Whilst most teenagers appear to be overly obsessed with the latest version of the iPhone, one young woman nicknamed Greenleaf is making a valiant effort to bring attention to the issues of global warming. This courageous 16-year-old is taking a stand against climate change by tree sitting in a valuable grove of ancient trees near Trinidad, in Humboldt County. The trees are in danger of being clear-cut by Green Diamond Resource Company who owns the land. Activists have named the 80-90-year-old tree Greenleaf occupies Neptune, and she may well be the youngest person to ever have undertaken this form of direct action. Greenleaf has been “sitting” in Neptune for 3 weeks, sometimes taking short breaks to visit home, but when we spoke her feet had not touched the ground for 4 days.
Perched about 130 feet off the forest floor her tree house is built of a sky net and two platforms covered with tarps. She has room to move around and free-climb the tree although for safety reasons she is always tied to at least two points even whilst sleeping. Her ground support, which includes her parents, Trinidad Tree Sitters, Friends of Trinidad Forest and a 501c3 non-profit called Sol Communications, deliver food to Greenleaf and other tree sitters. The supplies are hoisted up via a pulley system. She has a small camping stove to heat food if needed. Unceremoniously, she goes to the toilet in a bucket, which is then lowered to the ground crew for disposal. During the day, Greenleaf reads, writes and listens to the radio singing along to the tunes which hikers, passing by underneath, can hear her on the way to Strawberry Rock.
Greenleaf says she does not get cold as she can snuggle down in her sleeping bag and wear a hat, but she mentioned that some people do get tree sick from the swaying of the tree, just like seasickness. Although so far the weather has been fairly temperate, Greenleaf seems unperturbed by the forecast of rain in the coming week when the tarp may come in handy!
The grove of trees in question is near Strawberry Rock, a site held to be sacred by the local Yurok tribe, and is located on approximately 1,200 acres of Redwood temperate rainforest. The area has already been clear-cut by Green Diamond whose intention it is to continue to clear-cut another 84 acres of stands of trees some of which are reputed to be 100 years old, and to do “selection” logging on an additional 25.5 acres. Clear-cutting not only has a devastating impact on wildlife but also contributes to global climate change. It is an ecological tragedy.
Although Neptune is not directly threatened as yet, Green Diamond does not seem to have any moral code of conduct when it comes to logging ancient trees to turn them into decks and patio furniture! Somebody is going to have to explain to me why decking and chairs are more important than preserving pristine rainforest and ancient trees. Economics I understand. Of course, there is the issue of jobs in a time of economic uncertainty and falling employment but assuming that at least some of the loggers have children, having air to breathe, food to eat and clean water to drink may trump the need to make money out of logging old growth forests.
When I asked Greenleaf why she was undertaking such an action she said, “It is our debt to the forest to protect it and if no one else is going to stand up then I have to. If I can get more children to be involved, then it will have a big impact on the adults.” Profound words indeed. Greenleaf is part Blackfoot and has grown up around Native American tradition regularly attending sweat lodges and other ceremonies. The indigenous tribal peoples have been warning us about catastrophic climate change for many years, much to our detriment we have been ignoring them and all 97 percent of climate change scientists who recently issued a statement about our current dire situation. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, clear-cutting is “the most CO2 spewing logging method of them all” and is “devastating to wildlife, habitat and water quality.”
As I watch news coverage of the Filipino climate chief, Yeb Saño begging participants in the Warsaw Climate Change Conference to “stop the madness,” and see dead children’s bodies covered in tarps — the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan, I have to wonder what it will take for our governments to finally get off their indecisive behinds and act swiftly to mitigate the eco-disasters. Refusing to clear-cut forests like Strawberry Rock might actually be a start! We must protect undisturbed forests, which are crucial to a healthy climate instead of continuing the destructive practices of deforestation. If we continue to clear-cut at this rate, we will increase the rapidity and severe consequences of global warming, and that will soon come home to roost in our own backyards. It will no longer be so easy to dismiss the consequences of actions like clear-cutting when the West is increasingly hit with the environmental devastation. Sticking your head in the sand and thinking that climate change won’t happen in our lifetime or won’t affect us is short-sighted, to say the least. It will. It is here, and unless we dramatically change our attitudes, we will face the devastating consequences.
We have to take personal and local responsibility as our elected governments do not seem to be up to the challenge. Ending clear-cutting is one step we can take. Unlike the governments of the world, at least some of our visionary children are apparently leading the way.
File this under we don’t know what it means, but it sure is interesting…Today, a company called CordovaCann Corp based in Toronto, Canada announced that it has “an exclusive option to acquire a majority stake” in Humboldt Healthcare, LLC. Humboldt Healthcare is a cannabis business based in near Blue Lake that has donated the maximum amount to both the reelection campaigns of Humboldt County Supervisors Ryan Sundberg and Virginia Bass.
According to the North Coast Journal, Humboldt Healthcare has “no web presence beyond a registry with the California Secretary of State’s Office and a corresponding post office box.”
TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / March 13, 2018 / CordovaCann Corp. (OTCQB: LVRLF) (“CordovaCann” or the “Company”) announced today that the Company has entered into a memorandum of understanding (the “MOU”) with Humboldt Healthcare, LLC (“Humboldt Healthcare”) to grant the Company an exclusive option (the “Option”) to acquire a majority stake in real estate and intellectual property assets owned by Humboldt Healthcare that serve California’s recreational marijuana sector (collectively, the “Assets”).
Under the terms of the MOU, the Company has agreed to pay Humboldt Healthcare $100,000 United States Dollars (USD) in exchange for the Option to purchase the Assets. The Option allows the Company to purchase 100% of the Assets for a total purchase price of $8,000,000 USD or to purchase a 51% interest in the Assets for $4,080,000 USD with the remaining 49% interest to be held by Humboldt Healthcare. Under the latter scenario, CordovaCann and Humboldt Healthcare would operate the Assets under a partnership arrangement. The Option has a term of 90 days which may be extended by an additional 30 days under certain circumstances as further agreed between the parties. The acquisition of Assets would allow CordovaCann to enter the California cannabis market from a premier location in Blue Lake, [Humboldt County]California. The location allows for over 100,000 square feet to be utilized for production and processing of cannabis in the heart of Humboldt County, a leading area of cannabis production in the United States.
The Company welcomes a potential partnership with Humboldt Healthcare given the significant knowledge and experience of the principals involved. These principals are established leaders in the cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of flower and extracts and provide both raw and processed material to many of the largest brands in the state.
“This opportunity is transformational for CordovaCann in that it allows the Company to enter one of the largest cannabis markets in the world with a potential partnership with one of the most respected and established players in that market,” stated Mr. Taz Turner, CEO of CordovaCann. He added, “The expected returns from the Assets in Blue Lake [Humboldt County] would be significant for the Company. Humboldt Healthcare has been a strong supporter of the Humboldt County community and economy and their team has an impressive track record of execution.”
About CordovaCann Corp.
CordovaCann Corp. (formerly LiveReel Media Corp.) is a Canadian-domiciled company focused on building a leading diversified cannabis company. CordovaCann primarily provides services and investment capital to the processing and production vertical markets of the cannabis industry.
UPDATE: Emerald Family Farms, LLC does business as Humboldt Healthcare.
UPDATE 2: CordovaCann has issued a revised press release in which Blue Lake has been removed and the words “Humboldt County” has been substituted. Thank you to Amanda Mager, Blue Lake City Manager for bringing this to our attention.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Shelley K. Mack, SBN 209596 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Shelley K. Mack, SBN 209596 email@example.com 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. ..."