Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Caltrans Comes Through - Not Soon Enough

Another demonstration - protest, this time at Richardson Grove.


This is the picture that greeted traffic on CA Highway 101 at Richardson Grove State Park Monday afternoon February 21, 2011, according to the Times-Standard newspaper report: Protestors rally at Richardson Grove.

What's wrong with this picture? What "lies" "ruins lives"?

There are more pictures posted here and here. One of the signs says: "If you cut the roots you kill the trees" "Caltrans stay out of Richardson Grove State Park" "The road is wide enough"

And another sign says: Caltrans bad for: Nature, Working People, Local Economies, Life"

What you see in the picture [inset below] is all that the Times-Standard reported. My question is WHY?
An estimated 50 people gathered Monday afternoon at Richardson Grove State Park to protest the proposed Caltrans project that will widen certain segments of U.S. Highway 101. Officers from the California Highway Patrol were on scene, and a smaller group of protestors also congregated at the Garberville Town Square earlier Monday. Scanner traffic and the CHP Traffic Incident Web page indicated that the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department and the CHP were monitoring the protest from a nearby location and had contacted Caltrans District 1 Director Charles Fielder about the event. At one point, passersby reported that protestors were standing in front of big rigs, preventing them from passing, but officers on the scene were unable to substantiate the reports. 
The motoring public does not need people demonstrating and hanging signs over the highway when they are trying to get through a narrow congested section of a very busy highway. This picture is a good example of why this action is offensive. The motoring public does not need to be assaulted this way. So, why hasn't Caltrans addressed these issues that's got all of these people upset? These kinds of situations need to be avoided. I've got to wonder what the Highway Patrols excuse was. [Source]

These demonstrators need to understand that their protest actions contradict their statements and actions. You don't threaten safety to protest safety.

If widening the road to the degree defined by Caltrans "ruins lives" someone needs to explain WHY. Otherwise the demonstration is bogus. Someone needs to prove beyond doubt what the "lies" are. How come the Times-Standard is unable to find one of these demonstrators. From the pictures they certainly look pleasant and friendly enough. Then sit down, and get them to define what their issues are and why. It's easy enough to paint up a sign that says: "Caltrans bad for: Nature, Working People, Local Economies, Life" it's not so easy explaining why the proposed widening is "bad for nature, working people, local economies and life." Then take these concerns to Caltrans and get them to address them. Mr. Phil Frisbie has communicated with and he certainly seems concerned and reasonable enough. Then put this information out in the newspaper so that everyone can see what is the truth and what is just so much hyperbole.


  1. Hello Joe,

    You ask some very good questions of the protesters and of Caltrans. In this case, however, I cannot speak for Caltrans because the Richardson Grove project is not in my area. I am one of two Public Information Officers (PIOs) for Caltrans District 1. I cover Lake and Mendocino Counties in addition to monitoring media, and Julie East (441-3998, Julie_East@dot.ca.gov) covers Del Norte and Humboldt Counties. I can assure you that Julie is just as dedicated to helping the public as I am.

    What I can tell you is that I have seen Julie, the Project Manager Kim Floyd, and the Environmental Coordinator Deborah Harmon bend over backwards to address public concerns.

    Phil Frisbie, Jr.

  2. Phil, You said: What I can tell you is that I have seen Julie, the Project Manager Kim Floyd, and the Environmental Coordinator Deborah Harmon bend over backwards to address public concerns.

    I have no doubt that what you say is the truth. I also know that some of these "public concerns" are competing agendas. That this project is no doubt being scapegoated and used to promote their true agendas.

    However, as a passive observer, I see this matter as a "tempest in a teapot" for no good reasons. From my vantage point, not having attended any of the meetings, looking for direct answers to some of their stated concerns, i.e., signs at demonstrations, blogs and comments, I don't find any. Maybe what Julie, Kim and Deborah consider "addressing public concerns" isn't getting the job done.

    When I see where protesters put an illegal banner across the highway that Caltrans, a day later has to take down, all to the detriment and safety of the motoring public, I'm convinced a lot of jobs are not getting done.

    If these “public concerns” were directly and adequately answered and refuted by Caltrans and the project completely justified, these demonstrators' public protests would be totally delegitimized and dis-empowered. Anything else only justifies their actions and contentions.

    I appreciate your response.