Oct 25, 2013

Black Lightning Motorcycle Cafe ribbon cutting tomorrow at noon

Although the official ribbon cutting is tomorrow at noon, the latest business did a soft opening yesterday and the cafe is already packed with customers enjoying locally roasted coffee, delicious sandwiches and breakfast on homemade bread, smoothies, soup and salad. They offer gluten free options instead of bread, have creative snacks, and are reasonably priced. Located in Old Town, for now they are open for breakfast and lunch and early dinner. They support and carry local items such as Los Bagels and Dick Taylor chocolates.

If that isn't enough to entice you, they have motorcycles and related accessories.Need I say more?

Oct 22, 2013

Board votes to develop ordinance regulating neighborhood impacts of outdoor marijuana cultivation

This afternoon the Board of Supervisors met to get a staff report on a potential ordinance regulating neighborhood impacts of outdoor marijuana cultivation. The board voted unanimously to direct staff to develop an ordinance based on the recommendations of the medical marijuana sub-committee. Absent was Supervisor Estelle Fennell, who is out sick.

This was after County CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes gave the report, public commented and staff answered questions. Kudos to the Redwood Times for having a reporter there. There were 9 members in the audience, outnumbered by staff and supervisors. As Supervisor Bohn noted the numbers did not indicate the interest because meetings have been held out in the community and people have given feedback to the Supervisors.

Hanes said that based on community concerns and input, the two common threads that emerged were the smell and visual impact in densely populated areas and the environmental impact. The parcel size and number of plants were a proposal and were subject to change. Hanes stressed this because the ordinance they will come up with will go before the Planning Commission and then to the Board and there would be 2 hearings so this is not the final version.

There is already a County ordinance on indoor cultivation. This particular ordinance addresses neighborhood impacts of outdoor marijuana cultivation and would be an amendment to the county zoning ordinance.

It is a code enforcement issue and there would be civil penalties. Hanes said that in the report there was mention that because of the life cycle of the plant, the time be expedited for hearings that result since typically code enforcement issues take a long time.

This proposed ordinance allows parcels of ½ an acre to have 5 mature plants, has to be 20 feet away from a residence, and not near a school, place of religious worship, or Native American site as long as these existed before the cultivation site and there you cannot have indoor and outdoor cultivation at the same site.

I spoke and asked about anonymity since retribution for those who complain is an issue and that this ordinance does not address criminal prosecution. It was noteworthy that no one from the present D.A.’s office was in attendance, perhaps because like our local media they didn’t think a draft of this ordinance was important at this stage. Also of note is that no contender, rumored or actual, for the Humboldt County District Attorney race bothered to make an appearance. I am sure they have reasons and more pressing engagements.

Willow Creek resident E.B. Duggan thanked the board for their action on this issue. He said that while “medical marijuana has its benefits, it does not belong in residential districts. He talked about the people who were growing near his property not being good neighbors, he said these young people intimidate “us seniors”.

The other 2 speakers were also in favor. In response to my questions, Hanes said that there are already county laws that enforce prosecution if someone is intimidated when filing a complaint and County Counsel Davina Smith said that when someone contacts the Building and Planning Department to allege a violation, they do need to give contact information which is necessary for follow-up but it is confidential and only disclosed under a judge’s orders.
Marijana elicits strong emotions and opinions and  the above ordinance, I feel is a fair one that accomodates the rights of all citizens, especially those like Mr. Duggan and me.  The rest of us  have a right to breathe fresh air untainted by smoke and weed and enjoy outdoor spaces without intimidation and harrassment from those who think their rights to greed, recreation and easy money supercede others.

Go Biz Forum at the Wharfinger

Go Biz Forum at the Wharfinger this morning was presented by the City of Eureka, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development and local economic development agencies. This forum was on Northcoast Innovation and Entrepeneurship. Elected officials representing the City were Mayor Frank Jager, Council members  Marian Brady, Mike Newman and Melinda Ciarabellini. the first speaker was Louis Stewart, Deputy Director for Innovation and Entrepeneurship from the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Developement.

The best presentation was from  Natural Decadence owners Rosa Dixon and Milia Lando who were courted by Whole Foods. They best exemplified the local entrepeneurial spirit and the go-getter attitude and how certain Humboldt businesses are unique, an asset to showing the world what we have to offer and how local business resources can be used effectively.