Tuesday Fun: Like Summer Blockbusters AND Band Camp?

Here’s Ohio State’s marching band having some fun during their halftime show.  It’s pretty remarkable and the crowd reaction makes it that much more fun.

I discovered this on tor.com.  Here is their post.

It’s been a busy latter half of October.  Posting has slowed a bit, apologies, but it will pick up again after the election (and Democrat of the Year).

If anyone is interested in getting a strong candidate onto the School Board, supporters of HCDCC and Eureka Teacher’s Association endorsed Lisa Ollivier will be holding phone banking this important pre-election week.  Come join the fun toward a great cause – getting Lisa on the Eureka School Board!  Hooray!


Conversations with… Peter Childs. (Enshallah*) An Open Invitation …

Peter Childs, Dan Taranto, Bonnie Blackberry and friends had a huge success at Monday’s GPU meeting.  Not only were their ideas incorporated into the General Plan Update (GPU) as requested, Kevin Hamblin and the Supervisors and even myself starting using their words.

They have been a very influential and very under-reported group since they became active in this process as the leaders of the Public Participation Work Group.

I would like to report my thoughts about the Board of Supervisors GPU update later as I’ve been busy and am still processing what happened.  We were having a contentious but interesting conversation during the break at the October 21st meeting and would like to continue that online if he is willing.  (The same request goes out to Dan Taranto, Bonnie Blackberry, Tom Grover and Supervisor Fennell who are a “truly representative group of people”)  I would like to explore what they represent as it seems to me the are heavily representative of property-rights or anti-enforcement interests.

But there I go again being contentious.  The reason I’m writing this post is to really try to understand our differences and I would like to start with our disagreement about Supervisor Lovelace’s appearance on KMUD’s Morning Show on the 22nd.  I think Mr. Childs complained that he disagreed with what Supervisor Lovelace was saying and I would like to know what exactly because after listening to his review of the process, I found it fair.

So please if any of you are interested let me know.  I’ve spoken with each of you now and you have my email.  Remember I am coming at this with much less institutional information that you and from a very different perspective believing that it is our county’s responsibility to err on the side of protection of natural resources for the long term rather than property rights.  Also, somewhat anti-intuitively given my nom-de-plume, I believe that more democracy within the GPU itself is anti-democratic.

Seems like you have a downhill argument give those frames. (“downhill” as in easier)

*Enshallah is a beautiful Islamic word (imho) that means “God willing”, or as it tends to be used around the dining table (ie informally) when I visit my Turkish family – “hopefully”.  As in when my Grandmother says  “you will meet a Turkish woman, inshallah” (but she say’s it in Turkish and someone has to translate…it’s complicated)  I do think it is relevant here, because I do mean this invitation sincerely.  I would hope that Mr. Childs would see this as a sincere attempt to have an online conversation on a subject on which we fundamentally disagree and which I contend will have significant and far-reaching consequences for the future of regional planning. (because it is a sincere invitation)

County General Plan Update Meeting Today at 1:30 PM

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) are meeting on the General Plan Update (GPU) again today at the Courthouse.  Today they are finishing up Chapters 4 and 9 and beginning work on Chapters 2 and 3.  From their web site…

“Continued Board Review of the Planning Commission Approved Draft General Plan.  In particular, review the outstanding issues for Chapter 4, Land Use (the TL – Tribal Lands land use designation), Chapter 9, the Economic Development Element, and Chapters 2 & 3 (Public Guide and Governance Policy).”

Check out this link for this quote and printable Agendas and public comments.

As usual I am very wary of this particular BOS.  The standard talking points for defenders of the BOS is although they might have flubbed the Guiding Principles of the GPU (actually they don’t say that, but I’m trying to be fair) there is a unanimity in the content of the GPU.  While this is technically true, Supervisor Mark Lovelace does often vote with Louis’ Four (the four Supervisor’s Louis DeMartin said people of like mind voted for), the process is highly slanted toward private concerns and away from public planning and long-term sustainability/healthy economy issues.

For those that don’t know, the Courthouse is that monstrosity in the middle of town (Eureka) on 5th and I that also holds the jail.  You can’t miss it.

Elections have consequences, so come enjoy watching another day of those consequences.

Also, speaking of elections, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE for this November’s election.  (This only pertains to people who have moved since the last election.)  Call the election office 707 445-7678 if you have any questions.

“The Great October 7th BOS Guiding Principle Massacre”

Despite the title which came from the interview below, Bob Froehlich is a level headed advocate for a pro-growth and pro-environment set of Guiding Principles (GP)to the General Plan update.  I admire him, his descriptions of what has happened in recent history are less emotional or partisan than mine and therefore might be able to reach a wider audience.

You can hear his excellent review of the GP process on the October 14th Monday Morning Magazine.  (Scroll down to get the the right program, his segment starts at the beginning of the 8 a.m. hour)

While at the KMUD web site, Bob made an appearance on Tuesday’s (October 15th) Environment Show.  I haven’t listened to it yet but it’s sure to be great as on the second Tuesday of each month Scott Greacen hosts  KMUD’s The Environment Show.  So Bob Froehlich and Scott Greacen on the GP?  FUN! (at least for us land use nerds who care about our long-term human impact on this beautiful piece of land.)

Also, Supervisor Fennell wasn’t there for that a.m. for what apparently is a regular Monday a.m. appearance for her.  Not surprising.  Have you heard any full-throated defense of this GPU process from the BOS or their supporters (HumCPR and KINS and Sunshine for Humboldt)?  Of course not.  They know this is not defensible, at least by the Humboldt electorate as it is.  Simple as that.

“Malala Yousafzai – I’m Very Glad You’re Here”

Malala Yousafzai is a remarkable 16 y/o Pakastani teenager who first gain international attention as the focus of a fairly obscure online 2009 documentary by filmmaker Adam B. Ellick.  This documentary and Malala’s fierce opposition to the Taliban’s method’s unimaginably made her a target.  On October 9th 2012 she was specifically targeted by the Taliban and shot in the neck and head on a bus filled with school children.  The damage was unbelievable, but somehow thanks in part I’m sure to Malala’s tenacity and the wonder’s of modern medicine (and Kismet?) she is as expressive and determined as ever.

Malala Yousafzai (NYT)

If you missed her appearance on the Daily Show last week as I did, you should check it out.  Here are a couple of quotes that give you a window into Malala’s heart.

Answering Jon Stewart’s question about why she is committed to education…

In Pakistan when we were stopped from going to school, at that time, I realized that education is very important. And education is the power for women and that why the terrorists are afraid of education. They do not want women to get education because then women would become more powerful.

On her motivation and courage to challenge the Taliban…

My father was a great encouragement for me because he spoke out for woman’s rights, he spoke out for girl’s education.  And at that time I said why should I wait for someone else?  Why shall I be looking at the government, to the army that they would help us?  Why don’t I raise my voice?  Why don’t we speak up for our rights? … I started writing diaries, I spoke on every media channel that I could and I raised my voice on every platform that I could.  And I said, I need to tell the world what is happening in Swat and I need to tell the world that Swat is suffering from terrorism and we need to fight against terrorism.

Speaking about the Taliban’s threat against her…

I just could not believe it, I said “no, it’s not true”.  And even after the threat, when we saw it I was not worried about myself that much, I was worried about my father, because we thought that the Taliban are not that much cruel that they would kill a child because I was 14 at that time.  But later on I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come and he would just kill me.  But then I thought “if he comes, what would you do Malala?”  Then I would reply (to) myself, “Malala, just take a shoe and hit him”.  But then I said “if you hit a Talib with a shoe then there would be no difference between you and the Talib.”  You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that much harshly you must fight others but through peace and dialog and education”

Here is the original 30 minute documentary about the battle against the Taliban for the Swat valley that first brought the world’s (and sadly the Taliban’s) attention to Malala Yousafzai.  If you have 30 minutes, it’s well worth a watch. But WARNING – the Taliban’s brutality is on full display – many short portions are extremely graphic.  Here is Adam Ellick’s most recent review of his role as the main reporter behind this documentary.

I’m so grateful that Malala wasn’t taken from us before her time.  Welcome back Malala, the world was lesser without your voice in it.

That quote in the title comes from Jon Stewart as he sums up the interview.

Freedom, Tyranny, and Oppression

I wanted to thank reader and commenter John Vigil for his contributions.  John is a self-described Non Partisan which sounds from his posts absolutely right.  He is fair minded and willing to have a conversation which is to be applauded imho.

But his posts do have that fundamentally conservative vein of cynicism directed toward government.  Dissent and protest is of course bi-partisan and John is right to watch over, criticize and work to improve government, but we shouldn’t work to weaken it just…. because.  I see and understand the arguments behind ideas like term limits and voting to balance the partisanship of the different branches of government, but I find that they are used by conservatives to fundamentally transform our society to this libertarian utopia where private concerns rule.

2010 National Spending per GDP Comparison

Above is a chart from Wikipedia on 2010 Governmental Spending as a percentage of GDP.  Most people are not chart people I realize, but charts are such an effective means of conveying information.  What this chart shows is the US economy is like other countries including Russia, China and Mexico is heavily weighed toward private industry.  The heart of this difference of course is health care, all other wealthy industrialized countries have decided that universal health care should be an essential part of civilization.  We’ve bucked that trend.  But it isn’t just health care, it’s a national argument that conservatives and Republicans are winning that the private sector runs most everything better than government.  They contend government, bureaucrats, politicians, etc are bad words because they are inherently inefficient and usually corrupt.

The truth is government can run many institutions of our society much more equitably and efficiently and these organizations and institutions and individuals are no more corrupt that those in the private sector.  In fact I would argue that we tend to focus on the corruption of government and politicians largely because they are accountable to us and their misdeeds get attention.  A recent TS article quoted a HumCo Sheriff saying we are probably only enforcing 2% of the local illegal marijuana trade, and that is the illegal private sector, think about how much nonsense goes on in the legal private sector that we never hear about.

But any conversation critical of the private sector is difficult to have when framed by terms like Socialism, Communism, and the latest addition,  Tyranny.

So when John says Freedom, Oppression and Tyranny I think we tend to think about Government’s tyranny over us.  My thoughts based on a lifetime’s worth of experience of the more subtle tyranny of the private sector.  Here is a visual representation of one type of tyranny that no one is mentioning.  It is from only very indirectly related story in the New York Times a couple of days ago.

The Tyranny of Sprawl (imho)

John, I hope that was fair.  I really appreciate you contributions and hope we can continue the conversation.  It’s not fair that I get to posts the posts with all the pictures and charts, but I’m happy to continue the conversation on your blog too or whatever.

More Coverage of the General Plan Update Guiding Principles

Ryan Burns has been burning the midnight oil this week.  Besides the interesting and informative cover story inside look at Dan Johnson’s life from Dan Johnson’s perspective, he had at least two significant pieces on the Guiding Principles (GP).  Thank you Julie Timmons for cluing me into the second one which I missed.  And thank you Ryan Burns for keeping an eye on this.  Of course the detractors paint Ryan’s paper as part of the local liberal media, but it’s really not.  Reality does have a liberal bias (imho) and Ryan does an important job (ie he is actually paid for this – which is so important) of reporting what often is the boring reality of life that does not attract as much attention as a criminal’s mugshot (LoCO, TS I’m looking at you!) (But again TS, thanks for Wednesdays informative and important article.)

Disputed Principles

The County’s Guiding Principles in Time-Lapse

Who, What, Where, When Changed the BOS’s Mind on Guiding Principle #4.

First.  Thank you TS for today’s GPU coverage.  I don’t ding you if the reason for not publishing a news item yesterday was a matter of deadline.  I get that and I don’t think news has to be served hot.  However, it would have been nice to have an above the fold box saying “GPU GP full coverage tomorrow” or something to that effect.  Just a note to the new publisher if she is listening.

I wonder.  I have thoughts and wanted to write them today but life beckons.  So if the reader has any thoughts, let me know in the comment section.  I’ll scribble my thoughts on this tomorrow.  But here is a start…(turns out I wrote a bunch more than I thought I would)

I think this is critical because during the September 23rd BOS GPU GP debate , the Supervisors came to a consensus on #4 right before our eyes.  Then on Monday they mysteriously backtracked using this Arcata letter as their reasoning which, after reading the letter, makes absolutely no sense.  Speaking with Supervisor Bass in the hallway she also mentioned Arcata Councilmember Mark Wheetley (D).  I’m not sure exactly how he was involved, just that Supervisor Bass mentioned his name.  Also, please note that the regular developement/realtor/homebuilder crowd was very vociferous about changing #4 during the public comment period on Monday.  I smell something fishy.  I think the Arcata letter is a convenient, and absolutely mind-boggling non sequitur chosen to evade the obvious calls Supervisors Bass and Sundberg must have received from their friends  in the private sector who of course never get mentioned.  It’s as if they don’t exist.  (or Councilmember Mark Wheetley received from his friends, or maybe he just knows himself, I/we don’t know!)

I mention Supervisor Bass and Sundberg because after my question asking about accountability on this issue during the public comment period, Supervisor Sundberg offered that he and Supervisor Bass approached Planning Director Kevin Hamblin to come up with the new language that was adopted by a 4-1 straw vote with a heavy, impassioned, and reasoned objection by Supervisor Lovelace. BTW, Supervisor Lovelace’s last minute 5 min lecture on the important of keeping the “discourage resource lands conversion” based on a 2004 survey by a local (or state?) agricultural group was rebuffed by Supervisor Bohn based in part on his conversation over the past weekend with his ranching friends who apparently are more clued into reality.  Admittedly the survey was from 2004, but still.  Anecdotal evidence over statistics – it’s a theme if you watch for it.  A theme that always seem to argue for conservative interests.

Remember, there was an impressive turnout by the smart growth/environmental crowd for the Sept 23rd meeting – so much so that it did seem there was a spirit of conciliation and cooperation that gave Supervisor Lovelace a voice despite his minority position on the board.  Obviously this did not go over well with the other 4 Supervisor’s campaign contributors because the backtracking on #4 was only the beginning of the new tone Monday.  As I wrote yesterday, the critical Guiding Principles 6 and 7 were steam-rolled and any environmental or resource protection was quickly modified out of existence.  Congratulations Money, you win again.

Having said all that, credit where it is due – thank you Times Standard for the article today.  It is important and informative.  I hope you follow up.

BTW, I love the last two paragraphs of the article.  Go read it – it’s a good article.  When you read those last two paragraphs remember, Supervisor Bohn won his district with $42 per vote of direct campaign contributions.   Supervisor Lovelace?  $13 per vote.  Money buys ideas, Money buys influence, Money buys….democracy.

Get our there and vote and work to change this because if there is one thing Money hates, it’s a concerned, educated and active citizenry.

My Mistake. Apparently Yesterday’s GPU GP Decimation Was Not News (sarcasm alert)

Not word one from the TS today about finalizing the General Plan Update guiding principles.  Here are a couple of angles in case there is an intrepid reporter out there.

1)  The critical principles #6 and #7 that initially were stood up for our common interest of protecting natural resources and agriculture and timberland over the long term have been gelded (to use an agricultural term) as Supervisor’s Bohn and Fennell (or their advisers) intended.  Here’s a review of the principles.  I didn’t think to write the new ones down that were straw voted yesterday, because I was under the impression that our print media would at least do the basic job of reporting significant local governmental actions.  My mistake.

#6 Existing principle: “Protect agriculture and timberland over the long term, using measures such as increased restrictions on resource land subdivisions and patent parcel development.”

#6 New version: (now there’s an even fresher version) “Encourage, incentivize and support agriculture, timber and compatible uses on resource lands.”

#7 Existing principle: “Protect natural resources, especially open space, water resources, water quality, scenic beauty, and salmonid habitat.”

#7 New version: (now there’s an even fresher version) “Honor landowners’ right to live in urban, suburban, rural or remote areas of the county while using a balanced approach to protect natural resources, especially open space, water resources, water quality and fisheries habitat in cooperation with state and federal agencies.

2)  What is up with that Arcata letter?  Some mysterious letter arrived from Arcata, it was not introduced to the public at the debate, but because of it (and because of obvious concerns from the professionals in the room who had clearly let their clients, I mean their representatives, know about their concern.)  Amazingly, this outcry from a very narrow group with specific interests had the power to change the 4 board member’s minds from only 2 weeks ago.  This is important because the Supervisors drafted that clause and agreed to it right before our eyes (when the room was full of people thanks to the fact it was held after hours and more people could show).  The upshot is of course that heaven forbid we “discourage conversion of resource land” – which is now removed from guiding principle #4.

3)  Apparently it is very handy to be a friend of Supervisor Bohn.  His sampling of public opinions seems to come largely from his friends.  His two ranching friends who he visited with last weekend apparently are so influential that their opinions outweighed a Farm Bureau Survey taken in 2004 and presented by Supervisor Lovelace.

4) Public Participation Working Group.   Someone needs to write about this story.  Everyone is familiar with the Republican’s strategy in Washington.  How to deal with a lost presidential election?  Stop government and governing.  It’s done with a minority in the Senate in the form of the filibuster which has been used (by both parties to be fair, but much more aggressively by the Republicans) and by the ongoing government shutdown instigated by the conservative wing of the Republican Party.  This is the philosophy, stall until we are in charge again.  This is all the PPWG was doing and they were doing it in the name of public participation which drives me nuts because I DO believe in public participation.

They believe in public participation too.  As long as they get to define “public”.  This is demonstrable and I wish there was a reporter who would take this story up.  It’s a long story and partisan and depressing and full of double-speak, but it is so important.  The end result is Dan Taranto got his precious Citizen’s Handbook added to the guiding principles over a clearly reluctant board.

In words and now statue (is that the term?) Dan Taranto, Supervisor’s Fennell, Bohn, Sundberg, and Bass have played homage to public participation but have acted demonstrably in a contradictory manner.  They will play nice with the words public participation, but when it comes actually making it happen, they have failed.  The result is of course a double tragedy.  Not only was the public precluded from this process, the Mr. Taranto’s of the world will have the language, even to the extent it is codified in the guiding principles, to play the exact same game 20 years from now.  Honestly I agree with the idea of what Dan’s doing, but when it is done with such duplicity and cynicism and without a hint of shame, well, it get’s me a little miffed.  (and I allow for the possibility that Dan truly believes he serves the public at large’s interests, but if he is that blind…then the previous sentence would have been less complimentary)

The tragedy is we have no business model for local papers who can do the necessary work to bring these complicated issues to light.  Additionally, our political system is currently broken.  So if is anyone interested, or maybe this will go onto my to do list, Here are some questions…who was a member of that august body other than Dan and Bonnie?  What defines a public process?  Was this guiding principles process demonstrably more engaging of the public than the 2004 process they decry?  Isn’t the real definition of “public” “people I know” to Mr Taranto?

We are not served as a community if we are going to allow our language, our politics and our governing institutions to be steam rolled by those who possess the most time, money and influence.

BOS to Guiding Principles: “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Principles”

Well, the BOS has decided planning is best done in private,  Both private meaning behind closed doors and private meaning private industry.  Here are my first thoughts on a comment on Sohum Parlance if you are interested.  This little Democrat will not be voting to endorse Supervisor Bass this June.  Actually I don’t have a vote, but if I did I wouldn’t.  I don’t know if she will be beatable, most people I talk to say no.  Supervisor Sundberg just became much more beatable imho.  See you in June.  (We have more time to plan for Supervisor Bohn’s and Fennell’s race)

And don’t forget to honor a landowner today!  They deserve it even if the BOS voted to remove that language.  We can’t expect them to be too honest.  Although I will give props to Supervisor Fennell who stood up for the phrase honoring landowners to the last.  Kudos Supervisor Fennell.

(Sarcasm is hard to get across on the internets.  My tongue was firmly between my cheeks on that last paragraph.)