I think our current group of harbor district commissioners is doing a great job. It bought a dredge so we can get all the dredging we need done for a lower price and do it when it needs to be done. No more waiting two to three years for things to line up.
It got the old Samoa pulp mill site cleaned up. It removed and recycled millions of gallons of toxic chemicals that were on site and did it at minimal costs to us. The $8.5 million from the EPA was a "grant," not a loan that needs to be paid back.
It is getting a variety of businesses to locate here in Humboldt Bay, companies that want to provide employment, offer a business model that is environmentally sustainable, and reinvest their profits back into Humboldt County.
It supports the local fishing industry. Vote for Greg Dale and Patrick Higgins.
Rocky Drill, Arcata
I hope most people treasure Humboldt Bay and appreciate the current Harbor District's turn away from the idea of a big international container port and rail, not only because our aquaculture and fishing industries depend on a clean, healthy ecosystem, but because the costs, waste and lack of return on the big port idea were contributing to the district's financial bankruptcy.
Loss of traditional living-wage jobs in Humboldt is tragic, and happening all over the country. This Harbor District is trying to create good jobs, not by relying on industries which polluted or depleted our resources in the past, but by cleaning up the environment and creating the new alternatives and diversity necessary to weather future economic changes.
We need to keep Pat Higgins and Greg Dale on board. Given this small community, off-year election, and the financial resources of those wanting a power shift, your vote could be decisive.
Joyce King, McKinleyville
Our fishing industry has serious problems but Pat Higgins would be more helpful than Susan Rotwein.
Fish population decline from pollution, oil spills, historic over-fishing, etc. is a more serious problem than having to pay the going rate for slip fees and moving storage facilities from Woodley Island to Terminal 1.
Pat Higgins is a long-time scientist for salmon habitat restoration in the Eel and Trinity rivers and an advocate for the recovery of healthy ocean fish stocks. His knowledge and perspective is extremely valuable balancing the economic and environmental wellbeing of Humboldt Bay and its fishermen.
Although Rotwein has been non-commital on the Arkley vision for a "Green Port" and east-west rail connection, the Lost Coast Outpost reported that she is "amenable to Arkley's train vision." Wouldn't a deep sea container port and rail line have negative long-term impacts on our fishing fleet?
Kate McClain, McKinleyville
District 5 has two motivated and qualified candidates for the Harbor District. Susan Rotwein would be a strong, common sense voice for the commercial fishing community. Pat Higgins has shown that he is an effective leader, bringing scientific expertise regarding fish habitat, fiscal responsibility to the district, has encouraged a diversity of business opportunities at the Samoa Pulp Mill site, and wants to develop a bay trail. All great issues.
My concern is for the long term health of the bay and the effects that an east/west rail yard and deep sea container port would have, not only on the issues mentioned above but on the overall character and health of Eureka and Humboldt Bay, including potential impacts on the oyster industry. Whoever we elect should stand firm in protecting the diversity of uses of the bay, and not abdicate its health and future to any one big player.
Greg Jaso, McKinleyville
After private industry abandoned the pulp mill, leaving behind vats of toxic liquors, the Harbor District brought in the EPA to clean it up. They deserve high praise for taking immediate action to protect the bay.
But in three candidate forums, Susan Rotwein said the EPA should not have removed the toxins, which the EPA considered the biggest environmental risk anywhere on the West Coast. Her solution? Wait for private industry to clean up the mess, despite the fact that the responsible parties are long gone, and the most recent owner of the mill tried, but was not able to get the capital.
Rather than working cooperatively with another government agency, Susan would have done nothing, risking the long-term health of the bay and the livelihoods of the fishing industry she claims to represent.
Please keep our current harbor commissioners in office. Vote for Pat Higgins and Greg Dale.
Diane Higgins, McKinleyville
Our recently received property tax bills reveal a 1997 Arcata Fire Tax of $30, 2006 Arcata Fire Tax of $132 and now, in 2015, they want another $96. Pattern has it that every nine years, the Arcata Fire District comes forward with another fire assessment proposal. On top of Arcata Fire, we pay $117.33 to Cal Fire, along with three school bonds. It appears, too, that Measure A does not contain a sunset clause, therefore, property owners will be liable forever. With a history of the Arcata Fire District proposing another tax assessment every nine years, home ownership will be unaffordable and rents will skyrocket.
Make no mistake about it. Measure A is about higher property taxes that will last forever. For those of you who rent, expect a hefty rent increase if Measure A passes. Tenants and property owners, vote no on Measure A because your pocketbook matters!
Wayne Palmrose, Bayside