It’s mating season!!

No, not for you- for our ungulate friends at Prairie Creek and elsewhere on the North Coast. For the next couple of weeks, the elk will be sorting out their family matters and in some instances providing a loud and graphic demonstration of the mating process and its accompanying battles. A link to the appropriate Visitors’ Centers is HERE and the folks at Prairie Creek, 488-2039, are very helpful.  Check in with them for tips on safe viewing and give your kids a seasonal treat.



Well, the phones are down anyway so we’re checking out early. Enjoy the weekend, drive carefully and if you haven’t seen it yet, “Straight Outta Compton ” is surprisingly enjoyable for those of us who aren’t big hiphop fans. Good performances, and it’s helpful to us oldsters that Ice Cube’s son- who plays Ice Cube-actually LOOKS like his dad. And of course the music is great. Recommended. See you next week.


It’s NOT All Right, Jack, It’s Just OK. (Jack’s Seafood Restaurant)

(I couldn’t help myself. One of the great movies of my childhood was the goofy 1959 Peter Sellers comedy, I’m All right Jack.  It’s a comedy about unions and corruption and several other things and if you’ve never seen it, you should. It’s timely.)

Jack’s Seafood Restaurant, which opened August 14th, in the Fishermans’ Terminal building, has been avidly anticipated and  heavily subsidized. As you may recall, the City put out an RFP for restaurant  operators back in 2013 and received around a dozen applicants but-mysteriously- NONE of these folks were deemed qualified and we mere peasants and taxpayers are not privy to the reasons. The contract was awarded to Jack Wu, a crony of former Councilman Chet Albin. Mr Wu has operated the nearby Bayfront restaurant for four years. For Jack’s Seafood, the CIty spent $550K on the building, another $240K on fixtures installed at City expense and will collect NO RENT for the first nine months, after which Mr Wu will pay $4500/month.

Now the Bayfront has not exactly been an unqualified success. Their Yelp reviews have run about 50/50 with positive reviews for the scenery, sushi  and teppanyaki,  negatives for the rest, especially  the service.  Mr Wu has had years now to solve his service problems, so how does Jack’s measure up?

First of all, the space is beautiful. The waterfront views are great and the bar, which looked like they were still setting it up, is nicely appointed. 

I guess we should start with the chowder, which should be the hallmark of a waterfront joint.  The chowder has a nice flavor, but a thin consistency, off-putting to folks like me who like a traditional chowder such as that available at Gill’s or the Seascape.  It’s not terrible, but, as one of our party said, it was “not yummy”.  Both people finished theirs  but no one was licking the bowl. Our third person had a salad instead, which was large and very fresh.

In fact, the ingredients overall are fresh and presented nicely.  I had the fish sandwich made with rock cod.  I thought it might come on a bun or roll but it was served on toast made of sandwich bread, which was different, with a huge mound of romaine and some sliced heirloom tomatoes.  The fish part was fine.  I ended up eating it with a knife and fork. The other two had the fish and chips, also with rock cod, and the halibut and chips. The remark was made that the halibut could have been tastier. The “chips” are quarter-sized slices of potato, fried. Again they were “not yummy”, but okay. The coleslaw was served dry and definitely needed dressing.

What about that old bugaboo, service? The staff are young and eager but the service was awkward.  We waited quite a while and then our server brought our chowders and salad at the same time she brought our mains. She explained that they had run out of chowder (at 1pm on a Tuesday, with the place only half full) and had had to make more.  I kind of think we should have been ASKED if we wanted everything dumped on the table at once but I guess I’m an old grouch.

Now, let’s talk prices.  One would expect a “view” restaurant to charge a dollar or two more than a place in McKinleyville, and the $15 fish and chips does include soup or salad.  It’s not a rip but it’s not a good deal, either. 

Bottom Line:  Has YOUR money been well-spent?  As I said, it’s a beautiful space.  Of the three of us, not one was eager to return, at least for food. The bar, however, has real possibilities. The food is okay, “not yummy”.  The service is cheerful but raggedy. Jack’s has a captive audience of tourists just from its location,  which is about thee feet from where the Madaket boards. Will it develop a local following?  I really hope so. But they definitely have work to do. If you get down there, let us know what you think. 


Home Values Compared

Here, courtesy of Zillow and the HSU Economic Index, are some figures to ponder.

Current Median Home Value US:  $180,100

Current Median Home Value Humboldt County:  $251,950

ALL TIME HIGH Median Home Value Humboldt County: $340,000 briefly in Jan 2008

Current Median Home Value Sacramento:  $339,600

ALL TIME HIGH Median Home Value Sacramento:  $442,300 in December 2005

Current Median Home Value San Jose:  $894,700

Hopefully you didn’t buy in Sac in 2005.  Take heart: you can still get houses in Cleveland for less than $70K. Hey, if it’s good enough for Michael Symon…


Aldaron Laird at the Harbor Working Group

Environmental Planner Aldaron Laird presented the Harbor Commission’s study on sea  level rise and climate change at their lunch today.  For those of you who enjoy getting bad news, it was a delightful occasion.

Mr Laird’s presentation was gripping, if you care about the Bay. We are looking at a 3-foot sea level rise by 2070 and if I were you I wouldn’t be buying any property in King Salmon. (Someone better tell the HGTV folks who were pimping King Salmon as a place for a Beachfront Bargain Hunt.)  King Salmon and Jacobs Avenue are the areas most at risk for inundation;  Fields Landing is somewhat more protected. Take a look at the maps in the study that show the inundation zones.  Hwy 101 will be covered by water and the Bay will eventually merge with the Mad River. 

Global warming isn’t the problem here.  We would experience at least a foot sea level rise from ground-levels sinking, a natural phenomenon.

It’s not just the inundated buildings that will be a problem; all our local utilities are underground and our wastewater treatment facilities are at sea level. Fixing all this will be enormously expensive and competition for funds will be intense.

BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS!  Thanks to Mr Laird , our local Adaptation activists and the many agencies who collaborated on the study, we are ‘way ahead of the rest of the State in our planning and are serving as a resource for others as they catch up. 

We do, indeed, live in interesting times.


The Ax Falls in Palo Alto – Ripple Effect in the North State.


Sometimes you feel yourself to be a part of history. The wrenching changes that the cyber revolution has wreaked in Silicon Valley are coming home- to the North Coast- to roost. But let me begin at the beginning.

My aunt and uncle moved from Eureka to Palo Alto in the ’50’s when Ma Bell transferred him to the “Puzzle Palace” in San Jose.  (The house they vacated in Eureka is the third house north of 14th and H, the one currently sporting  a wheelchair ramp.)  They bought a house in Palo Alto, a 3/2 with an attached studio unit. They paid $16K.

That place was my second home for the next 60 years. That was where we spent holidays, where prospective spouses were introduced, where I stayed my first few weeks after college.  You get the idea. I always had a place to stay in the Bay Area. But when change comes, you’re never prepared for it. My aunt and uncle died and last summer the house was sold to a nice Indian couple.  The husband works for Microsoft and they paid $2.2M .

(Incidentally, during that time Palo Alto changed beyond recognition.  Once a liberal bastion, it recently decided to cooperate in evicting 400 poor, mostly Hispanic residents from the city ‘s only trailer park, which will be redeveloped for more extremely expensive housing.)

One of my cousins had already left the area for Minneapolis, the other did what so many other folks are doing-moved north to Sonoma, where housing prices have doubled in the past few years due to refugees from the high prices further South. If people are paying half a million dollars for small houses in Sonoma (which according to Zillow, they are) what does that mean for us?

I doubt we will ever  see the instant millionaire phenomenon up here, although I don’t see how there cannot be pressure on prices. But the demand here will never be enough to send prices skyward,  although I think anything in a decent neighborhood here is a good investment. People who have the option are moving to Seattle from the Bay Area if they’re still working and want a tech industry environment. What do we have? Weed. And it’s far from clear whether the prosperity generated by weed- pardon me, cannabis- will be pervasive or only for the few. 

Which brings us to last Friday. A Palo Alto neighbor sent us pix of the old house being torn down.  Along with it went the rhody my aunt had planted when they bought the house and a whole lifetime of memories. 

And so it goes.



In Eureka, anyway. Good local Union jobs! Everyone starts out part-time. Do not be fooled by the phone listings in the phone book. The first is actually the pharmacy,   the second answers with a fax tone.
 No, instead go online at, click on “careers’ and download the application form then call the customer service number, 269-0133, when you’re ready to bring it in. Good luck!