Monday, April 21, 2014

Eureka Rotary DA race debate leaves lots of questions.



Today’s Eureka Rotary Humboldt County District Attorney debate was interesting to say the least. The League of Women Voters (LWV) hosted the format and I came away with information I was not privy to before. I have met with 2 of the candidates but have not officially endorsed or committed my vote to any at this time. Each candidate had a one minute opening statement.
Arnie Klein opened the forum at equated politicking around the room reminded him of “Speed Dating.” He outlined long experience and referenced the Rotary flag with, “Is it the Truth? Is it Fair?
Allan Dollison spoke of 19 years as Attorney and half of that time he was in the DA’s office. He also served in Iran and Iraq and is currently Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard.
Elan Firpo said she was the only current candidate actually currently in the DA’s office and explained her executive experience prior to becoming a lawyer.
Maggie Fleming outlined her 20 yrs of experience and how she actually worked with 3 different elected Humboldt County DA’s.
(Nobodies opening gave them an advantage. Arnie was the most clever.)
Questions:
What is the biggest problem in Humboldt County?
Allan: “Crime in Eureka!”
Maggie: Drugs need to be addressed.
Arnie: Need to go after serious crime offenders. Explained, “Arnie is for the people!”
Elan: Mental health is the biggest problem. Pointed out one person being arrested 359 times. “We need to focus on getting people healthy.
(I feel Elan gave the best answer and solution based approach.)
What is your opinion on Marijuana?
Arnie: “We need to take back the streets!” MJ will be lowest priority but will go after trespass growers and environmentally bad grows.
Allan: “There have been new studies about the bad mental effect of MJ. It is an intro drug. “ He said we need to look at Colorado laws and corporate grows.
Elan: “There are Growmaniacs, criminals coming to raid and pollute. The problem isn’t the plant.” She would have a vertical prosecutor trained to specialize in grow situations.
Maggie: She pointed out that it was a statewide issue and she is against environmentally invasive and trespass grows and the crime because of them.
(Again, Elan had the best answer and addressed how she could help the DA’s office do better. That is what everyone is looking for.)
How many people have had work under you that were responsible to you?
Maggie: She said she had 14 to 18 under her, but then back tracked and noted she was just filling in for Wes Keat.
Elan: Started off really confused and hard to understand, but finished with explaining she had 30 high level employees under her that oversaw 3,000 workers down chain. She had the power to hire and fire at least 50 at a given time.
Allan: He said about the same as Maggie. He had also filled in for Wes Keat. He had been recently promoted to head up a troop battalion of 140.
Arnie: Has led departments in Beverly Hills, West LA, Compton and Tulare. He joked that everyone up there had at one time been head of the Humboldt office.
(Allan was able to explain easily and understandable and gets extra points for his service record.)
Who are your largest donors and how much is the largest donation?   
Elan: Named Jasion Chand and Neal Ewald but didn’t divulge amount.
Arnie: “My campaign chair and fiancé Kitty is my largest donor, but I have many donations from past fellow prosecutors from past DA offices.” One from Vegas gave him $500.  
Maggie: Said her largest donors were her family and wouldn’t divulge anything else.
Allan: “I am my largest donor at $20,000. I also have been given $500 from Robert Helm.” Helm was a past fellow combat soldier.
(Allan was straight forward and answered the question.)  
What do feel about the Homeless issue?
Maggie: Pointed out that this was a mental health issue that impacts caseloads. “Some of the people won’t accept help.”
Allan: Pointed out “Being homeless is not a crime. They are more times victim!” He felt there needed to be proper services and has been involved in the StandDown program for homeless vets.
Arnie: “They are sleeping under the bridge! In 2010 there were 150 that swooped into Garberville.” Said they were ruled by the “Law of the gun!”
Elan: Said there were chronic problem people that just need to be “Safe and warm.”
(Allan once again made good points.)
What is the one thing you would change or do different than the current DA?
Allan: “Need more resources. Did you know that the DA’s office has not prepared or presented a budget to the Board of Supervisors that last two years?”
Maggie: The oversight of the department. She worked in the past with many experienced prosecutors and said there are young ones in the DA office now.  Because of plea bargains there is a lack of confidence from the community.
Elan: Pointed out a lack of “Vertical Prosecutors.” Felt there needed to be a focus on training to more specialized focus. Such as one for drugs, one for environment, one for victim witness and so on.
Arnie: Said you can only do so much. He said he would deputize prosecutors in community areas so they wouldn’t have to travel all the way to Eureka. Those people would know the problem people. “Switching chairs on the Titanic won’t do anything!”
(Elan gave reasonable solutions instead of complaining about current problems.)
What about realignment and how do you deal with petty crime with no repercussion?
Maggie: Said we needed to treat the problem locally and work with law enforcement.
Arnie: Pointed out we have an ugly jail. “Put people in jail if they harm people.”  
Allan: “Realignment was a terrible idea for the State to put the responsibility on the county and let them try to figure it out!”  Pointed out that there are only 3 people currently with house monitors in the county. He wanted to hold people responsible for violent crime.
Elan: Said that people have figured out how to get around AB 109. She pointed out getting long term sentences for Meth dealers.
(Allan is so right here. But why aren’t more people monitored instead of in jail? That is the bigger question.)
What would do about Panhandling? (C’mon LWV. You couldn’t pick a better question?)
Arnie: ”Nuisance, but least of problem.” Noted it was bad for business. Felt they needed to be cited but not a major public safety problem.
Elan: Felt the money they were collecting was for drugs. Said the trim jobs that bring people into the community helps cause this problem. Not a DA’s job.
Maggie: Also pointed out the trim workers and said citing them and doing a work program would help issue.
Allan: “I have been in big cities and see less here.” Deal with in homeless court and don’t criminally prosecute.
(I will agree with Allan that this problem is bigger in some cities. Portland and SF comes to mind. Part of Maggie’s work program seems to be good solution. And it is just a nuisance, like Arnie pointed out. I have seen studies/survey that shows that nearly 90% of the panhandlers supplement their intake. And many of the same use for booze and drugs also.)
Closing Statements
Maggie: Explained that everything she has done in her campaign is “Transparent.” Then became defensive and pointed out that people should check her opponents claimed work record and where and when she actually did. (Wow! I was shocked and noticed all the people around me shuffling uncomfortable in their seats. I have had multiple people I respect give personal testimony of Maggie’s competency and character. This was not good!
Elan: Had to use some of her time answering the alluded to accusation of past work history. She then pointed out that the DA’s office has excellent attorneys.
Allan: He and Maggie were once in a DA’s office of 20-25 attorneys. Said midnight release policy should be stopped. Pointed out 2 murder cases that happened with early release and Maggie’s agreement that early release would continue.  He also let it be known current Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey has endorsed Maggie.
Arnie: “Need communication and teamwork! Just because you coach youth soccer team does not mean you can coach in the NFL!”
(So who am I supporting or voting for? I just don’t know. You only meet an Arnie Klein once in a lifetime. Great guy. Funny and smart. Old school.  Allan? I just can’t seem to get past the de-barred from practicing law for not producing services paid for and rendered. Practice law? Fine. Hold the position of DA? That is a higher standard. But I love his commitment to God and the USA.  Maggie? This debate is my first real exposure with others in the room. And it wasn’t good. At previous Democratic Central Committee and other public gathering meetings she was engaging and nothing but positive. Why the attack on Elan? Got me. Maggie is the clear frontrunner. Better to keep positive. Elan? I have met with Elan a few times. I gave her advice early in her campaign. She politely listened and considered. She fed me cookies at Arts Alive in Eureka a few times and always smiled as she manned her booth with her two kids. I am leaning Elan, but I will wait to see what comes up. Arnie might buy me a beer and take it away!” Joking , please.)    

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I am in an unhealthy relationship! My cohabitant is Diabetes.

I was diagnosed years ago and tried to ignore the fact and hope it just went away. But after running blood sugars of 300 after a night of fasting, it was taking a toll on my body and my eyesight. I tried dieting and abstaining from beer and I have never been much of a sweets or soda type person. I went from 250lbs to 197.5lbs (A recent weigh in.) So now I am a slave of the needle.

Things I hate and diabetes observations:

I have type 2 diabetes. So much of this problem is from the man in the mirror.
If you consistently run over 200 blood sugars there is nothing you can naturally do to bring it down. Oh they say exercise and drink lots of water. Tried it and that does little. You will need to do insulin.

Metformin sucks! Tears your insides up. I take 200 mgs of these horse pills a day and then it can send me to the bathroom stalls for a bit. One of my health care providers said it was a miracle type drug and should be added to our public drinking supply like fluoride. I really don’t think our sewage systems could take that!  

Poking yourself with needles is an everyday inconvenience. Today I poked myself to test my blood and couldn’t stop bleeding. Finally had to put on band aid.

I must have 10 years of lancets around the house. Do people really change their blood plungers that often? I don’t.

Some times when I shoot my insulin injection it hurts like hell. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt at all. I haven’t asked anyone if they use their pen needles more than once. I am tempted but I am sure that would probably hurt more.

The Lantus Pen is a very easy to use injection tool. And I hate it to death!

I can eat all the bad crap I want and now crave sweets and the other day I had a 115 blood sugar count. And I haven’t had over 200 for months now.  Go figure. I should have started using the needle years ago.  

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Eureka not big enough for both Richards! Salzman and Marks that is.

Richard Salzman ran into me while canvasing for Chris Kerrigan on J st in Eureka. Chris was right behind him and Virginia Bass was behind me. What are the odds of that? Probably pretty high in a small town like Eureka. It is always best for the candidate to get most of the houses but we have had over a dozen volunteers walk and knock the whole district once over so far. Thousands of doors. We have about 700 signs out there and what we have left are going fast. If you have a sign location let me know!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Robin Marks new Humboldt Domestic Violence Services board President.

My wife Robin was elected President of the Humboldt Domestic Violence Services board. (I was elected Treasurer.) We need more board members! We meet once a month on the last monday of the month. Just about every family has been affected by Domestic Violence in some fashion but few want to talk about it. If you have time and would like to help a good cause, let me know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Operating Engineers local 3 endorses Virginia Bass!

Virginia Bass has been honored with the  Operating Engineers  local 3 endorsement tonight for her re-election cycle for Humboldt County 4 District Supervisor. They have pledged phonebankers and precinct walkers as well as a financial support! Virginia is continuing her history of being an outspoken friend of labor on the Board of Supervisors. Check out her website at Virginia Bass.
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mike's Burgers is the next "Roasted" Wienie place!

"This Hot Dog reminds me of George Bush! It left a bad taste in my mouth!" Steve Harris 2014. I will probably have to break this up into two divisions sometimes; one for me and one for Steve.

1. Hot Dog-For Richard: I had a double chili dog. Sloppy and just what I expected. Not great but filling. Rating: 3 out of 5


1. Hot Dog-For Steve: Bland. Steve was not impressed at and threw half of dog away. (He offered it to me first.) Rating: 0.5 out of 5

2. Condiments-These are way sloppy dogs. For me that was good. For Steve, well, he was just disgusted.  Rating: 2 out of 5

3. Ambiance- Old run down decor. Not as many Republican type literature makes it a little less drab. Had to eat outside because of no inside sitting. Rating: 1.5 out of 5

4. Extras- Richard: I had the garlic fries and they were good. Little less greasy than I would have liked. Rating: 3.0 out of 5


4. Extras- Steve: Hated them! Too greasy and he was just appalled. Threw half of those away as uneatable. I look at the greasy part as a plus! He must have got mine! Rating: 1.0 out of 5

 5. Parking-Along 7th Street is not bad, but we parked out back to eat at tailgate. Not real ideal. 2.5 out of 5

Overall rating 2.0 out of 5 Steve will probably never darken this door again. Me? Sometimes you just have to have a garlic fry fix. I will be back.

Friday, February 14, 2014

North Coast Rail Authority rolling toward the Black? Bay area wants Mad River water? February Meeting in Healdsburg.


North Coast Rail Authority rolling toward the Black? Bay area wants Mad River water? February Meeting in Healdsburg.
All nine Directors were present for the February meeting. Former Director Gus Wolter was recognized for his past service. The board discussed Committee reports for the Property and Finance Committees before we had our first conduct of business, which was Discussion of Reinstatement of Stipend (or pay) for the Board Members. I spoke against and the other Directors agreed to table until next year. We then approved a financial audit by Pisenti and Brinker and approved an agreement between the NCRA and Parallel Infrastructure for Auditing services that will actually bring in monies for identified Right of Ways.
Executive Director Mitch Stogner reported on a letter sent to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit (SMART ) concerning 16 turnout projects needed by North Western Pacific Co. (NWPco) between Novato and Santa Rosa. Mr. Stogner also reported on Project Engineer John Anderson’s pre-feasibility type estimate of repairing 52 miles of rail line form Windsor to Ukiah.  There is interest by the Chinese Rail Institute through HJI Group to fund this potential 40 million dollar expansion project.
Property Specialist Doug McCorkle has had inquiry by the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District of potential water pipeline from Mad River to the Bay Area using the NCRA rail Right of Way. Quite shocking for the Humboldt Directors and first I had heard of that.
NWPco Operator John Williams said he needed more of the turnouts active and spurs available for more business. Would really like to see expansion to Cloverdale at least. Would prefer the NCRA pursue grants rather than loans. NWPco now servicing 7 businesses with 15 to 20 loads a week and ready to make a profit.
The above picture is the service of barley to Lagunitas in Petaluma. The Below picture is of NWPco operating through heavy rain near Shellville on Feb. 10th, 2014. Yes, rail is currently up and running.