Monday, October 31, 2005

Disaster Preparadness

Probably a bit off of the political realm but...

I've been trying to get some idea of how Alienware, the company that has my defunct computer for repair, is doing. My computer arrived in Miami just three days before Wilma and I haven't heard word from them since. I found this neat forum put on by the Miami Herald newspaper that takes and answers questions relating to hurricane recovery in Florida. So, I sent my question in about how Alienware, or at least that part of town, fared. It has yet to be answered but I did send it in over the weekend. It doesn't look like they update the page on weekends.

What caught my eye, though, was a question sent in by one of the locals, after the hurricane had passed through Miami. He wants to know where he can get boxes of batteries, a generator and other emergency supplies. Excuse me? Shouldn't such preparations been made before the hurricane arrived, assuming one was going to try and ride out the storm?

I guess I shouldn't be pointing fingers as I wasn't there and I'm not exactly well prepared for a major earthquake, myself, but these folks did have at least a few days of warning, didn't they?

Stephen Lewis Writes The Reporter

I guess Jeff was right. It was the same Stephen Lewis from Rio Dell that has the beef with the local Democratic Central Committee. Nothing really new in his recent letter to the Eureka Reporter but it still makes one wonder where he's been all this time. The guy's been a Democrat for umpteen years and doesn't seem to know much about what his party is about. I can't imagine how it would be a surprise to anyone that the Democrats are in league with Local Solutions. Not sure if it's a good thing, or not, that this guy hasn't voted for years. I wonder how the guy would vote on certain issues if he did vote?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Candidates File Finance Reports

I wanted to post this yesterday but I had the misfortune of losing my DSL connection sometime during the night. Really screwed me up as I usually get up by 5:30am and have two to three hours of online computer stuff I usually do each morning. Until SBC got the problem fixed around 11am I couldn't really do anything but play a game I downloaded to take the place of Aces High, which is my favorite but I can't play Aces High on this old E-machine. Of course, couldn't have played that, either, as I didn't have access to the internet anyway.

Now I've got my DSL but this computer has really been spazzing out this morning and I'm wondering how long it will be up and running. I've had to reboot probably a dozen times in just the first hour. Finally got it running ok but I'm afraid to turn it off in case it finally gives up on me. What will the blog world be without me? Hang in there, E-machine. You gotta keep going until I get my high speed machine back from Florida...please. But I digress:
Looks like some of the local candidates filed their financial disclosure forms with Elections the other day. Not all candidates had to file. I was surprised at how much money some of the candidates raised for what some would consider low profile offices.
Two things that stood out to me were Dennis Hunter, running for Harbor District Commissioner, getting his largest donation ($200) from Renner Petroleum. Nothing wrong with that, to my mind, but I wonder if that might rub some people the wrong way as Renner Petroleum isn't highly thought of by some. I think that might of had something to do with the lopsided victory Kerrigan had over Bohn in the Eureka City Council race since Bohn is a manager for Renner Petroleum. The thing that brought the question up to me was an acquaintance, who happened to be a pretty conservative guy, ridiculing the idea of voting for Bohn simply because he worked for Renner Petroleum. That surprised me and I wondered how many others felt that way.
But, I suspect the lines are already drawn with Hunter taking the conservative leaning voters and Herbelin taking the lefties. Hunter also has the advantage of incumbency that will probably give him some votes but I won't try to predict the outcome in that race.
I also found it interesting that Don Avant, running for Northern Humboldt Unified School District, got one of his largest donations from some doctor in L.A. Not surprising, just interesting. Wonder if Democracy Unlimited will go after out of town individual donations next, after they finish going after corporate ones? Nah, they wouldn't do that, would they?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wal Mart Backs Min. Wage Hike

Some of you might have heard that the head honcho of Wal Mart, H. Lee Scott, has come out in support of raising the minimum wage. Whether this is part of a public relations campaign or that they have some ulterior motive could be argued endlessly. Lew Rockwell wrote a good piece on his take of what's going on. I think he might well be right and I'm not a Wal Mart basher. Typical case of a large business supporting regulations to suppress competition.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Captain Buhne Makes Recommendations

Captain Buhne, over at the Buhne Tribune, enters the political arena with his ballot recommendations for the November 8 election. Surprisingly, he takes a religious tack on the initiatives. Even more surprising, with the exception of Prop 77, his recommendations are the same as mine. I'm serious, though. Not sure if he is.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Free Expression Threatened

Not exactly news to me, but more disturbing developments from the United Nations brought to my attention by the Sacramento Bee's, Dan Weintraub. Weintraub makes a valid point that the Left should consider these such things when throwing their wholehearted support towards the U.N.

PG&E Closing Service Centers?

Here we go again. Another business moving toward that damned "Call 1-800...." thing for service. PG&E wants to close a number of its local service centers. So, if you want to go in and talk to a real person about your bill, good luck, as they're trying to save money by having all their functions carried out by a phone bank in who knows where.

Pisses me off, even though I can count on one finger the times I've used the local service center, and that was just because the PG&E online bill payment function wasn't working for a while.

Truth be told, PG&E already does use the centralized service center system and it seems to work ok. The service centers are just offered as a convenience. Still, you can only hope, assuming the regulators approve this move, that they make it reasonably easy to still talk to a real person if you have a problem. I know some companies make it seem near impossible to contact a real person when the automated menu doesn't satisfy the problem you need to take care of.

It took me forever to straighten out a problem I had with one of my phone lines a couple years ago. SBC's automated problem analyzer kept telling me my phone line was fine. Finally, I snagged one of their linemen who was working a few houses down the street and he checked it out and said I did, indeed, have a problem and it was on their side of the phone line. No thanks to their automated system, problem resolved.

Only time will tell, and despite this being called a cost saving effort, we all know our gas and electric bill won't be getting any lower.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Homeless Camps In Bayside

Or was it Sunnybrae? Same difference, I guess. I thought it was a pretty neat thing this guy in Arcata is doing, working with other churches to give some of the less fortunates a place to pitch a tent, so to speak. That said, one wonders how the neighborhood feels about it? Give it some time and some might not be so happy about how the project develops.

Believe it or not, I was actually somewhat supportive of the folks in the homeless encampments, years ago, at the South Jetty and Clam Beach. Heck, people gotta sleep somewhere. But they did make a mess, at least out at the South Jetty. Both encampments were broke up and the campers were forced to move on. I figured certain people did what they felt they had to do. Oh well.

I'll have to admit to being relieved when the Clam Beach camp was broken up. It took a while to realize that, after that camp was busted up, the panhandlers in Eureka just about disappeared. They used to pester me regularly at the Shell station at 5th and N(?) in Eureka. I found it annoying, especially the BS line they'd give you about having ran out of gas and needing money to keep traveling. Out of all the people at the station when I'd be fueling they always pick me to hit up for change. Never could understand why.

Must be because I look like a nice guy...or a sucker.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Unions And Other Special Interests

An informative article on unions and other special interests that affect policy in Sacramento is in the SF Chronicle today. While the article focuses mostly on unions, specifically government employee unions, it also refers to the Chamber of Commerce and other "special interests".

One thing I found interesting was the comparison of expenditures between labor and business for campaign spending. I've been reading lately that business/ corporate interests outspend unions anywhere from 20 to 24 to 1 in campaign contributions. The figures the article gives don't come close to that ratio, but I'll admit to not getting out and crunching the numbers with a calculator. Maybe I misread or misinterpreted them? Besides, they may be using different references to come up with their statistics than the ones throwing around the 20 to 1 ratios. Or, somebody just threw out the 20 to 1 ratio and everybody just accepted it and used it without looking into the source.
Update, October 24: State Assemblyman Ray Haynes asks some questions about government employee unions in today's Monday Morning Memorandum.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ominous Warnings From Freecycle?

I wasn't going to post anything today but something just piqued my interest:

I like Humboldt Freecycle, the Yahoo Group where people can offer or request things they want. Heck, I'd have to say the majority of the e-mail I get each day is from Freecycle but I don't mind as I often find the e-mails of interest for one reason or another.

This morning I've received two or three e-mails from different people on that list requesting free stuff for either themselves, or someone they know that's moving to Humboldt County. One has relatives moving here who can use a washer and dryer and any furniture someone wants to get rid of. Another is "relocating" here and was asking for... whatever, I can't remember. Doesn't matter what they wanted, though.

Is this a trend, or just something that's been going on for some time and I just noticed because of the Freecycle Group and its growing membership? I suspect the latter but I find it disturbing that people are moving here with nothing and, even before they get here are asking for people to fill their houses for them (begging from afar?). I suppose they'll have to wait to apply at the Social Services Office for relief cause they can't do that from outside the county?

Hey, I know it can be tough when you don't have much. I just wonder if people are moving up here cause Humboldt has a reputation for free this and that and wonder if the Freecycle Group helps foster that image? Well, we do have a reputation for free food and dope, as one commentator here pointed out a few days ago and, if Freecycle promotes that image at all, I suspect it's not by much as it only has a little over 1000 members. Oh, I suppose nobody, except maybe Plazoid, wants people moving to their county if they aren't at least somewhat self reliant.

I guess the bottom line is, the dependent are going to move somewhere, and sometimes it will be here. Not much to do about that but the long term political implications are bothersome to me, assuming all these dependent newcomers end up registering to vote. And never mind the cost to the county even if they don't vote. Oh well.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Rob Arkley Speaks

I wish I could have been at this event. I would have enjoyed hearing what Rob had to say. Supposedly he suggested more "civility in politics...". Good for him.

I was pleased to see him once again step up to the plate and offer to pay for a study to determine the feasability and/ or practicality of getting the North Coast Railroad up and running again. Doesn't means he supports the NCRA, I think he just wants to look at whether it makes any sense to support it financially. Again, good for him.

But haven't such studies already been made? I suspect they have but people either arrived at different conclusions to the study, or, some folks feel the railroad should be rebuilt no matter what the cost and whether it makes sense or not. As I've said before, I am not one of the latter.

Along that line, the Times-Standard has an online poll up now asking just that question: Whether you think it's worth however many millions of dollars to rebuild the North Coast Railroad? So far, it looks like Yes is winning, strange as that seems to me. Cast your vote here. Poll should be on the right of the page.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Captain Buhne Taking Comments Now

Oh, I almost forgot. One of my favorite bloggers, Captain Buhne of the Buhne Tribune, has started allowing comments on his blog. Be sure to stop by and speak your mind on the local news of the day.

Dems Merge With Greens?

Is there something happening within the Left in Humboldt County we should know about? The interesting thing about this article in the Eureka Reporter is at the end. A local Democrat asks the Democrat Central Committee if the Democrats are assuming the anti- corporate Green Party agenda. Is this guy's question symptomatic of some growing internal discontent within the Democrats around here, or is he just one of those people every political party has that always tries to stir the pot? You know, the kind of person when he or she shows up at the meeting everyone's like, "Damn. Why did he/ she have to show up again...?". Might well be as the guy claims he wasn't allowed to address the Committee at an earlier meeting.

I've always been under the impression that the local Dems are pretty hard to the Left (rather than what one would call "moderate"), but that's probably cause it's pretty much the hard Left Dems that subscribe to the Lefty e-mail lists I'm on. Looking at the local Dems and Greens recommendations for the November 8 election, one would think they might as well merge as their parties as they only differ on one initiative, with the Greens taking a No Postion on the redistricting initiative and the Democrats, of course, voting No.

But, maybe that's just coincidence this time around. The Libertarians pretty much lined up with the Republicans on all the initiatives but two. I think that's more by accident than by design and it's too bad we didn't have a few more ballot initiatives to take different positions on. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

HSU Pres Wants Arcata Takeover?

I referred to this earlier on, but I'll have to say I have a less than favorable opinion of HSU President, Rollin Richmond. Related to the discussion Richmond is having with Arcata over law enforcement jurisdiction is Rollin's dislike of Arcata's Medical Marijuana Policy. I read a more detailed story in last week's Advocate newspaper on the subject, which doesn't publish its stories online (at least last I looked). I see Charles Douglas' Humboldt Sentinel has run a story on the issue but, as with many of the links on his page, the link to the story on Rollins is dead.

Anyway, Rollins is upset with Arcata's marijuana policies and feels that they're affecting enrollment to HSU as he feels students are avoiding enrolling at the University because of its reputation as a drug haven. I can sympathize with that but, as I mentioned earlier, seems to me a lot of the problems on the Plaza grew, at least in part, because of the presence of HSU, not the other way around. HSU is a liberal "college town" and certain types of people are attracted to college towns.

What gets me is the attitude I perceive coming from Richmond. Maybe I'm just getting the wrong impression but it seems to me he is of the mind that Arcata owes much of its economy and whatever other values Arcata has to HSU and, that being the case, Arcata should fall in line with the wishes of the university on matters of crime and everything else.

HSU certainly is a major, if not the major, economic player in Arcata. That doesn't mean the City should run lock step behind HSU. A lot of bad things came to Arcata along with HSU as well as some good. President Rollins should keep that in mind. I don't know that Arcata really owes him or HSU all that much, if anything.

Monday, October 17, 2005

We Have A Winner!!!

Del Reddick, part time homeless guy, wins the title of Arcata's Village Idiot.

Why this guy gets front page coverage in the Times Standard is beyond me. Seemed like pretty much a non- story. The writer says Reddick's message is "something insightful". Maybe I missed it but, from the looks of the signs he's displaying, all he has to say are the same tired old anti Bush tirades. I'm no fan of Bush but I don't find signs with anti Bush slogans insightful.

Oh well, to paraphrase Lenny Bruce, "Everyone will get their fifteen minutes of fame...", even village idiots.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Voluntary Public Safety Taxes?

I guess it should be called a "contribution" rather than a tax, since it would be voluntary, but I don't think I'll be contributing to Eureka City Councildude Chris Kerrigan's latest proposal. Chris wants to have a little box added to city water bills so people can write in an extra amount to be donated towards "additional public safety needs". In other words, the Eureka Police and Fire Departments.

First, it would be interesting to know specifically what "additional public safety needs" he is referring to. Hiring more cops? If that's the purpose then it's not such a good idea. Once the money is used for something like that, it becomes a permanent expense. That's how California got into its current financial debacle: spending the money from a short lived revenue boom on permanent projects that gave us the billion dollar deficits we face now.

Most people consider law enforcement and fire to be one of the primary functions of city government and it seems to me we have sufficient law enforcement and fire in Eureka as it is. Sure, they could always use more money, but so could I.

Funny how this proposal comes from one of those who supports the various redevelopment schemes that take money from city coffers and funnel it elsewhere, then asks people to pitch in more money to cover supposed shortfalls.

I'll give him credit, though. At least this proposal for raising money is voluntary. But it won't be for long if enough people participate in it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Arcata Plaza Problems

I don't know what to make of the problems people are having with the Arcata Plaza. Seems like any decent size town has an area where all the low lifes and derelicts hang out. In Eureka it's the Old Town area. In Arcata it's the Plaza. Is more police power the answer to the problem? I don't know but some apparently think so.

Some are suggesting the HSU cops start working with the Arcata PD in cracking down on whatever nefarious activities take place on the Plaza. Legalities aside, I don't know that that would really do much. I also find it ironic that Rollin Richmond, President of HSU, is one of those pushing for more enforcement on the Plaza since, arguably, the presence of HSU contributes to the problems on the Plaza since it effectively makes Arcata a "college town". One wonders how many of the hangers out on the Plaza would keep hanging out if it weren't for the presence of the university?

But, like I said, every sizeable town has a red light district of some sort. Too bad for Arcata it's their town Plaza. If the Plaza didn't exist, they'd probably congregate somewhere else. I don't know that more enforcement and more rules would make things any better. Doesn't Arcata have enough rules already?

Friday, October 14, 2005

New Political Blog

I've had The Contrarians bookmarked for some time now and they finally got it going. This should be an interesting blog to follow. It consists of four self described political pundits, conservative, liberal, independent and libertarian who take different views on issues of the day. Their goal is to cover one issue each week. I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes. Today they tell how they came to acquire their particular political identities.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Special Election Looms

The Special Election gets closer and closer. It's pretty obvious as all the papers around the state are filled with commentary and recommendations on the ballot measures. I'm actually getting tired of seeing one after another of all the editorial commentaries, but that's probably cause I've been paying attention to them longer than most. I should have my own 2005 Election Recommendations web page up but, sadly, it's locked up in the hard drive of my defunct Alienware computer that I'm getting ready to ship back to the factory.

Locally, I see the Times- Standard has followed the NC Journal format for a look at the candidates in the race for the three seats on the Mckinleyville Community Services District, featuring all the candidates on one page with their answers to a few questions. Three seats open and six candidates makes for a 50/50 chance of winning. Of course, it's not that simple as I'm sure there might well be favorites and not so favorites with the residents of Mckinleyville.

If I were voting in that race, I know I'd definitely vote for Bill Wennerholm, the one incumbent in the race, if only that I've been led to believe he's a pretty libertarian guy. My second pick would be Dennis Mayo if only from what I've read from him that's been published in the papers. He seems to be the kind of guy that's concerned on local issues and tries to reach out to all sides- my kind of guy- at least from the impression he's given me. He also gets my sympathy for being that kind of guy and having the Left go after him for not holding their hard line.

One I'd have to say would be a definite NO, for me, would be Jeff Dunk. Nothing personal but he seems to have his eye on creating more government services than Mckinleyville currently provides, at least from his answers to the questionnaire.

The others would be a toss up with the exception of maybe Jamie Christopher who doesn't seem to have a real reason for running other than he thinks he'd do a good job. Then again, maybe that's a good thing?

So, maybe I'd just vote for Wennerholm and Mayo and leave the third choice empty. Since I don't live there I guess it doesn't matter to me but, at least now, readers of this blog that live up there know two of the candidates they should vote for.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Times- Standard Agrees With Me?

Why does it surprise me that the Times- Standard seems to agree with me on the North Coast Railroad Authority? It must be one of two things: The editorial staff of the Times- Standard has been visiting my blog regularly for insight on local political issues, or, maybe I'm wrong on the issue? Nah, maybe it's just one of those common sense things that people find common ground on?

Of course, there's still some people around saying we should be throwing more money at the railroad. Senator Wes Chesbro, for one, blasted the Governor's veto of the bill that would have further subsidized the NC Rail Authority. I'm sure Supervisor John Wooley and some of the Harbor District Commissioners, among others, join Chesbro in condemnation of the veto. Just goes to show, as a wise man once said, "The government that robs Peter to pay Paul, always has the support of Paul...".

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Old Town Private Security Proposed

Again, I should say. Some years ago private security officers were used to patrol Old Town, Eureka. I wondered what happened to them. I guess, due to financial problems, the City cancelled the program. The idea's back on the burner, again, this time as part of some "pilot program" using redevelopment funds for funding.

I could be wrong, but I suspect the reason they're calling it a pilot program is because redevelopment funds can't be used for other than "pilot programs", according to the article. How can they get away with calling it that, though, when we already had such a program years ago? We should know how it worked and if it worked from the results of the last time we did this.

Heck, sounds like an ok idea to me. My main concern is the mention of having regular Police Service Officers take over the duties, eventually. I would assume that would be after the eight month "trial run" is over. What's that all about? If private security is successful, why turn it over to the [most likely] more expensive government employees? After all, all these private cops are supposed to do is report crimes to regular cops. That's what the Service Officers would be doing, as well, we are to assume. No need for these highly trained Police Service Officers to do something that could be done just as well by contracted private security officers.

Maybe it's some sneaky way to eventually shift more funds to the budget of the Eureka Police Department? I don't know. Time will tell but this needs to be kept an eye on.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Governor Joins The Crowd

The Governor wrapped up the latest session in the state legislature by signing 729 bills into law. He vetoed 232 bills. That indicates the Governor is much more in synch with the Democrats in state government than he'd like to give the impression of, as this editorial suggests.

While libertarians would be aghast at so many new laws, this is actually an improvement. Some years ago I read that some 3000 bills were introduced in the State Capitol each year, with around 1000 of them expected to become law. So, while the 729 new laws we now have might be 700 (more or less) too many, at least it's not around the one thousand that used to be the average. One bad indication, though: A larger percentage of the laws introduced were passed, which is still troubling despite the lower overall numbers.

Sure, not all new laws are bad ones, but 95% of these laws usually do, or are, one of five things:

A. Take your, or somebody else's, money

B. Restrict your, or somebody else's, freedom

C. Redundant, simply adding things on to laws already passed

D. Shouldn't be government's business in the first place

E. All of the Above

That's why I always say: Gridlock is Good. The less the state legislature gets done, the better.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eureka's Balloon TracT

A couple of comments and/ or questions about the Balloon Tract in Eureka:

First, I made the second T in the title a capital letter on purpose. Why do all the news media insist on calling it the Balloon TraCK? It's not a track, although one local reporter insisted that it had a balloon shaped track on it, thus its name. Nope. It's a balloon shaped tract of land, thus is why it should be called the Balloon Tract.

A while back, after seeing it labeled a Track for the umpteenth time, I'd had enough. I e-mailed both the Eureka Reporter and Times- Standard and suggested the correction. Reporter Editor, Glenn Franco- Simmons, responded that Tract was the term used when he worked at the Times- Standard and they started using Track shortly after he left there. One of his reporters was the one who said it was because of the shape of the railroad track.

I forget who responded from the Standard or what his excuse was, but he said they were sticking with Track. Oh well. I may be mistaken but I think I saw it referred to as Tract in the North Coast Journal at least once, a little while ago. If so, good job, NCJ!
Second question: I don't get it. They say the Balloon Tract is polluted with lead and petrochemicals and needs to be cleaned up before any development can take place there. Why? "Cleaned up" just means they're going to dig up the contaminated soil and ship it somewhere else and then that place will be contaminated.

Seems to me putting buildings and pavement over the contaminated areas would serve the same purpose as hauling the stuff off. If the soil is covered, rain won't be helping the contaminants leach in the soil, as it has been for years. Why not just seal the contamination where it already is? I also can't help wonder just how contaminated it really is? The tract has been sitting there for decades. Most contaminants that were susceptible to leaching might have already leached out, I would think. Whatever remains could be sealed by having paving and buildings placed over them.

I could understand someone not wanting residential areas built on the tract, assuming they included yard or lawn areas. You wouldn't want kids playing in dirt contaminated with lead and the rest. But I can't help but wonder if that ground is any more contaminated than other lots in town with houses that had lead paint at one time and all the other contaminants private homeowners have polluted the ground with over the years. Maybe a foot of topsoil would cover the bad stuff keep it from getting spread around?

Am I being politically incorrect to question this, or what?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Big Or Small L Libertarians?

I was asked yesterday whether I consider myself a big or small L libertarian. I suppose you'd first have to describe what a big or small L libertarian means and I'm not sure exactly what the differences are.

I would normally say a big L libertarian would be one who consistently holds a libertarian position on pretty much all issues. Since even Libertarians disagree on some issues, that might still be tough to use for a criteria. But, I'll go ahead and label myself a libertarian if for no other reason than I don't agree with the "open borders" position the Libertarian Party holds to. I kind of agree with that Libertarian statement, "Peaceful people should be able to immigrate and emmigrate freely.", but that's a bit simplistic to me. There has to be some control over who and how many come to this country to live, especially in these dangerous times. What those controls should consist of? I don't know, but to paraphrase past LP Presidential hopeful, Aaron Russo, " A country isn't a country unless it has clear and enforceable borders...". 'Nuff said.

I suppose I differ on some other issues as well but, just off the top of my head, can't come up with any specifics. Give me time. The thing is, we're so far away from even coming close to some things Libertarians propose, there's almost no sense in arguing about them. We can't even slow down growth of government, much less reduce it, without certain interest groups screaming bloody murder. So it seems to me small or big L libertarian doesn't make much difference. You can only do so much and mostly all that you can really do is write or speak and be a lone voice in the wilderness.
I spoke with Hank Sims, of the North Coast Journal, yesterday. He asked me if I would be interested in writing a short piece for the Journal for next week. I was honored but politely declined, at least for the time being. I would love to do that but didn't have anything off the top of my head to write about. That, and it's a bit of a pain writing on this computer with no spell checker or word count. But I could still do it. Any suggestions?
As I wrote some time ago here, I started this blog, in part, because I wanted to get used to writing and being able to put out letters and commentary relatively quickly. That started after I got a similar request for commentary from The Advocate newspaper. Don't know if blogging has achieved my original intent as I'm not sure if any of the stuff I posted here is something worthy of publication. I guess I do well enough though.
Hmmm....what's going on here? I can't get the paragraph breaks into this draft, even if I triple space the paragraphs. Oh well, let's see if it shows up right after publishing.
Now, to figure out something to write for the NCJ...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Humboldt Bay Commissioner, Dist. 4

Like I said yesterday, I've never paid much attention to these Harbor Commissioner races. I really wonder just exactly what these folks do, anyway? Nonetheless, the Eureka Reporter ran a story on the recent candidate forum, almost verbatim what was in the Times- Standard yesterday. Dennis Hunter, a long time incumbent, is running against Maggie Herbelin, who's sat on some other local boards dealing with the bay.

Looks like one of those things where all parties are oriented toward the bureaucracy of the job. Hunter clearly looks like the more private business oriented candidate. Only problem is it looks like he supports the North Coast Railroad and its resurrection. I guess that's fine if enough commerce comes out of the bay and the rest of the county to support it but I think that's unlikely to happen.

Herbelin seems like the government for the sake of more government candidate, at least from what I can glean from the news article. First she says that private businesses are leading the way in providing a tax base for other [ government] projects and says the Commission needs to reach out to them. For what? Then she goes on to say she would like to see an esterine research institute, or some such thing, on the bay to support our fisheries and to bring jobs to the area. Thus, a government institution seems to be the goal of anything being done with the bay. That certainly rubs this libertarian the wrong way.

I won't make any commitments at this point. I'd rather see the two on TV where I can get a better feel for the two candidates. Right now it looks like it comes down to a choice between one who supports the defunct NC Railroad and one who apparently sees government not just as a means to an end but the end in and of itself. I obviously lean toward the former.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Plug Instead Of Commentary

I was going to comment a little today on the race for Harbor Commissioner, or District, or whatever it's called. When I went to get a link to use for the commentary the Times-Standard web site was down so I dropped the idea, for now, since I couldn't even remember the names of the two candidates running. Not one of those races I ever really pay close attention to but I should, I suppose.

So, I thought I'd give a plug to this new blog site I found while checking out this morning. Humboldt Today looks like it has the potential of developing into a fun site. This guy provides free blog space to whoever wants it and has other community oriented sections for photos, calendars and more. Looks like I'm the first one to start a blog there, other than the guy who started the page. It will be interesting to see how this page develops over time and who takes advantage of the free blog. Not sure what I'll post in my blog space there, if anything. It's tough blogging here every day, or two. I'll keep that site in mind, though. I've bookmarked it and will check it regularly.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Letters For Democracy

I told myself I wouldn't comment here on letters to the editor in local papers but I changed my mind after reading this one. This guy, who's name I won't mention, is another one of those who think that if everyone voted, everything would change for the better. He laments the fact that a relatively small percentage of people voted in the gubernatorial recall election and that's the reason Ahhnold got elected. He assumes, of course, that all those that didn't vote would have voted for Davis, or at least someone other that Ahhnold. There's no way anyone can say that.

He goes on to blame Ahhnold, and the non- voters, for the state being in what seems to be a permanent downslide. I suppose we all have different ideas about what constitutes bad conditions, as far as the state and its government goes, but how he can blame the Governor for California's implosion, is beyond me.

This state's been going downhill for some time and there's certainly plenty of blame to go around, but it seems to me that Gray Davis and the democratic majority in the state legislature deserve the lion's share of the blame simply because they were the majority during the spending spree of the dot com boom years. What percentage of the people voted last time Davis was elected? And, of course, many of those in the state legislature responsible for the state spending binge in the Davis years are still there, having been reelected or if they weren't, because of term limits, someone of like mind was elected in their place. People voted for the politicians that ran the state in the ground and now, with the current method of redistricting, those politicians win by an even larger margin than if the districts were realigned "fairly".

There's no easy answer to how California can get out of the hole it's in, assuming we can agree on just what kind of hole we're in. Getting everyone to turn out to vote isn't an answer- never was. Besides, some people shouldn't be voting, especially people who don't pay attention to the issues. I can't help but wonder if the writer of that letter isn't one of them?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Arkley Shuns Times- Standard

No surprise there, I guess, as Rob Arkley started the Eureka Reporter over some beef he had with the Times- Standard some time ago. But it still doesn't look good when he can't be reached for comment on a story the T/S wrote on him being the major donor to the Prop 75 campaign (that's the one that requires unions to get permission from members before spending their money for political purposes, which I support). It's not so much he couldn't be reached that doesn't look good, as such things happen, but having an aide supposedly tell the T/S "not to call again...". He could have used that opportunity to give his case for supporting Prop 75 but chose silence instead. Now that's winning hearts and minds isn't it?

I'm sure Arkley feels the T/S has it in for him, althought I don't know exactly why. It could be the same old thing that those on the Left and Right feel when someone writes news other than the way the they want it written. They feel that particular writer or paper is against them. It could also be that Arkley knows he's not exactly, shall we say eloquent, when it comes to speaking on political matters. He seems to have a pretty blind allegience to the Right as well as a rabid hatred of the Left and I've never heard anything but generalities as to why. I'm sure some of his feelings are justified but I still think it's best to be able to at least talk to the other side rather than ignore them all together. Then again, I'm not Rob Arkley and he can afford to do whatever he wants.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Police Review Boards?

Since the Times- Standard, for the second day in a row, didn't deliver our paper today, I had to settle for re- reading the Sunday Eureka Reporter while eating breakfast. Noticed an item I didn't catch yesterday on some new coalition formed to establish civilian review boards called the Coalition For Police Review. Oddly, that story wasn't to be found online so I can't provide a link.

One would think a Libertarian would be among the first to support civilian boards to review actions taken by police. I'm a bit ambivalent but I suppose I'd grudgingy support such an effort. I suppose my ambivalence has a bit to do with some background in the law enforcemnet and corrections fields. It also has a lot to do with my dislike for the monday morning quarterbacking so prevalent in our, and probably every other, society. I've always disliked people who weren't there, and might not have any personal experience in a given situation, pointing fingers at the people who were and had to deal with it.

That said, the police do work for the public and are paid by the public and thus the public should probably have some say in the way police perform their duties, or at least some oversight ability. Not to say there isn't some oversight already, but it does make some sense to have some non- law enforcement types reviewing how their police force operates.

There certainly could be a problem with a board being filled with members who are generally hostile to police, but it could also go the other way, as well. Such are the age old problems of democracy and our various boards and commissions that go along with it. The big question, in my mind, is not so much whether there should be police review boards, but how much and what kind of power they should have?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Freecycle Grows, HTL Shrinks

I was pleased to see that the Humboldt Freecycle Yahoo Group is growing. They just passed the 1000 member mark. Not bad. My only concern is the e-mail volume might get a bit overwhelming if it keeps growing. Hasn't been unbearable yet with membership in the hundreds, though.

Freecycle, if you haven't been there, is pretty neat. If you have something laying around the house you want to give away, you post a message there with your offer. If you're in search of something you think someone might want to get rid of, you post it there as well. I posted an offer for some appliances and some old lawn amendments I'd had laying around the house and garage for years, taking up space, that I knew I'd never use. Got a couple e-mails within fifteen minutes from people that wanted them. Cool.

Responding to requests hasn't been so successful, although from the e-mail traffic it looks like it has been for some. A few people have asked for things I had and wouldn't mind getting rid of but they never showed up to pick up the stuff after I e-mailed I had the item available. Anyway, good job Freecycle!
The Humboldt Taxpayer's League seems to be losing members even after they tried to distance themselves from the lawsuit against Eureka. Past Chair, Larry Henderson, has sent out some e-mails with statements from what seems to be an evergrowing number of people who won't be renewing their memberships. I didn't count the number of people but I'd say ten or so have indicated they're leaving. Shame to see things like that happen. The future of the League remains unclear.

More Trash In The News

Trash and Recycling is once again in the news with the Times Standard making it their headline story today. Mandatory garbage service rears its ugly head. One source is quoted as saying something along the line of, all it will take is for one city to take the lead and others will follow. I've always hated that monkey see- monkey do type of thinking. Most seem to think it won't happen anytime soon, at least for a year, though.

I find it interesting that they start off saying they're trying to get more garbage recycled and less going to landfills to meet State requirements and then go on to say they to collect more trash. Although they say recycling is included in mandatory trash pick up proposals, how's that gonna work? I suspect most people who don't recycle now will likely still throw their recyclables in the trash. They need to filter out the recyclables at the end of the cycle. I know when I go to City Garbage in Eureka, I see all sorts of recyclables in the regular trash pile. They used to have employees that would go through the trash as people dumped and remove recyclables. I knew one of the guys that did it and he said they'd get cash for the recyclables in addition to their hourly wage (I think). He said he came out pretty good rummaging through the trash. Maybe they should start that again, although I know it would be expensive.

Cost is always a consideration, as well. Looks like mandatory service would make garbage pick up more expensive for most folks. That kinda burns me up. I pay like $15.00 a month for one 20(?) gallon container pick up a week. That 20 gallon container is more than enough for the garbage we generate from this household. I think it's a bargain. I'd hate to have to pay more just because somebody with "do something disease" wants to screw up something that works well enough. Oh well. At least we don't have to worry about paying more for trash pick up for a year, at the least. We've got heating and gasoline bills to worry about now.
This E- machines computer isn't too bad once I got DSL installed on it. Still drives me nuts, though. I got two independent diagnosis of the problem with my good computer: My power supply burned out and needs to be replaced. Cool. At least the problem is fixable. Hopefully I can get it fixed in the next two weeks.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Major Bummer!

No political commentary today. My worst nightmare happened last night. My Alienware Area 51 gaming computer broke down. I won that thing last December. It's pretty high speed and pricey. I do nearly all my computer stuff on that machine. So, I'm online playing Aces High and the computer just stops, just like if the power goes out. Except the power isn't out. I even unplug it from the UPS and try a different power source. It won't start. The power light goes on but no noise, no nothing. What am I going to do now???

So I get up this morning after sleeping in, since I'm not going to be able to go about my usual routine which involves between three to four hours of computer work. My old E-machines 600mhz is still working but becoming a real pain so I figure I'll try to get it up to speed to replace my Alienware until I can get it fixed. Naturally I don't have things backed up like I should have but I figure I did better than most people.

To make things worse, I'd cancelled my dial up account with Humboldt Internet the day before, to be effective today. I figure one of the first things I'll do is hook the DSL up to my E-machine. When I go to do that I realize the E-machine doesn't have an ethernet adapter so I can't hook up DSL. Luckily, even though my Humboldt Internet account was changed to mail forwarding only, I find I can still dial up and get online. Don't know how long that will last or if they're charging me by the hour for connecting. I need to call them and find out. At least I was able to send some e-mails out to get help. No one's responded yet, though. Why do things like this always happen on the weekends?

Lucky, also, that I had backed up some of my stuff a few months ago and was surprised how current some of my backups seemed. But, the vast majority of things I depend upon, like my address book, are locked away in the hard drive. If I can get one of the two people I e-mailed to help, I'm gonna see if it's possible, assuming I can't get the computer fixed fairly soon, to take the hard drive out of the good computer and trade it with the one on this computer. Then I should have everything set up like I did on the good computer except for all the kinks, slow dial up and slow processor that this one has.

This is driving me nuts as it hurts my wrists and arms to type on this computer. I'm thinking of moving this one over to the other table where I'm more comfortable. I also don't like this old fifteen inch monitor, but that's the least of my worries right now.

So, the thing's running just fine and then just stops. I know little about hardware but I suspect it might be a cpu blowout, or some such. I figure if it was the hard drive, the thing would still boot up. Does that make sense to any of you? If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.