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Charles Hurwitz Strikes Again

By Judi Bari - Anderson Valley Advertiser, February 13, 1993

Charles Hurwitz, the King of Sleaze, is about to pull another fast one. After six years of looting Pacific Lumber, he has just filed a plan to refinance his junk bonds by splitting the remains of the company into two new companies, Pacific Lumber and Scotia Pacific, and borrowing on each of them. The new loans witch total $579 million, and will be paid off at the expense of both the forest and timber community of Humboldt County. And to show that Hurwitz has absolutely no shame, making an obscenely rich man obscenely richer.

The way it works is this. The new Pacific Lumber will keep the most valuable assets of the old company - 8,000 acres of old-growth redwood including Headwaters Forest, the sawmills, the cogeneration plant, and the town of Scotia. Charles Hurwitz himself will be Chairman of the Board, replacing John Sidel, who has resigned.

Split off from Pacific Lumber will be the new Scotia Pacific Holding Company. Scotia Pacific gets the leftovers - 179,000 acres of cut-over land, featuring mostly young growth trees with some residual old growth and decent second growth mixed in. Although Scotia Pacific has by far the larger acreage, it has the lower valued timberlands. Scotia Pacific will be a subsidiary company of Pacific Lumber.

Against the assets of the new Pacific Lumber Company, Hurwitz will float a bond of $215 million. Although this bond is not directly tied to the sale of Headwaters Forest, it was definitely used as an enticement. Financiers have been promised that if the state or federal government purchases Headwaters, the money will first go towards paying off the debt. Since the sale price of Headwaters will likely be around $500 million and the debt is only $215 million, that will still leave a hefty profit margin for Hurwitz, as usual.

Against the assets of Scotia Pacific, Hurwitz will float a $364 million bond, to be paid off over a 20-year period. This bond will be guaranteed by cutting the timber at a projected rate of 5% of their acreage per year. They need to cut 3% per year just to service the debt, and the other 2% will go to operating costs and profit, which would go back to Scotia Pacific's parent company, Pacific Lumber, and once again find its way into Charles Hurwitz' pocket.

It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out if you cut 5% per year, you will have cut 100% in 20 years. In other words, Hurwitz' new financing plan is based on a rate of cut that would liquidate the forest in one generation. Of course, just because they're cutting every acre doesn't mean they're taking every tree. But the timber harvest plans being submitted up there now are averaging about 80% of the trees on each site. At that rate, in 20 years Humboldt County will look about like Mendocino looks now.

The Foundations of Future Forestry - Interview with Judi Bari

There are two, slightly different versions of this interview, neither of which are complete, so we are treating them as separate documents. The other version, The Shit Raiser Speaks is also featured in this library.

Interview by Chris Carlsson and Med-O - Industrial Worker, December 1992.

Judi Bari was bombed by persons unknown just prior to the beginning of Redwood Summer 1990 and is currently. plaintiff to a case against the FBl for their lack of effort regarding her attempted assassination. This interview was conducted by Chris Carlson in April '92 at Judi's home in Mendocino County, California.

Chris Carlson: one of the things we like to talk about a lot is the question of identity. How many people, when you ask them "who are you?" will tell you about their jobs, or how many will tell you about something they really care about?

Judi Bari: Most people tell you their job, I think.

Chris Carlson: Yeah I guess most people assume you are expected to answer with what you do for a living. But I find that almost everybody that I talk to for a little longer actually has something else that they do. Whether they're an organizer, a musician, a wind surfer, they define their life with an outside activity. And that's really a healthy response to the work-all-day life. Why should you put your identity and your soul into this godawful miserable experience? It's already bad enough getting this measly shit money out of it.

Judi Bari: Well I guess I did when I was working because I proudly identified with the struggle. I had a bumper sticker that said "POW: Post office Worker." I proudly identified both with the job and the fact that we were resisting on that job. I think that's one of the ways for people to identify with the jobs even in a shitty society.

Chris Carlson: As a resistor?

Judi Bari: Yeah I never had a bumper sticker that said "Kiss me I'm a carpenter" but I did have one that said Post Office Worker...

Chris Carlson: Isn't there a spontaneous critique of capitalist "efficiency" in various forms of sabotage? Can you see thatleading to a broader vision of a world worth working for?

Judi Bari: I think that the machinery to a factory worker is just so alienating, that it's just a natural instinct to destroy it. It would take a lot more than destroying machinery here and there, it would take political organization, that's the problem. People are always gonna trash machinery though, no matter what. If you work on machinery like that, it's really a natural experience, this isn't a question of "are you an evil radical in your factory, and do you sabotage--" Any industrial job I've ever worked at, I imagine it's the same in the technocratic-industrial jobs, people spontaneously fuck things up. It's like the only rebellion you have. It's not organized resistance, it's just gut level rejection. Sometimes it's a way to get a break, like if you throw pieces of pallet into the conveyer belt, the thing will break and they'll have to come fix it end you can wait.

The New Wave of Environmental Loggers (Part 2)

The second part of an on air radio discussion with Judi Bari - Transcript of a KZYX FM radio program; also featured in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, September 30, 1992.

Judi Bari: This is Judi Bari. We're on the KZYX Environment Show. I'm here with Tony Pardini, Rod Balson, Ernie Pardini, and Mark Heimann talking about local logging issues. OK caller, go ahead.

Third Woman Caller: This is another Earth First!er who logged the Doug Fir on her own land.

Judi Bari: Yes. This is the one who clearcut, right?

Caller: Well, that was in '75. I left all of the redwood sprinkled all over. I didn't touch any of that. I have the same feelings as the previous caller. I was mightily impressed by the care with which my place was logged. In addition, the loggers took down eight dead Doug Fir trees they couldn't hall off to the mill because they were too long dead. They absorbed that expense.

I want to express my profound admiration for the courage of all of you in that studio. The courage of Judi to withstand all of the travail and still organize and still reach out. And the courage of you men to take her hand and say, "Yes, this is what I need to say." And you've risked everything to do it and you're going to come out in the end not as shorn lambs but Great Woolly Rams!

(Laughter in studio)

Ernie Pardini: Thank you very much. I'd like to say too that Judi and the environmentalists have fought our battle for us for several years now. All I can say is I'm ashamed it took so long. I think it's about time that we started carrying our own load.

Caller: Well, you can throw your shame away because you are carrying your own load. Thanks a lot, guys!

Judi Bari: Thanks. We have another caller.

Fourth Woman Caller (Naomi Wagner): Hello. I'd like to get onto the practical side here. I'm a little concerned here. How can you tell when you are logging that you are not only doing a clean job and a protective job, but also a sustainable job where there is going to be enough board feet growing back? The other thing I wanted ask... Some of us have had some ideas around the fact that there is a market for high quality, high value lumber products. One land owner can't always supply the demand from their land without depleting it. There's been some talk about some kind of cooperative marketing. I'm wondering if you could talk about that? ...Where do we take the wood and wood products from our land and sell them for the prices that they really deserve and maybe leave a few more trees standing in the process.

Judi Bari: I want to take those questions one at a time. First, how do you decide that what you are doing is sustainable logging? What kind of self-made logging rules do you use out on the job?

Ernie Pardini: To answer that first question... There haven't been enough studies done on a widespread basis with enough of a variety of climatic, soil conditions and environments to really get a solid fact base to say what is or isn't sustained yield. We were logging on a sustained yield basis all our lives by the seat of our pants until the corporations came in here. A good logger knows which trees he should take and which he shouldn't, the percentage of appropriate trees in that particular area. You can tell how fast they are growing by the size of their growth rings. The safest way, and the way we do it, is to underestimate it and take less than what you think would be sustained yield. That way you are always covered. When you are taking a smaller volume with a select cut the profit the land owner realizes isn't necessarily going to be as high. What we try to do is offer other alternatives. You mentioned a co-op. There is a co-op being organized that hopefully will take off and catch on that would market and manage lands and promote and encourage markets for more specialized wood products so that you can get a higher return off a smaller yield ... a smaller percentage. We do that a lot, such as where we do pepperwood burls where you're only taking 2 trees out of 400. another thing that we have to point out to landowners is, yes, maybe you're going to make only $100,000 instead of $150,000 now, but in 10 years you're going to have that same volume back again, if not more. The volume that was here before we logged will be back again in 10 years the way we are logging it, as opposed to a 50 year recovery or more like the corporations do.

The New Wave of Environmental Loggers (Part 1)

The first part of an on air radio discussion with Judi Bari - Transcript of a KZYX FM radio program; also featured in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, September 23, 1992.

Judi Bari: I'm Judi Bari, host for this evening's Environment Show on KZYX in Philo. With me tonight are local loggers Ernie Pardini and his brother Tony Pardini. In addition, we have Rod Balson and local carpenter-Earth First!er-turned-logger, Mark Heimann. There's a whole bunch of us in the studio. I'll try to remind you who's talking as we go along to keep it from getting too confusing.

What I want to get into is how this corporate overcut is affecting loggers in general and what's going on in the community. It's not just one person.

Why don't we start with a little of who you are and how long you've been in this community and what you do.

 Tony Pardini: Thank you, Judi. I'm a licensed timber operator right now. I've been in the woods for around 19 years. I've lived in Boonville ail my life. I would like to express my feelings about the environmental movement and how we can work together as a team instead of against one another. I work in the woods every day. I've got a cat and a loader now. I just finished a small job in Mill Creek... I think I do a better job in the woods than on the radio. I like lo show my colors in the woods by doing a good job, an environmentally-sound job out there in the woods, in the trenches.

Judi Bari: And who do you work for? Do you work for the corporations? Do you work for L-P? Do you work for small jobs?...

Tony Pardini: I do not work for L-P. I've been in business for myself for two years. All my jobs in that time have been working for private timber owners. As far as I know they have all been pleased with my work. I hope that my work will bring good things in the future.

Judi Bari: Rod, how about you? Why don't you say who you are, how long you've been in this community?

Rod Balson: I've been here since 1974. I came from L.A. so that was quite a culture shock. I've been working in the woods probably since 1979. There's not much work anymore in the woods.

Tony Pardini: I think there is not much work because of the slow down in logging on corporation lands, mainly. I think most of the timber is cut off. I was talking the other day about the string of logging trucks that used to go through the town of Navarro where I live. Nowadays they are few and far between. The timber is not there, the jobs are not there. In my opinion it's not Earth First! or environmentalists that are stopping these jobs, eliminating these jobs it's the corporations that have overcut in the past eight years.

An Open Letter to Loggers

By Ernie Pardini - Anderson Valley Advertiser, August 12, 1992.

Since I've "come out of the closet" so to speak, on my views concerning the timber industry, I've encountered an influx of misconceptions about the premise of my beliefs and about where my loyalties lie. I think it time to clear up some of the disinformation and clarify my stand on the issues involved.

First of all, a commonly asked question is "have you joined up with the environmentalists?" The answer is Yes. I have been meeting, along with several other timber industry people, with members of the environmental movement, to work as a group in a joint effort to secure the future of the timber industry in this area. Some of the issues being discussed are:

  • Corporate over harvesting--Ways to curb harvests so that we can minimize the coming lull in the logging industry due to long term recovery of vast areas of clearcut timberland.
  • Keeping timberland as timberland--Exercising our influence to insure that large corporate landholdings are not developed or subdivided into parcels that would convert it's main use to something other than timber production.
  • Alternative related industry--working to come up with alternative wood markets which are compatible with resource management and that would provide employment for laid off timber workers in similar and related fields.
  • Grant Research--exploring the possibilities of government funding to aid in the startup of timber-related industries which would help finance small businesses.
  • Uniting timber workers in an association of some sort that would strengthen their voice on issues of employment, pay scales, political action, local legislation, etc.

I have found the members of the environmental movement to be very willing to compromise for the benefit of the timber workers and very sympathetic to their plight. Even to the extent of expending their own energies to improve working conditions and provide alternate means of employment. They are not against the use of forest resources, simply against the abuse of same. They certainly offer more compassion than do the corporate heads who are really responsible for the industry recession.

Judi Bari interviews Louisiana Pacific Mill Workers

Transcript of a KZYX FM radio interview; Reprinted in August 1992 issue of the Industrial Worker.

Mill workers Don Beavers and Randy Veach have worked in the non-union Louisiana Pacific mill in Ukiah for 15 and 14 years, respectively. This KZYX FM radio interview with Judi Bari took place a few days after they publicly criticized the company for safety violations in the local media.

Judi Bari: I think a lot of people listening have never worked in a plant anything like L-P. Could you start by describing what it's like to work there?

Don Beavers: First of all, we're Graders, so it's our job to grade the lumber. We stand up all day, we breathe sawdust and dirt all day--it comes off the lumber. About every 2 seconds we have to turn over a board and grade it...

Randy Veach: ...as it's coming down the chain, it's constantly moving.

Don Beavers: It continually moves. It doesn't stop. They put in some new machinery a few years back and so now we not only have to turn over one board and grade it, but we have to split that board sometimes and put two grades on one board with trim marks and all kinds of stuff. So we don't have a whole lot of time to do this...

Randy Veach: ...but we're expected to do it...

Don Beavers: ...and on top of that they change our marks and make new grades for us all the time, and they don't give us time to get used to this, they don't do anything but speed it up.

Randy Veach: You're expected to do exactly what they tell you to do without any argument.

Don Beavers: All the time, for eight hours a day, five days a week, day in and day out, every minute standing up working...turning lumber over, grading it.

Judi Bari: And they have bells for when you start, when you take your break and stuff...

Don Beavers: Whistles.

Randy Veach: ....or whistles, I mean really, a lot of people haven't experienced this kind of thing since elementary school, and I guess L-P is a little like elementary school in a lot of ways, but just presume you're talking to somebody that has no experience with this.

Don Beavers: No, I would say more like boot camp.

Randy Veach: Yeah, that's probably a better description.

Judi Bari: A bunch of elementary school kids in boot camp.

Don Beavers: We're expected to be at our work stations exactly when that whistle blows.

Randy Veach: We were late one time by 3 seconds to be at our work stations. This is a true story too. And we were told not to be late any more. And I was 15 feet from where I was supposed to be and I was on my way walking there... and the machine wasn't even running.... We get yelled at for things that are totally made up. The foreman looks for ridiculous things to yell at us for.

Don Beavers: And he apparently seems to enjoy it, that's why he does it.

Randy Veach: Exactly, it's his head trip, he enjoys yelling at people that's why he's a foreman.

Don Beavers: That's what they want, really. I guess.

Randy Veach: That's right. They intimidate the workers by fear and that's why they have him there. Everybody around here is so afraid that if something gets crossed up ...lumber gets crossed up... they will try to fix it without stopping the machine for fear of being yelled at by the foreman if they do not stop the machine. It's a constant environment of fear, totally.

Taking Back the Woods: Judi Bari Interviews Ernie Pardini

Judi Bari Interviews Ernie Pardini on KZYX FM in Philo, reprinted in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, July 29, 1992 and Timber Wars, © 1994 Common Courage Press.

Judi Bari: I want to start by you talking a little about who you are. What's your background, how long have you been in this county, how long you've been logging?

Ernie Pardini: Let's see--how old am I? I was born and raised here. My great-grandparents came here from Italy. They actually moved to Navarro during a logging boom, and built a hotel there in the days of the boom. But my family's been in the logging business in some capacity or another ever since, and I've been logging since I was 17. I'm 37 now, so that puts 20 years behind me. I am currently a licensed timber operator.

Judi Bari: And just so the listeners will know who they're listening to, everybody knows that the timber operator at the Albion cut is Pardini, so what relationship to you is the Pardini in Albion?

 Ernie Pardini: Well, that's my uncle. He just happened to be the unlucky guy who got the bid.

Judi Bari: And are you currently employed?

Ernie Pardini: I'm self employed right now. I'm starting a fledgling, struggling business. It's logging in a sense--I do some commercial logging. Probably by now it's clear that I won't do a job that's not in line with having timber in the future to log on that some piece of property. But I'm not against logging. Logging has to be done and should be done, I feel, but in a conscionable manner. And that's my complaint with the corporations, that they're not doing that.

Judi Bari: In your article in the Anderson Valley Advertiser a couple of weeks ago, you said you left the area for a while, and when you came back you saw things that opened your eyes. Could you describe that?

Ernie Pardini: Yes, I could. The business that I'm in now requires that I'm out and about a lot. I see a lot of country, a lot of the woods. And when I got back from New York--I was there for four and a half years--I found myself in areas that I had logged 10 years previously, when I worked for Masonite, on Masonite lands at the time, which are now L-P lands for the most part. And I saw areas that were logged when I was actively involved with Masonite that had been re-logged--and when I say re-logged I mean re-logged, there was nothing left but stumps and tan oak scrub--with entire new road systems cut in on steep ground, across the roads that we used when we were in there, which wasn't necessary as far as I could see. There's no logical reason for that, but it was done. This one job that sticks out in my mind looked like a checkerboard effect--it was skid roads this way and skid roads that way. And no trees. I thought, well maybe that's an isolated case, and then as I saw more and more of the corporate lands I saw more and more that it wasn't an isolated case--that there is very, very little timber out there on corporation lands.

What the L-P Memos Really Mean

By Judi Bari - Anderson Valley Advertiser, June 10, 1992 - Reprinted in Timber Wars, © 1994 Common Courage Press.

During last week's courtroom drama over the Albion logging protests, I attempted to testify about the L-P Memos. These memos, sent by L-P top-level executive Bob Morris to L-P president Harry Merlo, show the seedy underside of this depraved corporation's local practices. I say that I attempted to testify because L-P lawyer Cindee Mayfield objected to every word out of my mouth, and Judge Luther upheld most of her objections. No way did they want this information out on the streets. But that's why we have the AVA. So, Judge Luther, this is what I would have said if you had let me testify.

The L-P Memos were leaked to the press last January. They are a series of memos written over a three-year period from 1988 to 1991 in which L-P Western Division Resource Manager Bob Morris becomes increasingly critical of Harry Merlo's business practices, until Harry finally fires him. At the time the memos became public, there was much oohing and aching over the fact that L-P insiders were shown admitting privately what they were denying publicly: that L-P has vastly overcut the forest in the redwood region. But that's about as deep as the analysis of these memos ever went, and that's only half the story. The L-P memos are not environmental documents. They are economic documents, and they show that Harry was in it up to his ears.

The very first memo, titled "Long-Term Timber Purchase Agreement," describes a plan for Harry Merlo to pull off a private takeover of L-P similar to the MAXXAM takeover of Pacific Lumber. The plan was devised by Morris at Merlo's request. It called for Merlo to buy out part of L-P's Western Division, so that ownership would go to Harry Merlo as an individual, instead of the L-P stockholders as a public group. Apparently Harry was not satisfied with being president, CEO and chairman of the board of L-P. He wanted it all.

The takeover plan called for Harry to buy off the sawmills while leaving the timberlands to the stockholders. This would be easy to pull off, speculates Morris, because the stockholders will think they're getting the good end of the deal by keeping the timberlands, and will therefore sell the sawmills off for cheap. of course, as in all sleazy business deals, they would have to move quickly once they got their ducks in a row. otherwise an outsider (known as a "white knight" in corporate takeover parlance) could come in and snatch up Harry's deal by offering the stockholders more money. As Morris puts it: "The timing of a management-led buyout must be of short duration. It will focus attention on the company and this, coupled with our liquidity and low debt position, may attract outside participants."

"Objection!" piped up Cindee Mayfield when I got this far in my court testimony. "The witness cannot prove that this takeover plan was ever implemented." Naturally Judge Luther upheld the objection and I never got a chance to finish. But this is the whole point of the L-P Memos. Morris' disillusionment with L-P came as he watched Merlo set the stage for such a takeover, even though the final step of the buyout was never taken.

Breaking Ranks

By Ernie Pardini - Anderson Valley Advertiser, July 1992; Reprinted in the Industrial Worker, November 1992.

Hello, my name is Ernie Pardini. Before I get started with what I came here to say to all of you, I think it only fair that I tell you a little bit about myself. First of all, Logging is a tradition that goes back through 5 generations of my family. I am a licensed Timber Operator - that makes me a logger. I also have a passionate love for natural beauty that God has surrounded me with, and an unfaltering desire to see it perpetuated, able to sustain itself throughout eternity. That makes me an environmentalist. I'm not here to represent either group individually, but both together, as a whole, as children of one family, those of the Planet Earth.

I.ve spent the last couple of years in what may have seemed to a lot of people a state of indifferent neutrality where the environmentalists vs. timber industry issue is concerned. I've observed factions of both sides do everything humanly possible to swing public opinion in their direction. From employing conventional legal actions, to slinging slanderous accusations with no hard evidence to back them. With all their efforts, very little has been accomplished by either side except to divide the co-inhabitants of an otherwise compatible and caring and peaceful community. I didn't come here with the intentions of making enemies, though some of what I have to say may offend some people. As a lot of you know my uncle's logging company is directly involved in the Enchanted Meadow operation. I will defend to the end his ability and conscience where logging is concerned, though I disagree with the overharvesting done by L-P, I know that my uncle's company will see that it's done in a manner that is environmentally sound as possible under the circumstances.

Even so, my standing with him will be strained at best when this day is finished. But I accept this, because I feel that what I have to say is important.

The sh*t raiser speaks! Interview with Judi Bari

There are two, slightly different versions of this interview, neither of which are complete, so we are treating them as separate documents. The other version, The Foundations of Future Forestry is also featured in this library.

Chris Carlsson and Med-o interview workplace and environmental activist Judy Bari on April 20, 1992 - featured in Processed World, Winter 1992-93

Judi Bari was born in Baltimore in 1949. She attended the University of Maryland, where she majored in anti-Vietnam War rioting. Since college credit is rarely given for such activities, Judi was soon forced to drop out of college with a political education but no degree. She then embarked on a 20-year career as a blue-collar worker. During that time she became active in the union movement and helped lead two strikes--one of 17,000 grocery clerks in the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area (unsuccessful, smashed by the union bureaucrats) and one (successful) wildcat strike against the U.S. Postal Service at the Washington D.C. Bulk Mail Center.

In 1979 Judi moved to Northern California, got married and had babies. After her divorce in 1988, she supported her children by working as a carpenter building yuppie houses out of old-growth redwood. It was this contradiction that sparked her interest in Earth First!

As an Earth First! organizer, Judi became a thorn in the side of Big Timber by bringing her labor experience and sympathies into the environmental movement. She built alliances with timber workers while blockading their operations, and named the timber corporations and their chief executive officers as being responsible for the destruction of the forest.

In 1990, while on a publicity tour for Earth First! Redwood Summer, Judi was nearly killed in a car-bomb assassination attempt. Although all evidence showed that the bomb was hidden under Judi's car seat and intended to kill her, police and FBI arrested her (and colleague Darryl Cherney) for the bombing, saying that it was their bomb and they were knowingly carrying it. For the next eight weeks they were subjected to a police- orchestrated campaign in the national and local press to make them appear guilty of the bombing. Finally the district attorney declined to press charges for lack of evidence. To this day the police have conducted no serious investigation of the bombing, and the bomber remains at large.

Crippled for life by the explosion, Judi has returned to her home in the redwood region and resumed her work in defense of the forest. She and Darryl are also suing the FBI and other police agencies for false arrest, presumption of guilt, and civil rights violations. Judi now lives in Willits, California with her two children.

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