NCRA vote delayed

Humboldt County Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to delay an appointment to the North Coast Rail Authority until June 7th, and the way it went down might surprise you.

Supervisor Clif Clendenen shocked everyone by asking for a continuation at the start of the hearing. As a vague explanation, Clif said there were “other interests” that haven’t come forward yet despite the three months that have passed since Linda Atkins resigned and created a vacancy. Despite prodding by Chairman Mark Lovelace, Clif wouldn’t elaborate.

Supe Jimmy Smith said he was inclined to support Clif’s request, since he was the county’s rep on the NCRA, and because Clif must have “special reasons” for making the request.  Bass initially agreed.

But Lovelace said he was “hesitant to just continue for more time without more of an idea of why.”

Applicants for the spot mostly pitched their case for why they should be chosen, but some NCRA hopefuls, along with NCRA watchdogs from both sides of the trains vs. trails divide urged Supes to make a decision sooner rather than later due to important matters facing the Rail Authority.

Former NCRA member Dan Hauser had support from the port/rail development advocates in the room.  He said rebuilding the line to connect with Humboldt Bay might be too expensive, but the NCRA must “honestly and openly look at those questions” to fulfill the NCRA mandate.

When it came time to vote, Bass joined with Lovelace in opposing the delay, while Clif, Smith and Ryan Sundberg supported it.

Guess that makes Sundberg an “extremist” now, too.  Or is it Bass since she voted with Lovelace? Maybe Arkley should  publish a diagram so his followers know who to hate each week.

  1. Anonymous
    May 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Maybe they will wait till after the rapture to see who is left to nominate.

  2. SNaFU
    May 18, 2011 at 12:44 am

    There’s been millions of dollars spent over the years for “study sessions.”
    Hum county sups need to bull shit Mike Thompson into funding the rail system a 100% and in return we will promise to trade his grapes for our Redwood Pecker Poles…..

  3. Humboldt
    May 18, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Dear Heraldo,

    You are no longer relevant. If you need us we’ll be over at Lost Coast Outpost.

    Humboldt County

    PS- It was nice while it lasted though.

  4. The rest of Humboldt County
    May 18, 2011 at 7:27 am

    6:49 said : If you need us we’ll be over at Lost Coast Outpost.

    Yeah, all 6 of us.

    May 18, 2011 at 7:34 am


    remember that Planning Commission appointment process? Had the supes not already used the “more interest” reasoning? Anyhow, an appointed position to deliberate futilisms of the choo choo train to Humboldt seems spent. Hey, by next election, there may not be a NCRA any longer…who knows.

    Who else says stick a fork in the train idea, it’s barbequed? It has offered a cozy seat for wannabe elitists to usurp for political popularisms……..

    Let the private sector do the dirty work for a choo choo train. Government can make up the regs and charge the fees. Problem solved until financial reality is achieved so that more realistic discussions can be entertained by those who are gonna get hit with the expenditures of development. The general public has more than weighed-in on this chug-a-lug-a choo choo restoration process.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  6. Not A Native
    May 18, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I’ll guess that it has something to do with the proposal for a trail along the Eel that was in the news last month. A position on the NCRA board would be a big boost to someone who’s credible and wants to form a broadbased group with a common goal.

  7. owltotem
    May 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I hike the main fork along the rail easement regularly, it is gorgeous, I hope those guys (ERTA) get the support they need. It is an incredibly good idea to build a bicycle trail there, people would come from everywhere to bike it there is only a 30 foot rise between the Southfork confluence and Willits, it is because trains cant pull big hills, GREAT for bicycling. Campgrounds along the trail. THAT is an incredibly good destination activity and would bring people to Humboldt as a destination location for eco tourism and healthy outdoor activity. If that is the hang up, I they get their rep.

    Did anyone see Eureka council last night? I posted on quick notes, another travesty!

  8. Percy
    May 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Don’t let the door hit you in the ass Humboldt.

  9. Percy
    May 18, 2011 at 8:37 am

    One of the big sticking points in getting the trails put in is the opposition of the property owners along the right of way. Deferring to them gives the authority a good excuse to do nothing. It’s too bad these property owners hold that much sway and feel the way they do. Working with them and guaranteeing that their property will not be trashed and their rights respected will be crucial to moving the trails forward.

  10. gump
    May 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I think the difficulty is there is no way to guarantee that their property will not be trashed and their rights respected.

    I’m not saying I agree with them, just that I understand their concerns.

  11. Percy
    May 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Rails to trails conservancy has some good information on dealing with land owner opposition:

  12. Not A Native
    May 18, 2011 at 9:24 am

    FWIW, any proposal for campgrounds along a trail will raise the hackles of the many local xenophobes who see that only as a code for homeless and hobo camps of outsiders. The NCR right of way isn’t the Applachian trail. An attempt to make it like that won’t get broad support.

  13. Eric Kirk
    May 18, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Unfortunately, I think NAN is right. This isn’t Europe or even New England.

  14. Fool On Hill
    May 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I found the op-ed piece “Freight Rail Agreement Unfair to Taxpayers” by NCRA board member Bernie Meyers in the March 21 issue of the Petaluma Patch illuminating. He concludes: “Primary responsibility for the lease deficiencies lies with NCRA for its lack of transparency and shortsightedness. Some board members apparently think that we should be thankful for NWP’s efforts and that the need to get the line up and running to Humboldt Bay overrides the lease’s defects. I respectfully disagree. If the lease is left as is, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars will be expended apparently for private gain and limited public benefit. Fiscal prudence and transparency have been swept aside in an effort to bring freight rail to the four-county area. While restoration of freight service may be desirable, we can welcome it while working to correct the lop-sided lease.”

    Full op-ed:

  15. Jon Brooks
    May 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    As a property owner along the Mad River proposed trail (old Annie/Mary RR), in perhaps the most remote stretch, I do have some concerns, even while being generally supportive of the trail.

    That said, I’d rather see somebody take responsibility for managing the RR/trail than continue with the current total lack of attention from the railroad.

  16. Plain Jane
    May 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Could an enterprising property owner or two along the trail create biking / hiking campgrounds for profit?

  17. owltotem
    May 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    You betcha Jane, Bed and Breakfasts, bait and tackle, little supply stores. I have walked the rail there and plan to do it again this summer, It’s great! beautiful, deep swimming holes, (When the south fork is dry)it’s easy, its already there, in fact, without protecting the easement we are at risk of losing it and THAT, you’ll never get back. This is public land, NCRA is a JPA, watch the state try and suck that away from the public and sell it. Railbanking is the surest way to protect and preserve the rail corridore. Using it at a trail gives the public access to what is rightfully theirs. Anyone for a hike?

    May 19, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Trails – who actually stays within the confines of any trail system? Jon Brooks speaks for many property owners whose rights are trampled upon due to public encroachments outside of public areas….; and, even within the public area (trail) who is to say that crime won’t occur since video cameras don’t exists 24/7. Just sayin’ trails offer any delinquent the opportunity for mischief or worse.

    If trails were better respected by authoritative figures in so far as enforcements, then trails would be easier to accomodate the community with.

    The key is bridging the gap of opposing concerns. If a woman can be sexually assaulted in New York’s Central Park and it’s trail systems, just think how more secluded a trail system is out in the boonies.


  19. Ed
    May 19, 2011 at 8:30 am

    OMG the Hench is right! We need to rid ourselves of those risks now! Let’s start with that Hammond deathtrap. Don’t even get me started on the Lost Coast or the Pacific Crest! Oh those poor private inholding adjacent parcel owners! Think what might happen, and right next to them!

  20. tra
    May 19, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Everyone knows that much more crime happens on streets and sidewalks, so I guess we’d better get rid of them first.

  21. May 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Don’t forget houses. They are havens for violence every single day. Down with houses!

    May 19, 2011 at 9:23 am


    Apparantly, I entered the city limits of “Disturbia Trails”.

    An idea or concept is that even though many homeowners adjacent to a trail or proposed trail may enjoy that opportunity, it does come with its not-so-fair share of problems. Anyhow, if Heraldo is correct, then Child Welfare Services, Family Division of Law, etc… should get some good entertainments from the vantage point of a trail, especially when stepping-off of that trail.

    Heck, the new bridges are not on a trail network, and they still get graffiti tagged. Now, with fences being one long contiguous bill board ad space, one can only have empathy for the impacted property owners – empathy is something liberals need to have more of when it comes to property crimes. Then again, so to the conservatives….it just depends on the “cliques” involved, politically.


  23. May 19, 2011 at 10:21 am

    How about rehabing the track from Samoa to Fortuna and running the Speeder with a passenger car as a tourist and public transportation attraction? Couldn’t take too much to do that much, especially with the relatively light loads. Plenty of room for a trail with far less danger from big freight trains.

  24. Anonymous
    May 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    You could do that with railbanking more easily than any other method. Railbanking allows for that kind of use, with local control. The costs for even that type of rail use is still very high. Even with all volunteer labor the speeder charges $7 a ride from Samoa to Manila.

  25. Not A Native
    May 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    The ‘speeder’ is little more than a bake sale, its ridiculous to think it has any potential to be tourist class.

    Anything really attractive as an excursion would require lots of investment and need lots more revenue to support it than a trail. A trail would have year round appeal and usage, while a choo choo is dry season(four months at best) only.

    The only sustainable trains in HumCo are HO gauge.

  26. owltotem
    May 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Just saw an add on Channel 4 for a Home for sale, the opening line was “Located on the Hammond Trail, a short walk to the beach”. Wasnt the Hammond trail a reclaimed rail? I think that even got let go and they (we, the people) had to buy it back. Do we all have short memories or what? Preserve it, protect it, keep the easement, keep the options open. Railbanking is a no brainer whether you are a hiker, biker, rail enthusiast or adjacent land owner. With railbanking there is no risk of losing, it is about protecting the right of way. Without railbanking, well, hmm, someone got to sell the Hammond rail, oh and then the people got to buy it back. Are we going to fall for this again. Follow the money if there is opposition to railbanking it is because there is some private money to be made in its absence.

    May 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

    The castle house (locals call it that) sits along the Hammond Trail on the bluffs west of HWY 101. The view is ruined by the trail and its users, suffice to say. Might as well call a trail a sidewalk because that is how “in your face” its users appear as…….I know hardly a soul who enjoys a trail in very close proximity to a back yard…….a back yard lost some of its umf.


  28. Plain Jane
    May 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

    The “castle” was built after plans for Hammond Trail were in the works. In fact, the developer violated many regulations including logging without permits on the weekends when government offices were closed. What was his name? I remember the T-S referred to him as a “silver haired fox.” It’s shame that zee-brick monstrosity spoils the view for all the hikers / bikers on the trail.

  29. Plain Jane
    May 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Harvey Knox was the “silver haired fox.” I don’t think they meant he was hot.

  30. Plain Jane
    May 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

    This article mentions all the controversies over Knox Cove, but they don’t have the 80’s stories available online.

  31. Plu Perfect
    May 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Too bad you’re not a 2 percenter, Henchman. If you were you could afford to hire some Blackwater / Xe type goons to protect your “view” from the rest of us scum.

    Maybe you should open a lemonade stand? If the traffic on the trail is that heavy you are missing out on an income stream. Incorporate it in the Caymans or Dubai and taxes won’t be a problem.

  32. Robert William
    May 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

    II really think that a trail connecting the major pot farms from the south to the more friendly export opportunities in S. Humboldt is not a good idea. Lets quit pretending that there will ever be a Eel hiking and biking trail. Picture quad-runners with trailers hauling weed where the CHP has no jurisdiction. That is what the people who want to scrap the rails are planning. It is a shame that at least one member of the Board of Supervisers is in the pocket of the drug lords from Mexico that are opting for a take-over of the area.

    One member of the Planning Commission calls the basis of the economy around here “the elephant in the living-room” and he is right. While we may see rail service back in the county (now available up to Willits) there will never be a trail open to the public without the very real chance of any hiker using it simply never being heard from again.

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