Roads and Redwoods

Inside the big fight over the Richardson Grove project: Part II of II

| April 15, 2010

*Last week, we described Caltrans' proposal for U.S. Highway 101 at Richardson Grove and examined opponents' arguments against it. This week, we take a look at the economic reasons for the project and analyze the weaknesses in both Caltrans' and its opponents' arguments. *

For any producer of export goods in Humboldt County, the logistics of getting anything out of the area can be daunting. In the two weeks preceding Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, the Sun Valley Group is in operation 24/7. According to Vince Thomas, Director of Logistics and Distribution, the company usually runs about 15 trucks a week out of the county, but during those two periods it averages 45 a week. "Every year, it becomes more difficult for us to find equipment and trucks," Thomas said on March 11. Because of the excellent crab season, Transportation Manager Andrea Pesenti had a particularly difficult time in February, when Sun Valley competed for trucks with seafood distributors.

Perishability is a major issue for Sun Valley, as it is for Cypress Grove Chevre: transportation "adds age to the cheese when it takes from days to more than a week to get to its destination," Sales & Marketing Manager Bob McCall said on March 5. "Soft-ripened cheeses have a very short shelf life, so the further east the market, the more difficult it is to sell them." From the moment cheeses are packed, the time to get them to the consumer's mouth is only six to eight weeks, including transportation, distribution, store shelving, purchase and time in the consumer's refrigerator.

Cypress Grove pays 15 cents per pound to ship its cheese to the Bay Area, where virtually all its product goes for sale or distribution nationwide. In contrast, it costs approximately 30 cents to ship from the Bay Area to the East Coast -- only twice as much to go more than 10 times the distance. By the time the cheese reaches, say, New York, it has incurred costs for both those trips, costs that are significantly higher than for virtually any other artisan goat-cheese producer. The company has lost its market in several Safeway regions because, while the price without shipping looks competitive, "by the time distribution costs are added, it's significantly more than it appears," McCall said.

"We have limited choices," Briar Bush, Lost Coast Brewery General Manager and Sales Manager, said on March 9. "There's no depth to choose from [in trucking companies]. If they're maxed out we can't get our supplies. We're held hostage to their abilities, and trucking prices correspond to supply and demand. When I ship to more remote areas, like Los Angeles or out of state, they all require STAA trucks. I can't use a local guy. I must contract with someone and ship to a cross-dock facility, and then pay a fee for use of the cross-dock."

Supporters of the Richardson Grove Improvement Project add that the costs incurred are environmental as well as monetary. "If we sent a truck to that cross-dock, it probably came back empty, whereas if I was using an STAA truck, it would probably bring stuff back to me," Bush said, a point seconded by Thomas. "A lot of times, we're looking for a backhaul, but that's difficult to do because everyone running east to west is using 53-footers," Thomas said. "They want to maximize their freight and minimize their costs."

Thomas calculated that in the two weeks before Valentine's Day, the company ran 85 trucks out of Arcata. If it had used 53-foot trailers instead of 48-footers, it would have eliminated 13 trucks, saving 3,900 gallons of fuel and 85,000 pounds of carbon emissions. He estimates that annually, Sun Valley could reduce its number of trips from an average of 1,000 to 834, saving 50,000 gallons of fuel and a staggering 1.1 million pounds of carbon emissions.

$6 Million Lost Annually?

In late 2007 and early 2008, the Humboldt County Workforce Investment Board conducted a survey of Humboldt and Del Norte County businesses, designed by Chico State University economist Dr. David Gallo, in which it asked them a series of questions regarding truck-size restrictions. According to the Draft Environmental Impact Report, "approximately 39 businesses identified STAA restrictions as contributing to unnecessarily high operating costs... amounting to $5.98 million annually."

The survey is very controversial among project opponents. In a June 24, 2009 letter to the California Transportation Commission, co-signed by seven environmental groups, McKinleyville resident Ken Miller and Kneeland resident David Spreen, argued that "the surveyed businesses account for only 18.6 percent of local sales, 9.3 percent of local employment and 12.3 percent of total income earned by residents and businesses of Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Industries in the analysis comprise 15 percent of total area truck transportation costs and 26 percent of non-local truck transportation costs."

Jacqueline Debets, Humboldt County Economic Development Director, contested the implication that affected businesses are in the minority. "Do you know how difficult it is to get people to fill out surveys?" she asked on March 10. She argued that "the businesses that are most heavily influenced" by shipping costs were the ones that bothered with the survey, "but it really affects virtually everyone," including local food stores such as the North Coast Co-op, Eureka Natural Foods and Murphy's.

Debets added that the current STAA exemption for cattle trucks -- also cited by opponents as a reason to choose the "no-build" alternative -- applies to transportation of live cattle only, a point seconded by First District Supervisor Jimmy Smith. "Humboldt Creamery ran some numbers, and the savings for them would be substantial," Smith wrote in a March 18 e-mail. "The cattlemen have to work on exemptions constantly, and other local producers are at a competitive disadvantage." Second District Supervisor Clif Clendenen has also heard from a number of businesses, including the Farm Store in Ferndale and Sequoia Gas in Fortuna. Caltrans Project Manager Kim Floyd said Center Arts has been unable to book Broadway-style shows that have their own trucks, and other productions have either been unable to appear in the county, or have done so without sets.

The Eureka Chamber of Commerce has conducted the equivalent of a straw poll of its members several times, "and transportation is always high on the list," President/CEO J. Warren Hockaday said on March 9. In Southern Humboldt, the jury's still out: like Debets, Dee Way, Executive Director of the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce, found it difficult to convince business owners to complete a detailed survey on Richardson Grove. Only 28 people responded to a questionnaire sent to more than 200 Chamber members in February 2008, and those who have commented are sharply divided. "That's why we haven't taken a stand," Way told the Journal on March 25. "The goal of the board isn't to get behind political issues, unless there's a clear consensus among members."

"How Big Is Big Enough?"

That was the question posed by Arcata resident Sara Sunstein in a letter in the Feb. 25 edition of this publication, in which she posited that some expanding businesses are "pitting Humboldt branding and profits against our environment." The question is at the heart of a debate between proponents of increased exports, which Debets argues will get capital into the economy, and supporters of localization, who counter that "a sustainable, organic, local agriculture" is the model of the future. There are no easy answers: every business manager interviewed by the Journal considered his or her operation a model of sustainability, whether in terms of growth, number of employees, recycling practices or community involvement.

In the last 25 years, Sun Valley has grown into the largest shipper of cut flowers in the United States, employing 450 people. It sells about half of its product to wholesalers, and the other half to grocery stores; Sun Valley is the main supplier of flowers to a number of major chains, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Safeway, Kroger's and Sam's Club. In contrast, Cypress Grove has one-tenth as many employees, and while its products are also found in major chains, they occupy a brand-name niche that makes them instantly recognizable to consumers nationwide. Both companies have been singled out for criticism by project opponents, some of whom are galled by the fact that Cypress Grove only sells about one percent of its product in Humboldt County.

Lost Coast, likewise, has experienced major expansion since opening in 1990: the growth rate per year is usually in the high teens or low twenties, with 35 percent growth in the last two years. Lost Coast brews are sold in 22 states and three Canadian provinces, with about 15 percent sold within the county.

Is it desirable -- or even feasible -- for such companies to remain strictly local? Not according to McCall: "That's going back to 1985, with Mary [Keehn, Cypress Grove founder] driving milk around in the back of her Volvo, and 45 people with health, dental and retirement benefits out of a job."

"I grew up in Arcata, and I'm very religious about trees and the environment," Bush said. "After coming back to Humboldt County, I spent years looking for that slice of pie with redwood trees and ferns." He had strong words, however, for those he believes wish to live in a bubble: "I really believe that a community is an organism," he continued. "Organisms need growth, and they need facilities of transportation for everything. ... Choking off that highway is choking off opportunities for all growth, including intellectual growth."

In Southern Humboldt, the localization argument raises several uncomfortable questions -- especially for environmental groups fighting the project and residents who, if pressed, might have difficulty defining "local" or "community." When Reggae on the River sought to expand in 2006, not one environmental group lodged a protest, despite the fact that Piercy residents showed up en masse at Planning Commission meetings. Their traffic, noise and pollution concerns went unheeded. On the contrary: some environmental groups actively supported the expansion, refusing to consider the possibility that an estimated 25,000 people camping on the Eel River, listening to high-decibel music -- right at Richardson Grove, no less -- might be environmentally questionable. The micro-community of Piercy was basically told that the event served the good of the greater community of Southern Humboldt: "It's for the non-profits" -- the local organizations whose main fundraising efforts of the year were food booths at Reggae.

Four years later, the greater community of Humboldt County expects something of its southern extreme, the one it usually ignores. The locals are justifiably suspicious: Southern Humboldt accounts for a disproportionate percentage of bed taxes, but doesn't have the public services to show for them; a cultural divide has long separated the north from the south; and the residents are woefully underrepresented in county government. Many have long felt that they do, indeed, live in a separate bubble -- and that is true of rednecks and hippies alike.

But is it really true? What is the meaning of "local" when Southern Humboldt residents regularly make shopping trips up north, even to those dreaded big-box stores? When Fortuna beef, Eureka beer and Arcata bread and cheese are found in so many Southern Humboldt kitchens? When 40 percent of the teachers and administrators in the Southern Humboldt Unified School District commute from up north, many because they cannot afford the inflated housing prices down south -- prices inflated by the marijuana economy?

Which brings us to an uncomfortable realization.

Environmentalists and others fighting the proposal on economic grounds have failed to acknowledge that this particular argument is profoundly ironic. The environmental groups in Southern Humboldt are deeply rooted in the "alternative" community, and many of the project opponents who attended a Feb. 24 forum in Garberville sponsored by the Environmental Information Protection Center -- one of the leading opponents of the project -- are marijuana growers: People who have certainly made invaluable contributions to the local economy, founders of non-profit organizations, schools and community centers. Many grow much of their own food, sell produce at farmers' markets and hold hundred-mile potlucks, both to celebrate the local bounty and raise awareness of fossil-fuel consumption in food packaging and transportation.

But let's not forget a crucial fact. The people who came to Humboldt County to grow marijuana founded a cottage industry that quickly became nationally renowned, both for the quality of its product and the brazenness with which its denizens flouted the law. Their real income doesn't come from selling apples and zucchini in the Garberville Town Square; it comes from exporting a much more profitable crop all over the United States. It would be safe to say that less than one percent of Humboldt-grown marijuana is consumed within county lines. During the writing of this story, several people -- including Southern Humboldt hippies who didn't want to be symbolically tarred and feathered by their neighbors -- asked two salient questions: When certain proponents of strict localization feel the impulse to ask Cypress Grove or Lost Coast how big is big enough, does it occur to them to ask where they themselves would be without a national market? And are they willing to give it up in the pursuit of their ideals?

Public Relations, Public Debate and Unprecedented Division

An examination of the public relations campaigns waged by the two sides highlights weaknesses in both arguments. It also holds a mirror up to a local debate that increasingly reflects the combative, take-no-prisoners tone of discourse at the national level.

Caltrans has made several critical errors in judgment, including presenting the project as safety-driven, when it is in fact access-driven. Safety, including for RVs, is a secondary benefit. The agency did not initially commission an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which reinforced the notion that there was a push to approve the project quickly. Its Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was downright sloppy in some respects, most notably in its failure to present a clear, detailed economic case for the project. Its initial refusal to conduct a marbled-murrelet count prior to construction may have been "justified" by the clearance it received from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, but it came across as callous disregard for an endangered species.

The agency's communications with businesses in the project area were faulty at best, especially in the case of the One-Log House, whose owner, Dan Baleme, had a particularly bad experience with a private contractor taking core samples. The changing nature of the project has alienated people who argue that the plan was faulty to begin with -- or who feel they cannot trust agency representatives "because they keep changing their minds." Supporters counter that this is proof of Caltrans' willingness to incorporate public input into the project. But for businesses like Singing Trees Recovery Center, which was facing the prospect of a 300-foot-long retaining wall right across the road, it's cold comfort to know that the plans might be changed, if just enough of a hullabaloo is raised.

For project opponents, the final outrage was the phenomenally ill-advised decision, on the part of the Headwaters Fund, to approve the use of funds for a media campaign -- directed by the Economic Development Office -- to drum up support for the project. A grassroots effort incorporating a simple presentation of facts would have sufficed, and questions about conflicts of interest would have been avoided. Instead, Debets and company walked right into a public-relations nightmare: the idea of Headwaters money being used to approve a road project through one of the last remaining stands of old-growth redwoods was simply too much for many people to swallow.

Sadly, the opposition hasn't fared any better. Its use of terminology in describing the project has been calculated to appeal to emotions rather than logic. While it is technically true that the road is being "widened" in several places, the word is being wielded in such a way as to convince people that the scope of the project is much greater than it is. The use of the word "straightening" is even worse, because it's downright false: the proposal will actually add one curve to the highway, and make others wider. A clear understanding of this point is particularly important when discussing traffic safety and the likelihood of speeding in the grove.

The opposition has successfully convinced thousands of people that the process has been veiled in secrecy, no meetings have been held and opportunities for public input have been limited. "The secrecy behind it is strange," one Garberville restaurant owner told the Journal. "There's been no real open discussion." That belief is widespread in Southern Humboldt, despite the fact that Caltrans has held four meetings, extended the public-comment deadline on the EIR, and conducted a number of tours for people concerned about the proposal -- including a treesitter who got a personal walk-through from Floyd.

More disingenuously, opponents have relentlessly fostered the idea that the sole purpose of the project is to benefit big boxes, a notion that has turned many small business owners in Southern Humboldt against their counterparts in the northern part of the county -- and in some cases, against their own neighbors on Redwood Drive. Of 19 Garberville business owners and managers informally surveyed on March 25, 11 were opposed to the proposal; of those, the majority of whom are representative of the back-to-the-land community, all save one expressed the firm opinion that the main purpose of the project is to facilitate big-box development.

Meanwhile, businesses like Eel River Organic Beef, whose agricultural practices are theoretically supported by proponents of green living, find themselves under fire for looking beyond the borders of California, or even Humboldt County. "How big is big enough?" is a valid question. But proponents of strict localization would do well to remember that no economy is completely self-contained. That has been true for as long as the symbiosis between the city and the farm has existed. The failure to comprehend this has led to a divide among people who, more often than not, share the same ideals.

That paradox isn't limited to the battle over Richardson Grove. The blistering debate over the General Plan Update has pitted rural landowners, many of whom are Southern Humboldt back-to-the-landers, against people they disparagingly refer to as "urban environmentalists." Estelle Fennell, the news director at KMUD for 17 years, was one of Julia "Butterfly" Hill's greatest champions. But now, as executive director of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights, she routinely weathers scathing attacks from environmentalists who, in a former time, would have been among her staunchest allies. The GPU has pitted liberal against liberal in a way that was inconceivable 20 years ago, when the choice was, pardon the pun, clear-cut: you were with the loggers, or you were with the hippies.

The nature of the debate has led to accusations of fear-mongering on both sides. At the Feb. 24 meeting in Garberville, Weott resident Barbara Kennedy and EPIC Outreach Coordinator Kerul Dyer both claimed that business owners opposed to the project are afraid to speak out, for fear of alienating their colleagues. It goes both ways: businesspeople who attended a Feb. 17 event at the Bayside Grange said they were discouraged by the atmosphere there, which to some felt more like a rally than a discussion forum (both meetings were sponsored by EPIC). The words "left-wing Tea Party" have been whispered more than once to this reporter. Surely, that's not an image project opponents wish to cultivate.

For those who ultimately make the decisions that will shape the future of Humboldt County -- including Clif Clendenen, who represents the sharply divided Second District -- the language of passion has been a turnoff in an important debate that should employ the language of reason. "I'm available to change my mind if I see evidence [against the project] that's compelling, but I haven't seen it yet," Clendenen concluded. "We need to sift away the emotion from the reality. I think this is misspent energy, and I'm as concerned for the well-being of the county as anyone."

An Uncertain Future?

Since the Headwaters were saved, EPIC has struggled to redefine itself. While some environmentalists have worked towards being proactive, much of the local movement has been essentially reactionary -- people rising up to stop bad things from being done. Environmentalists now have Richardson Grove to defend, and EPIC has taken up the banner. This seems to be another version of the Headwaters campaign, right down to the rallying cry: "Save Richardson Grove!" But this time, they're not fighting a corporate out-of-state behemoth bent on liquidation. They're fighting a state agency that, to many observers, has made a tremendous effort to address environmentalists' vital concerns, while still meeting its mandate to provide access to commercial trucks -- and at the same time, meet the needs of numerous Humboldt County businesses that will increasingly depend on that access for their survival.

For now, both sides can only wait for the final Environmental Impact Report, which Caltrans plans to release in early May. While many see the project as a done deal, EPIC looks poised to litigate, and more than a few voices have threatened to stop the work with direct action. Observers are left to wonder if opponents will really succeed in closing the Redwood Curtain. Or will Richardson Grove be the environmentalists' last stand?

Cristina Bauss has been a reporter in Southern Humboldt for six years. She is a member of the California State Parks Foundation, an occasional donor to EPIC, a fan of Cypress Grove cheeses and a consumer of Lost Coast beer. She lives in northern Mendocino County and drives through Richardson Grove Monday through Friday.

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Comments (86)

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Part 1 of 7 Sun Valley poisons workers; they have had so many lawsuits and one lady known to me had blisters all over her feet from working around all those pesticides. Those pesticides go into the under ground water systems. They blow over into neighboring organic farm lands, and they make workers sick. Lilies are already poison to animals, and add all the toxic chemicals, and you have a toxic mess in your house. Just lovely. Sun Valley hires illegal workers. They said they didn't know they hired 250+ illegal workers, when they got raided. So stating that Sun Valley employees people, half have always been illegal until last year. Maybe they should get raided at the beginning of the season each year. Then see how many local workers get to get them and their families sick. This lady washed her work cloths with the family cloths and the family gets sick too.
Sun Valley had to have many law suits to pay overtime. Oh yeah; pillars of the community. I ask every store I shop in if they carry Sun Valley, and if they do I proceed to tell them all of this and how they are chancing poisoning their customers by carrying their brand. If anyone thinks their company is hurting because of Richardson Grove, you have to be kidding. The economy is in the tanker, if you have not noticed. As others have stated, trucks come half way full and leave empty. Or visa versa. You all don't share trucks, do you?

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 5:24 AM

Part 2 of 7 Lost Coast Brewery has the worst beer, and their restaurant is competing for one of the worst in Eureka. This is an easy company to boycott. First the Halibut, which had been good once in the past, but it was cold and the fries were limp. The Halibut was mushy. I got a bone caught in my throat, and my friend was kind enough to drive me to St Joes, where she waited with me for 4 or 5 hours in the emergency waiting room, only to meet Doogie Houser. Doogie proceeded to put his first camera down my throat after spraying me with the most god-awful burning spray. After nearly dying from not being able to breathe, I told him to pull it out. I assume the camera pushed the bone down to where it could be digested. If you eat at Lost Coast Brewery, be sure to carry Wonder Bread in you purse, and if you start to choke on a bone, take a wad of bread and mash it into a ball and swallow it, to avoid Doogy Houser, who looks like he is 21, so maybe started Medial School at age 16. The manager was not interested that this happened to me when I brought it to his attention when I was able to call and let them know. He did not even offer me my money back or say he was sorry I had to go through all that. Some friends said let's eat there, another time, when they had the children as the back room is a place kids can run around. That food was terrible too. All the food was bad. Who's child, grandchild, or entire family will be killed in the first big flood or earthquake. Show me the science, where cutting the roots of old growth redwood trees will not harm them. Oh, that's right, there is NO SCIENCE. You are all going on assumptions, and criticizing us who have studied the facts. How long does a company have to be here before they want to tear up our paradise and Historical Entrances to Humboldt County, for their bottom line. Why not move to Santa Rosa and call yourself, Found Inland. Oh, that's right, property is too expensive there, so you come up here to exploit this area. I see how it is. I think we need a freeway right through Lost Coast Brewery, so tear it down now. Freeway to Arkley's downtown plan. Now, Eye of the Hawk, from Mendocino Hopland Brewery; now that is some really delicious beer. To be continued

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 5:26 AM

Part 3 of 7 So you are saying North Coast Co-op, Eureka Natural Foods and Murphy's are for cutting into the roots, without knowing these redwood trees that are over 1,000 years old, will live or die? Boy have health food stores changed through the years. Co-op in Santa Cruz was a local store you could count on to be for the environment. The fact that the co-op would even consider this proposed plan of Caltrans to widen the road to bring bigger and bigger trucks to Eureka and into Arcata, is just beyond my comprehension. It is sad, actually. Eureka Natural Foods Little guy is picking up prostitutes while he and wifey poo are pushing to be cutting old growth redwood tree roots and disturbing this centuries old canopy of roots that have been inter-twined for possibly thousands of years. So much for the buy locally thing...what a joke. This store has become such a thorn in my side, with rude management, terrible policies, coupled with dis-respect. Now, I will never shop there again. Frankly, I enjoyed being in Spain when Franco was in power with military on every corner to shopping in Eureka Natural Foods these past few months. One would almost think Arkley money helped them get that large space too.
Wildberries appreciates me and my money. Wildberries is for protecting Richardson Grove. Ray's has nice organic produce, and the farmer's markets are in towns again. Safeway has organics and they treat me with respect too. I will be asking them not to carry Sun Valley Lilies due to they kill animals and are full of toxic pesticides and not at all organic. . Eureka Natural Foods probably carries them too. If Co-op is for cutting the grove, it will be no problem and worth the drive to shop at my favorite store, Wildberries. Since Co=op coupled with Arkley money to buy that place near the mission, it does not feel the same at all. I can gaze at the Eucalyptus Trees, as I take a lovely and leisurely drive to Arcata, visit my friends who live there, and spend my $50 to $75 or more, in Wildberries instead. Too bad, too sad. To be continued

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 5:28 AM

Part 4 of 7 This paragraph really got me: The author says, "Supporters of the Richardson Grove Improvement Project add that the costs incurred are environmental as well as monetary." WOW IS THIS ANOTHER HUGE LIE Bush says "if we sent a truck to that cross-dock, it PROBABLY came back empty., whereas if I was using an STAA truck, it would PROBABLY bring stuff back to me." If you think I am going to believe this, then I will sell you a condo on an island off the coast of the Alaska. That is the biggest load of baloney. Who are these pushers for cutting Richardson Grove canopy and old growth roots trying to kid. Oh, it is the General Manager of Lost Coast Brewery; and possibly the one who didn't care if I lived or died when I got a bone in my throat. Karma is catching up with you. Either you are telling lies, or you are just ignorant. By the way management treated me, when I nearly died from eating their food, I would say lies lies and more lies. Boycott Lost Coast Brewery, and get a good meal at Marina Center. Or are they needing STAA these days too? The economy is in the tanker. Humboldt County has lost close to 4,000 jobs since the housing market bubble bursted in 2006. Maybe more. Call the Job Market Analyst downtown to get the exact number. You need to do your statistics again, and do the math. What would you expect the STAA truck to be filled up with to bring back to you if you are an exporter? Oh, the name is Bush...hummm What happens to the jobs of local truckers. So are STAA going to drive up to Cutten to Murphy's and to Trinidad to Murphy's, and drive on all the back streets up in Fieldbrook? Who is going to fix all the roads that will be destroyed by STAA and who will monitor the pollution from more and bigger trucks? Who will pay for added emergency personal for all the people who will get killed when trucks don't see them crossing or coming out of a parking spot. Think about it. Don't believe the Caltrans lie, that this will mean less traffic. It does not take rocket science to figure it out. Just the Marina Center will be a huge increase in STAA to Home Depot. To be continued

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 5:31 AM

Part 5 of 7 No offence, but I tried Cypress Grove goat cheese, and it tastes terrible to me before even being sent out of town, so no problem boycotting them. Goat milk over a day old is nasty stuff. You come here, and get your land for less than any place else, and make a profit, but it is never enough. You need more and more and more. Same with truck size. Will they make a bigger truck in 5 years and want to cut all the roads wider yet? By the way, I lived and worked on a goat farm and raised my son on goat milk, but it was never more than a day or two old and cold. Now that was delicious. After that, it is really awful stuff, but the pigs liked it. No need for your product if you want to destroy what was left to be protected. Not just protected until some businesses wanted to start cutting it. Not just protected until someone got the bright idea to make California into a super highway, even in rural areas. It was to be protected for life. They new back then, in the early 1900's, that the lumber companies were clear cutting paradise at an alarming rate. Just like Santa Clara County paved paradise, you now want to cut into paradise for your profit, that will not trickle down to the consumer, I can promise you that. The people who owned Richardson Grove, including the true owners, the Native Americans, did not log it. Richardson Grove State Park belongs to the citizens of California, not to corporations. I am so sick and tired of corporations pushing everyone around and selling us down the river. No, this is not what the owners of Richardson Grove (Native Americans (InterTribal), Ruben Reed, nor Henry Devoy wanted. Slow down to 25. Put in a signal light to work at night for larger losds with exception. Do not open to all STAA, or this will be opening a huge can of worms. To be continued

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 5:39 AM

Part 6 of 7 Doing research, I found out something about Humboldt Creamery. Henry Devoy and his daughter Elsie Devoy, and Henry's son Albert Devoy, were all part of the Humboldt Creamery Co-op, and they all owned lots of dairy land. So do you think that Humboldt Creamery would be for cutting into their own grove they designated to the state to be protected? A place they promoted for people to visit for summer recreation? Did you know that InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council and other Native Americans, the protectors of these forests for possibly thousands of years are also for protecting Richardson Grove from further harm? If you didn't then you should contact them in their Ukiah office. Or, they come up here frequently. In fact, they will be at Richardson Grove on Saturday, April 17, and they will be one of the speakers from 3 to 5. This is a no alcohol and no drug event, by the way. That should keep you away. You are actually saying that one of the leading opponents of the project are marijuana growers??? That is a pretty serious accusation. One of our main leaders in this project to be Saving Richardson Grove is EPIC. Are you saying that people at EPIC are marijuana growers? Another leader in the Richardson Grove protectors is InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. Are you accusing them of being growers. Oh, and Singing Trees Recovery Center is also on the team every step of the way, and I guess that you are saying they are growing marijuana at the recovery center. Please do check your facts. There are so many people who do not want this project that don't even know there are many groups joining together in solidarity. My friend in another state sent me some e-mails, saying this economy in Humboldt County is only surviving because of the marijuana crops here. She said to me, "your businesses there in Humboldt County don't seem to have a problem taking the money of the marijuana growers." Also she added, "your Humboldt County economy is surviving only because of this crop." Is this true? Do you accept money from marijuana growers?
If this project is allowed, trucks and traffic would be speeding through that stretch of the road, and nobody will even be able to get into or out of Richardson Grove State Park or Singing Trees Recovery Center, or the other driveways neighboring Richardson Grove. Do you care about that? I didn't think so. It is all about YOUR bottom line. Again, these businesses are not showing a $5.98 million dollar loss due to Richardson Grove only allowing the California Legal Truck Tractor. These figures are convoluted on a study by Dr. David Gallo (using Headwaters Funds money (who is doing devious things now???). Who is trying to pull the wool over your eyes? Who does not have the facts correct? The housing bubble burst in 2006, and that is why businesses are having a difficult time. To be continued

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 5:46 AM

Part 7 of 7 Oh, here is a good one: Kim Floyd, Caltrans Project Manager said "Center Arts" not Arkley Center for the Arts...just "Center Arts" has been unable to book Broadway -style shows that have their own trucks. If this is not the icing on the cake. All comes back to Arkley and his Arkley Center for the Arts, and Arkley and his Zoo, Arkley and his Marina Center...I am sure Eureka is going to crash and burn with out a Broadway-style show that will not respect our environment. Yes Kim, it is all about Arkley and using Headwaters Fund money for the Gallo Report and other devious things this county is doing behind closed doors. Clif Clendenin has not answered any letters and he has not allowed time for the voters to even be put on the agenda. We have to come in numbers and speak for 3 minutes each at a Humboldt County Supervisors Meeting. Christina Bass, it appears obvious that you did not actually read the Caltrans Draft Environmental Impact Report for Richardson Grove, but you certainly have managed to get onto the Caltrans bandwagon criticizing the people who have studied this project and do not want it. Do you respect Native Americans, Christina? Have you interviewed Pricilla Presley or Hawk Rosales of InterTribal Wilderness Council? Please do broaden your horizons and try to have more balanced journalism, and get out of the Caltrans/Corporate/Arkley big box booty.

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 6:04 AM

I too am mystified that Jeff Muskrat has changed his name to mystified.

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Posted by mystified2 on 04/15/2010 at 6:40 AM

Great article! Nice work Cristina!

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Posted by Kevin on 04/15/2010 at 7:28 AM

Cristina Bass...Sister of Virginia Bass? It's all tied to Arkley and his Center Arts. They're destroying all of the Native American's redwoods for Broadway shows, bad goat cheese, poison flowers and icky beer. Yep, that's the CalTrans plan. Wow, you admit to shopping at Safeway and Ray's. They seem like pretty damn big box Supermarkets to me. And neither of them local.
This time (like every time) your misguided rant was of EPIC proportions....good job! Now, go pound a spike in one of the old growth scrub oaks marked for destruction for good measure.

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Posted by Muskrat Love on 04/15/2010 at 8:02 AM

Mystified Muskrat is an EPIC fail!

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Posted by Thirdeye on 04/15/2010 at 10:39 AM

Didn't most of the exports out of the county used to be on BOATS? Wouldn't it solve a whole bunch of issues to fix the port and use less of the roads?

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Posted by TreeIncarnate on 04/15/2010 at 12:22 PM

Fix the BATHROOMS IN RICHARDSON GROVE. Mfing poop all over the floor in that bitch. Errytime I go to that piece I gotta wear zippys on my feet to take a shower. And they got them signs like flush gently these are old pipes. Replace the goddamn pipes then. And you fucking trustafarians always trash the shit out of the campground for your Reggae bullshit. Bunch of alcoholic, wannabe peace and love fake ass bitches. When weed goes legal all you dreadlocked white boys are gonna have no money for all that rasta bling. Y'all'll have to call up your rich ass parents to fix up that raggedy ass 4 Runner once nobody payin $3,000 for your bootsie ass weed. And Halibut choker guy, wtf you trashin on local business for? You ain't got shit for recognition and you hate on Lost Coast like being world famous is a big mistake, they shoulda been like you and been a little numb nuts bitch their whole life. You think you some kinna big baller dropping $75 at the grocery store? Nobody cares about your chump change or any of the other broke ass, bitch-made haters. It was one thing when y'all were hating on Maxxam but now you done turned on your own.

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Posted by Mr. Nice on 04/15/2010 at 12:55 PM

Mfing poop all over the floor in that bitch. Nice Wifi hotspot, though.

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Posted by hanksims on 04/15/2010 at 1:05 PM

Hell yea and they got great cell phone reception for being in the middle of the woods. I think I seen a deer mouse with a motorola up in there. Or was that Benbow Lake. I mighta been trippin. But for serious they needa fix alla them pipes. That shit is nasty as hell. I'd rather cop a squat in a outhouse with a bird nest in it than those bathrooms.

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Posted by Mr. Nice on 04/15/2010 at 1:47 PM

Just to clarify, I am not Jeff Muskrat. hahahaha, but thank you for the compliment.

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Posted by Mystified on 04/15/2010 at 6:11 PM

You're still an EPIC fail.

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Posted by Thirdeye on 04/15/2010 at 8:12 PM

Although I do not live there at this time, I must say, the funds spent (and lost) versus funds made really do not show that this would be a viable project. THAT ALONE might be enough normally to kill this project. But, when two apposing parties with strong ideological (or lack of logical) platforms begin to fight, any reasonable thought is thrown out. Has anyone put up a sheet, showing the financial pros and cons. I can assure you there is little to gain financially ! Especially if you factor in the supposed losses because of the fact that STAA trucks are not allowed at this point, but factor in the losses ALL BUSINESSES had because of the economic downturn. So, really, does California have the money for this project ? At what expense ? Shut down a few more schools, fire a few more teachers.. it goes on and on.

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Posted by californiakayaker on 04/16/2010 at 8:25 AM

The true colors of Hank Sims is the dominant feature of the Journals handling of this issue. Hank, you have not only misused your position as editor to sell your short-sighted politics but you even stooped to plagiarism. That's pathetically cheesy, Hank. I sent in a letter a couple of weeks ago that was critical of Cleary and his stand on Richardson Grove. I said that Cleary was not the first person to come here with a Wall St.mind set that sees Humboldt as virgin territory waiting to be deflowered. In his current editorial Hank sez enviros think "...big box America is cloistered over a map somewhere plotting the deflowering of virgin Humboldt County." He wouldn't publish my letter because he's a Cleary supporter but he doesn't hesitate to steal a phrase or 2. It was hard for me to see my words used in an editorial that was such a vicious, small minded piece. Hank isn't much of a writer and grammar ain't his strong suit but he seems oblivious to that. Hank: plagiarism is not nice and it's not exactly legal either.

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Posted by Sylvia De Rooy on 04/16/2010 at 10:15 AM

Hank attributes term "deflowering" to the Grovies' hysterical attitude, which by local blowhard DeRooy's admission is 100% accurate. Since the term is used with attribution and no claim of originality is made, its use is not plagiarism. Ms. DeRooy should be pleased!
Concerned about grammar? Start with this sentence: "The true colors of Hank Sims is the dominant feature of the Journals handling of this issue."

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Posted by Thirdeye on 04/16/2010 at 12:31 PM

Thirdeye, You say:"Since the term is used with attribution and no claim of originality is made, its use is not plagiarism." There was no attribution therefore the claim of originality is implied. Since the expression "true colors" does not refer to a bunch of colors but is, instead, an expression referring to his real motive I used "is", not "are". You need to look up the word "attribution".

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Posted by Sylvia De Rooy on 04/16/2010 at 2:22 PM

Just to clarify, "Mystified" is the Sun Valley Floral Farms Mole...and someone whose rantings I do not respect. I am not for cutting into the roots of what few remaining majestic ancient redwoods reside in the Richardson Grove. Just try to wrap your head around the fact that some of these trees were on earth more than 1,000 years ago.

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Posted by Not the SV Mole on 04/16/2010 at 4:07 PM

"Mystified" writes just like the Muskrat who is a very silly man. If it is someone else then there are two very silly men (I am being nice, I wanted to use the word 'dumb' instead).

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Posted by Richard on 04/16/2010 at 4:14 PM

Thanks Ms Bauss & NCJ for this informative article on the Hwy 101 Richardson Grove CalTrans project. Sneaky CalTrans tried to fast-track this through while the CA State Parks Dept. said nothing. These STAA rigs have a 5-foot longer trailer for two more shipping pallets on the floor. If completed, Humboldt Co will be connected to the huge STAA network. Over-the-Road drivers are usually assigned a company truck that they keep. This popular policy is called "No Slip Seating". Soooooo the driver, after prowling the USA and Canada for a few weeks like a rolling sweat shop, … is dispatched home with the Big Rig .
Humboldt Co. OTR drivers earn about $50K+ per year and would be able to get "loads to the house" .

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Posted by Piercy Truck Driver on 04/16/2010 at 7:01 PM

"There is a segment of our citizenry -- a not-insignificant minority -- eager to believe that big box America is cloistered over a map somewhere, plotting the deflowering of virgin Humboldt County." The belief is attributed to "a segment of our citizenry" that Ms DeRooy identified herself with.
I think Ms. De Rooy is having a hissy fit because Hank and Christina showed the ridiculousness of her position. The "plagiarism" and unspecified grammatical/style criticisms are a smokescreen.
I am so privileged to be egging Ms. De Rooy on in one of her online hissy fits!

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Posted by Thirdeye on 04/16/2010 at 7:09 PM
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