Thursday, December 11, 2008

Living and dying (RIP)

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 12:30 PM

click on photo to read Tommie's story

click on photo to read Tommie's story

Got a note from Eric Heimstadt of Humboldt Medical Supply:

Tommie Offord died last night, he was doing fine last Friday when we were by to see him.

The information I just got was that he fell on Sat. and went to the hospital then next day, he had a blood infection and died with in hours of getting to the hospital.  There was no pain.

Tommie was a member of the Board of Supervisors Medical Marijuana Task Force and an active member of the MMJ community, he will be missed.

A memorial service is being held in Tommie's garden at his home on this Saturday 12/13/08 at noon.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mother Jones on the big tree hug

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 7:26 PM

from www.wordle.net

from www.wordle.net

Mother Jones magazine's story on the end of the timber war in Humboldt, in the November/December issue, contains all of the requisite key words for a good local yarn: treesitters, sneaking, tofu, ruddy, mustache, glint, dash, fun, tree, old growth, chainsaw, Hurwitz, clearcut, Lorax, locked, crushed, wiped out, redwoods, debt, slow-growth, hug, happy, woods. Spelled Scott Greacen's name fancy, but a decent piece. Cute headline, too.

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Pink slips and shopping sprees

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 6:46 PM

Got this from the (didn't they just go bankrupt?) LA Times today:

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Diesel Dope for Supes

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Typical Grow

Typical Grow

The troubles associated with marijuana grown with the use of fossil fuel were covered by SoHum blogger Kym Kemp in a Journal story titled " After Hacker Cree k." The diesel dope issue hits the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors tomorrow as a group of concerned citizens led by Robert "The Man Who Walks in the Woods" Sutherland lay things out in a PowerPoint presentation. Here's Robert's press release announcement and some of the photos they'll be showing the Supes:

Friends!

On this Tuesday December 9th at 11 am your neighbors will present a program to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors about diesel in the hills.

This is an account of the local marijuana industry, its history and its adverse environmental impacts, with examples of possible environmental safeguards that are within the authority of the Board. A slide show featuring adverse impacts will accompany.

The Board will be taking no action and this is informational only. We expect there will be no formal opportunity for public input at this time.

Speakers are slated to include long-time southern Humboldt residents Jesse Hill, Robert Sutherland (The man who walks in the woods), and Tyce Fraser. Joining the presentation from Mendocino County is the widely recognized authority Jim Harrison.

Representatives from the Division of Environmental Health, the Sheriff's Department, and the Department of Fish and Game have been invited to attend.

Over the course of many years marijuana cultivation in northern California has transitioned away from "mom-and-pop" growers to large scale industrial operations featuring indoor growing under powerful lights. These lights are most often powered by large diesel generators which require large amounts of fuel and frequent changes of lubricating oil.

Generators

Generators

Occasionally diesel fuel is accidentally spilled, sometimes in large amounts, or frequently it leaks from poor connections. Crankcase oil is waste and often is dumped into the environment with serious long term consequences.

Dump Hole

Dump Hole

Humboldt County has engaged in an educational campaign to alert all diesel fuel users to the associated dangers. For example, the County points out that as little as about one teaspoon of diesel in 25 gallons of water will kill half of the fish exposed to it. Regarding leaks, they advise that two drops per second adds up to 84 gallons a month. They add that one quart of used motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. Crankcase oil is particularly insidious because of toxic heavy metals it contains, among other reasons. Oil dumps may remain undetected by inspectors or law enforcement.

Hacker Creek

Hacker Creek

Calculations of the amounts of diesel consumed in marijuana grow operations show it to be a major contributor to serious air pollution and to global warming. These are among the impacts which will be noted in the presentation. There are many other associated problems, such as noise pollution and the use of toxic chemicals.

Waste Oil Filter Storage

Waste Oil Filter Storage

A more immediate fear for most rural residents is the threat posed by grow fires. The fuel and large generators and their associated wiring results in frequent fires. According to fire authorities, seventy to ninety percent of rural structure fires are marijuana grows. This fact does not show up in formal records because firefighters are obligated to retain discrete good relations to all the rural public. Yet, according to knowledgeable authorities, it is just a matter of time before one of these frequent fires becomes catastrophic, destroying lives and widespread property.

Generator that caught fire

Generator that caught fire

Because of the pervasive nature of this major industry - virtually no town or watershed is unknown to it - it occupies much of the social fabric and is one of the most important contributors to the economy. Yet, we feel that illegal does not have to mean irresponsible.

Solar Grow

Solar Grow

We seek to work with County government and hopefully all other elements of the community to reduce the adverse environmental threat posed by this industry. We need to find ways that include in a positive way all those many who are experts at living outside the law. Present approaches are unnecessarily cumbersome and clearly have not worked. We believe that in addition to specific educational outreach there needs to be a carrot-and-stick approach that encourages that sound practices can be adopted by everyone.

We hope you will attend our presentation. Please remember that new security measures at the Courthouse mean you must leave any pocket knives or similar objects in your car, and you will need to allow extra time for the screening.

Contact: Robert Sutherland - woods [at] asis [dot] com

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New 2nd District Diff Maps

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 2:47 PM

By popular demand , here are some new maps of the Second District Supervisor race. Like the ones below , they compare June results to November results for each of the three candidates. This set, I think, is more intuitive. (But a bit trickier to calculate.)

This time, we just have two colors. Blue is up, red is down. The shading represents the increase or decrease in a candidate's November showing, as compared to June. The scale goes up to 10 percentage points. So if a candidate went from 20 percent of the vote to 30 percent of the vote in a particular precinct, that precinct will be solid blue. If a candidate went from 40 percent to 30 percent, it will be solid red. In between, in between.

Without further ado...

CLENDENEN:
seconddistrict_diff_clendenen
seconddistrict_diff_clendenen_fortuna
RODONI:
seconddistrict_diff_rodoni seconddistrict_diff_rodoni_fortuna
FENNELL:
seconddistrict_diff_fennell seconddistrict_diff_fennell_fortuna

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

How Anonymous Are You?

Posted By on Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 10:35 PM

There was some talk over at Heraldo's the other day about Internet anonymity and the law. (Can't find the link, sorry.) If I remember correctly, the nut of it was: Under what circumstances can a court force out the identity of an anonymous Internet blogger/commenter? Heraldo's answer was that anonymous blogging has been ruled to be free speech, protected by the First Amendment. (UPDATE: Here we are.)


That's true as far, as it goes. But it doesn't go far enough. The First Amendment prevents the government from muzzling your speech. It doesn't immunize you against the consequences of that speech. A civil lawsuit for libel or defamation could, in fact, move a court to demand identifying information from an ISP and/or a Web service like Wordpress. In practice, of course, such a suit would be costly and time-consuming. But it's not impossible.


Last January I was lucky enough to hear First Amendment attorney Thomas Burke, of the San Francisco firm Davis Wright Tremaine, address this issue at an industry convention. My big takeaway from Burke's talk was that due to a quirk in the law, newspaper Web sites are uniquely immune when it comes to libelous and/or defamatory user-generated content.


As the law currently stands, Web site owners cannot be held liable for content that someone else has posted to the site. That goes for Yahoo, Heraldo, the Journal -- everyone. But unlike Yahoo -- and, I believe, unlike pure new-media outlets such as blogs -- newspapers can use shield laws to fight subpoenas demanding identifying information about its site's users.


That immunity is being challenged all over -- with little success, so far -- according to a recent article Thomas Burke wrote for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, which the author and the association have given us permission to reprint here. The article is written for newspaper people, but just about anyone interested in these issues will find something to ponder therein.


And as a special bonus, Burke has offered to take questions. This is your chance to get some free guidance from a very smart attorney at the forefront of this area of law. Anonymously, no less!


Handling Subpoenas Seeking The Identity of Anonymous Bloggers


By Thomas R. Burke



A new breed of subpoenas is hitting newsrooms these days – subpoenas seeking the identity of anonymous bloggers who post comments on news websites. Though handling subpoenas is nothing new for most publishers, this particular subpoena trend raises unique legal issues and should prompt newsrooms to carefully consider the circumstances in which they will fight to protect information.



This summer in Oregon, Willamette Weekly and the Portland Mercury successfully fought subpoenas seeking to compel them to identify the authors of some anonymous web blog comments about a candidate for the mayor of Portland. An anonymous reader calling himself "Ronald" posted an allegedly defamatory comment about one of the candidates. The publishers argued that the information sought – the e-mail addresses and IP address of the blog comment posters – was protected by Oregon’s Media Shield Law. Analyzing the situation, a Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge observed that if the anonymous poster’s comments had been "totally unrelated to the blog post," then an argument could be made that the publishers did not receive the information "in the course of gathering, receiving, or possessing information" for public consumption. However, because Oregon’s shield law is broadly written and "is intended to protect a broad range of media activity, not simply news gathering" the Court denied access to the information.


This Fall, a county grand jury hearing evidence in a murder case in Illinois issued a subpoena to The Alton Telegraph, asking the newspaper to produce "any records leading to the full identity, including name, address and IP address" of bloggers who "left messages and comments" on the newspaper’s web site, identifying themselves as: john3418, purplebutterfly, mrssully, estyle and pnbcme." Moving to quash the subpoena using the Illinois shield law, the newspaper argued that in the "digital age a newspaper or reporter receiving information in this fashion is no different from anonymous tips provided to newspaper reporters telephonically or in written form" the newspaper argues. The Telegraph also insisted that law enforcement had not "exhausted all other potential avenues for the information" before issuing the subpoena arguing that subpoenas to the media should come only as a "last resort." (As of this writing, there has been no final ruling on this legal challenge.)


A criminal defense attorney recently issued subpoenas to The Fresno Bee and local television stations when he suspected that one or more members of the jury in a murder trial had been reading or watching news accounts while on jury and blogging about their experiences. The subpoenas sought to disclose the names of the people who had read the stories or submitted blog comments. The subpoenas were successfully quashed.


Earlier this year in California, in Krinsky v. Doe 6, the Sixth District Court of Appeal, recognized the "constitutional right to publish anonymously is a longstanding tradition" while quashing a subpoena brought by a Florida corporation that hoped to identity 10 posters who wrote "scathing verbal attacks" about the company on a Yahoo! financial message board. Applying the legal test that is emerging from other courts that have addressed this issue, the court held that the potential plaintiff in this situation must first establish a "prima facie" case of defamation in order to effectively balance the First Amendment right to speak anonymously against a plaintiff’s interest in learning who allegedly defamed them.


Collectively these situations highlight the reality that reader comments and postings to news websites are fertile sources of information and consequently, exponentially stronger magnets for subpoenas and litigation. Today, readers can still submit letters to the editor and reporters still cultivate confidential news sources, but these traditional methods of interacting with a newsroom have been supplemented by features that invite readers (who may or may not be regular readers or paid subscribers) to use multiple ways to interact with other readers, post comments, photographs, audio and video. Readers now leave their digital footprints – their IP addresses, email addresses, search queries – and other data that can be mined – and subpoenaed -- to learn valuable information about their interests and what they are reading and writing.


The fundamental question is what information should a publisher protect? Was the reader promised confidentiality or did they just assume this protection? What if a blogger makes specific violent threats -- do you protect their identity? By voluntarily turning over data to law enforcement will readers will be concerned about the newspaper turning over their information? While answers to these questions are being sorted out, many web sites protect themselves by including language in their terms of use that gives them license to decide such issues on a case by case basis: "Personal information may be disclosed to legal authorities if we believe in good faith that such action is necessary to comply with the law or to protect the personal safety or property of our users or the public."


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Friday, December 5, 2008

Second District Election Maps

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 7:39 PM

Here's a sneak preview of next week's Journal , offered by way of contribution to a discussion over at Eric's place . We know that Fortuna apple farmer Clif Clendenen won last month's runoff election for Second District Supervisor. But where did he win, and how big were his gains (and his competitors') from the June primary?

Here's a few visualization tools. First, a results map from the whole Second District and a Fortuna inset. Clendenen is green, Johanna Rodoni is red, Estelle Fennell is blue. (The red actually shows votes for a write-in candidate; Rodoni, the only official write-in candidate, won virtually all of those votes). The shade indicates the winner's margin of victory over the runner-up.

seconddistrict1 seconddistrict_fortuna

After the jump, maps of the gains made by each candidate since the June primary.

Below are maps of the increases made by each candidate since June. Every precinct saw an increase in turnout in this general election, and each of the three candidates improved their vote totals in almost every precinct. The shade of the maps below indicate increase in each candidate's vote between June and November, expressed as a percentage of the total vote increase. Make sense?

For Johanna Rodoni, we are looking at the vote increase over that garnered by her late husband in June.

Clendenen:

clendenen_diff clendenen_diff_fortuna

Rodoni:

rodoni_diff rodoni_diff_fortuna

Fennell:

fennell_diff fennell_diff_fortuna

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Sara Bareilles up for Grammy (times 2)

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Sara Bareiles (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Eureka homegirl Sara Bareilles hit the big time some time ago, but her career just got even bigger. Her hit single "Love Song," which went to No. 1 on the charts, is now in the running for a "Song of the Year" Grammy. It doesn't get much bigger than that, but wait, she's also in the running for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance," and Apple just announced that her album, Little Voice , ranked in the top 5 this year for iTunes sales for 2008 .

If you were paying attention a few weeks ago, you might have scored tickets to one of her local shows (Dec. 18 and 19 at the Arkley Center). Sorry, both are sold out. Last year around this time we wished her a happy birthday on the Blogthing - we'll repeat that - she turns 29 this Sunday. And once again, congratulations!

Here's the announcement from Epic, her record label.


NEW YORK, Dec 04, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Epic recording artist Sara Bareilles marked another milestone in her already remarkable career today by grabbing two Grammy nominations. "Love Song," the hit single from her debut album, Little Voice garnered the female singer-songwriter a nomination for "Song Of The Year," as well as for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" as nominees for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards were announced at the Nokia Theatre last evening.



The nominations affirm what has truly been an amazing year for Sara, whose album Little Voice has spawned the hit singles, "Love Song," and "Bottle It Up." When Sara made her impressive debut in July 2007 with the infectious "Love Song," the album skyrocketed up the charts reaching the # 1 spot on iTunes, while the song ascended into the top five on the mainstream top 40 airplay chart and quickly became the # 1 song in America.

Since then, Sara Bareilles has emerged as one of the most interesting breakthrough artists of 2008. She's stood in a class of her own on the pop charts with a blend of pop, soul and jazz that reveals an incredible vocal prowess. Spotlighted as an "On the Verge" artist by USA Today, Sara is as popular with the critics as she is with the fans. Rolling Stone wrote, "Whether banging away at the driving 'Love Song,' turning slinky for 'Bottle It Up,' or getting contemplative on the gently orchestrated 'City,' Bareilles' writing voice is uniquely her own."

The accomplishments this singer songwriter has made in 2008 alone are mind-blowing; she's sold over 1 million albums worldwide, "Love Song" became the # 1 song in over 13 countries and spent 19 weeks in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, she was named the # 1 adult contemporary song of 2008, was awarded the ASCAP Vanguard Songwriters Award, and Little Voice just this week was named as one of the top selling albums at iTunes in 2008.

Sara recently released her first live DVD - Between The Lines Sara Bareilles Live At The Fillmore - which captured the artist's sold-out concert in the San Francisco filmed on July 12th at the iconic venue, The Fillmore. In addition, Sara is featured on the incredible holiday compilation, Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs , whereby she wrote and recorded the title track and gorgeous ballad, "Winter Song" with fellow singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. Following a very successful second headlining tour that wrapped in November, look for Sara to head back out on the road in early 2009.

SOURCE: Epic Records

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Election Results: Wrong

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 1:57 PM

The results from the Nov. 4 election that were certified by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Monday were incorrect, according to County Clerk-Recorder Carolyn Crnich in a phone call this morning. Over 200 absentee ballots were not included in the officially certified totals, most of them from one particular precinct in Eureka.

The error was apparently the result of a flaw in the Diebold-manufactured GEMS software used by the county to tabulate votes. Crnich said that she has verified this flaw with Diebold, and has reported the error to the California Secretary of State. Crnich said that she has proof that the ballots were, in fact, run through the machine. The software simply dropped the data.

Most of the uncounted ballots have now been recounted, Crnich said. The final outcome of relevant races remains unchanged.

However, around 20 ballots dropped from Diebold's tabulation remain unidentified.

The error, which appears to be a longstanding flaw in the Diebold software, was discovered by the all-volunteer, open-source Humboldt Transparency Project. This election was the Transparency Project's first full run-through.

Crnich and Transparency Project volunteers will have more to say about the discovery later this afternoon. Updates to follow.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From the Emerald Triangle to the Emerald Green Valley...

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 5:56 PM

...with pot.

Perhaps this papa-sonny pair from Petrolia and McKinleyville, respectively, were lured to the southern Minnesota city by its official motto, "Make It Mankato!" And they did make it there, arriving last week with, allegedly, five suitcases of pot -- 28 pounds, street value $100,000 -- says the Mankato Free Press. But, they didn't make it.

They got snagged by the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force.

Why Mankato? Well:

Mankato Department of Public Safety officer John Judd, also a member of the task force, said California dealers are looking outside their state because of the medical marijuana law. The law allows people there to grow marijuana for personal medical use. The law, Judd said, has produced an abundance of marijuana in California, depressing the market for illegal sales.

"They came to Minnesota because they were having so much trouble selling it there," he said.

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