Friday, July 19, 2019

Huffman Helps Pass Minimum Wage Bill; Legislation DOA in Republican Senate

Posted By on Fri, Jul 19, 2019 at 1:49 PM

North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman joined a majority of his House colleagues this morning in voting to gradually increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an to $15 an hour over the next six years.

If approved by the Senate and signed by the president (both of which seem unlikely), the legislation would increase wages for as many as 27 million Americans and potentially lift 1.3 million families out of poverty, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office. Known as the Raise the Wage Act, the bill has been priority for the Democratic Caucus and passed the House on a 231-199 vote with just three Republicans supporting it and now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has said he will not take it up.

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
McConnell and other Republicans have referred to the bill as a "job killer" that would depress the economy. The CBO report did find that the bill could lead to a "decline in employment of as many as 1.3 million people."

The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, recently released a report noting that the United States is in the longest period in its history without a minimum wage hike since the earnings floor was created. The report notes that the spending power of a minimum wage worker is 17 percent less today than a decade ago, and 31 percent less than it was in 1968.

California's minimum wage is currently $12 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $11 an hour for those with 25 or fewer workers. It will reach $15 an hour for employees of larger companies in 2022 and for those of smaller ones the following year. That means the legislation would have no direct impact in Huffman's district. In the press release, he explained that he's supporting the measure because he thinks it would give minimum wage workers a "fair shake" and be good for the economy.

“Americans who are paid the federal minimum wage, even those who are employed full-time, are not making enough money to pay rent or to support themselves or their families,” he said in the release. “That’s unacceptable and it’s unsustainable for families who are struggling to afford the basic essentials, and it’s bad for the economy. I’m glad to support the Raise the Wage Act to finally raise the federal minimum wage and give a fair shake to millions of hard-working Americans.”

Read the full press release from Huffman's office copied below and find past Journal coverage of local efforts to increase the minimum wage here.


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Coastal Commission to Re-hear Trinidad Hotel Project in August

Posted By on Fri, Jul 19, 2019 at 9:38 AM

The California Coastal Commission will again consider whether the hotel development proposed by the Trinidad Rancheria on the bluffs above Scenic Drive is consistent with state coastal protections when the commission meets in Eureka next month.

On June 12, an obviously conflicted commission voted 6-3 to object to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ determination that the project is consistent with the California Coastal Act, largely due to questions surrounding where the hotel will get its water from. The rancheria has asked that the city of Trinidad supply water for the proposed 100-room hotel adjacent to Cher-Ae Heights Casino but the city has not yet committed and has several studies underway to determine whether the city’s water source — Luffenholtz Creek — has sufficient capacity to meet the city’s current and future needs along with those of the hotel.

An artistic rendering created by the Trinidad Rancheria of what its proposed Scenic Drive hotel project would look like from Trinidad Bay. - TRINIDAD RANCHERIA
  • Trinidad Rancheria
  • An artistic rendering created by the Trinidad Rancheria of what its proposed Scenic Drive hotel project would look like from Trinidad Bay.


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Patchwork Victories for the Crabs

Posted By on Fri, Jul 19, 2019 at 9:03 AM

Humboldt Eagles - Tuesday Night

We’ve got some ball players up here in Humboldt County, I tell you.

Due to some scheduling issues, Tuesday’s game, originally scheduled against the Redding Ringtails as part of a two-game series, was played against the Humboldt Eagles under-19 team (back to back bird-themed teams). They are, if you are unfamiliar, a summer league team for the county’s best baseball players born in the 2000s who travel throughout the state with the ultimate goal of playing in (and ideally winning) the statewide tournament. They were generous enough to hop in at the last minute to save our butts from a baseball-less Tuesday.

The Eagles took the field wearing blue and white jerseys eerily similar to some prior-season Crabs’ garb, the stands chock full with their parents, siblings and friends. Us Crabs fans were drastically outnumbered. I barely got to stand in my accustomed seat. Life can be hard sometimes.

We weren’t sure what to expect from the Eagles. Personally, I was leaning toward a blowout. I hear “19-U” and I think “high school kids, should be pushovers.” But they put that nonsense to bed right quick. They came out swinging and let the Crabs know this was not a game they could sleepwalk through. Spending the weekend bapping on chumps did not prepare our crustaceans for some real baseball and they spent the first three innings waking up and getting into gear. Truth be told, I thought the Eagles were going to fly away with it. Thankfully, the Crabbies used their large-sized pincers to clip the Eagles’ wings.

Dawson Bacho is greeting by jubilant teammates after hitting his fourth home run of the year. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Dawson Bacho is greeting by jubilant teammates after hitting his fourth home run of the year.

Four Crabs tallied multiple hits in the game Tuesday evening. Hendo went three for four with two doubles, Koko and Dom Souto each batted .500 for the night, as did Dawson Bacho, but he gets special mention because he knocked the game’s only homer — a two-run shot to dead center in the bottom of the sixth that gave the Crabs a 3-0 lead and some much needed breathing room. Souto is now second on the team with four dingers this season and has found his bat. He’s hitting .300 this month and .353 since July 5.

The Eagles used this game as something of a showcase or warm-up game. Their opening pitcher threw two innings and we saw a new glove on the mound every inning after that. Some of those kids can deal, man. It was crazy. Their opener, Garrrison Finck, whom I call Johnny Utah for his resemblance to the Swayze character in the seminal film Point Break, and Merick Sears in particular impressed. They both showed great poise on the bump and made a couple of our guys look downright foolish — swiping at empty air like a blind man chasing a fly. I hope to see many of these kids in Crabs uniforms in the years to come. (I promise it’s much more fun when we cheer for you).

Zane, showing off that good energy - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Zane, showing off that good energy

This was a super duper fun game and I hope we can play the Eagles more in the future. Intra-county games are a riot (sometimes less figuratively than we’d like) and getting the chance to see the talent we have here is a great experience. Can we get a weekend series next year? Managers, make it work.

Redding Ringtails

Wednesday night’s game was ... something. The Crabs did everything they could to lose this game and just couldn’t pull it out. I mean they used every last trick in the book, but they didn’t have the mustard.

Our boys scored in each of the first four innings to put the lead at 8-1 and they seemed poised to continue the smackdown. Two innings and two more runs later and the game was all but over. It was 10-1 and we were waiting for the ninth to come around. I almost left, I really did. I almost neglected my own rule and cut out early. I was tired and bored of watching them crush a "lesser” team. And so we come to the eighth inning.

We brought in Ryan Rodriguez, a reliever out of U.C. Davis (???) and, judging by the snap of the catcher’s glove, one of our harder throwers. He’s had a couple of tough outings, which happen as a pitcher. Sometimes you’re just off, you can’t find the plate or when you can you’re serving up meat antsy to be pulverized. Wednesday was a bit of both. He promptly walked the first two batters on 10 pitches and plunked one batter to load em up. Now, as any tee-ball pitcher could tell you, bases loaded with one out is not a great place to be. This is where you throw safe and let your fielders take care of business. But he plunked another, moving in a run. And then the Ringtails hit a double that was a very fine kind of hair away from being a grand slam. And then he hit another batter to load the bases again. Graciously, the next batter popped up for the second out of the inning. But then he walked another. At this point, manager Robin Guiver walked out and gave the crowd a mercy killing, bringing in Dalton Smith to close out the game.


But folks, Smith walked the next batter. I know, I wouldn’t have believed it unless I were party to it. If you’ve been counting, that cut the lead from 10-1 before the eighth, to 10-6 in the top of the eighth with two outs, the bases loaded, and the tying run stepping up to the plate. If anyone tells you momentum doesn’t exist in sports spit in their face. This shit is contagious and this game is Exhibit A. Smith took a moment behind the mound, screwed his head on straight, and struck the next batter out after giving him a full count. My blood pressure was forever raised. It truly was the most disastrous inning I’ve ever seen the Crabs play.

The Crabs were unable to extend the lead in their half of the inning but thankfully dispatched those damned Cats with minimal fanfare and only one more hit-by-pitch in the top of the ninth to win 10-6. Now you see what I mean when I say they tried their darnedest to lose this game. The Ringtails scored six runs on two hits. Alas, they could not, and so the Crabs stand at 23-13.

Heckle of the Series


Nothing especially funny or inspired was screamed. Step your game up, Hecklers.


Cheers and Jeers

Cheers to Zane for almost busting the conductor’s stand on Tuesday. That’s the energy we need, my long-haired friend. Never don’t stop.

Big, Huge, Massive Jeers to the mid-50s dude who asked the (maybe) 16-year-old 50/50 ticket girl to kiss his tickets and make them lucky. That’s just so indescribably gross and weird and inappropriate and weird and gross. Honestly I wish I knew your name so I could call your wife.

Cheers
to that 50/50 girl for standing tough and just saying “No.”

Jeers
to the folks going tongue diving in the latter innings of Wednesday’s game. I’m glad you two are so passionate about swapping bacteria, and your future children will thank you for their excellent immune systems, but no one wants to see that at a ball game. And also, a 5 year old pointed at you and said to their grandfather, “They’re drunk, huh?” Yes kid, they were.

Naughty List

Crabs staff is mad lax this year so none. But we have, unfortunately, lost Vinny Bologna to school transfer nonsense. We mourn his parting, dude was raking.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks to Retire by Year's End

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 3:31 PM

Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks has announced his plan to retire at the end of the year in a letter sent to the mayor and city council.

“It has been my great personal and professional pleasure to have served as City Manager of Eureka since May 2014,” Sparks wrote in his retirement letter. “After 40 years of working in local government, I plan on retiring by the end of 2019.”

Sparks, who hailed from West Des Moines, Iowa, was tapped for the city manager position in 2014 after then-City Manager Bill Panos resigned abruptly after only nine months in office.
Greg Sparks
  • Greg Sparks

Before coming to Eureka, Sparks was the city manager for West Des Moines. In his 40 years working in local government, Sparks has served as town manager for Mountain Village, Colorado, and city Aadministrator in Owatonna, Minnesota, and Worthington, Minnesota.


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Monday, July 15, 2019

Crabs Clip Hawks' (Cardinals'?) Wings

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 7:33 PM

Coming in to Sunday’s game against the Ukiah Hawks, the Crabs had scored 47 unanswered runs against their opponents. That is not a typo. After a straight up bummer 5-3 loss against the San Leandro Ports on Tuesday July 9, the Crabs went on a tear.

In their second and final game against the Ports, they won 13-nil. Then came the Hawks, who — judging from the fact that they call themselves the Hawks and yet wore St. Louis Cardinals gear the whole weekend — aren’t exactly a crack bunch.
A youngster throws a dart for the ceremonial first pitch. Future Crab? - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • A youngster throws a dart for the ceremonial first pitch. Future Crab?
Friday evening they were understaffed to the point that one of their coaches played first base. The Crabs trounced them 20-0 with the slaughter rule in effect (The “slaughter rule”, if both teams agree, means that the game ends after the seventh inning should one team be down by 10 or more runs at that point, thank god); the Hawks’ coach got one of their two hits, as it happened. Saturday night, the Crabs won 14-0 and ostensibly went out and had a team wide bacchanal, as they allowed two runs and won by a measly 11-run margin, 13-2 on Sunday. Each game ended in the seventh inning. For those not mathematically inclined, that’s a total point differential of 45 for the series, which would be a blowout in a single basketball game.

It’s easy to forget how good these kids are. It’s easy to harp on Koko for not rushing a grounder with enough haste, or Henderson for making the big throw to third instead of safely hitting his cutoff man. It’s understandable to normalize their abilities and think to yourself, “Pfft, I could do that. I could make that play.” Just like it’s easy to think that Steph Curry looks kind of short on TV. But that’s only because he shares the court with a bunch of 6-foot, 10-inch behemoths and stands a meager 6 feet, 3 inches. You can’t make that play. These kids can ball.


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Man Arrested in 2018 Homicide Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 12:44 PM

Barnes - EPD
  • EPD
  • Barnes

Jason Barnes, 46 of Eureka, has been booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of killing 58 year-old Bernhard "Ben" Bertain.


On Dec. 22, 2018, a verbal altercation between Barnes and an unnamed female reportedly occurred at the Burre Center in Eureka. An employee working at a nearby business witnessed the altercation and placed herself between Barnes and the female, according to a press release from EPD. Barnes continued to yell at the female and the employee when Bertain, who witnessed the altercation, got out of his parked car and stood next to the employee, trying to convince Barnes to leave the center. The Journal confirmed with Eureka Police Capt. Brian Stevens that Barnes allegedly struck Bertain in the torso with the edge of the skateboard deck before fleeing the scene. According to the press release, Bertain had then refused medical treatment and continued his business at the center and went about his day.


Three days later, Humboldt State University Police received a 911 call from Bertain asking for an ambulance because he was having trouble breathing. Bertain was found at an Arcata storage facility and was sent to Mad River Hospital, from which he was later flown to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa for a “higher level of care.” Bertain died after arriving at the Napa hospital and an autopsy report later found that Bertain’s death resulted from injuries he suffered during the alleged assault by Barnes.


Bertain's family informed the Napa County Coroner’s Office about the altercation and it then contacted EPD about the investigation. A detective was assigned to the case and on July 5, the detective received the full autopsy report and later found the Burre Center altercation records and was able to determine Barnes as a suspect. Barnes was already in custody at the Humboldt County jail on unrelated charges and is now being held on $1 million bail. 


“This was a tragic situation that resulted from a concerned citizen, Ben Bertain, intervening into a situation to stop what he recognized as a heated verbal alteration that likely was going to turn into a physical assault,” the press release states. “This level of intervention is not uncommon in our community but the outcome this time resulted in the loss of a life. This tragic event should serve as a reminder to the citizens of Humboldt that it is almost always safer to observe and report when you witness a crime or potential crime that is about to occur.”


Read the full EPD press release below:

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

More Than 200 Protest Immigrant Detention Centers

Posted By on Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 9:57 AM

Participants in the candle-lighting ceremony had to protect their flames from gusts of wind blowing along Fifth Street. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Participants in the candle-lighting ceremony had to protect their flames from gusts of wind blowing along Fifth Street.
The Lights for Liberty Eureka: Vigil to End Concentration Camps attracted more than 200 attendees to a candlelight vigil at the Humboldt County Courthouse at sunset Friday evening.

This local vigil, intentionally using the term "concentration camps," was one of two held countywide as part of Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps, a nationwide event Friday to protest conditions faced by refugees at the Mexican border, according to Terry Supahan, executive director of True North Organizing Network that organized the event.

Attendees of all ages brought protest signs or created them at the event, and one protestor carried an upside down American flag, a universal signal of "distress."

The event's formal presentation included testimony from community members and local spiritual leaders and ended in prayer and a call for community action. The event closed with a symbolic candle-lighting ceremony and imprompto singing of "This Little Light of Mine" with updated lyrics and other protest songs.

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Huffman to Immigrants in Advance of ICE Raids: 'Know Your Rights' (VIDEO)

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 4:34 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
With President Trump’s promised weekend immigration raids looming, North Coast Congressman and lawyer Jared Huffman has released a video for his constituents outlining their rights should immigration agents come knocking.

The roughly four-minute video (embedded below) features Huffman’s brief remarks, followed by a Spanish translation by Congresswoman Lucille Royball-Allard. Huffman also urges constituents with questions to call his Eureka office.

“As always, my team is here to help,” Huffman said. “Please protect yourself and know your rights.”

See the video from Huffman’s office below, followed by the press release issued this afternoon.



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Late HSU Professor Honored for LGBTQ Work

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 12:28 PM

Eric Rofes - FILE
  • File
  • Eric Rofes

Humboldt State University professor of education Eric Rofes, who died of a heart attack in 2006, was honored at the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 27.


“Eric was a whirlwind of energy and brilliance at HSU and in the world, and I miss him daily,” said critical race and gender studies professor Christina Accomando in a press release sent by HSU. “His influence continues to be felt through our curriculum, our student organizations and Eric’s former students, who continue to do amazing things to make this a better world.”


According to a press release from the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor "celebrates LGBTQ leaders who have paved the road to liberation and contributed significantly to progress for LGBTQ people.” The wall features 50 names of LGBTQ activisits, artists, federal workers and others.


Before heading to HSU in 1999, Rofes was an organizer and activist who began developing a gay men’s health movement, according to his obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also led many organizations, including the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center from 1985 to 1988, and then went on to direct San Francisco’s Shanty Project from 1989 to 1993. Rofes also testified at the National Committee on AIDS hearing in 1991 wearing a leather chaps, vest and gloves to show there are varieties of sexual expression.

The National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall Inn. - NATIONAL LGBTQ TASK FORCE WEBSITE
  • National LGBTQ Task Force website
  • The National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall Inn.

While teaching education courses at HSU, Rofes was also an activist and influenced the development of the multicultural queer studies minor, which then became a part of the Department of Critical Race and Gender Studies (CRGS). The school’s Multicultural Queer Resource Center was also named after Rofes and works to “shift public opinion of the queer community on campus and in the local area from tolerance to acceptance.”


“He was a big personality who was never satisfied with the status quo,” Sheila Rocker-Heppe, director of Extended Education and Global Engagement at HSU said of Rofes in the press release. “He challenged me to examine my perceptions; he challenged me to live well beyond my boxes.”


Read the full press release below:

HSU Professor Honored on National LGBTQ Wall of Honor

The late Eric Rofes, a scholar, activist, and professor of Education at Humboldt, has been honored for his work in queer liberation and social justice on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

Rofes, who died in 2006, was instrumental in developing the Multicultural Queer Studies minor at HSU (which later became part of the Department of Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies) and is the namesake of the Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource Center, which supports LGBTQ students and continues his community organizing efforts around queer, anti-racist and feminist activism. He founded and led gay organizations in major U.S. cities, authored groundbreaking books on gay men’s health and organized national meetings on gay and lesbian issues. Read more about Rofes’ legacy in a San Francisco Chronicle obituary.

“Eric was a whirlwind of energy and brilliance at HSU and in the world, and I miss him daily,” says CRGSProfessor Christina Accomando. “His influence continues to be felt through our curriculum, our student organizations, and Eric’s former students who continue to do amazing things to make this a better world.”

The National LGBTQ Wall of Honor celebrates leaders who have paved the road to liberation and contributed significantly to progress for LGBTQ people, according to a press release from the National LGBTQ Task Force. Unveiled on June 27, it begins with 50 artists, activists, federal workers, and others, and hangs in the historic Stonewall Inn, where demonstrations against a police raid on a gay bar in 1969 launched the modern LGBTQ movement. Other honorees include James Baldwin, Sylvia Rivera, Audre Lorde, Marsha P. Johnson, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, and Harvey Milk.

“The 50 leaders recognized represent some of our most vibrant changemakers and serve as a reminder that each one of us has a role to play in achieving freedom for LGBTQ people,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. “I invite everyone to honor those who have come before us and to be inspired to work for all that lies ahead.”

Sheila Rocker-Heppe, Director of Extended Education & Global Engagement at HSU, remembers Eric as an activist and educator characterized by both intensity and levity. “He was a big personality who was never satisfied with the status quo,” she says. “He challenged me to examine my perceptions; he challenged me to live well beyond my boxes. And he welcomed the opportunity to be challenged as well—which made for lively conversation and spirited exchanges about topics that could range from the definition of desire to the optimum cook time for microwave popcorn.”

As evidenced by his honor at the Stonewall Inn, Rofes’ reputation spread far beyond Humboldt State.

Co-founder of Queer Humboldt and HSU Housing Director Todd Larsen met Rofes in 2003 and said he seemed like an average person doing some queer work in the community.

“At his memorial in San Francisco, I realized just how well-known Eric was,” Larsen says. “There were hundreds of Eric’s friends, including many of the major political players and activists in the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and so many others from all the national work Eric did for gay rights across the country in addition to his published works. Eric’s work on ‘Reviving The Tribe’ has always meant a lot to me, with the goal of passing on our queer history from gay elders to new queer youth.”

About the Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource Center:
The Center’s mission is to shift public opinion of the queer community on campus and in the local area from tolerance to acceptance. With a rich resource library and events such as Q-Fest, Trans Speak Out, Queer STEM Mixer, and Safe Sexpo, it is a hub for students to learn about events and organizations on campus. The Center was established after Eric Rofes’ death and commemorates and continues his community organizing efforts around Queer/Anti-Racist/Feminist activism.

Visit the Center’s website to learn about resources and how to get involved.

About the National LGBTQ Task Force:
The National LGBTQ Task Force is the oldest national LGBTQ advocacy group in the country. The National LGBTQ Task Force builds power, takes action and creates change to achieve freedom and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. As a progressive gender, racial, economic, and social justice organization, the Task Force works toward a society that values and respects the diversity of human expression and identity.







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County Confirms First Local Whooping Cough Case Since 2016

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 10:12 AM

27e58a86d6b9d0c90432dc79eb784355_400x400.jpg
Humboldt County public health officials are on alert after a Eureka teenager tested positive for the highly contagious whooping cough earlier this week.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, a follow up investigation identified 40 people who may have had contact with the teenager while he or she was contagious.

Officially known as pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection that can cause serious health risks for people of all ages, with infants at the greatest risk.

“About half of infants diagnosed with pertussis will be hospitalized, so it’s critically important that pregnant women are vaccinated during their third trimester to provide newborns with maternal antibodies,” said Public Health Supervising Communicable Disease Nurse Hava Phillips.

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