Thursday, April 30, 2009

Handicapping the 4th District Supervisorial Race 2010!

We all know it just around the corner, so it is time to evaluate the chances of potential candidates running for the Humboldt County 4th District Supervisor seat. We all know Bonnie will be finishing her "sixth" term, or 24 years, and with there being no term limits on Humboldt County Supervisors, she is free to run once again. Here are my odds of names being thrown out there to actually run and comments:

Bonnie Neely (8-7): I would not wager money on her not running. She has been calling supporters and collecting funds. I will predict she will have a harder time funding this campaign. I do not think she will be able to ride a "Democrats for Neely" train to victory this time. (Unless she changes party affiliations.)

Jeff Leonard (7-5): Jeff is a current Eureka City Councilman who is a registered Democrat with social liberal tendencies, but fiscally conservative. "Show me the money!" He will be hosting a campaign kick off on may 29th. Something drastic would have to happen to change his mind.

Richard Marks (8-5): Elected positions-Board of Directors, Samoa Peninsula Fire District and Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee. Been there done that.....twice. I am the only one to challenge Bonnie multiple times. It's kind of a hobby now. I can win other elections, just not this "Holy Grail" Supervisor job that pays more per capita than any other of the 58 counties in the state! By $30,000 a year! I support working class ideals and have nearly 40 years of working history in this county.

Virginia Bass (9-5): The Mayor of Eureka. This could make this race a classic. She has great name recognition and is very eloquent. I would classify Virginia as a Left leaning Republican. She has the potential to finance a monster campaign. Her husband led Frank Jager to a huge victory for City Councilman and knows the nuts and bolts of a campaign.

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap (5-1): Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Chair. Green Party community organizer. She knows how win elections and how to organize grass root campaigns. I have heard her name brought up, but have not heard anything from her. Kaitlin told me tonight that she has no intentions.

Larry Glass (10-1): Eureka City Councilman. Democrat. Has potential to win any election here in the North Coast. Has done nothing but further his popularity while on the city counsil. It would be fun to see.

Mike Jones (15-1): Republican. Conservative. Mike knows many people in Eureka. I just don't think he wants the hassle.

Any others out there?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Softball updates. Economy hitting softball?

I noticed today that only 19 teams are signed up for Eureka men's softball league. And those were the one's that showed up and signed up early! Last year in Arcata we had 33 teams. (All wood bat mind you.) Those numbers are surprising and I wonder if it has to do with sponsorship fees?

The Blue Lake Sunday Wood Bat League will start this Sunday May 3rd at 9am to about 6pm and continue each Sunday except for Memorial weekend thu June. I think our Tomaso team won the league 5 out of the last 6 years and placed 2nd in the other. Our team is disbanded and players dispersed around the league. The bragging rights title and shirts are up for grabs.

Two Tournaments of note:

The Weaverville Memorial Invitational will be held May 23rd and 24th at Lowden Park. $250 per team and three games guaranteed.

MRSA will be hosting a one day wood bat or metal invitational tournament on June 13th at the Arcata Sports Complex. If you have never played Arcata, these fields are the best in natural Northern California. $199 per team, three games for sure.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

California Democratic Convention 101. What do they do there?

This was the first time I have been able to go to a California Democratic Convention. I was an appointed delegate of Assemblywoman Virginia Strom Martin’s but I was never able to attend for one reason or another. This year I was elected as a delegate by the HCDCC. And I had plenty of time off. So off I went. There is a lot that happens at the Convention, so the first order of business I did was to go to New Members meeting to understand protocol. There was much to learn in little time and I was shocked on how many people were there. There must have been over a thousand newbie’s.

Next I went to the caucus meeting of the California Democratic Council, where there was a presentation of new strategies the party would like to use in the future to consolidate campaign information and create a uniform 58 county electioneering process that would lead to more cohesive campaigns. This room was packed! And then there was time left for speeches of candidates and other political interests. I had no idea what was going on when a young man dressed well and speaking gracefully was subsequently booed. I have heard about the Lyndon LaRouche group, but this was the first time I had seen or heard one. He was followed up by another that was not well received. I was kind of taken back, as we are seen as the party of tolerance.

The next meeting I attended was the Rural Caucus. It was packed also and business was spirited but in basic order. They went over issues for smaller populated areas such as onerous rules for septic tanks. I learned voting protocol that they did not cover in orientation, and was not able to participate because I did not join the Rural Caucus as a voting member.

I next went to the Progressive Caucus, that was ridiculously packed with thousands, and I was able to vote. This caucus has been increasing in numbers at a huge rate, and I seen it with my own eyes.

Next was the Chair’s welcome reception. The food was well needed after all those hours in stuffed rooms. Many speeches that were now just becoming more like blah blah blah. My attention span was being tested.

At 8:30 was the Labor Caucus. OK, when I told you the other caucuses were stuffed? I didn’t know what crowded was. Obviously there are no Fire Marshals in Sacramento. This Caucus was a buzz. The long time Chair Jim Gordon was being challenged and there was a coup d'├ętat afloat. And it was successful! There is a new chair, but I don’t know his name. Mr. Gordon finished the meeting. The main topic was the Free Choice Act and many of the politicians in the room called on Dianne Feinstein to support this act. I think it was Senator Dean Florez who gave this speech: “Hello. Free Choice Act. Goodbye!” That pretty much was the theme. The Propositions were going to be a taboo subject at this caucus, but then some speaker made some loose reference to supporting the props and all hell broke loose. One of the labor leaders named Willie came up front and gave an impassioned speech on the weaknesses of prop 1A and clearly had a big following amongst labor. The meeting adjourned, but I am sure there were all night discussions behind many closed doors afterward. There was a hole in the dike.

The Lyndon LaRouche cult/groupies/choir was in the lobby singing songs of their message which not only did not resonate, it was just plain freaky.

Sunday morning the General Session started at 9:30am more speeches and announcements, awards, reports and election results. When business was directed at the propositions the vote was to support 1B, 1C and 1F. The vote to not support 1A, 1D and 1E came through, even though each was voted yes by the majority, just not the 60% threshold needed. Wes Chesbro did a good job in lobbying his constituents in his delegate region to vote yes, but other legislators must have not had the same effectiveness. (Although I will note that Shane Brinton voted against all the Props but 1B.) There were over 3,000 voting members in attendance and many other observers and media people. After these votes, most delegates left to travel home.

But we still had Party business to do. Resolutions were passed to honor Art Torres, May 22 was designated Harvey Milk Day, Thanks to Obama for his review of Bush Policies and Military and Veterans Outreach.

Then there were the State wide issue Resolutions to vote on. The Resolution Committee had over 100 prospective Resolutions and came back to the delegates with 11. Twice people tried to shut down the voting due to a lack of a quorum, because so many delegates left early. I then witnessed enough violations of Roberts Rules of Order and Parliamentary procedure than on any committee I have been on. The Chair lost complete control over the floor and there was shouting and out of order participation. One more “Point of Information” and I would have lost it. Unfortunately the Chair kept focusing on the Resolutions out of sequence also. So there was much confusion over which Resolution was being voted on and what form the Resolution had taken. It was so crazy that Art Torres abruptly asked for affirmation blanket vote on all the Resolutions brought forth. And the majority did just that. In shortened form, the Resolutions were:

1. Oppose a Top Two Blanket Primary Proposal.

2. A Call for Hearing and Reaffirmation of the Party’s Support of a Moratorium on the Death Penalty.

3. Support Same Sex Couples in Their Right to Marry by Repealing Proposition 8.

4. Oil Severance.

5. Health Care Reform.

6. In Support of a Majority Vote for State Budget. (This passed unanimously!)

7. Oppose Governor Schwarzenegger’s Cuts to Children, Seniors and the Disabled in the 2009-10 California State Budget.

8. Credit Card Regulation and Interest Rate Capping.

9. Protect Workers Rights to Organize.

10. Senior Cola Resolution.

11. Calling for the Investigation of Judge Jay Bybee and Others for Their Role in Allowing Torture as Part of “Enhanced Interrogation.”

Then there was the drive home and the many discussions of what had happened. I hope I get a chance to go again next year!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wyclef Jean in concert. Just a quick blip from Mid Sactown.

It was way late and the youngsters I was with were in the middle of the event. Seemed like they were having way too much fun. I had a good time experiencing the energy of the crowd.

Democratic Convention Parties!

I went to a Democratic Convention and a Party broke out! Many of them.

The goal was simple for Shane Brinton and I at this year’s Democratic State Convention. We were going, to the best of our ability, not have to pay for a meal. How can that be done? With all the hosted receptions and invited get together and party events, we were going to try. (We were avoiding the big dollar dinners that were being held.) We traveled down to Sacramento and were at the State Convention center around 12:30 Friday afternoon. After the last caucus I attended was over at about 10pm, Shane and I went to the following events:

“SpeakerStein Palooza” Hosted by Hon. Darrell Steinberg & Karen Bass

“Pink Friday Dessert” Hosted by CTA

“Savory Suite” Hosted by Sactown Democratic Party

“58 County Party” Hosted by John Burton & Eric Bauman

“Apple Pie and Ice Cream” Hosted by Hon. Tom Torlakson

Free food, music and booze! What a combo. We got back to our motel (Po Dunk Inn, I mean the La Quinta) way late.

In the morning we were able to score a free breakfast, but we had to be in down town Sac by 7:30am. We made it and it was good. Then we had another full day of Politics. I saw former Humboldt County resident and HCDCC member Debbie Israel and we took in a free lunch hosted by 50th District Assemblyman Hector De La Torre. Debbie is working at the Shasta Lake City planning department and was at the State Convention as a volunteer.

On Saturday evening Shane and I had an invitation from Jerry Brown at the Governors Mansion. Free Bud by bottle or tap! I had a goal of getting a picture with Jerry, but he was crowded by people. Chris Kerrigan grabbed my camera and shoved me forward into the fray, and I got my picture. After I drained the party of much beer, we ended up at the Broiler downtown and broke down and paid for a meal.

Then it was off to Gavin Newsome’s block party in Mid Sactown with Mayor Kevin Johnson and Wyclef Jean performing. The music was great. Wyclef played a full set. One thing that disappointed was the $8 drink price. No thanks, I stayed dry.

We ended up the day into the next morning actually. Not much sleep again. But we made it in time for the General Session and the havoc on the floor. More on that as I try to sum it up later.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Propositions take a pounding at California Democratic Convention.

I was sure hoping for a consensus on Proposition's 1F through 1F, but that wasn't the case at the General Session on the floor of this year's Democratic California Convention. I was an elected delegate of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) and voted to support all the Propositions so the state won't be bogged down further in doing business in the near future. But there were just too many questions and doubts from my fellow Democrats, so I look for all these props to fail. Here are the results on the elections:

Prop 1A- Vote by card count. 58% yes votes. No position taken.

Prop 1B- Yes vote by card affirmation. Prop Supported.

Prop 1C- Yes vote by card count. 67% yes votes. Prop Supported.

Prop 1D- Vote by card count. 52% yes votes. No position taken.

Prop 1E- Vote by card count. 51% yes votes. No position taken.

Prop 1F- Vote by card affirmation. Prop Supported.

Only half survived. Much spirited debate was had on the floor. Going to be a tough election this May 19th. May have huge ramifications in paying state employees during the summer. I will cover more tomorrow.

California Democratic Convention.

I am starting to think Prop 1A through 1F are going to fail. I attended the Labor Caucus and there was a clear split on the props. Today there will be much talk and I am sure all Legislatures on the Assembly and Senate will be lobbying hard for the props to pass.

I was allowed a one on one talk with Senate Pro Temp Darrell Steinberg and we discussed at length the Evergreen worker situation and he has assigned staff to help out. He had some ideas on how to try to mitigate issues.

Anonymous posters please have mercy on me while I am out of town!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Freshwater Pulp's does not garner Waste Water Discharge Requirements permit. DG Energy to do business as usual.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board North Coast Region meeting concerning the waste water discharge permitting process was held Thursday April 23rd at the Fortuna River Lodge Conference Center. Freshwater Pulp was denied a continuance of permit as is for affluent discharge. DG Energy is still in compliance and will be using the affluent line as is for the future.

There was enough paperwork passed out during this meeting to keep this pulp mill running for awhile. Staff for the board gave a history report of the pulp mill's repeated violations and their rationale for termination. Not a pretty scenario for the public.

Freshwater Pulp spokesman Bob Simpson outlined the vision for the new mill. He felt LP did not market the "Totally Chlorine Free" (TCF) pulp properly and should have claimed, "Dioxin Free Pulp."

Bob also made public that "Worthy Pick" did not buy the mill, but that subsidiaries "United States Lee and Man" and "Hong Kong Lee and Man" did a complicated stock swap sale of assets.

Mr. Simpson is proposing a Pulp/Paper Tissue plant that will produce between 520 and 550 tons of TCF pulp that would be converted to a finished green "tissue" product. Theoretically, this would be 40% of the total tissue market in California.

Mr. Simpson also framed his potential business as a "Recycle Plant" that will use "Residual" chips from sawmills and tan oak "Weeds of the forest" chipping products. He gave calculations of "residual" chips from sawmills in this form, 50% of a log is turned into lumber. 35% is turned into chips. 13% is bark and the rest sawdust and shavings. His proposed new chip mix at Freshwater Pulp will be 50% Tan Oak, 40% Redwood and 10% Douglas Fir. (Pretty Standard for tissue conversion without the redwood factor.)

Mr. Simpson spoke against a "Secondary Treatment Plant" saying that their processing "Mistakes" would end up there, and he wanted to be a "Model" of compliance.

Then there was public comment. On written record against continuing the variance were:

Forest Unlimited

Northern California River Watch

Coast Action Group

Friends of Garcia River

Individuals who spoke against the continuing the variance were:

Carol Binder of Eureka: She said that visible air particles were an issue. Smoke and Ash have been observed and she claimed pulp ills were known polluters.

Patrick Eytcheson of Eureka: He said after 4 decades of a series of owners the mill has consistently been non compliant. After many complex environmental upgrades and a well financed owner in Lee and Man, the mill was not able to comply with environmental standards. He questioned what capital finances were available by the new owners and felt that it was time to pull the plug on the pulp mill.

Xandra Manns of Eureka: Was upset that environmental upgrades were not completed to this day. Violations kept happening while rules were in affect. She was offended that Tan Oaks were referred to as "weeds of the forest" and pointed out that they were in fact "Sacred to the Native Americans." She wanted the pulp mill to disappear.

None of the General public spoke in favor of the pulp mill.

When the Board considered Civil charges against Evergreen Pulp, I gave testimony of the need of the regulatory agency to take legal action and leave a "trail" for us former workers to have possible chances to garner some funds owed to our union workers. They voted yes and hopefully we can learn more of litigation in the future.

"What is the price of a neighborhood?" Verison tower report.

I was at today's Eureka City Council special meeting concerning the cell phone tower in Henderson Center. Robin and I own a house and property within a stones throw of the proposed tower. We were not notified of the project. Local Attorney Tim Needham is Verizon's secondary counsel and was there to present his client's weak defense. Past Eureka Councilman Chris Kerrigan was there to propose an ordinance that protects the public from this type of building in residential areas.

There was much lawyer talk and I was happy to hear Councilwoman Linda Atkins sound off on attorney pompous rhetoric and challenge their claims. Larry Glass was the one who set up this special meeting and verbally spared with Mike Jones and Jeff Leonard over this issue. Councilman Jager held the trump card. The same theme kept coming up, "What is the price of a neighborhood?" All councilpersons agreed they were priceless, and yet only three voted to put a temporary stop to the project. They were Jager, Glass and Atkins.

No Eureka residents spoke in favor of the project. None. Two lawyers for Verizon spoke for the project.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Humboldt Literacy Project Trivia Challenge winner is not Samoasoftball! How did that happen?

The event was dominated by Trinacria, who answered 22 questions correctly beating the field of 20 teams. Walt Frazer, Kitty Yancheff and Cecelia Holland made up the winning powerhouse. The Avant Gardes team I was on placed sixth. Salvador Taberez and Hans Gerstacke were my teammates that had to overcome a huge handicap...... that would be me. If we had to do it over, we could have probably squeezed out 4 more correct answers and been in the medals but we may have answered too quickly on a few. I screwed up one question about who wrote the song "Crazy" by Patsy Cline. I was sure it was Hank Williams Sr. and Sal said it was Willie Nelson. I told him that no way Willie had wrote it since Patsy sung it in the 50's. Sal was right. Oops. Might have caused us to slip a place. Sal and I tag teamed on Sports and Hans was awesome on Geography. It was a fun event and for a good cause.

I didn't win anything in the dutch raffle and just figured it was not my day. I had 20 dollars I earmarked for the slots on my way out of Cher-Ae Heights Casino, who graciously donated the venue for the event. I sat down to a young lady who must not have played the slots much as she was pretty excited to win $20. I was just enjoying listening to her bantering with her friends when I noticed I had just won $250 on the 25 cent machine. Good thing for me as I need new tires on one of my cars!

The Great Humboldt Trivia Challenge is a great fundraiser for the Humboldt Literacy Project. Hope to see you next year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Samoasoftball invited to Kegger at Governor's Mansion by Jerry Brown!

I hope those lampshades are easy to take off.

Just to let you know there will be a Recession Reception at the historic Governor's Mansion at 1526 H Street in downtown Sacramento on Saturday April 25th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Besides a couple kegs of beer, chips and salsa, I'll be there to show you around. You may remember, my father was the last governor to live there.

Hope to see you at the convention.

With Respect,


I will be going to the California Democratic Party State Convention in Sacramento as a delegate for the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC)this weekend. I have been swamped with invites from political leaders and office holders to events such as Jerry Brown's. And weeding through all the information is thwarting. I will have to soak up much information before I "soak" in the suds!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Racing at the Acres! (Yes, Robin and I are certified Humboldt Okies.)

Robin and I have been watching stock car races at Redwood Acres together for 35 years. Even sponsored cars in the past. Yep, we are two Humboldt County Okies. The only thing that separates us and trailer trash, is that our house lacks wheels. Robin's dad, Bill Carroll, is from Oklahoma and my mother, Mable Powell, went to college there. Robin's dad (Democrat) was a union millworker at Simpson. Robin's mom Mildred worked the Fisheries. My mother (Democrat) was a union retail Clerk at Bazar. Hard working class is in our blood.

We were there to root for "Fergy" Ferguson. I have known Ferg for about 40 years and have been watching him race since the 60's. His step son Rick is one of my best friends. I hung out at his house on Marsh road in Myrtletown and spent many hours watching Ferg work on his stock cars. Rick and I even messed with a few of his cars. Ferg used to go up and down Marsh making sure they were race ready. The neighbors didn't care, it was a close knit group.

Ferg is racing in the Limited Street division now. He used to race in the Sportsman, but it is now too pricey. He won the Trophy dash and placed 2nd in the main. Other drivers that I know that race the Acres, Jay Bahner, Bruce Ziemer, Dave McMurray, Al Acuna, Angelo Marcelli, Denzil Barrett, Scott Baker, Craig Baker, Pat Conway, Marvin Savage and Donnie Hyman. I am sure there are others I might have missed.

We used to take the kids when they were little. It is good, clean family entertainment. Unless you have to go use the bathrooms there. Those are nasty. Oh, and the fistfights that do happen under the grandstands. Doesn't happen as often as in the past. OK, might want to leave those kids at home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Samoasoftball makes over 1.3 million dollars!

It took over 35 years though. Where did it all go? I figure about $429,000 in taxes. Maybe $390,000 housing and heating. Here are some interesting breakdowns:

During these decades I made-

1970's $28,911------------------Highest annual $7,960

1980's $292,840---------------Highest annual $38,240

1990's $431,808----------------Highest annual $58,300

2000's $545,811 (so far)-----Highest annual $76,665

Interesting facts Presidential wise:

A Republican (Nixon) was in office during my least annual earnings.

A Democrat (Clinton) was in office during my highest annual earnings.

My annual wages never went over $8,000 during Ford's time in office.

When Carter was in office my annual wages went from $5,650 to $26,047.

It wasn't until the 3rd year of Reagan's term until I earned over $20,400!

My wages flat lined in Reagan's years from 84' to 88' from $32,797 to $34,809.

The Bush Sr. years saw my wages go from $38,240 to $37,682.

In Clinton's first year in I had an annual earning of $29,958. The next year $34,685. The next $40,676. I peaked out in 2000 at $76,665.

When Bush Jr. took office I was making $69,204. The next year I was at $56,546. The next $54,258. I bottomed out this last year at $45,299.

My longest unemployment stretches? Always with a Republican in office.

My workplace closed with a Chinese Company while, you got it, a Republican was in office.

And you wonder why I am a Democrat? For the good of my economic survival!

Friday, April 17, 2009

CR men and women ball teams have good day. Lassen long time coach tossed!

I went to watch some ball today at CR. It was cold and dreary. A normal Humboldt County day. Caitlin Wallace pitched a solid game, and CR had a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 6th. With a runner at second, a CR girl hit single between 1st and 2nd and Lassen's right fielder charged the ball and threw a strike at the plate. The catcher caught the ball and tagged the runner out and then when she brought her glove up to her neck, she bobbled the ball. The plate umpire was trying to get a good look and on his angle thought she had no control from the start. Lassen coach, Glen Yonan, who has coached Lassen for 20 years came out to argue the call with his assistant coach. Their was no dirt kicking or swear words, the coach just wanted to get in his 2 cents. The field ump came in and told the assistant coach to leave the field. Then coach Yonan told the field umpire he had been patient for 6 innings with the plate umpire. And then he was tossed. And shocked that he had been thrown out. That meant he could not coach the next game. I just feel that was a quick trigger when you have to travel so far to get here. No wonder GVC coaches hate coming up here. CR went on to win 3-1, and Chenone Blake pitched good and won 5-2 in the second game of the twinbill.

The CR men's beat up Lassen 18-8 in the first game with Zach O'Hanen pitched a gutsy game. Both teams were raking! What sparked the CR team emotionally was yet another play at home plate. Lassen was trying to score a runner from second and the throw was at the plate before the runner got there, but it went by the catcher and he was plowed over by the runner. Catcher Justin Yslas looked no worse for the wear, but the CR players took offense to the hard hit. CR coach Zeigler went out and let his feelings be known. But no tossing by these umpires. Matt Landing hit the ball solid all game and the rest was history. I left before the end of the second game.

The CR men's team play a single game tommorrow.

Blue Lake Casino Job Fair attracts hundreds! Needs Union.

That is how bad it is getting. Hundreds show up for jobs that pay less than eleven dollars and hour. Some way less. Not a living wage if you ask me. This place needs a union. Any of you workers who want better wages and benefits, give me a call and I can help you through the process of bettering your workplace through organizing.

Seems like in dire times people still have enough disposable income to keep feeding the slots.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More EDD stories and Evergreen workers unemployment runs out. Extensions needed.

Yesterday we had a union meeting and around 40 people attended. Workers have been given conflicting counsel from the Employment Development Department. One person will say that each person needs to run their personal unemployment benefits dry, and then refile a claim, and others have heard or read that this will be done automatically. Why the conflicting instructions? Others have been told that the retirement that they collect on has to be deducted from unemployment and others say they don't. Just makes for nerves to fray.

I talked to one guy who knew one of the work counselors on a personal basis. The counselor told the worker how sad he was for these workers who were making over $80,000 and how tough it will be for them and their families to adjust to making less. "Hey, that's me your talking about!" This same person had a lead on a potential job and went to EDD headquarters to update his resume. He said the place was busy and when he was able to get to the computers, he found out that 4 of the people there were workers from the plant he was going to apply at! They had just been laid off.

It was good to see the story in the Times Standard of the Mckinney's from the mill learning a new trade. But the funding for the Power Plant in Blue Lake has been sketchy at best. I hope that it all pans out good. Lots of workers from the mill are retraining and trying re-invent themselves. It is hard for workers in their 50's to do that. And the mill had nearly half in that age range.

Former Evergreen workers will need to make over $12 an hour just to make what their unemployment pays. Not many of those jobs out there now.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sierra Pacific Industries (Emmerson in Manila) to close doors soon! California Redwoods and Green Diamond (Simpson) to follow in 6 months?

Sierra Pacific Industries is closing a sawmill in El Dorado county that has been open since 1889! And also their Arcata plant that started all the Red Emmerson legacy that led him as the largest public land owner in the United States. This will lead to over 100 more Humboldt County worker layoffs.

And brace yourselves, California Redwood and Green Diamond executives came down to Humboldt to announce potential permanent closures in the next 6 months. Hundreds of workers could be affected! And of course, Humboldt Redwood (Old Palco)has slowly cut back on their workforce to less than 200 of a past 1,500 workers. Need I include Humboldt Creamery, Mervyns and Gottshalks closures? And we have many Truck Drivers cut back on their hours because of these circumstances.

Humboldt County needs to have an economic employee disaster declared! I love this area, but how many hits can we handle? This is real and now!

Update: California Redwood spokeswoman Jackie Deuschle called to say that my information is "Nothing further from the truth." She admitted it will be a tough year and she hopes for no further layoffs. "We have been around 119 years and not going anywhere!" This is good news. My source had told of California Redwood executives from Seattle meeting here recently and left a timetable of 6 months. I am glad they were wrong.

As far as the Sierra Pacific Emmerson mill closure information, that was in the Eureka Reporter column piece by K. Lloyd Billingley on Wednesday in the Times Standard.

I do not believe that Humboldt Creamery is at full staffing. Am I wrong?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Mad River Softball President and USSSA regional director. Samoasoftball.

Mad River Softball President and USSSA Northern California Regional Director Steve Kosak passed away a few weeks ago and left a huge hole in organizing softball in Northern California. Last week I was appointed to replace Steve as the USSSA Regional Director. Tonight, the board of the Mad River Softball elected me to be President. I am honored and realize I have big shoes (literally) to fill. Steve WAS Mad River Softball. He Umpired, set schedules, did the budgeting, took care of field prep, trained staff and was ever present at the ball park to make sure things ran smoothly. I just hope we (the board) can make this transition period as comfortable as possible. I feel this board will "step up to the plate" and work as a team to make it work.

Some new things the board and I will try to do this year: Have a Friday night only league, try to re-introduce a metal bat division and have more USSSA sanctioned weekend tournaments.

The board also discussed a possible softball scorer booth/snack bar/bathroom facility for the complex in the future.

Looks like I have a busy summer planned!

A piece of Firewood costs 50 cents. And other worthless information.

I have a buddy that is an engineer. Sometimes when we are in conversation he will pull some assumption out of thin air that he has calculated. I have challenged his claims, but lack the cranial capacity to put up good arguments against his theories. So I am looking for help. Please give me some good arguments against these claims:

A piece of Hardwood firewood costs 50 cents.

It costs 2.5 cents a minute to run hot water. 5 cents for cold. (At his house. He admits variables.)

A 50 yard punt with a hang time of 4 seconds travels at 30 MPH.

The optimal angle to shoot a free throw is 55 degrees.

A gas driven car is only 20% efficient at it's peak. In town only 7%.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lee and Man could have made workers a bundle.

Assuming workers were allowed to take their now frozen 401k savings and invested $50,000 on Lee and Man stock at the Hong Kong Stock exchange when the mill closed in October 2008, the 31,840 shares you would own would have net worth of $170,981. Anyone out there know the Hong Kong Stock exchange difference in American dollars?

So that is where all the money went? To inflate the worth of parent company Lee and Man? And they leave workers with nearly $500,000 in medical bills they were in agreement of paying? Criminal. We need rules that protect worker rights!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Obama has death threat from Eureka!

A person came into the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee office to voice his anger over Obama visiting Turkey recently. After verbalizing his displeasure he said if Obama ever came to Eureka, he would shoot him. He left and then returned to again to affirm that he would shoot him if he came here. The CIA has been notified, but the man is still at large. Must be a Rush fan.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ol' Red still hauling. Causes class stereotyping

My old Ford Ranger may have seen it's best days, but with over 170,000 miles, it still does the job. Robin and I hauled off some e-waste the other day, and then hauled firewood home. (Yes, the blue Ranger is mine also. Bought it not too long ago for $950.) Robin and I have found it ironic that when we go to the Salvation Army or other donation spots with Ol' Red, we have our stuff is turned away. (Clothes, furniture, general goods.) But Robin can take the same stuff in her PT Cruiser, and they will come out and help her bring in the items! One day Robin took Ol' Red to work and left the lights on. One of her co-workers came into the office and reported the truck with the lights on. "We better find out who owns the truck with the lights on, we probably don't want whoever owns that to be stuck here!" Isn't it funny how people prejudge people by what they drive.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Retired Pulp Mill Shift Engineer Norm Smith dies.

Norm Smith, a retired shift engineer, passed away this last Friday. Tom Reilly spoke with Norm's daughter today and the service for him will be on April 25th at 7 pm. It will be held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in McKinleyville. She said that one of Norms best memories was when the mill gave him a party for his retirement. He very much enjoyed having the guys around just to visit and talk about old times. Sherie would like to do something like that again in Norm’s memory. She asked if Tom could help put something together, so now Tom needs your input. There will be a dinner after the service for all of the pulp mill people. It will be after 7 pm on the 25th. What Tom needs to know is how many would like to attend. Depending on the response, a place will be picked and reservations made. So if you would like to attend just send Tom an e mail at and let him know how many are in your party. Spouse’s are certainly welcome. The more the better, so please pass this information on so we don’t leave anyone out. Tom told Sherie that he would get back to her in a few days.

Monday, April 06, 2009

"Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to share." (HBMWD meeting)

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District had a special meeting today to address utilization of the Industrial water system and the District's water rights. The goal of the meeting was for a broader planning effort to ensure the District can continue to provide reliable, cost-effective water to wholesale customers and the community.

It was essentially an interview for water attorney David Aladjem through a question/answer forum on Water Resources Planning (WRP). Mr. Aladjem gave some of his history with water law. It was quite extensive in the Valley and Southern California area. He seemed to really know his subject matter and he pointed out that there are very few experts in water law. He explained there were two stages for WRP: 1. Advisory Committee Vision and 2. Decision Process. He then started to talk about "Water Transfer." That's right, the moving of water out of the area and the impediments involved.

Director Tera Prucha asked about EIR problems and if one year plans were best or what has happened in the past. "Can state take over water?" She also wanted to know how to safeguard limited amounts.

Chairwoman Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap asked the question, "How do we defend our water rights?" Mr. Aladjem pointed out a law that was established that protects the "Area of Origin's" water rights after Los Angeles sucked Mono Lake almost dry, and that they can only sell a "surplus" of their water. But he also said this is superseded by an act of the Governor forcing take over of the water through the, "Emergency Service Act."

Director Bruce Rupp asked Mr. Aladjem how he was personally perceived by the "environmental world." Mr. Aladjem gave an answer that seemed to imply neither hot nor cold, but upfront with facts. (Some of his projects seemed to lean toward the environment) Director Rupp also was sceptical of someone paying capital costs for a project that would be held to a one year lease.

It was interesting when Director Aldaron Laird asked about the expediency of licensing the water, and what time frame he recommended. Mr. Aladjem asked if he could speak of that later after the public meeting ended. Kaitlin would have none of that and let the lawyer know they were bound to the public and all must be disclosed in public. Aldaron pointed out the conception of "60 million gallons" of surplus water that is not being used industrial and how that will, in fact, affect "flow changes." Aldaron aslo touched on needing a "Water Availability Analysis" and what to do with potential "Blue Lake Rancheria" water rights.

Overall, I think the board did a good job in grilling the potential water law attorney. I hope they decide to hire him for counseling through the process they decide to go.

"Will that be one 1,000 gallon water bag or two?"

"It is not if they are coming for the water, it is when are they?" (Quoting Tera Prucha while she campaigned for the Director seat.)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cody Weatherbee plays baseball for Eureka JV. Tiger varsity beats EHS in 10!

I had a chance to watch my buddy Doug's son play his last game with the Eureka High JV's on Saturday. Eureka ended 8-3 on the year after sweeping Arcata in a twinbill. Cody went 3 for 3 with two doubles and a couple of walks. 16 year old Cody had an on base percentage of .657 and batted .520 with 10 RBI's. He might be moving up to the varsity team before the end of their season.

On Friday night I watched the Tiger's and Logger's match up in one the best High School baseball games I have seen. AHS prevailed 7-6 in 10 innings! It was breezy and temps dipped in the mid 40's, but still there were a couple of hundred people in the stands to watch at the Arcata Ball Park. Mitch Provolt was on the hill for Arcata and Justin Hatch for Eureka. Hatch was in a groove early, but then started to get hit pretty good by Arcata. In freezing weather he threw well over 100 pitches and gave up 12 hits and 6 runs. I personally thought he threw too many curve balls, but it was a gutsy outing. Some college needs to take a close look at this kid. Provolt pitched well and took a lead going into the 6th inning. Danny Bednar and Ryan Thompson got roughed up a little in relief, but kept the game close. Marcus Walker came in and waded his way through 4 innings of shutout relief and helped his own cause by collected 2 clutch hits. Conor Byrne played a good shortstop and Andrew Nelson might be the best outfielder around. Alex Cunha hit the ball well and threw out a few runners from behind the plate. Eureka High coach Eric Giacone made 4 appearances on the field to argue calls with the field ump, and you know what, he probably had good complaints. The critical calls really hurt Eureka. But it was a great game to watch.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Do Arcata Bikers and Skateboarders have suicidal tendencies?

I was parked for a few minutes North of the Arcata Plaza just above H ST and 11 TH St. I have always noticed that Bikes rarely stop at the sign going down the hill on H. Sure enough, I saw a person going out of control trying to stop his bike with no brakes and he ran into a car making a right turn on 11 TH. The biker then just got back on his pedals and left the scene. Not hardly a minute later here came a skateboarder down the hill out of control. And split traffic through the intersection. A policeman was at the 11th Street stop sign as he whizzed pass. Do you think the cop pulled him over for being a safety hazard to traffic? Nope. I heard this behavior is common on H ST. I am surprised I don't hear about more injuries or even fatalities in Arcata.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Linda Willits had been feeling under the weather last week while working with her husband Wes. She was told to go to the doctor but refused because she lacked health insurance. When she could no longer take the pain, she went to Mad River Hospital and found out she had breast cancer. She went home and died that night.

You can't help but wonder how long Linda had been feeling bad and just held off seeking medical treatment. Linda was tough lady who loved animals and the people she worked with. It is just so sad.

IF YOU HAVE NO INSURANCE, and have a medical condition you would like to be checked on, Mad River Hospital will see you! There are many changes coming soon with the government stimulus money that may affect your status. Contact Theresa Gonzalez at 825-4932 to have her explain Medi-Cal, Medi Care, third party funding options and if needed, a very liberal payment service. This is a free information service provided by Mad River Hospital. So there are options. If you are sick, please seek attention!

Mad River Hospital is a locally owned facility.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beer now Kosher at Memorials?

I attended a couple of Memorials the last few days and both had beer available before, during and after the sermons. One was Christian and the other Jewish. Is this a new trend I have missed? I have been at Funerals and Memorials that have served alcohol AFTER the services.