Monday, June 26, 2006

Local record store owner, residents selling anti-'Arkleyville' merchandise

by By Laura Provost, The Eureka Reporter, 6/26/2006

Anti-“Arkleyville” merchandise has been circulating in the community, due in part to the distribution efforts of Larry Glass, owner of The Works.

Glass is the spokesman for Citizens for Real Economic Growth, which formed “around opposition to the redevelopment project of the Arkley family,” Glass said.

Security National, which is owned by Rob and Cherie Arkley, is in the process of purchasing the 38-acre “Balloon Track” from Union Pacific Railroad Co. It plans to create a mixed-use Marina Center for industrial, commercial and residential uses, which would include The Home Depot and possibly a Best Buy, as well as other retail stores.

The development would require that the Balloon Track and adjacent land receive a zoning change from “public” and “industrial” to a combination of “limited industrial,” “service commercial,” “Waterfront commercial” and “office/residentaial.”

Objections have been raised by some community residents over the requested zoning changes and the degree of cleanup the parcel merits.

Glass sells T-shirts at cost and gives away free stickers with a red slash through the word “Arkleyville” in his record stores in Arcata and Eureka.

“I have been in business for 35 years and never have I given out something that was as popular as these stickers,” he said.

Glass said he feels passionately about the prospective sale of the Balloon Track, and the possibility of sharing customers with a big-box store such as The Home Depot.

“The number one problem is that there was a public process in the works for the city to determine the best use for the Balloon Track and that process was derailed,” he said. “It’s been a personal thing for me; it’s always bothered me that the city has never held Union Pacific responsible for cleaning the site.

“You know, this is public-trust land. Long ago, it was given to Union Pacific, and now, years later, after they polluted ... it, they want to have a say in what to do with it in the future.”

In May, Glass prepared a community opinion poll on behalf of The Works and he shared it with CREG. The poll, in part, dealt with the Balloon Track.

When asked if The Works’ distribution of these stickers reflected the sentiment of CREG, Glass said, “Obviously, the popularity of the stickers reflects the community opinion. It just strikes a chord with people; they feel their rights (are) diminished.”

Glass is not the only distributor of “Arkleyville” merchandise, as others have begun to use this method of expression to display their opinion about Balloon Track development.

In Arcata, two individuals, Meredith Baku and Northern Humboldt Union High School District school board member Shane Brinton, sell Arkleyville sweatshirts and T-shirts out of the back of Baku’s car.

The team has not acquired a business license for this operation, according to the Arcata Finance Department.

“The sweatshirts were my idea and Shane is going to set up a Web site,” Baku said. “We came up with the idea a few weeks ago when we saw the stickers, and we liked it.”

The T-shirts and sweatshirts are black with a slash through the word “Arkleyville.”

The shirts are different from those Glass distributes, although the message is the same.

The shirts are $15 each and the sweatshirts are $25 each. The proceeds will fund more production, Brinton said.

“We were not looking to make money with this,” Brinton said. “It’s not that we are against profit, but it’s not our motive. If we made some money, I certainly wouldn’t mind, but right now we need the money to have more shirts printed.”

Brinton recently began some involvement with CREG, which caught his interest while he was working on Richard Marks’ campaign for 4th Disctrict supervisor.

Brinton and Baku’s motives in this enterprise are simple, he said.

“It’s about politics and about standing up for what you believe in, but it’s also about having fun and that’s why were doing this — some people get really serious about these issues, but we also want to have fun,” Brinton said.

When asked about his stance on the Balloon Track purchase, Brinton said he was not pleased with the process of the sale.

“I don’t want to see a big box (and) I don’t want to see it capped,” he said. “I want to see local businesses and open spaces (and) not this kind of development.

“Someone could make the argument that Rob Arkley would purchase the Balloon Track, clean it up and do something responsible with it, and I would listen, but I would be very skeptical.”

In response to the circulation of the Arkleyville merchandise, Cherie Arkley commented, “I guess when you don’t have the facts on your side, you need to resort to playground name-calling tactics.”

Right on Larry! I for one have had enough of poor little Robby trying to "own" Eureka.

No to Arkleyville!
Yes to democracy!

This November, lets get a new city council that is NOT in Rob's pocket.
Let's see that means all of them that are up for re-election.
Has anyone heard about the Arkley Witnesses that are going door to door spreading The Word on the Marina Center project?

John Driscoll and Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard

The public review period for a plan to clean up toxins on the Balloon Track property in Eureka is drawing quickly to a close.

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has set Sept. 10 as the last day people might weigh in on a plan -- that it has already approved -- on how the cleanup of old industrial contamination should proceed. The plan outlines the blueprint for removing soil from five spots on the property, and disposing the contaminated soil in a permitted landfill.
The property is owned by CUE VI, a subsidiary of Security National, which has plans to build the mixed-use Marina Center development on its 43 acres. The property's environmental legacy includes a rail yard and an above ground fuel storage facility, which have left contaminants like heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenols.
According to the environmental group Humboldt Baykeeper, the cleanup plan was quietly submitted to the water board and approved without public comment. When it learned of the plan, Baykeeper asked that the public be given an opportunity to weigh in, and the regional board agreed to allow a 30-day public comment period, ending Sept. 10.

It did not, apparently, publish a notice or inform the media of the public comment period. In a letter to Security National in August, board staff wrote that a notice was posted on the board's Web site and forwarded to “all identified interested parties.”

After learning that the water board had approved the project and then decided to open it up for public comment, Eureka Community Development Director Kevin Hamblin said the city contacted the board for clarification.

”We asked them specifically if that means they've revoked their approval, and they said no,” Hamblin said.

Due to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough orders for state employees, no one was available from the water board to comment on this story Friday.

Security National Vice President of Real Estate Randy Gans said if scientific modifications to Security National's remedial action plan are proposed during the public comment period, the company would work with them.

”This cleanup that we are proposing is the result of nearly three years of ongoing studies and correspondence with the water quality board. It will cost close to $2 million and will greatly enhance this long-degraded portion of Eureka,” Gans said. “It was prepared by experts and science, not the lawyers of a local political action group that opposes it.”
Humboldt Baykeeper is engaged in federal legal action against Security National over alleged clean water violations during the company's efforts to rebuild roads on the Balloon Track.

Baykeeper Executive Director Pete Nichols said the group is concerned that the cleanup plan doesn't include tests for dioxin below the surface, which may be even more extensively contaminated than soil at the surface.

”The result of a botched cleanup now might have years of adverse consequences and require more costly remedial work there,” Nichols wrote in an e-mail.
Hamblin said he expects the city's final EIR on the project to be released in early October to go before the council to determine if it's adequate. A discussion on approving the zoning changes required by the project, and on the merits of the project in general, will happen at a later date, Hamblin said.

Gans said he's hopeful the city will act quickly in approving the EIR in October, clearing Security National to begin its first phase of construction, which will include the site cleanup and the formation of a 11-acre coastal wetland reserve.

”This will be the most thorough EIR ever produced for a project in Humboldt County,” Gans said.
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