Home > Uncategorized > Balloon Track update coming

Balloon Track update coming

Jeff_LeonardThe Eureka City Council will get an update at their September 15th meeting on an interim clean-up plan for Eureka’s Balloon Track — the proposed site of gazillionaire Rob Arkley’s big box mall.

Councilman Jeff Leonard noted the September 10th deadline on a last minute public comment period for the plan, and asked for an update at the following council meeting.  Because five days should be plenty of time for staff to conclude the plan is the greenest thing since environmentalism was invented.

Leonard has an important history with Arkley’s dream of retribution against Pierson’s Building Center by hatching a Home Depot where nobody wants it — near the shores of Humboldt Bay.  He did Arkley’s bidding on the City Council in 2004 by killing a master plan study after learning Arkley wanted to buy the property.  The incident led to Arkley’s famous comment:

If you’re me, do you really care what the city thinks?  I don’t want to have an alternate plan out there because it might not be what I want.

Or maybe Jeff is working to cull campaign favors from the man who once called him “worthless.”  After all, Leonard is hoping to unseat Arkley’s archenemy on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

  1. Auntie Arkley
    September 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Jeff Leonard is truly a brainless idiot.

  2. Annamoose
    September 3, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Hey Heraldo,
    I saw Jeff Leonard in Greg Pierson’s office yucking it up (as two short people).

  3. Humboldt Politico
    September 3, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Going on 3 1/2 years so far. Reminds me of the army motto – Hurry up and wait.

  4. High Finance
    September 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I have a lot of problems with Jeff Leonard.

    But killing that useless study is not one of them. It would have been a waste of public funds for a property that a private owner was going to buy anyway.

    So you people that are obsessed with all things Arkley, should just get a life.

  5. Reinventing the Wheel
    September 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I have a lot of problems with Jeff Leonard and killing that study was one of them.

    As the last largest undeveloped piece of public-zoned property on Humboldt bay, mired in controversy and contaminants, it was the right thing to do.

  6. asd
    September 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Man, Why did they build a piersons building center right on the eureka waterfront, its such a beautiful place atleast it used to be before they built peirsons there. Thank god we have SuperArkley to save the day! Hes a gazillionair i hear, that means hes the riches man in the world! And so charitable too!

    Love it or hate it, Super Arkley is helping to bring change to eureka! He is the only one who is actualy cleaning up the town! his redevelopment efforts have really changed alot of neighborhoods and are making downtown eureka a nicer place to visit!

    Thanks Mr. Arkley for the new co-op foods everyone really likes it and we all really like you too!

  7. Confucius Jones
    September 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Arkley is tied to the Coop?

  8. minorpoint
    September 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I just drove by there and did not see him. To what part is he tied?

  9. Anonymous
    September 3, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Take food and water, minorpoint. Who knows how long he’s been out there.

  10. Lo-licious
    September 3, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    No, Arkley was at his Loleta Ranch this morning. I only know because I saw him lumber up in his monstrous truck and he had his flunky behind him driving tractor in a shirt and tie, no joke.

  11. Not A Native
    September 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Sorry High Finance, but the issue is the zoning designation of the property, not the ownership. Zoning is a public designation and (public or private)property owner’s choices are constrained to what is permitted by zoning, as well as by other statutory restraints.

    Mr. Arkley purchased this property with no intention to utilize it in accordance with its zoning designation. He intended to request a zoning change. It seems like he expected his zoning change to be summarily approved.

    I’ve no problem with his methods, but also don’t believe that Mr. Arkley’s intentions are mandatory on the public. That might be the point where we differ.

  12. High Finance
    September 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Zoning is just an excuse liberals use so the government can seize Arkley’s land.

    He took an eyesore, a public hazard & kicked the addicts & bums out. The only chance we have to put this land to productive use is if Arkley succeeds. This former dump was a disgrace for 40 years & it would only have gotten worse over the next 40 years.

    All else is blather and excuses. If Arkley had been a Democrat & donated to the DNC, his buildings would have been finished by now.

  13. September 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    The dump was owned for 30 of those 40 years by the Southern Pacific and the Union Pacific so we know who to blame for 30 years of the disgrace.

    And then who walked away and left it there?

    have a peaceful day,

  14. minorpoint
    September 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I think all this political rhetoric and theatrics is simply a battle ground between the extreme left and right. The goal of the battle is to manipulate public opinion towards one or the other at the tax payers expense. Did I hear a rumor about budget problems? Sorry, I digress. The real test of the community at large is to allow Mr. Arkley to develop the balloon track and see where people spend their money. If the Big Box stays in business over a more local business, I will have to reconsider my faith in the community. By the way, you can buy the same crappy tools made in china at Piersons. The question I pose to all would-be-shoppers of the Big Box is, who would you rather support? Your choices are your friends and neighbors versus The Corporation.

  15. Annamoose
    September 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    The corporation or the bigger corporation?

  16. Zeno
    September 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    A week or so ago I was in Eureka and took an evening walk in Old Town and along the waterfront, including the boardwalk and the fisherman’s work area. I was struck by how Eureka has been hit hard by the recession. Not many people out and about, empty storefronts, and a destitute waterfront.

    I don’t see how it is a good time to be building lots of square footage of new retail. Doing so will merely help drive more existing stores out of business, thereby creating physical blight in retail districts. Moreover, I don’t see household incomes or wealth rebounding any time soon.

    There is economic growth in China and a few other places around the world. Niche manufacturing, specialty ag, and aquaculture has the potential to serve broader external markets at a modest scale, and bring dollars in to the local economy. From an economic development perspective, such activities would appear to have more merit than adding to the existing oversupply of retail in Humboldt.

  17. High Finance
    September 3, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Zeno, at best the ground for the new retail space won’t be broken for at least a couple of years. By that time the recession will be over.

    The whole project would probably take five years after that to complete.

    Minorpoint, if to be a supporter of business & growth means you are a “extreme right” person, that is a sad reflection on Humboldt county indeed.

    As far as “budget problems”? Retail growth produces badly needed sales tax for Eureka. The jobs provided will benefit our economy. Budget problems? If you are really concerned about them, you would support the Marina project.

  18. Delbert
    September 3, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Real growth produces jobs that pay people more than Home Depot so they can afford to pay a sales tax.

  19. anonymous
    September 3, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Home Depot reserves full time employment for managers. Most of their employees are part time which makes them ineligible for benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations. The same can be said for other big box retailers such as Lowes, Walmart, and Target. Profits do not get recirculated back into the local economy, but are sent back to the states where those companies are headquartered.

  20. olphart
    September 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    “Gazillionaire” “retribution” – excuse me but can we make this any more pointless? Have a real discussion.

  21. average Eurekan
    September 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you anonymous 8:21 for your most salient point about the true nature of jobs that the Marina Center proposes to offer us: on the whole, mostly substandard ones that have been pitched to us over and over again as well-paying, and with benefits. Add to that the nature of the sales tax it would generate, e.g., nearly all of it redistributed from existing (locally-owned) businesses, to out-of-the area corporate giants. Here we may reference the infamous 1999 study commissioned by the City of Eureka that found the home improvement sector to be the most over-retailed one in an already over-retailed county (per capita basis).

    Here’s the link to the study:


    The study concluded that a home improvement large-format store would do the most damage of anything proposed to the existing Eureka economy, more in fact, than a general merchandise large-format store (Wal-Mart). How come Jeff Leonard left this part out? Didn’t ya read the study that you commissioned, Jeff?

    Finally, no one has said anything yet on this thread about the wisdom of such a development on literally, the most traffic-choked corner in the county, already near gridlock for much of the working part of the day.

    From just about every angle you look at it, Marina Center is a bad idea for the parcel, rammed down the throats of Eureka in Arkley’s trademark “my way or the highway” style. Dictionary definition of “arrogant.”

    Any objective observer of the entire process, that is, the manner in which Arkley and his people “carpet-bombed” (sorry Heraldo, had to borrow your metaphor) the populace with misleading propaganda, has to lead one to believe that these people simply cannot be trusted.

  22. asd
    September 4, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Yes, ROB ARKLEY helped build the CO-OP building in eureka!
    His company made it possible! Remember that when you shop at the co-op. And thank mr. Arkley for helping build the new BIG BOX store desguised as the co-op! buisness is buisness and the co-op made the right choice.

  23. Walt
    September 4, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Looking at the south end, the Balloon Tract is starting to look like a log deck for Schmidbauer. If anybody is selling logs, they’re buying. . .

  24. 421
    September 4, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Home Depot reserves full time employment for managers. Most of their employees are part time which makes them ineligible for benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations. The same can be said for other big box retailers such as Lowes, Walmart, and Target. Profits do not get recirculated back into the local economy, but are sent back to the states where those companies are headquartered.

    Do you have a source? Everything I have read says they pay higher than most retail places. How do you know where the profits are going?

  25. September 4, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I would hope they design the parking lot better on the future Home Depot, someone must have been high when the co-op lot was drawn up.

  26. anonymous
    September 4, 2009 at 8:04 am

    “Do you have a source?”

    I have worked for Target and Walmart. My brother-in-law works for The Home Depot. Wages and benefits effect the bottom line. Part time workers are a way to keep expenditures down. It has been the big box retailer employment model for years.

    “How do you know where the profits are going?”

    The answer to your question should be obvious. The cost of operation for each store is paid by corporate offices that are located in those states where the corporations are headquartered.

  27. 421
    September 4, 2009 at 8:26 am

    well, my friends dad works for walmart as a truck driver and makes 50K + per year with full benefits. you are suggesting the locally owned retailers pay better than home depot and wal mart and supply benefits? i worked for a local retailer, no bennies, low wages, and never more than 32 hours per week. you don’t know where the profits of local businesses are going. one could say the profits of other home depot store would be coming to humboldt during construction, couldn’t they?

  28. anonymous
    September 4, 2009 at 8:57 am

    The profits of locally owned retailers, that is, money left over after cost of operation, are most often spent locally. That money is recirculated through the local economy many times.

    The construction of A Home Depot will not be handed over to local contractors. Concrete will be purchased from a local company but the labor will be non-local. I suppose the parking lot could be subcontracted locally, but construction of the building itself will be done by a non-local contractor and the paychecks for construction labor will go home with non-local laborers.

    The trucking jobs for a local Home Depot will not be handed to local drivers. Drivers will have to live near a Home Depot warehouse. Those warehouses get merchandise from independent trucking companies.

    The Home Depot will own the building and the land that the building and parking lot sits on. They are not going to sign a lease for this kind of investment.

  29. Anonymous
    September 4, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Oh 421, stop with the logic, will you? You’re going to ruin the far left’s insistence on making this an emotional issue. Arkley hatred. Evil rich people stealing from the poor. It’s so David and Goliath, even when it’s not. Don’t ruin that for us, ‘kay?

  30. anonymous
    September 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Another thing to consider is that competition for jobs at a new Home Depot will be great. You will be lucky to make the cut. Those that do find employment there may find it hard to keep their jobs once The Home Depot has destroyed the competition. Big box retailers often start wages higher at the onset to attract the best employees from their competitors, then promote lower paid part timers to management positions at lower wages once the competition have closed their doors. So whether you get make the cut or not, you could find yourself unemployed in the end.

    That would qualify as an emotional issue.

  31. Auntie Arkley
    September 4, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Arkley, and the other money-worshipping, greedy developers, are turning this town into a Santa Rosa. If that’s how you want to live, then move to Santa Rosa. It already exists; we don’t need another one. Our city/county is unique, and that uniqueness is why many of us live here. We don’t want it to change. We don’t want to live in a big city. Those of you who do: those places already exist. I suggest you move there and leave our town alone.

    And the Coop? A portion of every dollar you spend there goes into Arkley’s pocket. So if you don’t like his politics or what he’s doing to our community, then I suggest shopping somewhere else.

  32. anonymous
    September 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    In response to 8:59:

    I have nothing personal against Rob Arkley. I like to make money. I never made that much working for someone else. I am self-employed and own a very small scale fabrication shop. It is a business I started 12 years ago. I have worked in retail as a department manager, construction as a laborer, and I’ve worked for casinos. None of those jobs paid more than poverty scale wages, so usually I worked two jobs at a time to make ends meet. I have compassion for people who are trying to make a living on subsistence wages while putting up with the crap of a heartless manager. It is not easy.

  33. Broke As Hell
    September 4, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Rich people go to santa rosa! How many people do you know that shop and steal from the co-op? Were all struggling to survive in this town! The pharmaceutical industry keeps me afloat.I rather sell hard drugs to lttle rich kids and tax my weed to LA prices to get back at you rich bastards! Out with the OldTown,in with the “NewTown”! Sounds good? WATCH OLDTOWN EUREKA BURN and LEVELED on Arts Alive this Saturday at the Main Stage Gazebo! Rich people are encouraged to hangout and poor folks please stay home tuned to you local news stations.

  34. 421
    September 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    greedy developers, are turning this town into a Santa Rosa.
    Actually, that would be the community development department. you will see the new general plan seriously pile on development into the once bedroom communities at a level unprecedented in humboldt.

    857, you are speculating. you have no idea what pierson does with his money. if you are talking about normal profits than i agree, they are spent locally but those profits at a larger establishment are manager wages, which are most likely spent locally as well. i doubt the economic profits are spent here.

  35. anonymous
    September 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Wages are costs that subtract from a company’s profit.

  36. Oldphart
    September 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Hey Auntie Arkley, where did you come from? This area is turning into Santa Rosa or not Santa Rosa, but the amount of people moving here have dramatically changed the way life use to be behind the Redwood Curtain. Some good changes, some bad. But telling people to move to Santa Rosa, get real. If you want my definition of “old-timer” = raising a glass at the old Vance Log Cabin, or the VD by the Sea (Vista Del Mar).

  37. High Finance
    September 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    You all are missing the point.

    Government doesn’t have, nor should it have, the authority of deciding which business gets to do business in our town.

    It should never be allowed to say the Home Depot cannot do business here, while Pierson’s does. Any government that is that powerful is subject to corruption.

    You want to continue paying high prices at Pierson’s ? Fine go ahead. But if I want to shop at Home Depot, don’t try to tell me I am not allowed to.

  38. September 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Are you saying that the city government does not have the authority to stop legal medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in Eureka?

    Do tell.

    have a peaceful day,

  39. September 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    You are ignoring – on purpose of course – the fact that the Balloon Tract is zoned public use, not commercial.

    How much is Arkley willing to pay to us the taxpayers to give up our interest in the public use (commons) of that patch of land.

    I can tell you it won’t be cheap.

    have a peaceful day,

  40. September 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    “…yucking it up (as two short people).”

    What sort of shit-heel makes a comment like that? And what’s the point?

  41. The Daisy Tatoo
    September 5, 2009 at 12:29 am

    @Carson Park Ranger … um a tall one?

  42. Time to get real
    September 5, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Can you imagine that guy as Eureka’s rep on the board of Supervisors? He just can’t keep his mouth shut at council.

  43. September 5, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Taxpayer is a legal term for debtor used by a collection agency based offshore called Internal Revenue Service…calling yourself a taxpayer means you agree to the debt that offshore banks claim you owe. be cautious with legal terms and never answer to the title taxpayer.

    Goverment has no authority but what Citizens enable it to have- YOU give it the right to exist because it has no rights, only Man has Rights given by God.

    If people want a future for eka the start would be in getting rid of eyesores, that includes city hall the biggest eyesore of them all.

  44. Walt
    September 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Here’s an interesting thing I found out, and wondered if it had wider repurcussions: Talking to two neighbors in our rural neighborhood, both of whom had had the homeowners’ insurance canceled after visits by company snoops. Two separate companies (one Allstate). One was canceled for, get this, having moss on his roof. The other was canceled for having a heater 16 inches from the wall, rather than 32. In both cases the neighbors found out about this through a call from the bank through whom they have a mortgage. Their mortgage requires them to have insurance, so the banks demanded they make the insurance co’s happy.

    I listened, incredulous, to these stories, and wondered why I hadn’t been canceled. I too have mortgage. . .BUT NOT WITH A BANK.

    So I wondered if other local people were having their insurance canceled for no particular reason, and if they had mortgages with banks too.

    I’m not paranoid about corporations, BUT. . .

  45. September 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    banks, aka derivative holding corps- because your mortgage is sold and becomes a derivative and part of the fractional lending inflation nightmare… my point is that the “lender” is happy to provide the required coverage if you falter and it will cost you many times over what you could find on your own.

    i was dropped also, so i understand

  46. Anonymister
    September 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    “i was dropped also, so i understand”
    Why do I not feel any sympathy for Black Flag?

  47. Not A Native
    September 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Don’t think you got the correct understanding. Black Flag was dropped…..on his head when he was a baby.

  48. September 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    it’s easy to find new policies- the market shift is the corps dropping people to group them into new risk pools, it’s an unfair practice…if you won’t give the insurance co your finances in detail they won’t want your “dollars”, and will want your policy attached with their holding company’s high rate provider…..it’s a way to bill “high risk” lenders or people in rural areas with worthless land that can’t be built on because of restrictions.

    just a different way to attack rural amerika

    September 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    This much is true,

    The Federal Reserve is a Monetary Cartel by, of and for international corporations and their associated profits!

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  50. A-Nony-Mouse
    September 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Boy, you guys sure strayed a long ways from the illegal clean-up DEAL attempted by CUE and the Water Board. Their hands were so far into the cookie jar when they got caught that they were shitting cookies for a week. Whether you favor the Arkley ‘dream’ (nightmare?) or not, the Tract MUST be cleaned up to a standard that would allow ANYTHING to be built. It’s the ONLY way to assure the safety of our bay and our health. If Arkley did that FIRST, instead of constantly trying to find cheap shortcuts, then he might get a smidgen less resistance to his empire building. Some of us are still convinced that he doesn’t give a flying fig about Eureka or its economy, as long as he can get his way. His much publicized ‘gift’ to the zoo only served to increase its budget needs which the City can’t afford. Thanks a lot, Rob. It’s pretty but it’s poorly designed for zoo use and we cannot afford the extra momey it requires just for maintenance. Something about looking gift-horses in the mouth? Will Eureka ever learn to look before it leaps? And I do mean you, Jeff!

  51. capdiamont
    September 6, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Build anything huh? That is rich. Most of the sites are capped over, why should this one be different? Costco, Adorni center. The Adorni center is closer to the bay than the Marina Center, but hey it is ok for others to do it.

  52. longwind
    September 6, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Walt, my insurance was canceled by a computer program created several years ago, which collates hillslopes with property lines. It output that our hilltop home is at high fire risk from the angles of hills below us. Our brush clearing and other fuel load reductions, water storage etc were not mapped, but they didn’t matter, I was programmed for cancellation. This was after the spate of wildfires a couple of years ago, when many insurance companies were unabashedly fleeing California, and others concocting excuses to. Long story short, we switched to another national unlikely to have bought that software, and we haven’t had problems since. The insurance wasn’t through a bank.

    All this is redolent of health care insurance, isn’t it? We think of insurance as protection, but insurers use it as a protection racket, whose mid-level mediocrities make career moves sweeping millions in and out of ‘protection.’

    And now Obama (the People’s champion) proposes it be illegal to refuse to pay tribute to the health-racket parasites, as it’s already illegal to refuse tribute to the mortgage-racket parasites. And that’s reform.

    Black Flag, where’s the Kool-Aid?

  53. Time to get real
    September 8, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Costco actually did a pretty good job of cleanup on their property. They removed the top four feet of soil and brought in large cookers that looked like big cement mixers and burned of the toxins. It was the acceptable method at the time. Now it isn’t allowed because of air pollution. Pretty hard to find the perfect way, but we now have learned a lot on how to do it. It is expensive and there is the rub. In the early public meetings held, S.N. was estimating 10 to 20 million dollars for the job, now they seem to have the OK to only spend a fraction of that amount. It can’t be done right on the cheap, but now S.N. wants to do it that way. They are really backtracking from their own original estimates.

  54. Newintown
    September 13, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Wow, what great research! “No one wants Home Depot.”

    Apparently our author has spoken to virtually everybody in the county to ascertain this. Quite an accomplishment!

    In reality, some do in fact want a Home Depot. Those who are willing to drive to Crescent City or Redding, for example, to save more than enough on building materials to pay for the trip.

    Note of course that similar savings would leave cash in people’s pockets, some of which would make its way to other local merchants… as opposed to winding up in the pockets of an anointed few.

    No sense rehashing the whole argument here, doesn’t change anybody’s mind anyway. But it’s worth remembering that there are two sides, and people on both sides, of the issue, just like most issues anywhere.

    “High Finance” makes good sense, but seems to encounter plenty of resistance. It’s kind of touching to see the devotion to government and its various “laws,” even in the face of thousands of years of evidence that governments do much more harm than good. The indoctrination centers laughingly referred to as “schools” are working.

  55. Ed
    September 13, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I think you’d be happier being new in another town, one with lots of mega chains and Republicans. Orange Co. comes to mind. It must be difficult for you to embrace such a liberal enclave, especially over the last two elections.

  56. 06em
    September 13, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    … to save more than enough on building materials to pay for the trip.

    Who are these local citizens, avid DIYers, that are perpetually hauling building materials back from Crescent City and parts beyond at such quantities that they always seem to save enough money to offset our over-inflated gas prices? What are they building? Greenhouses? Gun cabinets? Root cellars? Skate parks? Disc golf courses? Protest signs?

  57. capdiamont
    September 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Umm to build, or get most anything. Me and my wife went to there last weekend. Rather enjoyable trip, allowed us some good time to talk. Guess what, we saw other Eurekans in Wal-Mart too. It happens quite often to see people there, from down here.

  58. 06em
    September 14, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Umm to build, or get most anything.

    You actually save money doing this? Do tell. So it’s cheaper for you to drive to Crescent City and back to buy a 6 foot 1X12 and a couple of shelf brackets? Hmm. Where do you live? Orick?

  59. capdiamont
    September 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Are you in great denial, that people do this shopping up there? When one tends to do long distance, one tends to plan things out, and get a whole lot more than just, “a 6 foot 1×12 and a couple of shelf brackets”.

    Figuring 180 round trip miles / 45mpg(pruis) * $4.00 per gallon of gas, comes to only $16 per trip.

    Worse case, we’ll say 10mpg for some pickup, gives $72.00 per trip. If one plans things out, they can easily save that amount of money. But, hey, keep your denial.

    I remember people saying the same things about Costco.

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