Letters: Readers weigh in on race for Fifth District supervisor

Set the record straight

Letters here and on social media about my role as Fifth District Supervisor concerning withdrawal of Mercer-Fraser’s permit application for a cannabis refinery at its Glendale aggregate plant on the Mad River are far removed from the facts. Here’s the truth, with no hidden agenda and straight from the source.

Let’s be clear, I did not ever support the permit application in public or privately.

The decision to remap the plant parcel was to bring its ancient zone designation (AGRICULTURAL) into compliance with the GPU because there are historical vested uses on this property. It is an industrial operation, the norm for almost all businesses in the area. That happened long before we were born.

For months I spoke with Mercer-Fraser about the problems concerning its plan to refine cannabis near the river. These weren’t “negotiations,” which imply a trade-off, but almost daily discussions which continued until Mercer-Fraser announced it would withdraw the permit. I’m relieved and even proud of the result and thank Mercer-Fraser for making that decision, however difficult it may have been for them.

While Mercer-Fraser says publicly the permit is gone for good, I’ve made it clear in every way possible that, if in the highly unlikely event it was resubmitted at any time I’m Supervisor, my vote would never be in favor, and I’d  vigorously encourage the other Supervisors to vote it down.

The Fifth District is blessed with some of the greatest water resources in the nation. Doing all that’s possible to make our rivers clean and full of fish, like the Klamath I grew up on, is a deeply personal goal, one that guides my efforts as the Fifth District Supervisor.

Ryan Sundberg

Pick up poop

P.O.O.P (Pet Owners on Poop) Patrol –“Cleaning up the environment one poop bag at a time”– asks all dog owners to take an extra poop bag with you on your dog walks and pick up an extra dog poop pile someone else’s dog left behind.

We got so very irritated at people who don’t pick up after their dogs.  Then we started taking an extra bag to pick up dog poop other owners left.  It did help us feel less frustrated, although at first it seemed more like a gesture than something that made a difference. After about six weeks, we noticed there was a lot less dog poop on our regular walk paths.  It continued to get better and better, even at the start of the trail, which used to be really awful. Some days there wasn’t any!  What a surprise! It makes a difference.

Dog waste is high on the list of causes of contaminated water, and also contaminates the surrounding soil. Just one gram of dog feces can carry 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, including E. coli, as well as parasites and diseases that humans and dogs can catch.  Even if you aren’t near a creek or the bay, runoff from rainfall carries pathogens from dog poop into storm drains, ending up in far away streams, rivers, beaches, lakes, groundwater and drinking water.

Help keep Humboldt Bay healthy and our dog walks pleasant.  Like us on Facebook.  Spread the word and take action.

Emily Siegel

Madrone a collaborative voice

I would like to emphatically encourage your and others support of Steve Madrone for Fifth District Supervisor.

Knowing him for many years he has always had a well reasoned and collaborative voice in his support of the health and welfare of our beautiful corner of the world.

He would be a positive addition to the board to serve in a pro-active way to the benefit of us all.

Thank you

Jen Hubbert

Remember how he voted

After reading Daniel Mintz’s article in April 22 edition (Madrone: Sundberg swayed by MJ money) I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about regarding Ryan Sundberg’s dependence on big money donations from the mega-grows and other “industrial” cannabis players?

Accusing Sundberg of a conflict of interest seems beyond redundant! Why even bring this issue up, unless it’s being done rhetorically? Ryan Sundberg has been working on behalf of his deep-pocket donors since the day he was first elected. Hell, who do you think recruited him to run in the first place!?

Sure, back when he first ran it may have been mostly the land speculators, realtors and those in the building trades (which, not coincidentally, is the historical purview of Mercer-Fraser). Now it includes the legal marijuana industry’s fat cats: mega growers, suppliers, distributors, industrial extractors, and a whole new crop – no pun intended – of land (and permit-acquiring) speculators. But Sundberg’s been working for them, against the interest of the average citizen from day one.

Nothing demonstrated this more vividly than his appointment of Ben Shepherd to the Planning Commission, which voted 3-2 in favor of letting Mercer-Fraser set up a cannabis extraction plant next to the Mad River. Shepherd pushed back against those who opposed the idea of an extraction venture, which would employ toxics in its process, being established so close to the source of drinking water for the majority of county residents. Shepherd’s view was that a sewage treatment plant already existed along the river, so why not this.

This, coupled with Sundberg’s work and votes on the General Plan Update, demonstrate he’s more interested in deep pockets than your pockets. He and his fellow majority on the current Board of Supervisors voted for a “plan” that allowed for less housing overall and less environmental protection, but for greater sprawl into areas previously zoned for agriculture or timber so as to now allow for McMansions and ever more river- and groundwater-depleting mega grows. You know, the stuff his donors are doing and want to do more of.

I think State Senator Mike McGuire put it best when he said of Sundberg, “...he’s constantly fighting for the people he works for.” The only part that was not made clear in that statement is that Ryan Sundberg works for “those who brung ‘em,” – i.e., his well-heeled donors. Whether he’s “car-pooling” in their private planes, or just cashing their checks, one thing is clear – minor concerns like clean drinking water for the citizens of the Fifth District is not the priority. Maximizing the return on capital, that very much is. No question why big money and industry will vote for him.

If one of them is your employer, you may be hoodwinked into believing what’s good for the boss is good for the worker. But for everybody else, why would you if you have another choice?

Richard Salzman

Sundberg not responsive

Fifth District candidate and incumbent Ryan Sundberg cites his endorsement by elected Democratic representatives as proof of his ability to work well across the political spectrum.  I would like to offer some observations and experiences with this.

As a member of the Humboldt Democrats, I became aware that state and federal elected representatives routinely endorse local incumbents without regard to party affiliation or official local party organization endorsements.  This has been a source of dismay for the local Democratic Party, which has asked for explanations, but the standard answer has been that they have working relationships with the incumbents which they do not want to impair.

In closely following the last two supervisorial campaigns, I have noticed that Mr. Sundberg’s expressed willingness to work with all sides is contradicted by his frequent lack of responsiveness to candidate forums and questionnaires sponsored by organizations that are progressive and on the political left. And I have observed in local policy and decision-making meetings that he and his appointees to other representative bodies rarely solicit or give serious consideration to opinions from outside a like-minded circle of associates.

I prefer to vote for a well-qualified supervisor who truly wants to respect and consider all perspectives and I feel that candidate is Steve Madrone. Look at his record, hear him at the debates. Then see if you don’t agree that it’s time for a change.

Catherine Hanafi

Sierra Club supports Madrone

The Sierra Club, among many other groups, is supporting Steve Madrone for Fifth District Humboldt County Supervisor. Steve Madrone has been involved in community service here locally for decades.  He has a long career in conservation; for example, he was instrumental in building the Hammond Trail.

We need a change. I see Ryan Sundberg as just doing business as usual, being supported by corporate efforts that have deleterious effects on the environment, like Mercer-Fraser and the big cannabis effort, which is not undergoing the proper environmental review, right there on the Mad River, and opens the door to allowing questionably safe environmental activities.

Madrone is supported by the Hoopa, Karuk, and tribes, as well as the Central Labor Union, Humboldt County Democrats, Public Employees Association, SEIU, and National Healthcare Workers.

I want someone who is invested in the environment, the community, and not dependent on corporate interests to keep them afloat.

We need someone new in the Fifth District!

Jane Williams

We need a creative thinker

I have known Steve Madrone for almost 40 years, and have been impressed with his many accomplishments, including service on Blue Lake’s City Council and Planning Commission, and a broad background in economic and natural resource issues important in the upcoming Fifth District election.

Our county will be facing many challenges in the coming years as the marijuana gold rush winds down, and will again have to reinvent itself. It will be important to have creative thinkers on the Board of Supervisors who can make the most of the limited funds likely to be available to keep things running smoothly.

It is my opinion that the incumbent too often puts the needs of his financial contributors ahead of those of the rest of his constituents. It is time for new faces and new ideas on the Board.

I urge everyone to vote for Steve Madrone for Fifth District Supervisor.

Bryce Kenny


Protect water, vote Madrone

We are all awake now. The proposed industrial use for the Mercer-Fraser property along the Mad River did it. The changes approved in the last General Plan Update will keep us awake for years to come. We must pay attention more than before and speak up to remind the individuals on the Board of Supervisors that their duty is to the well being of the general citizenry and to the health of the watersheds.

Steve Madrone has decades of work experience in sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship. He is well prepared for the challenge of recognizing, and then preventing, future harms from this Board of Supervisors’ revision of the General Plan Update. Please, fellow Humboldters of the 5th Supervisorial District, vote for the protection of our water, our lands, and for our future.  Vote for Steve Madrone on June 5.

Edie Butler
Freshwater area

He understands natural resources

I’ve worked as a forester in Humboldt County for 40 years and been involved in and concerned about the Board of Supervisors policies as they relate to forestry. That’s why I’m supporting Steve Madrone.

Steve has a substantial professional background in natural resource and forestry issues, both through his time working as a tree planter and precommercial thinning operator and later while working at RCAA on the Hammond Trail.

I know Steve will listen to and balance the competing interests of people and real estate developers who want to maximize residential development with those people and local landowners who want to maintain forest productivity. Now that the general plan has made it easier to develop next to streams we need someone on the board of supervisors who can articulate why it’s better not to build next to streams and thus help protect downstream water quality, and fisheries.

I’m confident that Steve will want to promote a healthy and sustainable timber economy while protecting our most valuable and vulnerable landscapes (for example the McKinleyville Community Forest). I hope you’ll join me and vote for Steve Madrone.

Greg Blomstrom


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