December 15, 2021 — About a dozen activists from a coalition that’s been pushing for a moratorium on logging in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest held an impromptu meeting with Assembly member Wood and Senator Mike McGuire’s field staff in downtown Ukiah Tuesday, asking them to convey their concerns to elected officials. Among them were Polly Girvin, an authorized representative of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians for government to government consultations with the state; and an activist who said he had been struck by a vehicle while blockading a road early Friday morning. “Vehicular attacks on protestors are very much in vogue,” said the protester, who goes by the name Mama Monkey.
“Myself and other citizens were spread across Road 300, just east of the confluence of Roads 300, 350, and 360, near the egg-taking station,” said Mama Monkey. “We were preventing loggers from entering the Red Tail timber harvest plan, and a white four-door Toyota Tacoma with a camper shell and a heavy-looking black metal bully bar after-market front bumper came towards us (we were all wearing high visibility yellow safety vests and making our presence very obvious) and the truck came towards us really quickly, and kind of screeched to a halt just within a few feet of other folks in my group, then reversed direction and altered course to point towards myself…my suspicion is that the person driving miscalculated, expecting me to move out of the way, because I was a little bit more isolated on that side of the road, but I did not move, and I think when he realized that, he started to attempt to slow down, but he was not able to stop in time to prevent his bumper from hitting me in the chest.”
In June, Sheriff Matt Kendall wrote a letter to then-CalFire Director Thomas Porter and the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, saying he was concerned about public safety issues arising from people blocking roads in the forest. He urged the state to take action “to secure a safe working environment,” writing that, “My office cannot take over issues which are the responsibility of the State of California.”
In July, Anderson Logging, which was under CalFire orders to stop working in the Caspar 500 timber harvest plan, told Mendocino Unit Chief George Gonzalez that the company wanted to hire private security to protect its workers. CalFire Chief Legal Counsel Bruce Crane told Myles Anderson and his lawyer that according to the Public Resource Code, “CAL FIRE cannot cede control of activities on JDSF, for law enforcement and security purposes, to any person or entity at any time.”
Mama Monkey tried to file a report with the Sheriff’s office and California Highway Patrol over the weekend, then overcame initial reluctance and filed a report with CalFire Monday morning. Cal Fire confirmed as much, but did not provide details, as the investigation had just been opened.
Mama Monkey provided details of the incident to Wood and McGuire’s representatives. They did not go to the hospital after the encounter, and chose to keep their medical information about the aftermath private. “I’m there to protect the trees for the well-being of everyone, of the loggers just as much as myself, for their children just as much as my children,” they declared. “It’s very sad that certain parties are acting violently, and I feel it’s my duty to make sure they’re held accountable, so they don’t continue to escalate violence.”
In his letter last summer, Kendall wrote that he fully supports the right to civil disobedience, but that safety cannot be ensured if activists continue to protest in an active timber sale. “We can see where this is leading, and the outcome will be tragic if action isn’t taken,” he warned.
As for Mama Monkey, “What I want is a moratorium on logging within Jackson Demonstration State Forest.”
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