Letters to the Editor from the 5.9.18 edition

Stand down, Dollar General

Just what we DON’T need… A Dollar General “convenience” store selling sugared products, canned and processed foods, beer and the like. And, guess where this store is to be located… Right across the street from the McKinleyville High School. The store location also abuts the Ocean West Senior Village whose residents will have to deal with the impacts of such a store on a daily basis.

While there may be a few benefits to having a store like this in our neighborhood, the negative effects will obviously outweigh the positive as has been proven in other neighborhoods.

The added traffic on the already very busy Murray Road, the security lights from the store, the high potential for increased crime in the area, the ever-present trash and litter that will accumulate, the associated noise, the safety of the High School children crossing the street, and the many other negatives that accompany this type of business make this a very poor decision.

A new Dollar General (corporate) store may create a half-dozen minimum wage jobs, but the negative economic impact to existing competitors in the area can be far-reaching, resulting in loss of business and ultimately vacant buildings and blight in the community.

If you, too, are against such a store in our community, let your elected officials know it. Remind them that they work for you, and that you vote!

Ralph Cannon

Please stop the Dollar General

Ocean West residents recently learned that Dollar General plans to build a convenience store on Murray Road and McKinleyville Avenue across from McKinleyville High School.

Because the land is zoned Neighborhood Commercial, we were told by County Supervisor Ryan Sundberg that there is nothing the county can do to change the zoning or stop the blight to our neighborhood. This kind of business is totally incompatible with the neighborhood, selling alcohol at cost and providing a source of junk food for our high school youth.

It is not the kind of business we want abutting our park, causing increased traffic and the probability of litter and increased crime. We are desperate for an answer to resolve this. With no possibility of rezoning with current ownership (Ocean West Holdings LLC Co), is there a local company willing to purchase the land and request rezoning or other recourse? We must let Dollar General know this is not the right place for them.

Jean Browning

Protect our water supply

One of our most critical and essential resources that we are blessed with in Humboldt County is sufficient clean water. Such a resource should never be put in jeopardy.

There has been discussion of allowing potentially dangerous industrial activity, including toxic chemicals, within the flood plain of the Mad River watershed.  The possibility of someone or some LLC corporation being able to endanger this vital community resource for individual or corporate profit is reprehensible to local families.

When something goes wrong, as we have seen in so many American communities in recent years, the LLC entity will simply use the “LL”...Limited Liability...to walk away from the problem and leave the clean-up catastrophe and expenses to be picked up by the local community for the corporation’s “mistake”.

Wouldn’t the real mistake be to let such an enterprise begin its dangerous activity in the first place?

I will happily vote for Steve Madrone for 5th District Supervisor on June 5, as he has my trust in protecting our water supply.

Robert Fornes

Let’s have respectful discussions

In the best of all possible Arcatas, which I often find Arcata to be, there will be a plebiscite declaring that the electorate has carefully and sensitively weighed the concerns of all and chosen to support the decision by Arcata’s City Council to correct the Plaza’s inaccurate portrayal of Arcata’s persona. The council correctly judged that the citizens of Arcata and surrounding communities are no longer willing to ignore past atrocities and accept our continuing racial assumptions.

My first 25 years were in North Carolina, my last 47 in California. I have learned it’s nigh impossible to grow up in this country, perhaps in any country, without having judgments clouded by racism.

“Implicit bias” is a helpful concept, especially to those of us striving to overcome our own racism. We often need help to perceive and counter our own persistent fears and snap judgments. Failure to acknowledge and examine these realities can prevent us from seeing injustices in our communities.

Recent reports on last year’s “voluntary manslaughter” of David Josiah Lawson add urgency to the replacement of the McKinley statue. We need public displays that encourage examination of our nuanced history and goad us to see and correct continuing injustices.

I applaud Fhyre Phoenix (Mad River Union, April 25,  2018) for his catalog of the whys and the means of removing the statue. We can raise the necessary funds without disturbing the city’s budget.

Some of us signed a petition to put this matter to a vote in order to continue in-depth discussions of what we want for our Plaza. Unfortunately, the petition has no options for polling us on what we prefer done with the statue. That has to be part of our continuing discussions.

Whatever is decided, whether we add more signage or revert the Plaza to a gazebo with grazing cattle or portray its use by the original inhabitants, I hope discussions will involve all of us in respectful and reflective efforts to reach a common understanding.

Chip Sharpe

A man of experience

Steve Madrone’s enthusiasm, expertise and dedication to our natural resources are noteworthy.

After receiving a Master’s Degree in Watershed Management from HSU, Steve continued his learning by consulting and working with the Mattole Salmon Group (executive director), the Trinidad Bay Watershed Council, the California Urban Creeks Council, and the National Network of Forest Practitioners.

At Redwood Community Action Agency, where Steve was the natural resources director, he was instrumental in moving forward the Hammond Trail from concept to reality.

In his years of working at these various agencies and organizations, Steve has brought about $20 million into our economy.

While pursuing his passions, Steve earned recognition and awards from the Salmonid Restoration Federation, the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, and the Humboldt Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Currently, Steve is a lecturer in Forestry and Watershed Management at HSU.

Madrone also served as councilman and mayor pro-tem and on the Planning Commission in Blue Lake.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Madrone’s activities is his consistent and diligent attention to political decision making. His knowledge of the County’s General Plan, the Coastal Commission decisions, the Harbor Commission’s deliberations and McKinleyville’s activities is extraordinary.

If you are interested in a representative that treasures our land and water, will argue for a diversified economy with small to moderate sized agricultural and business interests, alternative energies and sustainable developments, I encourage you to vote for Steve Madrone; vote for a change. Votemadrone.com.

Linda Doerflinger

Madrone,  a better grade of wood

A lot can be learned by watching the debates, and we’ve had a couple of good ones so far with the two candidates for the Fifth District Board of Supervisors.  Hearing how Ryan Sundberg and Steve Madrone respond on the spot to questions from the crowd has shown their ability to think on their feet, and their convictions.

At the debate sponsored by the Humboldt Association of Realtors Madrone was well versed and realistic in discussing the land use and economic issues confronting Humboldt County.  He wants to encourage innovative forms of industry but also places great value in preserving the more traditional jobs in timber.  With his background in forestry he considers timber to be one of our greatest assets, especially when managed intelligently.

His ideas about using carbon credits to incentivize leaving trees in the ground longer and lengthen harvest cycles would make for a more mature, higher quality redwood product (and longer lasting decks).

Both timber and marijuana have shown how vulnerable our county is to the “rape and run” tactics of outside opportunists.  From Maxxam to Russian cartels, short term extraction (and destroying) of natural resources has left those of us who live here to deal with the consequences and try to clean up the mess.

Having clear, consistent zoning and land use requirements for both small and large players (and significant penalties for violators) would go a long way to leveling the playing field and keeping the destiny of the health of our county in the hands of the people who live here.

Steve Madrone is committed to this and would be a great, common sense advocate for the wellbeing of the people, economy and environment of our county.  Check him out for yourself at the May 10 debate on KEET.

Sam King

Madrone the diligent

In the debate Monday between the candidates for Fifth District Supervisor, Ryan Sundberg claimed that he never supported the Mercer-Fraser marijuana refinery next to our Mad River water supplies. But Mercer Fraser had the permit request in by 2015, and it depended on exactly the re-designation of the land that Ryan supported in the GPU 20 months later. What does this say about Ryan’s due diligence before green lighting a project he didn’t want?

We will need better diligence to protect us from Mercer-Fraser’s asphalt plant in Big Lagoon, which features the same “butter crumb plant” that created a public health nuisance near Outlet Creek in Mendocino, resulting in hefty fines, partly because Mercer Fraser defied agency attempts to abate it.

Steve Madrone specializes in looking at issues in depth, keeping the interests of the whole community in mind rather than “special interests” He has my vote.

Meighan O’Brien

Solutions, not Band-Aids

When we vote, a reasonable approach might be to consider a bigger vision than just the candidate. What kind of a world we want? With that in mind, I read Ken Miller’s letter in the May 2 edition with dismay. Many, many of our local problems appear to be self-made. Not from malice, but from lack of vision.

We need access to good food, adequate shelter, useful transportation and available healthcare. We have huge but not insurmountable problems in all these categories. They all boil down to planning.  Our county needs to look at long-term solutions to so-called “food deserts,” to unhoused people, to poorly envisioned public transportation and to lack of healthcare access for all.

A solid infrastructure supports everybody. That’s why my vote for Fifth District supervisor will go to Steve Madrone. I look forward to a future of solutions, not Band-Aids.

Carol Moné

Time for a change

I really want a supervisor who knows what it’s like for people from all walks of life, not just the lucky ones. Personally, I’m much more impressed with Steve Madrone. After reading more about him on his website I think Madrone has had the kind of life, and done the kind of work, that will lead to, propose and implement the sort of things that will help our community, our families, and help our children grow up safe, and be better people.

I like what Steve Madrone says about young people needing more healthy activities and job training to prevent drug and crime in our community. I have a young child and I worry about all the trouble kids can get into these days, especially because many parents can’t spend as much time with them.

Teachers can’t deal with all these problems in the classrooms. That’s why we need more after school activities that can help children with their social and emotional development, to grow into productive members of society. It really is time to make a change.

It really is time for a change!

Jennifer Green

Time for a change

Humboldt County, no stranger to boom and bust industrial abuse, is familiar with politicians who help their friends to the detriment of resident taxpayers. Sadly, we are in the throes of another cycle, this time accelerated by the Board of Supervisors.  Well connected cannabis investors are eager to reap the lion’s share of profits, while the economic base of the county – the small, environmentally-minded Mom and Pops – are hounded out of existence, perhaps to the point of taking their homes away, by county ordinances and regulations meant for the outrageous grows.

These Mom and Pops are the ones who spend their money locally, keeping businesses afloat, and are not responsible for the environmental damage that created the need for strict regulation.

The county got it wrong and we pay the price.  Mercer-Frazer’s sweetheart deal, brokered, then backtracked, by Supervisor Sundberg is just one example. However, the Supes do face election from time to time, and this June we can elect someone who does “get it” –  Stephen Madrone.

Madrone approaches the environmental problem as one of business, where incentives for good practices elevate the responsible businesses above the abusive ones.

Madrone knows firsthand that sound public policy depends on a commitment over the long term for community health.  His stellar work on behalf of our Mattole Salmon these past years is just one of the gifts his firm, practiced hand has given our local economy.

This year Chinook returned to the Mattole in record numbers, the fruit of the life-long dedication by Madrone and those who want this county to be the place our children and grandchildren proudly call “home.”

Michael Evenson

Fighting for affordable housing

On April 23, several locals from Humboldt County joined Mateo Rebecchi, an organizer for MHAction, a grass roots organization of manufactured homeowners aimed at fighting for housing affordability, at a protest in Sacramento to lend their voices to the others there who had come from all over the state of California to demand the repeal of Costa Hawkins Act so that The Affordable Housing Act can be put on the upcoming November California elections ballot.

Just after 3 1/2 months of talking to their neighbors, going door to door, activists from all over California that want to repeal Costa Hawkins Rental Act were able to gather 588,000 signatures which will enable The Affordable Housing Act to be put on the state ballot in November.

The marchers first went to the California Association of Realtors building where they chanted, “Fight, Fight! Housing Is A Human Right!”

Then they marched to the Capitol where they carried signs saying, “Costa Hawkins Has To GO!” and many others that stressed the importance of affordable housing.

Many of the protesters spoke to the crowd of hundreds who came from all walks of life, and were of all ages, and included many different ethnic groups. One woman said that she used to live in Elk Horn but had to move after her rent went up and was then forced to move into a crime-ridden neighborhood.

Richmond City Council Member Melvin Willis said, “This is a way to ensure that families have a way to be protected against high rents regardless of when the building they’re living in was built.”

Nancy Mohney said, “People need a secure and safe place to call home especially those who are most vulnerable to rent increases such as the elderly who live on fixed incomes.”

My hope is that every state will get on board with similar initiatives and stop their corporate landlords from charging sky high rents too.

Let us as Americans and residents of Humboldt County exercise our rights to better our quality of life with affordable housing that we all have the right to enjoy!

Valorie McIntosh


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