July 29, 2004
REPUBLICAN HQ VANDALIZED: The county's
Republican Party headquarters at 311 Fifth St. in Eureka was
repeatedly vandalized over a period of a few days last week.
"It started out with spit and soda and coffee, then it went
to eggs, then it went to spray paint. The next day it went to
rocks through the window," said Mike Harvey, local party
chair. Harvey was quick to add that he didn't hold the local
Democratic Central Committee, which just opened an office down
the road at 129 Fifth, responsible. "We've got a great relationship
with the other party," he said. "It's not them, it's
just the crazy anti-Bushites." Harvey said that the party
installed a burglar alarm in the office in response to the attacks.
BOHN CAMPAIGN KICK-OFF: Eureka City Council hopeful Rex Bohn officially kicked off his campaign last week after turning in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Bohn, an employee of Renner Petroleum and a long-time volunteer for youth baseball leagues, said in a short press conference that he hoped to emphasize issues important to children and senior citizens in his campaign. He faulted his opponent in the city's Fourth Ward -- incumbent Chris Kerrigan -- for his advocacy of a Design Review Committee; many city builders are opposed to the idea, according to Bohn. "These are guys I've known for 30 or 40 years, and they don't want another layer of bureaucracy," he said.
SORTER TO RUN: Another name
has been added to what is becoming a crowded field in the upcoming
Arcata City Council race. Jim Sorter, a retired school administrator
and environmental activist, flew home from a summer volunteer
project helping protect Mexican sea turtles to file his papers
in the race. Sorter said last week that he believes his experience
managing large budgets for the Peninsula School District could
be an asset to the city, and he registered his approval of Arcata's
famous stands on national and international issues. "I'm
proud to say that I believe Arcata has influenced some decisions
in this national presidential campaign," he said. So far,
four other candidates have thrown their hats in the ring: incumbent
Michael Machi, activist Fhyre Phoenix, transportation safety
committee member Paul Pitino and Grandma B's Fudge owner Mark
Owens (though Owens has not yet completed the required papers).
Mayor Bob Ornelas and Councilmember Connie Stewart will not seek
by JUDY HODGSON
Eureka businessman Rob Arkley is spending "about a half million" dollars to unseat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in November while Democrats, including the North Coast's Rep. Mike Thompson, are fighting hard to save him.
"We do business in South Dakota; I know the people of South Dakota. He doesn't represent them. He's way too liberal. It's time for him to go," said Arkley in a telephone conversation Tuesday from Los Angeles.
Arkley and his wife, former Eureka City Councilmember Cherie Arkley, each gave the maximum allowed by law -- $2,000 -- directly to Daschle's Republican challenger, John Thune. But that's peanuts compared to the "mid-six-figures" Arkley said he is spending in soft money to create an organization called "You're Fired Inc." specifically for U.S. Senate campaigns.
The organization is a "527" -- shorthand for the section of the tax code that makes them legal.
"It's no different from what George Soros is doing," Arkley said. By the end of this political cycle, Soros, a liberal philanthropist intent on reforming the Democratic Party, will have contributed more than $13 million to independent political groups known as 527s, according to a Jan. 25 article in the New York Times.
"You're Fired" is based tongue-in-cheek on Donald Trump's TV series "The Apprentice," where management assistants compete in money-making schemes. At the end of each show, the competitors are called into the board room and Trump personally fires the weakest performer.
"I knew [the organization's title] would get attention. I did it for a public reason," Arkley said.
In the meantime, Democrats are raising funds to save Daschle's seat. Rep. Mike Thompson, who is attending the Democratic National Convention this week in Boston, is co-hosting a $1,000-a-ticket fund-raiser in the Napa Valley along with Kathryn Hall, former ambassador to Austria and owner of Kathryn Hall Vineyards in Rutherford.
"You're Fired Inc." has produced a series of TV and radio spots to target Daschle, who is critical of money from outside the state being used to influence the race. According to an Associated Press wire story, Daschle proposed that he and Thune sign a pledge banning financing from third-party groups. He said he sent letters to 134 groups that traditionally support Democrats asking them to refrain from advertising in his race.
A spokesman for the Thune campaign said Daschle is being hypocritical because the senator knows that other groups will run ads that favor him and oppose Thune.
Rob and Cherie Arkley are frequent contributors to Republican candidates and causes. They were among the top backers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for governor last year and a major underwriter of his inaugural. The Arkleys also have contributed the maximum allowed to President Bush in recent years and frequently attend fund-raisers in major cities.
by EMILY GURNON
County officials are asking for the public's help in tracking the path of the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease that killed a 57-year-old man in Orange County last month and was detected last week in Ukiah.
Residents of Humboldt County should notify officials immediately if they find a dead raptor, crow, raven, or jay, said Brent Whitener, vector control officer for the county.
Such dead bird reports are "absolutely critical," Whitener said, since the birds' mortality is a first alert that the virus has made its way here. Human illness usually shows up about five weeks later, he said. Residents who see dead birds are urged immediately to call the state hotline at 1-877-968-2473.
Whitener also recommends that residents "kick the bucket" -- eliminate mosquito breeding areas by emptying containers of standing water where natural predators don't exist.
"If you leave a white bucket on your back porch with 3 inches of water in it, you'll make 200 mosquitoes in three weeks," Whitener said. Most ponds, in contrast, are not a problem, he said, since they have mosquito-eating fish.
As of last week, there were 182 cases of West Nile reported in humans this year, and 40 in California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Health Services, respectively. All of those stricken in the state have been residents of Southern California, though birds infected with West Nile have been found in 15 counties. One infected crow was discovered in Mendocino County last week.
North Coast residents have battled an unusually high mosquito population this summer because of the warmer weather we had in June and July, in which breeding times are cut in half, Whitener said. Only 7 percent of our mosquitoes are the "Culex" variety, which carry West Nile, however.
While most cases in humans are relatively mild, West Nile virus is a potentially serious disease that is spread by Culex mosquitoes biting infected birds. The mosquito then passes the virus to the next bird it bites. Horses and chickens may also get sick. Humans cannot infect each other.
Those who get sickest from the virus are usually the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. A serious case of the virus is uncommon in children.
If the virus does come to Humboldt, Whitener recommends the following precautions:
For more information, see the California Department of Health Services Web site, or the county's Humboldt Health Alert Web site.
by HANK SIMS
Cramped aisles and long lines at the sandwich bar may eventually be a thing of the past at the Eureka Co-op.
On Tuesday, management at North Coast Cooperative, Inc., signed a deal to lease the old Big Loaf Bakery building at 25 Fourth St. in Eureka with an eye to establishing a full-sized supermarket at the site. The Big Loaf building is owned by Security National Servicing Corp.
The Co-op's board of directors was expected to finalize the deal Tuesday night.
"The Eureka store has outgrown the location," said Len Mayer, North Coast Cooperative general manager. "I believe that we've come up with a good solution that works for the Co-op, the customers and the members."
Mayer said that the new location will be about the same size as the Co-op's flagship Arcata store, and added that the Co-op was eager to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Eureka's downtown.
"Being a part of the redevelopment in that part of town would be very exciting for us," he said.
Actual relocation of the store is expected to take around 20 months, partly due to the fact that the project would require an amendment to the city's general plan. Under the plan, the Big Loaf building and surrounding areas are set aside for manufacturers rather than retail shops. Changes to the plan require costly and time-consuming environmental and traffic studies.
Nevertheless, Eureka Community Development Director Kevin Hamblin said that he believed that the city would look favorably on the Co-op's proposal.
"Despite the fact that it's complex, we have every hope that this can be accomplished down there," he said. "There have been many discussions among council and city staff about getting a grocery store to anchor the downtown."
The Eureka City Council is scheduled to hear Security National's request to initiate a general plan amendment at its Aug. 3 meeting. Security National is owned by Rob Arkley and his wife, Cherie.
Marie Liscomb, economic development coordinator for the Eureka Redevelopment Agency, said that moving the Co-op could attract new businesses and residents to the downtown area.
"I would think that it would eliminate a blighted building and maybe encourage other investors to the area," she said. "It's happened in Old Town and it's happening in the downtown -- if there are those willing to make an investment, others will follow."
She added that the project was especially beneficial because it would accomplish the goals of the redevelopment agency in the downtown area without requiring the investment of any public money.
© Copyright 2004, North Coast Journal, Inc.