This isn’t to gloat.  God knows I’ve been on the losing side of elections – way more often than not in elections which have really mattered.   But as someone who has voted in every election since I turned 18, I know that nothing is permanent in politics.  In the decade before this one we experienced a bit of a local “blue wave.”  It was undone by what former Arcata City Council member once referred to as “an unholy alliance between developers and dope growers.”  And now the pendulum has swung back a bit.   We’ve won a sweep in Eureka.  It appears that we’ve passed the Sanctuary Ordinance – with total conservative and even some progressive opposition (I don’t think it would have been possible a decade ago and I wonder if it would have passed but for the zero-tolerance polices at the border which inflicted horror on immigrant families).  Arcata voted to bring symbolic/iconic change reflecting the city’s modern values to the Plaza.   In June, upstart hippie Steven Madrone defeated an entrenched local conservative who had the endorsement of the mainstream of the Democratic Party.  And serious challenges will soon be introduced against the BOS incumbents up for reelection in 2020.

But I and other progressives have learned that political fortunes can change on a dime.  Yes, many hippies, Latinos, retiring baby-boomers from urban areas, and other progressive constituencies are moving in.  But I don’t think they are in the numbers to guarantee a progressive win every time.  And despite opinions like those expressed in Mike Jones’s lament on KINS radio, I’m hopeful that he and other conservatives are more philosophical as they reflect on this election.  Here are my thoughts as to where they went wrong, because I actually think the results could have been much closer despite the structural advantage progressives held this time around.

First, Eureka is not like the rural midwest.  The angry “plain talking” screams of dystopia requiring defeat of a perceived political enemy worked well for a certain Presidential candidate in 2016 because the electoral-college structure provides affirmative action to rural white conservatives, because the Democrats had long abandoned class/union politics, and because a demagogue can rail against political “enemies” in the abstract but that’s undermined when voters actually have the opportunity to meet the candidates being attacked.  To express so much anger over H and I Streets giving up a lane for bicycles really cost them credibility.  Even many of those who have questions about the plans are rolling their eyes at the screaming about it.  Yes, we have crime.  Yes, homeless are leaving needles laying around.  Yes, we are post-industrial and have to find some footing.  But it’s just not that bad a place to live.  In fact, I love the city.  It reminds me a bit of the Pacifica of my youth.  But we don’t have factories an industrial plants to default to for employment anymore.  We have to figure it out.  And blaming four years of a progressive Eureka council on the effects of a collapsing economic empire is just not going to sell here.  In short, conservatives need to chill out, stop pining for the industrial past which isn’t returning, and think about what they would like to see rooted in what we have and not the magical unicorns of the east-west railroad.

Secondly, Eureka has ward elections now.  We voted for them so that a grassroots campaign could have a prayer against a financial war chest.  It means that in order to win you have to walk the neighborhoods and knock on doors.  Talk to people.   Sorry, but a big freeway billboard south of town is a complete waste of money – all you’re going to advertise is your bad judgment.  And actually, even some of the progressives bought into the radio ads, and maybe that was necessary.  But I really think the races were won on candidate-to-person contact.  It’s not just about the voters getting to know you.  You also learn from them, and maybe even reconsider some of your own positions.  Leslie, for instance, knew that many of her ward constituents are concerned about safety.  So she addressed safety in a demonstration of her own in the presence of the opposition safety crowd at the courthouse on the weekend before the election.  She heard and set aside my own advice that she should focus on GOTV that late in the campaign.  She heard my advice, but she was the one who had been knocking on doors and had the sense of her electorate.  She exercised leadership she might not have exercised but for the wisdom acquired through hands-on politics.  She is in touch.

Lastly, unlike the Trump constituency, Eureka voters apparently do not reject science.  Needle exchanges save lives.  The science has been in for decades.  And you know, many of us have kids.  I don’t want needles in the woods, where kids go or even where they don’t.  I intend to join some of the clean-up efforts and I hope other progressives will join as well, so we can have a full sensory understanding of the magnitude of the problem and then come back to the table to discussion potential solutions other than total shutdown or a model which defies the science in terms of effectiveness in saving lives.  Maybe we can have a discussion sans hysteria, death threats, and demonizing.

I’m not going to be one-sided in this.  Yes, Anthony Mantova said some stupid things on social media, and voters may have found them to be disqualifying.  It was fair to bring them up.  But a mailer about it?  And was the accompanying hyperbole necessary?  The posts should speak for themselves without the need to tell the reader how they should feel about it.  But that’s my problem with propaganda in general.  It doesn’t invite critical thinking of the cerebral cortex.  It appeals to the lizard brain of the medulla oblongata.  If we’re going to survive as a species, we need to appeal to the latter.  As George Orwell once said after working for Radio Free Europe in the effort against Nazism, he said, “All propaganda is lies, even when it’s the truth.”

And, you know, we’re progressives.  We’ll probably find a way to screw up what we have – if not in the next election cycle, the one after that.  Or after that.  But maybe we can come up with some thoughts as to how to draw some economic activity to the area which is consistent with our values and the natural beauty, or pump up what we already have.  That will involving talking at a normal decibel level.

Or we can just stick to our own tribes and hope something comes of it.

Heidi 2Heidi 1

Almost 53 percent yes!

Still more votes to count.

I’ll take a look at some other races and update later.

Addendum:  By my count there are still about 15,000 votes to be counted.  But with a 2000 vote lead, I don’t think Measure K is in trouble barring an extreme statistical anomaly.

Leslie Castello is at 49 percent – would be great if she crosses the 50 percent mark.

The votes are trickling in, but looking at the the 2.5 million votes left, most of them are in liberal areas of the state.  Orange County just dropped a bunch of votes into the mix and the Superintendent of Public Instruction race inched a little closer.  But most of the remaining votes come from the urban liberal areas – the biggest bomb waiting to drop being the nearly 700,000 in Los Angeles.  There are pockets of conservative stacks remaining (Ventura, San Bernadino, Riverside).  But offsetting them are Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, etc.  I don’t see how any conservative candidate or cause gains any ground by the end.

Orange County isn’t quite the conservative bastion it used to be.  Several Democrats have taken out Republican House incumbents – the latest win going to Katie Porter who did it with a very liberal platform!  Democrats are kicking ass in the California House races – the only two of the seven or eight contested races the Republicans are holding so far being the Trump sycophant Devin Nunes  and the rabidly racist Duncan Hunter.  One or two others remain uncalled.

Still no update in Humboldt County, though one is expected today.

Outside of California the Democrats just flipped their 37th House rep in Maine, where the Republican filed and lost a last minute challenge to the state’s ranked choice instant runoff.  He was ahead in the first vote, but failed to collect 50 percent and so it went to the instant run-off where the Democrat prevailed.  Of course it’s really unfair to file such a lawsuit after the votes have been cast since many votes might have been different in the absence of the ranked choice option.

Addendum:  Big Los Angeles drop of votes this afternoon, and the Superintendent’s race seems out of reach.

Meanwhile, a week and a half later, Alpine County still hasn’t counted any of those 34 votes!


The article isn’t really clear on the law, so I’m going to have to review the case decision itself when I have the chance.  I am really curious about it though.  Don’t get me wrong, you know I’m hardly a Trump admin fan, but does anybody have a right to a WH press pass, or just those in major media companies?  I mean, can I sue to get one?

An incident of oral terror.

Leaves much out, but In These Times puts recent socialist wins into an historical context.


Thanks to Julia Minton who took the ribbon off the window at one of the Garberville precincts today. It’s a pretty small precinct, but it went our way. These numbers weren’t logged until that final election night report.



He has been trailing the whole time, but in California the late-mail votes and provisionals tend to trend left as much as same day voting.  Thurmond faced a well financed campaign of nasty TV ads from his opponent and dark money supporters.  He may have weathered the storm!

You can track the unprocessed vote counts here.   I had looked at the numbers over the weekend.  It looks like Alameda, San Francisco, and Santa Clara Counties got a bunch of their ballots counted, which would account for the movement.  However, Orange County was way up over 400,000 over the weekend and appears to have counted about a hundred thousand.  But the big hammer waiting to fall is Los Angeles which still has over 900,000 votes to drop into the mix.  Los Angeles accounts for 1/4 of the remaining ballots and that will help just about any statewide progressive cause.

I’m wondering if the late votes will put L.A. into the yes column for Prop 10.  Alameda just joined SF as the second of the only two yes vote counties so far.

And at this point I think Lara has it won against his ersatz independent opponent.

But here’s a question.  What’s taking Alpine so long to count 34 votes?  They haven’t reported since election night.

Addendum:  I think Merced, due to the growing Latino vote and evolving farmer vote, is going to flip blue over the next few elections.  Check out the Governor’s race results.

I haven’t had the chance to read up about it.   But apparently the list of dark Twitter accounts includes Jill Stein!

Because I believe this candidate is a bona fide progressive with the best chance of winning the Presidency in 2020.  In 2012 he fought off more dark money than any other candidate in the US excepting Obama.  He addresses the working class issues the Democrats have long abandoned while holding together the new coalitions.  And the Republicans have not won a Presidential election without winning his home state in decades.

No, he’s not the perfect progressive.  I would prefer that we have Bernie or Warren as President.  But this guy really isn’t far behind in those qualities.

All he lacks right now is nationwide name recognition.

Anniversary of Dodd-Frank

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