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Letters to the Editor for Feb. 14

Crescent City must do better than tourism, retirement

I keep reading about all the grand ideas for bringing money into our fair city, and none I've heard so far actually serve the entire community ("Seek National Heritage designation," Feb. 9). What Crescent City desperately needs is a new industry to replace the defunct logging industry and the soon to be defunct fishing industry. We need leadership with vision that can look into the future of our changing world and find a niche we can call our own.

Alternative energy is going to be a huge industry in the not-so-distant future, so why not become an example to other small communities and be leaders in innovation? I'm sure if we put our collective heads together we could come up with solutions to our need for industry and serve a wider purpose (cleaner energy) at the same time. There are all kinds of government grants to be had for alternative energy, and a team of grant writers should be able to pull in substantial start-up monies.

It seems so short-sighted that the best we can do is commercialize our town or turn it over to the "haves." Solutions to Crescent City's ills should be representative to the whole community, not just the chosen few, and should be geared towards something that can be built on. Tourism and retirement communities are not industries of positive growth. Once they've hit their limit, all that is left is a population where few have benefited and the damage from the influx of people will be disruptive to everyday life.

Why not improve what we have instead of growing into something as ugly as a tourist town? Try living in Monterey. It may be a nice place to visit, but I promise you wouldn't want to live there. The tourists ruin everyday life for the locals, and the rents are so high few can live on their own. Go to the beach? Only if you like crowds. It would be sad to see that happen to Crescent City.

Kathy Kelly

Crescent City

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PalCo never was leveraged to succeed as business

In regard to the PalCo bankruptcy filing ("PalCo's financial woes felt locally," Feb. 8), please do not forget that Charles Hurwitz, through the Maxxam Corporation and with the help of Michael Milken (famous for junk bond financing), took over Pacific Lumber in a leveraged buyout in 1986. Maxxam incurred a $714 debt when it took over Pacific Lumber, and then doubled the cut of ancient redwoods. Now the debt is more than $800 million with collective assets valued at around $540 million.

Despite continuing increased cutting practices over the years, the company has been over-leveraged from the beginning, and even its officials knew the debt could never be paid without "liquidat[ing} of the forest" (a quote from the company's own consultants' report in 1985). In 1999, the Headwaters Forest deal paid Hurwitz's Maxxam Corporation $480 Million for 10,000 acres of old-growth forest, and Maxxam agreed to a habitat conservation plan covering the remaining 200,000 acres. So we gave Hurwitz $480 million. And still the debt remained.

The goal of reorganization through this form of bankruptcy should be to get the company back into a healthy, economically stable position. Hopefully, that can be accomplished in a way that supports the local economies.It is sad that the Pacific Lumber Company, once run with sustainable forestry practices by the Murphy family, has become nothing but a profit-extracting corporate machine that removes more resources from the local economy than it contributes while degrading the land base of some of the best private timber land in the state.

Please, let us consider the historical record of this company and stop the knee-jerk blaming. It profits no one.

Pat Gargaetas

Crescent City

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WE WELCOME YOUR LETTERS

The Daily Triplicate prints letters to the editor to provide a public forum for local issues. We welcome letters and print those that fit our guidelines.

We retain the right to edit all letters for spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, clear factual errors and length. We limit letters to 400 words but may further shorten them.

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