Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Humguide History Correction

Andrew Jones sent me a correction regarding my post on Bob Morse's blog. I was under the impression Bob Morse started Humguide. In Andrews own words, it wasn't quite that way:

"I started the web site in 1996 and sold it to Northcoast Internet's parent company around '98. They hired me to maintain it, but I left a while later when my "real" job went full-time. Bob [Morse] took over HumGuide's management and when Northcoast Internet died, Bob acquired HumGuide."

215 Card Fees Raised

The Eureka Reporter reports the fee medical marijuana patients pay for their identification cards has nearly doubled over the last year. It now costs around $75 to get your get out of jail free card. This supposedly due to increasing administrative and maintenance costs.

This is precisely the reason a number of Libertarians opposed Prop 215 in the first place: Why should people, especially those who are critically ill, have to deal with a bunch of bureaucratic BS just to make themselves feel better? They were certainly correct in that sense and it will likely only get worse.

Myself? I agreed with their reasoning but felt that might well be throwing the baby out with the bath water; like being against tax cuts because you insist on abolition of the income tax. I think marijuana certainly needs to be decriminalized, not legalized. Once legalized it will just end up like a cash cow for government and bureaucrats and that won't be good for anyone involved except government and bureaucrats. We need to just take laws against possession and cultivation off the books and leave it at that. That might not happen, though, at least not any time soon.

SacBee Plays Copycat

The Sacramento Bee, obviously having read the North Coast Journal's story on local bloggers, tries to catch up. They ran their own story on local bloggers. A pretty lame effort, imo, as I found it nowhere near as entertaining as the Journal's piece.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so feel flattered, Bob and Hank.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Probably not. Maybe it's just me? I just thought this photo of supposed drug paraphernalia looks awfully clean to have been something just thrown away by druggies. That's not to say such stuff isn't found on the streets and in the yards around Eureka. I found such stuff myself on occasion. This stuff just looks too new and almost unused.

I couldn't help but wonder if someone dumped that stuff behind Patty Berg's office as some kind of protest of her sponsoring a bill to make it easier for cities to take part in needle exchange programs?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Talking Tech

Poor Bob; Everyone forgot to include his blog in that North Coast Journal blog story the other day.

Bob Morse is the owner/ operator of Humguide, the unique internet directory of Humboldt County web sites. I say unique because I have yet to find a county directory as all inclusive as the one he set up. Sure, most counties have some sort of web directory, but most of them are limited to government, businesses, or both. Humguide includes personal web pages, blogs, and everything else. As long as it's based in Humboldt, or at least relevant to Humboldt, it can be listed in Humguide.

So Kudos to Bob for Humguide and be sure and visit his Talking Tech blog. He even blogged on the Balloon TracT vs. TracK fray, so it's not strictly all tech stuff. What I especially like about his blog is the calendar he has in the upper right frame. It has the dates where he's posted entries highlighted so you can see at a glance how current the posts are and just click on the dates for whatever posts you want to read. Well done, Bob! I don't know why I didn't do it when I first bumped into your blog but I've got it on my blog list now.
Speaking of county directories, a word of warning: Del Norte has an all inclusive web directory, crescentcity95531.com. Owned and operated by foggycoast.com, apparently, it has a few links I haven't found elsewhere. Be sure and have your anti- virus software updated and working when you go there, though. Last time I went there, and possibly even the time before that if memory serves me correct, I encountered a Trojan Horse virus when I tried to go to the forum they provide.

I don't know if it was some hacker that found me and tried to stuff a virus onto my hard drive, but I use a firewall so felt that unlikely. I e-mailed foggycoast both times I encountered the virus and never heard from them so I can't help but wonder if that directory was semi- abandoned and then hijacked. Beware!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Go Industrial Hemp!!!

I was surprised this bill, that legalizes the growing of industrial hemp, made it through the State Assembly. Kudos to our Assemblybabe, Patty Berg, for co- sponsoring it.

A few years ago, a similar bill by then Assemblygal, Virginia Strom- Martin, failed to make it through the Assembly Agriculture Committee. That Committee is dominated by Democrats (as are all committees in the state legislature). I figured, if it couldn't make it through that committee, the lobbying forces against industrial hemp must have be quite formidable and there'd be little hope that a bill like this would have any hope for passage.

But times seemed to have changed for the better. Even my colleague, Republican Mike Harvey, doesn't seem to have a problem with Industrial Hemp. He doesn't want this to lead to the slippery slope of legalizing marijuana, though (Always need to throw in some right wing comment at the end, don't you Mike?).

Bottom line is no one should be having to ask for permission to grow industrial hemp or marijuana, as far as I'm concerned. But, insomuch as we have to, this is a good step in the right direction. Question is; Will this bill make it through the State Senate and, if it does, will the Governator sign it? I don't know.

Thank God For Term Limits

I'm ambivalent about term limits, but knowing that our very own Wes Chesbro is prohibited by law from another term as State Senator certainly makes me grateful for them, at least in this instance. I'm sure my joy will be short lived as we can be sure someone just as much in adoration of the State will take his place. Anyone know if there are any local Democrats eyeing that seat?

But, alas, term limits works both ways. The few half decent legislators we have in the state legislature are also subject to term limits. State Senator Ray Haynes got termed out but managed to stick around by getting elected to a seat in the State Assembly. One libertarian favorite, Senator Tom McClintock, faces losing his seat as well, although I'm not sure when his term will be up. Of course, he'll be running for Lieutenant Governer this year, but I doubt he'll win.

For those of you enamored of Wes Chesbro, fear not; he's sure to show up again somewhere in the political field. That E/R article mentions him possibly running for State Assembly in 2008 and he might well win. I've also heard someone suggest he might take Dan Hauser's place as City Manager of Arcata. I would think that probable but also think that position doesn't have the power that Chesbro is accostumed to. If he goes for the City Manager job, I suspect it will only be temporary.

Bottom line is that term limits are a double edged sword: Both good and bad legislators are termed out of office and, often, are replaced by someone just as good or bad as they were. The termed out legislators often find some other way to get back into a position of power by taking either another elected position or some high paying appointment. They're almost always heard from again.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Weather Hype?

As I write this the Weather Service has high wind warnings up from 10am today until 10am Saturday. A possibility of gusts up to 40 mph. Sure doesn't look like it right now, with hardly even a slight breeze blowing. Is this a case of hyping the possibility of strong winds so the weather folks don't look like they got caught with their pants down? I guess I wouldn't blame them if it is.

Drug Free Zones

It never occurred to me that the drug bust at that house on B Street in Eureka the other day was in one of those Drug Free Zones. That subjects those arrested to enhanced sentences for illegal drug activity within 1000 feet of a school.

You've seen the signs, I'm sure; The black on white signs posted near schools that say "Drug Free School Zone", or whatever? I'd always wondered what those were all about. I read years ago that, even if you grow one pot plant in your house inside the area of one of those DFZ zones, you can get mandatory prison time, or some such. Looks like that's not always the case from what the papers are saying.

Local officials say that, because the drug activity took place inside the house, enhancements didn't apply. I wonder if that's local policy or federal policy? When I first read about DFZ years ago, I got the impression that it did apply to anywhere inside the drug free zone, inside a house or outside, regardless. I was under the impression that this DFZ thing was a federal law. Did I get that wrong?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It's Here!

The big day's here; The North Coast Journal is running their story on blogs, more specifically, local blogs. I can't really comment on it much cause I haven't read the story. I haven't gotten a hard copy yet, and it hasn't been uploaded to their web site, at least last time I looked. It should be online later today. You can read it by clicking on the NCJ link above.

Captain Buhne, of the Buhne Tribune isn't happy. He's already fuming about it. I'll have to give the Cap'n credit, he does have a better use of words than I and he's much more creative. I got to see at least the beginning of Hank Sims' part of the story using this link that the Cap'n supplied. Looks like I don't have to worry about this being a hatchet job on me. Thanks for the kind words and plug, Hank.

Now I'll have to remember to stop by that Cloney Island place up in Henderson Center to pick up the hard copy.

Instant Runoff Voting On The Table Again

Sort of old news but I just received an e-mail from the new group in the county pushing for Instant Runoff Voting, the Humboldt Voter's Association. I believe this is some splinter group formed from Dan Berman's, Voter Confindence Resolution group. I'm not sure if these two groups are even talking to each other. The HVA seems to still be speaking with Humboldt Elections Manager, Lindsay McWilliams, but I'm under the impression Berman and McWilliams aren't on pleasant terms with each other.

One of the first posts I made to this blog was on the issue of Instant Runoff Voting, which I've gone on record as supporting, for the most part. The biggest problem I have with it is it will likely give the Left and Right sides in an election an even bigger majority in areas where the Left or Right have a great numerical advantage to begin with, but, that would be a problem regardless. It still seems better than the winner take all method where a candidate can win with less than even half the votes cast.

We'll keep an eye on HVA and see how they do.

Ooops! Greens Do Support Campaign Initiative

I guess I spoke too soon in saying the Arcata Greens opposed the initiative to limit corporate contributions to local campaigns. Other Greens in Arcata say the vast majority do support the initiative, which is as I suspected it would be, if true.

Somewhat naive of me to take the results of a committee meeting at face value. Then again, some would suggest that's what those sorts of organizational meetings are supposed to be for and, as was pointed out, the meeting was announced and open to the public so those who chose not to attend can piss and moan all they want.

Whatever. Good thing is, at least I don't feel any need to apologize now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tract Winning Online Poll

Looks like Tract is winning over Track in the Times- Standard's online poll which asks what the Balloon Tract should be called. 279 to 215 just before I wrote this and the poll will be closed soon. I'll have to agree with T-S Editor, Charles Winkler. Despite being one of the instigators, I'm getting a little tired of the issue myself.

I had to laugh, after all the fuss I've raised over this. After I posted the notice of the T-S poll, I was at work and got to thinking and came to the conclusion: What difference does it make what you call the Balloon Tract? I guess the main thing that bugs me about it was I felt that changing the name to Track was a result of some reporter down the line's mistake, everyone after that picked up on it and the rest is history.

This might have happened with another word: Seems to me earthquakes were often referred to as "tremors", when I first moved up here. Then, all of the sudden I started reading "temblors", which is supposedly spanish for shaking, or some such. Might someone have misused that word somewhere way back when and that silly temblor became a commonly used mistake? Even if it could be considered an acceptable use of the word, it's still a much more awkward word than tremor.

Oh, never mind. We don't want to go there again, do we?

Where'd It happen?

The Eureka Reporter gets the edge over the Times- Standard in the coverage of the vehicle burglaries at the Broadway Cinema. Both stories pretty much cover the same things but the ER actually told us where it happened. The Times- Standard just gave a street address on the 1200 block of Broadway. Where the heck is the 1223 block of Broadway? I can never figure out where anything is on Broadway just from the street address.

More Zombie

That incredible photo journalist, Zombie, has another photo documentary up. This one covers an anti abortion rally in San Francisco and the resulting protest by pro choice forces that was held on January 21. Who comes out the winner at this event? You be the judge.

He should get paid for his documentaries.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lefty Commentator Sees The Light

Steve Lopez, of the L.A. Times finally comes around. He's realized there actually is a problem with the pensions being awarded to our local and state government employees, as he writes in this commentary. Credit to the Sacramento Bee's, Dan Weintraub, for the link.

Arcata Greens Nix Initiative

First the Eureka Greens, and now the Arcata Greens come out opposing that initiative prohibiting corporations from outside the area from contributing to local campaigns. What's going on?

I'll have to give those folks credit; maybe even apologize. I figured they'd march lock step behind any measure deemed "anti corporate". But, looks like they made a sound and reasoned judgement. Well done!

As to whether I'd support the Arcata Greens alternative proposal of limiting campaign spending to $500 per entity, I've pretty much always been against these sorts of proposals. I am sympathetic to them, though, and their proposal makes more sense to me than the other one.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Joining the Libertarian Party

The Girondin brought up the question on his blog so I decided I might as well address it this morning: How did you join the Libertarian Party? That could actually be read different ways: When did you become a libertarian? When or why did you register to vote as a libertarian, and so on. I'll try to cover them all.

I actually registered to vote as a Libertarian back when I first registered to vote. The LP had just been formed some time earlier and I'd read about it in the underground newspaper, the Los Angeles Free Press. It described it as some kind of Peace, Love and Hippiness party that sounded intriguing. I didn't really pay much attention to any issues the LP advocated for or against.

I was a punk hippie at the time so, after I moved to Eureka and turned 18, I registered to vote and wrote in Libertarian Party as my party affilliation. Since the LP had just recently been formed, it wasn't officially recognized by the State so you didn't have the option of just checking a box off.

It seems like a few months after that I was reading something in a news magazine, Newsweek maybe, about the Libertarian Party. The article was on Roger McBride, who was in the running for the Libertarian Presidential nomination. The article mentioned the LP was pretty much a collection of "ex marxists". Despite being a punk hippie, I didn't think I wanted to be any part of that. As soon as I got the opportunity, I re- registered to vote as a Republican and stayed with the Republican Party for almost twenty years.

I didn't really hear much of the LP over those twenty years except in some cult type reading materials I frequented. Kurt Saxon, who lived in Eureka at the time, wrote the Poor Man's James Bond and a series of survivalist magazines. I think they were called The Survivor. He mentioned Ayn Rand and a couple of her books, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I believe he also mentioned libertarians and maybe even the LP. The seed was planted in my mind from Saxon and Rand's works. The LP was still rarely heard about in the main stream media back then.

Fast forward to 1991, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: I was reading a copy of Soldier of Fortune magazine one day. In the letters to the editor section a writer wrote: "Hey, I'm a libertarian; You smoke your joint, I keep my gun...". I liked that. That really struck a note with me, being one who didn't have much of a problem with people smoking pot- having smoked quite a bit of it myself in my time. And I was a gun owner as well. Seemed weird to me that those two groups, always under the thumb of government for the most part, were on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

It then hit me that the problem was everyone wanted to do their own thing, they just didn't want anyone else to do theirs. With a system like that, everyone loses. That's when I started to realize what a libertarian was and that it pretty much described me. The seed had sprouted.

In 1992 I was back in Eureka again, starting my gardening business. I went to get a business license and was told that, in addition to a business license, I also needed a Home Occupancy Permit, since I worked out of my house. I guess that shouldn't be any big deal as it was only a one time $25.00 fee, but it really irritated me. Government just comes at you from all sides, doesn't it? I decided as I left City Hall that enough was enough, I was switching to the Libertarian Party. I re- registered to vote as a Libertarian almost immediately. It was kind of exciting.

I'm one of those "joiner" types; always wanting to contribute to and be kept informed of whatever interest I have at the time. So, I wanted to contribute to the LP and maybe get a few of their newsletters. The internet wasn't nearly as ubiquitous in '92 as it is now. I had no idea how to contact the LP, so I used the old fashioned Information. What's that number now, 411? The operator gave me an 800 number the LP of CA was using at the time. I called them and they sent me some material. I sent back $25 and became a member of the state party. Then I received some other material from them and found there was a national party so I joined them as well.

Been with the LP ever since and have no plans on leaving.

Update, 10/28/2013: I haven't been a dues payer to the LP for some years but am still registered to vote with the Libertarian Party.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Following The Rats

The Riverside Press- Enterprise ran a few stories today, like this one, about people leaving California for greener pastures. This one here talks a little more about the overall numbers, demographics and reasons people are leaving. There's links to a couple of other stories down at the end of each story.

I think they're actually being a bit kind to California by focusing on housing costs as the main reason people leave the state. I'd love to get out of California myself, but it isn't because of housing costs. Heck, I'm fairly comfortable with my monthly morgage payment of only $699. I think the state is screwed up politically, and that it's only going to get worse. I'm happy for Leonidas and others that were able to flee the state. I think I'm stuck here, though, unless I win the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes.

When you're on a sinking ship and the water reaches the promenade, follow the rats.- Leonidas

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stupid In America

I meant to mention it here earlier on but forgot. In fact, I forgot to watch the show myself. John Stossel's Stupid in America, another one of his hard hitting exposes, was on the other night on ABC. SIA is a well deserved slam at the Education- Industrial Complex, specifically, government run schools. I've heard rave reviews from the Right on the show and I understand the Left is naturally upset over it.

If you missed it, there's still a way to see it online. Of course, you could go to the ABC web site and buy the DVD, but that can be pricey. Chuck Muth, the guy who gave me the heads up on how to see it for free (but is it legal?), said the DVD was $29.95 on Wednesday when he ordered his. The next day it was going for $89.95. Looks like quite a demand for that show. But not to worry, you can watch it online via Realplayer by going here. Sounds like a must see show, like so much of Stossel's stuff. I'll definitely watch it if I can find the spare time.

I'll give Chuck Muth a plug here as well. Muth is an old GOP operative but a fairly libertarian leaning one. I take exception to his occasional Neil Boortz style War Party rants but he often calls it the way it is and is willing to take his fellow Republicans to task when they go astray from their supposed small government principles. He has a e-newsletter he sends out just about five days a week, but not always. I enjoy getting it. If you'd like to subscribe, sign up at Citizen Outreach.

How Timely

Perfect timing with this news item about Worth Dikeman refuting claims by the Gallegos campaign about the County being safer since Gallegos took office. As I mentioned in one of my last comments from yesterday's post, whatever statistics get thrown around, they'll get tweaked and twisted to suit whoever uses them.

Gallegos released statistics trying to back up his claim. I don't throw too much weight behind such statistics. The only one that seems a bit impressive is the one showing increased imprisonment rates from ten or more years ago. That could be a good or bad thing depending on one's point of view. I think it would depend on who's being imprisoned. But one thing that's true state wide is that violent crime is supposedly down and property crimes have gone up as of late.

Whether Gallegos can take credit for any of that, I'm skeptical. I don't see how any district attorney can take credit for having any effect on the crime rate at all. Crime is cause by all kinds of dynamics, too many for one man or an office to have much effect on. But, the DA's office is responsible for prosecuting crimes and, in so much as taking an offender off the street stops further offenses, I suppose some credit is due to the DA offices across the state. You can be sure Gallegos and his folks will still keep trying to manipulate statistics to boost his image just as Dikeman will manipulate them the other way around.

Will This Happen To Me?

Probably not, as my hard hitting commentary is looked forward to by just about anybody who's anybody, well...almost anybody. Looks like the Washington Post had to shut down their blog for a while as a result of a commentary made by one of their folks.

Friday, January 20, 2006

New Face In Gallegos Campaign

District Attorney Paul Gallegos sure seems like a pretty hard left leaning guy. Seems like everyone he associates himself with is on the left to some extent. First it was hard core lefty, Richard Salzman. Now it's Alison Nichols, whose first fifteen minutes of fame came from local coverage of her heading down to join the Cindy Sheehan camp out at Bush's ranch in Texas.

I guess it would be a little extreme to vote against someone because his campaign manager went out of her way to visit with that ate up old hag in Texas (and, no, I'm not War Party), but it makes me wonder: What kind of people does Gallegos associate himself with on a daily basis? It seems like he really goes after the local lefties for his support. Not that there's anything really wrong with that, in and of itself, but you'd think the guy would try to get a wider base of support.

That said, maybe I'm under the wrong impression because the only time I hear anything glowing about Gallegos it comes from the Left. There must be some right leaning or middle of the road type support for Gallegos around here. Isn't there? Myself? I didn't vote in the DA or Sheriff's race last time around and it's too early to say which way I'll go come this next election.

Some of Nichol's claims seem a bit out there to me, like saying crime has gone down since Gallegos has been in office. I find it hard to believe that a District Attorney can have that much to do with crime actually going down, if in fact it is down. To hear it from some people, like past Eureka Police Chief, Dave Douglas, crime has gone up lately, or at least calls for service have.

I'll stay outside of this fray, except to comment on it, and decide who to vote for in the months to come.

Balloon Track or Tract?

We've been over this before some time ago, but the question remains: I say it should be called the Balloon TracT. All the local papers I've read keep referring to it as the Balloon TracK. Eureka Reporter Editor, Glenn Franco- Simmons told me the Times- Standard used to use TracT, when he worked there but that changed after he left. I remember seeing it called the TracT when I first read about it in the T-S.

I'm told it should be called the TracK because the railroad tracKs on the property are laid out in a balloon shape. I say it should be called the TracT because they're referring to a tracT of land, although earlier on I was erroneously under the impression the tracT itself was balloon shaped. Thanks to Hank Sims for setting me straight on that. Nope. It's still the Balloon TracT. When we talk about this issue, we're talking about uses for a tracT of land. We're not discussing turning the railroad tracKs into a bike path, as some have suggested doing for the tracKs between Eureka and Arcata.

Enough said. It's showtime, folks: The T-S' weekly online opinion poll asks whether it should be the Balloon TracT or TracK. A little while ago TracT was winning by 5 votes; 76 to 71. You can cast your vote by going to the Times- Standard web site and going to the Local News page. Poll should be on the right. Poll ends Saturday or Sunday, I believe, so time is short.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

More Bad News For An Old Guy

It seems as you get older, more and more bad things happen. It's bad enough being fifty years old with less and less to look forward to. I guess it's par for the course, then, to be checking out my blog list this morning and find out that Loompanics Publishing, one of those outfits who's catalog is as fun to read as the books they sell, is closing its doors. Bummer.

I'll admit I haven't bought anything from Loompanics for years. I think the last book I bought from them was my heart throb, Claire Wolfe's, 101 Things To Do 'Til The Revolution (no longer in print, I believe. This is its replacement). Nonetheless, this is a sad day indeed, as it's just one more enjoyable thing I found in life that has gone by the wayside and will likely never be replaced. Kinda like when Tom's Sourdough Pizza, in Eureka, sold out and closed its doors. Sure, Babetta's bought the building and, while the owners are long time friends of mine, it's just not the same.

Claire Wolfe has her take on the Loompanics closing here. Except for some rambling in her beginning, I couldn't have said it better myself, at least in the short time I have now. I gotta go to work.

Local News War Escalates

In a frantic effort to stay in the race to be the predominant local newspaper, the Times- Standard started its own blog. See, Hank [Sims], I told you you should have taken advantage of that blog you started. It's not too late.

They've just started out but, from what I see of the T-S bloggers so far, it doesn't look like I'll have to worry about any competition with my hard hitting commentaries. Blog on, T-S. Question is, will the Eureka Reporter and perhaps the North Coast Journal follow suit?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I'm Famous!

Boy, you know you've really made it when Wikipedia has a page on you. Check it out.!

Recycling Taking Off...

with China being the big player nowadays. Interesting article from the Bee here on how recycling is becoming a big business and saving government and consumers money down in the Sacramento area. I remember seeing a web page, years ago, when I was starting up my Humboldt Recycler's Page. It was some kind of clearing house or bidding page for bulk recyclables. Ahhh, just found it again. All kinds of stuff being sold there. I found it interesting that back then, for paper recyclables, the only country bidding on the stuff was China. Looks like that's changed a bit with Spain and Romania jumping in, among others.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

August Leaving Fortuna Council

It looks like a sure thing that past embattled Fortuna City Council gal, Debi August, won't be seeking a second term now. You can hardly blame her. A number of newbies are seeking seats with two current council critters seeking second terms as well. Not much known about any of the others but current council dude, Dean Glaser, makes me wonder. He describes himself as a believer in "truth, justice and the American Way..." which apparently, among other things, means "enforcing speed, crosswalk and bicycle laws".

Sounds like a pretty hefty agenda for a second term, Dean. Good luck with your re-election bid. I'll feel much safer when I go to Fortuna now.
Past Harbor Commission Candidate, Maggie "never say die" Herbelin, is back pushing her proposal for a Seafood Culinary Institute, this time saying the long contested Balloon Tract might be the ideal location for it. There seems to be no shortage of people proposing government projects for the Balloon Tract. Maybe we should just put an end to the discussion and open up a new university there?
Libertarian Party Candidate for 1st Assembly District for Election 2006, Tom Reed, has the beginnings of his campaign web page up and running. Good job on the quick work, Tom.

I went to add that page to this blog's link section and made some mistake and it completely screwed up the blog template. Thought I might have to change templates or start a new blog if I couldn't fix it. Finally took care of it. What I did and how I fixed it, I have no idea.

Monday, January 16, 2006

LPers, Election 2006 and Beyond

I used to look forward to election season with some enthusiasm. Now, as I mentioned a while ago, I was kinda hoping this one would pass me by. But, it looks like the Libertarian Party of California has a pretty full slate of candidates. All the statewide offices are covered, from Governor to U.S. Senate, and Humboldt has its Congressional, State Senate and Assembly seats covered.

Got a call from Tom Reed, our State Assembly candidate a while back. I agreed to help him gather some signatures to help defray filing costs. Ken Weissman, our candidate for State Attorney General sent me a copy of his Signatures In Lieu Of petition. I'll start on his right away. Good thing about statewide candidates is it doesn't all depend on me as candidates can get signatures from across the state. For the more local candidates it pretty much depends on just me to get the signatures, at least for Humboldt County. That gets a bit tiresome. I'll make an effort at it though.

Some LPers seem to have maintained their interest in electoral politics, or at least seem to have a bit more enthusiasm for it than I do. Girondin started a blog recently where he looks all the way forward to the 2008 presidential possibilities for the Libertarian Party. He lists 25 potential candidates although why he includes that ate up hag, Cindy Sheehan, is beyond me.

Doesn't really matter to me who runs, since we're not likely to come close to winning anyway. It is nice to have a Libertarian to vote for, especially since I don't see any potential Republican or Democratic candidates as being worth wasting a vote on. So, I went along with Girondin and signed his Draft Mary Ruwart petition he just linked to on his blog. Mary Ruwart is the author of that libertarian literary staple Healing Our World (available for reading online). Not that writing a book in and of itself qualifies someone as a presidential candidate, but she's cute, and that does. See, I told you I was capable of casting my vote for frivolous reasons at times.

Ed Thompson, who won two counties in his bid for Governor of Wisconsin a few years ago would be my other choice, maybe my first. He doesn't have a Draft Thompson petition to sign yet, though. There's still plenty of time to change my mind.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Demise of the UFW

Interesting Sunday reading here, for those of you that may have wondered what happened to the old United Farm Workers union. Looks like the same old story: Seems like after a while, just about any type of organization loses sight of its original purpose and takes on a life of its own.
In honor of today's Times- Standard editorial, I thought I'd close (again) with my favorite Charley Reese quote:

"Given the low level of competence among politicians, every American should become a libertarian. The government that governs the least is certainly the best choice when fools, opportunists and grafters run it. When power is for sale, then government power should be severely limited. When power is abused, then the less power the better."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Local Republicans Ready To Rumble?

Maybe so, now that most of the activists that left their Central Committee have returned. George Benzel is the newly elected Chair. I've seen his name around but don't believe I've ever met him. A number of other familiar faces and names are back in the pack as well: Mike Harvey, former Chair and now Vice- Chair; Joy Finley and Marc Matteoli, both of whom I know, Marc being my brother in law and living across the street from me. Joy and Marc sign on as district leaders or whatever the designation is. What I didn't see in this Eureka Reporter article was any mention of whether immediate past Chair, Lori Metheny, was at the meeting where all this took place. Are they all still speaking?

It will be interesting to see if they make any headway in Humboldt. Of course, these are really just the same faces from before so it would make more sense to ask if they'll do anything different. The Left has the ball and is running with it. We'll have to see if they take on any issues that are in with the mainstream and make them their own. I Wonder if they can become an effective counter to the relatively new lefty PAC, Local Solutions? They've got a tough row to hoe, most of them being hard partisan Republicans with fairly hard right political leanings.
Speaking of Local Solutions; I see they sent the North Coast Journal's Sims/ Arkley interview out over their e-mail list last night. I can't help but wonder if that was meant merely as informational, or as something troubling that could be used to rally their troops? I thought it was an interesting interview. The Left might of seen it as much more than that, perhaps a warning of bad things to come and we'd better get moving to stop it.

There was mention in the e-mail that Local Solutions opposed the Big Box plan. I believe it said ANY big box plan. So, the two main players in the fight might well be Local Solutions and the Republican Central Committee, assuming the Republican's want to identify themselves as the other side in the fight. I suspect they won't have to as they could simply join the fight under the auspices of the Humboldt Economic Land Plan, which seems to consist pretty much of high profile Republicans and developers, at least from what I've seen of it. I'm not sure that would be what HELP's function is supposed to be but, regardless, the same faces and names will likely be the ones in the fray, no matter what they call themselves.

Are we ready to rumble?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sears Weighs In On Balloon Tract Plan

Leo Sears, representing the Humboldt Taxpayer's League, weighs in on the Balloon Tract controversy in the Times- Standard's My Word column today. Interesting that it was published so soon after Salzman's commentary. Seems a bit quick to be in direct response to Salzman so it's likely just a coincidence.

Sears and the Taxpayer's League support the Arkley big box plan for the Balloon Tract. I tend to agree, as I alluded to earlier, if only because would be done with Security National's money as opposed to taxpayer funds. It certainly isn't likely to draw new people up here just to shop at a Home Depot, but a convention center isn't likely to draw enough people up here either. At least not enough people to pay for its multi- million dollar cost to the taxpayer.

Our very own Hank Sims, of the North Coast Journal, has started his own blog. Well, kinda. He just started one so he could use it for identifying himself when he makes comments. Someone turned the tables on him over at the Buhne Tribune and did the same thing just to jerk his chain, using the name he was using, so that kind of put the quash on that. I say make lemonade out of lemons, Hank! Use that blog.

I know it might be problematic separating what you write on your blog with what you write in the North Coast Journal but I think it's worth a shot. Heck, Dan Weintraub, of the Sacramento Bee does it. If nothing else, you could use your blog to comment on other blogs. No flaming this blog, though. That's off limits.
Speaking of Hank Sims, I almost missed his interview in this week's North Coast Journal, of Cheri Arkly. They're talking about the Balloon Tract. At least I spell Tract right.

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?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Convention Center For Balloon Tract?

Robert Neefus wrote this opinion piece that appeared in both the Times- Standard and Eureka Reporter today. He doesn't think a Home Depot would be a proper use for the now vacant Balloon Tract, on the waterfront in Eureka, and that more imagination is needed. His suggestion: a 10,000 seat convention/ conference center topped off by putting Eureka City Hall on top of it. That's not the first time we've heard a call for a convention center for Eureka but it's the first time I've heard someone suggest putting Eureka City Hall on top of one. Now that's imaginative!

Nope. First, City Hall is fine where it is. If it works, don't try and fix it; at least City Hall is already paid for. He makes at least one good point, though: We don't need more hotel rooms, we need more people to occupy hotel rooms. But his idea belongs with the sell- trinkets- to- tourists approach to improving the local economy and I've been more than just skeptical of that.

Would a convention center draw the kind of numbers to the county that Neefus suggests? I don't think many clubs, organizations or businesses would choose someplace like Humboldt for a convention. It's too far away from the rest of the world. I know that when the Libertarian Party of California has conventions they're held in either the northern or southern part of the state on alternating years. When the convention is held up north, and by north they usually mean Sacramento or Santa Clara counties, mostly just the people living within easy driving distance would show up. Same with when they held it in the south.

I don't think it would draw a big enough crowd to make it worthwhile. That's usually the case with these government subsidized sports stadiums and other projects taxpayers are talked into. They generally take more money in taxes than they bring in revenue. If a bunch of people want to voluntarily pitch in enough money to build a convention center, have at it. I'd love to see it. But this idea is way too risky for the use of taxpayer's money.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Big Blow of '77

One of the latest entries on Bill Kowinski's Dreaming Up Daily blog prompted me to recall a big windstorm we had back around 1977. It might of been '76, I'm not really sure. Caught everyone by surprise. No rain, just a real strong wind.

I'm not sure even what time of the year it was, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't winter as it wasn't too cold at the time. I was a caretaker on a ranch up in Maple Creek back then. My only link to the outside world was a transistor radio and I'd listen to that for my news and entertainment. Nothing unusual to start with that day and no word of any weird weather on the radio. I remember it being an unusually pleasant day and, when the sun went down, the whole sky was reddish orange which, while pretty, was unusual.

Then, after the sun went down, the wind picked up. It kept getting stronger until, by 9pm, you could hear trees up and down the mountain snapping. I was scared to death the trees next to my cabin would come down on me. I sat there listening to my mainstay at the time, KRED radio, and the lady DJ finally mentioned that bad things were happening and to stay inside. Then, when they would normally go off the air for the night, she announced they were on generator power and they'd stay on the air until things settled down. I can't remember her name but she was a godsend to me at the time. Years later that lady worked for one of the local TV News shows and I called her up and thanked her for her efforts that night.

Anyway, that was a bad one. I wanted to get away from the cabin and head to the bosses place as he had a place in a clearing about a mile away but there was so much debris flying through the air I might well have been injured or killed trying to get away from my cabin, so, I sat it out. Wind finally started slowing down about one or two in the morning. Got word later that winds of up to 90 miles an hour were recorded on Kneeland.

That was a biggie. I'm surprised I haven't heard others mention it after this last big storm. Power was out for three days at my bosses house on Pine Hill in Eureka. Power outages didn't really affect me as my cabin never had power or running water in the first place.

That was just around 30 years ago. Anyone remember that one?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Hwy 299 Fix Part of Governator's Bond Proposal

I'll admit I'm glad to see some work will be done to make Buckhorn Summit, up on Highway 299, a little easier to travel. I'm even more happy that Highway 101, down around Confusion Hill, is going to get some sort of bypass relatively soon, or so they say. That stretch of road is a nightmare and I'll be having to travel it regularly fairly soon.

That said, along with a lot of others, I'm not all that happy with the Governor's latest apparent cave in to the big spenders in the State Legislature as evident in his recent State of the State Speech. Seems like he just wants everyone to like him so is doing what he can to appease the people in state government that ran this state into the ground.

But, my opinion of the Governator isn't as fast and hard as that of some others. Past Libertarian Party Gubernatorial Candidate, Richard Rider, wrote his own scathing analysis of what he feels has transpired in the Governor's office. The Sacramento Bee's, Dan Weintraub, has a different take on it. Hard to say who's opinion is most accurate. Probably a bit of truth to both, but I think Rider is correct in forecasting the end result: No major changes for the good forthcoming in this state in the foreseeable future.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

2006 Web Log Awards

The sixth annual web log awards are accepting nominations until January 10. I'm sure all of you will be nominating this blog for the Best American Blog category, or Best Political. Thanks in advance for your support.

Let The Games Begin!

Since the leftie PAC, Local Solutions, sent this Times- Standard editorial out over its mailing list yesterday, the TS must have a point. The battle between Bonnie Neely and Nancy Fleming for Neely's seat on the Board of Supervisors might well be the Left vs. Right fight of the next local election. Interesting that both Neely and Flemming are Republicans, although I don't think anyone could label Neely a conservative. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, what issues will be focused on and, most of all, who wins.

I think it's a safe bet that Local Solutions will endorse Neely, except you have to wonder if they'll consider Neely progressive enough for them, especially after their endorsement of some of the worst candidates on the ballot this last election. I'm not so sure that Neely will want their endorsement but, if she can get some local conservative types to back her, as well, it might give her the appearance of having support across the board. I can't think of any local conservatives that would support Neely. Then again, I'm not really in that loop. I'd almost feel safe in predicting the endorsements for either candidate will be split along left and right lines, again, assuming Neely decides to openly identify herself with the Left.

Should be an interesting fray.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Who'll Protest The New Power Plant?

The issue of a replacement for the aging Humboldt Bay Power Plant comes up again. One question I have is who's going to protest the construction when it begins? You just know someone or some group is going to come up with some reason it shouldn't be built. That's what happens everywhere in the state, whenever a new power plant is proposed.

Any best guesses?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Eureka Temporary Tax To Be Extended

Looks like the Eureka Financial Advisory Committee is going to recommend putting the Utility Tax on the ballot for an eight year extension. This tax was sold as a temporary tax when it first came up for discussion years ago and the last time around the extension barely passed. This time, if the Financial Advisory Committee has their way, not only will the tax extension last eight years as opposed to four, they're recommending the tax be increased to 4%, from the current 3%. To add insult to injury, they also want the tax added to even more utilities like water and sewer.

Let this be a lesson for all of you that keep falling for this "It's only temporary" line tax advocates keep using. There's no such thing as a temporary tax. After all is said and done, once a tax is enacted, government will spend every penny of that tax revenue and more.

But doesn't the City need the money, you ask? There are some who will always think so. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association crunches the numbers in this report. You can decide for yourself.
Looks like your very own Freddy got another fifteen minutes of fame this month. I was surprised to see myself mentioned in a top of the fold article on the front page of the December issue of the Libertarian Party of California's newsletter, California Freedom (Acrobat Reader required). It's not that I actually did anything, they just use me as a reference. But, that's kinda cool.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Patriotic Mom Loses Her Spot

Sorry, Pam, but your Patriotic Mom blog just got knocked down from its place on my list as the scariest blog. Enter the Creative Conservative, or whatever he calls himself. Just found his blog this morning. It's hard to get all the way through this guy's blog as the way he has his blog set up it almost seems like one long post. It's tough on my attention span.

The scary thing about this guy, at least to me, is what seems to be his blind allegience to all things Republican, blaming anything to do with terrorism on the Democrats. He also seems to be a staunch supporter of anti- terror legislation, no matter what it involves. I have to wonder if he'd be as happy with the PATRIOT Act and the all the rest of this anti- terror stuff if a Democrat was in the White House and doing the same thing? Hard to say from my first read of his blog whether he's just blindly loyal to the Republicans, or an authoritarian blindly loyal to government power no matter what side of the aisle it comes from. If he's the latter, I wonder if those aren't the scariest people of all?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Governor Mulls Minimum Wage Increase

It looks like the Governor might support an increase in the state's minimum wage. We'll see for sure when he gives his State of the State address in a few days.

Minimum wage laws have never been a big issue to me so I won't argue the merits, or lack thereof, of such laws here. Suffice it to say, after all is said and done, minimum wage earners end up back at square one not long after their wage is raised as prices of goods and everyone else's wages are raised to accomodate the new minimum wage and its resulting inflationary pressures.

What really has me wondering is where the Governor is heading with this. It looks like the Governor isn't just trying to cooperate more with a Democratic controlled legislature; it looks more like he's starting to cave in to the legislature. Some, myself included, have worried that one result of the fallout of the Special Election and his attempts to reconcile differences with the Democrats will be a move to the Left on his part. This minimum wage hike business is an early indication that might be exactly what's happened. Too early to really say for sure.

I understand some Republicans in Congress are supporting a minimum wage increase on the federal level, as well, so Ahnold isn't the only one.

Supervisor Geist Vulnerable?

That's what past 5th District supervisorial candidate, Ben Shepherd, says. Being a person- in- the- know, he's better qualified than I am to judge. He mentions a couple other past supervisors; one who was re- elected and one who wasn't, suggesting that Geist's track record is more along the line of the one who wasn't. I think it would make sense to use more than two cases to make such a comparison. He makes a good, although somewhat obvious, point: A candidate who people are familiar with always has an advantage over an unknown. According to Shepherd, although Geist is the incumbent, she's relatively unknown in her district.

Hmm... he mentioned past 5th District Supervisors, Anna Sparks and Eric Hedlund. I remember the names but can't put a face on them.

Monday, January 02, 2006

KHUM Gets Plug, ER Has Problems

As Hank Sims pointed out yesterday, KHUM radio stayed up and running during the big storm keeping the public informed of what was going on. Today's Times- Standard gave them a well deserved plug for their efforts. The other radio stations, that just went about their business as usual, should hang their heads in shame.
Captain Buhne, of the Buhne Tribune, points out that Sunday was supposed to be the first day of the Eureka Reporter's move to being a daily paper. Problem was, they were a no show. No one that I know of received the Reporter yesterday. Apparently, the editor of the Reporter wasn't anticipating that, from the looks of this editorial published yesterday. In fairness, that editorial was likely written before the storm hit and all the power went out.

Or maybe their delivery people just wigged out? It's just about 9am on Monday as I write this. I looked all over and can't find today's ER anywhere in front of my house, although my inlaws across the street have what looks like the ER laying in front of their house. Must be a delivery problem. Still, not a good start.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Don't You Hate It...

when the power goes out?

For those from outside Humboldt County, we had a big storm come through here yesterday. Winds up to 85mph, the newspaper says. Another one's coming through right now but it's not expected to be as bad. Still, from what it looks like, it almost seems like the way yesterday's storm started out.

We lost our power around 9:30am, after a few false alarms. I can tell when we might have power problems cause some of the electrical devices in the house make noises. Luckily, I have Uninteruptible Power Sources on both computers so was able to shut everything down after we lost power. For those that don't have UPS, I highly recommend them. They're not very expensive; the smaller one I use with the e-machines computer was around $89.The one I use on this machine was something like $129.

The size you want depends on how much power your computer and monitor uses and the UPS gives you up to a half hour, depending on your power draw and the size of the UPS, to finish whatever you're doing. It's probably best to just save whatever you're working on and shut down the system, as there's no way of knowing just how long the UPS will keep you going or when the power will come back on. I know a local businessman who thought his UPS could keep him going just like the power was on. Some years ago the power went out and he just kept on with what he was doing. The UPS dried up, computer died, and he lost all kinds of data that cost him thousands to get back.

So, when I heard the UPS beeping, alerting me to the power having gone out, I shut this machine down. What the heck do you do next? You never realize how dependent you are on electricity until you lose it. It drives me nuts not having electricity even for a little while and yesterday the power was off here for around 15 hours, coming back on around midnight.

I ended up doing some reading. First, since we didn't have lights to read by, I cleaned the windows in the living room to allow more light to come in. Yes, I think it helped. Then I found an issue of Liberty magazine I'd had yet to read. Browsed through Liberty and then grabbed a couple books on writing I'd been meaning to dust off and read.

I'd bought Elements of Style years ago and just browsed through it. Seemed a bit dry to me as I wasn't doing much, if any, writing at the time. This time I tried to actually get something out of it and, while I didn't read the whole book, found some aspects of my writing that need work. Next was On Writing Well. Only got to Chapter 3 in that one. Just as well as the way it looks right now, we might well lose power again and I'll have that book to read.
We're not all that well equipped for these sort of emergencies, but we have a few things on hand. We have enough batteries to run the radio and flashlights for a couple days, plus a few large candles. The stove and water heater run on natural gas so hot meals and showers are covered. One problem would be heating. Good thing this storm is relatively warm. We have a forced air gas heater. The heater would work but the electric blower that forces the air into the house wouldn't.

We also have an assortment of canned food in the garage so we could mix something up to eat for at least a few days. Didn't want to go there, yesterday, so went on a foraging trip for lunch and found Taco Bell open and brought home burritos for lunch. We had some ribs for dinner, cooked in the gas oven. A bit of a drag eating by candlelight, though, as you can't really see what you're doing, especially with a messy food like ribs.

One thing we dropped the ball on is water. We need to have some water stored although that's probably not a life threatening issue in a major rainstorm. I used to keep some water stored in containers for emergencies but I'd been told if you don't refresh the water regularly it gets "flat", or it ends up with mildew and fungus in it unless you mix bleach with it. I gave up trying to keep track of refreshing the water supplies and decided to look into buying one or two of those five gallon water jugs that Crystal Springs sells. Still haven't gotten around to looking into that.

Another thing I need to do is buy a watch. I stopped wearing watches years ago, not being the kind of guy that likes jewelry, or anything else, attached to my body. But not knowing the time was unsettling to me. Turned out the wife had a battery powered clock in her sewing room and I suppose I could have always gone out to the truck and checked the clock radio. Still, I need to buy a watch, instead of having to go look to find out what time it is.You might ask why I didn't just listen to the radio to get the time. I did. The stations I listen to, especially KXGO, rarely mention the time.
Along that line, my only complaint over this storm was the local radio stations. I had a hard time finding any stations with news updates. Found one earlier on that had storm news but forgot to make note of which one it was, then I couldn't seem to find it again. Surfing the radio channels it seemed like most of the stations were doing business as usual, playing music. KXGO, in particular, didn't give any storm updates, at least while I was listening. What a pathetic bunch of stations. We found one later that had occasional updates but it seemed like some canned, recorded thing that kept giving the same info.

I don't expect every station to drop everything and focus on the storm for the entire day but they could at least give a situation report every hour or so. I guess that would be too much work?