Planning Commission gets slapped down, Planning Department can’t take the heat

For tomorrow’s upcoming Board of Supervisor’s meeting, held in the afternoon only, there are two exciting things that caught THC’s eyes. And both of them have to do with the beleaguered and apparently piss-poor powers behind Planning in Humboldt.

First on the docket is the Supervisors’ letter to those naughty Planning Commissioners – who went so far off the grid of their prescribed duties that they had to be reined in – telling them they have to ask permission to address items rather than doing whatever the hell they please.

letter captureWe think this is frickin’ awesome! Not because it’s a good policy: it decidedly is not, as Humboldt is perhaps the only California county to have such a requirement, plus all the bureaucratic heart-ache it’ll cause for the already “overworked” planning department. We think it’s awesome because the Planning Commission finally is getting some blow-back from all the shenanigans they’ve pulled. You can read the entire letter, wherein Mark Lovelace gets to scold the Commission like the big mean mommy that he is, here: Letter of Clarification to the Planning Commission

Next up is a request from Rob Wall, interim planning director, begging the board for yet another full-time planner to be dedicated solely to processing marijuana permits and the like. The budget allocation request is extremely funny for many reasons. First, get a clue, Planning staff. It’s called work!

The second hilarious aspect of the request by Mr. Wall is the part where he says: “Fees related to these anticipated permits are expected to generate revenue to offset the additional staffing expense which will occur as the result of approving the
additional staffing allocation.” Meaning that Mr. Wall believes in his fairy-tale world that enough people are going to sign up for the cannabis permits that they’ll pay for an additional highly-paid staff member – on top of what they’re already supposed to pay for.

Last THC heard, how many actual permits had been “worked on” by staff? 44? How many have been approved? How many more are in the pipeline? The answer is: not nearly frickin’ to meet the “expected” revenue numbers used to justify not only a new staff member, but an entirely new division in the Planning department devoted solely to marijuana. The salary range for the proposed new position would net the employee roughly between $63,000-$82,000 per year, not including benefits or pension obligations. (Salary schedule for all county employees can be seen here: Humboldt County Salary Range Schedule (88 pages). The salary range referenced above is 466.)

We did a little digging and looked at the size of the Planning Department from 10 years ago as reflected in the 2005-2006 Budget for personnel allocation. At that time, there were 24 people in the Planning Department. Fast forward to 2015-2016, and there are 43.23 employees. (They aren’t employing gnomes: the .23 is due to part-time.) Of course, that would be 44.23 with the additional planner to be requested by Wall.

Now let’s take a look at a chart we showed you just a couple weeks ago about how many permits for buildings were being issued in 2006 as compared to more recent years.

permitsyearWhat?? The 2006 total of permits for residential units is nearly double the number for the most recent year data is available? Looks like the amount of work to be done has shrank significantly – while the number of people working in the planning department has nearly doubled. And still they need more people? Yikes. Granted, there may have been a slight increase in the number of such permits issued in the last two years. But that is a very, very generous assumption to make for the benefit of planning staff.

Quite simply, the planning department is showing how inept and ineffective they are from the top of the chain down. This makes the past battles between the Planning Commission and Planning staff all the more hilarious in hindsight – a couple of county idiots slapping the hell out of each other. Good grief.

In a recent Supervisors meeting, when the County Planning Staff originally bitched and moaned about how much hard hard work they had to (they compared it to the military, remember?), Rex Bohn-head had a bright idea for once – what about privatizing the planning department. We’re all for it. Now if only we could do that with the Planning Commission too, so those asshats would be accountable for their actions. At THC, we dare to dream.

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15 Responses to Planning Commission gets slapped down, Planning Department can’t take the heat

  1. Harwood says:

    The rats are getting the most bread before there is no more!


  2. TrevDawgs weed farm says:

    Bohn is also in favor of privatizing breast feeding, hoping that he can pay for the privilege


  3. John Chiv says:

    How is privatizing the Planning Department or the Planning Commission going to help?

    All it would do is lessen accountabilty and give a select few more power to screw anyone else from getting ahead and making money. I am not for more government. In fact, I think there should be no advisory committees or Commissions.

    The Planning Commission does need to be reigned in, in fact more scrutiny on them, the better. THC likes to break stories, so lets see some reporting on the current Humboldt County Planing Commission and I don’t mean just on Noah Levy.


  4. John Chiv says:

    Thanks THC.


  5. Arcatan says:

    The Supes are way out of line on this one. The Commission is well within reasonable bounds to take up the issues they have. The real problem is that the board is spineless and the Commission actually wants to do the public’s work. The County would be better off were the two to exchange places. I for one am totally fed up with officials who are afraid of those who work for them.


    • Welcome back Arcatan!

      We’re inclined to agree that the current batch of Supervisors aren’t the most altruistic of individuals. As a matter of fact as best as we can tell all they are interested in is reelection and they will do whatever it takes to accomplish that end. Since we haven’t followed the Planning Commission near as closely we would be interested to hear why you think any of them are any better? There could be a sixer of Mikes Hard Lemonade in it for you for any enlightenment.


      • Arcatan says:

        It’s my understanding that this isn’t about reelection but very much about money and protecting the financial interests of a Commissioner and Supervisor. Follow the money.


      • Henchman Of Justice says:

        Nothing an “environmental ethics course” could not cure.

        Professor Harger, CR.


    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      Here is how the shit rolls down the tree works:

      1) Dupes have “their want list”.

      2) Planning Staff has its own agenda irrelative of who or how many dupes serve during any given term cycle.

      3) Staff prepares itself to “work” on both 1&2’s behalf.

      4) Planning Commission does ONLY what Planning Staff sets up, agendizes.

      If Planning Commission is going off on its own beaten path creating a separate process, then the planning commission is violating the brown act before a meeting is ever noticed, organized, acted upon an item made actionable, etc…..if you really think about it logically.


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