Ryan Burns' "Ferndale Gothic" (Feb. 28) gives excellent coverage of the happenings at the Humboldt County Fair. There has been a virtual coup by the Humboldt County Fair Board, and, with the exception of the outstanding reporting by the Ferndale Enterprise, there has been little to alert Humboldt County of what is going on.
There was no news in the daily press of the protests by local citizens who crowded the Jan. 28 board meeting, of Kirk Breed, the executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, of representatives of the concessionaires who came long distances to voice opposition to the board's actions.
In the meantime, members of the board have installed themselves to take over the fair. Not one of them has any professional experience in running a fair, and they have no professional replacement for Stuart Titus, the manager of 22 years with an unblemished record of keeping it afloat in hard economic times.
Anyone who is concerned that the $6 million the fair brings to Humboldt County is in jeopardy should be kept informed of what is going on.
Anyone who has exhibited an animal, a work of art, a quilt or pie at the fair should be vitally concerned with what is happening. Anyone who plans to take children to the fair this summer should be aware of the turmoil that is brewing.
This is not just a Ferndale fair. This is the Humboldt County Fair and everyone in Humboldt County should be made aware of it. I can't help wondering why the Times-Standard has paid so little attention to this story. Kudos to both the Ferndale Enterprise and the North Coast Journal for excellent journalism which has been lacking in the daily newspaper.
Betty Briggs, Ferndale
As a retired journalist who pushed the rock of truth up the slippery slope of public scrutiny for 40 years, I applaud Ryan Burns' "Ferndale Gothic" as well as Carrie Peyton Dahlberg's "Good Cops Aren't Afraid of Cameras" in the Feb. 28 North Coast Journal.
How refreshing to read even-handed reportage done in a highly professional manner in Humboldt County. Imagine, both writers actually gathered the details themselves, instead of waiting for a press release. Wow! (Sarcasm fully intended, Times-Standard.)
How thoroughly familiar, after 23 years behind the Redwood Curtain, to watch the good ole boy critters scurry when the rock is flipped over and their activities are exposed in the press.
Both articles show local folks in positions of public responsibility who are willfully flouting the law and abusing their power while trying to avoid the consequences.
It's not coincidental that Peyton Dahlberg and the subject of Burns' piece, Caroline Titus, are outsiders and journalists, facing unintended personal and professional consequences for doing what professional journalists are supposed to do.
To someone who grew up in the rural Midwest and South, there's nothing new about nepotism and in-group cronies who bully.
One can hope that the Grand Jury actually does something about the foul-smelling mess the fair board has created. And that the Eureka chief of police will censor his officers and set them straight. But it's doubtful.
I filed a complaint about the jury summons process with the Humboldt County Grand Jury a year or so ago. It was returned to me, as the North Coast Journal reported last summer, by the grand jury foreman with a note that the grand jury did not have jurisdiction.
How stupid of me. I forgot that the presiding county judge in charge of the jury commissioner's office also is in charge of the grand jury.
And so it goes in Humboldt County. Sigh.
Jim Scott, Cutten
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