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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

I am getting damn tired of the proponents of health care status quo in the U.S. who use outrageous scare tactics (e.g., aged or sick people will be put to death, etc.) and shameless lies (e.g., slandering the medical systems of countries like Canada, Great-Britain, etc.)

“Don’t do this or we’ll end up with Canadian-style health care!” Really? Let me tell you, buddy, you should be so lucky.

Before I came to the U.S. and California, I had never even conceived of not being able to go to the doctor when I need to. Here, I was introduced to the wonderful world of “the health you can afford”. And at least now I’m on a halfway-decent plan — a mid-price one I selected from the many choices my company offers; but when I was on an HMO, many is the time I decided to tough it out and hope for the best when I was sick or hurt, rather than deal with the hurdles and costs.

My father passed away a year ago from inoperable lung cancer, in Canada. Before that, he was “in the system” for over three years for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. He had unbelievably prompt, efficient, and kind care. He was not even in a big city, yet had all the most modern treatments, analyses, and specialists. All of it was free, except a very small residual amount for some optional anti-nausea medication. I remember bursting laughing — and hurting my mother’s feelings a bit — when she said it cost them over $100 a month and she had no idea how poor people managed.

Imagine. $100 a month. Do you want to know about how grossly overpriced medication is in the U.S.? The last time I had to see a doctor in Canada and get a prescription there (not something I do intentionally, by the way), it cost me less, even though I’m not currently covered there since I reside here, than it costs me here with insurance. Birth control pills? $16 CAN per box without insurance; here: $30 US for the same name brand or $15 US for the crappy knock-off with insurance.

Waiting lines? Non-emergency patient may have to wait, but certainly not like they wait under a typical insurance plan in U.S., especially HMOs, or heaven forbid under no plan at all, when you wait to be able to afford the care.

Complaining about health care waiting in Canada is a lot like complaining about rush-hour traffic in Eureka: wait until you see the real thing!

No, I don’t think the Obama administration will do more than maybe offer an expanded Medicare/Medicaid to cover currently uninsured people.  But I can dream of modern health care coming to the U.S., can’t I?

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Received from the Humboldt County Planning Division yesterday; if you’re interested in commenting, note the date of the public hearing, which is tonight in Eureka.

This is a revised version from the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was prepared in February and circulated in April.

According to its introduction, the Supplemental EIR was needed in order to make additions and changes in order to “comply with new State laws, such as the requirement to evaluate the project’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and to respond to new information such as the Humboldt County Health Assessment, prepared in 2007. There are also new policies in the Project (2009 Housing Element update), such as recommendations to implement Housing Opportunity Zones“.

It’s being recirculated to respond to comments received on the previous version, so the main new material should be found in Chapter 6 which presents the list of comments and commenters, and the responses to these comments.

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY

RECIRCULATED SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

FOR THE DRAFT HUMBOLDT COUNTY HOUSING ELEMENT

SCH #2009022077

The County of Humboldt is in the process of updating the Humboldt County Housing Element, a required Element of the General Plan. The update is necessary to comply with State Law regarding Housing Elements, and to adopt local policy options to meet the documented housing needs. The project requires consideration and certification of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The County prepared a DEIR for the 2003 Housing Element and proposes to supplement the findings in this document with a Supplemental DEIR. An initial draft of the Supplemental DEIR was circulated in April, 2009; a revised draft of the Supplemental DEIR is now available for public review.

Project Description: The Housing Element describes housing needs of residents of all income levels, and includes discussion of housing needs of specific groups as well, such as seniors, owner-builders, disabled persons and the homeless. The findings that emerge from analyzing the housing information direct policies and programs which are a commitment to implement new measures to meet the County’s housing needs as well as to maintain the most effective on-going programs. The Housing Element contains policies that affect the kinds, locations and intensities of land uses and new development within the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County.

Identified Impacts: Policies and programs in the Element as well as other existing requirements administered by public agencies are sufficient to reduce potential impacts to a level of insignificance for hazards and hazardous materials, land use and planning, noise, recreation, and utilities and service systems. Implementation of the Element is expected to cause significant and unavoidable impacts to aesthetics, agriculture resources, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology/soils, hydrology/ water quality, public services, transportation/traffic. The project will also likely result in significant unavoidable cumulative impacts. These impacts are similar those evaluated under the 2003 Element.

Project Location: This project will apply to all unincorporated areas of the County.

Review Period: Public comment will be accepted until August 2, 2009

Lead Agency: Humboldt County Department of Community Development Services

Direct Comments To:

Michael Richardson, Senior Planner
County of Humboldt
Department of Community Development Services, Planning Division
3015 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501
EMAIL: mrichardson@co.humboldt.ca.us

Public Hearing: On the Draft Housing Element by the Humboldt County Planning Commission, June 18th @ 6:00pm, Humboldt County Courthouse

Copies of the Supplemental DEIR are available on the internet at www.planupdate.org. Copies are also available for review at the main branch of the County library at 1313 3rd Street Eureka, California ( (707) 445-7284), and at Humboldt County Community Development Services, 3015 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501. Information or copies can be obtained by contacting Michael Richardson at (707) 268-3723 or email at mrichardson@co.humboldt.ca.us.

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Humboldt County General Plan Update news: the next “town hall”-style meeting is planned for June 11; it’s a continuation of the April 30 meeting.

Land Use Element “Town Hall Style” Continued Planning Commission Meeting

Humboldt County Draft General Plan – Land Use Element

June 11, 2009

The Humboldt County Planning Commission will host a public workshop on the Draft Land Use Element beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, 2009 in the College of the Redwoods Forum Theater, 7351 Tompkins Hill Road, Eureka (Building #16 on the attached map). The workshop is the continuation of the April 30th Planning Commission meeting, and is presented as a forum for open dialogue between the Commissioners, planning staff, and the public. A format similar to a “town hall” meeting will be used to discuss the draft policies contained in the Land Use Element and the Plan Alternatives.

The purpose of this meeting is to receive public input on the Land Use Element of the Draft General Plan. This meeting follows two staff presentations to the Planning Commission on the Draft Land Use Element. During the April 16, 2009 Planning Commission meeting, the Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts for Sections 4.2 (Growth Planning), 4.3 (Urban Lands), 4.4 (Rural Lands) and the Land Use Classifications were introduced to the Planning Commission. During the April 23, 2009 Planning Commission meeting, the Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts for Sections 4.5 (Agricultural Resources), 4.6 (Forest Resources) and 4.7 (Public Lands) were presented. Archived streaming of these meetings is available on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors website, http://county-internet/board/.

Background on the Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts:

The Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts explain what the major issues are for these sections and list the goals, policies, standards, and implementation measures for Plan Alternatives A, B, C and D in one chart for comparison purposes. Copies are available on the GPU website at www.planupdate.org and will also be available for viewing at the Humboldt County Library (all branches), Kinkos and the Community Development Services Department front counter. Also available is a “Users Guide” that explains the format of the charts and how they will be used by the decision makers in their deliberation process for ultimately adopting a new General Plan for the County.

For further information, or to be placed on the email list to receive notices of workshops, please contact Martha Spencer by email at mspencer@co.humboldt.ca.us or by telephone at (707) 268-3704 or Tom Hofweber at 268-3738.

Recap of the four alternatives:

  • Plan Alternative A accommodates growth by promoting infill and by focusing growth in urban areas with adequate services. The alternative increases protection of resource production lands, and is considered the “environmentally superior” alternative. This alternative is generally more prescriptive, and has more detailed and specific policy sets associated with it.
  • Plan Alternative B (Proposed Plan) balances protection of resource lands with the need for residential development through focused development, appropriate urban expansion, and incentive-based clustering policies to encourage conservation of resource production lands.
  • Plan Alternative C is a higher growth and less regulatory alternative providing additional residential capacity. This alternative, particularly in rural areas, increases the amount of land planned for residential estate and rural residential uses. This alternative is generally less prescriptive, and has policy language that is more flexible.
  • Plan Alternative D — the No Action Alternative — is the existing 1984 Framework Plan.

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Humboldt County General Plan Update news: notice received Monday from the Planning Division of Humboldt County Community Development Services:

Housing Element “Town Hall Style” Planning Commission Meeting

Humboldt County Draft General Plan — Land Use Element

April 30, 2009

The Humboldt County Planning Commission will host an informal public workshop on the Draft Land Use Element beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2009 in the Board of Supervisors chambers, Humboldt County Courthouse, Eureka. The workshop is intended to provide a forum for an open dialogue between the Commissioners, planning staff, and the public. A format similar to a “town hall” meeting will be used to discuss the draft policies contained in the Land Use Element and the Plan Alternatives.

This meeting follows two staff presentations to the Planning Commission on the Draft Land Use Element. During the April 16, 2009 Planning Commission meeting, the Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts for Sections 4.2 (Growth Planning), 4.3 (Urban Lands), 4.4 (Rural Lands) and the Land Use Classifications were introduced to the Planning Commission. During the April 23, 2009 Planning Commission meeting, the Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts for Sections 4.5 (Agricultural Resources), 4.6 (Forest Resources) and 4.7 (Public Lands)were presented. This upcoming meeting is open to discussion of all the proposed policies and plan alternatives for the Draft Land Use Element.

Background on the Land Use Element and Key Issues:

The Land Use Element provides for the distribution, location and extent of uses of land for housing, business, industry, natural resources, open space, recreation, and other uses. It guides decision makers, planners, and the general public in fulfilling the ultimate pattern and character of development within the unincorporated areas of the county. The policies of the proposed Plan represent a legislated balance between the individual rights of property owners and the health, safety, and welfare needs of the community.

Background on the Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts:

The Plan Alternatives – Key Issues and Comparison Charts explain what the major issues are for these sections and list the goals, policies, standards, and implementation measures for Plan Alternatives A, B, C and D in one chart for comparison purposes. Copies are available on the GPU website at www.planupdate.org and will also be available for viewing at the Humboldt County Library (all branches), Kinkos and the Community Development Services Department front counter. Also available is a “Users Guide” that explains the format of the charts and how they will be used by the decision makers in their deliberation process for ultimately adopting a new General Plan for the County.

For further information, or to be placed on the email list to receive notices of workshops, please contact Martha Spencer by email at mspencer@co.humboldt.ca.us or by telephone at (707) 268-3704 or Tom Hofweber at 268-3738.

Recap of the four alternatives:

  • Plan Alternative A accommodates growth by promoting infill and by focusing growth in urban areas with adequate services. The alternative increases protection of resource production lands, and is considered the “environmentally superior” alternative. This alternative is generally more prescriptive, and has more detailed and specific policy sets associated with it.
  • Plan Alternative B (Proposed Plan) balances protection of resource lands with the need for residential development through focused development, appropriate urban expansion, and incentive-based clustering policies to encourage conservation of resource production lands.
  • Plan Alternative C is a higher growth and less regulatory alternative providing additional residential capacity. This alternative, particularly in rural areas, increases the amount of land planned for residential estate and rural residential uses. This alternative is generally less prescriptive, and has policy language that is more flexible.
  • Plan Alternative D — the No Action Alternative — is the existing 1984 Framework Plan.

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Switzerland-Italy border
Thanks to global climate change and the resulting world-wide glacier meltdown, Switzerland and Italy now have to redraw their border. The draft law has already been endorsed by the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, and is expected to become law before the end of April; Switzewrland has already agreed to the new border.

The current border between the two countries was established in 1861, and is very convoluted as it follows the Alps’ ridgelines and glaciers. The glaciers are now retreating and that retreat is accompanied by landslides, laying havocs with reference points. The edge of glaciers would be mostly moving up, toward Switzerland, and the landslides are moving down, toward Italy.

The redrawn border may move by as much as 100 meters in some spots, but no communities will be affected as this is an area of high altitude, remote and cold. The most famous location in the affected area is the picturesque, 4,478 meter-high Matterhorn (by its Swiss name), or Cervino (as it is known in Italy).

Links of interest:

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Election day rainbow -- Copyright 2008 Edmund MethenyI really liked Mark Morford’s column today in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Obama vs. the Fear: Grin and be enthralled, or tremble and stuff dollar bills into your mattress?”

With his customary zest, he describes our alternating between fear of disaster and relief that someone competent and equipped with a conscience is at the helm right now.  It really hit the spot for me; I think there’s a lot of this bipolar disorder going on right now.

For my part, I choose optimism tempered with alertness.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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patrickspoint02

The draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Housing Element portion of the Humboldt County General Plan Update has been released. The EIR is required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

And to kick off this part of the planning process, I will discuss the basics of the CEQA process in upcoming posts, including what is an EIR, when do you publish one, what is the difference between draft, supplemental, and final, what commenters should look for, etc. I will use the General Plan and other currently active projects as examples.

Re-posted from the Humboldt County Department of Community Development Services’ notice:

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY
SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT
FOR THE DRAFT HUMBOLDT COUNTY HOUSING ELEMENT

SCH #1996-052011

February 17, 2009

The County of Humboldt is in the process of updating the Humboldt County Housing Element, a required Element of the General Plan.  The update is necessary to comply with State Law regarding Housing Elements, and to adopt local policy options to meet the documented housing needs.  The project requires consideration and certification of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).  The County prepared a DEIR for the 2003 Housing Element and proposes to supplement the findings in this document with a Supplemental DEIR.  The Supplemental DEIR is now available for public review.

Project Description: The Housing Element describes housing needs of residents of all income levels, and includes discussion of housing needs of specific groups as well, such as seniors, owner-builders, disabled persons and the homeless.  The findings that emerge from analyzing the housing information direct policies and programs which are a commitment to implement new measures to meet the County’s housing needs as well as to maintain the most effective on-going programs.  The Housing Element contains policies that affect the kinds, locations and intensities of land uses and new development within the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County.

Identified Impacts: Policies and programs in the Element as well as other existing requirements administered by public agencies are sufficient to reduce potential impacts to a level of insignificance for biological resources, hazards and hazardous materials, land use and planning, noise, public services and recreation.  Implementation of the Element is expected to cause significant and unavoidable impacts to aesthetics, agriculture resources, air quality, cultural resources, geology/soils,  hydrology/ water quality,  transportation/traffic, utilities and service systems.  The project will also likely result in significant unavoidable cumulative impacts.  These impacts are expected to be no greater than those evaluated under the 2003 Element, but since this Element carries forward many of the same programs as the 2003 Element, they are considered significant and unavoidable in this Element as well.

Project Location: This project will apply to all unincorporated areas of the County.

Review Period: Acceptance of public comment will be extended to April 6, 2009

Lead Agency: Humboldt County Department of Community Development Services

Direct Comments To:

Michael Richardson, Senior Planner
County of Humboldt
Department of Community Development Services, Planning Division
3015 H Street, Eureka, CA  95501
EMAIL: mrichardson@co.humboldt.ca.us

Public Hearing: On the Draft Housing Element by the Humboldt County Planning Commission February 19th, 26th and March 5th @ 6:00pm, Humboldt County Courthouse

Copies of the Supplemental DEIR are available on the internet at www.planupdate.org. Copes are also available for review at the main branch of the County library at 1313 3rd Street Eureka, California ( (707) 445-7284), and at Humboldt County Community Development Services, 3015 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501. Information or copies can be obtained by contacting Michael Richardson at (707) 268-3723 or email at mrichardson@co.humboldt.ca.us.

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