Sundberg desperate and panicked, charges Madrone with racism

Ryan Sundberg ‘s incendiary accusation. “I really wish he (Steve Madrone) was not so racist when it comes to a Tribe that did not endorse him,” Supervisor Sundberg said, referring to the fact that Steve Madrone has received endorsements from the Karuk and Yurok Tribes while the Hoopa Valley Tribe has endorsed both candidates. “He has never spoken to the Trinidad Rancheria or participated in the public meetings they have [been] held on the Rancheria’s master plan either, so he has no clue what the Tribe is doing and why,” Sundberg wrote via email.

How are Madrone’s criticisms racist? Sundberg reasoned that since the federal government long ago confined tribes to defined rancherias, they have a fundamental right to access those lands. It’s a social justice issue, he said, “so I just think, I think it’s a racist comment to say a tribe cannot get to their property.” Steve Madrone, for the record, said that’s not his argument.

Trinidad Rancheria



Martha Johnson says in the LTE’s of the Times-standard: Vote Bass and Sundberg out, give rest of us a shot

It’s time for all of us to pay attention. Pay attention to the consequences of our participation or lack of participation in our government. Locally, what we’ve seen since this current group of Board of Supervisors has been voted in is arrogance and mishandling of decisions that have cost us taxpayers thousands of dollars and in some cases, destruction of property. Bass and Fennell have both appointed developers to the Planning Commission with results of rewriting our General Plan with Ulansey to promote developer’s interests and destruction of land by McKenny. Both Bass and Fennell are responsible and should be held accountable. Some other costly mistakes by this board was how the public defender was hired without any input by those in the public defender field and then by the arrogance to ignore the overwhelming evidence of how unqualified and incompetent their choice was that was pointed out by a lawsuit and by the staff in the Public Defender’s Office. The lack of good judgment by the board caused many attorneys to leave the department. How many more thousands of dollars are we going allow this group of poor performers to take from us? It’s time to vote Bass and Sundberg out and give the rest of us a shot at some decent representation. It’s not about how many yard signs they can pay for, it’s about what the rest of us get, not just those who have the most cash.



Friends of the Eel River charges “pro dams” Estelle with being “duplicitous”

Local environmental organization Friends of the Eel River says it has obtained documents showing that Humboldt County and three other counties are supporting plans to keep the dams in place. Fennell denied the allegations.

In a news release on Monday evening and in comments made Tuesday, Friends of the Eel River representatives accused Fennell and the commission she chairs of secretly plotting to keep the dams in place for financial gain to the detriment of fish.

The environmental organization says they used a public records request to obtain notes taken during what they claim were secret meetings between members of the Eel-Russian River Commission including Fennell, PG& E officials and Russian River water districts.

“Pro Dams” Fennell in her HumCPR days with good-buddy and former Planning Commission tyrant Lee Ulansey

The group alleges these meetings were held to discuss plans for taking the dams out of the federal licensing process so as to avoid having to provide additional protection for fisheries, such fish passage on Scott Dam. The group alleges that the dams would instead obtain a non-power license through the state and would turn the Potter Valley Project into a water transfer project, but still keep hydropower running.

Fennell vehemently denied the accusations Tuesday, calling them “dishonest fabrications.”

“And we have one main goal and that is to get more of our water back into our Eel River,” Fennell said. “And this moment in history, we have a golden opportunity right now to accomplish that and we will and we can with a united front working together. And that has been and will continue to be my goal.”

Tension peaked at Tuesday’s meeting after Friends of the Eel River Conservation Director Scott Greacen called Fennell “duplicitous” for denying knowledge of these plans that he said would create an “end run” around the need to create fish protections and around ongoing stakeholder talks about the future of the Potter Valley Project.

“The plan you’re hoping to move forward will undermine our hope of fish recovery in the Eel and across the region,” Greacen said. “It would continue the status quo. It would skip out on the promise we have made to the future that we will do better. It is a plan to welsh on the debt that we owe the future. It’s a plan to say to history, ‘We didn’t care. We knew, but we didn’t care.’” Fennell responded saying that Greacen doesn’t know at all what her plans are because she hasn’t created a plan and that her plan is to “listen to the people of Humboldt County and represent them, thank you very much.”

Greacen responded, “I don’t trust you,” to which Fennell replied, “That’s fine, I don’t feel that great about you either.”

From  the Times-Standard

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