Saturday, January 24, 2009

The glass is half full

After people laughed at Ken Miller's alarmist Letter to the Editor in The Journal "if you fill the potholes trouble will follow," Mr. 'Mad River Bluffs funds beneficiary - yes, that's Ken's house that gets saved by this "boondoggle"' Miller tried a different tach in a My Word in the TS; same theme, same scare tactics couched in Lakoffian terms... a kinder-gentler fear-monger. You ALMOST have to feel sorry for Ken.

Bryan Plumley's response in today's TS points out some of the flaws in Miller's thinking.

Isolationism is equal to suffocation The “Imagine Humboldt” piece by Ken Miller has significant misinformation and flawed economic biases that cannot be left unchecked.

1) No one is proposing that Richardson Grove become a thoroughfare. His choice of words like thoroughfare and widening are designed specifically to mislead and inflame. The project at Richardson Grove is, in fact, the absolute minimum required to facilitate the use of newer, more efficient, industry standard trucks while preserving the experience of the grove. Take a look at the plans and you will see that, for the most part, the road is actually being made curvier.

2) In nature, geographic isolation fosters unique, often bizarre evolutionary changes that are the result of a shallow genetic pool that increases the chances of mutations due to interbreeding and lack of competition that allows unproductive mutations to survive. This is known as the “Island Effect.” Indeed the results can be spectacular. Unfortunately such communities, as they become more specialized, also become more susceptible to even small changes in their environment. Do we really want to become weaker in a world that is more dynamic and competitive than ever?

3) From an economic standpoint, isolationism equals suffocation. Few communities can survive economically as an enclave. Those that do, are places like Carmel, whose residents derive their immense wealth from elsewhere and create economic barriers specifically to keep the rest of us out.

I, for one, believe that this incredible area should not become another scenic preserve accessible only to the elite.
Such a scenario is actually pretty unlikely, however. Reality shows that in the vast majority of cases, nations, states, regions and communities that have isolated themselves have become impoverished, backward and poor stewards of their natural resources. Look at places like China or India. Self-imposed isolation led to poverty, desperation and the over exploitation of their natural resources. Exactly the opposite of what their leaders originally intended.

Ironically, in our own experience, it was these very transportation improvements that made Humboldt County accessible and threw open the shades to expose to the world the environmental destruction that was happening behind the Redwood Curtain.

There is an alternative however. We can replace fear with hope. There are plenty of examples around the world of communities who have prospered by creating unique and special places, not through isolation, but through good planning and high development standards. Such standards, when implemented fairly and transparently, foster innovation, attract talent, export ideas instead of natural resources and create opportunity for everyone along the economic spectrum. While Dr. Miller sees transportation links as a pathway the world will use to change us for the worse, I see them as a path for us to change the world for the better.

Where are Ken's legions of letter writers? I think they have gotten tired. Weary of his never-ending battle. Moving on with their lives. Leaving him to preach, exposed in all his hypocrisy, unable to hide behind others. 'Bout time.

AND, speaking of LAUGHING! ◼ The Mirror with Many thanks from Ken Miller

Update: Apparently a letter of Thanks from the McKinleyville Bluff residents was read into the record at yesterday's BOS meeting (1/27), not by any of the residents, and not by Ken Miller.

Here's a report on the up to $1.5 million dollar project: Mad River bluffs stabilized
The saga began in late December 2005 and early January 2006 when virulent storms sent 13 feet of the Mad River bluffs into the river along a quarter-mile stretch at the west end of School Road. The storm-related retreat took the bluff within 15 feet of one Verwer Drive home.

The Natural Resources Conservation District subsequently authorized funding for the bluff stabilization project. However, those involved struggled with liability issues -- whether legal responsibility would fall to the homeowners or the county or McKinleyville Community Services District.

The county had agreed to act as the project's administrator and was seeking indemnification from the owners of the potentially affected property. That was eventually established and the private property owners contributed $100,000 for parts of the project that were not grant-funded.


  1. Boy the nuts are all worked up on this over at Katlin Cobbs heraldo blog. You folks ought to be very afraid of these folks.

  2. Just keep a fresh depends handy and your tears under control - nobody needs to know. Here, have a Kleenex for your nose.

    Bryan Plumley's response, though mostly flawed, reveals an appreciation and understanding of evolution. The shallow gene pool that had existed in Humboldt County for so many generations resulted in pairing genes that had made high emotions and a weakness for alcohol so prevalent in the county's multi-generational families. Fortunately that trend has begun to reverse as outsiders have begun to crowd into the county. Newbies are strengthening the gene pool. Triumph over an evolutionary dead end is heralded daily in the lusty squall of life renewed.

    Ah, Humboldt County, where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average.

  3. Regarding Richardson Grove and trucks:
    Anon,R.mous had all the details on the trucks, Kym - here are some of his links:

    Word of the day: OFFTRACKING with diagrams of turning radius...Richardson's Groves low-speed causes more offtracking problems, one because of it's tight corners, and two, it's low speed. What it means it the corners need to be wider, and gentler so you don't have people sharing the same lane. You ever see the sign on the back of the trailers that say "Wide Right Turns?" That's offtracking.

    Links about STAA trucks and Richardson Grove, a year in review.
    GCWR and Oh, only one problem with the story though, the new trucks have new engines which already meet the new standard (2007) there was a major change at that time, the next major step is in 2010, where the big trucks will most likely be cleaner then your Pruis...
    STAA trucks mean more protection for the drivers, legally.

    Bigger STAA trucks mean less truck traffic.
    Most of the items getting trucked in and out of Humboldt County are under 80,000 pound gross. Sun Valley would have a hard time stuffing enough flowers in the back of a trailer to try and overload a truck. They would, and have said, that they could use 160 trucks less per year with the longer trucks. Why is this? It's because they are using more space than weight. I'd be surprised if the trucks leaving Sun Valley had more than 10,000 pounds in the box.

    Anon.r.mous' helpful picture guide to STAA trucks.

  4. STAA trucks already can hit Humboldt county, just can’t go though Richardson’s Grove.

  5. Yeah, please look at places like China and India. China has $12 trillion in its bank. When we had trade policies that benefited American jobs with tariffs on imported goods we were not isolated from the rest of the world. Isolationism is neo-conservative right wing Chicago School propaganda that serves only a small segment of our society. Every country that we have forced that economic model on has experienced privatization of government assets, deregulation of business practices, cuts to the tax rate and elimination of social spending. That system didn't work so well for the middle class in South America, and its enforcement on Iraq has been and continues to have brutal consequences on the average Iraqi citizen.

    What started as an American financed brutal economic experiment in Chile brought neo-liberal change in Chile that put Pinochet in power. Globalizing that failed experiment has isolated the American middle class from good jobs, cut spending on social programs, auctioned off our country's assets and has privatized ever larger portions of our government's responsibility to its people. The question I want an answer to is whether our Government can reverse direction, or will we slide into such a devastating economic depression that corporatism will finish the job that it set out to do.

    Chile, since the seventies is the neoconservative free trade economy nightmare that enjoys a 45% unemployment rate with few opportunities for education and medicine. It is a deregulated business model that corporate dreams are made of.

  6. What?!!!?

    Can you say that again in English... and without the 'we forced this on other countries' crap?

    God. This is amazing. we pay for public education and this is what we get.

  7. Financed by American corporations, American banks and the Ford foundation. The money often funneled through the CIA. Nothing wrong with my education. I am not surprised that you are not fond of public funded schools. But your uncle Milton Friedman was Pinochet's economic adviser and before that he trained the economists that helped Pinochet overthrow Chile's Democratic Government in a coup that killed its popular president and imprisoned his advisers and then went on a rampage of murder and torture.

    Yup, force is what it was and it was sanctioned by Dr. Henry Kissinger. The CIA also funded torture research that destroyed the lives of many people by having them subjected too LSD, Electro-shock and sensory deprivation that regressed normal people to child-like states who were never able to function as responsible adults again. Of the 247 prisoners we have at Guantanamo about 50 of them have been tortured to the point where they will never be able to function on their own. No doubt that will appeal to your warped sense of patriotism. Water-boarding never bothered you either. How do you like our wonderful economy?

  8. You are a educated DUMB ASS, yes our Chile policy was bad,but no one at Guantanamo will be unable to take up arms against when and if they are released. No I don't like the blow job Barnie Franks economy.

  9. Our foreign policy that put Pinochet in power has been repeated in dozens of countries through coerced agreements between those countries' leaders and World financial institutions controlled by our Government. When popularly elected leaders won't accept a bribe, stronger forms of coercion are used. Barney Franks didn't create this recession. If a deep depression follows watch for further deregulation, more bail-outs funded by tax-payers and the loss of more of your freedoms as the government cracks down on social unrest. Job Creation through funding public works programs to build and repair infrastructure and through government incentives will encourage investment in clean energy jobs and signal a reversal in the direction that this economy has been moving. As will restrictions imposed on free trade and stronger regulations that govern Wall Street. Nationalizing the mining industry would put new meaning to the phrase 'Invest in America'. Why the hell bail out banks and Corporations if we can't share in the wealth. Nationalize them and put their CEOs to work making money instead of stealing it from the rest of us. You don't have to be an educated asshole to figure this out. But, you have to be better informed than you are.

  10. Not just a DUMB ASS but an IDIOT too. Singularly Barnie has as much to do with this economy as anyone. His dip shit pals and the new Prez ,all of whom know squat about biz will be the reason we will get in even deeper than we are now. Bush doesn't get a pass but you don't know history as well as you think. Public works programs will be helpful but as in FDR's time they won't fix the problem. Of course that doesn't fit your liberal bias.

  11. Oh yeah?!

    Your family lived in Humboldt County long?

  12. About a thousand generations,give or take a few. You got a problem with that? So I know a bit about poor government policies and phony good-gooder asses like you.

  13. What do you know about genetics?

  14. Hey Rose, I got moderated off of Heraldo. Evidently H didn't like the fact that I referred to him as "Cobb and Bellknap."

    This so very funny.


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