August, 2012’s Letters to the Editor – September 3, 2012
Thank you Randy
Note: I also filed a complaint against city for permitting contractor to demo the foundation in contradiction of the essential prohibitions affixed to the plans, imposed by law, and City Council (CC) appeal. The additional grading and demo beyond that allowed by the CC as “Ministerial” triggers discretionary review, even now. It was noted in the recent Arcata Eye “opinion” in a report made by Larry to the editor that the community development director (Larry) and the director of Public Works reviewed the permit on file, clearly stamped with the prohibition against removing the foundation… but did no see any reason to reject contractor’s request.
In order to follow up with any further legal complaint, as you know, I am required to attempted to resolve the complaint through the city’s complaint process. So, looking for a response or a settlement. This is the full complaint.
I spoke to Larry yesterday with the permit and his comments to Kevin Hoover before both of us. He said I was confused about which building permit was at issue. As you may know the demolition was appealed (Larry’s right to make a ministerial decision was appealed), to halt the ongoing CEQA public process. His argument, upheld by the CC, was that the applicant had withdrawn the application before planning that required CEQA and applied for a new permit of limited scope, no grading, no foundation to be removed that would not trigger CEQA. Any additional work would unquestionably require planning approval. His argument for a “Ministerial” permit still implied that CEQA was deferred, or as our attorney argued that this was an attempt to segment a project to avoid CEQA, which is against the law. It was foreseeable that additional work would be necessary, and this would still trigger CEQA.
Attached is the permit and the prohibition. Larry and Dobie are at your disposal to explain what happened. The safety argument is not even close to valid, the work was done according to plans and discussion originally presented and the community objected for the same reasons that remain today.
A greater concern now is that the city authorized on site waste treatment and disposal of hazardous waste without ANY CEQA review. The site is (your responsibility to check) likely contaminated and will contaminate (or has) adjacent and abutting properties (dust, water transportation of the existing contaminated soils, now bare soil (different standard for bare soil. (> 400 ppm?).
The reason the discretionary publicly review CEQA process exists, to inform and advise the applicant, city and affected community, before the project is executed. All of the abutting neighbors will have great grounds for civil and criminal complaints against the city, CC, you, Dobie and Larry… not to mention the contractor.
The city should take immediate action to test soils and water on site. Reportedly no fill was imported, this is also untrue, even so, the surrounding soils can generally be expected to be contaminated above action levels for bare soil lead (Pb)…On site treatment requires special permits, mixing soils is onsite treatment. I picked up several of the numerous fragments of plaster (ACM) from the ivy.Rains will percolate through the disturbed soils like water through ground coffee, and flow offsite, into streets, yards, bay.
This is a lot like trying to put and egg back in a shell… you cannot correct all here, but its important that “the city” act lawfully. This is way out of line.
The AG and regulatory agencies will be notified in all cases.
I’m requesting the city, in response to complaint to:
1) resume CEQA process for 1000 A street
2) ensure all hazards mitigated according to CA law
2) promise training to senior staff
3) discuss problem, solution in open
4) review responsible employee performance (avoiding CEQA is not a city policy)
5 propose ordinance waiving fees for 3rd party CEQA challenges to CC
6) any resulting fines levied be paid to EPIC.. or CAL AWARE (although as far as record shows to date contractor and owner acted as directed by city staff)
Private enforcement of CEQA would almost certainly include attorney fees if awarded. Private action is generally how CEQA is enforced although in egregious cases the state will initiate and otherwise sanction a city at fault. This is not the worst case ever, it is one of the most deliberately executed evasions with a jurisdiction’s supervision, oversight and approval. It has also establish a precedent (repeated several times so far in Arcata, according to the community development director) to specifically avoid CEQA on major projects (more than one hazard removal). It would be surprising if the state agreed with Larry’s interpretation of when CEQA applies, how can CEQA not apply to this project?
Thank you, happy to discuss.
cc CC, N Diamond, Larry, Kevin Hoover
The view from space
Your recent piece about my NASA, USGS, Landsat honor contains some misleading information that I would like to correct.
First, my only work was to thoughtfully consider the location of long-held family property that has had significant changes in the last 40 years and to submit that information to their American Landscapes contest in early June. You published that submission recently in your Letter to the Editor section, July 25 edition. NASA and USGS did the rest with a few e-mails and a phone conversation.
My submission was one of 3 winners from a group of six finalists out of 172 entries nation wide. The six finalists are showcased at NASA’s web page nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/landsat-40th-landscapes.html.
I opted to travel to Washington, DC for the July 23 presentation because of my interest in space exploration and it’s important role for us here on earth. This excites me. We are part of our environment. Understanding the bigger picture can only benefit us.
A note to your readers. Landsat has in the last few years made their images available for no cost. Until 2008 each image had a price tag of $600. We can all access this invaluable archive online for free. In addition they have unveiled a new “viewer” in anticipation of the upcoming February, 2013 launch of Landsat 8. It can be found at landsatlook.usgs.gov
Roger P. Eckart
Cell no, that won’t go
Dear Arcata City Councilmembers:
Regarding the proposed cell phone tower at the Arcata Ball Park, my family and I, and all of our friends here in town, and everyone I have talked with so far are absolutely opposed to the construction of the proposed tower.
The reasons for this opposition are numerous and I hope obvious to each of you. Just one reason is that we do not need a massive increase of microwave radiation in Arcata. But basically, we don’t want it and don’t need it.
Please respect and represent the wishes of your community. That is what is wanted and needed. Please deny the construction of a cell tower at the Arcata Ball Park.
GOP gives thanks
Thank you so much for your contribution to our “Art & Other Fine Things Auction.”
Your donation of Police Log I & II and a one-year subscription to the Arcata Eye was most generous, but to make it “times two” was fantastic!
I would like to thank you on behalf of the Humboldt County Republican Party and my co-chair, Colleen Hedrick.
Lantern Float thanks
Thank you, Arcata Eye, for your generous coverage of the 30th annual Arcata Lantern Floating Ceremony.
Once again you’ve given front page attention to our community gathering for peace and remembrance, and once again you’ve published a beautiful selection of Mark Larson’s evocative photos.
Your readers who didn’t experience the event first-hand will want to join us next year.
Maggie Shaffer, for the Lantern
Ceremony committee and sponsors
Cell tower opposition
Arcata City Councilmembers recently sent forward a proposal to place a Verizon cellular tower atop the Arcata Ball Park light closest to the Arcata Library.
This is in direct conflict with the City’s Land Use Code, which specifically requires telecommunications facilities be placed at least 1,000 feet from residences and 1,500 feet from schools, hospitals and historic districts.
In 1996, the World Health Organization formed the International EMF Project and last year classified RF/MR as a Class 2B suspected carcinogen, in the same category as lead and DDT.
This year the American Academy of Environmental Medicine released a document calling for precaution with regard to Smart Meters and RF/MR in general, “because of the well-documented studies showing adverse effects on health.”
Last month the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider its radiation standards for cellular devices stating that the 1996 standards are outdated and geared towards adults and not protective of children.
The AAP has raised questions about whether exposure to radiation from mobile phones can lead to brain cancer. In June of this year, the FCC chairman formally proposed an inquiry into radiation standards in cell phones and other wireless devices.
Mounting concerns regarding both thermal and non-thermal effects of EMFs on biological resources (meaning you and me) confirms the need for government to proceed cautiously with respect to placement of cellular towers in our community.
A large amount of controversy has developed over Verizon’s proposal for a cellular tower at the Arcata Ball Park. The City Council has decided to revisit the issue at a Monday morning meeting, Aug. 27 at 9 a.m. in Council Chamber at City Hall. If you have concerns, the council needs to hear them.
As I scan the front page of local news websites, something jumped out at me:
Northcoast Journal: about 20 articles on the front page, none of them about crime.
Times Standard: about 30 articles on the front page, two of them about crime.
Arcata Eye: about 30 articles on the front page, over half (16) of them about Arcata crime.
Now I realize the Police Log is a bit of an institution at the Eye, but your website may give the impression that Arcata news is mostly pot grows, thefts and fights.
Personally, I find the large number of these stories a bit depressing and would like to see our fair city in a more positive light.