A Proposed Cease-Fire

cease-fire 

While I’ve greatly enjoyed venting my spleen at SoHum’s Bourgeois, I realize that you don’t all fit so neatly into my broad, and broadly negative, characterizations. I know a lot of you personally, and I know that you like to think of yourselves as basically decent people. Hell, I like to think of you as basically decent people. Why else would I waste my time communicating with you, but I also happen to know that the poor in SoHum are basically decent people, as well, as are nearly all of the of seasonal workers who descend on Southern Humboldt every year to harvest and trim your marijuana.

I didn’t start the class war in Southern Humboldt. I just answered it. I got really sick of seeing the way the middle-class treat the poor and homeless around here, and I got sick of the propaganda campaign in the local media. If the poor and homeless of SoHum were black, you’d call it overt, institutional and brutally violent, racism, but it just happens to be aimed at mostly white people. It’s just as ugly as racism, and just as hateful, but it’s something different. It’s a caste system, a community segregated by class.

caste system

Which strikes me as absolutely ridiculous, because nobody around here has any class. We can’t convince doctors to move here. Why? Not because of the climate, not because we don’t have plenty of natural scenic beauty, not because of traffic, noise or air pollution. Doctors don’t want to live here because no one around here has any class. This is the most low-brow community I’ve ever lived in, and this really ugly, scapegoating attitude towards the poor is just one example of our general vulgarity.

vulgarity periodic table

I understand your frustration. This town doesn’t look the way you would like it to look. You spend a lot of money to have a storefront on Redwood Drive and you want people to see your window display, not five hippies smoking a joint, but getting mad and calling the cops will not solve the problem. The people who hang-out in town live here, work here, and pay taxes here. They have a right to dress as they see fit and carry whatever they like. They can also walk their dog, smoke their cigarette and/or stand on the sidewalk talking to their friends, for as long as they like. None of these things constitute a crime. Now we all pay a special sales tax, Measure Z, so that local merchants can use law enforcement officers as bouncers and treat our public spaces like their own private club, and they’ve passed new laws to criminalize poverty. What an ugly waste of waste and money! It’s time to face reality.

face_reality

Reality isn’t pretty. The illegal marijuana industry isn’t nearly as benign as we’d like to believe. It creates tremendous economic disparity, and we see it on the streets of Garberville. This industry ruins many times more people than succeed at it. For decades, and still today, cops arrest nearly a million people a year for marijuana. They confiscate and destroy millions of pounds of marijuana every year, and every year thousands of people have their lives turned upside-down, lose their assets, spend time in jail, and/or have their good names besmirched with felony convictions, just to keep the price of marijuana high enough to make the dope yuppie lifestyle possible.

HCCC b

For every winner in this game, there are a lot of losers. You’ve got to figure that a lot of people end up on the street because of the marijuana industry, and you ought to accept that a lot of those people are here. It’s sad, but for a lot of people around here, marijuana is the only life they know. They’re like coal miners in West Virginia. This is all they know, so they come back to it again and again, never acquiring education, never paying into social security and never getting out of Humboldt. That’s one problem, but it’s not much better for honest working people.

coal miner and son

Most jobs in town offer $9-12 an hour. You will never find a place to live in Southern Humboldt that you can afford at that wage, and who can blame people for not working their lives away, just to pay the rent on a room to sleep in. It isn’t a matter of choice. A lot of people have no good options. They are all doing the best that they can, and they all deserve a little dignity and respect.

sleeping in public

 

In addition to our year-round population, we get a massive influx of seasonal workers every Fall who need low-budget accommodations. We’re going to have hippies. They will bring guitars and drums and dogs and sell stuff on the sidewalk. They will take drugs, smoke weed and drink. This is reality. The vast majority of the people who buy marijuana, sell marijuana and make marijuana are poor. These are your customers, your distributors and your manufacturers. Without them, there would be no marijuana industry, and all of that money you’ve come to depend on, comes from them.

Trimmigrant

We need to make space for people who are not middle-class, and we need services for people who are not middle-class. I do, genuinely, find the middle-class disgusting, revolting, obnoxious and belligerent. I don’t like seeing them on the streets, and I find them intimidating. I can’t stand the way they smell and I despise the air of entitlement they carry, but If I saw one meaningful action, something I, as a member of this community, could take some civic pride in, just one meaningful action that would make life a little easier for the people who are struggling, economically, and dealing with difficult situations, in Southern Humboldt, I could put aside those petty differences, at least for a while, and talk about some of the very positive things going on here in Southern Humboldt. 10 Bonus Points if it happens before the trimmigrants get here.

homeless in garberville


Go to Rio!

go to rio keep calm1

It looks like the Rio Olympics has become the vacation bargain of the century, with tickets for some events selling for as little as $12. Rio is beautiful any time, but at this time of year, the weather is perfect. If you’ve never seen “Cidade Maravilhosa” (“marvelous city”), you owe it to yourself to experience it, first-person, while you are still young.

cidade mahavilhosa

 

Take the whole family. This may be your last chance to take your kids to an Olympic Games in this hemisphere for more than a decade.

Rio-2016-Olympics-Mascots-

American dollars go a long way in Brazil, and the airfare is very reasonable right now. Think of the stories you’ll tell your grandchildren. On second thought, maybe you don’t want to think about that too much.

Think too much

Just go! Have the time of your life. Live it up, and when you get back, sleep around a lot. Seriously. I think a global Zika pandemic may well be the best thing to come out of the whole “Olympic Movement” in the history of the games. Zika is a godsend, and we should all thank whatever entity, or non-entity, we choose to thank for such things, because Zika presents us with an ideal opportunity to solve a previously intractable global problem with a minimum of pain and suffering.

Zika virus positive

Think about it. If you had to choose one deadly virus to decimate the global human population, would you choose:

  • A. Ebola

    ebola 1

  • B. Hantavirus

    hantavirus

  • C. Bird Flu

    bird flu

  • D. Zika

    zika-virus-man and baby

It’s a no-brainer, right?

zika no brainer

The Zika virus barely sickens living people, but it produces horrible deformities in their, yet to be conceived, offspring. We could handle the entire Zika pandemic with aggressive birth control and a minimum of suffering. It’s hard to miss people you’ve never met. Most of us never mature anyway, so it’s not like we won’t have plenty of children around, and the people who still want to have babies can have them, knowing that those babies will remain babies for their entire lives.

microcephaly

I can scarcely imagine a more humane way to reign-in the human population explosion, and I think it’s long overdue. Tell the CDC to stop looking for a cure, and to forget about a vaccine, or even a strategy for Zika. Tell them to keep working on Ebola, the Hunta Virus and Bird Flu, but we can handle Zika on our own. Bring it on! Better yet, go out there and get it, bring it back, and spread it around!

contagion-map

This is our one, big, once in a lifetime, golden opportunity to really solve a huge problem, by having a good time. Does life get any better than that! Zika is the disease for us, and it couldn’t come at a better time, so let’s make the most of it. Go to Rio! Watch the best athletes in the world compete for the gold, in person.

olympic runners

Ride the cable-car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil --- Image by © Radius Images/Corbis

Stroll barefoot through the sand at Copacabana Beach.

rio-copacabana

Going to Rio for the Olympics is like reading Playboy for the articles. You’ll have a terrific time, and you’ll do us all a favor.

do us all a favor

We may never have an opportunity like this again, and this is probably our last, best hope for the future of humanity. We can’t afford to miss the boat on this one. Ideally, we would initiate a massive airlift to bring swarms of Zika carrying mosquitoes to every outpost of civilization, but it would take forever to line up government funding for that kind of operation and we simply don’t have the time. That’s why it’s so important that you book your tickets NOW for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The world cannot wait. We need you to do your part. You simply must attend the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

17-Brazilian-Foods2

If you absolutely cannot afford the trip, at least have the decency to have sex with someone who went. We can do this, people, all of us, working together with this exquisite little virus called Zika. We can stop global warming, reverse the extinction crisis and end poverty and homelessness forever, but we can’t do it without your help. All you have to do is GO TO RIO FOR THE OLYMPICS!!! You’ll have a fabulous vacation, get a great tan, and save the planet all at the same time. Bon Voyage! Have a wonderful trip!

bon voyage


SoHum Has Created a Monster

we have created a monster

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors just passed a new, unnecessary, unconstitutional and unkind ordinance to limit free speech and criminalize poverty called the “aggressive solicitation ordinance.” They might as well have passed a dress code too, for all the good it will do. This is just the latest attempt to sweep Humboldt’s poor and homeless under the rug, but the poor and homeless will not go away because poverty is systemic in our local economy.

44 million americans live in poverty

Because of prohibition, the marijuana industry breeds poverty, and the real-estate driven economy breeds homelessness. The people who complain the most about the poor and the homeless are the people doing the most to create the poverty and homelessness in our community. Rather than address our housing crisis, low wages, or the out-of-control organized crime problem, the Board of Supervisors decided to punish the victims, the honest, hard-working, low-wage workers who actually generate most of the wealth in Humboldt County.

minimum wage

This ordinance has nothing whatsoever to do with “public safety” and everything to do with greedy real-estate bloodsuckers, dope yuppies, business owners and mobsters who are making a killing right now off of the “green-rush.” The same people who sell out our forests and rivers to the highest bidders, create poverty and homelessness in our human communities too, but they hate to see it in public, so they send cops to harass the poor and create new laws that criminalize poverty, like this new ordinance.

Criminalizing-Homelessness

Greed is even uglier than poverty. Greed poisons the soul and turns decent people into degenerate monsters of consumption. I don’t know if greed makes people stupid or if stupidity makes people greedy, but stupidity and greed always go together, and together, they make ugly. That ugliness is palpable in SoHum.

greed is an ugly catalist

Even a newcomer can feel it. I noticed it the first time I came to Garberville almost two decades ago and it has only gotten worse since. The whole town loudly exudes ugly, stupid, crass, greed. You can practically see it in people’s faces and you hear it almost every time they open their mouths. That’s the kind of ugliness that makes Southern Humboldt so repulsive to decent people who might consider moving here, and that’s the kind of ugliness that undermines the quality of life for the people who do live here.

greed cant look away

Real-estate offices don’t attract tourists. Increasingly, real-estate offices provide no service at all to ordinary citizens, who were long ago priced out of the housing market. The greedy leeches lurking within those offices only value the natural beauty of this area and the uniqueness of this community to the degree to which they can turn it into money that they can stuff into their own pockets. They are the ones inviting every drug-dealing greed-bag in America to come to Humboldt County to destroy our forests and choke out the last wild salmon. They are the ones making Humboldt County unaffordable to anyone but drug-dealers and they are the ones making the people of Humboldt County poor and homeless while they make themselves filthy rich.

greedy real estate agents

Who needs them? We should have learned our lesson after the mortgage fraud collapsed the housing market. They are still the same greedy, lying, cheating bastards that wrecked the economy and made everybody homeless to begin with. Haven’t we had enough of their shit?

enough of this shit

Drug-dealers aren’t any better. If anything, drug-dealers are even greedier, dumber, and even more dishonest than real-estate leeches, and there’s a lot of crossover around here. Most of our real-estate leeches deal drugs too, and a lot of our drug dealers get into real-estate as a way to launder their drug money. Between the two of them, they’ve turned SoHum into a vortex for the greediest and the slimiest. They’ve created the perfect environment for hard-drug pushers, prostitution, human trafficking and child pornography among other things, which they welcome with open arms, so long as it has enough money.

welcome gene simmons

From the depths of this pit of depravity, and fueled by the filthy black market cash that fills it, Estelle Fennell rises like Godzilla to crush the poor, honest, working citizens of Humboldt County and all who would oppose her.

 

godzilla rises from the deep1

Stomp, new subsidies for real-estate developers.

Godzilla_stomp

Stomp, new subsidies for property owners.

godilla stomp 3

Stomp, those subsidies now get paid by Humboldt County’s poor and homeless.

godzilla_stomp 1

Stomp, this new ordinance makes it illegal to ask a stranger for help and effectively blocks grassroots organizers from building a campaign against her.

godzilla stomp 2

Stomp! What’s next?

godzilla trail of destruction

A very real monster is destroying our forests and our communities, and that monster passed this ordinance to cover it’s tracks, and dispose of the bodies of it’s victims. We have to stop it, before it’s too late!

stop fingers before it's too late


The Big Lie Called “Public Safety”

the big lie unmasking

Last year, Humboldt County instituted a a new regressive sales tax, Measure Z, that unduly burdens the poor in Humboldt County. This year, the county intends to pass a new ordinance that will infringe on our civil rights. Apparently it wasn’t enough to just send more cops out to harass the poor, which Measure Z funded, they now find it necessary to invent a new crime, for which the poor can be prosecuted. Still, no one wants to pay taxes, and no one wants to give up their rights, so how do our County Supervisors generate public support for these measures? That’s easy. They lie.

lies ill take apack

County Supervisors used the same lie for both Measure Z and this new proposed “aggressive solicitation ordinance.” That is the lie called “public safety.” Remember “public safety?” That was the lie the Federal Government used to justify marijuana prohibition too. “Public safety” is one of those big lies that fascists have used repeatedly throughout history to restrict civil rights, suppress dissent and control the public, and that’s exactly how the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors use it today. Don’t believe for one second that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors gives a rat’s ass about public safety. All you have to do is watch Estelle Fennell drive to know that public safety is the very last thing on her mind.

Reckless-driving cartoon

“Public safety” sounds like a good thing. Who doesn’t support public safety? We outlawed fireworks, so we wouldn’t have so many forest fires. We outlawed driving while intoxicated so we could cut down on the number of traffic fatalities and we mandate seat-belt use for the same reason. Those are some ways that legislators have addressed public safety concerns through legislation. We can argue whether or not these laws work, but “public safety” becomes a big lie when politicians use it, not to save lives, but to steal our money and take away our rights.

big ripoff

I readily admit that Humboldt County is a dangerous place to live. We face many threats to public safety here in Humboldt County, some natural, some man-made. We’re prone to earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunamis and mudslides, all of which have a long, devastating history in Humboldt County, and we can rest assured that overwhelming natural disasters will remain a predictable part of our future. We could probably save a lot of lives by spending some money now to prepare for the inevitable. In a real disaster, it would really help to have plenty of bed space in emergency shelters, and it would help even more to have people with experience running an emergency shelter, who know what to expect when disaster strikes.

when disaster strikes

Just think of the lives that could be saved in a natural disaster, if we had a full-time emergency shelter in Southern Humboldt. Think of how many people need help in times of personal emergency, and how much good it would do for the whole community to have an emergency shelter serving people in crisis as a way of preparing for the major natural disasters that will inevitably impact all of us in the future. That’s what a policy designed for “public safety” might look like. You won’t see much of that in Humboldt County.

disaster-shelter2

Now ask yourself: When was the last time an “aggressive panhandler” killed anyone in Humboldt County, by panhandling too aggressively? I don’t think it has happened yet. I’m sure we would have heard about it on the news. Not one single death by “aggressive panhandling” in Humboldt County in as long as I can remember. I don’t ever recall hearing about a single injury, not even a bruise, caused by “aggressive panhandling” anywhere in Humboldt County, have you? The “public safety threat” posed by aggressive panhandling is entirely imaginary. We can only imagine how an aggressive panhandler might possibly threaten public safety, because we’ve never had a single aggressive panhandling related injury in Humboldt County in as long as anyone can remember.

25 cent jokes

On the other side of the coin, reckless drivers, like Estelle Fennell, kill and injure dozens of Humboldt County residents every year. Out-of -control drivers on the Briceland-Thorne Road constitute a serious threat to the public safety of the citizens of Southern Humboldt, but none of the money from Measure Z goes towards traffic enforcement West of Redway. Instead, the cops cruise around Redway and Garberville harassing poor people all day, poor people who do not own cars or drive cars, have not committed any crimes and do not pose any threat to public safety.

trouble with poor people

The cops themselves pose a serious threat to public safety. We have some of the most violent cops in the state. The Eureka Police Dept leads the state in police shootings, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept is famous for torturing locked-down non-violent protesters by swabbing pepper-spray in their eyes. This we know for sure. Complaints and allegations of police abuse have only multiplied since then, and the EPD still refuses to turn over dash-cam video from an 2012 incident reported by Thadeus Greenson in the NCJ. Cops around here remain largely above the law which makes this threat to public safety even more insidious and dangerous.

police violence

But wait, there’s more.

but wait theres more 1

Dead bodies turn-up every month or so around here, and most of these deaths appear to be connected to the black-market marijuana industry. Hash labs explode every week or so, maiming and killing residents and destroying homes all over Humboldt County, and at least a dozen people, probably more, mostly young people, die in black-market drug deals every year in Humboldt County. Hundreds more die violent premature deaths in the black-market marijuana industry across the country every year in the process of selling Humboldt County marijuana. Not only does Humboldt County’s black-market marijuana industry dramatically impact public safety here in Humboldt County, we have become a public safety menace to the rest of the country.

pot plant

Speaking of black-market drug deals, we have some of the highest drug addiction and drug overdose rates in the state. We consume the equivalent of 14 Vicodin tablets every day, on average for every man, woman and child in Humboldt County, and that doesn’t include all of the heroin, meth and cocaine we consume. Drugs kill hundreds of people in Humboldt County every year. The deadly combination of an entrenched black-market coupled with our culture of addiction, poses, by far, our most serious threat to public safety here in Humboldt County, and the bright red cherry at the top of this public safety crises sundae is Hepatitis C.

Sundae

Humboldt County has been recognized as the most prolific breeding-grounds for Hepatitis C in the entire USA. The Hep-C epidemic threatens to overwhelm our public health system even without a natural disaster. Despite new treatments, complications of Hepatitis C claim tens of thousands of lives across the country every year.

Causes of hep C(4)

Welcome to the heart of the Hep-C generation, and you are welcome for that brief rundown of genuine public safety concerns that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors could be working on at this very moment, were they not so busy lying to you, stealing your money and shutting you up. So, the next time your County Supervisor or your local newspaper tries to convince you that we need this new, unconstitutional, free-speech stifling, fascist police-state style “aggressive solicitation ordinance” in Humboldt County for “public safety” you will know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lying to you.

keep speaking the truth


“Aggressive Solicitation”

help

It’s open season on the poor and homeless in Southern Humboldt. Vigilante gangs terrorize them on the streets. Cops abuse them and local merchants harass them for not looking prosperous enough to patronize their overpriced ripoff businesses. Now the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors intends to pass a new ordinance designed to punish this oppressed population still further, while it chokes out our civil rights and strangles the democratic process to boot. The so-called “aggressive panhandling” or “aggressive solicitation” ordinance will make it a crime to ask for help in Humboldt County.

cops harass woman

Under this proposed ordinance, a person who had just been robbed, stabbed, beaten and left laying on the sidewalk screaming for help, could be cited for “aggressive solicitation.” This ordinance could stop Ray Oakes from asking the “Question of the Week” for the Humboldt Independent, and this ordinance could certainly be used to prevent effective grassroots organizing. Unions would have never gotten started without “aggressive solicitation.” It takes a whole lot of “aggressive solicitation” to get any grassroots political movement off the ground, and here in America we have whole religions dedicated to “aggressive solicitation.”

street preacher

Here in the USA, we decided, almost 250 years ago, that we prefer “aggressive solicitation” to violence, deceit and treachery, which had long been the custom in Europe, and it was the proud American tradition of “aggressive solicitation” established by such patriots as Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry and Paul Revere that made this country a beacon for freedom and democracy. More than a civil right, the right to “aggressively solicit” is a human right, and a birthright. In fact, “aggressive solicitation” is the only thing we know how to do, instinctively, from birth.

screaming baby

Without “aggressive solicitation” we would not survive as a species, and “aggressive solicitation” has an important function within the community, as well as the family. It makes no more sense to prohibit “aggressive solicitation” within the community, than it does to punish a baby for crying in the house. If your baby won’t stop crying, you don’t punish the baby, you feed the baby. “Aggressive solicitation” is a signal, and we ignore it, or worse, prohibit it, at our own peril.

feed the baby

In another era, both past and perhaps future, with more enlightened judges, the Supreme Court would almost certainly shoot down any ordinance resembling the one the Supes currently consider, but thanks to the Scalia Court, the court that handed down “Citizens United” and declared that money is protected speech and corporations are citizens, they could probably get away with it. Who knows how constitutional this proposed ordinance, or the one Eureka and Fortuna passed, will look next year?

future of the supreme court

I did a lot of political work back in the ’90s, to legalize marijuana, and to close nuclear power plants. We would never have been able sustain those movements without a significant amount of “aggressive solicitation.” I know, because I did it. I could get a complete stranger to write me a check for $100 in two minutes.

write a check

I didn’t just approach pedestrians, or stand on street corners, malls, parks and other public spaces, although I did plenty of that too. I went even further. I raised a lot of money for a number of organizations by wandering through neighborhoods where I didn’t know anyone, onto private property, and knocking on complete strangers’ front doors. I knocked on about 50 doors every night. That’s “aggressive solicitation” no matter how you look at it. Lots of people called the cops on me.

call the cops

At the time, what I did was considered constitutionally protected free speech. We had a legal department, and when we didn’t have a legal department, we had the ACLU. Occasionally, some little uptight burg would pass an ordinance like the one the Supes are now considering, and liberal New England lawyers would swarm them like hornets, and they’d never do it again. We won every time.

ACLU

Around here, non-profit groups seem to rely more on alcohol sales and parties to fund their campaigns, than the kind of direct grassroots fund-raising that I did. I doubt any of them will recognize the threat this proposed ordinance poses, or stand up for their right to become politically relevant one day. The poor and homeless don’t have a legal team to defend their rights, and the general public has no idea what it takes to organize a grassroots movement, and I doubt many of them even care.. It seems most people in Humboldt County prefer violence, deceit and treachery to democracy anyways.

treachery and violence

But here’s the kicker. I have, never once, been “aggressively solicited” by anyone in Humboldt County. I don’t spend a lot of time in Garberville, but I usually walk from the library at the North end of town, to the thrift stores on the South side of town, right through the Garberville shopping district,, at least once or twice a week. I’ve usually got a buck for anyone who asks, but hardly ever does anyone ask. When they do ask, people usually ask very timidly, and often I can barely hear them.

shy homeless person

Even in Eureka and Arcata, I get “spanged” every once in a while. Usually by the fourth ask, I’m tapped out, but I can’t remember the last time four people asked me for spare change on the same day, anywhere in Humboldt County. Does that really constitute a problem? Once, years ago, I got hustled for $20, by the kid who used to own Nacho Mamma, when I saw him a few years later, in the parking lot of Eureka Natural Foods. Honestly, I was glad to see that at least someone around here had it together enough to concoct an effective rap, and I knew the guy. If he told me he needed $20, for anything, I’d have given it to him, once.

20 dollar quote

I don’t think we have a problem with “aggressive solicitation,” so much as we have a problem with “aggressive fascism.” We have a craven cadre of drug dealers, real-estate developers and merchants pulling the strings of our elected officials to invent new laws that criminalize poverty and stifle dissent. They all want to skim the economic cream from the injustice of the War on Drugs, while they criminalize the poverty the War on Drugs creates in this community. Does it get any uglier, greedier or more corrupt than that? No, I don’t think we have a problem with “aggressive solicitation” at all. We have a much bigger problem than that, and it’s going to take a lot of “aggressive solicitation” to solve it.

Fascism mussolini quote


You Can Count On Me

count on me keep calm

People sometimes criticize me for my over-the-top opinions and no-holds-barred writing style. They think I should moderate my views and be more sensitive to people’s feelings. Fuck that! In reality, these people just wish I would shut the fuck up and leave them alone with their illusions, but they want to say it in a way that sounds like constructive criticism.

constructive criticism

If Carl Hiaasen offered a few words of advice about my writing, I’d be all ears, but when I get writing advice here in SoHum, it usually comes from people who can barely read. I don’t listen to them any more than I would take target shooting advice from an unarmed blind man. If you can’t see the target, and you’ve never handled a gun, you won’t be much help, so relax. I know what I’m doing, and I shoot straight.

shoot straight kid

You’re lucky to have me, frankly. Thirty years of silence, secrecy and sycophantic schemers has given this community a very distorted image of itself. The injustice of marijuana prohibition turned community values on their head. What began as a new green awakening, degenerated into the same old greed and dishonesty. We celebrate marijuana, but our addiction to the War on Drugs shapes us, and it shows.

it shows

 

Greed is uglier than alcoholism. It’s even uglier than meth addiction, and that heartless, senseless, relentless thirst for more takes a toll. Like alcohol and meth, greed hardens people while it kills them from the inside. I see what that disease does to people. I see what that disease has done to this community.

alcoholism disease

While cannabis may have healing qualities that make the user more sensitive to subtle emotional cues, the War on Drugs produces hard, rotten people. Every community has a few, quite a few, I’m sorry to say, just like every community has it’s share of alcoholics, tweakers and greed-heads. Unfortunately, the opportunities created here by the War on Drugs tend to attract them, so we have more than our fair share. We also have more than our fair share of money, which, like gravity, inexorably draws greedy scum towards it.

money like gravity

The War on Drugs made bad people rich while it drove honest people out of town, just like it does in any drug ghetto, and just like in any drug ghetto, we have enormous social problems as a result. We try to put a nice face on it. We try to look like a normal, prosperous, small town, but the truth shows. It angers the rich ugly, hard, rotten people around here, that they can’t just sweep the poor, ugly, hard, rotten people out of sight, but that’s who we are, and that’s what the War on Drugs has done to us. So long as the War on Drugs continues, we shall remain, as a community, unnaturally rich, unnaturally poor, and rotten to the core.

rotten to the core skull

Greedy bankers and real-estate blood-suckers measure the marijuana industry in dollars, because that’s all greedy people see, but the more money the marijuana industry brings to Humboldt County, the more poverty it produces. The black market marijuana industry produces poverty all over this country, but here in SoHum, it produces some of the most expensive poverty money can buy.

poverty an expensive luxury

Greedy people, like drug addicts, become so focused on their addiction that they often fail to notice how poor they really are. The people who drive those spotlessly clean late-model trucks, often live in total squalor, expensive squalor, but squalor nonetheless. Lots of children grow up in dysfunctional homes, without books, living on junk food, and we have some of the highest suicide and drug addiction rates in the state. For all the money that the War on Drugs brings in, we sure don’t seem to live very well as a result.

Money-Wont-make-you-happy zig ziglar

It takes more than money to make a community function. It takes culture, and hard, rotten people produce a hard, rotten culture. It’s a hard, rotten culture that blames the poor for their poverty, and rewards drug dealers for their greed, and this hard, rotten culture belies our deepest poverty: our penurious shortage of intelligence, imagination and moral courage. I know you don’t want to hear it, folks, but that’s the truth. You won’t get that from many people around here, but you can count on me.

you can Count-On-Me


Deputy Jason Daniels, Brought to You by Estelle Fennell

daniels sargent

This past week, the trial of former Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Daniels began. Daniels stands accused of raping two Southern Humboldt women, on two separate occasions, months apart, while in uniform and on duty. You’d think a crime like this: an on-duty cop, in a small rural community, using his badge, his gun, and his nightstick, to sexually assault innocent local women, repeatedly, for his own sexual gratification, would shock the community. You’d think we’d be horrified.

horrified

Really, how would you feel, if you knew that this kind of “public servant” was “protecting” your wife, daughter, sister and mother? How would you feel knowing that your tax dollars paid his salary, pension and benefits package? Are you cool with that?

you cool man

Now ask yourself this: How many women, having been raped by an on-duty cop, an authority figure representing the government, would have the courage to report the crime? Of them, how many would be willing to endure the additional trauma and humiliation of having her body inspected for evidence, answering endless questions about all aspects of her private life, and then testifying again and again, and again, only to face a rigorous cross-examination by a skilled adversarial attorney? One in ten? One in a hundred? How many local women did this guy really rape, before he was finally relieved of duty? Was he a “bad apple” or “just one of the boys?”

just one of the boys

Again, why are people around here not outraged about this, and demanding answers to these questions.  If some county official had inadvertently stepped onto someone’s private property without a search warrant, you can be sure that we’d read about it in the papers and hear about it on the radio for weeks, but somehow this story got overlooked. The sad truth about Southern Humboldt is that the vast majority of people around here are too wrapped-up in their own crimes to worry, or care, about anyone else.

wrapped up in Crime Scene Tape

People overlook a lot of serious police abuse down here in Southern Humboldt, so long as the cops abuse the right people. In fact, the community strongly encourages cops to abuse people around here. Garberville merchants constantly call the Sheriff’s Department because they don’t like the looks of people, or because people stand together in a group talking on the sidewalk, but mainly because they don’t want to see poor people hanging around town. If you read the SoHum Sheriff’s log, usually half of the calls from Garberville revolve around “unwanted persons” and reference no crime whatsoever.

unwanted persons

In fact, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department has been given a mandate, and special funding to abuse poor people in Southern Humboldt, whether they have committed a crime or not. That mandate came from 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell herself. I remember it well. Supervisor Fennell and Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey both came to SoHum to address public outrage over the fact that it took eight hours for the Sheriff to respond to a burglary at a Redway headshop. Even though the cops nabbed a Fortuna kid with the stolen bongs, people lined up at this public meeting to complain about homeless people being poor in public.

bong thief

Sheriff Downey explained that people have rights, and that he can’t just arrest people without probable cause. In response, Supervisor Fennell told Sheriff Downey, in front of a crowd of people at the Redway Elementary School, that she wanted to see more Sheriff patrols in Southern Humboldt, and she told Sheriff Mike Downey to “Go ahead and arrest people. Nobody is going to complain.” Then she launched her campaign for Measure Z, a regressive sales tax that unfairly burdens the poor, to pay the costs of bringing more Deputies to Southern Humboldt, including Deputy Jason Daniels.

new deputies

Deputy Jason Daniels on the far right, behind Sheriff Mike Downey

Since then, we’ve seen an explosion in police violence against the homeless here in SoHum. Deputies have had a field-day, beating, tazing, pepper-spraying and apparently raping poor and homeless people ever since, and just as Supervisor Fennell predicted, no one complained. In fact, local people have gotten in on the action. A local vigilante group called “The Town Patrol” now harass, threaten and terrorize homeless people with impunity, and help Sheriff’s Deputies target their victims.

Dead bodies turn-up around here about once a month, but no one complains. No one complains that the Sheriff barely investigates these murders. No one complains that the murderers remain at large, and no one around here would complain if Deputy Jason Daniels raped a thousand women in Southern Humboldt, so long as they were all poor and homeless. That’s the kind of people we are down here.

SoHum is dominated by greedy, heartless, drug dealers who work in concert with corrupt cops all over this country to destroy communities and spread poverty. They call it the “War on Drugs,” but it’s always waged against the poor. Here in SoHum we see it clearly, starkly and ironically, where we now have hundreds of millionaire drug kingpins, running illegal operations so massive they can be seen from space, but the cops spend most of their time harassing and abusing poor people who have committed no crime, and have nowhere to go.

It’s sickening and it’s shameful, but that’s the truth about Southern Humboldt. The trial of former Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Daniels continues, but the real monster remains at large, and it just reelected Estelle Fennell as 2nd District Supervisor.

estelle fennell quote


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers