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Balloon Track lawsuit tossed by Supreme Court

September 29, 2011 101 comments

When the so-called Citizens for a Better Eureka lost their case in Humboldt County Superior Court challenging the Coastal Commission’s say-so over the blighted Balloon Track, they took it to the California 1st District Court of Appeals.  There, they lost again.

Now the California Supreme Court has denied a petition for review of the Appellate Court’s decision.

The lawsuit was a factual dud from the get-go, but was heartily supported by Rex Bohn, 1st District Candidate for Humboldt County Supervisor, who took to the podium during a press conference announcing the suit in February 2010.

Larry Glass more popular than the Brady Bunch

September 21, 2011 97 comments

[Click image to biggify.]

The North Coast Journal rolled out its annual Best of Humboldt issue today.  Pick up a copy to see the winners, near-winners and losers. (Digital copies hit the internetz sometime tonight or tomorrow).

Humboldt County Supervisor Jimmy Smith won the “Best Elected Official” category, with Congressman Mike Thompson and Supervisor Mark Lovelace coming in a close second and third.

But the big revelation is that ousted City Councilman Larry Glass made the list — and he “managed to earn more votes that the city’s three new councilmembers combined,” sayeth the Journal.

Glass got 2% of the vote, (as did Supervisor Virginia Bass). Eureka City Council members Mike Newman and Marian Brady each nabbed .03%.

It is hard to believe there are people (or perhaps just a single person) out there who really believe either one of those fools is the “Best Elected Official” in Humboldt County.  There’s a mighty big rock somewhere in Eureka, and the space beneath it appears to be occupied.

In the “Best Blog” category, the Humboldt Herald came in at #2 (quit yer snickering), second only to Hank Sims’ new gig, the Lost Coast Outpost. The Journal said it was a “bittersweet honor to bestow.” This time last year, Sims was the captain of the SS NCJ.

“Despite Rob Arkley’s claims to the contrary, Hank is a journalist,” writes the Journal’s Andrew Goff.

Eureka Reporter still making the “news”

September 13, 2011 38 comments

Years after local kazillionair Rob Arkley quit funding his newspaper-like circular, The Eureka Reporter, the ghost of ye olde fish-wrap was flashed before a national audience on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report Monday night.

In a story about the sorry state of journalism, the Arkley rag was shown as a prime example of defunct newspapers — despite the fact that the ER never actually turned a profit and only existed to promote a rich man’s revenge on the other local daily which failed to adequately promote his extremist right-wing agenda.

A close look at the screen cap shows the ER headline, “Looking for One Good Planner.” Arkley’s attacks on the Humboldt County Planning Department go way back and were indeed a fundamental reason he dabbled in the “news” business.

That aside, the report on the Report is goll durn funny. Watch it here.

DELINQUENT: Rob Arkley’s property taxes

September 5, 2011 42 comments

Last week, the North Coast Journal ran a list of properties in tax default, and several properties connected to Eureka big cheese Rob Arkley made the list. (For a reminder of the many corporate entities housed at Arkley’s business address, go here.)

The properties in default include those owned by CUE VI LLC, Samoa Dunes I, Sequoia Investments XI, SN Properties Unencumbered, and Ocean View Ranches. The amount owed on these properties, including penalties and fees, totals more than $313,000.

Arkley likes to promote himself as a do-gooder rich guy.  But when the community where he lives and does business falls on hard economic times, Arkley fails to fulfill the basic responsibilities of paying his property taxes.

Yet he has plenty of cash to throw at bogus ballot measures and other political schemes. Go figure.

Whole lotta logs on the Balloon Track — again

August 9, 2011 123 comments

Schmidbauer Lumber appears to be using the Balloon Track property as a log deck despite the presence of dioxin there.  Witnesses say piles were stacked within a few hours Tuesday.

The logs do not appear to be overflow from Schmidbauer property, however; there is room on the company’s neighboring property.

The former rail yard remains a polluted eyesore despite promises by property owner Rob Arkley to clean it and build his “Marina Center Now!” as promised in last year’s campaign slogan. Instead, he appears content to push toxins around the property with logs and trucks.

EARLIER: Movin’ the mud around | The polluted properties of Union Pacific

Arkley confirms Wal-Mart rumors

July 26, 2011 103 comments

Eureka big box fanatic Rob Arkley reportedly confirmed on radio KINS Monday that Wal-Mart is indeed the “mystery retailer” taking over the Gottschalks site at the Bayshore Mall.

The Times-Standard reported last week that “Eureka-based property management company Carrington Co. submitted a building permit application on behalf of its tenant to the city on June 28 but withheld the tenant’s name.”

Sources say the tenant is Wal-Mart, and that Carrington courted the mega-sexist-sweatshop-based retailer to takeover the mall space rather than wait for a stand alone site. A contract between the two was reportedly signed weeks ago.

We would direct you to the KINS podcast of the Arkley interview but the right-wing AM station’s tech savvy-ness is as backward as their politics.  As it stands you have to tune in — with an actual radio — to listen to the cuckoo commentary as it airs.

(h/t Nate Downey)

Coastal Commission has jurisdiction over Balloon Track

June 29, 2011 34 comments

A lawsuit by the so-called “Citizens for a Better Eureka” (CBE) has bombed out in the California 1st District Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s decision that the California Coastal Commission (CCC) does indeed have jurisdiction over Balloon Track property.

CBE argued the CCC didn’t have authority to hear appeals filed by environmental groups, Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Ralph Faust and two members of the CCC itself over a Coastal Development Permit approved by the City of Eureka in 2009. The higher court disagreed.

“[W]e affirm the judgment denying CBE’s petition for writ of mandate that seeks to prevent the appeal from going forward,” the court wrote in its decision filed Wednesday. Read it here.

The Appeals Court agreed with the Coastal Commission and wrote in its ruling that “the Phase 1 development [of the Marina Center project] ‘goes far beyond just nuisance abatement.’” Phase 1 is designed to prepare the property for a big box mall rather than simply address nuisance issues.

CBE was represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Balloon Track owner Rob Arkley is a past board member of PLF.

Humboldt Sunshine ignored its own lawsuit

June 23, 2011 46 comments

The settlement of the Humboldt Sunshine lawsuit happened without any involvement by Humboldt Sunshine.

The court allowed Housing For All to become an intervenor in the suit soon after it was filed because HFA could better represent the needs of low income residents, said HFA’s Elizabeth Connor on KMUD news Thursday. She said Humboldt Sunshine representative Kay Backer stopped attending settlement meetings nine months ago.

KMUD news report below (story starts at 3:11).


Even so, Backer said she is shocked that she wasn’t notified of the settlement agreement and said she is pressing forward with the case.  But Conner says Humboldt Sunshine walked away and gave up any place in the suit.

Conner said HFA wanted compliance with state law in the Housing Element of the General Plan Update, “nothing more or nothing less.” She said HFA is only concerned with multi-family housing.  The settlement gives a timeline to finish the rezoning and be eligible for state grants to build affordable housing.

Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace told KMUD the benefits of rezoning for multi-family development include a rise in property values.  He said HumCPR — a so-called property rights group — should be banging the drum for the re-zoning.  “We’re trying to give away property rights.  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard.”

And since Humboldt Sunshine “shined on” the lawsuit, Lovelace said it appears they filed “purely for political purposes and not to provide affordable housing in Humboldt County.”

No decision yet in Balloon Track case

June 23, 2011 17 comments

Balloon Track watchers are still waiting for a decision by California’s 1st District Court of Appeal following a June 11th hearing in the case against the California Coastal Commission (CCC). The case was brought by the innocuous-sounding “Citizens for a Better Eureka” (CBE).

KMUD news interviewed attorneys on both sides of the case Wednesday (fast forward to 24:52).


CBE is represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Attorney Damien Schiff says the CCC has no authority to interfere with the City of Eureka’s approval of Phase 1 of the Marina Center project, which would relocate wetlands, remove old foundations and rail tracks and grade the site to control weeds.

CCC attorney Christopher Peterson said the only thing the CCC has done at this point is to find that appeals to the approval of Phase 1 raised substantial issues. A hearing was never set on the appeals due to stonewalling by property owner Security National.  Peterson said the CCC supports cleaning up the Balloon Track and has gone along with interim measures, but the specific proposal in Phase 1 is about “much more than that.”  He said Phase 1 is the first stage of preparation for future retail development which doesn’t have anything to do with the clean-up.

The court has 90 days to issue a decision on CBE’s appeal of the lower court’s decision to toss the case.

County to settle Arkley lawsuit

June 22, 2011 13 comments

Humboldt County Supervisors voted in closed session Tuesday to settle a lawsuit over the County’s Housing Element brought by one of kazillionaire Rob Arkley’s pro-development groups.

The case is Humboldt Sunshine, Inc. v. County of Humboldt.

To comply with terms of the settlement the County must complete its rezoning for multi-family housing by August 15th, otherwise a moratorium on development permits will be imposed by the court.

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