Humboldt Conservatives: Tax The Little Gal

Even if their loudest constituents have been participating in a crime, Humboldt’s conservative representatives will do what they can to minimize their taxes moving forward.

Never-mind revenue needs to be devised to balance private sector production and the costs of government we all want and need.  You know things like public safety or even roads.


But no, let’s minimize the revenue from those free loaders and law-breakers who we all have to now admit have helped us get into this disastrous state.

We don’t have enough money (there have been no previous per-acre taxes collected from  weed that would go directly to County government), we have increasing problems with violent and property crime and houselessness, and there are surely growing problems convincing children and students that they should wait to make a decision about smoking or ingesting weed until after they become adults.  Don’t forget the conservation of our landscapes and culture.  These are principles that a concerned conservative (and liberal) should be championing, no?

And what about our law-and-order conservatives that we hear so much about endlessly on KINS.  Can we not see that we are favoring those who have been breaking the law for all these years?

And now we want to legalize this trade while laying out a red carpet and having the rest of us suckers good people pay the tab of incentivizing more criminals out of the shadows so they may pay a gentle tax.

But this is where our conservative leadership is leading us.  This obviously isn’t about conservatism at all, but about money.  Whether it is the value of the land that many will benefit from with the laissez-faire attitude toward weed, or proof of the disastrous and nonsensical tax policy which would be a Grover Norquist’s dream.  A flat tax that is so low that it is designed to bring more people and businesses into the tax stream instead of building a revenue stream which will help pay for known costs of this business.

Twenty-five percent tax reduction when a twenty-five cent reduction was proposed(1)?  Really?  Is this how little our representatives value math?  Now Supervisor Sundberg’s even lower flat taxAll this when we know this regressive sales tax to maintain roads is in the offing from Humboldt County Association Of Government?   Can we the people begin to see the collusion that is going on?

This is government and policy not for the people (or for that matter rationality) but for land owners and it’s being sold to us as if the little gal will ultimately profit.

This has nothing to do with conservatism as we might have defined it under Eisenhower or arguably even Reagan.  This is about Tea Party populist conservatism.  It’s about doing one thing with clear results, and rationalizing it as another.  The only way this has been possible is with a media with a crumbling business model and, sadly, many of those in both the environmental movement and the Democratic Party that are doing what they can to get along and go along.

OK, let us add one more reason to the list:  we are economically desperate.  There are many people in dire financial need and many others living paycheck to paycheck.  People under those circumstances are probably not inclined to pay attention to the nuance of governing.   They will be listening to representatives who are telling them what they want to hear, even if in the mean time they are actually working against their interests.

(1) From LoCO: “Fennell floated a suggestion of dropping the fees by 25 cents across the board, at each level of the progressive tax. After some discussion with fellow supervisors, Bohn said that if it’s gonna be lower he’d prefer it to be a 25 percent cut across the board, rather than 25 cents. Sundberg agreed, and that’s how the item ultimately passed.


A Brexit Map of Hope for the EU (Update 6/25)

As the Bexit votes came in Thursday night, there was one clear pattern of hope for those of us not inclined to reactionary politics which you can see in this map of Thursday’s Brexit votes from the NYT.

Scotland was definitively for remaining in the European Union and their leadership is immediately looking into a another vote to leave Britain.  Presumably once severed from Britain they would want into the EU.

Ireland is in the EU, Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom is not.  Brexit may be the catalyst towards a united Irish island which then would also presumably remain in the EU.

All in all as a anglophile and an EU-phile I’m hopeful.  I believe that finally having this reactionary vote unites the far right fringe across the European continent in an odd way serves as a milestone to Europeans to affirm why they decided to create a bureaucracy which would economically and politically unite historically disparate peoples.

So maybe Brexit will be proven to be a misnomer.  Britain (and Northern Ireland) didn’t vote to exit the European Union, it was largely England and Wales.  Maybe, by doing so, they really forced the hands of Scotland and Northern Ireland to exit the United Kingdom so they can now rejoin the EU. (UKxit?, Un-united Kingoom?, Kingdom?)

This is all really complicated, especially if, like me, it isn’t really clear without a little bit of inter-tubes-reminders of the differences between the UK and Great Britain. (Hint:  it’s Northern Ireland)

Update:  Good review of the potential break up ok the UK in the wake of Brexit in the NYT Sunday morning…

After ‘Brexit,’ 3 Centuries of Unity in Britain Are in Danger

Here are a couple of quick fun and informative videos by one of my favorite YouTubers, CBG Grey.

And a little on how and why Scotland joined Great Britain.

Good On Congressional Democrats

From the NYT:

House Democrats’ Gun-Control Sit-In Turns Into Chaotic Showdown With Republicans

A little bit of publicity for what was less than a publicity stunt and more of a necessary human reaction to obstruction of gun control.  Any gun control.

This is where we are on gun control in this country.  The Republican Party will even act against epidemiological research on gun violence.  Polls on the other hand show huge majorities in support of (at the very least) limited gun control.

So what is a minority political party to do when yet another mass murder occurs and the reaction from the majority is always – we need to continue to alienate and kill those that don’t share a religion or a skin color or a level of prosperity with which we are familiar, but no, we will not take any positive action against a single weapon sale.

It is absolutely ridiculous for those of us that see what is going on.  We can see how an incredible marketing ploy has joined in a symbiotic relationship with a major political party to act as a critical wedge issue that helps win elections.

But in the mean time people are dying in droves and we are being prevented from appropriate and very conservative reactions to an ongoing gun violence epidemic.

So kudos to Representative Lewis and fellow House Democrats and those Senators that joined in solidarity.  Sometimes it is appropriate to break rules and decorum, and this was one of those instances.  Thank you.

We all need to start standing up (or is it sitting down) to change the incredibly durable and vital frame the NRA has set up.  This will happen, it’s just taking to long and too many are dying who should not have in the mean time.

Continue reading “Good On Congressional Democrats”

The Voters Spoke. We Chose Hillary. This Is a Good Thing..

That’s Democracy.  It’s one of the world’s best.  It is the world’s most important.  The process wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t categorically unfair.

This time California counted – at least if it was an overwhelming victory for Senator Sanders, but it wasn’t.  With a great deal of new Democratic registrants, Secretary Clinton won handily.

And for those of you wondering how, here is one example.  I had a conversation with a well known graffiti-removing Humboldt County Democrat yesterday and asked him for whom he would be voting for president.  He said Hillary and this surprised me because we are often on the same page politically.

When I asked him why he gave reasons with which I couldn’t disagree.   $15 minimum wage nation wide was probably unworkable, he didn’t believe that free college for all is necessaryily a good thing because vocational school might suit some just as well.  These are practical realities that I can understand and if those are your policy reasons for voting affirmatively for Hillary for President,  I get it.

He also mentioned that he thought Hillary was our best chance to beat Trump.  When I mentioned the polls that say otherwise, he said he didn’t believe them, in part because Bernie would be vulnerable to conservative attacks.

So as the short serendipitous meeting was ending and we were walking toward our lunch-time destinations I asked him if he had heard of Thomas Frank.  He hadn’t.  I recommended Thomas’ book Listen Liberal and told him it interested me because it was how the Democrats had become the party of the 10%.

He said he was part of the 10%.  I told him that makes sense.

I like and respect that person and his politics.  There were a lot of Democrats like him and many very different who wanted and voted for a different candidate than I did.  I respect that and now will work to make Hillary the best Democrat she can be.

If there is one thing I hope we all can remember about the 2016 Democratic Primary it is the map below (source NYT) where dark green means overwhelming Sanders victories, dark blue overwhelming Clinton victories, and shades of green and blue mean less convincing wins for each.   A couple of things about this map.  First, these votes are from  Democrats and/or people that should be within the Democratic tent.  Remember that during this primary there was a fight for the heart and soul of the GOP going on to, so the people voting in the Democratic primary are almost exclusively left-of-center.  This map represents people whose statements would not make you involuntarily cough up your drink out of shocking statement during a meal (with the possible exception of Democratic friends and family from West Virginia?).

National Map
From the NYT.

Secondly, this map does not represent voting totals well.  The largest population centers and their political power are barely visible.

Keeping those two things in mind, what this map shows us is a geographic and likely rural/urban divide within the Democratic Party.  This is something that may be just a coincidence of geography since Bernie did make his home in Vermont and Hillary joined a political force that was from Arkansas.

But I think there is more there for which liberals must pay attention.  Liberals like Elizabeth Warren have a message that will have to resonate with Democrats all over this country.  I still believe the divide between Hillary and Bernie voters is less about race and ethnicity than the media would have us believe, but Bernie’s liberal message clearly didn’t have the resonance in the Southern half of our Nation that it did in the Northern half.  At least in rural America.

I believe this is the residue of right-wing media and culture permeating into liberal and Democratic values and dreams.  That’s my hypothesis, we’ll see what the future brings.  Whatever it is, I hope those of us who believe in things like equal justice for all, universal health care, living wages, stronger Social Security, poverty which does not devastate children or adults, are paying attention to this map.

Continue reading “The Voters Spoke. We Chose Hillary. This Is a Good Thing..”

Election Day 2016 (Part I of II)

(Part II is 153 days away.)

That media which the right-wing likes to slime as “liberal” has been tough on ole’ Bernie, and today is a perfect example.  Here is what you will find if you click over to the NYT.  Hillary has wrapped it up, why should we bother to vote?

June 7th

Why does this headline appear the morning of the most consequential of all states?  Could this news wait until perhaps after voting?  This, again is a great political strategy and the NYT and A.P are enabling it.  Enough Super delegates announced who they will vote for giving the A.P. and now the NYT the chance to emblazon the headline “Clinton Clinches Delegates for Nomination” as California voters make their way to the polls.

O.K., this is why this is an uphill battle for those tens of millions of Bernie supporters (and even Hillary supporters) who understand that the Democratic Party once again has to become the party that will support democracy generally and the working class of this country specifically.

While that headline itself will likely hurt voter turn-out for Bernie, here is some news you haven’t heard about that should buoy your spirits.  Remember this too, Hillary in all probability will be the Democratic nominee.  But if Bernie can win in California, even after Clinton has been designated as the presumptive Democratic nominee, the victory would serve as another unmistakable clarion call from a large segment of the American population to please pay attention and build policy that is directed toward the people of this country rather than the lobbyists.

Item One:  Final California Democratic Presidential Primary Poll Summary.

RCP California June 7th 2016


Item Two:  Democrat Registration Surge in 2016.

From the L.A. Times:  California’s registered voters hit record high ahead of Tuesday presidential primary

  • “Of the 646,220 people who registered in the final rush —between April 8 and May 23 — 76% became Democrats.
  • California’s total voter registration now stands at 17,915,053. That’s the largest number ever registered heading into a primary election.*
  • And the rush all happened at the end. In fact, 98% of all the growth in California’s voter ranks in 2016 happened in just the last 45 days of the registration season.”

* (Not by percentage, but by absolute numbers)

The registration totals can be found here, but were also tweeting out by the author of this LA Times article.

This is very important not only for it’s implications for today’s votes (first time voters might favor the insurgent Bernie) but it alone should be a reminder to Democratic leaders that we build our party not by moving policy closer to the Republicans, but by sticking to our policies that support basic Democratic principles:  one person one vote (not one dollar one unit of influence), equal justice under the law, economic and environmental sustainability, expansion toward universal healthcare and education, and belief in and support of our public institutions which include government and public and even private sector unions.  These are some of the principles behind Bernie’s surge in the Democratic Primary.  I hope the eventual Democratic nominee and it’s party begins to hear this message.

It is a message that is not compatible with high-dollar speeches to Wall Street firms.  Candidate Clinton understood this during this election season which is why she didn’t release them.  Will she understand where her mandate will have come from if she is to be elected as President as the Democratic nominee?

We’ll see.

See you at the polls. (go Bernie)

Continue reading “Election Day 2016 (Part I of II)”

Turns Out This Isn’t Santa Rosa

But this is the gentrification of Southern Humboldt. (Credit to commenter Sell! Sell! Sell! on Kym Kemp’s site)

It’s what happens when our public representatives honor land owners.  And let’s face it, we aren’t honoring land owners who come and go, but land values, and when we do this, we should not be surprised at these result.

Kym Kemp, who tells the stories of the people and culture she loves, addressed this important article from the Chronicle about the skyrocketing interest in rural Humboldt land.  If you haven’t read Kym’s take already, please check it out, including the copious comments.

Kym Kemp
You can find it here:

It’s bleak out there for those this political movement was supposed to help.  Supervisors Estelle Fennell and Rex Bohn sold themselves in 2012 as representatives of the people.  They would help empower people economically and change the government to relax the onerous regulations.  They and their supporters took advantage of high profile and overly weaponized enforcement to sell their faux populism.

In the end though, the people they listened to where the people they knew and the people who contributed to their campaigns.  It was and is clear but they both made their allegiances sound like it was something worth supporting. They both are doing it to this day which is why one has been endorsed by both Assembly-member Woods and State Senator McGuire and the other endorsed additionally by our local Democrats.

But both of these candidates could not be worst for democratic causes.  Their priorities could not have been more clear than when they both worked outside of the public process they promoted to Principle #7 of the guiding principles from protecting natural resources to “honor landowners’ rights to live in urban, suburban, rural or remote areas of the county while using a balanced approach to protect natural resources“.  Yes, they really, really wrote that!

I understand I am beating a dead horse, but that legal language makes what they are doing so clear.  And now we are living through what we should have known, but were either not interested or perhaps too interested in what they were selling.

So as Rex and others have famously proclaimed when dismissing enviro concerns, no Humboldt will not become Santa Rosa.  But that was not ever the real danger.  The danger from my perspective was the pattern of growth, not the growth itself.  It turns out the other crucial problem to all but those few who are profiting from the increased property values is that economic survival for those without land just became even more difficult not better as the former leader of a local property rights organization told her constituents.

But that is the inevitable result when our public infrastructure is not there to protect not only the environment from degradation, but protecting us from ourselves.  It’s really very simple, if frustratingly anti-intuitive:  our economic system is set up to consume itself if not carefully regulated.  We continue to buy into the rhetoric that tells us otherwise and Humboldt is now living through the results.

Please vote for Bud Rogers this Tuesday those of you living in the 2nd District.  He may be a neophyte to politics.  He may have his own theories that aren’t always, well, completely thought out, but he is not part of a disingenuous political movement that has rushed Humboldt to another economic and environmental precipice.

And for more reading on the 2nd District race, here is the entertaining, awesome and often spot on John Hardin.

My Impressions of 2nd District Candidates Debate in Garberville

Vote this Tuesday 2nd District.

Sincerest apologies to the 1st.  Your Democratic political infrastructure failed you.  We are going to need YOUR help to change this in 2020.