December 1, 2025

The Mendocino News:
A Regional Paper by the People for the People

"Award Ceremony Caps Governor's Historic Mendocino Visit"

Governor Carmen Rosales Friday wrapped up an unprecedented week-long tour of Mendocino with a presentation of the coveted 'Best in State' designation. The county received the prestigious award for its innovative economic development and community design that have brought sustained prosperity to the North Coast.

The ceremony served also to dedicate the newly renovated County Library Center, the former county courthouse. Under a colorful canopy woven entirely from the medicinal and aromatic herbs that the region has become known for, the governor was presented with ample evidence of the plenty now bursting forth in Mendocino. The visit is a major milestone in the county campaign to achieve its ambitious vision begun over 20 years ago. A diverse group of community leaders, motivated by a sense of what was possible, led their county to act decisively and imaginatively in the face of looming global crisis. Armed initially with only a healthy dose of "can-do" Mendocino, the movement grew steadily from those early meetings, and utilized local resources, including people of all ages and cultures from every corner of the county.

The ceremony included a procession of school children from local learning centers, regaling those assembled with original songs and traditional dances. The Governor was presented with symbolic offerings showcasing the County's strides toward economic self-sufficiency. The gifts included such value-added Mendocino-brand products as Mendo-Merlo Grapeseed Oil Shampoo, an 18th century replica carpet woven from locally-grown hemp, and a copy of the newly-published "Mendocino Guide to Building a Sustainable Future Together." A community-team member quipped, "This is the perfect blueprint for any community that thinks it can't." Native elders blessed the new site and asked Creator to make it a place of great learning and reconciliation.

The new Library Center also houses the Institute for New Civics where numerous groups convene to plan their ventures, work out thorny issues and develop policy recommendations. Before leaving the Center, Governor Rosales requested to stop at the "Tell your Story Booth" recently featured on 60 Minutes. There, she recorded her memories that included the story of how her grandmother's cooking inspired her path to public leadership. The Governor took a copy of her story with her, and one was archived at the Library's Living Story Collection.

Asked what the secret of their success was, a founding member said, "we started by allowing ourselves to dream the future. We identified 'Glue People' across ages and cultures and made important connections by sharing our stories and discovering together what is unique about our place and its people. Instead of focusing on our problems, we built on our successes and tackled key projects that interested and involved lots of diverse people."

"Along the way we discovered that we could develop models for healthy ways to accomplish our goals, based on new thinking about productive civic process - it was so exciting to tap the collective wisdom in our people. Competition still motivates excellence but people know how to work together now. We have learned to communicate constructively through our differences based on strong relationships and shared values."

The Governor's busy week included visits to a number of successful eco-business sites.

At this point, we invite others to write their stories of "where the Governor stopped" around the County, in order to bring alive and make concrete the aspirations we have for our place. Possible "stops" that occurred to Anne and Kate are described below. For some, we suggest story tellers).