Chet Albin’s “Fire and Brimstone” Speech – Crime in Eureka

whipping

“there are in this wicked world many Knights of the Rod, who wish to perpetuate the reign of ignorance among the lower classes of society….”

At last Tuesday’s Eureka City Council Meeting, Chet Albin was fired up. He said that he was “most concerned about crime in the City of Eureka”. Taking a page out of his “Italian step-daddy’s” discipline plan, he likened what the City needed to do with bringing “the old razor strap out”.

Wow. Now Chet actually has to live in Eureka and sees firsthand what citizens are dealing with (as opposed to his former out of town residence prior to changing parties and getting appointed to the Council). According to Chet, he is working with Rex Bohn, City Attorney Cyndy Day-Wilson, City Manager Mike Knight and Chief Andrew Mills to find ways to prosecute misdemeanors.

“We’re sick and tired of the crime element here!” said Albin. He continued on by saying that the District Attorney’s Office doesn’t prosecute misdemeanors. You heard it from Albin first. Now Eurekan’s can drive drunk, break into cars, beat up their spouses and harm animals without any fear of punishment!

Maybe, just maybe, Chet went a little overboard with his talk of the DA’s office not prosecuting crimes. But he brings up a good point; we’re all fed up with the out of control crime in Eureka. Of course, he failed to mention that the City Attorney can prosecute misdemeanors in court. That’s right; the “highly competent” Cyndy Day-Wilson could go forward with prosecuting all of the low level scofflaws. However, that might take time away from re-writing apology letters and wringing her hands.

cyndy day wilson

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27 thoughts on “Chet Albin’s “Fire and Brimstone” Speech – Crime in Eureka

  1. “Now Eurekan’s can drive drunk, break into cars, beat up their spouses and harm animals without any fear of punishment!”

    Why worry about prosecution for these crimes. You probably wouldn’t get arrested anyway, given that EPD is shortstaffed and Measure O keeps going to the zoo! Keep up the good work council.

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  2. This is the guy that lied about being a “democrat” while actually being a right-wing tea party fan…

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  3. None of measure O has gone to the zoo. Keep repeating the lie, perhaps it will gain traction

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  4. There’s that whack green bat again, pullin’ it’s distraction crap. The Finance Director commented several times on this blog that the Zoo was getting measure O money.
    Every dollar the Zoo gets of Measure O money is a dollar that Police and Fire don’t get.

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  5. highrolla:

    Watch it, if you aren’t careful folks are going to break out their copies of the City of Eureka budget spread sheets and we shall all drown in a sea of numbers.

    I’m not sure I’m strong enough to take that again.

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  6. What ever Albin’s political bent, I applaud him for trying to wake up this council to the real crime issues that face Eureka. I swear they must be asleep up there.The daily excuse seems to be “Our hands are tied and we as a council can do nothing to lessen Eureka’s crime spree”. All those officalsl really are working at the pleasure or displeasure of the council. Come on council, get a backbone.

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  7. yeah and the police and fire department already get, what, like ten times the amount the zoo gets? hate to break it to you rolla, but some folks like the zoo.

    ask larry glass.

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  8. The City of Eureka was force to spend $13,000 going to court to fight a homeless man for sleeping inside the City limits because he used his right to a jury trial. If the City starts to prosecute petty criminals it could get very expensive with little return.

    Rex Bohn is a supervisor why isn’t the Board of Supervisors putting pressure on the District Attorney to prosecute these petty criminals? I suspect the District Attorney has found it is expensive with little return.

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  9. That’s good, Mola, because by your own admission, you often comment on things of which you have absolutely no understanding. Obviously this is one of those items.

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  10. Large Margie-

    The city spent a bunch of money to prosecute a misdemeanor (a city ordinance), so Rex Bohn should now put that cost onto the backs of the whole county? That doesn’t make sense. How’s about having a competent, fiscally responsible EUREKA City Attorney who can prosecute CITY municipal codes at a reasonable cost to….the taxpayer’s of EUREKA.

    I know Paul isn’t the best DA around, but if Chet Albin is going to start throwing stones then he should take a hard look at why Eureka almost NEVER prosecutes the city municipal code.

    Large Marge, your solution is to put the problems of Eureka onto the taxpayers of the rest of Humboldt. If I live in Weott why should I pay for the DA to enforce Eureka’s camping laws? Not cool.

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  11. Say What:

    My point is that it could get very expensive to prosecute petty criminals with very little return.

    I suppose Eureka could make it tough to be a petty criminal inside the City limits and that could drive the petty criminals to other areas outside the City limits.

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  12. Large Marge and Say What?:

    Another thing to consider is the City Attorney is not hired to be a criminal prosecutor. The expertise of the City Attorney is more along the lines of contracts, administrative issues and code enforcement.

    I don’t think the C of E wants the additional expense of hiring and maintaining it’s own staff of prosecutors.

    Perhaps (perhaps) a better solution would be for the C of E to fund one or two additional positions in the DA’s office who would be committed to work solely on C of E criminal cases.

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  13. So L. Marge is using the money excuse to not fight petty crime .Does that mean we should do nothing Marge? What is your definition of petty Crime? Is it a B&E in my garage and taking over $5000 in stuff. Is it shooting a gun in a residential area, which could be near a park or a school? Is it taking collection money from church offerings? is it beating up an old guy and taking his money? Is it sneaking into the back room of a retail store and taking an employee’s purse? Is it shooting out plate glass windows at night in down town and old town? Is it a transient who gets into a basement area of a business, starts a little fire to keep warm and sets the building on fire? Lets hear where you would draw the money line L. Marge. Or is your answer “Oh, most people have insurance to cover that stuff”? So all of us should just pass the buck and pay the bill ourselves. What is your thoughtful and reasoned answer?

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  14. anonymous 3:45 Lets see how many people like it enough to pay for it. I would like to see Zoo funding by special tax on the ballot instead of a renewal of Measure O.

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  15. Watchman:

    I know I’m going to be sorry about continuing to explain my response but here I go again.

    My point is, it is going to be expensive for the City to prosecute petty criminals with little return for the expense.

    The City would have to fund more than one City attorney and more than one administrative person to handle the load. The funds for the City attorney’s office come out of the general fund. A huge portion of the general fund already pays for public safety, if the City sets up a law firm to handle City ordinance violations we will never see our parks, buildings, sidewalks and alleys maintained.

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  16. Large Marge 6:43:

    You have a valid point on which Watchman is not with you. Watchman’s point is also valid. The point of our little exercise is to exchange views. Perhaps something positive will come of it.

    A solution, any solution, will cost someone. The question becomes, what are we willing to pay to go after “petty” criminals to make our society more livable.

    If I may put my two cents in: No matter who is doing the prosecuting and no matter how aggressive that prosecuting is the limiting factor is space in the jail.

    The City of Eureka can prosecute bad guys until the cows come home but in the end; if there is nowhere to put all the folks they convict then we are again back to tossing those folks back onto the street.

    Where does the “prosecute them all and let God sort them all out” method lead us? Right back where we started.

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  17. Put them in the zoo. Petty criminals can serve time at the new City jail, just like in bid cities. Get rid of the animals and the housing is already set up. Then we can see some bang for our buck from Measure O. All excuses would be put aside since all the money will have been spent for the zoo’s, I mean City jail’s, infrastructure.

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  18. In case it didn’t come accross, that was sarcasm.

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  19. yoDa’s momma:

    I don’t know. I’d have a hard time imagining I’d pay to see the jail inmates in the Zoo. The furry little animals I don’t have a problem with paying to look at but I see enough of these people just driving down Broadway and that view is for free.

    An interesting concept, though. We need to work on it, we may have a winner. Perhaps we can combine the ideas, the inmates right next to the monkey house. Now THAT would sell some tickets…

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  20. In Arizona and other southern state they use a county work farm. It could work here.

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  21. “The point of our little exercise is to exchange views. Perhaps something positive will come of it.”

    Contrary to common belief, the truth is not something that necessarily exists between opposing viewpoints, and this post provides an excellent example.

    This TE post is firmly framed within the confines of the familiar and narrow right-wing agenda.

    No serious exchange about petty crime is rational outside its context of poverty, in effect, the primary reason for high recidivism rates and drug abuse despite increased enforcement and penalties. The 3-strikes law is a good example.

    A generation of eligible voters abstain in the U.S. creating a political vacuum for the biggest industries in every U.S. city to dominate every elected and appointed seat.

    For Eureka and Humboldt County, under the canard of a “free-market”, development industry right-wingers undermined every effort to build affordable SRO infill housing, welcoming unlimited numbers of predatory businesses that turn the poor into the destitute, saturating the economy in unlimited poverty wage jobs that drain public services.

    Nationally, it’s the same. Too few informed voters opened the floodgates for job exports to child laborers, offshore tax havens, deregulation, privatization and public divestment in infrastructure, jobs, education and social services…followed by increased penalties for inflated crime classifications…the perfect justification for unleashing the NSA and its wholesale violation of the Constitution.

    Maybe Rose’s law and order blog would be a more suitable site for this particular post.

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  22. I worked at a county work farm (honest, not as an inmate) and a work farm is one possible alternative. But even with a county prison farm there is however a great deal of investment in security and infrastructure. Prison farms, while a cheaper alternative to a conventional county jails, still costs a lot money both in the short and long term.

    We (as a society) need to work at route causes, otherwise there are not enough jail cells in the world to contain the problem. Why is it that the USA of all countries in the world incarcerate more of it’s population than anywhere else?

    Where have we gone wrong as a society and how can we find our way again? Jail cells will not do it. Nor will increased convictions do it. Where do we go for our salvation?

    Anonymous 10:15: I think you are on the right track.

    Liberal Progressives; we can work this thing out!

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  23. This nation is already bloated in “work-farms”. They are predatory, privatized, and corrupt. Many of the young voices you hear when you call “customer service”, that are NOT from India, they are prisoners.

    Our jails would be half empty after we decriminalize drug abuse, we could use the savings to fund actual rehabilitation, treatment centers, housing, healthcare, education and job training, like other fat nations do.

    Idaho just reduced homelessness 78% by providing free rooms and services, paid for by the reduced costs of police harassment, incarceration and admissions to rehab, mental health and ER rooms.

    We already have all the answers to most of our worst social problems, we merely lack the resolve to go downtown and create paradise as Thoreau once suggested.

    Too many “Liberal Progressives” mistake modest dissent for moral acuity, while a tiny group of actual activists managed to prove that Eureka’s “regular bigoted residents”, (according to the TE), are ready and willing to do a good thing for their community and all that was needed was for someone to take an interest in them and knock on their door to ask.

    A flood of first time voters are signing up to pass the Eureka Fair Wage Initiative that could sweep a majority of liberals into office for the first time….but the “liberal progressives” aren’t showing up. They rarely do. Too busy worshiping their own path I suppose.

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  24. Anonymous 12:54:

    Good. How do we tailor a plan to fit our community? I agree the repressive-styled solution (more cops, more prosecutions, more jail cells) gets us nowhere.

    So how do we model what you speak of to our situation? What do we need to do for Eureka and Humboldt County to reform work?

    I think you are on a roll and I want to hear more (although hearing what you think of Liberal Progressives does sting a bit and perhaps it should).

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  25. “Idaho just reduced homelessness 78% by providing free rooms and services”

    Impressive. I would like to learn more. Can you provide a link to a story about this?

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  26. This trend makes Utah’s accomplishment even more noteworthy. In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.

    How did Utah accomplish this? Simple. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but they keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.

    It sounds like Utah borrowed a page from Homes Not Handcuffs, the 2009 report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless. Using a 2004 survey and anecdotal evidence from activists, the report concluded that permanent housing for the homeless is cheaper than criminalization. Housing is not only more human, it’s economical.

    This happened in a Republican state! Republicans in Congress would probably have required the homeless to take a drug test before getting an apartment, denied apartments to homeless people with criminal records, and evicted those who failed to become self-sufficient after five years or so. But Utah’s results show that even conservative states can solve problems like homelessness with decidedly progressive solutions.

    http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183

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  27. MOLA, little changes without a preponderance of the language of change that always precedes it. (The reason 80% of media ownership narrowed to 5 corporations interested in maintaining the status-quo).

    Once again, the old solutions are tried and true.

    Reach out, educate, and register the vast majority of eligible voters in our own community that always abstain. They are easy to identify via county voter rolls. (Their homes are not listed).

    The next opportunity is the Eureka Fair Wage initiative. Volunteer, send a donation, spread the word…it all helps. They are trying to canvass every Eureka household.

    Yes, the full-spectrum of folks considering themselves the anti-right-wing need some serious reflection. NOT ONE group, candidate or organization, has EVER canvassed Eureka to reach-out to ignored potential voters…and liberals wonder why they lose nearly every elected and appointed seat, and why republicans can take seats on the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee.

    Historically, the chronically ignored and increasingly impoverished masses of non-voters will eventually be effectively appealed to by a right-wing nut-case.

    We’re making these choices today.

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