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Judy's Right 


Judy Hodgson hit the nail on the head in last week's column ("The Supes: A Retrospective," May 22) suggesting the incumbent supervisors' sudden change of heart is motivated by having challengers in the June 3 election.

I contend that that is exactly why Virginia Bass was so eager to "facilitate" Kevin McKenny's finally accepting the offer from Danco to develop the Downtowner Motel as senior housing, something they've long sought to do.

The area that our county government has the most influence in is land use, and one of the greatest powers of a supervisor is appointments to the planning commission. The purpose of the commission is regulating land use in the community's interest, where and how developers build so, for example, they can't build a slaughter house next door to your home. Some areas may be zoned residential only or some single family only, which would not allow for apartments.

In this way the government designates how communities and neighborhoods evolve, rather than leaving it up to the developers deciding based on profitability alone.

Our current board has stacked the planning commission with the very developers it's meant to regulate. That is, it has put the proverbial foxes in charge of the hen house. The most egregious example is the nomination of Lee Ulansey (founder of HumCPR) and then the appointment of Kevin McKenny, both by 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass.

McKenny has owned the blighted Downtowner Motel for years, promoting further decay of downtown Eureka. Now, two weeks before the election Supervisor Bass is asking us to credit her with putting together a deal for McKenny and a developer who claims he'll get it fixed right up!

Asking for credit here reminds me of the neighbor who, having set your barn on fire, is asking to be thanked for lending you her hose to put it out.

Richard W. Salzman, Arcata

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