From the June 15, 2017 print edition
Monster Truck noise impacted business
Dear editor: This past weekend we were subjected to unbelievable noise levels from the monster truck event held at the fairgrounds. We felt like our beautiful tranquil town of Ferndale was under assault, and it was. As owners of a vacation rental located across from the fairgrounds, the last thing in the world our guests, who come to Ferndale for peace and quiet, and ourselves, expected to deal with was monster trucks. We gave our very understanding guests a gift certificate to a complimentary dinner to try and make up for their partially-ruined vacation.
The beautiful village of Victorian Ferndale is known for its quaint charm, historic Victorian buildings and quiet way of life. It is on the Forbes List of Beautiful Towns in America and on the 10 Most Beautiful Towns in California. How in the world would monster trucks and the upcoming scheduled motorcycle races in August fit in that description?
We, who live and visit Ferndale, do so for a reason and that is the peaceful and tranquil lifestyle that we all enjoy. We know that during the annual county fair the speakers will be on for the horse races, and an occasional tractor activity, that hardly compares to monster trucks revving huge engines and crashing into things, let alone motorcycles racing for two days. The noise levels both nights (we measured them) were off the charts during the monster truck event, some even reaching into dangerous levels of hearing damage. Our pets were frightened, as probably the horses, cattle and wildlife.
Ferndale has under law, a noise ordinance and it was broken both nights during the event and at 7 am on Sunday morning, as the trucks were revving up their engines to depart. The police station and city hall had numerous calls complaining of noise on both evenings as well as Sunday morning. If we want to keep our beautiful village as the special, tranquil, quaint place that everyone loves to live and visit, we cannot allow this to happen ever again. Shame on The Humboldt County Fair Association for exposing our town to this outrage and complete disturbance to our way of life. We will lose revenue from all the visitors who come here to experience the beauty and tranquility of our unique village and our way of life. Ferndale Residents please attend the Ferndale City Council Meeting at City Hall on June 21, to protest and stop this travesty from ever happening to Ferndale again.
Lynne and Lee Shoblom
Dear editor: Saturday evening, standing behind Ferndale High gym, looking over fence at race track and grandstand, watching monster something going on. Crowds scream. Something Roman (Ancient) happening at fairgrounds. Not sure what. Eardrums pounded (90 decibels as measured by a neighbor). Overwhelming odor of, what is it, fossil fuel exhaust? Yes! Is it also what pure testosterone smells like? Moment of Silence. Someone sings the national anthem. Crowd cheers. No, not Rome. It’s America. It’s an American Circus Maximus. Make lots of noise, loud enough for all to hear clear across town, destroy stuff, run over things, pollute the air and the airwaves, rev those engines, flex those muscles, show your power, do something raucous but wicked fun, let the world know your big, bigger, biggerest (yes, biggerest), make money, make money any old way – for fair board, for Rotary Club, for monster truck tour. Make money, to hell with your neighbors. At home now. It’s 9:15 pm, and the roaring has intensified, like the last bangout explosion of fireworks on the 4th of July. It comes in through the upstairs windows. Revving, screaming, weedwhacker noises on high dosage of steroid. Crowd goes wild. Finally, it’s over and quiet once again.
An odd event, this. Police chief thinks its ok; certainly the out-of-town (not so) fair association board members think it’s ok. But I don’t think it’s ok, and I don’t think I’m in the minority on this one. If the fair board plans a repeat performance of this kind of event, well, I think it’s time for the community to attend a fair association’s gathering, make lots of noise, and tell them what you think. Also, there will be a city council meeting on June 21. There is an item on the agenda concerning revisiting our current noise ordinance. Attend; speak up, if this evening disturbed you. By the way, Arne and Paulina Petersen deserve a prize for Public Political Art Installations. The sign on their front lawn says it all. Remember their “Toilets in a Row”? A masterpiece!
Jere Bob Bowden,
(Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Ferndale City Manager, the city council and the police chief and forwarded to us.)
NO monster trucks or motorcycle racing at the fairgrounds! Monster trucks equal monster noise. As far as I’m concerned, the monster truck event going on tonight is “disturbing, excessive, and offensive noise.”
(Editor’s note: The following letter, written by a Ferndale city councilman, was sent to the Humboldt County Fair Association board of directors, its general manager and board chair and forwarded to us.)
To Humboldt County Fair Association:
Kindly advise me as to the date, time, and location of your next board of directors meeting. I also note that your website lists an area for meeting agenda and for minutes, although none are included/listed under that section of your website. When attempting to access those sections, there is a note indicating: “To Be Announced. We appreciate your patience, while we diligently work on updating the site with the most accurate and latest information!” When do you anticipate that the “agenda and minutes” portion of your website will be updated? Approximately two years ago, I attended one of your board meetings and following a very short period for public comment, you went immediately into closed session. At that time, I was told (by your board chair) that you hoped to open a larger portion of your board meetings to the public, “soon.” Has that happened, yet? If not, when do you anticipate opening your meetings to the public, versus just reserving closed sessions for legal, personnel, and real estate negotiation matters – in alignment with “best practices” in nonprofit governance? Also, as required by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service kindly provide me with a link to, and/or a complete copy of, your IRS form 990 filing for your most recent fiscal year end. Please advise and kindly reply to the questions posed in this e-mail by/before June 15, 2017. If you prefer, you are welcome to call me directly at with response(s)/update to these questions and to indicate when I can pick up a copy of your most current IRS form 990. Thank you so much. With best wishes for a very successful 2017 Humboldt County Fair! Blessings!
Dear editor: I just read about your battle with the Humboldt County Fair Association and had to drop you a line. Congratulations on your well-earned awards! I’m a hack myself and have worked for national papers in Ireland and Britain and while we have small provincial papers, we don’t have anything like the network of tiny newsrooms you have in the US. There’s something magical about the enthusiasm of the North American small press. Reading your story gave me a warm glow in the pit of my stomach and I wanted to thank you for it. I also love your “stay in a newsroom” scheme, it’s absolute genius. (Just in case you’re wondering, I read about you in a Columbia Journalism Review report that was circulated by a contract newspaper printers in the UK, called The Newspaper Club. You can print your own paper through them, no matter how few copies you require.)
Galway city, Republic of Ireland