Sorry if this is a repost. Very good article.
-Mark Bult


>From the September 3-9, 1998 issue of Metro
Copyright Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media

Unkindest Cuts

Touted by its supporters as the greatest piece of environmental law in
decades, the Headwaters Agreement gives away the forest to save the trees

By Eric Johnson
Photos by Christopher Gardner

We walked for two days to find the Owl Creek Grove. Our first guide, a
young Earth Firster who has been arrested there three times in the past
eight months for tree-sitting, marched us around in circles for two hours
until twilight closed us out. The next day, it takes our second guide three
tries to find the unmarked trailhead into the grove, despite the fact that
he has lived in the area for 20 years, and been to Owl Creek a half-dozen

The Headwaters Forest, a 60,000-acre stretch of steep, forested watersheds
and 2,000-foot ridges, sits 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the middle
of Humboldt County. It is just too wild to be easily negotiated.

Getting to the Owl Creek Grove, one of seven isolated stands of old-growth
redwoods, requires a two-hour drive along rutted dirt-roads from Highway 1,
then a bushwhack of unreckonable distance along weaving game-trails.
Rugged, remote and unique in the world, the forest even creates its own

While the rest of California roasts in the late summer sun, these 300-foot
tall, 2,000 year-old redwoods conjure dense fog out of the moist coastal
air. Branches the size of trees, invisible up in the close gray sky, wring
the clouds and drench the forest below. In the dead of summer, it feels
wetter than winter. It feels subterranean.

By the time we find the first old redwood, we are soaked from slogging
through the tall, wet grass of Bootjack Prairie, sore from slipping on wet
rocks and falling on our asses, and out of breath from scrambling down the
65-degree slopes. But we feel good. The trees seem alive in an almost
animal way; the sunlight filtering through the fog makes the place feel
holy; the silence profound. We think for a moment that maybe the exhaustion
has sharpened our senses and that maybe we are feeling the same endorphin
buzz that fuels marathon runners and rave dancers. Or maybe the place
really is sacred, like the Indians and activists say, and it is working
some kind of druid magic on us.

Even hard-core biologists who've never been there concede that the
Headwaters Forest is singularly important. The place is so primitive and
ecologically healthy that animals and plants which survive nowhere else
thrive here. These local endangered species include the almost-extinct coho
salmon and the marbled murrelet--a strange ocean-going bird that nests in
the tops of redwoods. Rarely, a visitor can also find the bird that Owl
Creek was named for--the poster-critter of forest protection--the northern
spotted owl.

If the company that owns Owl Creek had its way, this grove would within a
decade look like a bombed-out war zone. But in a last-minute amendment to
the Headwaters Agreement, which passed Monday after two years of
negotiation capping ten years of effort, Owl Creek was given a reprieve.

In a move that surprised Humboldt County residents and environmentalists,
the California Legislature, led by State Sen. Byron Sher, pulled $80
million out of its hat to buy Owl Creek at the last minute. Lawmakers also
suddenly found $20 million to buy the neighboring Grizzly Creek Grove.

The idea that the state should pony up all of this extra money--in addition
to the $215 million it had already put on the table to buy the Headwaters
Grove--did not come from environmentalists. It came from Charles Hurwitz,
the financier and logger-baron who owns much of the Headwaters forest and
whose notoriously brutal forest practices made Headwaters a national cause
in the first place.

Throughout the last-minute negotiation process, Hurwitz, whose
Houston-based Maxxam Corp. owns the Pacific Lumber Company, was on the
telephone to Gov. Pete Wilson's office. Refusing to ink a deal that would
restrict his company's operations in the so-called "lesser cathedrals,"
Hurwitz suggested that the state simply buy them.

Instead of celebrating the apparent victory, environmentalists, who express
unanimous scorn for the Headwaters Agreement, feel like the victims of
extortion. As they see it, Hurwitz held a chainsaw to California's throat
for a decade, threatened to kill off one of the world's last virgin redwood
forests and the endangered animals that live there, and then waltzed away
with a half-million dollars. While Monday's agreement will protect some of
California's last stands of old-growth redwoods, it gives Hurwitz's company
rights to cut down another 200,000 acres of forests in the area. Owl Creek
and Grizzly Creek may have been saved, but environmentalists feel the state
has created a monster now turned loose to wreak havoc on the rest of
Humboldt County.

Stealth Logging

Unbeknownst to most Californians, while lawmakers in Sacramento wrangled
Monday over last-minute details of the long-awaited Headwaters Agree ment,
loggers deep in the North Coast woods continued to cut ancient trees in
areas that were officially off-limits according to the terms of the
preliminary agreement. Tuesday, after the pact was sealed, they were at it

Saw-crews working for Pacific Lumber Company dropped huge redwoods and
Douglas firs alongside salmon streams. Helicopters speed-shuttled the trees
to hillside staging areas to be bucked into logs, while bulldozers punched
new roads into the forest.

Other crews spread pesticides like 2-4-D and Roundup on already cut-over
areas to prevent anything but commercial timber from growing in the area.
To help the chemicals stick to the vegetation, the crews laced them with
diesel fuel. Tens of thousands of gallons of this poisonous concoction have
been smeared over thousands of acres in the Headwaters region since May--an
apparent violation of state water quality regulations.

That kind of brazen flouting of environmental laws is nothing new for
Pacific Lumber. In the ten years since the first "Save the Headwaters"
bumper-sticker was printed, more than 75 percent of the 60,000-acre
Headwaters forest has been subjected to savage over-cutting. The attack
began in 1985, immediately after Pacific Lumber was acquired in a junk-bond
deal by the notorious Maxxam Corp., a Houston-based conglomerate currently
under federal investigation.

Since Pacific Lumber first entered into Headwaters negotiations in 1996,
the company has been found guilty of violating logging regulations more
than 250 times. Ross Johnson of the industry-friendly California Department
of Forestry says the company is one of the worst he's ever seen. "We
threatened to take away their operating permit this year," Johnson says.

The result of the company's work is ecological devastation. Hillsides,
stripped of all trees and vegetation, slough off in huge mud slides. The
"headwaters" themselves--a dozen once-pristine streams and rivers that feed
the Eel River--run shallow and clogged with sediment. Creeks that once drew
fishermen from around the world are now virtually dead.

While Humboldt County residents and environmentalists nationwide pleaded
with the government to restrain Maxxam by enforcing the Endangered Species
Act and other environmental laws, lawmakers chose instead to work out a
business deal with the company.

The Headwaters Agreement that emerged from the state Legislature early
Tuesday morning would give Pacific Lumber $495 million for around 9,400
acres of the forest--$250 million from the feds and $245 million from the
state. Most California environmentalists feel angry and bewildered that the
government would reward Maxxam's environmental recklessness with money. But
they are more concerned about less-publicized aspects of the agreement.

In addition to the $50,000-an-acre purchase price for land the company
bought for $3,000 an acre, the current deal would give Pacific Lumber
almost unfettered rights to log the land surrounding the Headwaters groves.
It would also arrange a purchase between the feds and another timber baron,
Red Emmerson (the largest landowner in California), which would turn over
another 8,000 acres of Humboldt forest to Hurwitz.

The company's key bargaining tool is akin to extortion: if the government
didn't buy the land, Maxxam promised to annihilate it. And its attorneys
have made it clear that they are quite prepared to sue anyone who tries to
stop them. Company president John Campbell even went so far as to publicly
vow to cut every last old-growth redwood by the year 2010. At its current
rate, Pacific Lumber could beat that by six years.

Old Feller: The 2,000-year-old redwoods of Owl Creek Grove, which Maxxam's
Pacific Lumber Co. has vowed to clearcut, were given a last-minute reprieve
Monday by the state Legislature.


FLYING OVER THE Headwaters Forest last Friday, Dan Hamburg, the Green
Party's dark- horse candidate for governor, sat quietly looking out the
window. Hamburg had agreed to come along on a flight with an organization
called LightHawk, which offers journalists and politicians a bird's-eye
view of environmental hot-spots. Hamburg hadn't seen the place since 1993,
when he took Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt on a similar flight.

Back then, Hamburg was a Democrat, a U.S. congressman from Humboldt County,
and author of the 1993 Headwaters Act--House Bill 2866--the first federal
effort to preserve the last privately owned old-growth redwoods in the
world. It was his idea that the federal government should strike a trade
for the land with Hurwitz, who had incurred a $1.6 billion debt to the
government in the savings and loan scandal.

Hamburg's bill passed the House and made it out of a Senate committee, but
failed to receive support from Democratic Senate leaders or the Clinton
administration. Hamburg is still bitter about the bill's defeat.

He was particularly disappointed in Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the state's
senior Democrat in Washington, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, who positions
herself as a champion of the environment.

He recalls approaching Feinstein at a fundraiser in Eureka. "I walked up to
her and said 'Dianne, I really need you on Headwaters.' She didn't say a
word. She just turned up her nose and walked away."

He is no happier with Boxer. "I approached her in the San Francisco
Airport--we were on the same flight--and asked for her help, but she was no
better," he says. "She smiles and gives you the high-five, then does
whatever she fucking pleases."

Before giving up on the plan, Hamburg took it all the way to the top.

"I talked to Clinton on Air Force One," he recalls. "I told him that this
was an issue that was important to my district, and that I would really
appreciate his support. He told me I could count on him.

"Later, I told [a Washington insider] what Clinton had said, and she said,
'Oh he told you he supported it? That's funny. That's what he tells

"I found out later that while he was patting the freshman congressman on
the head, he was doing deals with Vernon Jordan." Jordan, one of Clinton's
closest advisers, was on Charles Hurwitz's payroll as a lobbyist.

Hamburg can hardly believe his idea has morphed into a plan that will make
the Texas arbitrageur richer. He's appalled that Feinstein turned the idea
on its head two years ago by orchestrating the early stages of this deal
between the Clinton administration, the state of California and Maxxam.

Hamburg, who bolted from the Democratic Party partly because of his
commitment to the Headwaters, calls the whole deal corrupt. Like dozens of
North Coast residents, Hamburg believes the government could have prevented
Pacific Lumber from logging the Headwaters simply by enforcing existing
environmental laws. Hurwitz, he says, does not deserve to be treated as a
legitimate businessman.

"It is not ethical to deal with a criminal," Hamburg says.

Hamburg saves his harshest criticism for his nemesis in the Capitol, Gov.
Pete Wilson. Wilson worked throughout the session to get the Headwaters
money allocated in the state's general budget with no strings attached.
About Wilson's passionate efforts on behalf of Maxxam, Hamburg is blunt.

"Charles Hurwitz gave Wilson a $20,000 campaign contribution in 1994
specifically to shepherd this deal through," Hamburg says--a charge that
Wilson's office denies emphatically.

"Wilson sold himself cheap," Hamburg insists. "It's pathetic."


Sher Thing

STATE SEN. BYRON SHER, (D-Palo Alto), California's 70-year-old dean of
environmental lawmakers, is a pragmatist. He has made Headwaters the
centerpiece of his legislative efforts for the past 10 years. He sees
Monday's deal as a victory, but knows that the conservationists he has
represented for 20 years feel it's a defeat. Early in the session, Sher
authored a bill which bound Pacific Lumber to strict environmental
regulations before turning over the state's money.

Throughout the negotiation process, Maxxam was intransigent. In a meeting
with Senate President John Burton (D-San Francisco), called specifically to
search for a compromise, Pacific Lumber president John Campbell refused to
even enter the discussion. Sacramento Republicans unanimously backed the
governor's no-strings plan. And Dianne Feinstein cautioned the legislature
not to place demands that would blow the deal, which she called "the last
best hope for the Headwaters."

But through the course of the session, and through a budgeting process so
fraught with politics it missed its deadline by two months, Sher managed to
prevent the governor from slipping the money into the general budget. He
could not, however, get his bill passed by the two-thirds margin spending
bills require.

At the last minute, after Burton pronounced that the whole deal was
"unraveling," Sher pulled off a piece of legislative masterwork. In a
purely procedural move, he killed his own bill and welded its language into
a bill authored by San Francisco Assemblywoman Carol Migden. That brought
the bill onto the floor of the Assembly, where it could be amended, and
included it as part of a water bill favored by Southern California

It was one of the last bills passed by the 1998 legislature, and the
culmination of a battle Sher is not soon to forget.

Sher's anti-clearcutting bill in the state assembly in 1986--specifically
aimed at Pacific Lumber--first brought legislative attention to the
Headwaters. The anti-clearcutting bill also got the attention of John
Campbell, who agreed to a meeting with Sher.

"We met in the old Pacific Lumber offices," Sher recalls. "I remember that
the walls were paneled in this beautiful redwood paneling, wood with
incredible, straight grain. John Campbell was there, and he was cordial,
but he's a businessman. And he works for Maxxam."

In fact, John Campbell is the man who engineered the sale of Pacific Lumber
to Maxxam, which then hired him to run the company.

"I think he was eager to show that he could get what was best for Maxxam,"
Sher says.

After a period of fruitless head-butting, both sides agreed that perhaps it
would be best if the land in dispute belonged to the people of California.

Since then, Sher has marshaled more than 20 Headwaters bills through the
Assembly and the Senate--with no success. Sitting in his office in the
Capitol between hearings last month, Sher recalled the biblical litany of

In 1990, Sher's ideas found their way into a pair of citizens initiatives,
dubbed Forests Forever and Big Green, which failed before voters. Big Green
begat a Sher-authored Assembly bill known as the Sierra Accord, which
failed, and later, after Sher was elected to the Senate, begat the Grand
Accord, which failed.

Then Feinstein jumped into the fray with the Headwaters Agreement, which
brought some big federal bucks to the table.

That left Sher with one option--to make sure that at least some of the
principles that drove his previous legislative efforts were included in the
deal before Hurwitz was given a green light to fully crank up his chain

Sher, who has successfully navigated the halls of the Capitol on issues
ranging from worker safety to early childhood education, is frustrated that
he has been stymied in the area he cares most about.

"The one area where I have not achieved a significant improvement of the
law is forest practices," Sher said weeks before the final passage of the
agreement. "I view that as quite a setback."

Precious Cargo: This log truck headed for the Pacific Lumber mill in Scotia
could only handle one-third of an old redwood. One tree could make the
company $100,000.

Virgin Sacrifice

Environmentalists are a picky bunch. Although many saw the Sher bill as
their best hope throughout the session, few gave it their support. All too
familiar with the damage that results from ignoring the nuances of the law
of nature, they were unwilling to compromise on a few crucial details.

They are miserable with the current version.

Even the Sierra Club--diehard fan club of Byron Sher--opposed his bill, as
did the Arcata-based Environmental Protection Information Center. Their
main complaint involved what are known as "streamside buffer zones," the
sensitive areas surrounding rivers and creeks.

Sher's bill would have required that loggers in the Headwaters leave trees
growing within 170 feet of some of these streambanks, compared to the
company's proposed 30-foot buffer. Looking down at the area from 2,000
feet, it's obvious that the company's loggers don't pack tape measures.
Many creeks are lined with stumps.

Until the bitter end, environmentalists insisted the buffer should be no
less than 300 feet, as it is in national forests.

In the version that passed, Sher compromised down to demand 100-foot
buffers on streams that support fisheries (called Class One streams).

Flying over the nearby Humboldt State Park, home to the biggest stand of
old-growth redwood in the world, the creeks can barely be seen. Huge trees
hem the waterways into narrow banks and blanket them in shade. That keeps
the water temperature cool, allowing salmon to thrive.

Scientists have determined that creek water above 68 degrees spells death
to salmon. Along streams where Pacific Lumber has been at work, the water
has been measured at 78 degrees on 80-degree days. The salmon are long gone.

Arcata conservation leader Cecilia Lanman describes Sher as a "good
friend," but said her organization could not support the deal he was
working for so devotedly.

"The deal is flawed, because the HCP is a fraud," Lanman says.

Animal Instincts

Along with the scores of other acronyms that have become a second language
to conservationists on the Lost Coast, "HCP" flows most readily from their
lips. And most derisively.

This federal document--a Habitat Conservation Plan--is required, under the
Endangered Species Act, before a company can operate in an area where
threatened animals dwell. Owl Creek Grove, All Species Grove, the
Headwaters Grove itself--in fact, every stand of old growth in the
Headwaters area, and many of the forests surrounding them--are home to
endangered species.

The folks up in Humboldt and their attorneys believe that Pacific Lumber's
HCP all but guarantees that these animals will perish.

Brandishing that document, conservationists insist that the government
should do battle with the company in court. They believe that the
government could force Pacific Lumber to keep away from the old-growth
groves, streams, steep hillsides and other crucial habitats using existing
environmental protection laws.

Sher, who made his career as a law professor at Stanford, says he agrees
with Lanman and her allies in principle. But he's convinced that the legal
intricacies of the current situation preclude that option. If the federal
government were doing its job, he says, he would not have had to fight this
decade-long battle.

"The Endangered Species Act has been on the books for more than 10 years,"
he says. "It hasn't done much to protect this land yet."

He points out that the government proposed the Headwaters agreement to keep
>from getting sued--and he says that while he feels that it would be within
the state's legal rights to demand that Maxxam follow the law, he is not
confident the government would prevail.

At a hearing before the Joint Committee on the Headwaters at the Capitol
last month, Jarod Carter, Maxxam's attorney, vowed to take the state's
money, one way or another.

"We are offering the state this opportunity to purchase this land, which we
consider to be worth much more than the selling price," he said, to
half-muffled "boos" from the audience at the hearing. "If the state chooses
to ignore our offer and instead attempt to deprive us of the opportunity to
make a decent return on our investment, we will simply take the matter to
court. And instead of $380 million, we will be seeking more than a billion

"It doesn't really matter to me," he shrugged in conclusion, as if to say:
I get paid either way.

Maxxam's lawsuit is based on a 1986 Supreme Court decision which coined a
new legal term--a word that has been branded on the heart of every
environmental lawyer in the country. The Court decided that under the Fifth
Amendment to the Constitution, which states that private property shall not
be taken by the government, some environmental regulations can be seen as a
"taking" of private property.

Sher, who had Carter as a student at Stanford 20 years ago, says his former
pupil is dead wrong. But he fears that Reagan-era judges, unfamiliar with
the intricacies of ecology, may be swayed by Carter's argument.

Tuesday morning, recovering from the late-night deal-making session, Sher
responded to environmentalists' criticisms with subdued frustration.

"The people who are doubtful that this agreement will work need to get
beyond their feelings that they don't like the company, that we shouldn't
be giving Maxxam any money, and instead look at what we've achieved," he
said. "We set out 10 years ago to permanently protect what's left of the
old-growth redwoods in California, and we've achieved that. I think if
people think about it that way, they will feel good about this agreement."

Dan Hamburg, who is not a lawyer and will not likely ever be California's
governor, says it is unacceptable for the government to back down from
demanding strict enforcement of environmental laws.

"It is the very function of government to legislate in the public
interest," he says. "Failure to do so is simply dishonorable. I would have
liked Byron to simply come out and say, 'This deal is rotten, and we
shouldn't support it.' I believe the Legislature would have followed his
lead, and we wouldn't be dealing with this nightmare scenario."


>From the September 3-9, 1998 issue of Metro
Copyright Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media

War in the Woods
Locals rise up against Headwaters deal

[Josh Kaufman photo]
Reluctant Radicals: Josh Kaufman says many locals have lost patience after
years of meetings and lawsuits.

By Eric Johnson

At 3am on a saturday in august, alarm clocks went off in the homes of more
than 20 residents of the Mattole River Valley, just west of Fortuna in
Humboldt County. Ellen Taylor, a 53-year-old physician's assistant who has
lived along the Mattole for 25 years, packed some food, some warm clothing,
and her accordion. After driving through the cold and dark on a dirt road
for two hours, she arrived at Monument Gate, the locked entrance to land
owned by the Pacific Lumber Company. Some of her neighbors were already

"When we got there, it was a starry night, and we felt exuberant," Taylor
says. "People were standing or sitting around talking. The kids were all
tired--I think there'd been a party the night before--so there were these
mounds of sleeping bags. I started playing my accordion, and there was kind
of a circus mood. People were playing charades."

When the first logging trucks showed up, the blockaders ignored them and
refused to move. The loggers waited. The way Taylor remembers it, a couple
of the guys in the lead truck joined in the game of charades. But after
about an hour of cordial stand-off, a Pacific Lumber security officer gave
a signal, and things got ugly.

The loggers started grabbing the protesters and turning them over to
Humboldt County Sheriff Deputies, who had just arrived. Some of the
protesters, including Taylor, stood by the gate and refused to budge.
Taylor and six of her neighbors were arrested and charged with trespassing.
When she was grabbed, she says, she was playing "Nearer My God to Thee."

"In the movie Titanic, that's what the band was playing when the ship went
down," she says. "I thought it would have special resonance."

In the paddy-wagon on the drive back down to town, Taylor says, she had a
chance to chat with the sheriffs.

"They explained that they were just doing their jobs, and that whatever
they might think about what Pacific Lumber is doing, trespassing is a
violation of the law," she says. "Issues of greater subtlety, like
violations of the Forest Practices Act, were beyond them."

Many longtime locals believe the Pacific Lumber Company--which ran a large
but sustainable family operation here for generations--has become a rogue
outlaw since being bought by Houston-based Maxxam Corporation. In recent
months, they began responding to Maxxam's practices directly.

Acts of civil disobedience by ordinary citizens have erupted throughout
Humboldt County--completely unnoticed by the media, but not by the
California Legislature, which allocated $15 million to the local community
in a last-minute amendment to the Headwaters Agreement Monday night.

"I hope people can understand that what is happening up here is not just a
bunch of crazy radicals--that this is a popular uprising," says Taylor, who
owns 240 acres of riverside property downstream from a massive Pacific
Lumber timber operation and feels that her home is endangered.

Deep swimming holes she's enjoyed for years have filled up with sediment.
Debris floating down the creek has taken out streambanks on her and her
neighbors' property, and floods have buried their fields under five feet of
mud. Salmon which once filled the streams during their annual migration
have disappeared.

The same thing is happening throughout the region to people who call
themselves "downstream neighbors" of Pacific Lumber's holdings, where
accelerated logging over the past decade has radically altered the land.

After years of meetings with the state Department of Forestry, county
Commissioners and other governmental agencies, and after dozens of
administrative appeals and lawsuits, they have begun to take to the woods
to stop what they see as an attack by a rapacious corporation.

Josh Kaufman, a 20-year resident of the Freshwater Creek neighborhood, says
the grass-roots activism is spreading like wildfire.

"It's happening all over the county," Kaufman says. "Wherever communities
are adjacent to Pacific Lumber, people who've lived there their whole
lives, whose families go back for generations, are becoming active."

"These are people who've worked for Pacific Lumber, who do logging for a
living. They're becoming radical--much more so than the environmentalists.
Because their frustration and rage comes from the fact that they're seeing
the direct effects of the company's shoddy practices. They feel like
they're losing their homes."

that old-timers were joining Earth Firsters in the northern boondocks of
her district. She took a trip up north and visited with families who live
near Maxxam property earlier this summer. Strom-Martin then called a
hearing to allow them to voice their concerns to a joint legislative task
force set up to deal with the Headwaters issue.

At that hearing, 14 Humboldt County residents told lawmakers why they felt
Maxxam could not be trusted. "What's at stake here is something more than
redwood groves," local land-owner Mike Evenson said. "We're talking about
my family's land, and a lot of families' land. We were told this deal would
offer us some protection. Well, I'm taking it in the neck."

Christy Wrigley, a 50-year resident of the area whose family has raised
apples there for 95 years, said the Elk River, from which her family draws
its water, has been destroyed by Maxxam's shoddy logging practices.

"Water is a basic necessity," Wrigley said at the hearing. "We need it to
live and I need it to farm. What kind of people are we that we can't stand
up for what's right for everybody?"

The locals were particularly incensed that the whole agreement stemmed from
a lawsuit in which Pacific Lumber claimed that environmental laws were
hindering the campaign efforts to make money. As far as the locals could
tell, the company was permanently damaging the local economy by wrecking
the area's ability to produce natural resources in a sustainable fashion.

To soften their pain, Strom-Martin came up with a plan to tack $20 million
onto the state's share of the deal--money the communities around Eureka,
Arcata, Garberville and Fortuna could use.

She enlisted Sen. Mike Thompson (D-Eureka)--usually a strong advocate of
the timber industry. Thomson signed on, but reduced the request to $5
million in the Senate.

For the final weeks of the negotiation, the folks of the Lost Coast seemed
to be being ignored. But late Monday, the Headwaters Agreement found its
way back on the floor of the Assembly. Strom-Martin's turf.

Robyn Stewart, Strom-Martin's chief of staff, says her boss elected to play
some hardball politics. "We decided, if this bill is gonna go in our house,
we want 20 million," Stewart says. Speaker Antonio Villarigosa also became
territorial, and decreed that there would be no vote in the Assembly unless
Strom-Martin's constituents got their money.

Humboldt residents, an independent bunch, will take the money and do what
little they can with it. But they are not likely to back off.

"Charles Hurwitz [Maxxam's owner] has got us all held hostage," says Ellen
Taylor. "If this deal doesn't force him to abide by the law, somebody's
going to get killed up here."

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