The state Fair Political Practices Commission will undertake an investigation of Fortuna Mayor John Campbell, according to a press release sent out this afternoon by Mark Lovelace of the Humboldt Watershed Council.
The investigation, in response to an HWC complaint, will center on whether or not Campbell has acted improperly by failing to disclose retirement benefits paid him by the Pacific Lumber Co., and whether or not he improperly failed to recuse himself from City Council discussions concerning redevelopment of the Fortuna Pacific Lumber mill.
We had a cover story on the issue back in September.
The FPPC is also investigating Humboldt County Planning Commission Chairman Tom Herman, who in private life is an attorney retained by Pacific Lumber. (Before becoming an attorney, Herman was a forester for Pacific Lumber and a vice president of the company.) The Herman investigation also stemmed from a complaint to the FPPC by the Humboldt Watershed Council.
In 2005, the FPPC cleared Humboldt County Supervisor Roger Rodoni of conflict of interest charges stemming from his financial relationship with Pacific Lumber.
If I read this right, it looks like the appellate court just set a
trial date for appellate arguments in the case of People v. Pacific Lumber. That's District Attorney Paul Gallegos' suit against Palco for allegedly fraudulent actions committed by the company during the Headwaters Deal. Yes, the one that caused all the fuss.
Tiny precis: A visiting Lake County judge threw the massive lawsuit out of court two years ago. Gallegos filed an appeal a few months later. There the case languished. Pacific Lumber's bankruptcy at the beginning of 2007 threatened to put it on permanent hold. But then the company unilaterally agreed to let it go forward.
Court date: Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 9 a.m.
UPDATE: Lawyers and their jargon...
Psychotherapist Stuart Altschuler is going back to the Ferndale City Council for a second round of verbal jousting. Altschuler was recently denied a permit for his home-based psychotherapy office.
However, it might be an uphill battle since "The decision of the City Council upon an appeal is final and conclusive as to all things involved in this matter," according to Ferndale's zoning ordinance.
In reaction to Altschuler's decision, Ferndale City Manager Jay Parrish told the Times-Standard that the City Council will consider a moratorium on all home occupation permits.
Altschuler's lawyer might file a writ of administrative mandamus with the Humboldt County Superior Court.
In other news, Ferndale will be lighting the town Christmas tree on Sunday, Dec. 2. Ferndale claims that their spruce is America's tallest living Christmas tree, but they'll have to go fist to fist with residents of Blue River, Oregon for that coveted title.
Ferndale might also want to take a lesson from New York City, where this year's tree at Rockefeller Center is "greener" than usual. With energy-saving lights replacing old-fashioned bulbs, the 84-foot-tall Norway spruce will consume 1,297 kilowatt hours per day, down from 3,510 kilowatt hours.
Rather than stepping into the past, Ferndale ought to consider fastforwarding into the future by asking Santa for at least two things this year: LEDs and GLBTs.
The research arm of the National Academy of Science (the National Research Council) has reversed its previous findings on Klamath River flows. According to a recent press release from OregonWild, a Portland-based environmental organization, the NRC has determined that increased flows in the Klamath River are likely to benefit salmon. OregonWild, once part of the settlement talks to determine the fate of four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River, claims it was kicked out of those talks, which it describes as "Bush-administration sponsored," because it wouldn't toe the party line.
The recent NRC report is a turning point, says Steve Pedery, Conservation Director for OregonWild. "This report is a major victory for salmon, commercial fishermen, Native Americans, and everyone else who cares about the health of the Klamath River," he said. "For years the Bush administration and agribusiness have claimed Klamath salmon don’t need more water, and now the National Academy of Science has slammed the door on their arguments."
My turntable is dead, but a friend ripped it to MP3 for me. Memories! Tumours is actually way better than the original, and it runs the gamut -- from the Operation Ivy-inspired backbeat of "You Make Loving Fun" to the chaotic hardcore meltdown of "Oh Daddy."
I'm sure it's pretty much impossible to find the original Tumours 7-inch anymore. It looks like it was collected in a greatest hits-type CD -- The Unessential Schlong -- but you probably can't find that either.
The fair use doctrine says that you can only use 10 percent of a song -- difficult when the longest song on the record is only 107 seconds. But this short extract from "The Chain" gives you a good idea:
Photo from The Nicks Files .
Evergreen Pulp is back in the running for that defunct Weyerhaeuser pulp mill in Cosmopolis, Wash. According to the Daily World, Evergreen's bid involves a joint deal with the local public utilities district. Evergreen would get the mill and the PUD would get the mill's biomass plant.
Reporter Aaron Glantz has a piece about the GI Bill on The Nation's website. It features the story of Paris Lee, a Humboldt County native who wanted to go to college but was screwed out of GI Bill benefits. Lee is now dealing cards at Blue Lake Casino. Glantz has previously written about Humboldt State's recently terminated Veterans Upward Bound program, and is the lead reporter for Pacifica Radio's "The War Comes Home" project.
Who didn't think it would come to this? The Environmental Protection Information Center, Friends of the Eel and Californians for Alternatives to Toxins, as well as two Marin County environmental groups, today announced their intention to file an amicus brief in the City of Novato's lawsuit against the North Coast Railroad Authority.
The environmental groups’ brief does not open new issues but focuses on three legal issues raised by the City’s writ: (1) the application of CEQA’s statute of limitations; (2) NCRA’s failure to consider the environmental impacts of the "whole project," and its adoption of an unlawful pattern and practice of segmenting environmental review; and (3) NCRA’s inappropriate reliance on inapplicable exemptions from CEQA.
According to the brief, the groups have a collective interest in protection and restoration of the natural environment and resources currently being harmed by the actions of the NCRA as well as sharing a strong commitment to the purposes and procedures of the California Environmental Quality Act. Among the resource issues, the brief says, are the Eel River’s threatened steelhead and salmon fisheries, possible toxic chemical releases from the rail operation, and rail’s potential connection to other destructive industries such as gravel mining.
The case goes to trial Dec. 12. And this is yet another demonstration of the fact that even if the NCRA does win the case, it still loses. Because it has irretrievably pissed off not only the County of Marin -- the richest county in the United States of America -- but some truly fearsome enviro orgs, ones that aren't known to walk away from a fight. And the NCRA has no plans and no budget for taking on such a fight -- a fight that anyone with half an interest in the subject knew was inevitable.
Still think that the trains will return by 2011?
UPDATE: And now comes word that the County of Marin voted to join Novato's lawsuit today. More as it comes.
Strange story in the New York Times this morning about an effort to clone the biggest and most impressive redwood trees, so that they may be planted in groves around the world. Apparently they've been planting freak redwood forests here and there for years now:
One of the largest nonnative redwood forests is near Rotorua, New Zealand. Dr. Libby said there were also redwood forests in England, France, Chile, Scotland and Spain, and the search is on for other appropriate places to plant more. Redwoods can tolerate heat, but generally not temperatures below 20 degrees. They need lots of water, from rainfall or frequent fog. In the right environment they grow fast; 20-year-old trees in New Zealand can be 40 to 50 feet tall and 20 or more inches in diameter.
Meanwhile, last night's All Things Considered reported on the brand-new phenomenon of "grow houses" -- homes given over entirely to the production of marijuana. Who'da thunk? NPR Reporter Martin Kaste notes that "at least 50" such homes in the Seattle area have been busted over the last two years. Pikers.
The story does contain one interesting twist, though -- Kaste manages to connect the grow-house phenomenon to the subprime mortgage market in a convincing and amusing way.
What you see may disturb you. Better not let the kids click through.
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