Saturday, November 28, 2009

LA Times story on Pulp Mill. (Condensed) Thanks Greg!

What was once the bustling Evergreen Pulp mill is today a forlorn factory of smokestacks and tan buildings clustered quietly beside the still, gray waters of the Arcata harbor near Eureka, Calif.

Entrepreneur Bob Simpson bought the closed facility in February with the hopes of reopening it as an environmentally friendly toilet paper plant. He planned to spend $400 million rehabbing the factory and rehiring 215 workers who lost their jobs when the old pulp mill shut down in October 2008.

The project stalled after Simpson failed to make his way through the red tape required to access federal stimulus money, billions of which was aimed at promoting energy efficiency and clean technology. Simpson said the government missed out on an opportunity to create so-called green jobs in an economically devastated area of California.

"Our president . . . stated we need to stimulate our economy with green jobs," he said. "Well, here we are, we're ready to go."

In Arcata, half the workers at the Evergreen Pulp Mill have yet to find work since the plant's Chinese owners closed the facility. Simpson bought it in February with the idea of turning it into the first chlorine-free, dioxin-free toilet paper mill in North America.

He says it was the kind of shovel-ready project the government said it was seeking. He had a business plan and support and was ready to begin, as soon as he found a $400-million loan.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) wrote a letter to the Energy Department on behalf of the company, Freshwater Tissue Co. Civic and environmental leaders, including Gregg Gold, the chairman of the North Group of the Sierra Club's Redwood Chapter, and Art Harwood, the executive director of the Redwood Forest Foundation, stumped for the project as well.

But Simpson failed to submit the nonrefundable $50,000 fee required to apply for a stimulus loan. He said it was because he couldn't get anyone at the Energy Department to clarify whether his project would qualify since it didn't fit neatly into established categories such as wind power or solar energy.

Some of Evergreen's former workers, such as Homer Purcell, are now leaving California to find jobs. Purcell, 58, his wife and his 40-year-old son all lost their jobs when the mill went under.

Purcell found a job as a boiler operator in Reno and now commutes back and forth as he tries to sell his house in Eureka. His new job pays less than half the $100,000 he made as a supervisor at the mill.

"I would have thought the process would have left us something for renewable resources," he said about the stimulus bill.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A story of Natural Lite. Happy Turkeyday!

I usually have some "Natty" lite in the fridge. The commercials have been constant lately about this almost "Near Beer" with sports. They glamorize "Natterday" (Saturday) with all the fun types. I had run out of the stuff this weekend and was going to the store and asked Robin if we needed anything. She didn't mention beer. Later that Sunday I was stalking the fridge for cold beverages. No beer! Robin looks at me innocently and says, "Must be Noneday!" Luckily she has over 30 years seniority or I would have to replace her.

Have a great Turkeyday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Patty Berg running for California Insurance Commissioner.

Patty was on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle today about her running against Michela Alioto-Pier.

Patty will have a tough time surviving the June 8th Primary election. Fellow Democrats running for the position are: Dave Jones, 50th District Assemblyman Hector De La Torre and San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier as her opponents.

Dave Jones is a 2 term Assemblyman from the 9th District. (Sacramento area.) This dude raised nearly a million for his last campaign. Wow. Back in the mid 90's the litmus to run for an assembly seat was $100,000.

De La Torre seems to be the front runner and is from a highly populated Los Angeles area and has raised hundreds of thousands in his past elections.

Michela's campaign is being managed by Ace Smith, a powerful political consultant that ran Hillary Clinton's California campaign for President.

It will be interesting to see who will be running Berg's campaign and how she will fair against these candidates from huge metropolitan areas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Best Salad Bars in Eureka Redux. Back to my Blog roots!

Time to get back to what this blog does best. Analysing places to eat. I know I am probably not the best on the all subjects green to eat, but there are usually things that go with each salad bar to make them palatable. Here is my top ten list for Eureka Salad Bars:

10. KFC Broadway- Not a real good set up and their dressing just yucky.

9. Oriental Buffett- Uh, just who even touches the salad with all the other stuff they have. But it is available.

8. Marie Calender's- Not too bad, just seems that something is not there. Or maybe I just have too much soup!

7. Co-Op- I would give this one a much higher rating if it weren't for the grazers who pick and eat out of the trough! Have some class! (Says the guy who eats anything.)

6. Big Louie's- Price is right and everything is always clean. Harold and his crew do good stuff for the community and I have had many a pizza from here. If it is Saturday, you will most likely see Robin, Ron, Laureen and I watching some sporting event and keeping up with life events.

5. Hometown Buffet- The salad bar is just there to put a base for the main grubfest. I take my sister Mary there once a week, so many have witnessed me there. I am a huge fan. Been to many all over the west coast while traveling. Pretty consistent.

4. Angelo's Pizza- Everyone goes to Angelo's for pizza with pzazz, but they do have an intense salad bar with many goodies. And good people making the place go.

3. Sea Grill- I love their presentation and their choices. Some may think of them as expensive foo-foo, but have the salad and fish and chips and you will be pleasantly surprised at the reasonable price.

2. Babetta's- Great consolidated choices. But can you put anything green on your plate with that awesome macaroni and cheese they have there! And Bab's and Sabrina are great host's! If you have not had their lunch, take a loved one and enjoy!

1. Sizzler- Always clean and consistent and chicken wings are a good addition. Karen's crew is always positive and down home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans day. Go hug a vet!

Or at least keep them in mind. I have a picture on my wall of my father standing with this platoon in front of the Schofield Barracks just before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor while he was stationed there. James Edward Marks became a major in the army and also served in Korea. So I was an Army brat. My three older brothers served in Korea and Vietnam. (My brother Roy recently died from war related issues.) I did not enlist and went to college after high school. The Vietnam war left me with a bad impression from what I witnessed from Roy. I was never questioned about this by any of my family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanks to all!

I would like to thank everyone in the 4th Division that participated in this election. It is a right that should not be taken for granted. Thank you, Dennis Hunter, for 20 years of service as the 4th Division Commissioner.

I especially want to thank Matt Owen, my relentless campaign manager, and all of the walkers and phone bankers for this election; Virginia Bass, Frank Jager, Chris Holmquist, Charlene Cutler-Ploss, Richard Mostranski, Elizabeth Farnsworth, Mary Marks, Mike Newman, Sal Tabarez, Ron denHeyer, Perry Price, Julie Timmons, Susan Brinton, Marianne Hassler, Bob Borck and Hollie Klingel.

I would also like to thank the following organizations that endorsed the Marks for Harbor Commissioner 2009 campaign; the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee, Humboldt County Central Labor Council, Humboldt and Del Norte Building Trades, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Local 49, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 751, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 551, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees 1684, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290, Operating Engineers Local 3 and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union local 14.

And foremost I would like to thank my ever patient wife, Robin, for putting up with me.

To my constituents in the 4th Division, I have honorable intentions and will serve you to the best of my abilities.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sign, sign everywhere a sign!

I took down most of my "Marks For Harbor Commissioner" signs yesterday but inevitable I am sure there are ones I missed. People either took them from the Labor Temple, Democratic Headquarters or wherever we were handing them out, so I don't know where they might be. Please send me a note if you see one out there, or better yet, take it out and give me a Ring to come pick up. (I had hundreds out there, so this is a chore.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Please remember to vote today!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Financial Political Reality. Marks campaign busted.

I was approached by one of my friends today about my campaign. I told him we were broke. He took out his wallet and handed me $200. I told him I would have to report the donation and he snapped the money from my hand. I took a $1 bill out of my wallet and said if he gave me $99 I would not have to report it. He gave gladly. Man, I have done this way too much in this race. I realize this is a small community and there may be repercussions for political allegiances, but this becoming weird.

I am reaching out to the community for money to help cover my debt. Please contribute anything you can to "Marks for Harbor Commissioner" and send to PO Box 184 Samoa, California 95564.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Times Standard endorses Marks!

In the 4th Division, there are three candidates vying for the seat, and again, all would make fine commissioners.

But this is an important seat. In the recent past, the seat was filled by longtime Commissioner Dennis Hunter, who at times proved to be the swing vote. More often than not, he sided with the more conservative element of the commission, but was known to be an independent thinker not completely averse to breaking rank.

That need for a strong and independent swing voter continues. If Wilson retains his seat, which we believe is likely, which of the three candidates for 4th Division commissioner would best serve as an independent decision-maker?

While John Ash can bring a great perspective and background as an architect to board, and Susan Penn should be commended for her dedication as a regular attendee at harbor district meetings, the editorial board feels Marks is the most well-rounded candidate for the position.

Marks is a life-long Democrat, and has serious progressive credentials. He believes strongly in the conservation and recreation roles the district holds. Yet his No. 1 priority, appropriately, is jobs. He's spent a career working with his hands and heart, trying to make a good living while at the same time endeavoring to improve the working conditions of his fellow employees.

Marks, we believe, has elements of both political camps in his blood. And on a commission that is deeply divided, we believe he'd function well as an arbiter of compromise. He's done it before, in countless labor negotiations between management and workers, and we think that experience will come in handy without costing either side their primary goals.

Therefore, we're happy to endorse Richard Marks for 4th Division harbor commissioner.