Wednesday, May 31, 2006

HOPE Voter Guide Out

I don't know that Voter Guide is the right word for it, the the HOPE Coalition has their list of how all the different organizations stand on the upcoming ballot initiatives available online now. It's a .pdf file so you'll need Acrobat Reader on your computer to view it.

A couple things stand out to me: First; I was wrong. The League of Women Voters apparently took no position on Prop. 82, the preschool initiative. I was pretty sure they'd support 82.

Second; In the sidebar, where they show the orgs supporting or opposing Measure T, they show the Times- Standard supporting Measure T. I wasn't aware they'd taken a position yet. Did they publish their position when I was out of town and I missed it?

Vampires: The Next Target?

Rather timely subject, for me anyway. I was just talking to my wife's cousin, Lorraine, about the these critters this weekend. I'd never heard them referred to as "vampires", though.

There's a move underway in Sacramento to require labeling on "vampires"- appliances that use power even when they're not being used. The labels would inform consumers how much power the appliance uses when simply plugged in but not operating.

I'd certainly be interested in such information as I'd heard some time ago that many appliances, like TVs, VCRs and such, use power whether turned on or off. Before I left for San Francisco this last weekend, I'd actually considered unplugging my TV and VCR in hopes of saving a few cents on my utility bill.

I decided not to, the main reason being I didn't want to have to re- set the clock on the VCR. Now THAT'S a hassle.

One thing I did do, though, was leave my FAX machine unplugged while substituting the Power Supply I was taking to Frisco with me with a surge protector. Why leave something plugged in when I rarely use it?

I do need to cut my utility bill as much as I can, but do I support this proposed legislation? Sounds like a good idea, but no. Manufacturers of appliances can provide power usage info if they want to. It might be a good sales idea, you know: Our television uses half the power when not operating than our competitor's does....

Aside from that, it might well be another one of those costly hassles that business has to go through for no particular purpose since few people read the labels, although I'd be certainly one who would compare power usage when deciding on one appliance over another.

I say let the free market provide and keep the government out of it.

Another Fifteen Minutes

of fame, that is.

For some reason I was almost startled when, for lack of any interesting news to read this morning, I decided to check the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat blogs. First one I come to was Pete Golis' blog. There I was, right up in front.

Cool, funny and almost unnerving. I'd sent a comment to him, never giving a thought to the possibility he might publish it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lockyer Endorsements

I'm reminded from an e- mail this morning- well, not really reminded as I don't remember ever hearing about this back then- that during the Farmer/ Gallegos race four years ago, State Attorney General Bill Lockyer endorsed Terry Farmer, Gallegos' opponent at the time.

Hmm... no accounting for a politician's endorsements, huh?


This should be interesting: Looks like the Humboldt Voter's Association is going to do a demonstration of Instant Runoff Voting, aka Ranked Choice Voting, on June 6. This will coincide with election day. They'll be polling on the 4th District Supervisorial race. I'll be interested in seeing the results.

As an aside, our very own mresquan is mentioned in the article, albeit under his alias, Mark Konkler.

I've been fairly supportive of IRV in the past, as I've said here long ago. In fact, IRV was among the first issues discussed after I started this blog. I've somewhat cooled a bit on IRV since then, mostly because I think it might well only give a majority even more power than they already have. This is the complaint many on the Right have had against IRV all along.

Take Humboldt County and the 4th District race, for example: This is a fairly left leaning county, probably very strong left leaning county in some areas like Arcata, Petrolia and Trinidad. Assuming the electorate had the choice, the majority might well choose all left leaning candidates as their first choices.

This would almost ensure a continuous string of lefties in office, with the minority likely being pushed further and further out of the decision making process over time as the majority consolidates more and more power.

Of course, many local races are supposed to be non- partisan, but as we've seen lately, non- partisan races around here are anything but that. Sure, they're not exactly a Republican vs. Democrat issue, but they certainly do seem to be a Left vs. Right issue, as I see it.

I'm leery of anything that gives a group of people,especially a majority, the idea that they have a mandate to do anything they want to everyone else.

But, I'll grudgingly admit it does make some sense to me that we try to get a reasonable consensus on what candidate is acceptable to the greatest number of voters. I suppose that's why I gave IRV a plug in one of my comments on the Sacramento Bee web site the other day, despite my concerns.

It's too bad so many things are at stake that we have to worry so much about who gets elected or how they got there.

Dangers of Tobacco Control

I find it refreshing to read something, once in a while, on the politically incorrect side of the issue when it comes to tobacco. Kudos to the Washington Post. for today's non- pc commentary.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Arcata Eye Backs Dikeman?

Unbelievable, especially as the online version of the editorial is dated May 30 and today's the 29th. I'll have to give them credit as, not having read the Arcata Eye much, I assumed they might well give straight lefty election recommendations.

I'll have to admit, I like Hoover's(?) writing style. He's an easy read, even if I don't agree with him- the last endorsement of the Eye I'm aware of supporting Measure T.

I've been trying to remember to check the Eye's web page once a week to see what's going on there, but I often forget if there's too much news in the other local papers.

I'll have to be sure and check back there, if for no other reason than to see if I can get some ideas from his style of writing.

Test Your Americanism

You can go here and take a short test to find out just how American you are. Another one of those test where sometimes the choice should have been None of The Above, or Not Sure, but that option wasn't available.

Thanks to Pam, at Patriotic Mom, for the heads up on the test, although the link to the test on her blog doesn't work for me.

If anyone's interested, I'm 54% American.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

NO on Prop 81

You would have almost expected it, but I don't think the Times- Standard has endorsed every bond measure that's come before the voters. I think they've backed most of them, over the years, if memory serves me correct. Now they've endorsed Prop 81, that library bond on the June ballot.

They do point out our that our local library, as nice as it may seem, is open for short periods at a time and is unable to provide a wide array of services. But, they suggest that's just a temporary inconvenience and that someday our ship will come in, the economy will be steaming again, and the library will attain its full glory.

Well, let's hope so. Naturally, I'm not so optimistic. If we keep passing bond measures, we might well be spending any money an improved economy would give us paying back this and every other bond we've passed over the last couple decades.

We need to stop acting like we can borrow now because prosperity is just around the corner. Let's deal with the library we have now, with what we've got. Let's not borrow money for improvements we won't be able to use.

Call it pay as you go, if you'd like, but passing bond after bond will get us nowhere but the poorhouse.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I guess we'll never be satisfied with each others polls, will we?

Eureka Councilcritter, Jeff Leonard is challenging the poll Citizens for Real Economic Growth sponsored on how residents felt about the Marina Center and the Balloon Tract. Leonard wants a closer look at the poll to determine its legitimacy.

I suppose that's a fair request but I wonder if that will lead anywhere? After all, I might well have answered NO myself, if asked if the Marina Center would be the best use for the Balloon Tract. I've said before I don't have problems with empty lots just remaining empty lots, but I think if I'd had my druthers, I'd rather see a factory of some kind put there.

Thing is, a factory ain't gonna happen, so you won't see me opposing Marina Center but, depending on the mood I was in, I might well answer NO if asked about the Marina Center- Marina Center being the best use, that is.

Polls often leave so many questions unanswered, I can't help but think we should be skeptical of any poll no matter how well it's worded.

Then there's Kaitlin Sopoci- Belknap's discounting of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce poll that showed the vast majority of respondents opposing Measure T. She's right, no where near the majority of the members bothered to return the poll and most businesses aren't members of the Chamber. Does that mean they don't necessarily oppose Measure T?

That's hard to say. I suspect most might not be thinking much about the issue. I suspect a lot just never get around to bothering with filling out the poll and sending it in.

I never cease to be amazed at how few people will return candidate petitions I mail out when we're trying to qualify candidates for the ballot. I've sent out petitions with all required fields that need to be filled in hightlighted, including a stamped and addressed return envelope and yet, still, maybe ten percent of the recipients fill them out and return them (although I probably broke some kind of record last time I did a mailing ending up with a thirty percent return rate).

So, much of the non- response the Eureka Chamber got is likely the way it always is. For those that didn't bother voting, you snooze, you lose. Besides, the Yes On T folks have been trumpeting the Wal Mart vote as evidence of people not wanting a big box on the Balloon Tract. I don't believe even fifty percent of the people turned out for that vote, either.

Bottom line is, we use polls and statistics when they suit our purpose. Nothing wrong with that. It's both politics and human nature.

Friday, May 26, 2006

New Local Blog

Here's a new local blog I just found out about. Not sure it will go anywhere as there's no accomodation made for people to comment and there's no indication as to who's doing the blog. I'll keep an eye on it for a while and see how it does.

Measure T Reports In

The two sides of the Measure T issue have filed their finance reports. No way to tell how much from the YES side came from out of county, but they waxed the NO side in contributions taking in $9,773 to the NO side's $2503. That's almost a four to one ratio.

Of course, the NO side was going by a self imposed $500 contribution limit whereas the YES side took whatever they could get.

Should make an easy choice for those of you concerned about money in politics and campaign finance reform; Vote against the big money. Vote NO on Measure T.

Campaign Finance Reports In

Looks like the candidates in the District Attorney's race have turned in their latest finance reports. I was sorry to see Worth Dikeman reach to the dark side and accept $1000 from what must be his sister, who lives in Vallejo.

But, not to be outdone, Gallegos' has taken at least four contributions from out of the area: Irvine, CA, New Mexico, El Cerrito and Berkeley.

Gallegos also outdid Dikeman in fundraising pulling in $81,000 to Dikeman's $79,000. That's a closer spread than I'd expected.

One thing seems clear; If you believe in local control of elections, Dikeman is the clear choice as he depends less on out of the area financing for his campaign.

If you believe that big money corrupts politics, the obvious choice is Dikeman, as he raised less money. Sure, he came close to Gallegos, but less money is less money.

If you support local control and clean elections, how could you vote for anybody but Dikeman?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Organic Farming

I went to the North Coast Journal's web site to see if I could get a peek at the hit piece I've been informed they wrote on the No On T committee's presentation to the Republican Women's Federation. Unfortunately, it hasn't been uploaded to the web site yet.

So, since I needed something to read with my lunch, I read the story the Journal wrote on the 4th District Supervisorial race I never got around to reading last week. I was struck by this quote in Bonnie Neely's part of the story:

For example, she says, Humboldt County secured a half-million dollar grant to convert a dairy in Miranda to organic. "As a result, we now have 13 organic dairies.".

WHAT??? Half a million bucks to convert a dairy farm to organic??? Nothing against Neely on this but that sounds like a ridiculous waste of money. I hardly think that's something to be proud of. I'm not all that down on organic food, either. I'm just not going to pay extra money for it.

Along that same line, I was over at Les Schwab the other day getting a flat tire fixed. I bumped into a magazine I'd never seen before while sitting in the waiting room. Fast Company had this article on the future of organic gardening.

Interesting that the guy they interview for the story is a long time organic gardener and also serves in a Vice President capacity for General Mills. If advocates of organic gardening want to be more effective, they should follow his common sense approach rather than concentrating on scare tactics against conventional farming methods.

Be sure and take note where he gives credit to Wal Mart for helping out the organic food industry.

Skeeter Alert!

They're here. I've been watching and waiting and they finally showed up: Mosquitos.

I figured we'll likely have another bad mosquito year with all the rain we've had. I wondered when they were going to start laying eggs in earnest. So, I have this wheelbarrow in my back yard, just outside the back door.

It was full of rainwater and, rather than dumping it out, as would seem the wise thing to do, I decided to leave it full of water so I could keep and easy eye out for mosquito larvae. Besides, the cats like to drink water from the wheelbarrow so it saves me the hassle of having to provide water for them when they're outside.

Not sure when exactly the larvae showed up but I just noticed them yesterday. I'd check the water at least every couple of days and hadn't noticed anything. Then, yesterday, I looked and didn't see anything and thought that was odd as the skeeters must be laying eggs by now.

I took another look and there they were. Not the bigger larvae, or whatever stage it is they're at right before they turn into flying bugs. They were small barely noticeable things probably not even a quarter inch long. Finally dumped out the wheelbarrow.

Now I have to be prudent and keep a close eye out for any containers outside that might be holding water. Mosquitos are a bad enough nuisance just by themselves. When the wife comes home later next month, they could be deadly. One of the many things you need to avoid when someone is immune deficient, is mosquitos.

So, all of you need to get up from your computers now, take about fifteen minutes and go outside and look for any receptacles that might be holding water and empty them out. Let's nip this thing in the bud before it becomes a problem.

League of Women Voters

I see the League of Women Voters are back in the news today. This time in the form of a letter to the editor of the Eureka Reporter in support of Prop. 81- that library bond inititative on the June ballot- by League President, Mona Daly. She had the same letter published as a My Word piece today in the Times- Standard.

I believe I've said before that I have a love/ hate relationship with the League of Women Voters. I certainly appreciate their effort in providing candidate forums and issue debates each election season, although why they chose not to sponsor a debate on Measure T is rather suspicious.

We're pretty fortunate with the Humboldt League as their candidate forums nearly always include all candidates in a given race. I've been told that, in some locales, the LOWV accepts the statist role and just invites the two candidates from the major parties to debates, at least in partisan races.

The LOWV claims to be non- partisan, and I suppose that's true. They are, however, clearly left leaning, at least as far as their membership goes. Whenever you see their position on issues, seems to me, it's always aligned with the Left, as we see with their support of Prop 81. I suspect they'll also be in favor of Prop 82, as well as Measure T.

The HOPE Coalition should have their list of organizational issue endorsements out soon. I don't see it on their web page yet. That's the list of all the local political type orgs and their positions on upcoming ballot inititiatives they publish each election season. When it comes out, we should see if I'm right about the LOWV position on this June's inititiatives.

Oh, and in case any of you weren't sure how the Humboldt Libertarians stood on the upcoming intitiatives, I told Chuck Harvey, who gathers the info for HOPE, our position was NO, NO and NO on Props 81, 82 and Measure T.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

California Progress?

Kudos to the Sacramento Bee's, Dan Weintraub, for the heads up on this lefty web site covering politics in California. The California Progress Report offers [what appears to me to be] a hard left look at political issues in California. Their head honcho, Frank Russo, is a long time Democrat activist type.

Probably a good site for both lefties and right wingers to visit regularly. Why right wingers? It's like the old saying goes: "Keep your friends close to you. Keep your enemies closer..".

T-S Picks Neely

I suppose it comes as no surprise that the Times- Standard would endorse Bonnie Neely in the race for fourth district supervisor. I found it odd that, also in today's paper, was a story on Sheriff Gary Philp endorsing Neely. I thought he'd already done that months ago.

Or maybe I got that impression because his name was on Neely's list of supporters when her campaign web page went up? Oh well. No big deal either way, I guess.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Arcata vs. Business

I'd never thought too deeply about the supposed anti- business atmosphere in Arcata, at least in regards to smaller businesses . I guess I still haven't spent much time on the issue but I was struck by two comments made in two separate articles in today's Times- Standard:

From a story on Rita Pimentel, owner of the popular Rita's restaraunts in Eureka:

"Pimentel considered opening a restaurant in Arcata, but found permitting too daunting."

From a story on Mike Levy, of Bio- Vehicles International:

"Levy said he has owned a Redding location since April of last year, but securing permits for an office in Arcata has been difficult at best."

Hmmm...even with something as politically correct as bio- diesel? Maybe it's true what they say about Arcata being hostile to business? In fairness, I wonder how Arcata's policies compare to Eureka, Fortuna and some of the other towns around Humboldt?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Times- Standard Endorses Gallegos

In yet another offbeat argument in one of the current local political issues of the day, the Times- Standard steps up to the plate and endorses Paul Gallegos for District Attorney.

Sorry, Gallegos fans, poor reasoning and thus poor endorsement the way I read it.

They basically say Dikeman would make a fine D.A. but instead endorse Gallegos because he's cool (my words). Hey, he surfs, and the young folks like him. Need anything else be said?

It would seem to me the main issue here is how the D.A.'s is being run but the T-S doesn't seem much concerned with that.

They suggest Gallegos' first term had too many distractions for him to be effective and that he should get four more years to show his stuff.

Ok. It seems to me, though, when you have a D.A. that seems to be universally disliked amongst anyone involved in the criminal justice system up here, we have a problem. Let's hope four more years, assuming he wins, puts the D.A.'s office back in order. I won't be holding my breath.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Food For Thought

Thanks to Radley Balko for the heads up on the cartoon.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Getting Scary Around Here

I was wondering if it was just me. It seems like there's been so much violence around the county lately. Looks like it might be true.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bird's My Word Column

I was surprised to see Times- Standard reporter, Andrew Bird, do a My Word column arguing against Measure T. Seems like kind of an offbeat argument to me, but his point is well made.

His My Word actually got me to thinking about a slightly different subject: Publicly financed elections.

Some nurses union in the state is gathering signatures for an initiative that would provide for publicly funded elections. This, as proponents suggest, would get the money out of politics. I hardly think so.

Sure, it might limit some of the fundraising, but there'll always be ways to get around that, as Bird points out in his commentary.

But who's going to be in charge of these publicly financed elections? Who will decide who qualifies for funding and who doesn't? Bird points out that one of the main players in the hit pieces against Chris Kerrigan was,

"Wayne Ordos, a former executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, the state agency that enforces California campaign law.".

I realize this Ordos fellow was a former ED of the FPPC, but does that mean he was any different kind of person when he was with the FPPC? I doubt it.

Whether the FPPC ends up being in charge of public financed campaigns, or some new agency is established for that function, they'll still be run by the same people that have made the mess of elections we have today.

And for those of you third party folks who complain about the hurdles you face just staying on the ballot now, the same people who make the decisions about ballot access and election law will still be in charge if elections are publicly financed.

You better hope they feel generous in letting you or your party partake of the public funds for your campaign. Remember, when you give government the power to give you everything you want, you're also giving it the power to take it all away.

I'd be very leery of giving government control over the purse strings for campaigns.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Measure T Debate

I'll go along with the Times- Standard in appreciation to the League of Women Voters for the series of candidate and issue debates they hold each election season. The T- S correctly points out today that the LOWV dropped the ball this time around by not having a forum on Measure T.

I have my own suspicions why the LOWV chose not to deal with Measure T, but that's water under the bridge. Looks like the Times- Standard rose to the occasion and will be hosting a web cast of a video debate between the two sides of the Measure T debate.

Should be an interesting event, if only to see how they put it together. Further details on the web cast are pending, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Baykeeper Toxicity Forums

The Citizen's for Real Economic Growth, the anti- Marina Center folks, have been hosting a series of forums on pollution in the Balloon Tract. I'll have to admit that, when I first heard these forums announced, I figured they'd be akin to the one sided forums the Yes On Measure T folks have been doing.

From the way the Eureka Reporter writes it, it looks like there might have actually been some back and forth from opposing sides on the issue, at least in the one held yesterday. But that's just the way I read it.

Faulk's Column

Anybody remember seeing this column in the Times- Standard before? Seems familiar but I can't say for sure I have. It's kind of a political blog by reporter James Faulk. A fun read. Hopefully they'll run it regularly.

Looks like James gave up on the T-S blog and decided to do his blogging where he gets paid for it.

Gallegos vs. Dikeman in SoHum

If anybody's interested, I just noticed the Redwood Times has coverage of the Gallegos/ Dikeman debate that took place in Garberville last Thursday.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

There Goes The Neighborhood

Looks like some people are worried about the old continuation school, Zoe Barnum High, being moved into the old Worthington School. I don't blame them. I drive by Zoe Barnum fairly often and have seen all the students hanging out across the street. That's not something I'd want happening in my front yard.

It's always a drag to have to live near a church or school. The constant traffic being just one thing people living nearby must deal with. Here in Humboldt I was surprised to notice most schools, at least in Eureka, are open campuses, meaning kids can pretty much come and go as they please.

I guess that's changing. It looks like Eureka High closed their campus recently. You still have all the parking problems from students driving to school, but no longer are the kids hanging out in the neighborhood during school hours

Eureka High was open until fairly recently. Then, a year or so ago, I saw the school security guy ride by on his bike and confront three kids sitting on a curb on Huntoon Street smoking. "Put out the smokes and get back on campus." he said. They got up and went back to school.

I was working about a block away from Eureka High a couple months ago. A car drives up, picks up a kid and drives down K Street, but not quick enough. The school security guy races after the car on his bike waving at them. The car stops and the security guy rides up to the drivers window, says something, and the kid that just got in the car gets out and heads back to campus.

Just a couple weeks ago I was in the same area and saw a couple kids go out to the school parking lot, look around to see if anybody important was watching and hop into their cars to make a quick getaway. They made it. Many others don't.

The Eureka Reporter didn't mention it, but the Times- Standard noted that Zoe Barnum will soon be a closed campus as well. That should make it a little easier on the neigborhood since students will have to hang out on campus rather than out in front of people's houses. I wonder how well the old Zoe Barnum students will accept a closed campus?

Wonder what caused the shift in school policy? I think it's probably for the better, as far as neighbors of the school are concerned. When I went to high school, all the schools I attended were closed campuses and they all had dress codes.

I hated that. Finally, I managed to finagle my way into attending Hillview High School, in Tustin, which was the district's continuation school. That was cool. You could have long hair. The school day was only half as long as a regular school and the campus was open, although I'd never felt any desire to play hooky from that school.

So it's funny how around 35 years later I'd rather the local high schools be closed campuses and save the neighborhoods some grief. But, I still feel a bit of camradarie with those wanting to skip class now and then. I guess my age hasn't completely changed the rebel that was in me when I went to school.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sample Ballots Are Here

Most of us should have received our sample ballots for the June Primary by now. Those of us in third parties got blessed with a combined ballot with all the third party primary ballots included. Not a bad idea to save time and money, I suppose.

I'll be sending the wife's to her, in San Francisco, so she can send in the Absentee Ballot application. First time she's ever had to do that, I believe.

More and more people are going the absentee route. As for me, I think I'll continue to go vote at our local polling place, which for my precinct is the Odd Fellows Hall on Buhne Street in Eureka.

A couple times in past years I've voted early. A lot of people don't know that you can go to the Elections Division office, at 3033 H Street in Eureka, and vote weeks ahead of the election. I used to like doing it that way to avoid the chance of getting stuck, should there be a line at my normal polling place (which rarely happens).

I stopped doing that for a couple reasons: First, it seemed like just an extra hassle for the people at Elections Division, them having to drop everything to give me a ballot and process it. Yes, I do care about making extra work for people when there's no need to.

Second, the last time I voted early, I changed my mind in one race after I voted, and wished I'd held off and voted on Election Day. After I'd voted there was a candidate forum on TV and, in one of those rare instances where a candidate forum changed my mind, I'd wished I'd voted for someone I hadn't.

Not that I'd voted for someone else. As I've mentioned here before, I often don't vote in city council races as I see no compelling reason to vote for any particular candidate. In that particular instance, one candidate said at least one thing that actually changed my mind.

My attitude may change, though, as it looks like the Left, via Chris Kerrigan, may be trying to turn the Eureka City Council into an Arcata City Council clone. That's the impression I've been given from recent news reports, anyway.

Nothing really against the Left OR Chris Kerrigan. Heck, it's good to have some divergent views among council critters, but I don't want the Eureka City Council to end up like Arcata's. That would be a bad thing.

As far as absentee voting: Nope. I'll save that for when I'm confined to a wheelchair, assuming I live that long.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sign Vandals On The Loose

I didn't see a link to it on the online version, but the Eureka Reporter mentioned, in a short story on Board of Supervisor candidates, that some of Nancy Flemming's campaign signs have been vandalized.

I noticed one yesterday, just a block a way from my house- different area than where the vandalism the ER mentioned took place. Someone spray painted something about Flemming supporting needle exchange programs on one of her signs, just like the ER said.

Makes me wonder who's responsible for this? Common sense would say the Left would be the ones opposing Flemming. But, you'd also think those same folks on the Left would support needle exchange programs. Hmmm...Then again, could it be an attempt by lefties to get the right leaning voters to turn on Flemming?

But that doesn't make sense because the fact that they're defacing signs would ruin their message in the first place. They probably don't think that deeply, though, assuming we can lump the sign vandals into one group.

Seems like we've had an increasing problem with election sign vandalism over the last few years. Is this a sign that it's back with us again?

While I've always felt vandalism was more likely to be committed by left leaning folk, I remember back during the Bohn vs. Kerrigan race for Eureka City Council, somebody was tearing up both candidates' signs.

That might of been the same election someone came into my yard overnight and stole ALL my signs; Candidates, propositions, it didn't seem to matter. I couldn't find them, either, so whoever took them must have just grabbed them and taken off. What's with that?

Let's see if the vandalism increases and keep our eyes open. What would be fun is to finally catch someone who does this sort of thing. I'd love to know what their motive is.

Sac Bee Allowing Comments

I hadn't noticed it until I read this article in the Sacramento Bee, but the Bee now allows comments on news stories featured on its web site. One of those things that are hard to notice as you have to pick up on the Comments link at the end of each story.

I commented today on that article and one of their editorials. Let's see how long they take to post my comments. Only problem with my comment on the first article was my title doesn't match the comment. I changed my mind on what my sample comment would be after I entered the title and forgot to change the title after commenting.

It will be interesting to see how many other papers follow the Bee's lead on this. I would think that if any of our local papers did it, it would end up being a mess. Then again, the Times- Standard's blog hasn't gotten out of hand, but it doesn't seem like many people go there.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Eureka Utility Tax Expanding?

Received a CC'd e-mail from Howard Rien yesterday, commenting on a meeting he attended about the Eureka Utility Tax. That the City Council wants to not only increase but expand the Utility Tax to cover even more items certainly isn't news, as it's been mentioned a few times in the local news already.

What was interesting was that, according to Howard (and he emphasized he needed to study it further) it looks like they want to apply the Utility Tax to internet services, among other things.

So, if this tax is not only extended, but increased and expanded, look forward to an additional charge on your phone bill. Not only will they be taxing your phone service, as they already do, you might well have an additional charge for internet service.

This is why you should never vote for an additional tax, ever. Once they get their foot in the door, they're not going to take it out.

This is also why folks in the outlying areas of Eureka should think twice about being incorporated into the City of Eureka.

What we need in Eureka is some City Council candidates that are opposed to, not only the Utility Tax, but taxes in general. Sadly, it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

When you give the government a hammer, soon everything starts looking like a nail.- Unknown

Left Wing Radio

I don't know how anyone could say that National Public Radio is unbiased journalism.

I listened to NPR for an hour or more while driving back up here from the Bay Area yesterday. The entire subject matter discussed during that time was hard core lefty stuff. I've heard it's like that all the time, but my experience is limited so I suppose I shouldn't make a judgement on just a few hours listening time.

Hey, I might even have agreed with some of what was being said, although it's hard to remember just what all the subjects covered were. Of course, they did have an interview with Cindy "ate up" Sheehan, who I detest, but other than that it was an interesting listen.

I just get a little fed up hearing from lefties who claim NPR "tells it the way it is...". Well, they may tell you what you want to hear, but please don't tell me they're non- biased.
Along the same line, I happened to be listening to KMUD while driving up through the Avenue of the Giants yesterday. Isn't KMUD an NPR station, or maybe that was the same channel? Hard for me to tell since, as reception came and went, I kept hitting the Seek button and just listened to whatever came along that I could receive well enough to understand.

Anyway, what grabbed my attention was an announcement that, coming up, was coverage of the Measure T issue, among other things. I had to listen to that.

I was surprised to hear them give some pretty good time to the NO side of Measure T. Most of that was just recorded segments of Chris Crawford's speech before the Republican Central Committee a few days ago. Not bad.

Next came, what seemed to be, a pre- recorded interview with Kaitlin Sopoci- Belknap of Democracy Unlimited and thus YES on T fame.

Nothing much from her we haven't heard before. She was just plugging her position. I did take exception to her complaining about not being invited to present her side of the Measure T issue to the Republican Central Committee. She made some comment about how the presentation was so one sided.

Well, it might have been, Kaitlin, but to call the various YES on T meetings your side has had, with a number of YES on T folks as speakers, forums, doesn't give you much credibility on the issue of promoting even handed presentations. But, to Kaitlin's credit, I was surprised when her interview came to a close.

She urged listeners to educate themselves on the issue (I hate it when either side of an issue uses the word educate, although I'm not completely sure she used that term). She suggested listeners visit both the YES On T web site, then much to my surprise, suggested they also visit the NO On T web site.

Not bad. All in all I thought it was a fairly even handed presentation of both sides.
Next, on KMUD, was coverage of a candidate forum between District Attorney Candidates, Paul Gallegos and Worth Dikeman. I didn't catch exactly when this forum took place. Pretty fair coverage of each candidate, I suppose. The problem I found was they spent a substantial amount of time interviewing audience members.

The question they asked of whether the forum changed their views on the candidates, or their decision of who they'd be voting for is a very legitimate one. In fact, the question of whether candidate forums actually change anyone's mind is an interesting one, indeed. They rarely change mine.

What concerned me was that the only audience members who gave their preference of whom they'd be voting for, said they had planned on voting for Gallegos and still felt that way. I found that rather odd. Nope, sorry Gallegos supporters. Everyone you know might well be voting for Gallegos, but I personally don't know anyone that's voting for him.

So, the D.A. forums seemed a bit tweaked, but I'll be fair and say that might have been more by accident than by design. The Measure T segment seemed ok to me. Still, overall I don't see how anyone can call NPR unbiased.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Unions Vs. The Gap Over Prop 82

Interesting story here that pretty much fits in with Measure T, at least as I see it.

A couple of big time unions are threatening a boycott against all The Gap stores because of a contribution made by the son of one of The Gap's founders. It seems from the story, that this wasn't a corporate contribution, but a personal contribution by an individual.

Naturally, we don't hear anything about how much the unions in question have contributed to the Prop 82 campaign, but you can bet it's a substantial sum. If Prop 82 passes, unions stand a good chance of rounding up more members, as well as screwing up pre- school as they have with K thru 12.

Am I opposed to their boycott? If I am, it's only because I'm opposed to Prop 82, but they're more than welcome to have at it. The only problem I have is when they complain about someone else contributing to a given cause yet they do the exact same thing.

It becomes especially troubling when they go so far as the Measure T folks have and try to prohibit contributions from "special interests", any other special interest, that is, than themselves.

Off Topic: Keyboard Question

Something's been driving me nuts since I've been using this laptop and wondered if any of you knew what I'm doing to cause it?

I'll be typing along and all of the sudden the cursor will shift to somewhere behind where I'm typing. Sometimes it will suddenly appear a sentence or two behind the one I'm typing and sometimes it ends up in the paragraph above.

It's happened probably ten times already, just in typing this. Not sure that it's happening if I don't miss any keys but, if I don't catch it right away, I end up typing in a different line and have to remove a few letters and reposition the cursor and start again.

Seems to me this happens on my other computer sometimes, as well, but not anywhere near as much. Anyone know what might be causing this, or what key combos do this? Interesting in that, just now, all of the sudden a numbered list was created that I didn't ask for and I had to remove it.

I suspect I'm inadvertantly using some keyboard shortcuts but can't figure just what exact keys are doing it and how to deactivate them.

Dems Prove Me Right

Looks like the local Democratic Central Committee proved me right in endorsing both Props 81 and 82 at their latest meeting. Told ya so. Ok, it wasn't that hard of a prediction to make. Still, you heard that prediction here first.

Then again, it's not really any more of a surprise than the Republican Central Committee coming out officially in opposition to Measure T. I pretty much figured we had that one in the bag. No surprise there, but glad to have them onboard, at least officially.

My next prediction is a bit more hard to make, but not much harder: Will the Eureka Chamber of Commerce come out opposed to Measure T? I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that's a no- brainer- YES.

Then again, I have no idea just what businesses make up the ECC and, even if I did, you'd have to know who the business owner was and what his politics, if any, are. We'll have to wait and see on that.

I saw somewhere where the ballots have been sent to the membership. We should know soon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fifth District Debates

Being out of town, I missed the Fifth District Supe Candidate Debates. The Eureka Reporter made the event sound pretty dull, compared to the Times- Standard. Any of you watch the show?

Looks like candidate, Dan Pierce , livened things up a bit with his use of various props. I can't help but like a guy that gets some excitement going.

I'm wondering about this Jeffrey Lytle guy; I've heard from two different people about him. One said he'd heard Lytle was a libertarian. The other one said Lytle told her he was a libertarian. Interesting.

I don't see him on my old list of registered libertarian voters. Of course, that list is exactly that: Old. I've looked before and didn't find a web page, not even an entry on the League of Women Voter's Smartvoter web page (I'll never understand why so many candidates don't take advantage of at least that free web service).

So, even if Lytle is a libertarian, you'd never know that about him from any campaign material, since he doesn't seem to have any. Anybody here know anything about him?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dateline: San Francisco

Ok, there you all have it. My last two posts were written and published from 94 Eastwood Drive in San Francisco using this new laptop you all pitched in for. Thanks so much.

Had to come down here kind of unexpectedly. The wife's caregiver wanted to go up to Eureka for most of the week to attend some family events. Thinking outside the box, I suggested we see if the medical folks would allow the wife to spend a few days up here, rather than someone having to go down there.

The first nurse said she didn't see a problem with her coming home but she had to ask the doctor in charge. I kinda had myself convinced it was a done deal but, when the wife asked the doctor on Monday, she said NO WAY.

So, down to San Francisco I drove on Tuesday. Not nearly as much of a hassle since I didn't have to load up the old Humboldt County Laptop.

This wireless connection works pretty well. This is the first time I've ever used wireless. Apparentyly my problem before was that the computer won't even tell you it detects a signal unless you send out the access code when searching for it.

Once I got that figured out, which just took a couple minutes, I was online and ready to blog.

So, thanks again, all!

The New Lefty Group In Town

Any of the lefties that come here members of this new group, the Progressive Democrats of Humboldt County?

Not sure that there was any real reason to form yet another Democratic club up here as the current Democratic Central Committee seems quite far enough to the left to satisfy most lefties.

Then again, I'm not a Democrat so it's not for me to decide. Each to their own.

Yesterday's news, but...

I couldn't pass up on the latest in the Eureka Reporter regarding Richard Salzman having been witnessed "vandalizing" parking meters in Eureka with Anti- Arkley decals.

If true, maybe I'll agree with Cherie Arkley that Salzman has way too much time on his hands. I suspect he has an obsessive hatred of anything not left of center, as well. Kinda scary, people obsessed with hatred, but he's not the only one around here like that.

But, here we go; The witnesses reported it to the police as vandalism. I can't help but wonder if either of the witnesses are going to assist in pressing charges on this? Are we going to make a mountain out of a molehill again?

Salzman's already been humiliated over that episode where he got caught sending letters to the editor under fake names. I said back then that the humiliation was enough punishment for the supposed crime.

I realize technically he committed vandalism and that people sticking decals where they don't belong is quite annoying but, hey, is it really that big a deal?

He deserves the humiliation of getting caught and I don't really care if the papers follow this story for a week or two. But I think another criminal investigation is a bit out there. I say let the humiliation go on, but as far as making a major criminal case over this, just drop it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

We've Been Brutalized!

I wasn't there so I can't say what happened but, having read e-mails over the years from tree sitters and other lefty type protestors voicing outrage over someone interfering with their actions, I suspect this is pretty much more of the same.

One of the latest e-mails sent over the Redwood Peace and Justice Center e-mail list:

Please disseminate widely!
Hold Gallegos accountable for his statement that “everyone has the right
to feel safe in this community!”

Please call Paul Gallegos’ office and demand:
1. Drop all charges against the three women arrested on May 1st while
peacefully walking to Eureka for immigrant rights.

2. Deny any requests for warrants related to others participating in the
walk from Arcata to Eureka.

3. Initiate an investigation of police abuse exercised on May 1st against
peaceful protesters, as well as a broader pattern of violence by police
towards women, people of color, and other local activists.

Office number: (707) 445-7411 or email:

Seems to me Gallegos can't win on this one. If he was already going to drop charges against the protestors, it's still going to look like he's pandering to the Left. If he charges but gives them a slap on the wrist, same thing. If he goes for full prosecution, he risks alienating his main constituency.

Someone sent a reply over the RPJC list that they had already called the D.A.'s office and were told the D.A.'s office will decide the merits of the case on the facts, not public opininion. We shall see. No easy way out for Gallegos on this one.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Shameless Political Plug...

well, kinda.

Got an e-mail the other day from the Lynette Shaw campaign. She's the 2006 Libertarian Party Candidate for Lt. Governor. Her main claim to fame being a somewhat well known medical marijuana activist. You certainly wouldn't know it from her web site, though.

In fact, there's no info about her on her web site at all, just some video endorsements. I've been told they'll be doing some remodeling on the web site soon. It certainly needs it, but it seems a little late in the game for that.

Anyway, they wanted to know if I wanted to arrange something up here so she could address the local libertarians. I had to tell them that I'm really not sure just who the local libertarians are anymore. I have a two or three old registered voter list and haven't received a list of card carrying, dues paying members for at least six months, probably longer.

But, I told them I'd give her a mention here and maybe some of the lefties that visit this list might belong to some organization that might be interested in having her speak to their group.

If interested, let me know. Funny how her campaign web site doesn't even have contact info on it.

Wireless In Humboldt

Bumped into this site yesterday, so I thought I'd give it a plug. It's a directory of places in Humboldt that offer free wireless internet connections. Pretty neat idea. Hopefully more businesses will add themselves to the list as I'm sure there's more than they list in Eureka that offer wireless.

I got the heads up on that site from yesterday's post on Chris Crawford's North Coast Tech Blog. There's been a lot of talk lately, not just here but around the country, about government doing something to promote universal wireless access, including government actually providing the access itself.

I don't really see a need for government to get involved, aside from dealing with any legal conflicts that arise. More and more businesses already are providing broadband access in one form or another. Give it a little time and it will likely be the exception rather than the rule to provide access to broadband.

I see no reason to make a government project out of it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Million Marijuana March

How this got passed me, I have no idea. I was surprised to find that yesterday was the annual day of protest against marijuana prohibition, know as the Million Marijuana March.

I never heard or read anything about this coming up, and I subscribe to all kinds of lefty and anti- drug war e-mail lists. Maybe I just haven't been paying enough attention to my e-mail lately?

No big deal, as I wouldn't have been there anyway. It did get me to thinking again about something I mused about a couple years ago: A countywide initiative to decriminalize marijuana, much like Mendocino County did a few years ago.

I thought that would be a fun effort to pursue. I guess what stopped me from ever even beginning to work on it was, one; Laziness, and, two: My gut feeling was that it would fail, even up here.

Maybe it wouldn't fail, but my laziness makes potential failure a moot point.

How about some of you? Anyone out there interested in starting a campaign to decriminalize pot up here? I may be really lazy, but I'd be willing to help.

Justice For All?

Paul Gallegos follows Bonnie Neely's lead this morning with his own electioneering oriented My Word column in the Times- Standard.

Bonnie Neely's piece, published a few weeks ago (no link to it on the T-S website), I couldn't see any reason for writing, except as a campaign tactic to garner favor amongst environmentalists. All she did was talk about how lovely it is up here and how important it is to protect the environment.

No specific issues mentioned, just generic environmental chatter. Obviously, the self- described progressive in the race, Richard Marks, has her running scared. Otherwise, there would have been no other reason for her to have bothered writing it.

Gallegos' piece doesn't seem much different. In fact, I'm not really sure just what he's trying to say. It must be an attempt at a you'll feel better about everything if you vote for me message, and not a very good one at that, at least from my perspective.

Just exactly what is he trying to say? He seems to start and end with a generic ramble about community safety, crime prevention, rights and the people. He then goes on to suggest, I guess, that public safety and the problems in the community start and can be solved by the community.

I guess there's a point there but I'm not sure what it is.

Towards the end he writes: "While I can run on my record, I cannot rest on it.". So, finally he mentions his "record", but doesn't elaborate. I guess he gave up trying to manipulate statistics after all the heat he's taken here and realizes he doesn't have much of a record to brag about.

Oh well, nice try, Paul, but I just don't get how your commentary relates to Justice For All. Maybe you can explain that in your next My Word column?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Buhne Takes a Nose Dive

Poor Cap'n Buhne. Ever since he stopped allowing comments his readership has plummeted. Looks like the Buhne Tribune will be heading into obscurity if the momentum continues. What are we to do?

Check his May 5 post for a look at his stats.

Your Papers Please!

For the record, I've yet to be stopped at a soboriety checkpoint myself.

These drunk driving checkpoints that are all the rage amongst both law enforcement and some in the general public are just one of my many pet peeves.

What burns me up the most about them is not so much the idea that you can be pulled over for no reason at all (although that is a concern, as I mention below), but that so many people think they're such a great idea, as this story from the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat points out.

Seems to me they started out simple enough, with a checkpoint being established somewhere and cops checking to see that no one's under the influence. I'm not sure I even like that as, even when I was going through the College of the Redwoods Police Academy, I didn't feel police should be stopping motorists without a proper cause.

That so much of the driving public accepts this as an acceptable intrusion upon their travels is of great concern to me, especially as these checkpoints seem to have progressed from, not just soboriety checks, but to driver's license and warrant checks as well.

What can we look forward to at these checkpoints in the future?

Friday, May 05, 2006


Just to show how pathetically desperate the Gallegos campaign has gotten, take a look at the contents of this e-mail that was forwarded to me, allegedly sent out over the Alliance for Ethical Business list- serve:

"Ace Hardware in Mckinllyville has Dikeman signs on their fence. I think it is inappropriate, if not downright foolish, for a business to openly step into a political race. Please call 839-1587, ask for the owner, and let them know that you may not wish to shop there anymore."

So what if a business decides to put a campaign sign on their property. Sure, it might be foolish for a business to openly get involved in a political campaign, but that's for them to decide. I'm trying to remember if I've seen any Gallegos signs on business property.

That e-mail alone gives me reason enough to vote for Dikeman.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Blew It

Silly me. I missed both the Measure T debate on KMUD radio yesterday and the Flemming, Marks, Neely forum on TV last night. I guess that leaves me nothing to blog about today except to mention that. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dan Walters Q & A

Looks like Dan Walters' Capitol Question and Answer started off well today. Some people actually asked him some questions.

Don't Go Near The Water

Some good has come from the wetter than normal weather this winter:

Those in the ski business got an extra boost and the state's snowpack is nearly twice its normal size in some places. That means we should have enough water for everyone this year.

On the downside, it also means we have a lot of water; Fast and cold water in some places up to four times the normal flow. This will likely last well into the summer. As a result, we'll see more reports of drownings in the news. It's already happening:

Just yesterday a teenager drowned near Placerville. They're not sure just what happened in that incident, but it looks like he and a friend might have been considering taking a swim.

A few days ago the guy who founded Fetzer Vineyards in Mendocino County, Bobby Fetzer, drowned in a rafting accident on the Eel River. His raft overturned and, despite having all the latest in safety gear, he drowned.

I was dumbfounded upon reading that those two guys, who had the car stolen that ended up in that big chase that went through Eureka, were considering taking a dip in the Eel before they were interrupted. What were they thinking?

That car thief might well have saved their lives.

You'd think people would know to stay away from the water when it's so cold, high and fast, but it happens every year and we'll likely see more of it than usual this year.

Don't go near the water.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Latt on the Marina Center

I see Neal Latt has yet another My Word commentary in the Times- Standard today. More talk about the Marina Center and the Balloon Tract, him being opposed to the Marina Center.

Seems to me everything that could have been said on this issue, by either side, has been said. I guess he just wanted to try to get in the last word.

Enough said. Time for action, of one kind or another, rather than this endless back and forth.

Speaking of Mental Health

There's been a lot in the local news lately about mental health. I stumbled into another angle on mental health issues on the Sierra Times web site this morning. Henrietta warns us about Teenscreen, some psychiatric test that supposedly tells you if your kid is screwed up.

According to Henrietta and the folks at Teenscreen Facts, Teenscreen will more than likely tell you your kid is screwed up, and he or she needs to put on medication. They almost make it sound like some conspiracy.

I'll take Henrietta's word for it. When I worked at Juvenile Hall, years ago, it seemed the psyche folks were more than happy to put kids on medication for what seemed to be frivolous reasons. Then again, they were the supposed experts, not me.

Probably best to take heed of the warning, though. You hear more and more nowadays of kids being forced to take ritalin and other drugs for what most would consider normal childhood behavior and that's not a good thing.

Will Mexico Say NO...

To the United States, that is?

CNN ran a story a couple days ago about Mexico's Congress passing a bill decriminalizing small amounts of illegal drugs. El President Fox is expected to sign the bill. I was reminded of it this morning when I saw the story featured on the Sierra Times web site.

I'm wondering if Fox will cave to U.S. interests over this? Our government repeatedly tries to strongarm other countries, most notably Canada, into following the U.S. line on drug law enforcement. I suspect the pressure on Fox to veto the bill will be enormous.

I think Fox will sign the bill.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Humboldt Democrats To Mull Initiatives

Looks like the local Democratic Central Committee is going to take a stand on Props 81 and 82 at their May 10 meeting. Both initiatives will be on the June Primary ballot.

Prop 81 is yet another on of those library bond measures we keep seeing. Didn't we just have one of those in the last few years?

Prop 82 is the notorious Universal Pre- School initiative, that will supposedly allow free preschool for all the children. Yet another one of those tax the rich schemes.

I'll go out on a limb and make a prediction: I say they endorse both intitiatives, despite the fact that some of their current and past state leadership have come out publicly against Prop 82.

Why? It just seems to me the local Democrat Central Committee leans very strong to the left and I get the impression there isn't a bond issue or tax the rich initiative they wouldn't endorse.

We shall see. If they don't endorse both of them, I have an easy out: They did it to make me look bad.

Their Chair, Pat Riggs, stops by here on occasion. It wouldn't surprise me if they vote against at least Prop 82 just to make me look bad by screwing up my prediction.

Remember, Pat; I've already established an out for myself so it won't work.

Angeledes Wins

They say that those that show up for political conventions are generally the more extreme of the membership. I've pretty much believed that to be the case. Phil Angeledes' nomination by the state Democrats as their gubernatorial candidate is yet more proof of that.

Of course, we still have the June primary to deal with and I find it difficult to believe that the Democrats statewide will go along with the Angeledes endorsement. I guess I shouldn't be surprised if they do, though. This is California, after all.

The Sacramento Bee's Dan Weintraub gives us a look at the differences between Westly and Angeledes here. Both Angeledes and Westly support giving money supposedy stolen from the schools back, although Westly is a bit more common sense about it, not wanting the autopilot spending to continue year after year.

Speaking of money and public schools, Dan Walters addresses the issue here. He correctly points out that more money doesn't equate to better schools. That's something that neither Angeledes or Westly seem to understand. Or maybe they just don't care?

As usual, if required to log in to access the Sacramento Bee stories, username is humboldlib, password is blogspot.
Blog Flash: Just received this report in my daily National Center for Policy Analysis news brief. It has a table that shows state spending per pupil and reading and math levels of students.