Oct 30, 2013

Surfside Burger Shack expanding

Surfside Burger Shack is expanding and the changes will include a game room, a larger dining area and expanded seating, a separate area and window for pick-up only and the front window area will now be used for hosting the tsunami challenge.

For more on Surfside Burger Shack, read the article in this blog under older posts.

Oct 28, 2013

Time for complainers to step up and do something

A big thank you to Councilmember Lance Madsen for his service to the City of Eureka. He has shown his love and dedication to Eureka in many ways, including stepping down now to make the way for someone else to continue the work.

The City Council will decide November 5 what the process will be to fill Lance's seat. This is the time for the chronic City of Eureka naysayers and complainers who like to backseat drive to either act and step in and apply, if they are qualified. A minor detail, they would have to live in the 5th Ward.

It is not easy being a public servant in Eureka, it is not easy making decisions that others without full knowledge feel entitled to criticize.

Lance you will be missed at City Council meetings but I am sure we will be seeing you just as often. Nothing keeps a good man down.

Pleasant chat with Firpo at a community event

I always tell people not to believe what they read in the media or blogs and to meet a candidate before deciding who to vote for. It is too early to endorse or choose any one in the Humboldt County D.A's race. Yesterday I ran into Elan Firpo at a local community event and had a chance to talk to her.

Some of the local media reported on the fact that Firpo won the 2013 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Outstanding Prosecutor award for her outstanding dedication to holding defendants accountable for committing the crime of driving under the influence.

The Humboldt County District Attorney's office does send out press releases and this was one of them, but what is different from the cases that get covered in the media simply because they are high profile is that Firpo got this award from MADD and that makes it an independent observation.

We need a D.A. who sends out the message that irresponsible behavior has consequences. Especially when the outcome is fatal and costs lives. Firpo has also been impressive in some of the cases she has been in the spotlight lately.

A good politician can win over someone who previously was sceptical, and Firpo did achieve that last night. We had a pleasant chat and I am keeping an open mind.

Oct 25, 2013

Black Lightning Motorcycle Cafe ribbon cutting tomorrow at noon

Although the official ribbon cutting is tomorrow at noon, the latest business did a soft opening yesterday and the cafe is already packed with customers enjoying locally roasted coffee, delicious sandwiches and breakfast on homemade bread, smoothies, soup and salad. They offer gluten free options instead of bread, have creative snacks, and are reasonably priced. Located in Old Town, for now they are open for breakfast and lunch and early dinner. They support and carry local items such as Los Bagels and Dick Taylor chocolates.

If that isn't enough to entice you, they have motorcycles and related accessories.Need I say more?

Oct 22, 2013

Board votes to develop ordinance regulating neighborhood impacts of outdoor marijuana cultivation

This afternoon the Board of Supervisors met to get a staff report on a potential ordinance regulating neighborhood impacts of outdoor marijuana cultivation. The board voted unanimously to direct staff to develop an ordinance based on the recommendations of the medical marijuana sub-committee. Absent was Supervisor Estelle Fennell, who is out sick.

This was after County CAO Phillip Smith-Hanes gave the report, public commented and staff answered questions. Kudos to the Redwood Times for having a reporter there. There were 9 members in the audience, outnumbered by staff and supervisors. As Supervisor Bohn noted the numbers did not indicate the interest because meetings have been held out in the community and people have given feedback to the Supervisors.

Hanes said that based on community concerns and input, the two common threads that emerged were the smell and visual impact in densely populated areas and the environmental impact. The parcel size and number of plants were a proposal and were subject to change. Hanes stressed this because the ordinance they will come up with will go before the Planning Commission and then to the Board and there would be 2 hearings so this is not the final version.

There is already a County ordinance on indoor cultivation. This particular ordinance addresses neighborhood impacts of outdoor marijuana cultivation and would be an amendment to the county zoning ordinance.

It is a code enforcement issue and there would be civil penalties. Hanes said that in the report there was mention that because of the life cycle of the plant, the time be expedited for hearings that result since typically code enforcement issues take a long time.

This proposed ordinance allows parcels of ½ an acre to have 5 mature plants, has to be 20 feet away from a residence, and not near a school, place of religious worship, or Native American site as long as these existed before the cultivation site and there you cannot have indoor and outdoor cultivation at the same site.

I spoke and asked about anonymity since retribution for those who complain is an issue and that this ordinance does not address criminal prosecution. It was noteworthy that no one from the present D.A.’s office was in attendance, perhaps because like our local media they didn’t think a draft of this ordinance was important at this stage. Also of note is that no contender, rumored or actual, for the Humboldt County District Attorney race bothered to make an appearance. I am sure they have reasons and more pressing engagements.

Willow Creek resident E.B. Duggan thanked the board for their action on this issue. He said that while “medical marijuana has its benefits, it does not belong in residential districts. He talked about the people who were growing near his property not being good neighbors, he said these young people intimidate “us seniors”.

The other 2 speakers were also in favor. In response to my questions, Hanes said that there are already county laws that enforce prosecution if someone is intimidated when filing a complaint and County Counsel Davina Smith said that when someone contacts the Building and Planning Department to allege a violation, they do need to give contact information which is necessary for follow-up but it is confidential and only disclosed under a judge’s orders.
Marijana elicits strong emotions and opinions and  the above ordinance, I feel is a fair one that accomodates the rights of all citizens, especially those like Mr. Duggan and me.  The rest of us  have a right to breathe fresh air untainted by smoke and weed and enjoy outdoor spaces without intimidation and harrassment from those who think their rights to greed, recreation and easy money supercede others.

Go Biz Forum at the Wharfinger

Go Biz Forum at the Wharfinger this morning was presented by the City of Eureka, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development and local economic development agencies. This forum was on Northcoast Innovation and Entrepeneurship. Elected officials representing the City were Mayor Frank Jager, Council members  Marian Brady, Mike Newman and Melinda Ciarabellini. the first speaker was Louis Stewart, Deputy Director for Innovation and Entrepeneurship from the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Developement.

The best presentation was from  Natural Decadence owners Rosa Dixon and Milia Lando who were courted by Whole Foods. They best exemplified the local entrepeneurial spirit and the go-getter attitude and how certain Humboldt businesses are unique, an asset to showing the world what we have to offer and how local business resources can be used effectively.

Oct 18, 2013

Local printers not good enough for Lisa Ollivier

I guess the local candidate endorsed by the Democrats who claim to speak for all local Dems conveniently forgot to check ? mention? that John Fullerton had all his printing done locally. Lisa Ollivier may have had some printing done locally but  the mailers seem to be non- union  and printed outside Humboldt. Will we see investigative reporting on this in NCJ or is that only reserved for certain elected officials?

Oct 17, 2013

Old Town Hostel

Since I moved here 10 years ago, I have heard different visions about what should be the anchor economy in Humboldt, and tourism is one of them. People supporting this idea think of it as a panacea. I also see the shop and support local mantra touted. Do our actions back our words?

For any idea to work locally we need put aside polarizing political differences, see what we can focus in common, have a vision and implement it with small steps. No need to spend thousands of dollars doing feasibility studies and worrying about the bureaucracy and regulations in California which are sudden death for just a thought that could be the next Humboldt economic boom.

We have a wonderful Old Town and Downtown area filled with small businesses, local artists and natural beauty that takes the breath away. When we live here, sometimes we take that for granted. Outsiders who visit or move here fall in love with this area and are impressed with what we have to offer.

We are having a few hotels being constructed but what about an Old Town hostel?

There was talk of a hostel being built a few years ago. I think in Old Town, a hostel that would cater primary to tourists and could also be rented by small conferences or businesses scouting the area would work. Make it green emphasizing the priority we put on environment. Promote the local shops and culture in Old Town and that people could walk downtown. No need for a car. You can walk, shop, eat and play in Old Town. There are car rental agencies for longer trips.

Have the Humboldt County Convention and Visitors Bureau, all the Chamber of Commerce groups, Eureka Main Street, Humboldt Made cross promote and you would be booked all year.

We have beautiful historic buildings in Old Town, imagine the hostel in the space above the Sea Grill. No additional floors added, no obstruction of the view, a restaurant that anchors and no need for additional parking spaces.

People could go to Starbucks or Ramones or Old Town Coffee; they could explore the world at Ciara’s Irish Shop, do the booze cruise at the Madaket or sip wine at the Wine Spot and have their choice of places to eat. Get a custom made basket at Bella Baskets. Or dine on some fish and chips at Gallagher’s and end the night at the Speakeasy.

These businesses are just some of my favorites in Old Town; a couple I have worked with doing small promotions. Tourists and visitors come inside these places and they get recommendations where to go, what to see and the Humboldt welcome.

Are the organizations that are being paid to promote this area counting marketers and promoters and individuals like me that list and link their sites on our websites and showcase what Humboldt has to offer. Our efforts are privately and self funded. We also need to acknowledge the baristas, the servers, the small business owners who are one on one ambassadors and bring people back for a second visit, maybe third? A growing and thriving economy needs to have a place for fresh and new voices and leadership that develops and encourages future leaders.

For someone like me, the stakes are very simple. I want to share with the rest of the country and the world, the pride I feel living in Humboldt.

Oct 15, 2013

Pizza! Pizza! in Eureka to open without the usual protests?

Little Caesars in Burre Center to be opening soon. Bev Mo is opening tomorrow, Sports Authority and Ulta will open in the mall soon. TJ Maxx has already opened. And no outcry from the anti-corporation, frothing at the mouth protesters?

I asked some of the 20 -25 age group who usually balk at any mention of  corporations why they did not have a problem with Bev Mo? They responded, "because we are alcoholics". We all laughed. Such honesty and humor is a welcome change.

Oct 9, 2013

Rewarding bad behavior gets expensive

Bravo to the Eureka City Council for unanimously passing the Hotel Lodging Permit Ordinance, which penalizes hotels or motels that misuse and city fire and police resources. Rewarding bad behavior is costly. It was a rare moment when City Council members and the public and staff were in unison on an issue.
Now if there was only a way to recognize local businesses that engage in good civic behavior and professional management and good customer service.
There is -- support those businesses. Money talks. Not filthy rich? No problem. Even your daily latte and coffee gives you a voice. Not proportionately, but you catch my drift.
There is one missing element certain people continue to ignore when we discuss problems that directly impact homelessness, affordable housing, lack of jobs, trashed city streets, empty storefronts. The same elephant in the room that no one talked about during the city council meeting: Substance abuse.
It was not necessary. We all know the underlying effects substance abuse has in every facet of our daily lives locally and the damage is financial and environmental. Yet why are certain people silent and continue to only blame local elected officials or the police or someone else to solve the problem and file frivolous lawsuits misdirecting anger at businesses and individuals that are not the problem.
This summer while having my favorite brew at a local pub, I joked with a friend that I was going to suggest a reality show for Humboldt. City Eye for the Humboldt Guy. It isn't an original idea and I was not being serious. However, if it gets used, I claim royalties!
My premise was dragging a grower out of the hills, getting a local salon to give him a haircut, beard trim or shave, put him in khakis and a button-down shirt, and taking away all his cash (and the errant credit card if he had one) and having him apply for a real job. To top it off, he would actually have to secure a date without those crumpled cash bills as an incentive.
With all that untaxed money, you would think some of these budding entrepreneurs would bother to look like they take a shower and dress better.
You know the guy I am talking about, the one that never had any talent or social skills to get a real job, one that does not have the college debt, the one you are better looking than except for the cash, the one who has a new girlfriend every day. Locally, with the famous underground economy, he is the preferred catch?
Looking around at the devastating effect substance abuse has had on this beautiful area, levity is all one can muster sometimes to stay sane and not be discouraged.
These days the message we are sending is that a man does not need to treat women well or be a good provider with a job that isn't related to getting people addicted? And women who chose these men whether they are dressed in suits or sweats aren't empowering themselves, they are settling for the weaker choice.
How many of you that have power or influence or are cool would have that status if you spoke out? Next time the street does not get swept, next time you complain about a rundown motel, next time your rent goes up because of someone who does not want to bother to take responsibility for their actions and expects society to enable their selfish “only me” attitude, look at what you contributed by your silence for decades.
To paraphrase JFK, “My fellow Humboldtians, ask not what your county can do for you, ask what you can do for your county.” Are you willing to give up the easy money and being popular to have a better life?

Oct 5, 2013

Arnie Klein to formally announce he is running for DA on November 13

Just saw Arnie at Arts Alive. He is making the rounds at Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, local events meeting people and introducing himself. He told me that on November 13 at 12:15, he will formally announce his candidacy in front of the Courthouse.

Griego shows why he was voted California lawyer of the year

I have my own opinion of the Laird case and will be interesting to see the evidence presented in December. I was never a big fan of defense attorneys but there are a few in Humboldt that have changed my mind. Patrik Griego has shown over and over that he can take high profile cases and win for his clients. Remember the Jeannie Duncan case. Personally, Patrik and I may have different  views  sometimes but as an attorney he is one of my favorite local lawyers. He is professional, down to earth, brilliant, and fights for his clients with hard work and talent.  Sometimes law and justice prevail simultaneously  and it helps having a lawyer who will do his best for you.