by Judy Hodgson
Editor and Publisher
AS WE GO TO PRESS, there is one story evolving so quickly that there is simply no way to report on it for a monthly magazine. The story is the fate of the Humboldt Bay benefit assessment district vote to deepen the port. Whatever we say today, March 23, will certainly be out of date when we reach the newsstands in early April.
It's pretty clear the proposal will be defeated, probably long before the April 24 deadline for mail-in ballots.
It is also evident that although the harbor commission spent time and money surveying current and potential port users, clearly not enough was done to bring them on board regarding how, exactly, this project should be paid for.
While the timber companies strongly support a deeper port, most were taken aback when they received their proposed assessment. (A few individual landowners like Lindy Pedro were more than taken aback. See his letter, next page.)
There is a silver lining to all of this. The harbor commission certainly got our attention. There is general agreement that the Humboldt County economy would be greatly enhanced with a deeper port by recapturing business we are losing to other ports and by becoming more competitive for the future. And, there is also a great sense of urgency: Without an extension from the feds, just three months remain to figure out how to finance the local share of the project.
In an ad in the Humboldt Beacon March 20, timber companies and other business leaders offered (non-monetary) help to the harbor commissioners to come up with a financing plan. It is an offer they should welcome.
THIS MONTH'S COVER STORY, "What people make," is an update of one we did in 1990. The story provoked a lot of discussion. One of the most startling findings in the 1990 version was that a local television news anchor with a college degree was making less money than a worker at Hot Dog on a Stick. (We're happy to report that isn't the case this time around.)
We should run this story with a list of disclaimers. It is in no way scientifically based. We just made up a list of occupations and started interviews. There are certainly many omissions. For instance, it's impossible to say how much an attorney in private practice makes -- or other people who own their own business, for that matter.
Last time around the story was criticized for being too middle class (salary range of $10,600-$58,000). One reader suggested we do a follow up on poor people and the very rich.
Another reader said we should really ask, "How many years will it take for each of these individuals to earn $250,000 in total income?" after subtracting the time and cost for education and training. He said such costs add a "nose-dive" factor, time spent not earning at the beginning of a career.
Then there is the element of job satisfaction. Personally, I am making less money than I was 10 years ago, but since I am self employed, I usually like my boss a lot better.
How about you?
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