Letters to the Editor – May 16, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Artists were ripped off

If I were to walk into Plaza Design and steal $320 worth of merchandise that would be considered a crime, correct? If I dropped off several calendars to Plaza Design and they then owed me $320 and never paid, would that not also be considered a crime? I would love to see this reported in the Arcata Eye’s crime report but that’s unlikely.

Artists and other consignees to retailers are at the mercy of that retailers business practices and they are also at the mercy of the lenders to that business. Many consignees and people who purchased furniture were fortunately compensated. As far as I know, those of us who were owed money did not get paid.

Arcata Eye, March 7, 2012: “AEDC Secures Plaza Design, Contacts Creditors”

“Susan Seaman said the action was taken to protect creditors, including customers who may have paid for items as well as artists, craftspeople and others who had items there on consignment. Seaman said AEDC was now attempting to contact the numerous creditors consignees, beginning with those who had called the organization asking if they were going to get what they were owed, or their property back.

“We haven’t been able to put together what’s been sold,” Seaman said. “We’re scheduling times to meet people there and make sure they get back their stuff.”

So says this article in the Arcata Eye.

In a phone call to Seaman on April 18, she told me I would have to contact Peter Labes, Plaza Design owner to get paid my calendar money. Labes has an unlisted phone number and the PD’s Umpqua Bank account has no funds. Where did that money go?! If it is in the hands of AEDC, then they should pay up. Hundreds of dollars of that money is mine. I’m wondering if I could have cashed those checks if the AEDC had not abruptly shut down PD in the manner they did. Neither party is owning up to the responsibility of compensating what is due to the artists.

What I would like to know is who and how many other artists were screwed out of the money owed to them. I’m interested to find out and to talk about what we can do about it….

Sam Camp



Share the road with bikers

As a motorcycle enthusiast, I respectfully remind the people of Humboldt County that federal, state and local highway safety, law enforcement and motorcycle organizations shall proclaim May as  “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”

“Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative aimed at getting motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other.” (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

As summer months approach, bringing warmer weather conditions and rising fuel costs, more people are taking to the road on two wheels in order to go to work as well as take part in tourist activities. Not everyone has the same or adequate skills for motorcycling, but even the most skilled and well prepared rider can encounter an inattentive driver operating a four- wheeled vehicle with negative results, usually for the motorcyclist.

With motorcycles fatalities on the rise, it is important to remember that motorcyclists are more vulnerable than those in other types of vehicles. Motorists should always look for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.

PLEASE avoid distractions such as texting.

It is just as important that riders be visible to other motorists and obtain proper training and licensing, wear the appropriate protective gear, and always respect the rules of the road.

By increasing education and awareness of the importance of safe riding and the need for mutual respect for all motorcyclists and motorists, we can continue in our efforts to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on the highways and back roads of our glorious Humboldt County.

Please look twice, and save a life. Motorcycles are everywhere.

Please Share The Road!

Phylis Geller


Cheese mill alternative

   I just read the Cypress Grove article in the Eye. Although I felt it had a disparaging attitude towards those against the Cypress Grove Cheese Factory expansion, the article did show the complex nature of the situation.

I don’t think anyone at the Planning Commission’s meeting was unsupportive of the Cypress Grove Cheese Factory.

What most people did not support was the elimination of Agriculture in the name of “Agriculture.” The proposal is to triple the size of the existing 13,000 sq. feet cheese factory to 37,000 sq. feet. This will put more than .5 of an acre of fertile, self-watering Arcata bottomland under compacted crushed rock and rebar reinforced concrete.

This isn’t a four-inch slab of barn concrete, it is industrial code gravel, rebar, and concrete. If our WPA sidewalks are any indication, it will seal off the soil from food growing for more than a century.

This project was justified because it is “Agriculture.” Here our laws fail us. A better statement of Agriculture would be: The use of sun, soil, and water to produce food (vegetables, grains, milk, meat). What Cypress Grove is doing is “food transformation.” They are taking a basic Agriculture food (goat milk) and transforming it into a different product (goat cheese). The question we all need to ask is: Does “food transformation” have priority over “food production?”

Could the Emmi Corporation find an already impacted Arcata site for a second cheese factory? I suspect they could, if they had the Will to do it. The Arcata Flakeboard site was suggested, as it is large and has excellent truck access. Emmi discounted it because of the hygiene requirements of cheese making. But did they even try to explore this possibility with Arcata City?

The owners of the Flakeboard site, Hambro, owes Arcata $2.2 million. Seems like a deal could be struck, the building razed, and, there you have it; a concrete slab, ready for a hygienic building!

With the human population increasing exponentially (seven-plus billion) and millions of acres of fertile farmland disappearing under “Development” (42,000,000-plus acres since 1982 in USA), our great grandchildren will be hard pressed to feed humanity. New Cypress Grove concrete on Arcata’s fertile farmland will only add to that problem.

 Craig Knox


Ag requires buildings

I note Craig Knox’s letter in the May 9th issue in which he is critical of of the Cypress Grove Cheese Factory expansion and suggests that perhaps a disparaging attitude exists about the long-term critics of the entire project as chronicled in these pages. I suggest that perhaps what irks folks about much of the opposition, and what Mr. Hoover was talking about in his open letter to himself, is the appearance of extreme mental contortions to rationalize and camouflage what is essentially just a NIMBY issue. Nobody wants to admit that they are simply exercising their Constitutional rights to just hate it and be agin’ it no matter what some hippies on the City Council once said about conserving and using prime ag land.

Now Mr. Knox has proposed a finely nuanced, hair-splitting, Rube Goldberg mental construction which opposes the physical construction of of a half-acre concrete slab which will expand the capacity of the CHEESE factory which it was clearly billed as from the beginning as Mr. Knox seems to acknowledge. Now, suddenly, after all these months we have the proposition that cheese is not actually an agricultural product (!?!) but is “transformed” from raw goat milk by Cypress Grove operatives. This is bad!?!?

For at least the last thousand years or so, in order to produce food, it has been necessary on farms to devote some of the surface area to a driveway, service roads, barns, storage and, oh, yeah, a home for the farming family. The Romans had excellent concrete and the Appian Way lasted for centuries. It’s simply impossible for humans to live without some impact and some percentage of any given producing acreage will be paved over or built on, no matter how groovy and organic the managers may be.

Mr. Knox wrote: “The question we all need to ask is: Does ‘food transformation’ have priority over ‘food production?’” I don’t know. Does exhalation have priority over inhalation? Does bread have priority over flour? Does pudding have priority over rice? Does yogurt have priority over milk? Does beer have priority over barley, hops, yeast and water? If the California Olive Ranch presses its own olives on their property, have they now “transformed” the ag. olives into non-ag. olive oil? Have they violated some ethical standard? No.

Cheese-making has been a boon for humanity since at least Neolithic times because it allowed for the concentration and preservation of nutritious milk. Does anyone honestly think that the neighbors in the Q Street imbroglio or the current controversy really gave a damn about feeding the masses? Come on. When seven billion starving people show up like a cloud of locusts, they might get to plant something, but not ‘til then.

The rest of the letter may have merit, I don’t know. The dubious introduction puts the entire letter in a bad light. It would seem much more sincere and authentic if the first paragraph was just NIMBY, NIMBY, NIMBY for four or five lines and then on to the Emmi Corp. and Arcata Flakeboard, etc.

I once cared for goats and they are not my favorite animals. I also hate goat cheese, but if others like it, I’m glad they have a state-of-the-art production and dispensary resource.

Well, I thought they did. Why is everybody’s dispensary being hassled?

Timothy Crlenjak

New Writer of the Purple Rage

Livid in the USA


Kind, thoughtful PG&E 

To Humboldt State University Administration, Arcata Main Street and Arcata Chamber of Commerce:

It was recently brought to my attention that PG&E had planned a large construction project for all day tomorrow at Seventh and H streets that involved trenching, clearing out and replacing a large gas transmission line, blocking a traffic lane, operating heavy equipment, etc. While the project did not involve cutting gas service to businesses, it nevertheless would cause a large and unsightly hole in the street, traffic congestion and possible gas odors.

Since this is Commencement weekend for Humboldt State University and one of the busiest weekends of the year for Farmers’ Market, our Downtown businesses, and the University, I asked PG&E to consider changing their plans to perform the work on another weekend. I argued it would be in extreme bad form to have such a construction project in our Downtown district during a time when our city and the University is working hard to look as welcoming as possible to thousands of out of town visitors.

I am very pleased to report that PG&E has agreed to change their plans and will schedule the work for another less busy weekend in the future.

Please join me in extending our sincere gratitude to PG&E for their kind and thoughtful support on this very important weekend. Special thanks to PG&E representative Alison Talbot for her incredible responsiveness on this issue!

 Randy Mendosa, city manager

City of Arcata California


St. Mary’s School closing 

Following the completion of the current School Year on June 15, 2012, St. Mary School in Arcata will close. This closure is for reasons of very low enrollment and escalating costs. The enrollment is currently 26 students.

The decision to close the School comes after a lengthy evaluation process which involved the Finance Council of St. Mary Church, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, and Bishop Robert Vasa, head of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. All are in agreement with the decision to close the school.

I ask all persons to receive this news as best they can. Kindly know of my prayers for the current School families and the School personnel who are directly affected by this decision. Know as well of my gratitude to all who have given support to the School—whether time, talent, or treasure. For over 50 years, St. Mary’s School has been forming students for responsible lives as members of the Church and as citizens of our global society. We are thankful for what has been achieved and the closing of the School does not alter this wonderful record.

Reverend Gerard Gormley, pastor

St. Mary Church, Arcata