Around the time this week's Black Friday story hit the presses, someone pointed out that Nov. 28 is also " Buy Nothing Day ," a day of protest against consumerism, originally founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave and later promoted by Adbusters magazine.
As the planet starts heating up, maybe it’s time to finally go cold turkey. Take the personal challenge by locking up your debit card, your credit cards, your money clip, and see what it feels like to opt out of consumer culture completely, even if only for 24 hours. Like the millions of people who have done this fast before you, you may be rewarded with a life-changing epiphany.
They supply this song , "Buy Nothing At All" by Joel Kroeker
Addendum 2 : Relatively good news for those like Bayshore Mall manager Sue Swanson, who own stock in General Growth Properties , the company that owns the mall:
General Growth Properties Inc.'s battered shares have nearly doubled, after hedge fund manager William Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management disclosed that it has acquired a 7.5 percent stake in the financially struggling Chicago-based mall operator.
You'll have to do some downloading if you want to read the whole thing, but after the jump we'll give you the portion of the EIR that relates most directly to topics addressed in the Black Friday story and the potential impact on local retailers.
Spoiler alert: We're guessing the EIR will be much debated in the weeks to come, but the conclusion re: contribution to urban decay is as follows:
The potential for the Marina Center project, in conjunction with other development, to result in urban decay in the greater Eureka area would be less-than-significant, and the project would not make a cumulatively considerable contribution to cumulative urban decay impacts.
Section P: Urban Decay
Project Impact P-1: Would the Marina Center project result in urban decay in the Retail Trade area?
Generally, the economic and social effects of a proposed project are not considered by CEQA. (CEQA Guidelines Section 15131 (a)). Where economic or social effects of a proposed project will directly or indirectly lead to an adverse physical change in the environment, then CEQA requires disclosure of the resulting physical impacts (CEQA Guidelines Section 15064(e)). Economic or social changes need not be analyzed in any detail greater than necessary to ascertain what physical changes may occur as a result of economic or social changes (CEQA Guidelines Section 15131 (a)). Here, the potential impact of vacancy leading to urban decay would be a physical change that would need to be addressed.
Urban decay is physical deterioration that is so prevalent and substantial it impairs the proper utilization of affected real estate or the health, safety, and welfare of the surrounding community (CBRE, 2006). Urban decay can be caused when the competitive effects of a commercial development project are so severe that other stores can be expected to close as a result of the proposed development and that the buildings containing those stores anticipated to close will not be re-tenanted or reused within a reasonable time but will remain vacant and lead to the decline of other real estate.
The CBRE Consulting analysis determined that the site is currently in a state of urban decay and negatively impacts the surrounding neighborhood, including the Historic Old Town district that borders the project site at C Street. The proposed project would be beneficial to the project site and prevent it from going into further decay. Cleaning up and redeveloping the land would be an improvement over its current state.
In Humboldt County in November 2007, there was a total of 5.1 million square feet of retail inventory with only 121,590 square feet vacant (CBRE, 2007), which has increased by roughly 100,000 square feet with the recent or soon to be 2008 closings of Hancock Fabrics, Gap Stores, Old Navy, and Mervyn’s. McMahan’s Furniture was not included in the vacancy figures as the opening of a newly constructed furniture retailer at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Fifth Street occurred in early 2008. However, despite the increase in vacancy, the overall vacancy rate in Humboldt County remains very low at about 4 percent, which indicates a countywide tight retail market with very low vacancy rates. Brokers working in Eureka have been able to re-tenant smaller vacancies as they occur.
The Bayshore Mall, the largest shopping mall in Humboldt County, houses the majority of recently vacated retail space due to the past and pending closings of apparel retailers Old Navy, The Gap, and the primarily apparel oriented Mervyn’s department store. However, due to the low vacancy rate and lack of large, adequately parked retail spaces in the county, it is not expected that these store closings will lead to long term vacancies as evidenced by past vacancies that have been quickly re-tenanted at this particular property. Therefore, sufficient retailer demand is anticipated to exist to absorb vacated space in the event that existing Humboldt County retailers close due to any negative economic impacts of the Marina Center project, and/or other identified planned projects (CBRE, 2006).
One of the primary conditions leading to urban decay, existing high vacancy rates and long retenanting times, is not present in Humboldt County. While the Marina Center project could result in some existing store closures, the low vacancy rates of existing shopping centers indicates stable performance and the ability to re-tenant smaller vacancies as they occur.
In the event that Anchor 1 itself is vacated, it is likely that it would be re-tenanted because large format retail space in Humboldt County has been quickly re-tenanted in the past and certain large format stores have expressed interest in entering the Humboldt County market. In addition, the space for Anchor 1 has been designed so that it could be broken into three smaller spaces of 20,000 to 40,000 square feet and more easily re-tenanted. As a result, potential project vacancies would be unlikely to cause physical deterioration in the area.
Because the proposed project and its associated infrastructure improvements would not create or maintain urban decay and would instead eliminate the conditions for urban decay, the project would result in a less-than-significant impact.
Mitigation None recommended.
Finding of Significance The potential for the Marina Center project to result in urban decay in the greater Eureka area would be less-than-significant.
Cumulative Impacts Impact P-2: Would the Marina Center project, in conjunction with other development, result in urban decay in the area?
For the purposes of evaluating the cumulative impacts of the project on urban decay, the EIR considers not just the projects in the Eureka area, but also the addition of a business park in Redway, a newly constructed retail shopping center in Fortuna with a general merchandise/drug store (Walgreen’s), restaurants, financial services, and small scale service retail, and a planned large-scale regional shopping center containing a general merchandise store (Wal-Mart) and home improvement store (Lowes) in Fortuna which would directly compete with the project’s Home Depot anchor store. Humboldt County has a very low vacancy rate for commercial space. While a competing general merchandise and home improvement store in Fortuna would divert sales from Eureka, there does not appear to be any cumulative impact from the project and other proposed or approved projects that would result in physical deterioration considered prevalent and substantial in the community. In keeping with the low retail vacancies in Humboldt County, two recently closed building material and garden supply spaces in Fortuna were re-tenanted in a reasonable amount of time (CBRE, 2006). When considered cumulatively with other potential future development in Eureka and the vicinity, the proposed project would not result in significant cumulative impacts.
Mitigation None recommended.
Finding of Significance The potential for the Marina Center project, in conjunction with other development, to result in urban decay in the greater Eureka area would be less-than-significant, and the project would not make a cumulatively considerable contribution to cumulative urban decay impacts.
NorCal lawmaker pushed for Interior job
By ERICA WERNER Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON-A Northern California congressman who hunts, fishes and grows wine grapes is being promoted for Interior secretary by two prominent fellow lawmakers.
California Democratic Reps. George Miller and Anna Eshoo sent a letter to the incoming administration in the past week urging consideration for Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St.Helena, said Miller's chief of staff, Danny Weiss.
"They believe that he would make an excellent secretary, has a broad base of support and knows the issues very well, both from the environmental side and the natural resources side, and they encouraged the transition team to consider him strongly," he said.
Downside? I'm pretty sure he has no executive experience whatsoever, and the O needs some practiced bureaucratic sword-wielders.
After a long discussion and some resistance on a couple things -- the definition of caregiver, and whether the words "total canopy" should be included as part of the definition of square footage -- the council voted unanimously to adopt new land use guidelines covering how medical marijuana works in the city.
To be specific, they adopted Ordinance No. 1382 to Amend the Arcata Municipal Code, Title IX, the Land Use Code by Adding Section 9.42.105 - Medical Marijuana: Cultivation and Dispensing as a New Standard for Specific Land Use; and Associated Revisions to: Allowable Land Uses and Permit Requirement Tables 2-1, 2-4, and 2-10; Add Associated Definitions to Article 10 - Glossary; Revise Text to Section 9.42.040 - Accessory Uses, and Section 9.42.090 - Home Occupations.
An important change is that receiving any compensation for growing dope at home for someone other than yourself is now considered a home occupation and is not allowed. What was once a grey market is now black market.
The only firm resistance came from Paul Pitino and Harmony Groves, two current councilmembers who opted not to run for re-election. When they realized that they were out voted, they went with the plan. Mayor Mark Wheetley suggested that anything that did not work out could be reviewed in six months -- by then there will be three new people on the council.
Side note to the city employee who makes the PDFs attached to agendas: It's great that you're supplying this information on the web, but you should know that anything that's typed up on a computer can be turned into a PDF digitally. There's no need to print the document and scan it. Time to adopt real 21st century technology.
Well, hell. Damn. There goes the local Pizza Mia™ and those chocolate dunky things. And 16 jobs.
Donald Davenport, who with his wife Jo Ann owns the Pizza Hut franchise in Eureka, just flashed us a news release saying they've closed shop.
The Davenports were embroiled in a fight with Pizza Hut, Inc., of Dallas. Pizza Hut, Inc., according to the release, had sued the Davenports, accusing them of "damaging their corporate image" by not buying and putting into service some new software for coordinating in-shop orders, and for not doing internet ordering. The upgrades would have cost thousands.
"These costs were considered an unreasonable request for an independent, one-store owner in an already troubled economy," says the release.
On the phone this evening, Donald Davenport, who owns Winco Realty and Development, explained that he and his wife own the building that Pizza Hut's in, and they took over the franchise in 2006 -- the former franchisee owed them money and had been struggling to keep the pizza joint going. They managed to turn the business around in late 2007, said Davenport, but they hadn't quite made enough money to afford the required updates Pizza Hut, Inc., required of them.
PH Inc sued, they entered mediation, and then, a week ago Monday after nine hours of mediation in Texas, Davenport realized, after talking to the mediator, that while a jury of his peers might see his side, a judge in California might not. He'd be out a half million bucks in litigation fees and a couple of years of time, is what the mediator told him, he said.
So this morning he gathered his employees together and told them the shop was closed, effective immediately. It was devastating, Davenport said -- he and his wife had become close to the employees, and had, in fact, intended to distribute all profits to them, once there were some.
"We let them wander through the store and take whatever food they wanted," he said. "Pizza Hut refused to take our inventory back. So we'll donate the rest to charity."
They're taking down the big Pizza Hut sign tomorrow morning, and the rest of the P.H. images must vanish in short order as well.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the California Supreme Court will consider issues brought by those opposed to Proposition 8 .
They'll be looking at three things:
Whether Prop 8 is a revision of the California Constitution when it should have been an amendment. If it's a revision, it's invalid.
Does it violate the separation-of-powers doctrine?
And last, if the Prop passes muster and stands, what about the marriages that took place this year? Are they now null and void or do they stand?
The plan is to get on it ASAP. Oral argument may begin as soon as March 2009. In the meantime, Prop 8 is in effect, marriage is strictly man/woman, so no more same-sex marriages for now.
Not all Prop 8 supporters are happy that the court is taking this up (as you will see if you read the Bee story or see below), but you would not know that from this press release from
Sacramento, CA – The official proponents of Proposition 8 and ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8, the campaign committee responsible for its enactment by voters today said it is "profoundly gratified" that the California Supreme Court granted all their requests by agreeing to accept original jurisdiction of three cases challenging the measure’s validity, granted their request to intervene in the cases as Real Parties in Interest, denied the request of others to delay implementation of Proposition 8, and refused to allow outside groups to directly participate in the litigation.
"This is a great day for the rule of law and the voters of California," said ProtectMarriage.com General Counsel Andy Pugno. "This order means that voters will get their day in court and ensures that voters will have a vigorous defense of Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court. We are profoundly gratified with the Court’s order and are confident that Proposition 8 will be upheld."
The Supreme Court has accepted original jurisdiction of three cases that claim Proposition 8 is a constitutional revision rather than a constitutional amendment and thus should not have been presented to voters. The Court’s order accepting the cases, as was requests by the proponents of Proposition 8, will provide a ruling on Prop 8’s validity in a matter of months, rather than potentially years of protracted litigation.
Perhaps the most significant part of the Supreme Court’s order is to deny the requests of the plaintiffs in the three cases to stay the implementation of Proposition 8. This means that, once the vote is certified, Proposition 8 will take effect as of midnight, November 5th. The Constitution of California has been amended to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman will be valid or recognized in California.
"The California Supreme Court is recognizing the People’s vote on Proposition 8 and is allowing the measure to go into full effect," Pugno said. "This is a great legal victory for voters."
Also of key significance, the Court has granted the request of the proponents of the initiative and their campaign committee to intervene in the litigation as Real Parties in Interests. This ruling grants the backers of Prop. 8 full legal standing to submit written arguments and appear in oral argument before the Court.
"Granting the backers of Prop. 8 intervention in these cases means that voters can be certain that there will be a thorough and vigorous defense of Prop. 8, "Pugno said. "Voters will not have to solely depend on Attorney General Jerry Brown to defend the measure. Since the attorney general was an active opponent of Proposition 8, we did not want the fate of the measure to rest in his defense of it."
The Court also denied the request of unrelated parties, including the Campaign for California Families (CCF), to intervene in the litigation. The proponents of Prop. 8 had asked the Court to deny CCF’s proposed intervention.
The cases seeking to invalidate Proposition 8 are
Strauss v. Horton, S168047
; City and County of San Francisco v. Horton, S168078; and Tyler v. State of California, S168066.
Equality California - the No on 8 side offers this analysis:
Today the California Supreme Court granted review in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, which passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. In an order issued today, the Court agreed to hear the case and set an expedited briefing schedule. The Court also denied an immediate stay.
On November 5, 2008, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court on behalf of six couples and Equality California. The City of San Francisco, joined by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County, filed a similar challenge, as did a private attorney in Los Angeles.
The lawsuits allege that, on its face, Proposition 8 is an improper revision rather than an amendment of the California Constitution because, in its very title, which was "Eliminates the right to marry for same-sex couples," the initiative eliminated an existing right only for a targeted minority. If permitted to stand, Proposition 8 would be the first time an initiative has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take way an existing right only for a particular group. Such a change would defeat the very purpose of a constitution and fundamentally alter the role of the courts in protecting minority rights. According to the California Constitution, such a serious revision of our state Constitution cannot be enacted through a simple majority vote, but must first be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.
Since the three lawsuits submitted on November 5, three other lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 have been filed. In a petition filed on November 14, 2008, leading African American, Latino, and Asian American groups argued that Proposition 8 threatens the equal protection rights of all Californians.
On November 17, 2008, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members statewide, also filed a petition asserting that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all, and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution. On the same day, prominent California women’s rights organizations filed a petition asking the Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because of its potentially disastrous implications for women and other groups that face discrimination.
In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental right to marry. Proposition 8 would completely eliminate the right to marry only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group.
Over the past 100 years, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging either legislative enactments or initiatives as invalid revisions of the California Constitution. In three of those cases, the Court invalidated those measures.
And here's what CCF has to say:
In response to today's decision by the California Supreme Court to hear the challenges to Proposition 8, the California Marriage Amendment, Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families , a leading California-based pro-family organization, issued the following statement:
"It's unfortunate that the judges are giving time to the mushy, subjective arguments of homosexual activists who reject the clear reading of the constitution and the clear reading of Proposition 8. If the court disobeys the constitution by voiding Prop. 8, it will ignite a voter revolt. It will also threaten the validity of all future constitutional amendments.
"The court is playing with fire by threatening to destroy the people's vote on marriage. The California Constitution clearly says that the voters have the right to alter the highest law of the land. It's the beauty of the American system of government. The four Supreme Court justices who unconstitutionally invented homosexual 'marriages' -- Ron George, Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar and Carlos Moreno -- seem to be ignoring the fact that the people get the last word, not the judges.
"The clear reading of the constitution, as well as California's legal and legislative history, tells us there is a world of difference between a constitutional amendment and a constitutional revision. Proposition 8 is a single-subject, voter-initiated amendment, not a legislature-initiated, multi-issue, whole-scale revision that alters many sections of the state constitution.
"If Prop. 8 gutted the constitution, why is it only one subject in one section of the constitution? If Prop. 8 doesn't stand, then our constitution doesn't mean anything, the people's vote doesn't mean anything, marriage has been utterly disrespected, and judges lied when they swore to uphold the constitution. Prop. 8 must stand, because the constitution is above the judges, not the other way around.
"Marriage is, was, and should always remain a natural, beautiful relationship between a husband and a wife. Marriage between a man and a woman is an essential, beneficial role model for children to emulate.
"Fortunately, the California Constitution tells us 'all political power is inherent in the people' and that 'they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require'" ( California Constitution, Article II, Section 1 ).
Explaining the clear distinction between an amendment and a revision is University of California, Berkeley Department of Public Science Chairman Emeritus Dr. Eugene C. Lee , who, in 1991, wrote:
Specific changes to the California constitution may be proposed by amendment. Substantial changes may be proposed by a constitutional convention or by the legislature as constitutional revisions. Regardless of their origin, all changes must be approved by a majority of the electorate voting on the issue.
Legislative amendments, the method most commonly used, require a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature. Initiative amendments may be placed on the ballot by a petition of registered voters equal in number to 8 percent of the total vote cast in the preceding gubernatorial election. By explicit language in the constitution concerning initiatives and by court interpretation with respect to measures arising in the legislature, amendments are required to be limited in scope. As far back as 1894, the California Supreme Court distinguished between a revision of the constitution and a mere amendment thereof (Livermore v. Waite, 102 Cal. 113). As reiterated in 1978, the court held that a revision referred to a "substantial alteration of the entire constitution, rather than to a less extensive change in one or more of its provisions" (Amador Valley Joint Union High School District v. State Board of Equalization, 22 Cal.3d 208).
Whether in the public and explosive setting of a constitutional convention, as in 1879, or in the relatively calm, almost academic environment of a revision commission some 90 years later, the revision process is intensely political....To be successful, revision requires gubernatorial as well as legislative leadership. Given the requirement of a two-thirds legislative vote, revision involves negotiation and compromise. The agreement implied in an extraordinary legislative vote does not guarantee popular support. Thus, an effective political campaign is essential. But even with a good campaign, success at the polls is not assured. Constitutional revision can be a high-risk endeavor and will continue to be so. These conclusions should be taken seriously in any legislative consideration of constitutional revisions. In addressing the current imperfections of the California constitution, the costs and risks of revision must be weighed carefully against the alternative of carefully targeted amendments.
-- Eugene C. Lee, "The Revision of California's Constitution," April 1991, commissioned by the California Policy Seminar, University of California, Berkeley
The current issue of the New Yorker is all about food. In connection with it, today's online New Yorker includes a short food related piece by occasional Journal food columnist Jada Brotman . As you might recall, Jada is a cheesemonger in an upscale Brooklyn establishment called Provisions . Apparently her literate cheese descriptions caught the eye of someone connected with the magazine. The piece has her comparing various cheeses to figures in literature.
Among the cheeses,
Cypress Grove's fabulous Midnight Moon
Fuchsia , Gormenghast , by Mervyn Peake
Midnight Moon is my favorite hard goat cheese: sweet, salty, creamy, and vivid. Yet its black rind and the milky pallor of its interior hint at an ominous and slightly gothic character. Like the ill-fated, capricious, and beautiful Fuchsia from Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, it is profoundly complicated—lovable and doomed.
Jada at work (photo by her Pa)
Yeah, yeah, yeah . It's not that it didn't happen. I'm sure it did. I'm sure it happened many times, in many places. Probably just about as often as the flipside version of it happened , more or less.
You can make either case representative, if you really want to. But before you do, go spend some time with Ze Frank & Co. at from52to48withlove . Get back to me after that.
General Growth Properties Inc. , the Chicago-based real estate investment company that owns the Bayshore Mall , is in serious financial trouble. The value of shares in GGP, the second largest mall owner in the country, plunged Tuesday and Wednesday following a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday in which they laid out some bad news. The company has $1.13 billion in debt coming due in the next few weeks including $900 million in secured mortgage debt on malls in Las Vegas due Nov. 28, and another $58 million of corporate debt due Dec. 1. An additional $3.07 billion in debt comes due next year.
The SEC filing reads in part, "In the event that we are unable to extend or refinance our debt or obtain additional capital on a timely basis and on acceptable terms, we will be required to take further steps to acquire the funds necessary to satisfy our short term cash needs, including seeking legal protection from our creditors.
"Our potential inability to address our 2008 or 2009 debt maturities in a satisfactory fashion raises substantial doubts as to our ability to continue as a going concern."
Translation: Could be bankruptcy time. What would that mean for Eureka? Hard to say, but people are already speculating. Feel free to add your own scenario.
As Eureka Reporter online readers have already discovered to their distress, or at least puzzlement, if you try to summon the recently laid-to-rest newspaper you will encounter this cold note:
The Eureka Reporter newspaper has closed its doors and is no longer in business. If you would like to speak with someone regarding business dealings you may have with The Eureka Reporter, please call 707-476-8000. Western Web, the commercial printing plant, is open and operating in full force. They can be reached at 707-444-6236. Thank you ~
Hard copies. You can find a near-complete set of hard copies of the paper going back to Day One at just one place: the Humboldt State University library.
Laurie Maxwell-Chamberlain, in Periodicals at HSU, said they are missing one copy -- May 11, 2008. "Do you have it?" she asked.
If you do, reader, maybe you could donate it to HSU.
Other than that, College of the Redwoods' hard copies of the ER go back about three months. The main branch of the Humboldt County Library, in Eureka, has about six months worth, as well as of other local newspapers. But while some papers, such as the Times-Standard, get microfilmed after about six months, the Eureka Reporter hasn't been microfilmed by anyone (that we know of). Not by the county library. Not by HSU. Not by CR.
Too expensive. And, besides, it was always archived online so why would it need to be microfilmed?
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