Pro “Dams on the Eel” Fennell trying to pull a fast one at tomorrow’s Supervisors meeting

Image result for Potter Valley Project

The Potter Valley Project

Last week, PG&E finally publicly announced its intent to auction the Eel River dams/Potter Valley Project this Fall.

Also last week, Friends of the Eel River learned through a series of Public Records Act requests that Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell and her fellow Eel Russian River Commissioners (county supervisors from Sonoma and Mendocino counties) have held a series of at least five secret meetings with PG&E over the last year to put together a plan to keep the Eel River dams in place. They are planning to move the dams out of federal licensing so as to avoid having to provide additional protection for fisheries (passage over 138’ Scott Dam being the main issue here). Under what’s called a “non-power license,” they’d keep operating the project primarily as a water transfer project, but they’d keep the hydropower running as well. They think they’d even get state Renewable Power credit for running these infamous fish-killing dams.

Supervisor Fennell is asking the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to move TOMORROW to appoint her and Supervisor Bohn to an ad hoc committee that would continue to meet in secret to push this secret plan to avoid protecting Eel River salmon and steelhead. Please, if you can, make time to attend tomorrow’s Board meeting to speak against this move.

As a policy minimum, Humboldt County should be pushing for a solution that would remove Scott Dam and restore fish access to the Eel River headwaters. But at the most fundamental level, we deserve the opportunity to discuss and debate the positions our elected representatives are taking on our behalf. Democracy cannot function when leaders make policy in secret.

We would suggest speakers ask for a full public discussion of the potential options and Humboldt County’s official position on the Eel River dams / Potter Valley Project. We would urge you to request that the Board delay a vote on this proposed ad hoc committee pending such a discussion of costs, benefits, and risks to Humboldt County’s waters and fisheries. Of course, we’d strongly prefer that Humboldt County not be represented by anti-environmentalists like Fennell and Bohn, but that’s probably not a point we’re going to win. We can at minimum demand a transparent process.

The meeting begins at 9am at the usual location in the Supervisors Chambers in the Humboldt County Courthouse. The item is near the end of the agenda, but since they don’t always follow it, we recommend being there by 9:15.

Action Alert from 

Stephanie Tidwell, Executive Director




The Sundberg and Pruitt nexu$

Our very own 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg was reappointed by the Trump administration to the Scott Pruitt run Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Local Government Advisory Committee.

“It is an honor to give direct input to the federal government to protect our environment through the lens of a rural county,”  Sundberg said with a straight face. We’re very sure Ryan’s right at home advising one of the most corrupt political appointees ever Scott Pruitt. No doubt they share the same views on exploiting the Environment for fun and profit

Guest post: Richard Salzman asks, “HAD ENOUGH?”

After reading Daniel Mintz’s article in April 22nd edition of Mad River Union (Madrone: Sundberg swayed by MJ money) I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about regarding Ryan Sundberg’s dependence on big money donations from the mega-grows and other “industrial” cannabis players?

Accusing Sundberg of a conflict of interest seems beyond redundant! Why even bring this issue up, unless it’s being done rhetorically? Ryan Sundberg has been working on behalf of his deep-pocket donors since the day he was first elected. Hell, who do you think recruited him to run in the first place!?

Sure, back when he first ran it may have been mostly the land speculators, realtors and those in the building trades (which, not coincidentally, is the historical purview of Mercer Fraser). Now it includes the legal marijuana industry’s fat cats: mega-growers, suppliers, distributors, industrial extractors, and a whole new crop–no pun intended–of land (and permit-acquiring) speculators. But Sundberg’s been working for them, against the interest of the average citizen from day one.

Nothing demonstrated this more vividly than his appointment of Ben Shepherd to the Planning Commission, which voted 3-2 in favor of letting Mercer-Fraser set up a cannabis extraction plant next to the Mad River. Shepherd pushed back against those who opposed the idea of an extraction venture, which would employ toxicants in its process, being established so close to the source of drinking water for the majority of county residents. Shepherd’s view was that a sewage treatment plant already existed along the river, so why not this.

This, coupled with Sundberg’s work and votes on the General Plan Update, demonstrate he’s more interested in deep pockets than your pockets. He and his fellow majority on the current Board of Supervisors voted for a “plan” that allowed for less housing overall and less environmental protection, but for greater sprawl into areas previously zoned for agriculture or timber so as to now allow for McMansions and ever more river- and groundwater-depleting mega grows. You know, the stuff his donors are doing and want to do more of.

I think State Senator Mike McGuire put it best when he said of Sundberg, “…he’s constantly fighting for the people he works for.” The only part that was not made clear in that statement is that Ryan Sundberg works for “those who brung ‘em,”–i.e., his well-heeled donors. Whether he’s “car-pooling” in their private planes, or just cashing their checks, one thing is clear–minor concerns like clean drinking water for the citizens of the Fifth District is NOT the priority. Maximizing the return on capital, that very much is. No question why big money and industry will vote for him. If one of them is your employer, you may be hoodwinked into believing what’s good for the boss is good for the worker. But for everybody else, why would you if you have another choice?

So where the hell was Ryan Sundberg last night?

A forum was hosted Thursday night at the Eureka Labor Temple for candidates in the race for the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. From left, 4th District incumbent Virginia Bass, 4th District challenger Dani Burkhart, 4th District challenger Mary Ann Lyons and 5th District challenger Steve Madrone. Fifth District incumbent Ryan Sundberg was missing. Hunter Cresswell — The Times-Standard

Last night Nine community groups teamed up to host a community forum for all five candidates running for a Board of Supervisors seat in the upcoming election on June 5th.

The Humboldt Del Norte Central Labor Council, North Coast People’s Alliance, Cooperation Humboldt, Health Care for All Humboldt, Northcoast Environmental Center, Centro del Pueblo, Move to Amend, Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, and True North sponsored the event at the Labor Temple last night.

Each group posed questions relevant to their missions to each of the five invited candidates – incumbent Virginia Bass and challengers Mary Ann Lyons and Dani Burkhart in District 4, and in District 5, incumbent Ryan Sundberg(missing) and challenger Steve Madrone. The forum was moderated by Central Labor Council Secretary John Frahm, and was live-streamed on Facebook and was recorded to air soon on Access Humboldt. Sundberg was a no-show

Not only did Sundberg blow off this Community Forum but he also refused to answer a Supervisors questionnaire from the Northcoast Environmental Center that was published in their newspaper the “Eco News”. This comes on the heels of Sundberg receiving the lowest score on “The California Coastal Commission Conservation Report Card”

Here are some thoughts from a KMUD lister about last night’s forum:

Where in the hell was Ryan Sundberg tonight? All of the other supervisor candidates from both districts showed up to the Labor Temple forum/debate, except for Sundberg who was nowhere to be found!

Sundberg apparently thinks he’s too rich and “fiscally CONSERVATIVE” to be bothered with questions from voters who have to work for a living. The only reasonable explanation for Ryan Sundberg’s political self-immolation is that he wants out of office & would rather go back to selling insurance! Maybe Sundberg was arrogant to realize this isn’t 2010 or 2014 (both Republican years), and that 2018 was going to be a bad year at the polls for corrupt conservatives like Sundberg, then wouldn’t one of his liberal/progressive friends and/or family members have clued him in to the unavoidable BLUE WAVE on the way that is sure to wash away right-wing scum like Sundberg?

Or does Ryan Sundberg have no liberals/progressives that he listens to? Maybe that’s part of Sundberg’s problem…

Clearly, based on Sundberg’s conspicuous absence from the candidates forum tonight broadcast live on KMUD, and Sundberg continuing to hide from the North Coast Journal, etc. like a frightened little wimp, Ryan Sundberg doesn’t have enough respect for non-Republicans to answer their legitimate, routine questions (like every other candidate), so why would we be surprised if Sundberg wouldn’t take any advice from non-Republicans? 

Ryan Sundberg Is A Coward



Maybe it’s time for McKenny’s big defender (Bass) to find a new job

Tweedle dee and teedle dum

Environmental Groups Call on Planning Commissioner Kevin McKenny to Resign, or for the Board of Supervisors to Replace Him or better yet how about we just defeat Virginia Bass in the election. Let her replacement appoint a new Commissioner.

Virginia Bass has been making excuses for McKenny a long time:

Time for her to go

EPIC, the Northcoast Environmental Center, and Humboldt Baykeeper call for the resignation of Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Kevin McKenny.

As reported by the Lost Coast Outpost, in a Notice of Violation dated January 9, 2018, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board placed Mr. McKenny on notice that he violated numerous federal and state laws. He is accused of grading within a floodplain, removing riparian vegetation, placing slash and waste into riparian areas, and draining a federally recognized wetland adjacent to Third Slough, a Humboldt Bay tributary just outside Eureka city limits. Mr. McKenny has acknowledged his “mistake.”

But this is more than a mistake. From the site inspection report, it appears that Mr. McKenny deliberately sought to drain the wetland with the apparent intent to develop the site. Further, Mr. McKenny appeared to use heavy machinery to fill other areas of the wetland. Mr. McKenny was previously warned that his activities violated the law, yet he continued his harmful actions.

The allegations against Mr. McKenny are serious. His conduct is not befitting an individual on the Planning Commission, particularly as the County moves to enforce violations of the its cannabis land use ordinance. Therefore, our organizations call for his immediate resignation. Should Mr. McKenny fail to resign, we ask that the Board of Supervisors remove him from his position.

It is estimated that 90% of the wetlands in Humboldt County were destroyed before their importance was understood and protections put in place. Wetlands improve water quality by filtering polluted runoff and provide critical wildlife habitat. Mr. McKenny knows that draining, grading, and filling wetlands require permits from at least four agencies—including Humboldt County. The Planning Commission’s responsibility is to protect public health, safety, and welfare. We deserve Planning Commissioners who understand and respect local, state, and federal environmental protections.

Mary Ann Lyons for Supervisor

Dani Burkhart for Supervisor


We are really “so over” the wife of Matthew Owen, now there’s a choice

The Times-Standard asked Virginia “what is the most common criticism that you hear about your candidacy?”

“I would say it is a tie between “she’s the big money candidate” and “she’s been in office too long.”

We couldn’t agree with the public more!

There’s a choice:

Dani Burkhart is a challenger in the race for 4th District Humboldt County supervisor. She is running against two-term incumbent Virginia Bass

Q. Why should the 4th District elect you for the position rather than your challenger and the current incumbent?

A. Rather than throwing money at quick fixes, I believe it is time to rededicate efforts toward comprehensive solutions. I am calling for a forensic audit of the county’s finances to identify sources of waste that can be redirected toward existing programs and facilities that are underfunded and in disrepair. We deserve leadership with an open door policy, proactive communication, and transparent decision making. We deserve the right to know that policies and appointments are carried out for the whole population, not just a select few. I bring my experience working with local and state government on economic and cannabis policy, my knowledge of environmental science and my dedication to our community to the table. We need a leader who lives their values through their daily actions, and whose official appointments reflect the values of the community as a whole. I am that leader and I take very seriously my commitment to policy for the people and holding our elected representatives accountable.

You can find out more about my plan for the 4th District at  Dani4Supervisor. com

Q. For you, what are the most significant issues in Humboldt County, and how would you work to address them if elected?

A. While there are many goals and priorities I would like to accomplish while in office, here are my top three:

  • Affordable and accessible housing: Affordable housing is one of the greatest challenges facing our community. I will support appropriate developments that make housing accessible to members of our community. I support diverse solutions to the Humboldt County’s housing crisis such as designating villages with consolidated services to get folks out of business stoops and stabilize our community, and addressing housing density restrictions.
  • Responsible Jobs and Projects Plan: I will support infrastructure investments that will bring economic development to the county. These include tackling deferred maintenance of our road systems and improvements to broadband internet access.
  • Transparency and accountability: I commit to having an open door policy and working with the community as a whole in the decision-making process to implement long-term solutions for a resilient Humboldt. We need a forensic audit to ensure that waste, and potential abuse, of funds, is identified and put back to work for the residents of the county. We also need leadership that thoroughly vets their appointments to avoid costly litigation against the county.

Q What are the top issues specific to your district and how would you address those if elected? Do you feel these issues have been adequately addressed by the incumbent? Why or why not?

A. I believe the housing crisis, economic development, and drug addiction are the some of the larger challenges facing the district. These are multi-faceted issues that will take diverse solutions. I believe the answers we’re seeking to many of our issues will come as a result of building a resilient economy and community.

Potential solutions include: a sanctioned and monitored area with toilet and trash facilities, life and job skills training, addressing development of housing units and living wage jobs. The district needs an expansion in access for mental health and addiction care, there aren’t enough beds in programs for those who need it and virtually no programs for teens facing addiction. If we can create avenues for breaking the cycle of poverty and addiction, then we create community resiliency which benefits all of our residents.

These problems aren’t new for the district. The incumbent has been in office for nearly eight years now, and served on city council before that. It took two years to declare a shelter crisis, we’ve had an unqualified public defender that saw to loss of nearly an entire department of staff and public defenders, and now this debacle with Bass’ appointee to the planning commission.

Q What is the most common criticism that you hear about your candidacy, and what is your response to that criticism?

A. It’s a toss-up between my age and the fact that I’ve been labeled a “cannabis candidate.”

For the record, I am 31, which is about the same age Sen. McGuire was when he was first elected to represent the North Coast. Many other leaders locally, nationally and internationally have been elected in their early 30s, and we have seen great things come from their representation. Experience doesn’t just come with age, it comes with the actions we take and the knowledge we pursue.

I am recognized as an expert in my field for my knowledge and experience working with various state and local agencies, officials and businesses to address regulating an industry that has operated in a gray area for over 20 years. I have been interviewed by Rolling Stone, news outlets, public radio shows, and state agencies such as the EDD, CDFA, and BCC; bridging between Humboldt’s experience and what the rest of the country/ state are facing. I have studied the economic impacts of regulating industries brought out of prohibition, and the tools used in the past for successful regulation. My experience with the cannabis industry is an asset in the times we currently face as a county.

Q. Why do you want to represent the 4th District and what qualifications do you have that would allow you to proficiently do so?

A. I love this community and I want to work towards a resilient future for Humboldt County. I will take my experience in community building and policy, and put it to work for the good of our whole county. I will stand for the rights of our community to be involved in our governance, and I will have an open door; engaging with the community in identifying long-term solutions. I believe that this county is capable of great potential when we build the bridges in our community and have accountable leaders with that vision.

As an environmental planning consultant, I regularly communicate with county and state agencies, and business owners to navigate the permitting process and negotiate agreements that help protect our natural resources and our small businesses. As a nationally recognized expert on the cannabis industry and its effects on rural economic development, I participated in the latest update to the Humboldt County Economic Development Strategy which shapes local and regional policy. I have organized and led guided tours for state officials such as: Lt. Gov.Newsom, Rep. Huffman, Assemblymember Wood, Sen. McGuire, reconciling the reality we face, and the vision of the state of California.

From the Times-Standard

Ryan Sundberg has shown again and again that he’s not in line with his constituents

Fifth District deserves a supervisor who gets it

Humboldt County’s Fifth District has not had a Supervisor who represents the views of the majority of its residents for quite some time. Fortunately, we now have the chance to change that.

In the eight years since he became a supervisor, Ryan Sundberg has shown again and again that he’s not in line with his constituents. Ballot measures provide a couple of clear examples: 2014’s Measure P and 2016’s Measure V both passed with majority support in the Fifth District, but they were only on the ballot because Sundberg joined other supervisors in refusing to pass them as a board. The same thing looks set to happen this year with the sanctuary county ordinance, which Sundberg also opposes.

Steve Madrone, his opponent, supports it.

More than 15 years ago, McKinleyville residents participated in an open public planning process to create a community plan focused on a new town center. Sundberg has consistently refused to bring forward any ordinances to implement the plan. Madrone supports the town center concept.

Fifth District residents care about protecting our rivers, our forests and our coast. Sundberg supported General Plan changes which encourage irresponsible development in floodplains and forests, and in his first year on the Coastal Commission has one of the worst conservation voting records of any commissioner. Madrone, meanwhile, has devoted his life to conservation and habitat restoration.

The Fifth District deserves a supervisor whose views and actions align with the majority of its residents. It’s time for a change. Vote Madrone!

Colin Fiske, McKinleyville From the Times-Standard 

It’s Wednesday and Trump is off the rails again

Trump threatened to obstruct the special counsel probe just hours after insisting it was a “hoax” and a “trap.”

The president tried to change the subject Wednesday morning to North Korea and trade negotiations with China and North American trade pact partners, but he complained three hours later that the justice system was “rigged” against him. “A Rigged System – They don’t want to turn over Documents to Congress,” Trump tweeted.

House Republicans have ordered the Department of Justice to turn over FBI documents related to Hillary Clinton and FISA surveillance of Trump associates, and the president has complained for weeks that officials are “slow-walking” the process.

“What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting?” he tweeted. “Why such unequal ‘justice?’ At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!”

Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

 A Rigged System – They don’t want to turn over Documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal “justice?” At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved! 7:45 AM – May 2, 2018

Trump apparently spent Wednesday morning watching news coverage of the special counsel probe — and then lashed out angrily on Twitter.

Trump insisted the Russia probe was a “hoax” and dismissed the possibility that he had obstructed justice — which he has essentially admitted to several times on Twitter, in television interviews and in an Oval Office meeting with Russian officials. “There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap),” Trump tweeted. “What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt!”

Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

 There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap). What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt! 4:45 AM – May 2, 2018

In a series of indignant tweets on Wednesday morning, Trump again condemned the “Russia hoax,” the Mueller investigation, and the failure of investigators to give requested information to Congress.

In his most recent tweet, Trump said he may have to “get involved.”

“A Rigged System – They don’t want to turn over Documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal ‘justice?’ At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!” the president tweeted at mid-morning.”

Trump has both pardoning power and the power to fire anyone in the Executive branch.

In two earlier tweets on Wednesday morning, Trump reacted to all those open-ended questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask him, indicating his reply to Mueller will be “no.”

“‘The questions are an intrusion into the President’s Article 2  powers under the Constitution to fire any Executive Branch Employee,'” Trump tweeted around 9:30 a.m. He was quoting Joe diGenova, a friend and former U.S. Attorney. DiGenova also made the case that the president has the “unfettered power” to fire any executive branch employee, and he said it’s “outrageous” for Mueller to inquire “what the President was thinking.”

Also on Wednesday, the president tweeted: “There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap). What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt!”

The four-dozen-plus questions leaked to The New York Times — by someone outside the president’s legal team — have the president’s allies warning him of a perjury trap.

The questions jotted down by Trump’s lawyers, following their discussion with Mueller’s people last month, include inquiries into the president’s mindset, feelings, and reactions to certain people and events.

Meanwhile, the headline in Wednesday’s Washington Post says “Mueller warned of a possible presidential subpoena in meeting with Trump lawyers.” That meeting took place in March.

Trump previously has said he wants to speak to Mueller, but some legal experts, including DiGenova and Alan Dershowitz, insist it would be a mistake.  Dershowitz has mused that the Mueller investigation apparently has discovered no criminal case involving Trump and Russia, so Mueller is trying to build an obstruction of justice case against the president instead, by asking questions that go to motive and intent.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday referred all questions about Mueller’s questions to the president’s personal attorneys, Jay Seulow and Rudy Giuliani.

Trump on Wednesday also tweeted a plug for a new book by Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett. The book, titled “The Russia Hoax — the Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump” is a “MUST READ,” Trump wrote.


source; various Raw Story posts