August 12, 2004
NADER MISSES BALLOT,
GOES AFTER COBB: California supporters
of Ralph Nader missed Friday's deadline to put the independent
presidential candidate's name on the state's November ballot.
But they are not going quietly into the night -- instead, they
are shooting for an emergency convention of the state Green Party,
where they'll ask the party to list Nader in place of Eureka
resident and Green Party national candidate David Cobb. "It's
a hard thing, and it's an unfortunate situation all the way around,"
said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Cobb's housemate and fellow Democracy
Unlimited activist. "I can't really separate out the fact
that I'm David's partner, but as a Green this just doesn't smell
right." The state Green Party has until Aug. 26 to change
their endorsement. Nader campaign organizers needed 153,000 signatures
to put their man on the November ballot; they turned in only
around 83,000. In Humboldt County -- a traditional Nader stronghold
-- only 640 voters signed petitions for the candidate. In contrast,
7,100 locals -- over 12 percent of the electorate -- voted for
Nader in 2000. Nader's running-mate, Peter Camejo, got 3,263
local votes as a replacement candidate in last year's gubernatorial
by HANK SIMS
Downtown Eureka was the scene of one of the largest and most contentious forest protests in recent memory last Wednesday.
The protest began at 11 a.m., with around 50 demonstrators in front of the county courthouse holding up signs decrying forest practices in the Mattole watershed. Naomi Wagner, a long-time forest activist, said that recent Pacific Lumber Co. logging activities near Rainbow Ridge sparked the protest.
The event also coincided with the end of "action camp" -- a training session at Grizzly Creek Campground where young activists from around the country learned the basics of non-violent resistance, according to Wagner.
"This place is known around the country as a locus of non-violent resistance to corporate greed," she said.
One of the action camp attendees stood nearby, holding up one corner of a banner. The young man, who gave his name as "Pluto," said that he had recently taken a leave of absence from his university studies in Virginia in order to focus on direct action. The local action camp seemed like a good opportunity, he said.
"Non-violence training was really the key -- learning about different methods of non-violence, different people who have used non-violence to help change happen in a positive way," he said.
At noon, the demonstration moved out into the Fifth Street, with the activists stopping two trucks hauling Douglas fir logs at a stoplight. Police arrived on the scene moments later, diverting northbound traffic to Seventh Street.
Two protesters -- both of them local residents -- mounted one of the trucks, hanging banners from the logs. It took almost an hour for the police, aided by the Eureka Fire Department, to haul the non-compliant protesters off the trucks and arrest them. Normal traffic was restored a few minutes later.
by HELEN SANDERSON
Robert Manne, Pacific Lumber Co. CEO, told a group of North Coast Republicans last week that, contrary to media reports, the company practices sustainable harvesting and has recently been meeting its goals.
Manne, the 15th president of Palco, addressed the mostly middle-aged and older crowd of close to 50 Republicans while they ate dinner at the Angelina Inn in Fernbridge during a monthly Humboldt County Republican Central Committee meeting. Palco's president touched upon issues that he says are not talked about in the media or by the lumber company's adversaries.
"In 1999 when we signed our Habitat Conservation Plan, which you all read about ad nauseam in this county I know, we had 4.2 billion board feet of timber growing on our timber lands, 219,000 acres. Five years later after doing all the harvesting we've done we still have 4.2 billion board feet growing on our timber lands," Manne said. "We are operating sustainably. No matter what the opponents tell you, no matter what you read in the press."
While the figure for billions of board feet has remained steady, this is true in part because the giant old growth redwoods that were federally protected under the HCP are still considered among the board feet growing on Palco land. Semantics aside, the company received a sustainable forestry certification last year, which was re-approved this summer following an audit from Interforest, a Connecticut-based resource management firm.
Manne continued to talk optimistically about the company, mentioning that Palco's domestic and international markets are strong and so are prices for redwood and Douglas fir. In an additional bit of good enviro news, the president reported that Palco's aquatics team found 20,000 salmonids in the Freshwater Creek system, and that the company donated $10,000 to the Mad River Fish Hatchery as it faced closure.
As for politics, Manne pronounced his satisfaction with Gov. Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review (CPR) report, a recently released 2,500-page document recommending a drastic overhaul in state government to cut back spending.
"[CPR is Schwarzenegger's] report on how he's going to streamline government, how he's going to gut government, how he's going to remove all the overlapping regulations and make things more efficient.
"The California Department of Forestry as we know it is eliminated. The Board of Forestry is eliminated. The Air Pollution Board is eliminated," Manne said.
"All 10 Regional Water Control Boards are eliminated and replaced with exempt officers sitting somewhere in Sacramento. It calls for streamlined timber harvest plan reviews. It calls for incentives for forest products companies that are certified as sustainable or have habitat conservation plans like we do. It means 38,000 to 40,000 state employees will lose their jobs if it's enacted in its full form. It's a huge step forward," Manne said to loud applause.
He later added that CPR has little chance of being approved, but that it is still a step in the right direction.
As for the November election, Manne drummed up hoots and hollers from the audience when he asked if George W. Bush stood a chance for reelection. He noted that he and Bush have something in common.
"I could tell you that the way I get treated by our opponents here in Humboldt County [makes me] feel somewhat like George Bush," Manne said. "The angst and the anger and the vile nature of some of these comments and the personal threats that I get ... it's not fun sometimes."
Then Manne jumped topics to rail against the recent move of District Attorney Paul Gallegos and Assistant District Attorney Tim Stoen to have Judge Christopher Wilson disqualified from presiding over the county's fraud lawsuit against Palco, for what they say is Wilson's personal bias against Stoen.
"Our company spent $6 million last year on lawyers defending ourselves against frivolous law suits. I mean, look what's going on in the District Attorney's case. I read after Judge Wilson's ruling on the complaint that the District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney said `we've got 90 percent of what we wanted.' And now the District Attorney is filing for Wilson, saying that they want him removed? That doesn't make any sense to me."
Manne added that he felt sorry for Wilson and hopes that the case will be thrown out of court.
Following the meeting, Humboldt's Republican Central Committee Treasurer, Kay Peake, said that Manne's talk was informative and full of "talking points" for the committee to convey to voters while campaigning.
"What amazes me is how little we know as Republicans [about Palco]," Peake said. "As people who've worked for or had family that worked for [Palco], we should know these things. And if we don't know them, how in the world can we expect anybody else to know them in our community?"
by HANK SIMS
In some places, it's an embarrassment of riches. In others, a drought.
Six of Humboldt County's seven incorporated cities will be holding city council elections this November, and the races for political office in each of the towns are beginning to take shape.
Arcata voters will have at least 10 candidates to choose from in filling three open seats. In Rio Dell, with two seats open, eight candidates have signed up, a surprisingly large turnout; in years past, the Rio Dell council has appointed new members because no citizens could be found to run for seats.
Such a situation appears possible this year in Blue Lake, where, at press time, only two candidates have filed in Blue Lake in a race where three seats are open. In Ferndale, businessman Jeff Farley has announced that he will challenge Mayor Elizabeth Anderson for her post, but there may not be much of a race for city council -- two candidates have thus far filed for two open seats.
The Aug. 6 deadline for candidates to file was extended in Arcata, Blue Lake and Ferndale, as incumbent councilmembers in each of those cities decided not to run for re-election. Because of the extension, a final, complete list of candidates was not available as the Journal went to press.
In Arcata, the council's two longest-serving members, Bob Ornelas and Connie Stewart, announced in June that they would be stepping down. Blue Lake Mayor Dave Nakamura and Councilmember Brian Julian are likewise retiring, as is Ferndale Councilmember Todd Sanborn.
The city of Fortuna held its elections in April.
© Copyright 2004, North Coast Journal, Inc.