Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Group threatens to sue county

by Rebecca S. Bender
The Eureka Reporter

A local housing advocacy group is threatening to take the county to court over what it deems unlawful and unethical deficiencies in the General Plan Housing Element.

Humboldt Sunshine Inc., founded by business owner Rob Arkley, asserts not only that the county’s Housing Element contains serious gaps in its provisions for developing low- and moderate-income housing, but also that county officials have chosen to ignore citizen complaints.

“In failing to plan for … housing needs, county officials have systematically violated California law and submitted false information to the state,” Arkley said in a news release. “Their actions have worsened our housing crisis and are legally and morally indefensible.”

Notice of the alleged violations are set out in detail in a certified letter from attorney Robert K. Best of Trainor Robertson, a commercial real estate and business law firm in Sacramento. The letter is dated February 22, 2005 — the year is presumably a typo, though phone calls to Best were not returned by deadline — and is directed to Lora Canzoneri, clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

Canzoneri is out of the office this week. Administrative Assistant Kathy Riccomini is managing office business in Canzoneri’s absence, and as of Monday afternoon, she had not seen the letter and was unfamiliar with Humboldt Sunshine’s claims. After checking with several other workers and the County Administrative Office, Riccomini confirmed that the county had not yet received Best’s letter.

The Housing Element, part of the county’s General Plan, guides residential zoning, infrastructure and program policies and sets goals for providing different types of housing. It was last fully revised in 2003.

The document identifies available residential land, funding sources, incentives and policies to help develop and encourage affordable housing projects in the county and affirms a commitment to working to meet the needs of low-income households. However, citing governmental, environmental and financial constraints, it also states that “it is unlikely the county will be able to meet its share of the regional housing need for low- and very low-income households.”

A new land inventory update was submitted — by request — to the California Department of Housing and Community Development in October 2005. It includes suggestions from a county-sponsored public workshop, responses to issues raised by the Humboldt Economic and Land Plan group and a new analysis of sites that could be used for low-income housing.

In a letter accompanying the inventory update, Humboldt County Community Development Director Kirk Girard acknowledged the continued difficulty the county faces in providing sufficient affordable housing due to skyrocketing real estate and building costs. He added that county staff will be collating possible ways to address that challenge in the short term and as part of the ongoing General Plan update.

Among the grounds listed in Humboldt Sunshine’s complaint is the lack of both a suitable inventory of land and an appropriate analysis of the available land for development purposes. It also lists insufficient action plans, incomplete policies and inadequate support to create or assist in the creation of affordable housing.

“Because the Housing Element fails to comply with state law ... the county cannot demonstrate how it will make up for the existing housing shortage and provide for its share of the regional housing need for all income levels during the current planning period,” the letter stated.

It asserts that citizens’ requests for relief have gone unanswered and that county staff “have indicated that there is no intention to take action soon to correct these deficiencies and to comply with the county’s obligations.”

It asks for immediate, corrective action.

Calls to Girard and Supervisor John Woolley were not returned by deadline.
Humboldt Sunshine described itself in a news release as “working to promote adequate jobs and housing in Humboldt County and to obtain open and responsive government actions to encourage and facilitate the development of local housing by compliance with state laws requiring county action to address housing need for households of all income levels.

“In particular Humboldt Sunshine intends to support and encourage the development of housing that will increase the community’s supply of affordable housing to persons and families with low or moderate incomes, or with very low incomes, or middle-income households.”

(Rob and Cherie Arkley own Security National, which owns The Eureka Reporter.)

Well, well, well... isn't this interesting.

Rebecca S. Bender working for the Arkley Reporter. The same Rebecca Bender who just left the Arcata Eye. The Rebecca Bender whom Kevin Hoover eulogized upon her departure with the sort of gushing praise he usually reserves for guitarists who used to play with Frank Zappa.

Said Hoover, in the January 31 Eye:

"You'll surely see and read Rebecca S. Bender again, since talent like hers won't be left fallow for long.

"If she should apply for a position with your business, first, silently thank whatever cosmic forces sent her your way, then hire her immediately -- unless you want to be like the guy at Decca Records who turned down the Beatles."

My, that's quite a reference. No doubt it did a lot to sway her new employer, Rob Arkley. Of course, the fact that Hoover and his Eye are a covert ally of the Arkley's might have something to do with it.

He wrote also:

"What you may not know is that Rebecca has masterfully orchestrated the news section of the paper..."

And now Kevin Hoover's close friend Rebecca is helping to "orchestrate the news" for the Arkleys.
I've never heard of this group, Sunshine. How many of these groups does Arkley Control?
HELP and its stepchild SUNSHINE.
He is also the main force behind the HUMBOLDT BUSINESS COUNCIL.
It is generally understood that Rob funded the EUREKA COALITION FOR JOBS, the group that did the last minute attack ads against Kerrigan. The front man was a lawyer of Rob's in Sacramento named Wayne Ordos

On a related note:
- RACE INVESTMENTS, LLC (ID# 1245921) is a corporation he uses to make political donations.
A & K, LLC - This is the name Arkley and Kramer use to bid government jobs.  They were the successful bidder for the Health & Human Services facility (oh, yea,but they hate government). 
They also buy properties off the tax rolls under the name REDWAY, Inc.
Don't forget CUE... Clean Up Eureka.
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