LETTERS


 

READERS RESPOND TO 'NEW MAJORITY'

Congratulations on an excellent piece of investigative journalism. Your article on the Board of Supervisors, "The new majority" (May cover story), touches a subject area that our local newspapers refuse to touch. The people behind the leaders who have more pull than the rest of us need to be watched.

Sadly, it seems to be the same m.o. in Washington, Sacramento or Humboldt. The people with the money have the access to lawmakers, and they often get their way. Paul Kirk's backers seem to be close to (Supervisors) Rodoni and Neely also. Score one for the developers and hang on to your neighborhoods and watersheds if you can. Good luck, Woolley and Dixon!

Your courage in reporting is refreshing.

Michael Fennell, smfennell@igc.apc.org


Last night I read most of your May issue. Congratulations and thanks for a great job. Little or none of this would have even come to light without your reporting and that of Jim Hight.

Unhappy as I am with local skullduggery, your publishing this has given me hope.

Mary Ann Salo, McKinleyville


Whew! I just read "The New Majority" and "Trouble on H Street" and I am truly frightened.

We are new in Humboldt County, having moved from out of state two years ago for my wife to take a position in the county public sector. Learning about her employers is more revealing than we care to know.

After having visited Humboldt County several times in past years, we thought it was a rather benevolent place, politically, but not so.

Thanks for your courage and truthfulness.

Harry Johnson, panda@humboldt1.com


It was disturbing to read your excellent cover story on closed-door politics in county government. But you failed to ask the really big question: Why do we continue to allow any corporate involvement in our political process, be it corporate money or corporate lobbying?

How did it come to pass that Arcata Redimix, Eureka Forest Products, Guynup Enterprises, PG&E, PL, Simpson Timber, plus developers, gravel operators, contractors, building suppliers, builders and real estate firms all have more political sway in the county than do you or I?

It wasn't always like this! It used to be illegal for corporations to have any involvement in the operation of government; in fact, in Wisconsin, it was a felony until the 1950s.

These days, corporations dominate our social and political life through far-reaching decisions affecting products, investments, pollution, safety and jobs, as well as through their manipulation of elections, laws and the media.

Here at home it's gotten so bad that the county board of supervisors recently tried to fill two vacant positions from a list of ... local corporate leaders.

Imagine. Not only do corporations now fund political campaigns and groom and advise potential candidates, but our board of supervisors now considers it essential that corporate leaders fill county government posts as well. ...

If you want to learn more about how Americans used to keep corporate power in check and are now beginning to organize to do so once again, send me a postage stamp and I'll mail you an info packet.

Paul Cienfuegos, director, Democracy Unlimited
P.O Box 27, Arcata CA 95518, cienfuegos@igc.org


I applaud you for having the journalistic courage to report an important news story. ...

I am disappointed that my husband's long tenure in county employment ended with that "call" from Paul Kirk from Portland, Ore. Not only was Tom's position a "hot seat," but it also required the ability to withstand enormous pressures. Managing this was not easy with frequent night meetings and calls to our home in the evenings or on the weekends from someone with a planning or building concern.

I may have been upset that our personal time was interrupted, but I never heard my husband respond to these calls with impatience. Certainly he deserved more than a phone call from Portland. Sitting down with all five supervisors comes to mind as an honorable and considerate thing to do.

Citizens should ask themselves, "Who represents me and how do they conduct county business?" I vote for someone who obeys and respects the law, treats county employees with respect and common courtesy, and involves their constituents in the process of government.

I thank The Journal for reminding all of us that we deserve no less. Nancy Conlon, Eureka


Thanks for your continued publication of a quality monthly news magazine. The recent article on the state of the county and the magnitude of your investigative work was impressive. Such journalistic efforts are too few among today's media hounds.

Doris M. Osburn, Fortuna


Thank you so much for the thought-provoking article about why (County Administrative Officer) Chris Arnold left so precipitously. Thanks also for the real scoop on (Planning Director) Tom Conlan's departure.

I grew up here, graduated from Humboldt State in 1966, but never became active in politics until I began raising my family in Texas in the 1970s. I remember thinking the first time I was hit in the face with the good old boy attitude there that I should remember that I was in Texas, not California! I truly believed that politics was different here.

I came home in 1989 and have been unpleasantly surprised by many things in the political realm. I have paid attention, but I was still truly shocked by the malignancy detailed in your two articles regarding the supervisors and their treatment of competent staff.

No wonder Julie Fulkerson was tired! ... Hollie Bartscht Harrow, Eureka


It's great to see someone has the guts to do real investigative journalism.

Bruce Braly, Eureka


Humboldt County residents close to the intersection of Hatchery and West End roads in Supervisor Paul Kirk's district are now confronting (gravel operator) Victor Guynup through his business alliance with Walton Paving.

The issue here is the all-night operation of an asphalt plant of Walton Paving's recently installed on Guynup's property which previously was limited to a mostly daytime Mad River gravel operation.

It is apparent from your article that gravel operators, and specifically Victor Guynup, appear to have great influence in Humboldt County. ...

Back in the late '70s, an asphalt batch plant was operated there for several years and then was removed from the site. During the intervening 17 years or so, the site saw only daytime gravel operation. This has now been replaced by what can only be described as an all-night asphalt factory that not only lights up the once-dark sky, but creates both noise and a noticeable earth-shaking vibration....

The county Planning Commission tabled consideration of this item from May until the June 5 meeting. Within days of the May meeting, Guynup was giving turkeys to many of the local residents. I have also heard that he has assisted his neighbors with gravel in the past. I hope that such offers have not been made to curry favor.

Sherman Schapiro, Blue Lake


Thank you for an outstanding job of investigative journalism. I hope that the residents of Humboldt County appreciate the courage and conviction that must be an integral ingredient in the decision to publish that story. The editorial on the Brown Act was a thoughtful and important inclusion.

As a resident of District 5, I was particularly stuck by the quote from Paul Kirk in which he says, "I went out to my constituents ..." and he names three people. One is the head of the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce, one is an outspoken supporter of Anna Sparks and the last is a developer who would have overrun Fieldbrook if he'd had his way....

Many of us in Westhaven were less surprised than relieved by your story. Our theme song has been of late, "No place to run to." We've certainly had no one to run to.

When the county decided to abnegate its responsibility to regulate and oversee a commercial logging operation right in our backyard and we were left to live with the consequences, we turned to Paul Kirk for help. Silly us....

Sylvia De Rooy, Westhaven


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