Screenshot of Tuesday’s Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting.


Fifth District Supervisor and Board Chair Steve Madrone began today’s Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting by reading a brief statement into the record.

“The Board of Supervisors values the Constitution and a person’s First Amendment right to free speech,” Madrone stated. “In order to facilitate an orderly meeting, the board chair will ensure that the citizen’s right to speak does not infringe on the rights and the protections of others. Any person who addresses this board shall refrain from threats of violence or statements that elicit a violent response.”

“We say this just to try and keep an orderly meeting and a respectful meeting,” he added.

Although he did not explicitly state the reason behind the declaration, the statement was in reference to comments made during the board’s last meeting on Aug. 22.

During that meeting, frequent public commenter Charles Wilson alleged that by flying the Pride flag outside the courthouse in June, the county was expressing support for “child mutilation and elimination of women’s right to privacy and security.” At the tail end of his rambling comments, Wilson pivoted and said, “When I volunteered for the Army, I was told by the government that I had to shoot people that the government didn’t like.”

Madrone immediately cut Wilson off, noting that his commenters were “crossing over into hate speech.” 

In a follow-up email, County Administrative Officer (CAO) Elishia Hayes told the Outpost that Wilson was cut off because his comments were perceived as a threat of violence. “[T]he commenter talked favorably about being able to shoot people who were disliked by the majority, and taken in context with the other comments he made, I perceived that to be a statement that could elicit a violent response towards certain populations within our own community … ,” Hayes wrote.

During today’s meeting, Wilson argued that his comments were misinterpreted and demanded that the board allow him to finish what he was going to say. Madrone granted his request even though he was speaking during public comment on the board’s consent calendar, not non-agenda public comment.

“I would have continued … I didn’t like the idea, just like now with a government promoting child mutilation, eliminating woman’s right of privacy and security, and forcing dangerous government medication in order to make money for pharmaceuticals,” Wilson said, in part. “[CAO Hayes] … cited my name specifically and said I talked favorably about being able to shoot people who are not disliked [sic] by the majority. I did not say I wanted to shoot people or any group.”

Wilson went on to demand a written apology from the Board of Supervisors and Hayes, “as well as actions taken publicly to correct the county’s … malinformation [sic] which defamed the character of me and my wife, which has put us in peril.”

Madrone allowed Wilson to use slightly more time than the allotted three minutes for public comment since he was cut off at the previous meeting. He also offered an apology.


“Charles, I apologize to you for cutting you off early last time,” Madrone said. “I jumped to it before you made your final comment. … But in the future, we would have a warning first if the person is going into that area, and then they would be allowed to continue their comments as long as they don’t go into that area of eliciting a violent response, or threats of violence towards individuals or groups.”

A few others criticized Madrone’s response during non-agenda public comment, including Wilson’s wife. The board did not take any further action on the matter.

Grand Jury Responses

The board also reviewed three recent reports from the 2022-2023 Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury regarding emergency preparedness, inspections of county facilities and the state of the county’s Child Abuse Services Team, or CAST. 

Public Information Specialist Cati Gallardo went over the recommendations listed in each report and explained staff’s recommendation to adopt some, but not all, of the Grand Jury’s suggestions. 

For example, the Grand Jury’s report – “Humboldt County Emergency Preparedness: Ready or Not?” – asks the Board of Supervisors to “to write and print for release an easily-understood emergency preparedness handbook, including emergency evacuation routes and destination maps to all county residents and visitors by no later than March 31, 2024.” Gallardo said the board cannot implement the recommendation “because it is not reasonable for your board to implement.”

Another recommendation asked the Board of Supervisors to direct the Humboldt County Disaster Council, in coordination with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), to submit an updated Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) by the end of next year. Gallardo stated that the recommendation “is already in the process of being implemented.”

“It is anticipated that the revised draft EOP will be ready to be submitted for review by CalOES in late 2024,” Gallardo said. “However, the adoption of the plan will likely occur in 2025 after the review process can be completed.”

Ryan Derby, manager of Humboldt OES, said his office could share a template of the document with the Board of Supervisors by the end of the month.

“The [EOS] is really kind of a guiding document that establishes the framework of our emergency response,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily serve as a playbook, right? I think what you’re looking for is something much simpler that we could probably have to you before the end of the month.”

After a bit of discussion, the board thanked the Grand Jury for its service and unanimously approved staff’s recommendations. You can find a detailed list of the Grand Jury’s recommendations and staff’s responses at this link.


Other notable bits from today’s meeting:

  • The board was set to hear an appeal of a recently approved conditional use permit for We Are Up, a 50-unit housing development for seniors and people with Autism and other intellectual disabilities, but the meeting was postponed. Planning and Building Director John Ford said “there is some hope that things can be worked out and so we are hoping to let that play out.” He said the public hearing would be continued at a date uncertain if the applicant and appellant cannot come to an agreement on the matter.
  • The board approved the formation of an ad hoc working group to review the County of Humboldt Facilities Master Plan, which was adopted in 2020. The board agreed to appoint Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson and Fourth District Supervisor Natalie Arroyo to the ad hoc committee.
  • The board also approved the appointment of Tesia Beauchene to the Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District’s board of directors. The appointment will extend through December 6, 2024.