I do not like what the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) has morphed into. And I am a lifelong participating Humboldt County Democrat!
My mother was a single parent union member and die hard Democrat. I lived in a neighborhood (Myrtle town) that had many working class union Democrats. My male role models were Democrats. In 1975 I registered as a Democrat while a member of the Retail Clerks union. I have been an active community volunteer on the Samoa Peninsula since my wife and I moved out here in 1980 either as a youth or adult sports organizer director. I am currently on the Samoa Peninsula Fire District Board and also on the Humboldt Domestic Violence Services Board of directors.
My wife Robin, (Also a lifelong Humboldt Democrat with parents the same. Dad and Granddad union members.) decided to run for the Peninsula Union School District Board in 1987 and won by a landslide using a door to door campaign. She was then elected President of the board for 5 of her 7 years on the board. She is currently the Business Agent for the district. My wife and I have always participated in the process of elections through voting and have supported Democrats in local politics.
In 1995 I came home from swing shift 3pm to 11pm and watched the news that showed the candidates for the Democratic party running for the 1st District Assembly seat. They were meeting at the “Chicken by the Sea.” I heard rhetoric that had nothing to do with working type democrats like myself. I told my wife I was going to run against these four Democratic “outsiders” and stump real working class issues. I spent a few thousand dollars of my own, but was able to address real issues of the working class. Alas, I lost, but I garnered almost 10% of the vote and maybe have cost past Congressman Doug Bosco a chance for the position. It was an overall positive experience. One of the women running in the 1st District race was Karen Scott. She convinced me to join the local Democratic Central Committee and help from the inside. I took her advise and joined the HCDCC.
I was in fact a member of the HCDCC from 1995 to 2000. The first campaign I helped was as part of Virginia Strom Martin’s successful election committee against Margie Handley in 1996. (Margie had beat Bonnie Neely in a landslide for the Republican representative in the 1995 primary.) I was selected as a delegate appointee by Virginia representing the HCDCC 4th District. I later helped in elections as precinct captain, walker and monitor. I phone-banked for Democrats. I collected signatures to put Mike Thompson on the ballot for Congress. I spent time chairing for the HCDCC at the North Country Fair in Arcata and the Humboldt County fair in Ferndale. My wife and I started renting out the Samoa Women’s Club out of our own pocket for the HCDCC Chicken by the Sea. We not only did set up and clean up, we ran the bar. It was my own personal BBQ that was used by Tom Osuna to cook the chicken!
In 1998 I was asked by members of the HCDCC to run for the 4th District Supervisor seat held by Bonnie Neely. Our philosophy then was to run any and all candidates from the Democratic party willing to go out there and try. I was unanimously endorsed and had many members of the HCDCC help me and serve on my committee. We came up a few hundred votes short but forced Bonnie and Eureka City Councilman Lance Madsen to campaign hard. She outspent us by a huge amount.
I stepped down from the HCDCC when I started working as a union organizer for the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW). I served a 5 year term and last organized on payroll in July of 2004. In 2003 I led the largest successful Industrial union drive in the nation at Dart Container in Corona, California. That victory brought in over 600 people for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC). I had many other successes on smaller levels in Utah, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Northern California. Too many years on the road left me home sick, so I came back home to Samoa.
I picked up the paperwork early in the year of 2006 to run against 2 Republicans running for 4th District Humboldt County Supervisor. I left messages with both the Chair of the HCDCC Patrick Riggs and Democracy Unlimited representative Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap letting them know my intent. I heard from neither for weeks. I went to the HCDCC headquarters on a whim before I was to finalize my paper work and formally announce my campaign. Patrick Riggs, Larry Evans, Richard Salzman, David Cobb, Larry Glass and all the other suspects showed up for a Save the Waterfront meeting and just assumed I was there for that. When they finally figured out who I was, I was escorted out of the meeting room by Patrick. I explained to him why I was running and he seemed all right with my intent. He said I could come to the next HCDCC and speak. So I showed up and spoke at the next meeting. Mr. Riggs had told people this was first he had heard of me? Why did he keep my intent to himself? Was it because he and others on Local Solutions had already pledged their support to Bonnie Neely, a Republican? I did not recieve their nomination.
Then the rumors started to fly throughout the HCDCC. Richard Marks is being recruited by Robin Arkley to split up the vote to help Nancy Flemming. Richard Marks filed his paperwork way late. A vote for Richard Marks is a vote for Nancy Flemming. And these rumors were coming from my fellow democrats and not the “evil” Republicans? And then the kicker came, Democrats for Neely? Is that telling people she is a better Democrat than me? This was not an affront to Nancy Flemming the Republican.
And now the HCDCC is endorsing Democrats over another. Not once but 3 times as of late. So yes, there you have it. I do not like what the HCDCC has become. I still am registered as a Democrat. Sometimes I wonder why. Ideology wise I seem to be aligned with most Democrats. They do not respect their own, so they have lost my respect.