Monday, June 30, 2008

First tsunami berm might be built in Fairhaven!



· WHEN: JULY 17, 2008 at 6 PM





The Samoa Peninsula Fire District Board of Directors will host an informational meeting at the time and place above to discuss and hear comments about the possibility of a tsunami evacuation site, community septic system, and a new fire station above tsunami flood zones. This informational meeting is focused for the community of Fairhaven. All residents of Fairhaven are encouraged to attend. All Samoa Peninsula residents invited.

What is being proposed is an artificial hill that may have a fire station built on top and a sewage system nearby. For more info, come to the meeting. This would be a pilot project. The first of it's kind in the U.S.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Humboldt County Mental Health has 100 "temporary" workers with no benefits. County Supervisors highest paid in state!

Yes, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors (BOS) are the highest paid per capita (by nearly $30,000 a year) in the state of California at $72,000+ per year. Oh, by the way, they voted themselves a huge raise on top of that recently. How does the average employee for the County do?

The disparity is stunning.

Let's take a look at the Mental Health department as an example. 100 workers are on payroll as "temporary" workers. Many of these are working for less than $10 an hour with no benefits or worker rights! With college degrees! And guess what, many of these workers are eligible for Social Services doled out by the county. But if you talk with most employees, they will tell you where there is waste in their work place from outside contractors that are ignored by superiors in each department. And this theme is continued in other county departments. There needs to be communication and accountability from the BOS through the lowest paid workers. Not happening now.

How can we justify paying our County Supervisors nearly twice as much as counties our size? We can't.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court allows state monies to be used by companies to fight union organizing! This makes me so angry!

Supreme Court strikes down California law on unions. Basically letting companies that receive state funding use those tax payer monies for anti-union campaigns! Unbelievable. And all under the guise of free speech!

I have been in the trenches as a labor organizer and have witnessed the off balance process of workers trying to become union. The company has all of the advantages and this is going to be yet another step for workers to climb. I had an organizing campaign in Bakersfield at a plant called Dopaco. There were 160 workers there. The company held anti union one on one meeting with the workers to intimidate them individually. Then they would have group meetings and have the Human Resource person conjure up tears (Not kidding) and a bogus story of how a bad union affected their family. They had management do a buffet breakfast at the plant with supervisors dishing up food. They literally shut down production to talk to the workers as a group! Then a BBQ on the premises with Mariachi band and blow up playground for employees kids. The company put out shirts to wear on the floor expressing their non-union stance. Then at the end, a movie about union strikes. Literature was passed out at work along the way demonizing all aspects of unions. Promises of better care were made. And of course, they also focused on the big bad union salesman, me. If I was just a plant worker just like them, how come Mr. Marks make so much money? (I think I was at $63,000 a year then and living in motel rooms.)

By the time all was said and done, Dopaco spent around 1.6 million to keep the employees non union. They could have written each worker a check of $10,000! The funny thing is, a little over a year later, I was called back for a second attempt since the company did not keep their promises. That story is for later.

Operation Southern Sweep recovery plan.

I thought this was funny in the TS back page with the story on the pot raids, there is ad placement for you, Humboldt Hydroponics. So you can get those replacement gardens up and growing!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bob Service is the "Comeback Kid" upsets Jake Pickering in final vote tally. HCDCC undefeated for June Election 2008!

The Humboldt County Election office announced their final figures for the June 3rd Election. ELECTION RESULTS Bob Service was trailing Jake Pickering for a 4th District seat on the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) by 4 votes before the final tallies. After all is said and done, Bob won by 14 votes! So that means the HCDCC endorsed 9 candidates this June and 8 won with one pending in November! The last 2 elections the HCDCC has endorsed 16 candidates and 15 have won outright! Fennell is still pending. Congratulations to all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tomaso's Blue Lake Wood Bat Champions!

The City of Blue Lake hosts the Sunday Wood Bat League each year. It is a great competitive league that had a huge waiting list this year. I play for Tomaso's Specialty. Our team was the #1 seed this year going into the League Championship Tournament based on our league best 9-1 record. Only 4 teams play in the tournament, so we faced the #4 seed Breakers. They came out and beat us 10-5 to knock us in the losers bracket. We won our next game 4-1 against FB to gain another shot at the Breakers. We squeaked by 2-1 to reach the finals against the Hey Juan Barnstormers. We snuck by them the first game 4-3 to force a do or die championship game. It was a great defensive battle, and we prevailed 3-1. It is Tomaso's 6th championship in the last 7 years! Not too shabby.

Here is the age breakdown of our team: Chuck Kirsher, Tom Pagano, Steve and myself over 50. Chris Pence, Erik, Alan Schmidt, Doug Small, Dave Rhodes and Greg Alora 40's. Jerome Holbrook and Toye Johnson around 30 and Jackson Kirsher and Kris Avelar in their 20's. Over half our team at least in their 40's and still winning! Got to love Wood Bat. Evens the playing field.

Next Tournament in Weaverville July 4th, 5th and 6th.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paper vs. Plastic again.

Let me preface my argument for paper over plastic by letting you all know that Robin and I recycle both paper and plastic. Our paper is done at the curb and our plastic is taken to Safeway.

If you do not recycle, I suggest you ask for paper. There are arguments on both side, and if you have time, please check out this information piece: Battle of the Bags: Paper vs. Plastic- Very well done. My biggest complaint against plastic is the 100,000 animals that die each year from plastic litter. And, did you know that 14 plastic bags contain enough petroleum to drive a car a mile? Can't we come up with technology to convert the bags back into usable energy? Also, the non biodegradable factor is a huge consideration. I realize it takes more energy to make paper, but I believe we can do better. One thing that could be done more environmentally conscience, is using only recycled paper and Hardwood pulp from regenerating Eucalyptus tree farms. This idea was brought up by Simpson years back when they had the Shasta Pulp mill in Anderson. They bought land around Red Bluff off of I5 to do just that. You can harvest the tree and the stump will just grow a new tree. The trees are still just sitting there to this day. Other states also need to mandate pollution control standards, like the ones we see in California. If Evergreen Pulp can make environmentally safe pulp without the use of dioxins, others should too. (Evergreen is the only pulp mill in North America without dioxins. European pulp mills in Scandinavian countries are also "Chlorine free.")

Just for the record, Robin and I do have reusable carry bags that I always seem to forget when I go to the store. Reusable Bags :: Reusable Grocery Bags. This, of course, is the best way to help the environment.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We need serious Immigration reform.

Sun Valley Floral Farms let go of 283 undocumented workers today after receiving a letter from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week indicating that the employees — from flower pickers to management-level staff — were not eligible for employment in the United States.

I had just led around 700 workers at Dart Container in Corona California through the National Labor Relations Board NLRB process of becoming a union bargaining committee in 2002. Mostly Latino workers. It was their right through the National Labor Relations Act to organize without the fear of reprisal regardless of their immigration status. They were successful in their campaign and I was blessed to lead the largest manufacturing union victory in the nation in a decade.

Word got around in the Latino community and I was contacted about organizing an manufacturing outfit of 500 workers in Moreno Valley called Thor Industries that made recreational vehicles. I and Corona Latino workers from Dart had meetings with workers to lead them through the process of becoming union. When we were in the process of having union authorization cards signed, the Thor company decided to use the immigration hammer. They told all workers to bring in their "green" cards on a Monday to prove their US residence. Hundreds of workers were now out of a job, and their only recourse was to have me lead them through the process of protection through the NLRB. How many of those workers out of 500 do you think stepped forward to testify against Thor? You guessed right, 0.

The process is uneven and unfair.

Sun Valley President and CEO Lane DeVries met with his entire staff this afternoon and shared the “shocking” news with them. In a phone conversation today, DeVries described the meeting as “heart-warming and frustrating.”

As for the 283 workers who are now jobless, he said, “It really stinks. It’s a raw deal. It’s very sad for everyone. These people bought houses, bought cars, spent money at the Bayshore Mall. This is not good for this community.”

And it’s bad news for Sun Valley too. “The heart and the soul of our team is getting ripped out,” he said. “The heart and soul of our company is no longer with us.

Some of the workers who were let go today had been with Sun Valley for 17 years, DeVries said.

Mario Meza, general manager of Spanish-language radio station KNCR in Fortuna, told the Journal today that he has received a steady stream of calls from anonymous community members about the layoffs since last Friday .

I know there are many in the community who feel these workers are getting what they deserve. But when you are talking about workers with nearly 20 years of service and above the board citizens contributing taxes in the form of Social Security and Federal and State Taxes for nearly 20 years. Shouldn't we have an amnesty program in place for those? Just a bad situation.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Xochitl's Quinceañera this June 21st!

Mi mejor amigo Ed Fregoso's daughter Xochitl is celebrating Mis Quice Años. It is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating a young women's 15th birthday. For you readers who know Ed, I am passing on an open invitation for you all to come celebrate! Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church 2585 Myrtle Avenue at 1pm Saturday June 21st. A reception will follow at the Warfinger from 3pm until way late. There will be music throughout the evening with Xochitl's favorite DJ leading off, then a Mariachi band, and more assorted music into the night.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Election June 2008 Redux

Oh, come on now. I was close on most.

Thompson vs. Clogg- I thought there was a movement of discontent. I was way off. Democrats in the First love Mike. By nearly 90%. Keep on keeping on Mike.

In the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee race in the 4th District, Charlene Cutler-Ploss garnered over 90% of the votes her way. I was fortunate to have nearly 89% of the people in the fourth district blot my name. Pam Service had 88% of the Demos vote. Jake Pickering was the first choice on the ballot and had 68% of the Demos votes. He was able to edge Bob Service by 4 votes. Ouch. I hope that Jake is able to provide 10% of the work that Bob has provided for the cause of the Democratic Party. Bob has been invaluable in the Democratic process locally. Jake. Better be ready to put some substance behind those words!

1St Distrct- Jimmy was spot on.
2nd.District- Clif over Estelle. Oops.
3rd-District-Mark Lovelace easily.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fearless Prediction June 3rd, 2008!

Here are my fearless predictions for Tomorrow’s election starting from the top:

United States Representative First District

Mike Thompson 65%
Mitchell Clogg 35%

Mike is a conservative “blue dog” Democrat who has been vocal against the war and is active in supporting worker legislation. I collected signatures to put him on the ballot for congress when he first ran and have donated to his campaign. I also have a 1995 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve bottle of Mike Thompson wine, so I am kinda beholden to him. Mr. Clogg did not present himself as a viable candidate.

State Assembly Member First District

Wesley Chesbro 95%

No competition in the primaries. Sweet. Wes has been on the state Senate, so as Patty Berg playfully jokes, “he knows where the bathrooms are!”

Democratic Central Committee Fourth District

Pam Service 23%
Bob Service 23%
Charlene Cutler-Ploss 22%
Jake Pickering 16%
Richard Marks 16%

Four will win. Jake has the best set up on the ballot. He is the first listed and his listing as a Social Worker is bound to help in a Democratic primary. Pam and Bob are listed next. I am number four on the ballot with Charlene listed last. Pam, Bob, Charlene and I have been going door to door passing out information. This is the first time in years that the Fourth District Democratic Committee has had an election. The Third District had an election in 2006 with Milt Boyd, Barbara Carolan, Sheryl Esparza, Chris Beresford and Shannon Gillespie winning and Jake Pickering in sixth. Obviously he has moved to a new resident in the Fourth.

Non Partisan Offices

Superior Court Judge

Joyce Hinrichs 95%

Nice to have no challengers. Joyce is a great pick regardless.

1st Supervisor District

Jimmy Smith 60%
John Vevoda 39%
Tracey Wells 1%

Jimmy Smith is a good man who does his best in helping constituents. He does not play partisan politics and has supporters from both side of the political spectrum. And let me tell you, he won the sign wars by a mile in the Northern portion of the district. John Vevoda didn’t leave much in his interviews to leave you wanting more. Didn’t seem up on county issues. Tracey is running some sort of stealth write in campaign. Only seen one sign. Anyone know what is up with that?

2nd Supervisor District

Johanna Rodoni 45%
Estelle Fennell 30%
Clif Clendenen 25%

Yes, I am calling it like it is regardless of Roger’s name being on the ballot. This is going to a run off. Estelle still has a big job turning Fortuna votes her way. This could be Clif’s in November.

3rd Supervisor District

Mark Lovelace 50.5%
Bryan Plumley 35%
Paul Pitino 14.5%

This should end this election. Bryan seems nice enough, but his backing by many conservatives is kind of scary. His campaign has been kind of spotty, but they have been able to get his name out there pretty good. His web site lists Dan Collen and Mike Pigg as Trustees of the Arcata Unified School District. Huh? I thought they were Trustees with my wife on the Northern Humboldt Union High School District. That includes McKinleyville High and 5 other community schools. Sloppy. And of course I am concerned that Bryan wants to keep his day time job besides serving on the BOS. $79,000 part time job? Paul is a great guy with good ideas, but he does not stand a chance without actually electioneering. Mark has my support.