Letter to the Editor Complains That Southern Humboldt Community Park Is Not a Good Venue for the Rodeo

Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to mskymkemp@gmail.com. Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication. Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of Redheaded Blackbelt.

Southern Humboldt COmmunity Park[To the Community,]

I guess this has been the best kept secret for the Southern Humboldt Community Park Board of Directors and their “public” rezone process with the Humboldt County Planning Department, Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Given the fact not one word has been made public or even mentioned in their 800 page Environmental Impact Report concerning moving the Garberville Rodeo from Benbow to the Community Park? And its going to be held over 3 days? I guess wanting 1 and 2 day commercial concerts, festivals and camping for between 2500 to 5000 people 6 times a year was not good enough. And the fact they are asking for an unlimited amount of events, concerts, camping and sports tournaments for up to 800 people per day all year was not good enough. Now, as per Humboldt Independent article (April 18, 2017) the Park Board will be hosting the “Garberville Rodeo In The Redwoods” at the Park from June 16th thru 18th 2017.

So much for a public process and say good-bye to any or all wildlife habitat that currently calls the Park its home. Say good-bye to the water in the South Fork Eel that supports threatened and endangered coho, chinook and steelhead fisheries. Say good-bye to open space and a pristine place for everyone to enjoy.

Next time you bump into a Park Board member, ask him or her what their “Guiding Principles” are for the Park and where the public can read them? Maybe they should read the Lorax by Dr, Seuss…

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money” ~ Cree

Thank you,
Ed Voice & Voice Family
Formally from Garberville 1961 – 2015



  • [edit]. The park has many pluses and many minuses but in the end it is for the community. You are misguided and delusional as what a community needs and will prosper from getting out of this venue. I’ve read your posts and have understood your argument and felt for and against it at times. Ultimately you have to much voice and not enough community motivating your response. Do your self a favor and take action and be involved instead of being an over opinionated old man who has no solutions only gripes.

    • Uh, i think his solution is pretty clear : limit amount and size of events at the park. If board members hide things from the community, theres a big problem. It does seem they are asking for more and more.
      When i contributed to the park they said theyd have a community garden but no land leased for private ag, and one goal was a place for animals to thrive and have a corridor to the river that was better for them. Now theres a big non organic grape field being leased&done by a private party for wine that person will be selling for profit. Its pretty clear the original intention for the park has been lost. What will the bird walks be like now? Nothing. It would have been better for the critters if they would have just done this from the start rather than years later when so many critters have made that land home. Now theyll all be dead. Sad. Greed kills. I hope biologists will be watching for harm to endangered species there and filing appropriate fines. Times change, and so cal has officially invaded humboldt bringing with them the (lack of) value system so many moved here to escape. Girls too consumed with looks instead of hands in the dirt backwoods living, folks just wanting more and more money who dont care about each other and no respect for nature. All about the party lifestyle and the money.
      I guess its the way of the world these days. Enjoy the ride as we go further past the point of no return into our planets 6th mass extinction. That point is when over 50% of known species around the world have gone extinct, a point we passed last year.

      • Right on, Lalai.

        I’m moving outta here in 2 weeks after years of hoping it might get better….the park zoning change was the cherry on top.

        Buh bye beautiful…

        Dope Disneyland is not what I moved here for 34 years ago.

    • Agreed Lonny, Every year the people of Fortuna turn the FVFD Park (Rohner Park) into a rodeo grounds. It brings families together from all over, including out of state visitors. There are rides for the kids, dances, and 9 days of fun. When it is all over we then have auto expo. More BBQ’s and family fun. Before the two mainstays we have youth baseball and soccer for all kids 18 and under! There is a pistol range there. This community park addresses a lot of our kids needs through out the year and the park is also available to rent for family reunions. In ending having a gathering place for town folks and their families is one of the most special parts of our Parks and Rec dept. Everyone can enjoy this Community park almost every day of the year for free. The best part is the kids have a place to go and hang out. Just my 2¢¡¡

      • What you forgot to mention is the fact that Rohner Park or FVFD Park in Fortuna is owned, operated, governed and maintained by the City of Fortuna. Its public land and the public has a say in everything and can ask question and make suggestions. This is not the same as the Southern Humboldt Community Park, its all private and the public has no say over anything, its nothing but a private rent-a-park, run by a select group of people in private…

      • amimissingsomething, Garberville has had a rodeo for years bringing family and community together every June. The playground has been a part of Garberville for decades too.

  • OK Lonny whitlow, please tell me what page in the Parks EIR it talks about the Rodeo being planned for the Park? Tell me when the Park Board ever had a public meeting and discussed the Rodeo being held at the Park? Since when is the South Fork Eel River only belong to the “community”, it belongs to everyone and everything in California, not just Southern Humboldt, not just to use and abuse by the Park Board.

    The Park is nothing but a private Rent-A-Park, run and operated by a private Board of Directors. Its not owned by the “community”, its owned by a corporation, who does not allow the public to attend their meetings.

    But you’re wrong, I do have “solutions”, the Park Board needs to start being open and transparent, allow the public to attend all their Board meetings and share all the information they have been keeping from the public, including all financial information and deeds against the property.

    The Park Board is regulated by the State of California and the IRS, not Humboldt County. No one twisted the Park Boards arm to become a 501c3 Charitable and Tax Exempt Organization, maybe they should start acting like one, instead of the scoff·law Organization they created…

    • How is the park taking away for the river?

      • 1. They plan to irrigate 5 to 10 acres of turf-grass sports fields.

        2. They are irrigating 10 acres of wine grapes the Park Board has leased to a private vineyard.

        3. The Park Board leases 30 acres for private cattle grazing and water use for irrigation and consumption.

        4, The Park Board is leasing more land for private farming next to the Community Park Farm, including irrigation.

        This is over and beyond the other ag irrigation being conducted at the Community Park Farm and being sold privately or retail.

        All this water is coming directly from the South Fork Eel River…

        • Dave Davensmith

          How is this any different than the alfalfa farmers or corn growers, they are pulling right out of the eel river and are enriching themselves.

          At least this water diversion will be used for humans to enjoy life and not just to support cattle.

          This huff and puff fear tactics of acting as if the whole world will get destroyed by any development is a total farce.

          This is just the latests in tactics used when people don’t get there way and want to continually rain on everyones parade.

          Seriously who cares if a private corporation runs the park.
          Watch you just see the park will be run better and offer more services than any public park ever could.
          In fact what we need is more large land owners starting there own community for profit parks and we could all be using and enjoying all the privately owned beautiful land across the county.

          I am all for it. The community park will be a huge economic boom to Southern Humboldt.
          Southern Humboldt kids will benefit from having safe sober and productive activities to take part in such as little league, soccer, etc. This is exactly the type of win win solution for our community.

          I also think we need to build upwards of 400 new homes above Redway. put 400 private land owners on all the homeless encampments and easements and the bum camp problem will be over with.

          Stop holding us back we want development.

          We want to make our community nicer and run out the tweakers and the problem makers.

          • Only one big problem with your solution, where are you getting the water for all your development? The South Fork Eel can barely keep up with what is consuming water now. Your argument does not hold water. This is not Northern Humboldt, that is overwhelmed with water from the Mad River. The three main rivers in Southern Humboldt cannot support the growth and new development you are talking about.

            “The community park will be a huge economic boom to Southern Humboldt”

            You know, I keep hearing the Park Board say’n this same thing, like Southern Humboldt is an incorporated city and can keep all the revenue and tax’s it generates. Please tell all of us how this is going to happen?

            The only “economic boom” for Southern Humboldt, is in the bong…

          • “Seriously who cares if a private corporation runs the park”

            Seriously? I care! Maybe you should ask the people who donated money to have a public Park, and I quote; “protect this property from the jaws of haphazard and profit driven development”.

            This was the line stated by the “creator” himself, the proclaimed “creator” of the Southern Humboldt Community Park, when he was trying to sell this Community Park idea, his name was Stephen Dazey.

            Read the propaganda from the Parks own website:


            • Thank you ed for caring, I am with you and believe these people are not in it for the community.

            • Veterans friend

              I agree 100% with you Ed.
              Dazeyland is NOT why people contributed to the purchase of this land. It was for preservation, not private profit.

          • “Southern Humboldt kids will benefit from having safe sober and productive activities to take part in such as little league, soccer, etc. This is exactly the type of win win solution for our community”

            Dave, and so the first permitted public event at the Park is sponsored by Coors? Its a Rodeo, with lots of drinking and driving on Sprowel Creek Road?

        • Thanks I really had no idea what was going on down there, that doesn’t seem right, but then again I did see those GIANT j&j bladders close to there awhile ago, that didn’t seem right either but no one seemed to care about it. Idk weird times we live in.

          • Ann Constantino

            Plenty of neighbors cared about the bladders and they were not allowed to be filled from the river. They sit idle and ugly, but not filling with water.

    • Well I appreciate a response and I apologize for the dbag comment. I do get frustrated and impatient at this park situation. The rodeo was in dire need of a location. The park provided and the rodeo will now continue as this community needs it to. Is it in your interest probably not. Does it serve the community yes it does. I’m not familiar with every rule you may site to me but I understand your fight and applaud it I just feel you are unable to step back and look at the bigger picture to see what the land was donated for. It’s not another mega grow with lack of care for the environment. It’s a multifaceted land to benefit the community as a whole. I don’t feel we need all the softball fields but it’s fair as I do believe there should be an equestrian arena my wife can go pay to ride in. I understand your tactics but I disagree with what you think will be the outcome. I do think there is a definite political game that has been played and maybe there are select things being done that should be voted on more. Honestly the lack of community involvement is due to the overwhelming workload to make it in so hum. Those who donate time make it what they want. You are a strong minded unique individual key to the checks and balance this place needs but some times I feel your a bit much. Respect either way

      • “It’s a multifaceted land to benefit the community as a whole”

        I wish that statement were true, but it could not be further from the truth. The Southern Humboldt Community Park Board does not benefit the community, it only benefits their private agenda, private investors and their corporation. Name one project that only benefits the community? Name anything that only benefits the community? I cannot think of one. How come the Park is private property? How did Dazey and McKee end up with 80 acres each, 9 years after the Park was purchased? How come the Park Board wants to keep 54-5 acre parcels of the Park property for future development? They don’t even pay property tax on 90% of their land. They combined all four of the Park APN’s into one, so they would pay less into the School District, Hospital and Fire District assessments, how does that “benefit the community”. And how did it “benefit the community” when the Park Board had the Garberville Sanitary District pay $40,000 of community ratepayer money to help develop the Park?

        My family is living proof the Park Board does not benefit the community by devaluing our house and property we had owned since 1966 and I will never let them forget this…

        • I see your point and can’t argue as I don’t have the indepth knowledge you do and clear opposing view of the direction things are going. I’m looking at the use of the park by the community and less on the business of profiting off that use. I want it to be available to the community for what ever people wish to use it for. As for the agenda of the McKee and Steve I cannot speculate. There are always gonna be people looking to get in on the control and manipulation of the park to result in many different outcomes and I don’t agree with all. But I do think we are better off with a usable, clean and safe place to do what ever activity you wish versus no option and no progress to better the social and physical well being of our community. Good luck to you sir in your running for a board set. I hope you win

          • Maybe you should read the Park Boards Articles of Incorporation, because you don’t get to have it both ways…


            And did you know that in 2007, the Park Board sold 20 acres of the Park property to Randall Sand & Gravel (where Randall’s bulk soil operation is located) for $1,000,000.00? How did the Community benefit from that? You need to wake up, open your eyes and be apart of the solution…

            • Looking deeper

              Lonny, it’s great to read your comments, and I so appreciate the time & respect you are expressing, especially towards Ed. More folks like you, Ann & Ed need to stay in contact with “the Board “. I know they probably won’t be open to that, but it would be correct. The Rodeo will be interesting…all the bull & horse trailers parking& camping out. That alone engulfs a huge area. I like the Rodeo, but that’s a tiny road in& out of there. Curiouser and curiouser.

        • So it would have been better if the land was sold as ranchetts and made into a development? Cause that was the other optikn in the begining.

          • It was a ploy started by Dazey when he was trying to solicit money to purchase the land, it was his hook. Dazey could never prove his claim, he could only keep repeating it like you are now. The Tooby Family never said or submitted any applications to Humboldt County they were interested in subdividing any part of their property, let alone the Tooby Flat and least of all selling “ranchetts”. You are repeating a lie…

      • I agree with Lonny’s assessment. “I just feel you are unable to step back and look at the bigger picture to see what the land was donated for” Ed, you cant let one comment go without an argument. Is it true, ed, that you repair, or did repair, boats for a living?? Don’t boats pollute some? and make a bunch of noise? My point is everybody gotta make a living. Thanks for asking good questions and getting people thinking, but dont get stuck ramming your answers down everybody else’s throat. Everyone will think things through and come to their own conclusions. thank you very much.

        • Yes, you are correct, I own and operate Ed’s Mobile Marine and have since 1986. And yes, I work, repair, engineer and build Marine engines, propellers and running gear for many brands and applications of “boats”. And would like to point out, that all the registered “boats” in all 50 states use less than 1% of the gasoline sold in the US. And you are correct, some people allow their “boat” to pollute more than others, by not getting serviced or tuned=up and yes, some people like a loud “boat” compared to most that do not, just like with people that ride or operate motorcycles, hot rods or a leaf-blower.

          As far as your other logical fallacies are concerned, sharing information and educating people about the facts and the truth has been around for a very long time, its how we learn the difference between fact and fiction, truth and a lie or even hot and cold.

          The only reason I am trying to get peoples attention, is that the Park Board does not have their Board meetings open to the public, so besides letters to the editor or blogs like this, how do you communicate with someone who does not want to communicate or interact with the public? They want your money, but not accountability or transparency!

          Take what “Resident @ large” stated below, that the Park Board wanted to park cars on the river bar for events. If their was not meetings open to the public back in 2010 concerning those issues, by the public and agencies that said NO, then the Park would now be allowed to have parking on the river bar for events. I care and so I will debate this project for as long as it takes, hoping people one by one will open their eyes and see what is happening before its too late. I guess its working, or you would not have posted your fallacies, because you cannot debate the facts, only make shit up…

  • You all brought it on to yourselves, this is the collision. Big 1980 tree climbing forest protection, now weed protection in the 2000’s. But you don’t see eye to eye. You were never original or organized. But now you see the results of the agenda that you have both pushed for over the last 20 years, not together , so very far apart. Now you don’t like it. Alternatively you both have failed, you gave them to much time to catch up and drown you both. Let’s start with registration, first forestry under new regulation and now weed. Then let’s go to regulation , it was forestry now weed. Water regulation? If the Forster walked a bulldozer across the creek 20 years ago it was a $500 fine , now you can be sent to prison , you see they have not sat back and just ignored how the weed regulations were going they have just change their tactics about how they are going to enforce it. It’s not about just coming in and cutting your plants it’s now about land-use and water regulations, the state of California is going to specifically and force what they consider to be their water rights. They claim everything above and below ground. We are not going to persecute you anymore on your legal weed claims but they’re going to slam you on the water usage and environmental impacts . Legal or non legal, the government has just went EPIC on you, like it or not. But you gave it to them.


    Well said Lonny . This guy is intidetled to his 2cents regardless

  • My question is will local people be hired to work these events or all out of the area people? Think local !

    • You mean money? These events planned for the Park only want “Volunteers” to help run events. The Park Board is already paying out $96,000.00 a year in salary’s and compensation to Park Board Staff, including their Executive Director Kathryn Lobato.

      Here’s how it works, the Park Board ask’s people from the community to come and volunteer at the Park, just like they are doing at the Farm right now. Its called free labor. The Park Board internalize the profits while they externalize the cost. They want the community to believe they are “giving back to their community” by volunteering at the Park.

      I wonder how much the Park Board is charging the Garberville Rodeo Association to have the Rodeo at the Community Park?

  • I am no longer in the Southern Humboldt area and can not fathom why someone who doesn’t even live there anymore even cares what goes on in that community! Southern Humboldt needs something good to happen locally and the rodeo seems like a good thing. If something good does not appear there then it will forever be known as Heroinville! I am now in Fortuna and miss the rodeo down there!

    • Its because I grew up there, before it turned into a black market underground economy. I guess I was tough values growing up in Redway/Garberville, and I love this place, the river and the wildlife. I cannot fathom you cannot understand this and I am sorry for your loss…

  • Ann Constantino

    Is there additional permitting required for the rodeo? I thought the Army Corps of Engineers had to sign off on grading in a wetland area.

    It is time for all communities everywhere to realize that economic growth and sustainable life on this planet are not necessarily compatible. Many of the new settlers to this area in the 60’s and 70’s came here to turn away from the growth-at-any-cost mentality and make a difference in how we live with respect to the environment.

    I have felt shamed by development supporters and I have friends who are afraid to state their opposition to development because that opinion is seen as anti-community.

    My sincere belief is that opposing development at the park is ultimately the most pro-community stance I could take. Other venues already exist for youth sports, concerts, and even the rodeo. Let’s take better care of those facilities rather than spread ourselves even thinner into an area that supports fragile habitat on land that can be lightly used by everyone without harming any of the precious co-inhabitants of the community.

    • You are correct Ann Constantino, and its just not US Army Corp’s, there are state agency’e and County grading permits too. Their is also a 100 foot buffer zone from any wetland, creeks and streams. And don’t forget stream crossing, they need permits for those as well. Michael Richardson said, the Rodeo will be in Area 4 in the Park, here is the figure or map he sent me from the Park Boards EIR, where they want to have the Rodeo:

      • Ann Constantino

        Where is the park in the permitting process? I sincerely hope they do not go forward without the correct permits. That will not be in their best interest either because the agencies will be watching them much more closely in the future if they ignore regulations now. How can all this happen in less than 10 days?

        • The Park Board has not started their “permitting process” or what the County calls their “Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program” and “Condition’s of Approval”.

          The Park Board has told everyone they were approved, and everything is behind them now. They cheered and celebrated after the Supervisors approved their rezone. The only problem, is their not done, not by a long shot. Just ask them. They still have federal, state and county permits to apply, submit and get approved, that all have public input, comments and a public hearing process. I’m sure at some point real soon, the Park Board is going to be hitting the community up for mo money again, to complete their agenda and find another straw man to blame.

          They also need to hire a consultation and draft a Wetland Protection and Replacement Program, Implementation of mitigation measures, Adaptive Management Plan for water demand supply and water supply and a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. These are only the tip of the iceberg, they have dozens of conditions of approval, which are subject to review and approval of county, state and federal agencies.

          You can be sure, someone will be making sure they Get ‘R’ Done…

  • There is a reason that the old place for the rodeo is not being allowed and it’s because the property was totally trashed without help cleaning it up and they are sick of it. I doubt this behavior will change with relocation.

    • You are right, that behavior is not going to change. Here is the first and last thing the public see’s when they visit. Is this how the Community wants to be represented at the Community Park?

      Maybe Kathryn Lobato could donate some of her yearly salary ($60k) and make the Park more inviting, other than a movie set from Deliverance…

  • Sometimes, the Voice needs to take a rest. It seems like every time an entity or individual wishes to do something, Voice reacts negatively and does what he can to obstruct. He assumes the worst motives of his “opposition” (or “targets”) and opines so often on numerous endeavors with self-righteous indignation, he’s like the boy who cried “Wolf!”

    I don’t know the man or his family, only by his copious epistles to the various editors of local publications. When to take heed to his opinions? It’s difficult to know and, like many of my neighbors whom I’ve queried, it appears that the consensus is to ignore him: “Oh, it’s just Ed Voice on another rant”. Perhaps his frequent and vociferous input has cheapened his brand?

    • Proof; prove me wrong, show me I have no idea what I am talking about. Please disprove my documented facts about the Park Board and their private agenda.

      As far as I am concerned, I cannot talk and educate people enough about this and you make me want to go to the next level. And what “brand” do you mean, the truth?

      I don’t know about you, but where I’m from (Southern Humboldt) we let everyone know when someone is telling lies and the “Wolf” is alive and well on the Park Board.

      I do have to hand it to all you Park Board advocates, you have sure taken the Park Boards bait hook, line and sinker…

  • This is a “community” park in name only. I call it Anything Goes Park. because, in reality, it is a real estate investment by private individuals with community members suckered into supporting it by promises of sports fields, 90 acre Easter egg hunts, skateboarding, frisbee golf, weddings and, most of all, another open space to build sound stages on so that we can get high in public. Oh yeah and agriculture too. Let’s lay waste to the river and all of the wildlife that people could potentially enjoy and be part of and say we are doing it “for the kids.” Absolutely no one has any say in what happens unless you put up the money and organize and build it yourself now that the board of supervisors and the planning department have rolled over and played dead. As usual, the rich get what they want. The hypocrisy of it all is astounding, but the rodeo will provide the first opportunity for everyone to see what a horrible site this is if there is a fire or a medical emergency and those things, my friends, are just about inevitable. And then, despite the claims of the self appointed board, we will all get to pay.

  • Resident @ large

    ‘The community park ‘ initially wanted parking on the river bar for their events. Those optics seem very, very bad indeed. I hope the county disallowed THAT when they granted ‘the community park’ all those lovely variances.

    • You are correct, back in 2010, when the Park Board submitted their initial study, they did want to park cars on the river bar for events. In fact it was Eric Kirk of the Park Board who was trying to justify parking on the river bar because other events were doing it. However, enough people in public, including the Mateel, did not like or want parking on the river bar. But it was Fish & Game (now Fish & Wildlife) that put the kibosh on the idea in their comments.

      This is a great example of why the Park Board needs more public meetings. Its a little scary that the Park Board thought it was OK to park cars on the river bar, just because other people were doing it…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *