We promised ourselves we wouldn’t cry–with update!

The Community Development Disservices Director is no more. But be proud, Kirk Girard! Not everyone can fuck up a job so badly that your employer has to eliminate the position when you’re done with it.

From the February 28 Board of Supervisors agenda:

Job Descriptions for Director of Planning & Building and Director of Economic & Resource Development

RECOMMENDATION: That the Board of Supervisors adopt the new department head class of Director of Planning & Building (class 0832, $9,024 monthly, unit 10) into the classification plan, effective immediately; allocate one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) Director of Planning & Building position (class 0832, $9,024 monthly) in budget unit 277, effective April 1, 2012; adopt the new department head class of Director of Economic & Resource Development (class 0820, $8,629 monthly, unit 10) into the classification plan, effective immediately; approve the reallocation of the Director of Community Development Services position (class 0820, $9,611 monthly, position #01) in budget unit 277, currently occupied by Kirk Girard, to Director of Economic & Resource Development (class 0820, $8,629 monthly) in budget unit 275, effective April 1, 2012; and delete the classification of Director of Community Development Services (class 0820, $9,611 monthly, unit 10) from the classification plan, effective April 1, 2012.

Maybe they should allocate a full-time equivalent Director of Just Making Shit Up position to explain why it is Girard is relieved of about three-fourths of his duties but less than ten percent of his pay. Is this a demotion or a nut-scrub?

Oh, and yeah. We did mention a little somethin’-somethin’ about this a while back.

Totally not shocking update: The Times-Standard reports Sunday morning that although Kirk Girard’s current position will pay less in the future, the staff recommendation is to let him go ahead and keep one hundred percent of his salary for twenty-five or thirty percent of his job. With sound decision-making like this, how is possible we’re in a budget crisis?

Community development director packs his bags

Kirk Girard, the controversial director of the county’s Community Development Disservices Department, has accepted a similar appointment in Bell, California.

Girard told the Mirror that he will always love Humboldt County, but his beliefs and values were more consistent with those demonstrated by Bell’s leadership.

“We just think alike,” he said. “In many ways, it’s like going home.”

According to the city’s website, Girard’s starting pay will be $785,000 a year plus benefits, bonuses, performance incentives, longevity increases, bribes, payouts, payoffs, a county car and a team of skilled defense attorneys.

Kirk Girard’s ‘most accurate’ housing element rejected due to inaccuracies–with fascinating update!!

Let's see how the two human cinder blocks unfuck their way out of this one.

Alas and to no one’s surprise, the state of California has declined to certify Humboldt County’s housing element because of its inclusion of thousands of supposedly buildable lots the state determined no one would ever be able to build on.

These include lots in environmentally sensitive areas, lots zoned exclusively for agriculture and lots that would be buildable only if we had an infrastructure much better than the one we actually do have. But our favorite has to be the lots that would be buildable if gravity did not exist, such as the 1,088 lots identified as buildable in–wait for it–Shelter Cove.

Typically, news like this might occasion a bit of frivolity at the expense of the Community Disservices Development Director. But here’s what’s totally unfunny: The state’s rejection of the county’s housing element will automatically result in the forfeiture of millions of dollars in Community Development Block Grants the county would otherwise have received as a matter of course.

We’re talking about money for things we actually need–like affordable housing and necessary infrastructure upgrades–things the same supervisors who signed off on this crap plan claim to care so much about. So that’s nice.

On the bright side, at least we know who to thank.

Fascinating Update: We tried to link to the Times-Standard story–but lo, behold, etc., there isn’t one, at least not online. Is it possible they actually missed this story? Ten different people tell us about it yesterday, and not one gets word to them? Maybe they just forgot to put it online or something. Let’s hope for that. But it says something about their organization that stupid is a best-case scenario. And yes, by the way, we know this isn’t at all fascinating.

Will the record be unbroken?

An ambitious project, a big pile of dough and Kirk Girard: Never a good combination.


Hits, shits, whatever.

Misty water-colored memories

AEDC…. AEDC…. We wondered why that sounded so familiar–like a high school friend whose name we remember but whose face is a pimply blur.

But then–aha!! That AEDC! It all came back at once–the dust-up! the excitement! the intrigue!! the whole stenchilada of controversy and scandal! All just a few years ago, but impossible to recapture now.

Instead–your indulgence, please. Allow us to recap, and we mean briefly! In one little sentence, even: The AEDC, acting as trustee for 584,000 of the City of Arcata’s CDBG dollars, spent 194,000 of them on the AEDC, instead of on a certain Foodworks Culinary Center, and then abandoned the project and defaulted on the loan.

A keyword addendum, if we may: HUD, displeased, city, fucked. You get the idea.

Then, of course, there’s the aforementioned audit report describing a spirited race toward fiscal imprudence between AEDC management and our very own Community Development Disservices Director–a contest which, as of now, is still too close to call.

So why, then, given the history, the audit, the bad math and sloppy accounting, the opposition from the community so clearly expressed during the public comment period Tuesday–why would the Board of Supervisors seriously entertain the suggestion that the AEDC be given in excess of a million additional dollars in public funds?

But we digress. Quick unrelated question–pop quiz, as it were: Anyone know who the controller of the AEDC is? Clearly not a very good controller, given the number and severity of problems described in the audit–but still. A name, please? Anyone?

Ah, that’s right. Something else we’d forgotten, until now. AEDC’s controller, Stephanie Witzel, is–coincidentally, we’re sure–the sister-in-law of Bonnie Neely, a name we couldn’t forget if we tried.

Audits and oddities

To: Humboldt County Community Development Disservices Director Kirk Girard

Subject: Headwaters Revolving Loan Fund request

Dear Director Girard,

Thank you for your recent request for an additional $1.5 million loan to the Arcata Economic Development Corporation from the Headwaters Revolving Loan Fund account. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request for the following reasons.

  1. An independent audit revealed that you mismanaged the first $1.5 million you gave to the AEDC. Specifically, the auditor noted that:
    a. You cannot account for the money.
    b. The AEDC’s independent auditor cannot account for the money but has aked to borrow some of it.
    c. AEDC staff cannot account for the money and are uncooperative when asked to try.
    d. As a result, it cannot be determined whether the county is being repaid promptly, or even repaid at all.
  2. We’re still looking for that $11 million and change in Community Development Block Grants your department gave out and didn’t keep track of.
  3. All of this was made public just last week, and we haven’t forgotten about it yet.
  4. The appropriate response to a report that rips you a redundant pooper and recommends suspending activities with the AEDC is not to say, oh, yeah, cool, so can I give them 100% more money to mismanage?
  5. I was already up to my tits in complaints about your incompetence and arrogance before this most recent example of both.
  6. The big “not recommended” with my initials next to it on the cover of the staff report? Yeah, fuckhead, that’s all me.

Oh and Kirk–funny thing. Somehow, the agenda for the July 14th meeting at which the audit was presented does not contain a link to the audit report. Funnier still, every other agenda item is properly linked to its relevant supporting documentation, and only that audit report seems to be missing. Weird, huh?

Loretta Nickolaus
Humboldt County Administrative Officer

Bugs give themselves fat pay raises

In a 2 – 0 vote, the Humboldt Mirror bugs voted Wednesday to give themselves gazillion percent pay increases.

The move came on the heels of a unanimous decision Tuesday by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to grant large pay raises to some of the highest paid people in the county.

“It’s true that we basically just sit around and suck all day, but nothing can compare with the combined suckage of, say, Kirk Girard, Paul Gallegos and Wendy Chaitin, who were just given an extra 10 Gs each per year,” the Humbug said.

“Unlike those fumbledicks, we haven’t wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on failed redevelopment plans or politically motivated litigation. That kind of incompetence costs money, and lots of it. It’s only fair that they receive a larger share of the money they’ve been primarily responsible for wasting.”

Ironically, supervisors approved the raises shortly before Chaitin’s interim county counsel performance review, during which she was given impressively low marks on virtually every aspect of her job.

One insider said Chaitin took such a beating during the evaluation that the supes had to actually take the huge stacks of extra money sitting around and fashion makeshift bandages out of the bills to staunch the flow of blood.

The pay raises are scheduled to take effect June 29, just in time for the bugs’ annual Fourth of July PBR kegger.

Good grief

Ah, the privileges of elected office. You can return phone calls if you feel like it, attend meetings if you want—and “work from home” for weeks at a time.

Supervisor Bonnie Neely hasn’t spent a day in her office since Roger Rodoni’s untimely death almost two weeks ago. When asked for an explanation—not that she’s required to provide one—the Bon Bon volunteered that she was too grief-stricken by Roger’s passing to maintain regular office hours.

So sensitive of her! We’re touched. Of course, this suggests she’s taking her fellow supervisor’s death quite a bit harder than people who actually liked Roger, all of whom have long since resumed their normal daily activities.

But grief causes people to do strange things. Just ask Kirk Girard.

It would be fascinating to hear what role Roger’s death might have played in the Disservices Director’s decision to withdraw an offer on a San Francisco-area residence less than 24 hours after Roger died.

Was there a dramatic shift in market conditions? A significant change in interest rates? Well, no. It was probably just the sadness talking. Kirk and Roger were always so close.

Humboldt Mirror reader complains about un-peed pants

The Humboldt Mirror, the county’s premier satirical blog, has not been all that funny lately, and both of its readers are demanding to know why.

“I log on every morning hoping to read something that’s going to cause spontaneous urinary leakage, like before,” said longtime Mirror-reader Dennis Mayo. “But all there ever is anymore is some shit about Blue Lake and other parts of the county the rest of us wrote off decades ago.”

Mayo’s criticism echoed that of Humboldt County Community Development Disservices Director Kirk Girard, whose obsessive vanity-Googling accounts for almost 50 percent of the blog’s estimated 2,500 hits per day.

“They’re just not relevant anymore,” Girard said of the lovable blue Humbug, his unnamed sidekick and their sprawling corporate infrastructure, which includes a bungling Information Technology Department and spliff-smoking, ne’er-do-well Graphics Department.

“I mean, fuck,” Girard said. “They haven’t mentioned me once in almost a month. Now my staff spends all day laughing at me directly instead of laughing at them laughing at me.”

The problem is so bad, Girard alleged, that most of his staff have gone back to surfing porn sites all day.

Contacted by phone late Thursday, the bugs were, as usual, drunk and playing with themselves Catch-a-Poo.

When informed of the reader complaints, the Humbug apologized for what he called “unacceptable quality control deficiencies,” and said a team of top-flight consultants would be brought in “to increase efficiencies and restore public incontinence.”

“I’m not making any excuses here, but you have to try to understand what it was like for us to go almost overnight from being anonymous fuck-wits to full-blown blog-stars,” the Humbug said, “and I do mean blown. We walk down the road, and women pretty much throw ass at us. We get comped at Avalon. Rob Arkley’s got us on speed-dial. I guess it just kind of went to our heads.”

The Humbug added that if the blog didn’t get funnier within the next two weeks, he would “personally piss the pants of every resident in the county. That’s my promise to you.”

Anyone else with complaints about the Mirror is encouraged to contact the bugs at humboldtmirror@gmail.com. Complainants may remain anonymous.

Health Impact Assessment demonstrates Health Impact Assessment proponents are unhealthy

As expected, a grant-funded Health Impact Assessment presented Thursday to the Planning Commission demonstrates that the most restrictive development option before the commission is by far the healthiest choice for Humboldt County.

The HIA, presented by Public Health Officer Dr. Ann Lindsay, shows that Alternative A, which would allow only minimal urban infill—a maximum of 6,000 additional housing units over the next 25 years—would reduce childhood obesity, improve access to vital services and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The enormous health benefits that naturally accrue from living in crowded urban centers would increase even further if builders skimped on design and materials costs, according to the HIA.

The number of Planning Commissioners who nodded their heads approvingly while listening to this shit?

All of them.

The number of commissioners, supervisors, medical doctors or other HIA proponents who volunteered to live in the low-quality, high-density housing projects the assessment recommends?

Uh, yeah. That would be zero.

According to the results of an internet search, Dr. Lindsay herself, who oversaw the study, is said to live on North Bank Road, a low-density rural interface between McKinleyville and Fieldbrook.

Mark Lovelace, infill proponent extraordinaire, is listed as living on Buttermilk Lane in the unincorporated Bayside area. One of his neighbors, living on Coffey Lane, is our very own Community Development Disservices Director Kirk Girard.

Anti-sprawl supervisors Bonnie Neely and John Woolley are no better at living their high-density values.

Neely is listed at two addresses, one on Brindle Lane and the other on Glendale Court, both along the outer edge of the unincorporated Myrtletown area, while Woolley resides in a coastal zone on Melvin Road in the unincorporated Manila area.

As for the planning commissioners themselves, only one or two of the seven live within the boundaries of any incorporated city in Humboldt County.

We’re just asking, but does anyone else here ever grow weary of listening to people who live one way telling the rest of us we ought to live another? If ghettos are so wonderful, why aren’t they living in them?

Kirk Girard attains enlightenment

Maybe this is one of those things like string theory or Wonkavision that makes a shit-ton more sense when you’re drinking. But we’re between cocktail hours at the Humboldt Mirror–and frankly, we’re confused.

Our favorite Community Development Disservices director, Kirk Girard, provided a positively zen explanation Tuesday of that whole TPZ planning commission report dust-up in which his staff failed to include the back half of a law that clearly allows residential building on land zoned for timber production while citing the front half of the same law which restricts such building.

Boring stuff? You bet. But sometimes the devil really is in the details.

The Board of Supes has made no secret of its desire to further restrict TPZ building in its now eight years overdue General Plan Update, which will undoubtedly appear one day when we least expect it—like the Messiah, perhaps, or genital herpes.

But local TPZ owners were quick to note that the tighter restrictions did not yet exist, and they could build on their property if they damn well please.

Not so, said Girard, and pulled out his half-law to prove it. That he was caught only added to the general uproar, a distinctly non-nirvanic melee that saw hundreds of TPZ owners disrupting meetings and marching down Fifth Street carrying signs.

So at the board meeting Tuesday, Girard went ahead and cleared the whole thing up in a speech that gave the Four Noble Truths a definite run for their money.

Girard said:

  1. Planning commission reports have historically been too legalistic for the general public.
  2. Citing only half of a law reduces the legalism–by around 50 percent, we’re guessing–even when the part you omit is contrary to the part you include.
  3. Planning commissioners didn’t need the other half. They needed only the first half which was counter to what they thought they knew but didn’t.
  4. The first half was contradicted by the second half they actually did know and, therefore, didn’t need.

And that was that. So Grasshopper! We love it. We see without seeing. We get and not-get. And in the stillness of the mind-self, we can actually hear the sound of one hand clapping.

But faintly,

Someone’s got some ‘splaining to do…

An interesting letter delivered to the Humboldt Mirror mailbox over the weekend states that the residence of a certain Community Development Disservices Director may violate the codes and ordinances he is charged with enforcing.

The story goes that the unidentified appointee lives on a seven-acre parcel with an 800-foot driveway—and no secondary access road.

A subdivision that far removed from a public road typically requires both primary and secondary access routes, or a single access wide enough for large vehicles to pass each other in case of emergency.

Does the CDS director have either?

We’re just asking.

But our correspondent suggests he does not.

“He uses the same scenario as a method to deny others homes under his watch,” our source said. “He has his but no one else can have any?”

Hmmm. Good question.

Proposed ordinance would require Kirk Girard to just shut the fuck up

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposed ordinance that would require Community Development Disservices Director Kirk Girard to abstain from using any form of verbal communication.

According to the text of the proposed ordinance, Girard would be prohibited from “the expression of any thought, idea or opinion about anything, in any medium, to anyone, at any time, ever again.”

A staff report submitted as part of the review process stated the move would cost little to implement and would likely save the county millions on failed projects and unnecessary litigation.

The report credits Girard with “masterminding the county’s redevelopment boondoggle, conspiring with county counsel to mislead supervisors and residents during the TPZ fiasco, leading the charge on the ultra high-density Forster-Gill development in Cutten, botching Williamson Act enforcement, politicizing the building permit process and whispering an uninterrupted stream of sweet but ultimately empty assurances into (Fourth District) Supervisor (Bonnie) Neely’s ear.”

As required by law, staff included an alternative to the proposed ordinance, which was to do nothing and allow Girard to “continue spouting mad shit.”

In other board business, the supervisors will also consider the creation of a sixth district in the county, which would consist of the tens of thousands of residents living outside Neely’s district who would like an opportunity to vote against her.

The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka.

Neely resigns from board; names brother Raúl as successor

In a letter published overnight on the Times-Standard’s website, six-term Humboldt County Supervisor Bonnie Neely announced her immediate resignation from the county’s governing board.

The letter stated that the 81-year-old Republican’s younger brother, Raúl, would assume Neely’s Fourth District seat.

Specific reasons for the sudden resignation were not provided, but county staffers said advanced age and declining health played a role.

One advisor noted that during the 2002 election, Neely underwent surgery to have her moral center removed.

Not long after, she lost several of her senses—of humor, of proportion and of decency—to a post-surgical infection. Her Eureka physician told the Humboldt Mirror that to this day Neely’s sense of self-importance remains “dangerously enlarged.”

President Bush, in impromptu remarks made Tuesday during a visit to Rwanda, said the announcement should spark a “democratic transition” for the people of Humboldt County.

“The international community should work with county residents to begin to build institutions that are necessary for democracy, and eventually this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections,” Bush said. “The United States will help the people of Humboldt realize the blessings of liberty.”

All eyes are now turned to Raúl, about whom little is known.

“The question is: Will there be enough change?” said Humboldt Mirror senior international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who has visited the developing county several times.

“Will Raúl show progress towards the kind of things people in Humboldt want—openness, freedom, honesty, accountability, and an economic platform that creates adequate jobs?” she said. “They’re the same kinds of bread-and-butter issues that everybody all around the world has.”

There was no official response to the announcement locally, but upon hearing the news, Community Services Director Kirk Girard unofficially shit his pants.