AHHA, therefore, requests that Eureka withdraw its RFP for a “day center”

Humboldt County, and its economic and administrative center, the city of Eureka, has a large population of un-housed families and individuals.  As a result, complaints have arisen from the Eureka business community that the homeless, who have no real place to go, are creating an untidy environment.  The city has appointed one half time position to address this situation.  That position is in the police department and is filled by a person with no apparent background or expertise in homeless issues.  Eureka, like the county, offers no housing options for the people on the streets.  It appears that the more or less unspoken strategy of these local governments is to make life in this community so difficult for the homeless that they will simply “self-deport.”  Other local governments throughout the nation initially adopted that same strategy but many are now recognizing that that is untenable and are working with their own resources and volunteers to provide housing.  Humboldt refuses to seek much of the financial assistance offered by the federal government and generally does not try to work with volunteer organizations.  Indeed Eureka and Humboldt have so alienated the volunteer entities that they have not been able to comply with the federally mandated “Point in Time” count to ascertain the true number of homeless within their boundaries.  Reliable estimates are that there are presently thousands of homeless within the county.

Over the years the Eureka police sought to encourage/coerce these people to congregate in the Palco Marsh, a remnant of the city’s once viable lumber industry.  A little over a year ago the city evicted the approximately 400 people living in the marsh.  Prior to the eviction the city, through its police chief, promised that all the residents of the marsh would not be made to leave until there was another place for them to legally live…  The city did not keep this promise and as a result, the individuals living in the marsh became not only homeless but place less.  Earlier this year the police floated the idea of cutting off all volunteer services to this community by severely limiting parking in the neighborhood where homeless folks congregate.  The city also asked volunteer providers to refuse to supply food and emergency shelter to anyone who had not been given police supplied vouchers.  Previously the city has outlawed people sleeping in cars and begging for food and has fenced off the sidewalks on which the displaced congregated.  The city’s transportation committee did not agree with the parking proposal and the volunteer providers did not agree to cease providing services.

The city has now issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) asking for interested entities to propose means to create and operate a “day center” that would only provide a place for homeless persons to go during the day rather than being on the streets during the day.  At night, they would have to leave to sleep in the bushes, doorways, and under business eaves throughout the city. The city has made no offer to fund its proposal, has made no attempt to provide a place for the “day center” and has steadfastly refused to address the question of where the homeless might actually live.

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) has been attempting to address the issue of homeless in Humboldt for the last few years.  AHHA is aware of the concerns of the business community, and others, who have experienced damage and are inconvenienced by the presence of the homeless community.  Homelessness is a significant problem throughout the nation and especially in areas where housing costs have risen beyond the means of many families and individuals whose income is not significantly above the average family income in the region.

AHHA recognizes that homelessness is a problem for the community as a whole and that Humboldt and Eureka are unwilling to devote any significant resources to the problem.  But AHHA also understands that the problem is not going to go away and that refusal to address it has led to great suffering and the waste of police and medical resources and to economic and social disquiet among the business community and the population as a whole.  We also recognize that creation of an unfunded “day center”, will have no positive impact on the situation.  Indeed it will almost certainly lead to costly litigation, both civil and criminal, and further community disruption.

AHHA, therefore, requests that Eureka, in cooperation with Humboldt, withdraw its request for a proposal for a “day center” and instead ask that they, in cooperation with the various concerned volunteer, business and other government entities, come forth with a proposal that will allow a meaningful solution to the problem.

As communities around the country grapple with homelessness, numerous models are developing which could be adapted to and adopted by Humboldt.  AHHA suggests that initially Humboldt and Eureka provide resources to assist the homeless community and concerned citizens to establish refuges for residents who happen to be houseless.  Initially, these refugees might begin as camps with centralized feeding, sanitary and socializing facilities.  These camps, which would not need to be in immediate proximity to residential neighborhoods but would need to provide access to social services, could start out composed of temporary shelters.  They would be as self-governing and self-policing as possible.  The initial focus of the refugees would be the implementation of a strategy of “safe, warm and dry” first and then would begin to try to develop enduring solutions.  One of the models is a transitioning of shelter housing into very low cost “tiny house” communities.  These communities would presage enabling those folks who can live independently to do so.  Many of the homeless will almost certainly require ongoing social services to deal with their physical and psychological situations.  Ultimately these steps will lead to happier, more wholesome, cheaper and far more humane situations than the current strategy of trying to drive the homeless community away.

AHHA asks Humboldt and Eureka to issue a new RFP calling for the creation of refugee communities in appropriate locations in the county.  We stand ready to assist and take responsibility for and, in conjunction with others acting in good faith, to offer leadership in this effort.

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives Board of Directors

OP-ED

8/9/17

Contact:  Edie Jessup, AHHA Board Secretary

1981 Peninsula Drive, Manila, Ca 95521

707-407-0047

Ahha.humco@gmail.com

or

Roy Dahlberg, AHHA Board

2585 Patrick’s Pt. Dr., Trinidad CA 95570

(707) 677-0377, (916) 747-1944

redravenroy@aol.com

 

 

Update # 2 on Your input on Eureka’s “big decision” just became more urgent

It looks like all the public input has worked. The rumor we hear is the City has avoided making a huge mistake by NOT naming Captain Stephens as interim Chief.

Good job everybody involved!!!

 

Update to yesterday’s post:

Sources are telling us now that City Manager Greg Sparks will be making the decision on the replacement for Chief Mills very soon. We also hear while he plans to consult with the Council he’s going to present them with his choice rather than hear suggestions from the council. They will, of course, have to ratify his choice, but it much harder to say no to a singular choice.

The Examiner strongly urges it’s readers to also contact the City Manager as well as their Council Representative. Urge them strongly to avoid the huge mistake of naming Brian Stephens Police Chief or even interim Chief. 

A DECISION WITH BIG IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF EUREKA AND YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY

Whether you’re a community member who thinks Andrews Mills has been great for Eureka or you’re like the Examiner staff who thinks he been wreaking havoc on local law enforcement, his campaign to replace himself as Police Chief with the despicable thug Brian Stephens ought to seriously grab your attention! Stephens, who has a very checkered past, is the guy Mills promoted from Sergeant to Captain shortly after he presided over the negligent killing of Tommy McClain.

The Examiner has been getting lots of tips from inside EPD about the abrupt departure of Mills to Santa Cruz. For the most part, officers have been happy to see Mills and his “used car salesman” leadership will be gone.  However, looming large for everyone who’s reached out has been the view that Chief Mills is set on having Captain Brian Stephens take his place as interim chief.

On Wednesday, July 19th Mills will be having a somewhat odd “Going Away Reception”(?).  There’s speculation at the Police Department that the “Reception” is going to be when Mills starts his full court press for his chosen successor, Captain Brian Stephens.

This should be a very scary thought for Eureka.  Not the least of which was his very questionable leadership (or really lack thereof) in the Tommy McClain murder which the city was found liable in.  We’ve said it before but Eureka can’t forget, if not for Stephens lack of leadership Tommy McClain would be alive today.

Previous post on this topic:

THE SAME SUSPECTS AND FAILED POLICIES THAT RESULTED IN THE WRONGFUL DEATH OF TOMMY MCCLAIN ARE AT THE CENTER OF TUESDAYS CRAZY SHOOTOUT!

TOMMY MCCLAIN: STILL WAITING FOR JUSTICE

But what does Eureka really know about Stephens?  Not much is publicly known, most of the info we’ve been receiving is from officers on the inside who know about all the cover-ups that have gone on at EPD.   Here’s some of the history from the information we’ve received about the lowlights of Stephens career:

Brian Stephens is a Southerner born in Kentucky, a conservative Christian who loves bourbon.  After working as a military policeman, Stephens moved from Kentucky to start his career as a police officer.  Stephens was hired at EPD in the late 90’s.  Stephens was hired around the same time as another infamous EPD Officer, Rodrigo Sanchez.  Within no time Stephens and Sanchez were BFF’s.

“We’re EPD and we kick ass”

The notorious Sanchez and Stephens’s team got quite a reputation on the street and within EPD.  They were feared on the street by citizens and suspects because of their heavy handed tactics and abuse.  They were liked by the “old guard” because they “kicked ass and took names”.  To this day, Stephens and Sanchez are best friends and would do anything for each other, including always covering up for their routine excessive use of force.

When promoted to Captain, Stephens touted his time at the Drug Task Force and as a Field Training Officer.  However, according to EPD employees, Stephens was in both those positions with a dark cloud around him.  As an FTO, there were accusations that he had inappropriate relations with a female trainee.  Along with that, Stephens was having sexual relations with a firefighter’s wife who caught Stephens in bed with his wife.  The firefighter was apparently upset, and Stephens pulled out his gun and allegedly threatened the firefighter and even reportedly pistol whipped him.  These incidents and others have been swept under the rug because of Stephens connections to the Old Guard at EPD (it should also be noted that the two officers at the center of the current Department of Justice investigation of the Coroner’s office, Frank Jager and then Dave Parris ran the detectives bureaus during Stephens early career).

After the alleged problems with female trainee’s and other people’s wives, Stephens was “promoted” to the Drug Task Force which consequently would keep him away from the female employees at EPD for awhile(kind like a priest getting moved to another parish).  Stephens took part in seizing property from drug dealers, so it should be interesting to see he gets caught up in the Department of Justice investigation surrounding Coroners Department.

Since Stephens was promoted to Captain, EPD has lost approximately 70% of their senior patrol officers to other agencies, and many of those officers left because of Stephens poor treatment of those he supervises.

Hopefully, the City Manager and City Council will look into who would be the best fit for the interim Chief position at EPD.   Mills wants as his parting gesture to promote a good ol’ boy from Dixieland, booze lovin’, bible thumpin’, gun pullin’ philanderer!

Is that what the citizens of Eureka want….we’d don’t think so!

Call or Email your council representative know as soon as possible to insist that Manager Greg Sparks block this move by Chief Mills

Marian Brady – 1st ward (707) 441-4169 mbrady@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Heidi Messner – 2nd  Ward  (707) 441-4168  hmessner@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Kim Bergel – Ward 3  (707) 441-4170 kbergel@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Austin Allison – Ward 4 (707) 441-4167 aallison@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Natalie Arroyo – 5th Ward  (707) 441-4171 narroyo@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Nobody is safe, in the city of Eureka, NOBODY

With the real possibility of Captain Stephens the officer in charge of the whole Tommy McClain negligent killing debacle being named police chief, we present the following Guest Post from Robin Christofferson:

There’s a lot that the public was never told about the murder of Tommy McClain. For instance, he never got into an argument with the kid in the black truck. I myself have read the kids statement, and he said Tommy never said a word to him. And I also went to the trial, and that was what the whole entire trial was based on, that Tommy got in an argument with that kid. So that’s why they approached Tommy in the first place. That and they said he had a gun. Not true. First off if you’re a cop and your hiding in the back of a cemetery…..how in the world could you hear an argument, then see a gun…and hear the sound of a gun being racked? I’m pretty sure officer McElroy doesn’t have superpowers, but yet the jury believed him. Probably because of the kid in the black truck…nobody saw his statement…because if they did…then I’m pretty sure that the outcome of that civil trial…would have led to criminal charges. But now the trail is over, Tommy’s family have been given “the box” and in it is the truth. This family I love as my own. And they Will never give up…..until the truth about that night comes out. And that will be soon. But until then…nobody is safe, in the city of Eureka Ca. Nobody.

Note from the Examiner: The McClain family’s legal counsel was never allowed by the Judge to completely present its whole case with its witnesses or evidence to challenge the basic premise of this failed enforcement action.
Federal Judges in these type civil cases have broad discretion as to what they will allow or not allow into evidence. In this case, a number of these decisions made by the Judge were very helpful to the accused Police officers and basically cut the legs out from under the McClain family’s case.

We would also bring to your attention that the statements of witnesses and family members have remained consistent from the beginning, while the EPD changed their story several times early on.

Update: Your input on Eureka’s “big decision” just became more urgent

Update to yesterday’s post:

Sources are telling us now that City Manager Greg Sparks will be making the decision on the replacement for Chief Mills very soon. We also hear while he plans to consult with the Council he’s going to present them with his choice rather than hear suggestions from the council. They will, of course, have to ratify his choice, but it much harder to say no to a singular choice.

The Examiner strongly urges it’s readers to also contact the City Manager as well as their Council Representative. Urge them strongly to avoid the huge mistake of naming Brian Stephens Police Chief or even interim Chief. 

A DECISION WITH BIG IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF EUREKA AND YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY

Whether you’re a community member who thinks Andrews Mills has been great for Eureka or you’re like the Examiner staff who thinks he been wreaking havoc on local law enforcement, his campaign to replace himself as Police Chief with the despicable thug Brian Stephens ought to seriously grab your attention! Stephens, who has a very checkered past, is the guy Mills promoted from Sergeant to Captain shortly after he presided over the negligent killing of Tommy McClain.

The Examiner has been getting lots of tips from inside EPD about the abrupt departure of Mills to Santa Cruz. For the most part, officers have been happy to see Mills and his “used car salesman” leadership will be gone.  However, looming large for everyone who’s reached out has been the view that Chief Mills is set on having Captain Brian Stephens take his place as interim chief.

On Wednesday, July 19th Mills will be having a somewhat odd “Going Away Reception”(?).  There’s speculation at the Police Department that the “Reception” is going to be when Mills starts his full court press for his chosen successor, Captain Brian Stephens.

This should be a very scary thought for Eureka.  Not the least of which was his very questionable leadership (or really lack thereof) in the Tommy McClain murder which the city was found liable in.  We’ve said it before but Eureka can’t forget, if not for Stephens lack of leadership Tommy McClain would be alive today.

Previous post on this topic:

THE SAME SUSPECTS AND FAILED POLICIES THAT RESULTED IN THE WRONGFUL DEATH OF TOMMY MCCLAIN ARE AT THE CENTER OF TUESDAYS CRAZY SHOOTOUT!

TOMMY MCCLAIN: STILL WAITING FOR JUSTICE

But what does Eureka really know about Stephens?  Not much is publicly known, most of the info we’ve been receiving is from officers on the inside who know about all the cover-ups that have gone on at EPD.   Here’s some of the history from the information we’ve received about the lowlights of Stephens career:

Brian Stephens is a Southerner born in Kentucky, a conservative Christian who loves bourbon.  After working as a military policeman, Stephens moved from Kentucky to start his career as a police officer.  Stephens was hired at EPD in the late 90’s.  Stephens was hired around the same time as another infamous EPD Officer, Rodrigo Sanchez.  Within no time Stephens and Sanchez were BFF’s.

“We’re EPD and we kick ass”

The notorious Sanchez and Stephens’s team got quite a reputation on the street and within EPD.  They were feared on the street by citizens and suspects because of their heavy handed tactics and abuse.  They were liked by the “old guard” because they “kicked ass and took names”.  To this day, Stephens and Sanchez are best friends and would do anything for each other, including always covering up for their routine excessive use of force.

When promoted to Captain, Stephens touted his time at the Drug Task Force and as a Field Training Officer.  However, according to EPD employees, Stephens was in both those positions with a dark cloud around him.  As an FTO, there were accusations that he had inappropriate relations with a female trainee.  Along with that, Stephens was having sexual relations with a firefighter’s wife who caught Stephens in bed with his wife.  The firefighter was apparently upset, and Stephens pulled out his gun and allegedly threatened the firefighter and even reportedly pistol whipped him.  These incidents and others have been swept under the rug because of Stephens connections to the Old Guard at EPD (it should also be noted that the two officers at the center of the current Department of Justice investigation of the Coroner’s office, Frank Jager and then Dave Parris ran the detectives bureaus during Stephens early career).

After the alleged problems with female trainee’s and other people’s wives, Stephens was “promoted” to the Drug Task Force which consequently would keep him away from the female employees at EPD for awhile(kind like a priest getting moved to another parish).  Stephens took part in seizing property from drug dealers, so it should be interesting to see he gets caught up in the Department of Justice investigation surrounding Coroners Department.

Since Stephens was promoted to Captain, EPD has lost approximately 70% of their senior patrol officers to other agencies, and many of those officers left because of Stephens poor treatment of those he supervises.

Hopefully, the City Manager and City Council will look into who would be the best fit for the interim Chief position at EPD.   Mills wants as his parting gesture to promote a good ol’ boy from Dixieland, booze lovin’, bible thumpin’, gun pullin’ philanderer!

Is that what the citizens of Eureka want….we’d don’t think so!

Call or Email your council representative know as soon as possible to insist that Manager Greg Sparks block this move by Chief Mills

Marian Brady – 1st ward (707) 441-4169 mbrady@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Heidi Messner – 2nd  Ward  (707) 441-4168  hmessner@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Kim Bergel – Ward 3  (707) 441-4170 kbergel@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Austin Allison – Ward 4 (707) 441-4167 aallison@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Natalie Arroyo – 5th Ward  (707) 441-4171 narroyo@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Mill’s parting gift for the community; a Business District crime wave

Remember back in April 2016 when the Examiner posted:

BRILLIANT! HUMCPR AND CHIEF MILLS MOVE THE DEVILS PLAYGROUND TO OLD TOWN

Well those chickens have come home to roost and grown in numbers

A trip into old town and even many parts of downtown is like running the gauntlet. Stabbings, shootings and widespread thievery and vandalism.  These are some of the stories report recently….and we emphasize REPORTED because most of what goes on in Eureka’s central business district goes on under-reported and unreported. Why is that? It seems under the regimes of both police chiefs Harpham and Mills the prevailing attitude is; why bother? No one shows up, or the officer is really late (even days later) and if they do make it the cops try to dissuade you from even making a report.

Hopefully, with Mills departure from EPD, the City of Eureka will find an honest Chief who actually wants the best for the city, not a resume building silver-tongued liar.

Seriously, anybody but Captain Brian Stephens

The Examiner has reported on Mills continuing attempts at cooking the books on crime statistics:

ANDREW MILLS: COOKING THE BOOKS AND THE MISDIRECTION SIDE SHOW

FABRICATE CRIME STATS TO BURNISH CITY’S IMAGE?

In case you missed here is some of what some of the the local media has reported recently

Eureka Old Town businesses complain of crime increase

When Karissa Bateman began to ring up about $700 worth of clothing at Eureka Old Town’s Sassafras, the “customer” slipped her a note written in silver marker that said to put the clothes in her bag, give her all the money in the register and to not even think about calling the cops because there were two men outside watching her.

Bateman said it was another customer walking in who gave her a rush of courage to resist.

“I just yelled ‘Leave, I am going to call the police,’” Bateman said, also adding that the woman grabbed the note and left. Bateman said they haven’t seen her in the store in the week since.

Bateman said she has been working in the Old Town shop for the last year and a half. She said there were problems in the past but it’s just the last month or so they have seen a lot more shoplifting. Bateman said just over the Fourth of July event they had a man attempt to steal a $200 robotics kit and she chased him down into the crowd to get it back.

“Just recently,” Bateman said, it’s been happening. “It’s kind of strange.”

Eureka Police Department Capt. Steve Watson said the summer months usually tend to bring a lot more people into town and with more people there tends to be an uptick in crime around town. Watson said during the summer there tends to be more transient activity which could be a reason.

Down the road and across the street Shelly Pilarowski, the owner of Here and There and Vintage, was helping her customers inside her Old Town shop. Pilarowski said that over the last two years since she moved the business into Old Town, there have been four incidents in which people came into her shop just to try to steal.

“If they’re determined to steal, then it seems they’re going to find a way,” she said.

Pilarowski said one of the most recent shoplifting incidents happened when a couple kids came in and pocketed smaller items. She said her neighboring store caught the kids reselling the items, mainly handmade rings.

Pilarowski said it hasn’t only been a hinder on her business, but it’s also been disturbing because she gets the items in her store from local artist and they depend on her for their work.

She said she is constantly trying to find new ways to prevent people from shoplifting and is always taking preventative measures to stop it.

“I find it frustrating when I can’t stop people from shoplifting,” Pilarowski said.

She said she has had to tell the artist that supplies her shop items to start packaging the items in boxes as to prevent people from being able just hide them in their pockets or bags. Pilarowski said it has also been a problem because she now has to continuously watch her customers more closely, which affects her business.

Bandon Taylor, owner of The Works record and music store, said he hasn’t dealt with recent shoplifting at his Old Town store. But he said there has been a lot of times where he will have to clean up garbage, vomit and feces from in front of the store.

“Eureka City Council what are you doing?” Taylor asked and added that they need to look after the local businesses in Old Town. “Eureka Main Street, what are you doing?”

Taylor said him and a lot of business owners in the area have a lot of compassion for the homeless and drug addicts, adding that he doesn’t think the local crime is isolated from the homeless issue going on in Old Town.

In March, the EPD announced it would be working with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to arrest and detain suspects identified as habitual shoplifters until arraignment if possible.

Taylor said it would be beneficial to get a meeting together between the neighboring merchants. He said all of the merchants in Old Town benefit when the area is more attractive.

Hailey Smith, employee of Blue Ox, said she has been working in the Old Town shop for the last year and there have been a lot of people that have come in to attempt to steal. Smith said it has been such a problem that they have had to hire three employees to be able to watch the whole store.

Smith said about a little over a week ago a shoplifter came in to steal a pair of leggings. She said her boss noticed the empty hanger where the leggings had been and they caught her with them buried in her bag.

“We try and act peaceful about it,” Smith said about when they catch someone stealing.

Cathy Weeks, the owner of the store, said it has been pretty much crime season there.

Weeks said the clothing store opened up about two years ago and since then they have been hit by shoplifters so many times that she couldn’t put a number to it.

She said shoplifters will come into the store, sometimes in pairs, to create a distraction when the other person robs them.

“We’re trying to be respectful to everyone,” Weeks said. “But they don’t respect us.”

Weeks said the police haven’t really cared about shoplifters so they take things into their own hands and try to get the stuff back first. She said they have had to hold people in their shops until they have given up the items they stole

“We’ve lost quite a bit of revenue,” Weeks said.

Sam Armanino  times-standard.com

Eureka Police Seek New Leverage Against Homeless on Third Street

A recent pair of break-ins to Betty Chinn’s warehouse on West Second Street has drawn attention to the Eureka Police Department’s efforts to address crime and loitering in the area. On Wednesday, under the direction of the Public Works department, employees of Mercer Fraser erected a fence that effectively cordons off the west side of Third street across from the St. Vincent de Paul dining facility, an area that, in recent months, has been a place where many homeless and transient people have spent the day. Local business owners have complained about problems with theft, vandalism, violence and other issues, and have been meeting with the chief of police and other officials in order to discuss potential solutions.

The break-in and theft from Chinn’s warehouse appears to have been the tipping point for public sentiment, but plans to disrupt the gathering have been in effect for several months. With arrest serving as insufficient leverage, EPD has instead developed a multi-part plan, announced in May, that will “improve the overall business climate in the surrounding area.” But how exactly the plan will be implemented and enforced, and its efficacy, might raise more questions than it answers.

In the memo titled “Crime and Blight at 3rd and Commercial,” authored by Chief Andrew Mills on May 8, Mills references a 30-year history of people gathering adjacent to St. Vincent de Paul, where meals are served daily.

“However, in the past year the number of people spending the day on the sidewalk and street has grown,” Mills continues, referring to a surge in activity at the location since the city evicted a long-standing homeless camp in the PalCo Marsh on May 6, 2016. According to data analyzed by the Journal, there was a steep increase in police calls for service to the eight-block radius around the area in the months immediately following the marsh eviction.

EPD Capt. Steve Watson says both logged complaints and anecdotal evidence, as well as observations by officers, has supported the idea that there are “increasing crowds of homeless, increasing crime and disorder” in the area.

“It got to the degree where there were a number of businesses extremely frustrated with (the) progression of problems down there,” he says. “Graffiti was increasing. They left trash right in front of free meal, on the waterfront … it looked like a neighborhood people had given up on.”

As part of the process, Watson, Mills and others held meetings in front of St. Vincent de Paul to address the crowd of people waiting there for meals, with the request that they take accountability for the criminals among them. Watson said in an interview this week that he believes this chastisement fell on deaf ears.

“There’s some group responsibility that needs to take place,” he says. “We’ve had compassion, compassion, compassion. Several people have told me they’re not interested. We don’t want to paint everyone with a broad brush, because that wouldn’t be fair. We don’t want everyone to have a consequence but virtually everyone who’s sitting there has a mess sitting in front of them. We’re looking for solutions.”

One of the proposed solutions is to temporarily stop services at St. Vincent de Paul, effectively communicating to those who congregate in front of the building that bad behavior by some will curtail meals for all. EPD is also working out the kinks in a program that will see specific offenders exchange clean-up duties and chores in the area for meal vouchers. The dining facility complied with EPD’s request to shut down for several days after the warehouse break-in on June 28. But St. Vincent de Paul employees have expressed some discomfort with the idea.

“We will work with the police department when it’s in the best interest of all concerned,” says Russ Shaddix, a St. Vincent de Paul board member. “We constantly talk to people. We don’t think we should condemn all of them.”

The facility, which has been at its Third Street location since 1981, serves an average of 350 people every day. Many, cook Mary Price says, are not homeless. They are elderly, on disability, or employed at the fish cannery down the road but unable to make enough money to cover all of their meals.

“We’ve served the children of a city councilman, of a police officer, of a local businessman,” says Shaddix, adding that the majority of the people they serve are local. Russ Shaddix, Larry Alexander and Mary Price pose for photo before the St. Vincent dePaul lunch. – LINDA STANSBERRY

“It’s easy to become homeless,” says Price, adding that she lost her housing for a period herself when her landlord passed away. Stories they hear from clients include the loss of support from parents, the ongoing issue of mental health problems or health problems and the inability to find work because of mental and physical health issues. St. Vincent de Paul hires many people through the welfare to work program, and they often need special coaching and direction in order to do their jobs.

“The fallacy is that you just put people to work,” says Shaddix. While the organization is willing to work with EPD and the community, the closure, he and Price say, was difficult. “No one has the answer. People don’t want to see people carrying all their belongings down the street. But there are no good guys or bad guys. We’re just people trying to help people.

He and Price add that staff periodically refuses service to disruptive individuals, and 86 troublemakers. Even now a picture of two of the people arrested with belongings stolen from Chinn’s warehouse is taped to a kiosk on the inside of the door. But the proposed voucher system sounds challenging to the dining hall staff, which relies on a barebones crew and a rotating group of volunteers simply to serve the needy.

“We don’t make people sit on the sidewalk every day,” says Price.

True, says Watson, but the community is asking their staff to be proactive.

“Their services are a privilege, not a right,” he says. “St. Vincents’ ultimately reserves the right to choose who they serve. … They serve an important function, [but it] can’t be as simple as saying ‘Outside our facility, it’s not our problem.’”

Along with using access to services as leverage, Watson says the EPD is implementing other steps from its April plan, including continuing to solicit proposals for a temporary day use area for homeless folks, the deadline for which is the end of July. (No complete proposals have been turned in yet, Watson told the Journal as of July 7.) Officers have conducted field interviews with many homeless folks in the area to determine where they are coming from. EPD has also implemented “environmental changes,” among them the chainlink fence, which Watson says are intended to discourage behavior business owners have found troubling.

Paul Ambrosini, of Ambrosini and Sons Electric, says the fence had an immediate positive impact on his work environment.

It’s going great, I can leave my gate open all day,” he says. “I’m pretty happy with the place that we’re at.”

Ambrosini says that the presence of people immediately in front of his business, with dogs and shopping carts, occasionally confronting employees and customers, had a negative effect on his business.

“I’ve gotten into altercations with people,” he says. “We brought our guns to work. I’m not going to sit in my office and be threatened by someone who doesn’t want to work.”

Now, he says, things have calmed down, at least for the meantime. The break-ins at Chinn’s storage area shone a light on problems with crime and transience in the area, an attention he says was overdue.

“Now they’re being policed, just like they should have done the whole time,” he says.

The break-ins, which occurred on June 28 and July 3, resulted in the arrest of four people for possession of stolen property. The warehouse contained items Chinn uses in her outreach work and school supplies for formerly homeless college-bound students. Community members have rallied to help clean the warehouse and to raise money for Chinn’s foundation. Watson says an investigation is ongoing, with several promising leads. An alarm has also been added to the building.

Linda Stansberry, Northcoast Journal

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/jul/5/one-arrested-after-second-break-betty-chinns-old-t/

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/jul/5/eureka-erects-giant-fence-shut-down-homeless-sidew/

 

 

The Checkered regime of Chief Andy Mills at EPD draws to a close

Local press about his departure:

http://www.krcrtv.com/north-coast-news/eureka-police-chief-andrew-mills-has-accepted-position-in-santa-cruz/531651538

https://www.northcoastjournal.com/NewsBlog/archives/2017/06/07/epd-chief-mills-accepts-post-in-santa-cruz

http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20170607/eureka-police-chief-accepts-santa-cruz-job-offer

 

During Mills three and half years tenure as Eureka Police Chief, we found ourselves the lead critical voice for his actions and public statements. We had less concern about is announced policy goals, all though we weren’t always on board.

In our minds, the most egregious incident was the negligent killing of Tommy McClain and the way Mills defamed Tommy and promoted the officers directly involved in the killing.

Here are some prime examples of our coverage of Mills at the EPD:

APPARENTLY, AT MILL’S EPD THEY’RE “KILLING TO BE PROMOTED”
McClain shooter, Stephen Linfoot, is rewarded by Mills Seven months ago, when the innocent young Tommy McClain was gunned down in his own front yard, the media, for the most part, gave EPD and Chief Mills a pass. Regular citizens were left horrified and bewildered. We at the Examiner began asking lots of questions. We […]

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/apparently-at-mills-epd-theyre-killing-to-be-promoted/

ANDY MILLS WANTS EUREKA TO FORGET ALL ABOUT THE 18TH ST GANG
As the crime wave in Eureka continues, EPD Chief Andy Mills continues to try keeping all of our heads buried in the sand. A look at the Eureka Police website shows that EPD has only 2 official press releases this year; “Operation Safe Tweets” and “Neighborhood Input Meetings”. A look through the older press releases […]

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/andy-mills-wants-eureka-to-forget-all-about-the-18th-st-gang/

MEET THE NEW EPD……SAME AS THE OLD EPD WITH MILLS FOOLING EVERYBODY
Good thing for them this picture is cropped at the elbows or you’d be able to see the blood on their hands   When you look at the above picture, you see (from left to right) Captain Brian Stephens, Sergeant Terrence Liles, and Chief Andy Mills.  Besides, the uniform these men all share a […]

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/meet-the-new-epdsame-as-the-old-epd-with-mills-fooling-everybody/

POLICE CHIEF ANDY “HOLLYWOOD” MILLS HAS TRAINED THE MEDIA SO WELL THEY’RE SPININ’ HIS STORIES FOR HIM
In fact, his spin control has been so effective the local media is just making up “fact’s” to support the out of control shooting spree by EPD in Downtown Eureka. Over New Years, this caught our attention; KRCR ch 7 redding, their Eureka affiliate Northcoast News 23, featured this as one of its top […]

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/police-chief-andy-hollywood-mills-has-trained-the-media-so-well-theyre-spinin-his-stories-for-him/

MAYBE CHIEF MILLS WON’T GET OFF SO EASY…..THIS TIME
The Tommy McClain wrongful death trial is set to start on Nov. 17 the Federal Courthouse in McKinleyville, in Humboldt County, 13 miles north of Eureka. (The Examiner is looking for volunteer witness/reporters) http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2016/09/federal-judge-rules-that-thomas.html Upon hearing the news about EPD and the City of Eureka’s trial date for the wrongful death of Tommy McClain, […]

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/maybe-chief-mills-wont-get-off-so-easy-this-time/

ARE YOU GOING TO LET POLICE CHIEF MILLS BLOW THIS RIGHT BY YOU?
Take a seat everyone, we’ve got big news.  According to the crime “statistics” provided by the Eureka Police Department, violent crime is up (DUH!) and property crime is down (WTF!).  What could have caused this sudden drop in property crime that isn’t reflected in anybody’s personal experience that lives or works in Eureka?  We’ll give […]

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/are-you-going-to-let-police-chief-mills-blow-this-right-by-you/

 

Homeless numbers down 43% (wtf?) and more locally spun “alternative facts”

In 2015 we posted a number of stories about the attempts to down play the seriousness of the homeless crisis in Eureka. Particularly, we tried to emphasize “who benefits from the systematic under count of homeless/houseless”.
Check out what we said back then and read today’s story in the Times-Standard and other sources we included.
Despite what you can see with your own eyes, you’re supposed to believe that homelessness is dramatically down in Humboldt?
Shake your head laughable!

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/who-benefits-from-the-systematic-under-count-of-the-houseless/

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/eureka-declares-victory-over-homelessness/

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/housing-plan-will-never-amount-to-more-than-a-piss-into-the-ocean/

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/crime-the-homeless-and-the-andrew-mills-conundrum/

 

Times-Standard story: Homeless survey scrutinized

County, organizations state lack of volunteers, housing efforts led to lower count

Humboldt County has seen a large reduction in its homeless population, according to preliminary data released this week, with county officials attributing the drop to collaborative rehousing efforts, but also a reduction in volunteers who participated in the survey.

“We know this isn’t a scientifically accurate count of every homeless person in the county. It’s never been intended to be,” Humboldt County Housing Coalition co-Chairwoman and county Department of Health and Human Services Senior Program Manager Sally Hewitt said Friday. “It gives us a brief picture of a point in time with what is going on in our homeless population.”

This year’s Point-in-Time survey counted 668 homeless individuals on Feb. 28 compared to the 1,180 in the last count in 2015 and the 864 in 2013. The survey is conducted on a single day every two years and is a requirement to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hewitt said part of the reduction is due to 217 chronically homeless individuals having found permanent housing since Eureka and the county began implementing a Housing First approach to homelessness in early 2016 with the help of local landlords. Hewitt said the preliminary data also showed the number of homeless families have continued to decline as they had in the previous three counts.

However, this year’s count did not include any of the homeless population in the Garberville area after a group of regular survey volunteers refused to participate based on concerns that the funding was not helping the southern Humboldt County homeless population.

Debra Carey, vice president of Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, or AHHA, said she had been one of the volunteers who coordinated the Garberville-area county for several years. But this year, Carey said she felt that the county lacked the necessary preparation. She said she and many of the homeless individuals she had spoken to had become disgruntled that the government funding that these counts were supposed to generate were not reaching their community.

“What is this count all about if it’s not about getting the numbers to get the funds to assist this group of people?” Carey said.

Hewitt said the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires counties to deliver their counts in order to access funding available through Continuums of Care, like the county’s housing coalition. The coalition formed in 2004 and is composed of local government agencies and other entities that seek to reduce homelessness.

The amount of federal funding a community receives is not determined by the number of homeless individuals counted, but rather by “an extremely complicated process” involving reviewing data of available jobs and population sizes, according to Hewitt. However, Hewitt said the Point-in-Time count can be used by organizations to try and leverage funding from the state.

As to why southern Humboldt County communities are not receiving the federal funding, Hewitt said that the funding is only available for ongoing programs such as Redwood Community Action Agency, Arcata House Partnership, the county and Humboldt Bay Housing. The majority of the federal funding must be used for subsidizing rent and only a small portion can be used for administrative costs, which Hewitt said can be a limiting factor for small grassroots organizations.

“If there was a group in some of the outlying areas that had the infrastructure to handle the amount of funding, it would be wonderful for them to apply,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt said that county volunteers did attempt to survey Garberville homeless residents, but said that none were willing to be surveyed.

AHHA President Nezzie Wade did participate in this year’s count in Eureka, but said she did so not in her capacity with her organization. Like Carey, Wade said she felt that the federal funds were only being used to help a small number of people in the homeless communities. She and Carey also expressed concerns about the size of the survey and the lack of planning by the coalition for this year’s count, which is why AHHA did not associate itself with it.

“The month before it was supposed to happen, they started talking about it,” Wade said of the count. “… We talked about it and said this is not an organized effort. This is not something we would not want to subscribe to.” Hewitt said that AHHA’s concerns were valid, but that they did not tell the full story.

She said they had been planning this count a year earlier and were planning to use a new approach. Rather than having every homeless individual take surveys in order to be counted, Hewitt said they were planning on doing a head count and then scientifically selecting a sample of the homeless population to take the survey. They would then apply that data to entire homeless population. The coalition was proceeding with this plan until the last two months of 2016 when the Housing and Urban Development Department told them that they could not use that method, Hewitt said.

The department gave them the options of doing the count as they had in years past or doing an observation count. The latter option would take place from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. in January and would involve volunteers counting homeless individuals as they sleep.

“Well, in a city where they tend to sleep out in the open, it’s relatively easy to count people,” Hewitt said. “If you’re talking about going into the woods in Humboldt County in the dark and wandering around with a flashlight and trying to get homeless people awake enough to see how many there are in their tent or having to open their tent flaps to count them, it just got more and more ridiculous.”

After back and forth disputes, Hewitt said the coalition decided in January to perform the count as they had done since 2009.

“We were scrambling and we were looking for every volunteer we could,” Hewitt said. “I’m glad some of [the AHHA members] decided to participate because we count on them.”

Hewitt said more than 100 volunteers participated, with about 80 acting as surveyors.

Wade also stated that police enforcement on homeless individuals may have led to reduced numbers in this year’s report. Wade said she had contacted many of the homeless individuals living along Broadway in Eureka and nearby cross streets to let them know about the count. But Wade said these streets were near empty by the time they surveyed the area on Feb. 28, and said that many of the homeless were told by police that they could not stay there for the next three days.

“That was quite a coincidence,” Wade said.

Eureka Police Department Public Information Officer Brittany Powell said that Chief Andrew Mills had heard from the county that there was a rumor that a law enforcement agency — but not the EPD — had cleared out the homeless individuals.(sounds like a Mills tactic to the Examiner)

“We have not heard anything more about this and there is nothing to substantiate the allegation,” Powell wrote in an email to the Times-Standard. “EPD and the (Mobile Intervention & Services Team) assisted in the Point-in-Time count prior to the actual count by providing training, resources, and identifying locations to check.”

http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20170519/humboldt-county-homeless-survey-scrutinized

more local spin:

https://www.northcoastjournal.com/NewsBlog/archives/2017/05/19/no-homeless-people-in-southern-humboldt

http://kiem-tv.com/video/annual-homeless-count-decreases

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/may/18/humboldts-homeless-numbers-down-43-percent-two-yea/