The “Vilica Mess”
Regular readers of the Humboldt Herald are demanding a post on “the Villica mess.” Here it is.
Vilica is a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that purchased several thousand acres of Eel River Sawmills land for what appear to be marijuana grows. The two principal operators of Vilica are local resident Josh Hedlund — a fierce opponent of changes to TPZ (Timber Production Zone) laws — and Arcata attorney Steve Schectman.
The company gained attention when it landed on the Board of Supervisors agenda for the November 6 meeting — the same day the explosive TPZ building moratorium issue was scheduled. Hundreds of residents showed up for the meeting and got treated to the Vilica spectacle before the TPZ debate.
Neither Schectman or Hedlund attended the meeting, though at least Schectman had been notified to appear. In their stead stood private land planner Kevin Caldwell — another fierce opponent to TPZ changes — who looked hung out to dry in front of the board and the hundreds of meeting attendees.
Caldwell read a letter to the Board defending Vilica, but upon questioning revealed he had little knowledge of the corporation for which he spoke. He said he didn’t know who sat on Vilica’s board or the names of its owners, and said he hasn’t been to Vilica’s property. If it’s been logged under Vilica’s care, Caldwell didn’t know about it, nor did he know about any future harvest or management plans.
In fact, he’d only been asked to speak on Vilica’s behalf the night before.
Despite holding a seemingly knowledgeable opposition to the Oct. 9 moratorium, including a My Word in the Times-Standard*, Caldwell didn’t speak on the moratorium issue after taking one for the Vilica team in front of the Board and a packed room of spectators.
Last week’s Journal took note of the strange bed fellows brought together over TPZ. Schectman, an attorney known for environmental lawsuits against Pacific Lumber now appears to toe the same line as eco-busting timber corporations and developer interests. The combined interests could carry the slogan “TPZ is for Marijuana.”
Such relations are prime examples of what’s wrong with Humboldt County’s blind eye to current TPZ laws. If the Supes are to protect “forest resource productivity” as legislated by the State, they should disallow the conversion of TPZ into MPZ.
*The T-S falsely identified Caldwell as a land planner for Humboldt County. He’s an owner of Real Property Solutions in Miranda.