Thursday, August 15, 2013

Humboldt County Democrats leaderless! And Grumpy!

The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) met last night in a HOT packed headquarters. 2nd District Assembly hopefuls John Lowry and Hezekiah Allen were present as well as Eureka City Schools candidate Lisa Olliver and College of the Redwoods trustee candidate Ginger Olsen. Speeches were a given and received well.

Lots of people in the community thinks the HCDCC is a kind of Kumbaya type lefty organization, and nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing we can marginally agree about is that we are all Democrats. What flavor of Democrats is all over the map.  

Eureka City councilperson and HCDCC President Linda Atkins resigned her position due to personal reasons and Vice Chair Milt Boyd expressed his undesire to serve the board as President. Then the craziness ensued. Estelle Fennell, County Supervisor from District 2 and HCDCC member, nominated former labor leader Jim Smith of AFSME. Linda Atkins nominated longtime HCDCC executive member Bob Service and was seconded by member Heidi Benzonelli. What a pleasant surprise! Two great candidates when hope were for anyone to step forward. Both then gave speeches. Bob wants to expand the HCDCC media presence and be active at a state level. Jim expressed his concerns of the financial well being of the HCDCC and wanted to focus on fund raising to help out Democratic candidates. Vote was done by secret ballott. Guess what? The vote was tied! Phillis Seawright made a motion to table another vote until next months meeting. Others argued that there needed to be another vote immediately. After much discussion that vote was tied! So a second vote was taken and the motion passes to kick the can to next month.

I will also note that Julie Timmons is going to organize a separate Democrat of the Year (DOTY)dinner in protest of the proposed Ingomar Club venue.

Treasurer Phillis Seawright officially resigned her position. This is the most unthankful and difficult position a person could have on the HCDCC. She has been threatening this for sometime and had requested for years to have help. She closed her notebook in gesture to being done. Then a check was handed to her for deposit and she said, "I guess I can do this another month."

See ya next month!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Union Victory! Love it when workers win. 31 workers win $247,681 judgement! Thank you Carpenters local 751!

Workers from all over the country were recruited to work on building a new Holiday Inn Express in Eureka. Redwood Coast Hospitality LLC, owned by Shailesh Patel and Jayshree Patel Revocable Trust, hired general contractor Jansen Construction out of Oregon. Jansen then subcontracted construction work to PacWest Contracting LLC another Oregon outfit. Neither contractors are licenced to do business in California. Pacwest hired workers as "Independent Contractors" so they could underpay to the point that they were paid by "piecework" that could actually leave them being paid less than minimum wage. Workers were forced to use their own tools and weren't provided adequate safety equipment. And then to top it off......their checks bounced. A perfect storm of workers being ripped off.

What to do if you are that worker? Humboldt County no longer has a Labor Commissioner locally, and the closest office is in Redding. So that is not a great option. So some decided to visit the local
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 751 office at the Labor Temple. Even though they were not union workers, they knew the union would protect their workers rights! And they did. The local filed a report of labor law violations against the project and won! Not only that, but another subcontractor from Oregon named Lupton Construction working on the project was fined for Cal/OSHA violations.

The investigation was conducted by the California Labor Enforcement Task Force that was formed to battle "Underground Economy." The Department of Industrial Relations release says: "Businesses operating underground generally violate those laws that are designed to protect workers and California's economy. Skirting income taxes, not carrying workers compensation insurance, failing to provide required workspace safeguards and paying employees less than what they are owed are common practices of underground businesses. These underground operations subsequently require lower overhead, giving unfair advantage to the illegal businesses over legitimate, law-abiding employers."

Now you workers! Go sign up to be union! "UNITED WE BARGAIN, DIVIDED WE BEG!"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So instead of "Pulp Mill" project, maybe "Humboldt Bay Redwood Dock Project?"

So far I have heard a few ideas for the old pulp mill site. First the fun stuff:
1. Indoor Softball
2. Roller Derby
3. Zip line to beach
4. Bungee Jumping
5. Drive Inn
6. AstroTurf Sports Fields
7. Surf Store Room and showers
8. Bait Shop
9. Golf course ala Bandon Dunes
10. Bed and Breakfast

And the mundane practical stuff:
1. Wind Turbine
2. Water Export
3. Bio Char Pellet Mill
4. General Cargo/Domestic Barge
5. Bottled water or beer plant
6. Energy-Pressure Retarded Osmosis
7. Water cooled Data base computers large scale
8. Aquaculture-Shell fish and Fin fish
9. Wave energy Buoy manufacturing
10. Marciano cherry production
11. Sea Vegetable production-edible kelp and sea weed
Any other good ideas? Or even bad ideas!

Check out Harbor CEO Jack Crider's presentation for more stuff about the Harbor.

Friday, August 09, 2013

4 More Years! Samoasoftball runs unopposed for Harbor Commissioner.

Might as well get some good use out of my campaign statement for 2013:

My wife Robin and I have lived, worked, and raised two sons within eye sight of the Humboldt Bay. Like you, we care deeply about this community treasure.

Currently I serve as your 4th Division Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation Commissioner. With this election I am requesting for your support in continuing proactive, forward-thinking leadership to the district.

During my term the Commission has created the setting to retain good jobs that pay decent wages by supporting our aquaculture and fishing industries, encouraging light industrial growth, and investigating infrastructure needed to support short sea shipping.

We can increase recreational opportunities and transportation options around our bay by creating bicycle and pedestrian trails to connect our communities, while protecting the publicly owned railroad right-of-way for future possibilities.

Finally, we can spearhead environmental restoration projects to preserve the fragile ecosystem that supports so many of our waterfront-dependent businesses and activities.

I am the past President of Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers local 49 and former union organizer. I am currently on the Board of Directors for the North Coast Rail Authority and Humboldt Domestic Violence Services. I am also the President of Mad River Softball Association.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I miss Artic Circle. And Hometown! Past Eureka eating franchise road trips?

Missing some of those chain eating places that were in Eureka. Take these road trips if you have to! Mileage included.

10. Little Caesar’s Pizza- 156 miles to Klamath Falls Oregon. Just bland Pizza, but good memories for the kids eating, “Pizza, pizza!” Was on Broadway in Eureka.
9. King Table Buffett-662 miles to Torrance, California. Haven’t been to one of these in years! I remember my son Jordan piling up on different colored Jell-O’s.  Remember the real looking Santa Claus Dude? Was on 4th at the current Gonsea place.
8. Arby’s-150 miles to Redding. All right. Not Great. All over everywhere but here. Was in Mall.  

7. Quizno’s-150 miles to Redding. Seriously. No Quizno’s? Used to have 2. On 5th and Broadway.

6. KFC-111 miles to Brookings, Oregon. Never know how much you miss a place until it is gone. Was at Burre Center where Churches fried yucky chicken is.  
5. Skippers-237 miles to Roseburg, Oregon. Cheap Seafood. We need one of these! Was on Harris.

4. Taco Time-271 to Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was the tater tots I tell ya. I had some last September and I really liked it. Was on 5th heading out of town across from Kinko’s. It became Lila’s Taco Shop afterwards and was really good too.
3. Shakey’s Pizza Parlor-242 miles to Oroville, California. Loved their buffet! Lots of choices. On 4th across from McDonald’s.  

2. Home Town Buffett-150 miles to Redding, California. Freaking miss this place! All you can eat cheap! It is about quantity! Used to be on the Mall.

1. Artic Circle-315 miles to Newport, Oregon. Mushroom Burger with fries and their “special” sauce buried on everything! With a lime Rickey! Used to be on 5th.  Artic Circle now has a franchise policy to not allow any in California. Were we to blame?