Can we have a calm discussion?

Scientific Consensus

Addendum:   The Supervisors discuss enforcement of the Measure and the costs involved.  It looks like there remains a bit of ambiguity when it comes to vaccinations of cats and dogs, but in any case state law will trump Measure P as it applies to livestock.

Also, the politics of Measure Z already started to heat up a little as they decide who gets to be on the committee.  It looks like they’re already gearing up to stack the committee with stakeholders set to receive the revenues, so there may not be much of a civilian oversight function since, according to Fire Chief Ken Woods, civilians lack the requisite “expertise.”

I don’t like where the discussion is going.  But this is one among several reasons I voted against Prop Z.

Thadeus Greenson is calling it a “slim chance,” and he’s probably right.  But given the number of yet-to-be-counted votes, I’m more hopeful than I was when I went to sleep last night!

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich told the Journal early this morning that some 471 vote by mail ballots were dropped off on Election Day at Eureka polling locations, where another 236 provisional ballots were cast. Now, assuming all those mail-in ballots are actually from Eureka voters and that all those provisional ballots prove valid — and that none of those voters left the Ward 3 contest blank — that means at least 707 votes remain uncounted in the race. Additionally, Crnich said there could be another 1,000 or so vote by mail ballots that arrived at the county elections office Monday and Tuesday that have yet to be sorted.

Let’s start with the 707. If Bergel is to make up the 104-vote gap, she would need to win 406 of those votes. That would be 57.4 percent. She pulled only 42.87 percent of the vote on the mail-in ballots that have already been counted and 54.13 at the polls on Election Day, so that seems a tall order.

But let’s factor in those other potential 1,000 or so ballots. If those ballots are representative of the county’s overall registration numbers, then about 19 percent would come from Eureka voters, or about 190 ballots. If we add those to the 707 we just discussed, we get 897 ballots. To make up 104 votes in that scenario, Bergel would have to pull 55.85 percent of the vote.

Basically, in order to pull this thing out without some statistical anomaly in the voting patterns — or to win while pulling the same 54.13 percent of the vote she got at the polls — Bergel would need there to be more than 1,200 ballots outstanding in the race. That seems unlikely.

But consider this: Four years ago, when Newman edged out Ron Kuhnel to take the seat, 1,825 votes showed up in the final tally that weren’t recorded in the final Election Night summary. But before Bergel supporters get too hopeful, it should be made clear that those numbers are from an election that saw 66 percent turnout in Humboldt County. The preliminary tallies Tuesday show just 39 percent of those registered casting ballots.

In past Eureka elections, the late absentee ballots tend to be less conservative.  Older retired voters tend to get their ballots in the mail within days if not hours of receipt, and they tend to be the more conservative.  And late absentees are sometimes the result of target GOTV efforts.  And maybe liberals are just more prone to procrastination.  In any case, the voting patterns of late absentees tend to more closely match the election day votes.

But as he notes, even the 54.13 percent rate requires over 1200 additional ballots – probably not the case.  And it’s probably going to be more like somewhere between 700 and 800 votes counted – obviously not all the provisionals will be deemed legit, and people from the outer areas of the county may have dropped their absentees off in Eureka – you can bring an absentee ballot to any polling place in the county.  But there is room for hope!

Addendum:  As noted by Jon in the thread and the update to the NCJ article linked above, the number of ballots yet to be counted could exceed 1300, which opens up the possibility of a Bergel win.  It’s probably going get a lot closer!

Mitch McConnell

So looking at the county breakdown of Proposition 1, I note that the northern counties came out against.  In the north interior, it’s hard to know whether the primary factor was water diversion or bonded indebtedness anathema to conservative voters.  Clearly, the support in the southern part of the valley is about water diversion – Fresno and those areas definitely want more water at any tax price.  The L.A. urban basin supported it, but then so did the Bay Area so it’s clear that the mixed messages from environmentalists ensured that there would not be a green backlash outside of our area.


As expected Governor Brown crushed his hapless (and moody) opposition, with the usual county breakdown – Brown takes the coast, the yuppies who like to ski, and the Latino-rich Imperial County.   The opposition takes most of the rest of the interior, Orange, San Diego, and Del Norte County.

But check out the Superintendent of Public Instruction map.  Some odd counties are blue.

Gavin Newsom and John Chiang seem to be the strongest of the rest of the Democrats running last night, and Chiang (along with Torlakson ) did what Governor Brown didn’t – they took Del Norte.  Chiang also took San Diego.  Newsom is seen as the Brown heir-apparent, but I’m wondering of Chiang will have something to say about that.


Is there a blue revolution brewing in Del Norte County?

Last night challenger Erik Apperson soundly defeated incumbent Sheriff Dean Wilson, known for his Tea Party activism.  Last night on KMUD it was reported that the incumbent’s right wing activism may have worked to his detriment, as well as negative campaigning.  It may be that Sheriff Wilson’s staunch opposition to the removal of Klamath dams hurt him with Yurok and fishing voters.  Also his association with the Jefferson State effort, which went down in flames in Del Norte last June.

Not to say that Del Norte is a blue county as of yet – as noted above Governor Brown failed to take the majority, and half of the voters opted for our own local Republican Dale Mensing (see the link above for all results) took just under half the votes against Jared Huffman (who maybe needs to spend more time in Del Norte) – much better than he did in any other county.  But the sound rejection of the right wing Jefferson agenda, and yesterday’s election results, suggest that maybe the county is becoming more purplish than red.


In Eureka the two contested City Council races presented a mysterious dichotomy.  Progressive Natalie Arroyo womanhandled incumbent Chet Albin in a drubbing reminiscent of Chris Kerrigan’s defeat of Rex Bohn some years back – proving that with the right message and organization a progressive can do very well in Eureka.  Kim Bergel on the other hand seems headed for a squeaker of a loss – down only by 104 votes at the moment and it may get closer before all the ballots are counted (but probably not enough unless there are more than 500 remaining ballots to be counted and she can secure a 60-40 margin in those votes).

If anything, Natalie is more “hippie” and leftish than Kim.  So what accounts for the difference in results?  Was it the hit tactic exploiting Kim’s bankruptcy which had resulted from her husband’s life-threatening injury several years ago?  Or was the difference in Natalie’s opponent’s expression of charm at Art’s Alive at the beginning of the campaign?  Were there differences in the method?  Campaign organization?

What is clear is that Eureka, most likely, has passed up on a solid opportunity of energetic and passionate leadership which could have turned some of the dreariness around.

So, assuming that the late absentees and provisionals do not turn the election around for Kim, we have two progressives on the Council.  Will the remaining members take these election results to heart – very blue results in a national election buried in red?  Will Melinda Ciarabellini, who endorsed Kim, become a swing vote?  Mike Newman certainly isn’t entering his second term with a clear mandate – a little more GOTV, or the slightest difference could have taken him out of office.  Eureka looks and feels like a run down dreary place of late, with crime and empty storefronts, and a suicide inspiring landscape at both 101 entrances – it just doesn’t look like we are a city with pride and hope for the future.  Kim would have brought some enthusiasm into the leadership that might have made Eureka more of a town people think about moving their kids too, instead of heading towards a retirement community filled with grumpy old men yelling at kids to get off their lawns.  Let’s have a city that doesn’t try to pass tax extension measures by putting up signs at a fire station stating in essence, “This station will be closed if you don’t cough up another chunk of what little money you make.”


Measure R failed, but four red states passed increases to minimum wages – by very large margins!  Yes, these are states which so many voters are dissatisfied with President Obama (though few of them can articulate why – there were some pretty funny interviews on the radio yesterday).  Unfortunately, those same voters chose to fight the culture war in their Senate choices, but let us also remember that these working class whites were once the foundation of American progressivism when it came to organizing unions.  They may have conservative social agendas which they vote when they feel threatened, but fundamentally they do not share the neoliberal ideologies of conservative movement leaders.  Four red states called for government intervention in the economy to redistribute wealth.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere.


There’s also a lesson in comparative results with Democrats running from Obama (and liberals) and those who take the bull by the horns and stay true to their values.


Will the Massachusetts Democrats please retire Martha Coakley?  Aren’t you starting to feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football?  How many elections does she have to blow for them before they send her to pasture?


Fetus personhood loses again.


And the perennial question - what happened to the youth vote?  And please don’t bring out the old adage, “we didn’t give them anything to vote for.”  That’s crap.  What we have a problem with is civics lessons in high school.  Basic fact of life – conservatives vote because it is their duty to vote – liberals have to be coaxed and convinced that it will “make a difference.”  And when you don’t have a rock star running for President, that’s a problem.

And liberals, next time listen to Nate Silver even if you don’t like what he’s telling you.


Meanwhile, National Review is telling the Republicans, “Governing is a trap!”

Don’t govern.

I voted this morning at about 8:49 at the First Covenant Church on J Street in Eureka.  Turnout was about what it always is – maybe three or four other voters in there at the same time.  The others were older, though a couple of young people were manning the table at the entrance.

Even in the Presidential election in 2012 I didn’t see more than seven or eight people.  It’s a quite precinct I think, so it’s hard to gauge.  But it does concern me that I was the youngest person in the hall actually voting.


More news as it develops throughout the day, although I will be offline to cover the election on KMUD tonight.  The coverage will be simulcast on the access television station.


Youth for Kim.


What Obama is up against today – Louisiana GOP voters “aren’t sure” if Obama was to blame for the Katrina response, and others are certain he was more to blame than then-President George W. Bush.

I think at last prediction Nate Silver gave the GOP something like a 70 percent chance of taking the Senate.

Up until now the Senate has overwhelmingly broken all records for filibusters.  Get ready for a new record on vetoes, including probably another 200 bills to abolish the ACA on top of the 50 or so which have already gone to defeat.


But it’s conceivable they’ll need a new Senate leader.

McConnell photobomb.

McConnel Photobomb


Great shot from DKOS.

Elyse Holmes, 2, peaks out as her mother Helen Holmes votes at Madbury Town Hall in Madbury

Taken in New Hampshire somewhere.


In Texas the Voter ID law has been upheld for the time being, which is intended to reduce minority and poor turnout as they are disproportionately affected.  This means that previously registered voters are being turned away today, an estimated 600,000 being disenfranchised.  Since the law passed 16 months ago, the state has issued 279 new IDs.

The article contains this anecdote:

Of course, the Texans who are typically affected are minorities. Catherine Overton, who is 70 and black, moved to Dallas from Las Vegas earlier this year. In a phone interview, she said she wasn’t told about the ID law when she registered to vote. When she went to the polls last week, Overton said she was turned away by a poll worker who told her, “If you’ve been here long enough to get a voter registration card, you’ve been here long enough to get ID.” She said she hoped to go with her sister Monday or Tuesday to get a state ID, then take it to the polls. But because they both have doctors’ appointments, it may not work out.


For election day – Something from Walt Whitman – democracy is better than those boring old natural wonders!  But maybe – is it really better than the Grand Canyon or the Rockies?  He didn’t name them.
If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest
scene and show,
’Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-
loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—
nor Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name— the 
still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland
—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and con-
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:)
the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the
heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.



The first reports of machine malfunction, in North Carolina voters report the machines switching their votes to the Republican candidate. Has there ever been a report of machines switching in the other direction?


The Senate races to watch.  Basically, TPM is giving NH and NC to the Dems, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Colorado to the Republicans, and coin toss in Alaska, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Georgia.  That’s a lot of coin tosses.  Oh, and they aren’t committed to the five above either.


No miracles in Kentucky.

Once asked why the Grimes campaign didn’t run on Kentucky Kynect, given all the people that were being helped by it (over 400,000). A vote for McConnell was a vote for taking away their shiny new health insurance, after all. The response? The campaign didn’t want to get caught up in “Washington arguments”. How’d that work out for them?

Or refusing to answer whether she had voted for Obama.


Want good news? We need good news. Here’s good news.

PASCO: @CharlieCrist beating Rick Scott in Pasco County: 47.39 to 45.52. @fasanomike

Crist needed to LOSE it by less than six points to be on track to win the state. He’s winning it.

Charlie Crist is outperforming Obama for now. By 6% in Pinellas County AND Pasco County. Scott won Pasco County 52-43 in 2010, currently losing it 47-46.

Also in Florida.

Early vote coming in from #FL02, and Gwen Graham crushing it. She’s up over Southerland 63%-37%

Would be a Dem pickup.


Networks are calling Pennsylvania’s governor race for the Democrats.  Big win.  Not a huge surprise.


Took this some weeks ago just north of Willits.  I’m sure Mr. Galletti is a great guy, and he may even be the best candidate for all I know.  But his sign – you can’t read it from more than 50 feet away!


Vote TuesdayI’ll be posting stuff here all day and into the night.  But for those of you who are tenants, a reminder of your right to post an election sign (just a few years old in California – passed in 2011).

SECTION 1.  Section 1940.4 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
   1940.4.  (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), a landlord
shall not prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying political
signs relating to any of the following:
   (1) An election or legislative vote, including an election of a
candidate to public office.
   (2) The initiative, referendum, or recall process.
   (3) Issues that are before a public commission, public board, or
elected local body for a vote.
   (b) Political signs may be posted or displayed in the window or on
the door of the premises leased by the tenant in a multifamily
dwelling, or from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of
the premises leased by a tenant of a single-family dwelling.
   (c) A landlord may prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying
political signs in the following circumstances:
   (1) The political sign is more than six square feet in size.
   (2) The posting or displaying would violate a local, state, or
federal law.
   (3) The posting or displaying would violate a lawful provision in
a common interest development governing a document that satisfies the
criteria of Section 1353.6.
   (d) A tenant shall post and remove political signs in compliance
with the time limits set by the ordinance for the jurisdiction where
the premises are located. A tenant shall be solely responsible for
any violation of a local ordinance. If no local ordinance exists or
if the local ordinance does not include a time limit for posting and
removing political signs on private property, the landlord may
establish a reasonable time period for the posting and removal of
political signs. A reasonable time period for this purpose shall
begin at least 90 days prior to the date of the election or vote to
which the sign relates and end at least 15 days following the date of
the election or vote.

Addendum: I posted this because I was informed of a friend whose landlord insisted that he take a sign off his rented lawn – based on the landlord’s conflicting opinion about the issue.  He doesn’t want to fight with his landlord about it.  I’m not going to get into the details because I don’t want this to come back on him.  Tenants are vulnerable even when the law is in their favor on the books.


Meanwhile, I think progressives have a fighting chance to take the majority of the City Council in Eureka.  But they’re up against conservative incumbents in a year where progressives, particularly young progressives, tend to sit out elections.  It will all be about GOTV.  But Eureka really needs Kim Bergel and Natalie Arroyo in there to shake things up, starting with the suicide-inspiring landscapes of the 101 entries into town which remind me of rust belt sprawl towns rather than a community which should be exploiting its natural beauty to promote tourism as a supplement to the local economy.

It’s hard running against incumbents though, who tend to win the push in close elections.


There was a story on NPR this morning with a local Measure P supporter almost lamenting the lack of Monsanto money against their measure.  Almost as if they feel insulted!


I always like to note interesting combinations of signs on lawns.  Around Eureka you will find some lawns mixed – Bergel and Albin signs for instance.  On H street I noticed a lawn which had Newman and Albin signs, along with a Yes on P sign.  Further up H there’s a Yes on R sign with both as well.  On Harrison I saw two homes with Arroyo and Newman signs.  On Henderson there is a lawn with Bergel and Arroyo, and then strangely, one with both an Arroyo and Albin sign – either a politically diverse marriage (as my wife and I are split on Measure P), two family residence, or perhaps someone who just lets anybody put signs on his/her lawn.


I understand that there’s a hot Supervisor race in the 3rd District (Johnny Pinches retiring) in Mendocino County between Holly Madrigal and Jim Woodhouse (do I have the names right?).  Would love it if people down there would post thoughts and predictions.


Addendum:  Newspaper endorses incumbent and hopes he goes to jail.


Re Prop Z – I was in Fortuna yesterday for my son’s last soccer game of the season (he plays for the Eel River Rapids who fought the Mad River Impact to a tie yesterday – great game).  I did see some of those “no new taxes,” invoking the “Read my lips” slogan of President George Bush, Sr. – and maybe not entirely unintentionally since local conservatives are giving at least passive support for Measure Z, and obviously Measure V, which is Fortuna’s equivalent, probably has them going nuts.

Should I feel guilty for not supporting Measure Z?  Well, of all the Supervisors, only Mark is really hustling for it.  Maybe the others are as well, and I just haven’t seen their stuff.  But if they’re holding back, expecting liberals to push their constituency so they can tightrope between the constituents who want better Sheriff protection and those who don’t want to pay more taxes – it’s really not my problem.  If they’re lukewarm, then why should I be excited enough about the issue that I’m willing to saddle poor people with additional sales taxes?  At least the conservatives in Eureka are pushing Q hard – this will probably be the only time some of these lawns contain signs advocating a tax increase.  If the Board majority really wants Z to pass, then they shouldn’t try to have it both ways.  You’re either for the tax increase, or you’re against it.  It’s a straight up yes or no vote,.


More later.

The Mad River Union so reports.

This is a movement of sorts being pushed by a right wing group as kind of a push back against the ACLU suits and all to promote a slogan adopted by Congress at the peak of McCarthyism, and it’s been passed in municipalities across the country.  I think there was a push in Fortuna a few years back, but I don’t remember the outcome.  It’s kind of a stupid thing, and really to introduce right before an election in which the Republican Party has been trying to downplay it’s social issue positions.

Rex will vote yes, Mark will vote no, and the rest of the Board are put into a difficult position and I suspect privately would love to throttle Rex about now.  I suspect that both Virginia and Ryan are relieved they aren’t in an election campaign.  This would put them on the spot.

From Wikipedia:

In 1956, the nation was at a particularly tense time in the Cold War, and the United States wanted to distinguish itself from the Soviet Union, which promoted state atheism.[17] As a result, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution “declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States.” The law was signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, and the motto was progressively added to paper money over a period from 1957 to 1966.[14] (Public Law 84-851)[18] The United States Code at 36 U.S.C. § 302, now states: “‘In God we trust’ is the national motto.”

It was passed two years following the official introduction of “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance, in which the legislative history of the act indicates that it was passed to “acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon … the Creator … [and] deny the atheistic and materialistic concept of communism.”

Oh, but the courts later decided it had not been passed for a religious purpose.  And if you believe the “In God We Trust” people, it’s about patriotism, not God.

Yeah, this is what I want county government focusing on.  Really makes me want to run out and vote for Measure Z.

And, hey, soon we can see it on an electronic billboard!

In God We Trust

Addendum: Ryan Burns has much more information and history, including a threat of lawsuit should the Board pass this thing. Prop Z anyone?  Let’s keep our priorities right!

Second addendum:  “God Resolution is Dead.” 

I’m betting that two or three fellow supervisors were all over Rex’s ass on this one.

Mad River Union reports.  4-1 as usual to rewrite the designations to areas where there are “no private property concerns,” which is pretty much limited to highways bisecting public parks.  Once again, anything which might even speculatively impact “property rights” is bounced.  Property rights isn’t just the primary factor in the GPU wholesale rewrite underway with no section 1500 public participation – it’s the trumping factor.  There is no balancing property rights with other concerns.  If property rights might possibly be affected and it’s not mandated by state or federal law, it’s out of the General Plan.

Now let’s have another round of “the GPU doesn’t really matter,” from people who were primarily motivated by the GPU in their Faustian electoral alliances.

It will be ironic if the Humboldt County general plan reflects more conservative values than Trinity County or Del Norte County, and we seem to be on our way!

Doubling down on my opposition to Proposition Z.  Sorry, no way do I want to pull money out of working peoples hands to finance the inevitable lawsuits.

Thursday Night Talk on KHSU tonight. They’ve given me an extra half our to discuss all of the statewide and local propositions/measures. I have liberal Bob Service and conservative Liana Simpson joining me from 7:00 to 8:30. Please call in with your thoughts and questions

Took this shot of a display at Winco last night. I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned or prudish, but do little kids really have to be subjected to this? Are we so desensitized now?

I just think a little more thought should go into the potential impact on kids.


December 2014
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