I’m a little hazy on the details because, honestly it’s hard to pay attention to this train wreck of a process, but it seems pretty clear that the entire GPU plan that we had going into today has been scrapped. This is to include the mapping meetings that had been set up so carefully.
The instigator of this change seems to have been part two of Humboldt Building Exchange’s (HBE’s) series of letters** from their consultants HTH&J – mining, land use and natural resources specialists. I think it’s the type of job that you get if you want to be, say, an environmental lawyer (in name), AND you want to make loads of money.
I guess the intimidation worked because this already extremely business friendly group decided to drop everything and fulfill their request to send the GPU back to the Planning Commission to work on certain sections. The sections covered in the letter focus specifically on the Mineral Resources Element and include such environmental dandies as…
- to prevent significant environmental impacts …recommended to be changed to…
- to prevent or minimize to the extent feasible significant environmental impacts
And replace this…
- support threatened or endangered species recover, protect riparian corridors, and preserve existing riverbed elevations with this…
- are consistent with state and federal endangered species regulations
(Side note… Don’t you just love the circular logic from private interests (aka the right)? At the federal level its all about trusting the local level and at the local level the argument seems to be we should leave laws to the state and federal level. Hmmm.)
Etc. Etc. You get the drill. And, the reason the HBE can do this is they know they have a business friendly Planning Commission including and at large Commissioner, Lee Ulansey who also just happened to found Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights. Another Commissioner Bob Morris is also a former member (as is Supervisor Fennel of course too).
So all this on a day that was devoted to the Public Participation Work Group, who were unhappy with what the changes the staff made to the language they submitted so, surprise, surprise, we may get to address the topic again until Dan Taranto, Peter Childs and Bonnie Blackberry are finally happy with the amount of private participation, SORRY, WHY DO I ALWAYS GET THAT WRONG? PUBLIC participation that will be specifically laid out in the next GPU. Public participation based on a 1980’s document and as of today with the new requested benefit of “standards”. Something it seems their predecessors can use to hold the BOS accountable if they don’t get exactly what they want. Hey, kinda like the HBE is doing now.
Welcome to a public process run by people whose first concern is private interests. It’s not pretty.
* btw, credit to the T-S for the title – they used it for a top story about a merry-go-round.
Tin foil hat font…It’s not possible that this was the plan from the start is it? Is this why the Guiding Principles were changed when they were? I have no idea, all the Supervisors seemed genuinely contrite today about the necessary changes to the schedule but we don’t know who knew about the language of the Guiding Principles and someone had to be chomping at the bit to get the element sections back to a newly business-friendly Planning Commision. Again – italics and grey font means this is all tin foil hat conspiracy – I doubt this is true and certainly have 0 evidence, but it just all seems so convenient.
**CORRECTION – Oops, this time HTH&J is represeting Mercer Fraser Company, not HBE. Mercer Fraser is a member of HBE but apparently they footed the bill on the more effective letter. I wonder if it cost more of if there is a bonus if the letter actually gets the BOS to jump through the requested hoops.
- The Private Participation Work Group (democratichumboldtfirst.wordpress.com)
- Last Board of Supervisors General Plan Update of 2013 … Today (democratichumboldtfirst.wordpress.com)