Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bullshit Bazoo


Bullshit Bazoo [UPDATE Below] [UPDATE II]

A recent demonstration protesting proposed work at Richardson Grove as defined by Barbara Kennedy in her "My Word" article in the Thursday, February 10, 2011, Times-Standard is clear on the subject of Caltrans “spin.” I asked Kym Kemp on her blog “Redheaded Blackbelt” why there were no current websites addressing the concerns of the public and answering the questions raised by these demonstrators and other concerned citizens. She offered me two links, one that is basically generic publicity brochure put out by Caltrans and the other to a blog article by her. (Caltran's brochure for comparison.) Barbara Kennedy says:
"Perhaps due to the advocacy of the project by our elected officials and inadequate media coverage dismissive of our concerns while unquestioningly accepting the Caltrans spin, other groups seeking to heighten public awareness have taken a different approach. Those folks attending the rally itself spanned all ages and diverse segments of our community and were clearly concerned about the effects of the project.
What has been lost in the latest round of media coverage, as has been the case all along, is the fact that this project cannot be justified on any grounds whether practical, economic or moral." [Emphasis added] You can read her complete article here.
Then you have Kym's article where she lets her petticoat show: "Just the Facts ma’am ..."
You also have this from Kym, posted February 7, 2011: Huge Semis And A Military Convoy–Flyer From The Protest - You can get a good idea about the attitude these SoHum people have for the demonstrators reading their comments, specially Ernie Branscomb.

My problem with all of this is that there really isn't any current, up-to-date objective reporting. It's just too easy to brand people or accuse people who are really concerned with the environment, their children's future and community well-being as some sort of kooky terrorist. (That's the only thing that could justify the EPD deploying officers with fully automatic rifles, if true.) If what Kym Kemp, whose husband works for Caltrans, says is true, then there's been spin on both sides of the project.

Then there is Stan Binnie's My Word article, “Nothing good can come to redwoods as result of Richardson Grove project” in today's Saturday, February 12, 2011, Times-Standard. Interestingly, his article is not currently posted on the T-S website. At least I couldn't find it. Located here today Sunday, February 13, 2011, Times-Standard.

He presents himself as somewhat of an authority on such matters, as he says: “Before moving to California, I worked as a horticulturist for the University of Wisconsin. My educational qualifications are a B.S. Degree in Horticulture and M.S. Degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois. In the 25 years I worked in Waukesha County, a rapidly urbanizing area west of Milwaukee, I witnessed the death of hundreds of mature maple and oak trees from damage to their root systems during the construction process.” He then goes on to discuss possible damage to roots larger than 2 inches and his lack of confidence in who, if any, will monitor this issue to protect the longevity of these old-growth trees. He continues with propose the obvious contradiction of “constant foot traffic” damage to a redwood's longevity caused by compacting the soil around a tree, damaging its network of fine surface roots and restricting the intake of water and nutrients with the “heavy equipment crushing their roots or the fact that the project will require the cutting, filling and compacting of soil over the delicate root systems. The bottom line is that, as far as the trees are concerned, nothing good can come of them as a result of this project.”

My problem with Mr. Binnie's commentary is that it misrepresents decades of well established facts. (Enlarge the picture.) Look at the present highway and tell me that the pavement doesn't run over the top of all those old-growth redwood trees root systems and has from the very first day that highway was constructed. The number of cars and trucks that's passed through Richardson Grove is beyond count. Everyone of those trees has had crushed roots, damage to the network of fine surface roots and a restriction of water and nutrients for decades. Those trees are still alive. So, how can anyone in good-faith justify this book-learned nonsense, that what Caltrans proposes is detrimental to those trees?

As far as the actual issues raised about this “project,” it appears to be either a “spin project” and a total lack of consideration for the general public or a tempest in a teapot. His observations about the news media's disinterest in making any “effort” to “obtain statements from opponents of the project” is obvious in their reporting. When doesn't the newspaper simply accept the self-serving news or press releases from the police department and publish them without any question?

However, Mr. Binnie does define the actual “truth” motivating this whole issue and set the “intent” behind the opposition to the “project.” In his own words: “My wife and I moved here nearly eight years ago to escape the overdeveloped, congested and hectic pace of San Diego. We liked the idea that there were fewer people, less traffic, a slower pace of life, that there were many recreational opportunities and that this area was home to some of the most stunning scenery in the world, including parks where magnificent old-growth redwoods are growing.” [Emphasis added]

As a man that put his chainsaw to many an old-growth redwood and who hauled many a load of logs down through Richards Grove in the mid-sixties I too sympathize with Mr. Binnie's sentiments and take pride in the fact this is my family's home for many generations. Whenever my wife and I decide to take the “scenic route” we always thank the people that had the necessary foresight and fervent belief in self and what is valuable to make sure these parks were set aside for everyone's benefit. We all share responsibility for the protection and preservation of these parks.

What we don't need is the bullshit politics and over-the-top “spin” from all sides and a complicit news media. What we need are the facts laid out in simple terms that are consistent with accepted science and reality. Then everyone can make up their own minds like responsible adults.

UPDATE :: Sunday, February 13, 2011]

Typical propaganda peddled by the likes of Humboldt County's premier wordmeisters and extreme authorities on all matters relevant, i.e., "contradictions between Cal-Trans and science." The only contradictions are between what people say and what they do. Decades of facts speak for themselves and defeat the worthless opinions of people promoting their own personal agenda. At least Mr. Binnie had the common decency to set out his agenda BEFORE contradicting himself and everyone else that supports the basis of his "expert" nonsense.

[UPDATE II :: Tuesday, February 15, 2011]

One of the reasons this article, “Bullshit Bazoo,” is predicated or based upon, is the fact that Caltran's information approach to their proposed Richardson Grove project is sorely lacking and deficient. Rather than approach their obligation to provide justifiable, easily understood information and facts to support their decisions and propositions, they produce a wholly deficient “let me tell you how it is” generic brochure with some additional rather convoluted pieces of information on their website and expect that should be good enough. Based upon the latest demonstration at the Caltran's offices in Eureka on Monday, February 7, 2011, and other issues raised in blog commentary it is not.

This morning's Times-Standard of Tuesday, February 15, 2011, "McKinleyville residents express their frustration on rezoning" offers a similar situation with the County Planning Department's handling of “multifamily rezoning as well as its general approach to planning in the unincorporated area.” That “approach” as defined by a McKinleyville resident as “top down.” They, all of the government representatives and officials SAY they will recognize and respect the rightful concerns of the public, but what the DO is the very opposite. Rather than address the central is the “County staff” made excuses for why “they” were in a bind along with the county and expected the unhappy, dissident landowners to just simply shut up and go along with being told how it's going to be, never you mind the adverse consequences.

This brings me to the comment posted to this article apparently by a Caltran's employee, Phil Frisbie, Jr. - Public Information Officer / Web Content Administrator. Herein lies the same attitude – dictating without any consideration for the facts. Rather than spend his time productively by answering the central issue I raised with Caltran's over their handling of this project, he's telling me how to write my blog. Typical with the Elitist Attitude, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Mr. Frisbie, Jr. justified my article, “Bullshit Up The Bazoo.”

[Source and Source]


  1. Since there is no email contact for this blog I will post my comment here.

    The photo above was copied from the Caltrans page for the Richardson Grove Improvement Project. Please attribute the photo to Caltrans.

    Thank you,

    Phil Frisbie, Jr.
    Public Information Officer / Web Content Administrator

  2. Too bad Mr. Phil Frisbie can't read. There is an email address for this blog and I did source the photo to the Caltran's page. To0 bad Mr. Frisbie didn't leave an email address of his own. I have a question I'd like to ask him.

    Maybe I'll post my own comment. How about an informational webpage that answers the questions these people are raising? Maybe you would head off another demonstration at the Caltran's offices and probably at Richardson Grove once the work starts.

    How about an answer?

  3. First, let me apologize for my confusion. I browse with JavaScript off and your email was not visible. I should not have assumed it was blank because you were attempting to be anonymous; I should have enabled JavaScript to make sure.

    As far as the attribution; it took me several looks over your page, but now I see how you attribute your sources.

    These were my first visits to your blog, and I am sorry we got off on the wrong foot.


    Phil Frisbie, Jr.
    Public Information Officer / Web Content Administrator