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Genesis of a Gripe




Regarding Hank Sims' friendly swipe at those who complain that our leaders are less than "business friendly" ("Town Dandy," Nov. 25):

Since 1995, Humboldt County has lost 3,500 manufacturing jobs, the kind of jobs that pay enough to afford mortgages, buy cars, take a yearly vacation, etc., assuming there are two incomes in the home. This has caused the prime working-age population to fall precipitously. This has led to dropping school enrollments, the closing of schools, and a general drop in business activity in the county. Figuring yearly payroll at a modest $40,000 average, that comes to $140 million dollars a year missing from our economy.

I am not trying to blame anyone in particular for what may be a situation that is partly, or even possibly wholly, not in our control. But I would not hand out any medals either. If a company were to fly into Humboldt County tomorrow morning, with a view toward locating a manufacturing facility here, they would not spend much time before rejecting Humboldt County and flying away. We do not have policies or the political will to provide homes for, say, 500 families, plus a 40-acre parcel that is ready for their facility. The politics of development of any kind are polarized beyond the point where compromises can be achieved in a timely and rational manner.

In medicine, outcome-based studies are always the most valid. Did the patient recover when the medication was given? Carrying that analogy over to this situation, someone needs to examine the prescription given to this county by its administrators and elected officials over the last decade or two.

This is, I believe, what people are trying to say when they describe Humboldt County as non-business-friendly. It may not be a fair criticism, but it expresses the frustration of those who love the North Coast and would like to live in an environment that is more dynamic.

Nick Lucchesi, Arcata

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