Sunday, May 31, 2009

Barnstormer's exude good sportsmanship while beating SAC 3-1. Blue Lake wood bat action.

We only had 9 players to start our game against the Hey Juan Barnstormers and we played a hard fought contest. The Barnstormers were 4-0 going into the game and in 1st place. We finally had some re-enforcements late in the game and put them in the order to try to mount a comeback. We had the tieing run come up to bat and the Barnstormer coach Paul Bressoud called timeout while one of our new players came up to bat. He pointed out we were batting out of order and wanted our right player up. He was right, in the confusion of putting the new players in the line-up one of our guys was out of order. He could have waited until after he batted and it would have been an out and we would have lost right there! As it turned out, we were not successful in the comeback due to great fielding by the Barnstormer's. We lost 3-1. That was good sportsmanship on their part but Pat Higgins gets the best of me for the second straight game! Grrrr. We did salvage the second game of the doubleheader. They had the lead, then we had the lead, then they had the lead, and then we finally pulled it off. Whew! The weather was great!

Sideline notes: Perry Price helped us and was the oldest player out there at......70ish. The Barnstormers have at least 5 players over 50 and some great young additions. They do not make many mistakes! Sam Jaskar made some totally sick plays at short for SAC the second straight time. Best in the league. Kris Avelar was within a few inches of on 8 for 8 weekend. Cory Frizell can hit as hard in wood bat as he can in metal bat. Toye Johnson also. If I am not mistaken, the Brewzers are 5-1, Barnstormers 5-1 and SAC 4-2. Any other records out there?

Teams I have played for this season are now 5-4. I will have surgery on June 16th, so I will play as much as I can until then. Toye Johnson did the wrap on my wrist today and I was at least able to swing. Thanks Toye!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Samoa Athletic Club Basketball final.

Our humble little Eureka Basketball League team ended the season with a 12-3 overall record, good enough for 4th place in the City Championship. We did win the second half portion of our league, so we scored another trophy. We had a pretty diverse group this year, 2 players in their 50's, 3 in their 30's and the rest in their 20's. We were led by 6'4" Dave Norton, who will be playing at CR next year. Other players were 6'6" Ron denHeyer, 6'8" Billie Sines, 5'10" Damon Dimmick (Arms of a 7 footer), 6'2" Terry "Mocha" Campbell, 5'10" Wayne Hicks, 6'2" Ben Hicock, 6'1" Max "Skywalker" Schotz, 6'3" Brandon Murphy and on the point, 6'1" Sam Jaskar. It was a fun season. Below is a short clip of the team in action in the Eureka Semi-finals won by Elke's. Elke's lost to Porter Street BBQ in the finals.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Woody Murphy: “I am against the Redwood Dock!” Dave Schneider: “Docks are losers!” HBHRCD Economic Development Committee.

I went to the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation & Conservation District (HBHRCD) “Economic Development Committee” meeting tonight to hear the economic vision for the port. Woody Murphy was the only one who would flat come out and say how he felt. He said a publicly funded dock should not compete with a privately owned dock and he said his facility was not overbooked. He went through the history of his dock since 1986 and how they have tried to adapt to economic changes. At one time he was exporting logs until the spotted owl problem, and then in the 90’s he felt it ironic that he was importing logs for sawmills from New Zealand until EPIC shut them down for chemicals that the logs were treated with. He tried to bring in Cruise Ships and found out they do not want to be charged to dock. He even had potato chips go through his dock.

Dave Schneider said he was told over ten years ago to build a dock, “and they will come.“ And he did just that, building a class 1 dock at the old “A” dock in Eureka. He was not publicly harsh on the new dock, but pointed out all the improvements he had made and in the last ten years averaged 3 ships a year. “Docks are losers! They are in use only 5% of the time!” His dock does have the capacity to handle 600 containers.

Randy Gans said the Fairhaven terminal has all kinds of potential and is supportive of the Redwood Dock also. Randy is pro-growth and would like to see industrial growth to supply jobs for the local economy.

Steve Pepper of Humboldt Maritime Logistics gave a presentation on short term shipping using “green highways.” He said unloading can be done locally with a mobile harbor crane and he has a business plan utilizing Longview, Washington, Coos Bay, Oregon, Humboldt Bay, Oakland and Long Beach as ports of destination for products. He has a two year timeline. He is looking for money through the “Marine Highway Program” and public/private partnerships.

HBHRCD Commissioners Patrick Higgins and Mike Wilson co-chaired this process. Patrick was determined to keep the agenda moving, but the place was packed and questions were all over. HBHRCD CEO David Hull and Lacy Wilson tagged team a presentation of “Where they were and where they are going” that was convoluted and non specific. To shorten it up, dredging was done and completed by the year 2000 to stop shipping “Leakage.” (Boats leaving part loaded because of low waters) They did show that there are 235 parcels of land around the bay from the Samoa Bridge to Fields landing that are not developed. That caught my eye. I was also surprised to hear that our port is 2 days closer to Hong Kong than anywhere on the west coast, which is a $200,000 savings in shipping. They outlined many positives and few negatives. Lacy was asked to identify investors he said were inquiring to fund projects and in lands around the bay, but he said he could not. Pete Nichols of Baykeeper’s challenged Wilson’s pulp shipping projections, saying Freshwater Pulp had no intention of shipping pulp products.

This was just a quick glimpse of much discussion. I am sure we will hear more in the future.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Humboldt vs. Shasta BOS pay and other apples to oranges.

The average County Board of Supervisor’s (BOS) annual wage in Shasta County is $54,600 per year for representing over 180,000 people, compared to Humboldt County BOS pay of $77,000+ representing 132,000 people.

According to the Humboldt Association of Realtors, the Median Household Income for Humboldt as of March 2009 was $41,328 and the average home is $264,950. Only 23% of residents in Humboldt Qualify to buy a house.

Redding's housing affordability in the first quarter reached its highest level in 10 years, a national index reported this week. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index showed that nearly two-thirds of all homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning Redding's Median Household Income of $55,700. The median sales price in the first quarter (January through March) was $180,000.

Area affordability in Shasta hasn't been so high since the first quarter of 1999, when it hit 67.6 percent and the median sales price was $105,000. The area's median income 10 years ago was $37,500. At the same time in Humboldt median home sales price were at $121,420 and median wages $31,300. The affordability index was 49%.

Affordability in Redding reached its low during the second quarter of 2006, when a mere 11.3 percent of the homes sold were attainable to residents. Back then, the median price was $280,000 and the median income was $49,000. Compare that to Humboldt at a home median price of $312,333 at the same period in 2006, and the median income was $38,222. The affordability index was 12%.

What exactly does Shasta have over us? We do have a port, timber, dairy and fishing? We have agriculture lands and lots of pot growing? Where is the Humboldt County missing link? Why does Shasta seem to support 2 huge Wal-Mart’s, Home Depot and other big box chain stores? And chain restaurants? Red Lobster, Logan’s Roadhouse, In and Out Burger, Cattleman’s, Outback, Dairy Queen and the list goes on.
How come the average household in Shasta makes over $14,000 more than a family in Humboldt? And they don't even have a State University! Why do we have a 1% population growth and Shasta nearly 8%? What are your takes?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Samoasoftball Weaverville Invitational Results. And, why do people do this?

Weaverville: Dan Sutherland hit the lone home run in the Championship game leading Ray Wolfe Construction of Arcata to an 8-3 victory over Unagi from Yreka at the Weaverville Memorial Weekend Invitational hosted by Samoa Athletic Club. R-Co Construction finished in 3rd Place.

Mike Dobrec was named Most Valuable Player and Jacob Kadle Most Valuable Pitcher for Wolfe. All Tournament players were Matt Socha and Jared Harpe from Wolfe, Ryan Jackson, J.J. Cascarina and Justin Gerding of Unagi, Tim Hunt and Toye Johnson from R-Co Construction and George Seele of Samoa Athletic Club. (Just an added note, Dave Rhodes for SAC only made a few outs in the tournament. He was deserving of an selection but SAC only had one pick.)

Todd Canfield of Weaverville won the Home Run Contest for the second straight year, hitting 5 out 10 out of the park.

I had a team from a team from Happy Camp show up to the tournament somehow thinking this was a co-ed tournament. They got back in the cars when they saw the teams and left. They did not let me know they were going home. This has been an annual men's tournament (Although women have participated on the men's teams in the past.) for many years. That left a hole in the bracket and me out $250. If you are going to travel that far you might as well have played. Robin and I have hosted over 100 tournaments through the years and have seen about every scenario played out, and we survived this one too. We have at least 4 more to go this summer.

Other than that, it was a fun event. People yelling for the umpires head on a platter, chest to chest arguments, BBQ galore, close home run contest and stories of escapades at the Diggin's and the New Yorker Saloon.

The July 4th Weaverville Invitational is just around the corner!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Actual factual BOS annual pay.

I have been corrected on the actual pay via e-mail source. Here is the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor pay:

Supervisor Neely = $84,535

Supervisor Duffy = $76,850

Supervisor Smith = $74,611

Supervisor Lovelace = $74,611

Supervisor Clendenen = $74,611

Supervisors Neely and Duffy are receiving the retro pay due to them from the raise of June 2008. The other three did not accept the raise I am assuming.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Humboldt County Supervisors pay revisted.

I have posted in the past that our County Supervisors are the highest paid (nearly $80,000 annually)per population in the state by an average of $30,000. I must qualify that by saying counties over 75,000. (Thanks you know who) But did you know that our Supervisors make more than any STATE LEGISLATORS in 49 states not counting our own? Our State Senate and Assembly members make $116,000 and the next highest is Michigan at under $80,000. Just thought you would like to know.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vote today!

Don't forget to vote today all you civic minded individuals.

Monday, May 18, 2009

California Legislature a costly thing.

Little piece’s from Matier and Ross:

According to the state Department of Finance, the 2007-08 operating budget for California's 40 senators and their staff was $107 million.

The budget for the 80 Assembly members and staff was $145 million.

Total cost for both houses: $252 million. Ten years ago, the total budget for both houses was $158 million.

Legislators' salaries - $116,208 a year, the highest in the nation and far outpacing No. 2 Michigan, which pays $79,650.

California lawmakers also get a car allowance, free gas and $173 per day in living expenses during the legislative session if they reside outside Sacramento.

Each lawmaker gets at least eight staff members. Those who serve on committees get more.

Add in all the various policy analysts, number crunchers, lawyers and aides who work for the Legislature's numerous committees, and the support staff for the Senate and Assembly numbers about 1,800 - with an overall payroll of $180 million.

And believe this, if the propositions get turned down, there will be many lawyers getting rich on consulting fees. If you have the time and determination, become a lawyer for the big bucks!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Country Bumpkins Marks family invade Roseville. Surgery in near future for Samoasoftball. Softball updates!

Guy Fieri from Ferndale has become a famous restaurant owner of the Johnny Garlic's chain. My son Jacob took Robin and I to one of the places in Roseville. It was a friday night and they were packed. A few tables were glaringly empty with people waiting to be seated. They were being held for VI P's I guess. That really fries me. We are just standing waiting and obviously there are people not showing up on time. When we were sitted, we ordered a appetizer of their famous garlic fries. When they brought the order, I used the little dishes they had in front of us to divide the fries. Seemed the thing to do. Wrong! They brought an order of Focaccia Bread and they used the little dishes for a oil and vinegar mixture to dip the Focaccia Bread. So give me a memo! How am I supposed to know this? Embarrassing.

Robin and I were in Redding Thursday to meet Dr. Ferraro about my right wrist injury. He went over my records and said he would be able to repair my injury. I asked if I could attempt to play softball with this injury until I am cut up. He told me to go ahead, I could not injure it any further. I am now a lefty until the chop shop.

Robin and I stopped in Anderson and Red Bluff to post tournament fliers for the Memorial Weekend Tournament in Weaverville. Both field looked good. We stopped in Woodland and saw the new synthetic fields and posted information. These fields are going to be the best in Nor Cal. We also posted material at the Sacramento Complex.

COED Softball is alive and well in Fortuna this Sunday the 17th all day. 7 Teams and hundreds of people are participating down that way. The second weekend of Blue Lake Woodbat is also going. 9am to 7pm. Have fun!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

HCDCC endorse Props 1A, 1B, 1C & 1F. Virginia Bass lives in 4th District!

Lots of great arguments and respectful dialogue and when the dust settled, the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee endorses Props 1A, 1B, 1C and 1F. We took no position on 1D and 1E even though they were supported by majority, but not the 2/3 needed.

Just a note, it has been determined that Eureka Mayor Virginia Bass actually lives in the 4th Supervisor District and not in the 1st. She is eligible to run against Bonnie Neely in 2010. This race could have a large field.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Board of Supervisors vote to support Freshwater Pulp Vision.

Bonnie Neely made the original motion to have the BOS endorse Freshwater Pulp's business concept and will send forth support letters to public agencies and political legislators to move forward with permits and loans necessary to make this deal happen. Freshwater President Bob Simpson flagged many concerns, applauds and questions by the Supes. The BOS voted unanimously for the motion. Even PLAZOID Tad spoke in favor of the presentation.

What a weekend meeting with Congressman Mike Thompson that must of been! EPIC, Baykeepers, The Sierra Club, Labor leaders and the National AWPPW Vice President Greg Pallesen all together Saturday moving in the same direction and coming to a consensus! (Sounds like the AWPPW is going to help on the political and financial prep side. Might even venture into ESOP. Hmm. Where have I heard of that process?)

This is kind of stunning that there was so much collaboration of this magnitude. Of course, much of this vision is predicated on a Government backed loan. There was also a mention of a possible "Green" Initial Public Offering (IPO), where the company would raise money selling common stock.

So the plan is to start the mill as a Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) pulp and toilet paper facility with a main distribution center for the environmentally safe toilet tissue products. 450 local "union" jobs paying an average of $70,000 (Mr. Simpson's estimate) a year. And thousands indirectly created locally. Mr. Simpson sees this as finishing his vision that he had when he converted the plant over to TCF when he was the Western Division GM for Louisiana Pacific. And doing all this using good Forestry practices, using only chips made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved (Certified) logging practices.

Freshwater Pulp's vision is to be a regional producer of essential products for eco-minded consumers.

Freshwater Pulp's mission is to manufacture dioxin-free tissue products made from FSC certified wood fiber from the coastal redwood forest.

Quick Takes:

The mill is worth around 3.5 in scrap metal.

The mill has a $600,000,000 replacement value.

Freshwater Pulp projects $360,000,000 in annual sales.

Freshwater plans to pay $36,000,000 in Marketing and Advertising.

When a log hits the sawmill, 50% of the log becomes Lumber 35% pulpable chips. The rest waste wood to be used as Flakeboard or biofuel.

There was much more discussion that I may have missed. This is just a skimmed version of my notes. It might be too late for this worker to be a part of this, but I hope for my younger co-workers that this process is put on the fast track!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Freshwater Pulp to do Presentation at BOS Chambers.

Freshwater Pulp will be doing a presentation at the Board of Supervisors Chambers Tuesday, May 12th at 9:00am at the County Courthouse. If you go, be ready to be searched at the Courthouse door.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's day to all! Miss ya mom!

It's mother day and my mother is gone. Mabel Marks/Powell passed away at 84 years of age while I was on the road working for the union almost 10 years ago. I had been helping with health care at her home before her health took a turn for the worse and she moved in with my sister Michelle in Sacramento. The day before my niece Victoria's wedding, she died of a massive stroke. I was in Ukiah at the time and I drove over to Sacramento in time to be with mom as she died. It was hard. My mom was a good hearted lady who was benevolent to the point of crazy. She would help people and never accept recompensing and told them to help others the same way. While she had 7 children of her own, she always was taking in stray people into her house. She worked at Disco and Bazar stores as a union retail clerk. She worked into her 70's often walking to work from Russ and Harrison to downtown Eureka. As a younger woman she was a wing walker and airplane pilot. She graduated college in Oklahoma and was a divorced university school marm when she met my father, Army Major James Marks. I was mom's 7th child and my dad's 6th. After my dad passed the bar and became a lawyer, he followed his friend James McKittrick to Eureka. My father was McKittricks commanding officer and became his partner later.

The picture is my mom, Jacob and Jordan and a younger Samoasoftball. Miss you mom. You were so awesome!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Cody Weatherbee Getting Beaned.

I went to Cody Weatherbee's first Babe Ruth game of 2009 and was hoping to see him hit. Instead I got to see him get hit. He is on the Lions club Tigers? They were playing the Arcata/McKinleyville team. The crowd was pretty good for a cold friday night, and you can hear the Stock car racers in the background.
This is the time of year I love in the county. People are outside no matter what the weather is saying! It is spring Dammit! We are warm and wearing shorts even if the temps are dipping in the low 50's! I heard certain people in the crowd asking if I was politicing at the park. Obviously I was not. I would have been passing out solicitations for money and endorsements.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Freshwater Pulp meets with Mike Thompson for Federal Stimulus help! Samoa Fire Fighting Suppression system at risk.

Freshwater Pulp spokesman Bob Simpson is going to give Congressman Mike Thompson a presentation on the Future of Evergreen Pulp with a business plan/vision this weekend. If you are past worker of the plant with hopes of returning to work there, you should call Mike's office and let them know you support Freshwater's plan. Just call 269-9595 and tell them to put you on record as supporting the future of the Pulp Mill. (Converting to a limited capacity Totally Chlorine Free pulp mill with toilet paper converting capacity.)

Since the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District has shut water off to the mill, the water has been shut off to the industrial line that feeds the fire suppression lines from DG Power north to the Samoa Bridge. That has effectively shut down the town of Samoa's Fire suppression system. The 2 million gallon tank has water in it put has no pressure other than head pressure. If there is a structure fire call in this area someone needs to request Arcata's and Humboldt's water tenders to respond.

"Barry Van Sickle from the water district needs to be contacted as well by phone please put this number in your cell phone in case of emergency 499-2740 cell or 822-2918 work. He too should be called on dispatch however it is ultimately up to us to notify him that we need him to respond to open the water valves." I heard at the last Samoa Peninsula Fire Board meeting that there are people available 24 hours a day to open the line.

Now the question is, will the valves and water lines be able to be charged quickly without risk of bursting? I hope they do some trial runs. At Peninsula Union School there will be training in the near future on how to "draft" water out of the swimming pool there to fight a fire at the school.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Losing my Humanity. I used to have more patience & benevolence.

I was travelling through Eureka between meetings last week and stopped by KFC on Broadway for a quick bite to eat. I went to the back off by myself. I noticed someone walking over to me and sitting down. "Hey can I have a couple of pieces of chicken?" I looked over at the guy, who was stoned, dirty and obviously homeless. I told him there was chicken up front and asked why he was approaching me. "I can't go up there unless I have a ticket." I then told him, with no patience, to go up and talk to someone up front. So he did.

There was crowd of people in KFC who just listened and observed the commotion going on up front. I got up and went to the front and offered to pay for guys meal. The manager would not let him eat there, so I bought him a couple of thighs and told the cashier to give the guy the change for the $10 I put up. Why didn't I just do that in the first place instead of browbeating the guy first? Made me evaluate myself that day, and I did not like what I saw. Usually I am an easy touch and give my change pretty freely. I figure if God has blessed me this abundantly, I should pass it on to less fortunate than myself. But lately I have been falling short of my own expectations. I hope I can stop this flaw and have more mercy on my fellow man.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

1980 Softball Champs! M & D Auto!

I can't believe it has been almost 30 years that my M & D Auto softball team used to war with Reco's. Our team from top left, Sam Skillman, Andy Lameroux, Mark Smith, Rob Colivas, Kevin Gomes, Mike Carroll and Samoasoftball. From the bottom left, Rick "Fergy" Mitchell, Kurt Brundgardt, Loren Price, Sam Colivas and Mike Robinson. We had a great defensive team that just scored enough to get by.

The Times Standard used to do stories on adult softball both for fast pitch and slow pitch. This was a great bragging rights picture for the Sprague's. We won the game, they got the press. Bob was an incredible player who had a unconventional swing but could put the ball out of any local parks. Bob played left field, Brother Billie ("Basil") played 3rd and brother Dave was at 2nd. "Butch" Rasmussen pitched, Dave Schmidt, Randy McBride and Jimmy Sloss also played for Reco's. Click the story to enlarge and read!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Humboldt County Planning Commission. Musings from the peanut gallery.

The topic for the night was on the Land Use Element concerning Growth Planning, Urban Lands, Rural Lands, Agricultural Resources, Forest Resources, Public Lands and the Land Use Classifications. This chapter in the County General Plan is 57 pages. Robin and I were there to get a better understanding on the issues. The BOS chambers was not big enough for this subject matter and there were people having to listen from out in the hall.

So let us cut to the chase. Why not a bigger venue? This was ridiculous. Packed like sardines. At the break, Robin and I went home and watched on public access. Why replace the speaker podium with a pass around the microphone process? This took too much time away! And why didn't they limit the speakers time to 3 minutes? My goodness, people rambled on without direction even though they were reading their own written statements. There is only so many ways you can frame, "We don't want urban sprawl." It sounded like people most in attendance preferred plan "A" or a modified "A" or "B". I feel we need to "promote orderly development." The debate will ramble forth on how to get there.

Some things you might not know:

54% of our county population live in unincorporated areas.

County cows are worth 20 million and produce 43 million dollars of dairy products!

27% of Humboldt County land is agricultural.

80% of the County is Forested Land. About 80% of that is Timber Production Zoned (TPZ) and of that, 67% is owned by timber companies.

Humboldt County produces 20% of the timber production in the state! The most of any county.

The county has a "Village Center" designation element in the plan. Samoa maybe?

For the last 40 years the annual population growth of the County is less than 1%.

Dairy farm lands are considered polluters.

Some consider "Sun Valley Farms" as a "Big Box" entity.

But now you know.