Rural Living Special News Edition VI
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Summer 2011 Newsletter Articles
A Message from The HumCPR Board
IS THIS HOW IT WORKS IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY?
There is a war being waged against the lifestyle of the rural residents and communities of Humboldt County. It is being coordinated by paid activists who have received grant monies for this purpose from a massively endowed fund located outside of Humboldt County. These monies were purposefully granted for, and targeted to “have effect on the outcome of the (General Plan Update) planning process”. This according to a report entitled “Preserving Wild California”, commissioned by the donor, Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, assessing the effectiveness of the grant monies doled out by this shadowy donor. This report can be viewed here in its entirety – Preserving Wild California.
This program assessment, undertaken by a research team from the University of Michigan, reports that at least 5 grants were given to various consultants and organizations within Humboldt County in a coordinated move to manipulate the GPU in its early development stage. Review of required IRS reporting documents, here – and here, confirm that at least $325,000 of this money went to the Humboldt Watershed Council (HWC). A new group with shadowy connections to HWC, called Healthy Humboldt, miraculously appeared about this time. The sole focus of Healthy Humboldt seemed to be riveted on influencing the direction and development of the General Plan Update.
The donor’s Assessment Report also goes on to take credit that their grant monies were pivotal when the Board of Supervisors “selected an alternative (B) that allowed new development at urban densities… and only in areas served by water and sewer…”. The report continues on to say that “certain provisions of Plan B still require attention”. This sounds eerily like Supervisor Clendenen’s comment that “the final outcome of the GPU will probably be an A- or B+”.
The above chain of events, pieced together by HumCPR, reinforces and highlights the reasons why the current General Plan has a separate section (Section 1500) that stresses the use and involvement of Community Advisory Committees. Section 1500 was inserted by 1980 visionaries into the current General Plan to insure that the concerns of LOCAL citizens were the primary basis for land use regulations and to prevent the manipulation of the County’s “Constitution”.
For the past 12 years County staff, reportedly with the approval of the Board of Supervisors, has unilaterally ignored Section 1500 in the development of the Update. There is currently an active lawsuit seeking to force the County to stop ignoring the provisions of Section 1500. Despite repeated requests from the public, the BOS has not seen fit to require Staff to adhere to the provisions and the spirit of Section 1500. The events outlined above should be more than sufficient for a reasonable and unbiased deliberative body to reassess their actions. What are we to discern out of the above
actions and evidence? We would posit the following:
1. Over a 5 year period, a shadowy foundation with over $150,000,000 in grant funds, funneled at least $325,000 into Humboldt County in a conscious effort to manipulate the development of the County’s General Plan Update.
2. The lack of action by an indifferent Board of Supervisors, with respect to Section 1500, facilitated the strategic success of the outside grant monies by minimizing the meaningful participation and concerns of the rural communities.
3. Supervisor Mark Lovelace, the former president/executive director of the organization that was the eventual beneficiary of a large portion of the out-of-area grant monies that targeted the early development General Plan update, is now a top level County decision-maker. This official is still actively promoting the manipulated policies that the grant monies were used to develop. This is inherently wrong ethically and morally and the official should be recused from any deliberative actions involving the General Plan Update.
4.Major public decisional documents should be developed and vetted in the full sunlight of transparency. Entities from outside the area, with large bankrolls do not have a place in formulating and manipulating the County’s “Constitution” – the use of paid, local surrogates notwithstanding.
Rural citizens and communities need to recognize that they are now fighting for the future of their traditional lifestyle. If the current Board of Supervisors fails to act, knowing the above, by not reversing the Update process, the assessment of “indifferent” might justifiably be changed to “complicit”. The elections are fast approaching and this may be the final opportunity to thwart the monies and the manipulative strategies of outside interests upon the County’s General Plan Update. On June 5th make your voice heard and let County leadership know that there is no place for indifferent, complicit or morally conflicted actions by County leadership.
Note: HumCPR would like to acknowledge that several of the issues and concerns raised in this article in regards to Supervisor Lovelace’s clear conflict of interest with respect to voting on the upcoming General Plan Update could possibly also apply to former HumCPR Executive Director Estelle Fennell should she prevail in her bid for 2nd District Supervisor. Were such a conflict to arise on this or any other issue we have the utmost in confidence that a Supervisor Fennell would immediately recuse herself from discussion and/or votes. We sincerely hope that Supervisor Lovelace will show the same level of integrity and honesty and avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
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