Hey! Let’s all jump down the rabbit hole with Police Chief Mills

rabbit hole

Down is up = front is back and time and truths are all relative in Police Chief Mill’s version Eureka /Arkleyville

Although we all tried to watch this past Tuesday’s Eureka City Council Meeting, via the City of Eureka’s website, we were unable to see the much talked about presentation by Chief Mills. Thankfully the North Coast Journal provided a link to the over 3 hour video. The City website only provided 1 hour and 44 minutes of the meeting. Of course it was just an oversight, and not a purposeful decision to try and keep people from watching the whole meeting?

The missing part of the meeting was curious and fairly interesting; many of the goals and plans from almost a decade ago proposed by that Council and Chief were talked about. Those plans sounded reasonable, but obviously there will have to be substantial community input and involvement to get things moving in the right direction in regards to the “homeless problem” solutions in Eureka.

However, the expert spin doctor Police Chief Mills did nothing get our confidence up when he laid out his reasons that Eureka has a “homeless problem”. Chief Mills laid out exactly what he feels caused the houselessness problem in Eureka. Below is the gospel according to Chief Mills:

1) Judges. According to Mills, the number one cause on the list was a “local judge’s decision to increase the amount of sustenance that people got.” We believe he’s referring to the bungled attempt decades ago during the days of Councilman Jim Worthen when the county cut welfare benefits and was offering only in lieu of services a Judge stepped in and restored the cuts and penalized the county by making them pay out more cash, so for awhile Humboldt had one of the biggest cash pay outs in the state. Many seasonal fishing and timber workers relied on general relief during the winter to feed their families

2) Social Services. According to Mills, the second cause was “social service giveaways”. Yes…the Koch brothers mantra was spewed by our local so called “forward thinking” Police Chief.

3) Marijuana industry. According to Mills, the third main cause was all the “trimmers” who come to Eureka and stay around and choose to live as a homeless person. This over used one from the “Good Ol’ Boy” playbook has been played out, as far as we’re concerned.

What a giant load of grade A crap!

If you aren’t concerned that this is the perspective Chief Mills is coming from, you should be. There was no mention of the fact that there is a glaring lack of affordable/safe housing in Eureka. There was no mention of the slumlords who give people “affordable” housing, as long as they are willing to live in unsafe residences not fit for the third world. There was no mention that EPD made a concerted effort for decades to stop the likes of people like Betty Chinn from helping those less fortunate. Actually, it wasn’t until Chief Nielsen that Betty was allowed to help the houseless without EPD interference. Since then, her biggest foes such as Rex Bohn and his ilk have co-opted her cause to garner votes and seem more “progressive” (just ask Republican/Decline to State/Democrat Virginia Bass). The list goes on, but the historical ignorance and current planning seems to be following the same playbook as the “South Spit” relocation.

The “South Spit” worked in a out of sight, out of mind sort of way. There aren’t hundreds of people living in that one area any more. However, whatever happened to those displaced families? Has anyone really looked into the results of those raids? Nope. If they did they would find out that instead of giving people a helping hand, they just “moved folks along”. We have spoken with several of the people living behind the mall. Not surprisingly, may belong to multi-generational houseless families. Several of them actually grew up on the South Spit before being evicted. Those children grew up in the area, and didn’t just melt away or “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. They made the best of it that they could, and yet still live without permanent shelter, work, or meaningful assistance in….Eureka.

Kim Bergel continued gushing her airhead like full support for Chief Mills and his “agenda”. Listening to her speak, it was apparent that she has fully imbibed the Mills Kool-Aid , and that she also has no real historical knowledge or clue of what has been tried before or what the causes of our “homeless problem” in Eureka truly are.

But that isn’t true for the some of the well connected on the council. We generally like refer to them as the “Brady Bunch”. Both Jager and Ciarabellini thought that using the “South Spit” deportations from the nineties was the best model to use in order to solve the problem. Yeah right! Because that worked out sooo well:

http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/069.Eureka%27s%20Homeless%20Refugees=11-97.pdf

http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/1997-11-compassion-dies-in-eureka-001.pdf

For those not paying attention it seems promising that Chief Mills is using some of the same language that the former Chief Nielsen had used years ago. However, we have to seriously question; Is this just more of the “Silver Tongue Devil” shtick that Andy uses so well in order to obscure his real agenda? We certainly don’t want or need that, but with his track record of BS, outright lies and conservative so called “Christian” ideals, what other conclusion is there?

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17 thoughts on “Hey! Let’s all jump down the rabbit hole with Police Chief Mills

  1. One of the reasons for homelessness is joblessness due to drug testing. No, you should not be operating machinery stoned but many folks used to be able to hold a job and “do their thing” at home as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TE, I agree with the lack of affordable housing point and the slumlords brought up in your post. One cannot fix homelessness overnight due to the many reasons people are on the street, especially when we have cannot have dialogue without a lot of finger pointing. Those not committing crime should be separated from those who do. In some cases, these criminals prey on their fellow homeless. There is some effort being put in solutions.

    Do you have other suggestions? Lost Coast Outpost brought up important point regarding the Coastal Commission. Overreaching bureaucracy often interfere with practical solutions. There are many with mental health, who end up in the criminal justice system or on the streets, they threaten others and endanger themselves. If they were required to take their meds instead of touch feely laws of “rights” regardless of the individual’s situation they could be housed and safe.

    It is not a conservative vs liberal issue, it is a human issue.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am interested in hearing alternative plans as well. However, I suspect that charity won’t be able to cover all the costs associated with creating new alternative housing solutions for the variety of underlying causes of homelessness (mental health issuea and drug addiction to start with).

      Reading some of yor recent posts, it seems the city is trying, yet again, to make arbitrary cuts across all departments. With that mentality, I wonder how truly committed the city is to putting money out there for helping the homeless. After all, there are many parts of the budget that directly subsidize the quality of life for the middle and upper class in Eureka (at least middle and upper class by Eureka standards). However, many of those departments and groups are considered “untouchable” in every budget cycle. So, adding new programs to fund seems like it will probably be a non starter.

      I’m not just a keyboard whiner, either. Just this week, I made 2 dump runs with trash from the street and my neighbors property which has become yet another area for homeless to camp in. I would be fine sweeping up my city block, if it meant that money could be spent on housing some of the people on the streets.

      Some of the ideas I saw presented by Mills were solid. Rapid rehousing, affordable group housing solutions, etc. However, none of those goals have even gotten past the talking stage, from what I have read. So, the question remains that in 3 months, when homeless are supposed to move into this city campground, are we really going to have the resources in place to take the next steps? I am more than skeptical that the services will be in place.

      You are absolutely correct. “It is not a conservative vs liberal issue, it is a human issue.” Now is the time for all sides of the political spectrum to buckle down, compromise, volunteer when available, and on top of that it’s time to “put your money where your mouth is”!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. JP, we are in agreement with on this and the onus is on all of our business community and political leaders to work together. I am hoping to show up at the budget hearings to ask questions, cover them. I hope the community shows up and gives input. It should also be from diverse perspectives. And people should not leave it to the same people to speak.

    Some of us may not see eye to eye on every issue but if we raise questions, show unity that we want a solution and offer alternatives, we can bring about change. Local government and business community can only do so much. On a state and federal level, all this partisan fighting is affecting the average person.

    I was speaking with some members of our local media and said, if we raise different issues with different perspectives, we cannot be used against each other.

    MIST and CHIP have gotten people off the street but that should be DHHS’s job, not the police. We need to free those resources to focus on criminals.

    I have suggested this solution privately, now making it public. Just as problem motels are fined, do the same with landlords if they do not provide livable and affordable housing and bundle law abiding people with those that create problems and result in 911 calls.

    I would reward the landlords that provide decent housing and whose properties are not crime magnets. This one rule fits all doesn’t work.

    Tenants also need to abide by rules. Often people that rent, especially in a low income housing just keep shut for fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Correction to the above comment. Do not bundle law abiding citizens with those who create problems.

    Like

  5. I think we are falling for the shiny object again: once past the wherever and however this ‘camp’ is set up, when does the homeless community find out how much metal is hiding in the velvet glove.

    Does Mills and the city promise a clamp down and exportation, jailing, or just a biweekly ‘cleanup/photo-op?

    I want to know how harsh will be the Final Crackdown…if any.

    This bayside camp was not there two years ago..about when it started was when Mills rode into town..and while I appreciate the getting established here period and the two biggest events early in his tenure, this problem was basically allowed to happen and to grow on his watch.

    There was the cleanout of the Hikshari trail area, a cleanout of some of the vegetation behind the Mall, the the fire(s) behind the Mall and whoosh, that stretch along bayside was well underway and expanding by early last summer.

    I think somebody has to take responsibility for letting the size and scale of this at least one bayside DPgnd camp continue to grow to this level of problem…altho the homeless camps surrounding Eureka are of course widespread.
    Is there any plan whatsoever by the county to blend into this effort and not just surround the city limits with camps?…some regional task force to get at this problem?

    And John Chiv, thoughtful comments from you, thanks for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Funny you mentioned that Marmaduke. The chief directed officers to have a “hands off approach” behind the mall since the beginning. The structures built behind the mall, which he showed pictures of to the council, didn’t exist and weren’t ALLOWED to exist before he got here. Wasn’t sure why he told us to stop patrolling, but now I see he had some plan to the apparent madness. Not a bad plan. Allow the problem to become so big, that the heavy boot has to stamp it out. Good luck trying to stop this locomotive folks. It’s well in motion and it’s very hard to stop!

      Like

  6. Thank you Marmaduke. This post has now started a good dialogue. Ultimately, the cuts and the budget will be voted on by City Council so that is where the buck stops.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds like yet another clueless council trying to catch up on Eureka’s past attempts at solving the “homeless problem”. I’ve now heard almost thirty years of this drivel and nothing has changed except the faces. What is it about Eureka that causes this group mind freeze, the air, the water, or a continual lack of being informed and unwillingness to act? It is sad to say the very least. Incompetence reigns. One previous council member actually did the homework and found places within the city to set up camps, provide port-a-potties, a police presence to make it safe, food supplies, etc. The powers that had control then killed the effort. Someone should at least. ask Larry Glass to enlighten the current council on what is possible. It would save a lot of time and hot air. Just remember meeting every two weeks at council and not taking on the challenges implied by the office does not a council person make.

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  8. Eureka needs a progressive council willing to stand up for their city by advocating well-known solutions instead of cowering before the awesome power of our local bible-thumping hypocrites, aka, crony capitalists.

    These are the Irony-resistant dimwits currently waxing poetic with plans to make South Broadway purdy, after creating additional blight at the nearby Blue Heron Motel, the next boarded-up firetrap following eviction of the residents. (No follow-up on those new homeless folks either). Thanks mighty leaders!

    Your nine-year-old is more likely to recommend what SHOULD have been done.

    Eureka should have taken this property legally using Eminent Domain, ask the community for volunteers, (as in local pet projects), and bring it up to code without dumping another eyesore and a dozen more destitute homeless on our city streets.

    We don’t have to be the conservative state of Utah to understand, at this late date, that its far cheaper to start housing the homeless in modest dignified dwellings than to keep recycling them through the justice/mental health/emergency room/drug rehab. systems.

    Eureka has many more blighted properties to take over and start doing the right thing for the homeless, regardless of what a tiny group of hand-wringing property-rights extremists think.

    Like

      • Using eminent domain is easier than you think. It is a common process, yet, no examples or statistics are provided on the non-functioning website you’ve posted.

        Eureka could have taken this property immediately and long before it would ever go to trial…IF it goes to trial.

        Eureka has a history of far more complex, unnecessary, and costly lawsuits.

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      • Anon…..the website spells out the step by step procedures involved in exercising eminent domain. Since you like statistics, and using eminent domain is so easy, please tell us how many times the city of Eureka has used it to take property.

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      • The website assumes every E.D. case goes to trial with no provision for settlements, so, it appears to be as dishonest as you. (It does not show all the “step by step procedures”, nor does its drop-down windows work).

        It’s extremely irrational to argue that eminent domain is not practiced elsewhere successfully just because Eureka has never done it.

        It appears you have an ulterior agenda against its use.

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  9. Hey TE…where is MOLA and how is he?

    He has not been seen here for awhile…I hope he is well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Washington Post article

    Meet the outsider who accidentally solved chronic homelessness:

    ” ….At one point around the turn of the millennium, New York was spending an annual $40,500 on every homeless person with mental issues. Then came Tsemberis, who around that same time unfurled a model so simple children could grasp it, so cost-effective fiscal hawks loved it, so socially progressive liberals praised it.

    And now, here he is again, peering up at another brick building on another urban street in another city that’s dabbling with his models. “This building,” he declares of the Irving Street structure, “is great.”

    He pauses for a moment, eyes flashing.

    “See that sign over there? It says, ‘Now Leasing.’ That’s what we look for.”

    It’s that simple, he said. Give homes for the homeless, and you will solve chronic homelessness.

    [How Tsemberis’s idea solved chronic homelessness in Utah and saved millions]

    ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’

    To the uninitiated, this may sound strange. Not because it doesn’t make sense. But because it’s so simple that to call it innovation would seem an insult to the likes of Thomas Edison. To think that, however, would underestimate how utterly radical Tsemberis’s proposition — give homes to addicts and drunks and schizophrenics without preconditions — once seemed. And still kind of does.

    “The truth is, we thought the earth was flat,” said Richard Bebout, a Washington scholar of homelessness who was once critical of Tsemberis’s work. “But here he was saying the earth is round, and we said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”

    Homeless services once worked like a reward system. Kick an addiction, get a home. Take some medication, get counseling. But Tsemberis’s model, called “housing first,” said the order was backward. Someone has the best chance of improving if they’re stabilized in a home.

    It works like this: First, prioritize the chronically homeless, defined as those with mental or physical disabilities who are homeless for longer than a year or have experienced four episodes within three years. They’re the most difficult homeless to reabsorb into society and rack up the most significant public costs in hospital stays, jail sentences and shelter visits.

    [Jerome Jackson, 59, spent two decades on the streets struggling with mental illness and addiction. Then he heard about housing first. He hasn’t been homeless since. (Photo by Terrence McCoy) ]

    Then give them a home, no questions asked. Immediately afterward, provide counseling, a step research shows is the most vital. Give them final say in everything — where they live, what they own, how often they’re counseled.

    “People thought this was crazy,” said Tsemberis, who today runs Pathways to Housing. “They said, ‘You mean even when someone relapses and sells all the furniture you gave them … [to pay for] drugs, you don’t kick them out?’ And I said, ‘No, we do not.’” ….”

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only problem is as old as the solution.

      There are still far too many people in most communities filling positions of wealth and power who’s only sense of self-worth is derived from others that have less.

      Schadenfreude is as American as Apple Pie.

      Liked by 1 person

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