Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HCDCC Communication and Education Committee (CEC) tackles Klamath River and Living Wages Ordinance issues.

The HCDCC CEC waded through tons of information on the Klamath River problem and came to the conclusion that we needed more input. The Agreement to this point gives Siskiyou County a $23 million dollar allocation Klamath Settlement and Humboldt County $0 dollars and a threat if they litigate a dollar settlement of entitlements they do not have? Bureaucracy at it's worse. But wait! Siskiyou Supervisors vote against removal of the dams and three of the dams are in their county! KDRV 12 And they stood to gain 23 million? And the Humboldt County Sups voted unanamously for the settlement that gives nothing to Humboldt? YouTube - Klamath settlement protests People on the Northern Klamath are protectionists for their water rights to the extreme.

So in actuality, Humboldt County and the Yurok tribe are not even considered stake holders in the process that is killing the fishing industry on the Klamath? Tear the damn Dams down dammit! This is a complex multi layered issue. Stay tuned as I try to simplify this issue so I understand it. (Dummy it down to me.)

The CEC then passed The Eureka Fair Compensation Act on to the HCDCC executive board to evaluate whether to present this ordinance to the HCDCC membership at our next HCDCC general meeting. I enthusiastically endorsed the ordinance to move forward. I feel the committee will support this movement, but I feel there is a need to step up the petition signing process.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Humboldt Celebrities!

Just who are the most recognized people living in Humboldt County? I mean, which people do most long time residents know or are familiar with? Not counting current people holding elected political offices.

10. Pete- I have picked up Pete in his rag tag clothes and all hitchhiking when he spent much time in Manila. He has a wheel chair now, but is still around the Arcata area.

9. Rollin Trehearne-ThunderCountry” Basketball ref guy.

8. Perry Price- Retired purchasing agent for the City of Eureka. Between the thousands of people he has coached in Humboldt County, hard for Perry to go much of anywhere in Northern California and Southern Oregon without people stopping to talk with him. And he seems to remember everyone!

7. Dana Hall- “The Burleyman” has been around on the radio since 74’? Wow.

6. Dave Silverbrand- Our local “TV” personality.

5. Cheri Arkley- Say what you will about her and Robin, but not many would not recognize her. She has always been pleasant when I have seen her.

4. Harvey Harper- Harvey is one of a kind. He helped me out years back when I had trouble with my old Aerostar van personally, and I have been doing business there ever since.

3. Rex Bohn- Running the Cutten fields has introduced Rex to multi thousands of people in Humboldt County across all social economic and political boundaries. He buys wood chips for the pulp mill. Uses cell phone alot.

2. Corky Cornwell- Sells cell phones. Used to buy wood chips for the pulp mill. Hmmmm.

1. Nancy Flemming- She has to be the most well known figure in the County. The ex-mayor has put her stamp on Eureka.

Of course, the late Hobart Brown would have been at the top before passing.

Now this is just through my eyes. I am sure there are others who will disagree, but I thought I would throw my opinion out there.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Samoa Peninsula Fire District (SPFD) answers call during awards!

The Samoa Peninsula Fire District board of Directors hosted a prime rib dinner for the volunteers at the Women's Club in Samoa. Director Hal Grotke cooked the dinner and his wife Alice made a cake that was a sweet replica of our fire engine. Fire Chief Kevin Pope was recognizing special duties done by our volunteers when a call came through for a fire on the bay front. Unbelievable timing. We waited until the volunteers finished the call and continued with the program. Troy Nicolini his wife and Robin and I had clean up duty, but all chipped in. We have a awesome group of volunteers and community activists!

Friday, April 25, 2008

RIP Cowboy.

Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor Roger Rodoni died from blunt force head injuries in a car accident on the way to his fundraiser in Fortuna. Roger was a huge figure in Humboldt County. A mans man. It is so ironic that a man that has survived so many miles of Rural driving has someone cross the median and hit him on the freeway. Mind boggling. When God says its time for the last round-up, that is final. Robin and I had been down that way and Robin commented about what a waste for the concrete barrier between the lanes. "I don't just go flinging off into the other lanes." Well. I guess others do. Didn't always agree with the man, but respected his orneriness.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rails or Trails LWV style.

The League of Women Voters Humboldt County (LWV) held a forum yesterday to discuss Rails and Trails at the Eureka High Lecture Hall. Byrd Lochtie did the moderating for the LWV, and a seven man panel of political and community leaders gave their views on the topics. Each person was allowed 5 minutes to state their position and then questions were gathered from the crowd to be asked to each panel member. The panelists then had 5 minutes to close.

Opening statements:

Pat Higgins (PH) Fifth District Harbor Commissioner- Pat said he is a proponent of the Rail, but he questioned the viability of the railroad and pointed out forecasts for the rail to lose 2.5 million dollars a year and referenced Humboldt Bay Recreation & Conservation District. Pat felt we could not be competitive with other Ports, and stated we should be innovators. He said a tourist rail to Eureka from Arcata would be nice, but thought that the trail would help ease the gas problem, create jobs and bring in eco-tourists and would like to see the trail go to Fortuna and beyond...

Chris Rall (CR) of Green Wheels- He asked if the rail was realistic. He said the rail would create no jobs for the area. Chris pointed out the North Coast Rail Authority (NCRA) stated in Marin County that they might have rail by the year 2011. He then pointed out the rail line is on one of the most unstable lands on the planet. Chris said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) say it would take 850 million in today’s dollars to repair the rail, and yet it would only cost 10 million dollars to have a trail from Arcata to Eureka. He felt we needed to get beyond rail dreams.

John Woolley (JW) North Coast Railroad Authority - NCRA board member- Said that the state bought the public owned corridor, and the NCRA was created to bring it back to use. That is their directive. He mentioned 2.9 million has been spent for clean up and was vague about another 7.9 for something else. John said they broke up the north and south into the “Eel” section and the “Russian” section. The suit in Novato is slowing progress he said. John said the NCRA is committed to trails and rails and has been working with Arcata, but the primary focus was to bring rail back.

Marcus Brown (MB) timberheritage Association- Marcus says there needs to be a solution that works for everyone. He would like to see a tourist train running from Arcata to Eureka and thinks there is broad support for Rail with Trails. He feels there will be problems of the rail easement around the Bracut Marsh area as well as Wildlife issues. Thinks that the east side of the highway is the most viable for the trail.

Spencer Clifton (SC) of the Humboldt County Association of Governments - Says he is a proponent of all modes of transportation. Feels a challenge for trails will be wetlands, and geometric limitations for rail. Made reference of Billboard problem and funding issues.

Brian Morrissey (BM) (marinacenter) of Security National- Said America was built on rail! Many union living wage jobs would be created with Port built now. He said rail lines are rare with few being built. Feels that designing a truly green port will be viable. He projects 8% growth and pointed out that 18 ports would be at capacity by 2012.

Mike Buettner (MB) of Trails Trust -Advocates the use of trails all over the county. Not about rail.


1. Does the NCRA own the line and easement? (JW) “It is mixed use. Can we railbank? Maybe. It’s a mixed bag of stuff.” (CR) “Right away is public domain. Some people are considering 2 years of non-use as reverting the lands back to original owners.” (PH) “We may get to use the situation of the Annie and Mary rail lines as a model of legality. The NCRA is not run like a business. (SC) “This conjures more questions. There needs to be full title searches. Some easements are different. What are the limits parcel by parcel?”

2. Please explain railbanking? (MBu) “Don’t really know.” (BM) “Rail corridor set aside for use as trail.” (SC) “That is associated with rail that has been abandoned.” (JW) “You need a manager on hand for a trail.” (PH) “Not viable here. It has been done back east to save rail easements.” (MBu) “Part of the equation to restore rail use.” (CR) “It is the best way to save the right away.”

3. How many hundreds of millions will the rail cost? (SC) “I don’t have access to the resources needed to answer. We allocate 8 to 10 million in transportation resources.” (MB) “The best way to preserve the line is tourist train. We want the tourist section. We have been told the Cadillac project number. Can’t tell the dollar amount.” (CR) “FEMA said 520 million in 98’. (BM) “Hundreds of millions. No one knows. (JW) "100 million to purchase. To pull out now would not be good considering all the money we put in. 20 years needed for railbanking. We are concentrating on the south end of the line. That is where our success has been” (PH) “Here is the 640 million dollar FEMA report if anyone wants to read it. 125 places with rotational slumps in the Eel river canyon. There is no least cost fix. There are maintenance issues not addressed. It will be pay as you go. A Train would be great! But it is not viable. I say it will be 1 Billion real dollars.”

4. What about CEQA: The California Environmental Quality Act and insurance issues? (JW) CEQA Projects description of impacts, then the public gets input to mitigate the problem. The Hammond trail can be used to measure.” (SC) “Need project internally described.” (PH) “You need to look at the cumulative affects. Rail is only done in sections. It needs to be looked at by its entirety.” (MBu) “Maintenance need to be figured in and also safety.” (CR) “We will see lawsuits.” (MB) “The low hanging fruit here is Arcata to Hammond. Everything in the corridor is wetlands.” Marcus then quoted Clifton, “Enough problems to kill 9 camels!”

5. Has failure of the rail contributed to the Marina Project holdup? (BM) “No. The city is driving that bus.” (MB) “I want a train station there at the Marina.”

6. What is feasible to haul? (CR) “Gravel and containers.” (PH) “Autos and containers are the growing trend. Not a good scenario for here. Shipping is on the decline. We should not pursue.” (MB) “Timber used to be. Flakeboard and Lost Coast beer is sent by rail at Red Bluff. We are losing business opportunities.” (JW) “We are partners with Humboldt Bay. We could do gravel with a barge center.” (MBu) “The Port of Oakland is not at capacity. The Coos Bay Port project was stopped and they only had 130 miles of rail to fix. It is not the right time for rail.” (SC) “Other ports are moving volume. We are not competitive. At one time we were moving 2 miles of train out of Humboldt.” (BM) “The rail is doing good! Hot on the Market! Investors going toward ports. Humboldt Bay is closest to Asia. Rail may not be coming soon, but maybe later.”

7. Samoa Roundhouse to Arcata? (PH) “Rail at the roundhouse could be a good attraction with a museum.” (MB) “Lots of historic stuff from Samoa we could put back at museum.” (JW) “It does serve as a tourist attraction. The NCRA sees it as good business model.” (MBu) “This fits well with the trails trust.”

8. What about jobs? (MB) “Health care and Tourism is where jobs are formed. These produce low wages. Summer jobs for kids are created.” (PH) “Diversity is stability. Take a hard look at the rail finances and cut your losses. There are other viable things for the public.” (CR) “Look at what is cost effective.” (SC) “Resource economy not working. We need to recognize what is sustainable.” (BM) “Jobs in Humboldt County are important! Humboldt needs good jobs with a railroad. We need both!” (JW) “Our quality of life is not a job producer. The rail needs a business model. The Richardson Grove project is not a business model. We need a model.”

9. Should the rail be subsidized? (CR) “Can the two be subsidized? I don’t know.” (JW) “Can we come up with feasible numbers about where we are? We accept criticism but have no numbers.” (SC) “We are an equal opportunity subsidizer.” (BM) “We are talking 19th century technology as compared to 21 century. Rail can be better and self sufficient.” (MB) “Rail history shows that it can pay for itself. It was in a decline, but now is coming back. Cheapest way to move product. We have the only government that does not subsidize a rail.” (PH) “Timber harvest issues have caused instability to the Eel that initiated the original movement.”

Closing Statements:

Buettner- “Bikes and walkers together interactively is good. We want multi use trails. Check out

Morrissey- “Rail and trails need to be partners. It is a quality of life issue. Port Rupert model needs to be considered. Imports and Exports need to go through us.”

Clifton- “Our community assets are our rail and trail with multi use and sharing of the right away. Inclusionary instead of exclusionary.”

Brown- “The polarizing, shock jock discussion of this subject I don’t like. Trail and cultural amenities are good for our quality of life. We need to be win-win. Keep pushing until we are past the groan zone and come up with creative ideas.”

Woolley- “There are over 300 miles of corridor to mandate. Criticism will be absorbed in the process. What business model should we use; public or a private partnership? The processes of the NCRA are transparent. We shall see what happens after the lawsuit. We are committed to trails also. We are doing a matrix and going through the process.”

Ralls- “The NCRA has a mandate. Railbanking fits that mandate. Is rail cheaper to haul? There is no funding source for rail. Advocates of the rail feel trail people are destroying the rail that is already destroyed. It does not exist! Get the right away in use now. Get real.”

Higgins- “Canada does not care about subsidizing trains that go through area in the Rockies at 80 miles an hour. This is about the ultimate homogenizing of our area. We need grants to fix and stimulate the bay and our economy and expand the use! The Pulp and Fishing industry and future potential light industry show needs of continued dredging. The rail right of way has not been used in 10 years.”

My Comments-If some of the content seems out of place, I agree. It seemed the panel would move on different topics and meander all over. I was confused by some of the answers as compared to the topics, but this is what came out of my notes. I seem to have more questions than answers. Clearly there was huge divide. Some expert for the rail that seems to have some of the NCRA board convinced that rail is viable needs to come inform us general public of facts and figures. Or just let the trail people “borrow” the right away for a few years so we can use the line for something “tangible.” Am I missing something?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Snow 2 and Sports stuff!

I played softball in Redding on Saturday and it started to get cold! We played 4 games and I think we had only one player hit .500 and it was not me. (Billy Sines) The teams over there are really competitive. And young. I may have been the oldest out there. By alot. When we drove home this morning, it snowed most of the way! The lit sign suggesting the carrying of chains was on! It's almost May for goodness sakes. Stop the snow already again!

Cool April nights pretty much packed Redding with thousands of car enthusiasts. I heard the motels were gouging the tourists. We stayed at the River Inn and the price wasn't that bad. The Sundial Restaurant was closed. I hope they did not go out of business.

There was an advertisement in the Redding Record Searchlight paper about a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Half a page with no date included. Funny.

The Samoa Ball Field is looking good! Kudos to Mary Beth Wolford for her fundraising and organizing skills in less than a year! A field in total disarray in December is nearly playable today!

The The Eureka Reporter did a good story on Mo Purify today. Mo is a locally grown potential NFL player. I went to High School with his mother Mary and uncle Sam Skillman. His uncle LJ was a great high school football player and coached women's high school basketball at St. Bernards and Ferndale. Mary was one of the best women's softball players locally. Sam and I played softball and basketball together. Unfortunately, the storyline in the Sporting news will tell you that Mo is going to be either a late round pick, or not chosen at all because of off the field transgressions. The Sporting News predicts Mo going to the Cardinals in the 7th round at pick #185. Normally a Eureka native being picked in the top 200 would be big news, but he had a chance of being selected in the top 50.

Just my opinion, but I think Mo actually is one of the better basketball players Humboldt has ever seen, and could have excelled in Division 1 college basketball. His cousin Mo Charlo is knocking on the NBA's door! NBA Development League: Mo Charlo Playerfile

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rising out of the Ashes fundraiser for Humboldt Domestic Violence Services (HDVS).

As most probably know, the HDVS: Humboldt Domestic Violence Services safe house in Arcata burned down. We did not have enough insurance to cover for the losses, so we are holding a special fundraiser on Saturday, May 10th at the Warfinger Building from 6:00 to 10:30pm. There will be food from Avalon, Bless my Soul Cafe, Curly's and Granada's. Beverages are tentatively provided by the CO-OP, Lost Coast Brewery and River Bend Winery. Entertainment will hopefully include Karen Dumont, a Jazz Trio, Shoshana and The Monster Women. The cost will be an absurdly low $25 per person and $45 per couple pre paid, or $30 at the door. Please help the HDVS recover from this setback.

PS: Always looking for community members to serve on the board of directors. Call 443-6042 for more information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Phone Blackout on the Peninsula!

For whatever reason, Samoa has no phone service. So how do you report this problem? Can't call them (AT&T). Can't e-mail them if your service is through their e-mail. If you call them to report, they want an alternative # to call. It just so happens that Robin is in Sacramento with our cell phone, so I can not call her or anyone else. Kind of funny really. We are more vulnerable than we think. AT&T say that our service will be returned by Thursday at noon.

Snow on Kneeland!

Stop this winter already! I give up!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Political stuff.

Went to Wes Chesbro's spaghetti fund raiser hosted by the Sacco family. Sam Sacco was mayor of Eureka back in the 70's. Paul Pitino and Mark Lovelace were there from the 3rd District Supervisor race and Cliff Clendenen from the 2nd. No Estelle. Hmm. Bryan Plumley was hosting his own fund raiser the same night. Many politico's were present and accounted for.

There was a 1st Congressional District caucus for Hillary held in Eureka on Sunday! During the same time frame, another caucus was being held in Napa for the same purpose. Robin and I aren't necessarily fans of the HillBilly show, but fellow HCDCC member Pam Cahill was requesting support to be an elected delegate to the convention for Hillary. (She has been a tireless supporter of Hillary.) Hosting the event as caucus coordinators were Humboldt Political Power Couple Greg and Carol Conners. It went smooth and Pam won by a huge margin. Debra Broner from the Del Norte Democratic Central Committee placed second. Both from our northern California Caucus! Brandon Chatin, an HSU student placed second amongst men. Hillary's campaign will send one female and one male from the 1st Congressional District.

The Democratic process in action. Exciting relevant stuff!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What is middle class? Am I part Bourgeoisie or Marxist?

I have always considered myself a middle class, blue collar worker. I guess I have not really put a great amount of thought into social hierarchy. Really there are many layers to consider. But here is where I come from:

I started working pretty young selling papers on the streets of Eureka, then a paper route. At age 15 I went to work at Duck’s Market and then was fortunate to land a union retail clerks job at Bazar at 16. I worked at Bazar until it closed and found myself in a white collar job working as a finance officer at Transamerica. I married Robin while working in finances and Robin was a hairdresser. We were dirt broke middle class then. I quit Transamerica in 1979, and went back to school. I applied for summer work at Louisiana Pacific doing clean up in the closed stud mill. I was shocked to be hired for over $8.00 and hour. It was big bucks at the time. I moved to the Saw Mill until they were about to close. In 1980 I applied for work in the Pulp Mill, and there I am. I have been through lean times when I was laid off almost yearly in the Reagan years and really had to scrimp to get by. I did take a leave of absence from the mill and went to work for the union for a 5 year term as a union organizer. I have made as little as $7,000 a year and have topped out at $78,000 a year. But through all the different financial levels I have always considered myself middle class. Whether I have been “lower” or “upper” middle class is up to interpretation.

Let me take my argument of whether I should be part of the middle class a step further. A working family in Humboldt County should be able to buy a house. Can we agree on that? OK, in 2006 you needed a household income over $85,000 to qualify buying a median (average) priced home in Humboldt County at $349,500. Humboldt Association of Realtors My household income at that time was around $90,000, not far from the median needed to by a house. I do not consider that “upper class.” It is all relative.

The Drum Major Institute defines the US middle class as people making between $25,000 and $100,000. That seems about right to me.

The median average household income for Humboldt County is just over $40,000 as of 2008. If there is only one wage earner in that house, they need to make over $18 an hour to make that. Do you except that only 13% or less of the households can afford to buy a house? And get this, in 2000 nearly 50% of Humboldt County wage earners could buy a house!

I realize that Humboldt County has taken a terrible turn economy wise. Goods and services cost more here than most places in the US. Jobs are moving out of the area, raw materials leaving as unfinished product, tourism and small businesses taking over, and even our children being exported to make a living. Does that mean we should except a lower standard of living and economics? We should just give up and shut up? When will we stop this trend and promote sensible growth? I hope sooner than later.

I stand by my claim that I am middle class. Whether in Humboldt County or Timbuktu.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Who made up this law?

One of my fellow workers made a trip to Brookings, Oregon recently and fell in love with a Harley that was on a car lot. It was a 2005 with low miles. He purchased the bike and towed it home to Arcata. When he tried to register the bike, he was informed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles that you can not register a used vehicle from Oregon with less than 7,500 miles! Period! He called the Oregon DMV and the California DMV to try to straighten what he thought was a misunderstanding and was given the run around. The car dealer he bought it from had no idea of the law either! They did buy the bike back though. Anyone out there know the purpose of this law?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Greenlite my a**!

Robin had me replace two light bulbs in the kitchen. We have been trying to change all of our lights in the house to "Greenlite" bulbs. GREENLITE The two 60 watt bulbs that were warranted for "9" years made it less than one. We have went through the house and put many of these "green" bulbs in that are a hassle to dispose. I wrote to Greenlite about their policy that actually only assures "2" years and only if you have the printed receipts! I do not know about you, but I do not save all receipts for household goods and cleaning supplies. What a crock! Anyone else out there have problems with Greenlite? This is not the first for our house or our rental, just the first that 2 lights are out at the same time. Pacific Gas & Electric Company sold us on this project, are they liable?

Breaking news: Here is my whining letter and their response:

9 years warranty? My Greenlite's 60 watt's did not make it a year in my kitchen! Your warranty actually is only good for 2 years if you read the fine print with a receipt. Oh yes, we all keep our receipts for household items such as this. Give me a break! I do not keep receipts for hand soap, dish washing liquid, cleaning supplies, lawn care shovels, hoes, baking soda, cleaning pad and everyday use products. And your product takes extra steps to deposit in the trash legally! I wonder how many thousands of people who have fallen for your false information? Please send me replacement 60 watt 4-pack on my word, or I will buy the regular bulbs and publicly announce to my community that your product is a "green" ripoff.

Richard Marks

Dear Mr. Marks,

Thank you for your email and for you purchase. We are sorry to hear that the light bulb you purchased has failed. We will be happy to send a replacement to you right away. I realize it does state on the packaging that you should have the proof of purchase and register receipt and you should return it to us, however, in practice we have found that we experience so few issues with our product that it’s not worth it to put customers through all of that trouble. The few failed bulbs we have are replaced easily with a simple email or phone call. You should see your replacement within a week. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions or concerns.

Thank you.

Lisa DeWindt
Greenlite Lighting Corporation
10 Corporate Park #100
Irvine, CA 92606
800-930-2111 x200
949-261-5300 x200
fax 949-261-1798

So there you have it! Send in your claims for their product and they will send you replacements.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Tax Man has his way.

Robin and I had to do our tax thing today. John Fullerton, C.P.A. has been our consultant for awhile now. He is efficient and quick. (If you go to him tell him I referred you! Please!) I claim single and no dependants and have $100 extra taken out each paycheck, and Robin claims single and no dependants and $40 a month extra paid. And we also pay $400 extra to the state just for good measure. We are kind of unusual that we rent in Samoa, but own a house in Henderson Center that we rent out. We also run a small business called Samoa Athletics that organizes/directs adult sporting events. Lots of paperwork and stuff. We are at the point that we can not claim our children, as they have now joined the workforce.

We made over $100,000 and were taxed to death. I know that there are people out there who will say, cry me a river you elite asshole, but we are just the working middle class. We contribute to organizations and to our family needs. So it is not like we are wallowing in money. I just thought I would throw the reality of finances out there.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Local Flu stuff you may need to know.

This has been a terrible year for the Flu! No surprise to you all. But when I asked fellow Director of the Samoa Peninsula Fire District Hal Grotke, MD California Academy of Family Physicians about the flu, he pointed out that flu can be treated and cured if treated within 48 hours. He said after that, he could only treat the symptoms. He also noted that 12 deaths have been attributed to the flu in Humboldt County this year.

Note: I highly recommend Dr. Grotke for a physician if you are looking for health care locally. He is just a good regular guy without BS. "Just call me Hal." Dr. Grotke and his wife Alice (Who serves on the Peninsula Union School Board of Trustees) live on the peninsula and are community involved.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Humboldt Domestic Violence Services (HDVS) Safe House Burns Down!

Sad news for the HDVS team. We lost a safe house to a fire today in Arcata. It will be on the news tonight and tomorrow. If you know of any house in Arcata that is for rent to replace this needed resource, contact HDVS: Humboldt Domestic Violence Services. There will also be a need for clothes, food, household items and of course monetary donations. Thank God that all were able to vacate the building unharmed. Last week there were 5 or more children being housed at the safe house. Any and all help will be more than appreciated.