Arcata Fire swells top-heavy ranks; their money rolls in right out of your pockets!

Both the Times-Standard and News Channel 3 ran pieces earlier this week which described how Arcata Fire continued the proud tradition of top-heavy fire department employment by promoting two new Battalion Chiefs, two new Fire Captains, and even added 3 more firefighters to compensate.

THC went ahead and checked the most recent employee salary records over at TransparentCalifornia, and we were not surprised to learn that Arcata Fire seems hell-bent on making sure that half of their firefighting workforce be composed of Captains. Which, we must say, seems pretty damn overkill. They’re already well on their way there.

Via the 2015 compensation records for the Arcata Fire Protection District, we counted 11 people classified as Fire Captains. Total paid firefighters for AFPD (including Chiefs, Captains, Firefighters, and members of the strike team; not including volunteers or administrative staff) came to a grand total of 36.

So just under 1/3 of their firefighting force are captains. All of those captains receive in excess of $100,000 per year in compensation. Keep in mind that those numbers are from 2015 – AFPD has added more upper-level staff in the interim.

Quite a racket, to say the least.

H ere are the salaries and total compensation from 2015 of those who were promoted last week in the big AFPD “we’re getting even more money now” celebration:

New Battalion Chiefs:

fire-captainsNew Fire Captains:

rossmcdonaldnealnarayan

Mind you, those salaries and benefits are surely getting a nice big bump this year; the one full-time Battalion Chief on the books in 2015 brought in over $182,000. Fire Captains were pulling at least $125,000.

We recently went over how Austin Allison wants to give Eureka’s Firefighters even better contracts than they currently have to the detriment of the rest of Eureka, and it’ll be no surprise that Arcata’s Firefighters have essentially the same sweet deal, if not sweeter. Check out their MOU covering all the perks: Arcata Fire MOU

So what’s the common theme here? Well, our fire protection districts keep swelling their upper ranks . Last we checked, there haven’t been any complaints about level of fire service in the area, and there sure as shit haven’t been any discussions about improvements or expansions to those fire services, nor about what benefit having so many top-level administrators/firefighters provides to the public.

What is certain is that our taxes keep getting drained to support “essential” services like giving people raises and funding sweet pension plans with no visible benefit or necessary structural improvements.

We’ll just leave this here…

Links

Times-Standard: Arcata Fire District to celebrate promotions, recruits

News Channel 3: Three new firefighters, several promotions celebrated at Arcata Fire District

Transparent California: 2015 AFPD Salaries and Compensation

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(UPDATE) THC POLL: Anonymous Blowhards or Tinfoil Hatters?

Just in case you were curious, as THC was, of what an Anonymous Blowhard precisely is, we’d like to take this opportunity to share Merriam-Webster’s take on blowhards:

blowhardcaptureWe chose the definition for English Language Learners because, well, have you seen our grammar? Shameful.

Anyhow, so far it seems like the polls are holding fairly even, which we like to think reflects the diverse audience we’ve attracted. However, we are somewhat disappointed that more of you haven’t utilized the “other” category because those have been hilarious, thought-provoking, and not quite obscene.

Just the way we like it!

Don’t forget to vote.

THC POLL: Anonymous Blowhards or Tinfoil Hatters?

Just last evening, THC noticed to our delight that the Lost Coast Outpost has restructured  their “Elsewhere” section, which features news, blog posts, and stories of interest from around the internet. With a local emphasis, of course.

THC set out to find one of our own posts, and there was our most recent post, in all its glory.

Where did we find ourselves? In the most colorful category possible! “Anonymous blowhards and Tinfoil Hatters!”

However, despite much deliberation, THC’s brain trust was unable to decide which label was most appropriate for us. The Mike’s Hard ran out before we could reach a conclusion.

So we put it to you, faithful THC readers and people who want to take the opportunity to call us names (it’s okay, you can be both), to tell us which one we are!

As you can see, we also added a couple extra categories. However, should you choose the “Other” option, do be kind enough to leave a comment with a more appropriate description of us. (Try to keep it semi-appropriate, please, because censuring comments is lame.)

We’ll check back in with you next week to announce the winner.

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THC POLL: Anonymous Blowhards or Tinfoil Hatters?

Just last evening, THC noticed to our delight that the Lost Coast Outpost has restructured  their “Elsewhere” section, which features news, blog posts, and stories of interest from around the internet. With a local emphasis, of course.

THC set out to find one of our own posts, and there was our most recent post, in all its glory.

Where did we find ourselves? In the most colorful category possible! “Anonymous blowhards and Tinfoil Hatters!”

However, despite much deliberation, THC’s brain trust was unable to decide which label was most appropriate for us. The Mike’s Hard ran out before we could reach a conclusion.

So we put it to you, faithful THC readers and people who want to take the opportunity to call us names (it’s okay, you can be both), to tell us which one we are!

As you can see, we also added a couple extra categories. However, should you choose the “Other” option, do be kind enough to leave a comment with a more appropriate description of us. (Try to keep it semi-appropriate, please, because censuring comments is lame.)

We’ll check back in with you next week to announce the winner.

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Eureka businesses concerned pot will push them out; City says too bad, you can move

According to this report from KRCR News Channel 7, a number of Eureka businesses have expressed concerns to the City of Eureka that rising real estate values resulting from an influx of City-sanctioned marijuana business interests will price them out of their current locations and jeopardize their ability to operate in Eureka.

From the report:

“As a result of new interest in the area, the City of Eureka’s Development Department says real estate is exchanging hands. Now, current business owners are worried that prices may skyrocket as new cannabis businesses move in – leaving them unsure if their landlords will sell their properties or decline to renew their leases.”

A member of the Economic Development Commission, Michael Kraft, pointed out there are plenty of empty lots near 4th Street.

Which we take to mean that the City of Eureka intends to point business owners who are priced out of their current locations towards the undeveloped lots and say “There! Set up shop!” Which, of course, completely ignores the realities facing businesses who are concerned about an influx of marijuana forcing them out of the buildings that they rent. Presumably, those businesses don’t have the means to build – but the City clearly doesn’t feel that is a problem.

While some of THC’s brain trust is of the opinion that this is just a normal result of the open market, other Heads of THC must point at that – yet again – one of our local governments has opted to give a big, resounding “F*** you” to established local businesses in favor of kowtowing to the big green industry.

Sure, there are plenty of  empty storefronts and undeveloped property near West 4th Street, and throughout Eureka. But don’t you think that many of the slighted and marginalized non-marijuana related businesses might remember their treatment at the hands of the City of Eureka when the pot bubble bursts and our area is left with little to fall back on? We can’t blame the City for wanting to capitalize on the green rush, but it is saddening to see how local businesses that have contributed to our communities for quite some time are being shouldered aside.

THC only hopes those business are able to prosper despite the City’s preference for pot. It is, on the other hand, good to know about all the empty lots in Eureka. But that also serves as another reminder that the City policy towards encouraging development or help businesses is decidedly barren, unless they are marijuana related.

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On today’s episode of “No shit!” – HSU student had been drinking when he drove through HSU sign

THC doesn’t always jump on the most common news  items of the day, because there are plenty of other places that you can get the scoop on the more mundane issues of the day.

Occasionally, however, a piece of ground-breaking reporting will make the rounds that we just have to piggy back on.

Enter this piece by the LoCO, in which it is revealed that – *gasp* – the HSU student  that plowed through the HSU sign had been drinking when it happened!

HSU Student Had Been Drinking Before Driving Through University Entrance Sign; No Field Sobriety Tests Were Issued, According to UPD Traffic Report

To which those of us at THC, and probably every single other person who read the original story, must say “No shit!”

We know it’s been a little slow on the news front lately, but come on. When LoCO Thunderdome commenters are correctly calling out the kid for DUI months ago, you’d think there’s not much to the story. THC does eagerly anticipate the LoCO’s follow-up story which reveals precisely what nasty things the sign said about the unnamed students mother to justify such a brash incident of revenge.

However, it is interesting to note that while UPD officers who responded to the incident were aware the kid had been drinking, they conducted no sobriety tests and the student was not arrested for DUI. That type of preferential treatment must be fantastic! THC agrees that, even 20 years ago when a few of us were still in college, there’s no way we’d have gotten off scot-free for a DUI crash through a damn university sign.

Whoever this young student/snowflake/bane-of-university-signs is, he’s luckier than hell. (Before you hop on the “snowflake” hating train, please know that each and every one of us at THC considers ourself a snowflake – at least, mommy tells us we are every night before bed.)

Or, on second thought, is the kid in question so lucky? Here’s a quote from UPD Chief Peterson, as it appeared in the LoCO article:

I’ve been a cop outside of the campus environment and within, and I think there is definitely a part of our strategic plan to foster student success,” Peterson said. “We deal with people a little different now then we would have 10 or 15 years ago. There’s more focus on de-escalation and crisis intervention. We definitely have a different take, the environment is a little different and we look out for students, absolutely. They are our constituency group.”

What’s the lesson here? Forge yourself a student ID for when you’re drinking and driving around HSU, and be sure to wave at the consequences of your actions as you bypass them.

 

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Supervisors give affordable housing lip-service; what are they actually doing about the bigger problem?

THC was sifting through our stack of un-read Times-Standard papers (used primarily as fire starters to warm up our sweet new spot under the bridge) last night when we came across an article that mentions that the Board of Supervisors are allocating a whopping $100,000 to subsidizing rent for the elderly and some vulnerable homeless or mentally unstable folks. Here’s a link to the article in question: Board of Supervisors set to fund Eureka low-income housing

Which, don’t get us wrong, is fantastic. It’s not the first time that the Super-Stupes™ tossed a few bucks towards the facility, as mentioned in the article, and it’s great that a whopping 16 units are being partially funded this way.

Notice anything else conspicuous about the articles mention of housing subsidies or housing strategies? That’s right  – it ends right then and there.

Which made THC think – what the heck is going on with the County and City efforts to up the housing options for the homeless here in Humboldt?

Sure, it was easy for them to tout how successful Betty Chinn’s container resort was, and the press was chock-full of stories about how private organizations like the Rescue Mission and other charitable organizations opened more beds to harbor folks suffering in harsh weather conditions. Please note how both of those efforts are led by private organizations – ever since the City of Eureka gave the Chinn Foundation funds for containers, there hasn’t been a darn thing of any value.

But, nearly a year after the County and City paid Focus Strategies to come up with a big plan to end homelessness it seems we’re still lacking something – a fricking strategy!

Quick internet searches don’t show anything substantive that the County has done recently, and frankly the City of Eureka has been inactive too.

THC would like to take this opportunity to remind you that housing options in this County are extremely limited – not just for the houseless, mentally ill, or impoverished – but for everyone. All the rent subsidies or rent controls in the world won’t give this community what it needs.

So what are we, as a community, left to believe when there’s no sign of encouraging housing on the horizon, and our elected officials are satisfied to trumpet the accomplishments of private organizations as their own? Why, that the County and the City of Eureka are just giving lip service to the major problems while effectively sitting on their asses and doing nothing. Yet again.

So, o them, we humbly say – build more housing, assholes. And to you, gentle reader, we say: call your representative and tell them you’re tired of inaction and them lying about how hard  they’re working to solve the problem.

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(UPDATE) HAF, True North Organizing Network support meth dealers, demand local law enforcement break the law

As an added bonus (aka we totally forgot), here’s a link to the press conference video:

(VIDEO) Fear, Harassment, and Heartache: Latino Organization ‘Centro del Pueblo’ Speaks Out after Local Law Enforcement Collaborates with ICE

And here’s a link to the press release announcing the conference:

Latino Group to Hold Press Conference Demanding Local Law Enforcement Not Cooperate With ICE

Here’s our favorite quote from the release:

“The County must realize that local collaboration with ICE agents causes members of our community to not want to cooperate with local law enforcement.”

Uhh…telling an already nervous populace that the deportation bogey man is coming to get them isn’t helping things either, folks – way to resort to scare tactics to drum up support for your cause. But hey, that kind of maneuver is straight out of the HAF Political Action Committee Playbook, so it’s not a huge surprise.

Original story below:

It appears, as THC reported the other day, that HAF and True North weren’t satisfied with only stirring up the fears of the minority communities in Fortuna. Nope – they decided to use the massively misinterpreted use of ICE agents at the recent drug busts in a Fortuna and Hydesville as an opportunity to make fiery political statements condemning the involvement of multiple government agencies in disrupting crime and drug trafficking in Humboldt.

That’s right, Humboldt LEO’s: HAF and True North want to make sure the whole community knows that you are the bad guys for taking down drug dealers. Yep, you assholes; you should feel terrible for doing such a great service to our community. That’s why they are going to such great lengths to ensure that the whole County will fall for their emotional ploy, which completely ignores the reality of the arrests made and the involvement of ICE agents. THC hopes that their ridiculous tactics aren’t getting to the Latino community at large – at this point in time, the threat of deportation as a result of targeted action by either the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or any LEO agency is no greater than it was before His Orangeness took over.

Now, if there had been some sort of deportation action taken at all in connection with the warrants being served and arrests made – though we assume that those arrested for drug trafficking and sales will be deported if they are in the country illegally – then HAF/True North/Centro del Pueblo then there may have been some justification for holding a “the government is coming to tear our families apart and deport everyone they see” type of press conference.

But, based on statements from the authorities (which THC is admittedly accustomed to taking with a grain of salt) there has been no alteration in the operations of ICE agents at all, and specifically not in this County.

From a LoCO article published this morning:

James Schwab, a spokesman with the agency [ICE] could not specifically state why ICE was here, but said firmly over the phone, “We do not conduct raids. We’re not here to disturb people or cause fear. All operations are targeted and a majority are crime-related.”

So why the fear-mongering?

Well, THC posits that it plays into the narrative that Humboldt Area Foundation has been working hard behind the scenes for years  to force down the throats of the Humboldt community. Certainly, Renee Saucedo has made a name for herself in this area championing the rights of the marginalized and the down-trodden since Patrick Cleary hand-picked her to lead True North Organizing Network. (Saucedo, officially, has left her post as True North’s head honcho.)

Now how about Saucedo and Centro del Pueblo’s intent to pressure local elected  officials into making policies that forbid local law authorities from cooperating with federal agencies? Umm…laughable. But also totally, totally illegal.

It’s just a real shame that HAF and all their henchmen seem to think that attacking local law enforcement over the fantastic job they did taking down drug dealers . Seriously, how can they justify their demand that local law enforcement not cooperate with ICE when they are not only legally obligated to do so, but when the involvement of ICE agents was for the benefit of properly communicating those who were arrested? Sounds to us like the Sheriff’s office was doing the suspects a favor in that regard.

Original story:

True North Organizing Network uses big drug bust, scare tactics to stoke fear in minority and local communities

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HAF, True North Organizing Network support meth dealers, demand local law enforcement break the law

It appears, as THC reported the other day, that HAF and True North weren’t satisfied with only stirring up the fears of the minority communities in Fortuna. Nope – they decided to use the massively misinterpreted use of ICE agents at the recent drug busts in a Fortuna and Hydesville as an opportunity to make fiery political statements condemning the involvement of multiple government agencies in disrupting crime and drug trafficking in Humboldt.

That’s right, Humboldt LEO’s: HAF and True North want to make sure the whole community knows that you are the bad guys for taking down drug dealers. Yep, you assholes; you should feel terrible for doing such a great service to our community. That’s why they are going to such great lengths to ensure that the whole County will fall for their emotional ploy, which completely ignores the reality of the arrests made and the involvement of ICE agents. THC hopes that their ridiculous tactics aren’t getting to the Latino community at large – at this point in time, the threat of deportation as a result of targeted action by either the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or any LEO agency is no greater than it was before His Orangeness took over.

Now, if there had been some sort of deportation action taken at all in connection with the warrants being served and arrests made – though we assume that those arrested for drug trafficking and sales will be deported if they are in the country illegally – then HAF/True North/Centro del Pueblo then there may have been some justification for holding a “the government is coming to tear our families apart and deport everyone they see” type of press conference.

But, based on statements from the authorities (which THC is admittedly accustomed to taking with a grain of salt) there has been no alteration in the operations of ICE agents at all, and specifically not in this County.

From a LoCO article published this morning:

James Schwab, a spokesman with the agency [ICE] could not specifically state why ICE was here, but said firmly over the phone, “We do not conduct raids. We’re not here to disturb people or cause fear. All operations are targeted and a majority are crime-related.”

So why the fear-mongering?

Well, THC posits that it plays into the narrative that Humboldt Area Foundation has been working hard behind the scenes for years  to force down the throats of the Humboldt community. Certainly, Renee Saucedo has made a name for herself in this area championing the rights of the marginalized and the down-trodden since Patrick Cleary hand-picked her to lead True North Organizing Network. (Saucedo, officially, has left her post as True North’s head honcho.)

Now how about Saucedo and Centro del Pueblo’s intent to pressure local elected  officials into making policies that forbid local law authorities from cooperating with federal agencies? Umm…laughable. But also totally, totally illegal.

It’s just a real shame that HAF and all their henchmen seem to think that attacking local law enforcement over the fantastic job they did taking down drug dealers . Seriously, how can they justify their demand that local law enforcement not cooperate with ICE when they are not only legally obligated to do so, but when the involvement of ICE agents was for the benefit of properly communicating those who were arrested? Sounds to us like the Sheriff’s office was doing the suspects a favor in that regard.

Original story:

True North Organizing Network uses big drug bust, scare tactics to stoke fear in minority and local communities

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True North Organizing Network uses big drug bust, scare tactics to stoke fear in minority and local communities

Did ya hear about the big ol’ drug bust carried out in Fortuna and Hydesville?

You can check the press release, straight from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, over at the Times-Standard by following this link: Two arrested with multiple narcotics during drug bust

Did you read those numbers? Sounds like a lot of hooch that was confiscated, in THC’s estimation. So, what should the message to the greater community in Humboldt – minority or majority, liberal or conservative, law-abiding or criminal – be in this case?

If you guessed, “Huzzah, we got those drug-slanging criminals before they could do further damage to our community! Good job for once, authorities! Up with hope, down with dope!” – well, you’d be dead wrong.

True North Organizing Network – Patrick Cleary’s political lovechild over at Humboldt Area Foundation – was quickly on the scene with one of their organizers, Fernando Paz, to decry the ways in which the Humboldt County Drug and Task Force, the Sheriff’s Office, and ICE agents were storming through neighborhoods and removing people from their homes.

Of course, none of that is true – but it still managed to find its way into print. However, even after fruitlessly searching for a victim to connect with legal services  due to their imagined danger of deportation, Paz is still using True North’s weight to organize a press conference outlining the rights of people facing deportation. Which is all great – educate away, THC says – but misrepresenting the recent drug-arrest incident as something that will be used to galvanize anti-ICE, anti-Sheriff’s office sentiment is pretty darn low. One might even say willfully negligent.

The LoCO piece, by Ryan Burns, which looks at the “fear-inducing” tactics of the Humboldt County Drug Task Force and the supporting ICE agents can be found here: Drug Task Force Arrest Triggers Fears of Deportation

Of course, the fears of people who may be subject to deportation are very real, and not the type of thing THC would belittle. However, it is absolutely despicable to use an instance in which law officers and authorities are doing their job – and doing it well, rationally, and with restraint – to stir up the fears of an already agitated populace. Ridding our crime and drug plagued County of drug dealers is something to be celebrated by all members of our communities (except drug dealers, we guess?) – and not something to be used as an opportunity to contribute further to a sense of mistrust between authorities and a community that, believe it or not, are also served and aided by law officers and government agencies.

As you could tell from reading the press release over at the Times-Standard, there were no arrests made due to illegal status and no deportation actions were taken at all during this arrest – but True North Organizing is more than happy to use this chance to create as much of a firestorm as possible because it aligns with their mission to portray such legal and justified actions as evil.

Grandstanding on the evils of immigration policy while using this instance as a prop is misleading to the people who are in fear, the reporting of the facts is downright inaccurate, and the whole affair is indicative of the fact that True North (and HAF, by extension) are willing to obfuscate the facts and even resort to fear tactics aimed at the people they are claiming to help in order to frame the political perceptions of the Humboldt community. Shame!

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Supervisors, activists oust Planning Commission bully for…Arkley’s right hand man?

As THC is sure you’ve read and/or heard about if you’ve even vaguely been keeping track of local politics, the Board of Supervisors and a coalition of local activists and members of the community successfully ousted Planning Commission bogeyman Lee Ulansey after he served just one term.

On the surface, this seems pretty kick ass. By all accounts, Ulansey was an asshole.  Plenty of folks showed up to the Supervisors’meeting to share their thoughts on Ulansey – and the accusations got pretty harsh. (THC highly encourages you to check out the public comments on Ulansey’s potential reappointment – they’re pure gold. You can see that here: Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting 1-24-2017. Skip ahead to 1:35:45 for the dirt.) We’d like to apologize to all of you for not including Ulansey in our recent Biggest Asshole Award, and will surely consider granting him Honorary Asshole status alongside Matt Owen.

Of course, people somehow managed to avoid commenting on Ulansey’s habitual choice of wardrobe, the tacky Hawaiian shirt, which reminds us of our Uncle Lester and pretty much screams “shady as f***” about anyone who wears them. But we digress.

In all, getting rid of Ulansey is a big win for local interests; THC thinks that this might be the first tangible step in a big swing in a different direction for our area, politically speaking.

But the wind really gets taken out of our collective sails when we consider that the Board of Supervisors somehow managed to appoint – and therefore attach themselves to – the one person in our area that is more politically tainted than Ulansey apparently was. Of course, this is Brian Mitchell – who as you might recall – was (is?) Robin Arkley’s right-hand man.

What the f***? Talk about a boondoggle! Just a few years ago, Arkley was undoubtedly the most reviled local character when it came to politics, and now the Supervisor’s have put his lackey in charge of land use decisions in the County? Clearly, they are not too concerned with re-election. If appointing Ulansey was a bad look for them, how the hell are they going to justify Mitchell?

What’s worse is that there was a plethora of qualified candidates to choose from who would have made excellent additions to the commission and were not beholden to any major development or financial interests locally (which were the most glaring complaints about Ulansey.) THC couldn’t believe it, but our representatives in the Supervisors’ chambers even found themselves in agreement with Mike Wilson’s spiel on diversity in the Commission. (That also might have just been our agents nodding off due to the Mike’s Hard Mimosa breakfast they enjoyed.)

Instead, the Supervisors’ showed blatant disregard for the public input which specifically noted that the next at-large Commissioner should be someone who represented the interests of the people. Instead, we get an acolyte of Arkley? Sheesh.

It remains to be seen just what Brian Mitchell will do on the Planning Commission, but one thing is already abundantly clear from his appointment – your Supervisors are not listening to you, and they are willing to jump into bed with whatever devil they can find so long as they think there are some dollars to go along with it.

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