Tag Archives: Humboldt County

We Must Defeat Measure Z

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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“ 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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Sincerely, John Hardin

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vote NO on Measure Z

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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Dear Editor,

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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,

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young,

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low-income,

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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,

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working families,

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disabled people,

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and retirees on fixed incomes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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,

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

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

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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.

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Sincerely, John Hardin

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Medicine Baul Live at Jambalaya in Arcata

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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No Public Wifi in SoHum Means No on Measure Z

No-Wifi-no-z I’m getting tired of this. I mean, I enjoy writing. That’s not quite right. I love putting my thoughts in your head. That really means a lot to me. The fact that you are reading this right now totally turns me on. I want to keep you coming back for more. That’s why I go to the trouble of writing an essay every week, and then spend three or four hours stealing pictures to illustrate it. worth stealing I’m happy to share what I have to offer, free of charge, but it sure isn’t easy. Believe it or not, we have no free public wifi anywhere in SoHum. There’s no wifi at the library, none at the Garberville CR campus, neither the Mateel nor KMUD nor any of the county buildings offer an open router. In order to use public wifi, in SoHum, you have to get on a bus, bound for Eureka, which costs money. I’ve done it, but working on the bus makes me nauseous. sick on bus That only leaves two cafes, in all of SoHum that offer wifi. One of them makes sadistically bad coffee, and requires patrons to spend $5 an hour. At the other, I linger much too long over coffee and a cookie, and try to avoid the owner’s hairy eyeball. The staff is great, and always make me feel welcome, but both places have loud music or TVs blaring, making concentration difficult at best. Neither are good places to work. distracting I’m really sick of it. So Hum needs a public internet connection at least as much as we need a library or a post office. I can’t even pay the sales tax I owe, as a small business owner, without an internet connection. If the government is going to require me to use the internet to pay my taxes, they damn well better provide someplace where I can get online to do it. I’ve written to my Supervisor about it, repeatedly, to no avail. I’ve even pointed her in the direction of a federal grant program to provide broadband service to rural communities. Nothing. nothing Meanwhile, our Board of Supervisors hands out a $16,000 subsidy to local ranchers, so they don’t have to pay the full cost of their hazardous materials inspections. Just a couple weeks ago it was $67,000 a year, for the next four years for subsidized pest control, through a notoriously inhumane and environmentally destructive agency known as Wildlife Services, again for ranchers, and other rich people living in country estates. Before that, they let developers off the hook for the costs of infrastructure to serve new subdivisions, another huge giveaway for land speculators and developers. welfare ranching Every week, at the Board of Supervisors meetings, all of their rich rancher and developer friends whine about how hard it is to make a living on 1,600 acres in Humboldt County and why they need more subsidies, and our Board of Supervisors practically weep in sympathy for them. Meanwhile 2,000 or more Humboldt County residents sleep outside, under bridges behind stores, or anywhere they can find because they have no place to live, and the Supes want them arrested. It’s sickening. Sickening-lacquer Wifi at the fucking library, that’s all I ask. I know that the library is only open four days a week. I can deal with that. Just don’t make me sit in that goddamned cafe all day. I come to town once a week, and once a week, I have work to do online. Out where I live, internet access costs about as much as I pay in rent, and half of the year, I don’t even have the electricity to use it, so an internet connection at home is out of the question for me. out of the question1 Allegedly, this is the birthplace of the back-to-the-land movement (don’t get me started). These hills should be full of people like me, who live simply, close to the earth, without a lot of luxuries, who need to get online from time to time, just like they need to go to the post office once in a while. I know that a lot of people need a public wifi connection in town. I see them at the cafe. I see them try in vain at the library, and I hear them complain about it. I sympathize. It sucks. sucks1 I know a lot of people say we need more sheriff’s deputies. That’s bullshit. The cops around here are violent, corrupt and out-of-control. The last thing we need is more of them. Local merchants who call the cops every time they see a group of people hanging out on the sidewalk don’t want more sheriff’s deputies, they want subsidized bouncers, so they can treat Garberville like their own private country club. Now our teary-eyed Board of Supes wants to play Santa Claus to them too, and they want ME to pay for it. SANTA_CLAUS They want YOU to pay for it too. They want to raise the sales tax, so that every time we buy anything in Humboldt County, Lee Ulansey’s cronies on the Board of Supervisors skim the cream to finance big giveaways for rich developers and welfare ranchers, not to mention fat pensions for overpaid, crooked cops. They call it Measure Z, and they’re hoping you’ll sleep through it. Don’t! VOTE Lee Ulanseys hands Measure Z puts Humboldt County’s richest hands, into it’s poorest’s pockets. Measure Z would make homeless alcoholics pay for utility hookups in new McMansion devos. Measure Z would make HSU students pay for that guy who kills a hundred raccoons every year for no good reason. Measure Z would make me pay someone to harass my friends on the streets of Garberville. VOTE STOP SUBSIDIZING Sales tax is a regressive form of taxation that unfairly burdens the poor. The rich have internet access at home, and can order stuff online, avoiding sales tax altogether. A lot of rich people own businesses and can buy what they need wholesale, at Costco, tax free with their merchant ID number. Poor people pay retail prices, at local shops. Poor local people will pay most of that tax. being-poor-Z-horz Single mothers will pay it when they shop for back-to-school supplies for their kids. Working people will pay it when they buy work clothes, shoes, furniture, and appliances. Homeless people will pay it when they buy prepared food because they have no kitchen to cook in. This new proposed sales tax will help Humboldt County’s richest and greediest suck more blood from underpaid workers, overcharged tenants, and poor families just struggling to survive. VOTE STOP RICH GREED HEADS Not only that, a new sales tax will turn Humboldt County into one of those special sales tax districts. I hate those special sales tax districts. Those fucking special sales tax districts make it that much harder and take that much longer, to file my taxes, which really pisses me off when I’m trying to do it in a fucking cafe on my third cup of guilt-coffee, with teenage techno beats pounding in my ears. Well Fuck You Very Much Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. VOTE FUCK YOU BOARD OF SUPES


SOLUTIONS

solutions probs

Ok, I’ve had a lot of fun with the whole situation in Garberville, and I think the levity was completely in order, but a lot of people are very frustrated with the situation, and they want SOLUTIONS. So, I’m here to help, seriously, but we don’t get to solutions without doing some analysis first, and that includes taking responsibility for the disastrous consequences of our consumptive middle-class lifestyle, and it means taking responsibility for economic policies that have kept wages low, while housing, health-care, fuel and other costs soared. I don’t care whether you voted for Reagan or not, if you want solutions, take responsibility, otherwise we can just play the blame game till we’re blue in the face.

blame_game

The middle-class really needs to get over their Boomer era Populuxe expectations, especially the expectation that they will be surrounded by only middle-class people. We can’t all be middle-class, and really, not that many of us should be middle-class, ecologically speaking. It takes a lot of working-class people to support a single middle-class person, so we should expect to have many more working-class people than middle-class people. Get used to it folks, there are a lot of poor people around.

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On the other hand, it shouldn’t suck so much to be poor. Ever since Reagan, we’ve had this attitude that we should punish and humiliate the poor as much as possible, so that we might thereby motivate them to work harder to become middle-class. In reality, punishing the poor drives down wages and keeps housing prices high for everyone. Seeing desperately poor people on the street makes middle-class people feel less secure, and the super-rich exploit that insecurity.

plutocrats book

This is why grown adults with full-time jobs need a roommate to afford an apartment.  This is why so many salaried employees put in 60 hour weeks to meet their work load.  This is why fewer Americans than ever can afford their own home.  This is why so many healthy able-bodied adults have decided that the jobs they can get don’t pay enough to be worth their time.  That’s how the super-rich uses the dirt poor against the middle-class.

trickle down economics

Look at where punishing the poor has gotten us. Still we have plenty of resentment to go around. We punish the crazy, because we don’t want halfway houses in our neighborhoods.  We don’t want to see them and we don’t want to pay for them. We punish the addicted for their weakness. We punish the young and adventurous because they remind us of our lost youth and we punish the lost and confused because we just don’t have time for other people. We punish them all because we see them as blemishes on our middle-class dreams, but the ones we resent the most don’t have any excuse, do they?

no excuse washington

I’m talking about the healthy young people who have decided that the jobs they can get, don’t pay well enough to be worth their time, and that their time is better spent learning to live without a job and without a home. More and more people are making that decision, not because it looks like an attractive option, but because it looks like a better option than any of their alternatives.  They would rather sleep outside in the rain and scrounge for food then work themselves to death, and kiss ass all day for a rented room, a TV and enough beer to ease the pain.  These people have resentments too. Just sayin’

job-vs-homeless fu

We all like having someone to punish. It makes us feel better about how much we punish ourselves in this stupid economy. We punish the poor, because we want poor people to suffer more than we do in our struggle to be middle-class. The struggle to be middle-class sucks so much because being middle-class is a totally unsustainable lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the poor, except that every person now struggling to be middle-class makes the whole world poorer, and helps the super-rich enslave us all. That’s what middle-class people do. It’s nothing to be proud of.

class war

Thanks to three decades of trickle-down economics, welfare reform, and the Great Recession our population of punishable people mushroomed. Despite the economic pressure, despite the social stigma and open hostility, they have learned to live outside of mainstream society, and there are now enough of them that they have their own society. The more they talk to each other, the more they identify with each other. The more they identify with each other, the more they support each other, and the more they support each other, the more insulated from, and immune to the punishments of, the mainstream culture they become. So, we become like the Israelis and the Palestinians, or like Black and White America, two segregated societies that hate each other, living in the same place.

class war gif

This problem is not going away, and it’s never going to get better without compromise, leadership, foresight and understanding. Knowing this community as I do, that means it ain’t gonna happen, and instead, things will go from bad to worse. The whole situation is very revealing. Poor people can’t afford to conceal their ugliness, and having ugly poor people around brings out the ugliness of the middle-class. We now see just how ugly and dysfunctional American society has become. The situation is so pathetic that probably the best that will come from it was the small amount of humor, and insightful analysis I was able to glean from it for this blog.

'I like 'gleaning' better than 'reaping'.'

But just imagine for a moment… What if we had some thoughtful, enlightened, cultural creatives among our local gentry? What could they do to make the situation better for everyone, and to make Garberville a much better place to live?

imagine passion

Right now the number one need in this community is housing. We need housing more than we need ball fields, schools, parks, roads or anything else. By ignoring that need, in favor of perks for the middle-class, like ball fields, concert venues or the town square, we provide adequate reason for the homeless to despise the gentry. Everything we do to relieve that pressure, will also reduce that hostility, and pay off in better life for everyone in Garberville.

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SoHum prides itself as the heart of the “back to the land” movement, where once upon a time, people bought cheap land, and built their own homes without permits. The Boomers now make sure that no one ever gets a deal on land like they got, but a lot of people would still like to build their own tiny cabin, somewhere where a landlord won’t evict them, and the cops will not come tear it down.

hippie cabin

If you’ve been to Oregon Country Fair you’ve no doubt noticed how harmoniously hippie architecture can blend into a natural environment. It doesn’t happen by accident. OCF has volunteer building inspectors that look for genuinely dangerous or particularly ugly structures, and cites them, but mostly, people can build what they want. A lot of people would really appreciate an opportunity to build their own little home, and would have a lot of motivation to make it work. Half Habitat for Humanity, half Oregon Country Fair, part campground, part tree-fort residential subdivision, entirely innovative, entirely SoHum, we could make it happen if only someone with some land around here actually gave a fuck.

hippie architecture1-horz

Even without building a single other structure, we could probably solve our housing problem another way.

another-way

Right now, about half of this county’s available residential housing has been converted to indoor marijuana farms. Why are half of our residential houses full of marijuana plants, while thousands of people sleep outside? That’s insane. Every grow house is a crime against humanity, and a crime against nature, and if there is any role for the cops it should be to bust every indoor grow scene in Humboldt County.

indoor grow2-horz

Frankly, I don’t think the cops will be much help. Cops aren’t going to solve this problem. This is a “crumbling society” problem, not a “law and order” problem. If our social problems could be solved by a pin-headed red-neck with a gun, they’d have all been solved a long time ago. These problems were created by pin-headed red-necks with guns. We need unarmed hippie solutions, the kind we used to have when pot was cheap and it all came from Mexico, before we got greedy and decided we wanted to be middle-class.

greed is the knife

The pressure should come from the community. We should hear PSAs on KMUD about how to recognize a grow house, how much damage to the environment comes from growing marijuana indoors, and especially about how many families go homeless because greedy drug dealers have taken over our residential neighborhoods. Homes are for people! Get the pot farms out of our residential neighborhoods. This isn’t just common sense, it’s common decency.

common-courtesy-

Another common sense, absolute desperate necessity is a reasonably priced campground with bathrooms and a coin-operated shower. State campgrounds charge $35 a night for camping, which is highway robbery (Fuck You, State of California!). That’s why you only find rich retirees camping at them anymore. The county charges $15 dollars a night for their campgrounds. That’s closer to reasonable. Reasonable does not mean, “competitive,” reasonable means a price that people will actually pay, rather than take their chances finding a place where they can crash for free.

free place to crash

We get a lot of budget conscious tourists who are resourceful enough that they don’t ever have to pay tourist prices for camping. Currently, the only people who welcome them are the homeless. If the townsfolk welcomed them with the kinds of services they need at a price they’re willing to spend, these tourists would not so quickly identify with, and become a part of the local subculture, and local entrepreneurs would make money from them. Again, this is just common sense.

common sense

Here’s something a little more ambitious, but desperately needed, an affordable, cannabis-therapy-based treatment and recovery camp. We all know people who have beat serious addictions to alcohol, narcotics, tobacco,cocaine or speed, by using cannabis. Decades of prohibition have deeply enmeshed cannabis users and growers alike into the black-market drug trade. A large part of the money that comes into this county, comes from individuals and organizations that deal in other, more addictive substances, along with Humboldt’s finest cannabis.

drug dealer

Addiction is a huge problem both among SoHum’s housed community as well as the unhoused. A very rustic, drug-free, cult-like, cannabis intensive retreat, built around a culture of recovery, mutual support, mutual-sufficiency and community service has enormous potential around here. We have the rustic. We have the addicts. All we need is one good Pot Doc with cult-leader aspirations.  At the very least, it would help a lot of people quit hard drugs, take a lot of pressure off of the community, and do a lot of research on cannabis and addiction.

cannabis therapy institute

And while we’re dreaming…. Here’s another good idea: Economic diversity, and by that I mean, make space for tiny businesses, and local artists. Support them. Celebrate them, don’t just exploit them, or force them out of town.

local arts

Eureka and Arcata both have rocking Arts Alive nights every month. Garberville could do it too, but it would take planning, and some commitment to make it happen.

make it happen

Now, I expect most of the people who own land around here to think: “Why should I do anything for them?” Here’s why: Doing all of these things helps to shrink that “problem population,” and it creates the illusion that people actually give a fuck about their fellow human beings. That makes it harder for people like me to make fun of the situation, and it gives people more options, which makes it harder to take sides. In reality, it’s a diabolical strategy designed to subdue insurgents. They call it Psy-Ops.

psyops1

Every time you put someone in a home, you cut the homeless population by one. Every time you get an addict off of drugs and into a cult, your problem shrinks. Every time a tourist sees an entrepreneur bending over backwards to accommodate them, the less likely it is that they will camp with the homeless, get to know them and and decide to stick around. And of course, every artist who can count on reliable local work because someone at the C of C makes Arts Alive a priority, means one sarcastic critic with a sharp pen, has something better to do.

something_better_to_do


Boomer Karma

boomer-karma-horz

This vein is just too rich to ignore, so today I’m mining the irony of the whole sad situation in Garberville yet again. I realize that this situation has upset many people, and I think people should be upset. In fact, people should be outraged, just not at the poor, the young and the homeless. Instead, I think we should blame it on the Baby Boomers.

boomers Jake Dimare quote

Never before have so many taken so much, and yet demanded so much more as the Baby Boomer generation, and it couldn’t be truer here in SoHum. Here in SoHum, a small community of Baby Boomers bought land here dirt cheap, and took advantage of the Drug War to turn enormous profits growing black-market marijuana. Today a small community of Baby Boomers still control most of the real estate in SoHum, and they make damn sure that no one ever gets a deal like they got. They supply half of the nation with marijuana, which turns people into hippies, but the money they got for it, turned them into yuppies. Now that they have become crotchety old geezers, what do we hear them complain about?

boomers cynical

Hippies! The Baby Boomers in Garberville are complaining about hippies!

hippies on sidewalk

You know what folks, what goes around, comes around, and sometimes the karma runs over the dogma. You might not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when there were even more scuzzy, smelly, obnoxious hippies around than there are today.

boomers-grow-old-horsey

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, you wouldn’t believe how many filthy, dirty fucked-up hippies there were. They were everywhere. They took every imaginable drug, meth, heroin, cocaine, LSD, PCP, Quaaludes and anything else they could get their hands on.

hippies turn on collage

They freaked-out spectacularly. They fucked-up catastrophically, and they passed-out in their own vomit. Not only were they totally “in your face” everywhere you went, they had to have their loud music blaring all the time as accompaniment.

hippie BW-tile

And talk about attitude. They treated the whole world as if it belonged to them, exclusively, right from the start. They rioted, for God’s sake, big raucous riots where they turned over police cars and set fire to buildings. They’d never shut-up and sit down at music concerts, and they’d never turn their music down anywhere else. They wore faded, ripped, shabby clothing and they never took a bath. They were disgusting, repulsive, and obnoxious, and they took over every park, square and sidewalk in the whole country.

hippies take over park

They didn’t like how anyone else did anything. They wanted a revolution so they could do everything their way, and “their way” meant “at a party and on drugs,” and they thought that that made them cultural revolutionaries. To this day, SoHum Boomers still believe they can solve all of their problems at a party and on drugs.

hippies_and_hipsters-tile

To be fair, the boomers did change our culture. They changed us from a culture of stilted, stiff, sexually repressed, uptight consumerism into a culture of dumbed-down, hyper-sexualized, casual, convenient consumerism. Spirituality replaced religion. Positivity replaced compassion, and self-serving non-profit organizations replaced charities.

self inc

The War on Poverty became the War on Drugs because suddenly Americans hated hippies more than they feared black people. With cocaine, they turned a rich man’s drug into a poor mans drug and annihilated a generation of inner-city youth. With marijuana, they turned a poor man’s drug into a luxury only the rich could afford, and they made income discrimination more socially acceptable than racial discrimination.

colorblindideology

Go ahead and ask any of our local Baby boomers about the 60’s and ’70s and they’ll tell you how long their hair used to be. They’ll tell you about all of the drugs they used to take and all of the crazy shit they used to do, and they’ll tell you it was the best time of their life. My how times change.

hipies love free earth

One thing hasn’t changed however, Baby Boomers thought they owned the whole world then, and they still think the whole fucking world belongs to them. Now that they’re all shriveled-up, they don’t think anyone else deserves the opportunity to be young and irresponsible, and no one else has the right to come here and make a home in the woods without giving them a quarter-of-a-million dollars first. I guess they’ve still got some lessons to learn because it’s their bad karma that keeps bringing more hippies to Garberville, and I don’t think anyone deserves them more.

hippy chick beer


Sexy Street Kids, Homeless Hotties Revitalize Downtown Garberville

Photo by Kevin McShane. http://mcshanephoto.com

A startling new survey published in the July 8 edition of The Independent reveals that SoHum’s street kids and homeless population, so often talked about as “a problem,” are actually what people most love about Garberville. Indeed, twice as many respondents said they loved Garberville’s scruffiest and scrappiest as anything else about the whole town.

love

No one in the survey said they loved the shops. No one in the survey said they loved the Theater, or the Town Square, or even the marijuana.

nobody_loves_you_

Only one respondent said they loved Garberville’s restaurants, and from the accompanying photo, it’s obvious that she has never ordered anything that wasn’t on the kid’s menu, and never picked up the tab. Other also-rans in the “most loved” survey included: people’s tolerance, the fact that there are no stop-lights in town, and one woman I’ve never seen before in my life said she loves that “You can walk down the street and everybody knows your name.”

who the fuck are you barking

It appears that sexual attractiveness at least partially drives the love affair with this oft vilified segment of the population. A respondent from Carlotta answered the question “What is one thing that you love about Garberville?” with the answer, “Definitely all of the hotties that frequent the Veteran’s Park.” Her honest enthusiasm shows as clearly in the expression on her face as it does in the words between the quotes.

Woman-Love-

Clearly the lean, rugged, free spirited young men who live out of their backpacks and take refuge at the Veteran’s Park have caught this young woman’s eye. From Carlotta, it takes longer, and uses more gas to come to Garberville, than it does to go to Eureka, where she could find anything else she needed, at a better price. Instead, she came to Garberville, to see “the hotties that frequent the Veteran’s Park.” Apparently, it’s the homeless beefcake that brings home the bacon for Garberville’s merchants.

bacon beefcake mirror

The Jim Demulling Memorial Grove, aka Veteran’s Park, a little patch of land at the North end of town, squeezed between a parking lot, an on-ramp and Garberville’s main drag, became a popular hangout mainly because it is the only place in town where people can sit in some shade, socialize, eat lunch and relax without being hounded by shop-keeps to spend money or move along. Usually inhabited by a colorful cast of interesting characters, and their dogs, Veterans Park soon evolved into SoHum’s cultural center. It is, by far, the friendliest, most welcoming place in town, especially for a newcomer.

jim demulling grove

Today, “Veteran’s Park” is the epicenter of an economic boom in Garberville’s otherwise stagnant and dying downtown shopping district. Like the people fueling this emerging economic engine, the entrepreneurs who serve them have found imaginative ways around Garberville’s exorbitant rent prices, and this seems to be the key to their success:

key to success

Chicago Bob’s Hot Dogs opened up a while ago in a mobile food cart on the main drag, but just across the street from Veteran’s Park. Chicago Bob brought something to Garberville that this town desperately needed. That is, lunch for less than $5. Bob makes a great hot dog, with all the fixin’s. If you haven’t had one, you should.

Chicago-Bob’s-Hot-Dogs-

Just last week I noticed a new food truck operating directly adjacent to the park, advertizing tacos for $3. “Right on!” I say. I haven’t tried their food yet, but they had a dining canopy full of people when I passed by, and no doubt full of people like the woman from Carlotta, who came for the hotties, but stayed for the tacos.

taco chick flips you off

It’s refreshing to see some entrepreneurs with good sense and moxie in Garberville for a change. This new economic growth really livens up our little town, and I applaud these business-people for recognizing the potential, and filling a need, rather than complaining about it and trying to make it go away.

make it go away-horz

If you ask me, the ones who should go away, are the stodgy old business owners who would rather complain about the people in front of their store, than figure out how to meet their needs at a price they can afford.

blaks lehman go the fuck away

 


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