HCDCC to AFSCME: Thank You for the 35 Large

One of the things I like to do in my spare time is review Cal-Online for the latest news on the Humboldt County Democrats.  [Read:  In no way was I tipped off to this as I entered this report myself as the (apparently dyslexic) HCDCC Treasurer.]  While perusing the HCDCC campaign finance inter-tubes I noticed this…


For those not familiar, that is in one check about what the HCDCC makes in revenues over the year by putting on two fundraising events.  Previously, we had received $25,000 from “Political Action for Classified Employees of California School Employees Small Contributor Committee”.  The latter was done a day before the 24 hr reporting period that begins 90 days before any state-wide election.

That makes a total of $60,200.  If past is prologue, after the 2016 election frenzy is over we can expect about 7% of that, (plus whatever else we manage to collect) to remain in our coffers.

I’ve written about this ad infinitum before.  All I’m asking HCDCC members to consider is to return or donate to local causes the entire amount we don’t independently chose to spend in one or two California legislative races this November.  Just don’t use the money for our own political interests or to pay the rent.  Please.  It is a nightmare to try to explain our own benefiting from this money as we are the party that needs to be fighting against the corrosive influence of money in politics.

I understand the other argument and have made it before.  There does have to be some way to employer money because dollar-for-dollar the system is rigged against workers and unions.  What I am saying is this is the wrong way to do it because it might be doing more harm than good.  Because this does cost us a great deal.  It costs us credibility.

I’m working on gathering statistics on our past results.  Here they are so far.

Table One:  HCDCC Donations Since 2008

09/25/14 CHAVEZ FOR SENATE 2014 STATE SENATOR 14 SUPPORT $120,000.00
10/15/10 RON, KUHNEL OTHER SUPPORT $332.27
10/16/10 RON, KUHNEL OTHER SUPPORT $414.69
10/27/10 NEELY, BONNIE OTHER SUPPORT $5,000.00
09/18/14 FAIR WAGE FOLKS SUPPORT $200.00
11/01/14   Public Safety/Essential Services Measure Z SUPPORT $500.00
11/01/14   Genetic Contamination Prevention Ordinance P SUPPORT $500.00
11/01/14   Fair Wage Act R SUPPORT $300.00

Table Two:  HCDCC Funded Election Results

            DEM REP
10/28/08 STATE SENATOR 19 $105,000.00 207,119 207,976 49.9%    
10/08/10 STATE SENATOR 12 $25,000.00 86,963 92,270 48.5%    
10/21/10 STATE ASSEMBLY 15 $15,000.00 104,441 91,378 53.3%    
10/21/10 STATE ASSEMBLY 10 $15,000.00 83,177 68,395 54.9%    
10/08/12 STATE SENATOR 5 $165,000.00 143,425 139,502 50.7%    
10/10/12 STATE SENATOR 31 $60,000.00 133,882 108,320 55.3%    
09/19/14 STATE SENATOR 34 $60,000.00 69,220 95,792 41.9% 39.0% 34.8%
09/25/14 STATE SENATOR 14 $120,000.00 46,035 54,251 45.9% 48.8% 29.6%

The ones in red are the races we lost, the ones in blue the ones we won.  So far it’s been a wash and no one will every argue that a $100,000 the HCDCC helped direct to a candidate won the election for them.

In the mean time, please consider what has happened to Democratic priorities in Humboldt County.  They have collapsed.  Outside of Arcata (forever) and Eureka (in 2014) we have seen Democratic values, including the most fundamental of all – the right to vote ones conscience, all but disappear.

I am not saying these are correlated by cause and effect.  What I am saying is that we at the HCDCC have to re-prioritize what it is we do and why.  I do think that this is a perfect example of the HCDCC focusing on that which is easy such as acting as a highly paid conduit for a preferred candidate in Southern California.  What we have failed miserably in doing is finding and then electing candidates that vote for Democratic values.

Continue reading “HCDCC to AFSCME: Thank You for the 35 Large”


Public Staff and democratic Elections

Yesterday’s Times Standard had a short, but very important letter yesterday from Chip Sharpe of Bayside, that shouldn’t be missed.


Planners and schemers abound in Humboldt County

I have no confidence that Humboldt County’s present Planning Commission has the well-being of our county at heart. And only a little more faith in our current Board of Supervisors to do the right thing.

I am grateful for our professional and dedicated county staff. It’s a bit ironic that we the people are dependent upon career civil servants to protect us from supposedly democratically elected or appointed boards and commissions.

 – Chip Sharpe


Thank you Chip for paying attention and taking the time and effort to write the letter. Here is the Times-Standard brief coverage of the event from the 1/21 print edition.

The commissioners — including Morris, Lee Ulansey, Kevin McKenny and Alan Bongio — stated that staff misrepresented the commission’s recommendations on the ordinance when it came back to the board for final review in December. The commission had made several recommended changes to the ordinance after a marathon 10 meetings in November and early December.

Professional public staff is likely to feel pressure as politics change over time.  Eureka City Councilmember Linda Atkins argued vehemently that staff had been ignoring her request to add a houseless crises resolution to the agenda, and then had to take the initiative herself to amend the milquetoast resolution that City staff had produced.

But these are not equivalent, at least in my potentially partisan eyes.  I do want to spend more time reviewing the recent Planning Commission meetings before I comment further, and I’d welcome any comments from those who have ideas or feelings on the subject.

I do want to address what Mr. Sharpe calls the “supposedly democratically elected” boards and commissions.  I’m not sure what exactly Mr. Sharpe has in mind, but this is what I understand to be eroding our local democratic elections.

a) an increasingly shrinking electorate that favors those with the most to gain or lose personally rather than more esoteric and long term public goals.

b) a crumbling business model for local public interest reporting or media. (Serious Question:  Has one existed in Humboldt?)

c) disingenuous politics that takes shape in two concrete forms election after election locally.

  i) right of center politics cannot win elections in Humboldt so candidates must either not wear a political label or, worse yet, must chose one that will help their political ambitions.

  ii)  property-rights activists who have donned the mantel of populism based on tenuous overlap in environmental concerns (i.e. Peter Childs’ righteous Alternative Owner Builder activism which has opened the gates to potentially catastrophic negative cumulative environmental effects), or populism based on tenuous overlap in objectives, with those struggling to stay either financially afloat or in the middle class.  (i.e. cash-poor land owners or renters who need extra income from their property)

The ultimate example to me of the undemocratic process has been the ongoing GPU process, which can be condensed down to the political fight over the Guiding Principles.  Supervisors Rex Bohn and Estelle Fennell were elected almost 4 years ago with a strong contingent lead by Peter Childs, and supported by organizations like the League of Women Voters for increased public participation in the GPU process.

To anyone paying attention, this should have been known to be baloney at the time. (League of Women Voters I’m looking at you)  Worse yet, after elected, those professing to be interested in public participation, in effect, canceled the work of previously elected Supervisors and their staff by re-writing the standard operating procedures for county planning commission staff (Supervisor Lovelace’s apt description of the Guiding Principles), with little or no changes to their privately-written version over sustained and vehement public criticism.

And worst of all?  There is no media coverage of these contradictions, nor even a potential for a democratic solution, as there will likely not be a viable candidate to run against either Supervisor Bohn or Fennell.

And we will lack these competitive contests, not because there aren’t important policy differences, but because of a political system where very few, very powerful, local players with vested interests to either protect capital, or continue income from this capital, have the capability to run candidates at every turn – “public interests” right now do not.

So yes, I agree with Chip generally, if not on the specifics: More and more our Supervisor’s elections are democratic in name only.

Thank you Humboldt County Planning staff for the work you do.  We DO appreciate the work you do and our children and their children depend on it.

Continue reading “Public Staff and democratic Elections”

John Fullerton Announces for the 4th Ward

John Chiv is keeping us up-to-date on the latest and early announcements for the 4th Ward in Eureka.  John Fullerton is in and Melinda Ciarabellini is considering another run.

To review (and some of this I just learned too), Eureka will be voting for two of it’s five Councilmembers in November.  There is no primary, only a general election.  Linda Atkins will no longer be eligible to run as she has termed out and Melinda Ciarabellini will be eligible to run for Councilmember a second time.  Melinda was appointed as the 2nd Ward Councilmember as then Councilmember Frank Jäger moved to Major when then Major Bass ran for and beat 4th District Supervisor Bonnie Neely in June 2010.

So here is a conundrum for lefties like me.  There is very little chance a left-of-center candidate would be able to win a race outright between John Fullerton and an incumbent like Melinda Ciarabellini unless they have similar name recognition.  Without a primary that person with the most votes wins.

This is a problem, and it has nothing to do with the candidates themselves but with the undemocratic system which lacks a primary that currently exists in Eureka City elections.  One former Republican running against a very conservative Democratic candidate that views the houseless thought the prism of trespassers should not mean those left-of-center cannot have a voice in November without the people first deciding.

But that is where we stand, at least at this early stage.  My bet is that without a candidate from the left Melinda will not chose to run again.  I’m not sure there is much difference between her and John Fullerton, at least not enough to change Melinda’s mind about retiring after 1 and a half terms.  We’ll see.

To those who care about things like smart growth, preserving and expanding our historic heritage and working-class values and understand that the houseless deserve representation too my suggestion is this.  Find someone to run.  It can’t hurt and if Melinda does not run John Fullerton is vulnerable as a candidate as we found out in November 2013 when Lisa Ollivier defeated John in a rare race for Eureka City School Board.

Coastal Commissions Lester’s Public Hearing 2/10

The Coastal Commission has been critical to helping to protect Humboldt’s coastlines natural heritage.  We should be paying close attention then when developers begin a power play to gut the Coastal Commission’s mandate and fill it’s ranks with those who wish to develop the coast “reasonably”.

Let’s be clear, those that stand to lose will inevitably be all of us as we inevitably lose more of our unique natural coastal heritage.  Those that stand to win are those that can pay for a forced-dismissal and continual pressure on this Commission.

This has been in the offing for a while and it brought to mind a warning that the Commission was losing it’s ability to perform it’s mission to protect California’s coastlines that former Commissioner Steve Blank gave as he resigned in 2013.

A year before that the Commission (and the public) had lost Peter Douglas someone who had been with the organization for 34 years.

What is happening now?  As the T-S headlined last Thursday, there is a power-play lead by the commissions chairman Steve Kinsey to fire Executive Director Charles Lester.  Kinsey exercised his right to a public hearing and this will take place on Feb 10th.

From the T-S article, “Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Protection Network said Lester’s ouster would leave the agency in turmoil and intimidate its staff.”  Ah, it always seems to come down to that doesn’t it?  Development interests have learned that they not only have to head up these public boards, but then they have to be able to intimidate staff to unlearn their fancy planning, engineering and administration educational backgrounds and listen instead to the people.  And by “people” we of course mean those people who have enough wealth and influence to populate the boards that have been so much trouble to them.


TS Headline on Coastal Commission
From the 1/21/16 Times Standard, click link below for the article.

Staff turmoil shakes powerful California coastal agency (Times Standard, 1/21/16)

How dark forces are chipping away at our beloved California coast (LA Times, 1/23/16)

Blank resigns with warning for commission (Half Moon Bay Review, 1/18/2013)

Peter M. Douglas dies at 69; California Coastal Commission chief (LA Times, 4/4/2012)

For good measure, what “progressive” (in the sense that he knows politically how to progress forward, unlike  us Goerblels lovin’, smart-growth-in-name-only-promotin’, Saul Alinsky readin’ B.A.N.A.N.A.s) and Coastal Commission scold Matthew Owen has recently written on the Coast Commission.  It is development-progressives like Matthew and those whose land values will skyrocket who will be the winners if we lose people like Commissioner Lester. .

MATTHEW IN THE MIDDLE: BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) (Lostcoast Outpost 4/28/15)

TS Letter from Tireless Houseless Advocate Nezzie Wade

What would Humboldt and Eureka look like without Nezzie Wade?  *shivers*

Dear editor, Eureka, and Humboldt County residents

At Tuesday’s Eureka City Council meeting, we took a big step forward on homeless housing solutions in Eureka: A shelter crisis was declared. A resolution submitted by Linda Atkins at the Jan. 5 City Council meeting was gutted and a new draft was introduced by the city attorney. It was thoroughly discussed and amended into the Eureka resolution to declare a shelter crisis. Based on Councilwoman Atkins’ appropriate amendments, supported by Councilwomen Arroyo and Bergel, the resolution passed. Watch it on Public Access, it will show you how the hard work of AHHA, advocacy groups and individuals proved to be key in a Shelter Crisis Declaration as a pathway to safe, legal places for Eureka’s houseless to be. AHHA is grateful to our City Council and encouraged by their courage and integrity.

AHHA encourages attending the meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Eureka City Council, and Focus Strategies on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m. in the Supervisors’ Chambers. Focus Strategies will present their homeless housing inventory results and a Housing First implementation plan. Attending will assure that “housing first” includes immediate housing solutions (sanctuary camps, tiny house villages, safe parking programs) while people wait for permanent housing. Eureka won’t consider options unless they are integrated with the Focus Strategies Implementation Plan.

AHHA Safe Parking and Sanctuary Camping Proposals will be discussed at the AHHA General Assembly on Saturday Feb. 6 at Jefferson School, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Join us and share your input.

Nezzie Wade, president, Board of Directors, Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, Inc. (AHHA)

Thank you Nezzie for all your hard work in our community to include AHHA.  Thank you TS (buy a paper or subscribe online).

I hope many of you can make it Saturday Feb 6th.  (one more letter to the editor below the fold)

Continue reading “TS Letter from Tireless Houseless Advocate Nezzie Wade”

Changing Opinions on Senator Sanders

It looks like this season of choosing for both Democrats and Republicans will highlight differences even amongst those more likely to agree than disagree.

I’m finding that since the last debate, especially on health care but now on the potential of the candidacy of Senator Sanders I’m having to disagree with … Paul Krugman???

This is how he ends his column today.

“Sorry, but there’s nothing noble about seeing your values defeated because you preferred happy dreams to hard thinking about means and ends. Don’t let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.”

And here is, in full, a comment from allseriousnessaside which really nails it.


“And the question Sanders supporters should ask is, When has their theory of change ever worked?”

Dr. Krugman, it is right before your very eyes. In a matter of a few election cycles, the Tea Party has fundamentally changed politics as you knew it. And you might also remember Dr. King’s March on Washington, if not the Suffrage and Temperance movements).

If you think that Congress won’t cooperate with Sanders, how many investigations will be started in the first 100 days of a Hillary Clinton administration?  How much cooperation with Congress do you think she will get. I believe I can answer the question. Zero.

Now it’s the progressives’ turn, and Sanders is the authentic, consistent messenger to “take back” our government from those who have demonstrated they have come to Washington to destroy it. 

Our country doesn’t have to be mired in ignorance, hate and chest-beating. Oligarchs don’t have to rule. We can have sensible health care. We can have a banking system that is not out of control. We can end the legalized bribery that is politics today.

The young voters Sanders is bringing into the political calculus are exactly those who will elect the leaders who, eventually, will bring that about.

As forward-thinking as you are, Dr. Krugman, on financial issues, you are proving to be, like Hillary, an “old-fashioned pol.” Obama didn’t choose incrementalism so much as it chose him. It’s time to fight for what we believe in, not for what we think Republicans will give us.



Exactly.  Thank you.

Other commenters focused on how Bernie navigates governing as much as any other man or woman.  This is not about self-indulgence of ideals.  In a word, it’s about authenticity.  It’s critical and authenticity will be what we need above all from a politician as we change our country back to where we (and the rest of the world) deserve us to be.

A Sobering Map from the NYT on Overdose Deaths

Map of overdose deaths in the US

Even worse, we were at the forefront of this epidemic in 2003.  US and Appalatia

We should be asking ourselves, are our leaders and our policies placing a hypothetical economic policy ahead of policies that are best for our commons which would include our common health outcomes?

Can it be any clearer the connections and similarities we share with another area that happens to be largely white, largely working class, and a decimated economy when we look at this same map from 2003?

For better resolution and the source please visit…

How the Epidemic of Drug Overdose Deaths Ripples Across America

Eureka City Council Votes 3-2 to Declare Shelter Crisis

This was done over the dissent of Councilmembers Marian Brady and Melinda Ciarabellini.

Councilmember Linda Atkins made significant changes to the resolution brought to the meeting by city staff.  The changes allowing for less red tape in creating innovative solutions to our immediate and ongoing homeless crisis.

Thank you Linda for your strength, tactics and perseverance.  Thank you Kim and Natalie for the courage in standing up with Linda on this.

The public and outside agencies now have more leeway in community efforts to reduce suffering, that, it must be said, has been aggravated by ill-timed homeless-mobilization strategies.

Let’s get to work for those who need shelter, warmth and rest during this long, wet and cold El Niño winter.

HCDCC Backs the NUHW Against St. Joe

As it should.  Verbatim from the press release and e-mailed to HCDCC members…
EUREKA. The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) recently passed a Resolution supporting the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in their negotiations with St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County. St. Joseph Heath, Humboldt County represents St. Joseph Hospital (Eureka) and Redwood Memorial Hospital (Fortuna) and is the county’s largest private sector employer. Along with bargaining for a living wage and decent benefits, the NUHW is also seeking an end to alleged consistent understaffing that the NUHW asserts hurts patients by reducing timely access to care while forcing workers to work long hours, miss breaks or lunches and ultimately impacts the quality of care patients receive.The HCDCC supports the efforts of the St, Joseph Health, Humboldt County workers to gain respect and dignity in the form of proper staffing, living wages and decent benefits.

Here is the resolution itself.

Resolution Supporting the Workers of St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County in their Fight to Improve Conditions for Worker and Patient Dignity at St. Joseph Hospital (Eureka) and Redwood Memorial Hospital

Whereas we believe that everyone has a right to live in a community, state, and country that enables all to exercise their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

Whereas we believe that it is the duty of our democracy to ensure that jobs provide a living wage;

Whereas we believe that everyone has the right to affordable health care;

Whereas our county’s largest private sector employer, St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJH Humboldt County) fails to provide a living wage, as documented in the National Union of Healthcare Workers May 2015 report Uncompensated Care;

Whereas many employees of SJH Humboldt County struggle to pay for basic life necessities for themselves and their families and qualify for taxpayer-funded safety net programs such as food stamps and Medi-Cal;

Whereas in October 2014, hundreds of SJH Humboldt County workers suffered a unilateral cut to benefits; Whereas SJH Humboldt County reported almost $100 million in profits from January 2010 to December 2014 *;

Whereas in 2013 SJH Humboldt County enjoyed savings of an estimated $11.5 million in corporate income and property tax exemptions*, while in 2013, according to the California Nurses Association (CNA) report Falling from Grace, keeping almost $60 million stashed in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands;

Whereas St. Joseph Health System spends 30% less than the average California Catholic hospital on charity care, according to the CNA;

Whereas consistent understaffing at St. Joseph Hospital (Eureka) and Redwood Memorial Hospital forces workers to work long hours, miss breaks or lunches, and forgo providing proper patient care;

Whereas that consistent understaffing hurts patients by reducing timely access to care or even preventing patients from receiving proper care;

Whereas St. Joseph Health has as their stated core values ‘Dignity, Service, Excellence, and Justice’, yet those values are not being upheld as SJH Humboldt County imposes poverty compensation and working conditions;

Whereas low level of compensation and hospital staffing negatively impacts patient safety, taxpayer costs, and public health; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) supports the efforts of the St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJH Humboldt) workers to gain respect 
and dignity in the form of proper staffing, living wages, and decent benefits.

*Referenced in the National Union of Healthcare Workers May 2015 report Uncompensated Care



Uncompensated Care:  How St. Joseph’s Low Wages Leave Caregivers Behind (May 2015, National Union of Healthcare Workers)

Falling From Grace: St. Joseph Health RNs Raise Ethical and Patient Care Concerns (August 2015, California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United and St. Joseph Health RNs)

St. Joseph Health – Falling From Grace



Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! (With Bernie)


Apparently they don’t need any help getting out the word.  The organizers of NHB got together and found a way to print an ad in the T-S today on A5 and have an Election Roundup item on page A2.  Kudos!  Speaking of 497’s, will you all have to file a 460?  If not, why not?

Keep up the great work all.  Despite the DNC’s insistence to hide all our debates on weekends and/or opposite football events Bernie’s message of separating money from politics and policy is spreading via our strength – grassroots.  Cheers!  See you all Sunday and I hope the Simmer Down Carribean Cafe brings enough food!