Street Arts and Buskers Advocates Thanks for the eye witness account. Please contact the attorneys listed in the law suit PDF to provide affidavit testimony against the city to help stop future abuse. (Court Complaint filed by Peter E. Martin, SBN 121672 email@example.com and Shelley K. Mack, SBN 209596 firstname.lastname@example.org Martin & Mack LLP)
www.northcoastjournal.com/…/strumming-up-a…/Content…The History and Cultural Impact of Street Performing in America
© Stephen H. Baird 2000-2018
The following little historical references are just a glimpse of the depth and breadth of the creative spirit of the human race that blossoms on the street corners, market places, subway platforms and any other place people gather.
Eureka, CA Legal Battle 2016-2018
Oscar Leatherman, a guitar player and singer, is challenging Eureka, California anti panhandling solicitation ordinance in the Northern District California Federal Court. Oscar Leatherman wrote a song about the issue “A Good Chameleon’s Hard to Find (On a Thin Blue Line).” Video of Oscar performing on location on Broadway at Eureka Natural Foods : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk2l2S9IT4M Listen to some of Oscar's recent recordings here: https://soundcloud.com/simonlebunn
Summary of the legal battle:
April, 2016, Anti Panhandling Solicitation ordinance passed by Eureka.
May 13, 2016, Leatherman confronted near a street corner across from Eureka Natural Foods by police Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez
June 20, 2017, Police Officer Neil Hubbard gave Leatherman a ticket for solicitation and guitar impounded
September 5, 2017, Leatherman arrested for busking video published
Video of arrest by National Communications Federation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp1XlviiZ94&feature=youtu.be
September 28, 2017, Northern District Federal Court case filed
Court Complaint filed by Peter E. Martin, SBN 121672 email@example.com and Shelley K. Mack, SBN 209596 firstname.lastname@example.org Martin & Mack LLP PDF HERE
Court House News story "Musician Leads Fight Against Panhandling Ban in Humboldt County" by NICHOLAS IOVINO September 29, 2017, on lawsuit https://www.courthousenews.com/musician-leads-fight-panhan…/
North Coast Journal "Strumming Up a Case" by Linda Stansberry, August 31, 2017 Local troubadour lead plaintiff in Eureka panhandling challenge https://www.northcoastjournal.com/…/strumming-up-a…/Content…
Eureka Times-Standard "Eureka panhandling restrictions challenged in federal court" by Will Houston, September 29, 2017 http://www.times-standard.com/art…/…/20170929/NEWS/170929781
Hum Co. incompetence explored in detail by:
EUGENE 'ED' DENSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW
Jan 8, 2018
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors
Eureka, Ca 95501
Dear Board Members:
In November 2016 the voters of Humboldt County approved Measure S, The Commercial Marijuana Tax Ordinance. December 13, 2016, you incorporated the text without change into the County Code as Ordinance 2567. It became Sections 719-1 to 719-15. In June 2017, you passed Ordinance 2575, which changed the Measure S text in various ways. Some changes resulted in an improper increase in the amount of tax, and an improper broadening of the scope of the tax, both of which are expressly forbidden in section 719-9 of Measure S, and the same section in the county code.
Moreover, the alterations to what is taxed, and who must pay the tax, have effectively created a new tax in place of the Measure S tax approved by the voters. Government Code section 53723 prohibits the County from levying a general tax without approval by a majority of the voters. Since no voters have approved this new tax, its imposition is a violation of Government Code section 53723.
I am therefore calling on you to take the following actions:
2. Instruct the County Treasurer-Tax Collector to send no tax bills based on Ordinance 2575, nor collect any taxes that are based on Ordinance 2575, as those taxes are illegal.
1. Changing the basis of the tax: Measure S, as originally worded, and as passed by a majority of the voters, imposed a tax on “each person engaged in legally authorized commercial marijuana cultivation….” That tax was based on the square footage of that person’s cultivation area. (Section 719-4).
Cultivation area in turn was defined twice in Section 719-3 (b). First to be “the sum of the permitted area(s) of marijuana cultivation as measured around the perimeter of each discrete area of marijuana cultivation on a single premises, as defined herein. And, it was defined again as “Area of cultivation is the physical space where marijuana is grown and includes, without limitation, garden beds or plots, the exterior dimensions of hoop houses or greenhouses, and the total area of the pots and bags containing marijuana plants on the premises. Neither of these definitions alone or together is very clear, and the interpretation of them probably will have to be worked out in the courts unless the tax is collected on the honor system. However, it is clear that the voters instituted a tax on the actual space on the ground that is being used to cultivate marijuana commercially.
In your revision of the Measure S you threw this section out and replaced it with 719-3 (c), “’Cultivation area’ shall mean the cultivation area stated on the… permit.” You then added a sentence to 719-4, the imposition of the tax, to say the tax was due on any permitted property, “regardless of whether or not marijuana is actually grown on such property.”
The effect of these changes is to broaden the scope of the tax from being a tax on actual cultivation area to being a tax on the permitted area whether cultivated or not. Since some people actually cultivated less than the permitted area, and some people with permits did not cultivate at all, the scope of the tax is now broadened to include an unknown amount of land that is not being used for commercial marijuana cultivation. This basis for the tax goes well beyond Measure S, the scope of which was clearly confined to actual cultivation space, however poorly defined. Section 719-9 prohibits expanding the scope of the tax in any way so this alteration is illegal.
These alterations of the ordinance also increase the amount of the tax. As the tax formula is taxable square footage times the rate for the type of cultivation, bringing the permitted, but uncultivated land, into the taxable area increases the amount of the tax. Section 719-9 prohibits this also.
2. Changing the Taxable Period: Measure S says in Section 719-6, “taxes shall begin to accrue on the date on which a person becomes engaged in legally authorized commercial marijuana cultivation….” That is to say, the date they get their permit, or the date they start cultivating under that permit, whichever is later. The point of setting the date precisely is that the tax would be pro-rated for the amount of the year in which the taxed activity took place. Thus if a person got a permit Dec 1, 2017 and began cultivating on that date, that person would owe 1/12th of the annual tax.
Ordinance 2575 deleted the portion of section 719-6 just quoted, replacing it with, “…taxes shall be owed for each and every year in which a commercial marijuana permit is issued….” This replacement increases the amount of the tax considerably by charging the tax on periods of the year in which the permitted person is not engaged in commercial marijuana cultivation as defined in Section 719-3(a) (“Commercial Marijuana Cultivation”) which defined cultivation as commencing with “planting” and ending with “grading or trimming.” This increase in the amount of the tax is prohibited by section 719-9.
The replacement also broadens the scope of the tax in two ways. First, from being a tax on cultivation to being a tax on cultivation permits, and, secondly, from being a tax that begins to accrue when a permitted person commences cultivation, to an annual tax independent of the actual cultivation period. This broadening of scope is prohibited by section 719-9.
3. Changing the Person who must pay the tax: When the voters passed Measure S they imposed a tax on “each person” who has a permit. (Section 719-4). Ordinance 2575 deleted those words, replacing them with words that altered the person upon whom the tax is imposed, from the cultivator to the property owner. Section 719-4 now reads the tax is imposed on, “each property owner whose property is subject to a… permit.”
The voters did not vote to tax the property owners, and by imposing a tax on them you have broadened the scope of the tax to include persons who do not cultivate marijuana. The tax bills will be an unpleasant surprise for property owners who have leased their land to persons who have applied for permits. This broadening of the scope of the tax is prohibited by section 719-9.
Violation of Government Code Section 53723. Government Code 53723 says, “No local government, or district, whether or not authorized to levy a property tax, may impose any general tax unless and until such general tax is submitted to the electorate of the local government, or district and approved by a majority vote of the voters voting in an election on the issue.”
Ordinance 2575 imposes a tax on property owners if their property is permitted for commercial marijuana cultivation. The changes wrought by Ordinance 2575 have not been “submitted to the electorate of the local government” and no “majority vote of the voters voting in an election on the issue” has approved it. There has been no vote on the new tax at all. Neither taxing property owners, nor using the size of the maximum space of cultivation permit as a basis for tax, has been presented to the voters for their approval. The changes Ordinance 2575 made in Measure S are so fundamental and extensive that they amount to a new and different tax replacing the tax that the voters approved.
I imagine you are aware of Government Code section 53728, which says that a tax imposed without complying with the requirements of this Article, shall have its imposer’s allocation of property tax reduced by the amount improperly collected. In addition any citizen or taxpayer may maintain an action to invalidate the tax.
No Cultivator is in Compliance with Federal Law. The ballot initiative, Measure S, was not well written, as you are probably now aware. I have to inform you that because of the language in 719-3 (a), and 719-6 requiring an activity being in compliance with Federal law and regulation in order to be defined as commercial marijuana cultivation or for the tax to begin to accrue; there is almost certainly no person or property owner in Humboldt County who owes any tax under either version of the Measure S ordinances. The voters passed Measure S as written and these sections requiring compliance with Federal law are part of it.
I see that the language of Measure S, which you wrote, has some awkward wording that may make it more difficult to put into effect than you realized. But you can’t just change what the voters passed because you have determined now that you should have written the Measure differently. The proper way to bring into law the scheme you now feel more effective, is to repeal Measure S and replace it with a Measure that you feel solves the problems you have encountered.
I am sending a copy of this letter to County Counsel, Jeffrey Blanck, in case you wish to consult with him about the legal points I am raising. If you, or County Counsel, wish to discuss any of these points with me, I am available.
Eugene Denson, Esq.
POB 158, Alderpoint, Ca 95511 USA
707-923-4764, Fax 707-926-5250
Robert Cox: I’m not just a squishy liberal. I’m an ex-marine, a retired educator with a Ph.D. in philosophy and literature, a senior activist with a nice little government stipend, which gives me the freedom to do the important work of a citizen. I have no agenda beyond a desire to reduce the suffering caused by homelessness. I believe we should spend more time on healing our communities, and less time on figuring out how to take them back. Law enforcement has its place, but it’s not the solution. Ask any cop.
If there is an interest, I’m proposing to write an occasional column. Please let us know what you think? Your interest and participation will determine future developments.
A little over a month ago, while I was getting gas at the 76-gas station at the corner of Central and Heller in McKinleyville, a man rode up next to me on a bicycle and stopped. Dirty, his windburned face and hands, and his overall intensity suggested he was on the verge of some kind emotional meltdown. When he began wagging his finger at me, accusing me of reporting him for a crime he hadn’t committed, I knew I was face-to-face with one of the free-range crazy people I had been reading about on the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook Page. Dumbfounded, I just handed the man a bottle of water I happened to have in my hand. He took it, sighed deeply, and thanked me over his shoulder as he peddled away.
At that point, I went home and started to look into homelessness. What I’m finding isn’t pretty: the speed at which people are becoming homeless—especially on the west coast– has outstripped our collective ability to keep up, to formulate an appropriate response, or even imagine what a long-term solution might look like. We can’t even agree on the cause of the worsening crisis. Is it a question of character, poor choices, addiction, a lack of determination, loss of the work ethic, government programs that enable anti-social lifestyles, etc.? Or, is it environmental, a worsening economy, the disappearance of well-paying jobs, rising costs, the lack of access to education and training, the inability of our political-economic system to adjust zoning laws and building codes, which would lead to the construction of and access to housing and shelter that low-wage earners can actually afford? Is it a matter of bad choices, or the absence of good ones?
With the current shortage of affordable housing, people can’t find places to rent now, even when they have a county rent-voucher in hand; nor can they find a temporary shelter, or even a safe place to pitch a tent. Without a flexible plan to address current needs, what will the future look like? Here’s how I’ve come to see it: it’s as if we are all living on an uneven playing field that’s tipping. Those with the fewest resources live on the edge, and they are in the most danger of falling into the abyss of homelessness. From there, things get worse. I suspect if being crazy didn’t make me homeless, being homeless probably would.
I’m hoping this column can be a place to expand a conversation that began on the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook Page, with an invitation to join in a “fireside chat” about homelessness? As we went deeper into the underlying causes of homelessness the conversation began to raise our awareness about a complicated set of problems, while reducing stigma, and, hopefully, paving the way for a significant reduction of suffering and an improvement in the general welfare.
Rocked by the gas station incident, I came away from this bizarre incident with the impression that our little town is in danger of becoming an outdoor asylum. It was one of those moments when you actually see something for the first time that’s been hiding right there in front of you in plain sight. I got it. Maybe we really are living in a war zone…. I wonder, has anyone noticed that there are far more American casualties on the streets of our country these days than there are in the Middle East? Spending billions on foreign wars to keep us safe at home makes less and less sense to me. Even from a strategic military point of view, if the objective is peace, wouldn’t it make more sense to build houses here rather than blow them up over there?
Turns out the face of the man at the gas station represents only one of the subgroups within the growing homeless population of America. For example, I’m haunted by the story of a local woman who grabbed her children and left in the night to escape the brutality of her drunken husband, only to find there was no place for her to go. She couldn’t stay at the shelter. Traumatized, she was terrified of men. Or there’s the story of the woman coming out of a mini-mart after buying a chocolate bar. A barefooted woman, dressed in a red sweatshirt, standing shoeless in the rain, told the local woman that she was hitchhiking to Oregon, and had become stranded in McKinleyville.
“Do you have an extra pair of shoes,” she asked. “No” was the answer, as the local lady pushed on. Later, she said, I wanted to take that poor woman home with me, let her take a warm shower, and give her some dry clothes. “I didn’t,” she said, I was afraid.”
A week ago Saturday I sat down with a man who has been homeless for five years because of an accident. Recently he moved back to McKinleyville from Eureka despite the lack of shelters here. He said there’s less drama here, and he wants to be closer to his son, who lives with his mom and stepdad.
Every Saturday the Church of the Joyful Healer opens its doors to the homeless. On the day I visited, five members of the congregation hosted fifteen homeless people, five of whom were women. What struck me was how ordinary they seemed. Turns out it’s often hard to recognize the homeless amongst us. They just don’t stand out like the guy at the gas station. It’s the ordinary appearance that hides them. Given the shame and stigma associated with homelessness, it’s hardly surprising, then, that “normal” people would prefer the middle of the heard, which is part of the reason why it’s so difficult to get an accurate count of the homeless. But to give you some idea of the skyrocketing numbers in California, consider this: the total count of homeless people in Los Angeles this year is 58,000, which represents a 28% increase over last year. The most recent count for Humboldt county I could find pegged the number at 1,330. Rents on the West Coast have soared, one reporter notes. Many of those who are homeless now could have found a place to stay just a couple of years ago. “Now, even a temporary setback can be enough to leave them out on the streets.”
Times-Standard | Saturday, 8 July 2017
Access Humboldt’s open letter to Sinclair Broadcast Group
By Sean Taketa McLaughlin
Dear Sinclair board members, shareholders and decision makers, We the people of Humboldt County, on the Redwood Coast of California, would like to welcome you to our community. With your recent acquisition of four local television channels, you are now a major part of our media landscape. We may be a small market demographically, but we support our local news outlets and we have high standards and expectations for corporations that control access to information in our communities.
As the comedian John Oliver pointed out recently on his show “Last Week Tonight,” Sinclair has earned a somewhat unsavory reputation for biased coverage and inflammatory “mustrun” segments that routinely misrepresent facts in order to benefit right-wing political agendas (more on this at http:// tinyurl.com/LWT-Sinclair). While this behavior may stem from a legitimate belief that you are “doing the right thing,” youshould be aware that it often comes across as cynical manipulationand intentional distortionof the truth.
From past experience, we know that consolidated absentee ownership reduces competition, threatens media localism and harms information diversity. For example, when the digital television transition modified the transmission systems for local TV broadcasters, coverage in large swaths of Humboldt County was significantly reduced.
While Bonten has made substantial investments in local origination, Sinclair has a reputation for requiring their owned affiliate stations to air non-local editorial content during local newscasts. This “must air” practice reduces local origination of news and information programs that address controversial issues of public importance. To become a trusted local broadcaster, your policies need to provide reasonable opportunities for local and opposing views to be expressed.
Since we would like to give you the benefit of the doubt as a new player in town, we have developed a short list of suggestedactions that would help to demonstrate your commitment to becoming a responsible provider of high-quality information:
• Ensure localism with meaningful investments in local news and information programming to support public interests of local and tribal jurisdictions: * Station broadcasts should identify “must air” non-local content on-screen.
* Provide equal airtime for local editorial content expressing opposing views.
* Ensure that Spanish language channel(s) include equivalent local program origination as other channels, and that tribes have in-language programming available on-air.
• Promote universal access with investments in new infrastructure for our least-served people and places: * Install and maintain additional translator/repeater facilities to ensure full multi-casting coverage over the entire Designated Market Area served.
• Transparency and accountability to local jurisdictions through community-based participation in local programming: * Maintain public files, including annual reports on compliance with contractual promises available at every local library location.
* Dedicate multi-cast channel(s) programmed entirely with locally originated noncommercial content from local jurisdictions. (Note: This could be accomplished in coordination with public-education-government access community media available now through the counties, cities and tribes served.) While we would love to see all of the above actions incorporated into Sinclair’s local operations, we don’t hold out much hope that these issues will be addressed. After all, we’re just one small piece of a growing monopoly, and there is lots of money to be made through media manipulation and control. Still, we promise to do everything in our power to make sure that you deliver services that meet local needs and community interests.
The North Coast is a very special place to its residents, and we sincerely hope you will thoughtfully consider these andother ways that we can work together to develop and support community-based media. Think of this as a golden opportunity to improve your reputation and become a trusted and reliable source of news across the Redwood Coast region.
Welcome to Humboldt County, and rest assured that we will be watching closely and working tirelessly to help keep you accountable to the high standards of our community. That’s one piece of local news you can definitely count on.
Sincerely, Access HumboldtSean Taketa McLaughlin is executive director of Access Humboldt, a non-profit community media organization managing local cable franchise benefits on behalf of the county of Humboldt, California, and the cities of Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, Rio Dell, Ferndale and Blue Lake. For more information, visit http:// accesshumboldt.net. To read more about the Sinclair-Bonten deal, visit http://tinyurl.com/ FCC-Sinclair-Bonten.
Thanks to a complaint from a concerned citizen and the questioning of Ryan Burns from the Lost Coast Outpost, it looks like the FBI and the State Attorney General’s office will be looking into the Coroner’s handling of estate properties. And by handling, we mean the most extreme “low-balling” of the purchase price and outright theft of deceased people’s property:
Great “ethical standards” law enforcement!!! Stealing from the dead or potential family members of the deceased is just plain low. But that’s business as usual at the Eureka Police Dept(EPD) and in Humboldt’s Good Ol’ Boy network. Wait, EPD you say? Why would we put EPD into a story about the Sheriff-Coroner sales of property that appears on the face of it illegal? The reason is that former EPD officers (not Sergeants or Lieutenants) Frank Jager and Dave Parris have run the coroner’s office since the nineties!
When we first heard about the selling off of deceased people’s property to county employees, Eureka Mayors, and their family members: we weren’t at all surprised. We’ve been getting tips for years that people who’ve had their property seized in marijuana raids have later seen their ATV’s and trailers being used/owned by the same officers who raided their property. But what the hell could we do about that? Who would believe us? If people in the drug trade don’t complain, the problem would just persist.
However, in this case, we have some hope. At first, we were pretty worried. Newly minted Sheriff William “Billy” Honsal gave an interview to Ryan Burns, in which he talked about the new “investigation” he was calling for. The “independent” investigator would be hired by the HCSO, to look into the corruption that was happening under Billy Honsal’s nose when he was in command or second-in-command at the Sheriff’s office:
In that same article, Honsal was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to get too specific into the investigation because I want the independent investigator at the DA’s Office to evaluate the entire investigation and then make a referral to the DA based upon that, but the idea is there is a government code section that basically says no property shall be sold to any current employees of the Coroner’s Office or Public Administrator.”
Now that quote was when we started to get worried and started asking questions to our sources at the County and City of Eureka. Our worst fears of corruption and potential cover-up had been confirmed, …..that is until today’s announcement from DA Fleming. Congratulations and respect to DA Magie Fleming for requesting the State and Federal Government to investigate this case. Maybe some truth will come out of this investigation and criminals (whether elected or not) will be held to account.
But even before this investigation gets underway, it would be nice for the community to understand who the players involved in this good ol’ boy theft of property were, and why those connections had us so worried about what may happen.
First, we have former EPD officer Frank Jager, currently the Mayor of Eureka, who was the Humboldt County Coroner from 1999 until 2009. Then in 2009, the Department was taken over by Dave Parris. Parris ran the department until it was consolidated with the HCSO in 2015.
Paris and Downey
Interesting to note that both Jager and Parris were police officers at the Eureka Police Department. Neither of them promoted above the rank of officer (?), but both of them ended up running the Detectives Bureau at EPD at different times. Their rise to the top position of County Coroner was filled with lots of glad-handing, favors and out and out corruption. It’s also important to notice that these men went to prayer breakfasts in the morning and then stole from dead people during the day. (Not a big surprise to the Examiner)
To top that off, Billy Honsal, a regular prayer breakfast attendee is the son of William Honsal Sr. William Honsal Sr. was a former EPD Captain who was known for several officer-involved shootings. Honsal Sr. is BFF’s with recently retired evangelical Sheriff Downey, who hired Honsal Jr. from an outside agency as the under-sheriff, groomed him as his heir and then promoted him to Sheriff when he left suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly earlier this year.
But it goes further from there! Until DA Fleming made her bold move the investigation of Jager and Parris would have been under the direction of Chief DA Investigator Wayne Cox. Cox was an officer at EPD before becoming a DA Investigator. Cox was given the Investigator and Chief position by his former boss, Mike Hislop. Hislop was a former EPD Sergeant who got the position of Chief DA Investigator from his father in law, Jim Dawson. Now the EPD connections are obvious here, and there’s clearly a built-in bias if Cox was to head an investigation into fellow former fellow EPD officers Jager and Parris.
But it goes even further from there…. You see, many sources have reported to us that Mike Hislop was a thief of the first order back in his days in power. In fact, we’ve been told that he had a hanger at the Eureka airport filled with lots military surplus gear he obtained when he was a Peace Officer. That gear was supposed to be utilized by the agency he worked for, but there’s been accusations and speculation that the gear never made it to his employers. And military gear was just the tip of the iceberg for tips about Hislops corruption and thefts. So you see why we were a little worried that Hislop’s minion Wayne Cox might not look seriously into corruption and theft.
Hopefully, the FBI looks into this as a very “broad” investigation. Maybe they can flesh out whether the theft/sale of deceased people’s property was an isolated corrupt practice, or was part of a broader theft of community member’s property (such as drug seizures, Military Surplus given to departments, unclaimed property, ect.).
As a side note, this investigation and corruption couldn’t have been a surprise to former Sheriff Mike Downey or soon to be former Chief Andy Mills.
The Examiner has to ask. Did they leave their post’s early knowing shit was about to hit the fan? That’s as good an explanation as any of the questionable statements we heard from them when they announced their departures!!!
Good luck Federal and State authorities, bring your hip boot waders you’re stepping into some deep shit!!!
By Linda Stansberry @lcstansberry
The Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition has sent out a press release with information about the most recent Point in Time Count, which took place in late February. The press release charts a general decrease in homeless people tallied across the county, dipping from 1,180 to 618 in t
he last two years, a drop of around 40 percent. Homeless residents in communities from Garberville to Willow Creek were interviewed by volunteers on one day, Feb. 27, in an attempt to document "the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people on a single night during the winter."
But the accuracy of the count is a matter of debate. According to the press release itself, it is "not a scientific survey" and a dearth of volunteers for the count may have contributed to lower numbers.
Sally Hewitt, chair of the HHHC, told the Journal that the count got off to a rough start when the original proposed methodology — counting folks in the early morning — was turned down by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (The count is a HUD requirement.) HUD told HHHC that if they just wanted to get a pure head count, it would have to be done as folks bedded down at night, between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., a methodology Hewitt said was impractical in the land of "Bigfoot and marijuana grows."
So instead, volunteers visited camps and other areas where homeless folks stay during the day with a more complicated survey system that due to timing, the small number of volunteers and the length of the survey, may have counted fewer people than are truly living outdoors in Humboldt County.
But some homeless advocates, including Nezzie Wade of Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, and Debra Carey, who works with the homeless population in Southern Humboldt, see other mechanisms at work.
Wade, who sent the Journal a rough draft of the HHHC's full report, says the total is a "ridiculous number." She and Carey both allege that law enforcement agencies stepped up enforcement on homeless encampments immediately prior to the count. The Journal reached out to the Eureka Police Department and the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office for statements on this claim. EPD Chief Andrew Mills denied it, saying "it is to EPD's benefit to get an accurate count of the homeless." The HCSO did not respond to email from the Journal by the end of the day, but according to Christine Messinger of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Sheriff William Honsal has also denied this charge.
Neither Wade nor Carey could explain why it would make sense to artificially deflate the numbers. Hewitt said this rumor has dogged previous PIT Counts as well and, contrary to perception, the numbers generated do not determine funding for future services.
The numbers from the report, which are, it should be noted, very preliminary and may be refined before a final draft is released later this year, do seem very low. Volunteers counted 206 people sleeping unsheltered in Eureka on the night of the count, 78 in Arcata, 23 in Fortuna, 19 in McKinleyville and Trinidad, 19 in the East County and zero in the Garberville/Redway area. All of these numbers are a sharp decrease from the 2015 count with Eureka's being the most extreme, dropping from 513 to 206. Garberville/Redway residents, who complain regularly on social media about people taking up sidewalk space and living rough in the bushes or along the river bar, might take exception to the analysis that there are no homeless folks in their region.
Carey, who says in the past she has given herself "shin splints" counting people in the SoHum region, says the nonexistent numbers are due to her unwillingness to volunteer this year. Having worked closely with the population in the past, she has conducted many past surveys. She also said there weren't enough preliminary planning meetings prior to this year's count.
Carey also accused law enforcement officers and Caltrans of purposefully disrupting homeless communities just before the count and forwarded the Journal a notice posted near U.S. Highway 101 telling people at an entrenched camp to be out by Feb. 27, the date of the PIT Count.
Reached for comment, Caltrans spokesperson Myles Cochrane denied any intentional disruption of the camps, saying the notices were posted in the interest of public safety prior to the agency doing routine work.
"Any time we have illegal camping along our right of way we have to follow protocol and address the situation in the interest of public safety," said Cochrane. "Of course [we] are allied with [California Highway Patrol], as they are tasked with the law enforcement side of clearing up illegal camp sites on state property. The last thing we’d want is for someone to get hurt or worse because they’re spending time in an area where collisions could occur or where living conditions are bad enough to impact personal and environmental health. So we follow our policy, which is to give three days notice, and then we work with CHP and other agencies to carry out the cleanup of illegal campsites."
The emergency homeless shelter in Ukiah recently closed, forcing many homeless individuals in Mendocino county to wander the streets and sleep outside at night. The closure puts them at greater risk of being ticketed by police for illegal camping.
The city of Ukiah adopted an illegal camping ordinance in 2014, essentially criminalizing camping and homelessness.
Alan Schlosser, Senior counsel of the ACLU in Northern California wrote a letter to the city when the ordinance was on the city council meeting agenda in 2014.:
"...The Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits imposing criminal punishment for a person’s mere status. In Jones v. City of Los Angeles, the Ninth Circuit addressed this issue and held that in the absence of available shelter space, enforcement against homeless people of the City's ordinance which criminalized sitting, lying, or sleeping on public streets and sidewalks violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. 444 F.3d 1118, 1131-1137 (9th Cir. 2006).1 Notably, the court concluded, "whether sitting, lying, and sleeping are defined as acts or conditions, they are universal and unavoidable consequences of being." Id. at 1136. ..."
Measure Z Citizens' Advisory Committee Finalizes RecommendationsThe Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Measure Z expenditures this week finalized its recommendations for projects to be funded in Fiscal Year 2017-18. In total, the committee recommended 12 projects to be funded, in addition to projects that require on-going funding. The final recommendations will be included in the county’s proposed budget, which will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on June 6.
The committee is recommending $4.47 million in expenditures, including $1.2 million to the Humboldt County Fire Chief’s Association for equipment; $1.18 million to the Department of Public Works for roads resurfacing; and $438,292 to the Sheriff’s Office for staff and patrol vehicles, among others.
While revenue from tax is estimated at $11.4 million, there is an ongoing cost of $6.63 million due to projects that were funded in the past, like hiring Sheriff Deputies, Deputy District Attorneys and Probation Officers. In addition, roughly $336,000 in one-time funding was rolled over to FY 17-18, adding to the available funding.
In total, agencies submitted 45 applications requesting more than $11.3 million in funding. The committee held five meetings in which it solicited proposals, took public input and evaluated proposals that sought a share of these funds.
The committee sorted these applications in to three categories: “must have,” “need to have,” and “nice to have.” The committee further developed two lists for projects to be funded. The primary list below includes projects the committee recommends be funded first, and is comprised of “must have” projects. The secondary list includes projects that should be considered during the mid-year budget review. If applicants cannot or do not expend their funds during FY 2017-18, the committee is recommending that projects on the secondary list be considered.
PROPOSED HOSPITAL PARCEL TAX INCREASE-MEASURE W-INFORMATION FOR VOTERS
This time it is to be increased to $170 per parcel for 45 years, the total would be 73 million dollars. This would be to pay back a 40 million dollar loan including the interest. We have been told that by 2030 we will have to do an earthquake retrofit that cannot be done at the existing facility so therefore we need to build a new one for 73 million dollars.
First you should have some background information that will help you make this decision. Seismic preparedness levels are listed as 1 through 5. By 2013 hospitals were to be at a minimum of level 2. By 2030 the minimum level is 3. Several years ago, SHCHD performed a retrofit on the existing facility and increased the level from 1 to 2. They would like you to think that this is required by the state or you will have to close your healthcare facility. This is not true. The following is a partial list of hospitals that have not increased their level from 1 to 2, they are still open and serving their communities. They receive payments from MediCal, Medicare and all the other companies that reimburse for healthcare.
Highland Hospital – Oakland
Enloe Medical Center – Chico
Colusa Medical Center – Colusa
Delano Regional Center – Delano
Coast Plaza Hospital – Norwalk
College Medical Center – Long Beach
Community Hospital – Long Beach
Glendale Adventist Medical Center – Glendale
Kaiser Foundation Hospital – Panorama City
Kindred Hospital – Baldwin Park
Kindred Hospital – Gardena
Harbor UCLA Medical Center – Torrance
LA Community Hospital – Bellflower
LA Metro Med Center – LA
Promise Hospital – East LA
Ronald Regan Medical Center – LA
Shriners Hospital for Children – LA
Marin General Hospital – Greenbrae
This partial list of hospitals is from the Office of Statewide Health Planning And Development. This includes small and large facilities. Again, these hospitals have not gone from a 1 to 2 in their seismic upgrades. They certainly will not go to 3. The list of hospitals that have gone to 2 and will not go a 3 will be longer than the previous list.
Spreading rumor and fear in order to gain public approval of this megaproject is in very poor taste. The following has been said: If we don’t build a new hospital, your property values will go down, people will move out of the area, you will die before you can be transported to Fortuna or Willits, businesses in town will suffer, it will damage our schools. None of this is true. The state has no intention of closing any hospital. The existing facility can be used for the next 50 years. We do not need to change the physical facility. People say that the quality of the available services are substandard and that what is offered does not meet their needs. Building a 40 million dollar hospital building will not bring a superior medical staff to Southern Humboldt.
There are other issues. SHCHD claims to need the current parcel tax amount to stay open. A $170/parcel tax is a $45 increase from the current $125/parcel tax. This would provide an additional $430,000 per year in income. The payment per year on a USDA loan of 40 million dollars for 40 years at 3.4% interest is $1.82 million. Seems we are short about $1.37 million per year. Coupled with the fact that the proposed hospital is only a building, not furnished or equipped, the district will have to ask for an additional $300/parcel after construction begins. Frank R Howard Hospital in Willits is a new and equipped 25 bed facility and the cost was $64 million, why is the SHCHD proposal, which is less than half the size, cost so much? In addition, SHCHD says it has 5000 patient visits per year; if the parcel tax increases to $1.63 million per year it means each patient visit will cost the taxpayers $326.
Where do we go from here? I suggest we vote no on Measure W. And then find and elect people who want to improve healthcare first and build the monument second.