It’s Official…Congratulations Supervisor Bass.

It’s that Democracy again, laying down what’s what.

Newly re-elected Supervisor Bass…Still wondering what steps are we taking at our local level to fight climate change?  Will they be enough?  Will future Supervisors be called on to do more, or should we depend on State and Federal state governments to address this?

Nah…Enjoy your day, congratulations and we can work on those questions tomorrow.

Also, to Chris, Mitra, Adele, and all the other volunteers – you all were great and did great.  It was really a pleasure to have worked those consistently beautiful Spring 2014 Saturday and Sunday canvassing shifts you all set up.  You have bright futures and should be proud of what you accomplished.

You took on a well liked incumbent and came really close – and you did it with class, and positive energy.  Thanks for caring enough about your community to make the efforts you did.

Also, special heart-felt thank you to friend, family and puppies too for putting up with my time away and focus on the campaign.



Hooray for Natalie Arroyo! (and some notes about who she is running against)

Natalie I’m sure I will be voting FOR you in November for my (unconstitutional) vote for Eureka’s 5th Ward Council person, not AGAINST your opponent.

Having said that Councilmember Albin represents the pinnacle of a strategy that has worked for many years in Eureka and Humboldt, and I’m hoping this era of political deception is coming to an end.

Councilmember Albin registered as a Democrat last I checked at the Elections office back in 2013.   If I’m not mistaken, he registered as a Democrat in 2012.  The reason is simple.  People know that the “D” means 5 to 15 points next to your name on election day.  Can anyone name an elected official in Humboldt County who is a registered Republican?  Frank Jager?  Mike Newman?  Rex Bohn isn’t, nor are any of his Supervisorial colleagues.

But aren’t conservative and Republican values very, very, well represented in this County?  How is this possible?  By the strategy that Chet is using so transparently, that Chet has become a caricature.

So Natalie, good luck to you.  I look forward to learning more about you and what principles and ideas you will bring to our City’s Council of 5.  From your Lost Coast Outpost comments I’m pretty optimistic about you and your chances.

But, for old times sake, below is a screen grab of Chet’s Facebook page I made the minute I heard about it from Joel Mielke on a LoCO comment.  Not sure why Chet took it down.

Mr. Albin – if you still believe in  advocating “drug testing all Welfare recipients, abolishing the separation of church and state, closing the borders and speaking English ONLY!”.  As you shared from realtor and friend Larry O. Doss.  You should be proud enough to say so in public.  (and by the way you will not find support for those in the Democratic Party post 1965 in case you are confused)  Many of your supporters will, you should be able to too.  The fact that you quite obviously hold these values, but don’t choose to share them publicly is exactly what I’m struggling against in HumCo.

To many, these are righteous and proper conservative principles and values.  Rush Limbaugh and hundreds of others speak about them every day.  Run on them.  Be who you are.  Don’t poison our civics by being deceptive.  It may help your chances and the principles you believe in by giving you a slight electoral advantage in what is clearly a blue county and city.    The problem is it’s corrosive to our politics and in the end leads directly to backroom deals and corruption.  This is what happens under one party rule when there isn’t an open and honest (ish) public discussion of ideas and principles in a way that allows the public to see and understand what is being decided.

i.e. civics.

Chet Albin's Facebook page before he took it down
Chet Albin’s Facebook page before he took it down

Henry Paulson, Climate Change Action Advocate?

Apparently the Wall Street-er is now.  The last guy I’d want to see on a financial advisory panel is now jumping aboard the climate change is a thing bandwagon.

And after careful consideration – welcome aboard Henry.

Here is a quote from his opinion piece in Sunday’s NYT

“We’re making the same mistake today with climate change (as we made in the financial crises). We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.

This is a crisis we can’t afford to ignore. I feel as if I’m watching as we fly in slow motion on a collision course toward a giant mountain. We can see the crash coming, and yet we’re sitting on our hands rather than altering course.

We need to act now, even though there is much disagreement, including from members of my own Republican Party, on how to address this issue while remaining economically competitive. They’re right to consider the economic implications. But we must not lose sight of the profound economic risks of doing nothing.”

This is a point I wish conservatives would consider.  

“The solution can be a fundamentally conservative one that will empower the marketplace to find the most efficient response.”

Not only that, but many of the things we liberals are trying to protect are things that conservatives pretend to want to protect too – things like agriculture, timberland, things like having local governments be empowered to take action with local methods instead of State or Federal governments. (I’m going off of Paulson’s talking points here but working to minimize the damage of climate change should be a conservative calling as well as liberal.)

Here is more…

“But climate change is a more intractable problem. The carbon dioxide we’re sending into the atmosphere remains there for centuries, heating up the planet.  

That means the decisions we’re making today — to continue along a path that’s almost entirely carbon-dependent — are locking us in for long-term consequences that we will not be able change but only adapt to, at enormous cost.

And maybe Henry can convince Mr. Dunn of Redway whose T-S letter to the editor I linked to last week.  Mr. Dunn was bringing up how much more innately responsible conservatives are than liberals.  You would think Mr. Dunn.  Unfortunately, they’ve put all their eggs in Rush Limbaugh’s basket.  Here’s Mr. Paulson again…

“When you run a company, you want to hand it off in better shape than you found it. In the same way, just as we shouldn’t leave our children or grandchildren with mountains of national debt and unsustainable entitlement programs, we shouldn’t leave them with the economic and environmental costs of climate change. Republicans must not shrink from this issue. Risk management is a conservative principle, as is preserving our natural environment for future generations. We are, after all, the party of Teddy Roosevelt.”

And like I’ve been trying to say, we need local leadership too.  We could make the State and Federal regulations or policies so much more effective if we would not only employ businessmen and mortgage brokers like Mr Paulson recommends in his piece, but also empower our local planners to work in the interest of the public rather than the Chamber of Commerce.

Climate change is the real deal folks and it’s not ever going to go away.  Let’s just start working for solutions today instead of tomorrow.

Looking forward to your leadership on this Supervisor Bass – you said during the campaign climate change is real.  How is the all-but-certainly newly re-elected 4th District people’s representative going to lead on this issue?

Anatomy of a Conservative Headline: The Common Core Edition

The Humboldt Republican Women Federated (HRWF) last week declared on their extremely entertaining web site that . . . “Over 80 PERCENT Of New York Residents Say Common Core Is A Disastrous Failure”.  Now, it is always difficult to decipher what content exactly is the HRWF’s.  In this case, the entire thing is from the  Daily Caller,  tie non-conformist Tucker Carlson’s site.

Humboldt Republican Women Federated
Humboldt Republican Women Federated

The Caller’s story from “Education Editor” Eric Owen.  Here is some reporting…

“The poll, by the Times Union of Albany and Siena College Upstate Education, shows that a whopping 82 percent of the Empire State’s residents want to abandon the Common Core Standards Initiative in its current form.”

This article in turn can be sourced to NBC’s Albany affiliate WNYT whose headline takes the hype down a notch and returns the at least a little closer to reality… “Poll: overwhelming majority of NYers oppose Common Core”.

Neither story links to the poll itself, but thankfully, this is one that publishes much of the crosstabs, and here they are.

I’ll go through a few that I think get to a clearer picture (and a number way below HRWF’s 82%) that say that Common Core is if not “disastrous” then at least confusing and perhaps implemented to quickly.

Question 1 A1. Overall, would you rate the quality of public education in New York as excellent, good, fair, poor, or do you not have enough information in order to say?

Question 1 A
Question 1 A

46% said good-ish  37% bad-ish.  Of the good(ish) folks 56% were Dems,  47% Republican and 40% other.  Take home – more thing the system is working than not, most that do think it’s working OK are left of center.

Question 7A below then asks “How much attention have you been paying to each of the following recent educational initiatives in New York? Have you been paying a great deal of attention, some attention, not very much attention, or no attention at all to each of the following?”

Question 7 A

 The following are the answers for Common Core.  73% are paying some attention or more. And of the registered partisan folks – 79% of Dems and 79% of Republicans are paying somewhat or more attention.

Question 8A then asks if the surveyed supports the implementation of Common Core in their schools.

Question 8 A

23% do, 43% don’t, and 23 % don’t know or refused to answer.  That is the number I think the Caller’s Eric Owen and the local Republican women were  looking for – not 82%.  Of those that support the implementation – 28% were Democrats and 20% Republicans.  Of those opposed the corresponding numbers were 37% and 55%.

Finally, the sexy headline that was first taken out of context, then hyperbolized stemmed from Question 10 A.  Has the implementation of the Common Core been rushed, resulting in confusion?

Question 10 A
Question 10 A

82% said yes (ish).  49% of Dems and 57% of Repubs strongly agree with that contention, and I don’t disagree.

But here’s the thing.  If it isn’t implemented now, even with strong backing from many in the business community and from right wing pundits like Bill Bennett who do care in a having a set of national standards, it will never get done.  Do you see Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or even Chris Christie or Jeb Bush passing something like this with the difficulty their base would have with it?  I don’t.

And the reason the Common Core, or something like it as it evolves, is important is we don’t want to leave regions of the country behind.  That what is currently happening as local and state governments cut out this or that section of the curriculum which may not comport with their beliefs.

I realize there is strong opposition against Common Core coming from the left too.  This liberal is in favor of a set of common, testable standards for our nation’s children.  I’m also in favor of paying close attention to these standards going forward to make sure our children are well served.    We can start doing this by paying less attention to the HRWF’s and Daily Caller’s nonsense and start paying attention to actual news items on the subject.

Speaking of which, here’s a good recent article from the NYT which isn’t particularly favorable to the common core, but it also isn’t panning the entire program whole cloth.

Here is another recent article that talks about the conservative politics of Common Core.  The opposition to this started in the Tea Party right and is moving to the conservative mainstream as conservative politicians begin to realize how important this is to their fervent base.    The real problems with Common Core are reasons this will be something to keep an eye on, and to make sure the reporting is accurate.

My brain talk tells me that there are obviously going to be issues with Common Core as one would expect when a national program is implemented. Let’s not let the true believers on the right get away with confusing their anti-government dogma with something we should all want.  A common set of core education standards for the nation.

Who knows… maybe at some point we could get civics back into the curriculum?

T-S Letters to the Editor – “It is Easier to be a Liberal”

Donald Dunn of (Edit:  Redcrest*) thinks it is, and his letter to the T-S editor was published today.

Thoughts?  Mine later.  (Hint, it will probably include the word “externality”)


* This dyslexic thanks you Mary Ella.

Under the Category “Elections Have Consequences”

Those favoring an empowered public sector in planning -or- to put it another way – government doing it’s job – lost another strong pro-public-policy planner on the Planning Commission – Sue Matsen.   I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this happened after the election btw.

If I may compare apples and oranges – I don’t expect another Souter here in this appointment.  I don’t know Mr. Paine, but I also don’t expect Supervisor Sundberg to appoint a Planning Commissioner who believes that the professionals we pay for should be allowed to do their job.  Only time will tell.

Congratulations to Mr, Paine.  See you at the Planning Commission meetings.  I’ll be the one in the corner pondering if I should try to overcome my glossophobia.

HumCo Anons – A New DHF! (aka Liberal Humboldt) Policy

When does one person’s right to know supplant another person’s right to privacy?  I think in the blogosphere, as in campaign finance, as we are dealing with public policy, I tend to err on the side of public accountability – both in finances and in speech.  We have the right to free speech, but we should be accountable for that.

The main problem I’ve found though my first year active in the local blogosphere that there is a whole bunch taken as fact or fact (ish) that inevitably seem to come from the anons.

Recent Anon’s from Rose Welsh’s blog. Anon after anon after anon. How is a reader to make sense of comment zones like this?

Having said that, there are also good people not involved in smear that for their own reasons would like to disassociate their public opinions from themselves.

I do personally have a problem with this as so many of the people I disagree with online quite obviously have financial issues at stake which are not discussed for more general or philosophical discussions, which if their financial involvement was known, might seem disingenuous and hurt their credibility.

So, the baby-step I’m taking is a) when and if I have time and b) when it makes sense in context, I will associate anons with a number.   This only applies to the blue/grey Gravitar anons.  WordPress’ randomly generated avatars which they call Gravitars are a great compromise between the reader’s right to know and the writer’s right to privacy.  This in essence is what I am continuing for those for whatever reason do not even want to be associated with a unique avatar.  Instead of the fancy colorful avatar, you will be stuck with a number.

Regarding fairness:  A big part of the narrative I’m trying to get across with this blog is we are all biased.  That includes me.  I’ll add or check numbers when I’m interested and/or have time and try to respond if any reader is interested in seeing  how this or that anon comment relates to another anon comment.  I think the fairness issue is covered as I will endeavor to respond to other readers who my disagree with my bias.  Again, caveat, incase this blog gets bombarded with many more than 4 readers any time soon, I may not be able to respond in a timely fashion to all requests.

Also, this policy starts now, I will not go back in time to out IP addresses so everyone has been warned (ish).

In review…WordPress blogs allow the moderators to see the IP address of all comments.  I have not and I will not post these.  However, when necessary or convenient for readers and myself, I will start numbering returning IP addresses for frequent or notable GREY-BLUE (ONLY) anons.  Not sure how it will look, but it may be as simple as me adding a (anon001) to the end of an interesting or notable comment based on that commenter’s IP address.   That number will then be linked to that IP address and the result will be instead of having a unique avatar or gravitar or name, readers and myself will be able to associate your opinions over time with a consistent number.  Huzzah for accountability!

Of course I’m sure there are random IP generators out there so if you are really serious about your privacy AND commenting on this blog I know there is a technological get-around out there somewhere.

Newly Harrowing Times in the Middle East

A new Sunni-Islam sect has grown out of the Syria conflict and the power vacuum of the large swaths of sparsely populated NW Iraq.  The new power is ISIS  The Islamic State of Syria and Iraq and they are frightening.

I think left and right in the U.S. can agree on that.

I know we all feel overwhelmed from all the continuing and seemingly never-ending traumatic news from the Middle East, but this seems to be rising, again, to can’t-ignore status.

Unfortunately, under the “you broke it, you bought it” ethic, the U.S. has, in my opinion, an ethical responsibility to this region.  On the right, with gas prices rising, others might see a national security reason to be interested.  Other’s still, also including myself, believe as the world’s premier military power, we have a responsibility to act in coordination with other’s to work against bad actors – like ISIS is.

I still think that Joe Biden was right when some time before Barack Obama was President he mentioned the idea of redefining the boundaries of Iraq.  This would be difficult, but it seems it is where we are heading anyway.  It was always going to be a struggle to maintain any sort of national government in Iraq, especially a Shiite-majority one, with the continued fighting between the militant wings of the Sunni majority and Shiite minority.  Not to mention the Kurdish minority in the NW.

I think what we are seeing here is the familiar pattern in the Middle East of the most militant, the ones with the power (ie gunpowder) making their presence known and taking power relatively easily given the power vacuum in this poor and sparsely populated section of the Middle East.

Unfortunately, this militant and extreme brand of power hungry individuals using Islam as the excuse to conquer and rule a region is the Taliban in Afghanistan all over again.  We have to be pro-active and we should all support some sort or action, not necessarily military, in this region.

We will disagree on the U.S.’s role in inflaming this mess, we will also disagree on what the U.S. role should now be.  However, hopefully the one thing we might agree on is we can’t  bury our heads in the sand on this.

Oppose AB 2145 and Protect Local Energy Choice. By Michael Winkler.

Posted from an email to HCDCC Members and Associate Members with permission…
Since a resolution before the HCDCC tonight has to do with switching California  to 100% renewable energy by 2050 I think it is especially relevant to alert you to a serious threat to developing local and renewable energy.
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a method authorized by California state law that allows communities (cities and counties) to choose the source of their electricity independently from their local utility. With CCA, a community can, for instance, have a higher percentage of their electricity come from local and renewable sources than what is currently provided by their local utility.
When a CCA goes into operation customers are sent multiple notices about the CCA and, if they choose, how to stay with their existing utility. If the customer takes no action they will automatically be switched to the local CCA group. 

Marin County’s CCA group, “Marin Clean Energy”, has been in operation for about two years and has allowed Marin County residents to have a significantly higher percentage of renewable energy than PG&E. 

A CCA for Sonoma County, “Sonoma Clean Power”, recently started.

For the past 10 years I and number of other people in Humboldt County have been investigating CCA for our county. CCA is unanimously supported by the Arcata City Council and is also supported by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority Board, which represents all the jurisdictions of Humboldt County. The City of Arcata staff has been actively researching CCA for the past two years and has been in talks with Marin and Sonoma to join one of their groups.

PG&E, which claims to be neutral about CCA, has actively worked to undermine the formation of any CCA’s to maintain PG&E’s monopoly and prevent competition

In 2010, PG&E created Proposition 16 that would have made forming a CCA virtually impossible by a requiring a 2/3 public vote to create a CCA rather than the existing requirement of a majority vote by a local government.
PG&E spent $46 million in an unsuccessful effort to pass Proposition 16

PG&E’s current campaign to kill CCA’s is AB 2145. AB 2145 would require that to be a member of a CCA a customer would need to actively “opt-in” to the CCA. Since taking no action is easier than taking an action, active opt-in rates tend to be less than 20%. which is too low to make a CCA viable. Under the banner of “freedom” and “consumer choice” PG&E is pushing a clever way to kill any new CCA’s.

AB 2145 passed the Assembly (with Chesbro voting “no”). AB 2145 has now moved over to the state Senate and is first coming before the Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee, which is chaired by Senator Alex Padilla, who will be in a run-off for Secretary of State in November.I urge each of you to write Senator Padilla and Senator Evans and urge them to protect local community choice and oppose AB 2145. I also urge you to write Governor Brown and urge him to veto AB 2145 if it passes the Senate. *****************************************************************************************
As Michael alluded to, there is an HCDCC meeting tonight.  As always, everyone is welcome.  Change, which is sorely needed, starts with you.

What is Smart Growth?

CNU 22When people hear “Smart Growth” apparently they still hear “no growth”.

Smart Growth is about thinking about growth;  planning.  For example, village, city and regionally instead of parcel-by-parcel.  Often difficult decisions will have to be made, but that’s why the more forethought and planning and public participation, the better.

And no, 16% is not enough public participation.

So, when I get a chance I’ll promote some events and thinkers.  Here is one that just happened last week Congress for a New Urbanism 22.  It’s in the weeds planning stuff, but it’s the stuff that will help to not only rejuvenate our region, but begin, for the first time in many, many years, thinking about how the 7th generation from now will be living.

And Sohum property rights advocates, please.  Before you even start.  This is not about urban vs rural, this is about urban AND rural.  Growing and enhancing the character of each.

Source … podcast and Chuck Marohn.