Oct 18, 2014

Is a Bankruptcy filing by a Eureka City Council candidate relevant information?


Is a Bankruptcy filing by a City Council candidate relevant information?

One would think so.

It would seem that if you were running for City Council you might want to divulge that you filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition, just a little over 2 years ago. After all, it is the Eureka City Council that has final authority over the city of Eureka’s 80 million dollar plus budget. Kim Bergel and her husband filed bankruptcy in July of 2012 and listed $222,514 in unsecured creditors along with $233,794 in secured and priority creditors for a total of $524,248.

In addition to substantial credit card debt, there were dozens of local businesses who were not paid. There was even a small debt to the City of Eureka, the very city Kim Bergel now wants to exercise financial authority over. In addition to the numerous small businesses who were harmed, over $5300 was not paid for workers compensation on their employees. This is a fact that would seem to question one's judgment and just how much they even care about the people who work for them.

One would think that maybe, just maybe, someone who left so many unpaid bills might want to consider getting their own financial house in order before deciding to run for city council and  taking on the responsibility of the cities $80 million dollar yearly budget. Even if one were to overlook the fact that a lot of folks were harmed by their gross financial mismanagement, you can't overlook the fact that Kim Bergel should have come clean with the voters. Voters are now left with the pressing question of whether this is the kind of person they want to represent them?

Creditors--unsecured claims:

Alnquist Lumber $965                                      American Express Correspondence $$9.724
Arcata                                                                El Paso, Texas

American Express Correspondence $8,442      AT & T Universal Card $16,413
El Paso, Texas                                                   The Lakes, Nevada

Bank of America $25, 592                                 Bank of America $25, 139
El Paso, Texas                                                    El Paso, Texas

Bank of America $9,446                                    Bank of America $112
El Paso, Texas                                                    El Paso, Texas

Barbara Gallian $5,557                                      Bracut International Corp.
El Segundo, CA                                                 Arcata, CA 95518

Caroll Johnson $46,600                                      Chevron $405
Eureka, CA                                                         Concord, CA

Citi $8,188                                                           Citicorp Bank $1,794
Sioux Falls, South Dakota                                   Des Moines, Iowa

City of Eureka $72.42                                         Corsetti and Noyes LLP $824
Eureka, CA                                                          Eureka, CA

Cruz Plumbing $4,548                                        Cunningham, Malone and Morton $5,549
Eureka, CA                                                          Eureka, CA

Eureka Internal Medicine $48.13                         Eureka Ready Mix $2,427
Eureka, CA                                                           Eureka, CA  

Expert Tire $452                                                   GE Money Bank $1,506
Eureka, CA                                                            El Paso, Texas

HCC Surety Group $4,000                                    Hensel Hardware and Gifts $1,485
Los Angeles, CA                                                   Arcata, CA

IRS Special Procedures $7,731                             Les Schwab $576
Philadelphia, PA                                                    Bend, OR

Mad River Hospital $185                                      Marcus & Partners $660
Arcata, CA                                                             Berkley, CA

Miller Farms Nursery, Inc. $272                           Northwood Auto $2,304
McKinleyville, CA                                                Eureka, CA

PG & E  $ 749                                                       Pierson Building Center $1,710
Stockton, CA                                                         Eureka, CA

Platt $465                                                               Sherwin Williams $2,847
Portland, Oregon                                                    Eureka, CA

St. Joseph Hospital  $15                                         St. Joseph Hospital $15
Eureka, CA                                                             Eureka, CA

State Compensation Insurance $5,383                   Suddenlink $148
Pleasanton, CA                                                       Eureka, CA

Trinidad Electric Inc. $3, 616                                 United Rentals Northwest $1,439                        
Trinidad, CA                                                          Eureka, CA                            

It is never your fault Paul, take responsibility for once

In the Littlefield case, it wasn't your incompetence but Judge Feeney's ruling in the second mistrial. In the Lee case, again you question Judge Feeney.

Members of the jury, those of us who attended the  trial, agree with Judge Feeney and Mr. Stallworth. You come ill prepared for trials, in the Lee case, you spent more time apologizing for your mistakes instead of properly presenting a case.

Let's see, who should we believe? A stellar Judge like Judge John Feeney, a confident and excellent defense attorney or you?

I did not attend every day of the Lee trial but "the media" did not attend a single day. Suddenly, after the case is dismissed and a post appears on my blog, an article appears in the Times-Standard. Just as other articles when they weren't aware of the case or could not bother to show up.

Questioning you Paul would get rid of those exclusives and special chats after court, and most of the time it is the TS.

If you cared about the victims Paul, you would not be buddy buddy with certain defense attorneys and put a sham of a case on, you'd let any other prosecutor in your office, try the case.

When your DDAs try and do their job and your defense attorney buddies state openly in court, they will be talking to your office, justice is not being served.




Oct 17, 2014

Will Limmie Curry trial proceed now that Eddie Lee case is dismissed

Limmie Curry, who Eddie Lee said is the one who shot Reid, has a trial coming up. Wonder if that will still proceed?

Eddie Lee case dismissed, Judge Feeney grants defense motion

Right before the jury would decide Eddie Lee's fate and whether he was responsible in any way for the murder of William Reid, Judge Feeney granted the defense's oral motion and dismissed the case on the basis of CA Penal Code 1118.

This decision cannot be appealed.

Mr. Darryl Stallworth, who represented Eddie Lee, told me that "It is rare that a Judge will grant such a motion and have the courage to make such a decision." Judges are reluctant to take the decision away from the jury but "this is a prima facie" case, said Mr. Stallworth. "Normally, there is some evidence you can give the jury."

Mr. Stallworth argued that there was not enough evidence presented by the People for the jury to consider and the only basis to charge Eddie Lee was based on the defendant's own statement.

"You cannot convict a person based on his own statement," said Mr. Stallworth.

Eddie Lee will soon be a free man if his probation hold from Oregon can be lifted and that is the next step.

Some of the previous posts:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/10/eddie-leea-defense-attorney-accuses.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/09/eddie-lee-to-take-stand-he-has-waited.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/09/eddie-lee-fell-in-love-with-this-area.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/09/witness-and-da-in-eddie-lee-case-make.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/10/i-never-gave-much-thought-about-going.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/09/father-son-like-relationship-triumphed.html

Oct 16, 2014

Cash Mob descends on local business in Old Town

$h Mob is back and it's mobbing a much-requested local business in Old Town, Eureka. Which business? That will remain a well-guarded secret until the evening of November 14. Community members are invited to form a mob—unruly or otherwise—in front of Gallagher's Irish Pub at 2nd and C Street in Eureka at 5:15 p.m. Kazoos will be distributed.

What is Ca$h Mob? It's a collaborative effort between Fund Humboldt and Redwood Region Economic Development Commission and Humboldt Made to support local businesses. Humboldt County residents gather and descend on a small business, wallets in hand, to deliver a much needed cash infusion. Past Ca$h Mobs have stormed businesses in Rio Dell, Ferndale, Arcata, Fortuna and McKinleyville.

Nancy Zimmerman, the owner of Times Remembered in Ferndale, describes the excitement of seeing the mob enter her store on April 3.

“Everyone who came in had a good time,” she says, “For my store, it was a wonderful blessing.We sell a lot of consignment items from local artisans, and the Ca$h Mob people bought a lot of those. It was great to be able to get that money to the people who made those items.”

Humboldt County residents are strongly encouraged to use the Humboldt Ca$h Mob Facebook page or call RREDC at (707) 445-9651 to suggest businesses to mob.

Oct 15, 2014

Labor, retired, and the Salzman link to Measure R and Bergel and Arroyo

According to the paperwork filed with the city, the following people donated and supported Measure R, with amounts of $100 unless otherwise noted.

 Elaine Gray, progressive activist George Clark, Humboldt Unitarian which donated $440, former progressive activist turned attorney Neal Latt, Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee's Milt Boyd, Ron Kuhnel, local attorney Neal Sanders $250; Ken Miller, Mike Buettner, Carole Beaton (donated twice), Local 1000 Labor Representative Mark Greenleaf, Peter Shaffar (from Arcata), Peter Martin, Humboldt Del Norte Labor Council $500; Local SEIU, Building and Construction Council, Humboldt County Democrats $200; Janelle Egger (from Fortuna).

Lot of retired folk, lot of self-employed folk who will not be affected by the Measure and do not have to pay 25 employees or more and meet payroll. Clark, Miller, Martin have ties to Richard Salzman. Labor Councils and HCDDC, what a surprise, those who are anti-private industry and then of course people from Arcata and Fortuna who  do not live in Eureka but want to have a say in Eureka's business.

Peter Martin who sues the City of Eureka and other cities frequently. All of them lean progressive to liberal politically.

Some of the same names show up supporting Kim Bergel and Natalie Arroyo, I only noted some high amounts.

Carole Beaton and Mark Greenleaf are also supporting Kim Bergel. So is Ken Miller, HCDCC with a $500 donation; Central Labor with $500; and as an individual, HCDCC member Phillis Seawright (spelling from 460); and progressive candidate backer Bill Pierson.

Bill Pierson, Ken Miller, Phyllis Seawright, Central Labor Council with $500; and HCDCC with $500 supporting Natalie Arroyo. Others supporting her Hezekiah Allen (residence Arcata/McKinleyville in June 2014 election), Melanie Kuhnel, Kerrigan for Supervisor with $250; Stephen Lovett (from Arcata), Joshua Asarian (from Weaverville) and attorney Marion Miller (who has an office in Eureka) but listed Kneeland a sher address.

When you are running for a Eureka City Council position, and quite a few of your supporters are not from Eureka, that says something.

All this talk about moneyed interests and special interests controlling the City of Eureka and County is true of the Pierson backed candidates in every election. Labor has quite a vested interest in these November elections. And this is just from paperwork that is from the reporting periods before the election.

Vote for who you want, support who you want but is the media and the blogs you read equally applying the money trail to all candidates?

I support and endorsed Mike Newman and Chet Albin and that fact as well as my feelings on Measure R have been stated on this blog previously. These observations were made when I looked at all the paperwork for all candidates.

Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center to honor three Eureka businesswomen at their first annual fundraiser,including Barbara Groom

Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center is holding it's first annual event and fundraiser on October 22 at a special lunch at the Adorni Center. October was picked because it is Professional Business Women's Month.

Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center President John Friedenbach said that the event will always be held in October and that the idea is modeled after Fortuna Kiwanis. "They have been doing this for years. We have a lot of fantastic women in our club and we would like to honor them each year at this time."

The Master of Ceremonies is Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass, who was the first woman president of the Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center. Three awards will be presented. The Business Woman of the Year will be given to Lost Coast Brewery's Barbara Groom; Woman of Distinction will be given to Fatima Naylor, President of Families Advocating Autism Now; and Non-Profit Business Woman of the Year will be presented to Judy Sloma, Humboldt Sponsors.

Since this is the first event, the board did not designate a specific charity but keeping with the mission of Kiwanis, the funds will be used for the community. Mr. Friedenbach did not want to commit but said this year's funds, most likely, would be used for the Humboldt Area Foundation scholarship the Club sponsors.

Table of eight can be purchased for $300 or individual tickets for $25.

Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center meets every Wednesday at Rita's on 5th and L in Eureka. For more information, go to their Facebook page.

Purpose:

The purpose of this event is to provide Kiwanis service to our community through a recognition
luncheon which honors a local business woman, woman of “distinction” and local non-profit
organization which have demonstrated commitment and improvement to our community through
their actions.

Award Criteria:

The Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center (Club) is solely responsible for the selection of the
recipients of these awards. The determination of the Award Recipient(s) is final as determined
by the Club and is not subject to any appeal or application process.
Based on the selection criteria, the Club in closed meetings shall present worthy candidates for
consideration, deliberate on their individual merits and through a simple majority vote of the
Club’s Board of Directors, select the recipient(s).
The six Objects of Kiwanis shall be the overall guiding principles for implementing the selection
criteria listed below for the respective awards. The Objects are:
 To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.
 To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
 To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business and professional
standards.
 To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable
citizenship.
 To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to
render altruistic service and to build better communities.
 To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism
which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and goodwill.

Skateboarder was involved in traffic collision passed away, investigation on his intoxication level being conducted

On Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, at approximately 11:59 PM, the Eureka Police Department investigated a traffic collision at the intersection of Broadway and W. Henderson Street in Eureka.  A skateboarder, later identified as Russell Busch, was riding his skateboard westbound down the W. Henderson Street hill, toward Broadway.  He was unable to stop before entering the intersection and collided with the driver’s side of a vehicle that was being driven southbound on Broadway.

Busch was not wearing a helmet and suffered life threatening head injuries.  Bush was quickly transported to the hospital by ambulance for treatment.  He remained there in critical condition, but ultimately passed away due to his injuries.  Drug paraphernalia was found on Busch’s person and his level of intoxication is still under investigation.  The driver of the vehicle Busch collided with was evaluated, but no signs of impairment were observed.

The Eureka Police Department is asking anyone who witnessed the collision to please contact Senior Traffic Officer Tim Jones at 441-4109.

Man walking on 299 with an axe arrested for outstanding drug warrant

On 10-14-2014, at approximately 5:30 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call that Joseph Scott Huff Anderson, 32 years old from Fields Landing was walking westbound on Highway 299 near the Trinity County Line. The caller told Sheriff’s Office Dispatch he was wearing all camouflage and was carrying a double bladed axe.  A warrant check revealed Anderson had a warrant for his arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication.

Two deputies located Anderson walking on Highway 299 carrying a double bladed axe. When they approached Anderson they ordered him to drop the axe. He initially refused, but eventually complied with their demands. After dropping the axe he tried to walk away from the deputies. When the deputies attempted to take him into custody he resisted their efforts. Anderson was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was searched.  During the search a small amount of useable suspected methamphetamine and two glass smoking pipes were located.

 Anderson was arrested for possession of illicit drugs, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing a false name to a police officer to avoid arrest, and on the outstanding arrest warrant. His bail was set at $30,000.00.


Burglary alarm results in arrest for marijuana and firearms


In the early morning hours of 10/15/14, the Eureka Police Department received a call regarding an audible burglary alarm in the 400 block of Cooper Lane. Upon the officer's arrival, they discovered the front door to the residence had been forced open. Officers entered the residence to check for suspects, or possible victims. No one was located inside, however, during their initial sweep officers located a large amount of processed marijuana inside.

Detectives from the Eureka Police Departments Problem Oriented Policing unit were summoned to the scene and took over the investigation. A Search Warrant was obtained for the residence and the house was processed for evidence. During their search, detectives located and seized approximately 138 pounds of processed marijuana, 208.5 grams of concentrated cannabis, and four firearms….one of which was an AK47 assault rifle.

No arrests have been made at this time. This is an ongoing investigation.

*Anyone with information concerning suspected drug activity, or other nuisances occurring in the City of Eureka is encouraged to call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373.

Possible sexual assault of juvenile in Loleta area



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



On 10-13-2014, at approximately 3:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office was notified by Fortuna High School of a possible sexual assault that occurred off campus in the Loleta area, on
10-11-2014 during the evening. The teenage juvenile female student reported being assaulted by two teenage juvenile male students.  The Sheriff's Office is conducting a criminal investigation into the incident and a detective has been assigned to the case. Fortuna High School is conducting an administrative investigation into the incident and is assisting in the investigation. There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff's Office regarding this case please contact Detective Sam Williams at 268-3645.




HCSO says body of transient found dead in Garberville too decomposed to difficult to determine gender and identity

Sheriff’s Office Detectives and the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate  the death of a human body located off US 101 near Alderpoint Road, Garberville. The gender and identity of the deceased, along with the cause of death has not been determined due to the body’s decomposition. An autopsy is being scheduled in the near future to assist investigators in determining the cause of death. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

Previous press release:

On 10-14-2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 regarding a possible deceased male at a transient camp off Sprowel Creek Road near the Alderpoint Crossing, Garberville.

Deputies responded to the area described by the caller and located a deceased male. Due to body being partially concealed, Sheriff’s Office Detectives were notified and requested to respond to the scene along with the Humboldt County Coroner prior to moving the deceased. At this time the cause of death is known, and it is being treated as a suspicious death. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this investigation or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Timothy Littlefield case keep getting continued, now next hearing on January 18

Timothy Littlefield case, the mystery case that lately does not always make the court calendar has had several disposition/reset dates since July. The latest date is January 18, 2015 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 2.

Some of the previous posts:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/07/yet-another-delay-in-timothy.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/06/timothy-littlefield-deal-in-works.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-timothy-littlefield-story.html

Fieldbrook murder suspect preliminary hearing continued at request of defense

Jason Arreaga, the suspect in the Fieldbrook case, was scheduled to have his preliminary hearing today. It was continued at the request of hisdefenseattorney, Heidi Holmquist.

A disposition/reset hearing is now scheduled for November 17 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1.

Ms. Holnquist filed this motion yesterday and informed DDA Zach Curtis before court, he said. She explained why to Arreaga in court.

Ms. Holmquist said she only received police reports last Monday and needed time to prepare. People did not object.

Judge Joyce Hinrichs granted the motion.

No media was present in the Courtroom,

Previous post:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/09/fieldbrook-homicide-suspect-arraigned.html

Oct 14, 2014

Melvin Matthews of Bodhi Tree and Eddie Lee case fame gets bench warrant shortly after release

They call em repeat offenders for a reason.

Former Chesbro opponent and local activist Hezekiah Allen booked for DUI

The recent election results were a tough pill to swallow, I guess.

Janelle Egger tries to serve court summons to Supervisor Rex Bohn during public comment

Who says Humboldt County Board of Supervisor meetings are dull? Today, during public comment, former Occupy Eureka supporter Janelle Egger tried to serve BOS Chair Supervisor Rex Bohn with a court summons!

No one was sure what her beef was and Janelle was not sure of the serving process nor was the person trying to help her. Eventually, Rex came down from the dais and received the summons so that the meeting could proceed.

Janelle had  previously filed a lawsuit against the County regarding the emergency ordinance which was largely a result of Occupy Eureka protestors camping and holding every one else hostage from using the Courthouse.

Even TS reporter Will Houston couldn't figure out what Janelle's beef was but the general consensus is something to do with due process violations.

Rex took the summons, did not read it because it was not properly served. Janelle's concerns are important to him and he wanted her to feel heard.

I was wearing my Rex for Supervisor sweatshirt today. I joked with Rex that had I been in the BOS chambers instead of Courtroom 5 this morning, maybe I could served him the papers correctly!

Go-Biz and Japanese Government Agree to Feasibility Study for an Electric Vehicle Pilot Project in California


 Building on the state’s efforts to add more zero emission vehicles to California roads, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the Japanese governmental organization New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) today agreed to conduct a feasibility study for an Electric Vehicle (EV) demonstration project in California. A letter of intent (LOI) was concluded between GO-Biz director, Kish Rajan and NEDO executive director, Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, which facilitates a partnership to develop new fast charging electric vehicle stations in California.

“California is working towards meeting the most ambitious zero emission vehicle goal in the U.S.,” said GO-Biz director Kish Rajan. “Today’s agreement furthers that effort and also expands our international partnership with Japan.”

Through this joint project, GO-Biz and NEDO will seek to ease range anxiety, increase intercity trips and promote EV adoption. Project partners plan to install direct current (DC) fast chargers along California highways and provide innovative services for EV drivers including charger location guidance.

“We have high hopes that the results of this project will be disseminated throughout the world.” said NEDO executive director Hiroshi Kuniyoshi. “I am confident that this demonstration project will be successful because of the strong relationship and collaboration between California and NEDO.”

Vincent Sanchez case resolved, plead 40 to life, second degree murder


Vincent Sanchez, the Harris street double murder suspect plead guilty to two counts of second degree murder and one special allegation of personal use of a firearm. All other charges were dismissed.

His stipulated sentence is 40 years to life and he has to serve the entire 40 years before he is even eligible for parole. He got 15 to life for each murder and on the special allegation, Judge Reinholtsen gave him the maximum terms of ten years. Even if he was paroled, he would be on parole the rest of his lif and any violation would mean he woyld then be back in prison and serve the rest of his sentence behind bars.

He coherently answered Judge Reinholtsen's questions and the only time his voice choked up and was soft was when the Judge read the charge against him for murdering his half brother.

The case has been referred to Probation for a pre sentencing report so that the victims can present a statement and weigh in if needed, even though the sentence has been negotiated and stipulated.

In contrast to Bodhi Tree, Vincent Sanchez was respectful, polite and even though he did not show much obvious emotion, his remorse was evident in his demeanor and the way he responded to the Judge's question about understanding what he wa pleading to. At one point, when his attorney Ms. Jennifer Dixon asked if he had any questions, he said no.

 Will Houston from the Times-Standard, the court staff, bailiffs and attorneys were the only ones in the courtroom today and one family member who has attended all hearings.


What the County needs is public speakers to state facts, not politically motivated blather, Sylvia De Rooy incorrect on campaign finances

The Humboldt Board of Supervisors passed Campaign Finance Reform by a 4-1 vote today, which limits contributions to $1,500 in any four-year campaign cycle (through the June primaries).

Sylvia De Rooy, who attended the BOS meeting said that no candidate has ever received more than $20,000 during a campaign cycle.

She was incorrect. 2010 461s from Blue Lake Casino, who gave $94,475 that year including $27,475 to then 4th District Supervisor Bonnie Neely, $25,000 to 5th District Supervisor candidate Patrick Cleary and $20,000 to District Attorney Paul Gallegos).

The title is a takeoff on Sylvia's recent My Word: What the County needs is reform, not blather.

I will update the 460s shortly.

Silverio Sanchez preliminary waived; attempted murder charge dropped

Arraignment on information for Jury trial on November 3 at 2 p.m. DDA Zach Curtis stipulated with Silverio Sanchez's attorney, Mr. Ben McLaughlin, to drop Count 1 which is the attempted murder charge and the special allegation associated with it and Sanchez agreed to waive the preliminary hearing.

When Sanchez is arraigned on information for the jury trial, the other counts have been modified to add a special allegation of great bodily injury to Counts 2 and 3 and this was part of the stipulation to waive the preliminary hearing. Sanchez will be charged with Count 2 which is battery on law enforcement; Count 3 which is evading law enforcement with injury and two counts of intimidation of witness.

Judge Joyce Hinrichs explained his rights to Sanchez before reading the waiver on record and then she read the modified counts.

"Our aim this morning was to get the attempted murder charge dropped and to litigate the rest of the trial," Mr. McLaughlin told me after the hearing. "By waiving the preliminary hearing, we are not acknowledging that Mr. Sanchez was driving the vehicle."

Only Channel 3 and myself present in courtroom for the hearing this morning.

Oct 12, 2014

"Fair Wage folks have fooled a lot of people"; text of ad in today's TS

Fair Wage Folks” have fooled a lot of  people, Measure R was never about a living wage

Measure R has never been about a “Living Wage” or improving the local economy. Measure R has always been about the Occupy movement’s disdain for Walmart. An honest byline would have read “Get Walmart”.  If their true intentions are in doubt, look at the early content of their social media pages and consider these questions: Why does this stop at the city limits? Why is it only companies with over 25 employees? Why is there an exemption for unions? Does a union employee not also deserve a “Living Wage”?  Does a worker in a small cafe not deserve a “Living Wage”? Does an

employee who works in Myrtletown not deserve a “Living Wage”? The Unions and local Occupy Movement have their crosshairs on Walmart, but a lot of good, locally owned Eureka businesses, and many organizations serving the elderly and poor are being caught in the crossfire.

People are struggling, and I’m sympathetic. Early on, I lived in the back room of a body shop in  Mckinleyville until I found my footing working multiple jobs. The last four businesses I worked for all closed down when they succumbed to financial pressures. I still have my last paycheck from one of them. It never cleared the bank.

Now I work for a good company. 20 years ago I started with City Ambulance, who operates Humboldt Dial-A-Ride and City Cab, earning $3.35 per hour as a part-time EMT. After paramedic school, nursing school, a bachelor’s degree, and a lot of hard work, I make significantly more. I’ve always had an opportunity to succeed on my

efforts, but I see that opportunity disappearing for my kids who are just entering the workforce. I see how companies are responding to the increasing pressures from minimum wage hikes, health insurance, increases workman’s compensation insurance increases, and regulatory changes.

City Ambulance gives a portion of profits to the employees at the end of each year.

5 years ago, we paid over $100,000.00 in performance bonuses. Perfect attendance- $200.00; Accident free- $300.00; No customer  complaints $200.00; and the list goes on. Many good employees received a full month’s check or more in the form of a bonus, and we gave away a cruise each year at our company picnic. Last year, that number was down to $25,000.00. The bonus may not even exist this year. So who lost out in favor of wage pressure and excessive regulation? The employee who showed up for work on time with a good attitude and took care of our customers.

In 2007, we had over 100 employees and used local work assistance programs to help the unemployed and disabled re-enter the workforce. We discontinued the program in 2008, after an 18.5% increase in the minimum wage over just two years, and we’ve since cut our staff down to about 90 employees.

Benefits? You can’t find five taxicab companies in all of California like ours that have health insurance, retirement and vacation for their taxicab drivers. All of that is in jeopardy as we look for ways to survive. We could add a surcharge of $1.50 on Eureka taxicab fares, but fares have already doubled over the last five years. How much will the market bear? The fact is we will find some creative way to restructure. There won’t be any winners.

Those benefits that atrophy in favor of wages are all pretax, so we ALL feel the sting when they are reduced. Just 5 years ago, we paid for a very generous health insurance plan for employees. Today, that’s been scaled back to a minimum plan and employees must contribute 5-9% of their wages. Unlike this proposal, the City of Seattle had the good sense to recognize that benefits should be factored into the minimum wage.

Our Dial-A-Ride services? Well, if Measure R passes, the City of Eureka will have a choice. Pay significantly more for service or cut back on transportation for the elderly and disabled. Which do you think will happen? We are not alone in this plight. Senior nutrition programs, childcare services, afterschool programs, parks and recreation, and other transportation programs are caught in the crossfire and many are preparing for cuts to service.

City Ambulance will adapt in a way that will sadly upset some lives. Not because my boss is a greedy corporate fat cat, but because this family business that has supported our little league teams, community non-profits, our employees, and has given back to the community in immeasurable ways for over five decades, is caught in the crossfire. Measure R is what happens when the desire to punish Walmart trumps concern for the community.  I trust that voters will see the forest for the trees and vote “NO” on Measure R. One more thing. If you think our taxicab drivers deserve more, I agree. Don’t wait for the inevitable fare increases forced by regulation. Give it to them directly with an extra $1.50 in your tip. I always do.

Jaison Chand,  Eureka

Jaison Chand ad in TS against Measure R spot on

He had to pay to get the message out.