Jack Thompson scared away from Rio Dell City Council due to marijuana financial interests

The influence of marijuana and financial interests eager to capitalize on the promise of the big green cash cow is readily apparent in Rio Dell, of all places.

The generally un-exciting hamlet has been the site for a showdown between the big money behind the soon-to-be-legal cannabis industry and local community leaders who are doing their best to stem the green tide and look out for the interests of the people they represent.

THC has followed the questionable connection between those pushing for large-scale marijuana operations in Rio Dell and their history with a number of City employees who are very vocally pushing for Rio Dell’s City Council to allow huge marijuana processing businesses in the area, and you can read about that at length by following the links at the end of the post.

But what is even more appalling is the backlash directed at public officials, namely the members of the Rio Dell City Council, who have done their best to stand in the way of an ordinance that would throw the doors open for marijuana operations.

First, after the Council soundly voted down their proposed marijuana ordinance, one of their own members popped off to the public whining about how was that representative democracy had actually worked to thwart her pet project in the interest of the public good.

Next, pot-aligned citizens took aim at Council members for taking a stand against the misguided land use ordinance, despite the fact that the Council’s decision was based largely on public input that stood in opposition to permitting commercial marijuana in the city.

Just look at this article in the Times Standard, from way back in July, which highlights the concerted attack against Rio Dell Council member Tim Marks: Rio Dell councilman under fire after pot vote

This seems like a pretty darned clear power play to force the Council members opposed to cannabis out of the picture, only to insert people more friendly to weed – and more friendly to the developer most commonly associated with the push for Rio Dell marijuana business, Dennis Wendt – into their places.

Sadly, it seems like the backlash driven by the people who got a little pissy that their money and connection to Rio Dell’s Community Development Coordinator wasn’t enough to sway the Council to gifting them a weed empire has had the intended effect on at least one current Council member.

Jack Thompson has announced that he will not seek reelection to the Council, and it’s no surprise why. Considering the threats made to remove Marks from office, we can’t blame him for bailing ship.

By all accounts, the marijuana ordinance will fail to pass through Rio Dell’s Council once again, but it sure is a shame to see honest representatives be pushed around by the financial muscle of marijuana interests and their good ol’ boy connection to City officials.

This is the reality Humboldt is faced with. Marijuana comes out of the shadows, and all those eager to cash in on the crop won’t let anything stand in the way of getting what they want. Not even democratic process.

More from THC on Rio Dell’s cannabis catastrophe:

(UPDATE) Will Rio Dell City Council take a stand against marijuana ordinance or cave to special interests?

(UPDATE) Dennis Wendt in cahoots with Rio Dell’s Development Director?

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Supervisors, County: “We’re so excited for November Tax-a-palooza!”

It’s a shame, truly, when your elected officials renege on their promises to cut down on bloated government spending and choose to pass the buck for their ever-growing need for discretionary funding on to the residents of Humboldt County.

But that’s just what is happening here in Humboldt, and not a single one of the four Supervisors who invariably assured their supporters that they’d explore all viable options before increasing taxes is seeming to bat an eye over doing complete about-faces.

How can they tax us? Let us count the ways…

There’s the (admittedly inevitable) cannabis excise tax. Then there’s the 20-year, 1/2 cent “transportation tax” that’s estimated to generate about $10-million annually.

The transportation tax might seem like deja-vu, because it’s essentially the same tax as Measure Z, only this time they aren’t using loaded, scary language to promote a tax for public safety. They’re using loaded, scary language to promote a tax in the name of roads which will more than likely just end up giving Humboldt a shit-ton more trails and bike lanes. We guarantee you, folks who are in desperate need of repairs to the roads you depend on, that you will not see the long-awaited repairs of your dreams. We wrote about that before: County, HCAOG want more bike lanes, are taxing you to do it

Also, like Measure Z, should the transportation tax generate more revenue than anticipated, the County won’t do the honest thing and give the money back or sunset the tax early. Nope, they’ll just pocket it and spend it places it needn’t be – like the ridiculous amount of money they spent trying to redesign a bus-route. Or re-shuffling the County Departments to create even more needless and ludicrously high paying jobs: (UPDATE) County Supervisors seek to create a new Finance Dictator at great cost to the public

That’s no surprise though, as they’ve continually showed us all that they’re both liars and extremely financially challenged a.k.a. f***ing incapable of understanding the concept of not spending beyond the limits of your budget, as seen here: Supervisors think it’s a great idea to pilfer County general fund because they ran over budget – again!

While the entire County is falling victim to our representatives’ collective hard on for taxation, let’s all observe a moment of silence for the ill-fated Friendly City of Fortuna, which is set to vote on the highest number of tax proposals in the State. Seems their pockets must be star-crossed with the taxman, sadly.

Now, the potential to sacrifice even more of our hard-earned money to the County’s fruitless attempts to make any positive changes to Humboldt’s economy or way of life is bad enough; what makes it worse is that the people we counted on to protect us from such greedy practices are throwing us to the wolves. And they are laughing while they do it, guaranteed. (Somebody had to pay for those nice raises they gave themselves this year, after all. Need we remind you that it’s in poor taste for leaders to give themselves raises in a year which has already contributed further to the overall budget deficit?)

At the end of the day, THC fans, it’s clear that our Supervisors have failed to stick to their word regarding finding ways to alleviate the financial burdens being passed on to their already strapped constituents.

The County, and the Supervisors, simply want more. And they are more than happy to take it from you, rather than being responsible and frugal leaders.

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County to begin policing boobs? Breast Feeding Task Force at County Fair

No, kiddos, we did not make the Breast Feeding Task Force up.

Straight from a County of Humboldt Press Release from earlier today:

The Breastfeeding Task Force (BFTF) of Humboldt County is providing a Breastfeeding Rest Stop booth at the Humboldt County Fair, Aug. 18 to 28, in Ferndale.”

We actually think it’s pretty cool that the County is taking it upon themselves to ensure that the curiously taboo practice of breast feeding is being brought out into the open.

Or, at least, it would be pretty cool if there weren’t about a million more pressing things the County should be concerned with than where women are breast-feeding their babies. Admirable cause, but a questionable place to expend time and money when the County’s homeless population is going nowhere, drug abuse is rampant, and mental health is clearly still a big, big problem. (You  might’ve heard of the shootout in McKinleyville yesterday – all indications point to mental health being a contributing factor.) And that’s just on the Health and Human Services front!

This is especially true since, as the County’s press release mentions, “According to the California Civil Code, a mother has the right to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private.” And so the County’s attempt to destigmatize breast feeding is to make a little area to hide all the breast-feeding in? Curiously contrary, if we do say so.

Now, let it be said that THC is decidedly pro-breast feeding. Good for the babies, and good for the mothers too, or so we are told. Whether you want to do so in public is up to you, but we strongly support women’s ability to breast feed wherever. And we stick our tongues out at people who have a problem with that!

Be warned, however, that one should not simply Google “Breast Feeding Task Force” in order to find more information about Humboldt County’s newest bosom patrol (shall we call them the breastapo? Ha!), as you will inevitably arrive at some very NSFW material. THC’s Grover made that mistake, and now he has a lot of explaining to do when mom gets home.

Rather, you should read the press release in full below, or simply follow this link to the County of Humboldt webpage regarding the new laws of lactation: “Breastfeeding Rest Stop opens at the fair

Breastfeeding Rest Stop opens at the fair

The Breastfeeding Task Force (BFTF) of Humboldt County is providing a Breastfeeding Rest Stop booth at the Humboldt County Fair, Aug. 18 to 28, in Ferndale.

The booth will be located in Friendship Square, between Belotti Hall and the Dairy Barn. The Rest Stop will be a quiet place where mothers can relax while breastfeeding their babies. The booth is open to all families.

The Rest Stop was created to increase awareness about breastfeeding, and to decrease community stigmas about breastfeeding in public. According to the California Civil Code, a mother has the right to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private.

The booth will also have information about breastfeeding support. According to the California Department of Public Health, Humboldt County’s breastfeeding rate is 92.6 percent upon leaving the hospital after birth, and the rate decreases rapidly during the first three months.

The BFTF’s goal is to boost the duration of breastfeeding by increasing community awareness and support for breastfeeding mothers. The group encourages parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of “exclusive breastfeeding for about six months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”

Members of the BFTF include lactation consultants, health care providers, nurses, doulas, peer counselors and mothers. The Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Maternal Child & Adolescent Health program helps coordinate the BFTF.

For more information about the BFTF and how to get involved, please contact Emily Adams at 707-441-5573 or visit www.humkids.org.

Follow us on Twitter: @HumCoDHHS and
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/humcodhhs.

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PDF Release

 
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Governor Brown, CA lawmakers pull their heads out and start addressing lack of housing

Have you paid any attention to Governor Jerry Brown’s new plan to increase housing in California? Guess what – it totally matches up with what THC and the California Legislative Analyst’s Office have been telling you all year!

Essentially, Jerry’s plan consists of lessening – or practically doing away with – some major obstacles to developing urban housing. The caveat, from THC’s and the LAO’s standpoint, is that 20% of those units have to be set aside for affordable housing.

Here’s a pretty damn good and balanced article in the LA Times that examines the issue from a few angles:

Governor: We can’t buy our way out of the affordable housing problem

Brown’s plan is in sharp contrast to providing ever-increasing and ineffective housing subsidies to those in need, because the housing stock just isn’t keeping up with demand. We hate to hit with an impromptu economics lesson (we’ll warn you next time!), but increasing the supply of housing drives the price of housing down. Go figure!

As an added bonus, Brown’s program doesn’t lean on government spending to solve the problem – he just wants to open the door for private developers to do what they do. Huzzah, we say!

In the interest of fair-play and fully informing you folk, here is a link to an Op-Ed that ran in the San Jose Mercury recently that opposes the Governor’s plan in favor of investing heavily in housing subsidies.

So, in our mind, this plan is a step in the right direction – but it doesn’t go far enough.

And according to this other piece from the LA Times, the wise folks over at the Legislative Analyst’s Office say that Jerry’s housing plan doesn’t go far enough to incentivize developer’s to create more housing also. The LAO argues that any type of restriction to include low-income housing in a project is counter-productive. As we in Humboldt can surely attest, limiting what people can build is a sure-fire way to ensure that nothing gets built at all.

So, the question that people who support mandating the inclusion of low-income housing in development projects is this: is it better to keep clamoring for a system which would cost “$1.3 billion and produce up to 25,000 units over time” (like the plan that CA Assembly Democrats put forward), or should we go with a plan that loosens restrictions on developers in order to increase housing for everyone? Also remember, from above, that the State’s estimated need for housing exceeds 100,000 units more than is currently projected to be built per year, meaning that 25,000 units over time is an expensive and ineffective crock of bullshit.

A follow-up question would be: do you actually want to make a difference for people who need housing, or do you just want to cry about how the lack of housing is developers’ fault and feel good about yourself?

Of course, THC has written ad nauseam about how increasing the overall housing stock in California is the best option by economists, academics, and other people who actually know stuff. You can read a couple of those THC posts below:

County, Cities sweep lack of affordable housing under the rug: 1 simple solution

Renters assistance programs in Humboldt? Build more housing, assholes!

In other exciting, and increasing-the-housing, related news, an excerpt from the same article we linked early in this post has this to say:

Brown rarely endorses bills still pending in the Legislature, but as part of his housing package on Friday he announced his support for three bills aimed at boosting housing supply . Legislation by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) would make it easier for homeowners to add a second unit to their property. Another Bloom bill would allow developers to build at higher densities if they include affordable units as part of their projects.”

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THC has been thinking quite a bit about all the taxes the Supervisors want us to start ponying up when the November ballots come around.

It seems like not so long ago that each of the Supervisors (save for Lovelace) were promising Humboldt’s voters to create jobs, reduce taxes and government spending, and be good stewards of the environment. Unfortunately, they have failed on all three of those fronts.

The environment? Too bad for Mother Earth, the pot ordinances put in place are doing very, very little to stem the tide of illegal and environmentally damaging cannabis grows. All the Supervisor’s cared about was the prospect of new tax revenue, so they gave the green rush a green light and are licking their greedy lips until the money rolls in.

Create jobs? Well, not only is there zero evidence of an increase in decent, living wage-jobs in the area, the population hasn’t changed over the past five years – not to mention that development of all kinds has come to a standstill. No jobs, no growth, no positive change.

As for cutting back on taxes and getting the size of the local bureaucracy under control, well… It’s plain to see that these idiots are content to squeeze every last tax-able penny out of Humboldt that they can before even considering any alternative ways of dealing with the County’s out of control budget. (We probably needn’t remind you, but giving themselves raises in while levying big tax measures in two consecutive election cycles really isn’t a good look.)

We’ve also talked about how the Supervisors seem to forget that their own livelihoods, as well as the continued operation of the the racket they’re in charge of – the County of Humboldt – is dependent upon the success and well-being of the private sector.

We even gave them a good suggestion on how to recognize those folks, too:

A resolution for the Supervisors to consider: honor the people who make your jobs possible

It seems that contrary to THC’s best efforts, and the candidates own “convictions” when they were running for office, that the County is intent to continue asking the public to keep tightening our belts – all while government spending and the size of the bureaucratic behemoth continue to swell. But what can explain such clearly contradictory and ill-advised decision-making?

We believe that the picture below, a screenshot from a recent B.o.S. meeting, can shed some light on this mystery:

chambersupes1It’s actually quite easy to see which Supervisor is which based on the personalities of each lovable little monkey. Extra points if you want to tell us who you think each Monkey Supervisor is. For example, the shortest ape enjoying a frothy stream of it’s own piss is seated in the center, where the Board Chairperson customarily sits. (It’s sterile, and he likes the taste.)

ORG XMIT: *S0408805348* (l to r) Rip Torn, Stephen Root, Vince Vaughn, Alan Tudyk, Joel moore, Chris Williams and Justin Long are a aband of social misfits who compete in the ultimate dodgeball competition to save their gym, in DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY. 06212004xquick 07092006xGUIDELIVE 08172007xQUICK

Just like Patches O’Houlihan!

Actually, scratch all that. We’re giving the Supervisors, aka homo ignoramuses, way too much credit by suggesting they have individual identifying traits in the above screen capture of the Supes’ Chambers.

It’s obvious that they’ve morphed into some kind of hive-minded, football fornicating, tax-loving economy-hating organism that has reached levels of stupidity and ineffectiveness heretofore unseen in the Animal Kingdom. This is probably a more accurate reflection of how the Fab Five have come together to run the County:

chambersupes2There we go! We feel better about our analogy now. Unfortunately, that football is representative of the County of Humboldt, which we can all see isn’t faring quite as well from the anal-ogy the Supervisor’s are giving it.

Despite the recent campaign promises we heard from a couple of them, as well as the campaign promises the others made in the past, THC suggests you not get your hopes up that the Supervisors can pull their heads out anytime soon, gentle reader. They clearly don’t care about following through on what they said mattered most to them back when they wanted our money to help elect them; they clearly don’t care about taking even more of our money and spending it on the cash cow of local government they’ve perpetuated, either.

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Arcata PD swindles public to pay for police dog; refuses to ensure dog’s safetyy

The Arcata Police Department just added a cute new Officer to their ranks, and we’re pleased to see the police force bolstering their strength in a critical area of need.

Sure, the officer is a dog named Baron, but he’s probably smarter and better trained than half the idiots over in Eureka. (Just sayin’.) Of course, as any police chief or beat cop could tell you, officer safety in the field is paramount. So why did the APD decide to purchase a police dog with zero plan about how to provide for his safety?

Judging from the recent spate of police dog stabbings/injuries in our area (see below), it’s pretty darn crucial to provide these police pups the proper protective gear.

(UPDATED) Grow Suspect Stabs CAMP K-9 Cop in the Neck; Copter Medevacs Downed Hero Dog to Hospital

Second K-9 Officer Stabbed While Working Trinity County Marijuana Raids

Curiously, the APD decided to crowd-fund from the public in order to get a bullet-proof vest for the loyal Baron. What makes this so maddening? Well, for starters, THC is pretty sure that the APD is already highly funded by public contributions in the form of taxes. So highly funded, in fact, that the APD’s annual budget for 2015-2106 was over $5 million buckaroos.

APD budgetGiven that pretty darn huge operating budget, THC is genuinely puzzled as to why the APD can’t afford a little more than $8,000 dollars to pay for a police dog. You can look at the newest APD canine officer, Baron, as either a personnel or a capital expense, but the underlying fact remains that there should have been plenty of funds to allow the APD to pay for the dog themselves.

Now, even if we’re to forget the issue of whether APD is able to pony up for the acquisition and safety of their police pup Baron, we do think it’s crucial to point out that purchasing Baron without any plan of how to fund the appropriate safety equipment for him is just plain stupid.

APD purchased a highly-trained dog in the hopes they’d be able to swindle the public out of even more cash by pulling the ol’ tear-jerking “help us protect our dog” trick. THC has to ask, what would have happened if the vest crowd-funding shtick had failed? Would Arcata be saddled with a dog that wasn’t of any use in the field? If so, wtf? Good planning.

More likely, however, the APD would have just dipped into the funds they should have available for just such a purchase. Do you really think they couldn’t have scraped together $2,400 bucks? It’s plain ridiculous.

Not only could APD apparently not pay for their police dog, they also couldn’t pay

Back to the subject of why APD can’t afford an $8,000 dollar dog and vest combo -which THC happens to think are very valuable assets to both the police and the welfare of the general public – we’ve identified three easy places to come up with such a sum. IT involves trimming some fat:

APD top salaryIn case you’re like us and can’t read a damn thing without a magnifying glass, the above picture shows that the three top earners in the APD all pull in over $100,000 in annual salary and more than $160,000 in total compensation. Chief Thomas Chapman, the head honcho himself, earns over $120,000 annually and and rakes in just a tad over $200,000 in total compensation every year.

So, where is the shortage that led the APD to go running to the public with their hands out? We have a hard time seeing it.

And here’s a link to the rest of the salaries of the APD work force, just for good measure.

In the end, we sure hope that K-9 Baron gets his special vest, and although we kind of think you’re suckers, we also want to say a big thanks to the community members who contributed to ensure the Arcata area has a police dog with the proper protective equipment.

You’re the real heroes in this case, because clearly, Chief Chapman and the rest of the APD couldn’t be bothered to give two shits about providing for the safety of the newest officer in their department. Must be a pretty rough office culture when the higher ups treat the work force with such care and respect.

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Liberal Jon drops from City Council race; the reign of Matthew Owen begins?

Perennial THC commenter Jon Yalcinkaya, a.k.a Liberal Jon or LMOB, announced that he will drop out of the race for Eureka’s 2nd Ward City Council seat.

We can’t say we’re surprised – if you read his blog post on the matter, you’ll quickly find that he wasn’t really that interested in being an elected official. (Maybe, THC posits, he was pulling a Trump and was simply infatuated with the idea of being a head honcho.)

Do note that Jon cites a few personal reasons for withdrawing, but also points to the big bad electoral system of Eureka as reason for pulling out. (Another Trump-ism, we suppose. If he wasn’t elected, it would be the fault of the rigged system! (???))

Unfortunately, as much as we hate to see Jon-boy go, this means that Matthew Owen is running uncontested. As you’ll remember from past THC posts, we’re not sure which of them would be worse for Eureka. On one hand, you had LMOB, the enthusiastic candidate who is  self-admittedly unprepared and ill-suited to public office.

On the other hand, we’ve got that pompous jerk Matthew Owen, who finds himself on the opposite side of the spectrum from Jon. In Matty’s mind, there’s not a single other person more qualified for the City Council seat. (Matthew, coincidentally, is all sorts of gung-ho in favor of Eureka’s voting system.) Woe to all ye Eurekan’s – if you thought Atkins was bad, just wait ’til Matty Boy takes the reigns.

Of course, that will realize Matt’s dream of being able to pull the strings in both the City of Eureka and the County of Humboldt via his wife/dummy, Supervisor Virginia Bass. We know, it’s sounding worse by the second.

ventriloquist

Yes, that is Mr. Owen’s head to scale.

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US Census: Only growth in Humboldt over past 5 years is due to homeless population

The numbers don’t lie, kiddos. Take a gander at some of the most recent growth statistics for Humboldt County, according to the U.S. Census:

census captureThat’s right – estimates are that Humboldt’s has grown less than one percent over the past 5 years. Which is cool, THC supposes, as long as you like stagnation and failing economies.

Not so cool is the fact that that amount of growth can easily be chalked up to the upward trends in the area’s homeless population. Most estimates peg the homeless population at more than 1,300 – and that’s just based on the folks who lined up to get counted in exchange for new pairs of socks.

It really is a shame that Humboldt is stuck in the dumps when it comes to growth and progress – that old enemy of “progressives” – but there’s really no indication that it’s going to change anytime soon.

Of course, the problem will only worsen when the new GPU is approved (if it ever happens!), since that document is essentially 5,000 pages of regulations aimed at curtailing the out-of-control growth and development our County is sure to go through. Get used to it, folks.

In the meantime, THC is accepting applications from interested investors for the future of Humboldt County development:

Containers in the port of Laem Chabang in Thailand.

Just mail us a check!

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THC’s official endorsements for the Arcata City Council race in November

Ha! You probably don’t even know who’s running yet, do you? That’s okay, not only does THC have the jump on you, we also have your back.

Pictured below are the candidates THC will endorse, and who we of course predict will win because we’re so close to clairvoyant that we can almost see it. Almost!

arcatachambersOf course, THC thinks that the Arcata City Council is perhaps the most effective sitting government body in Humboldt. Wouldn’t you agree?

That being said, we’d endorse almost any of them in a Supervisor race for Humboldt – and that goes for the Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty, and Tweedle Dee, too. (But not Tweedle Dum, mind you, that guy’s an asshole. Makes us think of what it would be like if Lovelace and Atkins got together.)

So, who’s your horse in the upcoming race? Good suggestions will make it into one of THC’s much-beloved polls.

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Perspective on the threat of illegal drug industries to Humboldt County

THC actually picked up and read some print media the other day. The rag of choice was the Mad River Union, and we thought the article linked below, written by Paul Mann, was an interesting read. If a thoroughly depressing one, unfortunately.

To give you a gist of the piece, here’s some highlights:

“The drug trade distorts business and the economy, overburdens hospitals and mental health services, drags down family life and single parents, depresses child welfare, jeopardizes food security, threatens residential neighborhoods with indoor grows, consumes massive amounts of energy and inflicts severe damage on the natural environment.”

“Officials and academic specialists warn that the fusion of Humboldt’s epidemic drug trafficking with its sprawling marijuana industrial complex (8,400 grows or more) has created a society immured in a way of life that is illegal, invasive and pernicious in equal parts.”

Yikes. Anyway, hope you enjoy the full story!

Drug peril besieges Humboldt

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