Friday, August 27, 2010

Cops And Firefighters Live Longest

Interesting snippet from a Cal Watchdog piece on the pending public pension tsunami. Interesting to me, anyway. Looks like police and firefighters tend to be the longest living public sector employees:

"Public safety and firefighter unions argue that they deserve their “3 percent at 50” (3 percent of their final year’s pay times the number of years worked, available at age 50) pensions because they die shortly after retirement — some claim that the typical cop or firefighter only lives five to eight years after retiring. CalPERS has debunked this myth (as has the Oregon retirement system) and finds that the longest living categories of public sector employees are police, followed by firefighters. They live on average into the low- to mid-80s. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, neither police nor firefighting are in the top-10 most-dangerous jobs....


Eureka Smoking Ban

As you might imagine, I'm livid over Eureka's new smoking ban passed last month as reported by the North Coast Journal. What really gets me about things like this is how casual city council critters are about restricting people's liberties. It seems like individual liberty is the last thing on their minds.

Since this passed unanimously, it's clear in my mind that none of those sitting on the Eureka City Council deserve re- election, but I might give Frank Jager a pass. He was the sole NO vote on a previously passed smoking ban, if memory serves me correct. I was under the impression he would be voting against this one. Wonder why he gave in to the Forces of Darkness?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Raw Milk

The Board of Supes is going to hear from supporters of raw milk on Tuesday. Supporters want to repeal the ordinance prohibiting the sale of raw milk in the county. More power to them, I guess, since I don't like the idea of the government telling people what they can eat, drink or smoke.

Raw milk isn't for me, though. I actually bought a small bottle of raw milk at some health food store in Southern CA over 30 years ago. I wasn't impressed, especially with all the cream that formed at the top of the bottle. Yuck!

But, aside from that, you can just call me paranoid. I wouldn't of thought much about raw milk until I read the story about a gal in Del Norte County that was paralyzed and nearly died from drinking raw milk (part 2 of the story here, part 3 here).

I realize that doesn't happen to everyone. Nobody else buying milk from that diary got sick, but that's enough to scare me off. Especially since I don't like raw milk, anyway.

Addendum: Ooops! Almost forgot to include a link to one of the proponent's My Word column in support of repealing the ordinance that appeared in yesterday's Times- Standard.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Argument Against Prop 19

I'll take issue with at least one point this gal makes in a San Francisco Chronicle commentary arguing against Prop 19, the upcoming ballot initiative to legalize and tax marijuana in California. Susan Manheimer, police chief of San Mateo, claims passage of Prop 19 will allow people to legally drive cars "with marijuana in their system".

I don't know how she can say that. It's illegal to drive in California under the influence of alcohol, drug or narcotics. That applies whether the alcohol or drugs are legal, or not. Prop 19 won't change that and, as one comment to her commentary pointed out, people who smoke pot and drive are likely already engaging in such behavior.

We can quibble about some of her other arguments, and there are some legitimate- even libertarian- reasons to oppose Prop 19, but I don't think worrying about pot smoking drivers is one of them.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

AB 1998 Advertisement

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A Speed Trap Registry had this "speed trap" registry listed among its links today. I do find it interesting but have to take issue with what seems to be their description of speed traps. They seem to consider any place police regularly monitor traffic for speed compliance (the safety corridor between Eureka and Arcata, for instance) a speed trap.

It seems to me a speed trap is supposed to be a place police stake out where the speed limit is lowered suddenly and unexpectedly, catching drivers off guard and the cops get an easy ticket.

They have Eureka, Arcata and Garberville listed. About the only place I saw that might be considered a speed trap is where you enter Arcata from Manilla. Other than that, it looks like just normal speed enforcement to me.

They even have the intersection of H Street and Trinity Street ( they call it Trinity Avenue) listed as a trap. That's just three blocks from my house. I don't know that I've ever seen a cop car sitting there watching traffic, although I have seen them sitting every now and then a block or two north.

Regardless of location, I don't see how they can call any location on H Street a speed trap. The speed limit is the same along the entire length of the street. There's no trapping involved. If you're going 45 mph, you're going 45. Speed traps shouldn't be an issue.

Still, there are places police routinely hang out to catch speeders and this web site does list at least some of them. I know we were told in the Redwoods Police Academy about the one on the south end of Garberville that's mentioned in the registry. It might behoove those of you that can't obey speed limits to take a look. Then again, please don't. I'd rather you get the ticket.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Humboldt Medical Crisis?

For some folks living in the Eureka area, I think this just might be one.

I received a letter in the mail yesterday from the Downtown Medical Clinic. That's actually Dr. Lawrence Badgely's outfit and he was one of the dwindling number of physicians across the state that seemed to pretty much accept all patients, including those on MediCal and County Medical Services Program (CMSP).

Many, if not most, doctors won't accept patients on MediCal or CMSP anymore. If they do, they normally only accept a certain percentage of them because of the low reimbursement rates from those programs. They can't stay in business if they take too many low reimbursement cases.

The letter I received advised me that, as of August 1, their office will no longer accept MediCal or CMSP insurance and payment is due at time of service. In other words, pay cash unless you have private insurance.

Wow! What are so many of his patients going to do? Where are they going to go? A visit to the waiting room at his place is akin to going to the welfare office or the Eureka Community Clinic (which last I heard is no longer accepting new patients).

It probably won't change much for me. While I'm on MediCal (or is it CMSP?), I have to pay the first four to five hundred dollars of any medical expenses first, so I pretty much pay out of pocket for what few medical services and prescriptions I can afford. But what about the people who are on full coverage with MediCal and CMSP and can't afford to pay $65.00 for an office visit?

But, since I pay out of pocket, anyway, I think I'll have to start looking for somewhere else to go. It was often less expensive to pay cash with the old North Coast Family Practice than it was after Badgely bought them out and turned it into the Downtown Medical Group.

I'll bet most of the unfortunate ones on MediCal and CMSP are freaking right now. I know I would be.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Failing California

Here's a rather lengthy but interesting commentary that looks at California's past and current economy with suggestions on what the writer thinks might be done to improve things.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Mendocino MJ Militia?

I kind of like this idea. A guy in Mendocino County is proposing a group of volunteers be formed up to arm themselves and go out on public lands to clean up massive marijuana plantations. I wonder if he got the idea first, or maybe got it from this Sonoma County lady who recently led a successful raid on her property?

Hey, I'm all for it if people want to grow and smoke pot, but it is getting out of hand when people are afraid to use public (or even their own) property for recreation or other legitimate purposes. Not to mention the pollution and environmental issues.

Certainly there could be problems with the implementation of such volunteer groups. I don't know how you could be assured they could stay focused on the big grows and not start messing with the smaller mom and pop operations.

And what about violence? Would some of these Mexican nationals actually fire on a bunch of armed civilians approaching their grow area? Maybe, but the volunteers would hopefully have more than enough people and firepower to overcome that issue.

Could something like this actually reduce the number of large grows on public and private land, or would the large growers escalate the situation with yet more violence as we see happening in Mexico?

I'm not sure, but it might be worth giving this a try. But I don't know that they need my, or anyone else's permission to start up. Nothing wrong with taking back your own land.

Now we need to come up with some cool names for these groups. How about Ukiah Valley Rangers, for one? The Mendocino Marijuana Militia?


Utah In The California Business Market

Looks like Utah has joined the list of states competing for California jobs and business, according to the Sacramento Bee. Their efforts seem to be successful with a number of California's high tech companies already moving or expanding to their state. I suspect the number of companies moving there will increase.

Will California consider changing its behavior to try and keep more businesses in the state? I've seen absolutely no evidence of that, so far.


Saturday, August 14, 2010


The Triplicate reports a Del Norte County Sheriff's deputy has been arrested up there but is being held in the Humboldt County Jail. Perhaps interesting enough in its own right, but I'm more interested in the goings on at his arraignment in Crescent City.

Check out the supposed "heated exchange" between the judge and an attorney the judge tries to appoint as the deputy's public defender. It reads like there might be some bad blood between both not only the attorney and the defendant, but maybe the judge as well?

Does that sort of thing happen in court all the time?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What He Said

J.D. Tuccille's comments on the Prop 8 ruling. Wish I'd written that. My feelings exactly.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Marian Brady's Facebook Page

Candidate for Eureka City Council, Marian Brady, has started a Facebook page for her campaign. All Marian's supporters will want to add her page to your FB "Like" list.

Oh, another Eureka City Council candidate, Mike Newman, has started up his campaign page.

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A Trip To The Junk Yard

John's Used Cars and Auto Wreckers, that is. Went there a couple days ago to find a used side mirror for Connie's Geo Metro. The old one finally broke all the way and fell off.

I figured it might be relatively expensive to buy a new one. A quick internet search showed it might might well be. I've saved considerable money buying used parts from John's before so figured I had to at least call them. I called and the gal told me they had two possible matches there so I drove down to Jacob's Avenue on the north end of Eureka to take a look.

This time might of been a first with me, although I'd been down there a handful of times over the years I've lived here. If memory serves me correct, usually I'd go in the front desk and they'd do a quick check for availability of what I was looking for. Then some guy would come in from their shop or the yard with my item.

This time they checked the computer again and confirmed they had 2 Geo Metros in the yard and gave me directions out the back door to where the cars sat on their lot. "What", thought I? "You mean I have to go out there and take it off the car myself?". I'd heard of other people rummaging through the lots for parts but this was the first time I had to. Oh well. Luckily, I keep some basic tools in my truck.

I go out in the yard and find the first one fairly quickly. No side mirrors on that one. I browse around for a few minutes trying to find the other one but don't see it. Turned out I didn't look far enough. I went back inside and asked again and they told me to go way back to the end of the first row of cars.

I go back out and find it. Just needed to have gone a few cars further back and I would of found it first time.

No mirrors on that one, either. That gave me the impression that Connie's car probably isn't the only one with broken side view mirrors. It's probably a common problem.

That was another first for me at John's. I believe they've always had what I've been looking for, up until this time. Having looked at their yard for the first time I wondered how they have so many parts on hand? There's probably a few hundred cars back there, but it didn't look like nearly enough or nearly the variety to keep parts on hand for everything.

Looking at their building, too, you'd think they'd need a much larger building to carry any kind of ready to sell inventory. How do they do it so well?

Oh, well. Back at home after work I check the net again. I had the first auto parts site I checked bookmarked. They had the mirror listed for $69.30. With tax and shipping I figured that might be upwards of $80.00. A bit much more than I really wanted to pay.

That's when I remembered the first search I did came up with E-Bay as a possible source for the mirror. Hadn't used E-Bay for years, except I finally called them up and managed to unlock my account after someone hacked my account and did something with it.

It was a little confusing getting started in finding the auto parts but, lo and behold, when I finally got to Geo Metro parts, there was the mirror I needed. Starting bid was $39.27. No one else had bid yet and bids closed in a bit over 5 hours. I placed my bid at $39.27, hoping the total would come to less than $50.00 after all was said and done.

It did! Bidding closed and I was still the only bidder. The total came to $42.51. Not bad.That's much better than paying close to $80.00. I just received the item's tracking number notice and it shows I should receive it today. Not bad, again, after ordering it on Monday afternoon.

I forgot to ask at John's how much the mirror might have cost if they had one in stock. I'll always check John's first in the future but I'm satisfied with the deal I got this time around.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bill Introduction Limits Needed

Cal Watchdog reports a bill has been introduced in the state legislature to ban the sale of "electrolyte replacement" beverages in public schools. The sponsor feels this necessary because the last bill that banned soft drinks hasn't achieved the desired results- those results being less obesity in school age kids.

Leaving the issue of obesity in kids aside, I have to agree with one of the comments to the story:

Here we have yet another example of legislators with way too much time on their hands. We need to establish a limit on the number of bills that each legislator can introduce each session. Not sure what criteria should be used to establish those limits or how low the limit should be, but something along the line of being able to count each legislator's introduced bills on one hand might be a place to start.

Hmmm...maybe a campaign issue for Karen Brooks, Wes Chesbro's Republican opponent in the state assembly race?


Friday, August 06, 2010

Navigating The Journal

Is it just me? Am I the only one that's been having problems finding articles on the North Coast Journal's new and improved web site? Seems like ever since they changed their page layout when you click on a link to one of the stories, you just get sent to a page with more links to the same stories.

I've tried 3 or 4 times, so far, to find the story about the Ridgewood Heights development but can't find the actual story, just more links. I did find Joel Mielke's cartoon, though.

Addendum: Here's the pages I get after I go to their home page and click on the "Mega Village" link. Mega Village takes me to this page. Clicking the "On The Cover" link takes me to this page.

Ok. I see that the title "Mega Village" is actually a link but isn't underlined or look like a link in any other way. Clicking on the actual title does take you to the story. I see now. It doesn't appear underlined as a link until I move the cursor over it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Phone Calls Dying?

I don't think so, but that's what this guy seems to be saying. My personal observations show the opposite. People, at least a lot of them, can't seem to stay off the phone now that nearly everyone has a cell phone.

I've mentioned before I've noticed up to 1 in 3 drivers talking on their cell phones. It's almost the same with people not driving, or so it seems. Go into Winco and see how many shoppers are walking around, oblivious to anything around them other than the conversation they're having on their cell phone.

Yesterday wasn't the first time I've seen someone in the Henderson Center Rite- Aid talking on a cell phone from the time they entered the store until they left. With that gal yesterday, I first noticed her talking on the phone waiting in the checkout line. She holds the phone to her ear while completing checkout and leaves the store talking. A minute or two later, as I'm walking out to the parking lot, there she is in her car exiting the parking lot and still talking on the phone!

Sick, sick, sick, aren't we? Can't stand the thought of having to walk or drive somewhere and actually having to listen to ourselves think?

But, back to the topic at hand, I don't think there's any way fewer or shorter phone calls are being made now. If anything, more phone calls are being made, albeit perhaps not with conventional telephones as cell phones are taking over our lives.

Kudos to Radley Balko for the link.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Common Pot Test Flawed

Looks like a commonly used test to screen for the presence of marijuana is being accepted more and more as positive proof something is marijuana. Problem is, the test can be subject to false positives, according to John Kelly. People are being prosecuted, if not convicted, as a result. It looks like more and more courts and law enforcement agencies are accepting its use as positive proof of possession, as well.

I'm not suggesting that every piece of marijuana confiscated by police need be subjected to the more lengthy and expensive testing, but if you end up in the same situation as the girl cited at the beginning of the story, you most certainly should demand the gas chromatography test.

Hat tip to Radley Balko, over at The Agitator blog for the heads up.