Monthly Archives: October 2011

Orick Tsunami Siren Test on Friday

Just in from the Sheriff’s Dept.:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The tsunami siren located in Orick and located on Orick Volunteer Fire Department property will be tested on Friday, 21 October, at 1000. The test will consist of a one minute sounding of the siren. Some area residents, members of the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group, and participating representatives of various local, state, and federal agencies will observe and record various test activities associated with the siren sounding.

Additional Related Information:

The siren at Trinidad was installed as part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) grant to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. That grant funded the installation of sirens or siren components at (listed north to south) Orick, Big Lagoon, Trinidad, Clam Beach, Manila, Samoa, Woodley Island, Fairhaven, Fields Landing, and Shelter Cove. Humboldt County Public Works also supplied components for some siren sites. In addition, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company installed a siren at King Salmon and provided a generous donation of siren components for installation at the other sites. The 11-site siren system installation is nearing completion.

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Front Page 10.12.11

To read the entire newspaper, please buy a copy today. You can subscribe by clicking here.

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Sneaker Wave Warning

From the Sheriff’s Dept.:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, and the National Weather Service would like to remind the public as winter approaches to be mindful of the hidden dangers on area beaches and jetties. Large storms generate large surf during the winter months in the North Pacific. These storms generate what is commonly called “Sneaker Waves “. Sneaker Waves are exceptionally large waves that occur without warning after ten to fifteen minutes of smaller waves. Many times the smaller waves with deceive the public into a false sense of security as they recreate near the beach. Rocks and jetties can give an additional false sense of security. These large waves then appear as if out of nowhere and wash the unsuspecting individual into the surf, many times costing them their lives.

Every year people drown on the North Coast as a result of these sneaker waves. If you are visiting local beach areas or the jetties, never turn your back on the Ocean. Stay away from the immediate wave slope and off of the rocks and jetties. If you are hunting agates or other items on area beaches always watch the surf. Many times unsuspecting victims are too busy looking down and not paying attention. Do not allow children to play near the surf line, always watch the surf. If your dog gets washed into the ocean do not chase after it. Many times the owner drowns trying to save their dog, while the dog later makes it out alive.

Try to have a cell phone if visiting area beaches. If someone does get washed into the surf call 911 immediately. Survivability in north coast waters is low due to hypothermia and rough surf.

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MCSD candidate David Elsebusch

(Three candidates are running for two open seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. The candidates include David Elsebusch and incumbents John Corbett and Helen Edwards. The following is part of a series of profiles on the candidates.)

David Elsebusch

By Elaine Weinreb
Press Staff Writer

David Elsebusch, a long-time critic of the McKinleyville Community Services District and other local governmental agencies, has tossed his hat into the ring, challenging incumbents Helen Edwards and John Corbett for a seat on the MCSD board.
Elsebusch, an insurance claims adjustor and private investigator, appears at almost every board meeting of the MCSD.
He studies the district’s financial reports and is quick to question any expenditures that seem at all unclear. He also frequently voices his disapproval of the district’s general manager and many of the board’s policies.
The MCSD has been in conflict with the county over a large increase in the number of multi-family units which the Board of Supervisors recently mandated for McKinleyville, re-zoning several residential parcels to allow high-density development to occur in various locations.
The MCSD has stated that it does not have the infrastructure necessary to support this level of development, but despite MCSD’s objections, the Board of Supervisors approved the re-zoning plan on August 23.
Elsebusch believes that the MCSD should respond by imposing a moratorium on all new building hook-ups that are not already in the pipeline.
“We can’t afford to plan on adding all the new hook-ups that would be necessary if McKinleyville’s allocated low-income and affordable housing is implemented,” he said.
Elsebusch emphasizes that he is not referring to current approved projects that have not yet been constructed.
“MCSD should not have to plan for all this excessive new development. They should not have to spend millions of dollars to upgrade, and [without the new development] we could get by with the facilities that we have now. Or at least the upgrades would be less costly.”
McKinleyville has done a good job of producing affordable and low-income housing,” he said. “You look around; there’s apartments, million-dollar houses, and everything….”
He says that MCSD should not try to become a planning agency.
“Absolutely, positively not. It would politicize a service district that should stick to doing what it does best, and is doing very well now.
“It wouldn’t be economical and fiscally viable. Where would the money come from? You would need to hire staff and consultants.”
Nonetheless, when asked what the greatest challenge is facing MCSD, he gave the following reply:
“The greatest challenge for MCSD, in my opinion, will be considering additional powers, including planning, to simulate a city since it appears unfeasible to incorporate.”
Elsebusch has many criticisms of the existing board and the decisions that it has made over the past few years. Water rates, he said, should have risen a long time ago since the water department is running a deficit, and he wonders why the board did not make such a decision prior to the election.
He believes that the board is too lax in challenging expenditures. He feels that the new emergency water line attached to the Mad River Bridge is a waste of money, arguing that any earthquake large enough to take out the underwater pipeline would also wreck the bridge.
He does not like spending money on hazardous waste disposal events for the general public. He believes it was inappropriate for MCSD to request membership on the board of the Humboldt County Association of Governments. Above all, he dislikes MCSD’s General Manager Norman Shopay, saying that he lacks the experience to effectively run the agency.
He also has some harsh words about Board President Helen Edwards, and would like to see the chairmanship of the board rotate on a yearly basis.

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MCSD candidate Helen Edwards

(Three candidates are running for two open seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. The candidates include David Elsebusch and incumbents John Corbett and Helen Edwards. The following is part of a series of profiles on the candidates.)

Helen Edwards

By Elaine Weinreb
Press Staff Writer

Incumbent Helen Edwards is hoping that voters will elect her for another four-year term on the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD) Board of Directors.
Edwards, first elected in 2007, is the president of the MCSD board. She is a certified public accountant with a master’s degree in accounting from Sacramento State University and a doctoral degree in public administration from University of Southern California.
Edwards taught accounting and business classes at College of the Redwoods and served as the college’s division chair for vocational programs. She is also on the board of the Humboldt County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
MCSD’s greatest challenge, Edwards said, is finding a way to work more closely with all aspects of county government, including planning, public works, and law enforcement. MCSD needs to have input with the county and with other decision-making agencies, such as HCAOG [the Humboldt County Association of Governments] – or a McKinleyville Advisory Committee.
“We do our planning in response to everyone else’s decision making, but if we can be in on the decision making process at the early end, we can point out drawbacks and inefficiencies that they might not otherwise be aware of,” she said. “Then we’ll be better able to provide appropriate, cost-effective services to our ratepayers.”
Although she wants MCSD to participate in planning with other agencies, she does not think the district should assume direct planning powers itself.
Edwards said that she was disappointed by the county’s recent decision to re-zone several McKinleyville parcels to high density multi-family use, even though the MCSD had advised the county against it.
“I’m very disappointed that the county did not make a greater effort to listen to the citizens,” she said.
“The community group worked very hard to meet the constraints of the county and the demands of the Community Plan, by locating the multi-family units in a central area. The county did not acknowledge the need for doing that.
“Our ratepayers are greatly at risk under this current county brouhaha,” she said.
The problem is basically that most of the planned development is on the east side of the freeway, and the wastewater treatment plant is on the west side of the freeway. Only three sewer pipelines cross under the freeway, and they are not large enough to handle all the wastewater that the new development would bring, according to Edwards.
If the multi-family housing had all been concentrated near the town center, MCSD would have only had to redevelop one of the pipelines. With the present situation, however, all three of the pipelines will be impacted.
“We’re talking about millions of dollars of investment,” Edwards said. “MCSD will need to consider how to meet the financial challenges of this increased area – and minimize the expense to the ratepayers. It’s not a pretty picture.”
The district had previously begun a 20-year-plan, which will now have to be altered in response to the new planned densities.
Over the next ten years, Edwards would like to see a town center concept for McKinleyville developed, and the necessary infrastructure provided. She would also like to see an expanded Parks and Recreation Department, a completed Teen Center, an expanded community garden area, and more facilities for disc golf and bocce ball.
“We need to continue to expand our water storage capabilities, and keep on top of the state requirements for managing our wastewater,” she said.
“I also hope that we’ll be far better prepared in case of an emergency, which we’ve started working for by placing a pipeline over the bridge.”

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MCSD candidate John Corbett

From the Sept. 21, 2011 edition:

(Three candidates are running for two open seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. The candidates include David Elsebusch and incumbents John Corbett and Helen Edwards. The following is part of a series of profiles on the candidates.)

John Corbett

By Elaine Weinreb
Press Staff Writer

John Corbett is seeking his third full term on the board of the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD).
Corbett was appointed to fill a vacant MCSD seat in 2002. In November 2003, he was elected to a full term. In 2007, he was reelected. He hopes to continue that pattern on election day, Nov. 8.
An attorney, Corbett serves as senior legal counsel for the Yurok Tribe, serves on the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and is Vice Chairman of the College of the Redwoods Foundation.
In the past, he was the General Manager of the North Coast Co-op, served on the Coastal Commission, and even served on the Board of Supervisors in 1976.
Among the recent issues Corbett has dealt with as a board member is the county’s rezoning of proeprties for apartments.
The MCSD has been in conflict with the county over a large increase in the number of multi-family units which the Board of Supervisors recently mandated for McKinleyville, re-zoning some residential parcels to allow high-density development to occur in various locations.
The MCSD has stated that it does not have the infrastructure necessary to support this level of development, but despite MCSD’s objections, the Board of Supervisors approved the re-zoning plan on August 23.
Corbett said he feels that the county has backed itself into a corner by not looking at the big picture when it comes to planning issues. He said that there are huge numbers of existing low income houses throughout the county that the planning department has refused to count.
As a result, the county comes up short in the low-income housing department, and its need is artificially inflated.
“The big county planning issue is that one-third to 40% [of homebuilders] don’t use the county planning process. It’s the county’s problem – they don’t enforce their own laws. ….
“They’ve been aware of the problem since the 1970’s and done nothing. The county doesn’t count illegals, except for tax purposes, so they greatly underestimate their own low and moderate income housing.
“They exclude one-acre [or smaller] parcels. But if you look at the market that’s producing low and moderate income housing, that’s where it is. They exclude mother-in-law units. They exclude the illegals, which is probably where most of it is occurring.”
Corbett also believes that Community Development Director Kirk Girard should have taken issue with the state’s housing allocation numbers and with HCAOG’s allocation to the various cities and the county.
“One of the first thing we’ll be addressing with HCAOG is an honest appraisal of what the low and moderate income issues are in the county,” he said.
“The state numbers are off because they were based on a booming economy. They’re in the process of revising them downward because… the market is down,” he commented.
“The county has had a hard time coping with urban planning issues and concepts, because their land use planning applies to rural areas, and the cities handle themselves,” Corbett said.
In the incorporated cities, he says, mother-in-law units are encouraged because they provide housing for low and moderate income families. In unincorporated areas, such as McKinleyville, they are discouraged because of county regulations that may work well in the hinterlands, but are inappropriately applied in suburban settings.
“I’ve constructed around 200 low and moderate income units in Humboldt County,” Corbett said. “I like a mixed income approach rather than large segregated units of the poor and large segregated units of the rich, and I was able to do that in Arcata, Eureka, and Fortuna,” he said.
“The only place I couldn’t build it was [the unincorporated areas of] Humboldt County… most cities are bulldozing such large projects that the county wants to build. So I think there will be a re-appraisal.”
In any event, the densities that the county wants will not happen because of funding issues, Corbett said.
“The district can’t build what they want. We will be ineligible for state funding because the population growth the county wants is greater than what the state Department of Finance thinks is a growth-inducing impact,” he said.
“The Department of Finance will only provide so much for sewer expansion based upon a very conservative set of population statistics. After that, you have to fund that 100% locally, and no other entity has been able to construct new sewage works that way. I don’t think we will and I don’t think the citizens will vote exclusively for low income with no single family housing.”
The best way out of this dilemma for all concerned is for McKinleyville to have a seat at the table in the form of a Citizens Advisory Committee, he said.
“We now have unanimous support for that on both the Board of Supervisors, and the MCSD Board,” he said.
Despite the current conflicts with the County Planning Department, Corbett is optimistic about the abilities of the two agencies to work things out.
“We’re working great with the Sheriff, the County Library, and we’re working pretty good with the Board of Supervisors,” he said. “Public Works – well, there are some flare-ups with Public Works. But every relationship has challenges.
“McKinleyville has built most low and moderate income housing in the county with permits the last ten years. They will do so in the next ten years, with or without the county.
“McKinleyville citizens are very interested in the quality of their life. If you look at the development of the district, it’s been providing a higher quality of life through trails, ball parks, soccer fields, bocce balls, all those recreational activities… We have done a remarkable job of delivering it in an economical fashion.”

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Dry weather through at least the weekend

Raw from the NWS in Eureka:

.SYNOPSIS…HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE REGION WILL BRING NORTHWEST
CALIFORNIA DRY WEATHER THROUGH THE WEEKEND.

&&

.DISCUSSION…11Z FOG SATELLITE SHOWS A MIXED PICTURE, LOW STRATUS
CLOUDS JUST OFF THE REDWOOD COAST, STRATUS/FOG ALONG PARTS OF THE
IMMEDIATE COAST AND IN SOME OF THE INLAND VALLEYS, AND SOME HIGH
CLOUDS MOVING OVER THE NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE CWA. SURFACE
OBSERVATIONS SHOW AREAS OF DENSE FOG ALONG PORTIONS OF THE
IMMEDIATE COAST. THOUGH, NORTHERN LOCATIONS OF THE CWA WHERE THE
HIGH CLOUDS ARE MOVING OVER ARE SEEING LITTLE, IF ANY FOG FORMING.
CONDITIONS WILL IMPROVE THIS MORNING. A RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE
OVER THE REGION WILL BRING SLIGHTLY WARMER TEMPERATURES, DRY
CONDITIONS, AND FAIR SKIES TO THE AREA THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
FRIDAY. TONIGHT THE SAME LOCATIONS CAN EXPECT SIMILAR STRATUS/FOG
CONDITIONS. THOUGH, THURSDAY NIGHT THE STRATUS/FOG DEVELOPMENT IS
NOT EXPECTED TO BE AS BAD DUE TO THE RIDGE WEAKENING SLIGHTLY.
MODELS STILL SHOW A LARGE TROUGH FORMING OVER THE PACIFIC AND
NUDGING TOWARDS THE WEST COAST BY THIS WEEKEND. THIS WILL COOL
TEMPERATURES A FEW DEGREES. AT THE SAME TIME A CUT OFF LOW WILL BE
FORMING WITHIN THIS TROUGH AND HOVERING OFF THE COAST OF SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA. BY ABOUT TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK THE MODELS BRING THIS
LOW OVER CALIFORNIA. THE UNCERTAINTY REMAINS VERY HIGH AND THERE`S
NOT MUCH MOISTURE TO WORK WITH. KEPT CLIMO POPS IN THE FORECAST
FOR TUESDAY ONWARD. STROZ

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