Government

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Eureka Mulls Going True Ward

Posted By on Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 10:40 AM

An old ward map for Eureka. The wards remain the same, but some of the council members have changed since this was put together (Natalie Arroyo now represents the 5th, and Kim Bergel represents the 3rd).
  • An old ward map for Eureka. The wards remain the same, but some of the council members have changed since this was put together (Natalie Arroyo now represents the 5th, and Kim Bergel represents the 3rd).

The Eureka City Council will consider Tuesday whether to scrap its long-maligned electoral system.

Currently, Eureka has a kind of hybrid system. Each of the council’s five members represent a ward of the city, within which they were required to reside when they ran for office. This provision has seen a lot of council hopefuls moving into new homes and apartments in the lead up to elections and a host of carpetbagging allegations. But when it comes to Election Day, the contests are decided through a citywide vote, meaning a resident of the 1st Ward has as much say as anyone in the 5th Ward as to who will ultimately represent the 5th.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Grand Jury Blasts County Procurement Process

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 9:54 AM

humboldt_seal.jpg
On Wednesday the Humboldt County civil grand jury came out with another startling report: The county is not adequately tracking how millions of dollars in contracts are being spent.

The report alleges a lack of accountability, lack of transparency, lack of consistent terminology and a lack of oversight. Over the last decade, an increasing number of county departments have been consolidated, which the HCCGJ says is partially responsible for “a duplication of efforts in the contract process and a lack of regular review for millions of dollars of county expenditures.”

Procurement – the process of buying supplies, equipment or third-party services – is usually overseen by a single contract administrator, who only attaches his or her name to projects which have received his or her scrutiny. But the rules governing this process in Humboldt County are allegedly slipshod, with “no consistent terminology describing roles in the contract writing or review process.” The county administrative officer was also occasionally excluded from this process, according to the report. Each individual branch within the county appear to have its own individual systems in place for hiring and evaluating contracts, rather than a uniform process used across the county administration.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rat Infestation Leads to Finger Pointing as Ray's Leaves Hoopa

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 11:55 AM

THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
A rodent infestation and a nasty public spat over who’s at fault have combined to close the Hoopa Valley’s only grocery store.

The problem first crept into public view last week, after numerous complaints to Humboldt County Environmental Health Services regarding a large rat infestation at Ray’s Food Place that left rat droppings, gnawed products and the smell of urine throughout the store. The store initially announced it would close some parts of the store, then announced it would fully close until repairs could be made. Now Ray's is announcing that it’s terminating its lease.

There has been a volley of finger pointing between the tribe, which owns the building, and the store, C&K Markets, Inc., which owns the Ray’s grocery chain and is officially the tribe’s tenant. The tribe has maintained that C&K has been callous and indifferent to problems at the store — the only place for tribal members to buy groceries in a 10-plus mile radius. And C&K has pointed the finger back, saying the tribe hasn’t kept the building up and has been unresponsive.

That trend continued Friday, when both sides issued accusatory press releases announcing the split.

In it’s release, Ray’s maintains it has not heard from the tribe since June 17 and that for nine years the store has been trying to negotiate for a long-term lease that would allow the company to make improvements to the store property, but that the tribe “did not respond to our inquires, so we’ve operated on a month-to-month basis.” The company says it has been working to address the rodent issue but wouldn’t reopen without a long-term lease from the tribe.

“Smooth store operations require a good working relationship with the landlord; we do not have that partnership with the tribe,” the release states. “Given the tribe’s lack of interest in talking with us about retaining us as tenants, we are giving notice that we will vacate the store on Aug. 31, 2016. The store will not reopen. … We cannot operate a store when the building owner ignores us and does not respond to us.”

The tribe, on the other hand, said in its release that it has made every effort to make the store a safe place to shop. “The rodent infestation inside the store, which appears to have developed over an extended period of time, is reprehensible and unacceptable,” the press release states. “Ray’s should be ashamed of themselves for expecting tribal and community members to purchase products contaminated with rat feces, oils, and urine.”

Regardless of who is at fault in the situation, for the foreseeable future tribal members will have to get by without a grocery store in their community, which poses as a problem as some members do not have cars and public transportation options are limited in the valley. The tribe states in its release that it’s “working diligently” on short and long-term solutions to ensure access to safe and healthy food. Some of these may include grocery distributions and free transportation to stores in Eureka and Arcata.

See the full press releases from both entities copied below:


From the Hoopa Valley Tribe:

The Hoopa Valley Tribe has made every effort to work with Ray’s Food Place and C & K Markets, Inc. in order to ensure that Ray’s Food Place in Hoopa is a safe place for community members to shop. The rodent infestation inside the store, which appears to have developed over an extended period of time, is reprehensible and unacceptable. Ray’s should be ashamed of themselves for expecting tribal and community members to purchase products contaminated with rat feces, oils, and urine.
The Tribe has therefore determined that the severance of our business relationship with Ray’s and C & K is in the best interests of the community due to health and safety concerns. The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council Members want to assure the membership and the community that they are working diligently to develop both short-term and long-term solutions that ensure access to safe and healthy food. The Hoopa Valley Tribe will make every effort to publicize any and all temporary services we provide on an ongoing basis, including grocery distributions and free transportation to stores in the Eureka/Arcata area, which will assist them with their household shopping needs.
The Tribe will continue to use all communication avenues at its disposal to provide updates to the membership and the community regarding our efforts.


Press release from Ray’s Food Place:


Our last communication from the Hoopa Valley Tribe was Friday, June 17. This is not an unusual situation, as the Tribe has often been unresponsive to us. For the past nine years, we’ve expressed our interest in negotiating a long-term lease, so we could make improvements in the store. The Tribe did not respond to our inquiries, so we’ve operated on a month-to-month basis.
Last week, we voluntarily closed Ray’s Food Place in Hoopa due to rodent issues that were not acceptable to us. We also took the initiative to hire contractors to seal the exterior of the store to prevent further rodent entry. Over this past weekend, our contractors removed refrigeration systems and started other in-store eradication efforts. Planning and completing this work required that the store be closed to the public. Earlier, we indicated that we would reopen the store as soon as we had a long-term lease with the Tribe.
Despite numerous attempts to communicate with the Tribe, C&K management has not heard from them for almost a week. Smooth store operations require a good working relationship with the landlord; we do not have that partnership with the Tribe. Given the Tribe’s lack of interest in talking with us about retaining us as tenants, we are giving notice that we will vacate the store on August 31, 2016. The store will not reopen.
We will offer Hoopa store employees positions at other stores, but we know that may not be an option for all of them. We also realize that our store is a very convenient place for people to shop, and closing will mean that many will have to travel to obtain food. Yet, we cannot operate a store when the building owner ignores us and does not respond to us. We extend our appreciation to our employees and customers for their support over the years.

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Tribes Threaten Lawsuit Over Klamath Flows

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 9:23 AM

A look at the four Klamath dams slated for removal.
  • A look at the four Klamath dams slated for removal.

The Karuk and Yurok tribes have both put the federal government on notice that they intend to sue, alleging the feds have violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to ensure adequate water flows for Coho salmon on the Klamath River.

Citing a disease infection rate of 90 percent for juvenile salmon last year, spurred by low flows and warm water temperatures, coupled with historically low salmon run projections, the tribes said they felt they had to act.

“We cannot stand by and do nothing while our salmon hover over the brink of extinction,” said Yurok Chair Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. in a press release. “We will not continue to watch water managers jeopardize the fate of our fish and our river.”

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Taking A Stand by Sitting Down: Jared Huffman Takes the Floor

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 10:11 AM


Huffman selfies with his fellow sitters. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • Huffman selfies with his fellow sitters.
Congressman Jared Huffman is "standing strong," reported his communications director Alexa Schaffer from Washington this morning. Of course, Huffman is not actually standing, but sitting, on the House chamber floor along with about a dozen other congressional Democrats, to make a point about gun violence. The sit-in commenced yesterday morning, with around 168 House members (out of 188) and 34 senators (out of 44) on the floor and in the aisles by evening. Fortified by doughnuts from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and many boxes of take-out pizza, the protest continued through the night and into today, despite the vote of House Republicans to recess three days early for the Fourth of July holiday.

The protest came in the wake of the largest mass shooting in modern American history: 49 people were gunned down in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, June 12. The alleged shooter, Omar Mateen, was able to purchase firearms despite having been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Four gun control measures, including one that would prevent those having been placed on a terror watch list from buying guns, were rejected by the U.S. Senate on Monday, June 20.

Huffman, who joined his colleagues yesterday, wrote on social media that they were demanding an "an immediate vote on common-sense gun control legislation that has been stalled for years in Congress. A moment of silence is an insufficient response to tragedies like Orlando."

After a vote by House Republicans to cease filming of the proceedings, Democrats continued to document the protest using their phones and social media. Huffman's Twitter feed included some insight into the mood, saying at 4:34 p.m., "We have pizza in the cloakroom to get us through the night. More importantly, we have the courage of our convictions. #NoBillNoBreak."

He said that it was his "proudest day as a member of Congress because we are finally standing up and demanding action on one of the most critical issues facing our country."

Huffman has been a consistent proponent of gun control, saying that the Second Amendment is "not absolute." In 2015 he co-sponsored Senate Bill 407, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, which amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to restrict transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition.
Huffman cracked wise throughout the protest using social media. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • Huffman cracked wise throughout the protest using social media.

Huffman spoke twice during the sit-in, once on the issue of gun violence and again on the presence of Confederate battle flags in national veterans cemeteries. A provision banning the flags, which Huffman led earlier this year was reversed by House Republicans at 3:10 a.m. Via Twitter Huffman fumed that they had "found the time" to make this decision, despite refusing to vote on a gun bill. 

From the office Congressman Huffman:

Interrupting Historic Congressional Sit-In On Gun Violence, Republicans Once Again Vote to Allow Confederate Flags to fly over National Cemeteries

Washington, D.C.- In the dead of night while civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led Congressional Democrats in righteous protest to call for a vote on gun safety, Congressional Republicans added insult to injury by quickly reversing an earlier vote on a provision by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to remove Confederate flag displays from national veterans cemeteries. At 3:10 am, without allowing any debate, the Republican House majority approved a partisan conference report that had been filed only hours before, which omitted the Huffman-Gallego-Ellison amendment despite its earlier House approval.

“Amidst a historic protest to demand action on the nation’s gun violence epidemic, in the wake of the largest mass shooting in our nation’s history, we are seeing the real priorities of the Republican majority; they have refused to allow any votes on gun safety, but did find the time to try bring back the racist symbol of the Confederacy. It is shameful that Republicans would once again seek to allow Confederate battle flags, a historic symbol of hate, to be flown over VA cemeteries. Republicans are showing where their allegiance lies — and it is not with the victims of gun violence,” said Rep. Huffman.

‘I demand that Speaker Ryan allow a vote on common-sense gun safety measures, such as implementing universal background checks, closing firearm sale loopholes, keeping firearms out of the hands of terrorists, supporting law enforcement and first responders, and fixing our mental health system. We will not break for a congressional ‘recess’ until we are allowed to vote on the commonsense, bipartisan bill to reduce gun violence. No bill, no break!”

Just last month, the House of Representatives passed the Huffman-Gallego-Ellison amendment to the 2017 VA funding bill, to prohibit federal taxpayer funds from being used to fly the Confederate battle flag at cemeteries operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA currently permits the display of the Confederate flag on Memorial Day as well as on Confederate Memorial Day at 131 facilities. 
A view from the floor of the House. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • A view from the floor of the House.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Grand Jury Blasts Behavioral Health Board for Lack of Oversight

Posted By on Sun, Jun 19, 2016 at 8:47 AM

FILE
  • File
The Humboldt County Behavioral Health Board, which is statutorily tasked with oversight of the delivery of mental health services locally, has been largely ineffective, making few recommendations and failing to deliver its mandated annual reports to the Board of Supervisors, according to a recent report by the Humboldt County grand jury.

The grand jury is recommending that the board not only submit its past due reports but that it also undergo “training to fully understand its duties and roles, and to proceed proactively to carry out the requirements” of state law. The grand jury’s report notes that the 15-member behavioral heath board is made up of “well-intentioned” people who are “well versed” on mental health issues, but it says the volunteer board members are “overwhelmed due to the amount of work.”

That work, according to the report, consists of sitting through monthly meetings in which administrators with the county Department of Health and Human Services and its Mental Health Branch made presentations. “The board did not proactively engage in making recommendations, advise (the board of supervisors) or evaluate procedures and programs,” the report states.

The report notes that this state of passivity continued even after a county consultant, W. Brown Creative Partners, issued a report that was critical of the culture within the department and “described serious and ‘special problems’ within the mental health branch." It also continued even as most of the branch’s psychiatrists resigned in 2015, setting off a widely publicized crisis within the department. Grand jury interviews, the report states, “confirmed that there was no discussion of either the Brown Assessment Study or the mass resignation of physicians by the (Behavioral Health Board).”

The grand jury's recommendation is that the behavioral health board expand its membership, catch up on its past-due reports, undergo training and “study and then proceed to proactively carry out the requirements” of state law. Further, the grand jury is recommending that the board of supervisors more actively oversee the board and that it ensure the behavioral health board has “sufficient resources and authority” to fulfill its duties.

A press release from the grand jury is copied below and the full report is available in PDF form below.

Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury
John Heckel, Foreperson

Press Release: 6-17-2016
For Immediate Release

The Humboldt County Behavioral Health Board

The 2015-2016 Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury (HCCGJ) received several complaints regarding the Mental Health Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Those complaints conveyed dysfunctional work guidelines, distrustful working relationships, unresponsive upper management, mass resignations, and an unsupportive work environment. The complaints reflected the concerns of a broad base of community mental health advocates and Mental Health Branch staff. The number of complaints and the wide spectrum of those filing complaints instigated this HCCGJ investigation.

While many Humboldt County department heads and elected officials could have been more proactive in identifying problems within the Mental Health Branch of DHHS, this role is specifically assigned to the Humboldt County Behavioral Health Board by the Bronzan-McCorquodale Act of 1991. The HCCGJ finds that the BHB failed to exercise this important role.

A review of the BHB actions revealed few recommendations, fewer comments on policies, little advice to governing bodies, and seldom reviewed or evaluated community mental health needs. The Minutes from the board’s meetings reveal the BHB’s time was primarily spent listening to reports from the DHHS and Mental Health Branch employees. The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury could find no evidence that mandated annual reports had been filed for several years with the Board of Supervisors.

The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury recommends that the BHB submit its past due annual reports to the BOS and thereafter submit, in a timely manner, its required written annual report. The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury recommends that the Humboldt County Behavioral Health Board undergo training to fully understand its duties and roles, and to proceed proactively to carry out the legal requirements of the Bronzan-McCorquodale Act.

With any coverage of this Grand Jury report please include: Access to the entire Grand Jury report may be obtained by going to www.humboldtgov.org/510/Grand-Jury 

Full Report


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Sunday, June 12, 2016

TL;DR: Five Things You Need to Know About This Week's Cover Story

Posted By on Sun, Jun 12, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Charles Bean rolls down one of Eureka's waterfront trails. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Charles Bean rolls down one of Eureka's waterfront trails.

Busy week? We get it. Here's what you might have missed from this week's cover story, "Slow Roll."

1. The thing most Humboldt folks say they love best about where we live is our wild places – the forests, beaches and trails. But this important resource is largely inaccessible to those in our community who are disabled. In our research, we found roughly 13 miles of trail for wheelchair users in our state parks, less than this in our national parks and about 20 miles between our three largest cities. There are also two beaches that meet the standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of which has a beach wheelchair with special tires that can be checked out.

2. Information about how to find ADA-accessible facilities is hard to come by. Different jurisdictions may have their own maps, but these guides are often incomplete or outdated. A local advocacy group, Tri-County Independent Living, is working on putting together a complete list, but won't put the organization's name on it without verifying every single spot. “Sometimes the claim is that they are accessible but they technically don't meet the accessibility guidelines,” says Mary Bullwinkel, who is compiling the guide.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Supes to Planning Commission: “MYOB”

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg will draft a letter telling the Planning Commission not to go rogue on agenda topics. - FILE
  • File
  • Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg will draft a letter telling the Planning Commission not to go rogue on agenda topics.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors took a remarkable step last week: It’s going to tell planning commissioners they have to ask permission to discuss matters that the commission isn’t mandated to take up.

That may sound unremarkable, but it plays into a strange power dynamic in place for years and stands as a rebuke of a planning commission that’s gone, some would say, above and beyond.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

TL;DR: Five Things You Should Know from This Week's Cover

Posted By on Sun, Jun 5, 2016 at 10:52 AM

cover-for-twitter.jpg
Busy week? We get it. Here are some highlights from the cover to get you caught up.

Former Humboldt County 1st District Supervisor Jimmy Smith — a man revered as much for his kindness as his work ethic — died May 24 at St. Joseph Hospital after a long fight with cancer. He was 67.

A lifelong Humboldt County resident, Smith attended Eureka High School before enjoying a varied career as a commercial fisherman, harbor commissioner and waterfowl researcher before being elected to the board in 2000. He became known and widely admired for his hands-on approach to the job, personally inspecting rural roads and promptly responding to emails and voicemails from constituents. He sought consensus whenever possible, respected everyone and largely lived without pretense or ego, making him a perfect fit to head diverse teams that tackled large problems, like transforming the blighted South Spit into a wildlife refuge or crafting a seven-county water management plan.

As the local community mourned the loss of Smith, we went to a host of his former friends and colleagues, asking them to offer a few words that described Smith and a story about the man. We received dozens of responses. Here are a few.

1) Dedicated: “Jimmy led by example and would do just about anything for anybody. If he couldn't solve a problem, he would find the person or persons who could. He noted every visit, call and conversation in notepads. He regularly checked his notes to make sure things were getting done. He worked 24/7, always helping others. When the budgets were tight he was the first person to cut his own pay. He didn't ask for reimbursement for mileage or other business expenses. He shouldered the costs himself. He wouldn't ask anyone to do anything he wouldn't do himself. Jimmy greeted everyone with a warm hello. He was always making rounds in the community to make sure things were OK, and to see if there was anything he could do to make things better. Jimmy knew that working together was the only way to get things done. He believed in treating (all) people with dignity, kindness and respect. He planted his seeds of kindness everywhere he went.”
Former County Administrative Officer Loretta Sands, formerly Loretta Nickolaus

2) Jacque: “Life behind the Board of Supervisors Chambers was more lively and dynamic than most people saw by just watching our meetings. There was gentle bantering, negotiating, problem-solving, meetings with constituents, department heads, project advocates/opponents and other electeds, and laughter. There was often laughter when Jimmy was around. And when the offices cleared for the lunch hour, it was often Jimmy in his office and I in mine continuing our work. Sometimes, there'd be a soft knock on the outer door and Jacque would walk in carrying a sack lunch for two looking for her "Sweetie."  Jimmy's eyes always lit up as he greeted his "lovely bride" with a hug and kiss. I'd return to my office, and hear quiet murmuring of voices and the rustling of lunch. A good part of the essential fabric of Jimmy is Jacque and her unwavering support, faith and love.”
Former Humboldt County Supervisor Jill Duffy

3) Genuine: “In addition to being my confidant, my counsel and one of my best friends, Jimmy was also my duck hunting buddy. We took a lot of hunting trips together over the years but on this particular trip it was just Jimmy, me and my chocolate lab Katie. Whenever Katie and I were on hunting trips, I'd break home rules and bring a blanket to put on the bed so that Katie could sleep with me. She knew we were taking liberties we couldn't take at home, and she took full advantage of it, snuggling up to me all night. There's an old saying that dogs are a great judge of character, that they can tell a good person from a bad one. That was certainly true of Katie because, in the middle of the night, she bailed on me and spent the rest of the night with Jimmy in his bed.”
U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson

4) Respect: Many people know about Jimmy's love of the outdoors. He loved to tell people about the sounds ducks and geese make and what they mean. One day, Jimmy and I were out fishing for sand dabs on my boat, the Reel Steel. We had just filled a bucket with the tasty fish when a fish at the top of the bucket made a squeaking sound.
We both made comments that we had never heard a fish "talk" before and I went forward to start the boat. I looked back to see Jimmy carefully lift the fish and gently return it to the water. When he saw that I had seen what happened he got a sheepish look on his face and said he couldn't take listening to that fish anymore. It became a running joke between us.
He was a great friend and I loved him dearly. I'll miss him.
Tim Klassen

5) Integrity: “Jimmy Smith didn't just talk about our community and the people who live here, he was the people and our community. Everything he did or was involved with focused on making our community better. Jimmy lived and demonstrated the philosophy of "Service above Self." He gave everything he had to work on issues, to bring people together and to reach a consensus with people who often had very different views. He led by example, in that quiet manner that was Jimmy. He taught so many of us how to work cooperatively and how to be a better example of ourselves. I will miss him.”
Humboldt Bay Fire Chief, Bill Gillespie


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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Eureka Council to Mull Rotating Free Camping Zone

Posted By on Sat, Jun 4, 2016 at 3:24 PM

A homeless man moves out of the PalCo Marsh during the city's May 2 eviction. - FILE
  • File
  • A homeless man moves out of the PalCo Marsh during the city's May 2 eviction.
The Eureka City Council will consider amending its recent shelter crisis declaration again Tuesday, this time to allow for a rotating free camping area for homeless people with nowhere else to go.

Currently, the city is allowing homeless people to camp in the city-owned parking lot on the corner of Koster and Washington streets during nighttime hours, as long as they pack up their stuff and leave shortly after daybreak. Now staff is proposing that, beginning June 11, the free-camping zone rotate every 30 days between the Koster and Washington property and two others: the parking lot at the foot of Del Norte Street and what the city refers to as the Dinsmore property, a vacant stretch of land near Target between the Multiple Assistance Center and Blue Ox Mill Works.

Both Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks and Police Chief Andrew Mills said the move is aimed at spreading out the impacts of the free-camping area and keeping the homeless people using it from getting too comfortable or entrenched in any one location. The proposed amendment doesn’t specify when, or if, the rotating free camping zone will end. The city first opened up the Koster and Washington property when it was preparing to clear the PalCo Marsh of more than 100 homeless camps and some questioned whether the city could push homeless people out of the marsh if it didn’t provide them with another place to go that wasn’t subject to the city’s no-camping ordinance. (That question ultimately spawned a federal lawsuit, despite the city's opting not to enforce its no-camping laws at the Koster and Washington lot.)

In the "City Manager's Column" in the city's June newsletter, Sparks wrote that about 35 people have been taking care of the free camping zone nightly at Koster and Washington. "This has not worked particularly well, due in large part to the lack of a day use area that could accommodate the need to be somewhere," Sparks wrote, adding that more and more people are spending their days hanging out on West Third Street near St. Vincent de Paul's free dining facility near Old Town.

Sparks notes in his message that clearing the Marsh did not "solve homelessness in Eureka" and that the city is witnessing "a combination of successful and negative outcomes." The negative outcome is the dispersion of homeless people from the marsh into other areas of the city — neighborhoods, business districts and other greenbelts. The only successful outcome Sparks mentioned in the message is the partnership between Betty Chinn and the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights that converted large metal shipping containers into temporary living quarters for 40 people in a vacant lot on West Third Street. "This project has been an excellent example of the private sector getting involved to solve a problem," Sparks wrote.

A shopping cart behind the Bayshore Mall. - FILE
  • File
  • A shopping cart behind the Bayshore Mall.
In other matters, staff is recommending that the council amend its shopping cart ordinance to charge a $20 fee for returning a shopping cart to its lawful owner. Back in 2014, the council approved the ordinance in an attempt to regulate abandoned or stolen shopping carts, get them out of the hands of homeless people and back to their legal owners. The ordinance has been successful in reducing the number of carts around town, according to a staff report.

However, the existing ordinance allows cart owners a 72-hour grace period to pick up a cart found around town before facing a fee. Staff now wants that changed to make sure the city recoups the costs of recovering and storing carts and is suggesting the $20-per-cart fee.

To read more about these and other items, check out the city’s full agenda here. And click the PDF below to see the city's full June newsletter.

June Newsletter
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