Friday, September 9, 2022

The Coastal Commission is Not the Enemy, Developers Flouting the Rules Are the Real Problem

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2022 at 1:00 AM

The Schneider family home sits in a stalled state of construction at the end of Walker Point Road. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • The Schneider family home sits in a stalled state of construction at the end of Walker Point Road.
Sure, an 8,000-square-foot house sounds crazy to those of us who somehow managed to raise three children in humbler accommodations, but saying you wouldn’t do something is always easier when that something isn’t an option. If I had the money to build a mansion, maybe I would! But what I wouldn’t do is choose to violate established laws designed to lessen its impact on the animals and plants or historical areas nearby.

Society generally holds that the people have the right to a healthy environment, and that our government is responsible for protecting this right on both public and private property. If you go to the park and find the trees chopped down, you might be bummed. If your neighbor’s septic tank is leaching into the creek by your house, you might be even more bummed. When a developer breaks the rules, you may not personally see or feel the damaged landscape, but it exists nonetheless.

The government is supposed to try to prevent this stuff in the first place and to respond when these types of violations occur. That’s why we have city councils, county supervisors, planning commissioners and, in the case of the state, the California Coastal Commission, whose job it is to explicitly ensure the Coastal Act is being upheld throughout the state. The Coastal Act is the law that says coastal lands should be protected. At the local level, Coastal Act concerns are represented through what’s called a Local Coastal Program (LCP) that county and city officials are responsible for enforcing.

When our local officials fail to protect the general public interest, the Coastal Commission becomes the public’s last line of defense in protecting our shared environment from being harmed. Unfortunately, some developers (and sometimes city and county staff) have successfully cast the Coastal Commission as something to be overcome.

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Thursday, August 19, 2021

A Letter from 111 Local Doctors: Please Get Vaccinated

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Dear Community,

We are your physicians. You have honored us by entrusting your lives to us, as well as the lives of your loved ones. We are also your neighbors, your friends, and your relatives. We share with you a deep love of this region and of our communities. Like you, we dream of a safe, Covid-free future.

Please get vaccinated. We ask this from the bottom of our hearts. As your physicians, and as the people with whom you have worked, played, laughed, and cried, we must admit we are tired. We will keep working, of course. But we are tired. We are tired of the suffering, pain and death that can be avoided by getting vaccinated.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Op-ed: Resolution Recklessly Injects Politics into Local COVID Response

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 9:10 AM

  • Shutterstock
Make no mistake, the resolution being brought before the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors tomorrow by First District Supervisor Rex Bohn does nothing but further politicize Humboldt County’s COVID-19 response, undermining our local health officer and exerting undue pressure on local school districts in the process.

Bohn has asked the board to consider approving the “Healthy Communities Resolution,” which arose last year out of a meeting of conservative “North state leaders” and has since been adopted by a handful of counties from Lassen to Orange. The resolution amounts to little more than a statement of opposition to the state’s tiered county-by-county approach to COVID-19 restrictions, while also urging school districts “to safely open all schools as soon as possible … without further delay.”

Not only is the resolution legally toothless — the power to issue and implement health orders rests with the state of California and the local health officer, and no county resolution is going to change that — but it’s also dangerous, hypocritical and inherently political. It also comes in the midst of an unprecedented local case surge and appears in direct conflict with Health Officer Ian Hoffman’s approach to limiting COVID-19’s spread in Humboldt County.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

'Brave and True,' A Veterans Day Poem

Posted By on Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 9:31 AM

An event honoring Korean War veterans at the Adorni Center last year. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • An event honoring Korean War veterans at the Adorni Center last year.

Brave and True

Here's to our veterans old and new, 
who've heard our country's call. 
Those of all religions be, 
of every nationality. 
Even our women fair, 
have come to join the fray. 
Here's to those who've fought and died, 
and those who've come home battle scarred. 
Look kindly down upon them lord, 
where ever they may be. 
For if not for those brave souls, 
who've heard the battle cry, 
America's freedom would assuredly lie, 
tattered and broken, 
the spoils of war. 
Hold them brave and true, 
honor them proud Red, White and Blue. 
For all you've done, 

Local veteran Bob Hager, who wrote our cover story a few weeks back, penned the above poem and asked that we share it with you this Veterans Day, and he joins us in thanking all veterans for their service.

If you’re looking for something to do today to honor the veterans in your midst, check out our calendar listings here, which detail a few Veterans Day events around the county. (And remember, a simple face-to-face thank you goes a long way.)

And if you look out at the gray day and decide you’re better suited staying where it’s warm, we’ll point you to this week’s cover story, "The Journey of Radioman," a powerful piece by Amy Barnes about local veteran Eric Hollenbeck, his battle with post traumatic stress disorder, his efforts to help other veterans and, now, his project to capture their voices.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

TL;DR: How Andrew Mills Barely Escaped Humboldt

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 10:31 AM


In case you missed it, Humboldt County bid former Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills adieu last week. We offered a handful of stories looking at his tenure in town and what’s next for EPD. We encourage you to take a few minutes to look at the coverage and weigh in. But there are also a few things we weren’t able to squeeze into last week’s edition, like the five times Humboldt County almost killed Andrew Mills. Here's the rundown:

When he got lost in community forest: “One of the things I’ve learned: Chiefs of police can get lost in the woods, too, and your little iPhone compass doesn’t work when you can’t get cell reception,” Mills told a Times-Standard reporter, less than a week into his new job in 2013, confessing that a job in Arcata’s Community Forest turned a bit tense before he found his way out.

When he got swept off the jetty: On Nov. 5, 2016, Mills decided to walk out onto the jetty to take pictures of large waves sweeping in. The National Weather Advisory had warned of 19- to 22-foot waves over the weekend and asked people to “stay safe … by staying farther back from the surf and off the rocks and jetties.” It’s a frequent warning on the North Coast, and one that Mills apparently missed. In the blink of an eye, a wave smashed him and left him holding onto the jetty rocks for dear life. Luckily, after being pummeled by a few waves, Mills was able to get back to his feet and back to his car, having lost only some skin off his knees, his cell phone and a bit of confidence. “The real thing is, compared to the power of nature, we are insignificant,” he told the Journal a few days later.

When he jumped into a sewage pit at the PalCo Marsh: While talking with some homeless men camping in the PalCo Marsh, Mills jumped off a concrete slab onto what he thought was solid ground only to find it was, in fact, a deep pit of stagnant water and human waste. The horrified men rushed to help the chief, who was “up to his armpits” in sewage, out of the pit. Mills described himself as mad but he somehow managed to avoid death by E Coli infection.

When he unwittingly waded into a Second Amendment gauntlet: Frustrated by the high rates at which firearms were being stolen in Eureka — and the higher rates at which his officers were finding them in the hands of felons and criminals — the police chief proposed a local gun control ordinance. Tepid by lefty standards, the ordinance would have only required gun owners to make sure their firearms were secured and locked up when left unattended in their homes or businesses. But within moments of its announcement, Mills was dogpiled by a virtual mountain of Second Amendment enthusiasts, like Robert Wenzel, who posted the following on the Journal’s website: “Maybe Mills should move to San Franfreakshow. This is just another waste of taxpayer dollars that accomplishes nothing except add further restrictions to personal liberty. Good to know that Mills is another Kalifornia libtard politician.” Frustrated and battered, Mills withdrew the proposal less than a week after its announcement, saying his department would focus instead on “education.”

When officers unloaded 43 shots downtown: We may be projecting a bit here, but we imagine Mills had a minor heart attack upon hearing that his officers had unloaded 43 bullets onto the streets of downtown Eureka shortly before 5 p.m. on a Tuesday. Again, possibly projecting, but we imagine that feeling only intensified when he learned that the suspect — Clayton Lee Lasinski — didn’t fire a shot at the officers and was only hit once in the barrage. At a press conference the day after the chaotic shooting, Mills said he understands “each officer is personally accountable for every round that they discharge and where that round ends up.”

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Supes Take Needed Step to Protect Our Coast

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Trinidad Head. - FILE
  • File
  • Trinidad Head.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors has joined other California lawmakers, business leaders, environmental groups and government agencies in rejecting the Trump administration’s attempts to open up the California coast to new offshore oil drilling. At its July 25 meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution in support of the nearby Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries.

The sanctuaries, the resolution notes, “are home to some of the most diverse coastal ecosystems, which support giant kelp forests, many species of marine mammals, migrating salmon and hundreds of other forms of sea life,” before going on to confirm that, yes, the threat laid out in April’s “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” presidential order “is of deep concern.”

The Trump administration’s directive calls for a “review” of national marine sanctuaries with the goal of opening these protected areas to new and expanded oil and gas drilling that are currently prohibited within them. As the resolution notes, Humboldt County “has long supported the protection of vital coastal resources, tourism, fishing and mariculture cultivation industries, and stands with other coastal counties in their efforts to protect these very pristine coastal waters.”

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