Thursday, April 13, 2006

HELP is of no help to Humboldt [TS My Word]

HELP is of no help to Humboldt


My Word by Richard Salzman

Eureka Times Standard

In response to Kay Backer's My Word of March 22, Getting Humboldt leaders to lead: Kay Backer is a paid professional spin doctor from Sacramento. Hired by local developers, she is paid to badger county government and bamboozle the public. She feigns concern for our families by shedding crocodile tears about so-called affordable housing here in Humboldt County.

It's ridiculous that Kay Backer is even treated as a legitimate voice in our local affairs just because Rob Arkley and HELP summon her to town for a meeting, or to send off an e-mail full of accusations and threats to the media. She represents nothing other than a handful of developers. Are there even five people who will admit to being a member of HELP?

It's absurd that those who pay her (they call themselves HELP but really should be called HELP-Yourself) are implying that the reason they want to build more houses is because they want to see home values drop. When has any developer ever wanted to see any housing prices drop? Do you want to see the value of your home decline?

In the Sacramento area, where Ms. Backer lives, homes are being built at an astounding rate. Strangely enough, housing prices there are still shooting up and now routinely cost about half a million dollars. Is that what Ms. Backer's backers have in mind as affordable housing?

Now Rob Arkley is threatening to use his money to sue the county unless planning officials buy into HELP's fabricated projections of housing needs. Isn't that called blackmail?

I have no objection to developers making money off constructing houses. But it's an outrage to be told that the reason they want permission to build more -- and forever change the essentially rural character of Humboldt County -- has anything to do with stopping people from moving out of town, lowering home prices or anything other than their search for higher profits.

Where will Kay Backer's concern for our community be the day after her paychecks stop coming in? Will she still be shouting HELP or just go on to her next lucrative public relations campaign?