For the curiously aware of Humboldt County…
By Skippy Massey
WALMART: FROM HUSH-HUSH TO… WE’RE HERE!
SINCE the Humboldt’s Sentinel’s report last week and Wednesday confirming the likelihood of Walmart’s existence in Humboldt County– along with other blogs and media sources reporting the same– the blogosphere has weighed in, ad nauseam, with several hundred comments across the board posted on various sites.
WHETHER Walmart is good for the community is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
BUT what hasn’t been explained yet is whether City officials knew– and when they knew it. It remains a glaring and unanswered question. Why were plans kept under a cloak of secrecy until now—when the Times-Standard reported it was the local media inquiries coming in that prompted the company to finally announce its plans?
SOME of the local comments found from around the web:
I hope everyone remembers the absolute arrogance of the current city council and city manager and their total disregard for the public’s right to know what is going on in their community!
This goes far beyond whether or not WalMart is good for our community. The public has a right and a need to know in order to make informed democratic republican decisions. The city council and city manager have withheld this information from us for months. Who are they serving?
If Eureka had a majority of community-oriented representatives, they would have called for a public vote, considering that 61% voted against Walmart 10 years ago. Even Jeff Leonard cleverly won his second term by running on a platform of limiting the size of future big boxes…before changing his mind, once elected. Otherwise, Walmart would not be here today.
Hmm, it seems someone is coming into town through the backdoor. Other large businesses have come in, but I bet there will not be as big of an uproar as will be heard about this one.
“If you don’t like Walmart DO NOT SHOP THERE! For those of us that are excited, let us be happy about it.”
“Welcome to the 21st Century Eureka! Now bring in a Home Depot.”
“We never get screwed at Walmart. Now we won’t have to go to Oregon as much to shop.”
“A lot of people don’t like Walmart and say negative things about it….but a lot of people are right when they say this competition will bring down the prices at other stores….wait and see.”
“FINALLY! And it doesn’t matter what, who or why, Humboldt County and Eureka have an economic boost. It’s hard for me to see that anyone could argue against this!”
“In some cities though, it’s illegal to advertise that which is not yet open. If you want to discuss corporate store opening secrecy, check out Apple and their store openings. They straight up mask whole buildings to hide what’s going on and all sorts of odd things.”
AS one can see, the opinions vary widely across the board. People like Walmart. Or not. Given that, we hope City officials can explain their ethical position of why these plans were only recently given the light of day to the community they serve. Unless, of course, they claim deaf ignorance of the matter truly knowing nothing.
MORE local opinions can be found at:
Tom Sebourn’s blog (a fine commentary and must-read posts)
WHILE we don’t always subscribe to her point of view, Verbena had her own sharply written to-the-point commentary that was particularly relevant to the subject at hand and bearing special merit for readers to consider.
‘TIS the season to be jolly and jingle all the way, so lets leave you on an amusingly happy note.
LAST SNIPPETS, RUMORS AND HEARSAY MURMERS:
TIME OUT BETWEEN 215 and 420: No new medical marijuana dispensaries will be permitted in Humboldt County for at least 45 days after the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday approving a temporary moratorium. The moratorium will not affect the three medical marijuana dispensaries that are currently operating in the county under conditional use permits from the Humboldt County Planning Commission but will apply to those other eight dispensaries that have submitted applications to open new dispensaries. The moratorium could be extended for up to 180 days. Indoor cannabis grows were also limited to 50 square feet much to the dismay of floral horticulturalists, medicine makers, and modern moonshine profiteers.
Humboldt County Community Services Director Kirk Girard said the new ordinance will “be enforced upon complaint” because there’s no registration or permitting required in place for grows. Only if complaints are received about a grow residence would the ordinance be enforced. Good fences, good relations, and complying with the law should make for good neighbors. Outdoor grow ordinances will be next on the slate of regulatory reefer concerns set before the Board in the coming months.
WE’RE IN THE MONEY: Humboldt County’s Headwaters Fund is searching for at least one new board member. Could it be you? The multi-million dollar fund offers grants for infrastructure projects and economic development opportunities in the county. Business owners in one of the local industry clusters, such as tourism and manufacturing, are highly encouraged to apply. An application can be found online at http://www.theheadwatersfund.org/. The application deadline is December 30 and the term begins in March serving on the County’s most powerful and flush piggy bank boards made available to the public. The pay? Heh-heh. Zilch, nada, zippo. Never mind, sticky fingers: It’s all part of your civic service that’s long overdue.
HEALTH IS WEALTH mas y menos: People can have Humboldt County public health information delivered straight to their computer, phone, or mobile device via the Humboldt Health Alert website. The website http://humboldthealthalert.org/ provides up-to-date information about emergent health issues that affect the residents of, and visitors to, Humboldt County. It’s a project of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health Branch. Technology is only as good as how you use it. Be aware or be square or be dead. Your choice. And wash those hands with hot soapy water like you were told.
CHANGE OF HEART: Spending nearly two months in jail, four defendants pleaded no contest Monday to misdemeanor charges for their roles trimming marijuana at a Bridgeville grow. Deputy District Attorney Allan Dollison said his office changed course after reexamining the case and the 54 days the defendants served behind bars. Early in the case, some defense attorneys expressed irksome dismay at DA Gallegos’ stance that marijuana trimmers should be expected to plead guilty to felonies based on the premise they’re as culpable in the criminal offenses of cultivation and possession for sales as those masterminding the grow operations.
DAMN DAMS: Ex-Humboldt County Supervisor Jill Duffy is an environmental analyst for the Humboldt County Public Works Department assigned to the Klamath Restoration Agreements. She responded to columnist Dan Walters’ Nov. 25 article, “A Huge Gift to Buffett, Oregon,” where he stated, “the bottom line is that with interest on the bonds it’s a half-billion-dollar gift from California taxpayers to Oregon farmers and (Warren) Buffett.” Ms. Duffy weighs in her two cents for the pricey dam removal to the Sacramento Bee.
GIMME SHELTER: “Its ability to aid Arcata’s needy sapped by funding shortfalls, a depleted staff and board of directors and several high-tab equipment malfunctions, the North Coast Resource Center (NCRC) is taking a time out… As part of the restructuring, the NCRC hopes to hire a new executive director, administrative manager/director/grant writer, operations manager and case worker. In addition three “strong” board members are joining the NCRC, leaving five slots still open. Longtime NCRC Director John Shelter is leaving the organization, Schulze said…” Kevin Hoover and the Arcata Eye report much more regarding the NCRC closure, restructuring, repairs, plans and the December 15 press release.
Time out? The NCRC has hit the skids crashing and burning to the ground. Unless it rises from the ashes like a phoenix, it’s going to be a cold winter for some– and a hard rains a-gonna fall.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND : Goodbye, Jimi. No, not the consummate gentleman and 1st District Supervisor Jimmy Smith whom we always wish the best for. It’s the other Jimi serving the Eureka Police Department admirably for years. Canine “Jimi” is close to retirement, and plans have been made to replace him with a new dog. EPD’s K-9 Unit recently started a fundraising campaign to purchase another patrol dog in recent weeks with the police department holding a raffle and various fundraising efforts to help pay for a new canine and provide training for the dog and handler, raising about $12,000. EPD is still in the process of raising funds to acquire a bullet and knife-resistant vest to protect the new K9 at a cost of about $2,500. Anyone wishing to contribute may send a check to the “EPD K-9 Fund” at 604 C St., Eureka, CA 95501.
In a perfect world every officer would have a faithful and loyal companion by his side through thick and thin, good times and bad, watching over him (or her) just like Jimi did. Happy trails to you, Jimi. You done good.
SOMETHING Eureka Councilmember Marian Brady said sure did get Mr. Sims’ dander up this week. Making comments before the County Planning Commission about the hidden beauty of billboards as noted in the Lost Coast Outpost’s column here and here, she drew the ire of Mr. Sims who succinctly asked, “Cui bono?” Meaning, to whose benefit did this serve? We had to Google that. Cui prodest, Hank.
EUREKA’S TEMPORARY EXTREME WINTER SHELTER is almost here: Eureka Councilmember Michael Newman reported it’s nearing completion due to the dedicated collaborative efforts of many private businesses, nonprofits, and Lynette Mullen of the District Attorney’s Office. We applaud these efforts– they don’t go unnoticed given the near freezing temperatures in the coming weeks. Let’s expire our good efforts before others expire on the streets.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT COULD BE RIGHT but merging is so much easier. Santa Rosa’s REACH Air Medical Services has jointly merged with Cal-Ore Life Flight of Brookings, Oregon. The two companies collaborated on patient transport services for years, but expect their combination will enable them to operate a broader network more efficiently. REACH employs more than 300 people who operate 13 helicopter bases and one airplane base in California, Oregon and Texas. The regular airplane base is at Sacramento Executive Airport. Cal-Ore Life Flight operates eight ground ambulances, seven fixed-wing air ambulances and a remote scene support helicopter, as well as a facility providing aviation products. The company has more than 70 employees at bases in Eureka, Crescent City, and the Oregon towns of Gold Beach and Brookings.
MALL STORE CLOSING: Pacific Sunwear of California Inc, a popular teen clothing store specializing in skate and surf-inspired clothing may is closing its doors in some locations. Officials are not announcing which stores will close– including the Bayshore Mall location– or the number of jobs and teenagers that would be aimlessly lost with nowhere to go.
POST OFFICE REPRIEVE: Neighborhood Post Office closures may be delayed but it’s unsure which of the 3,700 locations will make the pending cut or save list. Blocksburg, Honeydew, Kneeland, Korbel, and Weott offices are on the nation’s iffy column of snail mail.
SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR A RAINY DAY was sage advice by the grandparents: We have lots of those days and hope we don’t get hit with continued falling home prices like those experienced in San Francisco and Southern California. Happily, developers still maintain plans for building more Humboldt homes and the labor market is perking up nationally… unless the dark fiscal winds of Europe reach our shores as Reuters and the Fed suggest. Sorry to put a damper on things, folks. We don’t write ‘em, we just report ‘em. No wonder Grandma kept squares of foil, coils of used string, and hoarded sugar and Bisquick since 1967 in her cupboard. She remembers what rainy days and the Great Depression were really like.
HARD SCRABBLE EXISTENCE: We didn’t care a wink that Alec Baldwin was booted from his flight for playing ‘Words with Friends.’ We wondered what Words with Friends was. Think triple value word score and the obscenities will fly (while you won’t) mainlining the latest addiction to hit the i-web like a strung out junkie. And you thought terrorist threats were bad.
VINTAGE KYM: Granted, we didn’t know much about the Emerald Cup until Ms. Kym’s 2010 column appeared offering us an excellent education for the novice voyeur of what really goes on out there. Fortunately, it’s safe looking from a distance thanks to Kym’s reporting and camera magic, but Heavens to Betsy, what would her grandmother, Aunt Bea, and Sheriff Andy think? Keep an eye on Opie.
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY: If you ever wondered which peeps were admitted or released from the Humboldt County pokey– or have been frustratingly exhausted tied up in the Rube Goldberg telephone tree searching for inmates and dearest loved ones– try peeping here for the semi-secret hush-hush list. Shhh. Keep it on the down-low.
BLOGS WE WATCH: John Hardin’s humorous, inappropriate, and sometimes antisocial SoHum blog is a one-of-a-kind feast or famine breadline banquet telling it like it is—or at least how it is through Mr. Hardin’s uniquely original point of view with some off-the-wall poetic licensing and colorful pics tossed in for good measure. For example, how it all went from this to that and how it all came about like the hokey pokey with your right foot out. You get the idea. Caution: this isn’t for everybody, especially those without a bawdy, bawdry, and tacky sense of humor. You know who you are. We liked it.
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING: Three remarkable videos on tolerance, social justice, and sexual identity issues were brought to our attention by Eric Kirk and Mitch on the local Sohum Parlance II site. You may or may not subscribe to the points of view, but the views were forthrightly honest, enlightening, and thought provoking. Thank you, Eric and Mitch. It was quite an extended education. There are no easy answers.
HUMBOLDT ENTERTAINMENT, EVENTS, AND HAPPENINGS:
With only 9 days or less left before Christmas, you have plenty to do. Get cracking.
It’s also that time of the season to roll out the Bobby G, Space Monkey: A Christmas Story again. You know we had to do it, courtesy of Carol Escobar, Bobby G, Access Humboldt, and the Space Monkey crew. It’s a merry tradition in a holly jolly gorilla sort of way.
THE WEEKEND CALENDAR:
A QUOTE OR TWO FROM HUMBOLDT’S BYGONE ERA:
On Jan. 5, 1854, after a two-day voyage north from San Francisco, a lonely Captain Ulysses S. Grant had arrived at Fort Humboldt. He wrote:
My Dear Wife, I have arrived in safety. I cannot say much in favor of the place. It is about what I expected before my arrival. You know what my opinions of it were. I do nothing here but sit in my room and read and occasionally take a short ride… I have not been a quarter of a mile from my room for about one week. I am enjoying good health but growing more lazy every day for want of something to do.
Later, General Grant would write: “I left the Pacific Coast very much attached to it and with the full expectation of making it my future home. But the war blasted my last hope.”
After four years of war and eight as president of the United States, Grant never saw Humboldt again.
3 decades following Grant’s departure would give us this description gracing the 1890 History and Business Directory of Humboldt County:
…Humboldt, the center of trade for Northwestern California… is but sparsely settled, still the time is not far distant when Humboldt will have as many inhabitants and with its great natural resources will possess a wealth greater than anv three States on the Northeastern Atlantic seaboard. Eureka, with a harbor second only to that of San Francisco, on a coast line of 1,300 miles, and several prospective railroads heading in this direction, and being the center of trade and the natural entrepot of a country plethoric with the gifts of a generous nature, presents advantages that have no superior. Give this city ten years and the present will form but a shadow of the metropolis that will then exist. We look in vain for a city so happily situated to command the attention of the capitalist, the enterprising and the energetic.
Eureka is beautifully located on a slope, surrounded by hills, which are covered with giant redwoods. The blocks are square and contain about an acre each. The streets are alphabetically and numerically named. There are but few cities in the State where so many neat and tasty cottages and elegant mansion are encountered, and the citizens take especial pride in possessing well arranged gardens, filled with ornamental shrubs and plants. Every sign of prosperity presents itself, and this augurs well for the future growth of the city.