LoCO Files Large Public Records Request

Hank Sims / Tuesday, April 19, 2011 @ 2:07 p.m. / News

Last week’s Lost Coast Outpost column was about requests for government documents under the California Public Records Act. More specifically, it was about one such request filed upon the county by Shirley Fuller, assistant to Eureka kazillionaire Rob Arkley. Fuller’s request sought to review email correspondence between Humboldt County staffers and a long list of left-leaning organizations and individuals. Presumably, its principal object was to gauge such groups’ influence on the update of the county’s general plan.

The General Plan Update, 11 years in the making, has been the subject of immense contention throughout that time, but especially so in the last few months, as the end appears to be in sight. Need evidence? Check last week’s marathon Board of Supervisors session on the update, and whether or not it should be stalled. It’s natural and proper that the county should be having this debate, given that the general plan is the most important set of guiding principals any local government can produce.

Shortly after it became aware of Fuller’s Public Records Act request, the LoCO asked the county to be cc:’d with any documents the county produces. But as we wrote in last week’s column, the county deserves a rounder picture than will be produced that request alone. Therefore – and, once again, with huge thanks to and sympathy toward county staff – yesterday we filed our own request.

That document, which you can find here, requests all Board of Supervisors or planning staff email correspondence sent to or received by eight individuals over the last year – Arkley, Fuller, Randy Gans, Lee Ulansey, Bill Pierson, Jen Kalt, Scott Greacen and Elizabeth Conner. We believe this list is pretty well representative of the entire range of active political opinion on the Humboldt County General Plan.

What will we find? Lord knows. Whatever we get, we hope it will provide readers and the county at large with a behind-the-scenes peek at a long-running, politically hypercharged process that will end up guiding the county for the next 20 years or more. And we will publish them all.

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