Friday, February 29, 2008

Dramatic New Palco Plan

Posted By on Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Judge Richard S. Schmidt only alluded to it briefly in Thursday's hearing, but a new player has entered the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy proceedings. This party brings an audacious, out-of-the-box plan for the future of the 150-year-old Humboldt County timber company to the table.

Rio Dell resident and Humboldt County blogospherian Steve Lewis has officially entered his Heartlands Project proposal into the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy file. (It's docket number 2255, and a PDF of it can be downloaded here.)

The incredible scope of the plan makes it difficult to summarize. Let's just say that if even if you've read all 2,304 blog comments Lewis has posted about the Heartlands Project here and there, you still only know maybe 10 percent of the proposal.

You have to read the whole thing to get real sense of this remarkably ambitious plan, but here are some of the lesser-known highlights:

  • International Satellite Lottery System: High-tech, smartphone-based lottery. "This lottery system requires no ticket outlets ... making this new vastly simpler Satellite-Tribal Land Processing Center System much less expensive to set up and maintain."

  • CorpoLotto: Another lottery that corporations would enter, with super-mega-jackpots.

  • Heartlands Research and Development: Sustainability think-tank made up of Humboldt State, College of the Redwoods, "Chinese" and "local talented people."

  • Cardboard: A major play into the lucrative cardboard market, including cardboard surfboards and cardboard automobiles.

  • Palco Emporium: Locally owned, tribally operated big box store on the site of the old Fortuna Mill. "In a 'tribal-communitarian' partnership with either Bear River or Table Bluff Wiyot Tribes, Palco would use tribal sovereignty rights and Chinese capital to compete with volume-discount stores like Wal-Mart."

  • Palcovilles: Planned-unit communitarian developments. A hundred Scotias bloom.

  • Scotia Studios: Scotia Mill A would become a sound stage. The company would produce Steve Lewis' unproduced film scripts.

  • Palco Toys: Would make toys based on Steve Lewis' designs.

  • Palco Publishing Inc.: Would publish local books, starting with Steve Lewis' four unpublished manuscripts.

  • Palco-Soft: Educational software.

The Heartlands prospectus also includes a brief synopsis of the various nefarious players who have stymied this miraculous proposal from bearing fruit hitherto. For instance, Lewis writes that he was deep in months of discussion with Evergreen Pulp about possible partnership opportunities back in 2005, and he believes they were on the verge of reaching accord. Alas, along came "environmentalists" to protest the mill's air quality emissions, yet again scuttling the Heartlands Project's chances.

Early in Thursday's bankruptcy court hearings, Judge Schmidt and the attorneys in the case ran down all the items that would be dealt with on that day's calendar. When the lawyers got to the end of their lists, Schmidt said, "and there's that submission from the Indian Tribe." Everyone concurred. But that was the last anything was said about it.

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Hank Sims

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