Ed Voice’s near constant efforts to attack the integrity of the Southern Humboldt Community Park board and his current threat to sue to the Garberville Sanitary District have essentially become an abuse of public process - an abuse with consequences for our community that go beyond the immediate issues at hand. Ed’s Oct. 8 letter to the editor is the most recent expression of this tendency.
We should all feel comfortable expressing our views in the civic space we create to evaluate and discuss the best possible goals and outcomes for projects that benefit the community as a whole.
The Southern Humboldt Community Park’s need for water is a case in point. Whether the most economic and efficient means to deliver that water to the park is through the Garberville Sanitary District or other methods is a legitimate topic of discussion. And, there may be more than one alternative to best meet the needs of the community.
Yet Ed’s current efforts do not appear to focus on finding the best methods to serve a shared and collaborative vision for the use of the community park. Instead they appear to be simplistic efforts to malign the integrity and undermine the capacity of the park board at every turn and in every venue - from county planning to LAFCO to the Redwood Times to a variety of state agencies and foundation funders and on and on until this current effort at the GSD....
I have been a member of the Southern Humboldt community for 40 years. I have known several of the SHCP board’s members in both professional and personal relationships for 20 years and more. Therefore some may view my comments as biased. However I am also well placed to bear witness to the level of hard work, expertise and volunteer commitment that community park board members have brought to this project over the past 10+ years. A brief review of the qualifications and history of SHCP board will reveal decades of environmental, administrative, community building, educational, business and legal expertise. Their proven experience and solid track records in bringing tangible and successful community projects to fruition throughout our region is not my biased opinion. It is simply a fact. Their willingness and volunteer commitment to collaborating with community advocates to realize the best possible outcomes at the park is a gift to the community.
No board is perfect or beyond criticism. And it is rare that a collaborative project can perfectly incorporate each individual’s priorities. Yet if we, as a community, are going to be able to actively participate in shaping our future we must learn to accept outcomes that may not be a perfect reflection of our personal desires. Rather we must insist that participation in our public processes be focused on problem solving for the good of the whole - not the narrow agendas of a few individuals.
It is difficult to find the human, financial and structural resources to effectively achieve a shared vision in small rural communities. When Mr. Voice commits a significant portion of his life to undermining the constructive progress of our most dedicated and competent civic, business and nonprofit volunteer boards we, as a community, need to speak up. In this context the borderline obsessive efforts of a single individual to advance his own personal agenda and priorities becomes, in essence, a theft of limited and shared community resources - resources that must be devoted to coping with repeated and misinformed challenges to the collaborative efforts of the whole - both at the park and at GSD. Such bad faith efforts are destructive to the very spirit of community.