FORT BRAGG, 12/5/21 — Since the Skunk Train used its status as a public utility to acquire the Georgia-Pacific millsite, which amounts to about a fifth of the city, using eminent domain, residents and city officials have been sounding the alarm about the company. On Saturday, about a dozen people came out to protest the Skunk Train and support the revocation of its status as a railroad in front of Fort Bragg town hall.
“I think this is an unethical land grab,” said Daney Dawson. “It’s an attempt at bypassing local planning and zoning to take over the town of Fort Bragg. It’ll remove any oversight by the city council and local people about what kind of development takes place here, and it’s going to grossly change the character of Fort Bragg.”
The Fort Bragg City Council is having a special meeting at 4 p.m. Monday to discuss its lawsuit in Mendocino County Superior Court against Mendocino Railway, the owner of the Skunk Train, asking the court to strip the company of its status as a public utility and require it to comply with all city laws. The meeting isn’t expected to be open to the public because the council members will be discussing an ongoing lawsuit, but they’re required to report out certain actions they take, like entering into an agreement.
The assertion that the Skunk Train doesn’t have any oversight is false, said Mike Hart, CEO and founder of Sierra Energy, Mendocino Railway’s parent company. “We have an entire alphabet soup of regulatory bodies to whom we report,” Hart said, such as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
That’s become a particular point of concern since a post attributed to City Manager Tabatha Miller began circulating on social media Dec. 1 stating there was an oil spill along the tracks to Pudding Creek, and that a county employee had been denied access to inspect the site. Hart rejected that account, saying the pool of oil in question was nowhere near Pudding Creek and the county employee didn’t follow the proper procedures to initiate an inspection.
Snooze you lose Fort Bragg City Council. Maybe concentrate less on putting a dispensary on every block and more on the bigger picture. But now that you can quit designing what’s going to be done with the GP property you’ll have time to work on broken fire hydrants, recruiting Police Officers, rutted streets like Franklin (low bids are not always the best).
Totally agree.. now if the skunk train renamed it to skunk weed train, maybe the city won… jk. Lol
I’ve been following this for awhile. Not a resident, but often a visitor, and I have left plenty of money in the coffers of Fort Bragg as a guest, a diver, and a fisherman. My take? The City officials expected the mill owners to sell cheap and retain ALL the liabilities after the sale! Smart move by GP. Smart move by the RR. Dumb moves by the city. Just what I’d expect from entitled yuppie folk. After all the wailing and gnashing of City teeth, I expect the dozen people that showed up were just Shills for the real estate developers that missed out!
Its about time the tunnel is fixed. It should have been fixed years ago. City council should never expect anything unless its wrote in stone. I think and so do others believe that a small mill should be local for our harvests trees. And not be brought to other Mills. Think about that city council.
The city thought GP was just going to roll over and donate this land to them after all the hell they have put them through. Years of bickering over what grandeous things that could be built, unrealistic ideas. Let’s face it, Fort Bragg planners dont want progression unless it’s another dollar store or worthless strip mall. This town is a sinking ship with the way it has been ran. Maybe the skunk train can do what the city can’t, which is anything to do with moving forward.
I thank Robert Pinoli and many others who truly love Fort Bragg. The City Council for years had crayola nbn s out designing projects for the sight that would never occur
Let’s move forward….. .
Difficult to believe the Skunk Train owners ever doing anything for the city out of the goodness of their hearts.
I’m believing they want Federal $$$ to develop a port for shipping coal to China. If that doesn’t get a couple thousand people out to protest, I’ll probably give up; but that’s akin to shipping redwood and I don’t believe our citizens will put up with that.
I read that the Skunk Train people were asked if the city could use the property and they said yes except for the tracks and the repair buildings. The city wasn’t satisfied and wants it all now! I like the train and change the racists name of your town or schoolchildren confused and terrified by this pool of prejudice this foul rank of racism!!
Strip malls and dispensaries? I would have thought that local political heroes would be remembered for their epic endeavors to rename the town “Fort Homeless”. Hobo camps and halfway houses abound, they are merely a step short of the goal. All we needed was a few more needle exchanges and dots on the SO registry map.
Tragedy that it is, the focus of this liberal paradise has clearly been slightly shifted.
The former Georgia-Pacific mill site is one of the most desirable pieces of land in the world. Talk about “What Happens Now,” there, must start with that fact. You can often look out to sea from the Ft. Bragg headlands and see nothing at all but waves and whales. The few passing ships are usually far away. There is so little light pollution, you can see the Milky Way from there on clear nights. Most people on earth have little or no experience of night sky anymore. There’s too much man-made light to allow viewing of anything dimmer than the moon. Likewise the cleanliness of the water. When waves break on the rocks, the bright white foam dissolves instantly, because there is no considerable pollution. There’s way more junk in the middle of the Pacific Ocean than there is along Ft. Bragg’s shore. Every day, the world population grows by 215,000. This is one of the few places anywhere that doesn’t show it. We have kept oil wells away from our shoreline. It’s still pristine, here. In world growing more crowded and more soiled, this place is a rarity!
The best use of the mill site is to leave it alone! Wrecking the city’s view of the sea, allowing it to be obstructed once again, so that it can be “developed” must be prevented AT ALL COSTS! The opposition to the corporation’s plans should be crowd-funded. It’s an old, old story. Corporations have more money than small towns. They can afford lengthy, costly legal battles. Small towns cannot, so everybody needs to take a stand and shell out some cash. We did it against Big Oil. We did it against whalers. We have stopped rich people from degrading our lives and our wondrous place over and over. When the money advantage is all on one side, a hundred-percent demonstration of the people’s will is “the other side’s” sole response, and we have demonstrated that, time and again. It’s never over, this scampering for more business, more B.S., more profits, more lousy jobs…