GPU Discussion on KHUM Tonight and a Comment for John Chiv

Thanks to Eric Kirk and Mark Lovelace who will be the guest.  All four Supervisors were contacted, only Mark agreed.  Must listen radio in my book.  GPU time:  7:00 PM  GPU channel:  KHSU.

Also, just tried to post a comment on John Chiv’s blog but couldn’t due to restrictions.  I’ll post it here instead.  I won’t add context, please follow this link to read John’s standard-operating-procedure conservative response to Harry Blumenthal’s “My Word” in the Times-Standard today regarding homelessness.

Here’s the comment I tried to post…

John – just FYI, Rex Bohn won his race with a war chest of $42 per vote. Mark Lovelace with $13 per vote.

The charge of monied candidates is not “so tired”. In fact the charge is the heart of the disfunction in our democracy and it will get worse before it gets better, but we must work to help it get better. The source of money does help you figure out what an official’s priorities will be. To deny this is to have your head in the sand.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/162925851/Selected-Humboldt-County-CA-Board-of-Supervisor-and-Eureka-City-Council-Elections-June-and-November-2010-and-2012

Note:  This blog’s links need some housekeeping – sorry to say but both Richard Marks’ Samoasoftball and John Chiv’s blog are going under the header – “Problematic”.  Not “Crazy Talk” mind you – but problematic.

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Merry Christmas Humboldt

Photo from Google search and Brad and Holly Schafer Family. Great photo all! Check out their blog by clicking on the photo.

Dear Santa:

A wish list for 2014…

  rain (and/or snow)

Thank you for your consideration,

HumCo

Thursday Morning Meetings, A Missing Bench, and Christmas.

The site adjacent to Security National on 5th and E streets where a bench was removed by Eureka City.
The site adjacent to Security National on 5th and E streets where a bench was removed by Eureka City.

There once was a park bench on the northwest corner of 5th and E before it was removed by Eureka City back in October or November.  I used to walk by it during all times of the day, including very, very, very early in the morning.

Almost without fail, a homeless woman would be slumped over on the bench.  Sometimes she would have a coffee, but most of the time her head was down and she was resting.

I was quite surprised then to see the bench and the person who so often used it missing one day – but not shocked.  The bench is adjacent to Security National (the umbrella organization for Rob Arkley’s financial empire) a fitting symbol for one of the forces behind removal of any public assistance – even benches.  Money’s preferred strategy to deal with poverty, despair and inequity is to remove any public asset or assistance.  BTW, this strategy has, conveniently, the added benefit that the public is now encouraged to rest on the only on the warm seats near by –  a for profit business across the street.

A couple of further points about Money’s strategy.

  1.  It isn’t just public assistance that is the problem – it’s also private.  Even Betty Chin’s efforts and the private citizen’s attempt to help are denounced or discouraged.
  2. This is an acknowledged community solution, not a societal solution since the goal is to move the homeless out of Humboldt.

So, what is the Thursday morning connection?  Conservative Supervisors Bass and Bohn, after the Arkleyfest began a series of Thursday morning closed door meetings with local community groups including fire, police, main street, the local mission, etc.  You can hear Supervisor Bass’ overview on this during her previous two appearances on KINS*.  An important part of the solution seems to be to have the public curtail their instinct to help with money.  I don’t necessarily disagree – money isn’t the best solution, I would advocate some credit system set up with local vendors to avoid the obvious temptation to spend money on alcohol.

Of course that isn’t part of the solution to the conservative mind because that would only encourage more people to be lazy and feel entitled and would make the problem worse – so what we do instead is continue to decimate the public sector – removing trying to prevent what they can of public space so that heaven forbid a homeless person might not find our community too inviting.  It’s pathetic – not the homeless mind you, the conservative mind set that tries to solve our societies’ increasing problem of wealth disparity by trying to sweep the problem under the rug.  Oh, and people swept out of sight … and mind.

Merry Christmas to the woman previously on the bench.  I hope you find more warmth and comfort wherever you are now.

**********************************************************************************************

*  A public affairs show btw with the nice (sarcasm) leadin of 6 hours of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

UPDATE:  Thought to check Google Maps… Here’s the bench in happier days.

Found bench courtesy Google Maps.
Found bench courtesy Google Maps.

A Candlelight Vigil for the 1854 Ee-chuu-le Massacre

From today's Time-Standard.
From today’s Time-Standard.

I think it’s important to remember our history – the inspirational, yes, but also the dark.  This is an example of the latter which ripples through our broader community to this day and will for many decades to come.  Click the photo for more from the Smith River Rancheria site.  Unfortunately as difficult as it is to accept, “holocaust” is appropriate or at the very least genocide – especially for our region.

Then there’s this.  Ugh.

This is a reminder for me to read this book to understand OUR place a little better.

Another Go Round*: GPU Sent Back to Planning Commission

I’m a little hazy on the details because, honestly it’s hard to pay attention to this train wreck of a process, but it seems pretty clear that the entire GPU plan that we had going into today has been scrapped.  This is to include the mapping meetings that had been set up so carefully.

The instigator of this change seems to have been part two of Humboldt Building Exchange’s (HBE’sseries of letters** from their consultants HTH&J – mining, land use and natural resources specialists.  I think it’s the type of job that you get if you want to be, say, an environmental lawyer (in name), AND you want to make loads of money.

I guess the intimidation worked because this already extremely business friendly group decided to drop everything and fulfill their request to send the GPU back to the Planning Commission to work on certain sections.  The sections covered in the letter focus specifically on the Mineral Resources Element and include such environmental dandies as…

  • to prevent significant environmental impacts …recommended to be changed to
  • to prevent or minimize to the extent feasible significant environmental impacts

And replace this…

  • support threatened or endangered species recover, protect riparian corridors, and preserve existing riverbed elevations with this…
  • are consistent with state and federal endangered species regulations

(Side note… Don’t you just love the circular logic from private interests (aka the right)?  At the federal level its all about trusting the local level and at the local level the argument seems to be we should leave laws to the state and federal level.  Hmmm.)

Etc. Etc.  You get the drill.  And, the reason the HBE can do this is they know they have a business friendly Planning Commission including and at large Commissioner, Lee Ulansey who also just happened to found Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights.  Another Commissioner Bob Morris is also a former member (as is Supervisor Fennel of course too).

So all this on a day that was devoted to the Public Participation Work Group, who were unhappy with what the changes the staff made to the language they submitted so, surprise, surprise, we may get to address the topic again until Dan Taranto, Peter Childs and Bonnie Blackberry are finally happy with the amount of private participation, SORRY, WHY DO I ALWAYS GET THAT WRONG?  PUBLIC participation that will be specifically laid out in the next GPU.  Public participation based on a 1980’s document and as of today with the new requested benefit of “standards”.  Something it seems their predecessors can use to hold the BOS accountable if they don’t get exactly what they want.  Hey, kinda like the HBE is doing now.

Welcome to a public process run by people whose first concern is private interests.  It’s not pretty.

* btw, credit to the T-S for the title – they used it for a top story about a merry-go-round.

Tin foil hat font…It’s not possible that this was the plan from the start is it?  Is this why the Guiding Principles were changed when they were?  I have no idea, all the Supervisors seemed genuinely contrite today about the necessary changes to the schedule but we don’t know who knew about the language of the Guiding Principles and someone had to be chomping at the bit to get the element sections back to a newly business-friendly Planning Commision.  Again – italics and grey font means this is all tin foil hat conspiracy – I doubt this is true and certainly have 0 evidence, but it just all seems so convenient.

**CORRECTION – Oops, this time HTH&J is represeting Mercer Fraser Company, not HBE.  Mercer Fraser is a member of HBE but apparently they footed the bill on the more effective letter.  I wonder if it cost more of if there is a bonus if the letter actually gets the BOS to jump through the requested hoops.

Last Board of Supervisors General Plan Update of 2013 … Today

1:30 PM again at the Courthouse.

Well today is the big day for the Private, er Public Participation Workgroup.  They have been working closely with Michael Richardson (who is a hard working pubic employee – thanks for your efforts MR) and presumably other county staff members with the Board’s blessing to incorporate most of the public participation section of what is know as the “Framework Plan” into our GPU.  Tom Grover crowed about this on the HumCPR hour last Thursday (2nd Thursday of every month on KMUD at 7pm) and during the last BOS meeting Peter Childs went to the podium to, somewhat ominously imho, proclaim that with these sections on public participation and democracy firmly written into our county’s ordinances (is that the word?),  going forward we shall not have the contention we did over the last 10 years.

I’m wondering why not?  Seems to me the reason is that private property owners will have their chance up front to keep the public sector from trying to plan for growth patterns.  We’ll see.  Hopefully he is partially right, hopefully there will not be contention and 10 year delays, but that will be due to our understanding that we need to start planning for growth patterns that take into account broader societal trends like increasing gas prices, climate change, loss of habitat and loss of resource lands.

So come join us – me and maybe one or two others left of center and a whole bunch of people who either own land or are otherwise employed in the realty/construction/development industry as we make our way through a new private, er public participation section and possibly open space element I believe.

Some good GPU links I ran into these past couple of weeks…

From KMUD’s Radio Archives…

11/12/13  The Environment Show at 7PM: With guests Gordon Leppig and Ali Freeland:  Great great stuff – especially by Gordon.  I’ll make a note to transcribe some of what he said later.

11/19/13  The Environment Show at 7PM: Scott Greacen on the Humboldt Builders Exchange’s letter   (35 min in)  In it, being quite fair and neutral, Scott describes the new members of the Planning Commission as “right wing kooks”.  I’m guessing he means the HumCPR members Bob Morris and Lee Ulansey, probably Alan Bongio (who I’m not familiar with), but they might disagree with such characterizations.  Scott says in three words what I am trying to write in many, many, many words.

Hum CPR Hour – 2nd Thursday of each month at 7PM:  Always fascinating if you can make it through the hour.  It difficult because they have to speak so carefully not to divulge too much.  Sometimes a caller will and then they have to quickly clean up the mess.  It’s really fascinating.

Also this random find which states the divide in Humboldt quite well.

In Humboldt county, the issue has been very contentious, with groups arranged in surprising ways on the issue.  There, the motor force was the rape and then abandonment of Pacific Lumber land, which created the specter of quarter sections of TPZ land sold off as “estates”.  
There, the controversy split communities that had been united against timber harvest excess.  It also pitted young, primarily landless, “carbon footprint” enviros against older enviros who had homestead land. 

I think this encapsulates a very important divide that we either don’t see or don’t understand.  I don’t know if this is intentional or not.  I don’t think it is.  I think many of us truly are in denial about the larger environmental impacts of the policies we are writing.

Thats why the Guiding Principles are so important.  It’s there where the rubber hits the linguistic road.  There is no way to put lipstick on a pig like qualifying our community’s interest in “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term” – or, for that matter – “honoring landowners”.

Bonne Chance Chris Kerrigan

Chris Kerrigan on his Twitter avatar
Chris Kerrigan on his Twitter avatar

Chris Kerrigan – a progressive, successful, and young Eureka politician and public servant puts his hat in for Eureka Mayor in 2014.  Here are some early public statements by Chris…

  • Tweeted this a few days after the 6/3 BOS meeting.  “Lack of critical thinking amongst the current Board of Sups. and cronyism. Worst i have ever seen i”

uh…..YES!

…The following are from an interview by KHUM via LoCO here

YES!

  • Supports legalization of marijuana.

Boo, but not a deal breaker.  He mentions violent and home-invasion crime – which is of course important, but he should add environmental issues and be clear about how we tax, regulate and insure that unregistered grows will be enforced so we do not continue our de facto encouragement of unregulated or off-the-public-grid production

Also, this very articulate sign-off at the end of the interview…impressive….

“One of the things I’ve learned in my life is that there are things I can control and things I cannot control.  Part of me getting an early start is going out and meeting with folks and doing this listening tour and getting ideas and feedback on my plans so I can get a set of plans together that really match my vision for Eureka and go beyond the traditional verbage that folks hear when someone is running for office and really offer some substance and ideas that really provide solutions for the challenges our community faces.”

Nice Chris!  Good luck.  My 2 cents for the vision – work with the community to get a Constitutional voting system.  One in which each Ward votes for their Councilmember instead of an at-large vote.  You might not hear that a bunch on the listening tour, but I think it’s important.

Also, kudos on your twitter statement about the BOS.  Those Guiding Principles are key to the growth of Eureka.  Humboldt should develop and given that resources like fossil fuels are and will be increasingly limited and expensive, we need to promote patterns of growth that allow for a no-car lifestyle.  Even in rural counties like ours.  Don’t fall for the rural vs urban mythology and meme.  Regional planning is best for Eureka, Garberville, Arcata, McKinleyville and all waypoints between and around them.

Update  (12/14/13)

  • Another idea for the listening tour – please help find good candidates to run for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th districts – and while you are at it – the HumCo’s 4th.  Seriously, please.

Snow! The Horse Mountain Thread

So I am a HUGE Horse Mountain fan, unfortunately I only think I  made it out a couple of times over the past couple of years.  Weeks like this I wish I was up there.  I can just imagine how beautiful the drive up to Horse Mountain must be with the super cold storm that just came through.  A dusting of snow in the trees and probably not enough accumulation to board in, but just enough to transform the landscape again.

Courtesy of Google!
Horse Mountain Trail Map – Red is the now imaginary but once for reals rope tow, the white are the runs.  Maybe “The Logger” for the one on the left, a black diamond, and “Sasquatch Delight” for the Blue Square run on the right.

Feel free to post any fun at Horse Mountain threads here or share your links of other sites where Horse Mountain awesomeness is shared.  Here is a little video Google found of some blokes having fun at Horse Mountain.  I smiled when I saw the two dogs following the one guy – could have been me except that guy actually had some skills.

2013 Post Election Recap Continued

So I had some time to put together the canvas report totals in the screenshot below.  Unfortunately I do not have extensive desktop publishing skills, so I’m making due with screen shots of spreadsheets and Microsoft Paint – highlighted screen grabs of the County’s GIS maps…

The story behind the numbers?  Well it was close.  Very close.  There were a total of 29 precincts in 3 county districts which you can find on the County’s outstanding GIS portal.  (Just Googled it – GIS stands for Graphic Information Systems.) Some stats…

  • In Supervisor Bohn’s District 1 which makes up the west side of Southern Humboldt, but includes parts of south Eureka as well, the incumbent John Fullerton carried 10 out of 12 precincts for a net gains of +244 votes.
  • In Supervisor Lovelace’s District 3 which includes a central swath of the county, the challenger Lisa Ollivier carried 3 of 5 precincts for a total of +8 votes.
  • Finally, in Supervisor Bass’ 4th District which consists of much of Eureka and it’s very local environs, Lisa carried 11 of 12 of the precincts for a net gain of +373 votes.
    A summary of the 2013 Eureka School Board election with numbers from the  County's Election and Voter's Registration Division
    A summary of the 2013 Eureka School Board election with numbers from the County’s Election and Voter’s Registration Division

Some notes on the numbers.  First of all these are from this pdf.  I’ve done my best to enter them accurately, but most likely there will be an error or two.  Patience with the non-remunerated blogger please.  The precinct number handily begins with the County District it is in.  I reside in Eureka, in District 4, my precinct happens to be 4E-21.  So using that precinct, lets go through what the numbers mean.  There were 143 votes for Lisa, 118 for John.  Lisa’s net gain in this precinct was therefore 143-188=25 votes.  The next column is a similar calculation using the 2012 presidential race adding together the 3 top left wing (Democrat, Green and Peace and Freedom) and then subtracting the top three right-wing candidates (Republican, Libertarian and American Independence Party) and then coming up with a net.  I thought it was an interesting gauge to compare the liberal/conservative nature of each precinct from the last election.  (btw, blue represents left, red right)

The next grey column is the % of the 2013 off-year vote for each precinct compared to the 2012 presidential election.  Oddly the registration numbers in each precinct change quite a bit in some precincts (including mine which doubled) skewing the relevance of this column.  The assumption I’m making when I read these reports is that all the people in each precinct voted.  I’m getting something wrong here and I’ll have to follow up with that and pass along what I learn.  The final two columns are the percent turnout of registered voters (not actual voters) for the 2012 and 2013 elections.  I’ve highlighted some of the precincts which are doing relatively better compared to others at Getting out the vote.  (GOTV)

For the maps people out there, I had to convert the most important number from this chart (then 2013 net vote difference for each precinct) to map form.   Again, lacking computer sophistication, I had to virtually duct-tape a solution together using a screen capture and Microsoft’s pretty fun paint program.  Here are the results.  Hold on to your mouse.

Central Eureka Net Votes by Precinct Red for John Fullerton, Blue for Lisa Ollivier
Outlying Eureka Precinct Net Votes by Precinct Red for John Fullerton, Blue for Lisa Ollivier
Outlying Eureka Precinct Net Votes by Precinct Red for John Fullerton, Blue for Lisa Ollivier
2 Outlying District 3 Precincts.
2 Outlying District 3 Precincts.

 

So, seeing the results on a map is very interesting to me.  These are the things I learned in the process of mapping the precincts. 

  • This election was one of five for the Eureka School Board.  This was for “Area 1”.  I was not able to find a map of the 5 areas, however the non-contiguous and sometimes non-Eureka nature of the precincts are interesting and I think worth understanding.  Board Members representing areas 3 and 5 were also up for re-election, but they were not challenged.  
  • General trends?  North of Harris blue, south of Harris red – at least in Eureka – not all true but most.  Also, I think someone could construct a gradient from highest percentage of grid-like streets to only curvy streets to find a correlation between precincts who voted Fullerton vs those who voted for Ollivier  in this vote.  This is meant light heartedly, but the town vs out of town or town vs suburb dynamic is apparent here.  Much more so than during last year’s presidential election btw when all but 3 of these particular precincts had a net vote for Obama.
  • Next time I do this, I’ll use different shades of blue and red.  Notice that in some districts like the Central Eureka 4E-31 and 4E-32 the vote went almost 2 to one for Lisa Ollivier  while in other Eureka precincts like 4E-12 and 4E-14 the vote was pretty even.  (Just noticed 4E-31’s map total of 37 seems to be wrong – sorry!  Hope that is the exception and not the rule!) (also just noticed the precinct numbers are not 

So there you are Eureka.  Enjoy.  I wish the local paper could have done something like this, but I guess it’s up to us now.   The TS was right though when they published an editorial on election day admonishing us lightly not participating in these local elections.  This was the first time in my 46 years I had become so involved, so I am in no position to preach.  However… I will say that the TS editorial team or writer was right on this.  It doesn’t cost a bunch – just the effort to a) do a little homework then b) either send you ballot back or show up on election day.  It matters – obviously.  80 people made the difference in this election and up in NoHumCo, 21 people made the difference in voting in Dana Silvernale.  Every vote counts and if you pay attention, you will find that even in positions that may not seem like they have the greatest significance to your life, (ie School Board if you don’t have children going through school) there are often important differences in politics and thus policy that will influence your community very directly.  Last month’s elections were another example of this.

Also, in case you missed it here is a great article about HumCo’s cutting-edge vote accountability thanks in large part to a group of obviously technically sophisticated, but also effective and dedicated volunteers.   Cheers to them!

The Private Participation Work Group

12/2/13  A pre-meeting planning session.  From left to right, Lee Ulansey, Bonnie Blackberry, Peter Childs and Dan Taranto.
12/2/13 A pre-meeting planning session. From left to right, Lee Ulansey, Bonnie Blackberry, Peter Childs and Dan Taranto.

I can’t emphasize this enough.  Your county government is being run by special monied interests which include or course all the usual suspects, realtors, developers, large property owners/investors, bankers and mortgage brokers, but now includes the HumCo special twist Weed Inc.

One demonstration of this is the Public Participation Work Group (PPWG) which at it’s heart is Bonnie Blackberry and Dan Taranto and Peter Childs.  The poor resolution photo you can see them in a pre-GPU meeting strategy session working out their approach to the day’s meeting which includes nicely, current Planning Commission Member at large and former Supervisor Fennel colleague at Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights Lee Ulansey.

This group is currently working directly with county staff to draft chapters 2 (and 3?) of the General Plan Update.  Their stated goal is to improve public participation.  In practice we can see the actual effect of their work by closely watching how the current BOS handles the GPU and the PPWG’s reactions to it.  The result of their work  is that the Board of Supervisors (BOS) spares no expense when it comes to reaching out to the county’s 5,000 or so property owners.  But on issues that the broader public might be concerned with, say, “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term”, well, lip service is paid to encouraging public participation, but that is it.

Again, this isn’t public participation, it’s the opposite – it’s private participation.  So what is the confusion?  The confusion seems to be in the definition of public.  I think to 4 of the 5 members of the Board of Supervisors, to Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights founder and current Planning Commission at Large Commission Member Lee Ulansey and to the PPWG “public” is defined as those owning property.  It’s that simple. Everything in this process favors either those who have property or other stakeholders such as realtors, home builders, developers, large corporate interests, etc.  Those who have a financial stake in the process are those who are listened to – very carefully by the way.  This is how something as simple and obvious as “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term” FULL STOP is not generally accepted as a guiding principle for our county’s plan for the future.

Words have meaning and it’s very interesting if one pays attention to how they are often used to mean their opposite – or in other words deceive.  I think the most significant of these word games, is the Public Participation Work Group.

Next time – PPWG and double jeopardy democracy.