By Jim Madaffer
Past President, League of California Cities
The murder of Ft. Bragg Councilmember (and former Mayor) Jere Melo is a tragedy. Jere was full of life, an incredible person, always giving of himself for Cities all over California.
Jere was murdered this past Saturday morning as he and a friend were patrolling remote land owned by his employer Campbell Timber Management company in his capacity as a security worker. They were near the railroad tracks along the Noyo River when they stumbled upon an opium garden. Jere had frequently found sites where squatters would cultivate marijuana on his employer’s land -- he would note the location and report it to the local sheriff’s office. He worked in the local timber industry for more than 50 years. On Saturday morning, a transient allegedly fired a high-caliber automatic rifle at Melo from a hillside above him, striking him multiple times. His friend escaped and alerted authorities. The suspect is still at large.
Jere was one of my most trusted advisors during my tenure as President of the League of California Cities. Whether he was protecting coastal issues for local cities as chair of the League’s Coastal Issues Committee or serving as chair of the Nominating Committee for the League’s Board of Directors, Jere’s gentle and calm approach to issues was a blessing. I will always remember how proud he was to serve the League -- in fact we all loved him so much, we drafted him to serve an extra year on the Board after his term expired. Always with a smile on his face, he was a caring and compassionate public servant. He loved wearing his California Flag tie to our meetings and did far more to help the Cities of California than most will ever know.
I hope authorities find and prosecute his killer. His family and wife Madeleine are in my prayers. RIP.
More information is available at the League’s website here. In addition, there will be a celebration of life for Councilmember Jere Melo on Saturday, September 10th at 2:00 p.m. at the Timberwolf Stadium. More information will be released when available. A Facebook event page can be found here.