GPU-I was only able to stay for half the Monday meeting of the Board of Supervisors to continue the review of the General Plan Update so my impressions may be faulty. Ryan Burns of the NCJ was also there, but no Times-Standard. The mysterious letter from the City of Arcata was being read by Supervisor Bass but had not been shared with the attendees. Here is what I took away.
1) At this 1:30 pm meeting, only about a third as many people were there. There were the usual realtors, developers and CPR people but there were very few environmentalist voices.
2) The eagerness, by the usual 4-1 margin, of the Supervisors to dismember the previously agreed -upon principles has been notable. You could liken the whole process to a long, drawn-out slasher movie.
3) The tales of travail, of projects lost in space, during this long twelve years are truly tragic if you call wasted time tragic, as I do. At every meeting someone brings up some study or project that good effort went into and that has long been forgotten.
4) Supervisors Fennell and Bohn let it be known that they are both allergic to the word “Sprawl” and they would prefer it not be used in the GPU. It was unclear to me whether they thought that simply giving sprawl another name would somehow change it, or whether they believe that sprawl is simply inconceivable in our fair county. I used that word a lot the week before. Looks like I’ll be using it again. I can’t think of a more important act for the Supervisors to accomplish than the GPU. Business needs a stable legal environment and the GPU still being in process after 12 years is hardly a selling point to investors or a tribute to our collective common sense.
FEDERAL EMPLOYEE FURLOUGH- There are 1558 Federal employees in Humboldt County according to the OPM’s 2012 figures. Here’s a breakdown by departments:
Agriculture (mostly the Forest Service ) 218
Interior (parks, and I believe the BLM) 208
Post Office: no they’re not Federal except kinda and they’re not on furlough, thank God, but I thought it would be fun to throw them in- 273
Defense/DHS- Those would be military recruiters and TSA baggage inspectors at ACV: 35
Veteran’s Affairs- 24 and Social Security- 18
And the rest: Commerce 53, Energy 2, Transportation 6, Treasury 1 and Other 11.
Even backing the Postal workers out of the total, that’s still 1285 well-paid people who won’t be spending their paychecks until the impasse is resolved. This is a definite blow to our business community at a time when Holiday spending is about to get underway. Anyhow that’s how it looked at Costco today. Let’s hope for some Holiday cheer. And if you know someone on furlough, show them some kindness. It’s a traumatic situation and our Federal workers are not the high pay grades you have in the urban centers.
By the way, did you know there’s an FBI office in Fortuna? I didn’t.