Put simply, it’s a record that defends those that need government the least.
To me, their project was clearest when their hand-picked Planning Commissioner Lee Ulansey, confronted with language in the General Plan Update (GPU) that sought to protect tenants felt compelled to add language to protect landlords.
But that’s just the tip of the dwindling climate change iceberg. Their record is one of …
a) Defining “public” as the land owners. The only way the rhetoric that brought them into office makes sense is if you accept that by public participation one means participation by landowners and those that serve them. Any question of this, pay attention to the GPU now that the mapping has started and notice the efforts they will make to reach out to the “stakeholders”. You will notice that despite the cries of the Public Participation Workgroup, the current (and final) GPU public process is largely free of public participation. This makes for a content Chamber of Commerce, a content real-estate industry and a content Resource Lands Working Group.
b) Ushering in Weed Inc. Pay close attention, because this is something both Supervisors will be walking a razor’s edge to be re-elected. One the one hand, they will taught their law and order background and will depend on the votes of Humboldt’s conservative religious community. On the other, in the true libertarian/free-market conservative fashion they will be doing everything they can to put their hand on the scale to minimize oversight and cost-sharing measures that Humboldt or California would enact. In short they are and will be beholden to the no or minimal government of their Reagan/Rush conservative base.
c) Their pay-to-play constituents. The constituents for the government-hating-(but regressive tax loving) Rex Bohn and the property-owner-advocate and SoHum libertarian media celebrity Estelle Fennell is money. It’s the 10% of the county’s capital that like the status quo just fine and wants to stay on top. It’s property owners and resource extractors stuck in their own rhetoric and business models and afraid to seek alternatives. Alternative owners/builders aligned with the Chamber of Commerce aligned with the Resource Land Working Group’s “Large Timberland Owner’s Group” aligned with mom and pop growers.
d) Financing government with the worst kind of taxes – those that hurt those without money the hardest – regressive sales taxes. Yes, turns out Rex along with all other conservatives actually don’t hate government – they just want to be in charge of it bringing their constituents that have paid-to-play with them.
Supervisor Bohn and Fennell’s record is one of continuing Estelle’s work as a lobbyist for the landowners of the county as the lead of Humboldt Coalition of Property Rights (HumCPR). With Estelle and Rex in the seats along with the friends of developers Supervisors Bass and Sundberg, the political battle for what money and property needed ended with the GPU Guiding Principle transformation from Summer to Fall in 2013. Despite the cries that the Principles were meaningless – you really need to look no further to HumCPR’s moribund web site (Fig. 1) to understand their significance. HumCPR’s political fight ended with the transformation of these principles. Something done in plain English and something done despite the cries of the very public we were told both Supervisors championed.
The cries of public participation – the ones that insured 3 of the Principles mentioned it were, in short, lies. They were lies that were boosted by the Tea Party fever of the moment and changed years of work on a General Plan Update that included actual, difficult public participation and agency compromise.
That’s the record that needs to be challenged and it’s a record that many honest conservatives and liberals should be aligned to defeat.