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“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”


Mr. Huxley’s observation is the tact I hope to take in this new writing venture. But first, let me be up front. I’ve probably been around what’s called journalism too long. And I only have the slightest clue as to what this new online venture is about, largely because some tenets of the new media elude me as much as the traditions of the past. I mean, really, how does one hope to stay adequately informed these days given the soup being served up?

Still, my instinct tells me there’s much to be learned and I’m willing to try.

In time, and in this new forum, I hope to keep attention on the facts as best as they can best be determined about any issue facing Mendocino County, and the North Coast in general.

Let’s face it, we play loose and fast with the facts in Mendoland. We applaud ourselves for sending the outside developers home without much to show for their $1 million bid to circumvent local planning regs, and build a retail mall, housing and light industrial complex at the old Masonite mill site on the northern edge of Ukiah.

“Save our local economy,” and “Save our downtown” we proclaimed, when the truth is the very same local leadership that stirred us to rally is behind closed doors packaging a land deal to entice some of the same big-box retailers to a shopping “mall” inside the Ukiah city limits. Pray tell me how a Costco store located a mile south of downtown is going to have less of an impact on local merchants than a proposed Masonite site the same distance north? I’ll share the responses with you in future blogs.

Like I said, I’ve been around too long. I remember when local officials in the late 1980s publicly promised that the then hotly debated Wal-Mart store would be the only retail outlet allowed in the developing Redwood Business Park. The focus of the development was to remain on wooing enterprises that would create good paying, light-industry type jobs. Well, there are a lot of jobs out there today provided by a mishmash development of hotels, motels, chain restaurants,  retail outlets and a car dealership.

The simple fact is that there is no specific development plan for the greater Ukiah Valley area, despite years of meetings, government spending, and political campaigns revolving around a long-stalled effort. So we keep turning to the ballot box for answers to the contentious issues, one hot issue at a time.

Of course there’s another major related concern – water availability. But then, let’s not get in a dither about that. We can just keep drilling a well here and there, and hope for the best.

Enough generalities. In the future, we’ll let the facts speak for themselves.

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