Meeting Time: December 06, 2022 at 9:00am PST

Agenda Item

3m) Approval of the Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grants Program (LJAGP) Direct Grant and Fee Waiver Program Manual

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    Clifford Morford over 1 year ago

    Honorable Supervisors:

    Regardless of the Grand Jury Report, building an airplane while it's flying might be acceptable as part of the learning curve, but starting a second one having learned little from the first one risks adding to the list of grievances already begging for litigation.

    I urge you to pay heed to the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance and make its recommended revisions to the LJAGP Manual.

    Clifford Morford

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    Laura Clein over 1 year ago

    Dear Supervisors,

    Please do not adopt this manual as is. The LJAGP program needs to roll out smoothly & asap for the County to use these State funded grants as directed to assist Phase 1& 2 permits into annual licenses. This grant eligibility should extend to everyone in the program in a way that approves the CEQA & other requirements. As the Federal government inches closer to full cannabis legalization, Mendocino County must do all it can to support it's local cannabis industry. There are many good suggestions from program participants & professional consultants & of course, from MCA.

    Thank you, Laura & Marty Clein, Martyjuana

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    Monique Ramirez over 1 year ago

    Dear Supervisors,
    Today I request that you please review the thoughtful memo submitted by the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. Our trusted trade organization representing the needs of cultivators and cannabis businesses across our county! Please do not allow this manual to be approved as written. There are many areas that need further explanation and the most obvious is direct grant allowances. As an applicant who applied for LEEP funding, it has been a total nightmare navigating that application process. The last thing I want to see is the same thing happen for applicants applying for this new grant funding. We need the direct grant allowances to be as broad as possible for what this funding can be spent on. So long as it helps applicants transition to an annual state license.

    A few items I strongly urge the Board to see added in to the manual include:

    1. Allowing water storage tanks that are not tied to forbearance restrictions

    We should be embracing all cultivators to store water whenever possible. Groundwater wells are not tied to forbearance periods by the Waterboard, yet this restriction in the manual will not allow cultivators that use groundwater to increase water storage. This language needs to be amended.

    2. Road Improvements
    Some farms need to do major road work for access, water runoff issues, etc. I did not see language in the manual that allowed for road improvements as an allowed use.

    3. Solar installations and equipment
    We should allow cultivators to use this funding to pay for solar improvements regardless if they use combustion engines or not. This should be further explained in the manual as an allowed use.

    Under the Timeline for Application Submission it states: "Applicants not awarded funding during an application submission period may continue to apply for funding during future application submission periods. Awardees, that have not been awarded the maximum of $100,000 in direct grants and fee waivers, may apply for additional funds during open application submission periods"

    This is somewhat concerning, since the funding is needed to transition to annual state licenses, and the deadline to transition supersedes the deadline for this grant funding to be awarded or spent. This funding must be in the hands of operators as soon as possible! Otherwise it will mean nothing if applicants can't get their projects funded in time to meet the state annual license deadlines. How often is the county planning to hold submission periods as well? This needs to be defined further in the manual.

    This manual doesn't state when the county will be prepared to take in applications or how it will prioritize staff time to review the applications as they come in, against the stacks of renewal, portal and good standing applications that are currently in review.

    Please take caution when approving this agenda item as is. Adopt the recommendations of the MCA memo, along with these 3 recommendations. It's imperative that we have a successful grant program and learn from all the mistakes of the LEEP grant. As a supervisor your help is needed to ensure the success of this LJAGP.

    Thank you,
    Monique Ramirez
    District 3

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    Marnie Birger over 1 year ago

    I support Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. Here's what they say:
    "Honorable Supervisors,
    We urge you to NOT adopt the LJAGP Manual as presented, and to instead:
    1. Conditionally pass the Manual with the below suggested revisions, and
    2. Require MCD to present a complete Policies and Procedures Document (PPD) for the
    program at the first BoS meeting in January and prior to opening the program for
    3. Establish a monthly audit review of MCD use of grant funds as administrative spending
    of roughly $8M is currently determined by only one person, the MCD Director. Discretion
    of this magnitude requires oversight.
    If adopted in its current form, the initial roll-out of the LJAGP will be a disastrous repeat of the
    Equity Program, which prompted the Grand Jury Report ‘Building the Airplane While It’s Flying.’

    The Manual is overly-narrow and overlooks a multitude of additional, eligible,
    compliance-related costs. Similar to the launch of LEEP, if initiated as currently drafted, the
    LJAGP plane would be attempting to fly without wings or an engine.
    To avoid confusion, frustration, and delay, we request that the Manual match the broad intent of
    the DCC-provided LJAGP funds, and that a clear and robust PPD be presented to the BoS prior
    to program initiation. As the current draft Manual states, “allowable uses are intended to
    encourage local jurisdictions to administer grant funds in ways that allow the DCC to transition
    provisional licenses to annual licenses more expeditiously without sacrificing California’s
    environmental commitments.” Relying on future changes by Staff is cumbersome, inefficient,
    and costly for all involved. Applicants have and will face challenges due to inconsistent MCD
    interpretation of eligible expenses."
    I also agree with the comment from Christina Colangelo.
    Marnie B

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    Christina Colangelo over 1 year ago

    I strongly OPPOSE the adoption of the LJAGP manual as written. Do not vote this in as is. Do not subject us to yet another wasteful round of ineptitude and chaos, of yet another problematic grant program roll out.

    It’s beginning to seem fully intentional on the part of the BOS, County Counsel, and MCD to hinder cannabis businesses from succeeding in Mendocino as much as possible. The prejudice against us still feels loud and clear, even though we have such a small footprint now and bring in so much money to this struggling county. It’s as if your trying to bleed us slowly to death and waste more tax payer money on more dragging of the feet bureaucracy and more stopping of the flow of assistance from the state. Assemblyman Jim Wood, Senator Mike McGuire, and Governor Newsom are doing all they can to support us small farmers in legacy producing regions. I urge you to do the same.

    While I OPPOSE the adoption of this grant manual as is, I wholeheartedly support the suggested changes to the LJAGP manual proposed by Michael Katz and MCA.

    Thank you
    C. Lynne

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    Michael Katz over 1 year ago

    Honorable Supervisors