigation times, no car washing, except with a hand-held bucket or hose that has a positive shutoff nozzle, no refilling decorative fountains or ponds unless its recycled water and the same for hot tubs or swimming pools. Also water served at restaurants is upon request only.

 The city of Clearlake’s new vision for downtown is about to come to fruition. The City Council is set to approve the strategic vision and move to authorize the City Manager to sign a contract with a consultant. There will also be a public hearing for the projects that will be part of the program. The staff report going back a couple of years now was with Retail Strategies which was put on hold, as we reported last week, due to the pandemic. The city’s looking to bring in new businesses to the Highway 53 corridor and retain some of the businesses already in the downtown core. The Record Bee reports city staff is working in an unconventional manner to attract business downtown where there’s a lack of strong infrastructure, especially for pedestrians or various transportation amenities, and many buildings that need more investment.

A deal has been reached between the Gov. and lawmakers to get schools back to in person learning with billions in incentives. The Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced an agreement Monday after two months of working on logistics to get kids back to campuses statewide after almost a year of closures due to the pandemic. Growing evidence has shown minimal outbreaks of significance related to coronavirus in schools. Gov. Newsom said at a news conference schools will get the resources they need to open back up. But some parents had complained the agreement doesn’t mean schools will totally reopen and that it allows for part online and part in person, or hybrid learning and only allows elementary kids back at first. The parent group, Open-SchoolsCA says older students will be left behind and various schools will stay closed for months until they’re forced by the Governor, legislature or the courts.

A member of the state Assembly has introduced a bill to force the reopening of theme parks. Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva of Orange County, the Chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee introduced the Safe Theme Park Reopening Act last month. She says both large and small theme parks should be included in the industry guidance tier structure. She’s urging the Governor to adjust his guidance on the industry, saying it’s time to get theme park employees back to work. Her bill moves next to the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee.

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