I hated "Bridesmaids" because I didn't find it funny in the slightest. It had absolutely nothing to do with "exclusionary thinking."
Love This Place, I'm not certain to whom you're referring when you write "shame on you for being sarcastic and condescending about someone doing their best to tell the truth with the resources they have"; neither Hank nor I denigrated anyone for incorrect spelling or grammar, or mocked them for not being up to professional standards.
On a different note: For the record, the original draft of the article did contain information about the State Parks Foundation - including some quotes from spokesperson Traci Verardo-Torres - and the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. They were edited for space.
I did not attempt “to demean the residents of Southern Humboldt.” If I didn’t love many of them, I wouldn’t live near them. Neither did I write that “all of the attendees at the Garberville forum were marijuana growers.” I have nothing against marijuana per se. My objection is to the hypocrisy of suggesting that companies like Cypress Grove have gotten “too big for their britches,” as another poster somewhere suggested, when the growers themselves – quite a few of whom WERE at the Garberville meeting -wouldn’t survive without a national market. Neither did I suggest that they use STAA trucks to distribute their product, so I have no idea what “ridiculous argument” you’re referring to.
I absolutely believe that “We can still espouse localization and sustainability and shop in Eureka without being hypocrites.” What I don’t believe is that we – “we” being Southern Humboldt and far northern Mendocino – should believe that we are so insular and self-sustaining that we can repeatedly say, with perfectly straight faces, “Why should people from Eureka determine what happens down here?!” There ARE businesses in Garberville and Redway that support the project, for the same reasons that many businesses up north do. None of them would allow me to name them. Furthermore, when an incredibly intelligent, well-informed, well-read local resident suggests that the issue be placed to “a plebiscite of the residents of Southern Humboldt,” it only serves to reinforce the notion that Southern Humboldt thinks of itself as totally separate from the rest of the world – when that is patently not so.
As I have noted in another thread, there were opposition views that were edited from the final article. It was not maliciously done.
You are correct in stating that I did not report on the use of Headwaters Fund money. Did you not note that I criticized the Office of Economic Development for having done so?
I will add one final thought before I head home. It is interesting to me that, when I wrote two or three pieces for The Independent that were entirely about the opposition’s argument, not a single project supporter attacked me. Not one. Neither did they attack me for airing the opposition’s views in the two pieces I’d previously written for the Journal about Richardson Grove. Criticism is fair; attacks are merely infantile. With friends like “Friends of EPIC and RG,” and their vicious attack above on my writing skills and Hank’s appearance, is it any wonder that project supporters are having difficulty taking the opposition seriously? Your arguments – some of which deserve consideration - are getting buried in a sea of vitriol. Which only underscores one of the central points of the article.
Barbara, I’m not going to address every single question here, because I actually have somewhere to be from 8 until 5 every day… and I’m not going to spend what little spare time I do have obsessing over this or any other thread on this topic.
I don’t have “an axe to grind with EPIC,” other than its refusal to even consider the potential effects of an expanded Reggae festival on the area surrounding Richardson Grove. I have those same questions of a couple of other local environmental groups. “Bringing Reggae into this article” isn’t “just plain weird” when one considers that a massive entertainment event with the potential of environmental consequences was allowed to expand and go forward with nary a word of protest from EPIC, FOER, Trees, or anyone else down here. I can assure you that none of them went through the existing Reggae EIR with a fine-toothed comb - as they did with the Caltrans DEIR – and neither did they demand a new EIR when the event was expanded. Why not?
The reason I brought it up is because it smacks of hypocrisy. If the health and sanctity of the grove are at issue here, why weren’t they at issue when 25,000 people were camped out on the river with oil leaking out of their cars, listening to really high-decibel music until the late hours of the evening? I live five miles, as the crow flies, from the Reggae site. On Saturday night of the last “big” festival, I stepped out into my front yard and heard the music – at the bottom of the canyon, over several hills, five miles away. I don’t suppose the birds and other critters of the forest surrounding the site were too pleased. Who spoke up for THEM?
My point is this: It’s a lot easier to fight the entity in Sacramento than it is to fight your friends and neighbors, especially when those friends and neighbors are the ones who fund your organizations. Unfortunately, in this case, I do believe it was all about the money. Sound familiar?
That’s not to say, as I’ve written to someone else, that project opponents’ efforts are in vain. Absolutely not. Caltrans has needed local groups to push it towards commissioning an EIR, conducting a marbled-murrelet count, and strengthening its economic argument. I criticized Caltrans for all of these things, but those criticisms have apparently gone unnoticed by most people posting on this thread.
To Mitch, Part 3:
While it’s true (as someone noted on another thread) that the detailed interviews I conducted were with three of the businesses that have been willing to be at the forefront of this debate, I have heard of many others. As I wrote in the article, Jacqueline Debets, J Warren Hockaday, Clif Clendenen, Jimmy Smith, and Kim Floyd all referenced this, and named several others I hadn’t interviewed – including Humboldt Creamery, Eel River Organic Beef, the Farm Store, and Center Arts. I have spoken with several businesses in Southern Humboldt that also pay higher shipping costs for their product, and/or have to wait for up to a week before it comes down from up north. If the product is ordered from Southern California, it makes the big loop around through Oregon and down to the hub in Eureka, and then sits there until there’s a full truckload to bring down to SoHum. Again, this is a waste in terms of time, money, and carbon emissions – and it’s not the sort of thing that would be resolved by short-sea shipping, as intriguing an idea as that is for other transportation needs.
As an aside, the SoHum business owners who spoke to me about RG were loath to be quoted. This community is still smarting from the Reggae Wars and the division they caused, and given the polarization about the RG proposal, virtually no business owner down here who supports it – with the notable exception of Ernie Branscomb – wants to say so publicly.
Finally, you concluded another of your posts with, “Even if there were no environmental issue at all, spending $7 million to widen a road implies that this use of the money is MORE important than ANY program that is now being cut. Do you believe that? I don’t. But I'll bet advertisers do. The people who own the media own our majority opinion.” You really didn’t like Hank’s response, but when I first read your post, that’s what crossed my mind too. Because the fact is, I’m not a newspaper publisher. I’m a writer. I don’t deal with the business end of it. I have no idea what “the advertisers” want – I really don’t. I told Hank a few months ago that I was writing the story, and I wrote it. He gave me no directives (no, he’s not the puppetmaster, as has been alleged), he had no idea how long it was going to be, and he had no idea that I was going to tie other issues, such as environmentalists’ failure to question Reggae on the River’s expansion, the GPU battle, and the splintering of the local left, into my final draft. The entire content of this piece is mine and mine alone, and he’s not to be blamed for a single word of it.
Have a great weekend, what’s left of it.
P.S. to Mystified: it’s Priscilla HUNTER who’s with the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, not Priscilla Presley. That’s Elvis’s ex-wife. If you’re going to stay up all night writing something – or even if you’re not – try proofreading it before you post it for the whole world to see.
To Mitch, Part 2:
On another note, I do share your frustration with the fact that many taxpayer dollars are misspent ($400 million bridges, anyone?), while educational and social services go unfunded or get cut altogether. This is not an issue to which there are any black-and-white responses; after all, there are different funding streams for many of these programs, and “x” amount of dollars being spent in one place don’t necessarily correlate to “x” amount of dollars being cut elsewhere. In addition, there’s the question of “bang for the buck”: $7 million sounds like a lot to many people, but by Caltrans standards, it’s not only a drop in the bucket, it’s a drop that would make a monumental difference to many people (more on that in a moment). In contrast, $7 million would keep the Southern Humboldt Unified School District running for eight-and-a-half months, which is nothing. The SHUSD doesn’t need $7 million; it needs $26 million for complete facilities renovation (hopefully, the June bond measure will pass), and a budget of more than its paltry $10 million a year to really provide an equitable education for the district’s children. To take $7 million for a road project that’s been discussed, in some form or another, since 1956 and essentially say, “Here, take this and operate your run-down schools and your struggling programs for another eight months” would be an insult.
On the thread attached to Hank’s editorial, you wrote: “It’s always intrigued me that the right wing will work itself ferklumpt every time $7 million is set aside for people who are in desperate need, but it always sees $7 million to replace the costs borne by a few privately owned businesses as vital government expenditure.” Your statement contains two errors: first, you’ve assumed that I’m part of the right wing, and second, you repeat the oft-stated assertion that the project would benefit only “a few privately owned businesses.” On the first point, you’ve made a sweeping generalization about me (and maybe Hank, too) based on the fact that I seriously question both the environmental and the anti-development arguments against the project. In reality, I’m a registered Democrat, pro-environment, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and pro-public health care for all.
What I’m against, which I tried to get across in the article, is hyperbole, hysteria, and lies. I wrote this to Gary Hughes, and I’ll repeat it to you: the opposition has seriously undermined itself by appealing to emotions rather than logic and facts, and by viciously attacking, sometimes personally, the project supporters (see Mystified’s insane posts above, and Woods’s letter in this week’s issue). EPIC was at the forefront of several stunning legal victories during the Timber Wars, but it has now aligned itself – no pun intended – with people whose entire opposition to the project is built on emotion. They should know better.
To Mitch, Part 1:
Mitch, I’m trying to stay out of much of this discussion because, as my partner keeps reminding me, my work speaks for itself. But I will respond to you because I think you HAVE brought up some issues that deserve consideration, and because I feel compelled to defend myself on at least one point.
I checked with Vince Thomas on the question of the Sun Valley numbers, and this is the response I received: “Each U.S. gallon of diesel produces 9.95 kg of Co2 emissions. 50,000 gallons x 9.95 kg = 497,500 kg Co2 emissions times 2.2041 = 1,096,539 lbs., rounded up to 1.1 million pounds. Regarding some of the additional questions, our product is relatively light in weight so we will always cube out a trailer before we are anywhere being close to the legal weight limit of 80,000 lbs., counting truck and trailer. On average we are generally able to ship 26 pallets on a 53’ trailer vs. 22 pallets on a smaller trailer. And yes, the fuel efficiency is better on the more modern, newer STAA tractors and the diesel-powered refrigeration units on the newer 53’ trailers. Our products are extremely perishable and very sensitive to temperature fluctuations that may occur in older trailers with less-than-adequate insulation and older refrigeration units. We require truckers that haul our product to maintain a constant temperature of 36 degrees F. We mount temperature recorders in each trailer and assorted boxes throughout the load. Upon arrival at destination, the temperature recorders are checked, and if they show a rise above 40 degrees F or a drop below 32 degrees F the product is subject to rejection. If a rejection occurs, a claim may be filed with the carrier for the value of the load. Because of this, it is imperative that we ship our products with reputable carriers with modern up-to-date equipment.”
The $1,000 figure for switching trailers sounds exorbitant until you consider the following. At Redwood Towing in Redway, one of the companies that keeps a short trailer for rent, the posted rate for the service is a $375 flat fee for the first two-and-a-half hours, and after that, the cost is $125 per hour. When a trucker whose rig exceeds the California Legal limit realizes he can’t get through Richardson Grove, or gets an over-length ticket from the CHP, this is what happens: he calls the company whose load he’s bringing up; the company calls a local outfit that drives down to South Leggett with a shorter tractor; the tractors get switched; and then the two go driving through the grove together towards their destination. If the trucker isn’t going any further than Eureka or Arcata, there’s the return trip all the way back to Mendocino County, and then, the tractors get switched back. It adds up fast, in terms of time, money, AND carbon emissions.
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In Print This Week:
Mar 23, 2017
vol XXVIII issue 12
Young & Hungry
North Coast Journal
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