For over a decade Rob Arkley had tried to win control of Humboldt County politics. He has funded candidates and of course his wife ran for office. He formed lobbying groups like Humboldt Sunshine and most notably, HELP (Humboldt Economic & Land Plan), which intended to steer the future of land planning and of course that starts with the General Plan.
Well apparently the voters of Humboldt County didn't want the local billionaire deciding the future of the community for them and they pretty much voted against all the candidates Mr. Arkley put forward, including his wife Cherie, ...though she only lost her bid for mayor by 42 votes.
What happen next was this group that ostensibly had no connections to Rob Arkley and was run by a guy with a pony tail and a beard (Lee Ulansey), called HumCPR sprang up on the heels of the code enforcement debacle and with their financial backing the "gang of four" was swept into office.
These Supervisors then proceeded to appoint commissioners to the Planning Commission. Well low and behold but we find out in the Northcoast Journal article that the majority of these newly appointed commissioners list membership in HELP on their resumes!? Is it possible that if Rob had just grown a beard and a pony tail, that he could have done this his own? That's unlikely, but in the end and through the unholy alliance that HumCPR has cast between developers and so called "back-to-the-landers", they were able to do what Rob Arkley was never able to do on his own, and was to put his lobbyist in control of Humboldt County.
The voters of Humboldt will get one more chance to change that dynamic on Tuesday. We'll see what they do.
Let me remind you that past elections in Humboldt County have been decided by just a handful of votes. Peter LaValle beat Cherie Arkely for mayor by 42 votes and lost four years later to Virginia Bass by just 65 votes , Jeff Leonard won an election with just 28 votes. Sundberg beat Cleary by 154 votes. So know that in Humboldt County, your vote does count!
Also, in Humboldt County, they'll confirm that count is accurate: www.wired.com/2008/12/unique-transpar/