Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Strategy Re: Maxxam/PL (revised)

Some local advocates of sustainable forestry, spanning a wide political spectrum, see the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy as a chance to make things right. I think the hope is that the Noteholders committee, who has declared the intention to turn the PL subsidiary Scopac into a sustainable logging outfit, will somehow wrest control of the timberlands from Maxxam.

A quick check-in on the status of the bankruptcy proceedings in Texas would seem to throw doubt upon this possibility.

Though Charles Hurwitz knowingly ran the company into the ground, causing massive environmental damage and destabilizing the local economy, it's looking like he might remain in control as a result of the bankruptcy proceedings and reorganization.

So far the Judge has been very sympathetic with Maxxams position in this whole thing, comparing their sham phone booth office to his own first office, and threatening to sanction those who are against holding the hearings in Texas.

In fact, he has ruled in their favor every step of the way;

- Yes to lifting the 10,000 a month salary cap for Hurwitz's henchmen at PL, O'Brien, Clark and Bacik.
- No to SAR status thus preventing foreclosure by the Noteholders.
- Yes to the Texas venue.

Lets not expect a Texas judge to turn the timberlands over to the Noteholders. Nor should we rely on the Noteholders, a group of powerful bankers and insurance companies, to turn things around.

I think that any strategizing at this point needs to encompass the multiple possible outcomes of the bankruptcy reorganization
including the possibilty that Maxxam stays in control.

Basic to any organizational strategy is the size and diversity of the support base.

While those on the frontlines of this issue are fully engaged and submerged in the theory, the attention of those on the periphery wanders or their perception of events is skewed.

I've talked to numerous people who had a complete misunderstanding of what the bankruptcy means for PL. Some thought logging on PL land has stopped or that PL is going out of buisness.

There are many people in this county who don't read the corporate news rags or use the internet. How can we reach these folks?

Let's work with the people for whom these issues are inescapable and directly affect our way of life, the inhabitants of Humboldt County. Until the people of this region have popular control of our resources our interests will not be prioritized.

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