Thursday, February 16, 2006

Arkley and Out?

North Coast Journal

ARKLEY AND OUT? That was quite a bombshell, dropped in there at the end of a small story in Saturday's Baton Rouge Advocate. In the story, entitled "N.O. called city of opportunity," Timothy Boone, a business reporter at the paper, mainly just gives an account of a speech at Lousiana State University's business school by one Robin Arkley II, of Eureka, Calif. According to the paper, Arkley is bullish on post-Katrina New Orleans. "The opportunities to build nice businesses are beyond belief," Arkley is quoted as saying. "The only way things could be better would be if they would make New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish tax-free zones."

Standard stuff, and interesting, but Boone probably had no idea how his final four throwaway sentences would likely be taken in Arkley's home town. "Arkley is in the process of solidifying his Baton Rouge ties," he writes. "He and his wife, Cherie, are leaving California and moving to the city. California's high taxes and weak business climate are causing the Arkleys to leave. 'California is a disaster of socialism,' [Arkley] jokingly said."

Jokingly? He doesn't know his man. Reached Tuesday, Arkley confirmed that the couple would be changing their official address to Baton Rouge, at least for tax purposes. "We're not going to sit around and pay California income taxes forever," he said. "California is imposing another tax for high-income people. At some point, you realize there are other ways." Arkley said that they are building a new home in Baton Rouge, and it should be completed in a year and a half. (They've owned a different home there for several years, he said.)

But though the couple may be spending more time in Baton Rouge over the coming years, he said, that doesn't mean they are abandoning Eureka. "Let's face it: Eureka is where we are, and it's our home, and it's been our home for 100 years," he said. "And it'll be our home for another 100 years." He said his principal business, Security National, will continue to be headquartered in Eureka, and that he is looking to expand the operation and to acquire another national business and relocate it to Humboldt County.

"This isn't a story," Arkley said, putting on his newsman's cap (he is the owner of the Eureka Reporter). "When I have a story, I'll call you."

That sounds fair. He and his family will live here, using the state's infrastructure, but just not pay their share of state income tax.
Its dispicable that after the tragedy of Huricane Katrina, Mr. Arkley only sees dollar signs.
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