Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 9:04 PM

Damn! That was a pretty good one.

Update : What? Centered in Willow Creek ?

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What Happens Next

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 5:35 PM

We're going to fill this week's paper with tributes and memories of a unique, historical figure in Humboldt County. But we can't ignore the fact that this tragedy takes place at a time when Roger Rodoni was running for re-election. People are confused about what happens next, and we believe that we finally have the answers.

First of all, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has the power to appoint someone to fill the remainder or Rodoni's term. He could also choose to fill the seat only until the results of the next election are certified, and a clear winner is chosen. Schwarzenegger is currently accepting applications from Second District residents interested in filling the seat, and Johanna Rodoni, Roger's wife, has applied.

In the matter of the upcoming election, things get sticky. But several county staffers held a meeting to hash things out Tuesday afternoon, and County Clerk-Recorder Carolyn Crnich, under whose bailiwick the Elections Department lies, sorted out the Journal shortly after this meeting.

Rodoni's name will stay on the June ballot. There will be three candidates: Rodoni and challengers Estelle Fennell and Clif Clendenen. If either Fennell or Clendenen takes over 50 percent of the June vote -- unlikely – they will be the next Second District Supervisor. Depending on whether and how Schwarzenegger arranges an interim appointment, the winner could take office either shortly after the election or when Rodoni's term expires in January.

If Rodoni wins over 50 percent in June, the Governor will have to appoint someone to take Rodoni's seat. That appointment would be effective until 2010, the time of the next countywide general election.

There's a third scenario -- perhaps none of the three candidates will win a majority in June. In that case, there will be a runoff election in November between Fennell and Clendenen. Rodoni's name will not appear on the ballot, no matter whether he places among the top two candidates or not. This contingency, which is sure to mightily piss off Rodoni supporters, is spelled out in California Elections Code Section 8807. Rodoni gets 40 percent, Fennell and Clendenen each get 30? Runoff between Clendenen and Fennell.

There may be another scenario or two out there, possibly involving last-minute write-in candidates who may wish to assume the Rodoni mantle, but this is what's on the table right now.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Roger Rodoni

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 6:08 PM


I think the last time Roger and I talked was almost a year ago. We bumped into each other at the Courthouse Market, where he was a regular. The Tamara Falor matter was the big thing in the news at the time. Everyone was trying to figure out why the county had signed a confidentiality agreement and handed $300,000 to its chief legal counsel to get rid of her. (No one's figured it out yet.) So what's the deal? I asked Roger, knowing that he couldn't answer. Was it that the county lost the Tooby Ranch case? The "Pepper Spray 8" case? What's going on? Eh?

Roger saw an opportunity to bust out with his cowboy Zen routine. His eyes lit up as he prepared to make mischief. He took up his umbrella and grandiosely pointed off to the left, into the imaginary distance. "Everyone's lookin' over there," he said. He swooped over to the right: "They're lookin' over there." Then he tapped the tip of the umbrella on the ground in front of him. "Right here," he concluded. And then he may have allowed himself to smile, pleased to have befuddled me further while at the same time, no doubt, telling me some version of the truth.

This morning, the morning after the horrifying car crash that took his life, a group of five or six Arcata political activists was gathered around a table at Cafe Brio to plan some kind of campaign. I didn't quite catch what it was, and I didn't bother to go up and ask. They had blank forms out on the table. One mentioned that his website gets x number of hits per day. The phrase "guerrilla marketing" floated into the air. I imagined that Roger would be regally amused at such a spectacle, at the earnest folks whose politics were served up in these bloodless terms -- statistics, messaging, interest groups. Run through an up-to-date dictionary of political campaign jargon. See if you can find anything in that vocabulary that carries the stench of humanity: love, struggle, glory, death. You won't.

Roger, I guessed, would have recognized that this is the way things are headed, and that in this world honor and handshakes and horsemanship will come to mean less and less. But since the ornery son-of-a-bitch was always so sure he was right, he'd just keep on doing things his way, pausing once in a while to cackle at the fools who won the county but lost their souls.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Burgers for Earth Day?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 4:35 PM

This just in:


KSLG's afternoon radio personality, Dr. Syd wants to buy you breakfast on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the northern Eureka Burger King. The catch is that Dr. Syd will only buy you breakfast if you carpool, "The importance of carpooling is finally being realized by many people now that gas has hit $4 a gallon." Dr. Syd says.

KSLG wants to encourage Humboldt citizens to be environmentally conscience not just on Earth Day, but every day. Dr. Syd wants people to realize, "its also important to cut down emissions so on that note this coming Tuesday, Earth day we will be rewarding carpoolers with free breakfast from Burger King and KSLG."
While we'll have to agree that car-pooling is a good idea, bringing people to a fast food joint for Earth Day seems a bit, well, weird. Not that Burger King is a prime offender in the world of meat -- they actually made history lat year when they vowed to stop using pork and eggs from supliers who confine their animals in cages or crates -- but fast food and meat consumption in general are not exactly Earth-friendly.

Here's some stats from a recent New York Times story, " Rethinking the Meat Guzzler ."

Americans eat about the same amount of meat as we have for some time, about eight ounces a day, roughly twice the global average. At about 5 percent of the world’s population, we "process" (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total.

Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word "raising" when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago , calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
photo courtesy of Moe, borrowed from Moe's Flickr Photostream

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Edible Braille

Posted By on Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Tired of being thwarted in your quest for a dignified meal in a restaurant because you can't read the damned menu? Well, the LightHouse of the North Coast wants you to know that it has teamed up with the Humboldt Council of the Blind and other groups to provide free Braille and large-print menus to three restaurants: Northwoods Restaurant in Crescent City and the Lost Coast Brewery and Sea Grill in Eureka. Normally you gotta pay for this stuff.

The LightHouse plans to deliver 10 menus to the Lost Coast Brewery tomorrow, Friday, at 4:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He's big in Bishopville

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 5:09 PM

You know you've been waiting for this update: Remember at the end of March when we reported that Bigfoot researcher Tom Biscardi had gone to South Carolina to investigate strange happenings in the land of the Lizard Man?

Yes, well, he's telling folks there that his hi-sci monitoring leads him to believe that they've "got the real deal." That is, the stronger-than-coyote-jaws THING that is chomping on very sturdy entities, like cars, and cows, is very likely one of the 3,500 Bigfoot-like creatures lurking about in the country, according to the former Las Vegas show promoter.

Biscardi allows that he doesn't know much about the Lizard Man -- Lee County's own mythical green-pigmented fright-beast -- or if this current car-chewer is the same creature. Whatever: The chamber of commerce is enjoying brisk sales these days of "Lizard Man is back" T-shirts.

It's all about promotions, people. Or is it...?

Read more tidbits as faithfully told in the April 13 edition of the The State newspaper.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

David Simpson blogs from Corpus Christi

Posted By on Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 2:43 PM

Petrolia resident David Simpson has been down in Texas attending the Palco bankruptcy hearings. This week he started a Community Forest Team blog titled, Dispatches from David . As someone involved in the legal morass , he has an axe to grind -- that said, his first hand accounts are insightful and well worth reading. Take this excerpt from the end of his first post: " Lawyers Gala "

A note on this festival of lawyers- Over 90 people packed in to the relatively small courtroom at peak attendance this morning. There were two security people and a smattering of PL executives, forester Bill Kleiner from Humboldt and I. That’s pretty much it for the non-solicitor presence. There were well over 40 lawyers in the inner court itself and a least another 10 or maybe even 20 more outside.

That makes close to 60 lawyers. Some represented PL, some the note holders or MRC or Marathon—all on the meter, all being compensated at an average rate of maybe $500 an hour. If they clocked in six hours just for their courtroom efforts, it could add up to over $300,000 for the one day in a multi-day event. And it all comes out of the trees. Our trees! The lawyers in a bankruptcy, one should remember, get paid first no matter who wins or losses or what happens to the land or our community.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don't Cry For Hurwitz

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 11:21 AM

The Houston Chronicle's Loren Steffy dries the tears in his eyes long enough to again sing the tragic tale of one of Houston's finest, Charles Hurwitz. The occasion is Hurwitz's recent losses -- or are they really wins? -- in a couple of court cases, including our own Pacific Lumber bankruptcy case and the reversal of his recent monster lawsuit against the FDIC.

Steffy's column is scored for strings, with 100 detuned violas scraping out the sad, sad story of a great man brought to heel by a society too base to appreciate his accomplishment:

Charles Hurwitz called to make sure I knew it was a victory.

He was talking about last week's appeals court ruling that wiped out at least $57 million of the $72 million in sanctions a lower court said he could collect from the government.

"That's a win all the way around," he said.

And on and on -- Hurwitz with his head held high, facing the coming death of his Maxxam Corp. with steadfast dignity. I should have told you, Hurwitz -- this world was never made for one as beautiful as you.

Steffy's previous work includes a laff-a-minute blog post entitled "It Seems Like Charles Hurwitz Just Can't Catch A Break," which enjoyed a brief moment of fame here in Humboldt County.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Condor big time

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 6:52 PM


Used to be, California condors sailed the western skies from Baja to Canada. Now just 148 hunker down in captivity and another 136 exist tenuously in the wild -- 63 of them in California, mostly in Southern California although some live up around Hollister at Pinnacles National Monument.

But someday we may see the return to our own skies of the gigantic, sluggish, bald-headed, scavenging Gymnogyps californianus: The Yurok Tribe has just been awarded a $200,000 Tribal Wildlife grant from the federal government to study the feasibility of reintroducing condors to the tribe's ancestral territory. 

Alex Pitts, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Journal on Tuesday that the grant will fund habitat assessments in Redwood National and State Parks and in the Six Rivers National Forest. The assessments will be checking out the land's suitability, including availability of appropriate condor chow. And, the grant will allow the tribe to map air currents to determine how well the birds will be able to get around.

We couldn't reach anyone from the tribe today to talk about the condor research; maybe later. But Pitts said there are reports of condors in this region in explorer Jedediah Smith's journals, as well as accounts and stories of condors from tribal elders in T.T. Waterman's  book Yurok Geography.

"There are lots of stories and rituals that have been passed down that indicate condors are part of their cultural heritage," said Pitts.

You can hear the pronunciation of the Yurok word for condor, pregonish, at the U.C. Berkeley's Yurok Lamnguage Project site (scroll to No. 85).

And, some folks in Oregon recently groused about the lack of condor reintroduction efforts in their state.

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Crab TV?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 4:46 PM

Is Humboldt County not thinking out of the box enough in terms of economic development? or out of the crab pot in this case? The International Herald Tribune has an article about a reality TV show about crab fishermen that's taking viewers by storm, literally:

Dutch Harbor, a fishing port in this town on a pair of islands in the middle of the Aleutians, may be the bleakest, wildest frontier left in America. There used to be a bowling alley, but it closed. So, just recently, did the worst and most dangerous of the town's three bars. Now most of the port's social life, and a fair amount of its business activity, takes place in the two others. One of them, the Unisea, has a sign outside that says, "If you fight on these premises, you will be 86'd for an indefinite period of time." Inside there is a sign proclaiming "Where Fish and Drink Become One," whatever that means.

These are not bars for amateurs or casual drinkers. Getting hammered is the whole point.

Some of these guys are also TV stars, of a sort, and appear on "Deadliest Catch," a reality series that begins its fourth season on the Discovery Channel on April 15. The show is watched by some three million viewers a week, making it one of the top-rated programs on basic cable, and it's about work, of all things - the boring, repetitive and sometimes brutal job of crab fishing in the Bering Sea.

A typical episode includes monstrous waves that slosh right up on the inside of your television screen, along with scenes of slicker-clad deckhands nearly faint with exhaustion and of anxious, bleary-eyed captains cursing and chain-smoking up in the wheelhouse.
Here's a video clip from the show:

Read the Journal 's take on the local crabbing industry here .

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