Archive for the Humboldt County Category

Our Land

Posted in community, Humboldt County, politics with tags , on April 2, 2009 by inretaliation

That one little word conjures up so many emotions for me.  My parents raised me to believe that it was the only worthwhile investment.  My mother also thought that its collection was the best way to save the environment.  She worked for a Federal Government agency that was trying to clean up the messes that logging had made in Trinity County.  She felt cheated when she found out that BLM leases some of their land to logging companies.  Tax dollars were being used to cause the problem and to clean it up.  She thought nonprofits such as Sanctuary Forest were much smarter than activists who insisted the Federal Government intervene to save the land.  (My sister and I thought it was hilarious that she was married to a millworker.)

With the county gearing up for the adoption of a new General Plan, it seems as if our County’s dividing lines are becoming plain again.  Change is soooo scary.  That doesn’t mean that it is not necessary.  I live around a bunch of really big ranches.  I love driving or hiking by big rolling hills and large stands of forests.  I have friends who recently went in together and bought one of these large ranches.  I couldn’t believe it when they were successful in ending their partnership with each of them having their own land and still being friends.  The ranch was made up of several small parcels.  Some part of me was a little saddened to see the ranch broken up into 4 separate homestead sites.  Two of the partners are now selling a total of four parcels that are across the road from where they are putting their houses.  Wells will have to be drilled and the rolling hills will be broken up by houses and outbuildings.

I have been accused of being a hypocrite.  I have my land, now no one else should be able to buy land around me.  I spent 7 years living here and working here and searching for available land before I found it within my price range.  I don’t mind people buying raw land and building on it.  I just want the big ranches saved or at least not broken up into 10 acre parcels.  It takes me 25 minutes to get my daughters to school because I like it that way.  I want to be far away.  I think one of the biggest banes of this country’s existence is suburbia.  I think there should be rural land and urban land, not rolling hills of track homes.  Cities should build up not out.  Or at least up faster than out. Rural land should be for hardy, resourceful people.  Those who are willing to wait and watch diligently for their opportunity.

In preparation for this post I listened to HumCPR’s meeting that happened on March 19th.  The people who spoke were very well informed. It is worth listening to, HumCPR meeting at Healy Senior Center I am not sure I agree with how scary they seem to think everything is.  They very seldom mention the fact that there are four different versions of the plan under consideration.  This is my favorite map to look at. General Plan Map I love seeing how the different versions will effect different places. (Especially mine)

How do we make room for all the people who want to share our lifestyle while retaining the lifestyle?humboldt-county-california-660973-g


Posted in community, Humboldt County, school on March 26, 2009 by inretaliation

You know that John Prine song, In a town this size?  Well if you don’t, its about small town gossip.  Our town has its favorite juicy tidbits.  There are some people who are constant sources of good conversations.  Mostly though, we talk about our institutions, the store, the bar, the soon to open(maybe) nursery, the nonprofit groups, and the juiciest of all, the school district.

There are strong supporters of the school, and very strong detractors. The two groups seldom agree on anything.  Although, lately they seem to be finding common ground, in the maintenance man.  The district does not have enough money for a janitor, but because of the wisdom of state budgets it has enough for a full time deferred maintenance employee.  Deferred maintenance is anything that has been put off so long it has become a hazard, like the water system.  Only one person applied for the job, a nonlocal. He drives an hour and a half to his job.

Small towns have hidden rules as in, it’s just the way things are done.  It is easy to spot people who are visitors because of a million tiny things.  The way they drive, the look on their face as they walk into the store, you know stuff like that.  I am sure the locals can make them a little nervous also.  We see the same people so much we stare at a new face.  Not a, “I think you have something in your teeth” stare, a “who are you and what are you doing here”, stare.

Back to the new guy.  At first he seemed to be doing a good job.  He didn’t talk to anyone but he was making the place look nice.  Then he decided that he need to make sure things were safer. There are a lot of rules for schools, I mean can you imagine the lawsuits over hurt kids… scary.  So newbie decided to put cones up in front of the school gate and in the middle of the road, he felt that peoples parking, and driving habits were unsafe.  Extremely difficult to find fault with, but mildly irritating all the same.  Next it was the school garden, its locked now because kids would go in by themselves and that was unsafe.  We have to have a babysitter at all school meetings because that many kids running around after school hours is unsafe, even though the parents are there.  All mildly irritating.

He recently decided to push his authority over the line of mildly irritating.  He was giving the insurance lady a tour of the school grounds, and chris20weston20big20brother20hey20oa couple of preschool parents were pushing their kids on the swings.  When asked if he knew who they were he said no.  He should know, they are there three days a week.  There is not that many parents to keep track of.  Any one else at the school would have known them.  Preschool parents or visitors of any kind now have to sign in at the office to play on the playground.  I understand the validity of this rule at big schools or even moderate schools.  Everyone in our town knows everyone else.  Even if we have never talked to them we know who they are.  If one of the teachers didn’t recognize someone on school grounds they would walk up and introduce themselves, it does happen about once a year.  City rules are seldom practical for rural places and vice versa, unfortunately bureaucrats, and insurance companies keep trying to get away with one rule fits all.

Once a month the preschool holds a board meeting at the school.  We had requested that the principal share with our board the repercussions of the newbies day with the insurance lady.   Newbie came and stood over her shoulder as we asked questions.  He whispered something in her ear walked off, and two seconds later the fire alarm went off.  Uh oh end of the meeting we need to practice the fire drill.  Fine, I need to find something to throttle anyway.

School Daze

Posted in community, Humboldt County, school with tags , , on March 20, 2009 by inretaliation

studyingSTAR testing is just around the corner for school children across California.  My oldest is in second grade so this year she will take the test for the first time.  I live in small town.  Their are only fourteen kids in my little girls class, and it is a multi grade classroom. K-3  Theoretically this would be great.  Can you imagine the one on one time?  Can you imagine it being a part of the older kids curriculum to teach the younger ones?  It seems like you retain information better when you have to teach it.  Unfortunately this teacher sucks.

Ok I am being dramatic she doesn’t suck.  She is mediocre, unimanginative, dislikes her job.  My girl has been with her for three years, and loves her.  I found out this winter that my girl is behind.  Her reading and math are at the first grade level.  The wierd thing about this was how I found out.  I did not get a bad report card (all E’s and plus’s), I did not receive a telephone call, I was not asked for a parent teacher conference.  I asked for harder work and was shown the work my girl was doing with the first graders.  I understand the logic, the more kids are on the same level the less levels you have to teach.  This teacher shows up for school after I do half of the time.  She misses more days then most of her class.  We are a necessary small school so no pink slips are coming our way.  She has tenure so each infraction must be documented in order to be evaluated.

I took my girl out of school one day a week for some extreme one on one time.  I have received many comments on how fast she is picking things up.  I have to drive two hours a day for school.  My success at home makes me want to take her out completely.  My girl cries at the thought.

Notes have been coming home about extra homework because of testing.  I was told to have her read the directions for her work herself as practice for testing.  I have been all year why haven’t you?  I don’t want it to bother me that she is behind but it does.  I don’t want anything to be hard for her.

I think I liked school better when I was the one who had to go.

Spilled Milk II

Posted in community, Humboldt County, politics on March 17, 2009 by inretaliation

photo courtesy of Unity Peterson

I am going to gossip now, nothing I write has been backed up by any investigative reporting.  I just know people who have worked at the Creamery for a long time.  Did you see the photo of Ghilarducci in the Ferndale Enterprise last week?  I guess the Ferndale Enterprise sent a reporter to Scottsdale Arizona were Ghilarducci is known to have a second house.  They knocked on the door and he answered.  The reporter said something like,”sir some citizens of Ferndale would like you to comment on the financial state of the Creamery.”  The photo was shot as he was slamming the door.  My sources inform me that Ghilarducci’s main crime was making the Creamery look better than it was.  Not long ago they had a choice to expand or be bought out.  They chose to expand, that is when they acquired the two other facilities in California.  the better the Creamery looked the bigger bonuses Ghilarducci received.  All this would probably have been fine if our little economic downturn didn’t pop the bubble.  It turns out the Creamery is slightly overextended.  The board is meeting with all of its creditors and it looks like deals will be made and all theoretically will be well.

Ghilarducci received a $95,000.00 dollar bonus last year.  Maybe that would have been the time to fess up that he was not being completely honest about the rosy state of affairs, but no he took his money and ran…. to Arizona.  He grew up in Humboldt County and a lot of the Creamery workers and dairymen went to school with him.  I guess they will think to check the books next time even if their friend says he is making them rich.

The dairymen are sure taking a new interest in the Creamery.  They can be seen with some regularity roaming around the Creamery site.  This is slightly unusual since the only part they used to be interested in was the office.  Can you blame them though it is their land that is the collateral for this particular business.  I can not imagine watching land my family has had for generations slip through my fingers.  Painful.

Spilled Milk

Posted in Humboldt County on March 2, 2009 by inretaliation

spilled_milkI am a naive person. I love believing everything will turn out beautifully.  Most of the time this works for me.  Actually all of the time.  I was fortunate to marry a worrier and a hypochondriac, which allows me the freedom of blissful optimism.  He has been worried about the economy for a couple of years now.  He updates me every morning on the DOW and the price of oil, which I cheerfully ignore.  He would like me to stock up on seeds today so we are fully prepared for total collapse.  Great, I get to go shopping.

However the state of the union is seeping in to my brain.  It started with my dad.   He had a horrible supervisor, so when another company made noises about a job he quit, prematurely.  The new job dissipated.  It took him 6 months to find another one.  Within a week of starting the new job, my mom was laid off.  She has decided remain unemployed.  Then last week my husband came home with the news about the Creamery.  My uncle has worked there for twenty years.  Our family has always thought he had perfect job security.  It is not the highest  paying job, but it is reliable and steady, just like my uncle.

I heard a rumor the Creamery was not going to be able to make its next payroll.  My uncle says he isn’t really sure whats going on but it doesn’t look good.  All the news I was hearing seemed incomplete so I decided to read the Journal’s article.  Thats when I realized nobody knows whats going on.  There isn’t even any evidence of foul play yet.  All this hullabaloo is based on the word of a CEO that ran away.  Humboldt Creamery was looking to expand its stock before this bombshell dropped.  Now I read in the Times Standard this morning that they are considering defering payments to dairies.  Why?  They don’t even have any evidence of missing money yet.  It seems to me that in these uncertain times we have to be very careful about the tone of the rumours we decide to spread.  Aren’t rumours how runs on banks happen?  Gossiping always seems harmless while your doing it but it can have dire consequences.

I am liking my husbands idea of purchasing a dairy cow more and more.

Frustrated and Confused

Posted in community, Humboldt County on February 26, 2009 by inretaliation

cryingSohumborn ended as she began, with lots of gossip.  Hers (I guess maybe I am assuming she was a woman) was the only blog I read.  She was a great storyteller, riveting and controversial.  She brought up issues within me that I had glossed over a long time ago.

My parents were pot growers in the early eighties.  This was a truly frightening time to choose this profession.  CAMP was just beginning and they were very gung-ho.  Property confiscations were not uncommon.  My parents lived in Mad River.  My mother told me she decided to leave when the neighbors started carrying guns on a regular basis.  She took her two children and moved to Weaverville to wait for my dad to come to his senses.  He joined us within the year, and got what we thought was a good job at the local sawmill.  He steadily rose in the company until he became a millwright.  He almost always worked either swing or graveyard.  I love my dad and I remember him as being fun and loving towards us.  The family secret came out when I was fourteen.  My dad was a meth addict.  It had started in the hills with the harvest seasons.  Back then coke was very popular and you could get a lot more done if you were highly alert.  When he moved to town meth seemed a reasonable way to stay awake at night, besides everyone else was doing it.

I have mixed feelings about pot.  Mostly I don’t mind it, I don’t think it causes the serious personality issues long term use of other drugs do.  I think that most of the bad rap comes form it being illegal.  If it was legal theft would not be such an issue.  If it were legal children would not have to keep secrets, and the people who chose to grow would not have to worry about over zealous law enforcement.  Pot money has given a lot of good things to Humboldt County.  For example: KMUD, the Mateel, Beginnings, fully funded volunteer fire departments, donations to food shelters, donations to environmental groups, plus much much more.  I can’t think of a single positive thing meth has done for our community, and yet it’s use and prevalence in our community doesn’t get nearly as much play.

Sohumborn’s blog was the catalyst to my own blog.  I am hurt by the hole in my favorites.  Looking at the comments to her absence on Kym’s blog, I feel as if the same thing is happening there that happened with comments to her stories, no one is critical or detracting.  No one takes her to task, for her choice in stories or her abrupt absence with no explanation. I am not saying this is what she deserves, I just know people are saying it off the computer.  So I will try not to be a hypocrite without sounding spiteful, because I am not.

Why!!!  Why do you feel the need to leave so soon after struggling through the badmouthing?  Was it a significant other?  I don’t think your stories are enough for real legal action so I am crossing that one out.  Why erase your whole blog?  Oh I am soo disappointed.

I hope everyone realizes that the fact that I was drawn to write this is a testimony to the force of her writing.  Best of luck to you Sohumborn, grudgingly.


City Mouse Country Mouse

Posted in community, Humboldt County on January 29, 2009 by inretaliation

I am a country mouse, I always have been.  I grew up in a small town.  When I played house as a child my house was in the middle of a big meadow far away from town.  Now I live on the outskirts of an even smaller town.  I love it.  I love my land, I love building my home from the ground up.  I love knowing everyone in my community.  I might even love everyone in my community on some level or another, just because they contribute to the way things are.

My only problem is what to do, if you have city mouse offspring?  Bigger towns have so much to offer children. Our school doesn’t even have enough kids to have a soccer team.  IF I were in town I could have my pick of wonderful alternative schools.  My kids could have music, dance and swimming lessons, tutors, and team sports.  They could walk to a friends house or at least ride their bikes.  We would have greater access to museums and theater.  Oh, it would be divine.

Wouldn’t it?  Or would we be so busy we would forget about our family?  Would we garden together, or go on hikes?  Would we eat or read or listen to music together?  Would we have horses, chickens, dogs, cats and maybe someday goats?  Would we remember the beach or the river?  Would we trust every parent at the school, or an event to have our child’s best interest in mind, to be looking out for them?  Would we know every teacher or instructor on a first name basis?  Would our kids hug them?

It is so difficult to know if you are doing the right thing.  Is the right thing for you the right thing for your child?  If it is not, is it still ok to trust that they are learning valuable things form where they are, and they will have plenty of chances in their life to experience what they love?  Should we sacrifice the way of life we have chosen and built, for a brief interlude of convenience?  Or is it more important for our children to img_1951learn how to be centered and sure of themselves, and therefore able to accomplish anything they set their mind to even if they have to wait until they are grown?


Posted in Humboldt County on January 26, 2009 by inretaliation

big_fieldI was in Los Bagels the other day reading The LumberJack.  I came upon an article outlining the changes in 215 regulations for the city of Arcata.  Once again I am impressed by Arcata’s willingness to have its citizens participate in regulating its population.  Most of the new regulations would require neighbors tattling on neighbors.  For example, grow rooms must be located outside of the main living area of a house.  My personal favorite is this: To protect a sense of community, medical grows must not be detectable from outside the residence. This includes having several people visiting the house each day who do not participate in the community. So if neighbors or people passing by on the street can smell or see anything implying marijuana cultivation in the house, they can report the violation to the Arcata Police Department in confidentially. Penalties for violations depend on the severity of the violation.  I feel sorry for the police officers who have to investigate every irate neighbors claim.  

This vote by the city council illustrates Arcata’s peculiar brand of government.  Their belief that government should be involved in every aspect of our lives bothers me.  I feel as if it encourages all of us to stoop to the lowest common denominator.  In the council’s mind we need laws to distinguish between right and wrong.  Most people cannot be trusted to know or follow these unwritten social laws.  They need clear cut guidance in the form of regulations.  We are all encouraged to police our fellow man. Unfortunately that sense of power sometimes goes to a person’s head.  Believing that they know better then others, they incessantly meddle and sometimes even exaggerate offenses.