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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who supports this project anyways?

The only "people" who are promoting this project is big development.

The Times-Standard printed SIX letters supporting the project, opposed to the massive public outcry of opinion denouncing the project in both the Times-Standard and North coast Journal.

Let's look at the special interests attached to the small enclave of project supporters. Then maybe we can evaluate whether their interests in the project are to help the community...or exploit it.

-J. Warren Hockaday-
-Eureka Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
-Member, Timber Heritage Association
-J. Warren on our port-"Eureka Chamber of Commerce Executive Director J. Warren Hockaday endorsed Option B, citing a predicted "dramatic increase in Pacific Rim Trade" that "other ports can't take due to air quality issues."(Mr. Hackaday would prefer to spoil OUR air)

-Ray Flynn-
-Former Humboldt County Assessor(Hmmmm...)
-Chairman of the Buckeye Conservancy influencing 300,000 acres of forests and ranchland in the county.(The "conservancy" is actually a band of foresters and ranchers dedicated to streamlining timber harvest permits and challenge regulatory restrictions in order to make it easier for landowners to clearcut paradise).
-Ray flynn on Prop. 13-"Though personal income was rising almost as fast as property values, that was little consolation to retired people, or people otherwise on a limited income. Ray Flynn, Humboldt County's assessor at the time, says that though the boom in Humboldt County wasn't as dramatic as it was in the state's urban areas, he witnessed its effect."I had a lot of people sitting across from me crying their eyes out," Flynn says. "They said, "You're forcing me out of my home.'"(Thanks a lot, Ray)

-Mark Loughmiller-
-Executive Director Arcata Recycling Center(Ok...but...)
-Official Arcata "Hippiecrit"
-Mark Loughmiller on population growth-"Loughmiller added, however, that a curbside program can be effective if it collects enough tonnage, since commercial haulers can increase recyclable pick up without a corresponding cost hike. "We need a bigger population base, so perhaps we can look at the possibility of combining Arcata, Eureka and McKinleyville. It's all about volume - if you don't have it, it won't work.""(For Mark, it's all about volume...not community)

-Kit Mann-
-Vice President Kokatat(Korpatat)
-Kit Mann on unions and federal employer regulations- "Invoking the "C" word - "corporation," that is - Kit Mann, vice president and production manager of Kokotat, noted that it is necessary for a business to be profitable to be good, in the basic sense of covering insurance, worker's compensation, benefits and so on. He said, "I have a very deep and abiding commitment to my employees," but argued that the intervention of a third party - whether the government, a union or shareholders - interrupts the relationship between a corporation and its employees."(It's a very deep and abusive relationship when employees are buggered by Kit)
-Kit Mann on Kokatat-"Most people there don't stick it out. Kit Mann, the vice-president of Kokatat, says they hire new people all the time. That's partly because those jobs have high turnover because they are difficult and monotonous."It takes a certain type of person to do that every day," Mann says. "I have a lot of respect for [the workers]. I couldn't do what they do.""(But you can exploit [the workers] just like a big box or corporate chain, right Kit? Where is your conscience?)

-Charles Fiedler-
-CalTrans District 1 Director
-State employee caught with hand in Headwaters Fund cookie jar. (Is this a conflict of interests? A State employee dipping into local funds to promote an unpopular project that would benefit Caltrans district 1 employees? Enough said...)

-Bryan Plumley-
-President of the Arcata Downtown Business Association($)
-Arcata Economic Development Corp. Loan Committee($$)
-Arcata's Economic Development Committee($$$)
-Financial advisor for Edward Jones' Arcata office($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)
-Former Third District Supervisor Candidate(Nice try Brian)
-Former President Arcata Mainstreet Board of directors(See ya!)
Brian Plumley on development-"Economic development is a key to a lot of other problems," he said. "With success in that area, a community is able to deal with poverty, housing shortages and drug abuse."(You have it backwards, Brian. Overdevelopment IS the source of a lot of problems, such as poverty, housing shortages and drugs. Get your facts straight)

In summation:
-Project supporters were paid for their endorsements.
-ALL of the above project supporters have financial interests in the mass development of Humboldt County.
-Project supporters clearly have little or no regard for air quality, environmental regulations, retirees and low income residents, workers rights and union organizations, smartgrowth advocacy, and overall community cohesion. This may appear to be a generalization, but after analyzing the facts, it is more than apparent that the handful of paid project supporters have interests opposed to a sustainable and community based lifestyle for Humboldt County residents.

In short, they want to profit from the collapse of the Humboldt Nation.

This is a call for action, as Paul Revere rode to warn the rebel colonialists that the British were invading. "The corporations are coming...the corporations are coming! One if by land(101), two if by sea(Bay), and three if by air(Arcata airport)."

There is a single light in the churchtower. Now is the time for action! Let's kick those greencoat$ out of Humboldt!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Richardson Grove: A look at the bigger picture

The impact of widening Richardson Grove will affect both the “left” and the “right,” this is not limited to an environmental or political issue. This is a social and economic issue that will adversely affect everyone, unless you are the developer, builder or landowner.

Richardson Grove is not the only front in this battle for our way of life. The gateways to exploiting our paradise have been opened throughout Humboldt's history, such as with the timber, gold, whaling, and ganja booms. These booms all had their windfalls for the few, steady and honest work for the many, and of course their various detriments to the land, and native populations. These booms also bring more people. Then the retraction, or “bust” as resources plummet, demand dwindles and profiteers jump ship (sayonara Charlie Hurwitz).

The commercial boom is not quite different, except for the fact that the future of small business owners will be bleak. Whether the plan is to create a bigger harbor, reinstate the rail system, build a larger airport, free up timber lands for tract homes or as in this case ... widen the highway thoroughfare to the nearest major city (San Francisco) and seaport (Oakland); the overall plan is for a few to profit from the hard work of the many. The bigger picture is the plan to develop Humboldt.

The shock wave from small business collapse will be felt by all native (or current) Humboldt residents. As corporate chains and “big boxes” create vacant storefronts, wages will begin to fall. Profits will leave Humboldt County (remember the corruption of PL after the Maxxam takeover?), and homes will become vacant. Meth and gangs will become rampant. Opportunities for entrepreneurial pursuits will cease to exist in a corporatised wasteland of McDonald's, Home Depots, and cookie cutter tract homes and mini-malls.

I lived through this type of change myself. In fact, by the time my hometown was overrun by mass commercialism, I was old enough to move out. I've worked so many different jobs, sometimes as much as two full-time jobs while sleeping in my car between them. Jobs were easy to get because no one wanted them, like graveyard shifts at Taco Bell or a security guard at the apartment complex. All to pay for a place that was beyond my means, impress a girl that was beyond my means, and live up to mass media's imposed living standards, which were beyond my means.

My point is not to scare you with fear tactics. I am simply sharing my experience of my hometown community that became a zombified version of some Orweilian nightmare. The world won't end for Humboldtians if the project goes through. Some trees that have been around for thousands of years will probably die eventually from root disturbances, but at least that Caltrans worker will have a meager paycheck and a slim retirement plan for their 80 or so years on the planet. Some people will definitely benefit. But most of us will see Humboldt permanently distorted, and you can't go back once this occurs. There are some people in our community that welcome this, but they do not have the foresight or experience of Southern Californication.

Is it more than widening the highway through virgin redwood stands? It should be for all of Humboldt's labor force that has had its shares of ups and downs. There's always that “greeter” position for minimum wage at Wal-Mart, a company that leaves Medi-Cal and food stamp information in their break rooms.

Jeff Musgrave lives in Arcata.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Hole in the Headwaters Fund...To Make a Hole in Richardson Grove

After the sale of Headwaters Preserve by Maxxam operated Pacific Lumber to the State of California, $22 million dollars was allocated to Humboldt County to offset economic loss of the timberlands to the local economy.

$12 million came from the State earmarked for "Economic Assistance".

The $10 million that came from the feds was deemed "Direct Payment" to Humboldt County.

However, the citizens of Humboldt County had been bamboozled . The fund that was intended to improve "economic prosperity and quality of life for all Humboldt County residents" was pirated by a County bureaucracy elected for the special interests of developers. While displaced workers
were forced to work minimum wage jobs, timber community infrastructures collapsed(such as Rio Dell's wastewater cease and desist), and vacant homes turned into meth houses; the fund was squandered during a recession for grants and loans for promoting the corporatisation of Humboldt County.

Aside from using the fund to promote and study "Super Sizing" the Bay and Airport Terminal, county officials misappropriated these funds to serve the interests of Big Box development and to rip Humboldt County wide open for commercialization. "Among those(interests) were the Caltrans project to widen U.S. Highway 101 through Richardson Grove".

Even the local media was influenced with the public fund. "My Word" editorials submitted to the Times-Standard were discovered to have been funded by the Headwaters Fund by Dr. Ken Miller(Thank you Dr. Ken!):

A recent Quarterly Report to the Headwaters Grant Fund reveals money was approved to pay for assistance in “submission of approximately six ‘My Word’ editorials in support of the Richardson Grove Project.” Coincidentally (or not) The T-S archives show in fact six “My Words” supporting the widening through the ancient redwood grove.

Submissions came from:
J Warren Hockaday Ray Flynn Mark Loughmiller Kitt Mann Charles Fiedler Bryan Plumley

The campaign is a line item in their 2/25/09 Grant update report on their accomplishments to date:
“Hired a PR Contractor to manage the EIR summarization, a letter-writing campaign, media outreach, business and public outreach.”


“Assisted in submission of approximately six “My Word” editorials in support of RG Project, written by business owners affected by the restrictions.”

We taxpayers who funded the Headwaters Fund, and constitute “the public,” should have been told that a media campaign, including letters to the editor and six “My Word” OpEd’s, was being funded by public funds.

Essentially, The Headwaters Fund was a "gift" from the State to Humboldt County(at the time, predominantly timber industry workers)from economic impact of Headwaters Deal, with the intentions of "Economically Assisting" the timber community while providing a "Direct Payment" to the county to offset infrastructure loss. But the sale of PL's timberlands to the State came at a cost to everyone, from the tireless efforts from environmentalists, the loss of livelihood for timber workers, and the State taxes paid for the land acquisition by everyone.

In effect, the fund was a "Stimulus Package" for the people of Humboldt, not for the development interests of big business or big development(Does this treacherous tale sound familiar, as with the bank bail-outs?). How did they get their hands on our money, anyway? Who let the fox into the chicken coop?

Don't be a chicken. Say No to the Corporatisation of Humboldt!

Save Richardson Grove. Save Humboldt County!