Mendocino County Today: Friday, Nov. 11, 2016
by AVA News Service, November 11, 2016
AN AVA SOURCE said late Thursday that as of 4pm Thursday, not a single Mendo vote had been counted since election night! More than 31,000 mail in ballots have been received but County Clerk Ranochak has only sent approximately 6,000 of them through the machines. Her office is covered in bins of ballots that haven't been opened yet. The 22,000 ballots received by Saturday should have been opened and counted by election night.
Our source says, “Ranochak needs 30 people working on mail-ins in the days before the election, not the eight she has. She needs more voting machines and more people there, too. I saw Supervisor Gjerde down there Monday and he said she has never asked for extra help. Better yet, re-open the polls. By law, every vote cast at a polling place has to be counted election night. End of problem."
WE HEARD YESTERDAY from a visitor to the Assessor’s office that pending assessment work was being delayed because clerical workers from the Assessor’s Office (who also work for Ranochak) had been loaned to the Elections office. But our source for that suspected it wasn’t true because there didn’t seem to any improvement in the vote counting process.
RANOCHAK'S GOTTA GO
Delayed Vote Count Too Much
In 2014 the total number of votes cast in the (final count) Fort Bragg City Council race was 4,729. The 2016 total (so far) is only 1,752. The 2014 race was for three council seats, 2016 is for two, so multiplying the 2014 total by 2/3 still means a final total of about 3,153. The 2014 FB Council race was a fairly high charged affair, but 2016 is a Presidential election year; therefore, one would expect roughly an equal or greater number of voters.
Similarly there were 15,930 votes for three Mendocino Coast Healthcare seats in 2014. Though there are two four year seats and one two year seat up for election in 2016, that's still three seats. The total vote count should be somewhat similar, but there are only 7,225 votes accounted for at this point.
Assessor-Recorder Ranochak's website has no updates beyond the two a.m. election night total AND no mention of estimated totals of votes still to be counted! There is a nonsensical column stating the number of precincts reporting, which states that in the Mendo Healthcare District fifty-nine out of fifty-nine precincts have reported. This falsely leads voters/citizens to believe that all the precincts, and all the votes, have been counted. If we hadn't had the nearly identical experience in 2014 to go by, citizens might be bamboozled into thinking this is the truly final vote count, when in reality it is nowhere near the final total. The simple question: What the heck is going on? That's the polite version. My advice to Ranochak: Finish this count, then offer your letter of resignation immediately thereafter. Advice to the Board of Supervisors: Find a way to deduct this recurring fiasco from Ranochak's pay and/or pension, then figure out a method for fixing this vote count fiasco before 2018.
NAVARRO RIVER SANDBAR BACK — RIVER RISING (AGAIN)
The Navarro River sandbar re-formed after being breached two Saturdays ago - and it has flooded the Navarro River beach parking lot so State Parks has closed vehicle access to the beach once again.
And while the flood level of the Navarro is 23-feet, and the current level is 3.44’, last December CA-128 was closed due to ocean swell “slop over” on the sandbar, not from flooding.
LIGHT RAIN AHEAD. Weather reports predict light showers Friday night and into Saturday morning, then maybe half an inch in the Mendo area next Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
THE SPECIAL VETERANS DAY EVENT held annually at Evergreen Cemetery on AV Way will take place this coming Friday, November 11 at 10.45am. There will be a minute’s silence at 11am to commemorate the end of World War I, “The War to end all Wars” (oh, had it been so), which came to pass at the “Eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. In terms of taking a deep breath and thinking about what really matters, this is one of the more important community gatherings of the year so please think seriously about attending. It is hoped that this special occasion is not an overtly political, militaristic, or religious event. It does, however, offer a chance for us to show support and gratitude for both those who gave their lives or were wounded in wars of the past, and for those who have served or continue to serve so that we may have the freedoms and liberties that we continue to enjoy today. (— Steve Sparks)
Boonville Veterans Gathered in Ukiah on Veterans Day 2015
POT TRIMMING: the Press Democrat explains.
THE NATIONAL SNIVEL. I give it at least another week, acres of young people hugging each other and weeping. Suck it up, wimpos: Hillary lost because the Orange Meanie won, and she lost because she's the only registered Democrat in the entire country who could have lost to Orange Man. And she's a crook, and her husband is a rapist and a crook, and because she and her political party stand for absolutely nothing, and because she's clearly an extremely unpleasant person on a personal level. Not to be too harsh about it, but if you're crying because you thought Hillary was both a viable and an attractive candidate, you should see your doctor for a cognition check.
MY FAVE CRY BABY was the guy I spotted in Marin today. The entire back window of his SUV was covered with a small photo of Trump and these letters writ large: WTF.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, "Cats? Sneaky, self-centered bastards, but they're a lot nicer than possums."
THINK IT'S EASY BEING A COP?
(Crime of the day, San Francisco)
A 9-1-1 call was made regarding a person smashing the glass windows at a MUNI bus shelter. The 9-1-1 caller gave a detailed description of the suspect, and Officers quickly responded to the scene. The suspect was located and detained, still in the MUNI bus shelter. Three of the four glass windows had been smashed.
The Officers spoke with the 9-1-1 caller, who said he saw the suspect when driving by. He told the Officers that the suspect was holding a brick, and when he asked the suspect what he was doing, the suspect replied, “I’m breaking windows.” The witness decided not to engage the suspect, and called 9-1-1 to report the incident.
The suspect was continually abusive toward the Officers on scene, and refused to follow the Officers commands. He was positively identified as the suspect by the witness, and placed under arrest on a felony vandalism charge.
The suspect also attempted on numerous occasions to defecate on the street, and inside the marked police vehicle while he was being transported. The suspect was intent upon being as difficult and disgusting as possible during the entire incident, and Richmond Officers acted with the utmost professionalism.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Trump also positioned himself against the corrupt, self-interested, lobby-group-infested political system that these same Americans, the deplorables, feel strongly has enriched itself at their expense.
Hillary Clinton perfectly personified that system; a career politician who has repeatedly fleeced her positions of power to make millions of dollars for herself and her husband, and who carried with her a permanent smug sense of entitlement to be America’s first female president.
I was struck by the sheer scale of cocky complacency which enveloped the Clinton camp in the past few weeks as Election Day approached.
It smacked of precisely the same there’s no way we can possibly lose to these ‘ignorant, racist, sexist Neanderthals’ establishment mentality that provoked Britain into Brexit in June.
ROYCROFT DOWN, RECOVERING
MCN LISTSERVE POST: Friends, fans and former customers: Douglas has had a serious motor car accident and is in the hospital in Santa Rosa. He will be there for a while. He is in room 298 bed 1 at Santa Rosa Memorial 535-5200 (robot phone#) than dial 8 — 1 followed by enter room #298
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DOUG ROYCROFT SOON ADDED: Old news. Now in Healdsburg at nice rehab, be here for at least six more weeks. Got 't-boned' by drunk driver. I'll be out of here before he's out of stony lonesome. Fuggin piecea shid… Three broken ribs, broken ankle, bruises, moan groan. Saved from worse by good Mercedes Benz design/construction. Hey, if it was good enough for Hitler, it's good enough for me! Love to all — Douglas
MEET THE SALTY DRAGONS
by Allan Green
Even Dragons get older, and after several years in the 60+ division at the World Series several players expressed interest in moving up to the 65+ age bracket. Fortunately Noah Clark of the Salty Dogs, a formidable 60+ team based in Rhode Island, was in a similar situation. A merger was negotiated, and in an instant: Salty Dragons! Some of the Salty Dogs were from the East Coast, and seven came all the way from Puerto Rico to play in the 2016 World Series with the Salty Dragons. Even so, the new Salty Dragons with a roster of only 17 players faced a daunting challenge in a division with 17 other more established teams.
But things started to click for the Salty Dragons right away. Great pitching and sterling defense enabled them to notch three straight wins. The offense took longer to get untracked, and the Salty Dragons wasted a tremendous pitching effort by Willy Rios, mustering only six hits in a tough 2-1 loss to the Red Deer Legends. They rebounded the next day to win at Scottsdale Stadium as Lou Patler pitched five shutout innings, giving them the number one seeding entering the playoffs.
Jorge Rivera pitched a gem in the first playoff game, giving up just one earned run through seven innings in a 14-5 win over the Tri-Valley Giants. Bob Tremblay, Willy Rios and Allan Green each had three hits to pace the offense. In the semifinal game the Salty Dragons took advantage of the opportunity to avenge their loss to the Red Deer Legends. Unlike the prior contest, this one turned into a slugfest. Although the Salty Dragons erupted for seven runs in the first inning and eight more in the sixth, it took a four-run eighth, powered by Bob Tremblay’s two-run triple, to finally subdue the Legends 22-18.
Starting pitcher Ernie Barten kept the Tucson Toros in check for the first six innings in the championship game, and reliever Ruben Castillo shut them out the rest of the way. Gary Firestone broke a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning with a booming two-run double, John Ludwig contributed three hits, and after the final out of the 10-4 win was recorded, the new Salty Dragons were all sporting World Series rings.
While every player made significant contributions, two stood out and received co-M.V.P. honors: Ruben Castillo, who batted .559 in the leadoff spot and also pitched in relief in six of the eight games; and Bob Tremblay, who hit .543, led the team with 13 runs scored, and anchored the infield with steady, sometimes spectacular, play at shortstop. Willy Rios and centerfielder Allan Green also hit .500 or better for the week. Gary Firestone led the team with nine RBIs and Augustin Kerkado was dominant in his role as closer.
CEO REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
PLANNING AND BUILDING SERVICES (PBS) has recently been impacted by several key staff members transitioning away from County employment. In order to ensure adequate support to the public, Steve Dunnicliff, Director of Planning and Building Services requested assistance from the Executive Office. CEO Angelo has assigned Deputy CEO Christopher Shaver to PBS for the next 90 days. Mr. Shaver will be providing support to PBS staff and the public, as needed, to both minimize operational impacts during the various recruitment processes, as well as assist in identifying methods of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the office.
CANNABIS LEGALIZATION: On November 8, the voters of California passed Proposition 64, legalizing the adult recreational use of cannabis. The current state agencies developing regulations for medical cannabis have been charged with developing adult use regulations by January 1, 2018. While adult use will be legal, there are still many unknowns on the regulatory front, which will be addressed by the legislature beginning in January 2017. The County is working with our various state associations in analyzing the proposition and developing local strategies for implementation and integration of current medical cannabis provisions with adult use. Staff is continuing to work on local regulations for all medical license types allowed under state law and in mid–2017 will begin the process of integrating adult use provision for 2018. The County will engage with our state representatives to address adult use. There is a possibility that the Legislature may allow recreational users to purchase cannabis at medical retail outlets, in the interim of adult use licenses.
FULL CEO REPORT:
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 10, 2016
Blancas, Cazares, Davis
DOMANIK BLANCAS, Covelo. Drunk in public.
MAURILIO CAZARES, Fort Bragg. DUI, pot sale.
BENJAMIN DAVIS, Laytonville. Meth possession for sale.
Green, Hernandez-Martinez, Hill
STEVEN GREEN, Ukiah. Burglary, crimes while on bail, controlled substance, probation revocation.
SERGIO HERNANDEZ-MARTINEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
MICKEY HILL, Willits. Misdemeanor hit&run, evasion, resisting, probation revocation.
Ireland, Kellett, Parker
ASHLEY IRELAND, Ukiah. Drunk in public, child endangerment, resisting, battery on peace officer.
SARA KELLETT, Ukiah. Pot sales.
MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
IN THINKING ABOUT WHY TRUMP WON — I voted for Jill Stein — I think that Middle America repudiated the power elite.
Wall Street to K Street to Capitol Hill — it's one revolving door. Case in point, the financial industry has hired over 70 former Members of Congress and 940 former federal employees to lobby on their behalf. Members of both parties are guilty.
Likewise, working class people repudiated the intellectual elite. Working class people don't want to be told what to do, or what to believe, or how to feel, by the denizens of Devos, Southampton, and Aspen.
Working class people also know in their gut that their elected officials in Washington don't really work for them, despite the rhetoric. In the absence of political finance reform, special interests will always come before the public interest.
We'll analyze why Trump won and Clinton lost in upcoming shows during the next few weeks at KMEC Radio, every Monday at 1 pm. We're scheduling guests now.
—John Sakowicz at www.kmecradio.org
PS. Question: Okay, isn't it enough that Hillary Clinton lost, or do we still want her behind bars?
Answer: we want her behind bars, and Trey Gowdy should be the next US Attorney General who puts her there.
BTW, I voted for Jill Stein. I will never forgive Hillary for stealing the nomination from Bernie. Never.
A READER COMMENTS
Dr. DOO, THE T-SHIRT: Hey we should make the dr doo cartoon a shirt now. The one that says "2015 twas the year of the politically correct" (says the crow in the black lives matter t- shirt). "Or not" (says the crow in the Trump cap). So good!
DEFYING THE POLITICS OF FEAR
by Chris Hedges
No social or revolutionary movement succeeds without a core of people who will not betray their vision and their principles. They are the building blocks of social change. They are our only hope for a viable socialism. They are willing to spend their lives as political outcasts. They are willing to endure repression. They will not sell out the oppressed and the poor. They know that you stand with all of the oppressed—people of color in our prisons and marginal communities, the poor, unemployed workers, our LGBT community, undocumented workers, the mentally ill and the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans whom we terrorize and murder — or you stand with none of the oppressed. They know when you fight for the oppressed you get treated like the oppressed. They know this is the cost of the moral life, a life that is not abandoned even if means you are destined to spend generations wandering in the wilderness, even if you are destined to fail.
I was in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania in 1989 during the revolutions, or in the case of Romania an interparty putsch. These revolutions were spontaneous outbursts by an enraged population that had had enough of communist repression, mismanagement and corruption. No one, from the dissidents themselves to the ruling communist parties, anticipated these revolts. They erupted, as all revolutions do, from tinder that had been waiting years for a spark.
These revolutions were led by a handful of dissidents who until the fall of 1989 were marginal and dismissed by the state as inconsequential until it was too late. The state periodically sent state security to harass them. It often ignored them. I am not even sure you could call these dissidents an opposition. They were profoundly isolated within their own societies. The state media denied them a voice. They had no legal status and were locked out of the political system. They were blacklisted. They struggled to make a living. But when the breaking point in Eastern Europe came, when the ruling communist ideology lost all credibility, there was no question in the minds of the public about whom they could trust. The demonstrators that poured into the streets of East Berlin and Prague were aware of who would sell them out and who would not. They trusted those, such as Václav Havel, who had dedicated their lives to fighting for open society, those who had been willing to be condemned as nonpersons and go to jail for their defiance.
Our only chance to overthrow corporate power comes from those who will not surrender to it, who will hold fast to the causes of the oppressed no matter what the price, who are willing to be dismissed and reviled by a bankrupt liberal establishment, who have found within themselves the courage to say no, to refuse to cooperate. The most important issue in this election does not revolve around the personal traits of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It revolves around the destructive dynamic of unfettered and unregulated global capitalism, the crimes of imperialism and the security and surveillance apparatus. These forces are where real power lies. Trump and Clinton will do nothing to restrict them.
It is up to us to resist. We must refuse to be complicit, even in the act of voting, with the fossil fuel industry’s savaging of our ecosystem, endless wars, oppression of the poor, including the one in five children in this country who is hungry, the evisceration of constitutional rights and civil liberties, the cruel and inhumane system of mass incarceration and the state-sponsored execution of unarmed poor people of color in our marginal communities.
Julien Benda reminds us that we can serve two sets of principles. Privilege and power or justice and truth. The more we make compromises with those who serve privilege and power the more we diminish the capacity for justice and truth. Our strength comes from our steadfastness to justice and truth, a steadfastness that accepts that the corporate forces arrayed against us may crush us, but that the more we make compromises with those whose ends are privilege and power the more we diminish our capacity to effect change.
Karl Popper in “The Open Society and Its Enemies” writes that the question is not how do you get good people to rule. Popper says this is the wrong question. Most people attracted to power, he writes, have “rarely been above average, either morally or intellectually, and often [have been] below it.” The question is how do we build forces to restrict the despotism of the powerful. There is a moment in Henry Kissinger’s memoirs—do not buy the book—when Nixon and Kissinger are looking out at tens of thousands of anti-war protesters who have surrounded the White House. Nixon had placed empty city buses in front of the White House to keep the protesters back. He worried out loud that the crowd would break through the barricades and get him and Kissinger. And that is exactly where we want people in power to be. This is why, although he was not a liberal, Nixon was our last liberal president. He was scared of movements. And if we cannot make the elites scared of us we will fail.
The rise of Donald Trump is the product of the disenchantment, despair and anger caused by neoliberalism and the collapse of institutions that once offered a counterweight to the powerful. Trump gives vent to the legitimate rage and betrayal of the white underclass and working poor. His right-wing populism, which will grow in virulence and sophistication under a Clinton presidency, mirrors the right-wing populism rippling across much of Europe including Poland, Hungary, France and Great Britain. If Clinton wins, Trump becomes the dress rehearsal for fascism.
A bankrupt liberal class, as was true in Yugoslavia when I covered the war and as was true in Weimar Germany, is the great enabler of fascism. Liberals, in the name of the practical, refuse to challenge parties that betray workingmen and –women. They surrender their values for political expediency. Our [failure] to build a counterweight to the Democratic Party after it abandoned the working class with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 was our gravest mistake.
Hillary Clinton embodies the detested neoliberal establishment. She can barely fend off one of the most imbecilic and narcissistic candidates in American history. Matched against a demagogue with brains and political skill, she would lose. If we do not defy the neoliberal order, championed by Clinton and the Democratic Party elites, we ensure the conditions for a terrifying right-wing backlash, one that will use harsh and violent mechanisms to crush the little political space we have left.
The tactic of strategic voting begs the question “Strategic for whom?” Our money-drenched, heavily managed elections are little more than totalitarian plebiscites to give a veneer of legitimacy to corporate power. As long as we signal that we are not a threat to the established order, as long as we participate in this charade, the neoliberal assault will continue towards its frightening and inevitable conclusion.
Alexis de Tocqueville correctly saw that when citizens can no longer participate in a meaningful way in political life, political populism is replaced by a cultural populism of sameness, resentment and mindless patriotism and by a form of anti-politics he called “democratic despotism.” The language and rituals of democracy are used to mask a political system based on the unchallenged supremacy of corporate power, one the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.”
We must build structures of open defiance to the corporate state. It may take as long as a decade for us to effectively confront corporate power. But without a potent counterweight to the neoliberal order we will be steadily disempowered. Every action we take, every word we utter must make it clear that we refuse to participate in our own enslavement and destruction. The rapid disintegration of the ecosystem means resistance cannot be delayed.
Our success will be determined not by the number of votes we get in this or any other election but by our ability to stand unequivocally with the oppressed. The enemies of freedom throughout history have always charged its defenders with subversion. The enemies of freedom have often convinced large parts of a captive population to parrot back mind-numbing clichés to justify their rule. Resistance to corporate power will require fortitude, an ability to march to the beat of our own drum.
No revolutionary abandons, no matter what the cost, those he or she defends. We cannot betray those murdered by police in our marginal communities. We cannot betray the courageous dissidents—Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and the great revolutionary Mumia Abu-Jamal. They have not betrayed us. We cannot betray the dissidents in North Dakota who are defying a fossil fuel industry that is orchestrating the sixth great mass extinction, melting the polar ice caps and raising carbon emissions to over 400 parts per million. We cannot betray the 2.3 million men and women locked in cages across this nation for years and decades. We cannot betray the Palestinians. We cannot betray the Iraqis and Afghans whose lives we have destroyed by state terror. If we betray them we betray ourselves.
We cannot betray the ideal of a popular democracy by pretending this contrived political theater is free or fair or democratic. We cannot play their game. We cannot play by their rules. Our job is not to accommodate the corporate state. Our job is to destroy it. “We think we are the doctors,” Alexander Herzen told anarchists of another era. “We are the disease.”
The state seeks to control us through fear, propaganda, wholesale surveillance and violence. [This] is the only form of social control it has left. The lie of neoliberalism has been exposed. Its credibility has imploded. The moment we cease being afraid, the moment we use our collective strength as I saw in Eastern Europe in 1989 to make the rulers afraid of us, is the moment of the system’s downfall.
Go into the voting booth on Tuesday. Do not be afraid. Vote with your conscience. Vote Green. If we win 5 percent we win. Five percent becomes the building block for the years ahead. A decade ago Syriza, the ruling party in Greece, was polling 4 percent. And after you vote, join some movement, some protest, some disruption, Black Lives Matter, the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, an anti-fracking demonstration. Courage is contagious. Revolutions begin, as I saw in East Germany, with a few Lutheran clergy holding candles as they marched through the streets of Leipzig in East Germany. It ends with half a million people protesting in East Berlin, the defection of the police and the army to the side of the protesters and the collapse of the Stasi state. But revolutions only happen when a few dissidents decide they will no longer cooperate, when they affirm what we must all affirm, when, as Havel said, they choose to live in truth.
We may not succeed. So be it. At least those who come after us, and I speak as a father, will say we tried. The corporate forces that have us in their death grip will destroy our lives. They will destroy the lives of my children. They will destroy the lives of your children. They will destroy the ecosystem that makes life possible. We owe it to those who come after us not to be complicit in this evil. We owe it to them to refuse to be good Germans. I do not, in the end, fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.
CINDERELLA - FINAL WEEKEND!
Gloriana Musical Theatre presents “Cinderella,” the classic musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics and book by Oscar Hammerstein II. Directed by Erin and Kevin Green. Running through November 13 with performances at 7:30 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday matinees beginning at 3 p.m. At Eagles Hall Theatre. Admission is $18 for the general public, $15 for Seniors (55+) and $8 for youth (17 and under). Tickets may be purchased online at gloriana.org, at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or at the door of Eagles Hall Theatre prior to each performance. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to get them quick! For more information visit Gloriana.org.
AND NOW A BUCKET OF PLATITUDES FROM CONGRESSMAN CORK TOP
November 10, 2016
I'm grateful for the honor of representing the people of our Fifth Congressional District and I'm eager to get back to Washington to focus on the issues that are important to our district and to our country.
A new President and Congress have been elected and it is important that we ensure a peaceful and successful transition of power. While there's no question that the challenge has become steeper when it comes to advancing the policies we care about, I'm not giving up. As the old saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
I will keep working to make sure our communities and our kids are safe from gun violence. I will continue to advance policies that protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare for our seniors while also making sure that every student in our country has a fair shot at an affordable education. I will fight to ensure that everyone in our country has access to affordable, quality health care. And, I will continue to work for comprehensive immigration reform that honors our heritage as a nation of immigrants, provides a path to citizenship for those who come to our country in search of a better life, and protects the families who are already valued members of our communities.
Please know that as your Representative, I will always defend our shared values of respect and acceptance for all people - regardless of immigration status, nationality, race or gender - and I won't hesitant to fight back if they're ever threatened.
At the same time, I will look for opportunities to work with the new Administration to make a difference for people in our community and across our country. One opportunity I see is repairing our country's crumbling infrastructure. By doing so, we can put a lot of people back to work and grow our country's economy, a priority we all share. And, I will work with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure that we provide ample opportunity for hard-working people to obtain an affordable education, get a well-paying job, and enjoy financial security in retirement.
I will never give up on our vision for America's future and I hope you won't either. And I would ask each of you to remember that every individual has the power to take small steps toward building a better America every day. As a New York Times columnist wrote, "Maybe the purest act of patriotism involves well-meaning citizens redoubling their efforts at being respectful, compassionate and decent in their everyday lives. It's what we can control, after all, our small gift to democracy..."
It's the highest honor and greatest privilege to represent the wonderful people of our Fifth Congressional District, and as we look ahead please know that you always have a voice and an ear in me, your Representative in Congress.
Member of Congress
UPCOMING EVENTS at the Ukiah Library
PASS THE HANKY
“So he won. The nation takes a deep breath. Raw ego and proud illiteracy have won out, and a severely learning-disabled man with a real character problem will be president. We are so exhausted from thinking about this election, millions of people will take up leaf-raking and garage cleaning with intense pleasure. We liberal elitists are wrecks. The Trumpers had a whale of a good time, waving their signs, jeering at the media, beating up protesters, chanting “Lock her up” — we elitists just stood and clapped. Nobody chanted “Stronger Together.” It just doesn’t chant. The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch. The Trumpers exulted in knowing we were tearing our hair out. They had our number, like a bratty kid who knows exactly how to make you grit your teeth and froth at the mouth.”
SIX TAKEAWAYS FROM THE ELECTION IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY
by Members of the Lost Coast Outpost editorial staff
While there’s still somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 ballots yet to be counted, a number of storylines emerged from the local Election Day results. Of course, they were overshadowed by the big national storyline embodied by (go ahead, fingers, type it out) President-Elect Donald Trump.
But we live behind the Redwood Curtain! We’re sheltered from the tempestuous angst gripping the nation, right? RIGHT? Oh. Evidently not.
ANYWAY! Below we take a look at a few of the things we can glean from our local community based on the bubbles we filled in at the ballot box.
Humboldt County Is Ready for Legal Weed
The last time Californians considered legalizing weed, with Prop 19 back in 2010, Humboldt County voters mirrored the rest of the statemore or less exactly, voting “no” by a margin of 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.
In the finger-pointing aftermath much was made of the fact that growers themselves seemed to reject the measure by the widest margin. Precincts in marijuana-rich SoHum showed the most lopsided opposition, prompting critics to malign Emerald Triangle growers as greedy and self-interested.
This time around Humboldt County voters approved legalization, and they did so by an even wider margin than the rest of the state. Of the more than 34,000 Humboldt County ballots counted thus far nearly 59 percent were marked “yes,” compared to 56 percent statewide.
Local voters also overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a countywide regulation and taxation initiative expected to generate more than $7 million annually through fees ranging from one to three dollars per square foot, depending on the type of grow.
And in the little city of Rio Dell voters validated a recent City Council decision to allow commercial weed businesses in the Sawmill Annexation Area north of the Eel River. The council had initially voted 3-2, back in June, to reject commercial marijuana businesses altogether, but they opted to reconsider after outraged residents started threatening recalls.
While the precinct-level information has yet to be reported it’s safe to say that Humboldt County as a whole is willing to plunge into an unknown future, one in which our biggest cash crop — perhaps even the foundation of our economy — emerges from the shadows to become a regulated and taxed commodity.
Humboldt County is Part of California After All
Donald Trump’s base is white, rural and poor. Humboldt County is white, rural and poor. A large part of Donald Trump’s support came from white, rural, poor people still struggling to find their way in a post-industrial economy. Humboldt County is full of white, rural, poor people still struggling to find their way in a post-industrial – or post-timber – economy.
Yet Humboldt County’s voted for Hillary Clinton in numbers that mirror California as a whole – just shy of 2 to 1 for Clinton over Trump, in both cases.
Why should this be? Because more of us are college-educated? That probably has something to do with it. Del Norte County, which neighbors us to the north, voted for Trump over Clinton 55-38. Only 16 percent of Del Norte adults aged 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, as opposed to 27.5 percent here in Humboldt. But look at Trinity County, to our east – they went Trump 51-40, and their rate of college education is 22 percent. Not all that different from ours.
We’re natural Trump Country, and yet we thoroughly rejected Trump. We’re a bright blue beacon in the deeply red State of Jefferson. Why is that? The only answer I can think of is that for all our cherished rebelry and outlawhood, we’re actually more culturally akin to the latte-swillers along the rest of the California coast than we are to our demographically similar neighbors to the north and east.
Eureka Has Changed
Over the past 15 years or so there’s been a political tug of war in the county seat between the traditionalist, fraternal lodge-type residents, those who live in what the Outpost‘s own Hank Sims dubbed “Eureka profundo” a decade ago, and the left-of-center (relative) newcomers who rail against the “good ol’ boys” and prefer bike parties to Chamber of Commerce mixers.
For a long while the two camps dug trenches on either side of Rob Arkley’s proposed Marina Center, but in recent years the divide has been most visible in the glares and arguments between councilmembers Marian Brady and Linda Atkins.
John Fullerton seemed an ideal candidate for Eureka profundo — a widely respected business owner with a long history of public service. He was endorsed by a who’s who of Eureka’s power elite, including Mayor Frank Jager, former councilmember Mike Jones and current county supervisors Virginia Bass and Rex Bohn.
And yet, barring an unprecedented anomaly in the outstanding ballots (see No. 6, below), Fullerton was soundly defeated by a 25-year-old cardiac monitor tech who entered the race at the last possible moment with virtually zero name recognition. Austin Allison was carried to victory on the shoulders of the North Coast People’s Alliance, an upstart political group initially formed as a field office for Bernie Sanders.
Allison and his supporters promised new ideas; they protested the planned closure of local nursing homes; and they vowed to maintain the progressive majority established two years ago with the election of Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel to the council.
On another matter, Eurekans emphatically supported Measure P, changing the City’s official procedure for electing representatives from an “at-large ward” system to a “true ward” system. This despite vociferous objections from the center-right. Mayor Frank Jager, for example, went so far as to call Measure P “undemocratic.”
But Allison, unlike Fullerton, supported the change. During a debate early last month he said, “Eureka over the years has changed and it’s safe to say that what’s worked before does not always work today.”
It seems a majority of Eureka residents agreed.
Arcata is Happy Being Arcata
For years, people both inside and outside Arcata have grumbled about the Plaza scene, about the town’s abundance of housefree travelers, about the chaos of Bar Row. That’s in addition to the usual civic unrest about potholes and the like, common to any jurisdiction.
None of this has slowed down that much in recent years, but the city seems to have found some sort of blissful equilibrium. Not so long ago you’d have a dozen city council candidates on the ballot representing this faction or that, or just running on a whim. There would be heated council meetings and protesters and internecine warfare – the Meservists at loggerheads with the Hauserites, etc..
But today’s Arcata is a well-greased Tesla, judging by the election results. The three candidates who have already served six or eight years apiece – Susan Ornelas, Paul Pitino and Michael Winkler – were returned to the City Council with overwhelming margins. The Arcata Elementary School District had both a bond measure and a parcel tax on the ballot, and both passed with 70+ percent of the vote. A utility users tax that has been on the books since 1996 was reaffirmed, though perhaps with a smaller margin than in previous elections.
Arcata may often dissent from the country, but Arcatans don’t really dissent from Arcata.
Humboldt Hearts the Housed Poor
Most everyone would agree that we have a tragic and intractable homelessness problem here. Our compassion often fails to live up to the Betty Chinn standard, and opinions differ on the best way to address the issue. But on Election Day voters backed a couple of initiatives aimed at helping people find and maintain affordable low-income housing, a key component of virtually every proposed solution.
Most notably voters approved Measure V, the mobile home rent-stabilization initiative, despite a $200,000 effort on the part of industry titans to fight the measure with dire warnings of lawsuits and unforeseen consequences.
And in Eureka, voters approved Measure O, a confusingly worded initiative that will increase the total number of government-subsidized low-income housing units allowed in the city.
No One Votes in the Booth Anymore
When we contacted her yesterday, Clerk-Recorder Kelly Sanders gave us a rough estimate of the number of ballots still to be counted: Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,300. About 11,000 of these, she said, were vote-by-mail ballots that were mailed to the Elections Office or turned in over the counter too close to Election Day to be included in the election night tally. Another 5,400 vote-by-mail ballots were handed to poll workers at polling places. Add to those about 3,900 provisional ballots.
Sanders will have more definitive figures at some point in the future, but that’s her thumbnail sketch of the state of affairs – 20,300 ballots are still uncounted. Compare that to the number of votes cast for president in the traditional way, in the ballot booth, on Election Day this year – 22,020.
There are nearly as many votes left to count as there were votes cast at a polling place. Add those to the 12,717 vote-by-mail ballots that were cast in time to be included in the election night reports, and you see that polling place-voters are the minority.
This is a direct factor in why it takes so long to tally election results these days. The results in most of the major local races happened to be pretty clear this time around, maybe apart from Measure U and an interesting three-way write-in race for two city council seats up in Blue Lake. But we’d better get used to not having results for weeks after the fact in any future close contests.
Eureka City Council candidate John Fullerton has gotten used to it. Though the race has pretty clearly trended away from him, he says on his Facebook page that he remains “optimistic and positive” about the outcome. Somewhere in his mind, no doubt, is Kim Bergel’s comeback from behind in the late absentee vote two years ago, when the final tally wasn’t released until three or four weeks after election night. And who knows? An eventual Fullerton win doesn’t seem at all probable, at this point, but it’s almost certainly within the bounds of the possible.