Saturday, June 30, 2007

Redding and Chico most affordable.

Over 35% of the people in Chico can afford to buy a house and over 27% of Redding residents. That is according to new affordability index reports. What are we over here in Eureka? 12%? I wonder why the huge disparity. Check out

Friday, June 29, 2007

Paris Hilton to buy an i-phone?

TG Daily - Is the iPhone the Paris Hilton of phones? Who cares? Many obviously. Hilton opens up on drugs, jail and God -

Are Americans just this shallow to care this much about an elitist socialite? Maybe I am missing something here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tsunami drill on the sand hill.

The resident Samoa sand dwellers had a tsunami drill that was covered by media nation wide as the first ever for California. The USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times covered the event. I took "Smokey," our 8 year old 12 pound Pomeranian to the drill and he had issues with all the other dogs there.

The turn out for the neighborhood was fantastic. It will be interesting to see how the media plays it. BOS members Bonnie Neely and Jim Smith were there to evaluate the process. Mr. Smith said he was hoping to have the same type of drill for King Salmon and Fields Landing constituents.

Mary Beth Wolford was there and participated with other Peninsula School district employees in walking the emergency evacuation area.

We passed on the Samoa Cookhouse meal afterward, as we have participated plenty on that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

$45 dump run. And prices go up in July. Garbage profiling in Humboldt County?

I recently had a renter move out of a house Robin and I own in Henderson Center. They left "stuff" that needed to be hauled to the dump. We made a dump run with our old 85' Ranger. It is pretty small, but we managed to have $45 dollars worth of junk in the truck! And soon prices are going up, so if you need to get rid of stuff, do it by July 1st!

Speaking of peoples garbage. Here awhile back Robin had some things she wanted to take to the old Salvation Army. She used the Ranger and they turned some of her stuff away. She went on another Salvation Army run with her PT Cruiser and they came out to the car to help her unload. Economic Profiling or Garbage Profiling in Humboldt County? Say it ain't so!

Tsunami Mania! Drill for sand dwellers.

Tsunami means "Harbor Wave." Tsunami - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia You would think they would use another name to describe it. How about "Big Wave?" Any better suggestions?

The people in Sand Land have been well informed of the drill and are expected to participate. It should be pretty interesting to see what happens.

The Eureka Reporter - Article & Times-Standard Online - Tsunami drill another Humboldt first

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Dynasty takes a fall. Tomaso's Softball.

Yesterday I was corrected that the Tomaso's Softball squad had won 5 straight Blue Lake wood bat titles. We were in the hunt for number 6. We were undefeated in the Championship Tournament and had to be beat twice to be dethroned. The Bombers of Arcata did just that, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 7th inning in a great softball game at sunny Blue Lake. No championship T-shirt this year. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mary Beth Wolford hired as Superintendent/Principal of Peninsula Union School District!

Mary Beth is taking over our humble school district at Samoa! I see this as great news. She had experience galore, and will hopefully shepherd in a new era of expansion here on the peninsula. We have huge room for growth here in Samoa and Fairhaven with potential projects on the table. Hopefully many new young couples will be raising their children here on the sand! I will help Mary Beth in many volunteer capacities and am really happy she will be here! Good news!

(Update: I guess my blog was read by local media, and they called Mary Beth for the news. The Eureka Reporter - Article Times-Standard Online - Former councilwoman takes school post

I love the part about her wanting to repair the Ball Field. And guess what? Today a Danco crew was at it working on the field! Good things happening. And we need good news here in Sand Land!)

Monday, June 18, 2007

What is your sign?

The other day I stopped at the light at 4th and Samoa Blvd. A usual solicitor had his cardboard sign up, but it was different than most days. It said "FU" but spelled it out. I wondered what his real message was for the day. Maybe just a Bad Life Day? If I was to just make a sign up and sit at this corner as a message that I would want to convey, what would I do? My favorite is "United we Bargain, Divided we Beg!"

And isn't that the truth? I have witnessed the power of collective bargaining. And it is good for the workers.

The Chronicle has a great story this weekend about the IWW Industrial Workers of the World One Big Union !ong history. Historian completes a labor of love -- 'The Big Red Songbook' The Local Joe Hill Band and other labor bands are about as progressive as you will find.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

College of the Redwoods still unfair to labor.

I filed charges back in October against College of the Redwoods for stopping an organizing attempt by the cafeteria workers by firing the lead organizer. Reporter Cerena Johnson did the right thing and interviewed the worker in question instead of just questioning me on the subject. If you decide to organize your workplace, you are protected by law to do concerted activity without the fear of reprisal. The National Labor Relations Act NLRB :: National Labor Relations Board protects your right. In the public schools sector your rights are protected by the PERB. Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) But it is a long drawn out process, and the college school systems have lots of Lawyers who deal with these cases everyday. It was my first experience as an organizer filing charges with the PERB. Lesson learned. It was more of a he said-she said case than fact finding mission. I kept filing proof, and they systematically ignored testimony and physical evidence. Luckily the worker is employed elsewhere. The Eureka Reporter - Article

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Great day for celebration in Humboldt County.

The Oyster festival was in full display today. Many people and lots of food and drink. (Loved the Oyster call of the lady from Kansas calling in the Rocky Mountain Oysters, and the Madonna impersonator (Shucked for the very first time!) I really enjoyed the Earl Thomas band. He is just great entertainment. He called the youth of Humboldt "Saplings.". A Humboldt County Jewel. Saw Chris Kerrigan enjoying the Arcata crowd. Thousands of wind blown attendees.

Robin and I then went to Blue Lake to be at Al Clark's 50th birthday party. Al and I have have been either playing against or playing softball with each other for years. Al owns Blackberry Bramble Barbecue and Catering and Blue Lake Video for many years. Hundreds of eclectic personalities were there and Al jammed with harmonica with some of the bands that were there.

The first band was the Fickle Hillbillies. This was a great band with old time organ sounds and a Grateful Dead type rhythm. Very enjoyable easy to listen stuff. Just nice to hear.

The second Band was Riverside Blues Band and they started set with old Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Then they finished their set with Blues. A very young band. Very fun to watch.

The third band was the Rubber Neckers. They seemed to have the most people dancing and rowdy, but I just could not get whether they were Indie/Punk/Loud/Alternative/Noisy. They were all over the place to me. Energetic? Yes. Scattered? I thought.

The closing band at the party was Kulica. They were just awesome. Some young girl all of about 11 years old sung "All along the Watchtower," kind of weird, but she was great! The whole set was classic Kulica. Robin and I own a couple of their recordings.

Happy Birthday Al! What a great party.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Time for a new vehicle.

Currently my wife and I own a 2002 PT Cruiser with around 110,000 miles, a 1998 Mercury Tracer with around 210,000 miles and a 1985 Ford Ranger with about 176,000 miles. It is time for me to probably purchase a new rig. I have had my eye on the Dodge 1500 truck for a while or a Toyota Prius. I have always been pretty much a US car person, but we have come to a time where Fords and Dodge vehicles are made in Mexico and Toyota builds in Fremont California. Anyone out there know much about the Prius? What is the best car on the road currently?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Roadkill and Tomaso softball!

This is the first year I have been eligible to play seniors league softball. Steve Harris and I decided to help the Humboldt Classic Softball League by forming a new team. The Operating Engineers/Mercer Fraser/Samoa Athletics and Steve Harris are sponsoring the team. Team Roadkill is 0-6 to start the season. We have had one game where we were up by 7 runs and lost and then we were up by 6 and lost. We have had more hamstring/quads/groin pulls than I thought humanly possible. But! It is all in fun!

Tomaso's woodbat team in Blue lake has won the last 3 championships but are in trouble this year. A 5-3 record will put us in the middle of the pack. But again, all in fun.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Slime Ball Dole Corporation hires illegal aliens and hides behind legal Loop Holes!

Yes, there is a sweep going on in America against illegal immigrants who have been actively producing to our global and national economy for years. How does a manufacturing plant of 600 only able to account of 48 workers being legal citizens? - Immigration Officials Arrest 100 Illegal Workers in Raid on Oregon Food Plant - Local News News Articles Na... Oh, and they put their hands up in shock, saying they did not hire them, but hired an outside hiring agency to take responsibility. Weak! Corporations need to take in the responsibility as well as the profits!

This is a common practice and I have had working experience in trying to organize places just like this all over the west coast. It puts labor at a terrible disadvantage. Workers just want to work, and then are oppressed by the legal system and have no recourse when they are violated against wage and benefit wise by greedy corporations.

Locally the TS does a good job on showing how these topic affects Humboldt County. Times-Standard Online - Immigration sweep stuns Fortuna No matter how you feel on this subject, it is a humanist look the problem. And it touches all of us north of the border.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chesbro vs Marks? Unions jumping the gun?

It seems that Wesley Chesbro will be announcing his candidacy for 1st District Assemblyman on June 21st at the Labor Temple. His campaign sent out slick invitations to select labor organizations asking for their endorsement/active support and attendance at his reception. I am sure he will be asking all the leaders for a picture photo op to show their backing. This is way before any labor organizations have sent invitations to prospective candidates to interview for union endorsement consideration. I hope local union representatives will hold off on making official announcements until all candidates are identified and interviewed.

Of course rumor has been out there on the labor scene of my potential candidacy for 1st District Assembly position. I ran unsuccessfully for the position in 1995, but had the most cost effective campaign during the election cycle that particular primary. I have been offered help from all political corners if I decide to challenge Mr. Chesbro. I have not made an official announcement one way or the other, and realize that it would be an uphill battle. But I would like to bring up topics near and dear to my heart locally, and it is a great public forum. Put up or shut up, and I am not good at the second.

I do have concern as a union member and union organizer of Mr. Chesbro’s record with labor. At the pulp mill over the years we have had labor and corporate issues that have been high profile over the years. I do not remember Wesley stepping up as a local leader from his County Supervisor seat or from his seat on the State Senate concerning over 200 prime paying jobs at the mill. I never heard a word of encouragement or acknowledgement of organizing success out at the Louisiana Pacific Chip facility or his support of the hundreds of Carpenter’s Western Council of Industrial Workers who lost their employment through labor actions and attrition. In his own Arcata based area the workers at Arcata Particleboard numbering 150 at the time were given no words of encouragement by Wesley’s office when I attempted to organize them. What exactly has Wesley done for labor?

Here is a quote that I will let you all guess who said it. I will give you a hint that he was a president of a labor organization: “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

Monday, June 11, 2007

Local leaders take action!

I sure was glad to hear positive results of lobbying done by local officials. Times-Standard Online - Trip to Capitol nets funds for Willits Bypass

Another action that is expected by the BOS tomorrow is the consideration of authorizing a letter of support for a motion by Pacific Lumber Co. calling for bankruptcy court authorization to pay severance packages promised to workers whose jobs were eliminated in December 2006. The Eureka Reporter - Article This should happen without a problem.

Now if you asked the BOS to be critical of PL's labor practices or timber harvest practices it would be a different story. Then you would have a collusion issue. PL has given plenty of campaign support to more than one member of the Board of Supervisors. That is why, in an ideal world, politicians would be better served to not accept corporate dollars. But then again, in the real world, it is hard to be a viable candidate without corporate funds.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Patrick Riggs steps down as HCDCC chair!

Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee HCDCC - Welcome to the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee chair Patrick Riggs is stepping down to focus on his duties as President of the Eureka Teachers Association.

Patrick has been heavily involved locally on the political front with the Local Solutions Political Action Committee

As some of you already know, Patrick and I have not seen eye to eye on some issues in the past, but we seemed to have come to an understanding as of late. He supported my appointment to the HCDCC 4th District.

I know how time consuming union representation is, and I wish him well.

Who is going to take over the HCDCC? Hmmmmm. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Iraq the new Korea?

My father, Major James Marks, used to tell me war stories about his time in Korea and I just could not comprehend what war and occupation of a country was. My brother Roy later had the experience of watching an army buddy of his shot to death as the did border patrol. He was transferred to Vietnam and served as a door gunner on a helicopter for two tours. My brother Mike served in Nam also. Both were highly honored/medaled veterans. I was sent pictures of carnage while I waited for my draft time. (Thank God they stopped the draft right before my time.) I have seen first hand the post war effects on a family and it is not pretty. Roy is permanently disabled from agent orange. Agent Orange Exposure: Vietnam Veterans: Side Effects, Diseases, Cancers

It seems the Republicans are set to make this illegal occupation of Iraq our modern day Korea, with a 50 year plan to witness their demise. It sickens me. Disgusts me. Angers me. But what can we do if people do not stand up and protest in Mass? People are just preoccupied by life. We seen it played out in the 60's and 70's. Yes there were protesters. Back then they were called card burning, druggie, draft dodging hippy. Even if they had short hair and were college students who would help build America.

I am holding out hope that the Democratic party can do something positive. Last November should have been an edict to get out of Iraq immediately. But someone must have missed the memo. Keith Olbermann says it all better than me:

YouTube - Keith Olbermann: We have been betrayed

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More Eureka Insanity.

I was doing business at Coast Central Credit Union and was just getting in my truck on 4th and I noticed a guy and girl arguing in the parking lot. Unfortunately this guy grabbed the girl by the hair and pushed her up against a truck and smacked her. So I went to intervene and she escaped into the AA bar. A few other men joined in with me, after they seen me approach. I told the guy that you can't just go and hit a woman, and he denied the whole thing, even though I witnessed it. He said she had stolen his money. This was at around 3:30pm. There were quite a few people who just watched. Where is the humanity nowadays? Thanks to the guy in the Red Toyota pick up who stood up. Damn druggies getting thick around here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Someone is on the PL workers side!

Say what you want, but I tip my hat to people who are willing to fight for workers rights. Times-Standard Online - Groups support Palco's bid to pay workers

Having environmental groups with a reputation for stirring the pot does not lessen this good deed. "The worker is worth his wages." (1 Tim. 5:18). When I worked as a union organizer and had sacrificed time at home to fight corporate greed, I was asked often by people from my committees how I could keep going. I told them I was fighting the good fight. I was on the side of right. And I have never regretted any of the time I gave to help the working poor fight for their rights.

There is one thing in the PL case that does bug me. These same workers have had ample opportunity to organize. How many times do we have to witness workers who are not a union body be shortchanged when plant closures come up? (Eel River Sawmill, Arcata Particle Board, Yakima, LP sawmill, Halverson, Cal Pac.........) Maybe we need to step up the organizing process in Humboldt County once more.