As many of you may have already guessed, the upcoming electoral races for the Humboldt Harbor Commission has The Consequential absolutely licking its chops. With such a crowded ballot, we just cannot wait for the mud-slinging to begin.
Not to be left out, THC will be sure to expose some of the Harbor District’s inner rumblings of nefarious corruption and severe conflicts of interest.
But before we dive into some of our reports on individuals in the race – some of whom currently sit on the Harbor Commission – we think it’s important to point out that the Harbor District is, indeed, in need of an infusion of new blood. And, believe it or not, we think there’s actually some really good candidates out there.
Let’s take a trip way back to the end of July, in which there was some discussion on THC’s pages about public entities buying up land in direct competition with private interests. In a nutshell, we think that’s a bunch of B.S. So did many of our readers (including that gosh darn commenting genius Ken D, who took home the Top Comment award for July.)
Well, the Harbor District is one of the first offenders in this category, if you ask us. For example, take a look at the agenda from the Planning Commission’s latest meeting in August. The first item up for discussion that day was “A General Plan Conformance Review and Coastal Development Permit for the acquisition of a parcel by the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District.” Okay, but what does that mean? It means that the Harbor District wants to buy more of the pulp mill, and the dock associated with it.
Seeing as how that’s some prime industrial land, and the Harbor has potential to be a major saving grace for our County’s economy if utilized correctly, we’d say that’s a pretty big no-no for the Harbor District. Considering, you know, there has been little significant improvement in the Harbor for quite some time, the Commission needs to pull their heads out and allow for some meaningful commercial development or interests to occur in the area.
But it gets worse, kids. Know why? Per the agenda, “A land acquisition by a public agency may be exempt from the Subdivision Map Act Parcel Map requirement per Government Code Section 66428.”
That means the Harbor Commission wanted to buy this parcel while circumventing the normal procedures that private interests would have to go through. Unfortunately, the recording of the meeting has yet to be posted online, so we can’t yet provide you with a link to see members of the Harbor District bitching and moaning because the Planning Commission (in a rare stroke of common sense for a bunch of rich assholes and industrial shills) will require them to perform a California Environmental Quality report prior to granting them a permit.
Want to know what really sucks about that? Again, from the agenda, “The Harbor District is the lead agency under CEQA and has filed a Notice of Exemption.” Meaning that the Harbor District would be the agency that not only created a CEQA report, but also the one that determined its validity. And instead of just going through the motions, they filed to make themselves exempt from doing any of it. Hot damn, if that isn’t some blatant, stinking bullshit!
So now, the question is: do we really want people (a.k.a. the currently sitting Harbor Commission) that have already demonstrated a penchant for not only competing directly with private business interests, but also for giving a nice, big “F*** You!” to the environmental requirements of development, making the decisions that will impact one of Humboldt’s most treasured resources? From an environmental and economic point of view, the Harbor is indispensable.
Let’s hope that the upcoming elections will serve to put people in place who have respect for the Harbor and the needs of our County, rather than furthering their own business interests. (We’re looking at you, Greg Dale.)