In the judge's order ("Judge Backs Caltrans on Richardson Grove," Blog Jammin, July 12) he found that, "the STAA truck restriction is not (his emphasis) the most important constraint on business development in Humboldt County. And, it appears that lifting the restriction may only prevent further economic losses; it would not generate significant new growth." The judge seems unaware, or simply ignores, the fact that STAA trucks do have access to Humboldt County over Highway 101 from the north and also potentially via Highway 299 from the east.
His main analysis of the adequacy of the EIR concerns whether the project will or will not have a significant environmental impact to potentially ruin the profound aesthetic experience provided by the old growth redwoods.
He accuses those who oppose the project of making false claims that old growth redwoods would be taken down. This is not true. Opponents of the project have repeatedly stressed that the concern is for the health of the trees and the endangered species that depend on them.
The judge disclosed that Bryan M. Plumley is the investment advisor to him and members of his family. Mr. Plumley is married to Kim Floyd, the project manager for Caltrans. The judge claims not to have met Ms. Floyd and has a business-only relationship with her husband. However, he has, on occasion, loaned his vacation home in Oregon to the couple. The plaintiffs' attorneys did not to ask the judge to recuse himself over this apparent conflict. Mr. Plumley wrote a "My Word" [Times-Standard opinion piece] in favor of the project, one of six orchestrated by the county's economic development division.
Since the judge finds that STAA access is not the key to Humboldt's economic growth and Caltrans admits that the project will not make the grove "safe," why are we spending $10 million on this project?
Barbara Kennedy, Weott