Category Archives: SoHum

RIP County Coroner

coroner

Who keeps an eye on the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department? Do we have a single investigative journalist around here? We sure could use a few, but of course, investigative journalism costs money that our local news outlets would rather not spend. Who can blame them? So long as they can fill the spaces between ads with press releases from local non-profits, endless editorializing, our gruesome police log, and an obligatory report from the Board of Supes meeting, why should they bother holding anybody’s feet to the fire?

feet to the fire

Besides, people around here don’t care about government corruption. In fact, we like corruption. We like knowing that justice is for sale around here. We would rather not know the gristly facts, or have to disclose them. We just want to know that if we have enough money, it can all go away. That’s the American Way, right?

american way rich folks-tile

Here in Humboldt County we want the the criminal justice system to reward successful criminals and to punish honest poor people. That’s why funds from the county’s new sales tax will go into the coffers of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s department, and its, more than two-hundred, overpaid, trigger-happy thugs, instead of the Humboldt County Coroner’s office, an understaffed team of 5 forensic investigators trying to solve an epidemic of drug-related murders and police shootings.

police brutality-tile

We really don’t mind murderers walking the streets among us, especially if they kill poor “transients,” and we don’t care if out-of-town families ever find out what happened to their missing family member. If we did care, and we didn’t want murderers walking the streets of Humboldt County, we’d fund the coroner’s office, and our elected County Coroner would not have resigned, and the Board of Supervisors would not be dumping the coroner’s budget, as well as his responsibilities into the Sheriff’s Department.

ParrisDowney

Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!

Fox_henhouse02

We don’t mind murderers in Humboldt County, because they tend to keep a low profile, but we’re damn sick and tired of seeing poor people hanging around, talking to each other and smoking cigarettes, and we hate that they have the nerve to do it in public. That’s why the Supervisors have decided to cut funding for solving murders, and increased the funding for armed thugs to terrorize poor people.

copvsgangmember

Let’s face it, every day they hear from local people who say: “I’m sick of seeing these filthy dirty hippies carrying everything they own on their backs, sitting in front of my store that sells nothing that anybody really needs.” They hear that all the time, from people who vote, and make political contributions. Only once a week or so do they hear from the bereft relative of a murder victim, asking for justice, and usually they’re calling from out of state, so fuck ‘em.

fuck em1

Now that the Coroner’s Office has been folded into the Sheriff’s Department, it will be much easier for Sheriff’s Deputies to handle more murders “in house.” By “handle” I mean “commit, and/or frame people for” not “solve” in case you were wondering. Sheriff Downey has promised to make room in the county jail for homeless people accused of petty crimes. This new arrangement will make it easier for the sheriff to transfer some of that overcrowding to the county morgue.

overcrowding_documented

On a related note, I know that sheriff Downey hates to lose a good deputy. I presume that’s why it took him nearly a year to fire Deputy Daniels after a woman came forward with a credible accusation that he had taken her into custody illegally and raped her while on duty. Deputy Daniels remained on active duty, and five months later, a second woman came forward with accusations of serious sexual assault.

daniels sargent

Daniels was only removed from active duty two months after the second assault. How many other women did he rape? Who trained him? What does this say about the culture of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department? Sounds like a job for an investigative reporter.

investigative reporter-text

Anyway, if you are poor, or have a vagina, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department is looking for you, and now, they can do it all “in house.”

relax we can handle this in house


The Ganjier’s Circular Reasoning

ganjier_

Lately, I’ve noticed a new circular tucked into the North Coast Journal, from our local SoHum cannabis dispensary, Wonderland Nursery. Even though we live in the heart of the marijuana industry, we were one of the last places in California without a dispensary, until Wonderland opened up a few years ago specializing in potted cannabis seedlings. I see from their circular that they now also dabble in edibles and concentrates.

shatter

I’ve never been to Wonderland, but I always enjoy hearing “The Ganjier” of Wonderland Nursery, Kevin Jodrey talk about marijuana. In my lifetime so far, I have listened to way too many people talk way, way, waaaayyyyyyy toooooo much about marijuana. Really, I love marijuana,and I’ve grown marijuana, but I don’t find gardening particularly interesting. I’m more interested in getting high, and when I get high, the last thing I want to hear, is some idiot drone on about how awesome this new strain of marijuana is. I get it. I’m stoned. It’s good pot, now shut-up about it.

shut up and smoke

But it’s different with The Ganjier. Kevin Jodrey really knows his cannabis, and he’s very articulate and well spoken. When I have the opportunity to hear him talk about marijuana, I take notes. So, of course, I read the editorials that appeared in the Wonderland Nursery circulars. I don’t think I’ve ever read an editorial in an advertizing circular before, but I’ve also never seen a circular advertizing marijuana plants before, so the Wonderland Nursery insert struck me as novel for a couple of reasons.

kjodrey-

Anyway, the first editorial I read from the Ganjier pointed out that as we move towards legalization of cannabis, the interests of the “cannabis cause” will diverge from those of the “cannabis industry.” I appreciate the heads up Kevin, but I’ve seen the cannabis cause, and the cannabis industry, and I don’t think the two could be any more divergent. The cannabis industry loved prohibition because prohibition made an easy to grow weed more valuable than gold.

marijuana-money1

The cannabis cause was made almost entirely of marijuana consumers. The people I met through High Times Freedom Fighters and Mass Cann all had jobs. Back then, people from the “cannabis industry” only joined the “cannabis cause” after they got busted. Some of us grew our own weed, but we supported the legalization movement with money we earned AT WORK, and we attended rallies, wrote letters, and went to meetings in our “free” time, AND we bought marijuana at outrageously high black market prices.

need money for weed

Thankfully, Jack Herer came along. Jack sold books, bumper-stickers and T-Shirts and taught people all over the country how to sell legalization. Thanks to Jack Herer, and his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, marijuana legalization became a business, and anyone could open a franchise. Jack taught us to sell legalization, and pretty soon, some people were making a living from it. That’s what turned the tide towards legalization. The cannabis industry had almost nothing to do with it.

Jack Herer at Ann Arbor Hash Bash 1990

The cannabis industry was busy making money, from us, the cannabis cause. They were buying big diesel generators, damming creeks and putting out rat poison. They were breeding better marijuana. I’ll give them that, but when it comes to legalization, the cannabis industry was not a big help, except for the fact that marijuana smokers everywhere really, really, resented the high prices, and that resentment motivated them to work for legalization.

too damn high

So, now that legalization seems inevitable, and the cannabis industry begins to rise up out of the muck of prohibition, it’s not asking “How may we help you?” Instead, it’s warning us that it may no longer have our best interests at heart. The Ganjier warns those of us who want to “free the weed” that the cannabis industry prefers to “expensive the weed.”

cost of cannabis

In the second editorial, however, The Ganjier laments all of the bad publicity that the cannabis industry has experienced lately. Why does the press always focus on the habitat destruction, the murders, the stream diversions, and the rat poison when there’s so much more to the cannabis industry than that? Look, one dispensary uses electric cars, the Ganjier tells us.

hemp car

The Ganjier thinks that the cannabis cause should help the cannabis industry with its little image problem. I don’t think so. Here’s why:

why1

First, People should know that Humboldt County is a terrible place to grow cannabis. People should know that this is not farmland. We live in a forest. The land here is steep and poorly suited to agriculture. You cannot produce cannabis here economically, without the huge government subsidies known as prohibition. This is not a place for farmers. This is a place where criminals go to hide their criminal activity. Now that cannabis is going legal, the cannabis industry should move out of the closet known as Humboldt County.

come out of the closet

Second, people should see the ugliness and the stupidity behind the current cannabis industry. People get killed. People get hurt. Lots of people get ripped off. Besides that, people in the cannabis industry do a lot of really stupid shit, like setting a camper on fire on the side of the road, or dropping a refrigerator off of the Alder Point bridge or leaving a truck full of diesel fuel parked in the riverbed.

truck in river

Finally, the cannabis industry has all of our fucking money. If the cannabis industry gave a fuck about anyone but themselves, not only could they have legalized pot, they could have financed a guerrilla army that would have already liberated this nation from the capitalist police state, once and for all. They don’t give a fuck. Instead, they want bigger trucks, wider TVs and newer smart phones. So fuck ‘em.

fuck em paccino

Listen, if the newly emerging legal cannabis industry wants help from the cannabis cause, the cannabis industry damn well better find a way to produce marijuana at a reasonable price. No marijuana is worth more than $50 an ounce, and I’d much rather see the current cannabis industry collapse as support the environmental destruction, violence, and stupidity that defines the cannabis industry today.

drug dealing dog


Go Vote!

Well Tomorrow is Election Day. Win or lose, this will be the last time I write about Measure Z. Believe me, I’m as sick of it as you are. I cannot think of a single topic more boring than tax policy, or an activity more pointless than voting, but this blog remains the highest ranked Vote No on Measure Z page on the internet, so I have a job to do.

jobs suck

We’ve dropped a few places since I first reported this phenomena, but lygsbtd remains the only Vote No On Measure Z web site to show up on the first page of search results. However, if you do a google image search, you’ll discover that my Vote No on Measure Z memes dominate the image search results, with seven of the top ten images sourcing from this blog. In the image war, I am kicking their ass!

vote kiss ass

Unfortunately, this battle won’t be decided by a google image search. This battle will be won at the ballot box, so here I go again, trying to find an entertaining way to motivate you to go to the polls and VOTE NO ON MEASURE Z.

go vote give a fuck z

I don’t like telling you to vote. Usually I tell people that voting is for suckers, because voting is for suckers. It takes a special kind of stupidity to believe in democracy. Think about it. How many years did you stay up all night on Christmas Eve, before you realized that Santa Claus was a fraud? Now ask yourself: How long has it been since you’ve seen democracy actually solve a problem or prevent an expensive, pointless war? We have a word for that kind of stupidity. We call that kind of stupidity: “religion.”

Religion EAP

Democracy is just the latest fraud religion. Like all fraud religions, it was concocted as a means of extracting money from your pocket, and putting it in someone else’. That’s exactly what Measure Z is all about. Humboldt’s greediest bloodsuckers are counting on Humboldt’s dumbest morons to help them pry more money out of your pocket.

morons

They know that ALL of the greedy bloodsuckers in Humboldt County will vote for their regressive tax measure, because greedy bloodsuckers love to take advantage of people. Even the Libertarians around here (I’m looking at you Fred) can’t say NO to screwing poor people. So, they’ve got the bloodsucker vote wrapped up.

vampires-de-salem

The big problem will be liberals and progressives. Liberals and progressives are the snake handlers and castration cults of the fraud religion known as democracy. They are the dumbest of the dumb. At least the bloodsuckers know that democracy is a game, and they play to win. Liberals and progressives think that democracy has magical powers to solve intractable social and environmental problems, something it has never, ever, done.

I-love-america-this-love-will-never-work-out-72c63e

Liberals and progressives worship democracy and believe it has supernatural powers. They believe that if the government has more money, its magical powers to solve problems grow stronger. That’s why liberals and progressives like paying taxes. They like to think about all the cool things that government would do if it had more power. Like:

more power scotty

Solve global climate change with electric cars and solar powered bullet trains.

MITSUBISHI MOTOR SALES OF AMERICA, INC. CYPRESS CHARGING STATION

Find a cure for cancer, Ebola, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.

ebola41

End poverty and homelessness.

Homeless-Family-i wish

I’ve got news for you. Government is never going to do any of that stuff. In reality, democracy empowers bloodsuckers to rape the Earth, pollute the environment and take advantage of people, and democracy prevents the rest of us from interfering with it. That’s what democracy does now, and that’s what democracy has always done, but liberals and progressives look back at democracy’s almost 250 year history in the US, and they say, “It still looks good on paper. It really should work this time.”

looks good on paper

No, it won’t work, not this time, not next time, not ever. Democracy will never work. Jesus is not coming back, and Santa Claus does not exist. I’m sorry to disappoint you, if I’m the one to break it to you, but professional wrestling is phony too. These are just the facts of life.

pro wrestling

Still, these three great frauds, democracy, Christianity and consumerism continue to define our culture, and sometimes it’s just easier to just say “Merry Christmas” than to yell, “Santa is dead!” When someone says “bless you” after you sneeze, it’s not always helpful to say “Fuck you! Your religion is a fraud and you are an idiot!” By the same token, you can hold your nose, go to your polling place, and cast your ballot to stop this whole evil system from stealing even more of your life, even though you know the system is a complete fraud.

fraud_alert2

Go ahead. Get it over with. Vote NO on Measure Z.

get_it_over_with z


Wildlife Matters #2 Airs This Thursday

This Thursday at 5pm on KMUD, catch the latest episode of Wildlife Matters, the new public affairs program my partner Amy Gustin and I produce. Amy and I are still in the midst of hammering it out, but it’s going to be a great show. On this show we’ll cover coyotes, the singing dogs of North America.

photo by Talia Rose

photo by Thalia Rose

As usual, Amy has done a lot of research, and we’ll have some great guests as well:

coyote howls

We’ll have Dr. Marc Bekoff, who studied coyotes for years talking about emotions in animals and the significance of play in canines.

marc bekoff with coyote

Dr. Michael Soule, the ecologist talks about the important role coyotes play in ecosystems.

Dr Michael Soule

Monte Merrick, Co-Director of the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center talks about attitudes towards coyotes locally.

monte merrick

Congressman Peter Defazio rails against the pointless, cruel, and government subsidized slaughter of thousands of coyotes every year by Wildlife Services, a branch of the USDA. We’ll also hear a bit from the coyotes themselves.

peter difazio

Like I said, It’s going to be a great show, but we still have about ten minutes of it to hammer-out, so I better get back to work.

get back to work


We Must Defeat Measure Z

z1 genghis khan quote

It’s only a campaign if you stick with it till the bitter end, we must defeat the forces of greed and corruption in Humboldt County, and we must defeat Measure Z. Unfortunately, this is an uphill climb. I really don’t know how to gauge the electorate, but from the people I’ve talked to about the issue, public opinion ranges from ignorance to stupidity.

z1 mlk ignorance and stupidity

The most common response I heard from people was: “What is Measure Z?” That’s just simple ignorance. I understand that. I can explain Measure Z to them, no problem, and then they can make up their own mind, but that takes work, and it costs money which I don’t have.

z1 Look-at-all-the money

Measure Z is essentially a one-half of one percent increase in the cost of almost everything for everyone in Humboldt County. Measure Z is the rich stealing from the poor. Measure Z is the same greedy bastards who took over our Board of Supervisors, reaching deep into the pockets of the working people of Humboldt County. Measure Z makes you pay for big subsidies to ranchers and developers, and allows them to profit from your hard work.

z1 slavery1

There’s been almost no press about this issue, except the blandest pile of BS you ever heard from our local Supervisor, and another from someone in the Sheriff’s Dept. Everyone in the county got a mailer about Measure Z, paid for by the taxpayers. The mailer was equally bland, and completely unbalanced.

z1 unbalanced

Measure Z proponents are hoping for rain on election day, and a poor turnout. They don’t want Humboldt County working people to even bother to vote. They know that the greedy bastards looking for a free ride on your shoulders will make it to the polls, rain or shine. We need to GET OUT THE VOTE on November 4. Measure Z is going to bite you in the wallet if you don’t wake up now and beat it at the ballot-box. Please vote No on Measure Z.

z big_shark_1a

The stupidity is a lot harder to deal with. Stupid land owners say things like (excerpted from a fb exchange):

z1 born ignorant

“ I am a property owner and a landlord. I have no problem with increased taxes, but county government is for all of us from law enforcement, public records, the library, our courts, public health to public welfare. I agree we may well have a planning problem with developers, but I don’t see ranchers and farmers as greedy–they provide us with our food. Ranchers and farmers have been heavily impacted by the recent drought. Poor people and the homeless need government services–before I retired I was on the homeless coalition. There are those who care about the poor who work in county government. I would be very careful pitting people against each other. We all need to work together to make our area a better place to live. Paying property taxes is a way to make the lives of the less fortunate better. Proposition 13 that decreased county property taxes heavily impacted the poor by decreasing government services.”

rz1 ich and stupid

What a crock of Bullshit! People like this don’t think they are being greedy, because greed is the water they swim in. Calling them “greedy” is like calling a fish “wet.” 90% of what county government does, is guarantee the property rights of property owners. Courts, law-enforcement, public records primarily serve these ends. There may be people who care about the poor who work in county government, but that’s not what they get paid to do. They get paid to implement policies that have been created to protect property owners from the poor.

z1 class war ahead2

Ranchers and farmers don’t “provide us with food,” unless we buy it from them, at a price they agree to. Measure Z forces poor and homeless people to subsidize these farmers and ranchers, even though they have no land themselves, and get no food at all in return. Those alleged “property rights” amount to nothing more than an expensive and violent occupation of stolen land by vicious genocidal invaders.

z1 indian-land-for-sale

I agree that we all need to work together to make this area a better place to live, but to do that, we need to find homes for the more than 2,000 people who have no place to live in Humboldt County. Instead, Measure Z makes those homeless Humboldters pay for services to rich, stupid and greedy land owners, heirs to the most violent, racist and genocidal empire to ever despoil the face of God’s green Earth.

z1 thanksgiving That’s the kind of greed and stupidity we’re up against folks. Measure Z supporters are “Marie Antoinette” stupid, and there’s only one cure for that kind of stupidity.

z1 marie-antoinette1

Here’s some more helpful information to help you make up your mind about Measure Z:

z1 stuff you should know

The North Coast Journal usually only accepts letters to the editor about topics they cover in the magazine, and they haven’t even mentioned Measure Z. In this last month before the election they have made space for letters about political issues, but limited the length of these letters to to 150 words. 150 words is barely longer than a bumper sticker for Christs sake. Anyway, here’s mine.

z1 heres mine motivation

Dear Editor,
Measure Z, the proposed county-wide sales tax will raise the price of basic necessities like shoes, clothes and toiletries, as well as most other things, for everyone in Humboldt County. This new tax will most severely impact Humboldt County’s students, working people, low-income families, disabled people and seniors living on fixed incomes. It is particularly unfair to fund county government with a sales tax because the primary purpose of county government is to secure the property rights of property owners. If you own property, county government works for you, whether you live here or not. If you don’t own property, county government are the people who evict you from your home. If Measure Z passes, Humboldt county’s low-income residents will begin paying their landlord’s tax bill. Measure Z is a cynical ploy to take advantage of the county’s most vulnerable. Please, VOTE NO on Measure Z.

z 1 darwin award

Sincerely, John Hardin

z1 blotter mad hatter

Continuing my campaign to sink Measure Z I present the text to an “All Sides Now,” a nightly audio editorial feature on KMUD, that I submitted regarding Measure Z. Read it now or save yourself the trouble of interpreting all of those English language characters and listen to it tonight, Monday, October 20 at 6:30 after the evening news, instead.

z1 listen

This is John Hardin for All Sides Now,

Measure Z, if it passes would establish a brand new county-wide sales tax, on top of the already high seven-and-a-half percent state sales tax, and in addition to any municipal sales tax, such as the one up for reconsideration in Eureka. If Measure Z passes, it will make almost everything in Humboldt County, more expensive, including basic necessities like shoes, clothes and toiletries.

z1 kid-drunk

Measure Z will most severely impact Humboldt County’s young people and students, low-income working families, single mothers, disabled people, retirees and others living on a fixed income. In other words, Measure Z hurts the people who can afford it the least.

z1 steinbeck quote

Who benefits from Measure Z? Greedy developers, rich ranchers and large estate owners expect to reap a windfall of taxpayer subsidies from Measure Z funds. If Measure Z passes, you will pay for taxbreaks on new McMansion developments, every time you buy toilet paper. If Measure Z passes, you will have to pay for subsidized pest control for ranchers, through Wildlife Services, a notoriously inhumane agency of the USDA that needlessly kills millions of wild animals every year, every time you buy cruelty-free cosmetics in Humboldt County.z1 Cruelty-towards-animals

Measure Z is a cynical plan, hatched by Humboldt County’s richest and greediest, to foist the burden of county government on to the backs of people who can afford it the least, while they insure that the benefits of county government remain firmly within their grasp.

z1 greedy hand

Measure Z steals from the poor and gives to the rich. We must stop Measure Z now, before it is too late. Please, vote NO on Measure Z.

z1 stop ebola rns


Vote NO on Measure Z

z abe lincoln quote1

I just googled “Measure Z Humboldt County,” and discovered that this blog ranks higher than any other site that opposes Measure Z. Right behind the official Support Measure Z site, the county’s Measure Z page, and a LOCO story about Measure Z, my piece, No Wifi in SoHum Means No on Measure Z ranked fourth, and was the only “No on Z” site to turn up on the entire first page of results.

No-Wifi-no-z

Fuck! Somebody needs to stand up to Rob Arkley and Lee Ulansey’s plan to screw the poor and working people of Humboldt County. It looks like everyone else is busy with the Eureka Fair Wage Act and the County-wide GMO Ban. Personally, I don’t even garden, let alone farm, and I don’t live in Eureka, so those issues don’t effect me much.

z churchill quote

On the other hand, Measure Z, if it passes will hurt me, and a lot of other people in Humboldt County like me, who barely make ends meet, and have neither the time nor the resources to launch a political campaign. I don’t have money for campaign literature. I don’t even have a phone to call other people to help organize a fundraiser. I have a blog. That’s it. That’s what makes Measure Z so unfair. It specifically targets the people who have the least resources to fight it. It’s like taking candy from a baby.

z baked baby

I make my living as an artist. The key to survival as an artist is not talent or hard work, because God knows I lack the former, and avoid the latter like Ebola. The key to survival as an artist is finding creative ways to spend even less money than you make. There is no minimum wage for artists, nor do we get any raises, cost-of-living increases or bonuses. Keeping costs down is critical to my survival, and Measure Z, if it passes will raise my cost of living, and it will definitely hurt.

z big_shark_1a

If Measure Z passes, I will have to pay more for things like shoes, clothes, shampoo and toilet paper, basic necessities of life that everyone needs and has to buy. Everyone who buys anything in Humboldt County will have to pay this tax to county government. Measure Z will raise the price of everything from tampons, condoms and diapers to beer wine and cigarettes for everyone who shops in Humboldt County, but it won’t effect everyone equally.

z arkley crop-tile

People who have plenty of money will just shrug it off without a second thought. Land-owners think it beats paying property tax, so they won’t complain. Merchants think they are going to get something for it, namely more sheriff’s deputies tasked with the job of removing unsightly poverty from our business districts, so you don’t hear them complaining. For work-a-day stiffs, low-income families, disabled people and retirees on a fixed income, Measure Z could easily become the straw that breaks the camel’s bank.

z1 burden rock

The injustice of a county sales tax is that the primary purpose of county government is to protect the property rights of property owners. If you own property, then county government works for you, but if you don’t own property, but instead rent your home, county government are the people who evict you. That’s why, until now, your landlord paid for county government. That’s why a county-wide sales tax is unfair. Everyone pays it, but it primarily benefits land-owners, and hurts renters.

z evictions

The landlords in Humboldt County have gotten so greedy that they want to make poor and working people pay for their own eviction every time they buy shoes. Listen closely to the way land-owners talk about “transients, ” because when land-owners say “transients” they mean everyone who doesn’t own land. If you’re a renter, they’re talking about you. They’re not satisfied with the exorbitant rent they already charge you. They want more. If Measure Z passes, it will be like giving your landlord an extra nickle every time you spend $10 in Humboldt County.

z barista

Your landlord takes too much of your money already! Measure Z is a shameful attempt by rich ranchers and greedy real estate developers like Lee Ulansey and Rob Arkley to steal from the poor and working people of Humboldt County. Measure Z steals from the poor and gives to the rich. We must stop it NOW. Vote NO on Measure Z

z Homeless-Family-

…And don’t forget to register to vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cats dont forget-horz

The Following letter appeared in this week’s Independent and Redwood Times:

z destroy a dog2

Dear Editor,

z john and yoko

The only thing that looms larger on the landscape of Humboldt County than the majestic redwoods for which we are rightly famous, is the unmitigated greed of some of it’s richest residents. Today, that greed has a stranglehold on county government, and stands poised to reach into the pockets of this county’s poor,

z arkley would

young,

z poor student2

low-income,

z poor people wait tables

and working people.

People work in a maquiladora, or garment assembly plants in Tehuacan

Measure Z, the countywide sales tax, will make bare necessities, like clothing, shoes and toiletries, more expensive for the people who can least afford them: single mothers,

z Homeless-Family-

working families,

z bad family

disabled people,

disability protest against cuts

and retirees on fixed incomes.

z boomers roar

Measure Z steals from the poor, and gives their hard-earned money to Lee Ulansey’s hand-picked Board of Supervisors, who then give it to rich ranchers and greedy developers in the form of subsidies and tax breaks.

z cats for poor people

The Board of Supervisors, and the puppet-masters who pull their strings, know that poor people are the most generous, community minded people in the county, and they intend to play us for suckers.

z Sucker

The county has not promised to do anything to help poor or working people. Quite the contrary, the county has promised to use the money to harass homeless people, speed up evictions, and to make room in the county jail for people accused of petty crimes.

z too many cops

If the county is broke, it is only because it has so consistently pandered to the desires of rich land-owners, and failed to tax them sufficiently.

z humboldt-sheriff3

If measure Z passes, the county will begin collecting sales tax from everyone who spends money in Humboldt County, including many local residents who can ill afford it.

z low income1

That money will pay for subsidized infrastructure to support new McMansion developments.

z mcmansion

It will pay for subsidized pest control for ranchers, through Wildlife Services, an expensive and outdated agency notorious for cruel, inhumane practices and for indiscriminately killing millions of wild animals every year,

z wildlife services logo-vert

and it will pay for thousands of little perks for land-owners, like subsidizing the cost of hazardous materials inspections at agricultural businesses.

z hazmat

Measure Z will be a windfall for Humboldt County’s richest and greediest 1%.

z Burns-1 percent

I urge each of you to stand together with the 99%. Tell the county to tax the rich, not the poor! Make the 1% pay their fair share. Please, vote NO on Measure Z.

z bad dad

Sincerely, John Hardin

z bikini sign


Medicine Baul Live at Jambalaya in Arcata

medicine baul 1ba

All Photos in this essay by Bob Doran, some, like this one are stills from his video Medicine Baul Live at Bummer Fest 2012. Other pics from his Medicine Baul photo album on facebook

Amazing! Astounding! Wonderful! Wow! Wow! Wow! If you read this column regularly, you know that I’m a cynical old coot who loves to make fun of people. Not today (sorry to disappoint you). Today I feel rejuvenated, recharged and re-energized, because last night I experienced Medicine Baul live at Jambalaya in Arcata.

medicine baul 9c

Medicine Baul played inspiring, original music. When I say “original” music, I don’t just mean that they write their own songs, I mean that they don’t do anything normal. Medicine Baul didn’t even play anything you could call a song. Instead, we heard one continuous, collaborative, improvised composition that spanned the duration of their set.

medicine baul 4a

They had some normal instruments, like a concert bass drum, a trombone and a hammered dulcimer, but Medicine Baul didn’t play anything normal on them. They had some decidedly abnormal instruments, like a homemade, cello-sized, one string instrument, a mouth harp and an electric hurdy-gurdy. They didn’t do anything normal with those instruments either. They hit things. They plucked strings. They held twisted brass tubes and other strange devices to their lips, and they fiddled with many contraptions too small to see clearly from the audience. They produced a great variety of weird noises.

drum banjo trombone1

At the center of all of this instrumental madness, one tall slender dark-haired woman of artistic demeanor, not brassy, not seductive, but serious, concentrated, reserved, but with a playful glint in her eye, stood alone in front of the microphone at center stage in a long striped indigo dress. Her vocalizations, sometimes soaring and melodic, other times dark and guttural contained no discernible lyrics. Flanked stage left by by a man wearing coveralls, knee-pads and a hardhat, crouching low to the floor amid a pile of instruments, and on stage right by a seated man wearing a red flannel union suit playing what looked like a hillbilly cello, Medicine Baul looked positively surreal.

hillbilly cello2

Projected on a screen behind Medicine Baul as they played, scenes from documentary films, probably made in the 1970s by the look of the film, depicted life in remote tribal villages. The images began with people navigating white-water rapids in dugout canoes while standing up, each using a single pole to steer and control their tiny boats. The music began as a low murmur, crescendoed to a mighty din, climaxed in a cathartic release of energy and concluded as peacefully as it began. Medicine Baul both defied and exceeded expectations with their spontaneous composition.

medicine baul drummer4

Medicine Baul has at least six members. I find it hard to count higher than that, but there were a lot of people up on that rather cramped stage, and they all had something to do, pretty much all the time. Clearly, they all listen to each other. I don’t think anyone would say, of Medicine Baul, that they were fantastically talented players, because none of them were show-offs, and they did not play music for show-offs. Instead I will say say that Medicine Baul is made of fantastically talented listeners, and that together they compose brilliant original music.

medicine baul 7e

You really should experience them for yourself. You will have a chance to do that on November 3. Medicine Baul will perform in Eureka on Monday, November 3, at Siren’s Song, along with Willoughby, starting at 8:00pm. We’ve already planned our next Eureka trip around it, and so should you.

medicine baul 6b

We have an obscene amount of music shows here in Humboldt County, and most of them them are more party than concert and involve music drawn from well-trodden, commercially proven, genres. That doesn’t interest me. I want to hear something original, and I like it that much more when the artists have the guts to challenge the audience’s expectations rather than pander to them. That’s what makes music interesting. That’s what makes music powerful, and that’s what keeps music alive.

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Art matters! Parties, not so much. We need original art now, more than ever, because at the core of our current cultural collapse lies a colossal failure of imagination. It’s going to take a lot of imagination to reinvent the future. Original art is to imagination what business is to money. An abundance of art promotes a wealth of imagination. Medicine Baul is a perfect example of what I mean by “original,” and listening to them could change the way you think about music.

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