Feb 1, 2014

Opponent files 501 to run against Mike Newman

Kimberly Walford-Bergel has filed a 501 to run against Mike Newman for Eureka Ward 3. I was going to update this with more information but Ms. Walford-Bergel chose not to return a phone call.

New and recent details on fifth and 1 fire last night

I found out this morning from friends about the fire on fifth and i. I used to work in that office building and while we often had homeless people stay there and random acts of trashing the property, the incidents of vandalism have increased and started at a very specific time.

Chief Andy Mills told me that the fire department is handling the investigation.

 This fire supposedly started near an area near the men's bathroom on the ground floor said Jim. It was not due to anything electrical.

The first thing I did was call Jim Madsen, the landlord. Jim told me that he got a call a little after 11 p.m. last night. There is an area under the staircase leading to the second floor which is the back entrance for Downtown Express area, they have a storage space and sometimes there are recyclables there.

Jim said they found no recyclables just some small poly blue containers. The fire department thinks that may be where the fuel for the fire started, but the investigation is still ongoing. What the fire department told Jim was that there was no obvious reason for the cause.

Kathleen Bryson's office is directly above the cafe and the staircase is one that leads to 2nd floor office which also has law offices for Karjola and Bicknell and Ross Last night Kathleen was contacted by Aladdin because  there were windows broken in her office.

Jim said her office has smoke damage and the carpets need to be cleaned. I saw the ceiling and smoke damage outside which is visible if you view the building near the staircase. There is soot and you can still smell the smoke. Jim is working to get Bryson's office cleaned and ready for business. Kathleen told me that she was at her office all day today and the office will be ready for business.

One of the reasons I called Jim is that these incidents have occurred and increased directly since MC2 got an office. The windows to MC2 have been broken several times but the recent incidents have been to the cafe and Bryson's office. MC2 has a volunteer often dressed in a security jacket who tends to antagonize the homeless. And at times other passerbys. I have talked to Jim, others have talked to him about Jeremy. Tenants have been patient because it appears that volunteer Jeremy has some issues, perhaps mental health. 

Yesterday Jim had called Chip Perry who owns MC2 to reiterate that tenants and others want him to talk to Jeremy who hangs out there 24/7. Jim has handled this issue previously and properly and privately with sympathy. The police are familiar with Jeremy. Chip had a talk with Jeremy yesterday. Now instead of camping outside that building Jeremy allegedly told Chip he is going to possibly stay at St. Bernards. 

Several people including myself have told Jeremy that he needs to not hassle people and be so aggressive with homeless folks who are not doing anything wrong. 

Last night the fire department told Jim it appears to be arson.

The investigation is ongoing and no suspect has been identified and no one, including myself is accusing Jeremy but it is a possibility that  needs to be looked into because it is the most obvious connection. People are speculating on Lost Coast Outpost that it could be a disgruntled client. These incidents did not start until Jeremy and MC2 were there and people were being targeted by Jeremy. It could also be another random act of vandalism. Granted Jeremy was trying to watch out for the property. Now besides the cost of fixing the damage and the cost of when at least 2 businesses can be open, we have the cost of police and fire responding to the incident.

The cafe is also for sale. This certainly could impact that process.

Again on Lost Coast Outpost, there are comments blaming the homeless which is wrong. We do not know who did it. It could just as easily be someone drunk or high wandering the streets. This was not done by someone just looking to sleep somewhere or rest, it was done by someone angry who felt justified and entitled to damage and endanger others.

The only reason lives were not lost was because there are businesses open nearby and no one was working late.

These photos were taken before the firefighters came and put caution tape all around the staircase.

Jan 31, 2014

DA candidates and 460s

California requires that candidates running for office file form 460, the Recipient Committee Campaign Statement. The deadline is today by 5 p.m. in person or it can be mailed in but must be postmarked by 5 p.m.

This statement is used to disclose receipts and expenditures, as well as the filer's total financial activity, for various periodic reports. This form is also used as an amendment to update missing or incorrect information.

Both Elan Firpo and Arnie Klein filed their 460s. Maggie did not file her statement of organization until January 2014 so no funds to declare for the last reporting period of 2013.

Allan Dollison said he not start fundraising until 2014. He filed a 470 for 2013. Will update this with more details soon.

Against Fair Practices Act in California to do campaign event in front of a government building?

Against Fair Practices Act in California to do campaign event in front of a government building? This question was prompted by information by a concerned citizen who brought up this question and told me they would  pass this nugget along to candidates.

It made me curious. So I thought I would find out.

I am sure the concerned citizen meant well but when it comes to something serious like a possible violation of law, this person should have checked their information first because unless you have these regulations memorized or work at a job where you know the answer, chances are your information may not be entirely accurate.

Then again my quest to find the answer led me to 3 calls and I did not get a definitive answer. So maybe this person did call and was still unsure like I am and just being a good citizen.

I called the Humboldt County Elections office first to see if we had local laws to address this question, I was referred to the Fair Political Practices Commission. I had planned to call the FPPC anyway. When I called the FFPC, they referred me back to the local office.

So I called the Humboldt County Elections Office again. This time the lady who answered did not want to be quoted because she said it was her understanding that they could make an announcement because it is free speech but no political campaigning if they are say a government employee or county employee. I bought up the point that elected officials are government employees and if they are running for re-election, can they not pass out campaign literature at an announcement?

She sympathized with my dilemma. We ended the call by my asking her, "so when in doubt call your local elections office to check what is permitted."

Jan 30, 2014

Fleming, Firpo and Dollison attend Eureka Chamber dinner

Maggie, Elan and Allan were all at the Eureka Chamber dinner. All 3 candidates mingled with the crowd before and after the dinner and ceremony. There were several standing ovations for award recepients and honorees which included Dennis Hunter, Sequoia Zoo Foundation, Fred Sundquist and Gregg Gardiner.

Supervisors Bass and Bohn, Eureka Mayor Frank Jager, Councilmembers Brady, Newman, Albin and Ciarabellini were in attendance.

The Chamber dinner was sold to capacity with calls coming in until the last day for tickets.

Virginia Bass to formally announce running for a 2nd term as 4th District Supervisor on February 7

Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass is going to formally announce her intention to run for a 2nd term as 4th District Supervisor on February 7 in front of the courthouse. Any one wishing to attend is asked to be at the courthouse at noon and the announcement will take place between noon and 12:30.

More details will be available in a press release being sent out shortly. You can also check her facebook page for more information.

Virginia is a friend, I have volunteered and worked on her last campaign and if she has an opponent, I will be endorsing and working on her campaign again.

As her friend and as a 4th District constituent who supports her, I plan to be there on a Friday as a friend and supporter.

Jan 29, 2014

Maggie Fleming fundraiser reception on February 8

Joel Mielke and Lynn Harvey are hosting a fundraiser reception for Maggie on February 8 from 4 to 6 p.m. Please email lynn@carsonparkdesign or call (707) 444-2644. Information about this is also on the Humboldt County Democrats website.

Maggie Fleming Campaign Kickoff today

Maggie Fleming had her campaign kickoff today in front of the courthouse. Close to 100 people are here to support Maggie.  At times, cars and trucks honked in support as Maggie spoke.

Before Maggie spoke, Jimmy Smith, Linda Atkins and Rex Bohn spoke about why they are supporting her. A diverse crowd consisting of law enforcement, attorneys, educators, businessman, and representatives from various political affiliations were present.

"The District Attorney's office is not partisan," said Maggie during her speech, "it has recently become very politicized. Effective prosecution is not about partisan politics.We need an experienced, professional and independent DA."

Ryan Burns from Lost Coast Outpost and Robyn from Channel 3 were present among other media and I am sure Ryan will have video and detailed coverage up shortly.  Ryan's note taking abilities are supreme and he is very detailed. I will add some highlights and coverage myself soon.


Among the many gathered today to support Maggie were Eureka Mayor Jager Eureka City Councilmembers Chet Albin, Linda Atkins, and Melinda Ciarabellini, Supervisor Rex Bohn, former 2nd District Supervisor Jimmy Smith, local attorney Kathleen Bryson, Pete Ciarabellini, Suzie Owsley, Max Cardoza, Milt Boyd, Judy Bennett.

Jimmy Smith was the first speaker, "I am here todat to say a couple of words about a lady I met a few years ago," referring to Maggie. Jimmy said he has worked with 3 District Attorney's, 2 in Humboldt County.

"Maggie is universally respected by all legal entities in the system," said Jimmy. "Unprecendented respect are words I would use about Maggie. She is team oriented, so intelligent...caring, a leader and determined..." Jimmy said in his opinion Maggie is the person so committed and the person who will protect and defend this community.

"Effective and experienced prosecutor, " said Linda. "Integrity and fairness...will rise above our community's political differences to address what faces our community."

"What a diverse crowd, " said Rex. "This is a non-partisan race. Regardless of what party you belong to, no one is happy with the crime level we are facing."  Rex ended his remarks by introducing Maggie as "our next District Attorney."

Highlights of Maggie's speech:

Has done over 120 jury trials.  "Community rpresented by a jury should decide innocence or guilt; true justice is not decided by opinion of one individual (DA)." The last statement was in reference to Maggie mentioning that as DA she would base her charging decisions on all the information provided.

Some of her plans for the office include: creating an atmosphere where hard work, knowledge of law, colloboration are pervasive, recruiting and retraining good people, accessibility and clear communication from the DA's office (to the public and other agencies).

"Prevention is better than dealing with after the fact," said Maggie and that she would spend "great energy on crime prevention." Referring to those affected by drug use and suffering from mental health issues, Maggie said, "Incarceration of these individuals does not benefit them and the community. These people will receive treatment as part of their sentencing."

Jan 28, 2014

My 2 cents on the candidates for Humboldt County District Attorney

To win the DA’s race you need money, you need key endorsements from politicians and funders, you need some support from defense attorneys, you need to get those SoHum votes.

Marijuana has dominated the conversation too much in the DA’s race. I want a DA that will prosecute fairly and also address crimes like child molesters and rapists and other violent crimes.

Allan Dollison: I like Allan as a person. His explanation about the ethics on the State Bar website I accept, but will voters? Based on conversations with his peers, law enforcement and ability to get major endorsers and funders, Allan would be better off throwing his support behind Maggie or Elan.

He cannot win over SoHum. His focus on his military background compared to his legal career can be a problem for some people because it could take away from his time at the office and there are people who will not vote because of their personal feelings on that one issue which I think is a mistake. 

He cannot convince SoHum to get the votes he needs. Whether one likes it or not, that is a key constituency.

Allan may surprise and be in the top 2 in June but that is a very slim chance.

Maggie Fleming: What can I say about Maggie that has not already been said by many. I have wanted her to run for a long time. Personally and professionally Maggie is exemplary. Every testimonial about her is true.

She is respected by her peers and all who know her, you won’t find anyone that will criticize Maggie. She is law enforcement’s top choice. She is heads over shoulders in experience in the courtroom.

I have some concerns about possible team members and those qualms I have shared with Maggie privately. Maggie listened and I appreciate that. 

Will Maggie be able to get the votes in SoHum and Arcata? Other than that the race leans so heavily in her favor.

Being law enforcement’s top choice can be used against Maggie as it was for Worth Dikeman and Allison Jackson. Defense attorneys may say one thing publically but will Maggie be able to get enough of those votes?

There were some people in the past elections that let their ego as lead team members hurt both Worth and Allison by not including people who have actual experience winning elections. I hope that Maggie’s team will not make that mistake.

Elan Firpo: I was initially very hard on Elan in my posts. To her credit, she was very gracious when I apologized. As I observed her in the courtroom for the past few months and at many events, I changed my mind about her as a person and candidate. 

She is a candidate who listens very carefully to feedback without getting defensive.

 A criticism has been made that she only has a few years of experience as an attorney. How many years did Paul have when he was elected? Candidates running against Paul have criticized his management style and his focus on what cases to prosecute.  Elan has the business experience that no one else does. She has some good ideas like using interns which is a good use of resources. Elan has been out campaigning and walking and meeting people for a few months before anyone else. She told me when I met her a few months ago that while she has advisors, she is aware that certain people are polarizing and she does not want that in her campaign. I like that. Elan is the one candidate that I feel will appeal to conservatives, progressives, SoHum and diverse constituencies. She has been at more events than any other candidate from Trinidad to Shelter Cove.

She has been doing what a political candidate should: raising money, getting endorsements, putting a team together and most important, meeting people.

Salzman, Paul can be a big baggage for Elan and will cost her more votes than they can get.

Arnie Klein: The one thing I agree with Hank Sims and other people familiar with campaigns is that Arnie Klein has no chance nor should he be in this race. Arnie was the first candidate to announce.  I did not even want to write about him but his behavior has shown me he is someone I would not trust and I don’t feel he is someone who can be objective. Some comments about him are personal.  Well, I don’t like being used by someone.

He asked for my help before he announced. I met with him. I arranged for him to meet with people that could help him. Arnie told me that he could not get any and especially key endorsements or raise funds on his own. I told him that was a problem. That was an issue and is still an issue. If you cannot inspire confidence in funders or endorsers, how will you get votes to win a campaign?

Arnie has not shown up for several campaign and community events, and when he does, someone has to tell him. What is his excuse.? Unlike the others who work, he is retired.

He has no idea what the issues and key players are in politics or the community. Again, he had to be told. He did a My Word without researching the article or facts.  His campaign staff consists of his friends and a local comedian and his girlfriend. Nice people but hardly a campaign team.

He told me he would run a clean campaign. He told me there would be no hard feelings if I chose not to support him. I have not heard from him once he was done using me. He is the only candidate that has not expressed sympathy to me for the loss of Fr. Freed. He yelled at me at a Chamber event when I was trying to tell him that comments he made to me were showing up on blogs. The exact words. And he should look into it. May not be him, I said.  I was trying to help. He has yet to apologize.

In private, Arnie and people close to him have expressed comments about both Maggie and Elan that are unrelated to them being elected to this office. This is information that they know because they worked together, and it is a low blow if it will be used in a campaign. And based on Arnie's unprofessionalism in the way he has conducted himself so far, that is a good possibility.

Arnie may get some marijuana votes and those of his friends. If he really wants the best for the DA’s office, like Chris Lehman, Arnie should leave the race.

Two of his friends (who I also know) told me not to publish the Chamber incident or address some of this publically. I have kept everything said to me in confidence in other instances, but voters need to know the character of the candidates.

I will also remind Arnie  that just because someone shakes your hand and is nice to your face does not mean they do not share my views.

There have also been some comments about Maggie and Elan on the blogs that are vitriolic and false. At least 2 of them from people who said the exact words to me. If people want to go around attacking and spreading falsehoods, then anons be prepared to have your name revealed. People who support a candidate can take lessons from Mr. Max Cardoza,  that is how you comment and represent the candidate of your choice.

Supervisor Estelle Fennell’s endorsement is key in this race. Whichever candidate she supports will have the backing and coalition in SoHum that help put Estelle in office.

Funders and politicians’ support is crucial but that does not win an election. The candidate that can win the voter's heart and the candidate that has an organized walking strategy with a loyal team that covers diverse constituencies can overcome money and dirty tactics.

My prediction is that the race, based on what I have seen so far, assuming people vote privately as they have shared with me, is that Humboldt County will elect a female District Attorney. My top 2 choices are Maggie and Elan.

Jan 27, 2014

I forgive Gary Lee Bullock

I have had 2 father figures in my life. Two men that believed in me, protected me, guided me, taught me right from wrong, and were always there for me. For an orphan, I felt lost when Fr. Loren left in 2010. I thought my world had ended; I was vulnerable and scared of what the future held for me at home. That is what St. Bernard’s is for me. It is where I go, it is where I want to be, it is the place that I feel safest and happiest.

For 7 years Fr. Loren is who I turned to when I felt lost, hurt, happy, confused. The parish members are my family. They have been through with me every day in the happiest and most difficult years of my life.

Fr. Loren had left to go to his new parish and Fr. Eric arrived. I remember the first conversation I had with Fr. Eric and where it was—the beginning of path between the church and rectory that Gary Lee Bullock paced frantically and eventually steps away from where he entered the rectory and took away my other father. For 3 years Fr. Eric was there for me.

I spend so much time at church daily that there is not a moment or place where I don’t remember Fr. Eric. I have been shell-shocked; I have not had a chance to mourn him. I sat stoically through the court proceedings. And finally last week, the hurt and the pain was too much to bear.

In the 2 weeks in between I struggled with anger at Gary Lee Bullock. At one moment during the court proceedings I looked at him, and I felt a momentary lapse of hate.  I spoke to Deacon Frank, Fr. Greg, Fr, Carlos and our Bishop and went to confession. Such feelings separate me from the grace of God. Their words and guidance helped and once I expressed that feeling and asked for forgiveness, I prayed to want to forgive Bullock and the strength to do it.

The anger dissipated instantly, the lapse of feeling hate was just 1 moment but I was not ready to forgive.

Bullock should be fairly tried in a court of justice. There is no sentence, no judgment, nothing that will bring Fr. Eric back. I will never forget the pain he caused, the destruction and violation of my home. The human part of me will go through the process of grieving.

I did not expect to say today that I do forgive Bullock. Not only do I forgive him, I pray for him. I pray that whatever caused him to do such a heinous act and the pain and hurt he feels and the darkness he needs to escape that he be free of all of it.

The people who knew Fr. Eric, especially the Catholic community, have prayed for Bullock from the first day even in the midst of our own pain and grief.

I do not condone what Bullock did. I do not buy the speculation of why. It is no longer important to me. If I had not forgiven him, I remain stuck in a place, never free of  Bullock and his mistake.

Forgiveness isn’t easy. It is a process. It is individual but once genuinely enacted, it truly sets you free. It is my faith and living of my faith that made this possible.

Living in this world, growth like this will be 1 step at a time. It does not mean that starting at this moment I will be perfect in my words and actions. What I do know is that if I can forgive Bullock and see him as a broken, hurt individual crying out in his own pain; instead of the monster that killed my father; I can be a better person bringing about the changes in this community and viewing people I do not understand or like in a different light.

Courthouse goes high tech

Instead of paper print outs now you have digital boards listing the cases for the day. With any new system there will be glitches. Names are being scrolled so if you happen to catch the screen at the wrong time you are outta luck! Better plan to sit on the 2nd floor minutes before you have a court hearing or check before.

There is a sign saying to check the with the clerks. That's nice but if you had a 8:30 or 8 am appearance they dont open until 9. You can check the superior court calendar but you need a computer and internet and they update that morning.

So people were being told at the clerks they are supposed to be in court NOW. That made it fun at the entrance and going through security for a bit. Wouldn't it just have made sense to have paper printouts on the first couple of days?

Jan 26, 2014

Who will Paul endorse?

I have said this to a few people, I said it to the candidates a while back. What if Paul changes his mind before the March deadline and runs?

It could happen. It isn't like he has not thrown a curve ball before.  First Paul was not sure he was running, then he was, then he said he was not. Despite rumors and speculation, Paul has not come out and endorsed anyone. And if he does, with Maggie in the race, will we have a Survivor twist and will he not endorse Elan as many have speculated.

Elan is already suffering from the baggage of Paul and Salzman (who is directly related because of Paul) before any formal announcement or endorsement. Paul is not running and we have an opportunity to meet and get to know 4 new people. So why the Salzman issue with the facebook post non-story? And who benefits from that leak?

Most people, especially funders and politicians are waiting safely to see who is ahead. Some of that is wise, some is just politics. People privately have opinions but many want to know who is safely ahead before they make a commitment. To those who have loyally supported the candidate of their choice out of these 4 already, I commend you on your guts.

I will be posting my 2 cents on the DA's race in the next day or sooner. I want to talk to a candidate privately before I put anything in print.

As I said in an earlier post, I have not endorsed anyone or decided who to support. Once I do, I am very loyal. And I would disclose that as I have in any other race.

I have met and offered insights and help to all 4 candidates.  I have offered to print information, only 1 campaign has taken that initiative to regularly update and to answer inquiries and calls promptly.

All 4 are very decent people, but as someone said to me, "sitting down and having a beer with someone," is not the same as someone being qualified and someone winning the campaign for District Attorney.