Thursday, January 12, 2006

Salzman and the Weather

Looks like Richard Salzman's back after his somewhat forced hiatus from the letter to the editor business. His My Word column today predictably focuses on the big box for the Balloon Tract controversy. Is it just me or does his writing seem a bit less aggressive than it used to be?

Anyway, not much to comment on there except for his claim that a Home Depot would take business from the smaller mom and pop type businesses in town and eventually close them down. I don't think so. Sure, some folks might take advantage of Home Depot and shop there, but I think a Home Depot would mostly be competing with bigger stores like Sears or Pearson Building Center. Still, places like Shafer's Ace Hardware seem to be thriving and, while they may lose a buck or two to a Home Depot, I know I'll continue shopping at Ace Hardware. It's too convenient.

Not that it doesn't happen, though. We used to have J.J. Perry's up in Henderson Center selling books and videos. When that Spotlight Video(?) place opened at the corner of Harris and E Streets a few years ago, I was told it took something like 30% of J.J. Perry's business. They ended up closing their doors. Then again, I think the bookstore business is a tough one to be in as they haven't been the only bookstore to close their doors. Maybe it's just a sign of the times?
Another one of those is it just me things: Is it just me or does it seem the weather service has been overstating the weather forecast for a number of years? They predicted fairly high winds on Tuesday, along with the rain. I don't recall much in the way of wind on Tuesday. Kinda burned me up as I held off putting the trash out Tuesday morning worried that the wind would knock the can down and blow trash all over, like it did the week before when it was windy on trash day. No wind and I almost missed getting the trash out before the garbage truck came by.
I know it's been a while but it seemed the weather folks started forecasting the worst case scenario stuff quite some time ago. I wondered if it had something to do with that case, umpteen years ago, where some rancher down on the Eel River lost a couple hundred head of cattle to unforecast flooding on the Eel. He ended up suing the Weather Service, I believe, for not giving prior warning (hmm...whatever came of that suit?). I thought the suit was bogus. After all, there has to be some degree of common sense and personal responsibility involved when dealing with livestock and the weather. But, it seemed that after that they'd more often than not jack the forecast up a bit to take into account a worse case scenario.
I guess common sense would dictate taking worst case scenario into consideration regardless. There's still going to be times when they miss the worst case, as well. I just wondered if that lawsuit had anything to do it or if they always did it and I just never noticed?


At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Fred, you made a couple of points, so let's start off with the first one and go down the list. Salzman's piece is toned down, but it is a return so he is starting off slow to build steam. His story is the doom and gloom of old though, BIG BOX = DEATH, which the Costco and WinCo have not brought to Humboldt County so far. Would a Home Depot be something I'd build there? No, I'd much rather have an Ikea, so I'm not backing anyone's plan. One thing that will cause a problem is the wage Home Depot pays, it's better then most people working as a hammer swinger, so that's maybe what he means by driving people out of business, a wage jump and people not working for the shitty wage people are paying anymore. But this "return" of Salzman means nothing more then he will be back to play his games because he didn't learn his lesson. Now what we have here is a smarter criminal who will cover his tracks all the better. Unless someone gets photos of him in bed with Pete and 15 15 year old Asian boys, I think he is going to rally the left to his causes, and yes, HIS causes.

J.J. Perry's was never a good place to rent videos that I can remember, they cost more and were beat all to hell. That and I think that we lost the "Nerd Base" that would support JJ because they all moved away to work in Palo Alto or other Nerd Cities.

The weather. Humboldt County has become SoCal'd. It rains and the World is ending. Knock out the power and it's a sign that the four horsemen are gonna be roaming the Earth. We have had such a influx of pussies into this area, that they have to do these warnings, so they don't do stupid shit. I mean our idea of rain isn't even close to theirs. But yeah, I've been waiting for this "Hell Storm from Hell with winds from Hell and WOW" to come in and hit us that I keep hearing about, but I ain't seeing it...

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I'm not referring to any doomsday scenario predictions, as far as weather is concerned. I'm just saying it seems like, when they give the weather forecast, they don't want to look like they got caught with their pants down so they predict wind, like this last two times.

First, Tuesday, they predicted rain and wind with gusts up to 55 miles an hour, if memory serves me correct. I use for my forecasts. That, and Doppler radar from I don't recall any appreciable wind on Tuesday.

Today I believe the forecast was for wind and rain. We've had some precipitation but not measurable, at least not yet. No noticeable wind, though.

I suspect it would be human nature to forecast wind if there was the slightest chance of it, especially after getting caught with your pants down like the last big storm. It seems to me they've been going worst case scenario for years, though, and I wonder if that lawsuit years ago caused them to change whatever protocol they use for forecasts.

And I don't blame the weather service for not predicting the big winds we had a couple weeks ago. Shit happens.

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, the "sign of the times" you refer to is corporatization of the marketplace. So, yes, JJ Perry's (my all-time favorite) closed because a small, but significant portion of the community (30% sounds right) will shop at whichever store has the lowest prices. That will always be a big box store. I can fight big boxes by "shopping local" with six of my neighbors, but the three short-sighted people on the block will force our favorite haunts to close and leave us with homogeneous crap.

I'd rather have a convention center bring more tourists than have more big boxes take their toll on local shops. Some will close. Maybe your neighborhood Ace. Maybe Pierson's. I see no value in rolling those dice. We have a lot to lose and not much to gain. There are better options for us.

As for convention centers, you underestimate the potential. Ask anyone in the medical field. They regularly travel to attend trainings -- trainings which can be held anywhere. The Red Lion and Fortuna's center don't cut it, but when they attempt it, folks drive up from the bay area. There's no reason we couldn't become a hotbed if we had the right facility and the visitor bureau began working the convention circuit. Fly in the speakers (like we already do). Fly in the guests. Match them up with day trips to any number of natural wonders minutes north and south of us. After you've lived in Humboldt a few years, you forget how exciting non-locals get at truly being in nature. Not hokey pockets of nature like you get in places like Monterey.

Let's not forget Humboldt State which holds several conventions each year, despite a near total lack of appropriate facilities. Their president is already in love with Eureka. It would be a natural fit to have HSU pursue the bigger conventions they've avoided, once they have the right facility.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...equating weakness to "pussies" and fantasizing about Salzman in bed with 15 year-old Asian boys is such mind-expanding commentary. Such intelligent discourse.

Salzman's My Word was not so much "toned down" as it was well-written. But that distinction is probably lost on those who are too preoccupied with genitalia and pubescent children.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Bill G said...

Why are the three people who pay less money for the same goods at Home Depot "short sighted"? Homogeneous Crap? What, a 2X4 from Home Depot is different than the one at Ace. Please, you can do better than that.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Short sighted in that they'd prefer to save a few cents on each product to the detriment to the community as a whole. This isn't one goof's opinion. The research is well established. A small economy such as ours has a net loss with each big box opening. I'm being polite is calling those shoppers short-sighted. Ignorant would be more accurate.

At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...equating weakness to "pussies" and fantasizing about Salzman in bed with 15 year-old Asian boys is such mind-expanding commentary. Such intelligent discourse.

Salzman's My Word was not so much "toned down" as it was well-written. But that distinction is probably lost on those who are too preoccupied with genitalia and pubescent children.

I guess I could have used "big words" but I don't feel the need for a written fuff job. I think that I am correct in the fact that Salzman's mind washed followers are now stronger in the belief that he is the new god for northern california, and will follow him to the end. He's the new cult leader in Humboldt County, and let's see how it pans out.

P.S. How many people does Salzman employ in Humboldt County again? Oh, that's right.....

At 6:59 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Looks like too many "anonymous" posters here. Why don't you guys/gals at least adopt an identifying fictitious nom de plume? Otherwise "anonymous" seems to be trying to insult him/her/it's self. In any event, it looks as if one of the anonymouses above needs to find out the BENEFITS of COMPETITION from a source other than Karl Marx.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Bill G said...

Anonymous 2 -
A net loss of what? Jobs? Tax Revenue? Ignorant - right, you were being polite, but not accurate, maybe you should call them poor. It isn't a few cents. Of course, you write as though you are 'enlightened' and the rest of us are fools. Sorry, but this Fool likes big boxes. The price is right - and I don't believe it is a 'detriment to the community as a whole' - that doesn't make me ignorant, it makes you intolerant.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Bill makes a point: These big boxes can actually help the not- so- well- off financially.

It's nice for people like me, that don't have a whole lot of money to throw around, to have a place to save a few bucks at. It's a pretty hefty expense for me to pay over $100 a couple times a year for a pair of work shoes. With Big 5 Sporting Goods in town (I guess Big 5 would qualify as a big box for this purpose), I can get shoes for much less than that. They may or may be as good of shoes as I'd get at Northern Mountain Supply but at least I have a chance to save the little cash I have.

A lot of people benefit from Costco being in the gas business now, despite all the big box complaints when they were trying to move in.

And regarding JJ Perry's and "corporatization". The sign of the times I was referring to was bookstores being a much harder business to survive in. People apparently don't buy books as much as they used to. A used bookstore ended up where JJ Perry's was and it didn't last all that long, either.

Blame on the internet if you want, but books seem to be getting out of fashion with people as time goes on.

I'm trying, in fairness, to come up with some other examples of big boxes displacing other businesses around here and I'm coming up empty. I'm sure there must be some I'm forgetting. Please help if anyone knows of some.

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Nick Bravo said...

Too a certain extent one has to let market forces work, unfortunately many people are ignorant about economics. Also, in regards to Wal-mart. It gets most of its products from communist china and sends the profits too communist china. I would think that alone would convince most of the little marxist leftists to let wal-mart in. I mean, heck yer average plazoid could buy neccesities cheaply such as soap and toilet paper AND still have enough money for beer.


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