Saturday, May 31, 2008

BOS plays duck and cover-up! Claims ignorance in raise.

I contacted Jessie Faulkner of the TS concerning claims by some of the BOS members and county staff that they had not voted themselves a raise and they were claiming the TS "blew" the story. - Times-Standard Online Jessie got right on it and here you go. John Woolley and Jimmy Smith did not realize they were part of a pay raise they voted for even though Mckinleyville resident David Elsebush sternly chastised them during the public comment session.

County Administrative Officer Loretta Nickolaus said the matter can be confusing.
”It's complicated,” Nickolaus said, “Nothing is easy in our process.” Huh? It is Loretta's job to inform the Supes of what they are voting on so there is no "confusion." But John and Jimmy have been there long enough to know. Geist, and Bonnie knew and they voted for that raise willingly. Johanna Rodoni knew full well what she was voting for. But instead of voting her concience, she said ”I was concerned, it was my second meeting and it put me in an awkward situation.”

So the question is, did Jimmy and John really understand the process but are now blowing with the polical winds, or were they just asleep at the helm.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Humboldt BOS vote themselves huge raise again! Highest paid BOS per capita in California! "Let them eat cake!"

Supervisors spread raises around, including to themselves $79,128! Oh, come on now. Doesn’t this raise seem excessive to anyone else? Here is something to remember…….

With Smith’s nomination of Woolley as Chair and Neely as Vice Chair, the Board voted unanimously for its new leadership team for 2006. The vote was similarly lopsided in support of ratifying the previously agreed-to pay raises for Supervisors, whose pay was already set to increase from $60,688.14 to $69,665.48. The Board voted 5-0 for a package to retroactively raise their salary to $71,755.44 as of Nov. 6, with subsequent raises to $72,472.99 on June 4, $73,922.45 on July 8 and $74,661.67 on July 8, 2007. Supervisors also ratified continuing the bonus for any who have served continuously for 20 year………

So from 2005 to now, the BOS is actualizing a raise of nearly $20,000 per year? And Bonnie Neely receives a special bonus because she has served over 22 years as Supervisor? Maybe I am missing something. Maybe Humboldt County is rolling in dough that I don’t know about. How do we compare to other counties of like size? Glad you asked, check this out:

County--------------Supervisors Pay------------County Population

Placer......................$30,000.......................333,401
San Luis Obispo.........$79,014.......................269,337
El Dorado.................$76,876.......................180,000
Shasta.....................$54,600......................182,000
Imperial....................$50,000.....................176,158
Humboldt..................$79,128.......................133,000
Nevada....................$39,500........................99,186
Sutter......................$36,192........................95,878
Tehama....................$19,080........................62,419
Del Norte....................$28,080.......................29,419
Trinity......................$25,008 ......................13,966

Humboldt also leads Tuolumne, San Benito, Yuba, Lake, Madera, Napa…….the list goes on. We have the highest paid County Supervisors of any California counties anywhere near our population size. By an average of over a whooping $30,000 a year!

And for this price we are actualizing for no growth? And our cost of living index in Humboldt County is 14.3% higher than the national average? And we are nearly 1% higher in unemployment rate?

Need I remind everyone of the Tammy Falor $200,000 give away? And just how much did the redevelopment fiasco cost us taxpayers? Oh the millions that are wasted without accountability. And then they vote themselves a raise........good grief!

Addendum: The wage for a BOS member should not exceed double the average median wage for an employee in the district. So, since the average median single wage in Humboldt County is around $26,000, the wage for a Humboldt County Supervisor should be $52,000 a year. If the argument came up that you could not recruit quality people to run for the position at that rate, ask them. I bet all the current supervisors and candidates would willingly do so. They would be making more than their sister counties. Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

50 month Guarantee my buttocks! Read the fine print!

I needed my truck the other day to move garbage, so I went to the garage to start my 1985 Ford Ranger. My battery was dead. Been over a month since I last started it. So I plugged in my handy dandy jumper box and jump started my rig. I then drove it around the peninsula to charge my battery. I parked it near our house and a few hours later I tried to move it. The battery was dead once more. So I figured the battery was not charging, hence, it was dead. But lo and behold, I had the guarantee in my glove box intact! I read the guarantee and it said the battery was good for 50 months and I checked the purchase date and seen I had bought the battery at Les Schwab 48 months ago! Sweet! I would get a new battery! I left the battery for a check in the morning and came back a little over an hour later. They confirmed it had bit the dust. Then I was informed that if I look at the warranty provisions, I would only get a replacement if the battery failed within 12 months. After that, the prorated percentage of time used would be discounted for a new purchase. So, since my battery lasted 48 months out of the 50 months they guaranteed, I would only get a 4% discount on a new battery. Damn. Should have read the fine print. So those 50 and 60 month printed guarantees on a battery should be well read!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wolfe Construction wins again. This tournament was a rain fest.

Weaverville-Jacob Kadle and Dan Nored hit back to back home runs in the 6th inning leading Ray Wolfe Construction of Arcata to a 19-8 victory over TMSA of Redding in the Championship game of the Weaverville Memorial Weekend Softball Invitational. Richard McKinnon went 2-3 with a home run for TMSA. The Nugget Restaurant from Weaverville placed 3rd and Unagi of Yreka finished 4th.

Mike Dobrec of Wolfe was named the Most Valuable Player and teammate Jacob Kadle was chosen Most Valuable Pitcher. Other all tournaments picks were, Dan Nored and David Ferres from Wolfe, Mike Taylor, Hank Penland and George Robertson of team TMSA, Todd Canfield and Jeff Malloy from the Nugget Restaurant and Justin Gerding of Unagi.

The next Weaverville men’s softball tournament will be July 4th, 5th and 6th at Lowden Park. Contact Richard Marks at 707-445-3432 or check out SoftballTournaments.com.


A few months ago Weaverville/Douglas City Parks and Recreation director Kelly Jackson contacted me with some bad/good news. Lowden park in Weaverville would not be available for tournaments in 2008 due to field renovations. I considered other venues in Trinity County and had pretty much decided to let teams know there would not be any tournaments there this year.

I probably should have left it at that, but Kelly called me back and informed me that the Chamber of Commerce was up in arms and wanted the field in working order so they could retain the revenue the tournament generates for Trinity County merchants. (Motels, restaurants, stores etc.) So I went ahead and called teams back and on was the Memorial Weekend softball.

Now the obstacles started to mount.......I had one full day off of work between May 1st and May 24th. Almost all of my shifts were 12 hours or more, and lo and behold I was scheduled for the 24th and 25th also! I was able to force my way into those days off, but then the weather reports that I had been checking out and said clear weather all week all the sudden were showing chances of rain! I went to pick up softballs from Sport and Cycle and they were out! So they had to order more from Fortuna. The awards that I ordered from Sports World were ordered at last minute and Robin had to pick them up since I had to work all days. People from here gave me reports that renovation at Lowden Park in Weaverville had left the field almost unplayable. I told teams it is what it is, and I would not be there until Friday night to evaluate. When I arrived, they were right. It was in terrible shape. Kelly and her husband Jack said they would be there in the morning with the tractor to drag the infield. Robin and I put the snack bar stuff in the snack shack, and Kelly wanted to show me how to work the new Field light and electrical system. When she went to turn the lights off after she had turned them on, it went POOF! The main breaker bit the dust. All power at the ball field was knocked out. So no lights, no refrigerator, no power for food preparation, no score board. Not good. So we canceled the snack bar and the Home Run contest to make sure to not play in the lights. Then we went to our motel room and sure enough, it started raining. I had checked out ACCUWEATHER for an hourly update and it showed only a few hours of rain. Well, they were wrong. It poured. I went to the ball park early in the morning and the field was soaked and muddy. No way to drag it with a tractor, so I did it with help from Billy Sines and Sam Jasker by hand. Lots of Kitty Litter was used to soak puddles. I had to alter the field dimensions to safely play the third base area and fend off the teams wanting to relocate the tournament to the high school, whose fields were wet also. My stress level was tested, but I have held enough of these events to stick to my intuition.

In the end, all had fun playing a highly competitive tournament. I may have actually break even money wise. Some of the snack bar items will be used at the 4th of July Tournament. Oh well, the drama and challenge of directing the event sometimes is the reason I even do this to myself. I do know all that were there will be talking about this for years.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eureka Democrats! Please vote for Bob and Pam Service and Charlene Cutler-Ploss for HCDCC!

Democrats in the 4th District (Greater Eureka, Myrtletown, Samoa, Finntown and Fairhaven) will have 5 Democrats to choose from for the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee. I am endorsing Bob and Pam Service and Charlene Cutler Ploss who are incumbents. I have personally witnessed their commitment to the committee and have no reservations attesting to their involvement. I am also running for a position but will admit the three I am endorsing have done more for the committee than I have. I have door knocked and passed out literature on the Peninsula and Myrtletown about each of our qualifications.

In an election like this many voters will be confused what the elected HCDCC positions are, ballot placement is very important. The official Humboldt County Ballot lists Jack Pickering first, Pam Service Second, Bob Service Third, Richard Marks Fourth and Charlene Cutler-Ploss Fifth.

I have nothing against Jake Pickering and admire his steadfastness of his opinions, but I am asking the voters of the Fourth to consider Bob and Pam Service and Charlene Cutler Ploss first and then choose between Jake Pickering and myself for the fourth spot. Kind of weird endorsement I admit. But it is unusual for there to be an election for this position on the ballot.

Softball in Weaverville this weekend!

TMSA from Redding will face The Nugget Restaurant at 9:30am Saturday to kick off this years tournament. Unagi of Yreka and Wolfe are up at 10:35am. Farfumpuken of Eureka squares off with Mt. Thunder of Fall River at 11:40am then SAC will face the winner of game one at 12:45pm. Home Run contest at 6pm. Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bush saves Polar Bears from Mike Thompson!

Polar bear put on endangered list. Thank God for a little common sense. I do not support the idea of killing just for sport or trophy bagging. Why Congressman Thompson voted to continue allowing American hunters to import the heads and hides of polar bears killed in Canada is beyond my comprehension. House votes to allow import of trophies from polar bear hunts And none of his supporters have given me a decent explanation. Many of his die hard fans do not even realize he voted for the continuation of the killing of polar bears while the process was in place to put the bears on the endangered list! Check out his polar bear hunting Campaign vote.

I do realize that Mike has done good things for our District and I agree with most of his stances such as his vote to withdraw from Iraq, his support of the Employee Free Choice Act, his calling for the impeachment of Cheney and his vote to ban waterboarding.

But I do take exception of his vote to increase pesticide poisoning of corn crops used for ethanol, and his vote for the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act [H.R. 4351] which would lower taxes on the highest income Americans and his aggressive nature to argue angrily with protesters or anyone who do not see things "Mike's" way, instead of trading dialogue peacefully.

With that said, I read Mitch Clogg: How I differ from Mike Thompson article today in the TS. This guy is a writer? Wow. He said pretty much nothing. His web site Mitch Clogg for Congress was a mess. His blog was not much better. Clogg Blog

Doesn't leave much choice for us democrats this year.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Man down. Do you save him? Tough question.

We had a safety meeting recently to go over our current Lock Out Tag Out procedure and Confined Space procedures due to our upcoming shutdown. Pulp mill to shut for upgrades. Years back we had an operator become overwhelmed by I think chlorine gas fumes and he passed out in a tank. Another operator went in the tank without safety gear and pulled him to safety, saving his life, but he endangered himself. The hero was publicly reprimanded, and Louisiana Pacific subjected all the workers to a funky corny video of workers passing out in a tank and then fellow workers passing out one by one trying to save them. That is just a tough situation to be in. There is a risk analysis assessment that has to be faced within seconds. I just hope and pray all 500 plus workers will be safe this shutdown.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Job well done HDVS. Plumley part time Supervisor?

I had just worked 28 out of 36 hours and was facing another 12 hour shift when I headed to the Warfinger to help for set-up for the HDVS: Humboldt Domestic Violence Services "Rising from the Ashes" fundraiser. I saw all that food and drink and thought we had way too much. I helped dish up some food before I had to leave for work and the line was backed out the door! Hundreds of people showed up and I heard the music was great! This event was put together quickly by the resource committee and my hats off to all of them. Too bad I had to be a party pooper and go to work. Or maybe that is why everyone showed up, they knew I wouldn't be there!

I watched the 3rd District KEET debate last night. Paul Pitino did a good job and his ideology is touching, but I just don't think he has a chance without standard electioneering. Mark Lovelace did a great job of answering the questions looking straight into the camera and not checking his notes. (It is harder than you can imagine.) It was touching and telling to hear his largest campaign donor was his sister at $2,000. Grass roots campaigning. Bryan Plumley made some good points and almost came across as the liberal of the bunch, using "progressive" and "environmental" when needed. It was interesting to hear that he would stay employed as a financial advisor. The BOS job is not part time. When you are paid over $70,000 by your constituents in a county that has a median salary of around $25,000, you better be available full time! It also did surprise me when he said he was not sure who his largest campaign contributors were. Hmmm.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Weaverville Memorial Weekend Tournament May 24th and 25th.

You softballers out there be on alert! The Weaverville Memorial Weekend softball tournament is just around the corner, May 24th and 25th. If you are interested in putting a team in, call me or e-mail me. Even if you don't have a team but are interested in playing, give me a buzz.

This weekend is the start of the Blue Lake woodbat league. Games are played on Sundays if you want to stop on by to check it out.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Overtime season is upon us.

I am working on a stretch of 15 days where I will be working over 160 hours. Lots of overtime obviously. I really don't mind that much, but it does start to wear a person out. Monday and Tuesday I had basketball games in the Eureka City Park league and then today I had a union meeting to chair and then a Samoa Fire District Board meeting AFTER work. The reason for the glut of overtime is people trying to take the last of their vacations and days off before the start of our contractual new year in June. I will probably have nearly 100 hours of OT for the month of May, and that includes me taking a week off for vacation!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chevron announces over 5 billion dollar profit.

Chevron's 1Q profit of $5.17B marks Big Oil's latest gusher. And they just explain away. Give me a break. I have just become a cynic. Exxon Mobil Profit Sets Record Again But they have great excuses how they just so happened on this money.