You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2014.

Re Bass vs. Kerrigan.

Have fun.

From the Firpo campaign.  Again, I am an equal-opportunity campaign announcement poster.


The Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund (HCLDF) enthusiastically endorses Élan Firpo for District Attorney. The HCLDF is committed to the protection of civil liberties for all residents of Humboldt County and feels that Ms. Firpo is the candidate that would best protect those liberties guaranteed in our State and Federal Constitutions.

The HCLDF was founded in 2011 and is made up both conservatives and liberals. While the membership may differ on matters of legislation, we are united in our unwavering defense of civil liberties because we believe them to be the cornerstone of our democracy.

The office of District Attorney plays an unparalleled role in both the protection and violation of our cherished liberties. Few public officials hold such power to take away one’s freedom as a prosecutor does. We urge all citizens who share our concern for protection of the freedoms we hold so dear to join us in working to elect Élan Firpo as Humboldt County’s District Attorney.

For more information or to offer your support to the Defense Fund go to or visit us on

We’re at that point in the campaigns where pretty much all the signs are up.  Signs are the most visible aspect of the campaigns, though any seasoned campaign worker will tell you that it’s at the lowest priority in terms of effectiveness.  You have to have them up, or your campaign looks disorganized.  But rarely is a mind changed by signs, no matter who appears to be endorsing the candidate.  Whether a candidate sign on your neighbor’s lawn positively influences you is contingent upon what you think of the neighbor.  I’ve seen campaigns which seemed to plaster the entire district with signs still lose, and in fact often on the main drags of travel the signs are imposed by landlords on renters who may or may not even intend to vote.

And of course there are the sign wars.  Each campaign will report missing and vandalized signs.  At one point Elan Firpo’s campaign reported on Facebook that nearly one fourth of her signs had to be replaced, and more recently they reported that a particular large sign had been stolen and replaced.  The replacement had been torn and the second replacement had been obscured by a competing campaign’s sign placed on the private property owned by a Firpo supporter.  The other campaigns have reported similar happenings.  It’s a silly thing, and it’s hard to know whether the thefts/vandalism are committed by supporters of opposing candidates, people who are just sick of the campaigns in general, people who are just angry in general, or kids who do to it just because they can.

Bass UnitarianSometimes signs convey unintended messages.  I took the top photo while attending the Unitarian Easter celebration this last Sunday.  The sign is in Bayside, well outside of Virginia Bass’s district, but sometimes campaigns put signs in strategic extra-district locations.  It faces, not the drivers on the main road, but people driving out of the Unitarian compound, although signs with are parallel rather than perpendicular to travel ways aren’t all that uncommon.  One of the attendees joked that she wondered if it’s Virginia’s outreach to Unitarians.  More likely, the property owner is a friend of Virginia’s, and completely oblivious to the discussion across the street.  It is however interesting that the placement of such a sign could generate such discussion.

And then there are the items of curiosity.  I took this photo on H Street in Eureka.  Bass KerriganMarital or other household differences of opinion, or did the two campaigns merely contact someone who has not yet paid enough attention to recognize the competition on his/her lawn?

A block or so away in I Street, you can find this curiosity, although I wonder if the Fleming sign is at a property line despite the lawn formation.  However, if you move closer to the sign, you will note that it really looks like the Fleming sign is on the Firpo supporter’s property.

Firpo and Fleming It is also interesting to see the various combinations of signs across campaigns.  There are lots of lawns with both Supervisor and D.A. signs.  Lots of Fleming/Bass lawns as well as Fleming/Kerrigan lawns.  Also Firpo/Bass, Firpo/Kerrigan, Dollison/Bass, Dollision/Kerrigan, and Klein/Bass lawns.  I have yet to see a Klein/Kerrigan lawn.

Firpo was the first to get her signs up in Sohum – the first sign I saw was just east of Briceland on Briceland Road a few weeks ago.  But now there are Fleming signs up in and around town.  Haven’t yet seen any Dollison or Klein signs in Sohum, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

I haven’t been up in the 5th district in the past few weeks, but Ryan Sundberg does have a sign at a business in Eureka.

Meanwhile, the debates continue, and I interview Maggie Fleming this Thursday evening at 7:00 on KHSU.  You can listen to the interviews of all competitive campaigners at the KHSU archives page until the election.

Change of MindFreethinker Bob Froelich will join me to discuss the flexibility of the human mind.  Since college, have you changed your mind about anything significant?  Have you changed a political position, or at least changed the way you look at the issue?  If so, what triggered it?  Was it a sudden revelation, or did a change in your position evolve over time?

My hypothesis is that at a certain age it’s personal experience which has the best chance of changing a mind, not evidence.  As this study suggests, the mind does not necessarily take evidence and generate a change in thinking.  In fact, the resistance to change of thought, in my hypothesis, probably served a positive function in the survival of the species at some point in our evolution.  It may be neurological or otherwise biological – that what we perceive as delusional in others is the very same factor which generates our own seemingly rational intransigence – but in biological terms may be a “healthy” phenomenon rather than a disorder.  I will suggest that what may have been beneficial to the perpetuation of the species at one time is no longer the case, and to a certain degree the human race may have to transcend its own biology to survive.

Bob and I will throw out some particular issues as examples, but we will be directing the discussion to the general topic and not to any debates on particular issues.  I realize that will be very difficult for some, but I will be looking for a focused discussion.

From the Elan Firpo campaign:


Yurok Tribe Endorses Elan Firpo for District Attorney

The Yurok Tribe endorsed Elan Firpo for Humboldt County District Attorney at its regular council meeting in Klamath, CA, on Thursday, April 10.

“The Yurok Tribe’s court and justice system is growing, and we are looking forward to furthering our collaborative effort with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office, which will benefit our tribal members,” said Yurok Tribe Chairman Thomas O’Rourke, Sr.
The Yurok Tribe is the largest Indian Tribe in California with 5,989 tribal members. Several initiatives to benefit Yurok tribal members and surrounding communities are currently under way, including the construction of a visitors’ center, hotel and casino and a fiber optic high speed internet system.

“It is a great honor to be endorsed by the Yurok Tribe,” said Elan Firpo. “I intend to live up to this vote of confidence by strengthening the link between the DA’s office and the tribes and Rancherias as we make this a safe place to raise our families.”

Easter Egg Hunt

From the Dollison campaign:


TH_McKinleyvilleEUREKA, CA—District Attorney Candidate, Allan L. Dollison will be holding a Meet the Candidate event on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the Azalea Hall located at 1620 Picket Road in McKinleyville.

Allan served in the District Attorney’s office for almost 6 ½ years where he prosecuted serious and violent felony cases, like People v. Brian Fiore, a home invasion marijuana robbery that ended in murder and attempted murder convictions. The victims had 14 pounds of Marijuana stolen from them at gun point, by Mr. Fiore and his Co-Conspirator.

Allan continues to serve in the Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel, and faithfully served his country in Afghanistan and Iraq, helping to rebuild damaged infrastructure, and reforming the justice system in Iraq. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge.

If elected, Allan will fight for additional resources, obtain grants that focus on violent crime, and bring organizational skill and management to a DA’s office that sorely needs it.

This event will be a great opportunity to Meet with Allan, find out more about him, listen to his priorities, and talk with him about your concerns for how the DA’s office should be run.

The citizenship test – you have to get 6 out of 10 right.  I got all 10 right, but as a lawyer and history major it would have been embarrassing if I hadn’t.
It’s probably not hard to study for these tests, although I wonder how a disabled person can pass any such test and even more to the point I wonder what passing such a test addresses.  For most people, it’ll be like high school – you learn it for the test and then forget it.  To the extent that it purports to require some familiarity with US history and political culture, the questions are lame.  I don’t think any test should be part of the requirement, but if I was going to agree on a test, the questions should be along the lines of the following.
1.  Which of the following are your rights guaranteed under the 4th Amendment?
2.  Which of the following offices can you vote to elect a representative of your choice?
3.  Under which of the following situations can the government legitimately deprive you of the right to freedom of speech?
4.  Which of the following laws/amendments protect your right to equality under the law?
5.  Which of the following is the youngest voting age?
6.  Under which situations are you guaranteed legal counsel at no cost to you?
7.  Which of the following are potentially lawful acts of Congress?
8.  Which of the following institutions may lawfully discriminate against you on the bases of race, religion, or national origin?
9.  Which of the following are the basic requirements for voting?
10.  With whom of the following government officials would you contact if you wanted a law changed?
As you can see, they haven’t consulted me.
Addendum:  A friend put this together for me, in response to Suzy’s post.   She’s not a fan of Internet discussion, so probably won’t participate more directly.
Doing it Right

Thanks to Scott Greacen for bringing my attention to this blog post about the lethal mud slide in the Cascades of Washington.  It appears to be well-researched, and if true a major property rights advocate who opposed any kind of development limitations which might have saved lives, may well have become a victim of his own ideology.  I take no joy nor do I claim there is any “poetic justice” in the matter – the events are pure tragedy – but maybe someone will learn that the universe is apathetic to our notions of freedom and justice.  That “big bad government” is trying to regulate you, it does not follow that the basis for that regulation is wrong.  And not all opposition to development is rooted in “alarmism.”

From the article:

In fact, the warnings of the state were not only ignored, but actually defied. For  in a strange twist, the law inspired some people to fight the state’s efforts to “meddle in the private affairs of residents”. As the news of the slide came out, it turned out that one of the main activists protesting the 2006 zoning law to prevent runaway building in hazardous areas was Thomas Satterlee. He was one of the leaders of the activist anti-government “Patriot” movement, organizing armed militias in the area to fight back against the “big bad Government.” In the 1990s, he tried to declare the area as “Freedom County” and hoped to run it without any oversight from state or federal law; all of his efforts were struck down, eventually reaching the Superior Court. Satterlee was also a big advocate of the “Sovereign Citizen” movement….


In the case of Oso, Washington, Satterlee was particularly active in fighting the 2006 zoning law, whose primary intent was to prevent excessive building in the region, especially in hazardous zones below the landslide. His acts of defiance influenced his neighbors, who also ignored the law and the warnings of expert geologists. Instead, they chose to live in a clearly identifiable area of great hazard. Some of the victims of the slide, who knew about the risks and openly ignored expert advice, are no “innocents” who had no warning. Those who never heard of the risk, however, bear no blame for staying in a danger zone. In another ironic twist, Satterlee apparently paid the ultimate price for his defiance of experts: he and his family are among the missing and presumed dead.


I’m sure the property rights advocates around here will find a million ways to distinguish the situation from their own circumstances.  I just hope their lessons are never as harsh – for themselves or anyone else.

There is much more about the history of the situation through the link, including some chilling before and after photographs.  And there’s a long history of warnings from those “urban environmentalists” so fun to demonize.

Lots going on, and as always, I will post all campaign notices (within reason).  I expect that this Saturday’s Arts Alive will be swimming with candidates for all sorts of offices.


Join host Kevin Hoover on KHSU 90.5 FM’s Thursday Night Talk tonight April 3rd as he interviews the two candidates for Fourth District Supervisor, incumbent Virginia Bass and challenger Chris Kerrigan. Phone in your questions to (707) 826-4805 beginning at 7 p.m.


Join the Kerrigan for Supervisor Campaign for an Arts Alive! open house, displaying art by local artist Suzanne Simpson onSaturday April 5th, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Wine and refreshments will be served.

For more information about the Kerrigan for Supervisor campaign, visit For questions or comments please contact Mitra at: or by calling 707-442-2220 and visit to support the campaign.

DATE: Saturday, April 5th
TIME: 6:00 – 9:00 PM
LOCATION: 427 F St. Suite 213, Eureka (Above the Sewell Gallery)


April 2014