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Peter read some of the discussion in a previous thread and wrote out the following history and thought.  I welcome his thoughts, and even agree with some of them.  I disagree with others, but when I have the time I’ll place my responses into the thread with everyone else.  It’s a long piece, most of it under the fold.  Also, some of the sentences appear to have been chopped short, and that may be a formatting conversion issue.  I’ll compare what’s below with what was sent to me later and correct them manually.  I’ve already done that with a few sentences, but I can’t finish until later and I think the essence of the writing is below.


Let me start by saying that it troubles me deeply to see Bonnie Blackberry and Dan Taranto spoken of in such terms, by bloggers whose ignorance seems to me to be equaled by their arrogance.  Bonnie and Dan are two of the most intelligent, selfless, and tireless public servants it has ever been my privilege to know (and work with).  You who so facilely demean them have no idea what they have done, for you among so many others, over so many years.

Riding such a high horse makes it hard to see what’s actually down there on the ground.  So here’s a little history, for what it may be worth.  One person’s version, of course.

I moved to SoHum in 1971.  My wife designed a charming little house and I built it.  At the outset of the process I applied for a building permit but I let it lapse when I read the fine print and discovered that the house could be abated (bulldozed) because it didn’t conform to the Uniform Building Code; for instance it used recycled lumber, and my electrical outlets weren’t the proper distance apart (they didn’t exist; we used kerosene lamps for the first fourteen years).  I also discovered that the Building Department had no interest in flexibility.  So my house was illegal, and this was worrisome since I planned to live out my days here.

In 1979 I was asked by a County supervisor to join the Citizens’ Advisory Committee on the Housing Element (CACHE).  I knew Dan Taranto, who was heading up the committee; as we were both owner-builders and had both had similar difficulties with the Building Department (at that time separate from the Planning Department) and since we knew that there were quite a lot of other folks in the County in a similar situation we decided that the “alternative owner-builder” should be considered a legitimate component of the county’s housing stock and should be properly represented in the Housing Element along with several other categories of owner building.  (The CACHE Subcommittee on Housing Regulations conducted a survey of building permits which indicated that the many forms of owner building accounted for 65% of home building activity in the County).  I was the Alternative Owner-Builder representative on the CACHE committee, and the upshot of our work in that specific area was the Alternative Owner-Builder program, which has something over three hundred houses under its umbrella and which is, I’m happy to say, currently accepted by the Planning/Building Department as a legitimate response to a real need.

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My promo for KHSU’s Thursday Night Talk:

Is nuclear power essential to a an energy plan to address climate change?  Please join Eric Kirk with his guest retired physics professor Rich Baker, who will make the case on Thursday Night Talk, June 26 at 7:-00 p.m.


I’ve met a number of young environmentalists, some of them very active, who are pro-nuclear power.  They are convinced that it’s an essential part of any energy plan to avoid both global warming and mass death for lack of power.  I’ve wondered if Fukishima had changed any minds, but as far as I can tell it didn’t.

Maybe it’s a generational thing?

I’m open to convincing, so let’s discuss it.


Finally, your representatives are listening to you!

Now is the time to be heard!


JFK's Vow


Humboldt County Sheriff, Mike Downey and Undersheriff, Bill Honsal will join me for a Town Hall Meeting in Redway on Thursday, June 26th. 
We will be discussing issues raised by this petition and other input we have received from the community about this issue. 
We look forward to hearing your input and your participation in a discussion of the problems and possible solutions. 
Please join us at the Redway Elementary School, 5:00 PM, Thursday, June 26th.

Thank you,
Estelle Fennell 
2nd District Supervisor

A great article on “Ten Scientific Concepts Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing.

Thanks to Julia Minton for bringing it to my attention.

Number 3 in particular I want to emphasize in light of a recent radio show discussion.

This misconception is an exploitation of quantum mechanics by a certain breed spiritualists and self-helpers, and epitomized by the abomination, [the movie] What the Bleep Do We Know? Quantum mechanics, famously, has measurement at its core. An observer measuring position or momentum or energy causes the “wavefunction to collapse,” non-deterministically. (Indeed, I did one of my first columns on “How smart do you need to collapse a wavefunction?”) But just because the universe isn’t deterministic doesn’t mean that you are the one controlling it. It is remarkable (and frankly, alarming) the degree to which quantum uncertainty and quantum weirdness get inextricably bound up in certain circles with the idea of a soul, or humans controlling the universe, or some other pseudoscience. In the end, we are made of quantum particles (protons, neutrons, electrons) and are part of the quantum universe. That is cool, of course, but only in the sense that all of physics is cool.


I’m guilty myself of at least one misuse, and from now on instead of “statistically significant” I will say “statistically discernible.”

The promo for next Thursday evening’s show:

“Free will.  Does it exist?  If so, how is it possible?  What are the implications for the our social system depending on our beliefs about free will? Can anyone justifiably be held accountable for his or her actions?  Join Eric Kirk and Bob Froehlich to address these questions and others relating to the question of free will…on All Things Reconsidered, Thursday night at7:00 pm.”

I will join Lee Ullansey and at least one other guest to discuss this last election and its aftermath.

Thursday night at 7:00 – KMUD, 91.1 or 88.1 in the north county.


And I’ll be on KMUD tonight for the Community Park show, also at 7:00.


And I have my show next Thursday, but that’s a work in progress.

A man casts his vote during Mali's presidential election in TimbuktuLost Coast Outpost has predictions and coverage.

What are your predictions?

For D.A., I’m predicting a runoff between Elan and Maggie, with Maggie breaking 40 percent and Elan at 35.  I think Alan will take 15 to 20 percent and Arnie will take 5 to 10 percent.  All bets are off for November if there’s a runoff.

I’m predicting that Virginia will come out on top of Chris 54 to 46 percent, but if I was in Virginia’s shoes I would be very concerned about the enthusiasm within the Kerrigan campaign.  Kerrigan’s team – they actually think they can win this thing.  And in a low turnout election, that can be very dangerous for an incumbent.

I don’t think Sharon can beat Ryan, and probably will have a hard time breaking 40 percent.  Could even be as low as 30 percent – she just came in too late as an unknown with too little money against an incumbent against which maybe 20 percent of the voters hold a grudge.

But all of these predictions can be frustrated if you get out to vote!  I’ve never understood why anyone who isn’t basically cynical doesn’t make the effort.

Any turnout reports?  It was very light at the First Covenant Church in Eureka this morning – maybe 15 people in my precinct had voted by 8:30.

KMUD will be airing extensive coverage of the races of several counties.  I’ll be there blabbing away with some other people.  If you like to hear my blabber, tonight will be a good night.


June 2014