See the Supervisors’ heavily-redacted calendars from the past two years; what are they hiding?

One lemonade-fueled night early this year, THC got to wondering precisely what it is that our Supervisors do on a daily basis. After all, with how little progress appears to be made on some of the most pressing issues in our County, it would go to reason that our Supervisors should be working their tails off in order to right the ship.

A busy schedule would also justify the 7% raises they approved for themselves last year, bringing their salary up from roughly $81,600 up to $87,400 each. (For reference, each Supervisors brought home more than $105,000 in total compensation back in 2015.) We’ll leave it to you to make up your own minds, but based on how things have gone in Humboldt over the last few years, we’re anything but convinced they deserved more money.

The good news is that THC took it upon ourselves to request the Supervisors’ daily calendars going back the past two years. Let these documents help inform your own decision about just how much “work” the Supes are doing; here are all of the County’s Supervisors’ calendars from December 29, 2014, through February 5, 2017(ish). Enjoy!

Virginia Bass Calendar 14-15

Rex Bohn Calendar 14-15

Estelle Fennell Calendar 14-15

Mark Lovelace Calendar 14-15

Ryan Sundberg Calendar 2014-15

Virginia Bass Calendar 15-16

Rex Bohn Calendar 15-16

Estelle Fennell Calendar 15-16

Mark Lovelace Calendar 15-16

Ryan Sundberg Calendar 15-16

At first glance, you’ll notice that about 40-50% of any Supervisors’ schedule is redacted, which the County justified by referring to the case of Times Mirror Co. v. Superior Court, which basically states that an elected official’s deliberative process could be negatively impacted if the public knew what they were up to. (This is legal shorthand for: elected people don’t want you to know who they are talking to, when they talked or what they talked about. Which is bullshit, but a rant that we’ll save for another day.)

For example:

“Nothing to see here” – Sundberg

On second glance, you’ll notice that a very significant portion of the calendars that aren’t blacked out are completely white – as in completely blank. As in the Supervisors weren’t doing jack shit in connection with their jobs at those times. Weird, huh? Could have been drinking wine, playing basketball or golfing, bird-watching, playing tetris. Who knows.

From our judgement, Rex Bohn wins the busy-bee award – that guy has a lot on his plate, compared to the others. Of course, there are a lot of pancake breakfasts in there. Whether all of those items are worthwhile is certainly up for debate, but 2nd District’s Supervisor sure packs it in.

We have to give the nod to Rex and Mark Lovelace for generally having the least amount of redaction in their calendar, and overall the busiest schedules. Say what you will about the nearly opposite ideologies these two brought to the Supervisors chambers – it seems like these guys put in the most work, and do it the most transparently. (Did*, in Lovelace’s case.)

Virginia Bass undoubtedly takes the cake for emptiest schedule (which makes us wonder why she didn’t even have time to read a letter she sent on behalf of the County of Humboldt), while Ryan Sundberg sits top of the heap for most redacted calendars in town. Whoever Ryan is meeting with, he sure isn’t keen on us knowing – which is a shame, because then we could figure out who was coaching him to nearly claim two Biggest Asshole Awards in a row.

Good ol’ Estelle comes in at the middle of the pack for amount of work and percentage of shady redactions.

Now, even though the Supervisors were a little too scared to reveal the majority of what they are doing and who they are meeting with, a lot can be gleaned from those blacked-out calendars by reading between the lines. Here are some of our initial thoughts:

  • If we can assume that most everything that a Supervisor does in their official capacity is recorded on their calendar, then we would be remiss not to point out that several of the Supervisors seem to have significant blocks of time with nothing on the docket. All that free time sure makes you think twice about those raises.
  • Where are the vacation days? We know that the Supervisors do take a fair amount of time off (some more than others, clearly), so where are the records of when they’re gone? A bird tells us that Virginia Bass went to Hawaii at least four times in 2016 and early 2017, but we sure don’t see her mai-tai hours recorded anywhere.
  • Why, considering the many meetings that are redacted, are there so many meetings with individuals and groups that aren’t redacted? Surely, the threat to the Supes’ deliberative process should apply to any all meetings of an official nature or that relate to some type of policy-forming…shouldn’t it?

See anything intriguing that we missed? Let us know, and we’ll update our post. Our advice is to sit back and enjoy a cold lemonade and let the overall lack of results from our Supervisors’ busy schedules wash over you slowly – if you try to take it in all at once, you’re going to need some more potent medication.

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7 Responses to See the Supervisors’ heavily-redacted calendars from the past two years; what are they hiding?

  1. Lynn Mae says:

    I’ve only had some chai tea (no milk) and my mind is already boggled.
    Estelle Fennell
    Monday Jan 26, 2015
    8:00am – 5:00pm Ground Water Workshop in Willows (Traveling
    with Phil, Rex and Han Seeman – meet at Riverwalk at 5:45am
    9:45am -10:45am Supervisor Fennell weeekly (sic) meeting with CAO
    (Phil’s office) – Smith-Hanes, Phillip
    3:15pm -5:15pm Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA Center –
    517 5th Street, Eureka)

    This day’s listing did have a black block after ‘Phillip’ (9:45am – 10:45am)
    and after the 3:15pm to 5:15pm meeting at the RCEA Center.

    To meet three other people at 5:45am for a trip to Willows (staying there
    from 9:00am to 5:00pm) while also meeting with some of the same people
    on the Willow trip for an hour’s meeting at the same time makes me
    think that these people are obviously Time Lords and maybe the blocked
    out times are when they are busy saving whichever galaxy needs their
    I’ve read that multi-taking is a good thing but somehow trying to be two places
    at the same time isn’t what people who suggested multi-tasking had in mind.
    I will (later) look to see if what was presented in Willows ever made it to the papers
    in Eureka.
    I do wonder what sort of expenses they claimed for lunch (and perhaps dinner,
    before they drove home).


  2. Mac Towner says:

    Incredible! They actually expect us to believe that half their time is spent on secret shit that is tooooo sensitive for the public to know. I know Sundberg plays golf and basketball at least twice a week each. Guess that’s too secret for the voters to see.

    How do we go about challenging their self evaluation of their calendars anyway? This is total BS!


  3. You do an awful lot of complaining about the Supervisors. I think this opens up a new chapter. I don’t necessarily disagree that I’d like more transparent calendars, but I can understand why they wouldn’t have them. What about personal activities such as taking children here or there?

    I get what is going on here even if you don’t. Public officials and employees are up for a closer scrutiny than private institutions. The bottom line is negativity about our public sphere which in the end should help bolster arguments against public institutions (and the fees, taxes and regulations that come with them).

    Here is what the left can do, and I challenge you to do this too. Get together with like minded people, it doesn’t take many 5 or 10 will do. Find institutions that on your side to help (ie many business owners and people generally who are living off of their investments as much as they are their labor). Find a candidate who will read everything you want them to read and let you know where he (more than likely right?) is every moment of every day. Canvas and make calls for him leading up to the primary (June 2018). Cross your fingers that your candidate can get more votes than Sundberg in District 5 and Bass in District 4 and/or any candidates those of us on the left might coax out of the woodwork.

    It’s really simple, it’s empowering and it would avoid the periodic drip of inconsequential political poison that comes under the heading of THC.

    But maybe that is too harsh. Maybe this isn’t inconsequential nor poison and you realize this. Maybe complaining about something, anything in the public sphere and doing nothing about it does help your agenda and maybe you realize how and why it does.

    And I write this as someone who is wishing for a real and vital opposition whose rhetoric and policies are based in reality. Please think on this, it doesn’t appear that anyone right-of-center is. If they are, they certainly can’t or won’t share their thoughts in public.

    Kudos to you for at least doing this.


  4. Rusty says:

    Being right- of- center and sharing your thoughts in public is financial suicide around here. According to bumper stickers the last 12 months our President is Bernie Sanders, at least we know to give them a wide berth.


  5. Rusty says:

    Delusional denialible. Donald Trump is not my President, Burnie Sanders is not my President. One of these statements is true. Delusional people are unpredictable and I don’t want them attacking me or mine because I don’t support there agenda.
    Cattle ranchers are obviously exempt.


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