Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Prison Guards Stop Transfers

This just in from the Sacramento Bee (as usual, if asked for login, humboldtlib is the username, blogspot is the password) : Looks like the California Correctional Peace Officer's Association, among others, filed a lawsuit to stop the transfer of our prison inmates to out of state prisons- the transfers being done to alleviate prison overcrowding that poses a threat to both the prisoners and their guards.

Just goes to show, as far as I'm concerned, that the CCPOA is one of the most dangerous public employee unions California has.

I know many on all sides of the political spectrum have problems with outsourcing of jobs out of state or overseas. Regardless, I'm wondering if we should take outsourcing one step further in the case of prison inmates?

How about we see if neighboring countries, like Mexico, wouldn't mind housing some of our inmates until their time is up? Oh, I know we've heard horror stories about Mexican prisons, but recently I've read otherwise.

I read somewhere that the Mexican criminal justice system is pretty informal with their prisons informal and less restrictive as well. I would think an American inmate might prefer to be in a prison where he might not be stuck in a cell so much of the time, assuming that's true.

Not only that but we could save all kinds of money. We could probably house an inmate there for a quarter of the cost, or even less, than what we pay in California. Hey, everything's cheaper in Mexico.

This might also open up some decent- at least by Mexican standards- paying jobs, thus keeping a few border crossers inside Mexico rather than trying to come here for work.

I think this is a great idea, but I'm willing to have anyone play the devil's advocate and tell me why it won't work. I can think of one reason it probably won't work right now: The California Correctional Peace Officer's Association wouldn't allow it.

Fifteen More Minutes...

of fame for your very own Fredster, as our very own, James Faulk, gives Fred's Humboldt Blog a plug in today's Bully Pulpit column.

Even more proof in the emerging presence of local blogs comes from a plug in today's Tech Talk column by Jim Nelson where he reminds us of the possible dangers inherent in electronic voting. He refers readers to local gadfly, Dave Berman's blog, We Do Not Consent, for further reading.

All these plugs are exciting for those of us involved in the blogosphere. Problem is, the most recent plug I remember seeing for a local blog was when our very own Hank Sims slammed another of our very own, Anon.R.mous. Sims, in his Town Dandy column, raked Anon.R over the coals over a squabble they were having about the City of Arcata's merits, or lack thereof.

We haven't heard from Anon.R since. Will I be the next to disappear without a trace?

Weintraub Scores Libertarian

The Sacramento Bee's, Dan Weintraub, ended up taking the World's Smallest Political Quiz. He ends up in the Left Libertarian quadrant. Check out the October 28 post on his California Insider blog to see exactly where he scored.

Wonder where he stumbled on to that Advocates For Self Government link? I posted it in the comments here a couple days ago. Might he be one of our occasional stealth visitors?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Where's Collins Street?

One thing I learned from the first in the Times- Standard's five part series on the Balloon Tract, was the first person to purchase the property that now holds the Balloon Tract was Charles Collins. He paid something like a dollar an acre way back in 1861.

So how come he doesn't have a street named after him? Sounds like he must have been a player of some note in the development of Eureka. I see some of the other players listed and they have streets named after them, among them Soule and Vance.

I'm sure somebody out there will get right on this.

If they don't, maybe they can name one of the streets in Marina Center Collins Avenue?

Berkeley Fights Trader Joe's

I was under the impression that Trader Joe's was one of the darling supermarkets amongst the Left. Apparently not all the Left. There's a fight going on in Berkelely right now to stop a Trader Joe's from coming to town.

Looks like some of the arguments against Trader Joe's are the same as being thrown at Eureka's Home Depot.

Driscoll: We Can End Daylight Savings

The Times- Standard's, John Driscoll, seems to have had enough of Daylight Savings Time. He suggests Humboldt County lead the revolution against it.

Myself? As I said yesterday, I'm not sure that it's isn't more trouble than it's worth. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it this time as my attitude changes year by year.

I was looking forward to having the sun come up "earlier" but found, to some amusement yesterday, when it started getting lighter seemingly an hour earlier, I wanted it to stay dark longer. I like hiding in the darkness playing on my computer. Like I said, I can't do anything else until the sun comes up anyway.

As far as the sun going down earlier, I knew I probably wouldn't be happy about that. Yesterday, though, I didn't even notice when the sun went down.

So John, here's what we'll do: You set your clock back to where it was before Daylight Savings Time ended. Give that a try for a few months and get back to us. We'll see how it worked out for you. If it looks like a good deal, maybe the rest of us will follow suit and we'll have a revolution on our hands.

We're Soooo Dumb!

I posted last week about a Tax Foundation study that showed California rated 47 out of 50 states as far as business tax climate, even lower than our previous rating the year before.

So, it was no surprise to me to see California rated amongst the dumbest of the fifty states, or so a study mentioned in today's Sacramento Bee says. According to today's The Buzz column, the Morgan Quinto Press did a study on education related issues and California came in 47 of 50 states. That's down a point from the last time the study was conducted.

Scroll down to the bottom of the column to see the piece on the study. If asked for a login, as always humboldtlib is the username and blogspot is the password.

I left a comment that they should provide links, when referring to a study of this kind, so readers could look further into it if they so choose.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Marina Center Series In Times- Standard

I can't help but think that everything that could be said about the Marina Center has already been said in the Humboldt blogosphere. Nonetheless, it should be interesting to read the five part series that the Times- Standard will be running this week on the Marina Center controversy.

If nothing else, they shed some light on the poll they ran down in Old Town, asking local merchants what they thought of the plan (I still think it's kind of weird to ask people whether they were pressured into feeling one way or another about the development, but I'm sure they felt they had a reason for doing so).

Anyway, I'll be looking forward to seeing what they say. If there's something that hasn't been discussed here already, maybe I'll post my comments here.

More Rudeness?

Maybe not. Maybe it's just annoying.

Former Mayor of Fortuna, Odell Shelton, calls a meeting in Fortuna but won't say what it's about. Well, ok, he did say it has something to do with the City Manager, but I guess that's it.

For some reason this reminds me of those commercials the pharmaceutical companies were running a while back. The ones where they'd mention the name of some drug along with some senseless video without ever saying what medical condition the drugs were supposed to be used for.

Then at the end of the commercial they'd close with, "Ask your doctor if Diolixin is right for you.", even though you have no idea what the drugs were for.

That almost sounds like the way they're advertising this meeting. Perhaps they're hoping curiousity might get more people to attend?

Erik, over at his blog, wonders how many people will be showing up for Ron Kuhnel's fund raising party. I'm wondering how many people will show up for Shelton's meeting?

You can go back to bed now

Some of you probably got up an hour early today, depending on how you look at it. Daylight Savings Time ended this morning. As for me, I didn't forget about it but didn't set the clocks back yet. Don't really have to as the clock on the computer automatically reminds me. Of course, that's after I've already gotten up.

I remembered when I woke up this morning. Wasn't sure whether to try to sleep in, or get up at the usual time and have an extra hour. I compromised and got out of bed at 4:30 instead of 5:00.

I've wondered in the past if Daylight Savings Time is more trouble than it's worth. This time around I was kind of glad to see it come to an end. I wanted the sun to come up earlier. Problem is, I don't know that I want the sun to go down an hour earlier. Too bad I can't have it both ways.

I'm not sure just when I like the sun to come up. I know I like it to be light enough around 7:30am that I can prepare breakfast and read the paper without having to turn the lights on. At the same time, the extended darkness makes me feel comfortable wasting my time away on the computer. I figure I can't really do anything else but fool with the computer until the sun's up anyway.

I'll have to wait and see how I feel about all this after a few days. Thing is, if I end up wishing the sun came up later, there's not a whole lot I can do about it, although I suppose I could always set the clocks back to what they were before Daylight Savings Time ended.

Now there's the libertarian option: Change the time to whatever I want it to be, keeping in mind the sun will rise and set according to its own schedule like it always has.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Democracy Unlimited Moves

Matt, Matt, Matt; What did you have to go and do that for?

Matt Owen, husband of Virginia Bass, apparently complained to the City of Eureka when he found out Democracy Unlimited didn't have a permit to be operating at Fourteenth and M Streets in Eureka where they have their headquarters. The City won't issue a permit to them now, so they'll have to move by the end of the year.

Who cares if they don't have a permit? Hey, I don't mind a little good old fashioned fun, but over this?

I'm sure Democracy Unlimited is no more disruptive to that neighborhood than a lot of other houses are in other neighborhoods around town. Heck, even the Matteolis have their fair share of large family parties that tie up parking for half a block around. With all the coming and going out of their house, if I didn't know better, I'd think it was some crack house.

If you really felt strongly there was a problem about this, you should of at least waited until after the election so this wouldn't seem like so much of a childish political prank.

As far as the Kaitlin and Dave are concerned, it will likely just be a small hassle for them. I assume they'll still be able to live there. Heck, they could probably still have meetings there. They'll just need to find a new place to call their official headquarters. Any volunteers out there? Mresquan? SAF? Heraldo? Eric?

How Rude!

I can't help but think it's kind of rude that the feds, or whomever is responsible, brought to light an investigation involving the late Norm Vroman, past District Attorney of Mendocino County. Looks like they might have dropped the whole thing now, but it still makes the news.

Apparently they believed they had evidence of marijuana being grown of Vroman's property and suspected he might have some illegal weapons in his gun collection. You'd think, if they really felt he had illegal weapons, they'd go ahead and proceed with the search warrants regardless of his death.

I agree with Mendocino's past sheriff, quoted in the article, that it's too bad they didn't proceed with the searches so they could have cleared up any doubts. Bringing this story out now just dumps dirt on the guy.

You can't help but wonder if certain political operatives in Mendocino were behind this since Vroman is still on the ballot down there.

Interesting that this showed up in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat and not the Ukiah Daily Journal, at least not yet.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kids: The Good, Bad and Ugly?

Some seem surprised that I, Mr. Nice Guy, wouldn't exhibit that touchy- feely He's just a child... attitude that so many others have after this recent shooting. Very simply, I'm not going to rush to judgement in this or any other case. That said, I stand by by what I said:

Having worked at Humboldt County Juvenile Hall for around three and a half years quite some time ago, I can think of at least a few kids I would have loved to never have to see again in my life. That said, I enjoyed interacting with most of the kids I'd met and worked with. Some were absolute pleasures.

Some of the most pleasant to deal with were supposedly real hell raisers on The Outs, as kids in the hall would say. That's why I'm curious about this Burgess kid, not that Hall behavior is any kind of answer to a kids inner personality in and of itself.

When I first perused making a [most likely] controversial post, three kids I'd dealt with came to mind immediately. I would have been greatly relieved to have heard I'd never have to deal with them again. If any of them would have been in Burgess' place, I would have been relieved. It would have made my job a hell of a lot easier.

Surprisingly, one, a kid we'll call "Jim" was one of my favorites when he first showed up at The Hall.

Jim was around 15 and came from Southern Humboldt. When I first met him he was pleasant to deal with and had a good sense of humor. Seems to me he wasn't with us too long the first time.

I think it was around six months later he returned and had changed. Now he wanted to be Mr. Bad Ass, just like dad- A convicted murderer. He'd developed a hostile attitude that eventually resulted in numerous assaults on staff. Although he never struck me personally, I was involved in restraining him one time where he was puching my partner repeatedly in the face. And so went his stay at The Hall for the seeming eternity he was there.

One day he was standing at the Control Room door and I had to ask him, "Jim, what happened with you? You used to be one of my favorite kids and now you seem to go out of your way to be the bad guy.". He just shrugged. I think he knew he wanted to be just like dad.

I forget what his disposition was, but I was glad to never see him again. Last time I heard of him was reading the arrest reports some years ago in the Times- Standard and he'd been arrested for "Making Terrorist Threats", or some such. Not sure what that involves as I don't recall hearing of that crime when I went through the Redwoods Police Academy. Regardless, didn't surprise me. Good riddance, asshole.

"David" was another one. He was in The Hall starting with day one- My first day starting as a volunteer. Seemed ok to me at the time but he was a major problem child in The Hall and I didn't know him yet.

Didn't take long for me to realize what a pain he was: Fifteen years old and totally irrational, at least a lot of the time. You could have problems with him develop out of nowhere. Even Mental Health couldn't neutralize him with all their psychriatic medications. A real pain.

He went to a few group homes and then, for the life of me, I don't remember seeing him again. Maybe he finally fit in somewhere. In any case, good riddance, David. Funny thing is, of all the kids names I've seen show up in the paper now and again, his name isn't one of them. Maybe he's one of those that are a real problem in The Hall but not so bad on The Outs? I don't know. At least he's out of my life.

Then there was "Arthur". He actually had his more lucid moments, but he'd always revert to his jerk self. Mostly just a predator, as he would be the first to admit. He'd always tell us, "I'm a predator. I seek out weaknesses in people and try to exploit them...". And he did, or at least tried with me. I didn't like that guy.

Seems to me he ended up finally making it to a group home. He didn't have much time left as I believe he was around 17 when I last saw him.

Last I heard of Arthur he got 8 years, I believe, in prison for his participation in a shoot out in Hoopa that left his "friend" dead, his friend being another Juvenile Hall alumni. I imagine he might still be in prison now, for one thing or another. Let's hope so. Good riddance, Arthur.

If I would of gotten word that any of the above were on the outs and got killed by whomever, it certainly wouldn't have bothered me.
I referred earlier on to Juvenile Hall Alumni status of possibly being a good indicator of a short life span. Here's a list of kids off the top of my head that I knew that died early, often violently. I was sorry, although not surprised, to hear of their deaths, at least in most cases:

"Nick"- Shot dead in the Sacramento area not long after he turned 18. He was a violent person on The Outs, but a pretty decent guy to deal with in The Hall with a good sense of humor. I liked him. I was told that, as a member of a gang, he agreed to kill someone. When he and his accomplice backed out, they were both shot and stuffed in the trunk of a car.

"Stacy"- I think she just turned 18(?) when she was shot dead in Arizona. She could be a pain sometimes, but I had the ability to make her laugh and distract her thus liked her.

"Felicity"- Committed suicide. Didn't know her too well but she was well liked by nearly all the staff, at least so far as we knew her. She was a pretty quiet girl.

"Mike"- Accident or suicide? Unkown. Playing around with a handgun with friends and ended up with a bullet in his head. Quiet guy but peaceful enough. Didn't know him well at all.

"Jesse"- Suicide. After an initial physical confrontation with him when he first came the The Hall, he was well behaved and quiet. Don't know the details of the suicide.

"Manny"- Shot dead in Hoopa during some sort of altercation.

"Michelle"- Killed on Highway 299 when she apparently drove her car off the road and hit a tree. Broke my heart. She was my indian princess. Always gave me a hug when she'd return to The Hall.

"David"- Suicide. Blew himself away with a shotgun. That bummed me as I used to talk to David a lot. He'd often catch me going by his room and ask for "a little one on one...". He just wanted to talk. Nice guy with a good sense of humor but a lot of early death from one reason or another in his family.

There's more I'm forgetting right now. Of course, I could also list all the ones I know of that ended up in prison. One of those being one I was astonished to hear being involved in some pretty hefty crimes. Last I heard, he was facing Life on a Three Strikes Your Out deal. Hard to believe knowing him from The Hall. He was a very pleasant little fifteen year old kid.

And I still see names pop up in the arrest reports I recognize. Saw on guy in the paper a few days ago for one of those "injury of a co- habitant..", deals. Hard to believe that one, too. He was a pretty peaceful hippy type guy when he was in The Hall.

Last but not least are the ones that move on and lead normal lives. I can only think of maybe a couple I personally know that went that route. But, that's usually the way it is, isn't it? When they move on, get a job and a life, you don't normally read about them in the news.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Animal Hoarding?

Yet another event at the Wharfinger Building the other day, this one hosted by Miranda Animal Rescue and dealing with the problem of animal hoarding. No link on the Eureka Reporter web page to the article but it's about the horror stories we've heard now and again about people have dozens of animals which leads to neglect.

While that should be a concern, seems to me an even bigger problem is people taking in animals who don't really have the means, or interest, to take care of them. I was talking to a neighbor about this just yesterday. He came by walking his dog, which he does at least once a day. I got to chatting with him, although it escapes me how we got on to the subject of animal neglect.

I pointed out the dog at the druggie house a couple houses up the street. They acquired that dog a few months ago, seems to me. They apparently don't have a secure back yard as the dog was out on the streets immediately after they got him. They'd catch him, throw him in the back yard and soon thereafter he'd be out again.

If the dog wasn't aggressive enough- it would get out on the street and go around barking and growling at everyone- now they have it chained in their front yard, making it even more aggressive. I guess that's what got the subject on my mind yesterday because, when I went out to drag my garbage can back up to the house, the dog's barking at me and I'm three houses away and across the street from him.

If they're just going to tie a dog up in the front yard, why'd they even bother bringing him home to begin with?

Then there's the relatively new neighbor next door. She ends up getting a dog a few months ago, too. Not that she can really afford it as she has two kids and no job. I've been given the impression she's not supposed to even have a dog there, it being a rental, but I'm not sure about that.

Her yard's not secured, either, but I can't blame her for that as our fence has been a shambles for years.

Her dog ends up in our back yard right away. Not so much a problem with me except for it being illustrative that she doesn't have any control over her dog. The wife gets pissed, though, cause the dog steals her flowerpots and craps in our yard.

So we try to block up the holes in the fence to no avail. Doesn't matter as there are other places for the dog to get out. Just about every morning, when I go out to get the newspaper, the dogs sitting in their front yard and gets all nervous when I go pick up the paper. No barking yet, but I think that dog will certainly get more aggressive as it gets older.

What did she even bother getting that dog for? I've seen her taking it for a walk once. Maybe she does more often, but I've never seen it. Bottom line is, she doesn't even seem to have enough money to take care of herself and the kids and she drags a dog she can't take care of into the equation. The mentality here defies common sense.

Then there's the older story that really made my blood boil, and this guy seems fairly well off:

Just around the corner from my house, on F Street, there's a guy living next to a yard I used to work in. He's some appliance repair guy, or at least he was a few years ago when this all came about.

One day I notice him walking a dog by my house. I didn't think much of it, just a guy walking his dog, but did take note he must have just gotten it as I'd never seen him with a dog before. Seems to me I saw him walking that dog two or three times, before he must have gotten tired of it.

Then one day I stop to do his next door neighbors lawn and I see he's got one of those 4' x 8' chain link dog kennels in his front yard enclosure. Inside it, there that dog sat, and sat. It was nice of the guy to put a dog house in there so the dog had protection from the elements, but with the dog house in the cage, that gave the dog only about half the kennel to move in, which meant basically all he could do was lie there.

I don't know if somebody said something to him but a couple months later he fully enclosed the area around front door of his house and opened the kennel so the dog had a little more room to move around. A slight improvement anyway.

But not much more room and there the dog sat. The small area turned into a mudhole when the rains came and there that dog was with nothing to do but sit in the dog house or lay in the mud.

Eventually, the guy filled the area with rock. I guess that was his attempt at taking care of the dog. I guess I should say dogS, because by now there were two dogs in there instead of one. The problem with the rock, at least I saw it, was it wasn't pea gravel, or anything that might have been more comfortable on the feet, it was big rocks, three to five inches around. That's what they had to lay on in there.

Can you imagine having to live on a rocky river bar with no soft ground to rest on? That's what it must have been like for those dogs living in that "kennel"?

I'm not sure what's going on there now. I stopped doing his neighbor's lawn a couple years ago. Even before I did, the guy raised the fence around his "kennel" so you couldn't see what the dogs were doing. I wonder if he got tired of people getting on his case about the dogs, assuming someone said something.

What did he ever bring those dogs home for, then add insult to injury and get yet another dog?

There oughta be a law. Libertarian though I may be, these sorts of things beg the question as to whether we should have means testing before people can adopt animals?


The Eureka Reporter directs some well deserved praise to the League Of Women Voters and KEET T.V. for their tradition of hosting candidate forums each election season.

We take these candidate forums for granted and , sure, every so often you'll hear a complaint of some kind about them. I give them credit, though, for routinely inviting all candidates to their forums. It's not so much an issue in non- partisan as in partisan races.

At least some LOWV chapters around the state exclude third parties, only inviting the Republican or Democrat candidates. I understand Butte County LOWV only invited the Rep and Dem candidates to a congressional candidate forum a few weeks ago.

I remember hearing of one candidate forum being held in the Los Angeles area a few years ago, although I'm not so sure this was a LOWV sponsored forum. Only the Republican and Democrat candidates were invited.

But the Libertarian Party candidate in the race, Ted Brown, was made aware of the event and showed up anyway. When the other two candidates were asked to take their places on stage, Ted Brown got up and joined them.

The moderator is a bit confused and asks Ted what he thinks he's doing and he explains that he's also a candidate and should be in the debate with his opponents. He's told he wasn't invited and they go back and forth for a few minutes resulting in the police being called.

The police come and Ted is led outside. From hearing Ted tell it, when the cops heard his story they sided with him and thought it was unfair, but it was their forum to be run the way they saw fit. Ted ended up leaving but had a fun story to tell.

Again; I'm not sure that was a LOWV event, but such things happen fairly regularly in other places. We should be thankful our LOWV chapter is pretty even handed in their hosting of forums and debates.


The Orange County Register takes a look at California's reputation as a state with a bad business tax climate. The Tax Foundation rates us at 45 out of 50, three spots lower than last year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

North Coast Travelogue 10/22- 10/24

Headed to San Francisco again on Sunday.

I'm thankful to Glenn Franco- Simmons of the Eureka Reporter for that one editorial he wrote where he picked on the environmentalists and their Subarus. Remember that one? Now it gives me something to look for on those long drives.

I was happy to report a while back about the first car to scream past me on the freeway being a Subaru. This time, no such luck. The first car to scream past me- I was going 65- was a Ford Bronco, or some such. The second one, right behind that one, was a Subaru, though.

I never realized, until I started really looking for them, just how many Subarus are out there. They seem to be very popular cars.
Anyone who goes to the Bay Area rightfully complains about having to deal with the Santa Rosa area. I'm getting to wonder if the Petaluma area isn't worse. Sure, sometimes you get jammed up in Santa Rosa, but it seems we always do going south by Petaluma.

I can't figure out why.
We couldn't take advantage of a free room at the Cathedral Hill Hotel this time. Oracle was having a convention in San Francisco so all the rooms were booked. We fell back on the Native Daughters of the Golden West Home on the corner of Fulton and Baker in The City.

Though it costs more than free, $50 a night for the two of us, this place isn't bad. I think I actually enjoyed it more than the last time we stayed there.

Knowing the roads a little better by now, our city map was a little easier to read. Driving to the UCSF clinic only took like ten minutes. It seemed like less than that. I measured the distance on the map and it was less than a mile and a half. That's almost walkable. Certainly bikeable.

I get a kick out of the free internet there. As I mentioned before, they don't provide internet, but the place across the street has wireless and it's an open connection. You can pick it up from inside the house.

For some reason I ended up losing the connection around 8:30ish Monday, though. Couldn't figure it out. Computer said the signal was there but I couldn't connect to it. I hope they didn't decide to secure it after all this time. Interesting that place doesn't mention anything about internet on
their web site.
Stayed at the old reliable, Day's Inn in Novato, Monday night. I enjoy staying there but I'll have to say I get a little miffed with some of their staff sometimes. I've stayed there how many times? How many times have I seen the guy at check in? Yet he asks me for a photo id again. That gets on my nerves.

Starvation rations for a couple days this time. For some reason Connie figures just one serving of the microwave meals will be sufficient for me and so all I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner was one serving of lasagna or whatever else she brought along.

Breakfast was really bad. She mentioned she'd bought some ham and egg Hot Pockets. I'd had them before and figured that would be fine. Are they making them smaller now? The ones we had weren't the ones I remembered. I had two the size of mid- sized cookies. That isn't going to work. I can handle one or two meals like that, but not two days.

Finally, on Tuesday night, I mentioned that we were on starvation rations. Connie didn't have a clue at first, then finally realized what I was saying and said she'd bring more in the future. First feeling of a full belly I had since leaving home was Tuesday morning at the breakfast room at Day's Inn.

Oh, one thing about Day's Inn: My laptop kinda went south on me and I was wondering if I'd have access to internet while I was gone. I figured if worse came to worse, I could use the public iMacs at UCSF and the computer in the lobby of the Day's Inn.

I'd assumed the Day's Inn computer was free for guests. I guess I was wrong. Took a closer look at it while I was there and it costs $1.00 for ten minutes. Heck. I couldn't even check my e-mail in ten minutes. Good thing my laptop was still useable.

Need to get that laptop fixed. Apparently the "backlight" is going out. Sometimes the screen goes black on me, although you can still see the desktop icons if you look real close. I didn't even know they had backlights. Still useable at least for now. Weird thing is, I have to use battery power. If I plug in the AC converter, the screen blacks out within seconds. Still works to charge it, though.
The roads are being repaved down by the Mendocino/ Humboldt County line. Controlled traffic just south of Richardson's Grove held us up maybe fifteen minutes. I suspect they'll have most of it finished by the end of the week, from the looks of it.

The backed up traffic on the north end of the construction zone, where that gas station is at the south end of Richardson Grove, caused us to miss our usual last stop before Eureka. We usually stop there to take a break but we would have had to fight our way through the line of stopped traffic to get in there. We decided we'd stop at Garberville instead.
This was the first time I'd been in Garberville in probably at least fifteen years, maybe twenty. I was surprised at the amount of traffic and all the activity. I figured that it would be a lot quieter there. I also never noticed how many hotels and motels Garberville has.

I didn't see any indication of the parking problems in Garberville I'd heard of recently. I did see a Sheriff's Deputy writing a ticket for a truck parked in the red zone in front of Ray's Food Place, where we'd stopped to get something to eat.

And I looked all around and saw no sign of Eric Kirk. I figured he'd have the red carpet rolled out knowing I'd be coming to town. Oh. That's right. He didn't know I was coming.
Am I the only one that gets spooked by the wind when I'm driving? Two or three times between Rio Dell and Eureka I thought the wind was going to blow me off the road. One good gust would be enough to actually move the truck off course, or so it seemed. I was actually more worried about overreacting to the wind than the wind actually running me off the road.

It seemed like the wind was really blowing. Then, when I got home, it didn't seem anywhere near as strong as it did when I was driving. Oh well, don't have to worry about that again until the next time I go back down. And the time after that, and the time after that....

Political "Viruses"

I know we discussed slate mailers earlier this year, before the primary. Here's a Sacramento Bee article warning us of slate mailers and other political hijinks that show up every election season.

Hmmm...I don't think I've received any slate mailers yet for this election.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Yet Another One

Maybe it just seems that way? I get the feeling police shootings in Eureka have picked up over the years. Maybe I'm just not remembering some way back when I didn't pay as much attention to the news?

Here's another Juvenile Hall alumni that meets a relatively early demise. I can think of one other I have specific knowledge of, although that "kid" was in his thirties, I believe, when he was shot and killed out in front of WinCo some time ago.

I don't know if it could really be backed up by statistics, but having a history with Juvenile Hall seems to increase one's odds of an early death. I didn't know the kid killed in this incident, but I've been amazed at how many kids I knew when I worked at Juvenile Hall that met death prematurely.

Here We Go Again

This is twice, in how many days, that someone brings up the issue of how the Balloon TracKT is spelled. Didn't we go through this both here and in the newspapers within the last year or two? Heck, the Times- Standard even ran an online poll on the proper spelling of the tracKT.

Not pointing fingers, as I did my fair share of stirring the pot on the issue. I guess it does lead me to think, though, that maybe anybody who's anybody in Humboldt doesn't necessarily visit this blog. Then again, I suppose just because someone writes a letter to the editor doesn't automatically raise them to the level of being an anybody.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Skelton: Saving The State

Interesting way of looking at the upcoming ballot initiatives by L.A. Times columnist, George Skelton. He's certainly not one of the brighter commenators I've followed. In fact, the two letters I've had published in the L.A. Times were in response to columns he wrote.

George suggests a simple way of deciding which way to vote on the initiatives: Infrastructure bonds, put on the ballot by the legislature are good. "Special Interest" initiatives such as the tobbaco tax and such are bad.

Hmmm...not sure I agree with that but don't think I've ever considered the issue exactly that way before.

How Many Of You...

are there?

Yesterday, Cap'n Buhne said something along the line of, "Names are not unique to individual people...". Well, except for mine. Ok, almost except for mine.

There's only two people in this country named Fred Mangels. I actually knew this before by doing a Yahoo search on my name. There's some guy back east involved in some mediation type group named Fred Mangels, too.

This site here confirmed the fact that I'm only one of two people with the same name in the U.S.A. See how many people share your name. Sorry if this makes you feel like another faceless member of the masses.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Morrissey's My Word Column

9:17 on a previous post commented, "Is there going to be comment on Brian Morrissey's use of the word 'tract' this morning?

9:17 was referring, I believe, to this commentary by our very own Brian Morrissey. I don't know that any commentary is needed as far as his use of the word tract is concerned. We went through the debate on the track vs. tract issue here some time ago.

As far as the commentary itself, I'd say he's pretty much right on. This is much along the line of what I said here not long ago after that Explore The Possibilities event held earlier on by CREG. Much, if not a lot, of what the CREG speakers proposed as possible uses for the Balloon Tract are actually incorporated into the Marina Center plan.

Sure, as Brian points out, one difference is Security National has a way to pay for their idea, and that's a big difference and a strong selling point.

A couple other points of contention can be accepted or dismissed, depending on one's point of view: Marina Center isn't another government project, as keeps being proposed by opponents. I think that's a good thing.

Then there's the big sticking point: Home Depot. Oh well. I don't have a problem with Home Depot, despite the fact I might never bother going there.

It's Glass, Kuhnel and Jones

Our very own Hank Sims takes home the prize money for correctly predicting the Times- Standard endorsements for Eureka City Council. I wasn't going to hazard a guess on this but I figured, of the Local Solutions gang, Kuhnel was the one most likely to get their endorsement.

I was a bit surprised at their picking Larry Glass. Not that I didn't think Local Solutions might take all three, but I figured it would be either a clean sweep of Local Solutions candidates, or Wolford, Leonard and Jones, the wild card being Kuhnel replacing Leonard, him having the best credentials among the Local Solutions bunch.

We'll also have to see who the T-S picks for Arcata City Council and some of the other races. Any other papers planning endorsements?

Of course, who comes out on top on November 7 is another issue entirely.

More on the City of Davis vs. Target

The Sacramento Bee ran another story on the City of Davis and its fight over a proposed Target store. Sounds much like some of the same arguments here with Marina Center. Looks like the hassle Target had opening in Eureka pales in comparison to the hassle they're going through getting set up in Davis.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Times- Standard Picks LeVallee

In their first of this upcoming election's candidate endorsements, the Times- Standard editorial staff picks incumbent, Peter LeVallee, as their choice for Mayor of Eureka. Nothing really meant against LeVallee, but I'd hardly say his perfomance as Mayor "shines", as the Times- Standard suggests.

Other than that I won't take issue with their explanation of their endorsement. At least they didn't endorse him because he's cool and surfs as they did with one candidate last election.

No kind words for Jerry Droz in their endorsement, either. I suppose that was to be expected.

Next will be the Eureka City Council endorsements. Any guesses as to who they'll pick?

Mendocino D.A. Race Goes To Court

Looks like recently appointed District Attorney for Mendocino County, Keith Faulder, has filed papers with the State Supreme Court challenging the upcoming election for District Attorney. Somewhat odd in that Faulder is expected by most to be the one that would be appointed to Vroman's position if Vroman wins.

As it stands now, if the late Norm Vroman wins the election, the Board of Supervisors will appoint someone to take Vroman's place. Faulder interprets the law as requiring the election for D.A. be invalidated since one of the candidates died and a special election be held for that position later on.

The county elections folks see it differently. I guess we'll just have to see what the State Supreme Court says.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sims Does Anon.R

Anyone see this week's North Coast Journal yet? Our very own Hank Sims rags on our very own Anon.R. in his Town Dandy column. And I thought we were all just like family here. To add insult to injury Hank didn't even include a link to Anon.R's blog to the online version of the Dandy.

And The Winners Are...

Looks like they've chosen the winners in that Humboldt Honey calendar contest. The Times- Standard lists the winners here. Interesting that two of the winners are Harmoney Groves and Shane Harty. Where have we heard those names before?

Are any of the other winners local Greens? Might this calendar be one more part of that Vast Left Wing Conspiracy?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Annexation Rears Its Ugly Head Again


This is why I often don't vote in city council races. All three Eureka mayoral candidates seem to be in favor of annexing areas just outside of Eureka into Eureka proper. At least Jerry Droz suggested that people in the proposed areas of annexation should have a say in the matter.

In fairness, I'm sure Bass and LeVallee would probably agree.

Still, it would be nice to see someone question the idea of annexation in the first place.

This isn't going to be a zero sum game where the Sheriff's Department gives up enough deputies to the City of Eureka to make up for the larger jurisdiction annexation would create. The Sheriff's Dept. will keep their deputies and Eureka will have to find more cops.

Never mind that Eureka P.D. can't seem to keep a full crew for their current jurisdiction. Same goes with fire and everything else.

And along with annexation, newly annexed Eureka residents get to sign on to Eureka's Utility Users Tax. Sounds like a no- win situation all the way around to me.

The Unknown Pollsters

I can't help but wonder what these two pollsters were up to? At first I figured they were from the anti- Marina Center camp from the question they asked respondents about being coerced into giving the answer they gave.

Then again, I suppose it could be some pro- Marina Center folks trying to point out that respondents to their poll that supported Marina Center hadn't been coerced. Still, seems like I weird thing to follow up a question with- Almost like there's some conspiracy at play here.

Who are those pollsters?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Appeal To The Center?

Bonnie Neely's latest mailer certainly doesn't seem to.

We've seen on this blog that there's an awful big split along Left/ Right lines here in local politics. Still, I thought that was just because most people that have more than just a casual interest in politics will usually fall pretty much in either the Left or Right wing camps. Not everyone, just most.

Still, I was surprised to see Bonnie Neely sending out a mailing which could only be described- at least from what the paper makes it sound like- as pretty hard to the Left. It looks like she's using a slightly cooled off version of the Cobb/ Pickering commentaries we've seen of late.

I find it somewhat bothersome that someone like Neely, whom I would have assumed would be going after the independent voters, would think a hard left campaign message would appeal to Joe and Jill Sixpack. Sure, I know she feels her main constituency is the the Left and hard Left, but it seems to me the common wisdom in politics is, or used to be, to appeal to the middle of the road folks.

Does she, or her campaign staff, know something I don't? Has the Fourth District really turned so hard Left an anti- business message like the one she sent out would hit home with Joe and Jill Sixpack? I hope not.

I think it more likely this was simply something in the mind of her campaign team of Kerrigan/ Salzman. Most likely the latter. Only time will tell whether it helps or hurts her.

What's In A Name?

Apparently not much.

The Eureka Reporter takes a look today at the Eureka Civic Association.

Most of what the Reporter details about the ECA is no surprise, with perhaps the exception of some of the members and supporters. I hadn't realized that ECA co- founder, Neal Latt, is from Orleans. I figured he was from Eureka or Arcata. Their largest contribution to date comes from Dr. Ken Miller, in Mckinleyville. Now that's local control!

Why'd they bother calling it the Eureka Civic Association? Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to call it the Humboldt Civic Association?

Down And Out

Had at least a couple posts to make this morning, but I lost my DSL connection around 9am and still don't have it back as I write this. Luckily, SBCGlobal, AT&T, or whoever I'm using now, also gives free dial up connections for their customers, so I can post this using dial- up.

I'll post whatever I was gonna post when my DSL is back up and running.

As an aside, I'll have to say I've had more connection problems with DSL than I ever remember having with good old Humboldt Internet dial- up. Not that it happens all the time, just a lot more than I remember happening with Humboldt Internet.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wiggins Vs. Wiesner

I see the two candidates for State Senate had a debate, or forum. Is this the first time Lawrence Wiesner showed up for one? Seems to me back when he ran for congress he always had other things to do when forum time came around.

Just from what I read in the news, looks like Wiggins is the most authoritarian of the two.

I would never vote for Wiesner in a congressional race, him being War Party. For State Senate? Maybe. The state legislature is so lopsided toward Democrats it certainly could use some more opposing voices.

I might just vote for Wiesner this time around.

Droz Campaign: Quality or Quantity?

The Times- Standard's, James Faulk, suggests in today's paper that Eureka mayoral candidate, Jerry Droz, may be opting for quality rather than quanitity, citing a truck he saw in Henderson Center plastered with Droz For Mayor signs and stickers.

I'm not so sure about that. James must have missed all the Droz signs that went up yesterday. I'm not sure just how many of them there are but I saw a guy putting them up. At the time I didn't realize what they were. Where are they? Tacked to telephone poles like all those yard sale signs we're so used to seeing.

I noticed a guy putting something up on the telephone pole over at the Matteoli's yesterday morning. I thought it unusual because the guy was using a six foot step ladder to get his flier up higher than most would bother to. I also thought it a bit funny since as he was posting the flier, a Eureka cop pulled up to the stop sign next to him, seemed to look right at the guy, then drove off.

I thought posting fliers on telephone poles was illegal, or so I heard somewhere.

I didn't think much more of it until I went out this morning to put the garbage out for pickup. I noticed the telephone pole across Trinity Street from me had a big white flier on it. Then I noticed all the poles near my intersection had those fliers.

That piqued my interest again and, walking across the street to see what the fliers said, and noticed they were Droz for Eureka Mayor- Time for a change signs. Pretty simple: Legal size white paper with black lettering. Obviously cheaply and easily done on a home computer.

I wonder how widespread this is? I'll have to keep an eye out today to see how far they got with this.

Boy, with a low cost, grass- roots campaign like this, Bass and LeVallee better get cracking.

Gazebo Rally

Anyone attend that rally for the Local Solutions candidates at the Gazebo yesterday? I just watched the coverage on the Channel 3 "The Spirit of The Northcoast" News.

I see our very own Mresquan was there. He actually got a sound bite on the TV clip. Goes to show that if you chase the cameras around long enough, you'll get on T.V., eventually.

Shameless though it may be, I was surprised to see Esquan once again using an alias. The news clip identified him as one Mark Konkler.

Yeah, right. We all know who he really is. Esquan; When those T.V. folks finally figure out you're using a pseudonym you'll likely end up in the same boat as Richard Salzman and it'll be a long time before you're allowed on camera again.

As an aside, I don't believe I've ever seen Esquan before. Not what I would have expected. I figured he'd be younger, with hair down to his shoulders, or longer.
Was it just me? That one shot on the news of all the candidates; Glass, Abrams and the rest. The camera panned out and showed them standing side by side. Somehow it gave me the impression they were lined up in front of a firing squad.

Reminded me of that scene in the beginning of the movie Escape From Sobibor, where a bunch of the concentration camp prisoners line up side by side before getting machine gunned. Not sure why it reminded me of that. Maybe their facial expressions?

Better Blogging

Our very own Chris Crawford, over at the Times- Standard Blogs, gives us a heads up on an article appearing on the Tech Republic web site with tips for better blogging. He gives a summary of the tips in his latest post.

Looking through the tips, I'll have to say I think I've been doing a fair job along the lines of what they recommend, with the exception of not always dealing with politics here. Then again, this isn't Fred's Political Blog, it's Fred's Humboldt Blog, so I can deal with whatever suits my fancy.

Then again, I don't always deal with Humboldt issues either, do I?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pickering's Letter

Jake Pickering is running for that Water District seat, the one currently held by Bruce Rupp. He recently sent out the following letter to most of the local media asking them to publish this letter of his. I received it along with at least one other blogger. I see Heraldo went ahead and published it.

I wasn't going to, at first. I figured it would likely show up in the Eureka Reporter by today anyway, which it hasn't. I also felt it would not reflect very well on someone to have such a letter published in their name. But, what the heck. He wanted it published and since I don't have much else to post here today, here it is.

He really took Dave Cobb's recent letter about all the corporate candidates in the Eureka City Council race to a new (lower?) level. I don't know that this letter was such a good idea, Jake.


by Jake Pickering (of Eureka, CA)

P.O. Box 3050, Eureka, CA

- October 12, 2006 -

- Candidate for the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (Division 4) -

If you are like most Americans, you are well aware of the fact that it is time for change on November 7th.

If you are part of that shrinking, misguided Republican minority that believes America and Eureka are “on the right track”, then go ahead and embarrass yourself by voting for the following right-wing status-quo slate of Arkley-approved politicians: Virginia Bass Jackson, Jeff Leonard, Mike Jones, Mary Beth Wolford, Bruce Rupp & Nancy Flemming.

However, if you have actually been paying attention to the real world around you and are not currently living in a Republican state of denial, then vote against these failed, right-wing snake oil salesmen and saleswomen. As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.” Send the Republican Party’s contingent of paid-for politicians into retirement, where they belong!

The Louisiana-based Arkley clan carpetbaggers have funneled millions of dollars into the criminally corrupt Republican Party over the years in search of favorable legislation, more tax cuts and plutocracy. The Arkleys have always been shameless and unabashed in expressing their personal philosophy that inherited wealth entitles them to make political and economic decisions for the rest of us. No wonder the Arkley clan gave George W. Bush so much money! Apparently, fascist birds of a feather flock together.

These would-be Republican dictators believe that the residents of Eureka require nothing more from their public officeholders than slick advertising and empty promises – no results necessary!

And when you vote, remember this: these same Republican profiteers and their unethical, paid-for politicians who attempted to force a Wal-Mart on the residents of Eureka (even though 61% of Eurekans soundly rejected this big-box proposal at the ballot box in 1999) are still compulsively lying to the people of our community about their half-baked schemes.

Take this into account: none of the right-wing politicians on the Arkley-approved slate (including Bruce Rupp = multimillionaire Republican slumlord and President of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District) have shown the least bit of concern for cleaning up the massive and deadly toxic contamination at the Balloon Tract site, which threatens to pollute Humboldt Bay and consequently destroy the livelihoods of local fishermen.

These local right-wing politicians are far too busy salivating at the prospect of collecting further campaign contributions from the filthy rich to take the needs and desires of Eureka’s residents into consideration. In fact, the Republican Arkely clan and their right-wing political tools (Virginia Bass Jackson, Jeff Leonard, Mike Jones, Mary Beth Wolford, Bruce Rupp & Nancy Flemming) prefer a Home Depot precisely because they want to avoid their legally-mandated responsibility to decontaminate the Balloon Tract site.

These local right-wing political hacks are not merely irresponsible; they are disastrously incompetent and must be defeated at the polls this November 7th.

On Urban Sprawl and Global Warming

A couple interesting items in today's news digest from the National Center for Policy Analysis:

Here's a short article from Discover magazine on urban sprawl. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I guess I find it interesting because I'm not quite sure what they're trying to say and so am surprised Discover published it.

And, from the Washington Times, a commentary on global warming that pretty much echoes my feelings on the issue.

I heartily recommend the NCPA's Daily Policy Digest. It comes out Monday through Friday and has a brief synopsis of five or six items of interest from the news.

Sure, some on the Left may not be happy with its general conservative take on issues, but, I always felt it's not a good idea to listen to the same ideas over and over again.

Think about giving their Daily Digest a try.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Speaking of Endorsements

All the newspapers have been throwing out their endorsements for the various candidates and issues for a while now. Too many out there now to list all of them here. I'm sure the news will get even thicker with endorsements as we get closer to election day.

The Humboldt Taxpayer's League finally made their endorsements on the ballot initiatives. They actually made those endorsements some time ago. I imagine they probably waited until closer to election day before releasing them. One good thing about the Taxpayer's League is they don't take positions on issues that don't affect taxes.

Our very own, Eric Kirk, posted his recommendations to his blog a few days ago (October 13 post), for those that haven't seen them yet. Don't know if you would want to call blogger recommendations endorsements, but I guess they're pretty much the same thing.

And whatever happened to the Democratic Central Committee's recommendations on the ballot issues? I see they sent their recommendations in to the HOPE Coalition, for listing in their voter guide, but I never saw them mentioned in any of the local papers. Did I miss it?

One thing I'd like to see more organizations do, especially the Libertarian Party of California, is give a reason for their positions on ballot initiatives. Sure, often you're just asked for a Yes or No, but if there's time and space to do so, a reason should be given for your position.

The Willow Glen Libertarian Alliance did such a thing on their web page. The Yes or No recommnendation is a link that sends you to another page with the reasons for their position. Good idea. Too bad the LP of California can't figure out how to do the same.

As for me, my positions I believe I've already given and they can be seen in the Humboldt Libertarians positions on the HOPE voter guide below. The only ones I publicly gave No Position on, which leaves those columns blank, were Prop 85- the minor's abortion notification one, and Prop 90- eminent domain reform.

I think I'll be voting Yes on Prop 85, but gave No Position to the HOPE Coalition because back when Prop 85's predecessor was on the ballot in March, one of the local LPers took issue with my support of it. That's good enough for me to take a public No Position for the group as a whole.

I'm still undecided on Prop 90 with most of me opting for a stand aside, as the Greens call it. In other words: Don't vote on it.

I certainly won't vote NO on it, but there are some legitimate concerns with the language of the initiative and its effects so I'll either vote Yes or stand aside, as I did on the vote on the Wal Mart/ Balloon Tract issue years ago.

Nothing wrong with not voting on something, at least on some issues, no matter what some people may try and tell you.

Santa Rosa P-D and Prop 83

I was reading this article in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat on Prop 83- the ballot initiative dealing which supposedly strengthens protections against sex offenders.

Reading the article, which seemed as if it was meant to be a look at both sides of the issue, I was getting the impression that many in Sonoma County would be tempted to vote for Prop 83 after reading it, since sex offenders couldn't live in many cities in Sonoma County.

I was therefore surprised to see, in the very same issue of the paper, the Press- Democrat editorial staff come out opposed to Prop 83. Maybe there is some hope for some clear thinking on this issue come election day.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oh, The Possibilities...

Nope. I didn't go to this event at the Wharfinger Building that was supposed to address other possiblities for use of the Balloon Tract. Looks like I didn't miss anything. While I'm sure Carol, Greg and the rest of the CREG bunch see it differently, I didn't see any particularly brilliant ideas brought out at the meeting.

Sure, I only know what I've read in the papers, but sounds like the ideas presented were pretty much along the line of what the Marina Center is already planned to be: Multiple use, business, retail and residences. About the only difference being, at least in the minds of the CREG folks, there'd be no Home Depot and no Arkley's involved.

I was hoping to read of at least one good alternative for an "anchor" for the tract project. No luck there, either. All I see mentioned is the same old Convention Center, or Seafood Culinary Institute types- government projects, which is all I think I've heard of since this thing started, save Marina Center. If there were any ideas the newspapers left out, I can't help but think they were government projects as well.

From the looks of the comments at Heraldo's blog, the CREG folks thought this was one of the best, most informative events ever. Funny how people can look at the same thing and come to opposite conclusions as to what they saw.

As an aside, I find this Seafood Culinary Institute idea fascinating. Not because I think it has merit. Fascinating, because seafood restaurants in Eureka have diminished through the years. What do we have now, one or two? The fishing industry seems to have been heading downhill for years, as well.

Seems like a Seafood Culinary Institute would be a losing proposition from the start.

Davis Going Big Box?

Interesting item here in the Sacramento Bee regarding an upcoming ballot measure in the City of Davis to amend that city's general plan to allow construction of a Target store.

Somebody needs to tell them how devastating not only our current Target store, but Montgomery Ward's in the same place earlier on, has been to Eureka and the county at large.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thinking About C/R

College of the Redwoods made the news this week, both in the Times- Standard and North Coast Journal. I don't pay much attention to C/R nowadays, despite moving here back in '73 to attend C/R.

I started out as a Forestry major, then switched majors a couple times until dropping out altogether. Back then C/R ran on a quarter system, with three quarters making up the academic year.

In my early days at C/R I rarely finished a class. Back then, if you stopped showing up for class, they'd just drop you from the class with no penalty. Eventually, they switched to a system where you had to formally drop the class within 10(?) days or you'd be given either a No Credit or an F, I think it depended on the class.

My grade point average gradually deteriorated because I'd never get around to going to the Admin Building and dropping my classes. I ended up being put on academic probation at least a couple times before I gave up C/R altogether.

I was working at Sabrina's Restaurant
at the time and preferred working and having some money in my pocket anyway. (Sabrina's used to be across from the Eureka Theater on F Street back then. The same family now owns Babetta's on Myrtle Avenue in Eureka)

Some years later I ended up returning to C/R part- time as an Administration of Justice major. What a difference age can make. I ended up doing pretty well. While I never completed two or three courses required for graduation, I did manage to get my grade point average up to 3.89. I've always wondered what it would take, given my earlier poor academic showing, to raise my gpa to 4, or if that was even possible?
I do think back fondly of my time at C/R, for the most part, so I was disappointed to read our very own Bob Doran's article in this week's North Coast Journal on College of the Redwoods and the problems with their Sustainable Organic Agriculture Farm down by Shively.

I wasn't so much disappointed in the deteriorating situation the farm is in. I kind of expected that years ago when I first heard of the land being donated for it. I figured back then that the logistics of having an extension down in Shively would be tough enough to make it difficult to maintain.

I was more disappointed in reading deeper in Doran's article on how the vocational aspects of C/R are being downsized more and more over time and that the college is turning into a general education program which prepares students for higher education. In other words- my words: Education for the sake of education.

I hate to see that happen. I've made it clear here before that I'm no friend of the Education- Industrial Complex. Still, I do believe in people learning trades. I figured C/R, despite being a fairly typical bloated government bureaucracy, was the kind of educational facility people need. Sadly, it looks like it's going the way of the rest of the educational establishment, getting away from vocational training and opting for the education for the sake of education role.
Speaking of C/R, the Times- Standard reports today on the geological studies being done at the college to determine if any fault exist at the sites of their proposed new construction. I guess state law says you can't build anything within 50' of an earthquake fault.

I've never understood what difference it would make whether a building was 50' or 200' from a fault. It would seem to me the difference in damage wouldn't be noticeable between such distances. I would think, if the building was single story, and constructed with earthquakes in mind, it wouldn't make much difference if it was a mile away or right on top of the fault.

Then again, I dropped out of Mr. Green's Geology class at C/R after only a couple weeks, so maybe the geologists know better than I do.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bar Pilot Info From AWA

As yet another example that anybody who's anybody in Humboldt visits Fred's Humboldt Blog, Ronnie Pelligrini, of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, has added her comments on the Bar Pilot issue. If you haven't already been down there, scroll down to the October 7 post to see what's been said.

Ukiah Doctors: No New Patients

In what might be a sign of a disturbing trend in medicine, many doctors in the Ukiah area are no longer accepting new patients, reports the Ukiah Daily Journal. Wonder when that will start happening up here, if it hasn't already.

This is somewhat surprising to me in that, for some reason, I always figured a wider range of medical services would be available the further south one goes from Humboldt.

Some might chalk this up as another argument for state- run health care but, if you look at the reasons physicians seem to be avoiding the Ukiah area, one of them is the lack of reimbursement from, among other things, MediCal and Medicaid. Sure, they also mention private insurance, but later on say that bringing in large employers that provide health care to employess might improve the situation.

I imagine we probably already have the beginnings of the same sorts of problems up here. There doesn't seem to be any easy answer to the problem.

SF Chron Opposes Prop 89

Another one of those pleasant surprises you get on occasion from a lefty oriented paper: The San Francisco Chronicle comes out in opposition of Prop 89- The so- called Clean Money Initiative.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Unexpected Life Experiences: Good and Bad

I'd heard different versions of what happens when your first year of Yahoo DSL ends. You get it for $19.95 for a year ( I think they're offering for $14.95 now) and then it goes to the "standard" rate. I couldn't seem to get the right info on what the standard rate was even calling their 800 number.

So, earlier this summer, my introductory rate ended. I didn't even notice until I got my phone bill and it was close to $60.00. Yipes! That's a bit much for me. Turned out my DSL went from $19.95 to $49.95. What to do.

I kept telling myself I'd have to call up AT&T and dicker with them. I know you can do that with credit card companies. If that didn't work, I didn't have a problem with going back to Humboldt Internet, as they offer DSL and it was cheaper than AT&T was charging. Thing is, I didn't wan't to have to change my e- mail address again.

Kept putting it off and then noticed last month's phone bill dropped considerably. They were only charging me like $34.95 for DSL. Just got an e-mail explaining they'd dropped their rates, although they didn't say exactly why. Sure is nice when something nice happens out of the blue like that.

Not sure things like that make up for the bad unexpected things that happen.

Go out to the garage to load up my equipment this morning and my garage door won't open. Wasn't totally surprised because I heard a weird noise when I closed the garage door yesterday. I couldn't figure out what the noise was and blew it off.

Turned out it was the counterbalance spring at the top of the door breaking. I guess you can't open the door at all if that goes south on you, which was a surprise. If you disconnect it from the chain drive, when it's working right, it rolls right up. With the counterbalance broke, it was all I could do to open it one foot. I'm stuck!

All my equipment is in the garage and there's no way to get it out. Called the Overhead Door Company in Eureka and have yet to have them return my call. Hey, any excuse for a day off is fine for me, but this is a bit much. I already lose too much time as it is.

Aside from losing money not working, how much is this gonna cost to get fixed? I'll bet hundreds of dollars minimum.

It's always something, isn't it?

Off They Go

Looks like there's finally a government program that everyone can agree on: This new transportation program to ship the poorer folks out of the county to other places, providing they have a place to stay.

You'll remember not long ago we were complaining about a similar program in San Francisco where they were sending all their riff- raff up here. Our plan supposedly has safeguards that prevent the problems inherent in the San Francisco program.

This could get ugly if a bunch of other counties (or states) follow suit and everyone ends up shipping all their riff- raff to each other. Of course, some of that may already be happening.

HOPE "Voter Guide" Out

Humboldt Organized for People and the Environment (HOPE) has compiled their every election season list of the various political organization's stands on the statewide ballot initiatives. I don't see it linked to their web site so I uploaded it to my freeservers account here. It's a .pdf file so you'll need Acrobat Reader to view it.

I don't remember if it was available online last time, or not. I don't remember if I ever put it on my server. Hope everyone can open it. I think this is the first time I've used a .pdf on my server.

From looking at the list, it looks like the Humboldt Libertarians seem to have the most in common, at least as far as positions on these initiatives, with the Peace and Freedom Party. I'm curious who HOPE got their positions from. Is there a local Peace and Freedom Party representative up here?

Update: Looks like you can't access the .pdf file on freeservers. Funny how it worked for me earlier. I'll have to figure someway to make it available. Suggestions are welcome. In the meantime, if you really want to see it, I can e-mail it to any of you, provided I have an e-mail address.
Ok. I think I figured out how to do this:

Hope you all can read it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

North Coast Travelogue 10/8- 10/9

Forgot to mention this a month or so ago. This ought to really burn up you corporation haters: The Willits Safeway is now selling gasoline! Funny thing is, the prices don't seem any lower than the other low price stations in Willits ($2.60) so why bother? Maybe you get a discount if you use your Safeway card?

I noticed this some time ago, as well: The cheapest gas I've seen while traveling back and forth is a place called Pacific Pride, on the south end of Santa Rosa. It's on the east side of 101. They show regular unleaded at $2.45, I believe. That's way below anyone else's prices.

What's with that? I haven't been in there because it would be too much of a hassle to get on and off the freeway there but you would think traffic would be backed up for miles with people trying to get in there.
Here's a travel quiz: Where, and what, is the place in the picture below. Amazing resolution for a satellite photo, huh?

Berg Vs. Reed

OUCH! Oh... I guess it wasn't that bad.

Finally managed to remember to watch one of the candidate forums on KEET TV. This was the first time I'd actually seen Libertarian candidate, Tom Reed, although I've spoken on the phone with him once or twice. He looked different than I expected, although I couldn't tell you why.

For once I wish the Republican candidate showed up. It would have diverted some of the attention, rather than having it all focused on two people.

I'll give Patty Berg the win, as far as presentation goes. Tom Reed seemed obviously, if not nervous, then at least not used to being in front of cameras and the public eye. He made it through the whole thing and deserves credit. If that had been me, you would have seen the literal deer in the headlights, as I tend to freeze up in the public eye.

Reed's answers seemed to be doctrinaire libertarian. One thing I found distracting, if not irritating, was his preceding answers with, Libertarians believe... I understand that many LP candidates think they should be selling the LP, but first and foremost you have to sell yourself. If you sell yourself well, your libertarian ideas might be accepted a little easier. He needs to start out with, I believe.

I also found it somewhat embarrassing him saying Patty Berg has been doing a good job. Regardless of how you feel about the incumbent, if you think they're doing a good job, what's the point in challenging her? Instead of doing that, he might have done better just by just noting where he agrees with her and how the voters would be better off with him in charge where he disagrees with Berg.

Anyway, overall not too bad and perhaps Tom will be a little more comfortable should there be another forum before the election.

The question I have now is, what happened to Republican candidate, Ray Tyrone? He showed up at the forums last time around.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Term Limits

I might have said here earlier I'm ambivalent about term limits for elected officials. They work both ways: They can get rid of politicians you like, and ones you don't like- one that comes to mind being Wes Chesbro.

Oh, I'm sure Chesbro might have done one or two things in his life deserving of praise from a libertarian perspective, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. I'll be glad to see him go.

Things is, the odds are his replacement will be just as bad as he was, so no big loss for the Left, or gain for the Right. Everything remains the same.

I believe I voted for term limits whenever it was we voted for them years ago. I don't know if I'd vote for them again, or not.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Taxing for the sake of taxing

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat editorializes on a tax increase being proposed in Cotati.

City residents are being asked to raise their Transient Occupancy Tax- the tax paid for overnight lodging- from 10% to 12%, if only to match the tax neighboring communities charge for overnight stays (Gee...where have we heard that before?).

There's just one problem: Cotati doesn't have any hotels or motels yet.

Vote Local Control!

Speaking of local control, isn't Joan Gallegos related to someone we all know and love? Ok, someone we all know. Bumped into her name again in the Ukiah Daily Journal. She apparently donated $500, during the last reporting period, to the Vroman for D.A. campaign in Mendocino County.

Hmmm....oh, that's right. She's not a corporation.