Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Ice" By Any Other Name

First, our beneficent government finds reasons to own specialized commercially viable business property, for example the fish processing facility that Pacific Choice Seafood Co. leases. A great 22 year relationship so they say. Sounds good! A nice symbiotic relationship.

Going back to 2005 apparently Humboldt County Environmental Health moved against a local family owned business, Hunter Enterprises, they deemed unsafe for public health. You can read John Driscoll's Times-Standard newspaper 9/10/08 article "Eureka Ice on ice" here. The "Powers that Be" conveniently found:
"Concerns about a major release of ammonia have been raised by environmental health and the EPA, whose inspectors found ammonia leaking from a valve during an inspection on July 16. The deteriorated condition of parts of the 60-year-old waterfront building and the potential threat to firefighters prompted city building and fire officials to recently demand repairs."
A valve leaking, deteriorating condition of "parts" of the "waterfront" building and a "potentiall" threat to our heroic and fearless firefighters "prompted" building and fire officials to "demand". Consequently, the "Environmental health (Humboldt County Department of Public Health's Environmental Health Division) entered a consent decree which called for Eureka Ice to get rid of the approximately 2,500 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on site" the business was shutdown "to spare the company millions in fines".

Then we read Mr. Driscoll's 10/31/08 piece,
Eureka Ice forges resurrection plan. The plan is to rebuild after the shutdown caused further damage to the building. There was a suggestion by Pete Nichols in a My Word for the Times-Standard dated 9/235/28, "Time for a fishermen-owned and operated cold storage facility."
In many a crisis lays opportunity, and I believe this is one opportunity that the fishing community should seize upon. There are existing models to bring cooperative cold storage to ailing fishing communities. Most of these ventures are not so fortunate as to have institutions in place that could provide financial support to 1) provide immediate relief for the current crisis; and 2) secure funds to implement the long-term vision of a modern, fishermen-run community cold-storage facility.
The Headwaters Fund was designed, and is uniquely situated, to accomplish both of these tasks. In the wake of funding the boondoggle of the Redwood Marine Terminal feasibility study and business plan, one would think that they would see the development of a cooperative cold storage facility as both a refreshing and realistic opportunity to fulfill the Headwaters Fund's mission.
It seems the City of Eureka has other plans for this business. For next we read Jessie Faulkner's 01/26/08 Times-Standard article, "Headwaters Fund on ice" where he reports, "In its application, the city of Eureka said it expected that Pacific Choice Seafoods would operate the plant under a contract with the city." Today, January 28, 2009, he reports, "Supes approve request for grant - Proposed ice plant gets much-needed Headwaters cash." Mr. Faulkner identifies Bonnie Neely and Mark Lovelace, Fourth and Second District Supervisors, supported this new ownership as did Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District commissioner Ronnie Pellegrini.

So, that's some of the history of this "business-as-usual" Humboldt County-style government takeover. What would you call this style of government? Socialism, Communism, Fascism, some form of bastardized Capitalism? Symbiotic collaboration for a "number of stakeholders" is called something else that's unprintable. Is this the future for business in Humboldt County?


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