Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Mt. Shasta Quake

The link to the story of last night's earthquake on the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's home page was entitled Earthquake hits Mt. Shasta Area.

You're from Eureka, huh? Isn't that up around San Francisco?

Addendum: No mention of the quake that I can see in today's Mt. Shasta News. Maybe too late for the deadline, or did they even feel it there?

#2: Just noticed the Redding paper reported it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Zombie Does The Olympic Torch Relay

Photojournalist Zombie has another excellent photo essay up now. This one's the Olympic Torch Relay that took place in San Francisco not long ago. Be sure and check out all three parts. As usual a fun look and read.

Accidents and Punishments

I've mentioned here before I question how proper it is to charge someone criminally for an accident. One example being the guy that accidentally shot his nephew(?) a little while ago, killing him. He thought his nephew was a bear. Wouldn't you feel bad enough about doing something like that without criminal charges being filed?

Is there anything to be gained by charging someone for a tragic accident? I don't know.

Then there's traffic accidents. Leaving aside the Rodoni crash, at least for now, what about this one? Elderly lady hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Eureka. Fortunately, no serious harm done. I'm sure the driver feels like a fool, or at least we should hope she does. Hey, accidents can happen to anyone. We're all capable of blowing it at some time or another.

I can't believe the driver wasn't cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, though. Accident though it may have been, she blew it big time.

I also can't believe what the cop is quoted as saying:
“It seems like she’s a competent driver, she just made an error in judgment,” he said. An error in judgement??? Makes it sound like she intended to hit the pedestrian. Poor use of words on the officer's part.

She had an accident because she seems to have not been paying close enough attention. As Judge Wapner once said on that TV show: He who looks, but does not see, is negligent. Sure, it could happen to any of us, but the driver should have gotten a ticket for hitting the girl in the crosswalk.

Is there anything to be gained by that? Not sure, but at least it would establish whose fault the accident was.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Eureka's Own Push- Poll?

Speaking of push- polls, as we often do in the Humboldt blogosphere, what do some of my fellow Eureka residents think of the poll that just came in the mail regarding the $100 per parcel fire tax proposal?

It's no surprise that public agencies would send out literature promoting a tax for this or that but, by law, I don't believe they're supposed to advocate one position over another. This poll probably stays on the legit side of the line, if only barely.

Basically, you get a flier entitled City of Eureka Fire Department Official Survey. It has the official City of Eureka emblem to the left of the title and starts off with the Question, Why did you receive this survey?

It then says Enclosed is a questionnaire that will allow property owners to voice their priorities and opinions on a potential property- owner funding measure for improved fire protection and emergency medical services.

The flier then goes on to describe the supposed problem and what the proposed tax would supposedly do to take care of those problems. It ends with some Emergency Response Facts, going on to say how early response can reduce fire damage and save lives. Duh! But I understand everybody has to have a clincher for their argument at the end.

So they've made their pitch and then they go one step further and add what I thought was a push- poll, at first glance. Looking at it closer, though, they can probably wiggle out of that accusation because they only ask questions and give you five possible ways to respond.

It's titled almost the same as the flier: Official Survey, City Of Eureka Fire Department and it starts out with: In order to:
  • improve fire protection services in the City and provide additional professional firefighters,
  • improve medical emergency response services, and
  • reduce response times to save lives and property
would you support an annual assesment for your property in the amount of $100?

Possible answers range from Definitely YES to Definitely NO

The other thirteen questions are below. Interesting that, except for the last two questions, the questions all sound like the original push- poll type sales pitch:

Question #1: This measure would improve year- round fire prevention and suppression services in the city to reduce the damage caused by structure fires.

Question#6: Replace outdated equipment such as fire trucks and safety equipment

It isn't until question 12, of 13, that they ask a nay type question:

Question#12: We shouldn't have to pay more for local fire protection services. The Department should just learn to make do with its current revenues.

Five possible answers are allowed to all those questions ranging from Much More Likely to Much Less Likely to support the measure.

Pretty clever way of promoting the tax and probably even legal. Still, kind of gets my goat that they bother going to that length since it's usually not too hard to scare people enough to pass a tax by threatening to fire all the cops and firefighters in town if the tax doesn't pass. They do it every time Eureka's Utility Tax comes up for renewal.

On the bright side, at least they provide a post paid envelope to mail the survey back in. Oh, and I just noticed: The envelope is addressed to City of Eureka Fire Dept, c/o SCI Consulting in Fairfield, CA. Hmmm???

Spring Fever Is Here!

The Spring Fever Festival will be held today and Sunday at Eureka's Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. Our very own Bohemian Mermaid tells us about it on her blog. She'll be having a booth there so I'm sure you'll all want to stop by, say hi and BUY SOMETHING!

Friday, April 25, 2008


What he said, except I'll use a white hat.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Should Voters or Legislators Decide?

The Willits News takes a look at what seems to be a desperate attempt by anti- Measure B forces in Mendocino County to keep the measure off the ballot.

The main argument that seems to be being made is that guidelines can't be established by popular vote, assuming I'm reading it right, and such things should be determined either by the state legislature or the Board of Supervisors.

It is interesting, as the judge points out, that Measure G- the measure the counselor is trying to defend- also set guidelines.

I've mentioned here before I'm not a big fan of democracy. I also think politicians have way too much control over too many aspects of our personal lives.

But I don't know that it really matters so much who creates the ordinances and guidelines- whether it be by popular vote or legislative action- but whether the issue at hand is something that should be decided by anyone other than the individual in the first place.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gunderson Case Transcripts On E/R

First that I've noticed this. If someone else mentioned it, I missed it. The Eureka Reporter actually has transcripts, of a sort, of the Gunderson trial. Not exactly word for word, but close enough for me. Nicely addition.

On the E/R's home page, just scroll to the bottom of the Local News list and you'll see a box labeled "Gunderson Hearing". Or use the link I just supplied.

Frank and Paul need help!

Speaking of marijuana, I was just checking on the status of H.R. 5843. That's the bill Rep. Barney Frank introduced in congress that will eliminate federal penalties for personal possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults. The bill only has one co- sponsor, so far: Republican presidential candidate and congressman, Ron Paul.

I suppose acquiring co- sponsors takes time, but you'd think there'd be more than that just from the start. Lets get Mike Thompson on board with this!

And why do I keep writing about pot when I don't smoke pot???

I guess because it involves personal liberty.


How's that for a sensational headline?

Actually, Ken Anton, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Mendocino County, tells me Measure B isn't a real burning issue with him. Nonetheless, as I mentioned yesterday, he does oppose it and actually wrote some arguments in rebuttal to some pro- Measure B arguments he's heard. I put his arguments on a separate web page and linked them to the Mendocino LP web page for all to see.

He makes some good points and reinforces some of the doubts I have regarding the measure, primarily, will limiting the amount of pot plants one can legally grow do anything to solve the complaints?

I think I'll change my position on Measure B slightly to undecided whereas before I was leaning toward supporting it.

Ken also mentioned something I've noticed: Despite living in Mendocino County for some years, he's never noticed any pot growing, although he assumes there must be some around. I was thinking the same thing. Although I haven't traveled much off the highway in Mendocino, I don't think I've ever seen or smelled marijuana while I've been down there.

That said, I'm not saying there isn't marijuana down there, as the Ukiah Daily Journal reports today. Will Measure B stop grows like this? Looks like they're stopping it without Measure B.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No Work Today

Here's doppler radar just after 7:30am. It's kind of a relief to me when it looks like this because there's no question of whether I'll be going to work today. Sometimes it can be problematic when it's just scattered showers. You don't know whether to take a chance on getting rained on, or not.

Now I know it's a stay home day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mendocino's Measure B Paper Trail

The Ukiah Daily Journal follows the money of Mendocino County's Measure B players. Doesn't look good for the opponents with their biggest contribution coming from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. You'd think there'd be more local financial support for the opposition if they're going to beat Measure B..

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ukiah City Council Endorses Measure B

I'm not sure quite what to think of the Ukiah City Council endorsing Measure B. Measure B puts further restrictions on Measure G- passed a while back- which has pretty much opened the door to marijuana growing in Mendocino County, or so some feel.

My main question is whether it's a good idea, or even proper, for a city council to take a stand on an issue which will be decided by voters? I think it might have made more sense for the council members to take a side on the issue as individuals, not as an entity.

Not sure why. Maybe it's because it seems almost like, as an entity, they're telling the voters what to do?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Swords Into Plowshares?

I was surprised to find out that half the nuclear energy in the United States comes from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads, at least according to this guy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New MJ Bill In Congress

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has just informed me a bill has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Barney Frank. The bill, H.R. 5843- The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008- will eliminate penalties for possession and sales of small amounts of marijuana by adults.

We'll all want to contact Congressman Mike Thompson's office, encourage him to support this bill and, hopefully, sign on as a co- sponsor. The MPP has an online form available you can use to e-mail Thompson your message but I discourage that as boilerplate e-mails just aren't as effective as phone calls, faxes, regular mail, or even personally written e-mails. Of course, MPP encourages you to personalize your letter using their online form, but a personal one from the start would probably be best.

Get those phone calls, letters and faxes going, folks!

SRP-D Does Confusion Hill

I believe this is the first time I've seen mention of the Confusion Hill bypass project in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. Yet another reminder to me that Confusion Hill is in Mendocino County, not Humboldt. For some reason I keep thinking it's in Humboldt.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Urgent Care Center To Open

I'd read about this earlier on in the Times- Standard. I guess I didn't read it well enough, though. I thought St. Joseph's Hospital's new urgent care clinic was already open. I guess it will officially open next Monday. I guess I won't be going there today as I was planning.

It was also news to me that they have an urgent care clinic at at the General Hospital campus down the street. I think they used to have one down on F street in Eureka and didn't know it had been moved. Do they not advertise such things, or am I just not paying attention?

Every community should have some kind of urgent care clinic where people can go in and take care of minor medical needs on a first come- first serve basis. Eureka residents should be glad they have this option and other communities should try and get something like this started.
One thing I find odd is comments by hospital folk that non- emergency patients are clogging up the emergency rooms when there's urgent care available. Do they ever tell these non- emergency types
to go to the urgent care facility instead? I was told that the St. Joseph's ER was crammed to the gills back when flu was hitting hard. Shouldn't they have sent the flu cases to the General Hospital urgent care?

I don't believe I've heard of anybody being referred to urgent care by emergency room folk. Then again, maybe I was listening?
Addendum: This just in from Courtney Hunt- Munther, Communications Coordinator for St. Joseph's Hospital:
Just to clarify a few things...
We're moving Urgent Care from General Hospital campus to a brand
new facility on the main St. Joseph Hospital campus. We'll
start treating patients there on Monday, April 21; until then,
urgent care will remain open at General. Urgent Care at General
will close for good on Sunday. Also, we can't legally deny
patients treatment if they come to the emergency room first
instead of urgent care. We can, however, send people in need
of immediate treatment from urgent care to the ER. That's
why we're trying to educate folks on when to go to Urgent Care
and when to go to avoid massive pile-ups like
we had during flu season....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Save Windows XP!

This story was in the Times- Standard this morning but, for some reason, isn't available on their web page. Seems Microsoft is going to pull the Windows XP operating system off the shelves come June, it having been replaced by Vista.

I agree. Save XP. If it works, don't try and fix it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

No More Free Blogging?

Could be, if State Assemblydude Charles Calderon has his way. As the Pacific Research Institute informs us, Calderon wants to start taxing internet services. He's doing it by trying to change the legal definition of taxable items in California.

This could very well end up requiring blog providers, like Google, to charge bloggers for use of their services. I would think this will be up to the Governator to stop since, with the Democrats holding a solid majority in the state legislature, I can't imagine this bill not passing, especially since it will only require a simple majority.

Might be a good idea to send some faxes and phone calls to our state reps on this one.
Another tax increase proposal to keep an eye on: A tax that will add nearly $2.00 to a six pack of beer, State Assembycritter, Jim Beall, feels beer isn't already taxed enough in this state.

Some of you have noticed beer prices have already been going up. I believe that's because of corn based ethanol raising the price of hops (and nearly everything else). Of course, no word from any elected officials or candidates on doing anything about this ethanol mess.

Nope. Just add another tax to everything.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Virus Alert

Forgive the public service announcement, but I so rarely have problems with viruses anymore I thought I'd mention this one.

Just got what looked like one of those phishing spams supposedly from PayPal asking me to click on a link to go to my account and update my account info. Strange coincidence as I hadn't gotten one of those in a while and, just this morning, had gone to PayPal to transfer money to my bank account.

I noticed right away, though, that the actual link of the url was different than the one showing in the e-mail. For those of you that don't know, if you put your cursor on a link in the e-mail, the actual url should show up. This url didn't even have any mention of PayPal.

So, figuring it was some phishing spam, trying to get personal info, I went to my Eudora e-mail program to forward it to spoof at That's where you should send those things and PayPal will try to shut them down. Problem is, it doesn't work with my Yahoo mail program so I have to forward it with Eudora.

When it downloads I tried to forward it but kept getting an error message that the "file can't be found", or some such. Then I realize my Zonelabs Anti- Virus had opened and was minimized. Opened that up and it had multiple virus alerts for the e-mail.

Eudora wouldn't let me delete the e-mail so I had to go to Zonelabs Anti-Virus and delete the virus first. Then, when I went to clear out the mailbox the e-mail was in, I get the message my Junk mailbox was screwed up somehow and couldn't be opened. I had Eudora create another junk box and checked my inbox. Inbox was screwed up, too, and couldn't be opened. I had another created but lost the four or so e-mails I had in the old inbox.

Anyway, problem taken care of on this end, for now. Just be careful of messages that claim to be from PayPal and, if you don't already have virus protection, get some.

They're Back?

Actually, they've never left, but this is might well be the time to start worrying about skunks.

There one was, in broad daylight yesterday, walking across the street from the Matteoli's house to the neighbor's on the other corner on Trinity and E Streets in Eureka. This, at around 2:30ish in the afternoon. It's always troubling to see a normally nocturnal animal out at mid- day. Some gal in a car that the skunk passed in front of stopped and made a call on her cell phone. I got the impression she might be calling animal control because she kept watching the skunk.

So I go in the back yard and tell the wife to keep an eye out for skunks as we've had big problems with them before. She didn't seem too concerned right then, but, some of you might remember we had a family of 7 or 8 of them living under our house some years ago. Took a while to get rid of them.

About an hour or so later the wife comes and tells me there was a big skunk in our yard. It strolled in from the next door neighbor's yard. Connie says she "...told it to go away.." and the skunk went back into the neighbor's yard and under the back of her house.

I'm not sure if the skunk I saw and the one she saw were the same, although the one I saw would have to have crossed a busy E street to get here. Still, something must be afoot in skunk land for them to be so active in the middle of the day.

Could be rabies, but I'm figuring it's more likely mating season for skunks, assuming they have a mating season. That would fit in why we had a family of young and old skunks under our house one summer a few years ago. Mate now, then skunks have summer to grow up. We don't want to go there again.

I'll be calling Wildlife Services and see if we can't trap the skunks in the neighborhood before they multiply. Probably best for everyone to do the same if you've been seeing skunks in your neighborhood during the daytime.

Speaking of pests, now is probably a good time to start looking for mosquito breeding grounds so we can nip those in the bud. Well, maybe a bit early as it's still cold out. I notice last time I brought the subject up here was May 25, 2006. That's when the mosquito larvae showed up that year.

What I do is establish at least one observation post- the observation post I used back then was the wheelbarrow just outside my back door that was filled with rain water. I left the water in there on purpose: To see when the mosquito larvae would show up. Once they did, I dumped out the wheelbarrow and made a point to go all over the back yard checking for anything holding standing water and drained that source of potential skeeters.

Didn't use the wheelbarrow this last couple of years. In fact, don't remember what I used last year, but I just noticed a couple five gallon containers full of rainwater on the patio. I'll check those every day or two. Once the larvae show up I'll dump the water out and start a search for any other standing water around the yard and drain them as I always do.

You might want do the same.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Eureka Reporter Quitting Delivery?

Anyone else in the Eureka area stop getting their Eureka Reporter delivered? I haven't received one for over a week and looking up the street I can see no one else is getting one either. I know I saw an insert in one a while back asking for donations to have the paper delivered, but I didn't think it said I had to pay for delivery.

No mention of stopping circulation on their web site. In fact, their circulation page suggests they're still delivering free like they always did. I'm wondering if they're going to stop the free delivery and are just doing it by attrition: As delivery people quit they just don't replace them?

I thought I read something somewhere about this recently.

NTU Rates Congress On 2007

The National Taxpayer's Union just released our representatives in Congress' scores for 2007. The scores being in regards to how taxpayer friendly those members are. They base the scores on actual roll call votes on all 609 bills in the House and Senate last session that dealt with tax, regulatory and spending issues.

According to the NTU's release,"Despite campaign-trail promises from many Members of Congress to put Washington on a stricter diet, our 2007 Rating shows that, by and large, the only things shrinking on Capitol Hill are lawmakers' pro-taxpayer scores,".

Not surprising, were California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, both receiving Fs last year and every other year on the list. I suppose I wasn't all that surprised with presidential candidate, Barack Obama, receiving an F last year, either.

I was a little surprised to see Hillary Clinton with a straight F record. I know that sounds strange coming from a Hillary- hater but I figured she was probably wishy- washy enough to waver on some issues just enough to maybe grab a D rating at some point in time. I guess I was wrong in that regard.

No surprise, either, with Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul, getting an A and ending up in the NTU's top 50 taxpayer's friends in the House, either.

Two bigger surprises: Our very own Mike Thompson, who scored an F last year and every other year on their list. I figured he might just have been middle- of- the- roadish just enough to get a D or maybe even a C. I guess not.

Also, GOP nut- case and presidential contender, John McCain. He gets an A for 2007 and even is at the top of NTU's list of taxpayer's friends in the Senate. Not only that, he has a history of A scores with the NTU. I figured, like Hillary, he'd be wishy- washy enough on the issues to end up with scores somewhere in the middle. Somehow or another he manipulated his votes into a good score with NTU.

Nope, I still won't be voting for him. I'll likely be voting Libertarian come November, if I vote at all.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Del Norte Mulls Pot Ordinance Changes

Looks like Del Norte County is considering modifying their medical marijuana ordinances like Mendocino is. Some seem to think too much pot is being allowed to be grown, much like our neighbors to the south, Mendocino County.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Anti- Heraldo Movement Afoot?

Everybody keep their eyes open and report back here.

I just drove by the intersection of Hodgson and I Streets in Eureka. On the telephone pole on the east (or would that be northeast?) corner there's a little white paper sign someone tacked up there. It's white paper with black lettering, maybe 4" high by 6" wide and just says Heraldo Sucks, obviously referring to our very own Humboldt Herald.

I'm guessing if there's one, there must be more. Post your sightings here along with any other information you may find out about this effort.

Update: Talked myself into running back there and taking a picture of it before Heraldo tore it down.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Eureka P.D. In Turmoil

I'd heard a few rumblings on the local blogs about things going on in Eureka Police Department but, personally, I had no idea. Looks like even former department spokesbabe, Susie Owsley, seems to think the work environment there has gotten "intolerable".

I'd wondered why Murl Harpham became lieutenant all of the sudden. He was a captain for years and no mention of the change in the papers. Was this an actual demotion or simply part of departmental reorganization under Chief Nielsen? I can't think of any captains with Eureka P.D. Maybe Nielsen did away with the position?

If this is all the Chief's fault, it sure didn't take him long to piss people off. This could be just the normal reaction, though, to a newcomer who comes in and stirs things up where people were pretty comfortable. Regardless, hopefully the powers that be will look into the situation.

As far as all this talk about how much better Eureka has become under Nielsen, it's beyond me. I can't tell any difference, and I don't mean any slight against Nielsen by saying that. The same things have been happening around here as they always have.

County Code Enforcement

I actually listened to part of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project meeting regarding code enforcement that was held in Garberville yesterday. Turned on the radio in the garage about the middle of Estelle Fennell's comments and listened to most of what transpired until the meeting ended.

From the sounds of the comments and audience response, sounds like there's a bunch of closet libertarians in Southern Humboldt.

Enough has been said about the meeting on both Eric and Heraldo's blogs. I'll just make a short comment on the issue of county codes vs. civil liberties itself. My comments, the result of this partial comment made by an anonymous poster on the Times- Standard web site from a few days ago:

"it is not within your civil liberties to build and live in sub-standard, un-permitted structures..."

So, he thinks that civil rights don't include going out and living in the woods and building and living in whatever kind of home you want, assuming it's your property? Ok, then how about it being a human right?

I'm not sure just how far we should go with building codes in unincorporated areas of the county, assuming we should have building codes at all. I do think the kind of structure people live in should be the the concern of the people living in it, and their concern alone.
Leaving aside code enforcement, but along that same line, maybe this will make surveillance of areas such as Southern Humboldt a little easier. Feel safer now?

As always, if asked to login in to the Sacbee web site, you can use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot for the password.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Obama Hit Page

This just in: A web site slamming presidential candidate, Barack Obama. I believe this is the first web site dedicating to slamming a current presidential candidate that I've seen, for this election. I'm sure there will be many more.

If any of you run in to any hit web sites on any of the other candidates, feel free to mention them here.

I'm curious who put this Obama one up; Hillary's folks, or some independent group or person?

I Was Right

Once again your very own Freddy was right, or at least I think this guy agrees with some comments I've made about the potential demolition of College of the Redwoods' buildings. His column in today's Eureka Reporter discusses the potential earthquake hazard at the C/R campus.

It was kind of hard to sort through all the technical jargon but, as best I can determine, he agrees with me that there's no need to abandon the current buildings at C/R. He also says that new construction would be a waste of taxpayer's money.

At least I think that's the gist of what he's saying. It was a bit of a rough read.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

No News Today

What gives? For some reason I didn't get my hard copies of the Times- Standard or Eureka Reporter this morning. I suppose they might have some new delivery folks that thought my house was abandoned. I can understand that.

But I won't let it go. Sure, I could just get something to comment on online. I often do. I have to make a stand sometime, though. I'm boycotting local news today, so there. I sure told them!
But if you're into polar exploration, as I was in my younger years, and you want something kind of fun to look at, check out this guy's blog. Pictures of both Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton's arctic headquarters as they are today. Remarkably well preserved after almost 100 years because of the cold, dry weather.

Reminds me of one of my favortie PBS mini- series: The Last Place On Earth. It's the story of the race to the south pole between Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott. Scott and some of his men perished in their attempt. They reached the pole after Amundsen and died during their return.

If you like arctic adventures and see the Last Place On Earth coming to local TV, be sure and watch it. The story can also be found in a book with the same name.