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North Coast Needs to Change with the Changing Times

Jim Cearley, Eureka Reporter Guest Editorial
February 16, 2006

Get Involved Today!I received an e-mail from Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County. These are the people who want any corporations out of Humboldt County. I know this because I sat through one of their presentations while I was attending College of the Redwoods, and have been receiving their e-mail bulletins for about three years.

Just to put things in perspective, I was born on the leading edge of the baby boom in 1946. I came to Eureka and Humboldt County in 1964.

I finally received two undergraduate degrees in 2003. I am married to a native Eurekan. I have worked in the timber industry, the pulp mill industry and the fishing industry, among others. For a lot of you "old-timers," my first job when I came here was for Jack Carter at Carter's Douglas Service Station on the corner of Harris and Pine streets. Let's see what kind of memories that tweaks. Almost all of these jobs were not for the large corporations, but rather the smaller independent contractors who supported these "corporate giants." For the most part, I always received a living wage plus benefits. I have seen these industries restricted inch by inch by special-interest groups (aka PACs) until they are effectively a shell of what they were in 1964.

Lately, we have seen an increase in political pressure groups to control the business type, size, and associations (franchises) into our cities, communities and county.

These groups are very vocal and are media savvy, know enough about how to hog-tie North Coast business through the courts and utilize this to their advantage. They tie business with lawsuits without a care of what it does to the local economy or the families that are displaced by businesses that are forced to close down.

As a result, we have seen a decrease in our tax base, resulting in reductions in the infrastructures of our communities. The only increases in the tax base have been because of increasing property values (a bigger burden on homeowners). Look around at street conditions, street lighting conditions, police reductions, fire department reductions and on and on, etc.

Why are we allowing this? Whoever the people are that I received the e-mail from are referring to this area as "our" city, town, county. I'd be willing to bet that there are more of us "old-timers" in this area who would like to see this area go back to a thriving, growing area where we give our children a chance to remain in this area.

In a growing economy, displaced employees are able to find jobs in an equal position, perhaps not the same industry, but with transferable skills. The only industry that seems to be increasing on the North Coast is the service industry. Question: How many people in the timber, pulp or fishing industry have transferable skills to the service industry?

The primary job of our elected officials should be to provide more job opportunities, a larger tax base through industry diversification, and converting idle, barren non-productive land into productive, job producing, tax producing land. I'm seeing a lot of our elected officials bowing at the altar of the special interests. Some are not, and I praise and support their stance, and I think we and they know who they are. My heart is with you and my hat is off to you.

I have had the honor and privilege of being the charter chairperson of the Arcata Transportation-Safety Committee.

I have also served as a council member and chairperson of the Manila Community Services District. I had the distinct honor and privilege of serving on the MCSD board with one of our distinguished members of the Board of Supervisors. I am not looking for any political position. I am just hoping that we can find a nice young man who is willing to take up the banner of us "old fogies," who have our beliefs in our traditions and have the moxie to carry on. Anyone out there? You've got my support.

(Jim Cearley is a Eureka resident.)

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Humboldt County Leaders Endorse Measure T!

Democratic Party of Humboldt County

Green Party of Humboldt County

Central Labor Council of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local #1684

Building and Construction Trades of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

Carpenters Union Local #751

Operating Engineers Union Local #3 AFL-CIO

Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney

Peter LaVallee, Eureka Mayor

Chris Kerrigan, Eureka City Council

Dave Meserve, Arcata City Council

Harmony Groves, Arcata City Council

Paul Pitino, Arcata City Council

Bob Ornelas, Former Arcata Mayor

Connie Stewart, Former Arcata Mayor

Elizabeth Conner, Former Arcata City Council

Julie Fulkerson, Former Humboldt County Board of Supervisors

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