by Bob Doran
In case you missed them, a couple of California's major dailies ran Humboldt-centric stories this week.
A travel piece in the Sacramento Bee titled "Arcata both embraces and rises above its cliches" offers a tourist-eye view of Arcata describing it as "a little bit of everything: a college town, a neo-hippie enclave, a haven for environmentalists and activists, a nature lover's paradise, a crash pad for the homeless, and a close-knit community of families in stately Victorians and quaint bungalows with tree-lined sidewalks more Eisenhower-esque than Kerouacian." (Feel free to offer your thoughts in our comment section.)
The Los Angeles Times had a story by Joe Mozingo, "Veteran Emerald Triangle pot growers see their way of life ending," about the declining fortunes of mom-n-pop ganja farmers positing that, "Pioneering marijuana cultivators in the hills of Mendocino and Humboldt counties are being pushed to the margins by the legalization they long espoused." The dateline is Laytonville, but Humboldt is well represented throughout.
Incidentally, for those interested in what are described as the "Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition," Humboldt State University is hosting a symposium on the topic next Friday, Oct 12, 1-5 p.m. in Behavioral and Social Sciences Building Native Forum Room 162. Panelists include reps from law enforcement, county and state government and enviro groups including Sheriff Mike Downey, District Attorney Paul Gallegos, Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace, Scott Greacen from Friends of the Eel River, Gary Hughes from E.P.I.C., Tasha McKee from Sanctuary Forest and Scott Downie, a senior biologist with the soon-to-be-renamed California Dept. of Fish and Game.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill this week that will change the department's name from "Fish and Game" to "Fish and Wildlife" as of Jan. 1, 2013. Assemblyman Jared Huffman, who put the bill forward, explained to AP reporter Don Thompson, "This department's been around under the same brand for over 100 years. The resources of the department have not kept pace with its mission, which has become very broad. The trend not just in California but in the United States has been away from managing only for hunting and fishing, and managing broadly in a way that includes hunting and fishing."
As the piece duly noted, groups representing hunters, who see "wildlife" as "game," are not exactly happy with the change fearing it signals a new more restrictive attitude on their activities. (The S.F. Chronicle titled the news story, "Calif. sporting groups leery of dept. name change.") Huffman, a Democrat, who seems to be a shoe-in in his run for the Congressional seat in our redrawn district, suggests that there's no need for worry, assuring hunters that he's "very confident this is going to be good not only for hunting and fishing but for all aspects of the department's mission."
Incidentally, Brown signed the bill alongside a hunting bill that will ban the use of dogs in hunting bears and bobcats, as discussed in this blog post yesterday.