Friday, July 21, 2017

Rail meeting 7/12/17. Rail gone forever in Humboldt?

Healdsburg City Councilman David Hagele was welcomed aboard and attended his first meeting as at large city representative. And it was a lively one.
 
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) was on the forefront of the NCRA July meeting. There seemed to be a demand of the Commission for the NCRA to produce a working business plan or a shut down plan by October. It is to note that the CTC has no Jurisdiction over the NCRA.  As I am on the Finance Committee I have been privy to the projected budget for next two years and can confidentially say the NCRA will be able to pay their bills thanks to a settlement with AT&T over encroachment issues in Ukiah. That, of course, is contingent on no emergencies. The CTC speculated that the NCRA was selling properties purchased with public dollars to cover debt incurred and wanted accountability of those funds. A land transaction with the Judicial Council of California at Ukiah’s old train depot was supposed to generate $1.3 million for 4.1 acres has been in the works for a few years. The hope is to build a new Mendocino Court House at the location.
 
NCRA Executive Director Mitch Stogner explained that his organization has Operating Expenses of about $700,000 and Revenues of $500,000. That statement in itself usually gets attention. You have to remember that the NCRA is not legislatively funded so operating expenses have been “smoke and mirrors” or creative financing for years. One of the ways the NCRA has been able to exist is having NWPco make $15,000 payments to the NCRA for a Rail Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) 3.1 million dollar loan that was made in 2011 for track repairs with NCRA acting as Co-Borrowers with NWPco. Another critical financial burden for future consideration is the millions that is pending in lawsuits against the NCRA. Our audit calls us a "ongoing concern."
 
NWPco counsel and former North Coast Congressman Doug Bosco explained that the original legislative creation of the NCRA did nothing to fund the ongoing operations. Mr. Bosco said NWPco announced to the CTC Commission no plans to service the 240 miles north of Windsor. Currently they are only operating at night and have had to battle flooding. A proposed rail spur that was initially estimated at $150,000 has now been priced at $800,000 at Lagunita’s Brewery in Petaluma. Mr. Bosco said the NWPco is profitable in Marin and Sonoma County. But what about Mendocino, Humboldt and the Port at Eureka? Not in the plans at this time.
 

When you compare some of the numbers for transportation concerns, it is hard not to consider the $459 million for the 6 mile bypass at Willits or the $440 million to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART).  Is train service even being considered by our local legislators? The bottom line is that the NCRA need legislative help as quickly as possible. The rail line is an important asset for the North Coast. As freight service or as recreational trail.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Crabs vs Bombers all day!

Times Standard writer Danny Penza wrote a story on how the Humboldt Crabs and Humboldt B52 Bombers need to play more games against each other. There used to be a time when the Crabs were very local and those days seemed to have slipped away. Back in the 70's there were open tryouts at HSU (they don't even have a field or official team anymore) and many local players could participate. Now only a few token players seem to have the chance. The B52's give that chance for local players in their later 20's to keep on playing. My wife and I were regulars at Crab's park until they dismantled the wooden bleachers and replaced them with those awful metal ones. Another advantage for the Bombers. Redwood field has nice seats and great food! So lets see more games!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Rest in peace Dietrich Streoh. You were a busy man!

Fellow Director of the North Coast Rail Authority Dietrich "Diet" Stroeh passed away. He was also the President of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board. He was a leader in many other civic positions.

He was a huge in politics and commerce in Marin County.

Diet was one of those guys who you just wanted to be around. Funny, smart and charismatic. He will be really missed.

"Diet" inspired a book concerning his actions during drought times in Marin County and how he helped solve complex political issues "The man who made it rain."



Monday, May 22, 2017

Democrats Divided. "Demexiting" continues.

This Chronicle article says it all and it is not good for the Democratic Party. I attended this years California Convention as a delegate for the HCDCC and what I witnessed does not bode well for the party. The old line Democrats seemed stunned that their ways and thoughts have been challenged by the "Berniecrats" or new free thinking young Democrats. Until this "chasm" is addressed, Democrats will further be marginalized even though a record number delegates were at this years Democratic Convention in Sacramento. The split is real and hard feeling are not going away soon.

Outgoing Chair John Burton was as classless as ever with his f-bombs and flipping the finger to everybody that wouldn't agree with his way. His leadership was a joke in a time of Democratic peril. That old guard needs to let go. But it won't happen anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mad River Softball meeting tonight at Arcata Community Center 6pm.

Mad River Softball Association will have a general managers meeting this Wednesday May 17th at 6pm at the Arcata Community Center. Please be there or send a team representative. Some topics:
 
Summer League will start June 19th. Sponsorship is $440 and $50 per player up to 12 players or total cost is $1,040 for 12 person team. Each player over 12th is $25 extra. (Same price as last year.)
 
Fees will be due by June 14th. No exceptions. No money chasing this year!
 
Women's Division? Have had inquires about women's league. Maybe a CO-ED division?
 

Friday night league? This night is mostly open. Maybe CO-ED division on Fridays?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Softball King at 60!

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m am the Softball King. The best softballer you will ever witness.

Just ask the opposing teams in the 3 leagues I’m in this summer. I flat out rake. You could populate a small country with all the pitchers I've taken to shallow right. No wonder they walk me so many times in a season. Gotta be intimidation.

I just spent lots of time hitting batting practice. Blooper drives, blooper flies, opposite field bloopers. I can do it all. Some kids at the skateboard park at Coopers had to stop and were staring and pointing at me in awe. I can’t blame them. They’ve probably never seen a 60 year man wearing Oakley Blades and batting gloves who can hit rake bloopers like me. Especially not with shorts this tight.

This season, I am in it for revenge. We fell in the B League Championship Game in Arcata to Sushi Spot. The taste still lingers.  I’ve gotta get my hands on that 3-foot plastic trophy and tee shirt. It’s all I think about. Rumor has it the league winners get 2 free pitchers at the Jambalaya after the season. No way we lose with the trophy, shirts and 78 ounces of Bud on the line.

I just bought all new equipment for this season and you should see the extra long stripped baggy baseball pants I got. Super tight. I picked up a new set of wristbands, a tube of eye black and a pair of 3-inch mud cleats, you know, just in case I need to break up a double play. I also got my hands on one of those $25 Louisville bats for a little extra power. It may cost me a part of my retirement pension, but screw it, when I start cranking 100-foot pop ups it will be worth it. I am the John Wooden of the woodbat hitters! My dribbler to third is something to witness! 

This year I’m focused. In my mind I have visualized what needs to get done. My initials might as well be M-V-P. That stands for Most Valuable Player for all you non-softball players. The League starts tomorrow.

Why do I take softball so seriously? You kidding me? You’re just jealous! See you at the ball park!

King Richard

President Mad River Softball Association

Thursday, April 20, 2017