Thursday, November 30, 2006

Red Sky Rojas: May you Rest in Peace 6/17/80 to 11/22/06

Just got back from a hard funeral service. Red Sky played basketball for me at Peninsula Union. His name served him well. He was a Warrior in Blood and Spirit. He was a member of the Yurok tribe. I went to school with his father Frank, who is a member of the Operating Engineers local 3. His mother Sherry played softball with my wife. Red Sky was a friend of my son Jacob. I also coached his brother and sister, Delmar and Stormy. Redsky was a delight to coach and gave the game everything he had. Short in stature, he made up with a big heart. Now the sadder part. Even though he had a personality that was witty and strong, he fell victim of drugs. His death was from an overdose while "puffin" an aerosol can. This just should not happen. It is so sad that drug addiction can take the lives of ones so young. I hope there comes a day when technology finds some kind of cure to help addicts overcome their affliction. Until then, pray for your children and their friends. It's the least we can do.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Richard Mostranski!

Today is the other Richard's Birthday. Richard was the volunteer co-chair of the Marks for Supervisor committee. And he is a trusted friend. After the primary elections, I was removed from the 4th District Supervisors race and Richard chaired the Nancy Flemming campaign. He took a candidate that had 30% of the vote in the primary and improved the count by 20%. Local polls had Nancy way behind at the start and she may have pulled off a stunning upset of a 20 year incumbent. I will give much of that credit to Richard's work ethic. You will not find many with his bull dog tactics of getting things done. And he is an optimist who is always looking for the good in almost every situation. And if you live in Eureka or Myrtletown, you undoubtedly have seen him knocking on doors or putting up signs. After 2 campaigns he probably needs a break. Good job Richard. Take a break. You deserve it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Seismogate solved at last!

Cal Trans is finally taking down those Earthquake Gates on the Samoa Bridge. Now if we have a major Earthquake, us sand dwellers have an alternate route to have a quick getaway. I did not feel it was a good idea to install these gates in the first place. Now it is a mute issue since the retrofit project is complete.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Who are those 600 provisional voters?

Provisional voters are generally people who show up to a polling place to vote and are not on the precinct rolls but want to vote anyways. Today I heard of a person showing up at one of the precincts wanting to vote. He had a Texas license but insisted on his right to vote. And he should if he is a registered voter who can show proof of his voting status. Then it is up to the elections office to determine if they are actually eligible to vote. I wonder what % of these people will actually be involved in the final vote count locally. They can and may affect the outcome. Check out this link for more clarified description and qualifications of a provisional voter.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jury Duty: Your civic obligation. Unless?

Recently my number came up once more to serve jury duty. I am more than willing to participate in my obligation but have yet to ever make it past the jury box. And I have had many chances. I was disturbed by one of the questions that came up on the questionnaire though. I was asked to state whether I was being paid by my employer to serve jury duty. Why does that need to be put on the questionnaire? Is it part of the qualification for prospective juror's? Everyone in Humboldt County should be available to serve without predudice of their economic position. Employers are held to a standard well defined by Federal Government if their employees decide to serve the Armed Services, shouldn't they be held to those same standards for their workers/employees if they are called for jury duty? I observed many prospective jurorers being released for hardships by their employers that were really arbitrary. There needs to be a consistent guideline. What do you all think?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had 24 family members show up at my sister Michelle's house with no squabbles! Maybe a new record for the Marks family argument wise. My how the little ones just grow in leaps and bounds. Hope all went as well for everyone out there!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stop the Democrats for Neely stuff already!

Man! I keep reading and hearing about Democrats for Neely! This committee was set up by local Democrats to undermine another Democrat. It was not set up to take out Republican Nancy Flemming, it was created to make sure the Marks for Supervisor Committee failed. It was also an answer for my having been endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America. It worked and I was eliminated.

Why this Democrats for Neely subject still comes up is driving me nuts! Patrick Riggs had the audacity to challenge Mr. Greene to write a complaint to the State Democratic Central Committee over Mike Thompson chairing this committee. And I see that co-chair Greg Conner’s brought up this committee again on another blog like it was something to be proud of. Wow.

But here is something that the local progressive leaders did not count on. Their candidate was flawed. Bonnie Neely was not the poster child of liberalism. A great number of people did take into account her failed policies and were skeptic of her political alliances. And she had to resort to dirty political commercials at the end of her campaign to avoid a possible loss. (This may turn around as the absentee ballots are still not accounted for.)

If the HCDCC and Progressive leaders were so frightened that Nancy Flemming was going to win, why didn’t they help me defeat her in the primary? Maybe it was a miscalculation or just another case of county backdoor politics.

So where am I going with this? I guess I will have to rejoin the HCDCC and see what happens in the future or push-start the local Progressive Democrats of America chapter into active participation locally.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How do people or anyone make it in Humboldt County?

Oh goody! Things are so great in Humboldt County! Just look at this story and everything looks great and positive. Times-Standard Online - Humboldt's unemployment could be at an all-time low But go and talk to someone living this great Humboldt economy and you will see another picture. I have talked to many 30 and under type workforce laborers who try to make ends meet here. Not a pretty story. Just a few hours ago I talked to a worker in the roofing business who worked up to $8 an hour after 3 months! How can you live on that! You would be better off on welfare! And the story plays itself over and over again in Arcata. With no competition of wages, employers are taking advantage of our college/mobile young workforce and driving down wages! Here are some sobering statistics for young people entering the workplace. In the beginning of 2000 you could buy a house in Humboldt County for $93,500. Your household income would have to be $25,000 to qualify to pay $615 a month to actualize the American dream and buy a home. 60% of our workforce families could do this. As of Jan. 2006, the average house price was $308,000. Your household family income has to be $75,000 to afford the $1,864 a month payment. And now only 12% of the family workforce can afford to buy a home. And if you are single in Humboldt County and especially a woman? Forget about it! It will not happen! Less than 1%. Reality check! And people are happy to pay $1,000 plus rent! Wow, what has happened! Will the young workers of Humboldt County step up in protest? We may need a Humboldt County Living Wage ordinance! But we will debate: What is a living wage! Why should it be based on two wages? Is it discriminatory? Information Source-Humboldt Association of Realtors Search properties

Monday, November 20, 2006

Man I love softball still!

Softball is like a ever evolving soap opera with twists and turns you never expect. On Saturday we were up against 22 top notch teams in our division. The weather was warm and sunny! We played a Round Robin portion to find placement in a single elimination bracket. We had a first round bye because of our placing 6th out of the 22. We were then upset 19-18 in the bottom of the 7th and eliminated at around 8pm Saturday. I had a chance to see many buddies I may not see until next spring so it was a great time. People were from all over the west coast. We then played a new tournament starting a 8am Sunday morning against 16 teams. We were beat up a bit and lost to team "Battitude" who have the expensive uniforms and big time players. But we managed to win our next 4 games and needed only one victory more for a trip to the championship. But we were brought down to earth hard by team WSC out of Santa Rosa and ended up tied for 3rd. Oh well. There's always next tournament!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Back to softball a moment. Big League Dreams Redding.

Big softball tourney this weekend. Big League Dreams in Redding. Big League Dreams - Sport Parks The park has been open since summer of 2004. Redding sure did this right. May be the nicest fields in the USA. I played in the first organized tournament with my Samoa Athletic buddies and we came away with a second place. A thru Z sports is hosting the USSSA sanctioned Tournament. Home Page There will be 53 teams! Were talking nearly 600 players! It was sold out. Most of these teams come from all over the west coast and spend big dollars in Redding. If you include family members and friends, there will be over 1,000 people needing lodging and food. The tournament will most likely bring nearly $250,000 to the Redding economy just for the weekend. I have played in 15 Tournaments over there and have been fortunate to have finished in the top 4 10 times. My teams have an overall record there of 52-25 with 4 1sts and played in 7 championship games. Pretty soon I won't be limited to just the open tourneys as I will be eligible for seniors in January!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Near miss at work. Almost bought the farm.

I had to work graveyard shift last night 7pm to 7am. It started raining hard around 9pm and I had an equipment failure in the screen room that Evergreen Pulp pays me to operate. I went out and discovered that one of the drains was plugged up and the screen room was flooded. I opened the drain with a rake after wading through a lot of water. I then traced down the piece of equipment that failed. It looked operable. It is a conveyor that tranfers material to a chip hogging system. Along side the conveyor is a safety pull cord and safety box unit that was just replaced. I tripped the safety cord and reset it again to see if that was the issue. It would not start. The Shift Electrician came over and checked the circuit breakers and said it should run, and he manually jumped it and it in fact ran. He told me to reset the conveyor at the safety cord box again, and just as I was approaching the conveyor, it lit up in sparks and must have shorted out! I would have been holding onto a live electrical unit of 440 volts in inches of water if I had been there a moment sooner! God must have not called my number up yet. The Electricians were able to jumper out and bypass the safety box so we could run for the night. We were within a few minutes of having to shut down production, which is quite costly at Evergreen. So there you go. Life in the trenches mill worker wise can be scary. The job is not all glamour after all!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

County and City election results! Republican wins 4th District Seat. Democrats garner both 1st Ward and 3rd Ward in Eureka City Council Races.

Well the results aren't technically final. But I am right though. A Republican will win the 4th District Supervisor. Whether it is Republican Bonnie Neely or Nancy Flemming is the question. And Larry Glass and Mary Beth Wolford are both registered Democrats in the First Ward, as are Jeff Leonard and Ron Kuhnel in the Third Ward. I heard this morning that almost 4 thousand absentee and provisional ballot's need to be counted still for the greater Eureka area. That is a ridiculous amount. An official result will most likely be challenged I will guess, if the separation is close, so we may not have results for quite some time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Confessions of a big box employee.

I was hired in 1973 by Bazar and worked there until they closed in 1978. They were located south of highway 101 across from the current Target in Eureka. Bazar at one time was an up and coming chain. The local store had an automotive, linen, clothing, shoe, sporting goods, sundries, hardware, appliance, donut, pharmacy, restaurant, jewelry and a big grocery store. Their jingle was, "You don't need Aladdin's Lamp to make your dollars buy more, just do all your shopping at Bazar!" You could buy anything you could think of in one place! It was a close knit group of retail workers. It was a union shop represented by the Retail Clerks. It was the busiest store in town at the time, all the way until its closing. The rest of the chain just wasn't doing as well. The workers hoped that Fred Meyer's would come and have us be their first California store, but alas, that didn't happen. I really enjoyed working at Bazar and still see people who used to work there. All big boxes aren't bad. I wish that they were all union though.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Props from Dennis Mayo.

Mr. Mayo wrote an guest opinion to the ER that was kind to this writer. The Eureka Reporter - Article I have taken enough pot-shots for expressing my Democratic right to run for public office from my own Democratic party, so it was good to hear someone at least acknowledge I have done some good for the working class. Thanks Dennis. I did not realize that Past Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb had taken issue with me. I must have missed that article by Mr. Cobb. Oh my, how many have I upset along the way recently. Really, I do not have too many enemies in my circle of acquaintances. Most have just come from this last run at County Supervisor. I ran for this position eight years ago with pretty much the same results and there was no backlash. I just kept doing what I was doing as member of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee. Times have changed and so has the local political climate. It has become a nasty ordeal. Too bad.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

No where to shop on the Peninsula!

The Manila Market is now boarded up and closed for business. That means that for the first time in probably over a century, there is no market here on the peninsula. When Robin and I moved out here over 25 years ago, there were three markets two gas stations, two bars and probably less people than are out there now. (Around 2,000) So what gives? The Samoa Store was still viable and making money to the end of their lease. Bob's Manila Market was frequented by most in the early 90's. Manila Market had the most reliable clientele I think. But now we have nothing. Seems to me that this might be a good opportunity for someone.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Blogger out there!

Here is a new blogger out there. More of the artsy side of Humboldt County politics. art walker eureka

Friday, November 10, 2006

Have the Eureka Democrats lost direction?

It seems to me that these latest election results seem to show a weakness in the Eureka Democrats ability to promote their candidates. Or maybe their agenda is not in tune with the desires of the working class Democratic voters. The registered Democrats out number the Republicans in Eureka heavily. Why did Republicans Nancy Flemming, Mike Jones and Virginia Bass do so well? I think voters in Eureka are drifting to the middle or moderate territory. The message of the Eureka Democrats seem to be listing toward the middle and causing a power shift that may affect the direction of Eureka for the next few years. Whatcha all think?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Voting stuff.

I guess the Green Party absentee voters were apathetic about this last election in Humboldt County. Only 48.3% of the those ballots issued were returned. The Republicans led the way with returns at 72.2% while the Democrats were close behind at 68.9%. My wife and I vote absentee. We lost our polling station out on the Peninsula in 1995 when Humboldt County Elections Official Lindsey McWilliams made the decision that the Samoa/Finntown/Fairhaven communities did not have enough registered voters (We were under 250) to warrant a polling station.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Well. There you go! Predictions. By Marks!

I think my sources for the Eureka Council races were as close as you can get. I said Larry Glass would win by 4% and he won by 5%. I went on record that Mike Jones would win by 8% and won by 5%. I was off saying Ron Kuhnel would win by 2%. Jeff Leonard actually won by 1%. So I was within 3% on each of the races. Who else came that close? Nobody. My predictions for Arcata were driven by HSU polling and I had no real concrete pollsters doing that race. Alex Stillman and Dave Meserve were my picks and hopes. Mark Wheetley beat Dave by 5%. Hey, what can I say, I am more in tune with Eureka politics. And now we sit and what to see who Virginia Bass (My pick for Mayor obviously) will try to appoint to the Eureka City Council from the 2nd Ward. I would assume that person would have to be as moderate as they come to have a split Council accept any of Virginia's nominees. The fun is not over, it is just beginning!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Get Out And Vote!

No matter who you feel is the best candidate, be sure to express your right to vote. Remember your soldiers overseas risking their lives for our rights of Freedom. Remember all who practice and advocate free speech as our right of Freedom. What ever your belief, please vote. And then celebrate! Winners and losers! See you soon! Richard Marks, candidate for 1st District Assembly Seat 2008.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Predictions for Arcata/Eureka City Council races.

Just two days to go and I have heard enough scuttlebutt to give my two cents on the Humboldt major metropolis area council elections:


Alex Stillmann dominates with 35% of the vote. Am I the only one who remembers how radically Liberal she seemed in the 70’s? Thirty years later? Now, she is a middle of the road Democrat endorsed by the old guard. She gets the good old days vote.

Dave Meserve with 23% barely ekes by Mark Wheetley and Michael Winkler. Dave has not shied away from being High Profile on his personal beliefs on the war and this current administration. He is a brave leader. He helped my leading workers in the 90’s to better wages and working conditions not with words, but by action. I hope I am right.


Mike Jones is going to win by around 8%. Nan had a great crew out there for her cause. I am a personal friend of Mike, but I do sympathize with Nan’s cause for welfare to work people in the district. She is a 30 year union employee and I think she should have made this more public.

Larry Glass is going to sneak by Mary Beth by 4%. Larry has too many of us that have done business and have had positive experiences with him. I have seen signs and support from Republicans that know Larry! He is one of Eureka’s personalities that we all know. It was just a matter of time that he ran for public office. Yes, Larry is opinionated. But he likes dialogue from all sides. It is not a testimony against Mary Beth; it is just local history of Larry Glass.

Ron Kuhnel is going to pull a huge upset by 2%. Jeff Leonard was going to win this going away early in this campaign. OK. Ron is very smart. But he way personable also. And every person he talks to is walking testimony of his agenda. I really like Jeff and what he has done on the council, but he is running against a really good opponent.

And these are just projections from what I have heard. From Both sides of the political spectrum. Gripe after the election.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Arts Alive! Three days to go!

My wife and I went with friends to Arts Alive this Nov. 4th in old town. We saw tons of people. Robin and I continued our search for an art piece for our home that we feels personifies the North Coast. We agreed on three pieces at the 1st St Gallery just off the Gazebo. Two of them were NFS (Not For Sale) and the other was $5,000. Since we are middle class working Democrats, we will have to wait for the prints! My wife saw a piece at Flemmings Gallery for $650, but I was just not in agreement. I am more into bright colors with sharp contrasts (Jeff Jordan, Machado, Flatmo) and my wife is into more toned down acrylics. Our Quest continues. We saw Virginia Bass and Jeff Leonard on the Gazebo and of course Bonnie Neely. Bonnie was working a constant crowd around her even after 9pm. I did not see Nancy Flemming, but I am sure she was around. No Mike Jones anywhere? Jerry Droz? Tish Wilburne? Mary Beth Wolford? I said hi to Larry Glass who was sitting with Ron Kuhnel. Ron offered me food! Nan Abrams and Peter LaVallee were near by. One thing I noticed in common about all candidates? They all looked relieved that it was almost done. My hat is off to all for their time, effort and commitment to make our County a better place to live through public service! It is a thankless job and I hope that all candidates intentions are honorable! It was good evening. The weather was great!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Duane Flatmo. Essence of Humboldt County?

I had to work down in the Bakersfield Area doing Union Organizing for a few years. There were times that I became homesick for Humboldt County. I know it sounds kind of corny, but it helped me to go to the local Vons (Southern California's version of Safeway. Keep it union.) and see the Lost Coast Brewery products with Duane Flatmo's highly recognizable artwork. Brought me closer to good thoughts of hot wings and India Pale Ale on a rowdy Friday night at the Lost Coast restaurant. Duane Flatmo Sculpture Gallery Robin and I talked with Duane at Lost Coast recently about a possible purchase in the near future for our house. Just a side note; Eureka Mayor candidate Jerry Droz was arriving while Robin and I were leaving Lost Coast. He came over and said hello and made comment about my involvement with Virginia's campaign. But he was cordial.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bonnie Neely:Lean to the Left, Lean to the Right. Stand up Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight!

My hat is off to the reigning Queen of local politics, Bonnie Neely. How can you be supported by the liberal left wing faction of Humboldt County and then show up in a picture supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger. Times-Standard Online - Governor in town pushing Prop. 1B She also showed up to his campaign kick off at the Samoa Cookhouse on June 7th. Oh, yes, she also wrote an editorial on behalf of Arnold's great record. The same guy fighting prevailing wage. Yes the same Arnold cutting back on worker's compensation. California Building Trades Council - legislation & politics - schwarzenegger's workers' comp slashes disability payments And there is Bonnie smiling in the background. Wow. And everyone on the left just ignores her neo-con leanings. Yes, she supports Bush, Arnold and every right wing candidate and agenda. But she needs the Democrats to get elected. So she uses them. And they fall for it. Good grief!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bike and walking trails by train rails? Say it ain't so!

There was discussion today about rails and trails at the Citizens Port Development meeting today. I heard skepticism of the concept, but it is being done elsewhere. printer version : rails and trails : rails with trails Seems kind of crazy to me to put citizens in high risk peril situations with trains, but I am open to the idea if safety issues can be addressed. I think local trail advocates would just like the removal of the rail ties all together, as most people in the county have given up hope of future rail service. But if Proposition 1B is passed as is likely, there would be a chance to lobby for some of the windfall. Local rail advocate Moss Bittner says the time is now to contact all transportation related government entities and express the desire for monies to be earmarked for future Northern California rail development. So what are you waiting for? Get on the phone and call Spencer Clifton of the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCOAG). That's a good start.