Page 2 The Ferndale (California) Enterprise May 17, 2012

600 Main Street, Ferndale, California 95536 (P. O. Box 1066) Telephone 707/786-4611 • Fax 707/786-4311 Email: Founded 1878. Published weekly. Publication #USPS 189-920 Periodicals Postage paid at Ferndale, California under Act of Congress, March 3, 1879. POSTMASTER - Send address changes to our address. Subscriptions: $50 a year • $75 (airmail) outside the U. S. Caroline Titus . . . . . . . . . . Publisher/Editor/Writer/Production/Sales Caroline Blattner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Proofreader Contributors: Wendy Lestina, Jack Mays, Elizabeth Titus, Tamar Burris, Ann Roberts, Emily Silver, Lynn McCulloch, Mike Foster, Carol Conners. Published by Cages Publishing, Inc. Caroline Titus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President Elizabeth Titus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice President Member, California Newspaper Publishers Association, National Newspaper Association

Ferndale Enterprise



Rick W. Williamson, former City of Ferndale public works employee, passed away Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at the age of 57. Rick was born in Atlanta, GA January 24, 1955. He was currently living in Sacramento, where he worked as a heavy equipment operator.

Rick leaves behind his wife of 36 years, Lori, a son, Ricky, and daughter, April. Also survived by a sister in GA and always remembered by a host of loving nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends. Locally, he is survived by Rick and Signora Pierceall. Rick was a proud former Marine and a hard working man all his life, taking pride in everything he did. He loved NASCAR, the 49ers, and Ferndale Wildcat football, but most of all he loved his family. He will be forever loved and missed by all who knew him. Funeral services were held May 12, 2012 in Carmichael, CA.

(Editor’s Note: The Ferndale Enterprise welcomes signed letters, (real names only, please) with telephone numbers for verification, but reserves the right to edit them. Opinions expressed in columns, cartoons and Letters to the Editor do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Ferndale Enterprise. Thank you letters are not permitted. Instead they are welcome in our paid Card of Thanks classified section.)

Letters to the Editor

In case you haven't been reading the details, the now former vice president of the corporation that publishes the 134-year-old Enterprise, and who always has had a silent position in any matters involving the paper, has managed the fairgrounds for 21 years with seven three-year contracts. Recently, however, with some new and some old members on the self-perpetuating board, controversy has emerged. Now, with the proof from draft minutes from an executive committee meeting open to the public, it's evident that the controversy is related to this newspaper and that some board members of your county fairgrounds are unwilling to accept the fact that the fair association is not a private club. How sad. How sad that a few self-interested board members are willing to risk the future of the fair, by violating state law and attempting to silence the press, when so many of us are working so hard to shore up budget shortfalls caused by the elimination of all state funds and the continued decline of the horse-racing industry due to the weak economy. Remember the "tea party" at the Humboldt County fairgrounds in March of 2006? We're not talking about the right wing patriot types. We're talking about that infamous "tea party," AKA orgy at the Red Barn. The Eureka-based “Just Say Yes” group walked into the front office of the fairgrounds and booked the Red Barn for, what they said, would be a Saturday afternoon tea party . . . Earl Grey and McVities, right? Little did fairgrounds staff know that there would be a little spice thrown into the so-called afternoon gathering, formally titled “Wicked Interludes.” When word quickly got around town that a sex party was held at the Red Barn, unbeknownst to fair management, we were confronted with the dilemma of reporting what went down at the fairgrounds, or ignoring it for the sake of not embarrassing the fairgrounds' staff or the fair board. Despite our family's bread being buttered by the primary bread winner in The Enterprise ownership — the long-time manager of the Humboldt County Fair — our lead story that week was the orgy. Fairgrounds General Manager Stuart Titus argued against us doing the story. We insisted and reminded him of his silent role as vice-president of the family-owned corporation that owns The Enterprise. If we ignored the story, we told him, we might as well close up shop. The town was atwitter, before Twitter, over the sex party. How could we ignore it? You cannot deviate from your fairness as an editor, even if it comes at a personal cost or embarrassment. He agreed. We have never been willing to compromise our journalistic integrity. And, even now, as the husband of this editor is threatened with his job unless fair board members are made to “look good” — even in the reporting of non-fair related issues — we will not compromise. Making one exception for one situation is a slippery slope that we are not willing to embark on. The very basis for an independent newspaper is that of truth, fairness and the unwillingness to be bought or censored by any entity, business, cause or personal conflict. We have been confronted with all the aforementioned and, despite great personal sacrifice that most of our readers are unaware of, we have never wavered in our commitment to bring you, our reader, “just the facts” in a forum open to all for debate or correction. The Enterprise has long championed fair efforts, donating advertising, reporting on all events held at the fairgrounds and covering board meetings. We’ve written dozens of editorials advocating for the future of racing at the fair. We’ve even helped raise $100,000 to save the fair’s Cape Mendocino lens. In fact, just last month the fair board enthusiastically accepted our volunteer effort to revive the old fair ball to raise much-needed funds. To threaten the long-time manager with his job if he doesn't make fair board members "look good" in the newspaper that he has owned for more than 14 years but has had no say in during that tenure — case in point orgy reporting — is egregious. To protect directors who have other motives, such as our mayor, by attempting to silence the press, is an assault of the very basis of our democracy — the First Amendment. It is uncomfortable for us — your editor/publisher and the fairgrounds manager, as husband and wife — to be in this situation. Perhaps the easiest remedy would be divorce. Try explaining that one to the children. In the meantime, this we know for sure: Enterprise readers deserve the continued effort and track record of fair and accountable reporting and, despite the occasional isolation and uncomfortableness, assurance that we are beholden to no one except you, our reader. The Humboldt County Fairgrounds belongs to all of us and it is more than worthy of all our efforts to keep it alive and thriving. We are fully aware of the fact that fair managers will come and go (although there have only been four in its 116 years). But we can assure you that the publisher/editor of your award-winning hometown newspaper and the manager of the Humboldt County Fairgrounds, will continue to give both endeavours their full effort, attention and passion. Come what may.

Kudos to neighbor Dear editor: I want to thank Audrey Miller who lives on Shaw Avenue. She is the tall, slender woman who walks miles daily. Along the way, she always carries a bag and picks up trash on our streets. I asked her one time why she did this and she said, "Well I figure somebody better do it. Why not me?" Not only
— Cell phone violation in the 1000 block of Main. May 11: Speed violation at Main and Lewis. — Report of suspicious person at Firemen’s Park camping. Individual was contacted and advised about camping. — Report of suspicious vehicle being driven around Main and Ocean. Vehicle was gone on arrival. — Stop sign violation at Arlington and Main.

is she conscientious about our Ferndale streets, I have discovered she is brilliant, like so many people are in this town. I walk every day, too, but so far, I 'forget' to carry a bag for trash. I have learned a lot from Audrey; we are blessed to have her here. Diann Christensen Audrey's neighbor Ferndale
May 1 2: Report of female having difficulty breathing in the 1000 block of Cream Court. Subject was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital. May 13: Report of possible drunk driver in the 100 block of Ocean. Driver was contacted. Negative DUI. May 14: U-turn violation in the 400 block of Main.

This week down at the FPD
May 8: Traffic control at Shaw and Fifth for the elementary school. — Seatbelt and registration violation in the 1000 block of Main. — Speed violation at Fifth and Fairview. May 9: Speed violation at Strawberry Hill. May 10: Welfare check on child in the 400 block of Main, per request of outside agency. — Delivery of civil documents.

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little referenced state code to negotiate a new value for the land rather than the usual government code that requires a valuation based on the “current fair market value of a land as though it was free of the contractual restriction.” Russ said the county is leaving $237,500 on the table; the state $237,500 by accepting the reduced valuation. Russ, who admitted to supervisors that it “wasn’t easy to be critical” of the Salt River project, because

it is aimed at helping farmers reclaim ag land that is usually flooded and will help the city of Ferndale’s new sewage treatment plant, but he said the “absurd value” could set a precedent for other properties that wish to opt out of the act. Other area ranchers also spoke against the reduced value. Speaking in favor of the cancellation and the reduced value were Michael Bowen with the California Coastal Conservancy, who said supervisors should look at the “broader public interest”

of the project. Ferndale dairy owner and Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Denver Nelson said if the Salt River project doesn’t get done, his friends in Ferndale “won’t be able to use their toilets,” referring to the possible impact on the town’s sewage treatment plant. U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson’s field John representative Driscoll told supervisors the cancellation had the congressman’s “full support” and that the project will be a “real value to ag.” County counsel told

supervisors while the statute allowing the reduce value is “rarely used,” it is “quite clear” and that the board of supervisors or the county assessor have no jurisdiction over state law. “There’s nothing we can do,” said Chair Virginia Bass. “If we don’t accept, it will throw the project upside down.” With their unanimous vote to cancel the contract, supervisors requested that staff ask the DOC to send its portion of the penalty, about $28,000, back to the county as a good faith move.

Jack’s Corner

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