Humboldt County is chock full of colorful folks saying poignant, intelligent, crazy, insightful and just plain hilarious things. With the new year upon us, we take a look back at some of our favorite quotes from 2015. And, in case you missed it, check out our Top 10 stories of 2015 for a rundown of the year's biggest stories.
“I’m not too proud to say, ‘I dug this fine black dress shirt out of a Dumpster.’”
— Former Arcata Mayor Bob Ornelas talking about his thrift wardrobe.
“It is, basically, a crap storm out there. … I think were going to be sitting hear a year from now going, ‘Jesus, what happened?’ And it’s going to be terrible.”
— Humboldt County First District Supervisor Rex Bohn talking in January about the impacts of Proposition 47.
“We’re arresting the same guys for public intoxication over and over again, and there’s nothing there for them. They need to go to a facility. They don’t need to go to a jail, but that’s what we have.”
— Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman.
“There was just a difference of opinion that caused some discomfort on that board.”
— Former Humboldt County Harbor Commissioner Aaron Newman, explaining his decision to resign from the Northcoast Regional Land Trust Board of Directors.
“I would have voted to remove him.”
— Clif Clendenen, noting that it was the fact that the board had been readying to vote to remove Newman from office that prompted the commissioner’s resignation, which came a few months after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor poaching charges.
“To say this crime is senseless is an understatement.”
— A probation report for Vincent Sanchez, who pleaded guilty to murdering his half-brother, Lance Delbert Henry, and Richard “Rick” Storre on March 24, 2014. A motive for the killings was never determined.
“The last thing people want is to get semen on their very expensive fur suit.”
— Kylani, explaining one of the reasons she doesn’t connect sexuality with being a furry.
“The legal experience did cost me quite a bit and I would like to pay off my bills. So if you have a favorite photo, please order one from me! Many thanks to you all for the support I received while I was on ‘sabbatical.'"
— Ron LeValley, the biologist who pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $1 million from the Yurok Tribe, in an email to supporters after serving nine and a half months in a federal prison.
“We are equals in society and we ask to be treated as such.”
— Luke Bruner, of California Cannabis Voice Humboldt, addressing the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on behalf of the country’s marijuana growers.
“My reputation is golden. I’m the guy who brings in the fucking loot.”
— Kevin Jodrey, owner of Wonderland Nursery, explaining how he came to be involved in efforts to craft a local land use ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation.
"When presented with a steaming heap of bullshit, I'm the most likely guy in the room to say, 'Hey, this is a steaming heap of bullshit.’”
— Friends of the Eel River Director Scott Greacen explaining why he wasn’t invited to participate in California Cannabis Voice Humboldt’s workshops to help create marijuana cultivation ordinance.
“It’s not like we like living down here — I hate it.”
— Trish, who declined to give her last name, on living in the PalCo Marsh behind the Bayshore Mall.
“You don’t fall into a hole unless you’ve done something wrong.”
— Attorney Patrik Griego, explaining the lawsuit that led to his client, Kathy Anderson, receiving a $400,000 settlement from the city of Eureka.
“Innocent people don’t want attorneys.”
— Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Wayne Hanson to murder suspect Robert Lee, whose subsequent confession was ruled inadmissible by a federal judge, leading to a plea deal that saw Lee sentenced to seven years after initially facing life in prison.
“Where are you going to get your volunteers if all your folks are retirees? It’s hard to be picky but you have to be able to climb a ladder.”
— Trinidad Volunteer Fire Chief Tom Marquette on the challenges of staffing his department.
“The defendant hired illegal immigrants to work on his grow in the belief that they were expendable, not in a position to complain and that they might not be missed if they disappeared forever into the woods of Humboldt County.”
— The U.S. Attorney’s Office in a pre-sentencing memorandum for Mikal Wilde, who’s currently serving a life sentence for murder and attempted murder.
“We’re committed to ending homelessness in Eureka. It’s not an easy task.”
— Eureka Community Development Director Rob Holmlund.
“You can’t blame him for coming in [Ramone’s], it smells so good in there.”
— Eureka Police Animal Control Officer Rob Patton on the raccoon found under a Ramone’s pastry counter in June.
“They’re essentially saying, ‘Give us what we want, or we’ll take our bat and ball and go home.”
— Suzi Fregeau, program manager and long-term care ombudsman at the Area 1 Agency on Aging, about local skilled nursing facilities’ refusal to take new patients due to a Medi-Cal reimbursement dispute.
— Geoff Spenceley, 93, on trying to get his wife, Queenie, into one of the facilities.
"You have nothing to lose but your chains and your shame."
— Luke Bruner, inviting marijuana growers into the open as CCVH released its draft medical marijuana ordinance.
“Man, I'm never trusting anyone again.”
— Yurok Tribal Councilperson Mindy Natt after the revelation that a 70-year-old Georgian known as “Duke” had allegedly swindled the tribe out of $250,000.
“On the one hand, Mr. Stonebarger may get out of custody immediately. On the other hand, he may never get out of custody for the rest of his life … I am aware of the seriousness of this matter and the seriousness of this ruling. But I have to follow the law, as I expect everyone else to.”
— Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna, ordering a man prosecutors believed to be a sexually violent predator be released from custody due to a prosecutor’s paperwork error.
“I don’t want to say the roads are dangerous. But I think some of the people driving them are.”
— Eureka Police Officer Gary Whitmer, explaining Humboldt County’s high vehicle fatality rates.
“Old hippies are not our problem. Old hippies are some of the best land stewards.”
— Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman at a September environmental law conference, discussing his concerns about the ecological damage from marijuana growers. He went on, “I’ve even said rich white guys are as bad as the cartel members.”
“It’s across the board. It doesn’t matter which race, religion, way of life. Humboldt County is being overrun with illicit drugs, and it’s getting worse in all facets.”
— Humboldt County Chief Deputy Coroner Ernie Stewart on the addictions that are killing off Humboldt residents.
“The reality is, that smell is also economic development.”
— Eureka Main Street Director Charlotte McDonald, discussing a putrid fish odor that permeated Old Town for stretches over the summer.
“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
— California Gov. Jerry Brown on why he signed the state’s first right-to-die bill, allowing terminally ill patients the right to terminate their own life.
“Fortunately, he’d been duck hunting, so he chased [the burglar] down the street and fired a round at him. And bully for him.”
— Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, discussing a rash of firearm thefts locally.
“People have a right to bear arms but that’s just the point — to bear arms. Not to leave them lying around unprotected. It has nothing to do with, ‘When someone goes to bed at night, can they have a gun on their nightstand?’ Of course they can. This is America."
— Mills, outlining his proposed ordinance that would require business and home owners to lock up firearms when they weren’t on the premises. Mills later shelved his proposal in the face of a pro-gun backlash.
“Someone in the crowd stated, ‘It’s urine.’ But I could tell that it wasn’t as some got in my eyes and there was no stinging or odor.”
— Former Eureka Police Chief Murl Harpham in a report detailing a 2013 arrest.
"It's a great foundation. But foundations can be used to build a happy home or a prison." Mendocino medical marijuana farmer Casey O'Neill on new state medical marijuana regulations.
"At least since 2008, we've been freakin' kicking ourselves in the freakin' lower parts."
— Former district attorney Paul Gallegos on law enforcement activities that dissuaded medical marijuana businesses from coming into compliance.
“Forgive us our trespasses; here are our press passes.”
— Late Humboldt State University professor Maclyn McClary, who died in October at the age of 78, in a frequent refrain to students.
“Jesus that was a lot of reading, I’ll tell you.”
— An unidentified Humboldt County planning commissioner, moments before the video feed of the commission's first meeting to discuss a marijuana land use ordinance went off.
“I don’t think it’s an emergency, but I think I just saw the panda that everyone’s looking for.”
— Loretta Hancock, relaying what she told a police dispatcher after stumbling upon Masala, the Sequoia Park Zoo’s missing red panda.
“It’s kind of like if my kids were trying to share candy and I yelled at them and told them sharing isn’t allowed and one of them has to beat up the other and take all the candy — that’s kind of what I feel Congress has done to us.”
— Karuk Tribe Natural Resources Policy Advocate Craig Tucker on Congress’ failure to pass legislation to enact the landmark Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, leading to its dissolution.
"Please have hot coffee and a unicorn available at load in. Immediately following load in the unicorn is to be slaughtered and cooked to perfection. This will serve as our sound check snack. Please make sure the unicorn is cage free and grass fed. A horse with a party hat on will not be accepted as a substitute.”
— The Devil Makes Three’s contract rider for a show at HSU’s Center Arts.