Friday, June 30, 2006

Voter Stuff

I see local voting reform gadfly Dave Berman got a two- fer today with two different opinion pieces in both the Eureka Reporter and Times- Standard on the same day.

I'll have to admit I didn't read either of them. Too many words for my attention span. Keep in mind, Dave, the more words you use, the less likely it is that someone will bother reading them. In my case, I often don't even bother starting to read them if they're too long.

Scott Menzies, of the Humboldt Voter Association, informs me they're planning on doing another demonstration of Instant Runoff Voting during the November election. They're also planning a demonstration of Proportional Representation for Arcata that same election.

They'll be having a preliminary organizational meeting in August. If interested in getting involved or learning more about IRV, PR or the demonstration itself, contact Scott.

A Bad Black Market

I've said in a previous comment that I love black markets and bootleggers. Sounds a bit preposterous to most, I suppose, but it's true. I'm kinda hoping that some of these drug cartels will see the value to be gained in smuggling tobacco products. That would ensure a low cost and easily available supply for all that choose to partake.

Only problem with that is that might well turn the tobacco markets into a shooting war, as has happened with the other illegal drugs. I suppose that's inevitable, though, regardless of what I might want.

There is one black market I have no sympathy for: Poaching fish and abalone for commercial use. Glad they caught those guys.

Oh, if asked for a login on the Sacbee web site, use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot for the password.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More Taxes Coming Up

The Orange County Register takes a look at two ballot initiatives Californians will vote on this November, giving both the slam they deserve.

It's always frightening from a libertarian point of view to see things like this on the ballot in California. They might well pass. But, voters rejected the last two initiatives, and one, that universal preschool initiative that targeted wealthy people, should have been a fairly easy one to pass. Californians are just like everyone else in being willing to pass a tax that doesn't apply to them.

It will be interesting to see if the NO trend continues with these two. If the proposed tobacco tax loses, I'd say that might well be the sign of a new trend among California voters. Then again, I think you'd have to look at it in the context of all the initiatives that pass or fail this November to try and establish a trend.

As for me, I'll certainly be voting NO on both the tobacco and gas taxes. Not just for the money but as a matter of principle.

Confusion Hill Bypass Underway

I knew it was in the works but didn't know they'd started work on the bypass of Highway 101 around Confusion Hill. We drove by there twice earlier this week and didn't notice anything new. Thanks to the Redwood Times for the heads up. Did I miss it in any of the other papers?

If you want to see what the plan is check out the Caltrans web site. Looks like the bypass will start at the Redwood Resort, spanning the river northward and cutting into the mountainside just north and across the river from the slide area. Then, the second span of bridge brings it back over the river again to the highway.

This will certainly be something to look forward to. It's supposed to be completed around 2009. I might just live long enough to see it finished.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Has Channel 3 Joined The Conspiracy?

It's so much fun hearing from so many people thinking the news is slanted one way or the other. I don't recall hearing much about our local T.V. news slanting their coverage. Here's one guy that thinks they might well be.

Along the same subject line, a veteran journalist tells of his experience over the years with editors and publishers managing content.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Too Much Garbage

Yet another study taking place. This time it's about garbage.

I'm surprised Eureka and the county at large hasn't diverted at least half of the waste we send to landfills. But, I guess if you look at the actual dumping operation at Eureka City Garbage, you see a lot of stuff being thrown out that doesn't need to be.

Sunday I was in there and saw a trailer full of old lumber being dumped. That could have been thrown in with the green waste, which ends up being chipped up. Maybe it was treated or had paint on it? Treated or painted wood doesn't go with green waste.

I still say they ought to try doing what they did years ago:

They used to have two or three guys going through the dumped trash and removing recyclabes. Those same people got to turn in the bottles and cans for trash.

Seems to me they could extend that and have them remove cardboard, lumber and all the rest, hopefully screening it when it comes in so it doesn't get dumped in the first place, like the lumber I saw getting dumped on Sunday.

One thing I don't want to see, as I've said before here, is trash pick up being made mandatory. That's not going to solve the trash or diversion problem and will just be one more thing you have to pay for.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Salzman Targets Eureka PD

Now that Richard Salzman and company has succeeded in screwing up the District Attorney's office for another four years, as I suspected would happen, his sights are now set on another target.

The latest from Richard's mailing list asks everyone to "lobby" (my word) the Eureka City Manager to select a progressive police chief, now that the City has started their search for a replacement for retired Chief, Dave Douglas.

Here's his marching orders to the minions:

If you live in Humboldt County, please help guide the Eureka City
Manager in the selection of a humanitarian police chief who will take a sane
and rational approach to dealing with all of our citizens including the
mentally ill and who will respect and uphold California law including
prop 215.

Police Chief Recruitment Survey
The City of Eureka invites you to participate in the selection of its
next Police Chief. Please click on the attached pdf, print out the
survey and return it to the City Manager's office by July 21, 2006. You
may mail the survey to:

City of Eureka, City Manager's Office
531 K Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Or Fax your survey to 707.441.4138
Thank you for your participation.
Download Survey :

Gee, he lives in Trinidad. Whatever happened to local control?


A Free Internet Post

This post is being made at UCSF on one of those free internet deals. They have a couple of iMacs here, one in the food court and the one I'm using just outside the technology store. They have these things set up where anyone can just walk up and play with them.

Main problems I have is you have to stand to use it and it makes it difficult to type. I'm also not familiar with macs so last time I used this I couldn't figure out how to get back to the desktop after checking my e-mail.

Hope nobody's got a keystroke logger on this thing. They'll be able to hack my blog. Oh well, nothing happened last time I used this.

Maybe I'll make a real post later tonight after we're outta here. Later.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I've never been very fond of the idea of using ethanol as a fuel substitute. Here's a lefty argument against using corn based ethanol. The comments at the bottom are pretty interesting as well.

Rushton's Column

I see the Eureka Reporter's Nathan Rushton has a column now. I think I've seen it before but never bothered reading it. Today he deals with some Eureka Reporter and Arkley myths.

Is it just me? I don't understand the following that I've clipped from his column:

The Eureka Reporter’s circulation numbers are reaching well above 22,000 because the paper’s carriers are throwing 22 papers each to 1,000 of the area’s most conservative-leaning homeowners in Eureka:

I don't get the 22 papers each to 1000... thing. Does that make sense to anyone else?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thompson's Wilderness Bill

The Times- Standard had a short mention of the latest push poll hitting the county. They ask your opinion on various aspects of Mike Thompson's proposal to create more wilderness areas in Northern California. This is the same one our very own Erik Kirk mentioned on his blog the other day.

I don't know that I would have bothered with an automated poll. I'd feel like a fool answering questions from a machine.

I kind of wish they'd have called me, though. Unlike Eric, I'm opposed to Thompson's wilderness bill. We have plenty of wilderness areas in this country as it is. No need for any more.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Like WinCo

I was standing in line at the checkout with my fellow riff- raff at WinCo, in the Eureka Mall today, when Leo Sears' My Word column in today's Times- Standard came to mind.

I'm glad we didn't have all the anti- business sentiment we have in Humboldt today when WinCo came to town. Neat store, good prices (although some things are better bought at Grocery Outlet) and the cheapest beer in town.

Hey, when a store sells a case of Hamms Beer for $9.15 they'll get my business all the time. I used to frequent Safeway back when they sold three 12 packs of Old Milwaukee for something like $9.99 but, for some reason they decided not to carry any cheap beer anymore.

Detractors of big box stores don't realize how nice it is for us low income folks to have some place to buy things on the cheap and it's generally the big boxes that provide that opportunity.

They can actually help other smaller businesses, too.

The last time I went to WinCo, there was some gal in line in front of me. She had tons of everything: Eggs, vegetables, milk, you name it. Much more than I would think even a large family would need. I figured it had to be an institutional purchase. Maybe a rest home or the Senior Center.

When she finally got done with her business I quickly paid for the three or four items I was buying and went around to load my stuff and she was still packing up all her stuff. She apologized for taking so long. I told her I didn't mind ( I really didn't, but I could see the ladies behind me were getting annoyed).

I told her I figured she must be buying for some institution with a shopping list like hers. She said, "No, we actually own a small store. We can actually buy things cheaper here than we can from some distributors, so we buy a lot of our stuff here.".

Wow. That was a surprise. I'm still kicking myself in the head for not asking what store she runs. There's one small business that's thankful for at least one big box in town.

Arcata's Budget

So, Arcata passed their annual budget. No real news there.

What caught my eye was this paragraph:

Arcata’s total budget is $28.7 million. Of that, $8.1 million is in the general fund, which covers most city departments’ operating costs and basic services. Enterprise funds, including water, wastewater, storm drainage and transit, and Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program grants represent the remainder of the budget, or $20.6 million.

Only $8 million goes to the general fund? Wouldn't you expect it to be the other way around with the $20 million going to the general fund instead?

Are all city budgets this lopsided?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

County Redevelopment Changes

I was pleased to see Manila taken off the list of communities in the proposed county redevelopment plan. It's also good to see the Supes taking what seems to be a more cautious approach to the whole issue.

I kind of wish they'd drop the whole idea entirely.

Grow and Eat Locally

Thanks to Eric for reminding me of the Redwood Times web site. I stopped by there this morning and found this article of interest.

Neat idea, I suppose; Growing all the food we need right here in Humboldt. Might or might not be a worthy goal. I'm not sure but it's hard to tell if Ms Ornelas finds the thought of exporting foodstuffs offensive. Kind of reads that way.

With a last name like that, she might well be opposed to exporting as then farming becomes more akin to industry than some nice down- home, back to the earth experience and we certainly want as little industry in this county as possible, don't we?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Harvey vs. Pollace

Cute little opinion battle in the Eureka Reporter today, for those that haven't seen it:

Local lefty gadfly, Chuck Harvey, writes that people should be outraged at the Eureka Reporter. Eureka Reporter publisher, Judi Pollace, responds.

Not unlike some of the back and forth on this blog.

Eureka Utility Tax On The Ballot

Looks like Eureka's Utility Tax will be on the ballot in November. The tax, billed as temporary when it was approved by voters years ago, passed by a fairly close vote last time around.

Looks like the council, led for the most part by Chris Kerrigan, is trying to remove a cap placed on how much some businesses have to pay and remove an exemption for seniors.

No mention made of other proposals made by the City Finance Committee to expand the number of utilities the tax is applied to and increase the tax itself. I wonder if that needs to be on the ballot as well, or if the council can just do that unilaterally?

Opponents of this tax from its inception, myself being one of them, were right: Once this tax was passed, it would never go away, at least if the powers that be had their way. There's no such thing as a temporary tax. It will also be raised and expanded as time goes on.

What will be interesting is to see what sort of campaign the city and the public employee unions run to get the tax continued. I suppose it will be the same old thing we've always seen with pictures of cops and firefighters begging to not lose their jobs.

We needed to nip this thing in the bud when it was first passed. We didn't. We almost did the last time around. If we have a last chance to end this tax, it will be this November. Let's make it happen.

Fish Cops In Short Supply

There's a story in the Times- Standard today about a dog being killed by a mountain lion down at Confusion Hill. I can't find the story on the T- S web site.

The story seems to emphasize the slow response Fish and Game made to the scene, not getting there until four days after the incident. The Sacramento Bee coincidentally ran this story on the state of game warden recruitment and retention in California.

Something I rarely think about. I'd never realized how thinly spread the fish cops are in this state.

The Freedom Test

Yet another political quiz. This one, put together by the Orange County Register, determines how freedom oriented you are. Unfortunately, it isn't automatically scored for you so grab a pencil and paper and just write down your choice; a,b,c or d.

Your freedom orientation, determined by how you answer the questions, is explained at the end of the test. It says the answers are on Page 5, but no need to go look for Page 5 as I see it.

BTW; To the other bloggers who come here, am I the only one who doesn't have the font selection available in the Compose window anymore? That and a few other applications have been missing since yesterday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cheap Gas

Ok, I'm back.

Cheapest gas I could find was the Valero station on North State Street in Ukiah this morning.$3.13 for regular unleaded.

You number crunchers out there get to work and figure out if it's worth it to drive to Ukiah for a fill up.

An Old Friend Who Made It

I was watching T.V. last night about that celebrity gal's boyfriend who might end up being alive, having possibly faked his own death. They showed the private investigator who was working on the case and the name and appearance was familiar.

When I went through the C/R Police Academy back in '84, a John Nazarian sat next to me. The guy on TV looked similar but if it was the same guy, he really changed his appearence over the years.

So, I did a web search this morning, and yep, it's the same guy. This overview of the, now a celebrity of sorts, John Nazarian, shows him attending the C/R Police Academy. It also mentions him having been an undertaker.

I remember John saying he worked on the bodies of the Symbionese Liberation Army members that were killed in the big shootout in L.A. decades ago. He said they were all wearing gas masks and the masks were melted to their faces from the house they were in catching fire.

Anyway, interesting seeing someone I knew back in the old days making it big.

Monday, June 19, 2006

It Will Always Be Rhodesia To Me

Posting this from the Discovery Inn in Ukiah so that's why no post this morning. I figured I'd better post something so those of you that pitched in for this Dell laptop would feel your money wasn't wasted. Thanks again.

Not enough time to peruse all the newspapers today, but I did get the rare chance to read a hard copy of the S.F. Chronicle. Actually, it wasn't really a rare chance, it was more of needing something to do with over two hours between appointments at UCSF Medical Center.

Anyway, it's good to see the main stream media covering the situation in Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia. Rhodesia, used to be one of the few food exporting countries in Africa. As the article says, it was referred to as the Breadbasket of Africa, or some such.

But, being a politically incorrect symbol of apartheid, most of the world supported the communist insurgency that eventually overthrew white rule.

Now, with marxist president/ dictator, Robert Mugabe, in charge, the country is spiralling into disaster, if it's not there already.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dump Your Garbage Now!

I was just down at City Garbage in Eureka and they've informed me the minimum fee for dumping solid waste (not green waste) will be going up to $8.00 effective July 1. Since City Garbage is run by the Humboldt Waste Management Authority, I assume other dump sites will raise their minimum fee as well.

Best gather up all that junk you've had laying around and take it in now. Either that, or subscribe to Humboldt Freecycle where you can offer still useable items to others that might want them.

I liked the good old days at City Garbage when they used to charge by volume. I used to go in to dump green waste and would take along the one thirteen gallon garbage bag of trash I'd accumulated from the house. I'd ask the guy, "How much to dump this bag?". He'd usually tell me to just go ahead and dump it and don't worry about the charge.

Good times don't last forever so now I'd have to pay the minimum charge just to dump an ashtray there. But, a while back I went ahead and signed up for home pick up of my trash. At something like $15 a month for weekly pick up, I feel that's a bargain. I should of done that long ago.

Gov. Employee Unions Beaten

In one of the rare instances of government employee unions taking a beating on an issue, Orange County elects a supervisor the unions hated. The issue: Public employee pensions.

Of interest, for those who claim unions don't contribute much to campaigns, is the following excerpt:

Now he believes that retirement benefits are a looming crisis, in Orange County and for local governments across California. His focus on the issue made him the No. 1 target of the public employees unions in the June 6 election. They spent more than a quarter-million dollars trying to defeat him.

I'm still wondering how well funded the pension funds of our local government employees are?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Poll Removed

I took the political party poll down. I forgot just what day I put it up but I figure it's been at least a week and that should give a good sample of just what kind of folks visit this blog. Here's the final count:

15 Republicans, 21 Democrats, 13 Greens, 7(!) Libertarians, 1 Constitution, 5 Decline To State.

Nice mix there. The number of registered Libertarians is surprising. Then again, that doesn't mean they're all Humboldt Libertarians, either.

Actually, no way to tell where any of them are from and no way to tell how many of those that took the poll visit here regularly or just stumbled in here somehow while surfing other blogs.

62 people took the poll but I'm sure some were people who just stumbled in here. I've always wondered just how many people actually come here every day or so?

If anyone has any suggestions for a new poll, feel free to make them.

What Price For A Garden?

Leo Sears' My Word column yesterday dealt with the fiscal aspects of open space- in this instance community gardens- referring to the big brouhah taking place in Los Angeles over some land currently being used for public gardening.

In this case, while I appreciate Leo's concern for fiscal responsibility, I'm not so sure that's the only consideration that should be taken into account.

This editorial from yesterday's Sacramento Bee has a different take on the issue. I'm not sure just where I stand, but as I've said before, there is something to be said for just a plain old empty lot.

Another Measure X

I found Martha Walden's My Word column, in today's Times- Standard, a fun read, not that I agree with everything she wrote. She just seems to have an almost Andy Rooney- type style.

Hmmm...Martha Walden: Have I seen or heard that name somewhere before?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The GREG Poll

Kudos to the Times- Standard for publishing the questions the Citizens for Real Economic Growth included in their public opinion poll on what the future of the Balloon Tract should be.

I wondered about that and, while I'm not saying the questions were necessarily skewed to acheive a given result, they could create a false positive or negative response simply because of the variety in the way people think about the question and choices offered.

I told Eureka Chamber of Commerce head honcho, J. Warren Hockaday, I might well fall into the group of people who think the Marina Center is not the best use for the Balloon Tract, despite being a supporter, if anything, of private development over government. Surprised?

Here's the list of the choices GREG offered in their poll:

The site could include...

A park with restored wetlands and trails?
A community pool and fitness center?
A convention center?
An aquarium?
A shopping mall or large retail development?
Residential housing and apartments?

Interesting that four out of six of the choices involve some sort of government project and thus government funding. If you include Residential housing and apartments as a government project-

(Remember that one of our commentors here suggested the Balloon Tract be turned over to the Eureka Housing Authority and redevelopment agencies, being the pet of local councils and supes makes it a good bet that the Eureka Redevelopment Agency might get involved.)

-that makes it five out of six of the choices offered being government projects. Has anyone considered another private option; Perhaps light or heavy industry?

That's why I might well say Marina Center might not be the best use for the Balloon Tract. I'd much rather see some sort of industry using at least some of the Balloon Tract. Problem is, that's highly unlikely to happen given the political climate in this county.

I'm probably missing some other potential non- government uses of the Balloon Tract. But, as I've pointed out before, this whole battle isn't about the environment, it's about those who prefer government as the major player in this county opposing those who prefer private solutions.

If the Marina Center is the most viable private solution to cleaning up the Balloon Tract, then I'll go with that one. Then again, I've said here before I don't have a problem with having a few empty lots around town, either.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another LPer In Office

Libertarians actually do hold public office, Rep. Ron Paul (R- Texas) being our most well known standard bearer. Yes, I know, he is a Republican, but he was the 1988 Libertarian Party's Presidential Candidate. If you want to know what it might be like having a Libertarian in Congress, look no further than Ron Paul.

Just ran into another libertarian (big L, little L, no biggie) in office I was unaware of until reading his piece in Liberty magazine, the only paid subscription to a magazine I currently maintain.

R. Kenneth Lindell is a member of the Maine House of Representatives. Also a registered Republican, apparently he used to be a card carrying member of the Libertarian Party and was quite active with the LP, leaving it in frustration after 5 years.

His account
of being a libertarian legislator I found interesting. He brings up the kinds of issues libertarians need to deal with as more LPers get elected. It's easy to spout a bunch of anarchist nonsense but, to be an effective force in politics, I think Lindell is handling the situation in as an admirable manner as he can.

Well done, Ken.

November Election Heating Up Already?

Am too. No you're not! Am too. No you're not! Am too. No you're not!

I can't help but be amused by the apparent back and forth between Richard Mark's two campaign managers over their
split endorsements in the fourth district supe race.

That said, I'm also disappointed to see what appears to be some ill will generated this far away from the General Election.

Can't we just all get along?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ADA Violates Rights

I've never forgotten about our local ambulance chaser, Jason Singleton, going around town suing businesses for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He wouldn't even give warnings and, if memory serves me correct, didn't even have a disabled person hire him for the lawsuit. He filed the suits by himself for the expected settlement.

So, it was rather irritating to see that he's still at it and has sued yet more businesses over ADA violations. Singleton needs to be run out of the county on a rail. You'd think he already would have been by now.

I think we need to get rid of the ADA altogether, not so much because of these types of lawsuits but because it violates the rights of businesses to run their business as they see fit. No one has a right to be serviced by a business and a business has the right, as far as I'm concerned, to do business with whomever it wants.

Most businesses want all the business they can get, so it's not like someone in a wheelchair won't be able to survive, as many businesses will likely make accomodation for them.

Sadly, the ADA is likely something that will be with us for eternity, just as ambulance chasing lawyers like Singleton will. Combine a politically correct, touchy feely law like the ADA with politicians and lawyers and we can be assured that the ADA and the rip off lawsuits will be with us for years to come.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Docu- Ganda

This article in the Christian Science Monitor takes a look at modern documentaries that have become advocacy rather than an objective view of an issue.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This Network Neutrality Thing

Much abuzz about Network Neutrality in my e-mail today. Actually, I've been hearing about this issue for some time and couldn't make heads or tails out of it. I think I finally understand part of what it's about, but I'm not sure where I stand on it. This article explains some of it.

What this is about is some telecommunication companies want to create a two tiered internet where customers that use a lot of bandwidth would pay extra for higher speeds, or some such. Others, like me, would be stuck using slower speeds.

One question I have is what kind of speeds are we talking about here? Are these premium customers going to get even higher speeds than broadband now offers, or, are they going to be the ones that get to use DSL and cable and the rest of us have to go back to the old dial up 56k connections?

I can't imagine the second choice being possible with the widespread use of broadband today, so it would seem to me they'd have to provide even higher speeds to their premium customers and the rest of us would have to suffer through the internet with DSL or cable.

That's fine with me. When you think about it, we already have two tiered internet: Broadband users and those who still use the old 56k dial up. Most of us pay extra for the higher speed of broadband. If you don't want to pay so much, you can always go back to the old cheap 56k dial up.

So, I can't help but wonder what all the bruohaha's about. Sure, it sounds great that everyone has equal access to the internet but I can't help but wonder about how much connection speed has to do with equal access, especially when broadband is already more than fast enough for my purposes?

If they forced everyone who didn't pay a premium fee to go back to 56k, I'd be pissed, but I don't think that will be happening.

I'll stay on the sidelines with this one, at least until I can understand the issue a little more. If anybody has any enlightening info on Net Neutrality, feel free to post it here.

Fusion Voting

Stumbled onto this commentary at this morning. It's a rather convoluted (in my opinion) piece about how third parties can engage the two party system without embracing either.

He's referring to ballot fusion, or allowing candidates to be nominated by more than one party. That's only allowed in a handful of states right now but used to be fairly common.

The Libertarian Party has actually had some candidates win using ballot fusion, the last one I recall being a state house member in Vermont. Neil Randall was elected under a Republican/ Libertarian fusion ticket but, last I heard, he renounced his association with the LP after he took heat from Vermont libertarians for voting against some gay rights bill.

It would be nice if more states allowed ballot fusion. It would have been nice, back during the Gray Davis recall, if the LP of CA could have backed Tom McClintock for Governor as opposed to wasting the time and effort it took to have Ned Roscoe as the LP candidate.

Other times I'm not so sure I'd agree with such a practice. I wouldn't have wanted the LP to endorse any of the other candidates in the last three or four presidential elections. Of course, just because fusion ballots are allowed, doesn't mean third parties necessarily have to endorse a candidate from another party. They just have the option.

It's not a bad idea, though, and kind of goes along the line of part of what I try to do with this blog: Trying to get people to look at things in a different way so they'll be more accepting of individual liberty and thus more cautious in how they vote. If the Libertarian Party can gain strength and affect policy by interacting with the two major parties, that would pretty much work towards the same goal.

Then again, if more people could be persuaded to come around to a live and let live philosophy and respect for each others liberties, maybe there wouldn't be a reason for the Libertarian Party to be involved in electoral politics at all, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

All About Arkley

Kudos to Cap'n Buhne, over at the Buhne Tribune, for the heads up on this archived Times- Standard story on the Arkleys. Apparently published back in 2004, I must have missed it as I don't remember reading it.

New Humboldt History Web Site?

There was a letter to the editor in the Times- Standard this morning announcing a "new Humboldt County history web site". Being very interested in local history, I went there as soon as I finished reading my hard copy news.

I can't figure this site out, though. Except for a few photos of some apparently old documents, for which no further information is given, the site seems to be mostly a collection of photos someone took fairly recently, and not very interesting ones at that.

What gives? Am I missing something? From what I've seen so far, it hardly seems like something worth the effort of writing a letter to the editor for.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Questions For Al Gore

Couldn't help myself. Some questions for Al Gore about his recently released movie.

Richard Marks Gets Headline

Looks like blogspot isn't the only thing that goes down. I wanted to link to a Times- Standard article- the top of the front page headline: Everybody Loves Richard- but I can't, the T-S web site is down, at least for now.

Anyway, the article goes on to talk about the Marks voters being the wild card in the runoff between Bonnie Neely and Nancy Flemming. True, but as the article says, Flemming's got her work cut out for her if she wants to get Mark's endorsement as her vote totals where quite a bit lower than Neely's.

Marks says he'll be making an endorsement soon. I don't think it will be any surprise who the endorsement ends up going to.

I think you should hold off for a while, Richard, and suck as much out of this as you can. This should be good for at least a few good meals from each of them, and think of all the parties you'll get invited to in the meantime.

Hey, this is more than just fifteen minutes of fame. It doesn't get any better than this. Drag the endorsement process out as long as you can.

Railroads vs. Environmentalists

Maybe I'm reading the story wrong but I was struck by what appears to be another potential industry vs. environmentalist battle.

There's been more talk in the news lately about getting the rail lines up and running again. It seems to me, many of the proponents of re- opening the rail line tend to be environmental types. In this case, looks like they might conflict with the most viable proposal for the rail line to date.

The North Coast Journal reports on the most recent efforts to get the rail line going which involve natural resource extraction - gravel mining being one mentioned- coupled with increased shipping through Humboldt Bay. This would supposedly make re- opening the rail line economically viable. I might well agree, despite having gone on record as being an extreme skeptic of re- opening the rail line.

Leave it to none other than Maggie Herbelin to re- enforce my skepticism. To quote both the story and Herbelin with my own comment interjected:

Herbelin said that not enough thought or discussion had gone into the question of whether or not a greatly ramped-up shipping industry would really be in the county's best interests. She cited pollution, noise, light and the traffic congestion from 20 trains per day [Odd that many environmentalists favor rail as a way to ease traffic congestion- Fred] as questions that needed to be studied in greater depth before the county and the Port of Humboldt commit to a plan.

"I'm skeptical — I'll put it that way — that this is the direction we want to go in," she said. "And that's the thing I think needs to be raised. With the Marina Center being proposed, I'm wondering whether we want that much industry on the bay. I'm kind of wondering — what are we looking at here? Do we want to pile industry on top of our housing?"

No, we'd rather have a seafood culinary institute on the bay, right?

Her point is actually well made in that any sort of industry is going to have an effect on both the city and the bay. That comes with the territory. But she does allow me to maintain my skepticism about any chance of the railroad becoming a viable effort.

The railroad might well have a chance of becoming a economic asset under the proposals being made, but not with the current political climate in the county. The environmentalist camp won't let it happen.


Here's one story from down south about a winning incumbent dealing with his challengers in the Sheriff's Department.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yet Another D.A. Race

Something I was just made aware of this morning, as I don't frequent the Ukiah Daily Journal web page:

Looks like Mendocino County District Attorney, Norm Vroman, a card carrying Libertarian, has a challenger once again. Though I don't know that much about Vroman, as far as the goings on in his office, I do know he's faced criticism of sorts from members of the community, but last time he won by garnering over 50% of the vote in the primary, if memory serves me correct.

Looks like this time his opponent beat him in in the primary, and that leads them into a runoff. I'd be curious to see if this race gets as ugly as the Dikeman/ Gallegos race?

Normally I'd be backing Vroman, him being a fellow libertarian, but after seeing him actively backing Gallegos, I kinda wonder where his head is at. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I guess it doesn't really matter. Since I'm up here and he's down there, it's more a matter of curiousity how the race ends up anyway.

IRV Demo Results

Thanks to mresquan for the heads of on the results of the Instant Runoff Voting demonstration held Tuesday. The results are here, if you haven't seen them yet. No surprises to be found there except maybe more of the Flemming voters' second votes going to Marks than I would have expected.

As Scott Menzies points out, it would be hard to make a call on the demographics involved as there was no screening of those voting to quantify who lived where and such. Still, one thing seems to hold true: More people were willing to waste their vote, on the underdog candidate. In this case that candidate being Richard Marks.

Third party advocates of IRV have used this as a selling point of IRV for some time pointing out if people would still be able to cast a vote for the more mainstream candidate(s) and have it count, they might be more willing to cast their first choice for their real preferred candidate. Whatever.

I'm not sure this race was the best one to use for an IRV demo. I would think a four way race might be more informative. But, this one demo does show one concern I have about IRV is true: It strengthens the power of the majority, which in this case is the Left. In right leaning areas those on the Right would gain any advantage that could be had from IRV.

Both Left wing candidates received the majority of votes in the first count, assuming I'm reading the results right. While I'll admit to being somewhat confused at the math, it looks like most of the votes from Flemming went to Neely, with a surprising amount going to Marks.

In this case Neely wins without the need for a runoff election. Thus, the numerical advantage the Left has is simply made more powerful using IRV. If the runoff was held, as it will be in the real world, Flemming would have one more chance to change people's minds, unlikely as that is to happen.

It's probably safe to assume, that in the runoff, the vast majority of Marks' votes will end up going to Neely, unless Flemming pulls some October surprise or a large number of former Marks voters don't go to the polls for some reason.

So, bottom line as I see it is, that while IRV does give more power to the majority opinion (not a good thing in my mind) that power will be there to a large extent, anyway, and IRV does eliminate the need for a runoff. But, the standard runoff we have now does allow the minority one last chance to make its case and stay in the game.

Nice job on the demo, though, and sorry I missed my chance to meet Scott Menzies. He was there when I voted but he wasn't at the table so I missed him.

The Humboldt Sentinel Recommends

I just noticed Charles Douglas' Humboldt Sentinel made some election recommendations a few days ago. He got a couple of them right: No On T and Jeff Lytle for Fifth District Supervisor, assuming that wouldn't have been a wasted effort. Charles needs to update his page more often so he can really make a difference.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Counting The Votes

Dan Berman might have a point here. Maybe Gallegos and Measure T didn't win?

"It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes..."- J. Stalin

My First Exit Poll

I finally got to participate in one of those exit polls I've heard about. Those are the polls the media uses to predict the outcome of elections. They question voters as they leave the polling place and get a sample of how voters are voting. This one was a bit different as it dealt mostly with a primary election, although there were a few general questions that would apply to just about anyone.

So, I got done voting and, as I was leaving, a girl in the lobby stopped me and asked if I would mind taking the time for short poll. She had an L.A. Times button on her which I thought was odd, being this far north. I have to admit I wondered if she was going to pull some kind of scam on me.

I filled out the poll and put it in the box thinking it wasn't the kind of exit poll I'd expected. Dan Weintraub gave me the heads up on the poll results already having been posted online this morning. You can see the results of their poll here- .pdf format so you'll need Acrobat Reader to view.

I didn't answer the first few questions as I voted in the Libertarian Party primary. For those interested, for the What's your impression of... question, I voted Favorable for both Ahnold and Westly and Unfavorable for Angiledes.

I selected Approve for Ahnold's job performance, but that's one of those things where you need more than two choices to answer correctly, as I'm not all that happy with his performance.
Same thing with the question about Ahnold being a decisive leader; I chose Yes, but I don't know that I would really stand on that position.

I felt California is generally going in the wrong direction and that cutting services is generally the best solution to the state budget shortfall.

All in all not a really satisfying poll to take, but it's good to finally be included in an exit poll.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

My First Poll

We certainly seem to have a diverse crowd here. Hard to tell just who is who with all the anonymous postings and what kind of a mix we have as far as political ideology. So, following the lead of some others, I decided to do a poll on this blog.

In the sidebar I've inserted a poll where you can tell us what political party you're registered with. Should be interesting to see the results.

Election Day and Sign Protocol

Ok, it's finally here. Time to go vote, for those that chose to do so. Elections officials are expecting a low turnout, as seems to be the case so often nowadays. I suspect here in Humboldt a low turnout will benefit the Left.

As I've said before, the Left has had the ball for some time and they're running with it. Now they smell blood and they're determined to further consolidate their power. That said, if they end up losing on both Measure T and Gallegos, that will be a serious blow to their morale.

We'll see what happens. As for myself, after voting I generally try not to pay attention to the poll results until at least the next morning, if then. Hey, I'm a Libertarian. I'm used to losing. Heck, we lose every day that Congress or the State Legislature is in session. I don't see any point in staying up late just to beat myself over the head with bad news.

There's nothing more depressing than staying up, as I did a few years ago, and the last thing you see before going to bed is Barbara Boxer giving her victory speech when her opponent conceded defeat.

Then, I get up next morning, turned on the news and there she is again in the same video clip giving the same speech. Yuck. Talk about adding insult to injury. What a way to start a day.

So, I'll probably just entertain myself on the laptop, playing my favorite online WW2 combat sim, Aces High, and wait until morning when the newspapers show up. Then I'll have no choice but to see the election results, although I'll probably get a preview on some of the news sites I visit earlier on.

One thing I will do tonight, though, is take down the signs in my front yard. I try to go out right as the polls close at 8pm and take down the signs. I'm pretty punctual about that. I think it's rude to leave the signs up for days, as some people do. I don't expect everyone to run out at eight o'clock and take down their signs, but they should come down sometime on Wednesday.

Oh, and don't forget to scrape those bumper stickers of your car as well. I'm sure we've all had enough of this election. We should give ourselves a break until the General Election season starts in earnest.

HELP vs. Healthy

I'd almost forgot about the big row over the county general plan. Maybe that's because general plans and zoning aren't something that really grabs my interest, the Marina Center dispute aside.

So, I didn't even make the connection when I saw the full page ad in the Eureka Reporter this morning listing Humboldt County's Broken Promises. The list includes a number of issues regarding the General Plan and the Planning Department.

HELP Humboldt was listed at the bottom of the ad. I was wondering if we had yet another organization sprouting up with issues of one kind or another. Then, going to the web site they listed, I realized the ad was done by the Humboldt Economic & Land Plan (HELP). I'd forgot all about them.

Then I got to thinking: Hmmm... what's that org on the other side of the issue? Oh, that's it: Healthy Humboldt. I see they have a web site up too. At least they got their web site url right, ending it with .org rather than .com as HELP does.

Interesting how similar the wording on HELP's site is to Healthy Humboldt's.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Best Campaigner of the Season

That title goes to Frank Jager, our very own County Coroner. No mudslinging, no misleading statements, no bombarding of one ad after another all over TV and radio. If only all candidates followed his example. The Eureka Reporter gave him this much deserved interview, I suppose, because he deserves it. Good luck on Tuesday Frank!

More on Slate Mailers

The San Diego Union- Tribune has a rather informative article on slate mailers and how pissed off some people are about them here.

Fire or Ice?

I've often been frustrated trying to remind global warming believers that, thirty years ago, many in the media were warning us of the potential threat of global cooling- perhaps the coming of a new ice age. Most can't recall any such thing.

So, I was pleased to see
this report mentioned in the National Center for Policy Analysis' daily news digest. It discusses past media warnings of both global warming and cooling. It's in .pdf format, so you'll need Acrobat Reader on your computer to view the report.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Politics and More Politics

As expected, the Sunday papers were crammed with commentary on the upcoming elections. The Eureka Reporter and Times- Standard both had summaries of their ballot recommendations.

The Eureka Reporter got all their recommendations right. The Times- Standard got half of them right. Not sure about any of the other papers although we know the North Coast Journal chose not to get into recommendations this time around. I'm surprised the Humboldt Beacon didn't step up to the plate. Doesn't look like it from their web page, though.

Naturally, the letters to the editor were all about the election. I don't have enough interest left in me at this point to read each and every letter. One caught my eye, though, if only because it was only a few sentences. Problem is, I don't know just what the writer was trying to say.

The Eureka Reporter didn't put it online but, since it was so short, I'll go ahead and put it here:

Into the Measure T debate the words of John Dewey: "The corporation is a creature of the state: that is, of political action. It has no existence save by the action of the legislatures and courts".
-Tim Killburn, Eureka

That's it. I guess it's supposed to be some anti- corporate comment along the lines of corporations being created by the state but, other than that, what's the point. Anyone else get it?

Stop The NAIS

Thanks to Chuck Muth, of Citizen Outreach, for the heads up on this latest scheme by the feds: The National Animal Identification System. Don't they ever sleep?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Measure T Makes L.A. Times

I'd heard the L.A. Times was going to cover Measure T. Here it is.

Don't Check The Mail. Turn Off The TV

We all know, as the Sacramento Bee points out, that as the election gets closer, races often get dirtier and dirtier. One exception here being the Dikeman/ Gallegos race that got pretty heated earlier on, or so it seemed to me.

This is the time when it's probably best to turn off the TV and radio if you can't handle the same ads over and over again. I swear if I hear one more Gallegos ad on the radio I'm going to scream.

Well, I take that back. I told myself that yesterday morning and, as soon as I turned on the truck radio, there was the Gallegos ad, yet again. I didn't scream.

So, let's see if any new sleaze enters any of the local campaigns in the next few days. Seems pretty mild today, at least so far. The only thing close being 4th district Supe candidate Richard Marks' attempt to place himself even further to the left by suggesting the other candidates publicly support Measure T.

Wow, that's out there, Richard. Not sleazy politics, just out there.

Here's a look at some hit campaigns down south of us as reported by the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. Other than those recent slate mailers, I don't know that we've had anything like that up here this time around.

Weekend Update

Thanks to Brian Morrisey for sending me the heads up on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update. This page from Wikipedia tells the whole story and even mentions the ignorant slut line. Wow, the Akroyd/ Curtin Update was way back in '77-'78.

No wonder some of the younger folks never heard of it. Helen, who thought I was being rude by using the phrase for a title, wouldn't have even been born then.

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Kaitlin, You Ignorant Slut!"

(ok, I broke with tradition and changed the title. Not that I found anything wrong with the title I used earlier, but, as the comments reflect, I had the quote wrong. I used "cheap" slut, which apparently wasn't the way they said it on SNL. See comments for details).

I was hoping I'd hear something along that line from Chris Crawford during the Time- Standard's webcast debate on Measure T. Not really anything against Katlin, I'm just getting a bit weary of the upcoming election and the back and forth on all the issues. I figured a little excitement in the Measure T debate might revive my interest.

This stuff gets old after a while, even for me.

But, I felt I had to check out the T- S web cast of the Crawford/ Kaitlin debate. Pretty neat how they did that. I found it hard to really pay close attention to it, and have only watched about half of it, so far. I don't know if it's because it's on the computer that made it hard for me to follow, or maybe just other things on my mind? Wonder how many people actually watched it?

Just a couple minor observations:

  • Nothing in the debate, so far, that I haven't heard already.
  • Kaitlin seemed to me to be the more aggressive and more attack oriented of the two.

One question that Chris Crawford didn't answer was something along the line of why a business or corporation would use money for political campaigns when it's supposed to be for the business or shareholder's profits. I'll take a crack at that one:

They might well have to. As I mentioned here earlier on; When you have a government that controls so many aspects of your business, and can either make or break you, it makes sense to support candidates and issues that are in you and your shareholder's best interest. If you don't do politics, politics might certainly do you.

Seems to me businesses, whether corporate or not, have every reason to be involved in the political process, monetarily or otherwise. I realize sometimes they get involved in politics for what many would deem nefarious purposes. That's going to happen regardless of how many finance campaign reform laws are passed.

BTW; For those of you that are interested, our very own Bob Doran (humblogger) is one of the media panelists in the debate. You can finally see what he looks like in the first segment.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

An Apology From HOPE

This just in from the HOPE Coalition:

To all readers of HOPE Coalition's "Organization Recommendations for 6/6/06 State Ballot Propositions."The HOPE Coalition deeply regrets listing the Times/Standard's endorsement of Humboldt County's Measure T in the June 6, 2006 election when, in fact, they have not yet made any recommendation. Charles Winkler, the Times/Standard's editor, has said they will probably make a recommendation on this coming Saturday, June 3, 2006.

In 10 years of listing diverse organizations' recommendations on state ballot propositions at every election, this is the first time that an error has been reported. This election has been particularly difficult for our staff because this primary ballot has held a minimum of interest for most of the organizations. Consequently recommendations have been last minute, or no decisions, defying our printing deadline before the election.This is not an excuse for the error, which hurts my professional pride, and for which I take full responsibility.

Mayer Segal, editor of the HOPE Coalition Newsletter.

Two New Humboldt Blogs

I've went against my better judgement and added two new blogs to the FHB local blog list. I say against my better judgement because they are new and you never know if the bloggers will poop out and stop blogging, thus cluttering up cyberspace with yet another dead blog.

But, if they do, that will just give me the opportunity to post another one of my "time to roll up this blog and shut 'er down..." messages to their comments page. A self- appointed job that I actually relish and no blogger is spared- just ask Bob Doran or Saving Ancient Forests. I do it to any blog I find that hasn't posted anything new for at least a month.

Both of these two new ones are obviously lefty, if not hard left, blogs. Makes you wonder if it's part of some conspiracy? The first, the Humboldt Herald, is by Heraldo, who seems to have just shown up here at this blog recently. His blog's only a couple days old but, since he says he's voting for Gallegos, I'd say that makes him a lefty.

Next we have SoHum Parlance, by our very own Eric Kirk, a relatively new commentor here, but he's shown us lack of having something to say is not one of his weaknesses. Just one look at his voting recommendations shows he's very much to the left side of the political spectrum, with the exception of his recommendations of Prop 82 and Measure T, but those two aren't really qualifying issues as a number of lefties oppose both.

I have no doubt Eric will stick with his blog. Don't know enought about Heraldo to make a call on him. Both need to remember that, if they don't post for a month, they'll get one of my shut 'er down messages and be removed from the FHB blog list and you know we don't want to go there.

Slate Mailers On The Way

I think I've seen the type of slate mailers the Eureka Reporter refers to in today's issue. I haven't seen the one being sent out now but I believe I've gotten them in the past. They're almost shameless but, as I recall, they do everything to make you think they're sent by one political party except for actually saying it, so you can't really say they're lying.

Clever, and maybe I'll take that last statement back: They are shameless. What I'd like to know is who paid for this latest one? Local Solutions?