Sunday, October 29, 2006


Time Standard Balloon Tract series

TS published a preview of the week long series on the Balloon Track/Tract controversy, timed probably not-so-coincidentally for the election. The topics of focus for each day are as follows:

Monday: History of the Balloon Tract (using the TS term)
Tuesday: The Home Depot portion of the proposal
Wednesday: Environmental issues, presumably the "capping v. clean-up" controversy
Thursday: The political alliances and lines drawn
Friday: The Arkleys

From the preview:
Which raises the question: Would the Marina Center carry as much baggage if it didn't carry the Arkley name?

Cherie Arkley seems keenly aware that no matter what she and her husband do, suspicions of an Arkley empire in Eureka probably will never go away. Nor will suspicions that the Arkleys are out to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

Aside from the Joni Mitchell reference (I don't think anybody views the balloon track in its current state as a paradise), Marina Center opponents may find concern in this passage as indication of bias, although it's a fair question. Fact is however, the opposition to the proposal would be very much blunted if Home Depot was removed from the proposal. That's the sticking point. That and the "capping" issue.

Except the capping issue wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for Home Depot and the Arkleys being involved. It never was on any other waterfront development.
Pierson was never involved before. It is two rich people battling for political power. Hell with the people below. Target-capped Costco-capped Bayshore Mall-capped New health food store-capped. And you can bet your bottom dollar the land under Costco is Dioxen laden. So there!
I shop at Costco all the time (along with thousands of others).

When do our third arms begin to grow?

Other than people who stand to gain from the Arkley Project financially (who of course support the project), old-timers, Democrat or Republican, rednecks and hippies alike, say the bottom line is "clean it up first". From firsthand experience, living with an active rail yard in town, we know the levels of pollution have to be the highest around. We saw the pollution while it was happening. So comparisons to other properties don't really work.

There are several reasons to object to the project. Those who understand the job-killer aspects of Home Depot have every right to object based on threats to their job or business. Those who have a vision of Old Town with the Carson Mansion at one end of Second Street often object to the idea of a Home Depot anchoring the other end. I admit, William Carson himself would have probably liked the idea -- but he was the Rob Arkley of his day and would have owned the project.

I can't go through all the objections (can't even remember them all), but the most poignant has been that the public wants to be heard. People feel they were shut off by the council when the city killed the planning process for that parcel last year.

Now what remains to be seen will be if the public makes itself heard on election day. The Times-Standard's endorsement of Bonnie Neely stated it well: "Neely's opponent, Nancy Flemming, has made the Marina Center proposal and its developers -- her self-described close friends Rob and Cherie Arkley -- the main issue of her campaign. There is nothing wrong with having an advocate for developers on the board, but a campaign with such a narrow focus and emphasis makes us uncomfortable."

Having a city council with such a narrow focus also makes the public uncomfortable. One more week and we will see just how uncomfortable...
Except the capping issue wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for Home Depot and the Arkleys being involved. It never was on any other waterfront development.

Local environmentalists didn't have the political muscle they have now. A lot of the older projects would probably be challenged today, Arkley or no Arkley.
Well said Eric.
"Local environmentalists didn't have the political muscle they have now.".

Point well made.
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