Relief over Mercer-Fraser Co.'s withdrawal of its permit for a marijuana refinery near the Mad River water wells may be premature and praise for Ryan Sundberg's "behind-the-scenes" assistance, by himself and others ("Mercer-Fraser Co. Withdraws Controversial Glendale Site Plans," posted online April 18), unwarranted.
Mercer applied for the permit in 2015, and this Board of Supervisors made the changes in the floodplain's land-use designation in the General Plan Update over a year and a half later, and the fix was in.
This January, the county planning commission, led by Ryan's appointee Ben Shepherd, ignored the pleas of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, which the commission had failed to include in the 14 "referral agencies" notified of the project, and approved the permit 3-2. Brian Mitchell, Ryan's choice for commissioner over Nicole Sager, assistant director of the Yurok Tribe's planning department, abstained! (Ms. Sager could have been the sole woman on the commission.)
Mercer's lawyer leaves the door open for reapplication, perhaps post-election?
Sound policymaking depends on anticipating outcomes, especially when they are advertised in advance, and taking responsibility for their adverse consequences, not credit for "fixing" the fix.
Mercer wants to use the same permitting to operate another marijuana processing facility close to the Big Rock swimming hole on the Trinity River, near the elementary school.
These careless decisions to risk our precious water supplies in favor of the well-connected, not only cost the public time, energy and money, but also show how important political appointees are to how we develop as a community. Are they inclusive or exclusive, and can we prevent these expensive delayed "fixes?"
Ken Miller, McKinleyville