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I’ve been working on this draft with El Centro Del Pueblo and others.  Last week we submitted it to the Human Rights Commission for discussion at their September 7 meeting.  I don’t have the time and place handy, but will update this post with it later.



It is hereby affirmed that the County of Humboldt County is a sanctuary.




The purpose of this Chapter is to support Humboldt County’s mission of providing competent, effective, and responsive public safety services to the citizens of Humboldt County and visitors to our community, recognizing its responsibility to maintain order, while affording dignity and respect to all persons and maintaining the highest of professional and ethical standards. The provisions of this Chapter are designed to assure that local law enforcement and other agencies are free from improper interference in the conduct of their duties, that County resources are expended only in furtherance of the objectives for which they are allocated, that participation in the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters is in no way discouraged and that all residents of the County may confidently enjoy the benefits and privileges of life in Humboldt County.



Additionally, the intent of this Chapter is to address requests for civil immigration detainers, voluntary notification of release of individuals, transmission of personal information, and civil immigration documents based solely on alleged violations of the civil provisions of immigration laws. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to apply to matters other than those relating to federal civil immigration detainers, notification of release of individuals, transmission of personal information, or civil immigration documents, based solely on alleged violations of the civil provisions of immigration laws. In all other respects, local law enforcement agencies may continue to collaborate with federal authorities to protect public safety.

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The latest.

I wish I could have been there.

I’ve waited until now to comment on the Charlottesville police conduct on August 12. I wasn’t there and accounts can be shaky and subject to bias and interpretation. But this video and the story behind it renders a federal investigation of Charlottesville police inaction warranted. It won’t happen of course.

Full account and video.

Trump pardons a racist thug.

Whatever else you have to say or think about Bruce Anderson, he’s a great writer.

“THE PEOPLE’S PLEAS ran along predictable lines until Sherry Glaser of Albion, looking so formidably pissed off I fought back an impulse to lock my office door, took the mike. Neatly summing up all the preceding arguments, the legendary Ms. G., broke down in tears just prior to going all the way off, concluding her passionate remarks by baring her breasts at Board Chairman John McCowen and his nonplussed colleagues. McCowen, looking like the Fuller Brush Man via McNab’s Men’s Wear, was the perfect straight man for Ms. Glaser’s unprecedented presentation. He stared back unamused at Ms. Glaser’s mammary display as he simultaneously cut the power to her mike and frantically tried to gavel her down. And Ms. G, tucking her well-known breasts back into their holsters, stormed up the aisle and out into the hallway, her raging voice echoing back into the seat of local government.”
Bruce Anderson
AVA, this morning


I have no idea what the issue was.

That’s the topic for tomorrow night’s All Things Reconsidered.  7:00 p.m.


This is my letter to the Board of Supervisor regarding tomorrow’s hearing in which the Board will take up the issue of undocumented residents and discuss a resolution supportive of the current Sheriff policy. I don’t oppose the resolution, but I am advocating a more extensive Sanctuary resolution which a group of us will submit to the Board after tomorrow. In the meantime, these are my thoughts. I encourage all Humboldt County residents to contact the Board with your own.

To the Board of Supervisors:

I have reviewed the proposed statement in favor of diversity and I appreciate the spirit behind it and the willingness of each of you to listen to some of the most vulnerable in our community who cannot vote. And although I have not yet met him personally, I am also grateful for the commitment and sincerity of Sheriff William Honsal with regard to the issues facing the large local immigrant communities.

Unfortunately I am not able to attend your meeting of August 15, 2017 and I do not have the time at the present to fully elaborate on what I believe to be at stake for the County, but I wanted to share a few thoughts with you before you pass the resolution. The following thoughts are my own and I do not speak for any other individuals or organizations though I am working with them.

I do not object to anything in the statement and I do not oppose its adoption by the Board of Supervisors. My hope is that it is a beginning rather than an end to the discussion.

I am concerned about the portion of the statement and some of the discussion regarding the encouragement of undocumented residents to work towards legalization of their residence. I am not sure that I could recommend that as an attorney right now due to the political climate and recent ICE actions. Very recently a young man cooperated with ICE authorities to process his transition to legal residence, and he was excited to report to agents that he had received a soccer scholarship at a university. Instead of recognizing his productiveness as a citizen, the agents took it as a pretext to deport him, and for good measure his brother. During this last winter ICE agents waited outside of a church in New York where some immigrants came in order to keep warm as they could not afford the heating cost for their own homes. They were ambushed upon leaving the church, and those who were undocumented were processed for deportation. The same New York Times article quoted one of the agents as saying that the change in administration has “made this job fun again.” In several states ICE agents, or local officers in compliance with voluntary cooperation agreements with ICE, have arrested suspected undocumented persons in front of crying children, one incident taking place near the school where the child was to be dropped off. And at least one allegedly abusive boyfriend of an undocumented woman has made use of the climate by notifying ICE officials of a court date in which she was to appear in order to obtain a restraining order against the boyfriend. She was arrested at the court house.

For decades now Congress has deliberated over immigration reform to address the millions – 13 million by some estimates – of undocumented residents. We can discuss whether it was “unethical” for them to come to the US for a better life for their families, but I can tell you that if I was in such a situation and concluded that even illegal immigration was best for my family I would follow exactly the same course of action. We can discuss the international politics and the history of neo-colonialism which has aggravated if not generated some of the problems in other countries which have driven people to this country. We can discuss the need to enforce even those laws with which we disagree. There is much to be discussed.

But there is also a phrase which has been used often in other local politics contexts. Local activists and leaders have spoken about the difference between government polices and “the realities on the ground.” We cannot deport 13 million people. We can only terrorize them and drive them further underground. We can break up families, bring children to tears, and strut as we tell major papers how much “fun” it is to cause pain. Or we can remain on the sidelines as we watch our neighbors, co-workers, and business people rounded up and hope future generations don’t judge us harshly – that there won’t be historical debates about whether our silence is excusable because of our historical context. Many other communities have take the right stands, and they are facing retribution from federal power as the result.

Right now, Congress is cowed with regard to immigration reform, because thanks in large part to a man who has (or has had) great influence in the current White House administration, former House Representative Eric Cantor was “primaried” for his support of immigration reform. The basis? That such reform would lead to more voters supporting the opposition party. That is why we don’t have reform, and why we do not have legal amnesty for those who would apply for legal residence. Without amnesty, I can not as an attorney recommend that undocumented people take such a course. Under the previous Administration, “Dreamers,” those who were brought into the country by their parents at a young age, were encouraged to come out of the shadows and avail themselves of a process which was promised, but has not come to fruition. Many of them do not identify with their countries of origin – some do not even speak the language. They are Americans, though the law does not currently respect them as such.

The statement as proposed is fine. It is not enough. It is not enough to support the policy of a well-intentioned Sheriff. The County needs a Sanctuary resolution which is not contingent upon the good will of the office holder, but rather a policy which actually backs him up and removes the political pressure from him to cooperate with ICE. I am not calling for a policy of civil disobedience. Obviously the County and the Sheriff must comply with all federal and state laws and no ordinance should place any official in the position of having to choose which law to follow. But we need a sanctuary ordinance which states as policy that until national policy takes a different direction, we cannot as a community in good conscience voluntarily cooperate. That kind of cooperation must be earned by the federal government. And to the degree that local agencies are required to comply with the federal government either through statutes or court orders, we should set protocols for the appropriate conduct in carrying out such duties.

In conjunction with other activists from whom you will hear on this issue, I have been involved in the drafting of such an ordinance. It is a work in progress. Personally, I hope the Board will work with us toward the passage of an ordinance which meets the needs and desires of the County. We do have the option of a ballot initiative, but there is no allowance for give and take in that process. Whatever we put forward would, if passed, become law word for word. I would much rather be a part of a process in which input from the communities and agencies involved is solicited and considered. I am leaving the leadership on the process to other activists, but it is the intention of the coalition to present the draft after tomorrow’s meeting.

Again, thank you for the work you have put into the issue and your consideration.


Update: In response to criticism of his silence he did in fact issue a vague statement about hate from “many sides.”

It has been said that the only class-conscious class in America is the upper class. One of the problems of the working class consciousness is that so many of its members believe that they are temporarily frustrated millionaires. There isn’t much of a union movement left in the US, partly because there’s little left to unionize – hence the union activism around the fast food industry.

But the Democratic Party has embraced labor-killing trade agreements, adopted neo-liberal economic policies, appointed Wall Street execs to manage the economy with each post-Carter Presidency, and barely mentions class issues in their campaigns except to slam the big donors of their opponents. Meanwhile, the real wage of the working person has declined in all but a few years since 1971 when a fry cook could buy a home in most parts of the country. The Democrats have steadily lost the working class, and not just the white working class.

After a friend posted this article on Facebook I just had to respond that attacking Trump supporters this way is a sure fire way to lose in 2018, 2020, and beyond. Some of the working class voted for Trump. Much of it just sat out the last election.

Says Thomas Frank:

“Basically, I think the Democratic party is in deep trouble. The evidence of that is now plain, I think, to everyone — that they’re in a state of historic wipe-out across the country and in both of Houses of Congress, and of course, they lost the presidency, too… The leadership of the party have persuaded themselves that they don’t really have a problem, that all they have to do is wait for [Donald] Trump to screw up and they’ll waltz right back in, and so they don’t have to do anything different. I think Trump represents the culmination of a long-term shift of working people, working-class people away from the Democratic Party.”

Was the Bernie Sanders campaign the last gasp of working class politics? We’ll discuss it on Thursday evening, at 7:00.

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August 2017