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July 29, 2004

The Weekly Wrap

Get Daschle! Save Daschle!

West Nile virus approaches Humboldt

Eureka Co-op plans move
Former Big Loaf building eyed for larger quarters


 T H E  W E E K L Y  W R A P

REPUBLICAN HQ VANDALIZED: The county's Republican Party headquarters at 311 Fifth St. in Eureka was repeatedly vandalized over a period of a few days last week. "It started out with spit and soda and coffee, then it went to eggs, then it went to spray paint. The next day it went to rocks through the window," said Mike Harvey, local party chair. Harvey was quick to add that he didn't hold the local Democratic Central Committee, which just opened an office down the road at 129 Fifth, responsible. "We've got a great relationship with the other party," he said. "It's not them, it's just the crazy anti-Bushites." Harvey said that the party installed a burglar alarm in the office in response to the attacks.

ARCATA RESOLUTIONS: The Arcata City Council passed a resolution calling for instant run-off voting, campaign finance reform and proportional representation at its meeting Wednesday night, but stopped short of declaring that the city had no confidence in the integrity of the federal election system. That was the wish of Eureka elections activist Dave Berman, who has been plumping for a nationwide "No Confidence" movement on his blog, GuvWurld, in advance of the 2004 elections. Council members expressed concern that such strong language could turn off citizens from voting. In a separate vote, the Arcata council unanimously passed a resolution, proposed by Veterans for Peace, calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

FLUORIDE FOES MOBILIZE: A group of Arcata residents opposed to the city's fluoridation of its water announced last week that they will circulate a petition to place a "safe drinking water" initiative on the ballot. The initiative will not contain the word "fluoride," but would make it illegal for the city to "introduce, add or maintain any product, substance, or chemical to the public water supplies" other than to make it potable. Public health officials have decried the effort, arguing that water fluoridation makes a tremendous difference in the amount of dental decay, particularly in low-income children. Dental decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood.

BOXER VISIT SCHEDULED: Sen. Barbara Boxer will be making a swing through Humboldt County early next month. The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee will hold a fund-raising breakfast with the senator at the Eureka Women's Club at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Boxer is facing competition from former California Secretary of State Bill Jones in her reelection bid this year. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For more information, call the HCDCC at 445-3366.

THOMPSON IN BOSTON: "Gore gave a great speech. Unfortunately, if he gave it four years ago, he may have been running for re-election," said Rep. Mike Thompson in a telephone interview from the Democratic National Convention Tuesday. He said the highlights of the convention so far for him were the three Monday night speeches -- Gore, Carter and Clinton. Thompson said prior to the general session Tuesday he was feted at a luncheon by the wine and business community.

BOHN CAMPAIGN KICK-OFF: Eureka City Council hopeful Rex Bohn officially kicked off his campaign last week after turning in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Bohn, an employee of Renner Petroleum and a long-time volunteer for youth baseball leagues, said in a short press conference that he hoped to emphasize issues important to children and senior citizens in his campaign. He faulted his opponent in the city's Fourth Ward -- incumbent Chris Kerrigan -- for his advocacy of a Design Review Committee; many city builders are opposed to the idea, according to Bohn. "These are guys I've known for 30 or 40 years, and they don't want another layer of bureaucracy," he said.

SORTER TO RUN: Another name has been added to what is becoming a crowded field in the upcoming Arcata City Council race. Jim Sorter, a retired school administrator and environmental activist, flew home from a summer volunteer project helping protect Mexican sea turtles to file his papers in the race. Sorter said last week that he believes his experience managing large budgets for the Peninsula School District could be an asset to the city, and he registered his approval of Arcata's famous stands on national and international issues. "I'm proud to say that I believe Arcata has influenced some decisions in this national presidential campaign," he said. So far, four other candidates have thrown their hats in the ring: incumbent Michael Machi, activist Fhyre Phoenix, transportation safety committee member Paul Pitino and Grandma B's Fudge owner Mark Owens (though Owens has not yet completed the required papers). Mayor Bob Ornelas and Councilmember Connie Stewart will not seek reelection.

BUSY WEEK FOR THE EPD: A series of violent crimes kept the Eureka Police Department busy last week. A man living in an apartment on the 800 block of H Street was the victim of a home invasion robbery Thursday evening -- an unknown male knocked down his door just before midnight, beat him and stole his belongings. The EPD says it is developing evidence in the case that may lead to identification of the suspect. Hours later, four prison inmates on a work furlough program escaped from their home and ended up attacking four teenagers in Cooper Gulch with knives. The inmates were recaptured soon after the incident. One of the teens was seriously injured, but has since recovered. An arsonist attempted to burn down an apartment building on West Henderson Street Saturday night. On Monday, police detained the suspect, 20-year-old Kay Lynn Pires of Eureka, after responding to an unrelated call in the Pine Hill area.

BANK ROBBED: The Bank of America in Arcata was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money Monday morning, police said. The thief is described as a slender man in his mid 40s with a dark complexion and missing teeth, last seen wearing a Minnesota Twins T-shirt beneath an aqua jacket. Police were not able to locate the suspect, who was last seen walking east on 9th and F streets.

MOBILE HOME TENANTS PROTEST: Tenants at the Eureka Trailer City park on Allard Avenue say that changes must be made where they live, and they are calling the managers to task for the condition of the park. According to the Eureka Trailer City Renters Association, several dozen residents signed a letter asking for rent receipts, which tenants are entitled to by law, and disabled parking, and also addressed safety concerns, harassment from management, retaliatory rent increases, child safety and lack of Spanish translation for notices. The property was taken over by new managers Sharli and Lonnie Haines in March, and the tenants formed the ETCRA one month later after what they say was poor treatment from the Haineses. Sharli Haines said that a number of the signers asked to be taken off the petition afterwards. "There are only four or five residents who've developed an opposition and the other tenants don't want to be represented by them." Haines said. "When you get down to it, they sent us a list of demands that we have 60 days to answer to."

TREE-SITTERS FASTING: Two tree-sitters and Earth First! activists have embarked on an 11-day fast to draw attention to the upcoming hearing on the Heritage Tree Preservation Act, SB 754, which was written to protect remaining old-growth trees on non-federal land in California. A 30-year-old tree-sitter who called himself Martin, who has been living high in a redwood in the Van Duzen watershed for eight weeks, said via cell-phone that he and "Lynx," who shares a tree with him, are on an herbal tea fast. They will end their hunger strike on Aug. 4 when the bill goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and have vowed to stay in the tree until the bill is passed. Also to show support for the Heritage Tree Act, 20 protesters blocked a logging road at the Fox Camp Gate in the Mattole wilderness early Tuesday, backing up Palco logging trucks. Another road block, in the Rainbow Ridge area, resulted in the arrests of "two to four" protesters, the Sheriff's Office said. Palco said only that sheriff's deputies took care of the problem.

PALCO WATERSHED MEETING: The Pacific Lumber Co. and state and federal agencies are inviting the public to attend a presentation of the final watershed analysis and prescriptions for Freshwater Creek, the Van Duzen River and the Lower Eel and Eel Delta watersheds. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 29 at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. It's the culmination of four years of research called for in the company's Habitat Conservation Plan, part of the Headwaters deal, but activists this week called the research flawed. "Some of the information is misleading and doesn't justify that these rivers are in good [enough] shape to reduce buffer zones [that will] put them in worse shape," said Sal Steinberg of Friends of the Van Duzen. Buffer zones are areas around rivers where logging is prohibited. Palco spokesperson Erin Dunn said that the research was done by a "world class science team" headed by Dr. Jeffrey Barrett, who will be on hand Thursday to answer questions.

DONUTS BOUGHT WITH FAKE DOUGH: Arcata Police reported that three counterfeit $10 bills were used at Don's Donuts in Arcata last week. Police are investigating the case and have also notified the U.S. Secret Service about the matter. Merchants should be on the lookout for the fake dough; all the bills had the same serial number: CA 45210455B.

Get Daschle! Save Daschle!


Eureka businessman Rob Arkley is spending "about a half million" dollars to unseat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in November while Democrats, including the North Coast's Rep. Mike Thompson, are fighting hard to save him.

"We do business in South Dakota; I know the people of South Dakota. He doesn't represent them. He's way too liberal. It's time for him to go," said Arkley in a telephone conversation Tuesday from Los Angeles.

Arkley and his wife, former Eureka City Councilmember Cherie Arkley, each gave the maximum allowed by law -- $2,000 -- directly to Daschle's Republican challenger, John Thune. But that's peanuts compared to the "mid-six-figures" Arkley said he is spending in soft money to create an organization called "You're Fired Inc." specifically for U.S. Senate campaigns.

The organization is a "527" -- shorthand for the section of the tax code that makes them legal.

"It's no different from what George Soros is doing," Arkley said. By the end of this political cycle, Soros, a liberal philanthropist intent on reforming the Democratic Party, will have contributed more than $13 million to independent political groups known as 527s, according to a Jan. 25 article in the New York Times.

"You're Fired" is based tongue-in-cheek on Donald Trump's TV series "The Apprentice," where management assistants compete in money-making schemes. At the end of each show, the competitors are called into the board room and Trump personally fires the weakest performer.

"I knew [the organization's title] would get attention. I did it for a public reason," Arkley said.

In the meantime, Democrats are raising funds to save Daschle's seat. Rep. Mike Thompson, who is attending the Democratic National Convention this week in Boston, is co-hosting a $1,000-a-ticket fund-raiser in the Napa Valley along with Kathryn Hall, former ambassador to Austria and owner of Kathryn Hall Vineyards in Rutherford.

"You're Fired Inc." has produced a series of TV and radio spots to target Daschle, who is critical of money from outside the state being used to influence the race. According to an Associated Press wire story, Daschle proposed that he and Thune sign a pledge banning financing from third-party groups. He said he sent letters to 134 groups that traditionally support Democrats asking them to refrain from advertising in his race.

A spokesman for the Thune campaign said Daschle is being hypocritical because the senator knows that other groups will run ads that favor him and oppose Thune.

Rob and Cherie Arkley are frequent contributors to Republican candidates and causes. They were among the top backers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for governor last year and a major underwriter of his inaugural. The Arkleys also have contributed the maximum allowed to President Bush in recent years and frequently attend fund-raisers in major cities.

West Nile virus approaches Humboldt


County officials are asking for the public's help in tracking the path of the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease that killed a 57-year-old man in Orange County last month and was detected last week in Ukiah.

Residents of Humboldt County should notify officials immediately if they find a dead raptor, crow, raven, or jay, said Brent Whitener, vector control officer for the county.

Such dead bird reports are "absolutely critical," Whitener said, since the birds' mortality is a first alert that the virus has made its way here. Human illness usually shows up about five weeks later, he said. Residents who see dead birds are urged immediately to call the state hotline at 1-877-968-2473.

Whitener also recommends that residents "kick the bucket" -- eliminate mosquito breeding areas by emptying containers of standing water where natural predators don't exist.

"If you leave a white bucket on your back porch with 3 inches of water in it, you'll make 200 mosquitoes in three weeks," Whitener said. Most ponds, in contrast, are not a problem, he said, since they have mosquito-eating fish.

As of last week, there were 182 cases of West Nile reported in humans this year, and 40 in California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Health Services, respectively. All of those stricken in the state have been residents of Southern California, though birds infected with West Nile have been found in 15 counties. One infected crow was discovered in Mendocino County last week.

North Coast residents have battled an unusually high mosquito population this summer because of the warmer weather we had in June and July, in which breeding times are cut in half, Whitener said. Only 7 percent of our mosquitoes are the "Culex" variety, which carry West Nile, however.

While most cases in humans are relatively mild, West Nile virus is a potentially serious disease that is spread by Culex mosquitoes biting infected birds. The mosquito then passes the virus to the next bird it bites. Horses and chickens may also get sick. Humans cannot infect each other.

Those who get sickest from the virus are usually the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. A serious case of the virus is uncommon in children.

If the virus does come to Humboldt, Whitener recommends the following precautions:

  • Since the Culex mosquitoes come out mostly at dusk and dawn, consider staying inside during those times.
  • Use mosquito repellant with DEET (except for children under 2).
  • Install screens on windows.
  • Vaccinate your horses.
  • See your doctor if you believe you may have the virus. Symptoms include a fever of over 100 degrees for more than five days, lethargy, muscle soreness, a general body rash and occasionally nausea.

For more information, see the California Department of Health Services Web site, or the county's Humboldt Health Alert Web site.


Eureka Co-op plans move
Former Big Loaf building eyed for larger quarters


Cramped aisles and long lines at the sandwich bar may eventually be a thing of the past at the Eureka Co-op.

On Tuesday, management at North Coast Cooperative, Inc., signed a deal to lease the old Big Loaf Bakery building at 25 Fourth St. in Eureka with an eye to establishing a full-sized supermarket at the site. The Big Loaf building is owned by Security National Servicing Corp.

The Co-op's board of directors was expected to finalize the deal Tuesday night.

"The Eureka store has outgrown the location," said Len Mayer, North Coast Cooperative general manager. "I believe that we've come up with a good solution that works for the Co-op, the customers and the members."

Mayer said that the new location will be about the same size as the Co-op's flagship Arcata store, and added that the Co-op was eager to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Eureka's downtown.

"Being a part of the redevelopment in that part of town would be very exciting for us," he said.

Actual relocation of the store is expected to take around 20 months, partly due to the fact that the project would require an amendment to the city's general plan. Under the plan, the Big Loaf building and surrounding areas are set aside for manufacturers rather than retail shops. Changes to the plan require costly and time-consuming environmental and traffic studies.

Nevertheless, Eureka Community Development Director Kevin Hamblin said that he believed that the city would look favorably on the Co-op's proposal.

"Despite the fact that it's complex, we have every hope that this can be accomplished down there," he said. "There have been many discussions among council and city staff about getting a grocery store to anchor the downtown."

The Eureka City Council is scheduled to hear Security National's request to initiate a general plan amendment at its Aug. 3 meeting. Security National is owned by Rob Arkley and his wife, Cherie.

Marie Liscomb, economic development coordinator for the Eureka Redevelopment Agency, said that moving the Co-op could attract new businesses and residents to the downtown area.

"I would think that it would eliminate a blighted building and maybe encourage other investors to the area," she said. "It's happened in Old Town and it's happening in the downtown -- if there are those willing to make an investment, others will follow."

She added that the project was especially beneficial because it would accomplish the goals of the redevelopment agency in the downtown area without requiring the investment of any public money.




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