Sometimes the consultants get it right.
The headhunters charged with finding us a new police chief- excuse me, I meant another new police chief- stated it correctly: “Eureka is unique, a rural area with serious urban issues.” Chief Mills is apparently going into this with his eyes wide open. And I guess it’s just a coincidence that the Chief is arriving just at a time when I feel my home town being taken away from me.
I live a simple life. When I moved into my very average house in Cutten, all I demanded was a good yard for dogs, closeby amenities like a grocery to minimize driving and a sense of safety and security. Do I still have it? Not so much, since a few months ago when a parolee from Oregon went on a rampage starting at Walnut and Redwood and smashed a few car windows before racing through my neighbors’ backyards before eventually being apprehended nearby. Why he skipped my yard is a mystery. Maybe he’s afraid of old dogs. All I know is, the tranquility is gone.
There was a time when I could walk my dog in Sequoia Park. Not any more. There are too many shady characters lurking along the pathways looking for a quick pickup or a drug deal. Some of them were involved in a shooting on Glatt Street the other day. But the real reason I can’t walk my dog there anymore is the huge number of unleashed or unsupervised dogs. The folks who enter the park on the Glatt Street side walk right past the sign advising that all pets must be on a leash. A large family approached me with a pit bull that was on a leash, alright, but it was one of those extendable leashes and they thought it was just hilarious to let their dog growl and snap at my dog while letting it approach to within about half an inch. My dog was terrified and tried to get away. I ended up face down in the mud but managed to hang onto my dog. Then I had to listen to how sorry they were. I regret to this day I didn’t call the police but I was so shaken up I didn’t even get their license.
So there’s assignment No. 1, Chief. Reclaim Sequoia Park for us. Instead of parking a black and white on W Street to catch those villains (like me) who don’t come to a complete stop at the corner, how about putting a black and white near the Glatt Street entrance? A little deterrence there could do wonders. Let’s try it.
As I said, I live a simple life. I shop at Winco at least twice a month but now that people are being carjacked in the Winco parking lot in broad daylight, it doesn’t seem as welcoming as it used to. Or as safe. Can you help us with ensuring folks can patronize our biggest grocery store without placing themselves and their kids in jeopardy? We’d sure appreciate it.
I suppose you’ve heard about the series of spectacular car-pedestrian and car-motorcyle collisions. Fifth Street is a death trap for pedestrians, especially those of us who actually try to use the clearly marked crosswalks, especially at the corner by Denny’s. When I took driving at Eureka High, they used to tell us that “pedestrians have the right of way in California”. How about a little enforcement? It couldn’t hurt, could it? I turn at the intersection of H and Hodgson nearly every day of my life. I am usually impressed with the politeness of the other drivers but that wreck the other day hit pretty close to home. It’s sobering to think that the only thing between you and sudden death is a split second of someone else’s attention. A stoplight or an officer nearby would do wonders.
So Chief, we’re glad to have you here, and glad that you’re going to go through with this career change although it must have been disconcerting to learn that the fellow who hired you is moving on himself after only nine months on the job. When you need a break, take a stroll through the Sequoia Park gardens. One of your predecessors and his wife have devoted thousands of hours to maintaining the flowers because the city can’t afford to. It’s that kind of town.
Welcome to Eureka .