Morning News, Monday October 15th
This story just in from John Sakowicz: Bad news for the City of Ukiah.
Specifically, bad news regarding the dissolution city's former Redevelopment Authority (RDA). The financial documents which the city submitted for the third time to the State Department of Finance (DOF) were just denied.
As a result, $6 million dollars that the City thought would pay for a CostCo center and $2.5 million in funding for downtown projects and the Ukiah Depot area might have to be returned to the bond investors and money already spent might have to be repaid as well.
California legislators in 2011 passed laws disbanding redevelopment agencies statewide because they were abusing the program originally designed to turn around blighted urban areas by providing tax-paid boons to developers.
The DOF denied $69,000 in expenses. And $6.2 million in unenforceable contracts. And $2.5 million in unsubstantiated infrastructure improvements.
But Ukiah Assistant City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said that the state analysts reviewing the many documents are lower level employees who are basically just saying no to everything and "checking the boxes."
Sangiacomo says the city has five days to request a "meet and confer" session with state officials to provide more documentation intended to sway state officials to the city's point of view.
In the meantime, Costco is moving ahead with its environmental impact review for a new store in Ukiah.
The multi-million dollar ad campaign against prop 37 seems to be working. A new poll from the Pepperdine University and the California Business Roundtable show that 48.3% of respondents would vote yes, while 40.2% would vote no. That's way down from a 66.9% to 22.3% margin from two weeks ago.
The drop parallels the unleashing by opponents of a multimillion-dollar television advertising campaign.
The ads feature a Central Valley farmer complaining that labeling of food products would raise prices. A second presents a researcher at that Proposition 37 is rife with alleged special-interest loopholes Proponents call the ads misrepresentations and contend that California shoppers have a "right to know" what's in the food they eat.
The Arcata based Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) sent a letter to Regional Forester Randy Moore, and four Forest Supervisors that requests the Forest Service initiate analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act regarding the impacts of marijuana cultivation on national forest lands.
In addition, EPIC requested that the Forest Service consider the impacts of marijuana cultivation on imperiled species, including Coho Salmon, Steelhead, Northern Spotted Owl and Pacific Fisher. An earlier letter received a negative response.
The effort by EPIC to secure analysis of these impacts will be featured at a symposium titled Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition, to be held on the Humboldt State University campus on Friday afternoon, Oct 12.
Weblinks can be found on the kzyx newsblog at kzyx.org.
With the KZYX Fall Pledge Drive right around the corner, we’re looking for some volunteers to help answer those pledge phones. If you have a few hours to spare, decent handwriting, and good hearing, we need your help. The drive will run from the evening of Thursday, October 18th, through the afternoon of Sunday, October 28th, and we’ve got phone shifts to fit every schedule. Please give us a call today at 895-2324, and we’ll help you find the time slot that’s right for you.