I think we did expect an uptick in the public participation, but last night’s Planning Commission (PC) meeting was extraordinary.  There have been only 3 of the Board of Supervisor (BOS) or PC meetings addressing the GPU that have garnered so much attention – three of the Guiding Principle meetings including the June 3rd, 2013 when I personally became involved in this process (10 years or more after many others began theirs) and I think the September 23rd, 2013 meeting.

So what happened?  Lee Ulansey will say it was the hype garnered online because of Supervisor Mark Lovelace’s and Planning Commissioner Noah Levy’s online comments.  I cherish Supervisor Lovelace’s passion if I disagree with the use of any violent imagery (I have not read the article or posts or the interview).  Commissioner Levy was incredibly articulate as always in defending himself against Commissioner Ulansey’s comments and took the opportunity to read his online comments urging people who care about “open space” to come out.

I counted 44 people in the audience around the time of it’s apex about a half hour into the meeting.   I know 40 may not sound like a great deal, but it fills about 1/3 of the room and compared to most nights or BOS discussions with a few esteemed “environmental” stalwarts and the 5 to 10 professionally interested others, 44 is huge!

Most of the public speakers, I’ll guestimate about 90% spoke specifically about trials (late edit – trails), or generally about the process with special mention of trails.  I really am so thankful to all that showed up.  We have so many caring and well spoken citizens in our County.  Thank you.

In my opinion, the speaker of the night was Robert Morris Ayers.

Here is the link to last night’s online video.  I tried but failed to manage to grab and post links as a friend taught be to try.  Thanks for the effort Lydia!

Robert is at 1 hr 37 min.  His comments are particularly significant because he basically said he never has spoken out at a meeting before but what brought him out was the striking out of the final sentence in CO-G5.  And I think he nailed the question of why people were there last night.

Commissioner Levy’s at 2 hr 13 min.

Commissioner Susan Matsen at 2:13 hr…

“I will continue to encourage the public to be here.  Because you need to be here.”


CO-G4. Parks and Recreation.

Consider well maintained and accessible parks and trails offering a range of popular recreation opportunities. and a county wide trail system that meets future recreational and non-motorized transportation demands.

passes 4-2. (Levy, Matsen voting no, Edmonds not present) 2/18/14

Bold language = added, striked language = removed.


26 thoughts on “Wow.

  1. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    I think Susan Masten, who specifically called the public’s attention to what was underway, deserves much credit. She stood up to Ulansey and his rewriting of history and she has the experience to do that. It was the first time I’d seen any pushback to the fear-driven agenda of HUM CPR for several years now. And Levy is an excellent appointment, capable of standing firm for the principles in the GPU as presented to the board. The saddest thing is the realization that the majority of the commission is so intellectually challenged and fearful that they can’t imagine a future, only an idealized past. Also, I have yet to hear any of them define what they mean by “property rights.”

    1. Thank you Mary Ella Anderson and …Mom (below)! Mary, I agree with you on Commissioner Matsen. Supervisor Lovelace has had a strong individual stance against much of the HumCPR agenda, but there is not much he can do alone. The one time he worked with the rest of the Board of Supervisors to reword #4 of the prefabricated Guiding Principles back in September, the next meeting, Supervisor Bass again offered prefabricated language written outside the BOS even though she herself had voted for the changes that her and Supervisor Lovelace and I think the rest of the BOS (minus possibly Supervisor Bohn) voted for.

  2. Anonymous says:

    lovelace calling out the HumCPR agenda is laughable. you do know he was a paid lobbyist for Resource Legacy Foundation via Healthy Humboldt, don’t you? he is just following through on what he was paid to deliver.

    1. I think it’s disingenuous to compare a property rights lobbyist to a public interest group. I’ll have to write more on this later as I’ve reached my allotted time for today responding to Big Tent. Thanks for the opportunity and challenge though. It’s a good talking point that needs to be discussed.

        1. Not if they are leveraged to EXCLUDE public interests like working to protect critical habitats, build paths for sustainable transportation options, and move away from a development pattern largely created to maximize profits.

            1. “A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. ”

              OK – or- a statement based on what I’ve watched over the past 6 months.

              protect critical habitats BR-S10 :

              Paths for sustainable and equitable transportation , CO-G4 (

              development pattern created to maximize profits – “honoring landowners” (which was removed under pressure but fought to the bitter end by Supervisor Fennell and the presence of 2 HumCPR property rights lobbyists and 2 contractors on the 7 member Planning Commission.

  3. Arcatan says:

    It’s totally confirmed. I spoke again to a really well connected progressive friend who has a long history of working on local races and has even had success winning with progressive candidates. She confirmed that there are candidates in place to run in the fifth and fourth districts! I had to promise not to release the names but these are reasonably well known people. A progressive group has been organizing for some time and had major funding and campaign support in place. Look for announcements and kickoffs soon! I don’t totally get why they have waited but it’s all part of a strategic effort. We all need to prepare to be engaged and involved.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They’ll have 2 months to either reach out to disenfranchised non-voters, (tag onto the popular and effective efforts of Eureka’s fair minimum wage group), or spend lots of money required to convince the tiny minority that always votes.

    Humboldt County proves repeatedly that most folks have high tolerances for corruption when they perceive their side is a beneficiary.

    Our new Planning Commissioner McKenny illustrated the oldest trick in the book mastered locally by the Timber giants 50 years ago. “It’s nearly impossible to build that addition on your house with current regulations”. Of course, it’s not a 3rd bedroom that’s got this areas richest developers controlling every elected and appointed office!

  5. Arcatan says:

    From Eric’s blog:

    “I do have to question the strategy however. The incumbents are very likely well along in building their war chests. If they haven’t filed as candidates, they can’t have raised money, so they’re already behind.”

    I gotta admit that I don’t totally understand the strategy either and the explanation I received was a little vague on specifics. I was told that the progressive candidates would be very competitive financially and that some would come from soft money sources. That a lot of money had also been firmly committed to go directly but not yet actually contributed so as to be able to keep the candidates and organizers under the radar. This does make sense to me. I see a big advantage for one side not to have any idea what the other is up to and then all at once roll out a sophisticated, professional campaign. It would seem that the strategy is working since neither Bass or Sundberg has done any real campaigning except a lackluster kickoff. Obviously we will all see the process unfold very soon. Exciting.

    1. Anonymous says:

      More likely, there will be little “exciting” to report (again) as long as the vast majority remain non-voters. The truly exciting story is never reported….campaign financing is completely corrupt, one side always outspends the other (with painfully few exceptions) only Lovelace and Atkins survive.

      As long as this story remains self-censored, little will change.

      The current Planning Commission’s self-indulgence should be front page news.

  6. just middle class says:

    Whoever is claiming the commitment of funds does not understand the law on reporting donations. The FPPC requires that the finds be reported when committed not when received. This is to prevent a stealth candidate not reporting campaign funds until the last minute. Both Sundberg and Bass have raised considerable funds and will be able to raise considerable additional funds if a serious candidate throws in their hat in the ring. If this progressive experienced campaign person does exist, it seems unlikely since this person must know campaign finance law.
    Bass and Sundberg are very well liked in their respective districts and for a challenger to mount an effective challenge, they needed to start last year, not waiting until just the last minute to announce. Also, if you look at the endorsements, both Bass and Sundberg have all of the heavyweight Democratic folks endorsements. Bass beat Neely because she started early, raised sufficient funds, and Neely had very high negatives, Virginia does not have high negatives, but is very well liked.
    To convince voters to vote against an incumbent, a case must be made that the incumbent has not served them well, which is not the case for both Sundberg and Bass.

    1. Maybe you are right JMC. A Uri and John Driscoll-advised Congressman Huffman has already endorsed both Supervisor Bass and Supervisor Sundberg (the latter not even a Democrat). They both have money and are likely to get more. What should be done now, being rational, is we should learn to appreciate the hard work Supervisors Bass and Sundberg have done for us including modifying out of effectiveness the principles of “protecting natural resources for the long term” and “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term”.

      JMC – you are familiar with Sundberg’s and Bass’ 460. Who are their constituents? Is it really the voters or are they a well defined interest group – those interested in land speculation and development.

  7. Anonymous says:

    the question is, jon, are ag and timberland resources still protected? the answer is “YES!” but don’ let the facts get in the way of your opinion. these have been cited for you numerous times but you refuse to deal in reality. very disingenuous.

    1. Then hey not keep the language of a guiding principle (no caps) of protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term (period)

      Why did that have to be removed (by adding a modifying clause) and then remain there after a public outcry.

        1. If they are, why remove the language. Is your point that either California or The U.S. Regs are protecting it? Remember the looser GP language is currently being used to loosen the Element language. It’s a shell game right now.

          To reiterate, if protected, why remove (ie modify) the language in the GP.?

          So my answer to your question is I don’t think the same level of protection remains.

  8. just middle class says:

    John, the people who donate to campaigns in the amount to be reported are a small group of people, and may not represent the general population. The population of people who share your interest in the specific language in the General Plan and your interpretation of it is small. If it were a choice of severely restricting our economy to preserve all “natural resources” the public would support our economy.

    1. The general population is for having the public sector remain interested in “protecting natural resources for the long term” Full Stop.

      Also, the general population is for “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term” Full. Stop.

      MM is right below (2/24 10pm) – this – ” severely restricting our economy to preserve all “natural resources”” is a narrative – and a false one at that. a) it’s not preserve. b) I agree, I’m not one advocating for no growth or no economy. We can do both grow, which we need to, AND protect what we can. How? Planning. NOT “service” to the Chamber of Commerce in the name of planning.

  9. Michael mcKaskle says:

    It is not a question of severely restricting our economy. Stupid land use policies only economically benefit developers with land to despoil. Rational economic growth comes from functional communities where everyone benefits from government policy. As a home owner in Redway a wise GPU will make my property value increase because I was wise enough to purchase a commercial/residential property in a nice walkable community. The way we seem to be headed now, more shoddy subsidized rural development will suck more county resources and lead to more blight and relatively lower property values for most of us.

  10. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    Just got an email (4 p.m.) that tonight’s meeting of Planning Commission is canceled due to lack of quorum. Next meeting on the 27th.

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