Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama picks Biden. McCain picks Sarah Palin. Hillary gets to watch.

I am not happy with Barack's campaign right now. How can you ignore someone who garners nearly 50% of the popular vote like Hillary did and take a cranky Joe Biden? Biden had 1% support in Iowa for his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination. I don't care how the Obama camp paints this. They were wrong.

Now McCain campaign is looking like the "progressive" forward thinking group. They will have the fringe uninformed voters who do not know of Sarah's environmental stands or her anti-wildlife positions. Oh, she is a "hotty" though, so they will get the shallow vote. This was a brilliant move for the "Rights" or conservatives. And have you noticed how far the "moderate" McCain is falling off the right wing cliff?

This race is going to be so frustrating if McCain hangs close. Please, someone tell me this is a nightmare and I will wake up soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jager vs Clark & Atkins vs Endert. Eureka has tough choice!

Frank Jager is running against George Clark for the 4th Ward seat on the Eureka City Council. Both are long time residents with strong local roots.

I would say that Frank is better known in the area and will have a head start name recognition wise. His community service as past Councilman and his current public service as Humboldt County Coroner really helps his cause. Almost 40 years in law enforcement! And he is really a nice guy. One thing I find really impressive is his work in helping over 50 Humboldt County Boy Scouts achieve the ranking of Eagle Scout. Too bad I wasn't in his troop. I think I stopped at Second Class in Myrtletown. Troop 79? I loved the camping trips.

George and I were on the HCDCC at the same time in the 90's. I did not really socialize much with him, but he has always been cordial. He wrote some letters to the editor that were kinda radical in the past. I think he might be just a bit to the left of my politics. But that may work good for him because he controls the political demographics. All he has to do is carry the Democrats and Greens in Eureka, and he has a chance to win. And he has already garnered the HCDCC endorsement. Now he just needs a fancy aggressive mailer with his agenda and the HCDCC endorsement predominately splashed on the cover. And you have to admit his website is very well done.

Linda Adkins is fairly new to the area. She recently retired from Cal Trans and is a past union member and advocate. She has an uphill battle as far as name recognition. But she does have the collaborative help from the Clark campaign. And their combo website is cool. George Clark & Linda Atkins Campaign Website Her campaign needs to do the same with the HCDCC endorsement. Identify herself as the Democrat in the race and ride the tide.

Polly Endert was appointed the 2nd Ward Council seat by a community committee chosen by Eureka Mayor Virginia Bass. She has been a good addition to the Council. No web-site for her campaign as of yet. She has long time roots to the community.

I know I will hear the non-partisan thingy being spouted, but like I have said, politics in Humboldt County have become undeniably partisan. 15, count them, 15 of the last candidates that the HCDCC endorsed are in office!

Democrats outnumber Republicans by a large margin in Humboldt County. I don't make the rules, just report them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brinton and Winkler endorsed by HCDCC!

Shane Brinton and Mike Winkler were endorsed by the HCDCC electronically for their respective campaigns for Arcata City Council. Good luck to both! Shane will publicly/officially announce his campaign tomorrow at the Arcata Industrial Park at noon. If you have $170 laying around for a campaign, please help Shane in his endeavor. If you have anything left, please help Mike. Both these candidates are ready and willing to help Arcata.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How much for one Rail System, slightly used?

I see that the Rail and Port Infrastructure Taskforce (RAPIT) is hosting a Port Development seminar on Wednesday the 20th at 5:30pm at the Warfinger. I did not know they have formed a certifiable Political Action Committee. Good for them. It looks like most people are in agreement that you have to have Port Development to have a rail and visa verse. So I just have one question I can't seemed to get answered straight by anyone........

How much will it cost for us to have a workable railroad connecting us to the Port of Oakland and beyond? And by when? I have heard FEMA numbers of over 650 million to a BILLION for a workable rail system with probably over 5 years just for the Environmental Impact reports! But then I hear rumbling from the North Coast Railroad Authority - (NCRA) that the rail could be serviceable in 4 years at the cost of between 115-300 million. It seemed just a few years ago the NCRA floated numbers of about 60 million. Huge discrepancy. What funding limits do we have?

Someone help me here. Give me a concrete number to start the rail system back up and back it up with informational sources. Anyone! Help!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Humboldt water to Southern Cal via water bags. Coming soon!

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water has control of the Mad River water that provides most of Humboldt County residents and businesses with services. They have the capacity to move 70 million gallons a day, yet only provide around 40 million delivered. That means the district has the capability to provide 30 million gallons to some investor in the future. In the past, entrepreneurial private sector business has "floated" this idea around. It was not well received. But what if another municipality decided to try? We have a surplus of water, So-Cal has a need. It is not "if" they are coming, it is "when."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shane Brinton for Arcata City Council!

Shane has thrown his hat in the ring to run for Arcata City Council. I wholeheartedly support Shane's effort. Not only has Shane been successful as an elected member of the Northern Humboldt Union High School District (NHUHSD), he has been heavily involved and knowledgeable in progressive local politics. A few years ago he managed my failed campaign for County Supervisor against Bonnie Neely that had little chance for success, and we had the most cost effective campaign of the candidates and came darn close! When my wife Robin ran for the NHUHSD he was instrumental in strategy to help her election victory. His management of the Mark Lovelace campaign for County Supervisor was highly methodical and successful. Shane knows politics and how to make things happen! Shane is a champion of workers rights and supporter of living wages in Humboldt County. This is a great opportunity for the residents of Arcata to support a life long member of the community.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Times Standard promoting union busting?

The Times Standard editorial page this opinion piece "Kill the unfair labor bill" that really does not do The Employee Free Choice Act justice.

As a union organizer I have experienced the tilted scale of justice in many organizing drives toward Corporations. A company will on average spend $10,000 per employee to outside consultants or "Union Busters." What will a company do? First thing is they will try to get the workers to not trust the "union salesman" or organizer. "That Richard Marks guy hand billing this place says he is just a worker like you, have you asked him how much he makes? What does he drive and how big of house does he lives in?" When you finally do get the workers trust, and start to have them sign authorization cards, the company will convince the workers that they are basically signing a contract with the union to start charging them dues, which is a lie. (You have to have at least 30% of the workers sign the cards so that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will hold an election. If you are an organizer, you better have over 70% of the workers signed or you will lose!) Once you have the cards collected and have turned them over to the NLRB, the company is forced to cooperate and has to give the union all the names and addresses of the employees. Oh, that lie the supervisor made about the authorization cards? That is forgotten, because there are more lies to look forward too! Now the company will put out a letter saying they did not want to jeopardize their employees privacy, but the union has every ones addresses and will be invading their private lives at home! "You don't have to talk with them!" The the company will try to talk to the workers one on one, to get information about who the inside organizers are. (In Plant Committee. Usually it takes 10% of the workforce to successfully pull off a organizing drive. They are the eyes and ears of the organizers.) Then the company will either have corporate Human Resource people or even the owner of the company come and talk to the workers in a big meeting. Smaller groups will have meetings weekly as the campaign trudges on for the 45 days from the filing of the authorization cards to the actual election. Companies will show horrific strike videos, threaten to move the facility elsewhere, allude to poor financial times and have their Human Resource person tell a personal horrible union story and cry. I am not making this up! Happened multiple times. Then there is the feel good Company picnics that has not happened before and won't after we are gone. Breakfast served at the plant by management. Cool anti-union shirts to wear (You better!) on the floor. The company will put out many (almost daily) fliers handed out personally with half truths and blatant lies about unions.

And how do we organizers fight back? We can make no promises to the workers. We can only give them the hope to have a chance at bargaining with their employer as a bargaining unit for fair compensation. We have to stand outside the facility on public property and handbill the workers who have the guts to stop and grab our material, or who will come to our meetings whether at the library, pizza parlor, motel or any other public gathering place we can come up with. And the dreaded house-calls that can either be a great experience or unfriendly fiasco. And organizers have to above board on all they say and do, or they will lose!

Recent surveys have shown that well over 50% of American workers would like to be union, but in fact only roughly 10% of American workers are union. I have been on organizing drives where workers were happy with their employers and did not feel the need to organize. Good for them. But for some workers, and companies for that matter, it is better for them to have a union. Asking for 50% gathering of authorization cards for union representation will level the playing field.

Union Organizers as Union salesmen? What do they have to sell? Only hope!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Local Solutions and HCDCC in Cahoots?

You sure would think so by many anonymous bloggers out there who label any liberal progressive candidates as being joined at the hip with Local Solutions (LS) and the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC). While the HCDCC may agree with LS on some of the same candidates, such as Mark Lovelace recently, that is not necessarily the rule. In the 2nd District Supervisor race, LS is backing Clif Clendenen and the HCDCC has endorsed Estelle Fennell for this upcoming election. We may have similar philosophies, but the main purpose for the HCDCC is to get Democrats elected, while the LS supports their defined best "progressive" candidate, regardless of party affiliation. Hope that clears it up somewhat.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

SAC finishes 2nd in FastPitch tournament.

I had to cancel my tournament at Redding Big League Dreams on Wednesday. I was down to 7 teams and I saw the writing on the wall. I am going to try again Sept. 13th and 14th at Redding. Metal Bat Slow Pitch "Off the Wall" Tournament. Guaranteed 3 games. E-mail me.

Since I was canceling the tournament, I had players who still wanted to come to Redding and play ball. So I told the guys we could enter a fast pitch tournament at Big League Dreams, and I would find us some pitchers to throw. One of the first I called was Billy Osborne who has played for many local fast pitch teams. He laughed at me, but said he could pitch a "few innings." I told him I would find backups for him. I could not. Local pitcher Josh Sargent was playing for the host team, Bob Annis was busy, Larry Kuwahara the same and all from here and the valley that still play were already taken. So it was Billy and I. Here is what happened:

Redding: Samoa Athletic Club finished second in the 2008 “Rumble in the Valley” men’s fast pitch softball tournament after being drubbed 7-0 by Brotherton Pipe of Oregon this past weekend at Big League Dreams. Richard Marks took the loss on the mound, giving up 3 earned runs in 6 innings. Samoa Athletic Club reached the championship game by scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the seventh against KTM of Willits for a 15-14 victory in the semi final.

Billy Osborne led the Samoa pitching staff, going 3-1 and pitching 30 innings. Sam Jaskar won the Golden Glove award. Kelly Miller paced the hitters by batting .550 with a homerun followed by Travis Wright at .421. Catcher Byron Gardner had 2 home runs. As a team, Samoa had a batting average of .335 for the tournament of highly ranked west coast fast pitch teams.

Other SAC players batting averages in the tournament were: Byron at .381, Dave Jones .318, Sam Jasker .316, Mike Brown .294, Nate Parkinson .273, Tracy Driskoll .235, Me .200, Tommy .188. Of course, some of our players were walked and Hit By Pitches that would have raised their on base percentages. My OBP was .333. I wasn't hit because "I was a baling!"

Billy Osborne was hooked up in a pitching dual with pitcher for Brotherton on Saturday night that ended with Brotherton scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th to beat us 2-1. Ugh! Billy was a Warrior and pitched masterfully to almost pull a monumental upset against a ranked "A" Fast Pitch team. Brotherton's pitcher was flown in to pitch this tournament, so you can understand the David vs Goliath thing. But we still were the #2 seed going into Sundays play for our 2-1 record and our plus run differential which must have been a plus 17. Billy shut down Yokuts from Lemore early Sunday and pitched into the 7th inning against #8 state ranked KTM. I finished up that mess and lucked out for the win.

I threw the Championship game throwing, slow, slower and slowest but I walked only 2 so I was satisfied. Ended up 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. The defense behind me saved my buttocks. If Billy had more help in the bullpen, we may have pulled off a championship.

Most of our players were slowpitch guys who have never played fast pitch, so that was good. One problem I had with some was their squirreling. Most of these people playing fast pitch were very serious. KTM has three sponsor's and three different set of uniforms and they were not happy losing to us twice and our guys were, believe or not, overconfident. And they lipped off a little too freely to some hardcore veterans playing. Not all, but just a few.

I did enjoy our team going out to Logan's Roadhouse Saturday night and getting to know each other better. Thank goodness they didn't throw us out for the peanut throwing fiasco!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Arts Alive! Remember Rob Colivas? SAC finishes 2nd.

Robin and I went Arts Alive on Saturday. Liked the art work done by Ruth Jamison. Robin saw a piece she may buy soon. Had a drink with Eureka Mayor Virgina Bass and her husband Matt there at the new bar and grill in Old Town across from Hurricane Kate's. (Starts with an O?) Frank Jager came by and said hi. Had a person come up to me and asked if I recognize him. Then he did the worst thing you could do, he wanted me to guess. I had no clue. It was Robert Colivas. I have seen his brother Sam through the years, but I was not able to put it together. I played softball, basketball and flag football with Robert back in the late 70's. He did not look the same. He had that 70's type poofy hair in back when and did not wear glasses. He was able to name our softball line-up of M & D Auto back then (Robert and his brother Sam, Sam Skillman, Mark Smith, Mike Robinson, Kurt Brungart, Mike Gomes, Mike Carroll, Frank Spicka, Ed Fregoso, Loren Price, Andy Lameroux and me of course.) Robert was hanging out in old town with Tom Corder and Richard Rummell from the EHS class of 77'. They have all moved away but said they are meeting up with each other each August, and old town was their venue of the day. How embarrassing!

Steve Coppini hosted the Wildwood Days Softball Tournament in Scotia this last weekend as a fund-raiser for the Rio Dell Fire Department. The field was great and the weather better! The last time there was a men's softball tournament at Scotia, the trains were still running! So it has been at least a decade. Samoa Athletic Club made it to the Championship game but lost 36-14 to Drink/R-Co. Ouch! We beat 12 pack by throwing out the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh, and then advanced to the championship game by scoring the winning run with 2 out in the seventh against the Fortuna Bombers, so we had a good tournament. (I was on base over half my at bats, but still consider mired in slump.)

Something always happens at a tourney that I have not witnessed before. This time Joe Auseillo scored from third on a pop up to the catcher and then later in the day scored on a pop up to the pitcher! He also threw the runner out at the plate to end one game. Dave Damme was hit a few times hard up the middle while pitching. I am sure he is wearing bruises today. I over ran a fly ball by Steelheads player Jimmy Smith by about 10 feet in the outfield. Comedy relief. Robin wanted to know if it was a inside the park home run or a 4 base error. I let her know I didn't touch it, so no error! I have no brakes anymore. Kelly Miller, Matt Dusel and Eric Bess were also out there messing up their hardball swings. Tim Hunt may have had the longest Home Run of the weekend. Either Dusel or Smith had the most.

Next weekend is the Big League Dreams tourney. Anyone out there wants to play, call me!