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Monthly Archives: April 2012
The Mighty McK Press! The greatest rag between the Mad River and Del Norte County line! (And this week’s front page.).
Sometimes people ask why we don’t just put our newspaper on the internet so people can read it for free. Why don’t we just give the thing away? Our answer is that we’ll do so the day that restaurants, liquor stores, hardware stores and grocery stores give their products away for free too. Then we wouldn’t need all those checks that subscribers mail in each year, nor the quarters that people put in our newspaper racks.
Until that day, we’ll have to charge a nominal fee. If you buy the newspaper from one of these locations, it’s only 50 cents an issue. If you subscribe by clicking here, you’ll get the paper in the mail each week. That’s only 48 cents a week for in-county subscribers. That’s cheap. Really cheap. Trust me, we’re not getting rich off these subscriptions, but they certainly help keep the electricity on.
The McKinleyville Press is a little community rag, but it’s got stuff that nobody else has. We’re the only newspaper with regular, ongoing coverage of the McKinleyville Community Services District, Trinidad City Council, McKinleyville Union School District and Northern Humboldt Union School District. We also feature articles about all sorts of news events, people and community happenings. We have a reporter who covers the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission. We’re the only paper that’s had ongoing, regular coverage of the General Plan Update. The paper is filled with one scoop after another. You won’t read this stuff anywhere else.
Basically, we’re an old fashioned newspaper. We’re kind of traditional. Sometimes we print stuff that probably bores the hell our or readers, like stories about budgets, general plans and sewer lines. We do that because we think people need to know this stuff. They need to know what their local government is doing. Otherwise our communities could turn out like the City of Bell.
We also do our best to print juicier stories about crimes, scandals, etc. Sometimes we get accused of being “yellow,” but not as much as we would like too. This week we have a story about hookers and johns. We’ve got a drug bust. We’ve got all sorts of stuff. Check it out!
Here’s the front page. Make sure you click here and subscribe to the McKinleyville Press. We need you!
Our Spring Subscription Drive is underway! The goal is to get as many new subscribers as possible. Why are we having a subscription drive? Frankly, we need the money.
As almost any newspaper publisher will tell you, advertising is down. Way down. This makes it challenging when it comes time to pay our reporters, pay our printing bill and cover all our other expenses.
One way to help offset the decline in ad revenue is to get more subscribers. You can click here and get the McKinleyville Press delivered to your home every Wednesday for only $25 a year (in county.) That’s only 48 cents a week!
Please join us and become a subscriber today. By doing so you’ll be supporting true community journalism.
Also, we’d like you to “like” us on Facebook. The McKinleyville Press Facebook page is a good place for us to provide you with news updates and other information.
Lastly, the McKinleyville Little League season is starting soon. We need some businesses to help sponsor the coverage. Sponsorships begin at $20 per week. Not only will your business help highlight our local sporting youth, but you’ll get some awesome advertising out of the deal. Contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or call 839-0795.
From the April 2, 2012 edition. Opinion page
If you read some of the local blogs last week, you might have gotten the impression that democracy and free speech rights have come to an end in Humboldt County.
After the Board of Supervisors approved an urgency ordinance March 27 regulating activities in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse, some folks were describing the new rules as draconian, and tossing out words like “fascism” and “Banana Republic.”
But, in reality, these claims are a bunch of hyperbolic nonsense.
Here’s the deal now at the Humboldt County Courthouse: You can protest on the courthouse grounds, without a permit, for 15.5 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long. You can be on the courthouse grounds starting at 6 a.m. But at 9:30 p.m., you’ll need to walk two or three feet over to the sidewalk.
After you’ve walked over to the sidewalk, you can continue to protest all night long. At 6 a.m., you can walk a couple feet over back to the courthouse property and continue your protest. So basically you can protest on or near the courthouse 24/7.
People on the blogs have described this as the “Death of Democracy” the “End of the First Amendment,” etc. What they seem to be missing is that the protest can basically continue 24/7, with only the minor inconvenience of moving a couple feet.
The Occupy Protesters at the courthouse quickly adapted to the new rules. On Friday afternoon all their belongings were piled high on the sidewalk and covered with tarps. Many of them were sitting in chairs on the sidewalk, even though at that time of the day they were free to be on courthouse property.
Basically, the protest continues unabated.
Compare this to the protest rules at the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. There you need a permit to hold a protest any time of the day. If you protest without a permit, you could be arrested.
But at the courthouse you can carry signs. You can wave banners. You can give speeches and hand out leaflets. But you’re not allowed to affix signs to the fence or to the walls of the courthouse (that’s fascism?).
On Wednesday the protesters were informed of this. One woman engaged in some civil disobedience and put up a banner on the fence, despite the warnings. She was then warned to take it down. She refused. She was arrested, transported around the block to the jail, then released.
One blog compared this to a “Banana Republic.” By chance, I read this blog posting after reading a chapter in the book “Bananas: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World.” Trust me, banana republics don’t give people warnings, allow them to protest 24/7, and then arrest and release violators unharmed. Actually, if this was a banana republic, we wouldn’t even know that someone had been arrested.
The Occupy protest at the Courthouse began with good intentions. However, it’s devolved into a nuisance, with people crapping on the streets and pissing in corners. People entering and exiting the courthouse are verbally harassed.
Most of the true progressives working for social and economic justice have fled the scene at the courthouse. They don’t want anything to do with that mess – and understandably so.
Why waste time taunting police officers, fighting over cardboard signs, and calling fellow community members fascists and Nazis?
As for the county’s new ordinance, it doesn’t appear that it will do much to alleviate problems at the courthouse. On the other hand, it also doesn’t infringe on the protesters’ rights, which need to be preserved regardless of the ugly circus that the courthouse protest has devolved into.
From the April 4, 2012 edition
By Jack Durham
Press Staff Writer
There was a time when the McKinleyville Community Services District pretty much kept to itself and narrowly focused on its core powers – sewer, water, streetlights, park and recreation.
But over the last year or two, the MCSD has branched out. It actively comments on planning issues and is seeking greater influence with other agencies.
As reported in the Press last month, the MCSD is asking for a seat on the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), which is a key player in transportation planning in the county. The MCSD has also lobbied for the creation of a McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC), which will soon be brought before the Board of Supervisors.
At its meeting tonight, April 4, the MCSD will take more actions in an effort to expand its influence.
The board is scheduled to vote to have one of its own members become a member of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
According to LAFCO’s own website, the commission “is responsible for coordinating, directing, and overseeing logical and timely changes to local governmental boundaries, including annexation and detachment of territory, incorporation of cities, formation of special districts, and consolidation, merger, and dissolution of districts. In addition, LAFCO is charged with reviewing ways to reorganize, simplify, and streamline governmental structure.”
At its meeting on Feb. 1, the MCSD board voted to nominate MCSD Director Helen Edwards to LAFCO. Edwards and two other candidates – Jeff Pauli of the Humboldt No. 1 Fire District and J. Bruce Rupp of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District – are vying for a single seat on LAFCO.
At tonight’s meeting the MCSD is scheduled to cast its vote for Edwards in the three-way race. Ballots must be returned by May 4. Whoever gets the most votes from all the local agencies that participate in the election will be seated on LAFCO on May 16.
Also at tonight’s meeting, the board is scheduled to weigh in on the selection of a new interim director for the Humboldt County Planning Department.
The Board of Supervisors recently split the county’s Community Development Department into two departments – planning and building, and economic development and natural resources.
The Kirk Girard, who was the controversial director of the Community Development Department, was made the director of economic development and natural resources.
The county is now looking for an interim director for the planning and building, the department which handles permits for McKinleyville, which is unincorporated and doesn’t have planning powers.
MCSD Manager Norman Shopay drafted a letter that would be sent to the county and to all the supervisors. It states:
“In light of the recent rejection of Humboldt County’s Housing Element by the state Housing and Community Development Department and the ongoing CEQA litigation which has impacted the proposed Multi-Family Zoning Project, the upcoming appointment of an Interim Planning Director presents the Board of Supervisors with a unique opportunity to address these issues and ‘reset’ its relationships with state government and local communities.
“An effective candidate would be an outsider who brings a fresh perspective to the challenges confronting the Planning Department. They would have extensive “real world” experience running a planning agency, but they would also understand and appreciate the North Coast and its diverse communities, while critically analyzing the issues facing our region.
“We believe there is a rich pool of candidates living locally who would serve the county well. We would also urge the board to include retired administrators in that pool, many of whom are widely respected, and whose independence and reputation would go a long way toward restoring credibility to the Humboldt County planning process and lifting the legal and regulatory cloud that hangs over the Planning Department today. We thank you for your consideration.”
At the end of tonight’s meeting, the board is scheduled to go into closed session to discuss its lawsuit against the county of Humboldt over its effort to rezone properties in McKinleyville for high density development.
Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Road, McKinleyville.
Our spring subscription drive is underway! Click here and become a subscriber.
From the March 28, 2012 edition
By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer
The U.S. Navy is seeking to renew its permitting for training and testing activities off the West Coast as environmental groups advance a lawsuit challenging its current permit.
Navy officials and specialists were at Eureka’s Wharfinger building on March 22 for an open house event that’s part of the scoping process for a new five-year permit’s environmental review.
In December of 2010, a large audience gathered in the same place to oppose the Navy’s current permit, which ends in 2015. Last week’s event marks an early phase in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for another five-year permit to conduct sonar, weapons and tactical training and to test new systems in an off-coast area that stretches from Point Arena to Puget Sound in Washington.
Several local environmentalists were at last week’s open house, including Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has joined other groups in a federal court lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service’s current permitting of the Navy’s offshore activities.
“The Navy likes to point to very low numbers of mortality proven to be linked to the use of sonar in particular,” Galvin said. The Navy is “grossly understating” the impacts of its activities, he continued, particularly on marine mammals.
He said continued use of active sonar will result in high numbers of marine mammal deaths and is known to be associated with beaching and strandings. Galvin questioned the effectiveness of using lookouts and passive sonar to detect the presence of marine mammals such as whales in training areas.
“Surely we can come up with better mechanisms for detecting marine mammals than the military asserting that all it can do is keep and ear out and keep an eye out,” said Galvin.
Roy Sokolowski, a Navy acoustic and operations specialist, said the current permit allows 108 hours of mid-frequency active sonar use and that amount isn’t expected to be increased in the upcoming permit. He said that’s a minimal amount compared to Southern California, where 1,977 hours of mid-frequency sonar have been authorized.
The use of high-frequency sonar training in Puget Sound will be introduced as a part of new homeland security exercises, however. Sokolowski said the use of explosives in the training area ranges from gun rounds and small arms fire to bombs but “very little” of it is done.
Most of the training and testing will happen off the Washington coast. Offshore areas of Humboldt County and Northern California will mostly be used as north-south transit routes, said Sokolowski.
Asked about the impacts of active sonar, Dr. Joy Lapseritis, a Navy biologist, said they can be controlled. “There is no evidence to suggest that there are high numbers of mortalities associated with sonar events and sonar is not directly responsible for strandings of marine mammals,” she continued.
Lapseritis said that if a marine mammal is detected within 1,000 yards of a sonar source, it’s turned down and “we are reducing the potential for a permanent physical effect on a marine mammal to pretty much zero.”
Most of the impacts to marine mammals will be behavioral or temporary, Lapseritis added, and “a marine mammal would have to be very, very close to a sonar source – close enough to get struck – before it would have a permanent effect on its hearing.” John Mosher, the training area’s project manager, said the current permit has included one cycle of reporting on impacts to the National Marine Fisheries Service, from Nov. 2010 to May 2011. During that time, impacts were “far below” what had been estimated because the extent of training was much less than what had been permitted, he continued. Mosher said commentary fielded at the open house ranged from concerns about marine mammal impacts and impacts to the marine environment to questions on how commercial fisheries could be affected.
He said people also commented on the pollution caused by fired off weapons rounds and explosives. “Our policy is to minimize it,” Mosher said, adding that the Navy is developing “more environmentally safe materials and biodegradable materials.”
An initial public comment period ends on April 27. A draft EIS is expected to be released in the fall of 2013 and a forum on it will be held in Eureka.