Spring 2012 pg3

HumCPR Working to Find Answers to the Question:

“Why was Section 1500 of the current General Plan not followed in the General Plan Update (GPU)?”

That section called for the formation of Citizen Advisory Committees to assist in preparing and guiding the GPU. Was this direction given to Staff by Order of the Board of Supervisors?

While hundreds of citizens have asked for the implementation of Section 1500 of the Current General Plan, no satisfactory response has been given by the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission or the County’s Community Development Department (staff).

HumCPR follows each and every meeting of the Planning Commission and at its December 15, 2011, meeting, once again Section 1500 was brought up by a member of the public.

In the Humboldt County’s Planning Commission’s Certified Minutes of December 15, 2011, under the “Workshop” Section discussing the GPU, the question was asked “How were you envisioning the Citizen’s Advisory Committee part of Section 1500?”

Planning Direction Kirk Girard responded: “There’s no mention of forming a CAC, the Planning Commission is that group. The CAC’s are for community plans. The first few community plans that went through worked well. The Eureka CAC and the McKinleyville CAC did not. Section 1500 allows for flexibility in using CACs and the Board of Supervisors opted not to use CACs. We could provide copies of the board report where they made that decision.”

At the Planning Commission meeting on February 9, 2012, a member of the public asked that this information be provided. No information was forthcoming after that request. HumCPR filed a California Public Records Act request and we have not received copies of any Board of Supervisors order or related documents to affirm that the “Board of Supervisors opted not to use CACs” as reported by Mr. Girard.

As many are aware, HumCPR has already been forced to file one lawsuit against the County for its failure to follow state disclosure laws. We are currently considering our options, including the distinct possibility of filing an additional lawsuit demanding that the County produce the clearly dis-closable public documents that Mr. Girard has referred to. Of course, we would prefer that Wendy Chaitin, our County Counsel, simply follow the law.


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Featured Cover Artist: Viola Russ McBride

Morrison Ranch painting by Viola Russ McBride
Morrison Ranch by Viola Russ McBride

Dorothy “Viola” Russ McBride was born as she said “at the time of a major California earthquake” and lived most of her life in the “Cream City” town of Ferndale. As the only child of Will and Viola Russ, she learned at an early age to love the out-of-doors and the adventures that she could have traveling the ranches and farms surrounding her home. Following the death of her mother, the seven-year-old Viola moved with her father into Fern Cottage, the ancestral home in Ferndale. There was a school right at Fern Cottage and many visitors stayed at the cottage on and off and went to school with her.

While it was hard for Viola to grow up without a mother, her best memories were of being with the cowboys at round up time and riding in the automobile. . .especially if the driver would go a mile a minute! She loved adventure and speed: the stories have gone around that in college (Davis College of Agriculture and the University of Arizona), she rode horses Roman style (one foot on each of two horses, standing upright), carried two guns when she traveled and wore her hair like a man!

A few years later, she met Rex McBride and became his bride on the steps of Stanford University Chapel. Rex moved to the ranches with Viola after their wedding and became a well-remembered rancher in his own right. They eventually became the parents of three sons.

A busy mother of three, Viola and two of her three sons enjoyed a “Round the World” cruise on a passenger freighter where they visited most of the world’s countries. She continued her own adventures by sailing a boat of her own design, racing competitively for many years. She had become an artist by this time and painted many wonderful scenes near the coast of Mexico.

Always engaged in Ferndale activities, she worried about the future of the many Victorian store fronts of her youth. Viola and her friends took action to preserve the Victorian homes, and especially, the artificial fronts on the buildings that made them an example of the Victorian era.

The artists of Humboldt County started looking closer at Viola’s watercolor paintings. She studied with painters in Carmel and many local talents, opening her Candy Stick Gallery (named because it had been an old-fashioned candy store with candy sticks and an ice cream counter). The color and realism was better in her paintings than most any other in water colors at the time. They became very much in demand and soared in value. Viola never wanted to sell her originals. The favorites were ones painted of the Victorian Village and surrounding countryside. There were prints and cards made from them and Viola started experimenting with calligraphy.

In addition, Viola hand-printed stories of her adventures, the naming of the ranches, and “Beans on a Wood Cookstove.” The place she loved to work the best was a place in the hills above Ferndale with no electricity and a wood cook stove for heat. There she painted for hours, gardened, and wove wool from her own sheep.

We are honored to feature Viola’s watercolors in this edition of the HumCPR newsletter. With her spirit of adventure and the bonds of home and family, she left a legacy for our region that continues to this day. Thank you, Viola McBride.


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