Why Care About the GPU GP Anyway?

I just realized, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense for me to start agitating for people to go out to the GPU GP meeting on September 23rd (at 7PM 🙂 ) if I don’t say why.  I’ve been writing about this all summer on Sohum Parlance but I don’t expect people who might be new to this to trudge through the comment sections there to see what the heck is going on.  (If you do, a good starting point is June 3rd – you will get all the players joining in at that point – after about a week, there was only a few die-hards remaining)

So.  This is a way of saying it’s on my To Do List.  I will write that post in the next couple of days.


24 Days to Go…. Here Are Portions of a Letter I Wrote 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass

I do feel bad sometimes for Supervisor Bass that she has me as a constituent.  I do not have a competent internal editor and the letter I sent her was much longer … Here are portions.

A) I would like to know what your feelings are on each of the Guiding Principles and why? What have you heard from other constituents so far and what version are you going to support on each one? Or, if you are going to support different language in any of them what is it and why? I don’t think it is too much to ask for you to comment on each of the (now) 11 principles. (You probably should also comment on the 12th and why it should be deleted – I think it was number eight) And you of course can include any new ones you might be in favor of. I would encourage you to ask your colleagues to do the same – I think you all owe it to use before the meeting on the 23rd so we know what specifically to address.

For the record I favor the existing – pre-straw vote 12 for the reasons Supervisor Lovelace brought up. Those 12 have a record of the public process involved. The most important changes in the current 11 were made behind closed doors by a fellow Democrat who happens to have incredibly conservative views on property rights issues and arguably the most conservative member of the Board of Supervisors.

Also, please note that although all 5 of you have said they believe in the public process during Board GPU meetings in July. We have no ability to read your minds and e-mails and friends and phone calls, etc. so we the public do not currently have any insight into why each of the 12 principles have changed the way they have.

B) I wanted to ask this prepared statement/question at the last BOS but couldn’t gather the courage. I wonder if you could address it in an e-mail instead.

I have 1 (and a half) questions for you regarding the Guiding Principles.

Once the current Guiding principles are finalized, what is your intention for how long they should hold? a) Should it be as many years as it takes for the majority’s ideology to change, or b) Should they stand for a period of time? and c) if (b) how long should they stand?

My answer would be (b) an allotted period of time and 20 years. No matter the answer, think this process has established a troublesome precedent. Either the principles of the plan are subject to elections and as such are not much of a plan, or b) by the extremely wanting public participation this Board has set up you are sending the message that might makes right. I believe, as a proponent of regional planning or smart growth, that we need plans that are somewhat immune to one or two partisan elections like we have just experienced. Thank you for the time.

Don’t forget to write/call/meet with your Supervisor too, no matter your views on the Guiding Principles/GPU.  Time IS running out.  Also, make plans to show of the 23rd.  If travel is a problem I can pick up at least 6, I’m sure we can find other volunteers to pick people up too.  (Again, no matter what your views are – unless I begin to sense funny-business)


KMUD Civil Liberties Fund Drive

KMUD Civil Liberties Fund Drive

A banner from today’s KMUD web site – KMUD’s focus on civil liberties is great, but progressives have to understand the ramifications of this to HumCo politics.

Why Good People Are Divided by Politics

This is a partial title from a great book from a content point of view (but not what I would consider fun reading ).  I’ve commented on this book on several occasions this summer in different blogs.  I think it is critical when approaching divisions in politics, culture, people.   The basic message is something I learned in college when debating abortion/life/choice issues.  I think most people (95%) are coming from a good place.  Even people who I consider misguided like Matthew Owen, Supervisor Fennell,  Supervisor Bohn or even Gary Graham Hughes (see Cannabis thread in the near future).  They are all coming from a good and righteous place.  It is just we fundamentally disagree on some issues.

This thread is for those disagreements.  Mostly in this thread I will be discussing, analyzing and trying to come to some conclusions about the divisions within the Humboldt Democratic Party.  I like to start this thread with Jonathan Haidts’ book because I don’t want to forget that idea as I begin this online journey.  We are all good people.  Sometimes in the heat of a debate, when the bickering gets it’s loudest, the reader (and/or commenter and/or I) might forget this momentarily.  The next day tho, lets remember that in the end we are all coming from a good place – for the most part.  🙂


General Blog Note:  I will feel free to edit my posts and comments for a short period of time after posting.  Most of the time these changes will be to try to clear of the meaning, sometimes like this morning I even changed the title and direction of the post after I initially posted another title (with no content).  I do feel a responsibility to keep my posts and others as long as they are not offensive.  After that initial period of change, if I make any changes or deletions – I will add a note saying I did so and why.

Miscellaneous Comment Thread Part 1

Since I have had the awful tendency to dominate discussions, I am opening this thread as a place to put my responses to conversations in other threads which might have gone on too long.  Case in point – a thread in Sohum Parlance.  Others are welcome to bring the conversation here too, of course.

General Plan Update (GPU) Thread Part 1 (of 1 most likely)

This is mostly a book mark to serve as a thread for all things GPU, and especially Guiding Principles (GP).  If readers are not familiar with the GPU, well it is a long story.  I can’t summarize it, I myself only know a small portion of the story.  I think this is one of the reasons I find the Guiding Principles so important.  They consist of 11 principles that have been approved by a 4-1 count on a “straw vote” process.  This means they are conditionally approved with a chance for the public to digest the changed principles, react and argue their point of view with their Supervisor.

Thing is, if you survey the media landscape, you won’t read or here a thing about these Guiding Principles.  At least not now.  That wasn’t the case before the power on the Board of Supervisors (BOS) shifted and the Guiding Principles were rewritten.  Why?  Many reasons, foremost among them is the media’s readership (I can’t stomach local television – sorry) probably doesn’t care.  Except those who are directly effected and those people are now happy with the process.  Want evidence?  Here is HumCPR’s current home page.  The last call to action?  June 3rd of course.

On that day the Guiding Principles (GP) shifted, from one that reflects our County’s rightful responsibility to plan development with an eye to protect resources and our surroundings, to one that gives the private sector the upper hand.  So, now, the less news the better.  At least from HumCPR’s perspective and they unfortunately have an undue influence on our public conversation.  I noticed that during the July 8th or 22nd BOS meeting, whichever meeting established the September 23rd GP meeting you see in the upper left hand corner, all the Supervisor’s professed great appreciation for the democratic process and encouraged their constituents to contact them with their concerns about the GP.  Thing is, since then mum has been the word.  Nothing.  Zip. Zero. Nada.*  (for the most part, there has been very little BOS GP talk, but qualitatively it has been less than 0.5, so I’m rounding down)

This is what I would call an instance of democracy-washing.  The Supervisors would like to plant the flag of public participation, in fact the legitimacy of their GP depends on it.  But the reality could not be further from the truth. Why?  More in the comment zone later – life beckons.

* I’m pretty sure this is a Rush Limbaugh phrase that apparently has infiltrated my subconscious.  Doh.

I AM a hypocrite … and GMOs

I was rightfully called out as a hypocrite today.  I was wearing a Right-to-Know, Label GMOs tee-shirt to McDonald’s this morning and a young woman called me out.  I told her she was right to do so.   We had a nice, brief conversation afterward after we both gave our money to the man.

I am really torn on GMO’s.  I don’t know enough about them to come down on one side or the other.  One blogger I respect a great deal, Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum, was even against California’s GMO labeling initiative, Proposition 37 last November*.  I was for Prop. 37.  I’m also anti-hypocrite.

But I do realize we are all human and life is complicated.  Being hypocritical from time to time should not mean you can’t advocate for this or that issue.  Hypocrisy will hurt one’s credibility on a subject, sometimes rightfully so.  But it shouldn’t be the end of the conversation, or the personal or societal goals for which we all strive.

*http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/10/why-i-disagree-kevin-drum-californias-gmo-labeling-proposition  Rather than linking to Kevin’s blog – I’ll link to Google’s first search result.  This article does link to one of Kevin’s posts against Prop. 37.

Meta Note (aka navel-gazing) :  when posting, WordPress offers you about 10 posts that their search engine think matches your post.  The options are often pretty good.  I might frequently use these.  The one I’m adding today mentions McDonald’s hypocrites like myself.  I may or may not agree with the Savior conclusion, but that’s just because I’m agnostic and I like and respect people’s own decisions on that one.  Also, another cool thing about writing blogs, you get numbers.  I love numbers and believe numbers are for sharing, good or bad.  Here are mine as of right now – 51 views, 10 visitors.  Hooray! and hi. 

The Cannabis Thread Part I

I suppose it is appropriate to have the first thread be about cannabis, Mary Jane, weed, pot, or marijuana given that Humboldt is in the title of this blog.  As someone who has partaken, and might again in the future, but is not a regular, I always have a difficult time knowing what is the best way to refer to the plant and it’s product.

For the record, I don’t like this topic at all.  I’d rather not talk about it, let it become legal or not.  Whatever.  Unfortunately, I am discovering, with the help of fellow commenters like Cookie that this little innocent plant has made it’s way to the most influential positions of power in our County’s political and governing infrastructure.  Therefore we ignore this plant at the peril of not understanding what drives our politics.

Check out Michael Pollan’s documentary on this.  Humboldt’s power structure, unofficial and increasingly official can be best understood by including this perspective – IMHO.  “Marijuana, by gratifying our desire to change conciousness, has gotten people to risk their lives, their freedom, in order to grow more of it and plant more of it.”  Woah, heavy.  And true. (imo)


This is the first iteration of the democraticHumboldt sites I hope to start to use.  I’ve never been a Twitter or Facebook person.  Maybe it’s my age, and I see the value in both Twitter and Facebook, but I’m stuck on blogs.  What I like about them is a) they have more characters than twitter, and b) Facebook seems much more focused on photos and daily updates.  I’m interested in that space in the internet between the individual and the news.  Where we the people have access to broadcast our thoughts on news, policy and politics, and maybe even generate some stories of our own.

So I see this space as less of a bar and more of a public park, or sometimes even Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner (but definitely without the apocalyptic messages) (except maybe in the comment zone – but that is on you).

Hi Humboldt,