Thursday, July 31, 2008

Check out Zombie's Blog

She always has a good one.

Playing In The Street?

I'm trying to figure out why I think it's wrong what a couple neighborhood kids were doing yesterday.

It wasn't the first time I've seen the folks at the druggie house a few houses up on the other side of the street playing with a frisbee. A few weeks ago they were tossing it back and forth across E street. There were even a couple adults playing along, too, but they weren't in the street. They were standing on the sidewalk on both sides of the street.

And so it was yesterday, but it was just two kids. I'm bad at aging kids but I'd guess the one on my side of the street was around eight or nine, the one on the other side of the street maybe a year or two younger. They stood on the sidewalk on both sides of the street passing a frisbee back and forth.

Problem is, E street is one of Eureka's busy streets. Still, they waited for a lull in the traffic before throwing. I felt uneasy about it and wondered why they didn't just walk the five blocks to Carson Park where they'd have all the room they needed to play. Either that, or walk one house down to Trinity Street which is much less busy.

I'll have to admit wondering about Trinity Street, as well, as I've seen them tossing football on Trinity now and again and I found that a bit odd. Why not Carson Park?

Funny I felt that way because I remember as a kid in Tustin, CA playing real football on the street in front of my house. We'd play until it was too dark to play anymore. Not much traffic on Charloma Drive back then and we'd only have to stop playing to let cars pass by on occasion. No one complained, as I recall.

So why did I find these two kids throwing a frisbee across a busy street troubling?

I guess I wasn't the only one. After about twenty minutes a Eureka Police motorcycle cop drove up and pulled right up next to the kid on my side of the street. Somebody else must have been bothered and called the cops.

The cop pulls up and I could hear him say, "Give me the friz.". The kid hands him the frisbee and the cop talks to him for longer than I would have expected. Then the kid walks back across the street to the druggie house. The cop parks his bike and walks over to the house, as well.

After talking to the adults at the house, once again for longer than I would have expected, the cop hops on his motorcycle and leaves. No more frisbees in the street.

Someone help me out and articulate exactly why kids shouldn't be throwing frisbees back and forth across a busy street, even if they do it between traffic? Is it dangerous, or just plain rude? I do see how it could be a distraction to drivers. I wonder how the cop explained it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Online Voter Registration Available Soon

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, you might be able to register to vote online in a year or two. I guess they're going to merge records with the Department of Motor Vehicles and use your driver's license signature for verifications. Sounds good to me.

One thing I (and probably a number of people need to do) is update my signature with the Registrar of Voters' office. Signatures change over time and I know mine is nothing like it was, say, 20 years ago, although I last registered to vote in '92, I believe. If you happen to be one of the few that get spot checked during an election, they might invalidate your vote if the signatures don't match.

Gotta update that one of these days.

Stancliff's Cheap Shot?

I agree with this guy in regards Dave Stancliff's recent column in the Times- Standard. I can't find the column online but Stancliff spent his entire effort in a thinly veiled attack on John McCain.

He started out saying something along the line of not having a problem with McCain, but...then uses his entire column to suggest McCain isn't competent to be president because he probably suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, as does Stancliff. He can't prove it but just suggests it as a subtle way to hurt McCain.

Keep in mind I'm no McCain fan. I wouldn't have had any problem with Stancliff saying he's an Obama fan and wouldn't vote for McCain because of the reasons he outlined in his column. But to try and suggest he doesn't have anything against McCain and then spend so much time tearing him down seems like a cheap shot to me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Most Restrictive Cities

Reason magazine takes a look at America's most restrictive cities. Chicago is the winner.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Eureka's Jefferson School

Not sure what to think about the City of Eureka taking over control of the old Jefferson School. Seems the two "progressives" on the Eureka City Council want to buy the property so the city can control what it's ultimately used for. The want to use redevelopment money they have stashed away to make the buy.

Despite that neighborhood being the armpit of Eureka, or at least a runner- up for it, I agree it would be nice to use the property for something else other than a housing project. Problem is, if they use it for something like, as someone has suggested, a "community center" it will end up being just one more drain on the city coffers.

Doesn't seem to me like a good idea to be starting up yet another city project when they're making supposed heavy cuts in city government and are looking at charging entrance fees at the zoo for the first time in history. If the city does end up buying that property, Eureka residents better hope whatever the property ends up being used for can pay for itself.

An Old Letter

I'm on the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes e- mail list. They send you an e-mail just about every day with a link they want you to click on. Usually you get an entry into their multi- million dollar sweep every time you click on the link.

This time it was one of those where you had to do more than just click on the link. The link went to some weird page where you had to do a search for something. I decided to go ahead with it and, since I hadn't done a search for myself in sometime, entered my name.

This page was what I got. Scrolling down, I found this link to an old letter to the editor I wrote that was published in the Los Angeles Times. It's funny in that the letter doesn't seem all that coherent to me now. Perhaps it's because the letter isn't broken down into paragraphs?

Interesting that something you write seems ok when you write it but years later doesn't seem as good. Also a bit odd finding that old letter when I've become pretty much ambivalent about Instant Runoff Voting since then.
As an aside, I've gotten a real kick when I get a letter published in one of the bigger newspapers. I read somewhere that the San Francisco Chronicle receives up to 800 letters to the editor on an average Monday. It seems quite the achievement to me to be one of the few picked for publication.

I've had two and a half letters published in the SF Chronicle and two published in the LA Times. Haven't written an LTE in quite some time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm not judging...

.., just making an observation in regards the guy arrested for the murder of that girl from Crescent City:

I find it a little hard to swallow that the guy drove all the way from Arcata to Crescent City to buy three ounces of pot. Why didn't he buy his pot in Arcata, a place known for having lots of dope?

But maybe he's just funny that way? Supposedly he works at a plant nursery in Crescent City and commutes to the job from Arcata. That's kind of hard to believe, as well, especially with the price of gas nowadays and I would think a job in a plant nursery probably doesn't pay much.

But I'm not pre- judging the guy. We'll see what else comes up as the case develops.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ALERT: Blogs On TNT Tonight!

This just in from Marcy Burstiner:


You might want your blog readers and poster to know that I'm guest hosting
Thursday night talk tonight on KHSU from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the subject
will be blogging and citizen journalism. I believe the guest is going to be
Joel Milke.

But you or some of your readers and posters might want to call in with

-- Marcy Burstiner
Asst. Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication
Humboldt State University
1 Harpst St.
Arcata, CA 95521

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming To Your Neighborhood?

Sounds like this family might already be in the process of being evicted from a house in Petaluma. Might they move to your neighborhood next?

Eureka's Arcata Slate?

So now we know who the lefties are in the upcoming Eureka City Council race.

Linda Atkins is running for 2nd district. Looks like she's a retired Caltrans worker and union member. I can just imagine what sort "new economic policies" she might be thinking of.

We've known of George Clark, running for 4th district, for some time. A self- identified progressive, he fills in the other half of Eureka's Arcata slate.

Almost seems like some kind of conspiracy that we already have the two candidates from the Left identified, but only one non- lefty, Frank Jager, has thrown his hat in the ring. Anybody else out there thinking of running?

I was speaking with Frank last week and mentioned how this race has already become a Left vs. Right thing, with the so- called progressives lining up behind his opponent. Frank said he didn't want it to be that way and that he just wanted to deal with the issues.

He also told me he'd never met George Clark before and was going to try and meet with him. And here I thought Frank was one of those guys who knew everybody.

Oh well, leave it to me to take my turn at turning the Eureka City Council race into a Left vs. Right thing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Code Enforcement Coming Soon?

Will code enforcement in the United States end up as it has in Great Britian? It wouldn't surprise me at all.

Once again, thanks to Radley Balko at The Agitator for the heads up.

Cops Using The Internet

Today's Times- Standard tells of some local instances of police using the internet to arrest people. Here's a story about prosecutors using the internet not just to prosecute, but to get stiffer sentences for some defendants in drunk driving cases.

Kudos to Radley Balko, over at The Agitator blog, for the heads up on that one.

Sequoia Park Zoo Fees Coming

Looks like people are going to have to start paying to go to the Sequoia Park Zoo pretty soon. I've said before that user fees seem like one of the fairer ways to pay for things. I don't know about the proposed four dollars, though. I was thinking maybe one or two bucks.

I tend to agree with those who think the entrance fees will reduce the number of people going to the zoo. How much, I don't know but, with people struggling to make ends meet because of high fuel and food prices I could see a significant reduction.

Then again, under the proposed fees, there seems to be quite a few exceptions or discounts to the fees. That includes
"No one refused for inability to pay, no questions asked". I can't help but wonder how many people will beg into that?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Humboldt TV Going Digital

Just noticed this new web site on Humguide. It's all about the upcoming conversion of nearly all television broadcaster's signal to digital format. The requirement to switch to digital being some sort of gift from the FCC, or some such outfit.

So, effective February of 2009, if you're one of those few that are still using the old style televisions, you'll need to get a converter. Doesn't seem like there's too many of those TVs around anymore, are there? As much as it pisses me off having the federal government dictate to the television stations how they send out their signals, I don't think this will affect too many people.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quality Plant Sale In Eureka

Friday & Saturday, July 18th & 19th, 9:00 am until 2:00pm

Violet, streps, begonia and fern ( indoor ),
Angel trumpets, succulent,
cacti, dahlia,Roses, jasmine, passion vine,
thalictrum, wallflower, geranium,
catalpa, palm and much more.

3579 Dolbeer Street (across from National Guard Armory)
in Eureka

Where'd It All Go?

Interesting commentary in the Los Angeles Times this morning taking a look at the 40% increase in state spending over the last four years. The writer points out that, while we can certainly follow the money's trail, the money doesn't seem to have made much of a noticeable difference to most people.

For instance: Does the additional money we spent on schools end up in a better education for kids? Do our highly paid prison guards and prison system result result in better rehabilitation and a more efficient prison system?

This gives some credence to the suggestion I and others have made when budget cuts are being fought over: Just dust off a copy of the budget we used four years ago and use that one.
Speaking of budgets and taxes, the Wall Street Journal ran a commentary today about California's budget and plans to raise taxes. I'd already heard Toyota pulled plans to build a Prius factory in the state. They're headed to Mississippi, instead. I hadn't been aware that the AAA auto club is closing all of its offices in California which will result in 900 jobs lost. Who will leave next?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Prize Arrives!

But no really big deal. You'll remember that cell phone I said I won a week or two ago. One of you said it likely could only be used with Verizon. Well, you were right. Just called U.S. Cellular and they said those phones aren't compatible with their system. So, I guess I'll just buy one of those cheap phones at Rite- Aid along with a pre- paid card as that sounds like the best deal for someone who hardly ever uses a cell phone.

This is a pretty nice phone, though, for those in to cell phones. Has all the bells and whistles which, of course, wasn't what I really wanted. It retails for just under $300 so not a bad prize. The gal at U.S. Cellular was impressed. She even made a short pitch for their equivalent version of the phone that would cost me $299, but I wouldn't have to sign up for the two year contract since I'm already a customer.

Nah. Don't think that I want to go there.

Now I'll have to decide whether to give it away or, as the gal at U.S. Cellular suggested, try selling it on Ebay. Plenty of time to decide. I'll see if Connie has any family members that want it first.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2008 Ballot Initiatives

I decided to take a peek at the initiatives that will be on the ballot this November. Looks like there are eleven,so far. Forgive me for shortening the titles:

Prop 1- High Speed Passenger Train Bond: I'll probably vote NO on this one if only because I nearly always vote no on bond measures.

Prop 2- Treatment of Farm Animals: This one will require farmers to keep animals in cages with enough room to move around a bit, so to speak. Proponents are upset with laying hens, for example, being forced to live in cages so small they can barely stand up. I'm very sympathetic to this issue but realize enforcement might have drastic consequences for some farmers. I'll hold off on making a decision on this one.

Prop 3- Children's Hospital Bond Act: Doesn't it seem that every election there's at least one thing you need vote for for the children? Another bond issue so likely another NO vote from me. I also have to wonder why we need a bond act for children's hospitals? What about hospitals for everybody else?

Prop 4- Waiting Periods/ Parental Notification/ Abortion: Back again, this one prohibits abortions to minors without parental consent within 48 hours, or some such. I'll probably vote YES on this one in support of parental rights.

Prop 5- Non- Violent Offenders, Parole and Rehabilitation: I'll hold off until I can get a clearer picture of what's involved. This will cost more money for prisoner rehabilitation programs but certainly rehabilitation is a worthy goal. However, I have to wonder if the programs we already have actually do any good? This does look like it will reduce sentences for some drug offenses, so that might be a good thing.

Prop 6- Criminal Penalties and Laws. Public Safety Funding: Looks like it will give more money to law enforcement and crime prevention programs. Also increases penalties for some crimes. I'll hold off on this one, too, but might vote NO on it.

Prop 7- Renewable Energy: Requires all utilities to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010. I understand even a number of environmental organizations oppose this one and think it's a bad idea. I'd likely vote NO on it, anyway, as I think requiring such conversions without considerations of the costs involved isn't a good idea.

Prop 8- Limit on Marriage: This is the one to alter the state constitution to define marriage in the state as only between a man and woman. Definite NO vote on this one.

Prop 9- Victims Rights: Another one of those things where the victim's rights are supposed to be considered during various phases of the criminal justice system. I'm curious if there's a problem in regards this issue to begin with? No Position, pending further info.

Prop 10- Bonds for Alternative Vehicles and Energy: Probably a NO vote as I can't help feel that this one, if passed, would end up funding any number of boodoggles after all is said and done.

Prop 11- Redistricting: This is the latest attempt to end the gerrymandering where all the state legislators drew the lines of their districts so they're virtually guaranteed re- election. I'll probably vote YES, or stand aside. I'm skeptical there would be any meaningful change with this one even if it does work as planned.

There's one more initiative pending signature count verification, as best I can tell. That one will require that school administrators can't be paid more than the highest paid teacher at the school. Don't know what to think about that, but I won't worry about it until the signatures are verified.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fifteen More Minutes For Me

Just in case anybody missed the article Carol referred to in the comments from the post below, I get another fifteen minutes of fame having been included in an article from the Eureka Reporter that ran this morning.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Easy Elections

Randy Cassingham, This Is True

I have removed the main message on this post. The guy that
runs this "This Is True" mailer, that I gave a plug to,
seems to be -a certifiable nut case. I haven't seen
anything this weird since
I've been online.

I was going to post the message he sent to our very own
Leonidas, but he seems to know how to screw up the
formatting so it can't be used, or pasted on this blog.

I'd like to see him shut down. Any suggestions?

Here's an idea. I added his name to the top of this post.
Maybe the search engines will pick up on it and when folks
do a search for him or his web site, they'll be sent here.

A Dollar More To Do San Francisco

They finally did it. The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports they've raised the toll to cross the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco by one dollar, effective September 1. Now it will cost you $6.00 and they might raise it a dollar more.

I can imagine how this could screw up a number of people. You're normally not told of the bridge fee on that bridge until you're just about on it and there's no way to turn back. I've always wondered what happens if someone finds themselves on the bridge and doesn't have $5.00? There's not much you can do at that point.

I asked the gal at the toll booth one time what they would do if I didn't have $5.00. She just said something along the line of, "We'd get it from you sooner or later...". I would think this could be quite the problem for the first week or so after this fee increase takes place.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Idol Worship

I don't know which group is worse as far as idol worship goes: Some of my fellow Ron Paul fans or the Obama worshipers? I guess I'll never understand those that fixate on someone day in and day out. But, whatever floats your boat.

I suppose, if you can't beat them, you should join them? Maybe I'll compromise. I've added Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Bob Barr's, link to my sidebar, but I'll try not to make much more mention of him. I'm still pretty much in a wait and see mode in regards Barr, but he seems like the best candidate so far.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Microsoft Fiasco

Am I the only one unable to get online now?

Finally called ATT to complain about not being able to connect to the internet for the last six hours, or so, and got a recorded message. Message said that there was some problem with the latest Microsoft update (that I just downloaded a few hours ago). Then it said to lower my security settings to be able to connect to the internet again.

So I played around with that, with no luck. The only thing that worked, was shutting off my Zonelabs firewall and anti- virus program.

Works fine without that, but I'm not protected.

Am I the only one?

Update: I found all I have to do to get online is lower the security setting on my Zonelabs firewall to Medium as opposed to High where it's usually set.

A Drowning During a Drought

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that this firefighter drowned up on the Trinity River. I knew one guy that drowned up by the Forks of the Salmon when there wasn't a whole lot of water to drown in.

I guess it just seems we're already a bit into summer after a relatively dry spring and I wouldn't expect the Trinity to be running so fast by now it would cause problems for someone. I keep hearing the water is pretty low everywhere else.

Drownings aside, we're lucky we have so much water.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

National Guard Actually Fighting Fires

Looks like I was right a few days ago when I commented on Kym's blog that it's unusual for the National Guard to actually do hands on firefighting. I worked on at least a couple fires back when I was in the Guard and all we ever did was support work like driving trucks or traffic control.

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat confirms that,
The National Guard has supported firefighting efforts in California in the past but this is the first time its soldiers will be working as hand crews on the fire lines of a California fire,...

That was fairly easy work for real good pay back then and I always looked forward to fire duty. These guys might be hating it in all that heat, although they're probably better prepared for this sort of duty than the Guard folk from back in my day.

Now we need to start wondering how much all of this is going to cost us.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

K.C. Wants Trains Back

Looks like the editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal, K.C. Meadows, has joined up with the North Coast Railroad Authority and wants rail service restored on the North Coast.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I'm In Love

I love Dave Gundersen. So says Andrew Bird, anyway. Rose loves him, too, according to Andrew.

I love those kinds of comments. Try to keep an objective view of an issue and not join up with the lynch mob and you're on the defendant's side.

In fairness, I suppose there might well be a bit of me in there standing up for the underdog in the Gundersen case. I like to think I'll always stand up for fair treatment of the minority, whether it be a group or individual, but for that I stand proud.

Hoover's Police Logs

Don't know that I've ever noticed the Arcata Eye's online police logs before, although I stop by the Eye's web site four or five times a month. Well, I might have read the logs before but just wasn't paying much attention.

Actually reading all the entries this time, I found Kevin Hoover's slightly enhanced police logs an entertaining read. A little bit more there than just the basics reported by the other papers.

It looks like he even went so far as to incorporate a bunch of them into a book. Not much info offered on the exact contents of the book. Inquiring minds would like to know more. Anybody out there read Hoover's book?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Windfall Profits?

Kudos to Jim Romick of Eureka for pointing out something that should be pointed out more often. I've gotten a little tired of hearing about the oil company's supposed windfall profits. They certainly have made a lot of money, but they're still getting the same profit margin they always have which is considerably less than some other industries make.

As an aside, I was as surprised as Leonidas when I saw this graph showing the amount of oil controlled by the various oil companies. The size of U.S. oil companies pales in comparison with those of some other countries.

Such things make me shake my head when I hear Congressman Mike Thompson, and others, saying they need to
"Crack down on unregulated oil speculation" as he does in his My Word column in yesterday's Times- Standard. How are we supposed to do that?

It seems to me to be more than a bit arrogant to suggest the United States can crack down on anything in regards to oil when the market for oil is global and we're not even the biggest consumers of the stuff anymore. About the only thing we as Americans can do about oil prices is try and use less of it and drill for more of it.

Cell Phone Silliness

Enough has been said about today being the first day of the new cell phone restriction while driving. I'm glad to see the CHP won't be giving warnings. Despite being opposed to this law in the first place, now that it's been passed, go get 'em CHP. You have my blessing.

One of the things that really burns me up about too many of you cell phone addicts, is the attitude illustrated by a gal quoted in today's Times- Standard. Mckinleyville resident, Chris Plocher:

”I don't want to wear an earpiece all the time,” Plocher said. “When the phone rings, you have to reach for it..."

NO YOU DON'T! You can have either your home answering machine or your cell phone's voice mail take a message. Few of us are so important that we have to answer the phone every time it rings, especially while driving.

Those of you who feel you are that important, enjoy your ticket.

More Local Taxes Mulled

As would be expected, the Eureka City Council is tossing around ideas for tax increases once again. I mentioned here, earlier on, that I'd probably be opposed to that parcel tax proposal to help fund the fire departments if only because it would be one of many tax increase proposals we'd likely be seeing. I was right.

So once again we're hearing proposals for an increase in the sales tax, or maybe an increase in the transient occupancy tax- that's the one paid by people staying at locals hotels and motels. I'm wondering if we won't hear more proposals as time goes on?

Not sure what to think of any of them and I think I'll oppose the two current proposals, but I have to wonder about the transient occupancy tax. While I haven't noticed fewer people staying at our local hotels, I wonder how tourism is doing for the county this summer?

Last time we went to San Francisco and back, except for the weather, it didn't seem like summer at all. It seemed to me there was a notable absence of recreational vehicles on the road, motorcycles being the one exception. Are a lot of people staying away from Humboldt because of gas prices this year? That might cause problems with revenue to the county across the board.

Anybody else feel likes tourism is down this year?