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So I’m preparing dinner for my kids and the phone rings.  A nice man with a thick accent, probably from one of the “Stans,” informs me that he’s with blah, blah Research Associates or something and asks if I have approximately three minutes to answer some questions.

Sure.  Always like to help the pollsters out.

First question:  “Are you in a location which is safe for you to answer some political questions?”

Me:  “Well I hope so!”

Second question:  “On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being that you will certainly vote in the November 6 California election and a 1 being no chance that you will vote, how likely are you to vote?”

Me:  “10.”

Third question:  “Would you say that California is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?”

Me:  “It depends on the issue, but I would say somewhere in between, leaning in the right direction.  Is that an acceptable answer?”

Questioner:  “Yes it is.  I don’t have any further questions.  Thank you for your time.”

Me:  “But that wasn’t three minutes!”

Questioner:  “I have what I need.  Thank you for your time.”

Gee.  You think that was going to be a push poll?

And by the way, Natalya at KHSU offered a more balanced article on the County’s cost analysis.   I added some comments at the bottom.  I am working on a detailed response.

I’ll be there on Sunday.  Please come by with any questions about what is actually in the Measure, as opposed to what has been reported.  We’ll be on 8th near H.

For info on the North Country Fair.


Forest activists, community members, musicians and artists will gather at the Historic Eagle House in Old Town, Eureka on Sunday, September 16 for a 20th Anniversary Memorial for David “Gypsy” Chain.  The event is a fundraiser for a scholarship in memory of the young man who lost his life on Sept. 17, 1998 while trying to prevent illegal logging near Grizzly Creek in the Van Duzen River watershed. Administered by the Humboldt Area Foundation, the  annual scholarship will benefit local high school seniors or students at Humboldt State University or College of the Redwoods who have demonstrated commitment to issues of forest ecology through volunteer and/or academic projects.

The line-up for the September 16th gala includes activists Julia Butterfly Hill, Darryl Cherny, Tim Metz, Greg King and others.  Theatre artists David Simpson and Jane Lapiner will entertain, along with storyteller Paul Woodland. Musical performers include Berel Alexander and Kira Weiss, Francine Allen, Joanne Rand and Rob Diggins.  Poet Jerry Martien and author Joan Dunning will offer reflections.

Now part of the Inn at 2nd and C, the newly-remodelled ballroom will display fine art and craft for a silent auction with works by Dona Blakely, Cat McAdams, Christina Anastasia, Alan Samuel, Joan Dunning, Patricia Sennott, Kathy O’Leary, Betsy Roberts, Sara Starr, Iris Schenke, Laci Dane, Peggy Loudon and more.

Rabbi Naomi Steinberg, one of the event organizers, explains the vision: ”We’re offering this event as an occasion for reflection, to think about what we’ve learned since the painful controversies over the forest in the 1990s.  How have we grown as individuals and as a community? And for those of us who knew Gypsy or knew of him, how did his death influence the course of our lives? Also, we hope that every year the announcements of the scholarship availability and recipients will continue to educate the public about an important era in Humboldt County history, and help keep us focused on preservation and restoration of our magnificent redwood ecosystem.”

Members of David “Gypsy” Chain’s family and friends will travel from Texas to take part.  

The event will also feature memorial tributes to Freeman House, author of the award winning Totem Slamon.

Local supporting organizations include EPIC, Trees Foundation, Friends of the Van Duzen River, Northcoast Environmental Center, Salmonid Restoration Federation, Humboldt Baykeeper and Sanctuary Forest.

Tickets are $ 25 per person, students are free of charge.  Refreshments will be served and guests can enjoy a no-host bar in the vintage lounge.  Doors open at 7 pm for art viewing, with artists’ talks at 7:30 and the main program at 8:00 pm.


David Nathan Gypsy Chain poster Final

David Nathan Gypsy Chain poster Final-page-001

To the people of Eureka and beyond:

I am running for City Council because I believe it is important to work for community. At its best, a city uses the combined efforts of its citizenry to create a society that benefits all people.

I support programs and policies that build a safer and healthier community. I support harm reduction because it is proven to save lives. I support housing first strategies. I support programs for youth. I support access to mental health services. These programs and services acknowledge our shared humanity and are proven to be the most cost effective ways of addressing challenges that are pervasive across the United States. We are all in this community together.

Of course, no one wants to find needles on the streets or to see the daily impact of poverty in their city, but we can address these things in a way that builds community rather than divides it.

I do not support policies of bullying, shaming, and humiliation of people. Right now, there is a small group of people using these tactics to divide our community and to limit any real dialogue around issues. I believe that people are using meanness to shadow any potential for growth or change. I believe these people are threatened by a society where all people are equal, no matter how much money they make or the color of their skin.

We are all equal and we all belong. This is the society that I am working toward.

We still have a long way to go.

Please do not be fooled by the fear and paranoia that people are trying to use to destroy our ability to come together in dialogue. It won’t always be easy, but we can do better than this. I vow to work with you to address our needs for safety and a strong, equitable community. Together we thrive.



Each election season the political zoologist in me comes out as I search for “hybrid lawns” – lawns which contain signs across ideological divides.  Haven’t seen many this time around.  But I’ve also been thinking about the Eureka Mayor’s race.  On the left you have Susan Seaman.  On the right you have Michelle Constantine.  Where does Heidi Messner fit in?  Is she right, left, or center?  Will she draw more votes from Seaman or Constantine?

I’m sure when she reads this post she will find a polite way so say “F— you Eric!  I’m a candidate, not a spoiler!”

And she will have a point.

Maybe the “Heidi Effect” will be a Heidi win.  Anything can happen.

Heidi 2Heidi 1

Almost as cool as a Bachman’s warbler sighting!


Brenda is so beautifully eloquent.


The County Administrative Office issued a report on the annual costs of Measure K which was discussed at the Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday and subsequently in an article in the Times Standard.  Brenda Perez and I will be dissecting both on the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project show on KMUD tonight.

The TS interviewed Sheriff Honsal and Supervisor Estelle Fennel and it contains a bunch misinformation.

The Sanctuary County Initiative, called Measure K on the November ballot, would prevent local law enforcement from handing an arrestee’s personal information over to a federal immigration officer under any circumstance. It also goes beyond existing state sanctuary laws in protecting people from being detained for their immigration status.

If the initiative is passed, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would need to provide a semiannual report to the county describing the rationale behind every civil immigration detainment made that year. Human Resources workers would oversee whether procedures were being followed and the Sheriff’s Office would track federal immigration officers’ trips into the county.

“It would take quite a bit of staff time,” Sheriff William Honsal said at the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.


For one thing, there is no requirement that the Sheriff track ICE activity in the county.  There is no requirement that human resources workers oversee whether procedures are being followed.  The ordinance would not prevent law enforcement from providing personal information to ICE – federal law does not allow states to prohibit that.  And given that the Sheriff has reported only three people to ICE over the past couple of years, the semi-annual reports should each be less than a page long and take all of five minutes to prepare.

The administrative staff apparently surveyed the various departments for their estimates of the cost and the Sheriff reported its estimate of $85,000 to $130,000 for “tracking and reporting.”  Other than its own communications with ICE, there is nothing that Measure K requires them to “track and report.”  I would really like to see a breakdown of these projected costs.  Sheriff Honsal has opposed the Measure from the beginning.  Of note, the Probation Department reported anticipated costs of $1250 to $2500 for the very same requirement – again, reporting on its own communications with ICE.

Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell said at the meeting that her “considered guess” was the costs would come out on the high — not the low — end.

“I just can’t imagine that it’s going to be as cheap as $171,000,” she said. “It easily could even exceed $312 [thousand]. It seems there would be tremendous burden.”

Again, I would really like a breakdown of her “guess.”

Let’s be clear.  What Measure K requests above and beyond SB 54 are three basic items:

  1.  No County funds are expended to investigate/report potential immigration law violations;
  2. Certain arrest protocols are followed when ICE serves a warrant on the Sheriff’s Department to implement – protocols Sheriff Honsal claims they already follow; and
  3. Parents who are separated from their children when arrested and facing deportation proceedings shall be given priority in their preferences as to the fate of their children.

The first item only applies when the investigation/reporting is “solely” for potential civil violations of immigration law.  If there are criminal charges which necessitate contact with ICE, the use of County funds is not prohibited.

Which brings us to Sheriff Honsals nonsensical statement.

Honsal spoke to a number of ways he says the initiative would restrict the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s work. Since law enforcement needs to prevent illegal trespass cannabis grows in the county and prevent drugs coming into the country — “mostly from Mexico” — this ordinance would be restrictive, Honsal said.

The ordinance would have no impact on such an investigation/enforcement.  None.  Zero.  I have to wonder if he’s even read the Measure.

For the record, this is exactly what the Measure requires in terms of reporting.  You can read the whole Measure here.


By no later than July 1, 2019, the Sheriff and Juvenile Probation Officer shall each provide to the Board of Supervisors a written report stating the number of detentions that were solely based on civil immigration detainers (if any) during the first six months following the effective date of this Chapter, and detailing the rationale behind each of those civil immigration detainers. Thereafter, the Sheriff and Juvenile Probation Officer shall each submit a written report to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor, by January 1st and July 1st of each year, addressing the following issues for the time period covered by the report:

(a)  a description of all communications received from the Federal agency charged with enforcement of the Federal immigration law, including but not limited to the number of civil immigration detainers, notification requests, or other types of communications.

(b) a description of any communications the Department made to the Federal agency charged with enforcement of the Federal immigration law, including but not limited to any Department’s responses to inquires as described herein.


We will discuss these points and others tonight.


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