The Eureka City Council had two interesting items on their November agenda: #9 Public Nudity Ordinance and #10 Safe Storage of Firearms. The Public Nudity Ordinance was the citizens frustration of seeing our homeless/mentally ill folks getting naked and showering with a bottled water in public view, urinating and defecating all over our streets, and masturbating in public. After the usual suspects commented in favor of the homeless/mentally ill being able to “do their thing in public” the City Council voted to pass this ordinance.

The Safe Storage of Firearms was pulled from the agenda as many citizens wanted to know how the City of Eureka was going to enforce the storage of firearms in private residences. I’m hoping city staff will amend this ordinance for commercial businesses that sell firearms and leave personal residences out. My inner-Libertarian is having problems with Big Brother knocking on doors without a warrant Gestapo-style to verify if we have stored our firearms in a lock container within the privacy of our homes.

Imagine a late at night knock on your front door.

“Eureka Police. We’re here to verify that you’ve properly stored any and all weapons in a gun safe.”
“Do you have a warrant?”
“We don’t need no stinking warrant. Arrest this man as he is an obvious agitator. Send him off to be re-educated. Confiscate his weapons. Next house!”

Yeah, I’m sure you can see the problems enforcing the “Safe Storage of Firearms” in personal residences, which brings me back to an ongoing problem. Why would the City of Eureka propose another ordinance that they have no intention of enforcing? Last I checked, the 4th Amendment was still in place. More importantly, who is running the City of Eureka? Is our elected City Council directing the City Manager and staff or is the City Manager and staff directing the City Council? Just asking…

War on the poor? Sitting in the October Eureka City Council meeting I was offended when hearing many of the same local Regressive speakers complain about “the war on the poor”. I grew up without much in Eureka and never, ever felt there was some sort of subliminal battle against my family. But then again, we worked hard at our jobs, paid our taxes, didn’t do drugs, nor commit petty crimes. I like to think growing up my family was low income, not poor. Poor is a state of mind.

So can we stop this Goebbels-like fascination of Humboldt class warfare? It’s not the rich against the poor. It’s not the property owners versus the renters. It’s not the resource extractors (timber and fishing) versus the environmentalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it’s the good people versus the bad folks out there and the vast majority of good people are getting mighty angry that the minority of bad folks are allowed to continue their mayhem.

Check out John Chiv’s blog or the Lost Coast Outpost arrest reports. It’s the same folks and family names showing up over and over again. There are maybe 50 folks out there committing havoc on a regular basis. Alcohol and/or drugs, theft, petty crimes, etc. For the record, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills estimates the EPD spends 40% of their day hours dealing with homeless problems. That’s 40% of their time they’re not out patrolling our streets and dealing with other crimes.

Back in 2005, my wife and I were in New Orleans (pronounced “Naw-lens” one word, two syllables) for the last Mardi Gras before Katrina hit later that year. While we were there the front page of the Times-Picayune showed the photos (mug shots) of eight murders victims in one day. They all were black-on-black drug related murders, but still eight murders in one day in one community is saying a lot. The good news is New Orleans is only averaging 13 murders a month in 2015.

How many shootings and murders have we had in Humboldt County recently? Anyone want to venture a guess that the majority of these murders were drug related? While reading on the latest murder victim in Eureka (Elliot Walin) I couldn’t help but think that this was probably 99% drug and/or gang related so I did my usual cut & paste of the deceased name in Facebook …

… and low and behold found a man with a Nazi swastika tattoo on his stomach who had previous arrests and was twenty miles from his children at 9 pm at night. Does anyone think he was out of the streets doing charity work?

FYI: the EPD just arrested Derek Payton for this murder. His Facebook photos show drugs and gang signs. Mr. Payton confessed that this shooting was marijuana related. So if cannabis is a victimless crime, why are the majority of the murders in Humboldt County marijuana related? I can think of no better reason to legalize cannabis than to take the crime out of the industry, tax it, regulate it and control it. Of course, then the corporations would get involved and you wouldn’t be getting $6,000 a pound (retail) for weed. I’ll remind you farmers are making a profit selling carrots for $0.50 a pound.

And while on the subject of “war against the poor” our country used to wage wars against poverty, not nations that didn’t attack us. Humboldt County doesn’t have Republican politicians who are cutting unemployment benefits, limiting food stamps (now called SNAP – Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program), demanding drug testing for any type of government benefits. Many Republican controlled states have refused to participate in expanded Medicaid (Affordable Care Act). Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House said, “The safety net is becoming a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” Because getting $896 per month for SSI is living high on the hog.

Considering most Republicans are evangelical Christians, it always makes me wonder WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? Specifically, what would Republican Jesus do?

I’m reminded of people out there to whom I say, “Jesus loves you. It’s just everyone else on the planet thinks you’re an idiot.”

# # #

It’s rumored that we had elections this week. In the Eureka/4th District there was only one race on my ballot, a Humboldt County Board of Education race. The voter turnout for this race by election night was under 12%. Pathetic. If you didn’t vote, then you can’t complain for the next two years and that includes anonymous blog comments. Most people I spoke with didn’t even know we were voting. Neither school board candidate did any TV or radio ads, no phone banking, no mailers, no door-to-door and no candidate statements.

The reality is that your vote does matter. Humboldt County and Eureka elections have many campaigns that were decided by a handful of votes. In 2002 Peter LaVallee defeated Cherie Arkley for Eureka Mayor by a measly 42 votes. That same year Jeff Leonard defeated Charlene Cutler-Ploss by 155 votes for Eureka City Council. In 2006 Jeff Leonard defeated Ron Kuhnel by 32 votes for Eureka City Council and Virginia Bass defeated Peter LaVallee for Eureka Mayor by 75 votes. Supervisor Bonnie Neely defeated Nancy Flemming by only 194 votes for 4th District County Supervisor, however I must have missed the Times-Standard Editorial Board writing “wisdom would dictate fence-mending and outreach” for an entrenched 20-year incumbent who barely won her re-election. In 2010 Ryan Sundberg defeated Patrick Cleary for 5th District County Supervisor by 154 votes. Who can forget that in 2014 Kim Bergel came from 100 votes behind on election night to defeat incumbent Mike Newman for Eureka City Council by a mere 46 votes when all the votes were finally counted?

This year in the Division 2 Harbor District race, incumbent Greg Dale won over Nick Angeloff with 64% of the vote. All the more incredible considering Mr. Dale hardly campaigned as he was busy with his job and family. Just goes to show his “cult of personality” in the Fortuna area and how much voters respect him.

Over in the Division 5 Harbor District race, Patrick Higgins has a commanding 12 vote lead over Susan Rotwein with late and provisional votes still to be counted over the next four weeks. This election can easily turn when all votes are counted. If Higgins wins, he’ll call it a mandate.

Still think your vote doesn’t count?

Now all the pundits can pontificate on the June 2016 races, starting with our County Supervisor elections. In the 2nd District, County Supervisor Estelle Fennell had her re-election kick-off November 5 in Fortuna and Redway. As of this moment there are no challengers that have stepped up and the rumor mill is quiet.

Over in the 1st District, County Supervisor Rex Bohn announced his re-election a few months ago. No opposition names have surfaced except one. In most communities not having a full-time job in 17 years since high school might hurt your electability. But this is Humboldt County where the Progressives are against progress, so anything is possible.

In the 3rd District Supervisor’s race Mike Wilson has announced with incumbent Mark Lovelace’s backing. Uri Driscoll has also announced his candidacy and I keep hearing rumors about another Mark from Arcata who will be announcing this November.

Then we get to the “show”, the November general elections, in which we will be voting on President, U.S. Senate, Congress, State Senate and Assembly, two Eureka City Council races, along with the dreaded ballot initiatives, which we will probably have recreational cannabis, a ban on plastic bags, another tobacco tax increase, elimination of the death penalty, repealing Proposition 13 and another stab at increasing the minimum wage.

As a note, the Rotary Club of Eureka recently had Rob Arkley as our guest speaker. Rob predicted another Democratic White House win, saying the Republican field was too crowded and the top tier was too inexperienced. If true, that means over 32 years (from 1988 to 2020) only three names have graced the White House.