Liberal Humboldt, CA

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Dear Times-Standard: Why Numbers Matter

So below are the results so far from the yet unofficial count for Eureka’s Ward 3.  You may remember I took a look at these numbers and came to the conclusion, given election history in a similar race, that Kim had a really, really good shot. (ie not slim, slim)  I agreed with Thadeus’ numbers at the NCJ with his late update.  However, with the political reverse Doppler effect (PRDE?) I believed that Soon To Be Councilwoman Elect Bergel had more than a fair chance of winning.   Here’s a quote.

As Thadeus writes, if there are indeed 1,300 votes outstanding (there were auspiciously 1332 in 2012) then Thadeus concludes Kim would need 54% which I contend is well within reason given the reverse political Doppler effect given the left’s endearing penchant for procrastination (Linda, again auspiciously, earned 55% of the 1,332 in 2012)

Here is the results so far, i.e. not only a capture of the numbers from the HumCo election department, but a presentation in a manner that may or may not be understandable to others.  But it’s an attempt.  Notice, btw, the 55%. :)

Still Unofficial Ward 3 Results

We don’t like numbers.  I love numbers, and I even don’t have the stomach for numbers during a majority of the hours of the day.  They take more time then words to internalize.  But they are critical.  If I have any influence on local media, I hope it’s to increase the use of tables, graphs, and … numbers.

And why, you may ask are numbers so darn important?  Well, concerned citizen from the comment zone gives one very clear example why.  Without numbers to understand what is going on, especially when the results go against one’s desires, we are prone to concocting conspiracy theories.  Sadly these conspiracy theories are more often than not used by political organizations and campaigns to great political effect.

Here is the intro to concern citizen’s comment.

As long as they check the legality of late ballots, mail in and provissional. the left has been working the system for many years. That is why the left is so upset about I.D to vote laws. There is absolutely no reason there should not be I.D laws.

So, Times Standard, please consider bringing out your table or graph creating software more often.  Like vegetables at dinner, it may not be our favorite food on the plate, but numbers, tables and graphs are an important part of a more nutritious informed morning read.



Also … Who again got to vote for Ward 3?  The whole town?  WTH?

Remember these votes are for “Ward 3″ in name only.  This is an at-large vote so all of Eureka got to vote for the candidates.  Maybe, conservatives, you too might be interested in returning to a more Democratic (not to mention Constitutional) system where only those in the Ward get to vote for their representative?  Right now each of the 5 candidates, dispite the ward number behind their name has the whole city as their constituents.  It’s cconceptually messy and politically mind-numbing.

Let’s change this please?  I think, conservatives that this is the time to do it while many liberals would be on board.  I see Eureka going the way of California, so it may be time to cut your losses.

Also … Come again?  What’s an Undervote?

I couldn’t tell you before looking up Wiki.  Basically it’s people who skipped this race on their ballot or, I believe, added a creative candidate instead of one of the two running.

An undervote occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter in a contest is less than the minimum number allowed for that contest or when no selection is made for a single choice contest.[1]

In a contested election, an undervote can be construed as active voter disaffection – a voter engaged enough to cast a vote without the willingness to give the vote to any candidate.

An undervote can be intentional for purposes including protest votes, tactical voting, or abstention. Alternately undervotes can be unintentional and caused by many factors including poor ballot design.

Undervotes combined with overvotes (known as residual votes) can be an academic indicator in evaluating the accuracy of a voting system when recording voter intent.[2]


What to Expect from a Non-Conservative Eureka Leadership

…Lets Find Out and Not Burden Them with Extraordinary Standards.

December will bring a big change in leadership from a conservative business first mentality to a _____ (Edit: previously blank line struck through thanks to anon in comments) governing first mentality.

I don’t know what to expect as Councilwomen Atkins, Arroyo, and Bergel will illustrate their own vision of leadership when we begin to think outside the current governing principle that what is best for a few successful businesses is necessarily best for the community at large.

I’m really excited about the potential, but my expectations are low because the challenges before our community are so high.  Government and leaders alone only have so much influence.  Their positions are obviously critical and they will be determinate in guiding our future, but this response to conservative commenter Just Watching is not right.

Just Watchin:  This will be fun to watch. No more blaming conservatives. Be careful of what you wish for.

Eric Kirk:  You’re absolutely right JW. No excuses two years from now.  The conservative majority on the County Board has also been in place for several years now, but unfortunately the majority of voters don’t hold them accountable for results. But progressives have come to expect double standards, so yes, we had better produce!

What production?  Higher employment rates?  Fewer innocent civilian deaths with no repercussions? (OK, that standard does need to be met.)  Less drug use?  Higher wages?  Reinvigorated and less hostile schools?  I hope these and other metrics increase noticeably, but the thinking that a non-conservative City Council can make measurable or noticeable changes in a community at large in two years, or even four years is setting a governing philosophy up for failure.

Governing is about policy, and the changes that are needed will not take two or four years.  What it will take is constant vigilance, the right decisions, and a belief in government (no, not faith conservatives).  Right now we are under constant threat of electing those who discard the importance of government, and arguably information and education from winning elections.  If we expect to produce noticeable changes in 2 or 4  years as a standard, instead of say, asking our leaders to make decisions and then defending those decisions come election time, we will doom ourselves to play out the political rut we are currently demonstrating at the national level.  There it seems the common wisdom is - if life isn’t currently exactly the way I expect it to be, let’s kick the bums out.

That’s not how change will occur.  Real change, the change we need, takes effort over time – years and decades.  Its a change that requires proactive thinking, a trust in community including both the business and private sector, inclusion instead of exclusion, and fewer political games.

The right thrives on political games.  If we on the left (or ______) (Edit: thanks to anon in comments) unilaterally withdraw from the games, and focus our efforts on explaining exactly what and why we do what we do, trusting the electorate to figure out the gamesmanship of KINS and it’s supporters, I believe those willing to govern and take on hard decisions will win more often than not.

We can start by not setting ourselves up for failure by trying to meet standards set by those wishing us to fail.

One more thing from that thread…

John Fullerton:  “Is it a good thing to have a city council with only one member has ever owned a business?”

Eric Kirk:  “I think so. I own a business and I don’t feel qualified to run a government entity.”

That’s another thing.  We don’t need to hold ourselves up to some extraordinary standard set by our political adversaries.  Eric, you would make an awesome and thoughtful leader on the City Council or Board of Supervisors.  What makes you unqualified but any of the current Humboldt County Supervisors or Eureka City Councilmembers up there qualified outside of personality differences? 


*Snoopy Dance*

Congratulations Kim, and way to go you wonderfully procrastinating left-of center Eureka voter!  Now, do we officially change the name from Councilman to Councilwoman to make up for a little lost time?

Also, for some reason, I’ve lost all interest in counting ballots.  Something I thought was nigh for many of us.


Cross-Post on Eureka’s Homeless and Weed Inc.

I had planned to write something entirely different this am, but was distracted by Matthew in the Middle’s latest screed.  And in this case, given what he wrote about vigilante justice, I’m sticking to the term screed.

Here is the post, and the summary of the comment is below.  I wanted to post it here because I really want to begin to link the  policies that will only continue by conservatives like Matthew, Supervisors Bohn, Sundberg, and Bass and progressive/conservatives hybrids like Richard Marks and Supervisor Fennell.

Outside of Richard Marks who sits on the fence on this issue, all the others have been outspoken in their tough-talk Rob Arkley approach to homelessness where prison seems less as a place to mete punishments and more of a place to home people.  Factors in lengths of stays in prison often seem tied not only to the crimes themselves, but also to the fact we’d rather not have these individuals in our neighbors once they’ve satisfied their sentence.

That’s the score on the one hand.  On the other hand, all the individuals above now cozying up to Weed Inc.  The reasons why are clear in all but Supervisor Fennell’s case.  I think Supervisor Fennell may be a true believer in Weed Inc., but all the others are Johnny-come-latelys and will have to walk a fine line (read: not address this issue at all) between their social conservative base, like the KINS crowd that clearly understand a connection between Weed Inc. and homelessness.

I’m not so sure that link is that certain as many trimmers and aficionados are young and well off.  However, I’m concerned about the political ramifications of another resource extraction industry for Humboldt.  That’s why I think it’s important to connect homelessness and weed.  I would like people to be aware of their own political principle shift as we all begin to bow to the power of Weed Inc.  If legalization itself doesn’t strike many conservatives as that big of a deal, then at least they should be made to address the potential of a what a legitimized Weed trade centered in Humboldt County will mean for social ills that will inevitably follow it.  Homelessness, a continued illicit black market, even greater access to teenagers, etc. etc. etc.

Solving homelessness does not look like volunteers in bright yellow t-shirts with a police escort.  It will have to begin with hard looks at ourselves and our society to try to understand how we got to this place.  One good place to start would have been working toward a minimum wage.

Matthew, Virginia, Ryan, Rex and Rob, if you really want to solve homelessness what we need to do is think proactively, not reactively.  That includes being honest about connecting cause and effect of different policies you support.

Part of the LoCO comment in response to Matthew:

Matthew and folks like him are currently running our homeless policies in Eureka and Humboldt (see Supervisor Bass’s Thursday am meetings which began after Arkley’s anti-homeless mob gathering). At least Matthew is “in the middle” in the sense he realized the value of non-profit outreach, unlike Rob Arkley and those of his ilk.

There are no easy solutions and Eureka is in a world of hurt right now. Crime is the norm in certain neighborhoods, like mine and calls for increased community action like neighborhood watches are spot on. However, all this other right wing nonsense is simply that. We are not vigilantes, we are not victims, prisons are for punishing crimes, not housing undesirables, and we are talking about people, not a big screen distopian fantasy.

All Matthew’s vision of solutions does is give anger a place to vent and increase an already over taxed crime and punishment segment of our public sector. What we need to begin to understand is these problems are reflections of greater problems with our society at large and do not have easy solutions. I believe that Eureka’s people specifically and HumCo’s generally are the type of people that can begin to work toward real solutions that can be copied in other communities – much like Eugene’s micro housing example – if/when we get the right leadership.

People like Matthew, Richard Marks, Ryan, Rex, Virginia and Estelle also have to be up-front with their constituents as we legalize and legitimize weed. This latest addition to Humboldt exploitative resource extraction history will continue the trend of a very few becoming very rich off the riches of our land (in this case it’s size and terrain) and the labor of many others. The nature of weed itself will dictate a sort of culture and politics.

I’m not necessarily thinking what most of you are thinking. When I think weed, I don’t think of Arcata and the plaza. What I am really worried about is paralleling the politics of Virginia, North and South Carolina, etc. in the 18th and 19th centuries with tobacco or cotton. Not slavery South, but something approaching indentured servitude South with a tiny ruling elite, a small cadre of a comfortable class and way too many barely being able to keep off the streets or out of prison on wages that cannot support a family.

In the end this is how Matthew et. al. are in the middle. They will follow and support the expedient politics and policies based on the riches of their neighbors AND they will designate themselves as part of the victim class.



ICPS:  International Centre on Prison Studies:  Ranking of Prison Population.



Thoughts on Why R Failed and P Didn’t

So R failed, so far, by 1,352 votes, 3,491 to 2,139 or 61% to 37%. 2 votes against for every 1 vote for it. It wasn’t close, in fact it was a landslide.

Also, another favorite, of the left P flew buy with flying colors. If we assume the County’s percentages followed for Eureka, the votes went something like this 3,306 votes for it and 2,257 votes against it or 57% to 39%. Again, not even close 18 percentage point difference.

What explains the paradox that these two landslides that many would think should have the same base went exactly the opposite direction?

My answer. Reagan, Rush and a hollow opposition to middle-class eviscerating policies that the right has sold to a willing public for the past 40 years.

Here is how it’s done.

1) Power. The Job Creators have control the purse strings, not the liberal elite. See Coop’s P banner (and not one for R) and Eureka Natural Food’s Rick Littlefield’s letter to the editor (see below). It’s the old saying on KGOE that the liberal media is only as liberal as their corporate owners. And that goes from local owners too. There are local owners and businesses that need union representation to begin to even the playing field again.

a) Sub story. Unions were strongly and rarely united in favor of this measure.  However, when push comes to shove, unions are weak politically. Don’t buy this right wing union thug narrative, because those days are long gone. Any anti-union talk is just that, since 1980, they have not been a part of our national dialog.

It’s time, btw, that changed.

2) Self interest. We have been trained since the inflation scare of the late 70′s to work against high prices. In the end, we will vote for expediency and efficiency. In a scene our society itself has become a business model. We demand with our spending shopping malls, international free trade, and wages that require public assistance simply to get by, not to mention invest for a future. We’ve bought into the right-wing utopian vision that all it will take is a little more boot strap pulling. Maybe that’s true for a percentage of people but what is that percentage? Also, what do we do about those who have legitimately pulled their bootstraps as tight as they go?

3) Trust. This may be one of the most important if least discussed aspect of politics. You’ll see reference all over the blogs (search for the word “credibility”), especially from the right as if they instinctively understand it’s importance to their narrative. If the left has reality, and we do (with exceptions like P), the right depends on people trusting them – at least relative to the trust they put in the left. That’s why the KINS Rush/Sean/Medved/Bennett is critical to their path forward. That narrative is simply about de-legitimizing the left. This is also what John Fullerton and others do when they concern-troll on credibility, what they are really doing is telling the reader – hey, don’t listen to this guy, not because of his/her arguments, but because of who he/she is, and for starters he/she isn’t me.

a) if you want to experience this in real time, please take the time to listen to this clip by Rush Limbaugh where Rush begins the heavy lifting of using people’s trust in him against their own self interest in net neutrality.

I think the above have to be considered when trying to figure how to measures which should have strong support on the left had extraordinarily divergent results. The left’s coalition in Humboldt depends a great deal on what my mind characterizes as the Sohum or 60′s counter culture or Weed Inc. left which has one foot in the Ayn Rand libertarian narrative of the right. You’ll find a great deal of disagreements between this left and more institutional liberals like myself.

We also have to understand and appreciate the great political divide between labor and capital which may sell left, but in the end, cannot be, not where it really counts.

What I hope is that those of us on the left will begin to work with each other rather than those on the right. I understand how cheaper prices, less regulation, fewer unions, lower taxes all sound great, at least for the time being, but we have to realized\ that in order to smoke weed, save Pacific Fishers, salmon, and heirloom varieties, AND to be able to come out in the black when pinching pennies, we need a middle class.

… and there are no short cuts.

Resources (and it turns out, tons of)  Bonus Commentary:

Partial transcript and commentary on the king utopian narrative creator of our time – Rush Limbaugh.

“it can be really complicated …”  (Turn off your critical thinking, you are not smart enough to figure this out – I will for you)

.. if you listen to the wrong people about it…” (Duh, the left are the wrong people, they hate America, did you know that?  They probably hate you too.)

“’s something that is totally mis-titled…

…there is nothing neutral about net neutrality, what the regime want’s to do…”  (yes, I said regime, duh, I don’t know how many times I use that word during my 3 hour show, or since I invented it’s use in reference to President Obama a few years back, but narratives need to be sold by repetition and by having a clear antagonist.  Let’s be clear, this is a story, it’s a soap opera for angry white men who want someone to blame.)

“…here’s the thing, I’m telling you...”   (Remember, trust and credibility are critical to this.  Stay with me folks, I won’t let you down.)

“… you don’t even need to know what it’s about, all you really need to know..” (see critical thinking above.  Seriously, please just listen to me, and ignore even those conservatives who “know better“.  This is definitively NOT about setting up another business model where those with money can make a killing by offing sky boxes in part by making life miserable for the rest of you.)

…all you really need to know is who is behind it and that alone should disqualify your support…”  (See above.  I said regime!  QED.  Obamacare, socialist, communist, community organizer, *whispers* also did you notice he doesn’t look like us?)

…the same people who had given us Obamacare, and the way they did it, lied through their teeth, ran a con game…”  (See, I pay attention to local news generated by the right and then use it to buttress this narrative.  Gruber anyone, liberal elite lying to you and calling you stupid?  And you want to listen to those egg heads?  Fools… anyway as I was saying…)

And it goes on starting with an anecdotal story from Rush’s life giving him credibility with the common man (not woman). This is Rush’s and the right’s faux populism, and it works.

24 hours a day 7 days a week on FOX, and radio.  This is how in the 2nd midterm after a successful Democratic President, Republicans managed to do even better than polls suggested they would.

It’s been happening since 1980 at least and the result is while the left can pass largely meaningless Measures like P, it cannot, yet, begin to significantly take on the economic  powers that be.   Economic powers that have so clearly sold us a a bill of goods.  Hopefully, sooner than later we will all catch on to Rush’s and KINS’ brand of conservationism which is in business of selling the lie that a rising tide raises all boats.  It doesn’t.

Resources Part 2:  Rick Littlefield’s T-S editorial from 11/1/14.

Rick Littlefield from ENF on R


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Lunch Buffet. Cartoon and/or Rattner on Inequality

Your choice, time for a 1 minute video from Mark Fiore (via Daily Kos).

The Screw You Strategy

Click on the image to go to the cartoon video.


Or an impressive NYT op/ed from Steven Rattner titled “Inequality, Unbelievably Gets Worse“.  Or… both?

Here is one of the eye-opening charts from the article.

Tax Rates in OECD Countries

Here is a quote from Steven Rattner:

Before the impact of tax and spending policies is taken into account, income inequality in the United States is no worse than in most developed countries and is even a bit below levels in Britain and, by some measures, Germany.

However, once the effect of government programs is included in the calculations, the United States emerges on top of the inequality heap.

Here is one of the NYT Picked comments that I liked from William Trainor of Rock Hall, MD.

The most serious problem with Income Inequality is that we get further and further away from where we culturally believe we are. We are a nation of equal opportunity. Our CEO’s should be partners with the line workers to make us a greater nation. The little guy(LJ edit:or gal) should have a chance to do better and his (edit: or her!) children should have a shot at being a CEO. Income redistribution using tax policy would be the most straightforward mechanism, without raw tax hatred. We should realize that taxes are necessary, they should be carefully considered, used wisely and embraced as our contribution to our commonwealth. Low income people should pay something, upper income people should not distort what it means to them. Rising tides won’t work.

And a bonus comment from rhdelp

As for those who are unable to grasp the fact that graphs don’t lie, I challenge all of you to live on a salary of $10.00 dollars an hour, move to an apartment you could afford, pay utilities, car and health insurance, internet and cell phone service, after withdrawals from State, Federal Taxes, SS, Unemployment, Insurance you may be lucky if you take home $300.00 a week.

Think about it, there is no wiggle room for illness, car repairs or other unforeseen financial disasters let alone pleasure, the quality of life is dismal.


To Don Swall who e-mailed the fun cartoon/video.


Virginia, Chet, Arnie, and Matthew. This is What Political Courage Reads Like.




Click on the map to go to a post by a GOP lifer.  It reads like a security blanket for Democrats/liberals on 2016′s prospects, but it’s written by a proud and active Republican – one that I wish would grab the narrative from those currently writing it for the GOP.  If they did, no telling what would happen to national or state politics.  Local politics would not be changed too much as we still are living under conservative leadership, just one that cloaks itself under D or DTS.

But it sure would help to actually lead if you could speak forthrightly about your positions and policies.  Luckily things have taken a turn recently, and Supervisor Bass, you were free to join Supervisor Bohn in supporting conservative candidates like Mike and Chet on KINS.  Isn’t that better? Honestly?

This isn’t about winning or losing a given election, this is about governing generally, and we need leadership that can answer questions, and more importantly has policy ideas on which they can run campaigns (outside of opening a new restaurant or courting cruise ships).

That took a bit of a local diversion from the article itself, but I highly recommend it – for both liberals and conservatives.  A couple of points I would like to highlight…

- Vote suppression is working remarkably well, but that won’t last. Eventually Democrats will help people get the documentation they need to meet the ridiculous and confusing new requirements. The whole “voter integrity” sham may have given Republicans a one or maybe two-election boost in low-turnout races. Meanwhile we kissed off minority votes for the foreseeable future

- Almost half of the Republican Congressional delegation now comes from the former Confederacy. Total coincidence, just pointing that out.

                                                                               -  Chris Ladd


Thanks Rams for the link.  Great one.


The Etiquette of Protesting and Grieving

Not sure when or where it is appropriate to publicly express discontent or emotions?

There are a myriad and growing times and places for demonstrations and you might be a little overwhelmed by the choices.

I recommend consulting with protesting and emotion expert John Chiv before you take the plunge next time let HumCo know of your complaints.

Ceremony over and Andrew told me she is protesting. I did not talk to either of them. They have chosen to air their grievances on blogs. Did they ever approach the Chief first?  This was not the time and place to protest, much less express grief.

                                                                                                 -  John Chiv

This above was his take on Jamie and Nikki’s lonely stand reminding those in the ceremony that one of ours was boxed into a corner where as the story goes, he made lethal mistake.  In the infinite number of possible outcomes that night, this is where Sgt., and now Capt. Stephens’ decisions lead.

Janelle, Occupy, Jamie, Nikki or anyone else, please do consult with John Chiv first for any future demonstration.  I’m not sure if he charges, but it would be a wise investment because clearly he is not against your causes, just against how you support your cause.

There is a proper way to bring up any discontents you might have with our governing elite, social or economic disparities, the safety of the public when we blindly promote peace officers who so clearly failed, etc.  If you have any questions at all, I’m sure John will help guide you.

Thank you.

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Open Enrollment Begins Today

What this means is anyone can apply for health insurance today simply by going to our health exchange.  Before today the only ones who could apply are those experiencing what is termed a “qualifying life event“, or those making less than 138% of FPL for their household.  The latter people would qualify for Medi-Cal (generally, exceptions, etc).  People making less than 400% of FPL for their family size qualify for generous tax credit options that make most health insurance plans affordable.

I Googled Covered California this am and this confusing site came up.

Covered California is not Medi-Cal



Wrong answer.  Some of the information here is surprisingly decent however, they did get one thing absolutely wrong.  Covered California will direct Medi-Cal applicants to proud and hopefully helpful bureaucrats like me but they will also assist everyone else to find right health insurance program for their family.

I’m guessing since Anthem has a sponsored site on that Google list, maybe another health insurance plan which you can find on the Covered California exchange is similarly advertising, except doing it deceptively.  Or, more likely, it might be a private group that  trying to do what Covered California does and earn a commission.

Anyway, diversions aside the real Covered California is open for business for everyone starting today and it lasts until February 15th.  I’m sure you all will be better off skipping past those first two Google sponsored sites that have “Covered California” in bold but are definitively not the exchange.

Here is a link, or click on the banner below to go the actual exchange.  This is what you will see when you get there.  Happy open enrollment season!

The Real Covered California



Covered California’s Phone Number: 1-800-300-1506

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Late Lunch Diversion: The Oatmeal Does Net Neutrality

NESFW (not entirely safe for work)

The Oatmeal does Net Neutrality


Thanks Liberal Ramsey for the link.  Just click on the image above or these words to go to change the intertube tube to the funny one.


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