James Houle

James Houle: Costco Needs Another Look…

cBefore and After Costco
Northbound entry to Ukiah

Redwood Valley

This letter was presented to the Ukiah City Council meeting Wednesday October 15th.
Dear Council-members:  Re: DEIR for Talmage Road Interchange Modification

During the five-year history of the Costco Project, no local government entity has seriously considered and reported upon the economic impact of the project nor upon its financial viability. The City’s purchase of 15.3 acres of land for $2.34 million under the Redevelopment Program assumed further build-out of the Redwood Industrial Park made good sense although no examination of the expected new tax revenues, nor of the prospect of significant taxes lost as a result from shuttered enterprises was ever reported to the citizens. As originally planned, the $2.34 million land acquisition would be paid back to the City by Costco and used for the Talmage Interchange project. Any addition funds for traffic improvements and the like could be obtained under the same Redevelopment Account.

James Houle: The ISIS Crisis and the Biden Blurt…


Redwood Valley

Perhaps as a result of the Lunar eclipse at 3:30 am, and the appearance of the blood moon, many things have been revealed covering one of the major enigmas of the modern age: namely the Obama Strategy in the Middle East:

First the facts:

James Houle: Head Chef Kerry (Heir to the Heinz Family Fortune) Stirs His Middle Eastern Stew…

Redwood Valley

Our square-jawed replacement for the collapsing face of Hillary Clinton made a disastrous series of drop-by visits across the Middle East this past week. (You may remember that the once-peacenik Kerry married into the Heinz Katsup fortune and bought himself a seat in the Senate in 1984).

In Cairo, where General Sissi overthrew an elected government last year and placed the elected President Morsi in jail without trial, Kerry released an additional $572 million for military aid and approved shipment of ten Apache helicopters that had previously been withheld after Sissi’s coup. He expressed his commitment to the universal rights of Egyptians and “strongly sensed Sissi’s commitment to human rights” as well. The General currently holds 20,000 political prisoners in jail and has sentenced 2,000 political opponents to death. Just 24 hours after the Kerry drop-in, President Sissi, wiping off the Holy Water that John Kerry had so generously sprinkled upon his head, approved the 7 to 10 year sentences for three Al Jazeera journalists found guilty of “spreading false news”. Washington denounced the sentences but let the Apaches, good for crowd suppressing, to continue on their way to Cairo.

Jim Houle: The Fantasy World of Costco…

Redwood Valley

To The Ukiah City Council

Our City Manager fantasizes that a Big Costco Box will bring in great sales tax receipts and that the city will be able to pay off its indebtedness from the RDA fiasco, as well as new loans to build $6.2 million worth of access roads to Costco. This, they hope, will put the City on a sound financial footing. But there are a few problems with living in such a fantasy world:

There is no need for Costco: Ukiah people are not under-dressed nor poorly fed for lack of another big box discount store. We already have plenty of clothing stores, food emporiums, gasoline stations, and drug stores to meet our needs.

There is no money to build the new highway 101 interchange: The State Finance Department has said that the City Council cannot use revenue from the 2011 RDA bond nor from the expected sale of 15 acres to Costco to develop roads and interchanges needed to funnel shoppers into Big Box parking lots. Show us the money!

There is no adequate plan for the proposed interchange:

Jim Houle: Those who believe in the future are idiots and already have a lot of political power…



A recent article on Ukiah Blog was entitled: “Those Who Do Not Believe We Will Have a Future Should Not Be Placed in Charge of It.  I would take the contrary position: “Those who do believe in the future are idiots and already have a lot of political power“. 

The Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians say the end is nigh, that only they will survive and be raptured into heaven. The Israelis claim that those damned Persians are about to build the Big Bomb that will crisp the “Land of God’s Chosen People”. The only alternative is to crisp the Iranians immediately. Yet the Evangelical Fundamentalist clan do not believe there is any place in heaven for the Jews regardless of the Persians’ plans (its in the Bible).  Surprisingly, both the Israelis and the Evangelical Fundamentalists believe they have a future.

President O’Bomber insists that we must protect our oil supplies and dominate any country that resists us. He seems to believe there will indeed be a future if we can just keep the oil flowing.

Hard-headed geologists explain that the world’s oil reserves are running out regardless of O’Bomber’s policies. Our Financial Overlords foresee a probably-fatal weakening of the dollar

James Houle: The Willits Bypass and the Ukiah Costco…

Redwood Valley

To the Board of Supervisors
Mendocino County

The Willits Bypass will allow through traffic on the Freeway to bypass the streets of Willits.  CalTrans advises that this will be good for our community, because it will get some of those big rigs off local streets and reduce air pollution. Phase I will cost over $200 million and the total could well be over $350 million if it is ever completed. It will not improve downtown backups for traffic headed toward Fort Bragg: this traffic will need to exit the new Highway 101 several miles north or south of town and drive through downtown streets to reach Highway 20 just as they do now.

While all of this is being discussed and protested to the north, the Ukiah City Council is proposing the opposite solution to their traffic problems. They want to use $6.2 million of local tax funds not to allow traffic to bypass Ukiah but to move it more efficiently into town. They want to expand freeway off-ramps and feeder roads so as to shuttle shoppers into Ukiah’s expanding Big Box stores along Airport Boulevard. Our visionary City Council feels this will be good for our community: generating new sources of sales tax revenue, even while admittedly forcing many smaller businesses to close.

Recommendations: First: The Board of Supervisors should lend its support to the effort by Senator Noreen Evans to get CalTrans to explain its justification for selection of what many see as the worst of the Bypass Options. Second: Insist that the Ukiah City Council explain to the public how their highway project will be financed, how loans will be repaid, and how this will impact the revenue sharing talks that continue between County and City.

James Houle: Costco Urban Decay Report…

c1c2Before and After Costco
Northbound entry to Ukiah
See expanded version below…
Courtesy Dale La Forest & Associates

Redwood Valley

The ALH Urban & Regional Economics Analysis prepared last August by Environmental Science Associates, Inc. does a very inadequate job of characterizing the sales impacts of the proposed Costco Store upon retail food and beverage businesses in the Ukiah Market Area. Of all commercial sectors, ALH believes the food and beverages sector will be impacted most severely. There are a total of 26 groceries and supermarkets stretching from the Hopland to Willits and eastward to Lake County that ALH identifies as likely to experience some impact upon their sales volumes. Of these, seven are quite large including 2 Safeways (Ukiah and Willits), 2 Grocery Outlet Stores (Ukiah and Lakeport), Lucky (Ukiah), Raleys (Ukiah), and Food Maxx (Ukiah). ALH says there is “a potential for one of these larger supermarkets to close” and that large scale vacancies

James Houle: Stop That Sprawl…

Redwood Valley

At the Ukiah City Council meeting on Feb 20th, we heard a number of justifications for the City of Ukiah taking out a new loan to pay for the road improvements necessary to provide easy access to the planned Costco Store. Councilwomen Mari Rodin said that “It’s about avoiding sprawl”. Later, Sage Sagiacomo, Deputy CEO, said an aim of the City government was to “keep development within the park and discourage urban sprawl”. Vice Mayor Phil Baldwin said that “while the majority of the people in the city don’t love the big box culture and our dependence upon it, this at least keeps business corralled on Airport Park Boulevard” and avoids the hated sprawl. None of these condemners of sprawl explained to us what they meant by the term nor why they so feared it.

Therefore, I went back to the basic law establishing the RDA – Redevelopment Act (Health and Safety Code Section 33031), the original source of the funds that our local government wants to use to prevent “urban sprawl.” I discovered that sprawl, either of the urban big city type or the small rural town type is not mentioned in the Redevelopment Act at all! The first purpose of the RDA was to promote low to moderate income housing that the private sector does not provide. The second purpose was to cure “blight.” Blight is defined as “areas with unsafe buildings, stagnant property values, high business vacancies, high crime rates and residential overcrowding.” As County Supervisor Pinches commented several years back, we don’t really have any urban blight in Mendocino County. Sprawl is generally defined as the tendency to place housing in single family zones some distance removed from public and commercial services and thus vastly increasing the reliance upon automobiles for shopping and essential services. The Redwood Business Park along Airport Park Boulevard already qualifies as a contributor to sprawl and to encouraging reliance upon the automobile.

Sagiacomo opined that the City has known for a long time that, in order to realize its potential, the roads leading to it would need to be improved. Yet, just last year when Walmart applied for expansion to Superstore status, the City did not apply RDA funds to expanding the capacity of roads leading to it and the Planning Commission was forced to reject the Walmart application. Very puzzling this. Council member Mari Rodin explained that Costco shouldn’t be expected to pay for traffic improvements

James Houle: Heck of a Job, Hillary…

Redwood Valley

We are mercifully at the termination of Hillary Clinton’s masterful four-year career as Secretary of State. She has managed, despite her lack of experience in international affairs, to supervise international disasters in two countries, Libya and Syria. Leading the US-NATO coalition, she transformed Libya from a peaceful oil exporter who had long since given up any nuclear ambitions, into a chaotic and totally leaderless exporter of weapons and Al-Qaeda mercenaries to the Syrian rebellion. Now Libya is also the source of fighters in Northern Mali. As cheerleader-in-chief for those hell-bent upon the overthrow of President Assad in Syria she has arranged for the shipment of many hundreds of tons of weapons and mortars abandoned in the Libyan desert to bolster the Syrian rebellion forces over the past twenty-two months. These foreign rebels have now managed to destroy a large part of Aleppo’s ancient citadel, built over the past 4000 years and a World Heritage Site..With this last accomplishment, she approaches the record of her predecessor, Condelesa Rice, who as Bush’s Secretary of State shipped 4 million US manufactured cluster bombs to the retreating Israeli Defense Forces which they dropped all over southern Lebanon. At least 50% of these bomblets are still unexploded

James Houle: Ukiah City Council Always Looking For Ways To Waste Our Tax Money


Redwood Valley

We are in a serious and long lasting recession. City and County services to our underfunded school system, to impoverished families, and to the mentally deficient has been cut back severely. Yet our City Council members want to spend $2 million to reduce the traffic lanes on downtown State Street and plant a few  trees so we will have a nice comfy country look.

As if this wasn’t strange enough, at their last meeting they were talking about buying more sidewalk cafes for our local upscale restaurants, similar to what they already did for Patrona, our most expensive eatery. They are most generous to potential Big Boxes, and still want to give $6 million in taxes revenues (from the defunct RDA Program) to provide a wonderful private driveway for CostCo and Wal-Mart customers. This last giveaway has effectively been blocked by Governor Brown as merely another piece of corporate welfare. If  CostCo wants to steal business away from our existing stores, then let them build their own entrance ramp.

I think we can stop this two lane State Street scheme very quickly and the cafe al fresco notion as well. All we have to do is keep tuned in, attend their City Council meetings, and ask embarrassing questions. The City Council has little stomach for controversy.

Hey Tommy Wayne Kramer: Get Down and Smell the Real City Hall Incompetence…

Redwood Valley

TWK’s hilarious yet painful year-end review of City Council follies doesn’t mention their persistent quest to subsidize profitable big-box enterprises at the expense of existing stores and local shop keepers. When Judy Pruden and the Planning Commission listened to the people in the street and would not approve the Walmart Super Store earlier this year, the City Council did not have the cojones or more properly the fegato to override the Commission’s advice. Yet, the City Council still hopes to pay $6.2 million from tax anticipation bonds for road access and a high capacity round-about to funnel shoppers over from Highway 101 and into the planned CostCo Big Box. The RDA funds they once set aside for this have been denied by the State Department of Finance (most recently in their very terse Oct. 11, 2012 letter) but somehow Mayor Landis, City Manager Jane Chambers and her staff still hold out hope that they can sneak this past while the Sacramento bureaucracy is looking some other way.

Walmart had also wanted the City to pay for this self-same roundabout but were turned down by Ms. Pruden. Now, if somehow CostCo gets the City to buy this heavy duty private enterprise driveway, guess who will be first in line to reapply for their “Superstore”? It has already been well researched that the community needs no more supermarkets (most recently by Walmart’s own planner), nor out-of-state behemoths

James Houle: Obama’s Second Term…

Obama Watch
Redwood Valley

What sort of victory was this?
After defeating John McCain in 2008 by 7.2%, Obama has stumbled back for a second term with only 50.4% of the popular vote: a narrow 2.4% margin over the totally hapless Romney. In 2008 Obama’s win was fueled by a widespread disgust with George Bush’s performance. This week, nine million fewer voters chose Obama than in 2008, and there was widespread disenchantment with Obama’s first term performance. He received only one half million votes more than the inept John McCain had collected back in 2008! The President’s total vote was 13% less than four years ago, when his lead over McCain was three times as high. Total vote count was down 11 million across the country as many could not find a candidate they believed in. (WSWS 11-8-12) In California, 30% fewer went to the polls than in 2008!

If the people’s enthusiasm for your leadership declines by 11 million on your second try, would you as President interpret the message as “give us more of the same”? Yet some call the results a new mandate, while Obama himself talks of compromise with Republicans to work out a solution to the impending fiscal crisis on December 31st when both rich-guy tax increases and cuts in Social Security and Medicare are up for grabs? With a guarantee of four more years as President and slightly increased Democratic party strength in Congress, is it time for new initiatives and risk-taking, or is it time for more giving in to a leaderless Republican party? There was some good news in California where voters approved Proposition 30 increasing taxes on the rich and giving the Democrats

James Houle: The Case for Production of Asphalt at the Harris Quarry…

Redwood Valley

We are all tired of the seemingly endless revisions to the Planning Department Report, the tiresome repetition of fear-inspiring stories concerning the mixing of asphalt with aggregate at the quarry, the merging of trucks into the traffic flow, and the inevitable asphyxiation of the small community who live several miles south of the quarry that is predicted by “Keep The Code”, their noisemakers.

During the past four to five years while this controversy has been plodding along, here are the results:

  1. The Planning Department and their consultants have wasted several hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies, printing cost and staff salaries merely attempting to get this “Keep the Code” crowd to rest easy. It has not worked.

  2. The county cannot meet its needs for asphalt and particularly for rubberized asphalt, the new standard paving material, from within its own boundaries and must pay outside contractors to produce and truck it into our projects. We have lost considerable revenue and payed extra fees for this transport to no benefit.

  3. Asphalt only has a one to two hour holding time between mixing and application. There are no other suitable quarry sites on major thoroughfares within the county where this plant could be relocated.

  4. Mendocino County has lost out for the past ten years on State compensation for the use of rubberized asphalt as a means of disposing of worn out tires. This loss amounts to

James Houle: United Nations — Just Another Imperialist Tool

Redwood Valley

One year after the United Nations gave their approval for NATO to intervene in the civil war just then erupting in Benghazi, their Human Rights Commission has issued a “mousey” report accusing both sides of violations of human rights but purposely avoiding any mention of the destruction of civilians neighborhoods of major cities and the wanton obliteration of whole towns by precision bombing raids conducted by Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, France, Italy and the United States. NATO refused to cooperate in the HRA investigations. The article below by Vijay Prashad carefully summarizes the UN report. It does not take much imagination to see how the same tactics can be employed in Syria: NATO airstrikes to eliminate the air defenses, the import of foreign agents and mercenaries, and the smuggling of weapons.

NATO’S Craven Coverup of Its Libyan Bombing 
by Vijay Prashad March 15, 2012
Ten days into the uprising in Benghazi, Libya, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council established the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya. The purpose of the Commission was to “investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.” The broad agenda was to establish the facts of the violations and crimes and to take such actions

James Houle: To the Ukiah City Council regarding Honeywell’s $3 Million Dollar Proposal

Redwood Valley

To the Ukiah City Council

March 7, 2012

Re: Honeywell’s $3 Million Dollar Proposal for New Water Meters and Conference Center Renovation

Dear Council Members:

A review of the Honeywell proposal dated March 7, 2012 shows that they expect an increase of 6.12% in revenues after the installation of more accurate water meters and that this will net the City $276,845 per year. The total cost of the water meter replacement and leak detection project ($2.5 million) would be paid by we the consumers through higher water service charges. Should the smart water users, mostly small homeowners and renters, elect to reduce water consumption through modest conservation measures in the home, then the extra revenue Honeywell predicts would disappear and the City would be faced with paying off these municipal bonds out of general funds.

The companion proposal would cost $592,000 to upgrade the Conference Center with cleaner carpets, more comfortable chairs, and a commercial kitchen that would allow hosting banquets cooked right there on the premises! This taxpayer debt would supposedly be paid back by avoiding the rental of commercial kitchen equipment that costs $62,400 per year. (I have never heard of “rent-a-kitchen” but that’s what Honeywell says and they’re a major Pentagon contractor after all!) What would happen if the kitchen was upgraded and no high rollers elected to have banquets there? What would happen if these happy conventioneers

Jim Houle: Setting Aside Assad…

Redwood Valley

The Propaganda Buildup to Regime Change in Syria has gone on since last spring but almost no one in the US pays much attention. Partly this is because the stories that are floated on the air waves sound so much like the usual buildup to war: whether it be the NATO intervention in Libya last year, the recent Somalia intervention, or the Iraqi invasion back in 2003. The Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has kept most foreign journalists out and we are left with precious little of that bloody street fighting video our bored TV watchers can sink their chops into. When we tried to enter southern Syria ourselves last May, the border was suddenly closed while the Army proceeded to shoot unarmed protesters in the southern town of Daraa.

Last November, our Arab League vassals got President Assad to invite 165 “observers”, wearing those orange vests that highway workers normally wear around here, to see what Assad was doing. Their mission expired recently and there was little enthusiasm to risk further stray bullets on the streets. They were unsuccessful in curbing the bloodshed and opposition groups within Syria felt they had merely whitewashed the Assad regime’s suppression. A spokesman for the Syrian National Council, Burban Ghalioun, complained that: “conditions did not allow observers to submit an objective report”. Nevertheless, the Qatar foreign minister bravely stated: “We are with the Syrian people and with their will and their aspirations” ( NYT -1/22) and wanted foreign troops to enter so long as they were not Qataris.

Jim Houle: Something’s Rotten in the White House

Redwood Valley

Oh how easily we are all deceived:

Iraqi Smoking Guns and Mushroom Clouds; The Libyan rebels are all Freedom Fighters;

The Lands of Judea and Samaria (commonly called Palestine) belong to the Jewish people forever;

Iran is well advanced in building a nuclear bomb to wipe out Israel;

Good King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia sends a thousand tanks across the causeway to help little Bahraini King Hamid al Khalifa suppress democracy on a small island where the 70% Shi’ites are ruled by Sunnis royals who control most of the wealth; (Hillary Clinton wrings her hand noiselessly but makes no protest).

Pfc. Bradley Manning goes on trial for releasing confidential (not Top Secret) State Department cables that the government initially dismissed as well-known and not news.

Something is Rotten in Libya: Forty-eight hours after Hillary Clinton lands in Tripoli and calls for “Gadhafi to be captured or killed as soon as possible”, he is captured, and brutally assassinated by the TNC. (Ruppee News 11-13-11). TNC is the Transitional National Council we stacked with ex-CIA operatives, a few al-Qaeda types, MI 5s from Whitehall, and assorted bag men. NATO was authorized by the UN (Resolution 1973, 3-17-11) to impose a “No Fly Zone” so as to protect civilians being threatened by Gadhafi in Benghazi and to immobilize Gadhafi’s air defenses. The US and its allies subsequently hit 5900 targets in 9700 sorties and left much of the country in ruins.(NYTimes survey 12-18-11). NATO and the UN admit scores of unarmed casualties but won’t come up with a death toll. This demolition derby took a mere 240 days. By comparison, Qadhafi had worked for 40 years to increase oil revenues to far better than other countries enjoyed and to share this wealth with the people. Individual income rose from $34 per year to $34,000 and the people have the best medical care and lowest infant mortality rates in all of Africa. The UN Human Rights Council commended Libya in its 2010 report for its remarkable progress. When confronted with grisly videos of Myomar Gadhafi’s death, our own Hillary Rodham Clinton giggled “We came, we saw, he died.”(Christian Amanpour, ABC and Franklin Lamb of RT). The TNC ‘democratic rebels’ as we like to call them, after having assured Gadhafi’s convoy of safe passage, then called in

James Houle: Taking Action — Occupy Ukiah

Redwood Valley

After the very successful march in Ukiah on earlier this month by a group of 300 activists targeting the three big National Banks, Occupy Ukiah is on the move.

Transfer Your Accounts: Beginning November 1st through November 5th  there will be daily demonstrations at the Ukiah offices of Bank of America, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase leading up to National Bank Transfer Day on Saturday, November 5th. The big banks will feel the movement’s strength as literally millions of the 99% majority around the country move their accounts to local banks and Credit Unions to protest the outrageous new service charges on accounts. The big banksters have started billing Debit Card holders $5.00 or more per month to allow you the privilege of accessing your own money held in their vaults.

Sit-In at the State street Bank of America Office: On November 12th there will be a sit-In at the Bank of America headquarters in Ukiah at 501 South State Street. We will sit outside the bank’s offices and encourage people not to do business with the B of A. Assembly is at 10 am at the Court House where we will make signs and organize for the march south 1 block to B of A. This demonstration is being coordinated with the Ukiah Police to assure it is non-violent ad respectful of private property.

Contacts: Jim Houle 485-8229, jfh@willitsonline.com; Kathy Rippey: krippey@yahoo.com
See also:

Occupy Santa Rosa

Occupy Marin

Occupy San Francisco

Occupy Oakland

Occupy Berkeley

9/11: Explosive Evidence

[From JIM HOULE, Redwood Valley: I am a member of Architects & Engineers for 911 Truth, a national organization of 1500 professional A&Es and some 12,400 other technical experts and supporters. We are trying to organize locally in Mendocino County for the tenth anniversary of this disaster and hope to meet with local officials, put article in the newspapers, set up a table at the Court House and show a film. Our entire focus is upon questioning the evidence concerning how the three buildings at the World Trade Center came down. We have tons of expert testimony about explosives, and incendiaries and how they contributed to the destruction of these buildings and the loss of 2900 lives that sunny day in downtown Manhattan.

Are you a member?  Would you like to get involved in this event?  Check out the web site: www.AE911Truth.org.  Give me a call if you want to help.  We are not involved in spinning conspiracy theories, we are not involved in chasing the Saudis, the Afghanis, or the Al Qaeda.  We have restricted ourselves to this very technical issue – how the hell did these three buildings come down in free fall in about 7 seconds each and well after most of the jet fuel had burned off and the fires were going out? We demand another investigation. We want to know the 911 Truth. ~Jim Houle jfh@willitsonline.com 485 8229]

9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out is the new documentary film by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Watch the four-minute trailer above. Then share it with all your friends

James Houle: Let’s bring on the Grand Depression!

Redwood Valley

“The $2.5 trillion deficit-reduction deal brokered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and President Barack Obama is grotesquely unfair. It’s also bad economic policy. In the midst of a terrible recession, it will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. At a time when the wealthiest people in this country are doing extremely well, and when their effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, the rich are not required to contribute one penny more for deficit reduction. When corporate profits are soaring and many giant corporations avoid federal income taxes because of obscene loopholes in the tax code, corporate America will not be asked to contribute one penny more for deficit reduction. On the other hand, working families, children, the sick and the elderly – many of whom are already suffering because of the recession – will shoulder the entire burden:” Senator Bernie Saunders of Vermont (Aug.5, 2011).

Selling the American People a Totally Deceptive Message

The forces of the right have managed to guide the American people into a sense of helplessness, lethargy and stupid complacency. We have been told that: (1) the rising national deficit is our most serious problem today; (2) taxes are sapping the initiative of our business community; (3) we have to cut domestic spending because increasing the taxes on the wealthy individuals just gives the government more money to spend; (4) we cannot afford to cut defense spending, for this would only lower our guard against those terrorists who would invade our shores and steal our freedom; (5) entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are out of control and increasing our national debt; and (6) that if we were to plug tax loopholes on those businesses that contribute so much to our economic leadership in the world, we will inhibit them from expansion and from the creation of new jobs.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,672 other followers