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Last October the Board of Supervisors amended the “Urgency Ordinance” enacted codes to allow people to hold candles or signs after dark, but there can be no free-standing signs, tables or displays.
At the same time daytime restrictions on the use of tables, free-standing signs and displays were imposed.  A person must be within 4 feet of each item and there must be 4 feet of unrestricted passage between each item. Still in place is a complete ban on long time practices such as hanging or staking signs, having a temporary shelter, and serving food. The language is broad enough to be open to interpretation/enforcement.
To discuss the situation, a committee from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) met twice with a Board of Supervisors’ committee. Then, in early March, the HRC committee was disbanded and another HRC committee was appointed, “to avoid the Brown Act.” It proceeded with unannounced meetings, invited guests only.
Local poet Jerry Martien captured this rather turbulent period in this wonderful parody:
 2 April, 2013
To: Humboldt County Human Rights Commission
From: Humboldt County Human Rights Sub-Sub-Sub Commission
 Dear Commission Members:
            This is to explain our decision to replace your Commission with our own, and to re-locate its meetings to the third basement of the Humboldt County courthouse. Naturally, we have covertly discussed this move with at least two County Supervisors, law enforcement personnel, and CAO Smith-Hanes, and they fully agree. Trust us on this.
We realize that this will remove human rights issues even farther from the public eye, and regret that we cannot divulge our reasons for this decision. Disclosing the decision-making process of a sub-sub-sub committee and/or sub-sub-sub commission is prohibited by the Deep Deep Brown Act (Section 001.382, Sub-sub section R) and by strongly held privacy issues of several of our sub-sub-sub commission members.
            This action is retroactive to September, 2011, and removes all policies, discoveries, and memory of decisions made since that time, especially regarding Occupy, its rationale and justifications, homelessness, criminalization of street people, lack of public toilets, and Ordinance 2488, formerly known as Ordinance 2477, including your decision to call for its rescission, modification, accommodation, and/or compromise.
Change elevators at level 2. Thank you for your patience during this transition.
 For the Underground,
Sub-sub-sub Commandante Martien

Now, five months later, word is the committee is presenting a document for review and discussion at the August 1st HRC meeting. Made available through a Public Records Act request, a July 9 draft is available at

The recommendations are mostly good, so far.  But it is not the review of the urgency ordinance called for in the Board’s September 25 motion, and not the further modifications Board members verbally requested. As a Board commission the HRC was between a rock and a hard place; follow the written motion or the verbal request?
This committee draft again recommends repeal. This would be the third time the Human Rights Commission has recommended the Board repeal, will it stand firm?
Unfortunately, it is difficult to know what, if anything, will be discussed; the agenda is not yet public. A draft agenda has been shared, but it is unchanged from prior months and states simply “Committee Report.”
If you wish to attend the HRC Thursday, August 1st  meeting, it is at 5pm in Conference Room A of the Courthouse.
Comments or thank you notes can be sent to:

or posted with the committee’s July 9 draft at


I have no idea whether there are still tickets available, but here’s the info:

Get your 29th Annual Reggae On The River™ 2013 tickets now…. Online and Local Outlet Tickets are NOW ON SALE For Highly Anticipated French’s Camp Homecoming! Online sales will close at 8am on Wednesday July 31. Tickets (if still available) will be henceforth available at the gate only.

Don’t delay in planning your pilgrimage to the 29th annual Reggae On The River™ on August 1-4, 2013. Making a highly anticipated return to the festival’s original French’s Camp venue, located approximately 10 miles south of Garberville in Humboldt County, CA, reggae fans worldwide are overjoyed at the news of the festival’s homecoming and tickets are flying out the door!

The main 3-day festival will take place Friday through Sunday, August 2-4, and a limited number of early arrival tickets will allow access to the grounds and an extra evening of DJs and special guests on Thursday, August 1. A total of 6000 tickets will be made available to the public for the 2013 event, and only 2500 of these will be early arrival tickets, which are expected to sell out first…

Tickets include the option of camping on site and are priced at:

~ $250 – 4-day early arrival ticket.  Allows access to festival grounds at 8am on Thursday, August 1, plus an extra evening of DJs and special guests.
ROTR 2013~ $190 – 3-day main event ticket.  Allows access to the festival grounds at 8am on Friday, August 2.
~ $250 – RV parking.  A limited number of additional RV spaces have recently been allotted. These were recently sold out, so get yours now!

Single Day Tickets will also be available for the following prices:

~ Friday – $75
~ Saturday – $75
~ Sunday – $55

Please Note: Single Day tickets will not be available in advance and will only be available to walk ups on the days of the event at Guest & Media Check In (not Will Call). Single day ticket holders are not permitted to park or camp on site and must either park in one of the offsite lots or ride the shuttle to the event.

~ In the interest of safety, we encourage our patrons to arrive before dark if at all possible. ~

Don’t miss this historic homecoming celebration! Stay tuned to this website or for all the details and be sure to join the ROTR newsletter where we’ve been offering a weekly sneak peek into all the epic talent in store for this very special Reggae On The River™ homecoming celebration. For more information call the Mateel office at (707) 923-3368 or send an email to

I just really don’t know what to say, except that politics in this county are really just getting to be ….. pathetic.

Addendum:  Ryan’s NCJ coverage of the same meeting.

Second addendum:  Ryan will be on my show tonight to discuss the matter.  15 minutes away.  KMUD of course.


Angel and Spike could easily be anonymous posters on this blog.


Franklin, Jefferson, Adams“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

That’s what we’re supposed to be celebrating today.  A lot of people will get drunk.  Lots of kids will enjoy fireworks.  Some of us will sit back and judge the country harshly, looking down on the celebration of an event that broke us free from colonialism but was the harbinger of genocide and the birth of the nation which would be the last of the western world to abandon slavery as a legal institution.

Jefferson, the author, owned slaves – we all know that.  It’s not mitigation that he wanted to ban slavery in the very document that we’re celebrating (but John Adams and others talked him out of it in order to maintain unity between the colonies).  It’s not mitigation that he treated his slaves well relatively speaking, and even loved them (literally).  In fact, that all makes it worse because he knew it was evil.  And in fact, some historians challenge the contention that he was latently abolitionist – apparently there were some early writings linking intelligence to skull shapes and such – remembering from bad memory of my college readings of Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure of Man.

But even the worst of us, fascists even, sometimes tap into something beautiful.  Fascists like Ezra Pound, D’Annunzio, Dali, Wagner (proto-fascist anyway), Speer…. Ted Nugent…

The words above are beautiful.  Jefferson tapped into something vital, and I have to believe that something spoke to his soul, because these words are worth celebrating.

It  can get confusing when debating conservatives and other war-on-terror advocates about rendition, national security, differentiation between custody as being accused of a crime and as a prisoner of war (or “enemy combatant”), because if you talk to them in the abstract, they will agree with the words above.  That human beings have rights against the abuse from another just by virtue of being a human being.  They will tell you because they learned that the rights come from God and not the government.  The government only recognizes rights that already exist.

And then you point out that non-citizens (and even some citizens apparently) are being held against Constitutional rights, which they will previously have agreed are “fundamental.”  But they aren’t entitled to the rights because they aren’t American citizens.  In other words, rights originate with government, not providence or God.

You point this out to them, and the wording of the Declaration and they will respond, so much like the dogmatic Trotskyists I know with eyes glazed over when you question anything in Lenin’s State and Revolution, that “The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document.”

Well, actually it is, but that’s completely beside the point anyway.  The question is about where you believe rights originate, and whether you believe that human government has the right to abridge these rights.

Some of the smarter conservatives will come up with a more convoluted and nuanced argument and say, “You liberals agree that there are times when government interests override those rights.”   Actually, that’s not what we say and it’s a misunderstanding of the “living document” doctrine many of us libs live by, but more to the point they don’t believe it.  Until they do.

And what they won’t admit is that they are more likely to forgo an individuals rights when there is more melanin in the subject’s skin than their own.

But the words above, they can’t be allowed to just recite them like some religious text and not deal with what they really mean.  Even if Jefferson set a bad example, these words should haunt anyone supporting Gitmo, “enhanced interrogation,” and all the doctrines of convenience.  And this holiday should haunt them.  Until they’re too drunk to think about it anyway.


July 2013