People crowded into the sidestreets leading into the E and Second intersection in Old Town Eureka today, waiting on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to inspect the damages from our 6.5 earthquake last Saturday, and speechify.
Many onlookers brought their dogs, for some reason -- is it some sort of wish for the Gov's blessing upon their beasts? For some fame to rub off on Barky? Anyway, it was a long wait. People joked and talked and played with their pups. Some workers leaned out of a window in the soon-to-be-disappeared Old Town Bar & Grill to watch:
A whole pack of California Conservation Corps members waited, even. A leader, Rachel, said they'd been pulling out the weedy beach grass out on the beach when they got a call and were told to go see the Governor. So they did:
And people waited:
A man came walking speedily down E, headed toward the bay on his daily two-mile constitution, and looked annoyed at the masses blocking his route. "I didn't even know this was happening," he said. He craned his neck for a way around.
"Don't you want to see the Governor?"
"No." He smiled. "He hasn't done anything for me." And he sped off in another direction.
Back among the waiting folk, Chef Bryan Holley from The Sea Grill restaurant broke away from the crowd and dashed away, then came back with a chair and plunked himself down (it would be handy later for prime viewing):
And everyone waited. But wait: Did this dog predict the Governor's exact arrival?
Nah. Arnold came down another street. As he drew near, walking up Second, several guys in the crowd exclaimed: "Oh, he is short!" "He's shorter than me!" "Look how short he is!"
The Gov. and others spoke. But nobody but those right up close could hear what he was saying.
For all the ridiculous bells and whistles this blog sports, the easiest way for us to live-cover Governor Schwarzenegger's address to the citizens of Eureka is through the Twitter. Follow @ncj_of_humboldt, or just scoot on over to our Twitter page every once in a while.
The thing is scheduled to start in a few minutes --11 a.m. KHUM and KSLG are gonna stream the thing live, and they'll broadcast video on the governor's Web site.
This just in from the Governor's office:
Governor Schwarzenegger Tours Damage Caused by Humboldt County Earthquake, Receives Briefing and Holds Media Availability on Status of Recovery Efforts
Gov. Schwarzenegger's Schedule for January 14:
Gov. Schwarzenegger will tour damage caused by the 6.5 earthquake which occurred in Humboldt County on Saturday. He will also receive a briefing and hold a media availability on the status of recovery efforts.
Yesterday, the Governor proclaimed a state of emergency in Humboldt County due to the earthquake which impacted the northern coast of California, disrupted utilities and caused damage to at least 175 structures.
Location: Old Town Eureka, Intersection of 2nd and E Streets, Eureka, California
The media availability will be webcast live at www.gov.ca.gov.
Workers this afternoon were tossing junk into a truck from an alley-side window of the decrepit, former Old Town Bar and Grill building, finished off by Saturday's quake. A hardhat monitoring the work from the ground said they had a ways to go with clean-out. He said they found lots of junk but also some cool antiques socked away in there.
The stuff shoved out the windows by black-gloved fellows looked like papers and files and such.
The worker on the ground said demo might not begin for a day or so. And then they'll go inside, remove the supports and start folding the walls inward.
"No big wrecking ball action?"
OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
WHEREAS January 9, 2010, an approximately 6.5-magnitude earthquake impacted the northern coast of California; and
WHEREAS aftershocks are continuing to impact the region; and
WHEREAS the earthquake disrupted utilities and caused damage to at least 175 structures; and
WHEREAS damages caused by the earthquake are expected to exceed $28 million; and
WHEREAS on January 12, 2010, Humboldt County declared a local emergency and requested that I declare a state of emergency; and
WHEREAS the circumstances of this earthquake, by the reason of its magnitude, are beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and
WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the earthquake on the northern coast.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist within Humboldt County.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of my California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) and the State Emergency Plan, and that Cal EMA provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act.
I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 12th Day of January 2010.
Governor of California
The event was rescheduled due to quake, new date Friday, Janaury 22, at 6p.m.
If you've been reading the Journal and this blog for the last few weeks, you know we had correspondents covering COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009 and the associated accord and discord. Two of those correspondents, David Simpson and Jane Lapiner will be talking about their experience in Denmark [next Friday night]. Here's the note we got from David:
Please join us at the Arcata Playhouse for a discussion and stories about events in Copenhagen in December with Jane Lapiner and David Simpson. The couple from Petrolia attended the two week long Conference of the Parties 15 (COP 15), as the United Nations climate summit was called. One hundred and ninety three countries and Humboldt County were represented. At one point, 120 Heads of State were in attendance.
Slides will punctuate the narrative and discussion with scenes from the event and the surrounding city. From the light-weight observational and anecdotal (Mexico had the meanest looking security people. Canada was the country most often roasted by environmentalists freeing America to be even more arrogant) to the historically profound, sort of, (America, China and a few other powers were dividing up the remaining atmospheric space for CO2 very much like the European powers divided up Africa in the Nineteenth Century.)
There will be a mildly bloody dissection of the Copenhagen Accord and its implications, or lack of them, for the future. Lapiner and Simpson will provide hopefully trenchant observation, dead serious analysis and a few laughs in hopes that the audience will throw in with their share of perspective and opinion. The evening will close with a discussion of what those of us intent on our children's and grandchildren's survival might now be doing in response to climate change.
David Simpson and Jane Lapiner are homesteaders in the Mattole Valley who have been involved with environment and the arts in Humboldt since 1970. They are the principals of Human Nature, a theater company that tours shows about crucial environmental and social issues throughout the US and beyond. Their recent comedy review, What's Funny About Climate Change toured from 2002 through 2005. A new comedy show about climate change, Two Old BIrds or Tripping on the Tipping Point, is in preparation for early spring performance.
Concessions will be available.
Donations to cover expenses will be welcome but are not required.
Wiggins Stripped of Committees: In other news, the Sacramento Bee reports that Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has stripped Sen. Pat Wiggins of her committee assignments, including her chairmanship of the Local Government committee. Wiggins, whose longstanding health problems have been widely reported and widely denied, will not seek reelection this year.
Photo by Jen Savage.
Journal contributor Jennifer Savage is at the Eureka Theater, which is suddenly revealing some of the damage it took from Saturday's quake. Firemen are on the scene attempting to head off what looks like fairly serious damage to the building's facade.
It's hard to tell in this photo, but there appear to be serious cracks between the "E" and the "U" above the marquee, and that upper tippy-top appendage of the building is currently rocking back and forth in the wind. The fire department is ascending to assess the damage as I write.
UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: Savage tells KHUM's Larry Trask that the stucco semicircle at the top of the sign is blowing back and forth wildly in the wind. It may have to be removed. A crowd has gathered.
UPDATE, 4:00 p.m.: They're getting ready to saw off the semicircle at the top.
This is pretty raw. My phone dramatically falls to the floor at one point, giving you an ear-shattering whomp that may startle you into thinking the big aftershock has hit. It has not. Probably not.
The order of the speakers are as follows: Rep. Mike Thompson, Assm. Wes Chesbro, Supervisor Clif Clendenen, Supervisor Bonnie Neely, Supervisor Jimmy Smith, Supervisor Mark Lovelace, Supervisor Jill Duffy, Eureka Mayor Virginia Bass, Eureka City Councilmember Larry Glass, Arcata City Manager Randy Mendosa, Eureka Fire Chief Eric Smith, Eureka Assistant City Manager Personnel Director Gary Bird, Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen. Humboldt County Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes emceed, and Sheriff Gary Philp and PG&E's Jana Morris got up to speak somewhere in there. The questions from the media came at the end.
The recording starts a few moments into Mike Thompson's address.
Photo by Amy Stewart: http://twitter.com/amyeureka
1). The Eureka City Council will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. to discuss the fate of the former Old Town Bar & Grill/Lazio's building, which sits on 2nd Street between D and E in Eureka. We're being told that the building is extremely unstable, and the City Council is likely to order its demolition ASAP, given the probability of strong aftershocks still to come.
The council will also hear a report on the Lloyd building a couple of blocks away on Fifth Street. That building is still shut down, but we're told the situation over there is not quite as grave. With all the unreinforced masonry in Old Town/Downtown Eureka, it's stunning that these are the only two buildings on the verge right now.
The Lloyd Building is owned by Eureka slumlord Floyd Squires III; one of Rob Arkley's companies currently holds title to the old OTB&G/Lazio's.
2). At the big joint city/county press conference today, Eureka Fire Chief Eric Smith gave a rough estimate of the currently known damage to all Eureka buildings: $12.5 million. However, there's still a lot of ground to cover. Smith said that in the coming weeks, the city will be examining all known at-risk buildings, starting with the old, unreenforced brick ones. Anecdotally, there seem to be a lot of new cracks all around town.
Still, one of the oldest and creakiest -- the Carson Block building at 3rd & F -- has been given the all-clear. So it could be that we have escaped lucky.
3). The County Library suffered water damage -- not the books, fortunately, and is not expected to reopen until Wednesday. Dock B at the Eureka Boat Basin has been shut down pending further evaluation, as has the Bayshore Mall.
4). Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said that his 911 office fielded 700 calls in the four hours following the earthquake; the city's OES department took 300. Still, only one person was admitted to the hospital -- a hip injury at St. Joe's. In all, 27 people sought treatment at St. Joe, mostly for minor contusions or anxiety. A few people went to the ER at Arcata's Mad River hospital. There were no reports of looting anywhere in Eureka, said Chief Nielsen.
One California Street home went off its foundation. The family there were the only people displaced by the quake, though another Floyd Squires apartment building on H Street was briefly evacuated.
5). County Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes said today that the county will decide over the coming weeks whether it will seek federal or state disaster relief. Rep. Mike Thompson, also in attendance at the presser (along with Assm. Wes Chesbro), said that the head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration has been in constant contact.
In the meantime, Smith-Hanes said that the county and cities would like to hear from anyone who has suffered major damages or losses of property. Here are the numbers:
County (unincorporated): 445-7245
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