Dec 31, 2013

Old Town business Exodus? Updated.

Old Town Market and Deli is for sale. Coco and Cuvee for sale. Updated: Bayfront One has a condo for sale but no other vacancies. Ritz for sale may need more clarification.   Will have new info once I confirm with owner.

These Old Town businesses (except for the Ritz which had been empty then reopened and closed) were around for a few years.

Hue Southeast Asian Cuisine (not in Old Town but another business in Old Town/Downtown area for sale).

This just in December. This is also what is listed. Who knows what other business is considering closing down?

If all the empty storefronts had been jUst food businesses, I would understand. Maybe some of these businesses will have new owners. Let's hope so. As someone who enjoys supporting local businesses, especially in Old Town, when a business closes, I think of the employees.

Maybe time to rethink just food and retail model in Old Town. For the businesses that are still around, here's hoping the New Year will bring them increased business. Old Town has a special place in my heart. As someone who always lived in the heart of the cities I resided in before I moved here, a vibrant downtown area that thrives is what makes me feel most at home.









Dec 30, 2013

Watson denies Beaton's suit against the City, rules invocations do not violate California Constitution

PRESS RELEASE – DECEMBER 30, 2013

Carole Beaton v. City of Eureka Ruling: On Christmas Eve, the Honorable W. Bruce
Watson of the Humboldt County Superior Court, issued an order denying Carole Beaton’s
Motion for Summary Adjudication against the City of Eureka and granting the City’s Motion for
Summary Judgment/Adjudication on the issue of invocations at City Council meetings. The
Court has ruled that invocations at City Council meetings in general and that specifically Policy
and Procedure 1.25 do NOT violate the California Constitution.

Policy and Procedure 1.25 was adopted by the City on May 1, 2012 in response to a letter
from the ACLU Redwood Chapter requesting that sectarian prayers be discontinued at future
City Council meetings. Since the adoption of 1.25, there has been only one invocation at a City
Council meeting which was delivered by a member of the Hindu faith and a young man sang
“God Bless America” during the time set for the invocation. Judge Watson noted that other than
this one invocation and the singing of “God Bless America” nothing of a religious nature has
taken place at City Council meetings since the adoption of the policy.

Beaton had contended that allowing ANY invocations at City Council meetings, whether
sectarian or nonsectarian, violated three clauses of the California Constitution: the
Establishment and No Preference clauses of Article I, Section 4 and the No Aid clause of Article
XVI, Section 5 of the California Constitution. The Court, following the reasoning laid out in the
United States Supreme Court case of Marsh v. Chambers, held that the City’s allowance of
voluntary, nonsectarian invocations did not violate the California Constitution. Judge Watson,
citing to language from a California Supreme Court case, noted that it did not appear that the
drafters of the California Constitution intended to prohibit legislative prayer:

”Since 1849 the state Constitution has begun with a religious invocation: ‘We,
the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in
order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.’ (Cal.
Const., preamble, italics added; cf. Cal. Const. of 1849, preamble.) This language,
as well as the history of how it came to be included, eloquently refutes the
argument that the framers of the state Constitution intended to prohibit ceremonial
prayer.”


Mayor Frank Jäger said he was pleased with the ruling. “Invocations have a place in
history in this country and I do not believe that the City of Eureka should be treated any
differently than the United States Congress or the California State Legislature. The City
welcomes everyone and does not force anyone that does not want to participate in the invocation
to join in.”

The ruling comes after the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Town of
Greece, New York v. Galloway on November 7, 2013. The controversy in Town of Greece
centers on the tradition that commences official board meetings of the town council in which, 30
minutes before the actual meeting begins, the board hears a religious prayer written and
delivered by local clerics asking for guidance and wisdom. The “moment of prayer” is on the
official agenda. The Obama Administration argued in favor of the practice before the U.S.
Supreme Court noting that the House and Senate have official chaplains; the court in 1983
upheld opening prayers in state legislatures; and, that local councils that have religious
invocations should not be required to “police the content of prayers.” A ruling in the Town of
Greece case is expected in late spring/early summer.

Additional comment from Frank Jager who I spoke with:

"I am really happy with this outcome; I have received lot of support from the community through phone calls and emails, " he said. Frank said he appreciates community feedback and support a lot. He concluded his remarks to me by saying, "What is good is for Congress should be good for the State of California."

Personal note:

I have already written a previous My Word on the New York case and my opinion. I am very happy with this outcome as well.


Dec 26, 2013

Facts missing in Harry Blumenthal's My Word

Harry Blumenthal’s My Word on 12/26/12, “Plight of homeless cannot be ignored”, makes good hyperbole but short on facts. His statement that “There was not a peep of concern from the (Eureka) City Council or the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors” regarding the homeless is his opinion which does not seem to be based on any fact checking or effort to find out the truth.

His singling out Eureka City Council while ignoring any reference to Arcata shows a bias. Was it not cold in Arcata? And are the homeless only in Eureka?

Anyone who attends or watches the Board of Supervisor and Eureka City Council meetings knows that the City of Eureka does indeed offer emergency shelter options in winter. There is the Rescue Mission for one and during the winter months, the Eureka Rescue Mission Men's Shelter does not use the alcohol breathalyzer so services depend on how much room they have for the night. They have used every available space in the facility in the winter; even the St. Vincent facility. Religious services are optional not mandatory. Despite these facts, misinformation continues to be and spoken.

The County offers many services like vouchers. The City of Eureka offers services by partnering with private and non-profit organizations. Mr. Blumenthal would know about more services if he talked to Pamlyn Millsap, EPD liaison to the homeless community or by talking to Fox Olson who is the co-chair of the Humboldt Housing and Homelessness Coalition.

The City and the Eureka Chamber of Commerce have given funds to individuals and non-profits working with the homeless. The fact that Mr. Blumenthal selectively choses to focus on certain individuals on Eureka City Council and the Board of Supervisors shows his bias.

The word homeless has many definitions and many circumstances. You can be couch surfing, living with friends, waiting for housing to come through or literally be on the streets. There are landlords who work with people to make payments and who offer people payment options to keep them off the streets. There are business owners who privately and quietly donate to many organizations trying to help the less unfortunate.

Mr. Blumenthal wants to help “these people” but with other people’s money, whether it be the rich or the government. If he really understands their plight, perhaps he could get involved on the state and local level to get rid of bureaucratic red tape and laws that prevent people from moving out of poverty into independence. Or attend any of the above meetings with a donation that may ease the suffering of someone, for a day or month.


The tired old charge that certain officials are funded by the wealthy could be leveled against any official. To sensationalize the death of an individual while taking cheap political shots is not helping the homeless. Mr. Blumenthal can start taking responsibility by educating himself on Eureka services before he calls anyone else out on their lack of action.

Crnich to retire, Sanders possible next registrar of Voters?

Carolyn Crnich, the Humboldt County Clerk/Recorder/Registrar of Voters is retiring and Kelly Sanders has filed a candidate intention statement to run for that position. 

Ms. Sanders is also the sister of former Humboldt County Supervisor Bonnie Neely. She works at the Humboldt County Election Office.

According to the elections office, no one else has filed yet.

Want to run for this office. Here is the link for the qualifications. https://co.humboldt.ca.us/election/docs/june2014election/county%20clerk,%20recorder,%20rov.pdf

Dec 25, 2013

Dec 20, 2013

City Attorney and D.A's office offer no comment on Laird Case and political overtones?

After this Tuesday's Council hearing, I contacted the City Attorney's office for a comment. No response. Deputy DA Roger Rees, declined comment on an ongoing case.

I appreciate Patrik's fairness in talking to any one covering this case.

Patrik is a brilliant lawyer, been recognized and honored by his peers. In his defense of Sgt. Laird, he is alleging selective prosecution. Larry Glass has been there for every hearing. Garr Nielsen already did a My Word and the case has not even gone to trial. Not strange given the defense theory. But interesting given the political tones.

I have a positive view of the EPD. I have no issue with the City. I don't know Sgt. Laird. I look forward to hearing the evidence if this case goes to trial. Rumor is that there may be a settlement.

 I do find it very interesting that Paul (who has been alleged to have covered up for Larry Glass's indiscretions although this was never proven had the same people him who also supported Garr and Larry) assigns a rookie DA to a case against a lawyer of Patrik's calibre.


Patrik Griego responds to Judge Miles ruling

From Patrik Griego, Adam Laird's attorney:

In the motion to dismiss for witness interference, we asked the judge to either dismiss the case or at least order the District Attorney’s Office and EPD management to inform all witnesses that they are expressly permitted to meet with Sgt. Laird’s representative and that they are authorized to answer all questions regarding the case in the same manner they did with the prosecution investigators.

We are pleased that Judge Miles ordered the DA’s office and EPD to stop telling witnesses not to speak to the defense and told the DA’s office to encourage witnesses to speak with the defense and make them available.  As Judge Miles stated, a trial is a quest for the truth and witnesses do not belong to either side.   

We also respect Judge Miles denial of the demurrer.  Judge Miles correctly noted that because Sgt. Laird did not author the report at issue, the proper vehicle would be to have the case dismissed on other grounds.

The most important ruling of the day, however, was the granting of the Murgia motion for discovery of evidence showing discriminatory prosecution.  Judge Miles has now expressly ordered the EPD to produce the very documents the City of Eureka was trying to destroy at the last Council meeting.

Judge Miles rules on remaining 3 motions in Adam Laird case

This afternoon, Judge Marilyn Miles gave her ruling  on the remaining 3 motions in the Adam Laird case. The three motions were a motion to dismiss, a Demurrer and a motion to compel discovery. Motion to dismiss and Demurrer denied. Motion to compel discovery granted.

Next court date is January 3.


Supervisor Bass asks community's help for long term solution to end predatory lawsuits

Supervisor Virginia Bass, Supervisor Rex Bohn and Chris Kerrigan were present outside the courthouse along with other concerned citizens and business owners in a protest against Jason Singleton organized by a local citizen. Virginia took this opportunity to pass out a handout in which she is asking the community to contact her if they are interested in being a part of long term solutions to benefit both people with disabilities and business owner.

After the first of the year, she will be convening a group and her plan is to include representatives of local businesses, the legal profession, contractors, people with disabilities, local government and interested citizens.

In her handout, she did not single out Mr. Singleton or lawyers, she simply raised some questions and expressed some thoughts.

One concept Virginia wants to pursue is a concept of a revolving loan fund to help small businesses accomplish ADA upgrades and also work with State Representatives to improve existing legislation. For the entire handout or Virginia's thoughts on this, pleas email her at vbass@co.humboldt.ca.us.

Maggie's experience and strengths

Summary of experience and strengths:

Graduated Santa Clara University Law School in 1985.

Internships with the Santa Clara County Public Defender and District Attorney. At the Santa Clara Public Defender’s office, Maggie served as the person who interviewed those accused of committing crimes in preparation for the person’s appearance in court. In the District Attorney’s office, she worked on the prosecution of environmental crimes.

Seven and a half years as a Deputy District Attorney for Contra Costa County. Tried numerous jury cases beginning with a misdemeanor driving under the influence cases and then a variety of felonies. For 21/2 years, assigned to the unit that handles all abuse cases (elder, child , adult/child sexual abuse). Also handled the review and charging of felony cases for a year.

Joined Humboldt County District Attorney’s office in 1994 and worked there for 17 years. For the privacy and out of respect for the family (Maggie and I have decided not to name the following case on the blog). Maggie had only been in the office a couple of weeks when a teenager was murdered and she was assigned the case. There was gang related activity. She tried the case in Humboldt to a dual jury and also handled the change of venue trial that ultimately led to the conviction of the 2 defendants for 1st and 2nd degree murder. She continued to handle all levels of felonies and in 2005, Paul Gallegos appointed Maggie as the director of the Child Abuse Services TEAM (CAST).  In this capacity, Maggie has worked with social services, law enforcement, and other community agencies (Rape Crisis, Sexual Assault Response Team).  Part of her duties included working on budget issues, grant applications and preparing agreements to partner with Tribal organizations.

In 2007, Paul reassigned Maggie from CAST to the Drug Task Force where she worked for 4 years. During that time she was required to review all drug cases in the County and make recommendations regarding charges  to the District Attorney and possible sentencing options. At the direction of Paul, she prosecuted major drug cases such as People vs. Jose Hernandez Lopez. As part of this assignment she answered questions from DTF regarding legal issues and reviewed search warrants as needed 24 hours/7 days a week.

From 2001-2011, Maggie handled all the asset forfeiture cases for the County. Maggie has prosecuted over 100 jury trials including a number of homicide cases (Maher Suarez gang murder trial and Johnny Lindel Lewis case). According to Maggie, these cases required a broad mastery of criminal law and knowledge of a variety of technical subjects such as medical research on brain trauma, DNA, firearms and bullet trajectories. She has also presented cases to the Grand Jury.

In November 2011, Maggie joined the Humboldt County Counsel office. Her particular assignment focuses on personnel matters, review of grant applications, contracts and issues involving environmental health, probation and Public Guardian.

In the 20 years she has lived in Humboldt County, she has volunteered for many civic groups, her church and schools. Is currently on the KEET Board and her daughter’s high school board.


Maggie's profile: in Maggie's own words Part I

Why I am different from the other candidates:

I am the most experienced prosecutor among the candidates, with an extensive successful background in a broad range of the most serious cases-murder, sexual assault and other violent felonies. The job of District Attorney includes the responsibility to review ongoing investigations as well as to ultimately determine if a criminal charge will be filed and what should be the appropriate outcome. Frequently, the D.A. must make critical decisions in a very short time frame, decisions with serious consequences for individuals and public safety. My knowledge and experience make me the best person to handle those responsibilities. I will make sure that each and every case submitted to the District Attorney is handled completely and ethically, with fairness, promptness and dedication to justice.

Changes I will bring to the office:

Attorneys:

In choosing staff members the District Attorney must consider not only the individual but how the individual will interact with the rest of the staff, the public, and other agencies. I will recruit qualified attorneys and create a working environment that helps to retain them. Mentoring is a critical in District Attorney offices. Particularly, early on, my career benefitted greatly from the experience and insights of colleagues; I have now mentored many young lawyers. I will continue to do so as District Attorney, and create an environment that affords young opportunities to gain from the experience of others.

Consistency and Balance:

The community deserves a legal process that is fair, consistent, reliable and timely. To achieve this I will personally review police reports and evaluate the cases being filed  in order to create consistency in how cases are handled.

Crime and Prevention:

The best approach to criminal justice is to minimize the number of crimes committed. I will work with other county agencies on crime prevention. For example, I will work with the Office of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to solve issues that prevent teenagers from completing school. I plan to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Probation Department to encourage alternatives to jail for those in the street who have addiction issues or mental health issues.

DA Investigators:

I will request that law enforcement agencies call in a D.A. investigator to assist with homicides and other major crimes. My experience has been that it is very helpful for the for the prosecution of cases to have the D.A's office involved from the outset: when the investigation is completed and the case is transferred to the D.A's office for prosecution, the office has someone who already knows the case well. Working with law enforcement agencies from the outset maximizes efficiency.

Office Personnel:

The Humboldt County District Attorney's office connects to the community, the courts and other agencies. It cannot function effectively unless those connections are well understood and treated with respect. Internal office connections are just as important. The District Attorney's office under my leadership will be characterized by professionalism and mutual respect among all the staff.

Part II will focus on background info and Maggie's summary of experience and her strengths.

Dec 18, 2013

Recycled and recyclable signs for Maggie Fleming

Instead of spending too much time on facebook or a website, Maggie's focus is on work and putting in the effort towards campaign priorities in her free time. I like that. Her  yard signs will be made of recycled material and be recyclable. That is a first that I know of in Humboldt. Bonus points to Maggie. Green is her favorite color and that is what you will see in her campaign materials.

She has set up a facebook page and there will be a website up soon. Her kick-off will be sometime in January.

Randy Cook, local realtor plead guilty to a felony

Randall Miles Cook, of Cookhouse Realty, who is also a member of Humboldt Association of Realtors plead guilty to a felony on 12/17. The charge is child endangerment. PC 273 (a). This was a change in plea. Two charges of PC 288 (a) were dismissed.

Sentencing is on February 4. Judge Miles was the judge who was at the hearing for this plea; case prosecuted by Kelly Neel and defendant's attorney is Michael Robinson.

The plea he entered was conditional.

From the Central California Apellate Program, Guilty Plea Resource Page, the following is information on a conditional plea.

There are two types of guilty or no contest pleas in California: (1) a
Conditional plea, where the plea is conditioned upon receipt of a particular
disposition; and (2) an unconditional or open plea.

When taking a conditional plea of guilty or nolo contendere to an accusatory pleading charging a felony requires a trial court to “cause an inquiry to be made of the defendant to satisfy itself that the plea is freely and voluntarily made, and that there is a factual basis for the plea.”

From the web page of Roberts and Elliott : The legal effect of such a plea, to a crime punishable as a felony, shall be the same as that of a plea of guilty for all purposes.

Dec 17, 2013

Eureka Excessive Residential Electricity Use Tax

Eureka City Council received a report and was asked by staff to provide direction regarding development of an Excessive Residential Electricity Use Tax for the 2014 ballot. The County is looking into a tax similar to the one already passed by Arcata. Allison Talbot from PG & E made remarks at the City Council meeting which were the same  she made earlier in the day to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

One comment which Talbot made at the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor meeting not included in that post was that "PG & E does not make money off high-energy users." PG & E does not make money from this tax and "profits are decoupled from energy use."

One remark that she made at the Eureka City Council meeting that was additional information was that "if the tax was not paid after a robust collection process, that individual's information would be given to the City."

Eureka Council unanimously voted to enter into an agreement with PG & E to gather data and look at the information in January.

Updated: Patrik Griego serves City Police Chief and Attorney

An item on the consent calendar regarding destruction of police records was requested to be pulled by Adam Laird's attorney Patrik Griego. He served the City Attorney and Police Chief with a long list of what records he wanted preserved minutes before the regular session, according to the City Attorney. Griego did show up few minutes before the meeting. When this item was discussed, Police Chief Mills said many of the records  from 2007 or before had been purged. A motion was made by Councilmember Atkins to hold over these items until the January meeting. When asked for advice by the Council, the City Attorney advised them that waiting until January "would not do any harm" and in a motion that passed unanimously, this item was held over.

Griego had the following to say after the City Council meeting: "I am pleased that the council did not vote to destroy records that are relevant to Sgt. Laird's case.  I am concerned that the City has not yet agreed to preserve the records. The law is clear that these records need to be preserved until the conclusion of any potential litigation involving Sgt. Laird".  

Chet Albin appointed to 5th Ward in Eureka

In one motion, Chet Albin was unanimously voted in to   fill Lance Madsen's seat for Eureka 's Fifth Ward and the Council accepted Madsen's resignation. Mike Jones said of Albin, "You wont be disappointed in the effort Mr. Albin will put forward. This is not a yes man..." Lance got standing ovation as he concluded his goodbye remarks.

Santa visits Humboldt Board of Supervisors meeting and Legislative item about frivolous lawsuits

Santa (Rex) surprised the audience and Supervisor Ryan Sundberg this morning by a surprise visit at this morning's Board of Supervisor's meeting. Santa wished everyone a Merry Christmas on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and Supervisor Sundberg was presented by a locally made plaque thanking him for his service as the Board Chair.

As a part of the item on 2014 State and Federal legislative platforms, language was added that addresses the frivolous lawsuits closing down small businesses, and those using  ADA legislation to extort money from these businesses. No name was mentioned but references were made to the recent closure of Porter Street barbecue in Arcata.

Comments were made by all Supervisors. Supervisor Lovelace made the clarification that the intent of the law was to make businesses built before the legislation passed accessible to all customers and that the business owner make reasonable efforts to achieve that purpose, not for an attorney to extort money from business owners. Other comments made were to the effect that the law should be making things better for access not making money for an attorney, businesses need to be spending money to upgrade and not paying an attorney to go away, the legislative language is to address frivolous lawsuits not weaken the ADA. Discussions were had with local organizations like Tri-Independent living, businesses and attorneys and they all were in agreement that no one should be making money off this law.

It would be best to see the video to hear the exact comments because all the Supervisors were very careful and sensitive in their remarks.

Board of Supervisors approves high energy data agreement with PG & E

During the morning session of the December 17 meeting, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors directed the CAO to sign an agreement with PG & E to provide data regarding a potential high energy use tax  in unincorporated areas of county. The Board also directed the CAO to research the best fundingsource and bring the item back to the Board at a future meeting.

The estimated cost for PG & E provided this data would be anywhere from $500 to $1,000. This item was put on the agenda by Supervisor Sundberg.

Alison Talbot, the representative from PG & E for Government Relations was at the meeting. The following is a summary of some of the remarks she made in response to questions by the Supervisors at the meeting. She wanted to emphasize that the data provided would be aggregate and no individual data would be given out. The data is about users who use energy in excess of the 600% baseline.

If the Board decided to implement this high energy tax, "PG & E is willing to partner with the board"  in implementing the program. The program would be an exact mirror of the program in Arcata. In response to Supervisor Fennell's question if shops would be included, Talbot said no because the Arcata program is designed only for residential use.

Supervisor Sundberg said that he had received feedback to the effect from a constituent that this tax would "be picking on CARE consumers." Talbot clarified CARE guidelines were changed by the PUC. CARE customers who exceed use beyond 400 % of the baseline could be affected by this change, not by the proposed high energy tax .


Dec 13, 2013

Fleming paperwork filed with Elections office so it is official

Maggie filed her paperwork this Monday with the elections office and it is official.

Experience, Professionalism, Dedication is her slogan.

Listed below is just one of the many cases Maggie has prosecuted. While people involved with court and law need no introduction to Maggie, the general public deserves to know what an outstanding individual she is and why we are so lucky to have her run for D.A.


Just as she prepares throughly for her court cases, her profile which will be up soon, is worth waiting for.




Elan Firpo addresses attorney experience and other facts about her background

Elan worked her way through law school employed by a defense attorney. During the first 6 months she started practicing law, she worked for a defense attorney.

She also has experience protecting the accused, and she agrees with Arnie that this experience gives you an edge as a prosecutor because you have seen situations from both sides.

She disagrees with Arnie's statement that he is the only candidate who has both prosecuted and defended.

While she was a certified law student she defended families who were in the system whose children were taken away by Child Welfare Services and were working towards reunification. "This has shaped the way I approach prosecution."

With so many families locally here where criminal and family issues overlap, I think having a DA candidate with CWS experience is an asset not only in the courts but how juveniles and CAST is handled.



Springville Steak grand opening on Dec 15

Springville Steak is having the Grand Opening on Sun Dec 15 from 3-5pm. The restaurant is Beverly Wolfe's latest venture and is located at 320 Main St Fortuna.  There will be  Oyster served from Aqua Rodeo, a local business owned by Sebastian Elrite. Wine tasting-tastes from Briceland Winery, another local business. They will be serving Fortunatini's at the bar and Humboldt Distillery Vodka with Clendenen's fine Cider. Loleta Cheese, Springville Steak's  Mac and Cheese and other culinary delights will be served at the grand opening.

Santa will be there with with local candies and children can put an ornament on the beautiful tree and get a free slider and warm cider. For those wishing to have dinner from 5 to 9, please make reservations by calling (707) 725-3700.

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Praxis to share space with Avalon

Avalon in Eureka will still use the party room  which has an entrance on 3rd street and Praxis will use the main room. Praxis' last day at the present location is on Christmas Eve, they will re-open at the new location on January 2, 2014.




Dec 11, 2013

Arnie Klein : Because Experience Matters

Arnie Klein's website is votearnieklein.org. His slogan: Because Experience Matters.
When I asked Arnie what sets him apart from the other 3 candidates, he said , "My 20 years of experience representing the accused allows me insight into making sure both the accused and the victims rights are preserved. The other 3 running cannot say that."
The following information is highlights from his bio and to read about his career, check out his website.
Realized early all in life that his calling was to make a difference for in his community and to level the playing field for people in all communities. In LA County, he was a sexual assault  prosecutor and never lost a sexual assault case. His experience taught him that prosecution without education would not remedy the impact of these crimes, which not only affect the victim, but the community as well.  Started outreach programs. He then went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney. He transitioned back to serving the public as a prosecutor which is what he finds to be most gratifying and rewarding.
Arnie has won convictions in high-profile gang murder cases, prosecuted career criminals, homicides, and major narcotic operations. Eradicating meth-cooking operations is one of his most satisfying accomplishments. 
He has served as Deputy District Attorney for six years under the current administration. In local court circles, he is known for winning jury trials and been called a "master in the courtroom."

Arnie's opinion is that the Humboldt County District Attorney's office,  as it is currently run, is not meeting the needs of the citizens  and that many civil, environmental, and community issues are in need of redress. 

Obamacare in Humboldt

Rate hikes hidden in California enrollment numbers, a dog being successfully signed up for Obama care due to a clerical error, finally the truth is coming out. When you stop laughing or fuming (the latter if you are one of those Obama supporters yelling at me and accusing me of listening to Fox regardless of what I write) consider the real consequences for Humboldt.

Hey if Baxter was actually signed up when he was the answer to a security question, maybe Humboldt could be signing up many sativas and indicas before they catch on that it’s just a system error.

Even if we were to ignore the system glitches, the security risks, all of which should have been acknowledged without the typical excuses from our President and his team and fixed before this monstrosity was rolled out; the facts are that people’s plans have been cancelled and they cannot chose their own doctors. For me, that is the difference between being a productive member of society and being told disability is my only option. I was fortunate find  a doctor who provided me excellent care 3 years ago when others told me I could no longer work full-time. Financially right now I have to sign up for a plan I can afford but that may mean losing my doctor.

Despite claims it has been fixed, problems persist and while a majority of users can access it, not everyone can.  In California, the state with the largest uninsured population, most of those who have applied are older people with health problems. This will cause premiums and costs to go up. According to certain media reports, the registration numbers for California and the unemployment rate going down is exaggerated. There are very real life consequences for people in Humboldt, especially if you are poor, homeless or struggling.

In Humboldt if you patronize any of the low-income clinics, you know the months of waiting to see a doctor, the impossible quest to get a person on the line to make an appointment, and by then your mild condition has worsened into chronic. This is what sometimes results in people going to the ER and not a doctor. But that fact is ignored by political pundits who would rather spin reality.

Another problem with Obamacare is that many providers are not in the market exchange plans and there are limited choices. We are already limited here, our choice is Anthem or Anthem. So, you may be able to see a doctor in Redding or Santa Rosa, if you are lucky. By then you may have died, but hey what are you complaining about, you got healthcare coverage.

Now I am not as smart as the President and his wise team, but I have this silly notion that maybe having a job where I could actually pay for my own expenses, maybe even chose my own doctor might have been the way to go to get more people insured. A job usually means you can put a roof over your head on your own, feed yourself and take care of yourself. I know it is a novel concept and government taking care of me is clearly the better option. But that job creation stuff must be difficult. After all it’s the fault of those Republicans. Surely standing up to those darn Republicans and tea party to push through legislation and now a flawed execution of this historic program is easier.

In the next few months, if you are not exempt from Obamacare, and don’t fit into any exchange plans, don’t worry. You can chose between rent and Obamacare, food and Obama care, car insurance and Obamacare.  And if you can’t afford any of those, we will just tax those who have more and sign you up for programs for all of those.

Republicans aren’t always right but in this case, the President lied and misled. And if he had put half as much effort on job creation instead of partisan bickering, we would have less unemployed and uninsured. You could accuse me of partisanship, but I am not the President and did not make promises to the American people I did not keep. And having my team defend me and take the blame is not a sign of a leader.

Dec 10, 2013

D.A. Candidate profiles

When Alan announced his intention to run, he got to share a bit about his background and why he is running. I have a profile and information on Elan and Arnie and soon on Maggie. I will include some personal insights as well as some information from personally talking and covering the candidates.

Justice Fairness Firpo4DA profile

Very impressed that Elan was out in the freezing cold this past weekend December Arts Alive. There are photos on her facebook page and Rose's blog that I took. They may not indicate crowds but trust me people stopped by to talk to her, pick up brochures and she has been out to a variety of events in Humboldt.

Some of the information on her brochure is on other posts in this blog such as her award from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Her brochure has a letter from her stating why she is running, information on her. In this post, I will only share some of the highlights.

Elan talks about the fact that most of the crime in Humboldt is committed by a small percentage of the population and that she will focus on that small percentage. She talks about the Humboldt County D.A's office being a partner with law enforcement and the D.A's office working with law enforcement, probation and the community to make Humboldt safer.

Elan plans to shut the revolving door, offer fewer plea bargains, end the polarization surrounding the D.A's office by reaching out to the community; focus on management and resources, seek funding to recruit talent to the office, focus marijuana prosecution on grows that damage the environment and dangerous criminal elements.

Just 2 of her cases that have received press;

http://www.mendocinobeacon.com/regionalnews/ci_23980540/garberville-man-linked-weapons-cache-case-sentenced-state

http://www.times-standard.com/crime/ci_24179630/hearing-offers-new-details-double-murder-case-detective

Elan added some specifics to what is on her website firpo4da2014.com and her brochure. "In order to get funding back to the office that we need to increase the resources we need, I intend to generate a better work product."

Regarding polarization, she clarified that in the previous campaigns, there was political polarization because there were anti-Paul factions and Paul factions. With Paul deciding not to seek another term, she wants her campaign to be "politically neutral. I want to work with both sides of the community."


Dec 9, 2013

Jager reccomends Albin for 5th ward

Mayor Jager recommends Chet Albin for 5th ward.

CITY OF EUREKA 
PRESS RELEASE

December 9, 2013

RE: 5th Ward Council Appointment

 Mayor Frank Jäger announced today that he is recommending Chet Albin for
appointment to the Eureka City Council, 5th Ward. The appointment will be agendized
on the December 17, 2013 Council meeting for approval by Council.

 Three Eureka citizens of the 5th Ward submitted their names to Mayor Jäger for the
vacancy created by Councilmember Lance Madsen of the 5th ward. A 5 member sub-
committee consisting of Mike Jones, Polly Endert, Neal Latt, Lorene Dunnaway and John
Fullerton interviewed each of the applicants and made their recommendation to Mayor
Jäger. The three qualified applicants were Chet Albin, Leslie Lolich and Barry Smith
who all live within the 5th Ward. Mr. Albin was ranked as the number one candidate by 4
of the 5 sub-committee members.

 Chet Albin has been a Eureka resident since 1985 and is a lifelong resident of Humboldt
County. He has served on many local organizations including Fortuna Rotary, CASA,
Humboldt Independent Insurance Agents Association, Six Rivers Basketball Referees
Association, Eureka Hosing Advisory Board, Eureka Parking Place Commission and is
currently a member of the Eureka Planning Commission.

 Mayor Jäger would like to thank all of the applicants who came forward to apply for the
vacancy and volunteer to serve the City of Eureka. Special thanks to the committee for
giving up an evening of their time to assist in the process. Mayor Jäger stated, “It was a
very tough decision as each of the applicants was very qualified and would do a great job
for Eureka. At the end of the day, I relied on the recommendation of the 5 member
committee and their insight into the candidates along with input from Councilmember
Lance Madsen.”

Dec 6, 2013

Stanford and St. Joseph partner for new cancer treatment

St. Joseph is the first partner with Stanford to offer a new cancer treatment. Details of this were announced at a private reception co hosted by Dan and Jayne Ollivier and Edward Oliver where for the first time certains works by Melvin Schuler were displayed. For more on Schuler search this blog. The public can visit and learn more tomorrow at Arts Alive. The collection is displayed at 237 F street.

"The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act" proposed statewide initiative filed with State Attorney General

I am replacing the text with the  link https://oag.ca.gov/initiatives/active-measures since the document is almost 20 pages.


Dec 5, 2013

Christian-bashing doesn't help


Regarding “Is Christian religious bigotry alive and well in Humboldt County?” (Times-Standard, Dec. 4, Page A4), my answer is yes. But not in the sense expressed by David Blodgett. Times-Standard prints one Christian column and has a Faith section once a week but that is too much according to the same frequent Christian bashers who fill the opinion pages. Any Christian expression or anything positive about Christianity elicits letters bashing Christianity.

In Humboldt's version of the land of the free, Christian bashing is OK but any other form of hate is not. Mr. Blodgett, is your opinion about the Rescue Mission only based on a Web statement? I would advise you to research the complex views and history of what someone homeless goes through here and who helps them. In several op-eds, I have asked people who have criticized Teen Challenge, Betty Chinn or the Rescue Mission to take someone homeless to their house, provide them food and support and be there for them no matter how long it takes.
Not one taker.

 The Rescue Mission is the only place some people have to go at night. Asking people to be clean and sober and listen to the Gospel is not forcing someone to believe anything. The Gospel has a message of hope for the poor and the focus should be on the values of the people who operate the Rescue Mission, not an opportunity for religious bashing.

Talk is cheap, show me real action and solutions. While Christians are not the only ones helping those less fortunate, consistent help provided to those struggling without basic services has been provided by the three organizations mentioned above which happen to be run by Christian people. Teen Challenge and the Rescue Mission are funded privately with no money from the city. The Betty Chinn Day Center has received some city funds but is mostly privately funded. There is no religious requirement to get help from Betty.

Mr. Blodgett and anyone else who uses the freedom of religion argument has the option to go out, fundraise and start their own shelter and if they discriminate against Christians, I will remind them of freedom of religion. If you want to use the separation of church and state argument, don't cherry pick the part that suits you. The phrase is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ...”

I do not speak for the any of the above organizations but I am involved in the community and actually take time to talk to people struggling and know their story. The Rescue Mission helps people who stay for the night and then either leave and also helps some people who stay the night and then go out and contribute to cleaning up Old Town for free. For years Betty Chinn has helped anyone that needed it and even with the Day Center now, she will do the same. The Day Center also is a place that will help people access services and get on their feet. Teen Challenge provides assistance and people successfully overcome alcohol and drug addiction. All in Teen Challenge work and give back so others can benefit.
Some people chose to stay in their circumstances. I bring this up because there are individuals who were offered a job, a place to stay and to leave the Rescue Mission, at least two of them by me. They chose not to; one believed in Christ, the other did not.
Instead of taking every opportunity to denigrate a particular religion, use your time to make a change in someone's life for the better.

 

Dec 3, 2013

Mark apologizes to Virginia and Rex at today's Board of Supervisor's meeting

At the start of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting before any business was conducted Mark apologized to Virginia and Rex and the community for his actions at the CSAC conference.

To be fair to both Mark and Virginia, if you want to see what Mark said and hear the entire response by Virginia see the broadcast for yourself. The meeting is filmed live and shown again on Access Humboldt and a video is available on the County website.

In addition to his personal apology in private, Mark said that while trying to explain his frustrations, some of his remarks came across as justifying his actions. There is never any justification, he said, for such behavior. Mark added that in the last week he had seen his actions through the eyes of others.

He concluded by saying that he hoped both Virginia and Rex and the community would forgive him and he promised that "it won't happen again."

Rex was quiet. Virginia did respond. She said she appreciated the apology, especially to the community. She commented that kids are taught not to use violence and as role models and elected officials, "we are held to higher standards." She pointed out that if this behavior was by an employee, there would have been an investigation, perhaps even a dismissal. Virginia concluded her remarks by saying "that this was not the time to talk about it" but that she looked forward to a discussion perhaps in the future and suggested anger management to Mark.

The meeting then proceeded as normal. Heidi Benzonelli was recognized by the County and given the EPD Valor of Service award. Virginia who read the proclamation mentioned the same recognition given recently to Heidi at a Eureka City Council meeting.

For the next calendar year, the Board unanimously voted Rex as Chair and Estelle as Vice-Chair. Ryan was thanked by community members and fellow board members.

It is great to see Estelle back. Best wishes for her continued health.



Dec 2, 2013

New announcement date for Elan Firpo

I had previously reported Dec 4 but that is being changed. I understand that we will be hearing about the new date soon.

Confirmed: Allan Dollison to run for DA

He filed his papers earlier today and he is officially in the race. Allan said that he will not be making a formal announcement until the new year.

Regarding the the 4 that have announced their intention is to run so far (Maggie, Elan, Arnie and himsef), Allan said, "We all have a lot of respect for each other, we all have unique abilities to fix this office."

"In most places, the office of District Attorney is respected, I don't think that is the case here locally and we need to return that respect to this office and improve the image people have."

"All public officials talk about supporting budget for law enforcement". According to Allan, this is important because the current D.A's office is "understaffed, over-worked and there are not enough resources." He also agreed with Arnie Klein's comment that there are more investigators than attorneys.

Resources and adequate staffing will be one of the key changes Allan promises to bring to the Humboldt County D.A's office. Asked about the fact that all 4 current contenders have either worked for or are working for Paul, Allan's response was, "Someone may be in a position to see what changes need to be made but not in a position to make those changes, now we can."

Regarding the information on the CA State bar website, Allan said he will address it in the upcoming months and is glad to talk to people one on one. "I want people to judge me on my entire career, and not one aspect of my career."

If elected, Allan said he will provide a "laser focus on resources. I will increase resources and I will assign and tailor resources to higher priority cases. Focus on violent and serious crimes."

"I will look at what changes need to be made in a post realignment case for community safety, I will have evaluation reports." When he was working for the Humboldt County D.A's office, there were no evaluation reports. "People need to know what their strengths are and they need to be supported to improve on their weaknesses."

The Brian Fiore and James Stanko case are two high profile local cases Allan is very proud of in his career. In addition to his law experience, he is a Military Veteran. He is the President of the Board of Dirctors for Northcoast Stand Down, he and his wife support Betty Chinn and he is very active and holds key offices locally and nationally in veteran organizations.

Allan pointed out that one of these positions was a competitive process, required extensive vigorous screening and requires one to be a strong leader and good manager. He also mentioned that all the other 3 candidates Elan, Maggie and Arnie also have personally served or had a family member serve as a Veteran.