http://www.eurekareporter.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?ArticleID=31020 in The Eureka Reporter
The kayak and bicycle trail activists, bolstered by the recent win of their star anti-development Harbor District commissioner, Pat Higgins, and lawsuit-driven Baykeepers are wasting no time in trying to foist their anti-economic development plan for Humboldt Bay onto the rest of us.
I am 63 and survive on Social Security. There are many of us in Humboldt County who live on fixed incomes or have low-paying jobs and for whom shopping for the cheapest price is a necessity for survival. We don’t run businesses that survive on the local marijuana economy, government grants, student spending or on lawsuits against corporations.
But the community activists whose own economies are supported by just such financing seem to be doing their best to destroy any chance of economic upgrading of our lives. Plovers and mud hens seem much more important to them than us.
Without adequate incomes and community services, people really do suffer. Some even die unnecessarily because there’s nobody there for them, and the community has no surplus capital to invest in needed services for those who are elderly or who for whatever reasons are unable to pay the terrible costs of medical help.
In other California counties that are economically prosperous and not consistently at the low end of the scale, as is Humboldt County, community services are adequately funded and the overall quality of life is improved. We live in a beautiful county, but our overall quality of life here is not anything to brag about healthwise or community relationshipwise. We live in a social war zone.
We have a highly organized and vocal activist community that seems bent on shutting down as much industrial economic activity in Humboldt County as possible. They’ve managed to get another one of themselves into office and we can expect more social warfare, as was the case with their man they got into the District Attorney’s Office.
We must remember that these activists earn their incomes by attacking resource industries and industrial development, so we cannot ever expect cooperative compromise, as keeping open war keeps the funding coming for activist lawsuit organizations. Actual environmental conflict resolution destroys their reason for being, so they are never sources for the type of information we all need — unbiased information.
Take, for instance, Pete Nichols’ recent hit piece on Humboldt Bay and railway development. He uses fear, citing the recent San Francisco container ship oil spill as grounds for never developing our port to receive container ships.
Nichols has Baykeepers’ lawsuit agenda uppermost in mind and never mentions such commonsense solutions as only allowing small container ships to come into Humboldt Bay. And he doesn’t tell you about the reasons they’ve now found for why that container ship hit the bridge support in San Francisco — it seems their port communications systems have been very inadequate for a long time, simple things like ship captains being unable to understand port guidance instructions.
This isn’t to say that ports can be made free of human error and accidents, but it is to say that we must weigh all the issues involved instead of letting ourselves be stampeded by those whose own jobs depend on creating that stampede against port and rail development.
Humboldt Bay as a successful shipping port will no doubt have its share of occasional accidents, but like major ports all over the world, the overall economic activity so greatly overwhelms the relatively minor losses due to accidents that only economic Luddites or those whose jobs depend on blocking port development would call for shutting all port shipping down.
Did San Francisco stop shipping or fishing or will it? No, of course. It will clean up the mess and keep going. Do we let our major storms shut Humboldt County down? No, we clean up the mess and keep going.
We need to watch out for our community and our families and our future. Port development and a railway line can be done and done in such a way that all environmental protection and economics issues are resolved. Let’s put our community heads together and figure out ways of avoiding current shipping problems, e.g., demanding a switch to non-polluting engines of any ships coming into Humboldt Bay. Oil burners are on their way out.
Instead of fighting against the needs of the majority of Humboldt County residents, I urge activists to turn their attention instead to constructive activity such as organizing students and local civil engineers and inventors to solve port development problems instead of throwing up their hands and saying it can’t be done and, therefore, we are going to stop you from even trying.
(Stephen Lewis is a resident of Rio Dell.)
I figure since Ken Miller is finally listening, maybe he'll see the light on this one a little earlier. In Miller's own Op-Ed in the McKinleyville Press he confirms what Stephen has been saying for years. Now we have Miller outlawing grow houses (though I doubt he will give up writing 215 cards)... and advocating for logging... what could be next? Ask Gallegos to step down?