Liberal Humboldt, CA

Advocating Countywide for Small "d" democratic Values


What One Party Rule Looks Like

30 years from now, my niece Liberal Leila and other current 2 year-olds might wonder how, back int 2012-14, did a Democratic majority Board of Supervisors (BOS) do what they did to the General Plan Update over the past 2 years.  They also might note that both other members of the BOS were registered as Decline to State. “How did they vote so overwhelmingly conservatively” Leila and friends might ask.  I think the answer lies in part in the HCDCC endorsement meeting last night.

(BTW, if you are not clear on what this BOS has done, please find the April Fools edition of the Mad River Union.  It’s wonderful.)

So, we have in this country two very clear and very different governing philosophies.  One side would admit that government can be good and has a role to play in softening the excesses of capitalism and the free market.  The other side is very skeptical of government and believes if left alone, the market and individuals will make the best decisions on their own.

Unfortunately, we have decided as a community to toss away these two ready-made political parties in favor of only one.  This creates great problems for democracy as public debates of substance,  differences, and even acrimony on matters of policy are limited.  What we are left with is maneuvering, back-room dealing, leverage – oh, and a whole lot of glad-handing.

Last night, the one remaining effective party in HumCo put on an open house and weighed in on two incredibly important subjects that are going to be on the June 6th ballot – the Board of Supervisors and by extension the General Plan Update, and the District Attorney’s race.  Unfortunately, we swung and missed as predicted.  We could not endorse* which was the specific hope, if not strategy of the Bass campaign.  In Matthew Owen’s words, “now the voters get to decide”.

Is that really what just happened Matthew?  Or did you, Virginia and friends join the growing club of people working to short circuit a political system given the new realities of one party rule in Humboldt, AND, I might mention in California.

It’s a big problem for democracy and any hope we have as a community, as a state and nation, and ultimately as a globe if we cannot use our political system to address real problems honestly and openly.  I’m thinking specifically of climate change, but inequality, economic sustainability, etc.  also depend on an open and honest discussion and approach to problem solving.

Matthew, did you notice that during Virginia’s comments she did not mention the General Plan Update?  But the Building Department as a Service Department was the one thing she mentioned at her campaign kick-off.  What is it that can explain that paradox?  Is it possible that the HCDCC is not the best place to discuss a service oriented instead of planning oriented Planning Department?  And wouldn’t it be cool if there was a party where she could express her opinion?

Not only do I think it would be cool, I think it is critical.

Anyway, here is a link to the votes last night.  I added a little subjective categorizing of GPU voting blocks for your mulling pleasure.

* I mean besides in the 5th District!  Hooray for Sharon and for democracy up there.  Let’s start using some Democratic resources to get Sharon elected and to tell Congressman Huffman and the Driscoll bros WTH man?  Also, Mike McGuire and Jim Wood lets stand up for Sharon Latour strongly and loudly!

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Democracy on Display Wednesday Night – Warts and All.

A big Democratic open house at the Labor Temple Wednesday night.  Come out and bring a friend.  It should be exciting even if it’s uneventful.

People have a great deal riding on this.  A Democratic endorsement is important.  In the last presidential election 64% of the electorate voted left of center, only 36% right of center in Humboldt County.  This is why no one runs as a Republican (did you know Rex Bohn is a Decline to State?  Ryan too.)  This is also why people with both conservative economic and financial views and somewhat moderate social views from a national perspective choose to run and be active as Democrats.

It also helps that we have a core group of old school civic minded and hard working individuals who have built our local party to be a significant force in local politics.  These individuals include Milt Boyd, Phillis Seawright, Bob and Pam Service, Linda Atkins, Bette Boyd, Julie Timmons, Jean Caldwell, tens of wonderful people who join together every  month as they can to fight for small d and capital D Democratic values.

So this Wednesday come out and see the fun.  Most likely we already know what’s going to happen.  Unfortunately, Virginia’s and/or Matthew’s and Richard’s strategy to define “Democrat” by their narrow definition* will have worked.  They will have probably weighed the scale down enough so the HCDCC will not be able to endorse either Chris or Virginia.

It’s also likely that Sharon will get an endorsement as unlike Congressman Huffman and Candidates Wood and McGuire our members will pay attention to values AND Party and votes that way when we can.  It’s possible that Maggie will get an endorsement, but with three Democrats involved in the race (even if one is in name only) and important local Democrats like John Woolley endorsing Elan, perhaps not probable.

We’ll see.

In a related story, who will the Republicans be endorsing this year?  Hmmm.  Maybe they know better than to curse a candidate with their imprimatur.

So come one, come all.  It will be another episode of a pretty great and consequential political drama and a great deal is on the line.  I would guess at least 5 to 10 points in an election if the candidate takes advantage of the endorsement.  So turn off the boob tube and/or the Giants game and get involved in local civics and politics.   It has all the drama and infighting of a soap opera, all the excitement of a horse race with the added bonus that if you pay attention and get involved, you might be able to help direct our county, state and country in the direction of a better and more sustainable tomorrow – however YOU think we could achieve that.

Special Democratic Monthly Meeting at the Labor Temple:

Wednesday April 9th,  7pm

840 E Street, Eureka.

Bring a friend!

*  This is the definition that prompts one to be concerned about adding a principle of supporting “democratic values” in our bylaws.  I mean the nerve, right?


Planet Matters – Today (and everyday)

I’ve been meaning to post all the events this week like I did last week, but didn’t get to it.  Very busy and stressful week at work as I move out of training mode and into actual duties mode.

Anyway, a few more hours to publicise the North Coast Young Democrat’s “Planet Matters”

Here’s a blurb from their homepage.

Planet Matters will feature many diverse perspectives as we will bring together dozens of speakers, sponsors, candidates, and elected representatives–as well as hundreds of community members–for a conversation focused on policies and priorities for protecting and restoring the natural environment on the North Coast. 

As Young Democrats we have planned this event because we recognize that humans must be efficient and effective in coming years as we seek to protect and restore our natural environment and respond and adapt to climate change. We believe that the only way we make progress is by being more organized and focusing more attention on restoring and protecting our planet. 

This event is focused on several specific objectives that we think will help us in this challenge: 

build relationships between local environmental leaders, elected representatives, candidates, stakeholders and community members

showcase environmental priorities and the community leaders who are working everyday on those issues 

honor and celebrate the work that our elected representatives have been doing to protect and restore our natural environment

This in particular should be “off the hook” has the kids say.*

Public forum for Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Candidates: 4 – 5 PM

Confirmed: Virginia Bass (District 4), Chris Kerrigan (District 4) and Sharon Latour (District 5) 

The doors open and registration begins at 3 pm.

* or was that 20 years ago?


Busy, Promising, and Fun Week(s) Ahead.

Tuesday and Thursday – Continued Planning Commission meetings on the Housing Element of the GPU. These are important to the direction of regional planning in HumCo. This is a part of the GPU generally, but a different task than passing the entire GPU update. It’s confusing and I do not know enough to say more. Time and Place: Tue & Thurs 6pm Courthouse.

Thursday – Sharon Latour for Supervisor campaign kick-off. This is our chance to return the public to “public” participation and our public sector. Supervisor Ryan has been extremely busy and deserves some R&R. Time and Place: Thursday, noon, HumCo Courthouse, 5th and I, Eureka.

Friday – North Coast Young Democrats (NCYD). Hezekiah Allen Chair. “Young” = under 35. Time and Place: 6:45 pm HCDCC HQ (see above)

Saturday - Fair Wage Cafe. Come join the family-friendly party. Fighting for a fair wage in Eureka and continuing to put together a progressive ground game that will certainly help both Supervisorial Candidates Kerrigan and Latour. Time and Place: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Labor Temple 840 E Street Eureka.

Thursday March 27th- Eureka Progressive Democrats Club – Time and Place: Thursday 7 pm, HCDCC (Humboldt Democratic Central Committee) Headquarters, 129 5th St. Eureka (across 5th from Denny’s)

Saturday MARCH 29th - Planet Matters at the Wharfinger hosted by the NCYD. More here.

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Late Notice…HCDCC Meeting Tonight: Kerrigan, Latour, and Dollison May Introduce Themselves

As always, our meetings are open to the public, we just ask you sign in.  

Also as always, the meeting starts at 7PM tonight (the second Wednesday of each month) at 129 5th Street in Eureka.  (Right across from Denny’s)

Hope to see you there.  No better time than now for all you progressive/liberal Democrats to take back your party.  You can do this by participating.


Bob Froehlich and Judy Hodgson on Why We Need to Attend the BOS Meeting Tomorrow

Assuming of course you can make it…

Here is a link to Judy’s Publisher note in the NCJ.  And below is a text from a broadcast email Bob F. sent out.  (Posting with permission.)

Thanks Judy and Bob (and Hezekiah) for your vigilance on this! … and btw, everyone else who has given time and effort to be active recently.  You are making a difference and helping to change the minds of people like, say, Richard Marks who apparently is only interested in these issues when a certain threshold of citizens are as well.  Who knows what that threshold is, but it would be nice for Richard to start speaking up on this catastrophe of a process as well.


The Sups finally got their agenda up for this coming Mon. and it looks like they will be reviewing the recent proposed Planning Com. GPU changes and perhaps giving them direction as to what to do now. Of course, Ulansey, Morris, and others who are voting with them, want more time to continue removing and weakening the environmental safeguards in the GPU.

 I’ve copied part of the Mon. Agenda in below. The full agenda can be seen at:

Also copied in below is the letter the P.C. sent to the Sups. saying generally what they’ve done and asking for direction. The way the letter is phrased represented a win for our two environmental P.C. champions, Levy and Masten, because it does not specifically ask for more time which is what Ulansey and Morris wanted to do. 

So if you can make it to the meeting Mon. and speak to the Sups. putting an end to this current review by the P.C., that would be helpful for them to hear. If you can’t make it, writing to the Sups would also help.

You’ve probably all seen, and many of you have already signed, the petition generated by Hezekiah Allen (283 folks have signed up to this time) which I believe he will present at the Mon. meeting. This meeting should be a very interesting event…the citizens are aroused! The link to Hezekiah’s petition is below…reading the comments made by signers is a good way to stimulate you thoughts for presentations or e-mails to the Sups.:

See you there…in body or spirit,
Monday, March 10, 2014
01:30 P.M.


B.     PUBLIC APPEARANCES – 1:30 p.m.

Community Development Services

1.     Continued Board Review of the Planning Commission Approved Draft General Plan. In particular, the recommendations from the Planning Commission on the Conservation and Open Space Element (Chapter 10), a request from the Planning Commission for Further Direction; Chapter 4.8 Land Use Designations: Tribal Land; and Draft General Plan Schedule

Just say no BOS!  You all are doing enough damage as it is.  Please keep Commissioner Ulansey's mitts off of it - he's had it long enough.

Just say no BOS! You all are doing enough damage as it is. Please keep Commissioner Ulansey’s mitts off of it – he’s had it long enough. (LJ’s comment, not Bob’s. He has more class!)


It’s Up to Us Now: Thank You Chris and Sharon for Standing Up

We have two great candidates running who will be more than able HumCo Supervisors and help to move our county back to the direction it needs to go.   A direction that believes in private enterprise AND a belief in an effective public sector.  People that believe we have to have both to reach the complex and attainable goals of our community going forward.



Chris Kerrigan will be running against incumbent Virginia Bass in Humboldt’s 4th District.  Chris’ campaign kick off is today at 12:15 at 720 Wood Street in Eureka (H or I and Harris). Come out and show your support as Chris “tell’s it like it is”.

Sharon Latour is the “someone else” (Eric?!) who will be running in the 5th District and represents a great opportunity to help Supervisor Sundberg spend more time on much needed R&R after 3 and a half years behind the dais.

Take a look at Supervisor Bass’ and Supervisor Sundberg’s initial 2014 list of donors so far,if you haven’t already, to understand the popularity they both have with the development crowd in Humboldt County.  A very narrow group of business interests are very interested in helping to complete the conversion of the Planning (and Building? does the County Build?) Department to a Service Department.



Supervisors Bass and Sudberg are both of course good people and charismatic and effective candidates, so the next couple of months will not be easy as the June 3rd primary approaches.  It’s up to us to tell two people who will tell two people and so on about Faberge Chris K. and Sharon L. and the change they can make on our BOS as soon as 2015.

No question about it, this is an uphill “battle” but it’s doable with people power.  Come out today to hear what Chris has to say, and commit to making calls and/or doing a little canvassing.  You can’t outspend people power.  That is our open secret.  That’s why everyone is clamoring to become part of the left-of-center movement (sometimes in name only) toward a balance of enterprise in the private sector AND smart government (ie NOT BIG) to move our communities forward.


Chris Kerrigan’s Campaign Website – “Moving Humboldt Forward!”


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