Letters to the Editor, May 23, 2018

Madrone’s many fictions

Trinidad Rancheria has been the subject of harassment and abuse during the Fifth District Supervisor campaign and unfairly characterized and targeted. Some of the statements made to the press by Steve Madrone and his supporters have bordered on racist and discriminatory remarks and have gone unchecked.

I am writing this letter to the editor to express my deep concern and also to separate facts from fiction. Trinidad Rancheria is not running for Fifth District Supervisor.

Ryan Sundberg is a Trinidad Rancheria tribal member, a Native American of Yurok decent and has worked tirelessly to help all Native Americans in Humboldt County and the entire state. Ryan has also worked tirelessly for all Humboldt County residents without any partiality.

Ryan has improved county and tribal relationships since he has been Fifth District Supervisor. It is unfair to position tribe against tribe as Madrone has done.

In his quest to become the next supervisor, Madrone has knowingly promoted untrue statements about Ryan as well as the Trinidad Rancheria. Capitalizing on tribal differences and securing endorsements from large tribes based on inaccurate information shows a lack of integrity. Madrone is making promises to support tribal issues he knows nothing about. How could he be truly representing all tribes fairly when he has not met with Trinidad Rancheria? He is not basing his campaign on facts. I have to wonder what promises he is making?

Madrone has taken credit and has been quoted in the press as being responsible for bringing in over $10 million for the Trinidad Pier. This is FICTION. Madrone had absolutely nothing to do with securing the grants that were applied for that eventually funded the pier.

The Trinidad Rancheria is an environmental steward and has worked tirelessly to protect the Trinidad Harbor. We, the Trinidad Rancheria, worked with the City of Trinidad to secure the first $2.5 million in funding that was the leverage point for the entire project.

The Rancheria wrote the grant, the City of Trinidad administered and oversaw the grant. The Rancheria went on to secure grant funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Tribal Transportation Funding allocated to Trinidad Rancheria annually, as well as the California Coastal Conservancy.

Madrone did not work with the Rancheria or even communicate with the Rancheria during this grant leveraging process. The project did not cost $10 million. The total funds were approximately $8.3 Million. I am appalled that Madrone would embellish and mislead the Fifth District voters and make them believe he was the catalyst behind this effort.

Trinidad Rancheria worked on permitting and securing funding for this project for over five years. This pier is owned and operated by Trinidad Rancheria for the entire community. Don’t be misled by Madrone’s political statements regarding all of his accomplishments.

Another one of Madrone’s favorite topics is the Trinidad Rancheria Interchange. He has not participated in any of the community meetings held, has not been willing to meet with the Rancheria to discuss the project, and is misleading the Fifth District voters once again. His statements are fiction!

Fact: The Rancheria gave up Tribal Lands in the late 1960s in order for U.S. Highway 101 to be built. Unfortunately, the tribe did not receive direct access to its property as part of this project. The Rancheria lost over 12 acres on the other side of the freeway as a result. This became a social justice issue for the Tribe and has become its highest priority project.

Fact: Since 2001, the Trinidad Rancheria has completed several planning studies in order to study safe accessibility to the Trinidad Rancheria and the surrounding areas, and to investigate alternatives that would provide improved access for current and future needs. Since 2012, a Project Development Team (PDT) has met to guide the project through the project development process. This PDT team has been instrumental to date in developing the purpose and need for the project and preparing the project to reach this stage. The PDT team will continue to play a key role in guiding the project through to completion.

Fact: The Tribe has spent in excess of $1,230,060 of its own funding on this project. Recently the tribe received $775,000 in Advanced Project Development Element Funds which will enable the Tribe to begin the environmental phase of the project. It is in this environmental phase that each and every alternative will be explored, put under the microscope and the community will have every opportunity to weigh in and voice their concerns. There are approximately 11 different alternatives. As you know, the CEQA – NEPA process does not allow one alternative to rise above another alternative until there has been a complete hearing process.

Rumors are being circulated by Madrone that this project doesn’t address the needs of the entire community. This is fiction!

Humboldt County Public Works Director Tom Mattson has gone on record saying that we must address the unstable conditions that exist on Scenic Drive. One major earthquake will shut down ingress and egress to all homes throughout all of Scenic Drive. The Rancheria wants to bring this discussion to the community. What can be done? There must be an alternative access route.

Madrone wants to shut down a project he has not been a part of, has not worked on for 10 years. He wants to tout community solutions but hasn’t worked to bring any solutions. The Rancheria has.

Ryan Sundberg is keenly aware of conflicts of interest with this project and has recused himself in his role on the HCAOG Board. Madrone should roll up his sleeves and share his solutions instead of trying to kill the only project that may be viable. Moving the project forward, to bring the actual project to the community, to provide an avenue for community involvement and understanding of project, and bringing forward preferred solutions, would show responsible leadership.

So, I encourage all voters and interested community members to not take statements at face value, but to do your homework. Madrone’s slogan “it’s time for a change” is misguided and misleading. He doesn’t have a clue as to the work that has been done, he has tried to take credit for work he hasn’t done, and he is making promises to the Fifth District that he cannot deliver. Fact or Fiction... You decide!

Garth Sundberg, Tribal Chairman
Trinidad Rancheria

A property rights problem

When I heard Steve Madrone explain how he favors property rights, I felt compelled to point out how his past actions are contrary to the “property rights” claims he currently is making in his run for Fifth District supervisor.

First and foremost, most of us know Steve Madrone by the other name he has been using for decades which is “Sungnome Madrone.” The only thing Madrone favors about “property rights” is that he favors ignoring your property rights or taking them away.

Case in point: A man named Mike Moss owned 94 acres of land near the highway on Fox Farm Road in Trinidad. Mike’s land was also near where Madrone lived. Mike was 60 years old and was planning his retirement so Mike proposed dividing his 94 acres into four parcels as part of his retirement.

All the homes around Mike’s property were on small parcels of 1-5 acres, including that of Sungnome (Steve) Madrone’s. Madrone approached the agents Mike was using and informed them that if Mike did not hire him (Madrone) to assist with Mike’s project that he (Madrone) would see that the project would never happen.

Well, Madrone wasn’t hired because nobody believed Madrone had the skills to do the job and because Mike would not be extorted by Madrone’s claims that he could stop Mike from his four way parcel split. In response not being hired by Mike, Madrone started to trespass on Mikes property to interfere with the work being done by Mike’s agents that had been hired to divide the 94-acre parcel into four parcels.

In court documents regarding the injunction issued against Sungnome “Steve” Madrone, it states that after Madrone was enjoined from trespassing on Mike’s property, Madrone intentionally sought to evade the court order by sending his (Madrone’s) minor son onto the property. Poor Mike again had to threaten to go to court to stop the harassment of the workers on his property.

Madrone’s lack of respect for everyone else’s property rights was made clear by what Madrone did to Mike to stop this simple four-way lot split. Madrone and his friends filed lawsuits and other actions, simply to delay the approval of this project and to drum up the costs for this parcel split assuming Mike would just give up.

Madrone and his friends held up this four-way parcel split for 19 years. Not only was Mike deprived of what he needed for his retirement, the frivolous court actions almost sent Mike to the poor house.

After numerous courts rebuked Madrone and his friends, Mike was able to proceed with his four-way lot split because nothing that Madrone and his friends were claiming about the lot split was true and the claims were only made to cause delay and drum up costs so Mike would give up. Poor Mike was 80 years old by the time this four-way lot split was approved due to Madrone’s contempt for Mike’s property rights.

These are not the actions of a person who claims to support property rights, unless Madrone’s so called support of “property rights” means that Madrone doesn’t recognize that a person has property rights, and that everyone else’s rights are subservient to what Madrone wants.

I have knowledge of all of this because I was the realtor for this property when it was listed for sale. Although this was many years ago, I feel it is important information about his actions and how they are different than what Sungnome “Steve” Madrone states is his so called current position.

Tina Christensen

Sundberg’s misleading claims

Recent letters to the editor in local papers may have left readers with the confused impression that our Fifth District County Supervisor “did not ever support the permit application” by Mercer-Fraser in public or private.

This is unbelievable, because as a constituent, when I contacted Mr. Sundberg asking him to join the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water district in opposing the cannabis refinery project proposed at the Glendale gravel plant, he did not express any sentiment that could be understood as withholding his support for the permit application.

Instead Ryan stated that he was having conversations with both the Water District and Mercer-Fraser to seek changes that would allow the project to move forward. His actions were not opposing a bad project as many residents had requested, along with the Water District. Rather Ryan’s actions were clearly facilitating the cannabis refinery proposal.

To make claims now that he was not in support of the cannabis processing refinery is at a minimum disingenuous, but really such claims are just plain misleading. The residents of the Fifth District deserve better representation.

Scott Frazer
Blue Lake

Follow the money

Have you seen the plethora of “vote for Sundberg” signs on every street corner with sometimes two to a corner?

Each ultra-large sign has two T-posts holding it up. One 5-foot T-post is over $4. So my guess is that every sign cost Sundberg about $10 to put up. Now try counting the signs as you drive to work. How much money do you think Sundberg has backing him that he can put so much into signs? Where is he getting that money? Who is he beholden to as he sits on the Board of Supervisors and makes decisions that affect us all? Do you really think that he cares about the average family in Humboldt?

When I worked to pass Measure V in November 2016, he could have listened to the request of his many constituents. Instead he actively campaigned against us. He supported his point of view by saying that the Mckinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) voted against us. What he didn’t mention was the McKMAC is primarily old white men that he appointed.

This time we actually have someone that we can vote for. Steve Madrone is out walking the streets of Humboldt County. He doesn’t have big signs but he knows us, the citizens of the 5th district. He is familiar with our issues. He appreciates our unique environment just like we do. I encourage you to vote for someone that will listen when we have an issue.

Patti Rose

Sundberg delivers for the 5th

In these days of candidates offering false hopes and promises to get elected, it is refreshing to see an incumbent on the ballot who has proven that he can deliver the goods!

Ryan Sundberg has consistently delivered to his constituents, throughout his tenure as Fifth District Supervisor. From his tireless advocacy to build the Mckinleyville Sheriff Substation, where we now have 11 deputies now serving our northern district, when we had but only two before, to his work on the California Coastal Commission and EPA Local Advisory Committee, Sundberg has proven and delivered on his obligation to keep our streets and environment safe and clean.

His opponent, on the other hand, while offering promises of fresh ideas, offers no solutions as to how he would implement them. Sound familiar?

Sundberg has proven he gets and delivers results. From making McKinleyville’s Central Avenue wider and safer, to organizing and participating in neighborhood trash patrols, Sundberg’s hard work and dedication to serving all of the citizens of the Fifth District, has proven that he is more than deserving of our continued support. I urge you all to vote for Ryan Sundberg June 5!

Trent Shumard

Sundberg’s dismal CC record

Ryan Sundberg often refers to his seat on the California Coastal Commission as a reason to re-elect him as Fifth District Supervisor. However, what he doesn’t tell you is that he has the worst voting record on the current Commission when it comes to coastal access and preservation.

For 20 years, Act Coastal has been issuing an annual report card on how each Commissioner voted on “the most significant permit applications and enforcement actions considered by the Commission.” Act Coastal (a project of the Surfrider Foundation, WILDCOAST, and Environment California) selected 21 votes to score in 2017, of which 16 had “good” conservation outcomes and only five had “bad” ones. The overall average score among the 12 Commissioners during 2017 was 72 percent.

Sundberg was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in March 2017 to fill a seat reserved for a North Coast representative. Since Ryan was not a Commission member for all of 2017, he had fewer votes, of which 5 were judged as “pro-Coast” and 6 were considered “anti-conservation,” giving him an average score of 45 percent. Thus, he voted more than half of the time against coastal conservation and the public interest.

Before Sundberg’s appointment, the seat most recently was filled by Del Norte Supervisor Martha McClure (for 6 years) and Humboldt’s Bonnie Neely (for 12 years), until each lost an election and had to be replaced. Since that seat is reserved for a North Coast representative, a loss by Ryan in the June 5 election does not necessarily mean that Humboldt County would lose a voice on the Coastal Commission. And it could mean that we get someone who better represents the majority of Humboldt County residents when voting on important coastal issues.

Susan Leskiw

No dirty tactics

As a longtime business owner and resident of the Fifth District, I urge everyone to support Ryan Sundberg for Supervisor. Ryan grew up in Humboldt County, attended local schools, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Humboldt State University. Ryan and his wife Kim, who was also born and raised here, have chosen to stay and raise their daughter Sofie in the Fifth District.

It has been very difficult to watch supporters of his opponent sling exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies about Ryan while Ryan continues to campaign honorably, demonstrating his commitment to resident and community interests.

Clearly Madrone attracts and caters to individuals comfortable with dirty tactics – tactics Ryan has consistently choses not to use.

We should not, and cannot, trust anyone else to represent our district.

Please join me in voting for Ryan Sundberg as Fifth District Supervisor on June 5.

Wes Green Jr.


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