Nov. 13, 2003
DAY OR BOMBING DAY? Last week the
Arcata City Council unanimously proclaimed that Nov. 7 would
heretofore be known as "Judi Bari Day" in the city,
in honor of the late Earth First! leader's work to save redwood
forests and build bridges between environmentalists and timber
workers. But Darryl Cherney -- Bari's colleague in activism,
musical partner and fellow victim of a 1990 car bomb attack that
nearly took both their lives -- is not entirely pleased with
the council's action. "This is a little microcosm of how
government can take a person's idea and butcher it," he
says. The problem? At the last minute, Councilmember Connie Stewart
moved the council to change the date from May 24 -- the day of
the bombing -- to Nov. 7, which is Bari's birthday. Cherney says
that Stewart's substitution dilutes the power of the May 24 date,
which as of last May is "Judi Bari Day" in the city
of Oakland, and which Bari's friends and colleagues had hoped
to establish more widely as a day to honor her memory. "Judi
was not a big birthday person," Cherney adds. "She
herself chose May 24 as the day to recognize the work we were
all doing." Cherney is also unhappy that neither he nor
Bari's other friends were told that the City Council would be
considering the proclamation at last week's meeting, and so did
not attend -- this despite the fact that it was Cherney who provided
Mayor Bob Ornelas with reading material on the Oakland proclamation
a few months ago. Reached on Monday, Stewart noted that celebrating
noted individuals on their birthdays was standard practice, and
cited the cases of Martin Luther King Jr. and various presidents.
"If you honor people on the day they were injured, you are
celebrating the person who injures them," she said.
by BOB DORAN
You might not expect to find the lead guitarist of a psychedelic rock band and a record producer working to support a district attorney. But here in Humboldt County, Lloyd Hauskins, a founding member of the Southern Humboldt band the Non-Prophets, and Jimmy Foot, owner of Bongo Boy Studios in McKinleyville, are just two of many musicians taking a stand behind embattled DA Paul Gallegos.
The effort began in August when the Non-Prophets put on a concert in support of Gallegos at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, calling it "Democracy Rocks!" That was followed by a benefit CD with the same name produced by Foot. This weekend the Non-Prophets join forces with the Joyce Hough Band and other musicians for a northern version of Democracy Rocks!, set for Friday at the Bayside Grange Hall.
"Musicians have traditionally had a distrust of `the man,' quote-unquote, because of the frivolous nature of the ways laws are prosecuted," said Jimmy Foot, explaining how he got involved in the fight against the Gallegos recall. "Big corporate criminals run around free while the police and prosecutors waste their time being baby-sitters for the community. Paul Gallegos is a different kind of person. He is standing up for an ethical use of the law."
Hauskins said it wasn't hard to convince his band to join the fray. "We rock for good causes. Our name says it all. We have strong environmental and political opinions, and we are strong supporters of our courageous DA. Personally, I think Paul Gallegos is one of a handful of elected officials in my lifetime who has the courage to be more than a bought-and-paid-for mouthpiece. He is a small ray of light in the dark ages we live in, and I don't want to see the corporate machine grind him up and spit him out so they can put another puppet in his place."
In July, Hauskins contacted The Alliance for Ethical Business founder Richard Salzman to volunteer his services for a benefit. According to Hauskins, the August event raised around $9,000, with most of the money coming from an auction of donated goods and services. "The highlight of the night was when we auctioned off Paul's surfboard, the one that was involved in the accident. We got $1,100 for a broken surfboard," he said.
The Non-Prophets are also one of more than two dozen Humboldt County music acts who contributed to Foot's Democracy Rocks! CD. "I backed Paul Gallegos and voted for him for DA," said Foot. "When all this recall stuff started happening I figured we needed to do something, to band together."
Foot joined forces with Jeff "Kingbee" Smith, a musician he met at an open mike night, and formulated plans for a benefit album. "We put the word out and found that the response from local artists was overwhelming," said Foot. He recorded a number of the artists at Bongo Boy, his studio in McKinleyville; other musicians donated recordings they had produced themselves.
The end result was a double CD with 25 tracks by local singer-songwriters, rock and bluegrass bands. Among the songs is "Liberty," played by an old time fiddle and banjo band from Eureka called Slackjaw, that will also be playing at Friday's benefit at the Grange.
According to fiddler Bob Huck, Slackjaw has been behind the DA from the start, having played at a campaign benefit before the election and at the Gallegos victory party in Fortuna. "I really like Paul," said Huck. "I'd like to see this recall thing done with so he can relax and do his job."
The event Friday begins at 5:30 with a dinner prepared by Smokin' Moses Catering, with Michael McLaren playing guitar. Slackjaw performs at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction that includes a painting by Arcata artist Alan Sanborn, a glass piece by George Bucquet and Paul Gallegos' tattered wetsuit. The Joyce Hough Band plays at 8:30; the Non-Prophets take the stage at 10:30 to close the show. For more information about the event, call 822-9178.
by EMILY GURNON
Local elections are thought by many to be boring, sleepy affairs that don't matter in the big picture. Don't races like the governor's recall count for much more?
On the contrary. As Lindsey McWilliams, Humboldt County elections chief, put it, these little races are about the "rock-bottom issues" for our community, like what policies our schools will set for our kids, and how our water and sewer services are run. So it's too bad that voter turnout in Humboldt County maxed out at just 37.6 percent -- for the Willow Creek Community Services District board race. And most races attracted far fewer voters. The school board contest in Eureka -- Humboldt County's largest school district, and one with big problems -- attracted a dismal 18 percent of registered voters to the polls, the lowest turnout of any race.
Nevertheless, several of last week's races got us Journal staffers talking. (We only wish we could have covered more of them.)
Here were some of the highlights:
Despite his federal indictment on pot-growing charges, Tim Dellas won re-election to his seat on the Manila Community Services District board, which manages water, sewer and recreation services for that community of 1,000. Granted, voters could choose three of the four candidates, and the odd man out, contractor Michael Fennell, had just nine votes fewer than Dellas, who claimed the number three spot with 82 votes. (Preschool teacher Dendra Dengler won 97 votes, and landscaper Violet Glass 86.)
It was clear that while some of the good folks in Manila were appalled by Dellas, many did not particularly care whether he was growing a massive crop of weed or not. One longtime resident suggested that some would be more likely to vote for Dellas because of the charges. And, we were continually reminded, he is innocent until proven guilty. But, regardless of what you think of pot or its illegality, wouldn't it show just a bit of poor judgment on Dellas' part if he were tending a 5,600-plant indoor grow? Do we want people with poor judgment running our towns? Furthermore, as DA Paul Gallegos told us in an interview, pot growing may not be the worst crime in the world, "but it's a dereliction of your duty to the community." The marijuana grower "doesn't contribute back to their community like every working taxpayer does."
Probably the hottest race of Nov. 4 was the Northern Humboldt Union School District, where Kathy Marshall, a progressive, and incumbent Jim Welsh, won the two open seats. Marshall, a registered nurse, and Jim Athing, a chiropractor, ran as a team, challenging what they described as a conservative board that failed to listen to the concerns of progressives. Marshall and Athing were prompted to run after the school board supported Arcata High School Prinicipal Bob Wallace's decision last year to cancel a dramatic performance that dealt with sex-ed themes. The incumbents, former biology teacher Welsh and businesswoman Cathy Minkema, complained that -- egads! -- politics, no less, had entered the race. Well, education is now and always has been political, in one way or another. Different people will argue for different things in the name of "what's best for our children." No surprise in that.
Sexuality also came out as an issue in the Eureka school board race, and, there too, the winning seats went to one conservative, Lisa Pace, and one more progressive candidate, Judy Anderson. Both were incumbents. Pace and Anderson's challenger, Susan Murman, both criticized a proposed plan to bring family planning services to a new clinic on the Eureka High campus. (The board may vote on the plan as early as Nov. 19.) Murman and Anderson's challenger, Eva Lettnecker, both failed to unseat the incumbents.
In the race for Division One and Division Five seats on the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District board, incumbents Ronnie Pellegrini and Charles Ollivier easily bested their challengers, two of whom raised questions about the board's commitment to environmental issues.
Pellegrini, the wife of Paul Pellegrini, president of the Humboldt Fishermen's Marketing Association and a former aide to Rep. Frank Riggs, won nearly 76 percent of the vote for Division One. Ollivier, a former longshoreman, won more than 68 percent against David Elsebusch in Division Five.
And in McKinleyville, it was an uncharacteristically quiet race, with Kevin Masters, a city of Arcata utility crew leader, winning the two-year position over James Fritz and Don Dodd. Incumbents John Corbett and Paul Trepanier were given the nod for the four-year seats, beating Rob Johnson and Dennis Mayo.
Finally, despite her loss to Mark Thurlough in the South Bay Union School District race, we applaud Morgana Manning's determination and chutzpah in running for the two-year term on the board. At 18, Manning was Humboldt County's youngest election candidate and arguably the most in touch of any prospective school board member with the problems and realities of public school. After all, she just graduated in June. Morgana, wherever you go from here, give `em hell.
by HANK SIMS
There was a total eclipse of the moon on Sunday. The annual Leonid meteor shower peaks Thursday night. There will be a solar eclipse over Antarctica later this month, and a transit of Venus across the face of the sun in June 2004, but more spectacular still, maybe, was the triple harmonic convergence of the region's legislative stars around Humboldt Bay this week.
They came to press the flesh, to meet with key constituencies and to raise funds. Both state Assemblymember Patty Berg and state Sen. Wes Chesbro make their homes here, of course, but for Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa), the centerpiece of the trip was an honor bestowed upon him by the Area 1 Agency on Aging (A1AA).
Sandra Fitzpatrick, A1AA executive director, said that the honor -- a "Legislator of the Year" award -- was a long time coming, and represented the "culmination" of Thompson's 13 years as an elected representative of the area.
"He has a track record of working on issues important to us," said Fitzpatrick, adding that Thompson recently found $300,000 in federal funds to contribute to agency projects in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
The award was presented Monday at the agency's annual meeting, held this year at the Baywood Golf and Country Club. During his stay, Thompson also took a tour of Kokotat, an Arcata clothing manufacturer, and spoke at several Veteran's Day events on Tuesday.
The county's brightest and most beautiful turned out in force Monday night for a Thompson fund-raiser at the Eureka Inn. The event -- billed as a "Holiday Gala Honoring Congressman Mike Thompson (paid for by the Mike Thompson for Congress Committee)" -- featured a silent wine auction and a vibraphone-based jazz combo.
For a partisan fund-raiser, it was a surprisingly ecumenical affair. Democrats dominated the crowd, of course, but Supervisor Roger Rodoni, a Republican, put in an appearance, as did Arcata Green Party stalwart Dave Meserve.
Pacific Lumber CEO Robert Manne (political affiliation unknown) milled about, engaging Thompson and conservationist Rondal Snodgrass in lengthy conversation. Manne declined to speak with the Journal, then pulled PL spokesman Jim Branham out of the buffet line to say that the company as a whole permanently declined to speak with the Journal, now and forevermore.
Buttonholed for a brief interview, Thompson reaffirmed his early and strong support for Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, who like Thompson himself has been a critic of the Iraq war.
"I've known him for a long time," the congressman said. "He's very bright, and he has the interests of the country at heart. And he has a foreign policy portfolio unequaled by any other candidate -- including the president."
Thompson acknowledged that Clark had only recently become a Democrat, but argued that the fact was a point in the general's favor. "He saw the light," Thompson said of the former registered independent. "We ought to look at that as a virtue."
Both Chesbro and Berg found time to show up for the fete, and Berg came replete with a phalanx of staffers, including Brendan Twohig and Arcata City Councilmember Connie Stewart. Stewart said that Berg had a busy schedule during the trip: She met with HSU President Rollin Richmond and other local educators and planned to attend a special meeting of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care in Eureka on Wednesday.
Chesbro, the life of any party, posed for photos and smiled broadly. He, too, had met with Richmond, and had been at the A1AA meeting earlier in the day and would attend the Veteran's Day memorials on Tuesday, he said.
As chair of the state Senate Budget Committee, Chesbro had some trepidation about the looming Schwarzenegger administration.
"It's a truly unique situation when a candidate gets elected to head the fifth-largest economy in the world without ever having been elected to any other office before," Chesbro said. But he hoped for the best -- the governor-elect had already made some compromises with senate Democrats, and future bipartisan work on the state budget crisis did not seem impossible.
The senator was concerned, though. He said that he had not yet received any specific budget proposals from the Schwarzenegger team, but that they had recently floated "trial balloons" in the media, indicating that the Schwarzenegger administration might seek to balance the state budget by borrowing massive sums -- up to $20 billion -- to offset future shortfalls.
"That would be the height of irresponsibility, as far as I'm concerned," Chesbro said.
Supervisor Jimmy Smith introduced Thompson to the throng, praising his commitment to bipartisanship and fiscal integrity. Thompson thanked veterans in the crowd for their service, and noted that these are troubled times.
"We've got to figure out a way to bring the country together," the congressman said. "We've got to figure out a way to bring the world together. There's a lot at stake." As the speech went on, the crowd periodically raised their glasses and cheered.
© Copyright 2003, North Coast Journal, Inc.