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And Hank made it.

The Mateel received it’s final payment yesterday.  The war is officially over.

Let peace reign throughout the land, on every mountaintop, in every village.

The White Dove shall sleep in the sand.

Carol will no longer promote Reggae Rising.  So says a very cryptic Times Standard article.  Dimmick Ranch will put it on.  Tickets will go on sale “soon.”

The Dimmick Ranch announces 2nd payment to the Mateel Community Center

[Humboldt County, CA January 29] The Dimmick Ranch is pleased to announce that Tom Dimmick will be making the third scheduled payment of $200,000 on or before February 1st to the Mateel Community Center. “We are happy to make this payment to the MCC and know that it will help them carry on their valuable services to our community through their varied and unique programs.” The final payment of $50,000 to the MCC is due in September and will be made on or before its scheduled due date.

The Dimmick Ranch is looking forward to Reggae Rising ‘09 to be held July 31st – August 2nd at the historic Dimmick Ranch and French’s Camp on the banks of the picturesque Eel River.

Thanks to Bob Doran for the news.

I just learned (from the Independent) that Tom Dimmick made a payment of $256,400.00 to the Mateel last week, just before Christmas.  The payment includes pincipal, interest, and legal fees.  Very good news for everybody involved.  Tom even apologized for the tardiness, citing economic problems.

Hopefully, the remainder of the settlement balance will be paid on time, the Mateel will keep its doors open, and a wounded community can move on whether everyone on either side of the conflict feels that justice was done.

A guy can dream.

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?

Well, let’s test out this new format.  Here’s the story.

The Court also ordered restitution of the Mateel’s attorney fees in making the motion (I think – the article’s not clear on just what attorney fees are being awarded, but it’s just over $1000.00) at the full $300.00 per hour rate rather than the $200.00 per hour discounted rate.  I’ve seen that happen before.  The law allows for “reasonable attorney” fees and doesn’t reward the breaching party when an attorney cuts a special deal to help a client.  Judge Miles ruled $300.00 per hour “reasonable.”

Now, I will be watching this thread carefully and I have more administrative options (your first post may not go through right away, it seems that I have to approve some posters and not others – don’t ask me why).  I can ban IPs.  I’d rather not do that, but while I will allow expression of frustration, I’m not allowing name calling, libel, nor severe disrespect.  I calls them as I sees them.

I just heard it on the KMUD news on my way home. Not many details were revealed, but here are a few:

1. PP and/or Dimmick will pay the Mateel $500,000.00.

2. PP keeps all the equipment on site.

3. It appears from Carol’s statement that the Mateel’s insurance company kicked in some amount of money for the slander and libel case. The amount would reveal whether it’s a nuisance settlement or whether the insurance company took the causes of action seriously. We’ll have to wait for that information.

It appears they’re still working out a payment plan, and my understanding from another source is that the judge will keep the case open in case PP/Dimmick fail to make the payments – bringing the parties back to where they were a few weeks ago.

I don’t have time to comment on this as I have a radio show to attend to. Try to post like adults if possible.

Addendum: Here’s the MCC press release.

Mateel Signs Peace Accord with Dimmick, People Productions

The Mateel Community Center Board of Directors has agreed to drop its claims against Tom Dimmick and Carol Bruno’s People Productions rather than to continue to battle in the courtroom. In return, Dimmick and Bruno will pay Mateel a half million dollars. They will also dismiss all of their lawsuits against the Mateel, its staff and Board of Directors. The Mateel will retain ownership of its trademark, Reggae on the River, kicking off a new era of Reggae this coming Saturday at Benbow Lake State Park.

We feel the need to get on with our lives is important to many people in the community, and that the courtroom drama only continued to hold us all hostage to a future of fighting over a very uncertain outcome. The months of legal battling, the cost of the lawsuit to Mateel donors, and a desire to get on with our real job-running the Community Center, has led us to this difficult decision. Both sides were also motivated strongly by Judge Warren, who twisted everyone’s arms to get us to settle the case. At this point, we feel the settlement path best fulfills our fiduciary duty as the Board of Directors of the Mateel.

We are ever so grateful to the hundreds of community members who’ve supported us through this difficult struggle. It’s been amazing to watch the outpouring of people’s energy to help at the Mateel—something which will need to continue for the Mateel to thrive as a local Community Center. While we believe that the $500,000 isn’t nearly enough, it will help to re-establish a modest reserve for the Mateel, as well as help pay for long-deferred maintenance of the building. But the future of the Mateel no longer lies at the feet of a monster Reggae show—in fact, it remains in the capable hands of the people of Southern Humboldt, and the Mateel will remain strong with ongoing community support.

I look forward to eliminating the question mark. The rumors are confirmed. There is at least a tentative settlement. I have no details. I really don’t care about the details to tell you the truth. Maybe the long community nightmare is over.

Let’s await the details, get the inevitable whining out of the way, and then start the healing.

But maybe, just maybe, this will be the last “Reggae thread.”

Dove image comes from Photobucket.

Yes, I’m aware of the articles in this weeks Sohum papers (Redwood Times article) about last week’s Planning Commission meeting and yes I’m aware of the e-mail which was presented. And yes, I’ve been putting off comment because, really, the dialogue on the Reggae conflict has degenerated to such a point that even many of the stalwarts on both sides have abandoned the discussion. As one admitted partisan pointed out tonight, she doesn’t visit the Reggae threads because it’s reached the point of “you’re stupid – you’re more stupid – am not – am too” only with a slash and burn approach that leaves no feelings undevastated and no personal attack held back. I’m starting to understand the concept of original sin, and the sentiments which shore up fascism. It’s really over the top that people who average 50 years of age act this way. I think I’ve reached my threshold.

So go ahead and comment. But I’m hereby declaring a heightened standard of conduct for Reggae War threads. Whether they’re aimed at anybody in particular, I will zap any and all personal attacks against individuals. I don’t have a formula – I’ll know it when I see it.

Basically, an e-mail letter from PP bookkeeper Suzy Mattilla to MCC Board member Bob Stern attacked Taunya Staupp as naive, anal, and controlling for insisting that the concert conform to all laws. The e-mail contains an admission that the concert was not compliant with the terms of the permit in terms of the body count on site, and that the concert could not be both compliant and profitable. You can read excerpts in the article linked above.

The letter has been introduced as evidence in the legal proceedings.

I have so many thoughts, I don’t even know where to begin. Suzy simply confirmed what Board members have pretty much known over the years even if it didn’t get spoken. It has been a point of contention in the past, but it never became public. On the one hand, you can argue that it’s hypocritical to bring it up now, the Mateel having benefited from the the overages in the past. On the other hand, the Mateel never asked PP to do it, not openly anyway. Last year the Planning Department essentially awarded the permit to People Productions (though they would emphatically deny that categorization) on the as of yet untested theory that “the permit runs with the land.” PP got to put on their concert. But in doing so, they removed all incentive of the Mateel to cooperate with them, and in light of the expensive litigation, gave the Mateel every incentive to bring Reggae Rising down.

I can’t glean from the articles the Commissioners’ reactions, but their demands for a third party audit of the 2007 by the next meeting would seem insurmountable if none was actually performed. I’m told that Kirk Girard joked: “What are they going to do? Invite all the attendees back up for a group photo?

I wish the Mateel would issue a press statement about the decision to produce the e-mail. Yeah, I know it’s “war.” But the collateral damage is bound to be quite significant.

I don’t know what good is going to come of this from here on out. It should not have reached this point. And those on both sides who pushed us here, I hope you’re enjoying this. Because it won’t get any better until you decide it’s time to stop and pick up the pieces.

In the meantime, if we can’t put on concerts which conform to law and regs, then maybe we shouldn’t put them on. Capacity issues are not “adherence to tiresome rules.” Maybe that discussion should have taken place a long time ago.


March 2020