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It had been awhile since I had visited the Arcata branch of the North Coat Coop.  This afternoon I stopped in to grab some items.  That development across the street – I think it’s senior housing of some sort – has changed the feel of the neighborhood.  The Coop parking lot almost feels claustrophobic.

That’s not to say that I oppose the development.  It’s a perfect location and the building looks like it’ll have a nice appearance.  But the change is quite profound.  If you kind of zone out for a moment while gazing on it from across the street, it almost feels like you’re in Sonoma County somewhere.

I think it’s most noticeable in the late afternoon as it blocks the sun to the west.

From Peter Martin’s office:

An Open Letter to the Arcata City Council
From: Peter E. Martin, A Law Corporation, Attorney for Marc Delany
Re: Public Records Act Request
Date: August 31, 2011

Dear Council members:

Recently, Marc Delany submitted a public records act request to the City in which he sought the total amount of fees paid to every attorney hired by the City over the past few years.  The City refused to provide the information relating to fees paid to private attorneys, claiming it was subject to the attorney-client privilege.  The cases cited by the city in support of its position actually stand for the opposite proposition, that is, that the amount of attorney’s fees paid is not privileged under California law. Information about fees is privileged only if it would disclose tactics or strategy.  A request for a total does not disclose tactics or strategy.

Marc Delany encourages each and every council member to conduct the city’s business in and open, transparent manner consistent with this country’s highest ideals, as does Arcata Local Ordinance 1339.

The purpose of the public records act is to let the public know what its public servants are doing.  Mr. Delany believes that the City has mismanaged its litigation and has incurred tens of thousands in unnecessary fees.  The City can prove him wrong, if he is, by releasing the total amount of fees paid.  The City is acting like it has something to hide.

This is to give the City one last opportunity to obey the law before Mr. Delany files suit to obtain these records.

Do the right thing,

Peter Martin

Someone dumped a bunch of spent marijuana grow soil into the Arcata Bottoms, disturbing a very vulnerable habitat.  The Arcata Eye has the photos.

We know nothing about the people who did the dumping, and I know there are much worse transgressions than this – but what is clear is that there is a certain nihilist element in the growing community which becomes evident with each headline.  This incident visually symbolizes what appears to be a decline of ethics and increase in self-centered disregard for community in an industry which is broadly trying to become legit.  This is what leads public figures to rail about “unholy alliances” and will certainly contribute to a very definitive backlash.

Maybe some values are simply not surviving from one generation to the next?

Richard has filed suit to nix the panhandling ordinance as unconstitutional.

This is his press statement:

Arcata, CA –  On Thursday May 19th Richard Salzman filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of California against the City of Arcata claiming that their Panhandling Ordinance is unconstitutional.

In March the City of Arcata declined Salzman’s request to amend its panhandling ordinance.  ”I requested that they amend their ordinance so as to comply with our guaranteed protection of free speech as outlined in the United States Constitution.  Since they declined to do so I felt compelled to file a complaint yesterday in the Superior Court of California against the city” said Salzman.

Salzman has stated that he is a proud lifelong member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and staunch defender of the Constitution of the United States and the First Amendment right to free speech.

As written, the ordinance makes it a crime to merely hold up a sign asking for a hand out. By denying citizens constitutional right of free speech, Salzman contends the City Council overstepped its authority.

“If first they silence the poor and the homeless, and I say nothing, who will speak up when they try to silence me?” Salzman asked.  He notes that the section of the ordinance against “aggressive panhandling,” including blocking one’s path, any physical contact or shouting, was left unchallenged by this legal action.

Read the full complaint here.

From the Jackson campaign:

The Arcata Police Association represents the rank and file employees of the Arcata Police Department. We are privileged to serve the city of Arcata and all of it’s citizens.

The Arcata Police Association is proud to announce that it will endorse Allison Jackson for Humboldt County District Attorney.

The Arcata Police Association believes this election will have a significant impact on the City of Arcata. Quality of life, community safety and victim’s rights are all at stake in this election.

The Arcata Police Association cites the following cases:

  • A case in which a suspect embezzled $139,000 from a local credit union, pled guilty and received probation.
  • A case in which a suspect, along with two other suspects, bound and gagged three victims, assaulted them and stole their property. The suspect pled guilty to the theft and received probation.
  • A case in which a burglar was caught by residents in the act of committing his third burglary at this particular apartment complex. The burglar, still wearing a mask, gloves and carrying a pry bar, also possessed a stolen gun. The burglar pled guilty and was offered probation.

The Arcata Police Association strongly urges citizens to vote for Allison Jackson for Humboldt County District Attorney.

The Eye boycott – Courtesy of Ryan Hurley.

From the Arcata City Council agenda for tonight’s meeting:

IX. NEW BUSINESS.
A. Introduce Ordinance No. 1399, Adding Article 10 – Unlawful Panhandling to Title IV – Public Welfare, Morals and Conduct; Chapter 2 – Other Violations, to the Arcata Municipal Code.
On October 21, 2009, the Council gave direction to draft a panhandling ordinance to include a City-wide ban against aggressive panhandling and a location-specific ban against panhandling of any form in certain problem areas.

RECOMMENDATION: Introduce Ordinance No. 1399, adding Article 10 – Unlawful Panhandling to Title IV – Public Welfare, Morals and Conduct; Chapter 2 – Other Violations, to the Arcata Municipal Code; waive reading of the text and consent to read by title only.

The link is to the staff report, but I can’t find a link to the ordinance proposal itself. I’m assuming that the “aggressive” panhandling provisions would require that the panhandler withdraw after the first “no,” as in the San Francisco ordinance which I believe was upheld as not barred by the First Amendment.

I get that there are serious problems which drive away business.   I am hesitant to bring my kids to the Arcata Square green at times, and sometimes certain people have dominated the Arcata Forest playground which ought to be left for kids.  But there are basic liberties at stake as well, and I’m concerned that the issue can play right into the ongoing war on the poor.

I’m for banning panhandling at ATMs, but I’m concerned about what appears to the scope of “problem areas.”

I think I would oppose the measure, but no, I don’t have any alternative constructive solutions.

I didn’t get to see it Monday night.  The Times Standard has some local responses.

Great video, when Bob isn’t distracted by a pretty woman walking by.

I only have this report, which doesn’t say much.  Nothing so far on the ordinance proponents’ site.

Can’t say I’m surprised.

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