California Controller Betty T. Yee has got the goods on Humboldt’s spending problem

If you’ve been following THC for a little while, you may recall that some ass-hat kept giving us grief over our reliance on our friends over at Transparent California.

We disagreed with that ass-hat, and still think Transparent California does a swell job. However, thanks to a tip from a dedicated THC reader (who wished to remain anonymous, as they are a former county employee), we learned about another nifty little site called Government Compensation in California, sponsored by none other than California Controller Betty T. Yee.

And guess what? The State government’s facts back up what we’ve been saying all along – Humboldt’s local government sucks up all your money and uses it to pay its ridiculously high number of employees. Check it out!

For your convenience: CaptureWe won’t remind you exactly how much more the average income for a County employee is compared to your average Humboldt-ian’s. We already did that.

But, lest we be called lazy, we just had to dive a little bit deeper into GCC.

For example, in Northern California, Humboldt has the 4th highest ratio of County Employees to County Residents, and the only counties that have lesser ratios are ones – Lake, Modoc, and Siskiyou counties – with vastly lower populations than that of Humboldt’s. (Generally, the higher a county’s population, the bigger gap in amount of county employees as compared to population. Not so with Humboldt.)

Another interesting factoid is that although Humboldt State University employs 3,782 individuals – or 1,513 more than the County of Humboldt (a figure which does not include service districts like fire, waste, and water that are also dependent on government funds) – the County still has a higher pension burden. A burden that is almost $9 million higher. Wow.

Moral of the story? Don’t waste your time getting a higher degree so you can teach at some big fancy university – become a laborer for the county, and you’re a frickin’ made woman/man.


Now that we’ve flexed our internet numbers muscles, we do think it’s highly important to finally recognize THC’s top commenter of the month of June: Sammy! Sammy’s combination of anger, expletives, and highly salient points have earned him the nod for the month of June. We might even ask Sammy to do a guest piece, but we are sort of afraid of being outdone.

So, Sammy, get back to our e-mail and we’ll hook you up like we did our friend Mitch.

Honorable mentions for the month of June go to MacTowner, Cousin Eddie, and Jay! MacTowner because you’re consistent, Jay because he called us idiots and was a catalyst for us revamping our efforts, and Cousin Eddie because we like his name. We think it’s this guy:


Better luck next month, THC fans. You’ll have plenty of chances – we’re here to stay.


The Humboldt Consequential

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8 Responses to California Controller Betty T. Yee has got the goods on Humboldt’s spending problem

  1. Shake says:

    Out of the 59 residents, how many are unemployed, receiving snap, or other benefits?


    • Shake –

      Great question! We poked around the internet a little bit, but didn’t turn up any current numbers that we think are reliable enough to quote. But according to a NY Times article from 2009, about 9% of Humboldt’s population were using food stamps. According to the Humboldt Food Bank, about 18,000 Humboldt residents participate in CalFresh (apparently calling them food stamps is no longer P.C., who knew?).

      As for unemployment, California Labor Market Info puts our number of unemployed at 3,300, or 5.3% of the people able to work and actively seeking to do so. (Unemployment does not address people who are not looking for employment – we all know there is a very significant amount of people who fall into that category around here.)

      All those figures are to make this point – for the people who are actually working and paying taxes, the burden of supporting Humboldt’s large County workforce is much higher than the numbers stated by GCC.

      Got a sore back? It’s probably because the taxes you’re paying are supporting a family of four. Cheers!


  2. Sohum Gal says:

    Wow! Looks like we would all be better off, make more money, have better benefits if every one of us worked for the government. A family of two average government workers makes THREE times the average Humboldt FAMILY. Incredible!

    On another note I attended part of the GPU fiasco meeting in SoHum. Sure looks like a ton of new regulations coming our way if they ever pass this thing. Of course I didn’t get a permit for my house anyway and certainly won’t be betting one anytime soon. I really believed that Estelle was different and was going to help us hill folks. I feel like a fool for buying that she would follow through on what she said while she was with HumCPR. What a total disappointment. I plan to take a really close look at whoever runs against her. There HAS to be somebody out there who can really represent SoHum and won’t sell out at the first sign of a paycheck and benefits.


  3. Jay says:

    Finally you’re using a reliable source of information. But you’re still being a dill weed in that previous article by calling their yearly fluctuations in earnings a “raise.” You’re doing that because, either: 1- you don’t understand what a raise is compared to things like deferred compensation and cashing in unused vacation time, or 2- ur just being a dick to stoke the flames. Honestly, I think it’s #1, tho after reading a few of ur posts I know ur not above occasionally doing #2 all over ur blog (see what I did there?). Each dept head and elected official at the county has their monthly salary laid out, for all to see, on the county’s HR web page.


    • Dearest Jay –

      You’re back! And we were so worried about you. We’re glad you think that G.C.C. is a reputable source – even though they take no responsibility for the accuracy of the info they present. Interesting, huh?

      More to the point, we are so glad you’ve also seen the document that you linked in your comment – we can’t wait to put it out there for all to see. Seriously, we’re not waiting.

      And, call the compensation that government employees are getting by whatever name you will, but we are (somewhat reluctantly) forced to agree with Mr. Cousin Eddie on this. Those monthly salaries are frickin’ outrageous! No matter how you slice it or what you call it (didn’t know you were such a stickler for proper verbiage, considering how you write!), the fact that county employees are getting paid so much and are only receiving more as the years go by, is utter bullshit. Stockpiling and cashing in unused vacay time (which is already far in excess of what most people receive) in order to boost your final retirement pay out (which comes out of the pockets of people who generally work more, and harder) is disgusting.


  4. Cousin Eddie says:

    Whatever, Jay. The point I see is that the average county employee makes more than the average household here. Pretty shitty, you got the firemen and the sheriffs bitching about their wages when they wayyyy more than the citizens, off the citizens’ money. Shame on those assholes.


  5. S.D Carroll says:

    Based on the cost of living in Humboldt County it seems that rather than county employees being over paid, General wages are far below average. If you pay a minimum of $1000 per month to rent an apartment and $50 per month for mandatory car insurance and if your lucky $200 per month for utilities,add in food at say $100 per week, gas to get to work at $25 per week……$1750 per month. Heaven forbid if you have a medical expense or need to buy a car or new shoes. Just to be realistic here, to have .$1750 per month to spend you have to earn at least $2100 per month. Do you think I have over allocated any of those expenses? Do think it’s unreasonable to have medical coverage and a retirement program? I guess I just do not understand the complaint.


    • Mac Towner says:

      S.D.: I think you missed the point that has so many of us regular Humboldtians pissed. It’s not really that government employees are paid too much though many, many are, it’s that they are paid so disproportionately to the rest of us when it’s on our private sector backs that they are riding. Do you think that It’s unreasonable for me not to have a retirement plan and decent medical coverage when the people who I pay (through my taxes) do? The complaint is that government in one way or another is breaking my back and literally taking food from my family.

      I thought I elected officials that promised to change this. I was wrong.


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