“Season of Wonder and Light”- Bah, Humbug!

I have my curmudgeon hat on today, an effect of reading this morning’s papers and blogs.   Any of you wanting sugarplum fairies should be reading elsewhere. To begin-

Eureka City Schools, Loleta Union School District Sued for racism, sexism.   Is this a surprise to anyone, especially considering the ongoing festering situation in Ferndale?  When I was attending Eureka High, the Native American kids were almost completely segregated, to Hoopa. Sounds like things haven’t changed much. If ANY of these allegations are true, and I suspect these may be just the tip of the iceberg, some heads should roll.

Chet Albin Appointed to Eureka City Council-  Anyone who has to take down his Facebook page out of fear that his constituents might see it does not have the moral fiber to hold public office. Nor do the folks who orchestrated this outrage.

Jason Singleton Vilified for ADA Suits- Both his letter to the North Coast Journal, reprinted this morning in the Times-Standard  and Chris Jones’ My Word in the Times-Standard this morning (links not available for either) tell it like it is. As I posted here last week, if the city/county staff were tasked to do MEANINGFUL ADA reviews before issuing permits, poof! Problem solved.  The most distressing news is that otherwise rational businesspeople are trying to address their issue through demonstrating at the courthouse, a useless circle-jerk. Gee, those “Occupy” demos worked out so well…

The GPU has been hijacked and thrown back to the Planning Commission  and the Planning Commission is one vote away from being controlled by HumCPR.    Not good news when any special interest group has this much clout, especially when the voters are demoralized and disorganized (in comparison.) I happened to notice yesterday while driving on 5th Street in Eureka that the CPR has a storefront now, where the Republicans’ office was. Don’t know how long they’ve been there.

Finally, Two Good People Have Left Us.  Leon Berliner and Silas Morrison the younger both had obituaries in the Times-Standard today. My first job in rehab was at Redwoods United, Inc. long after Leon had moved on to the  Cornucopia.  No agency helped more people with disabilities in this county and that program is sorely missed. Silas was a friend and an unforgettable personality. I will miss him a lot.

Sincere wishes for a happy holiday, despite the foregoing. You can’t ALWAYS have a Merry Christmas. There’s always next year.


The Weather Outside is Delightful (but the temperatures are frightful)

…And I don’t know about you but wearing four layers of clothing and STILL having my muscles clenched against the cold is getting old, real old.  Here are some of the highlights of the week in business.

HSU’S ECONOMIC REPORT compiled by the ever-helpful Dr Erich Escher shows a mixed bag of indicators;  Housing prices are  up, but sales are down. Gas prices are in decline also, note the $3.70 ranges in the report, although I just saw $3.54 at COSTCO.  Read the whole report; this is a resource we are lucky to have.

SINGLETON STRIKES AGAIN:  According to the Mad River Union, it was an ADA lawsuit filed by Mr Singleton that caused the closure of Arcata’s branch of Porter Street Barbecue. I don’t know why business owners can’t get it through their heads that after 30 years the ADA is not going away,  but there you go. Unfortunately, the food at their Eureka store has declined considerably.  The  last few times I had their chili, it contained a spongy meatlike substance that almost seemed like stomach tissue or tripe.  I’m sure it’s legal but sure isn’t very appetizing.  When, oh when, will someone open a REAL barbecue here? But then I’m a Carolina girl. I’ve had the real stuff.

There is voluminous guidance from the State and from employers’ group on meeting ADA/FEHA standards and it’s not all that hard to understand. If only our city and county permit processes incorporated the ADA requirements, no one would have to be surprised after they’ve already spent money. I’ve been hearing this same complaint for years.  This is a wasteful and expensive way to do business and it doesn’t have to be this way.  I notice that the Wendy’s in Eureka which previously  closed allegedly due to some sort of ADA issues is hiring and getting ready to open for business again. Maybe they’ve learned something.

ANNALS OF GREED, or It Must Be Nice Dept: Republican State Senator Bill Emmerson of Redlands resigned his seat and a week later was named a senior vice president of the California Hospital  Association “where he will oversee the group’s in-house and contract lobbyists. ”  Every State employee is drilled on the requirement that a year must pass before conversations that might be construed as lobbying can take place but by the subterfuge of having him “oversee” the effort, he’s free to pursue the best interests of the CHA, which are not necessarily in the best interests of our citizens.  Former Sen, Michael Rubio did similarly a few months ago,  working now for Chevron. 

CALTRAIN NEWS: The CalTrain Board has announced that daily ridership is now in the 50,000 range, up from 30,000 ten years ago. CalTrain is also installing racks and other equipment to encourage cyclists to come aboard. All good news.

I’m going to stop now because this has really been a horrible week of homicides, deaths by fire and generally un-holidayish happenings. Maybe next week will be better?  Let’s hope so. See ya at the Truckers’ Parade Saturday evening.

Proposed Sequoia Conference Facility, How They Used to Travel to SF and Farewell, Penny E.

Yes, I’m one of those nuts who read the legal notices and once in awhile I actually learn something. Today I learned that the HCOE has filed for a negative declaration for their proposed new 9200 sq ft Sequoia Conference Center to be built in the underused northeast sector of the current HCOE campus at Myrtle and West. The new  Center will have a capacity “of up to 350 occupants to serve as training and meeting space for HCOE employees, teachers, and staff members”. The two modular buildings at the back of the lot will be removed and their functions (nursing and nutritional programs) will be absorbed into the current facility.  The new building will include “public restrooms, a serving and warming kitchen with a food service arrangement , a large meeting space (able to be made into two meeting rooms by means of an operable wall system), an entry/lobby area, an administrative office space/meeting room with a public reception counter, and a truck unloading berth” according to the notice.

Other site improvements will include: ADA compliant access ramps and routes, parking lot re-striping to accommodate 27 new parking spaces, a four-foot vine-covered fence along West Avenue, parking lot islands and planters, new LED lighting, sewer realignment and fire supply lines and a new hydrant and “reconstruction of the Myrtle Avenue driveway to include a dedicated right-turn exit lane.”  School buses currently parked there will be removed to the Glen Paul site.

Those of us who have had the unlovely task of trying to find suitable meeting space in this town are drooling on our keyboards, and we can only hope that the HCOE will continue to make its meeting spaces available when not needed for HCOE business. I remember when the Redwood Tech Consortium used to meet out there. This room will hold more than the Wharfinger or the Aquatic Center and nearly as many as the Adorni, which claims to hold 400 but I think that’s with people sitting on each other’s laps.  There is a comment period, starting yesterday and ending January 7.  Comments go to the HCOE at 901 Myrtle Ave and you can review the whole study at that address or at the Main Library. Let’s hope that this work goes to some LOCAL contractors for a change.

The Overland Auto Stage Company- The Humboldt Historian in the current Winter 2013 issue carries a wonderful article by Robert Palmrose about travel to the Bay Area before the railroad. It was a two- day project during the years 1908-1913 and the article (the whole issue) is must reading but I cannot provide a link as the issue has yet to be added to their archives. A shameless plug: a $30 membership to the Humboldt Historical Society is a wonderful gift for anyone you’re doing business with. Buy one for someone and if you haven’t done so, join up. You’ll be glad you did.

PENNY ELSEBUSCH-I was saddened to hear that Penny Elsebusch has died. I had dinner with her and some other folks in October and she was the same Penny as ever. I used to sit with her and Dave at the old Harbor Group meetings and saw them regularly at Chamber meetings. They were regulars at the Taxpayers’ League (which I am not) also. Dave has been gone for two years now, and both of them were wonderful people who will be missed. Goodbye, Penny.  Whenever I hear the sounds of the races at Redwood Acres, I’ll be thinking of you both.