Wednesday, April 12, 2006

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?

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