Train Nuts, Morons, and Our Wack Harbor Election

Well, our sleepy little Harbor District is stealing all the attention in the upcoming November election.  As a First District resident,  I didn’t even get a ballot since the two doofuses who were supposed to run and were too incompetent to turn in their signatures left the field to Larry Doss who gets the job unopposed. Disgraceful!

So the action is all in the Second and Fifth Districts, and might be summarized as Higgins and Dale vs. Rotwein and Angeloff. There have been many strange issues and red herrings brought up in these races and very little clarity. Greg Dale either DOES or DOES NOT have a conflict of interest.  The Harbor District DOES or DOES NOT owe millions of dollars to the EPA. It IS binary!

Leo/Hank: One of the mini-issues has been Leo Sears’ shyness about being named a rail supporter  by Hank Sims of LOCO. Hank, of course, is famous for having labelled rail supporters “morons” in a discussion about restoring the North/South, or Eel River route.  I remain  proudly one of those “morons”  and I believe that restoring rail traffic to Marin would be a reasonable investment in our infrastructure, considering  it could be done for half a billion and would result in a world-class tourist attraction if done right and properly integrated with trails. On the other hand,  the East-West rail line being promoted by Angeloff  is lunacy.  It would cost at least a billion, have no tourist potential and have nothing to haul that doesn’t already have more efficient ways to get to market.

I cannot stress too strongly the difference between the two rail routes. East-West is a joke; North-South a noble endeavor.    No one who has ever personally ridden the train through the Eel River Valley is opposed to opening it up again.  No one. Yes, it will be expensive and will require more environmental safeguards than before but we would end up with a world -class tourist attraction which would attract folks who don’t necessarily enjoy backpacking.

 I was for several years a member of an amorphous group called the  Committee for Port/Rail Development.  At least I think that’s what they were called.  I have no written records of them although I must have attended several dozen of their monthly lunches at the Cookhouse.  Kaye Strickland was the wonderful lady who ran those lunches. I’m almost positive that’s where I met Leo. The group was not only amorphous-it was pretty much chaotic.  I don’t think they kept any attendance figures nor was any money collected.  Every once in a while Charles Ollivier would stand up and give an impassioned oration. There was a lot of discussion but nothing ever HAPPENED. Out of frustration, Mark Matteoli and some other guys started a committee called RAPIT but it was pretty short-lived. If you stroll into one of the monthly lunches being held by the “Humboldt Bay Harbor Working  Group” that evolved out of the 2012 Prosperity campaign,  you might think you’re in a time warp.  About 80% of the HBHWG were also involved in the CPD. More disclosure: I bailed from the Prosperity effort when we got to the point of recommending a full study of the East-West rail option. I didn’t think East/West would fly and I thought that would be the end of it.  Silly me! The CPR-backed Rotwein and Angeloff campaigns are pushing East/West as a route for moving their chesnuts or cherries or something.   If I’m a moron, these guys are lunatics.

A delicious complication appears to be on the horizon: Leo has taken out a Fictitious Business Name Statement in the Mad River Union announcing the establishment of something called “Economic Growth and Stability” located at TWO addresses in Eureka, which seems like a typo. The nicer house is located in the heart of Henderson Center and sports a huge Rex Bohn poster in the hedge. All roads led to Rex, apparently. So what’s Leo up to?  We could call and ask but what would be the fun in that? Stay tuned.

When I get around to having my “MORON AND PROUD” t-shirts printed up, I’ll let you know.  Meanwhile, the Times-Standard ran my letter the other day in which I advocate voting for Greg Dale and Pat Higgins. Wish I could vote!I

Letter to the Times-Standard, “Vote for Greg Dale and Pat Higgins”

The current Harbor Commission has, by and large, done a fine job in getting the District’s finances under control and setting a new course in the post-pulp mill era. The incumbents who are running for re-election, Greg Dale and Pat Higgins, deserve your vote. They bring experience and dedication. Their challengers bring flimflam and half-truths. The choice is clear. Vote for Pat Higgins and Greg Dale on November 3!


Tidbits & Gossip

A FOB (Friend of the Blog) advised us that Grocery Outlet is opening at Strong’s Plaza in Fortuna. GO confirms this and says they’re already pouring concrete in Fortuna. Different owners for Fortuna, however.

We learn from the Coos Bay World that service to Denver , yes, Denver, will continue through the summer. I find this somewhat amazing.

Finally, the SBDC will offer their excellent training for artisans and craftspeople with their programs “Making Your Business Ready for Online Sales”.    Click there for enrollment forms and good luck!


Airport News- Medford Is BUSY, Eugene’s Adding Service

While our ACV struggles to maintain a four-flights-a-day schedule, the Medford airport is jammed. A Friend of the Blog turned us onto this story from the Medford Mail Tribune . Medford is handling 19 departures a day to ACV’s four and passenger traffic is at an all-time high.

Eugene too! The excellent article also points out that “Eugene’s Mahlon Sweet Airport has announced expanded service, with a daily flight to San Jose by Alaska Air Group’s Horizon unit, a Southwest Airlines flight to Dallas and five flights per week to Beijing by Hainan Airlines.”  (One-stop in San Jose). Yes, Beijing.  Whee!

I mentioned the Eugene flights to a Chinese friend who commented that due to the economic expansion in China there are direct or one-stop flights to China now from American locations that would have been unthinkable until recently.  Like Eugene. 

Our Friend also points out that the departure of Avis R/A/C from our ACV has been accomplished and Avis didn’t mind paying $9K to get out of its contract.  A windfall!  Not exactly, but it will cover the cost of trimming a few trees.

The invaluable Mad River Union has a story today about the Grand Jury recommendations re: ACV.  The piece is not online but contains the following startling statistic: “Between 2007 and 2013, McKinleyville enplanements plunged to 56,682 from 105,969, costing vital federal dollars, which are apportioned by a formula linked to the number of annual enplanements.”


We’re Gonna Have a BOAT PARADE!!!

The Greater Eureka Chamber announces in its newsletter that on Saturday, July 11 a Lighted Boat Parade will be held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  “The Lighted Boat Parade will showcase beautifully decorated boats of all sizes adorned with a dazzling array of lights and sounds, circling the Bay from the Eureka Public Marina to Halvorsen Park beginning at 8:30 PM.”

The City of Eureka,  Eureka Main Street,  the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum,  the M/V Madaket, and the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center have joined forces with the Chamber to coordinate this event.

We haven’t had a parade like this in years, or if we did, I missed it.  The last time we  were supposed to have a boat parade I and several other cars full of folks drove around the Adorni Parking lot looking in vain for a parade. This time it’s for real!

“To participate in the boat parade, please contact Amanda at Eureka Main Street at 442-9054.” 



Have Kids? Take Them to ACV June 9th.

In a local version of the Harmonic Convergence, our still NOT renamed airport will host BOTH the Wings of Freedom air meeting AND the Goodyear blimp on Tuesday June 9.  The Wings of Freedom event offers a chance to tour vintage Word War II aircraft,  and the blimp!! Well, what can you say about the blimp other than that it is the most recognizable American icon, apart from the Statue of Liberty. 

The festivities actually start on the 8th and the exact date of the blimps’ arrival is unclear (it takes several days to get here from Long Beach) .  Check the papers or  the Fly Humboldt Facebook page for updates.


A New Way To Fly?

An interesting development is reported by the Sacramento Business News.  Surf Air, a private membership airline headquartered in Santa Monica and flying out of the old McClellan AFB,  is flying round-trips between Santa Rosa, Hawthorne and San Carlos beginning next month, and will add service between Monterey and Hawthorne and San Carlos in July.  On August 24,  they’ll begin round-trips between McClellan and Hawthorne, San Carlos and Santa Barbara. Then in November they’re adding service between Palm Springs and Burbank and Oakland.

A private airline? Affordable?? Well, maybe.  Surf Air’s customers pay a flat monthly fee starting at $1750 for membership and unlimited flights.  If you’re doomed to fly more than three or four times a month, it starts looking downright reasonable.  Add in the sheer pleasure of not having to deal with the major airlines and…well, I’d sure like to try it.

In another development, Pen Air, which is supposed to start service beween Crescent City and Portland later this year, is making nice with the Redding airport folks and has been heard to say they are interested in flying out of AVC.  We’ll see. Stay tuned. 


No Silver Lining

I was surprised,  as was airport management, apparently,  to hear that the Silver Lining restaurant at the Humboldt County Redwoods whatever airport is closed. That’s a big step backward for the folks who have been promoting the airport and while I don’t think many flyers would cancel a flight because their destination didn’t have a coffee shop, it still doesn’t say much for the infrastructure we offer our visitors.

According to the NCJ,  an attempt will be made to find another operator.  That might be difficult.  Most airport restaurants overlook a busy runway where diners can observe takeoffs and landings more often than four times a day. Maybe the County should contract with Dell’ Arte or Access Humboldt or someone else who can produce a light show to resemble a busy airport. At least it would LOOK like the return of normalcy. Stay tuned. 

NonStop Sac to Boston, Siemens Shows Off

“Please come to Boston in the springtime..” Remember that song? Well, you might not make it by springtime but starting June 18 and continuing till September you’ll be able to fly to Boston NONSTOP from Sacramento on Jet Blue for as little as $199 each way. Take your kids on the Freedom Trail! Or catch the train up to Montreal- a one day ride- and show them a foreign country. That last would be my plan and I’m almost excited enough about it to consider flying again.

In other transportation news, Siemens is having a kind of expo on February 25 and 26 on the Capitol Steps to advertise its bid re: the HSR contracts. Again, it sounds like a lot of fun for train freaks (like me) and kids (like me.)  Check it out here or if the link doesn’t work check the Feb 12 edition of the Sacramento Business News.