By Hank Sims
Follow-up to this week's story on appointments to the Humboldt County Planning Commission: Supervisor Ryan Sundberg has just chosen former Yurok Tribal Chair Susan Masten to replace current Fifth District appointee Dennis Mayo.
As noted in the press release below, Masten is ridiculously accomplished. One additional thing: Her husband is current Hoopa Tribal Chair Leonard ("Elrod") Masten, whom the Journal's Heidi Walters profiled in August 2009.
Press release follows:
Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg appointed Susan Masten of Hoopa to the Humboldt County Planning Commission today. Masten is the former chairperson of the Yurok Tribe and has held a number of key federal, State and County appointments.
"As one of the most accomplished citizens of the 5th District, Susan Masten brings a wealth of experience to the Planning Commission as it works to chart Humboldt County's future," said Sundberg. "I am delighted that Susan has agreed to serve and I look forward to her steady, thoughtful contributions to the work of the Commission."
Ms. Masten, who has testified before Congress and conferred with Presidents, has worked for decades to protect fish, fishing rights and water quality in the Klamath River.
"I look forward to using my expertise to help complete and implement the General Plan Update and to bringing a rural perspective to the process," said Masten. "My goal is to work with people both in the 5th District and throughout Humboldt County to protect and sustain the quality of life that we enjoy - and that we want our children to enjoy."
Sundberg noted that elements of the General Plan Update are of particular importance to McKinleyville, the population center of the 5th District. "I totally support Susan's position that the residents of McKinleyville be provided the opportunity to influence the direction of their community and to preserve their way of life," said Sundberg.
Masten replaces Dennis Mayo, who served as Planning Commissioner from November 2009 until his term was completed this month.
"I appreciate the knowledge, expertise and effort that Dennis has contributed to the Planning Commission and Humboldt County," said Supervisor Sundberg. "We give him our heartfelt thanks for serving in this unpaid yet important and demanding position."
Ms. Masten was appointed by the U.S Secretary of the Interior to serve as a Yurok transition team member to implement the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act of 1988. She was elected by the base-roll members of the Tribe to serve on the interim Yurok Tribal Council in 1991 and, with the Tribe's formal establishment completed, she served as Chair of the Yurok Tribal Council from 1997 until 2004.
Ms. Masten has served as vice chair of the Intertribal Monitoring Association on Indian Trust Funds, as co-chair of the Department of the Interior Trust Reform Task Force, as vice chair of the Klamath Fisheries Management Council and as chair of the Klamath River Traditional Indian Fishers Association.
She is a past president of the Klamath Chamber of Commerce; she chaired the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee; has served on the California Democratic Central Committee and, as a California delegate, addressed the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
Ms. Masten's extensive public service includes appointment to the Humboldt County Commission on the Status of Women, Founder and Board Member of Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods Charter High School, President of the Humboldt Business and Professional Women's Association, as committee chair for the Humboldt County League of Women Voters, Founder and Co-Chair of Woman Empowering Women for Indian Nations, President of the National Congress of American Indians, and currently she is chair of the Indian Law Resource Center.
Since 1976, Susan Masten has served as the Mistress of Ceremonies at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, and is a Festival Board Member.
She has been selected as an "Outstanding Young Woman of America," Humboldt County's "Outstanding Citizen," Del Norte County's "Young Woman of the Year" and has been listed in numerous "Who's Who" publications. She recently was Vice President of Union Bank of California for the Native Market Division.