You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2007.

I’ve been in court all week, so I just had the opportunity to read Cristina’s article on the figures for this last election. Apparently Sohum voters turned out at about 6 percent below the overall county percentage.

This, folks, is why progressives lose elections.

CNN’s coverage.

So far no demands or indications of his agenda. He did release a woman with her child who reported that he walked in and showed everybody what he claimed was a bomb strapped to him.

Maybe we can wait a couple of hours before the jokes and cheap shots? I’m sure the Internet’s full of them by now. Maybe we can hold off the conspiracy theories too.

Update: Apparently the incident ended without violence.

Heraldo apparently has a source who informs him that the Attorney General’s office will be conducting an investigation of the Arkley/Glass brawl.

Update: The Times Standard confirms Heraldo’s scoop.


The Port Feasibility Study is in.


And Freshwater Creek isn’t.

Thanx Heraldo!

Just in case you missed it, Bob Doran has JPEGs of the Referee’s Summary Adjudication motion ruling. He’s also got press statements from both sides.

Here’s the Times Standard coverage.

Here’s the Eureka Reporter coverage.

And you can listen to last night’s KMUD coverage. They did get a statement from Tom Dimmick, but didn’t have the time to air it last night. Maybe they’ll play it tonight.

Correcting a previous post – the arbitration is currently scheduled for January 28, 2008.

Raw and unbridled.

No excuses please. I hope the guy sues them senseless.

Yet another tough question

Leo Sears raised some important issues in his Nov. 9 column in the Times-Standard, “TPZ brings up tough questions that demand answers.” He asks: “How, in principal, is Palco’s proposal different from what happened with the Tooby Ranch?”

There are many significant differences between PL’s proposal and the Tooby Ranch subdivision. PL’s property is:

1. Highly productive, high timber value, redwood forest.

2. Under active industrial management regulated by an HCP.

3. A critical supply base for a lumber mill providing employment for local residents and markets for local timber producers.

PL’s cash flow projections presented in bankruptcy court depend on land sales at inflated prices to pay off an unsustainable level of debt. If these lands sell at real market prices, PL will have no choice but to subdivide additional TPZ property to cover debt service shortfalls. PL’s high debt load, low standing inventories and fantasy-level asset valuations virtually assure subdivision of PL’s productive timberlands ad infinitum into the future.

The Tooby Ranch project shares none of these characteristics.

No wonder the PL reorganization plan is controversial:

The Redwood Ranch subdivision cuts the beating heart out of the redwood timber industry in Humboldt County.

PL’s reorganization plan also brings countywide TPZ zoning issues into sharper focus. Three separate questions lay behind the public outcry surrounding the recently ended moratorium:

Residential use

Smaller TPZ parcels have been bought and sold for decades for residential use. Landowner perception of potential property value losses from limiting residential use drives much of the strong reaction to the moratorium. However, the effort to bring county policy in line with state TPZ law through the conditional use permitting (CUP) process should not significantly impact property values.

Owners of existing small parcels that find the CUP process onerous should have the option of rolling out of TPZ into a zoning classification that allows limited residential use “by right” through a clear, simple ministerial permitting process.

Subsidized residential use

Today’s smaller TPZ parcels often have comparable sales values that far outstrip timber values. Timber management is not the primary economic driver for acquiring these parcels. Unless owners are providing a clear and demonstrable public benefit through the management of their property, it is past time to reduce subsidies for the residential value of TPZ property.

Subdivision of large parcels

It’s understandable that large TPZ owners are reluctant to have their development “entitlements” taken away. But the current rush to cash out productive timberland by selling residential parcels into a declining real estate market is premature.

The timber industry is well-known for cyclical economic behavior. Reduced competition in domestic lumber markets and increasing competitiveness in overseas markets from a declining dollar, increasing payments for sequestered carbon, and funding for conservation easements may all increase timber values relative to development value.

Ongoing returns from sustainably managed timber rather than single-shot profits from development may yet provide the best “HBU” value for larger TPZ ownership’s in the long-term and for the county as a whole.

Subdivision of industrial ownerships under an HCP certainly violates the intent and likely the letter of the HCP process. Residential TPZ “kingdoms” may not even be compatible with HCP requirements. Instituting a 600-acre minimum parcel-size industrial TPZ classification on HCP timberlands only constrains a potential for development that may not even exist — at least not for 40 years. What is that really worth today?

For larger non-industrial ownerships, we need to better understand what a commitment to 600-acre parcel sizes is worth. Offering marketable development credits for the removal or merger of patent parcels could compensate landowners for a commitment to maintaining large parcel ownerships of 600 acres or more.

Tradable Development Rights would provide an incentive for landowners to keep their land in production — the original purpose of the TPZ. As developers applied for waivers to current county development constraints, county approval — dependent on the developer’s acquisition of sufficient credits — would allow market dynamics to set values for existing entitlements. Open space and productive forest management would be protected, landowners would be compensated and real estate development values would be realized.

Think about it.

Do we sell the economic foundation of the timber industry into a falling real estate market due to a lo- point lumber product business cycle? Or do we support and protect the future of our timber industry, our intact forestland and our quality of life through this downturn in timber values?

Yet another tough question.

John Rogers is executive director of the Institute of Sustainable Forestry. He resides in Redway.

Add Your Comments:

I saw the dress rehearsal tonight. Themes of romance, adventure, politics, religion, fear, angst, greed, consumerism, with music and dance numbers, and ironic satire surprisingly sophisticated. And some very graceful dance numbers guaranteed to get the teen hormones boiling.

The kids are great! Please go support them.



Alright, I now have a nine page ruling from the Honorable James R. Warren. I have to read it and digest it, but the essence is on page 3:

After careful consideration of the record, the briefs and arguments of the parties, and his own independent research, the Referee finds that disputed issues of material fact do exist and that summary adjudication would be inappropriate on this record. The motion for summary adjudication is DENIED.

I’m going to get my kids to bed, read the thing, and maybe get to some analysis later on tonight.


Update – some highlights:

The ruling begins by reviewing the factual issues, which have been discussed in great detail on these threads. There is of course a difference of opinion as to the interpretation of the provision of the Lease agreement which says that PP shall be the producer. The referee ruled that both interpretations are reasonable and therefor Dimmick’s objection to the introduction of extrinsic evidence was overruled. The ruling then moves into the e-mails and communications between Tom Dimmick and Carol Bruno, and communications with the Mateel during the latter part of 2006. You’ve read them here. The ruling showcases the following e-mail of October 12, 2006:

What I am finally realizing (MCC) has been what has been preventing me from freedom of flight, not (ROR). Tom (Dimmick) you are right. Let’s do (ROR), but not do (MCC).

The ruling then references Tom’s letter to the MCC in which he advised that Carol had tol him that she would not under any circumstances produce the show for the “current (MCC) administration.” However, she denied having said that in her deposition. So you already have a material contradiction between Tom and Carol, which by itself establishes a “triable issue of fact” probably sufficient to have defeated the motion.

The ruling also cites an e-mail from Tom to Carol dated October 11, 2006 stating “I’m still hesitant to mention the possibility of the MCC letting go of the event. This could boil down to a race to get a permit for the first weekend in August and I’d like a headstart…”

The Mateel cited those communications and others (including the famous statement at the general meeting) as evidence of anticipatory repudiation which allowed them to terminate the production contract. The Mateel then argued that the subsequent communications in which Carol indicated that she was going to honor her contractual obligations were intended to delay to the point where it would be too late to hire an alternative producer and back them into a negotiating corner in which the Mateel would be forced to accept the license arrangement she had previously offered. The Referee was unable to draw any conclusions either way from the evidence presented and suggested that either side may prevail in the long run. But the Referee appears to read significance into the fact that Carol’s assurances that she would perform came 2 1/2 months after her e-mail to Dimmick.

From the ruling:

MCC terminated its Production Contract with PP on December 28, 2006. For reasons not explained on this record, although he viewed this cancellation as a material breach, Dimmick waited three weeks before he terminated the Lease with MCC. During that interim, MCC notified Dimmick that it had found a new production manager, Boots Hughston, to produce ROR in 2007. MCC assigns this delay as further proof of misconduct on the part of Dimmick/Bruno.

The paragraph is footnoted to the following remarks:

MCC points to evidence showing that Dimmick and Bruno negotiated with the owners of French’s Camp, where the festival had previously been held, to obtain a sublease that might be used to support ROR in its new location. MCC said it knew about these negotiations, but was under the impression that the sublease would be in MCC’s name. Instead the sublease was in Dimmick’s name, which MCC asserts is further proof of the Bruno/Dimmic conspiracy to force MCC out of the ROR festival.

He doesn’t analyze the claims further, but cites them as significant. He’s taking them seriously, and this is probably where the motion was defeated.

The ruling moves into the “30-day cure” argument from Tom.

Dimmick next argues that, even if MCC tried to cancel the Production Contract, it failed to do so because it did not give the “30-day cure” period call for by Paragraph XVI of that contract. There are several problems with this postion. First, there is a serious question as to whether Dimmick, who was not a party to the Production Contract, can argue that MCC failed to follow its procedures when it purported to cancel the contract as to PP, who was a party. SEcond, there is a question about whether, under the circumstances of the “fall out” between the parties, a 30 day cure period could have been effective under the circumstances in any event. In this connection, MCC argues – and there is evidence to support the point – the alleged “conspiracy” between Dimmick and Bruno/PP was timed to make it impossible for MCC to do anything other than accept Bruno’s offer of a “mutual separation,” even if MCC didn’t otherwise wish to do so.

Third, and perhaps most significant in the context of this motion, MCC argues that its letter to Bruno/PP of November 4, 2007 constituted the required notice of breach and notice to cure. If this is so, MCC urges, then the 30 (sic) “cure” period pass without Bruno/PP providing any assurances that it would live up to its contractual obligations.

The Referee goes on to state that maybe evidence will show that the November 4 letter was inadequate on its face as a matter of law, but suggested that the question may be moot depending on how Carol viewed the letter. Was the late December letter an attempt to “cure” before she got notice? If so, it was after the 30 days and thus the Mateel had the right to terminate at any time notwithstanding the late hour promises. The Referee suggests that Tom is going to have to bolster his case prior to trial, but you’d think he threw everything he had into the motion. Of course, discovery is continuing and the Mateel just recently sent off a volley of new deposition notices. Presumably Tom will follow suit.

So basically, this is good news for the Mateel. But they haven’t won. Tom has simply received a strong message from the referee that he could in fact lose this thing.

Let’s hope it brings everybody back to the table with some movement.

Addendum: Word has it arbitration will be held in February.

UPDATE: Bob Doran has the decision posted.

So far I can find no coverage in either of the daily papers. Give it a day or two.

Heraldo criticizes KMUD for sloppy homework. Or I guess, skipping out on homework altogether.

KMUD is seriously grounded for the weekend!

Mark Scaramela of the Anderson Valley Advertiser has an excellent article on a lawsuit against Mendocino County intended to force compliance with otherwise toothless state mandates for “inclusive housing” in the general plan.

The first three paragraphs:

Back in 2004 the Ukiah office of Legal Services of Northern California (formerly Redwood Legal) sued Mendocino County because the County’s “Housing Element,” a state-mandated ingredient of county general plans, did not comply with state law. Mendo’s Housing Element wasn’t worth the fancy paper it was written on — the fancy paper known as the General Plan.

The County has argued that all it’s required to do is submit a piece of paper called “Housing Element” with some boilerplate and numbers on it. Once the piece of paper is filed the County has a Housing Element for its General Plan, neither of which happen to exist, or are likely to exist, beyond their paper assertions.

Predictably, Mendocino County’s Housing Element bore no resemblance to known or even conceived reality. The County’s numbers (for the unincorporated areas where the majority of Mendolanders live) were not based on housing for human-type beings who require indoor plumbing and the other fancy amenities normally associated with “House.” The County says all it’s required to do is submit the piece of paper called “Housing Element.” They’re not supposed to be held to it, for the goddess’s sake! This is Mendocino County. Nobody holds anybody to anything, so to actually zone land for “affordable housing,” aka “inclusionary housing” as required by state law is a step Mendocino County has not taken.

Has anybody looked at the Humboldt County general plan from this angle? I seem to remember mention of a lawsuit by the Arkley group about making lands available for development, but I’m wondering if Humboldt’s general plan more broadly meets state mandatory (or “directory”) guidelines.


November 2007