Jonathan Speaker: Am I Being Redundant? – April 11, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

The recent mudslide in southern Humboldt once again illustrates how remote and wild of an area we all live in and enjoy. With swift action, Mother Nature shut off one of our main supply routes to the outside world, which was the most obvious, the other thing it did was to bring back to the attention of some of us, how precarious our internet connection is to the outside world. “I anticipate the loss of fiber connectivity within the next few days” was the summation of a letter circulating in the Humboldt County Office of Education. That is unacceptable in 2011.

We as a community have one fiber line in, after all these years, and all the promises from our politicians and the “economic development” crowd. As a private citizen I have done all that I can think of to do. I even went so far as to participate in a meeting with Mark Lovelace and arch-conservative Rob Arkley early last year, that included PG&E, Suddenlink and IPNetworks which resulted in not a coalition as I had hoped, but splintered ideas and partisanship from both sides. “You need to have a supervisor that understands your needs as a small business,” I was told, so I got behind a supervisor candidate that promised to focus on a second fiber-optic line- “Priority project!” Mr. Lovelace stated in his platform, well where is that priority now, two years later?

As a small business co-owner that is in the technology services field, we are green jobs. We support 20 local families, and we rely on an internet connection to the outside world in order to live and work here in Humboldt. Besides the typical hurdles that any small company faces, payroll and taxes, we have the added benefit of trying to be an example for the technology sector succeeding in the county, to show others that Humboldt can be a place for green and midsized technology companies to thrive and grow, and we are doing it with one hand tied behind our backs.

I would appreciate our local representatives doing more than hand shaking and talking about process, I would appreciate some concrete actions and attention to the matter at hand, something that we are still forced to discuss even though the 1990s were more than a decade ago, when most Americans were having this discussion.

Do you think that Mr. Lovelace doesn’t talk to Wes Chesbro, and to Congressman Thompson? Do you think he can’t organize a coalition to focus on this subject and get the appropriate people to buy in? If not, you probably shouldn’t vote for him in the next election. The Third District could really use a leader, and someone who can focus on priorities of economic infrastructure to help drag us out of being a Third World county. Redundant fiber will do it, and you can quote me.

Ultimately, Lovelace is a small player in the scheme of getting redundant fiber, and I realize the world does not rest on his shoulders. However, I am interested in holding him to the promises he made directly and more importantly, I am asking him to lead.

Jonathan Speaker, local small business co-owner in beautiful Bayside, Arcata homeowner and resident of Trinidad.


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