HumCo’s Dept of Aviation get this weeks “dumb ass” award

Flight service to and from Southern California will return this summer with supposed new health guidelines that pretend to ensure the safety of passengers and airport workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. WTF!?!

Here is their bogus reassurance “We’ve been working closely with our Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health branch and the County’s Emergency Operations Center to make sure we are ready for changes in travel patterns and guidance,”. “As regulations and conditions around the state change, we need to adapt as well.” Translation: “we’re going to sacrifice community safety so a few people and make money” Their justification is the claim that the return of the LAX service will provide more efficient means of supporting our medical community through shipment of testing supplies, blood samples, and other critical medical equipment directly to and from LAX. While that seems reasonable on the face it, the problem is it also provides more efficient means for the coronavirus currently on the rise in So Cal to land in Humboldt County.

Let’s get real, charter a flight for medical supplies and equipment with no passengers and just a tested crew.
This airport should have been shut down in February. There is no way to make air travel free of the spread of Covid-19 unless everyone on board is fitted with (PPE) personal protective equipment.

New restrictions for Humboldt, but the airport remains open? WTF?

It still seems like there is a lot of unnecessary vehicle traffic all over the county too

With the Trump “enabled” Coronavirus spreading everywhere the county is allowing flights into Humboldt????

Health Officer Issues Updated Order for Humboldt County

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich issued an updated Health Order further clarifying and enhancing the Shelter in Place requirements for county residents.

The updated order addresses county residents’ concerns regarding tourists visiting the area, prohibiting short-term rental properties, including hotels, vacation rentals and campgrounds, from renting to non-County residents.

Additionally, the order further limits activity in parks and other outdoor recreational areas that facilitate public gathering.

The order clarifies the definition of essential businesses, recognizing those businesses that support the County’s response to COVID-19 and eliminating the exemption for businesses that “supply products which would enhance the quality of life.”

This updated order will remain in effect until rescinded by the Health Officer.

Ok, but why is the airport still open to the public? It should be open for emergencies only 

 

TerraGen’s Wind Project

An important essay from Ken Miller – Opposing TerraGen’s Wind Project

CLIMATE EMERGENCY

“We all want to stop climate change and make things better. Of course, wind power initially seems like a good idea. But jumping on the first out-of-area project exploits our good will and good intentions, and leaves us with lots of damage, widespread GHG emissions, and some high priced electricity. We have better options.”

The best thing about this proposal is that it can stimulate enlightened debate, which is what this show is doing now.

There’s no argument that we are in a climate emergency, or that we need to act urgently, the disagreement is about reducing our carbon footprint with minimal environmental impacts, and maximal resilience, and this mega-industrial project does none of that.

First of all, no matter how much electricity this thing generates, it is just wrong to put this factory in forested watersheds, native grasslands, and ridges sacred to local Native Americans, essentially forever.

We taxpayers are funding this project with 10 years of tax credits and “accelerated depreciation.” They have to start construction this Fall to get those tax benefits, so we taxpayers are also funding a rush job, and a con job.

We have time to exercise informed judgment so that

we avoid trading one bad situation for another that leaves us with the impacts, forever. There have only been two public scoping sessions last August in Eureka and Scotia, and few know about this.

Is there a better way to reduce our carbon footprint than this? Of course, conservation and rooftop solar will not destroy our ecosystems, add no new transmission lines, can be implemented quickly, and will provide resilience, an appetite for electric vehicles, and improved property values, all with minimal maintenance, plus homegrown jobs all over the county.

.This project, however, promises only 15 permanent jobs, likely by imported workers, and requires continuous maintenance because these windmills are very complex machines that fail dangerously and often, especially in untested terrain like ours.

This project defiles redwood and Doug fir biomes that are supposedly managed to protect and regenerate ecosystem values.

With an industrial complex of this magnitude, that’s impossible because of the industrial infrastructure:

INDUSTRIAL

Without including the mining, manufacturing, and delivery of these huge complex machines, the scale is enormous for our area:

  • Up to 60-600 ft vibrating blenders with 250 foot blades rotating at 200mph at their tips,
  • lubricated with 400 gal of oil,
  • on bases of concrete 65 ft in diameter 10 feet into the ground, and those will never come out all the way
  • on squares of scraped ground 350 ft,
  • 6 250-400 ft meteorological towers
  • 17 miles of new permanent roads some 200 feet wide
  • up the impaired Jordan Creek watershed
  • over 25 miles of 100 ft wide, 90-acre clearcut corridors thru forestland to Bridgeville across the Eel River
  • kept clear with herbicides to support transmission lines
  • constant human activity for 30 years, or more,

That’s operational, the construction activities include:

  • using 15000 gal of water a day,
  • 10000 truck trips, some weighing 110 tons and 90 feet long,
  • 2 temporary bypasses on 101 at Hookton and 12 St Fortuna
  • over 11000 yards of concrete from 1-2 new dirty cement batch plants fueled by generators,
  • 3 million cu ft of soil displaced, soil that now stores C better than trees in wildfire CA
  • erosion into Eel R tributaries
  • Over 25 acres of temporary and permanent staging and Operations facilities
  • 900 acres of logging
  • Plus re-doing all the tie-ins at Bridgeville,
  • And battery banks in Bridgeville (4.4, T4-2)
  • all fueled, from mining to twirling, with fossil fuel energy.

Green House Gases (GHG)

This is neither green, nor renewable. TerraGen’s GHG emissions tally is misleading.

The immediate GHG emissions during the 18 months of construction have instant and prolonged impacts, but TG amortizes them over 25 years, so they look good compared to fossil generating plants…on paper.

(It’s called front-loading. Maxxam did that with their Sustain Yield Program, cut everything now based on mythical growth and yield numbers, but really based on producing pecker-poles and fiber, not forests.)

And they dismiss the emissions associated with all the logging.

Windmill complexes require daily constant monitoring and maintenance, lots of human activity and truck traffic every day, forever: parts fail, rotors catch fire, transformers fail, structures fail, lubrication, Transmission lines require herbicides and maintenance to prevent fires. GHGs from these are hard to discern from this DEIR.

135MW is a lot of power but constitutes only ½ of 1% of California’s renewable portfolio.

Impacts and GHG emissions from decommissioning this Project are not analyzed, and not included in the accounting.

(To date, no wind factory has been decommissioned, dismantled, and the footprint restored.  There are acres of abandoned wind farms throughout California.)

Scotia, Fortuna, Rio Dell, the Eel R valley, and over to the coast will all live with windmill blight for decades.

RUBE GOLDBERG*

* A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overcomplicated fashion.

We suffer all the impacts from building this complex at this fragile site in order to send power to the grid so that Marin County and others, like Humboldt, can buy that power back, plus pay increased transmission costs, in order to check off a box in our Counties’ renewable agenda. This is a classic Rube Goldberg.

Marin County, which will buy this electricity, has no windmills because they cherish their landscape, especially their ridges.

(CEQA allows highly paid responders to pick each impact as if there is no whole to the landscape and fragment a project to insignificance on paper, like a magic trick.)

Environmental Impacts

Two of the consequences of this rush job are that Wildlife surveys are shortened from the required 2 years to one year, and public awareness and discussion have been limited even more.

This project kills some of the iconic species that make this place wild, including Marbled Murrelets, Eagles, raptors salmonids, and an array of other birds, fish, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and plants. (3-5b)

Some will say that millions will die anyway from climate change, and we have no time for solar. Nuclear proponents make this same argument. This project’s immediate and ongoing GHG emissions not only worsen heating, but guarantee the collapse of this local ecosystem.

One of the subtle, unevaluated, but far-reaching ways giant windmill complexes disturb the environment and affects all living creatures is by extracting energy from the wind.

This alters the downwind dynamics over a wide area that affects wind patterns, humidity, and temperature, affecting all life.

The Marbled Murrelet (MaMu)

The Marbled Murrelet section of the DEIR provides a window into TG’s tobacco science:

The marbled murrelet is a magically elusive endangered seabird who relies on both our coastal ocean waters and OG conifer nesting habitat.

There’s only 15% of their original nesting habitat left, and since 1993, there’s been a 20% decline mostly due to logging on private lands. (PSG)

90% of their original population is gone, with a 30% decline from 2000-2010, which continues at 4-7% annually.

California’s populations were federally listed as endangered in 1991, and Oregon just up-listed their populations to endangered recently.

At this rate, Murrelets are heading toward extinction within 30-50 years.

We taxpayers paid over a half billion 1999 $$ to protect their OG habitat with the old PL HCP.

Yet according to TG’s DEIR, this project will affect over 2200 acres of murrelet activity, and that’s just the actual physical buffers around this complex.

And the complex is within a quarter mile of murrelet habitat, right in murrelet airspace, violating the one-mile PSG buffer.

Since there are no operational windmills within the murrelet’s range, anywhere, TG plays a modeling game with our at-risk population.

Based on a tiny sample of 136 birds detected over 5 months of radar surveys, Stantec Corp concludes, with mathematical precision, that only 10.43- 20.86  murrelets will die over 30 years.

Changing a collision input by just .01 into their computer model accounts for the doubling of the calculated mortality rate.

A model so sensitive to tiny changes in inputs is unreliable when modeling the many tiny variables associated with murrelets, climate change and windmills.

With poor breeding success rates and degraded ocean conditions and OG habitat, there are absolutely no acceptable murrelet deaths.

There are, of course, no real mitigations, either, so TG relies on the Parks to thin over 20,000 acres in their forests to recruit OG murrelet nesting habitat, (meaning 100-250 acres of continuous OG), which would take centuries, and emit tons of GHGs in the process, besides eliminating those trees’ carbon storage capacity.

In other words, their mitigations rely on more logging, in addition to the 900 acres that will be logged for the project, also without GHG accounting (Appx B).

The mitigations and alternatives in this DEIR are of the Titanic variety, moving turbines around on the ridges, or modifying utility poles somewhere else to make up for killing local eagles.

THE RIDGES

I encourage everyone to read Adam Canter’s eloquent description of Bear River and Monument Ridges (Tsakiyuwit), on LoCo, May 16. You will think quite differently about whether this project fits this landscape.

At 3100 feet overlooking the Eel R valley, these ridges, are the traditional cultural property of local Tribes, irrespective of current legal ownership.

One ridge over is Rainbow Ridge, where there is the most pristine old growth Doug fir forests and bio-diverse ecosystems left on the planet.

These native grasslands are part of the Mendocino IBA habitat, where TG will cut 36 acres of the “eel grass of the hills”

WIND PR

My LA friend said that anyone supporting a wind complex should visit one. I don’t call it a farm, because the only resemblance to a farm is to a CAFO feedlot (Concentrated animal feeding operation). These are massive, all-disturbing, unfriendly no-critter industrial zones.

Maybe windmill complexes are OK where they already are, especially where communities want them, but not in this location. We shall see about offshore wind energy soon enough.

WHO GAINS?

The real winners here are neither we, nor the planet.

The only thing renewable and green is the money game.

The Russ Ranch and HRC get 30-year, renewable leases, without doing anything, and TerraGen, owned by Energy Capital Partners (ECP), a $20B venture capital consortium, gets 10-year tax credits and a quick write-off of expenses no matter how these windmills perform; plus of course selling the power back to us with increased transmission costs.

We are supposed to trust ECP & Stantec Corp., who is doing wildlife surveys here. They are both heavily into international oil and gas, coal mining, fracking, shale and tar sands oil, pipelines everywhere, transmission lines, and the giant equipment used to haul turbine components.

The County gets a measly $2m a year, which can sound like a lot compared to other taxpayers only because TPZ lands pay so little in taxes.

 

SOLAR

So why would we exchange so much for so little gain? Is this the sacrifice we must make in order to “do our part?

Of course not.

Conservation is cheap, readily available and easy.

Distributed energy production, solar panels on every roof and electric vehicles are the ticket to resiliency, renewables, jobs, and a steady revenue stream from money-generating roofs when the cost of the panels is recovered.

Public roofs would feed that money right into our treasury, replacing those that would come from this project.

Solar panels have impacts, but the scale is orders of magnitudes less, the impacts are far more manageable, there is negligible maintenance, the roofs and wires are already in place, and they provide us with way more benefits and jobs without the destruction.

This project is a con job that benefits mainly TerraGen and its partners.

The overall environmental costs and the ecosystem impacts make this a terrible choice for our county and for our planet.

(of manufacturing, delivering, constructing, installing, operating, maintaining, and decommissioning this huge industrial complex,)

DEMOCRACY

We can’t rely on CEQA, or the County at this time to protect us and steer us onto a smarter course. The agencies are well aware of this environmental disaster, but they need our support in their efforts to protect our precious ecosystems. Otherwise all they hear is from TG, and the County

This momentous decision, with widespread impacts of public concern, is in the hands of an unelected Planning Commission just because it’s on private lands, depriving us of our democracy.

There is no panacea, just better choices.

Please contact the Planning Commissioners,

July 11 Planning Commission workshoppe

July 25 Planning Commission hearing

contact California Department of Fish Wildlife, US Fish &Wildlife Service, NOAA.

Encourage organized labor, the media, local environmental groups like Audubon, FoER, EPIC, NEC, ERRP, CATS,

Speak up, this is not a done deal

Citizens Scotia meeting June 3 630 Winema Theater

June 5 comments to DEIR

Contact your Planning Commissioner: https://humboldtgov.org/194/Planning-Commission

Attend the meetings with the planning commission and let your Supervisor know that this project is unacceptable, another rip off our public trust values.  Demand the Supervisors start the solar program where everyone can benefit and no harm comes to our precious hills and valleys, streams and rivers.

QUOTES

“To protect wild habitats and prevent the worst cataclysm of global heating, we must move to zero-carbon energy immediately – but we must do it in ways that minimize habitat destruction. That requires that energy is generated in our towns and cities, close to where we use it.” Dr. Doug Karpa, PhD, JD, Marin energy analyst

One energy analyst sums it up:

…wind farms are now recognized as mostly having a negative effect on local resilience other than financially benefiting a very small group of people.

The main benefit local inhabitants get is merely the very dubious feel good privilege of looking at the wind turbines.” Roger

 

The current state of Cannabis on the northcoast as viewed by a prominent local citizen

Denver Harold Nelson is a neurosurgeon from Eureka California who has severed on many boards and commissions; he is a very active community member. Denver is a well-respected member of the community. It’s his standing and respect in the community that makes this editorial so interesting and we have to say, “pretty spot on.”

I moved to this area from Alaska over 40 years ago to practice neurosurgery. The natural beauty of this area, the exceptional opportunity for outdoor recreation and the people here made this an ideal place to raise a family. The excellent medical community needed a neurosurgeon.

I decided to invest in timberland for my retirement. My family and I enjoyed working and recreating on our timber lands. We planted thousands of trees, did pre-commercial and commercial thinning. We did not grow marijuana but I had neighbors and patients who did and educated me about marijuana. They were “back to the land” people who bought rural properties. Many of them grew marijuana for extra income; the price was $3,000 per pound, so they didn’t need to grow a lot of plants.

Some growers went to Afghanistan and other exotic areas around the world to get better strains of marijuana which they brought back to breed. The potency got much higher and Humboldt County became known for the marijuana that was grown here. The lawless off-the-grid rural areas allowed easier marijuana growth. Greed prompted many to come to this area to become part of the marijuana culture. The original mom-and-pop way of life was transformed to a lawless illegal generator of huge amounts of crime and cash. The cash trickled down to legitimate businesses and infiltrated the morals and income of most of the citizens of Humboldt County. Many students came to HSU to get the good dope.

When I was on the planning commission about 10 years ago, we received a presentation about the economic sectors of Humboldt County. Marijuana was not mentioned. By this time there were many people growing marijuana on a large scale. I pointed out that growing dope was $1 billion-a-year industry in Humboldt County but was told that since it was illegal, it was not part of Humboldt’s economic plan. The Planning Department and most Humboldt County citizens were not aware of the magnitude of marijuana production.

Marijuana has evolved from a recreational drug to a medicine. From a physician’s point of view, I was always concerned about the dose and the purity of marijuana that was produced. I suggested that HSU would be an ideal place to study these questions in a scientific manner. Unfortunately, HSU set up sociological studies of interrelationships of neighboring marijuana growers instead of studying the scientific aspects of marijuana.

Now mom-and-pop growers in the hills are second or third-generation families who wanted legalization. They got it and now are subject to the permits, bureaucracy and fees imposed by government regulators. The Water Board and Fish and Wildlife bureaucrats are busy imposing fines and chopping down marijuana plants because of the grower’s lack of permits. The County Planning Department and County Planning Commission along with the Board of Supervisors spend the majority of their time dealing with the intricacies of marijuana regulations. And, not to be outdone, four state marijuana bureaucracies have recently taken over half of the Times-Standard building.

And how are we doing? It appears to me that the marijuana- generated fees are needed to pay for the bureaucracy to collect it. Drive to Petrolia or Alderpoint and see how the roads are being improved with the marijuana proceeds. Some of my old marijuana growing friends have reverted to outlaw grows and sales because they can’t afford to grow legally.

The final straw for me was the recent publication in the Redheaded Blackbelt of the alleged scheme of Emanoel Borisov, age 28, Paul Brooks, age 34, and Evgeni Kopankovv to come to Humboldt County to steal $ 3 million in cash from Ivan Iliev at his alleged grow site. The FBI became aware of this plot when a private jet landed in Arcata with $2 million in cash which was seized by the FBI. The confusing plot is related to large marijuana grows and the foreign “agents” imported here because of the ease of growing at marijuana “farms “ that produce millions in cash. The marijuana industry has ruined our way of life. Let them be gone.

I did not come here 40 years ago to grow marijuana or amass huge volumes of cash. I came here because of the magnificent citizens and the natural beauty of the area; mountains, redwood trees, beautiful rivers filled with anadromous fish, splendid ocean and beaches and the world’s best grasslands for raising beef and dairy cattle. These attractions are still here and hopefully will remain after the departure of the criminal marijuana culture.

Denver Nelson resides in Eureka.

From the Times-Standard

 

Planning Commission kisses Mercer Fraser’s ass, yet again

Mercer Fraser Asphalt Plant right above Big Lagoon from county staff report

Taking a page right out of the Republican Senate’s playbook, of making decisions without all the facts, The Humboldt County Planning Commission, as usual, gave Mercer Fraser Company whatever they want.

Our planning commission is a prime example of crony capitalism at its worst. Only Noah Levy ever seems to do any homework before coming to these meetings the others just vote for their developer friends no matter what.

We sure hope Humboldt Baykeeper appeals this to the Supervisors and especially to the California Coastal Commission.

This from Eliane Weinreb on the NCJ Blog:

https://www.northcoastjournal.com/NewsBlog/archives/2018/09/22/planning-commission-approves-mercer-fraser-asphalt-plant-near-big-lagoon

The Humboldt County Planning Commission has approved plans for the continued operation of an asphalt plant less than a half-mile from iconic Big Lagoon despite objections that all the relevant data about the plant has not yet been received and over requests to postpone the decision until next month.

The plant has been operating for several months on an expired permit.

With commissioners Alan Bongio and Brian Mitchell absent, and after a motion to postpone the vote failed, the permit passed with a 4-1 vote, with Noah Levy dissenting.

The plant, operated by Mercer Fraser Co. on land owned by Green Diamond, was initially permitted in March of 2017, with the one-year permit expiring March 18. Mercer Fraser, which is a major contractor for Caltrans, manufactures asphalt used to construct and repair the state’s highways, especially the work which was done throughout the summer on U.S. Highway 101 north of Big Lagoon..

While most people are happy to see roads repaired, not everybody was happy with the location of this particular plant, which is about a half-mile from the waterway.

Few people realized that the plant had, in fact, been operating for more than a year. The initial permit quietly passed through on the commission’s consent calendar in March of 2017. An old lumber mill once operated on the site, which has also apparently been used for other industrial purposes, although the staff report is vague as to just what these were.

Humboldt Baykeeper Director Jennifer Kalt thought it would be prudent to know just what chemicals might be contaminating the site, and in mid-August, asked the Planning Department for further information. She followed her initial queries with a California Public Records Act request and was promised her information by Sept. 24, four days after the commission was scheduled to act on the application. She asked the commission to postpone the hearing until after the requested information has been received.

Kalt also noted that the project area is home to several endangered species including coho and Chinook salmon, and cutthroat trout. She was concerned about possible flood risks and what hazardous materials may exist on the site.

Fifth District Supervisor-elect Steve Madrone spoke from the audience and expressed his concerns about the location of the project within a flood plain. He urged the commission to find a better location — and to postpone the hearing until all the relevant information was available.

With the exception of Levy, the commission did not seem too concerned about these issues. They were more impressed with the statistics provided by Mercer Fraser spokesman Mark Harrison

Levy was concerned about the adequacy of the evacuation plan, noting that if a tsunami-related flood occurred, the company would only have a few minutes’ warning, certainly not enough time to move all that equipment. He initially expressed disbelief with the staff report’s statement that the “project site is not located in a tsunami inundation area,” a statement that the staff planner attributed to the California Department of Conservation.

“What she [Kalt] is asking for is stuff that I would like to know as well: what we know about the contamination of the site,” he said. “This project is in a site where we know the Regional Water Quality Board has some documentation of the contamination. I would like to hear from the Department of Fish and Wildlife about an unexpected risk from a catastrophic event if it were to befall the biological resources just downstream.

“And what about State Parks,” he continued. “Due to the confluence of resources right around here and the risks that are being addressed in some way in the staff report, I think that we should hear from them. Those are the things that make me feel that I don’t have all the information I need to make the decision that this is the best location.”

Was there another possible location for the plant, asked Planning Commissioner Ben Shepherd, considering that it required a site that was already zoned for heavy industry. The county planner said there were not many sites with the necessary zoning and none in the immediate area.

Somebody noted that there were representatives from the Department Fish and Wildlife and the State Parks Department in the audience, but Morris replied that they had not offered to speak during the public comment period and had not officially responded to the county’s project notice.

“We have two options before us,” said Shepherd. “We can postpone the project to provide more information, or we can choose to vote it up or down. I’m leaning toward postponement because we had a number of people who expressed, ‘not enough information.’ … I want the public to be more comfortable with this and not go through a series of appeals.”

Shepherd moved to continue to the project to the commission’s Oct. 18 meeting. Levy seconded the move. Shepherd then added that he supported the project, that it would save trucks from having to traverse the streets of Eureka, and that most mills were already close to Redwood National Park and herds of elk.

The commissioners voted down the postponement 3-2, with Morris, Newman and Edmonds dissenting.

Edmonds then moved to approve the project and it passed with Levy as the sole dissenter.

The project approval can be appealed to the California Coastal Commission and to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

Rampant in your face street crime in California begins to take its toll

Are more and more tourists going to start avoiding Eureka and Humboldt County if we don’t get serious about our own crime wave?

It’s happening in the Bay Area

San Francisco’s appalling street life repels residents — now it’s driven away a convention

In a move that is alarming San Francisco’s biggest industry, a major medical association is pulling its annual convention out of the city — saying its members no longer feel safe.

“It’s the first time that we have had an out-and-out cancellation over the issue, and this is a group that has been coming here every three or four years since the 1980s,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president, and CEO of S.F. Travel, the city’s convention bureau.

D’Alessandro declined to name the medical association, saying the bureau still hopes to bring the group back in the future.

As a rule, major conventions book their visits at least five years in advance. So when D’Alessandro and members of the hospitality industry hadn’t heard from the doctors about re-upping, they flew to the organization’s Chicago headquarters for a face-to-face meeting with its executive board.

And with good reason: The group’s annual five-day trade show draws 15,000 attendees and pumps about $40 million into the local economy.

“They said that they are committed to this year and to 2023, but nothing in between or nothing thereafter,” D’Alessandro said. “After that, they told us they are planning to go elsewhere — I believe it’s Los Angeles.”

Joe D’Alessandro, president & CEO of San Francisco Travel, says the city’s troubled street life has driven at least one convention away from the city.

The doctors group told the San Francisco delegation that while they loved the city, postconvention surveys showed their members were afraid to walk amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets.

source: San Francisco Chronicle

Pro “Dams on the Eel” Fennell trying to pull a fast one at tomorrow’s Supervisors meeting

Image result for Potter Valley Project

The Potter Valley Project

Last week, PG&E finally publicly announced its intent to auction the Eel River dams/Potter Valley Project this Fall.

Also last week, Friends of the Eel River learned through a series of Public Records Act requests that Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell and her fellow Eel Russian River Commissioners (county supervisors from Sonoma and Mendocino counties) have held a series of at least five secret meetings with PG&E over the last year to put together a plan to keep the Eel River dams in place. They are planning to move the dams out of federal licensing so as to avoid having to provide additional protection for fisheries (passage over 138’ Scott Dam being the main issue here). Under what’s called a “non-power license,” they’d keep operating the project primarily as a water transfer project, but they’d keep the hydropower running as well. They think they’d even get state Renewable Power credit for running these infamous fish-killing dams.

Supervisor Fennell is asking the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to move TOMORROW to appoint her and Supervisor Bohn to an ad hoc committee that would continue to meet in secret to push this secret plan to avoid protecting Eel River salmon and steelhead. Please, if you can, make time to attend tomorrow’s Board meeting to speak against this move.

As a policy minimum, Humboldt County should be pushing for a solution that would remove Scott Dam and restore fish access to the Eel River headwaters. But at the most fundamental level, we deserve the opportunity to discuss and debate the positions our elected representatives are taking on our behalf. Democracy cannot function when leaders make policy in secret.

We would suggest speakers ask for a full public discussion of the potential options and Humboldt County’s official position on the Eel River dams / Potter Valley Project. We would urge you to request that the Board delay a vote on this proposed ad hoc committee pending such a discussion of costs, benefits, and risks to Humboldt County’s waters and fisheries. Of course, we’d strongly prefer that Humboldt County not be represented by anti-environmentalists like Fennell and Bohn, but that’s probably not a point we’re going to win. We can at minimum demand a transparent process.

The meeting begins at 9am at the usual location in the Supervisors Chambers in the Humboldt County Courthouse. The item is near the end of the agenda, but since they don’t always follow it, we recommend being there by 9:15.

Action Alert from 

Stephanie Tidwell, Executive Director

 

 

The crime wave in Eureka and Humboldt continues to grow unabated

The crime wave of theft, home invasions, assaults, even homicides, continues to reign here locally.  Every other day we continue to read about violence and predation in our communities.  The Examiner has also found and posted about, the overwhelming amount of unreported crimes happening in our communities, especially in the Cannabis industry.(see links at the bottom)  The forecast is only expected to get worse as the local cannabis economy goes through its painful realignment. We believe the Times-Standard story today about the overnight closers of Safeway store is yet another sign of how bad it’s getting.

Small signs on the front doors of the Safeway store in Eureka let customers know about its new open hours. Shaun Walker — The Times-Standard

Safeway stores cut back on hours, stores see hundreds of calls for service from local law enforcement

Safeway shoppers on Tuesday were greeted with signs on some entrances stating the grocery stores will no longer be open 24/7.

“New store hours,” a green sheet of paper taped to the inside of a sliding glass door of the Eureka Safeway reads. “Opens 5 p.m. daily … Closed 1 a.m. daily.”

“Our store operations are continuously reviewed and adjusted where needed based on observations from our division management and customer feedback. We recently modified the hours of operation at over 80 locations throughout the Northern California division,” Safeway Northern California spokeswoman Wendy Gutshall wrote in an email to the Times-Standard on Tuesday.

“As an ongoing effort, we evaluate and adjust our store operations based on observations from division management, customer feedback, seasonal activity and a variety of other variables that impact our operations,” she later wrote in response to a question about why the hours were adjusted.

It’s not just the Eureka store that won’t be open 24/7. According to Gutshall, the Arcata location will now be open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., the Fortuna branch will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. and the McKinleyville store will be open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

It is unclear whether crime played a role in the company’s decision.

“We have had 378 responses to Safeway in [the last] year,” Fortuna Police Department office supervisor Robin Paul said.

She added that 57 of those calls in 2017 were for theft and the others were for vandalism or other emergencies.

“We responded over there 469 times and those were petty thefts, disturbances, unwanted subjects, reckless driving, all sorts of things,” Arcata Police Department Lt. Bart Silvers said about calls for service at the Safeway.

Those calls came in between January and December last year between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., he said.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction covers both the Eureka Safeway on Harris Street and the McKinleyville Safeway along Central Avenue.

Sheriff’s office public information officer Samantha Karges said “a lot” of the calls for service at those Safeway stores are outside of their new closing hours.

“A lot of the time, our deputies go out there and Safeway doesn’t want to press charges,” Karges said.

In 2017, deputies were called out to the Eureka Safeway 150 times total but only 17 times between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m. The most common call for service there was for unwanted subjects.

In 2017, deputies responded to the McKinleyville Safeway 133 times including eight times between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m. Unwanted subjects make up the most calls in the McKinleyville location as well, according to information sent by Karges. Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.

Small signs on the front doors of the Safeway store in Eureka let customers know about its new open hours.

http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20180109/local-safeway-stores-are-no-longer-247

Past posts about the crime wave:

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.  […]

05.08.15

by tuluwat examiner

THE CRIME WAVE “TIPPING POINT” IS HERE, NOW

The Crime Wave has gotten so bad recently that The Humboldt Bay Fire Department has to wait for the Eureka Police to secure the scene for them so that they can begin fire suppression activities or life saving measures! When seconds count, cops may be minutes away and unable to make the scenes safe for […]

07.10.14

by tuluwat examiner

CRIME WAVE = MORE TAXES?

Public Safety is the reason being cited by the City of Eureka, The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the City of Fortuna for sales tax measures being placed on the November ballot. The Examiner has been posting about the Crime Wave that has been sweeping Eureka and Humboldt County since we started this blog […]

09.26.17

by tuluwat examiner

SURPRISE! CRIMEWAVE RAGES ON IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY

Is anyone surprised that the crime wave numbers increased last year in Humboldt?  Here at the Examiner, the only surprise from the recent statistics is that the crime rate wasn’t up more than 25%.  However considering a lot of people have given up reporting violent crimes including marijuana robberies, the “real” crime rate is actually […]

04.08.15

by tuluwat examiner

CRIMEWAVES, FLOPHOUSES AND SLUMLORDS……BUSINESS IS GOOD IN EUREKA

In a press release Monday it was reported The Humboldt County Drug Task Force and members of the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Orientated Policing unit, conducted a bust at a Floyd Squires owned fleabag apartment building in Eureka.  Was this newsworthy? Well yes and no, given the common prevalence of drugs and crime that […]

01.14.15

by tuluwat examiner

IT’S 2015 AND OUR LOCAL VIOLENT CRIME-WAVE CONTINUES

Take a look at this morning’s Times-Standard newspaper.  Once again, what’s brought to light is the continued rise in violent confrontations taking place in Humboldt County. Yesterday, there were 3 stabbings in the county. Eureka is at the center of most of this wave of violence.  However, the city has a Police Department that’s going […]

07.31.14

by tuluwat examiner

EUREKA DON’T BELIEVE YOUR LYIN’ EYES! NOTHIN’ TO SEE HERE. POLICE CHIEF SAYS THERE’S NO CRIMEWAVE

Guess what citizens of Eureka….you are all WRONG! You believed that a quarter of cars and houses in your neighborhood being burglarized meant property crime was going up. WRONG!!! You thought that the numerous articles about violent crimes and murders was a sign that violent crime was going up. WRONG!!! You thought that driving down […]

02.20.14

by tuluwat examiner

CRIMEWAVE? WHERE’S THE MEASURE O $$$

Measure O was passed by voters in 2010, the Supplemental Transaction and Use Tax has generated just under $4 million annually for the city of Eureka, and is expected to provide over $4 million in 2014— a critical lifeline for the city’s public safety and other programs. So where has all that money gone? It […]

05.10.16

by tuluwat examiner

FABRICATE CRIME STATS TO BURNISH CITY’S IMAGE?

Here in Eureka with have the Andy Mill’s campaign to clean up crime…….on paper anyway. Our illustrious chief of police has embarked on a plan of reducing the impact of Eureka’s crime wave by make all of us believe that crime is really down. Just ask anyone in any Eureka neighborhood if crime is down […]

11.30.15

by tuluwat examiner

ACTUAL CRIMES UP! CRIME RATE DOWN? THE ANDREW MILLS JUGGERNAUT CONTINUES, AS EPD SINKS

 

Patrik Griego has schooled Humboldt county on its disaster of a Public Defenders office

Now that the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office is a shell of its former self, we hope the last year has been a teachable moment for the county’s shot-callers.

David Marcus lasted nine months as Public Defender, and we could all spend the next nine wondering aloud just who, exactly, thought it would be advisable to hire a public defender who hadn’t set foot inside a California courtroom since 2012.

(And now a reading from the Book of Rehash: State law requires job candidates for the post to have been a “practicing attorney in all the courts of the state for at least the year preceding” their hire. Marcus previously worked for a Contra Costa County-based law firm between 2012 and 2017 on a contract basis — while living in Florida. Following Marcus’s February hiring, Eureka-based attorney Patrik Griego filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment; a visiting judge allowed the suit to continue in September; Griego dropped the suit following Marcus’s resignation on Thanksgiving eve.) That’s the short version, and it’s only cost the county nine months of an office in turmoil as attorney after attorney bolted. The true cost to Humboldt County’s justice system — which was already struggling with heavy caseloads before all this public defender drama — is incalculable.

The impact of this mess — on defendants, on crime victims, on taxpayers — is indefensible.

Some unsolicited advice to the Board of Supervisors, which meets Tuesday to appoint Kaleb Cockrum as interim public defender, on where to take things from here:

  • Good on you for selecting Cockrum — now working as the supervising attorney for Conflict Counsel, a division of the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office — as your interim pick. You’ve at least cleared the first hurdle there.

We wish him the best of luck stabilizing an office that’s just been through nine months of turmoil.

  • When you get around to appointing a permanent public defender, do include someone on your advisory committee who isn’t a district attorney or a sheriff. No disrespect to either; we’re sure everyone involved in the advisory committee preceding Marcus’s hire was and is a true civil servant passionately committed to the dispassionate exercise of justice. Even so, however well-intentioned, however closely they’ll work together in the future, having sitting district attorneys involved in picking their adversaries simply doesn’t past the smell test.
  • Finally, the whole process needs more sunshine. The Humboldt County justice system does not each day spring forth fully formed from the forehead of Zeus; mere mortals shape its policies and findings every day with decisions that resonate years into the future. People ought to be publicly accountable for the decisions they make with taxpayer money — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it might cost us all less of it.

The impact of this mess — on defendants, on crime victims, on taxpayers — is indefensible.

Time-Standard editorial 12-3-17

http://www.times-standard.com/

After zero time spent at the Borges Civil rights trial, Sheriff Honsal blows off the verdict of eight attentive jurors

Guest post from Bob Holcomb, a retired political science instructor and longtime friend of the decedent’s stepfather, was present for the entirety of the trial

On Aug. 28, a jury of eight Humboldt County citizens returned a unanimous verdict in federal court that sheriff’s office correctional staff had failed to provide medical care, as required by their own written policies, for Daren Borges, who died less than two hours after his booking. The jury-determined award to his mother Stephany Borges was $2.5 million. The legal fees and expenses over the 30 months it took to bring the case to trial will likely add an additional million. Representing Humboldt County, attorney Nancy Delaney has indicated she plans to appeal to have the verdict overturned, which will add substantially more to the costs and is a very long shot at best. As the presiding trial judge stated, “Let’s just be clear, the evidence was pretty substantial in a variety of ways — as I’ve said before — so the likelihood I’m going to overturn a verdict is pretty low.” Want to try the Ninth Circuit? Good luck with that!

Admittedly the “preponderance of evidence” is a lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” required in a criminal case. Nonetheless, what had to be proven in this civil case to find a defendant culpable was significant. In the jury instructions, the plaintiffs were required to prove their claim that Mr. Borges’ civil rights had been denied by demonstrating:

  1. The defendant made an intentional decision with respect to the conditions under which Mr. Borges was confined.
  2. Those conditions put Daren Borges at serious risk of suffering serious harm.
  3. The defendant did not take reasonable available measures to abate that risk, even though a reasonable officer in the circumstances would have appreciated the high degree of risk involved — making the consequences of the defendant’s conduct obvious; and
  4. By not taking such measures, the defendant caused Daren Borges injuries.

Three defendants were found responsible on all four elements; a supervisor was exonerated.

So, we have another multimillion dollar judgment against

the sheriff’s correctional staff (remember the Cotton case) arrived at by local jurors who spent four and a half days listening to testimony, viewing videos and hearing arguments before 10 hours of deliberation. They not only found three officers at fault, they also found inadequate training had been provided for the staff by the sheriff’s office.

Given said results in this federal civil rights trial, what is the response of recently appointed Sheriff Honsal? According to “Jury awards $2.5M in jail death suit” (Times-Standard, Aug. 31, Page A1), he said the correctional officers did everything they were supposed to do. The unanimous eightmember jury sure didn’t see it that way. Of course the jury heard all the evidence and saw the entire video of Daren’s time in custody whereas Honsal’s involvement in the trial was zero. The unelected sheriff said Daren would have either died in jail or on the streets with the amount of methamphetamine found inside him. Guess Mr. Honsal has more knowledge than the emergency room physician with 30 years experience who testified that had Daren received a proper evaluation at the jail intake and been sent to the hospital at that point, he would be alive today. How certain was he about that? “One hundred percent.”

Bad enough that Mr. Honsal blows off the verdict of eight attentive jurors and gives no indication any remediation is likely. He then bizarrely suggests that Stephany Borges (who is nearing 70 and lives in Albuquerque) should track down the dealer who sold the drugs to Daren! Some might think that’s your responsibility, Sheriff Honsal, not the duty of a grieving mother.