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I can’t criticize this year’s list, several of which have direct bearing on Sohum.  There are some other stories which maybe should have been in the top 10, but I don’t know which stories could have been replaced.

My suggestions would include:

1.  The Reggae War settlement – despite extensive coverage throughout the now two-year-old battle (although some would argue it began years before that), when the settlement came it didn’t go out in the media with so much as a wimper.  You would have expected the papers to have trumpeted the settlement with a detailed list of the provisions.  Bob reported it on his blog when it happened, but I never saw any follow-up by anybody in the media about the details until recently when the payments came due unpaid.  Mostly the terms trickled out through rumors and anonymous postings on this blog, and I’m still not sure I know all of them.  People keep asking me to comment on the settlement, what it means, and whether it’s fair.  But I’ve never seen enough of it to make any reasonable assessment.

2.  The overturning of Measure T – Passed by a healthy majority (which did not include me), Humboldt County’s effort to prohibit extra-county corporate campaign donations and perhaps establish a precedent against what has been termed “corporate personhood” was defeated in court with what some have argued was a lackluster effort at defending the law from the county legal team.  What’s interesting is that the county went through several elections before anybody filed a challenge.  In this instance the republican aspect of the political system triumphed over the democratic, for better or worse, and local campaign finance reform folk are back at the drawing board.

3.  The political near-stalement in Eureka continues – despite a very blue electorate, the City of Eureka continues to elect Republicans, while tossing in an occassional progressive to maintain that constant 3 to 2 conservative majority.  “Stalemate” is probably not the best word because one side does retain a distinct advantage, and it’s not unreasonable to interpret the results in two city council elections thus far as a cautious mandate for some version of the Marina Center proposal.  The question is whether it is a mandate for Home Depot or another big box.  Oddly enough, the one progressive candidate who expressed any support for the Marina Center Proposal, George Clark, was defeated handily.  Sectarian politics on the left may also be a factor, as the progressive candidates in Eureka have refused assistance from Local Solutions, which has had great success elsewhere (constituting a very important part of the prevailing coalition down here in the Second District).  A couple of  years ago there was a serious falling out between certain very dynamic individuals, and some of the original group split off to engage their own efforts on behalf of local progressive causes.  The groups haven’t yet found a way to get along at arm’s reach in order to pool resources and opportunities.  Other factors are also at play, including Frank Jager’s popularity notwithstanding politics.  Personally however, I believe it’s time for a summit of Eureka progressives, and a peace accord.

4.  The backlash against diesel – Maybe a story with more local implications rather than countywide, but recent events and overwhelming concerns about the future have brought the issue to the forefront and it is an issue getting serious attention from both community and agency.   The subject is touched upon in the NCJ’s list in the “pot backlash” story, but I think the story stands out on its own.

5.  Gallegos defeats – Several of Paul Gallegos’ cases have gone sour, including the Pacific Lumber case and the case against the EPD officers around the Cheri Moore killing.  It led to several angry editorials suggesting that the lawsuits were a waste of time and that resources are being diverted away from basic prosecution needs to support a political agenda.  I do view this as an oversimplification.  Everybody loves a winner, and if he had prevailed on those cases Gallegos would not be under fire for the “diversion” of resources, at least not from the mainstream of Humboldt County politics.  We’ll have to wait until 2010 to see how the policies play out politically, and maybe someone can put together some empirical rather than purely anecdotal evidence one way or another as to whether the more mundane prosecutions are getting adequate and competent attention.

6.  General Plan Update – It was a major issue in the Second District election this year.  But it can be saved as a “top 10 story” until next year when, hopefully, it will be completed.

Any other stories to suggest?

The Times-Standard reports on Local Solutions’ endorsements in the Eureka races. The theme is “no surprises.” I’d be curious to know if any of the other candidates went to the interviews.

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The Chimney Tree in Phillipsville will be closing permanently on September 17. It’s too bad, because they serve a decent burger. This means that the Hobbit Hill walk will also close. It’s a trail that winds up the hill behind the restaurant with exhibits of scenarios from The Hobbit with button activated excerpts from the novel. It’s one of the few tourist trap places worth bothering with, but they’ve obviously lost interest as the exhibits have been in disrepair. You can see from faded murals that they had capitalized on the animated films that came out in the 70s and 80s, but did not take the effort to exploit the recent films. The trail is about half a mile long, and takes you through some very pretty areas of the forest. Take advantage of it while you can.

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We had a black-out in Redway last night, which lasted until about 3 in the morning judging from my blinking clocks this morning. The Feet First dress rehearsal at The Mateel Center was cancelled. Tonight is the opening performance.

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A letter in today’s Eureka Reporter warns that if you don’t repent God will torture you for eternity for cussing. I’m not going to put the guy down for his religious beliefs, however, I think the use of the phrase “Jesus Christ” as a curse has it’s roots as a prayer. You encounter a frustrating situation, and you invoke the name for help. Hence, the writer’s comparison with the lack of use of the name Hitler in cursing would be inapplicable.

And I probably shouldn’t venture into this, but if there are any fundamentalist Christians out there maybe you can answer a question for me. And this isn’t to belittle your beliefs, but I just want to know how you resolve the question. In the letter, the writer quotes the Bible, and assuming it’s not taken out of context, it says that everyone falls short of compliance with God’s laws. Everyone. Compliance is impossible for the species apparently. So why would God judge us by a standard that is impossible for us to meet? And please don’t bother if you’re just going to respond that “it’s a mystery.”

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For those of you who were concerned, Christine of ER has informed me that she didn’t have the local blogs I listed yesterday, including Arkleywatch. She thanked me for them, graciously. I expect that she will amend the list.

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Emperor Gallegos?

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In national political news, the RNC is going to try to tag Kos supported candidates as such. It would seem that Lamont’s primary win over Lieberman has them freaked out. Meanwhile Lieberman himself, in a dead heat race as an independent, is campaigning with Republicans.

And it looks like Senator Allen’s racial slur is taking its toll. I still think a Webb win is a long shot however.

The primary chances for Democrat Senate gains appear to be in Pennsylvania, Montana, Ohio, Missouri, and Rhode Island (and of course Connecticut). Virginia’s in play, as are Nevada and apparently Tennessee. Arizona doesn’t seem to be panning out as competitive, but it could change as well. So, with an inside straight, we could be looking at a Democratic majority senate next year. It’s still a long way to November however, and these races are all close.

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And this is cool. The SF Bay Guardian is now posting it’s letters to the editor on its website. Not much of interest this week, but over the years I’ve read some of the best letters in that paper. Not quite the literary quality of the letters of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, but close.

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Bob Doran has a fascinating article in this week’s North Coast Journal about compostable plastics, a story that was apparently born from an amusing experience at Reggae on the River. Pretty much everybody associated with green issues locally is interviewed. The facts suggest that maybe it’s more practical and even greener to simply recycle conventional plastic.

Meanwhile, if you’re in need of a gun, there’s be a gun auction at St. Bernard’s School. Prices range from 50 bucks to 45 hundred. I’d say that’s more effective fundraising than a bake sale! It all ends tomorrow, so make hay while the sun shines. On September 15, the school will be selling ale and oysters. Guns. Booze. Maybe Captain Buhne is right (he’s got a post with a few more fundraising ideas!).

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Twisted Geezer supports the re-election of Mayor LaVallee.

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