Turns Out This Isn’t Santa Rosa

But this is the gentrification of Southern Humboldt. (Credit to commenter Sell! Sell! Sell! on Kym Kemp’s site)

It’s what happens when our public representatives honor land owners.  And let’s face it, we aren’t honoring land owners who come and go, but land values, and when we do this, we should not be surprised at these result.

Kym Kemp, who tells the stories of the people and culture she loves, addressed this important article from the Chronicle about the skyrocketing interest in rural Humboldt land.  If you haven’t read Kym’s take already, please check it out, including the copious comments.

Kym Kemp
You can find it here: http://kymkemp.com/2016/06/01/pot-on-crack-how-possible-marijuana-legalization-is-fueling-a-land-grab/

It’s bleak out there for those this political movement was supposed to help.  Supervisors Estelle Fennell and Rex Bohn sold themselves in 2012 as representatives of the people.  They would help empower people economically and change the government to relax the onerous regulations.  They and their supporters took advantage of high profile and overly weaponized enforcement to sell their faux populism.

In the end though, the people they listened to where the people they knew and the people who contributed to their campaigns.  It was and is clear but they both made their allegiances sound like it was something worth supporting. They both are doing it to this day which is why one has been endorsed by both Assembly-member Woods and State Senator McGuire and the other endorsed additionally by our local Democrats.

But both of these candidates could not be worst for democratic causes.  Their priorities could not have been more clear than when they both worked outside of the public process they promoted to Principle #7 of the guiding principles from protecting natural resources to “honor landowners’ rights to live in urban, suburban, rural or remote areas of the county while using a balanced approach to protect natural resources“.  Yes, they really, really wrote that!

I understand I am beating a dead horse, but that legal language makes what they are doing so clear.  And now we are living through what we should have known, but were either not interested or perhaps too interested in what they were selling.

So as Rex and others have famously proclaimed when dismissing enviro concerns, no Humboldt will not become Santa Rosa.  But that was not ever the real danger.  The danger from my perspective was the pattern of growth, not the growth itself.  It turns out the other crucial problem to all but those few who are profiting from the increased property values is that economic survival for those without land just became even more difficult not better as the former leader of a local property rights organization told her constituents.

But that is the inevitable result when our public infrastructure is not there to protect not only the environment from degradation, but protecting us from ourselves.  It’s really very simple, if frustratingly anti-intuitive:  our economic system is set up to consume itself if not carefully regulated.  We continue to buy into the rhetoric that tells us otherwise and Humboldt is now living through the results.

Please vote for Bud Rogers this Tuesday those of you living in the 2nd District.  He may be a neophyte to politics.  He may have his own theories that aren’t always, well, completely thought out, but he is not part of a disingenuous political movement that has rushed Humboldt to another economic and environmental precipice.

And for more reading on the 2nd District race, here is the entertaining, awesome and often spot on John Hardin.

My Impressions of 2nd District Candidates Debate in Garberville

Vote this Tuesday 2nd District.

Sincerest apologies to the 1st.  Your Democratic political infrastructure failed you.  We are going to need YOUR help to change this in 2020.


2 thoughts on “Turns Out This Isn’t Santa Rosa

  1. Sky Hammer says:

    This nothing new, just history repeating itself over and over.
    In the late 1960’s to the mid 1980’s, most of the ranches in S.Humboldt were sold off and subdivided.
    My brother and I bought our first ranch in 1980 and went deep into debt for a short time. I was 22 years old and my family has been living on our ranch since 1898.
    We paid $250/acre for the ranch(Palo Verde Recreation Ranch near Island Mountain, the Heartwood Hippy College is located on one of the parcels). We had most of the 96 40 acre parcels sold before escrow closed. 6 month later we were done.
    We sold the 40 acre parcels for an average of $1000/acre. A nice 400% profit and we didn’t use a Real Estate agent.
    Since that time, we have repeated this process many times.
    Now. we have just finished selling 30 parcels of our family ranch in S.Humboldt. Keep in mind, that most of the ranch had to sell off because of Government polices that bankrupted most of the ranches. Mainly the Ad Valor em Yield Tax, that taxed standing timber, which resulted in the destruction of most S. Humboldt(thanks Democrats).
    Ours is one of the last ranches left in the area and thanks again to Government polices(Democrats again), we are forced to sell.
    The main reasons we are selling is because of the huge increase in property taxes and regulations.
    While the accessed value is low, the taxes for schools,hospitals and fire have increased our tax rate by several 1000% in the last 10 years.We can’t afford that.
    I mentioned to several people that we were thinking about selling some parcels and in a short time I was flooded with offers to buy, for cash.
    Most of our parcels were bought from 1898 to 1940, average price $35/acre, which was a lot of money back then.
    In the late 1950’s, we were forced to cut down 35 million board feet of timber because of the yield tax, over half was burned where it fell as there was no market for it. but we saved the ranch, one of the few that survived.
    As an example, one 60 acre parcel sold for $600,000. I thinking that I might get $300,000 if I could find someone dumb enough, but I underestimated the # of dummies out there. This property is very steep and brushy.
    My family paid $35/acre, current taxes based on $11,999 accessed value is $240/year, plus $2000 in tax assessments.
    The new owner will be paying nearly $10,000 in property taxes, a huge bonus for the County and State coffers. This tax revenue increase is being repeated 100’s if 1000’s of times around here.Of course this money will go mostly to social programs with no quantifiable value and a negative return for the so called investment.
    As a side note, we had 20 houses with long term tenants(most for 20 years or more). We were forced, because of Govt. regulations and taxes to evict all tenants and bull doze all the houses, putting over 75 people on the street looking for affordable housing where it doesn’t exist. We were operating at a loss for the last 5 years. We sold the 35 acres the houses sat on for $800,000.
    Bottom line, most of this is the Liberal Govt’s fault.
    Blaming the land owners for what is going on is short sighted. Liberal Govt, who is the friend on no one is to blame.
    Just as most ignorant people blame logging for the destruction of S. Humboldt in 1950’s. It was the Govt’s fault for taxing standing timber, forcing the ranchers to destroy all their timber in an attempt to survive, which for most ranchers only gave them a few years reprieve when the Liberal Govt. passed more regulations sealing their doom.

    1. Wow. Thanks Sky Hammer.

      You are exactly why property owners needs HumCPR – the public relations. You can’t say what you just wrote out loud and expect to win elections that require 50% of the voting public or more.

      You need pied pipers like former HumCPR head Supervisor Fennell to tell the voters that this is really about the hard work she will do for all of us. She works hard (60+ hrs per week) she really cares about all of us and the environment too. She will ban fracking and GMOs and pesticides, etc. I don’t know how Supervisor Bohn would explain it. He wasn’t put in a position where he has to explain his policies.

      But in the end we will leave, as much as possible, planning to you. With your brand of land capitalism that has benefited you and your family and any employees a great deal, has changed our landscape forever. You are the decision maker, you paid some money for some land it is now yours to change forever into the future.

      And that decision is crucial. Where will the people who live in the homes shop? How will they get there? Is that the type of growth we really want?

      We know one thing, you wanted or needed these changes to be made. Kudos. I hope for all of our sake it was the wise choice for our shared landscape and our shared future.

      Also there was this… “social programs with no quantifiable value and a negative return for the so called investment”.

      There is no greater investment we can make than in ourselves because of the potential “upside” of a happy or content individual, family or community. And yes we can quantify both the costs of not investing* and the benefits themselves. What we often can’t do is make a profit on this investment – not in the sense that investing in social programs will make us money this week or next. But it will benefit our community, state or nation as a whole and that is a bottom line we should all be interested in too.

      * http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/03/opinion/how-to-make-mass-incarceration-end-for-good.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0

      Having said all that, I do appreciate your taking the time. I think we do need to make sure government regulation does not promote the exact type of sub-division that has enriched your bottom line over the past 40 years. Some how, some way, our children and theirs will have to come to grips that their towns and landscapes will have to look more like those when your family first moved to Humboldt.

      We will not be able to depend on fossil fuels for much longer and we do need to provide choice in where people live. Some people will live in the hills, but it will never be cheap, at least in terms of the transportation part of the budget.

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