Glenn Franco Simmons1 
Member since Apr 23, 2009


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Re: “Protect Tsakiyuwit, Deny Terra-Gen's Wind Farm

Thank you for finally publishing a photo of the beautiful Bear River Ridge. The area is pristine and should not be developed for gigantic windills. Solid editorial. Thank you for that, too.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons1 on 11/27/2019 at 6:12 PM

Re: “Endangered

While your underlying premise for a bailout for newspapers probably engenders a debate over potential government control over the press, I cast aside those arguments (because such concerns can be dealt with through ethical governance) and support you because a free press is a foundation of any representative democracy.

The decline of newspapers has been far longer than the past 15 or so years, but I understand your framing your argument around the Internet Age. That said, I know you are aware of the other causes of decline that, to simplify and gloss over a lot of history, began with competition, then with radio, then TV.

Later on, when advertisers found that they could run inserts, rather than ROP (run-of-the-press) ads in weeklies and dailies and biweeklies, newspapers really began a savage decline because of the loss of revenue. Layoffs resulted from that and other shifts in the newspaper industry: cost of print, cost of employees' health insurance is a huge issue, modernization of typesetting that eventually went digital, etc. (I'm simplifying challenges.)

While living 10 years in Silicon Valley and having a wife who was city clerk of Sunnyvale, I saw so much news from Sunnyvale alone, which was not covered, that it deepened my concern of having the press as an oversight. I'm sorry, but radio and TV news just don't cut it, and I say this as a former radio news anchor and radio news director. We need newspapers.

It's not that anything bad happened at Sunnyvale, but it was the loss of cohesion between the citizens of Sunnyvale and their elected government. The council members I knew of were active in the community, but beyond their circles of support and opposition, my opinion is that most Sunnyvale residents knew little of their civic government.

Same thing in Cupertino, where I lived for 10 years.

Having observed the Bay Area news industry for 10 years, it was unbelievable to me how many city councils, school boards, planning commissions, regional bodies, etc., basically went uncovered unless there was malfeasance of some sort that broke through the news barriers.

Community support for newspapers can be modeled several different ways: taxpayer support, foundation, nonprofit, benefactor (whom you don't want to control the news because it should be independent, and I speak from experience of having to write about my own newspaper's owner in an objective manner about a controversial issue), benefactors, and I'm sure there are other models I'm not familiar with.

Your column is a pretext for further dialogue on the North Coast; while I no longer live there, I worked at newspapers in Arcata, Crescent City, Garberville, Fortuna and Eureka, and was an editor in each community except Arcata. I know the communities well. I know their need for local news, youth sport news, features from a diversity of columnists, coverage of city halls, faith-based news, arts and culture, music much of which The North Coast Journal has done well for so long. However, The Journal is not a traditional local weekly, but it has proven, through its longevity, its worth to the wider North Coast community.

In terms of subscriptions, I subscribe to the Carson Appeal, Reno Gazette, Washington Post, New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel (free), The Nation, The Forward, and The Sacramento Bee, but I'm a voracious reader of foreign news, travel, culture, music, history and sometimes daily news headlines. And, all people cannot subscribe to so many; however, if you can subscribe, start local is my advice.

On a more personal note, I'd like to apologize to Ms. Burstiner for my harsh words about her when I was managing editor of The Eureka Reporter and shortly after I resigned. They were unnecessary and unfair.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons1 on 10/08/2019 at 12:09 PM

Re: “State, Fair Association, County in Standoff Over Sunshine Laws

I cannot believe this issue remains unresolved, that stonewalling has intensified and that the fair board, made up of a lot of people I know, is so recalcitrant. Unbelievable. Afraid of a weekly newspaper and editor/publisher Caroline Titus doing what all reporters would do: asking appropriate questions, going after stories where there are legitimate stories to be written, writing editorials about the board's recalcitrance, etc. The board has historically operated this way; in addition to having very thin skins. Shameful. Shameful.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons1 on 07/22/2019 at 10:03 PM

Re: “'Hook, Line and Turbine'

Jay P: Do they remove the concrete pads? I read an article that said the turbines will be removed but the reinforced concrete pads will remain. That is not acceptable. Furthermore, how do you suppose the huge road through the Jordan Creek watershed is removed or remedied? And what about all the environmental damage for the 30-year lifespan of the project and road?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons1 on 07/05/2019 at 1:53 PM

Re: “'Hook, Line and Turbine'

Mr. King is spot-on: According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Bear River and Monument ridges are "inappropriate for wind development" due to large populations of rare and protected species that would be destroyed, including murrelets, bats and raptors, as well as the "loss and possibly extirpation of a disjunct population of horned larks."

I've been up there many times bird-watching and have seen owls at dusk swooping down to catch their prey. They may also hunt after it gets dark, but I didn't have equipment to allow me to see that, if it occurred.

I read where a company spokesperson said the grasslands up there are not pristine. Perhaps not all the grasslands, but the majority are in decent shape or could be. The area is rare along the North Coast, with the Bald Hills being the closest comparison. Wind turbines are not desirable in this area. They are definitely not worth a huge road through Jordan Creek, as Mr. King noted, because the area is just beginning to recover from Maxxam's liquidation of forests for profit.

The experience with PALCO and Maxxam chastened me; no longer do I believe in the promises of an extraction company. Judge Terra-Gen by the company it keeps. As Mr. King noted, "Stantec, the corporation that conducted Terra-Gen's wildlife surveys, tells us that the windmills will kill 10.43 to 20.86 marbled murrelets over the project's estimated 30-year lifespan. (Santec, a Canadian firm, specializes in oil and gas development, coal mining, fracking, shale and tar sands mining, thousand-mile oil pipelines and transmission lines.) However, by raising the model's turbine-collision input by just 1 percent the murrelet mortality rate doubles."

This should have caused pause for any Humboldt County officials and/or agencies supporting this flawed project, as pointed out by Mr. King: Terra-Gen has accelerated the Humboldt County project to take advantage of tax breaks that expire in 2020. Less well known is that Terra-Gen is desperate for cash. In February, the S&P Global Ratings service downgraded Terra-Gen's rating from B to B-minus, indicating "weak cash flow and debt paydown. ... The negative outlook reflects our expectations that Terra-Gen's cash flow generation profile could worsen further. ... The company may have difficulty refinancing in 2021."

Humboldt County has already suffered enough from companies desperate for cash: from the pulp mills and their demise to PALCO/Maxxam, and more.

Humboldt County agencies and officials who support this project can be faulted for more stupid planning as opposed to smart planning. For example, do these officials and/or agencies realize the gigantic reinforced concrete pads will remain after the project's useful life? If anything is going to make the grasslands on Bear River Ridge any less pristine, or mar the recovering forest on Monument, it's definitely multiple reinforced concrete pads. Plus, who is to say that the Bridgeville substation won't upgraded and more turbines allowed? Such expansion would only increase the number of birds killed. They shouldn't even be comfortable with one marbled murrelet being sacrificed, let alone more than a potential 20 and that's if you believe what has been reported. I remember a lot of promises from PALCO and Maxxam that turned out to be junk.

As a person who has installed solar panels where I live, I can tell you that, after they are paid off, we'll be earning money (based on our energy consumption) after our investment. With our panels only being six weeks old, we've already sold power to Nevada Energy, thereby defraying our investment cost. Our house runs fully on solar during the day, even with washing and drying.

Lastly, has The Journal sent a photographer up to Bear River Ridge to photograph the grasslands, or gotten permission to access Monument Ridge to take photos? If not, why not? And why does The Journal keep using a Terra-Gen illustration showing turbines without consulting a third-party expert to determine if such an illustration is an accurate and truthful interpretation of what people might see from Rio Dell? That's just not doing your due diligence, NCJ, and you should know better.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons1 on 07/05/2019 at 1:48 PM

Re: “Ferndale Gothic

Funny how reporting facts is "sensational." The Ferndale sideline ban was a blunder with regard to photographers and media. Caroline is an excellent journalist. With regard to reporting on issues surrounding her husband's contract, if it is a personnel issue, then how can she report on it? Is she supposed to construct a story of "no comment. Our attorneys have told us we have nothing to worry about?" Good luck with that. With what Stu was told regarding his contract being dependent on muzzling his wife (what a concept to be proposed by a female board member!), it sure looks like he was dealt with punitively. As if he were punished for his wife's newspaper over which he has no editorial control. (Hello, employment attorney.) In terms of issues regarding Stu's contract, let me mention a few she has covered: threat by a board member that coverage in The Ferndale Enterprise deemed negative by the fair board about any fair board member would have a deleterious effect on Stu's contract renewal; alleged repeated violations of The Ralph M. Brown Act by the board after being repeatedly advised about potential violations (thus, they are willful violations. Wake up, Paul Gallegos); Stu's offer to the board; the board's first vote (a Brown Act violation, if I recall directly) on Stu's contract renewal; the second vote on Stu's contract necessitated by the board's previous Brown Act violation with regard to Stu's contract; the complete and utter disregard and total lack of preparation and a back-up plan to replace the fair manager after the board appears to have acted upon the threat earlier issued by a board member to Stu; a former mayor who apparently is still peeved at coverage in The Ferndale Enterprise that exposed his irresponsible behavior and possibly putting a child at risk in his truck; and many more. Caroline has won many awards for her reporting. The school district has received a number of substantive complaints regarding the superintendent and the fair board may now be on the Grand Jury's radar. The fair board has, through its shortsighted actions, potentially doomed this fair, thrown out nearly a quarter-century of contacts and goodwill established by Stu Titus and created a whirlwind of horrendously bad publicity that no amount of public relations can overcome for years to come (if the fair still exists). Facts speak for themselves, but let's complain about them anyway while we ignore the real issues: the fair board and its collective lack of professionalism and integrity; and a school superintendent who has not, in my opinion, acted in the best interests of students based upon complaints I've read about (guess where?) in The Enterprise. Sour grapes.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons on 02/28/2013 at 6:29 AM

Re: “The Grow Tax

Excellent delayed lede, James, and a solid story. Happy to see you back writing. Keep it up and I look forward to more articles from you.

Posted by Glenn Franco Simmons on 10/05/2012 at 11:51 AM

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