Did Not Realize Until Just Now Today is May’s 4th Thursday

That means it is Eureka Progressive Democrats night at HCDCC (127 5th St. Eureka).

Sadly Linda has emailed that she is stepping down.  That leaves us without a Chair nor someone capable of running a good meeting.

What I offer is to keep the lights on.  I’ll show up with the keys each 4th Thursday in hopes of being one place local concerned Progressives or left- of – center Democrats that understand the scam the good folks right-of -center have figured out.  A way to win despite not always having “Democratic Values”.

It’s appropriate that this week Judy H. at the NCJ had another in her series lambasting the current Board of Supervisor’s majority.  She and her call on people to find candidates back in mid-2013 was a great inspiration to me to do what I could to restore sanity to HumCo politics.  I think she wrote at the time (or I deduced from her writings) that we progressives need to form networks to help fight agains entrenched special interests.  And that is how I see the 4th Thursday.  It’s and open door to people all over the County who want to get involved in left-of-center politics.  Something people are deliberately trying to stop the Democratic Party from advocating.

So, late notice, but show up if you like.  We could talk about what we are doing with the Latour or Kerrigan campaign or we could even just walk right over to Kerrigan campaign headquarters.  (or better yet, skip the meeting tonight and call the Kerrigan campaign (442-2220) or Latour campaign (http://www.sharonforsupervisor.com/volunteer) and ask how you could help.

Possibly see you in 30 minutes.

*grabs keys.  runs out door*

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Cleaning up the Mess in the T-S Editorial Page Yesterday

From Sid Berg…

“I have witnessed the divisive politics within the Humboldt Democratic Central Committee, as a voting member representing the 5th District. I resigned my position after realizing the direction the majority of the “progressive”(left-leaning) Democrats would dictate on the citizens of this county. In my opinion, they have lost touch with the middle class, workers, and business, all necessary to sustain a viable economy. I will not condone confiscation or erosion of private property rights, and to dictate thought (precursors to 1930s National Socialists in Germany).”

And then goes on to defend voting for Supervisors Bass and Sundberg because…

This county needs hard working, dedicated leadership to build consensus, seek funding and plan viable infrastructure, (including rail) and to create an atmosphere capable of building and sustaining good paying jobs with benefits.”

Sid’s argument here is basically this – liberals are basically Nazi and…jobs.  Wrong Sid.  And more important than your Jonah Goldberg inspired contention  is the contention that short term construction jobs are the type of jobs we need.  We do need construction jobs, we agree, but we want them building homes, apartments, etc where we can begin to live sustainabily – ie around bike lanes.  And this National Socialist isn’t dictating anything to the good people of HumCo.  Actually the reverse is true.  I’m simply asking for choice in housing and am trying to break us free of the stranglehold held by developers, conservative union Democrats, property rights advocates, etc.

Build and expand in both suburbs AND in town and let the market decide (given that the market will include externalities).  The latter is going to take thought, planning and support from the public sector.  Something you, Ryan and Virginia fundamentally don’t believe in.  You’d rather let the Chamber of Commerce plan because that way we’d forget about the needed bike lanes, oh, and river and wetland set backs, oh and promoting actual low income housing, oh, and protecting ecosystem values for the long term, etc.

*searches for arm band*

****************************************************************************************************

Richard and Uri (Pronounced “your-eye”.  “Your -eee” would a) be wrong and b) might invoke a cartoon caricature of an Soviet apparatchik.) we’ll talk later regarding your letters.  Cleaning up this mess will take time.

Also, please – Richard, Sid, Uri please join the discussion.  And, for any liberal or progressive out there that is using the term or thought  “evil” to describe developers, etc. – that isn’t the case.  We are all fighting for a better tomorrow.

Proposed New Anon Policy

Anon’s, I want to give you a head’s up.

I appreciate your time and comments but I am hoping to initiate a new policy to help out the readers of your comments.

If you choose to post as a guest, WordPress will give you a generic avatar or gravitar instead of the unique and random one it gives to people who would like to at least use a consistent nom-de-plume.

I am a fan of being able to be somewhat anonymous (as anonymous as one can be in a small community).  However, it order to help define where people are coming from and to allow for accountability in one’s stances over time, not to mention trying to follow back and forths between numerous anons I would like to begin using the last three numbers of anon’s IP address to identify you to the reader.

So if you have a comment I would like to comment on I might reply “so anon xx.x, blah blah blah”.

At this point, this is up for debate.  If there are non anons that disagree – I’ll listen and possibly reconsider.

And I won’t start right away of course to give you a chance to argue against it with the same amount of anonymity you currently have if you choose to.  I’ll give one more heads up before changing the policy.

Btw, maybe this is what Sid Berg was talking about when he contended the HCDCC progressives were analogues to what lead to the NAZI’s.  Seriously, he wrote that, yesterday, it the T-S, check it out.

Monday’s Supervisor Meeting on the General Plan Update by Mary Ella Anderson

By Mary Ella Anderson (written May 20th)

Yesterday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting on the GPU – specifically Open Spaces, was not very well attended, although the environmentalists outnumbered the realtor/developer contingent by a wide margin.

Quite unexpectedly, Supervisor Ryan Sundberg played a recorded phone message from an outraged constituent making the point that he had not been truthful in saying that trails were not protected and fully supported in the plan. This is true, as the language was changed by the Planning Commission to water down the strong version presented in the 2012 version. But Sundberg apparently wanted to vent his frustration at being criticized with anger by a constituent and so played her phone message for everyone to hear. His fellow board members, at least Fennel, Bass and Bohn, got a good laugh out of hit, as did Tina Christenson and Kent Sawatsky.

I personally felt offended by Suindberg’s decision to ridicule someone who disagreed with him. It’s the first I’ve ever seen such a thing in those chambers. Mostly the people who have sat in those seats have done their best to maintain decorum under some very trying circumstances. After all, isn’t it part of the job to listen to feedback and treat everyone with courtesy? That was my perception of the responsibility one takes on when one becomes a supervisor. Perhaps I was wrong to think so.

In any case, they did pass some revised language about trails, not as strong as the 2012 version, but all in all it could have been worse.

Something reminiscent of the haggling over where or not the Supervisors needed to express their support for Landlords Rights being equal to Tenant Rights arose in connection with trails, as it appears there is much fear in the hinterlands about the use of “eminent domain” to seize private property to build trails. The Four Reactionaries on the board were insistent that the Open Space element needed to express strong support for “Private Property Rights.” Without reassurances, it was felt that property owners would live in fear trespasser and usurpers and seizures by government entities. Of course there is a body of law that deals with trespass and victims of trespass can call law enforcement and have trespasser removed and prosecuted.

Counsel Ruth intervened to say that private property rights “means different things to different people.” As will trespass, there is a whole body of law regarding property – its sale, purchase, use and so on, and one must question what the whole issue is doing in the GPU. I question it anyway. Sundberg suggested that the staff add Private Property Rights to the glossary that will be added to the finished document. Staff asked for direction. After much discussion, he agreed that the best definition would be Ruth’s “different things to different people.”

There was also a long discussion about hazards such as earthquakes, fires, floods, and so on, that was way more convoluted than it needed to be. Remarks made by Bass as to where other parts of the document covered these topics made me wonder if any of them had actually sat down and read the entire document. One gets the impression that they haven’t read anything ahead of time and are just winging it, based on whatever phone calls they got from the people they trust. Perhaps they didn’t realize that this six figure salary job would require so much reading, and then being subjected to irate tirades on top of that must have seemed like just too much.

Jon, if I’m posting here too much let me know. I’m just a compulsive writer.

BOS to Address Sham “Affordable Housing” Tomorrow Afternoon

From Mary Ella Anderson’s continuing coverage of the Housing Element.  Continued gratitude Mary Ella!

Heads up! Hum CPR and the Realtor/Contractor interests are expected to push for a reinstatement of second units in rural areas as a solution to providing low income housing. This is a thoroughly discredited idea and one that will sink the Housing Element and leave the county in limbo. The public hearing for what should be the final approval of the HE before it goes off to the State HCD is scheduled for the afternoon session tomorrow, Tuesday, May 13.

Also, at the break room today I discovered a late April edition of the Redwood Times with some good reporting from Virginia Graziani on the Housing Element.  Much of this Mary Ella wrote about last week after the 5/5 BOS meeting on the Housing Element, but I did find this reporting interesting…

“A policy establishing incentives to landowners who build small second units on their properties was put off until the next hearing on Monday, May 5, to give planning staff more time to clarify the incentives.

A small second unit is defined as either no more than half the size of the primary residence or 800 square feet, whichever is less. Incentives in the provision include reducing parking requirements to one space, allowing the unit to be placed more than 30 feet from the primary residence, not requiring a “subordinate” access to the second unit, and exemption from solar shading restrictions.

As written, the landowner would be able to take any one, or several, or all of the incentives unless the lot size makes this impossible. ”  

As always with Virginia Graziani’s writings – highly recommended so please check out the link.

(Forgive me Mary Ella if I over editorialized your comment with the title.  Let me know, I will change it.)

Dispatches from the Housing Element – Part II

By Mary Ella Anderson

I and my fellow housing advocates were pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the second session of Housing Element discussion at the Board of Supervisors on Monday, May 5, Was it the constant dogging or the way pending elections have of focusing the mind of candidates? Either way, cooler heads prevailed and the result is a HE that has a good chance of passing muster at the state level.

A lot of credit for this outcome must go to staff, to Michael Richards, Director Hamblin and Assistant Counsel Ruth. Richardson has incorporated comments from the state HCD and after much discussion, mid-point density was returned at least to Housing Opportunity Zones. In the discussion, it appeared that mid-point density, being a mathematical formula, is confusing to most, especially builders and real estate agents. It has always been the case that the number of housing units on a parcel can be reduced for good cause, but the CPR Planning Commission was threatened by the idea of mid-point density and wanted to essentially encourage less density in housing. Housing for All attorney Jan Turner characterized their proposal as “an anti-housing element” and in the end mid-point density was retained.

Counsel Ruth reminded the Supervisors that the EIR for the HE is based on encouraging development in areas with sewer and water, and that while extending development beyond services might be “okay” the goal should be to encourage less development outside HOZs. The figure of 75% development within HOZs was mentioned as the goal, leaving a quarter of the whole for those areas outside sewer/water districts.

Supervisor Lovelace noted that development of smaller scale housing complexes outside of HOZs still consumes land, and that building fewer units meant more land consumption. The idea of planning is to leave something for the future.

Solar shading protection for existing housing was also kept. As I understand it, the right to a share of the sun for people and their gardens can’t be taken away by new development. At least, not without a chance for the homeowner to lodge an objection.

Also, county building standards will now allow housing units as small as 150 square feet. These smaller, efficiency units, are seen as a wave of the future as younger people don’t seem quite as enchanted with mansions and palaces as their elders have been.

Speaking for the Farm Bureau John Laboyteaux and Katherine Zeimer made it clear to the supervisors that the farm community did not want the proposal to allow second units on AE land included, They said that all agricultural groups in the county were opposed to the idea. Laboyteaux said that the least the HE should do is “to make it possible for us to continue to feed ourselves” and that “the primary purpose of AE land is to grow food.” Tina Christensen of the Humboldt Association of Realtors defended the idea of changing the rules to allow second units on AE and TPZ land without the need for a Conditional Use Permit, but in the end the supervisors were persuaded to leave things as they are. Supervisor Bass, however, indicated she might raise the issue again later on.

Staff will put everything together and have it ready by the Board of Supervisors’ meeting of May 13 at which time they should pass it formally. Only straw votes were taken at the Monday meeting, so nothing is set in concrete yet. Eternal vigilance is recommended.

P.S. Jon , if you post this separately , please correct my name – it’s Mary Ella, not Mary Ellen. Thanks for your interest and being so supportive.

Supervisor Bass; Shouldn’t HumCo District 4 Be on the Forefront of Concern and Action on Climate Change?

From the New York Times (probably from tomorrow’s front page).

“The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.”

Shouldn’t we as a District basically at sea level (4th, Eureka)  be on the cutting edge of science and activism on this?  Kinda like The Island President?  Fine, if Estelle and her district don’t want to be concerned about their neighbors at sea level, I get that, that’s fine, but Supervisor Bass?  Common!

Ask Virginia about climate change and what we as a County should be doing about it.  I’ve tried and failed on LoCO and in person.  Maybe you will have more luck.

-or-

Maybe Chris Kerrigan might have some ideas.  Or Sharon Latour for that matter.