My Turn: A Board Member at the Southern Humboldt Community Park Wants to Point Out a Few Facts About His Position
Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.Like several non-profits in Southern Humboldt, the Community Park, as anyone who reads the Letter to the Editor page knows, is a frequent focus of scrutiny.
One of the Board members is a little frustrated by the negative attention and accusations. He has something he’d like to say back.
My name is Ross Huber, and I have been a member of the Community Park Board since April 2013. I am writing this letter to my community because people have been misled in letters to the editor about how the park operates, who operates it, and who benefits from it. I understand that this is a controversial subject, but I don’t understand why this is a controversial subject. I see nothing but old personal grievances playing themselves out and it does no good for the community. It’s just a park…
I joined the board via an invite from the board and my Uncle Dennis who recently passed away. May he rest in peace. I am an engineer and since the park was going through an Environmental Impact Report, they thought I could lend some technical expertise. I drafted over 50 maps for the EIR pro-bono, saving the park tens of thousands of dollars.
I never would have joined if I had to run for it. You should be wary of people who want to do things so badly they would endure getting elected. They may have agendas. Parks do not need personal agendas; they need your hard work and energy.
This board has donated…so…much…energy. I don’t say that for your thanks. When I got back from rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, officials wanted pictures with us for publicity and to feel like they did something. I got a Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition. The Congressman said thanks and took pictures with us. I call them vicarious volunteers. No thanks needed, no f’s given.
So, let’s talk about benefits because this one is really interesting. I am trying to understand what I supposedly get out of being on this board. Is it prestige, power, money? You can’t fathom the amount of hours we put in for this. We miss dinner and bedtime with our partners and kids on the regular. We donate thousands of our own dollars to events and infrastructure because if we don’t, it all goes to hell.
We are obligated to harass our community, family, friends and businesses for donations. Bless them for their generosity, but I hate doing it. We spend innumerable hours preparing for events and fundraisers to keep the park open. Did you know that each board member has to sell 10 tickets to fall splendor, donate $250 worth of stuff to the auction, and we don’t even get to eat the food or enjoy the show because we need to volunteer? Guess what I get paid for this? Here is a clue: It’s the roundest number.
So, why do I do this? I do this so our kids grow up in a place that has spaces for them to be kids and play. So adults have a place to walk, run, ride and get away from the stress of “adulting”. I do it because we need a farm for food security in the event of an emergency, and to help feed people without access to food. I do it so we can gather outdoors and celebrate our unique community with events like Rodeo and Easter. I do it to honor the people and businesses that have donated, and continue to donate. For the weddings, birthdays, picnics and baby showers. For the wildlife that shares the park. I do it to give back to my community and do my part. I do it because I love Southern Humboldt.
This is not some kind of privilege, it is a burden. It is very difficult to maintain at times. It especially hurts when you work so hard to do something for the benefit of your community and internet trolls from out of the area continue to make up lies, and local blogs continue to have to print them. Of course we will make bad decisions at times. Of course the park needs maintenance. Of course it needs money. We all have day jobs and many of us have kids! What is important is that we have a park. Dig in; get YOUR hands dirty, step up. If you don’t do it, maybe no one will.
Thanks for your time So Hum, Ross Huber
P.S. Fall Splendor is a couple weeks away. It’s a great event and our biggest fundraiser. Please go.
This is a personal letter and may not reflect the views of other board members.