Humboldt County CA considers Communications Element for General Plan

Blog Post
July 24, 2010

County of Humboldt, California is currently reviewing and updating the General Plan - including a new visionary "Communications Element." [Hearing Draft document is attached below.]

Humboldt County's general web site is and the Planning Commission information is here

Here are some notes on the Humboldt County (CA) General Plan review - from Humboldt County Planning Commission public hearing on 22 July 2010 to formally consider a new "Telecommunications Element" for the County's General Plan. Next public deliberation is scheduled for Planning Commission meeting on Thursday 29 July 2010. Agenda is online here:

The entire Planning Commission meeting was recorded by Access Humboldt and the unedited video is available through the Community Media Archive collection at Internet Archive:

The whole hearing runs over three hours long - nine formal public comments relevant to the new General Plan Element can be found at the following duration times for the coverage (in the playback scroll bar) - summary notes are informal, intended to give a sense but not verbatim:

  • Tina Nerat (1:11:50 to 1:14:50) - supports, noting the digital divide, concern about unhelpful revisions to earlier drafts, and unnecessary ordinance language in the plan
  • Lisa Brown (1:17:50 to 1:18:50) - need to address telecom facilities siting issues, calls for setback of1,000 feet with co-location requirements
  • Sean McLaughlin (1:18:50 to 1:29:24) - supports, calls for human rights foundation and noting five key principles: Ensure Universal Access, Support Digital Literacy, Preserve Net Neutrality, Protect Right to Privacy, and Future Capacity: Plan for Balance [Note: testimony of Access Humboldt is included below.]
  • Mary Cruse (1:40:50 to 1:44:20) - supports, need to avoid ordinance language, call it "Communications Element" to reflect wide importance for economy, education, health care, etc. and marketing of our region
  • Connie Stewart (1:44:30 to 1:51:25) - supports, need to have affordable access with prices comparable to urban, wants to see minimum speeds (3megs down/1meg up), use Trinity County as an example to accelerate deployment while protecting rural character, consider the digital divide, support more e-gov services, support net neutrality and assert local control
  • Estelle Fennell (1:52:00 to 1:53:10) - supports, noting importance of broadband access for civic engagement with the General Plan review process
  • Jan Kraepelien (1:59:05 to 2:02:40) - supports, GP Communications Element will help attract federal (ARRA, etc.) funding such as recent Headwaters investments, must consider "local to local" regulations and affirm importance of Localism, support net neutrality
  • Jessica Duremas (sp?) (2:02:50 to 2:04:30) - supports, need communication access, GP can benefit from well-informed public policy to develop coordinated and properly regulated networks
  • Tom Grover (2:05:40 to 2:08:50) - supports, satellite broadband is not sufficient, need to have e-gov but even more, people need access to government information.

Everyone testifying at this Planning Commission meeting supported the adoption of a new Communications Element of the General Plan!

No opposition to a new Humboldt County General Plan Communications Element was expressed.