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August 21, 2003
The Terminator's school
money is nowhere to be found
Where's Arnold? Or, rather,
where's the education money he promised?
That's what local school officials
like Maureen McGarry, coordinator of Arcata's Arts in the Afternoon
after-school program, are wondering.
Since its opening in the fall
of 2000, the Arts in the Afternoon room in the Arcata Community
Center has been a place for teenagers from all around northern
Humboldt to learn technique and struggle with the muse after
the school day ends.
This year, though, it has been
a struggle to find the funds to keep the program going. The state's
mid-year budget cuts hit the program hard -- a $5,000 personal
donation from State Sen. Wesley Chesbro in April pretty much
saved the day -- but this year, McGarry is scrambling to find
money for art supplies, snacks and HSU work-study assistants.
"What used to come from
grants is now going to come from booths at the fair and the like
-- all those old, traditional ways of fund-raising," she
says. "We're back in bake-sale mode."
After Chesbro's check came,
McGarry, thinking about the coming school year, remembered last
year's Proposition 49. Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of Kindergarten
Cop and a current Republican front-runner in the bid to replace
Gov. Gray Davis, was the public face of the initiative -- hadn't
he promised that it would provide for programs exactly like hers?
But after digging around a bit,
McGarry made a surprising discovery. There were no Proposition
49 funds to apply for. And it looked like there wouldn't be any
in the foreseeable future, either.
Proposition 49 -- the "After
School Education and Safety Program Act" -- is Schwarzenegger's
biggest and arguably only claim to fame in the political arena.
Besides loaning his star-powered visage to the pro-49 campaign,
he appeared in countless venues to stump for it and donated $1
million to help it succeed. The act was approved by a healthy
margin in last November's election.
The act promised to earmark
up to $550 million of the state's budget for after-school programs.
But there were two little-known restrictions in the text of the
bill: The program would not commence until the 2004-05 school
year, and would not commence at all until the state's budget
had grown by at least $1.5 million over the previous year.
Bruce Cain, director of the
Institute for Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley, said that
tying expenditures to increases in the state budget was a mark
of fiscal responsibility -- a good sign for a prospective governor.
"I think that speaks well
of Arnold," he said. "His commitment [to after-school
programs] is real. The point is that a commitment to child programs
has to be balanced with a commitment to poor people's health
services, to hiring K-12 teachers. The reality is that there
are a lot of very important things that are not being funded
But McGarry, who's sending out
fundraising letters in a desperate bid to raise $10,000, is still
more than a bit galled by the good press Schwarzenegger has been
receiving for his work on Prop. 49.
"It's just smoke and mirrors,
and yet he gets credit for it," she said. "It's not
serving any more kids than when we voted on it."
out in Cleveland
That a Journal reporter
was in Ohio when the
lights went out last week is coincidental. We think.
by HELEN SANDERSON
Last week I
went to Cleveland for a vacation. Yes, as in Ohio. No, I do not
have relatives there. My girlfriend Kris and her family invited
me to join them there -- they live in Rhode Island, so the Midwest
was a halfway point, sort of. It was a lovely time, thank you
very much, although a bit darker than I expected.
After an afternoon
of jet skiing on Lake Erie on Thursday, we went back to the hotel
we were all staying at to get ready for our last evening out
-- dinner and a WNBA game.
As I showered
the lights gave a strained buzzing noise and dimmed. I looked
toward the ceiling and noticed the layer of steam that had accumulated
-- evidence of the length of my immersion, which neared 20 minutes.
One final rinse and I cut off the water. A9s I toweled off the
lights flickered once more before going black.
I do?" I thought. Perhaps it was guilt talking. Every unreasonable
possibility flooded my head: My shower had lasted so long that
the excess of water vapor seeped into an electrical circuit,
blowing a fuse and cutting off power to the bathroom. Maybe the
staff at the Ritz Carlton was monitoring the water usage in room
924 and decided to flip the switch to teach the water-waster
I stepped out
of the bathroom into the sun-drenched hotel room -- it was around
4:10 p.m. Kris was sitting on the bed with a perplexed look on
her face, squinting at the remote control, pushing its buttons
and pointing it at the television.
We checked her
parents' room -- lights out there too. This is bad, I thought.
We went out
into the hotel hallway and entered a different world -- with
no windows, everything was pitch black. Two attendants carrying
candles emerged out of the darkness dressed in formal service
attire; they were looking to help disoriented guests find their
rooms. I asked if the power was out throughout the entire hotel
and they informed us that the electricity was down in all of
I forgave myself
for the long shower -- how could that have caused a citywide
power outage? We began to worry about the rest of the family
that was not in the hotel room -- Kris' mother and sisters.
Is there anyone
trapped in the elevator? Yes, the attendants said. The fire department
is coming to get them out. Before I could ask any more questions,
they hurried away into the darkness.
later, back in our hotel room, Kris' mother called. She was with
her daughters in the lobby and they had the scoop. Most of New
England, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and parts of Canada
were without power, nothing terrorist-related as far as anyone
the floor plan posted on the inside of our hotel room door, and,
with that mental picture in our heads, we felt our way down the
hall until we located the stairway entrance. The stairwell was
dimly lit with emergency lights -- one bulb for every other floor.
Down nine flights
we went to the candle-lit lobby where we met up with the rest
of the family. People were milling around, chatting with staff
about the potential causes of the blackout. Nobody seemed nervous
or angry, but mildly confused and a bit excited, as if the blackout
had made them giddy. Like the rest of the patrons, we were invited
to the hotel bar and restaurant for drinks, but we decided to
venture outside in hopes that a nearby restaurant was still serving
dinner -- perhaps a place with an outdoor grill or wood-fired
It was around
5 p.m. by the time we hit the streets. The weather was hot, humid
and generally oppressive. Wearing a lightweight tank top and
capris, I still felt sticky all over. It was the kind of heat
that is only escapable by good old-fashioned air conditioning
-- the remnants of which were gradually dissipating into the
As we walked
away from the hotel a fire truck came screaming around the corner,
most likely headed to aid those still stuck in the elevator.
I grabbed a
free weekly newspaper in hopes of finding a dining guide that
could lead us to some outdoor eats. The streets were semi-chaotic.
With no traffic lights it was a virtual free-for-all for both
pedestrians and cars. After a little while, though, an order
began to develop. Drivers waited their turn, waved on opposing
traffic and stopped for pedestrians. It was as if all of the
automatic behavior that prevails in normal circumstances had
been suspended. People used their common sense and, although
scary at times, it worked.
There was a
general feeling of unity in the street -- for once, everyone
recognized that they had something in common. Cars parked along
the roadside and pedestrians poked their heads in the open windows
to listen to the latest news.
When I first
realized that the whole city was out I imagined urban mayhem
-- looting and riots and broken glass. But instead people were
helpful and happy.
We had no luck
in finding an operational restaurant. So it was back to the hotel,
where we were served complimentary drinks and sushi. The people
there were remarkably festive. How many times do the lights go
out across the entire Northeast? And how often is the booze free?
(The computerized cash registers weren't working, of course,
and we speculated that the hotel wanted to keep people happy
to reduce the chances of panic). The crowd grew louder as the
restaurant grew darker. Toasts were made from the 40-something
business crowd that packed the bar; the power failure, it seemed,
was a cause for celebration.
talked about the power outage of 1977, which like the Blackout
of 2003 affected much of the East Coast. Apparently a baby boom
happened nine months after the '77 blackout. It makes perfect
sense. Without electricity people are forced to, well, communicate;
no television, no computers, no harsh fluorescent, no Internet.
Just candlelight, conversation and baby-making.
After the lights
went out last week, there was finger-pointing. My first impulse
was to blame myself. America's first impulse was to blame Canada,
and over the past week, the blame has been rerouted to and settled
upon northern Ohio. Which, in case you don't know your geography,
is right where Cleveland is. It seems somebody plugging in a
hair dryer could have triggered the blackout -- or perhaps somebody's
overly long shower.
But I'm innocent
until proven guilty. Meantime, I'm left with vivid memories and
a positive example of human behavior under stress -- not bad
for one hot summer evening with no lights.
may sue over Trinidad trail pact
Wagner Street Trail was barricaded and closed to the public on
Saturday, following a landmark settlement agreement in the 10-year
legal dispute between the city and resident John Frame.
If two state agencies have any
say about it, though, those barricades may not stay there forever.
The Coastal Conservancy, a state
agency, and the California Coastal Commission said on Monday
that they were discussing the issue with the state attorney general's
office. Depending on those talks, the state could decide to bring
legal action to scuttle the agreement.
The Coastal Conservancy holds
a "public access" easement on the length of trail that
the city has closed -- and Sam Schuchat, executive officer, said
that the city had no right to bargain it away.
"We're pretty pissed off
at what happened last week," he said, noting that the Conservancy
hadn't received advance notice that city was seeking to settle
On Tuesday, Coastal Conservancy
Project Manager Sue Corbaley was surprised to learn that the
barricades had, in fact, been erected, and said that she was
immediately going to consult with the conservancy's attorney.
California Coastal Commission
District Director Bob Merrill said he believed that the closure
of the trail was a change in use, and should require a coastal
Trinidad Mayor Dean Heyenga,
who voted against the settlement agreement, said on Monday that
the city was now legally bound by it, and that any state challenge
over the public access easement will have to be litigated.
"That sounds like an issue
that will have to be resolved in court," he said. "Until
the Coastal Conservancy and the Coastal Commission do something
about it, we are going to enforce the agreement as it was signed.
"The city is now committed
to holding up its end of the bargain."
The settlement agreement gives
Frame almost everything he was seeking from the city. Not only
has the trail been closed, the agreement mandates that the city
deed the land the trail passes through to him.
That ownership of the property
was the subject of a previous lawsuit between the city and Frame,
with both sides claiming it as their own. Opinions differ about
what the judge in that case actually determined, but Frame, in
any case, had let members of the community know that he had been
planning to file another lawsuit over it later this month. Not
long afterward, an agreement was reached.
On Tuesday, Frame said that
he hadn't gotten everything he wanted during the negotiations
-- he said that he would have liked to maintain the right to
sue the city for past damages to his property, which he alleges
were caused by the city's failure to prevent the bluff on which
his house is built from slipping near the trail.
In addition, Frame has agreed
to indemnify the city -- meaning he will pay the legal costs
of any potential lawsuit brought by the state.
Frame said that geotechnical
studies he had commissioned showed that damage to the bluff was
threatening the site of the ancient village of Tsurai, which
lies beneath the trail. According to the settlement agreement,
this was a prime factor in the city's decision to settle.
He added that he hoped the settlement
would allow the town to turn toward more positive projects --
such as the construction of a library -- and said that he hoped
that the Conservancy, which is charged with protecting the Tsurai
site, would agree.
"I really believe it's
in the best interests of everyone to put this behind us,"
he said. "And I hope that the state, when it considers its
responsibilities, will reach a similar conclusion."
At a special meeting of the
Trinidad City Council Monday night, it was announced that a negotiating
team composed of Councilmembers Chi-Wei Lin and Terry Marlow
would try to reach a similar settlement with the Tsurai Ancestral
Society, which had joined Frame's suit against the city.
In case you haven't noticed,
a familiar acrid odor -- Eureka's perfume -- has been floating
in the air lately.
An official with the Humboldt
County environmental health division said Tuesday that the county
has received some complaints from the public over the past week
or two. Lawrence Odle, director of the North Coast Unified Air
Quality Management District, said his shop has also received
some calls -- enough to trigger an investigation of what no one
disputes is the source: the financially troubled pulp mill on
the Samoa Peninsula.
"The complaints appear
to be valid. We are in the early stages of reviewing operations
out there, and we will identify options and seek a resolution,"
Odle said the district, a three-county
regional authority charged with enforcing the federal Clean Air
Act, will primarily be looking at whether the recent emissions
constitute a violation of the mill's air quality permit.
Alan Lindgren, a spokesman with
Stockton Pacific Enterprises, Inc., the mill's new owners, said
that the precise cause of the noisome emissions is unclear. But
he said it likely has to do with a series of recent equipment
shutdowns made necessary by a shortage of wood chips the mill
uses to make paper.
"We're working to identify
the source of the problem," Lindgren said.
Stockton Pacific is a newly
formed holding group made up largely of former managers with
the previous owner, Samoa-Pacific Cellulose. The new concern
made a successful $5 million bid for the mill and its equipment
at a public auction last Friday -- the first step in relieving
the mill's massive $80 million debt. The timing could be fortuitous,
as a long-term slump in the worldwide pulp market appears to
be coming to an end.
For years the pulp mill, along
with another mill no longer in operation, emitted odorous emissions
across Eureka. A multi-million upgrade completed about two years
ago eliminated the problem.
The California Lottery big spin
wheel -- actually a medium-sized replica of the giant wheel seen
on TV -- was a no-show Sunday on the final day of the Humboldt
A half dozen lottery officials
were on hand for the traveling promotion, which was to pick two
winners for an all-expense-paid trip to the state fair in Sacramento,
but they were unaware that the wheel was missing until late Saturday
"At the last minute literally,
they were making up a game to pick the winners," said Barbara
Powers, lottery manager of events, by telephone from Sacramento.
At breakfast Sunday, lottery
officials came up with a card game, which eventually yielded
the winners, Glenn Furber and Ron Johnson, both of Eureka. Each
won $500 and 75 Lotto tickets, plus the trip to Sacramento Sept.
1, where they will spin the giant wheel. The top prize on that
wheel will be $10,000 and a new all-terrain vehicle.
Humboldt County Fair officials
were still scratching their heads Tuesday.
"I don't know if it got
shipped to Ferndale, Wash., or what," said Fair Manager
Actually, the trucking company
that was supposed to move the equipment from the Nevada County
Fair in Grass Valley to Humboldt had a truck break down. A second
trucking company was not aware that the equipment was needed
Sunday, Powers said.
The truck finally arrived in
Ferndale Monday after the fair closed and was ordered back to
Dave Meserve is at it again.
The notoriously non-conforming
Arcata City Council member is calling for the impeachment of
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The resolution, which was scheduled
to be introduced at the regular council meeting this week, states
that Bush and Cheney have failed to uphold their oath to "preserve,
protect, and defend the Constitution" by launching an unprovoked
attack on Iraq, thus committing "high crimes and misdemeanors"
which are grounds for impeachment
In particular, the resolution
cites "lies" that Bush has told the public including
that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members and possessed nuclear and
Meserve on Tuesday said he was
hopeful that the council would adopt the resolution, but that
there might be some opposition given that impeaching Bush is
hardly a mainstream cause. Of course, the Arcata council, which
made headlines internationally for its stand against the Patriot
Act (another Meserve initiative), is not shy when it comes to
this sort of thing.
Meserve insisted that calling
for Bush's impeachment is not radical. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida),
who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has
expressed support for impeachment. Also, an effort called "Vote
to Impeach" has reaped 270,000 signatures of support.
"If anything, this will
get people to talk about [impeaching Bush]. Then maybe people
will begin to ferret out the truth for themselves," Meserve
Workers at the North Coast Cooperative
have voted once again to join the United Food and Commercial
Workers Union, Local 101, and both sides in the current contract
negotiations expect to sign a new agreement by the end of the
Sound like déjà
vu? The co-op workers voted a year ago to unionize. But a group
decided this summer to circulate a petition for a new vote, said
Carolyn Nelson, shop steward for the Arcata store.
"A lot of the employees
who are currently with the co-op were not with the co-op when
the union was initially voted in," she said. "I don't
know if it was dissatisfaction with the union, or just this entity
they were forced to join and they didn't know whether they wanted
to be in it or not. I think they just wanted their voice to be
So a new election was held Aug.
5, with the results favoring the union by 65 to 18 (with 38 eligible
employees not voting).
What may have tipped the scales,
Nelson said, was the firing shortly before the vote of John Frahm,
manager of the Arcata store. (Other sources said Frahm spearheaded
the union drive before being promoted to a non-union management
"I think [the firing] might
have had a little bit to do with it," Nelson said. "It
made people a little more aware of what the union could provide
them," in terms of job security.
Len Mayer, general manager for
the co-op, said management is "very close" to having
a new two-year contract the workers can vote on. The current
contract expires Aug. 31.
As backers of the effort to
recall District Attorney Paul Gallegos continue to gather signatures,
another group has formed to support the DA.
The Friends of Paul Gallegos
filed a statement of organization with the county elections office
July 10, meaning they intend to raise or spend more than $1,000
in the campaign, said Lindsay McWilliams, elections chief.
A spokesman for the group, Patrick
Riggs of Stafford, said its goal is simple: to keep Paul Gallegos
as DA. "The words `equal justice for all' pretty much sum
it up: Paul Gallegos is a DA who believes that all people have
equal standing before the law, that crime should be prosecuted
vigorously wherever it occurs and without regard for wealth or
influence or position in the community."
The group plans to raise money
to support the DA -- with media and public education campaigns
-- should the recall drive produce enough signatures for an election,
Recall proponents have until
Oct. 22 to turn in their signatures.
Meanwhile, a report filed with
the county confirmed what recall opponents had charged for months:
that many of the backers have timber industry ties. (The recall
effort started after Gallegos filed suit against the Pacific
Lumber Co. in late February.)
The Committee to Recall Paul
Gallegos raised $26,621 and spent $8,695 in the first six months
of the year, according to its financial disclosure statement.
Of the total spent, at least 76 percent came from timber-related
companies or individuals, including Craig E. Anthony, a Pacific
Lumber vice president; Angelini Logging in Carlotta; Roger Coombs
of Timber Incorporated in Fortuna; Ronald Borges of Bettendorf
Trucking; Lewis Logging of Fortuna; Edward Gomes of Joe Costa
Trucking; Hansen Wire Rope of Fortuna; Peterson Tractor Co. of
San Leandro (which has a Eureka office); and Rasmussen Wood Products
of Blue Lake.
Chris Giauque, a medical marijuana
activist from Southern Humboldt, was still missing as of press
time late Tuesday -- and his family fears the worst.
Giauque was last seen on Aug.
9 in the Spy Rock Road area of Mendocino County, according to
Humboldt County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Brenda Gainey.
He had driven there from his home in Salmon Creek to meet a friend.
Gainey said that Giauque's wife
reported him missing late the next day.
On Aug. 13, state park police
found Giauque's truck parked on the Avenue of the Giants near
Elk Creek. Gainey said that the truck showed no visible signs
of a struggle, and that further forensic tests will be conducted
later this week.
Giauque's brother Clint, a resident
of Arcata, said on Monday that he had little hope that his brother
Chris had simply wandered off, or was otherwise missing but unharmed.
"I suspect that someone
killed my brother," he said. "I know someone
killed my brother."
Clint Giauque expressed strong
concerns that the Sheriff's Department was not investigating
the case as actively as it should. He said he feared that his
brother's clashes with the department over the issue of medical
marijuana would weaken its desire to solve the case.
Chris Giauque, a medical marijuana
patient, sued the county over an ounce of cannabis that the department
confiscated from him in 1999. He was arrested near the Humboldt
County Courthouse in early 2001, right before a planned public
Lt. Steve Knight, head of the
sheriff's detective bureau, said that Giauque's activism "has
not and will not" affect his detectives' investigation.
He noted that detectives have been working on the case every
day and have received assistance from other law enforcement agencies,
including the FBI.
"We treat everyone as absolutely
the same," Knight said.
Anyone with information should
call the Sheriff's Dept. at 445-7251.
With the state budget deficit
slicing its way through education, Sunset School of the Arts
is scraping together funds at a grassroots level in order to
save their arts program.
The north Arcata elementary
school began an arts-themed curriculum close to 10 years ago
with the aim of enriching a child's academic career.
With the risk of losing funding
for their two arts specialists -- Christina Erst and Rudi Galindo
-- a group of parents and local artist Alan Sanborn have begun
a crusade to save the positions. Close to $8,000 has been raised
thus far with promise of more funds coming in from an anonymous
donor who will match what the group raises; $21,000 is needed
to retain the two positions.
The school anticipates that
enough money will be raised and the special arts instruction
-- drama and visual arts -- will begin in early October.
Donations will be accepted and
matched through December. If more than enough is raised, the
excess funds will be carried over into next year's budget.
Results from the first year
school testing under the No Child Left Behind Act are in, and
while Humboldt County students generally did better than their
peers from around the state, the less-than-perfect percentage
of students taking the California Standards Test is a cause for
Of the 77 Humboldt County schools
to be tested, 32 of them did not meet the required standards
for participation in the test. The No Child Left Behind Act requires
a 95 percent participation rate, even though parents are legally
allowed to remove their children from the testing process.
Schools whose test scores do
not meet federal standards or have an insufficient participation
rate two years in a row will become subject to federal oversight
Only three Humboldt County schools
actually fell below proficiency standards. Students from McKinleyville
Middle School and Fortuna Middle School met the required proficiency
standards in both English and math, but certain "sub-groups"
of the students did not -- meaning that both schools will be
at risk of federal intervention next year. For student bodies
as a whole, only Hoopa Elementary fell below proficiency standards
in any subject.
From 18 to 30 new transmission
sources -- primarily towers and poles -- will need to be built
in Humboldt County in the next five to 10 years to keep pace
with the growing use of cell phones, according to a draft ordinance
put together by county staff.
The ordinance, made public by
the Planning Department at a workshop on Monday, seeks to strike
a balance between meeting the industry's needs and minimizing
the visual impact of cell towers.
Under the ordinance, cell towers
could be built no closer than 500 feet to residences and preschools.
In addition, they would be restricted to commercial and industrial
Some members of the public raised
objections at Monday's meeting, arguing that radio frequency
radiation poses a threat to their health even when the source
is 500 feet away. They called for a 1,500-foot buffer.
But planning commissioners reiterated
that the Telecommunications Act, enacted by Congress in 1996,
does not allow municipalities to regulate tower siting on the
basis of potential health effects.
item in last week's paper misstated the location of Weitchpec.
The community is on the Yurok reservation. The same news item
mischaracterized ongoing litigation regarding the Trinity River.
At issue in the case is the validity of environmental documentation
supporting a Clinton Administration decision that reduces the
amount of Trinity water diverted to Central Valley irrigators.
Additionally, while federal district court Judge Oliver Wanger
retains jurisdiction over the case, he has already issued a ruling
and the matter is now before a federal appellate court.
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© Copyright 2003, North Coast Journal,