Home > Uncategorized > Estelle out at HumCPR

Estelle out at HumCPR

Details at the Lost Coast Outpost.

Former KMUD news director Estelle Fennell joined the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights in 2009 after losing a bid for the seat of Humboldt County Supervisor 2nd District.

Judging from comments on the LoCO her supporters believe she is now a contender for seat held by Clif Clendenen.  Many realtors and developers hope you agree.

  1. longwind
    September 10, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I am not a realtor and developer but I play one in the Humboldt Herald, and I support Estelle Fennell. Whether or not she runs against Mr. Bobble-Head.

  2. Decline To State
    September 10, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I’m afraid I can’t support Estelle even though I would like to. In general I like her politics but am confused by her involvement in HumCPR, an organization that I feel does NOT have my best interests at heart. I also don’t believe she can take the 2nd District seat away from Cliff Clendenen. In order to do that she would have to carry Fortuna and her politics are generally a bit too far to the left for that. I find myself in the somewhat embarrassing position of agreeing politically with the people of Fortuna, something I generally try to avoid.

  3. Norah
    September 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

    I wasn’t happy about Estelle’s involvement in HumCPR and won’t be voting for her. I’m not in favor of a whole lot more development in Humboldt.

  4. Plain Jane
    September 10, 2011 at 8:10 am

    If Estelle runs against Clif, and that seems quite likely,she will receive overwhelming support from her former employers, the funders (whoever they are) of HumCPR. They’ve been smearing Clif for quite a while now (just like they did Bonnie) and none of it will be counted as campaign contributions to Estelle. It makes good economic sense for private business to shift their employee costs onto the taxpayers by getting them elected to office where they are even more effective on your behalf.

  5. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

    The ROI is quite good.

  6. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 9:12 am

    The wrong people hold her leash.

  7. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I assume Clendenen, as the incumbent (and not a corrupt or especially incompent one), will be one of the two top vote-getters in the primary and will go on to be one of the two candidates on the ballot in the fall. It’s possible, of course, that he could get 50%+ in the primary round, thereby winning outright and negating the need for the fall runoff. But my guess is that he will probably face some strong competition in the primary and won’t break 50%.

    Of course who Clif’s opponent may be in the general election cannot be known at this time. And Estelle may not even be in the running, we don’t know yet. But if it DOES come down to a two-way race between Estelle and Clif, I think she would stand a real chance of defeating him. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she would be the favorite or that she would start as the frontrunner, but I do think that she would be a serious contender with a real shot at victory.

  8. Dave
    September 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Estelle was the first big cash supporter for North Coast Stand Down in 2006, which helped kick off that sucessful program for Humboldt County veterans (and their families) in need.

    For that, she’ll always get my vote.

  9. Not an Expert
    September 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Dave, Do you have any opinions on other issues, like ones that come before the Supervisors? For example, do veterans need affordable housing? And where does Estelle stand on rezoning more land to accommodate new affordable housing? What about Inclusionary Zoning, the requirement that all new major subdivisions include a certain percentage of housing that is affordable to low-income households? Those are households that make less than 80% of median income in Humboldt County. So less than $45K for a family of four.

    I would think that these are very important for veterans returning from our current wars to high housing costs and low wages/high unemployment. Especially those who are returning with disabilities.

  10. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Given that (in my opinion, at least) both Clif and Estelle care deeply about the well-being of Humboldt County, neither are corrupt, both are competent, and both have a reputation for being level-headed and able to work well with others, well it seems to me that an Estelle vs. Clif race would be a pretty good situation for 2nd District voters.

  11. September 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Estelle has no chance of winning a seat against Clif. No chance at all. The developers ( and large landholders, speculators and realtors) should look for a much less flawed candidate if they want to give Clif a run for his money, but I’m not sure what the point will be as I do not see how Clif is vulnerable from any side. He’s been a moderate on the board, done nothing wrong and works hard. What is it you think most of his constituents (not us idealogs on the far left and far right like so many on this blog, but just your average voter) want from a Supervisor?
    Honestly I do not see where any of the sitting Sups are vulnerable. The only race will be in the 1st with what will apparently be an undefended seat.

  12. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

    So Clif is invulnerable, eh? Well then his suporters have nothing to worry about. So naturally there will be no need for anyone to engage in a campaign of demonization, hyperbolic massive-subdivision-development-leading-to-SantaRosafication-scaremongering and general guilt-by-association against Estelle, and I’m sure we won’t see any of that here on the Herald.

    Because with Clif being so invulnerable and all, there will be no need to relentlessly try to tear down someone like Estelle, who has spent decades serving this community admirably in a number of ways, just because of differences of land use policy that won’t matter anyway because she supposedly has “no chance at all” of beating Clif.

    Of course if by some dramatic turn of events Clif’s supporters turn out to be wrong about the level of satisfaction with the incumbent and the incumbent’s supposed invulnerability, I hear that Bonnie Neeley’s backers have a support group for victims of Runaway Hubris and Delusions of Invulnerability Syndrome. Meets monthly at an undisclosed location.

  13. longwind
    September 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Yer batting 1000, tra, love it!

  14. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

    For a generation the local development community set the stage for Humb. Co’s 23% housing affordability rate, and they’re fighting to continue big home subdivisions for big profits.

    Yep, she’d better bail from Humcpr quick.

    How will they hide their campaign contributions this time under the new rules?

  15. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    …they’re fighting to continue big home subdivisions for big profits.

    If the Healthy Humboldt / Option A crowd was to get their way and force rural landowners to go through an expensive, time-consuming new “discretionary permit” process just to build a single house on their TPZ parcel, then the only people who will be able to afford the expense and risk of that process will be wealthy people and developers who cater to wealthy people. So make no mistake, when it comes to the affordability of housing in rural areas, Option A is the Trophy Home Option.

  16. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Assuming you get a permit.

  17. buh-bye
    September 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Richard Saltzman, you have no idea how the 2nd District feels so stop the campaign rhetoric for Clif.

  18. September 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Look, if Estelle runs, I have no idea yet whether I’d vote for her or Cliff. But Estelle’s record of community service deserves better than the insinuation in the post above. C’mon, Heraldo. Point out where her representation of CPR puts her at odds with your opinions but implying that she is bought and paid for with big money is unfair, and untrue.

    I do know that many of my neighbors feel she represents the rights of mom and pop hill folk. You may not like her ideas but making unfair pokes at a decent human is hardly likely to make Humboldt County a better place to live. I know this sounds preachy but I think you love this place. Let’s make it better by treating people (even politicians) with respect.

  19. Dave
    September 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Not a Expert,
    I do have other opinions, but I’ve chosen to comment on something I have first-hand knowledge of: Estelle helped me, and the other organizers, get North Coast Stand Down started in 2006.
    This year’s version is coming up in a few weeks.
    I’m sure you’re aware of the many good things this program does for veterans. Including helping them find housing.

  20. September 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t believe the post implies she is bought and paid for, but it’s clear who supports her and why.

  21. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I think the vast majority of people who would support Estelle in a run for the supervisor’s office will support her because she has a decades-long track record of community involvement, an excellent knowledge of the issues facing Humboldt County, and is a smart, articulate person, thoughtful person who works well with others. The fact that she has also spoken out against the overreaching proposals by the Healthy Humboldt / Option A crowd and stood up for a sensible approach to rural property rights will no doubt also be a factor.

    As far as “developers and realtors,” those groups only make up a tiny fraction of 2nd district residents, and their votes will not be likely provide the margin of victory one way or the other. Unless of course you count as a “developer” anyone with a rural parcel who might want to build a house and live on their land someday, in which case I guess you could say those sorts of “developers” would probably favor Estelle thanks to her advocacy of rural property rights.

  22. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Estelle is not a person I would ever vote for. Her politics are icky. I know some people who used to work on her campaign and quit because she was push-polling. I will never vote for anyone who push-polls.

  23. Ain't Buyin' What She's Sellin'
    September 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    tra wrote, “The fact that she has also spoken out against the overreaching proposals by the Healthy Humboldt / Option A crowd and stood up for a sensible approach to rural property rights will no doubt also be a factor.”

    So now HumCPR is being whitewashed as advocating “sensible approaches” to rural property rights? That’s a laugh. While you, tra, have in the past here advocated a nuanced view of the TPZ issue in the county, HumCPR has done anything but. They are the Tea Party for Humboldt developers and wealthy weed growers who want to develop their properties THEIR way, without any kind of interference or regulation. I can’t support that position.

    I used to support Estelle before she went over to the dark side in her sell-out approach to doing anything it took to get elected. Clif never sold his soul, and has shown admirable courage in standing up to the anti-regulation developers, mom-n-pops included.

    Estelle, I hardly knew ye…

  24. Not A Native
    September 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Is it just a coincidence that longwind 7:11 writes he pretends here to be something he isn’t and supports Estelle who also pretends to be something she isn’t? Birds of a feather?

    I guess if someone acknowledges that they are sneaky and deceptive they’re immune from being called a liar. It worked for Adolph Hitler, who in 1926 published Mein Kampf, accurately laying out what he actually did in the 19030’s.

  25. humcohunny
    September 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I wouldn’t make the assumption that the current supervisors, like Clif, are untouchable. I was a former Virginia supporter until I saw how meek she is on the Board. If she apologizes for taking the mic one more time I’m going to scream!! She definitely has lost my vote. As for Clif- what has he done for his district? I think Estelle has a great shot at taking him down.

  26. Main St
    September 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I was wondering how long it would be until somebody brought Hitler into this.

  27. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Too bad the Coho can’t vote.

  28. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Estelle, I hardly knew ye

    Apparently you still don’t. Your “Tea Party” charicature just doesn’t fit Estelle at all, and I doubt it fits very many HumCPR members either. But at least you have the rhetorical overreach to match the policy overreach that’s being attempted by the Healthy Humboldt / Option A crowd.

    I believe what I heard Estelle say (on KMUD a couple of months ago) was essentially this: We should stick with a ministerial permit process for TPZ homebuilding (which means “if you follow all the rules, you will receive the permit”), instead of — as the HH / option A crowd continues to insist — a new discretionary permit process (which means “if you follow all the rules then you might be able to get a permit, depending on how the planning department staff chooses to use their discretionary powers in your case, and whether you can afford a lawyer to challenge their decision.”)

    She went on to say that once the “discretionary permit” question is out of the way, then we can get to the meat of the matter, which is what are “the rules” you need to follow to get that permit. The way I recall, it sounded like there was actually a lot of room for potential compromise there, as far as establishing reasonable rules to mitigate some of the negative environmental impacts associated with rural homes — issues like drought-season water usage, runoff and erosion from roads and driveways, etc.

    Some of us suspect the reason that the focus isn’t on reasonable rules, but that instead we are still dealing with the unreasonable position taken by the Healthy Humboldt / Option A crowd, is that the real intent behind the push for this new “discretionary” permit process is to create, for TPZ parcels, a de-facto-building-moratorium-through-overregulation. If that’s true, then it’s not reasonable rules that they’re after, they’re looking to institute unreasonable rules and a burdensome process that must be costly, time-consuming, and risky enough to prevent most people from being able to afford to go through the process.

  29. Ain't Buyin' What She's Sellin'
    September 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    “Policy overreach” of Healthy Humboldt? C’mon tra, anyone who’s read one of the newspapers which HumCPR has blanketed the county with can see that that description applies much more accurately to them than to Healthy Humboldt. HumCPR has unconscionably misrepresented county land use policies and used heavy-handed scare tactics to an egregious degree. Healthy Humboldt, to my knowledge, never engaged in such misinformation. I respected Estelle before she got in bed with HumCPR, and would never vote for her given the extent of her shameless pandering to their cause.

  30. Main St
    September 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    All true, ABWSS.

  31. Not A Native
    September 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Amen ABWSS

  32. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm


    Pehaps you could give an example of what you see as HumCPR’s “misrepresention” of county land use policies. It seems to me that for the most part their factual claims have been pretty accurate, it’s in the interpretation of those facts where opinions vary.

    As far as HumCPR utilizing “heavy-handed scare tactics” I’m inclined to agree with you on that, especially with regard to some of Mr. Ulansey’s rather, ah, colorful rants. In my opinion his tone has often tended to be overly melodramatic, and his rhetoric often needlessly hyperbolic. (Which I suppose is probably why he makes a much more effective rabble-rouser than I would.)

    So I guess in that sense it’s fair to fault her for taking a job heading up an organization founded by someone who was sometimes (in my opinion) overly-strident to the point of potentially being counterproductive to his own cause. However, I haven’t heard that tone from Estelle herself, and it seems to me like her involvement in the HumCPR has had a positive effect on the group in terms of professionalism and effectively providing a voice for rural residents and landowners. Of course if you’re dead-set against a group representing rural residents and landowners effectively playing an active role in the development of the GPU, then the fact that Estelle’s involvement has probably increased their credibility and effectiveness would of course be a minus for you, not a plus.

    Meanwhile, one of the “misrepresentations” by the Healthy Humboldt / Option A crowd is when they pretend that building a house on a two or three acre homesite magically ends the timber production potential of the other hundreds of acres of the TPZ parcel (this is often phrased as “converting productive timberland to residential use”).

    They have also sought to promugate the fiction that TPZ owners who have a house on their property get an “unfair tax break” whereas in reality those TPZ owners have to pay taxes on their home and homesite at the same rate as any residential home (while the rest of the parcel remains under the TPZ taxation system).

    Some of the “scare-tactics” employed by the HH / Op-A clique are when they justify their attack on rural property rights by raising the (wildly unrealistic) spectre of rural Humboldt being overrun by suburban cul-de-sac subdivisions and strip malls, and when they try to label anyone who opposes their plans for regulatory overreach as “greedy developers” or “an unholy alliance of pot growers and developers,” etc.

  33. Ain't Buyin' What She's Sellin'
    September 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    “They have also sought to promugate the fiction that TPZ owners who have a house on their property get an “unfair tax break” whereas in reality those TPZ owners have to pay taxes on their home and homesite at the same rate as any residential home (while the rest of the parcel remains under the TPZ taxation system).”

    Who specifically from Healthy Humboldt ever said this? It appears as if you’re trying to lump someone’s unrelated hyperbole in with the sensible positions officially espoused by Healthy Humboldt.

    The same can’t be said of the positions and portrayals HumCPR has presented in its official literature. While I don’t have any of their old newspapers in front of me (wish I had kept ’em now), I distinctly recall a scare-mongering tone that nothing more than resembled a full-throated cry from foam-flecked developers.

    If that’s supposedly the voice of rural mom and pops, I don’t want any part of it. I do remember reading on this blog the voices of dismayed rural Humboldters who realized this too belatedly, and subsequently divested themselves from association with HumCPR. Estelle never did this. That’s my problem with her.

  34. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    We’ve never had any sort of “Option A” in Humboldt County, yet rivers and streams, tributaries and aquifers are drying out and the rich biodiversity with it.

    It’s time to err on the side of precaution, or dig the hole deeper as so many rural areas around CA, the U.S. and the world.

  35. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Who specifically from Healthy Humboldt ever said this? It appears as if you’re trying to lump someone’s unrelated hyperbole in with the sensible positions officially espoused by Healthy Humboldt.

    Sadly, not so. Healthy Humboldt ran a series of three “Harry-and-Louise-style” radio ads last year…I believe it was the first one where they addressed the tax issue, justifying the need for new restrictions on TPZ homes because of the “huge tax break” that they claimed TPZ owners get.

    But they conveniently failed to point out that if a TPZ owner does build a house, then the three acre homesite, house itself, and any outbuildings and other improvements are taxed at the same rate as any other residence. Meanwhile, the “tax break” on the portioin of the property that remains in timber production is the whole point of the TPZ program — to defer taxes on the rest of the land until after the timber is harvested and therefore reduce the pressure for landowners to overharvest their timber in order to be able to afford annual property taxes.

    So deespite Healthy Humboldt’s claim of an “unfair” TPZ tax break, the TPZ program actually works exactly as intended — any home / homesite is taxed as residential, while the rest of the land, which is still producing timber, is taxed as timber. Hard to see what’s so wrong or “unfair” about that.

    The only way to present this as an “unfair tax break” is by carefully leaving out the crucial fact that the home / homesite is taxed at the regular residential rate, and thereby leaving the impression that TPZ homeowners are somehow property-tax freeloaders. So that’s exactly what Healthy Humboldt did with their radio ads. Apparently their goal of trying to create resentment towards rural residents was just a bit more important to them than giving the public accurate information.

  36. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks for that TRA. There was also a flyer they had going around that supports your argument. Several misrepresentations in that one too.

  37. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Can anyone win the 2nd with out winning Fortuna? It is going to come down to a much simpler equation then most are suggesting here.

  38. tra
    September 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Well I think strictly speaking, yes, it is mathematically possible to win the 2nd district without winning Fortuna outright, but to do that the candidate would have to do extremely well in the rest of the district as well as having a pretty strong second-place showing in the Fortuna area.

    And that’s why the conventional wisdom would suggest that in a two-way race between a reasonably popular Fortuna-based incumbent and a SoHum-based challenger, the Fortuna-based incumbent would generally be the favorite.

    However, if there’s another Fortuna-based candidate in the running during the primary, that could change the dynamic entirely, due to the possibility of the two Fortuna-based candidates splitting that portion of the voters who would tend to favor one of the Fortuna-based candidates.

    Still, in that scenario, even if the Fortuna-based incumbent didn’t emerge as one of the top two candidates in the primary and you ended up with the Fortuna-based challenger vs. the SoHum-based challenger, the Fortuna-based challenger would still have the hometown advantage in the part of the district where most of the population is clustered. So even without the advantage of incumbency, yes, a candidate with a strong base of support in Fortuna would probably have a very substantial advantage.

    Which is why I said earlier that I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that Estelle would be the favorite, or that she would be the initial frontrunner right out of the starting gate. But I do think she would be a formidable candidate who would have a fighting chance.

  39. humcohunny
    September 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Well maybe Fortuna is sick of its representative sleeping through the Board of Supe’s meetings. He does. Every time. Afternoon session, go & see it for yourself. Dude is on meds or something. I hope there’s some change on the Board, starting w/him, and ending w/Virginia.

  40. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
    September 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Don’t forget the religious right.

  41. tra
    September 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I’m so thankful that I don’t suffer from hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia or any of the many other mental disorders which can flow from the same source. But unfortunately there are quite a few people suffering from these sorts of afflictions, and yes, many of them do vote.

  42. Anonymous
    September 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    They can adopt “Alternative A” tomorrow and this county will still lack the capability to regulate and enforce the law on 1,000 miles of Humboldt’s dirt roads.

    California taxpayers would be outraged if they knew how they are subsidizing the roads, bridges, emergency services, plus property tax-incentives, so that a tiny group of privileged individuals can enjoy the remnants of wild places while sucking every drop of water out of “their” aquifers, tributaries, and rivers, for orchards, Olympic pools, trout farms, private lakes, vineyards, and much more.

    They’ve been building structures, harvesting trees and growing pot willy-nilly for generations with little fear of enforcement.

    How much drier does the Mattole have to be, and how much more biodiversity diminished, before we stop repeating the same stupid mistakes that plague California’s remote riparian areas?

  43. Anonymous
    September 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    5;48, you are wrong. Galt,Lovelace,and dozens of their crew said it over and over again. When Galt was nailed to the cross on it by Bill Barnum at a Mac town forum, then and only then did they stop preaching it in public. They keep telling the lie anywhere they can get away with it. Of course you know that.

  44. September 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Galt? Anonymous has trouble with the basics but has the Barnum worship down pat.

    Here’s an excerpt of a Healthy Humboldt letter to the Planning Commission written some three years after the McKinleyville forum mentioned above.

    [Healthy Humboldt Coalition] believes that Humboldt County’s current TPZ ordinance, which principally permits residential development on TPZ lands, undermines the economic viability of those lands for timber production and harvest. HHC also believes there exists an unfair tax advantage for TPZ land given that allowed residential uses on TPZ lands are comparable to other rural timbered properties which do not derive a tax benefit.

    HHC believes that, especially when considering the increasing trends of parcelization of, and residential development on, Industrial Timber lands such as Barnum Timber Company and Eel River Sawmills holdings, the County’s recognition of a residential economic use of TPZ significantly detracts from the use of the property for the growing and harvesting of timber. Such action constitutes a violation of the laws of this state and threatens Humboldt County’s natural resource base….

    As a matter of clarification, the distinction must be made between Timber Production Zone (TPZ) lands and other forested lands which fall under the broader category of “timberlands”. TPZ means an area which has been zoned pursuant to Sections 51112 and 51113 of California’s Government Code and is devoted to and used for growing and harvesting timber, or for growing and harvesting timber and compatible uses. [Cal. Govt. Code § 51104(g)]

    TPZ land is a particular subgroup of timberlands for which the state has created a tax break as an incentive for timber production. The majority of landowners in this county do not realize this substantial tax break. Properties zoned under the broader category of “timberlands” do not hold the same tax status and, under the current General Plan, a house is principally permitted. The proposed General Plan Update does not change this nor does it prevent people from choosing to live on other rural-residential zoned properties…

    As noted above, TPZ properties recognize a substantial tax benefit for the continued use of the land for the growing and harvesting of timber. TPZ land must be enforceably restricted (e.g. subject to a zoning consistency determination) in a manner that justifies the tax deferment, so as not to constitute an unfair tax advantage. HHC believes that there exists an unfair tax advantage for TPZ land because residential uses on TPZ lands are comparable to other rural timbered properties which do not derive a tax incentive.

    State Law describes the powers and duties of local government in protecting timberlands:

    “Land zoned as timberland production under this chapter shall be enforceably restricted within the meaning of Section 3(j) of Article XIII of the Constitution and the restriction shall be enforced and administered by the city or county in a manner to accomplish the purposes of that section and this chapter.” [Cal. Govt. Code § 51118]

    Section 3(j) of Article XIII of the Constitution states that a “system or systems of taxing or exempting forest trees or timber… shall provide for exemption of unharvested immature trees,
    shall encourage the continued use of timberlands for the production of trees for timber products, and shall provide for restricting the use of timberland to the production of timber
    products and compatible uses with provisions for taxation of timberland based on the restrictions.”

    Full letter.

  45. Anonymous
    September 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Glad to know they stand behind their ridiculous assertion about unfair tax breaks. If the other people with timberland want the same deal, they just have to sign up. But then they will be restricted in the same fashion as the TPZ owners.

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