Aug. 2, 2011
Published in Siskiyou Daily News
Keith Darrah Truck Village saga
First, I need to let you know that Keith Darrah has not sued the county. At least one county board of supervisor has told folks that Darrah sued the county. This is not true.
What Darrah has done is appeal the decision by the Siskiyou County Planning Commission, which ordered his gravel mining business shut down in 2008. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors then heard Darrah’s appeal and upheld the Planning Commission’s decision. Darrah appealed the Board of Supervisors decision and Siskiyou County Counsel suggested this judicial procedure, which occurred on July 18-20. The Supervisors sit as judge and jury and after listening to the procedure, I was appalled. And the hearing was continued to Sept. 7-9.
I was at the supervisor’s meeting when they approved up to $158,000 to pay for private attorneys to defend them, opps, the county. At a later meeting, the supervisors voted for up to $75,000 to pay for another private attorney to advise them during the hearing. Why are they spending so much money persecuting a business owner, who brought taxes into the county coffers? I allege there is a cover-up of wrong doing by a previous board of supervisors and the Siskiyou Planning Commission.
The present supervisors should have the courage to stop this nonsense, stop spending our tax dollars and let Darrah get to work.
Darrah should be operating his gravel mine, which is next door to his Truck Village at the base of Black Butte. The county would be gaining taxes from his business; instead up to 23 employees lost their jobs. Darrah knows about complying with state and federal regulations from his previous 20 years in the logging business. He checked with the county regarding these issues, when he decided to upgrade the old Truck Stop. It had never been paved. Must have been lots of air pollution from that dusty truck stop back in the 1980s and 1990s. Now the area is paved and Darrah has never had an air pollution violation.
I listened to testimony by Darrah, Siskiyou Planning Director Terry Barber and others. I don’t know why Barber decided to go after Darrah, but I can guess she was told to. Under testimony given, there were rumors that Supervisor LaVada Erickson was “after” Darrah, because he is a competitor with her business.
Barber admitted she was not an expert in mining issues. So why was she Planning Director? Previously, Barber was Public Health Director. During the first year Barber was Planning Director, the county went from 100 percent of the mining Permits being in compliance with state regulations to only 50 percent. This, according to Barber, was because she couldn’t keep up with the paperwork involved. Hum, maybe she was in over her head.
Darrah had a permit for his gravel mine with no previous violations. On his adjoining property, he decided to improve the Truck Village by paving the parking lot. According to government regulations, he could excavate, cut and fill (to level) the ground in making and then expanding the parking lot. This is called “construction.” Under the regs for “construction” you can do all the things you do on a gravel mine – only more. This was brought out during testimony at the appeal hearing.
The only permit Darrah needed for his “construction” site was for building the shop, which he obtained. Many more items showing persecution by the county were brought out during this first hearing. But I doubt that the supervisors will rule against themselves!
Waited almost too long to stake up the tomatoes last week they were so tall. Found a few green tomatoes have set on. Picked my first zucchini on July 27th. I planted them on June 10th, so that is a 47 day-to-harvest schedule. Not too shabby.
This second planting of carrots has came up pretty well. I irrigated them most every morning and late afternoon and weeded on Saturday. Red potatoes are good sized. Got a small batch of peas and made a tiny batch of creamed peas and potatoes.
Finally got oregano, two kinds of mint and lemon balm harvested. I was careful and didn’t get any weeds in them as I was cutting the stems on July 23rd. Each group went into a different cardboard box and I propped the flaps to keep out the sun, but let air in. I found that the sun bleaches the leaves. So, when it started thundering and dropping a few big rain drops on Sunday July 31st afternoon, I brought them from the porch into the house. I began stripping the oregano leaves from the stems and soon went looking for an old sock (clean) to put on the hand that runs down the stem shaving off the dry leaves. The next step is to sift the oregano through a colander.
Liz Bowen lives near Callahan, CA. and helps individuals write autobiographies/biographies. Check out her photos at: www. lizbowen.com