Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Aaron Newman: The Other Side

You might have heard of Humboldt Harbor Commissioner, Aaron Newman, being arrested for some fish and game violations. Fish & Game agents along with local media gave the impression he deliberately broke the law. Since he plead out the case in a plea deal, some are insisting he give up his seat on the Harbor Commission. 

Here's the other side of the story, published as a letter to the editor in the Times- Standard.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Eureka Crime Out of Control?

On a related note to my last post, it may seem crime is skyrocketing to some. Even I feel that way sometimes but I wonder if it's because that's all we seem to read about in the news. Maybe it's more visible and we hear about it more because there's nothing much else going on around Eureka?

An interesting comment to Allan Dollison's column regarding, I believe, this Lost Coast Outpost story:

Eurekan (Guest):

"Not many people are discussing the dubious analysis by Sims.
Making "per capita" comparisons with the State (millions) and national (many more millions) data is very deceiving. Notice that the state and national graphs are very steady because of the large numbers involved. In a small population a few crimes can make the graphs go rapidly up or down. Violent crime in Eureka was worse in 2007 and property crime was worse in 2004, but Sims compares these to a normalized state and national average to make the graphs to up higher for 2013. A simple check on the analysis is to see how widely the local graphs change -- this is a consequence of the "per capita" comparisons. The numbers are bumped up so a comparison per 100,000 can be made. By analogy, two crimes in a c ommunity of 200 would have to be bumped up to 1000 crimes per 100,000 to make the comparison. That certainly sounds much worse than the two crimes in the community of 200.

This is not to say that crime is not a problem.
What I get from the graphs is that local crime is about the same (some bad years and some better years by a few numbers). Things are not steadily improving, but they are also not "through the roof" or "rising like a rocket" compared to the numbers averaged over the last decade or so."

There certainly are problems with crime in Eureka and the county, but maybe it's not as bad as we're being led to believe?

People PIssed Over Prop 47

We're hearing from more and more people pissed off over Prop 47. That's the one that reduced some felony crimes to misdemeanors. We're told that criminals can't be held in jail. Here's a letter to the editor from today's Santa Rosa Press- Democrat:

"I want to lay it out simply for the people of California, because of the millions of dollars of misinformation dumped into Proposition 47

Thanks to Proposition 47 passing, the following is an immediate reality: If a law enforcement officer pulls an unlicensed, illegal immigrant over in possession of a stolen vehicle (worth less than $900), who has a stolen, concealed, loaded handgun (worth less than $900), is in possession of a TV he just shoplifted that is worth less than $900, and is smoking a personal amount of methamphetamine, the officer would be required to cite the individual and release him or her because all of these crimes are misdemeanors, unless the person is a convicted felon. 

The officer could face false arrest charges for booking the individual in jail. The officer couldn’t even detain the person for immigration, as that would be an unlawful detention and violation of the person’s rights. 

If the fictional individual in my scenario went to court, and pleaded guilty to the crimes, he would receive a two-year maximum sentence with half time for good behavior, and would not necessarily face deportation."

That’s the California we live in. Wow."


Here's Allan Dollison's take on Prop 47 in today's Lost Coast Outpost.

Funny that I was reading things like this before Prop 47 passed. All the talk about criminals being released and no punishment. Yet if you look back to the Lost Coast Outpost and the various letters to the editor of newspapers, the same sentiments were being expressed as long as I can remember, yet the day after last election, the blame shifts to Prop 47.

I'll be the first to admit there might well be problems with Prop 47. I'd still suggest that that nothing's really changed out on the streets. The jails are still full and people will still be being released pretty much as they always have been.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Toodles for Matt Owen?

Our very own Matt Owen got "toodled" by the Lost Coast Outpost yesterday. That's LoCO's term for suspending the comment privileges of those who make inappropriate ones. Probably no biggie since, as someone pointed out, Matt doesn't comment on the LoCO. He does write an occasional oped/ commentary which is what got him in trouble.

His Matt In The Middle commentary from yesterday dealt with Eureka's homeless situation where he included suggestions for dealing with it. Among his suggestions was an emotional reference to taking certain people out behind the courthouse and shooting them. That naturally brought out some hostile comments as well as some of those in support. 

Did he deserve toodles for that? I don't think so. It might have been a tacky comment and maybe something most would try to avoid writing, but it did reflect the emotional response a lot of people have probably directed towards bad guys that keep getting away with things. 

That reference seems to have been removed. Just as well as I'm not sure it added anything constructive to his commentary, aside from perhaps providing an avenue for some to vent over a difficult situation.

I've been much more bothered by comments I've read in the LoCO and other news web sites calling for the hanging, or worse, of people simply accused of crimes. The "oak tree, rope..." type comments often seen when someone is accused of something, especially sex related crimes, I've found appalling. Especially so since those making the comments are likely more serious about it than Matt was in making his. 

I'm appalled, but I don't suggest those comments be removed. There must be some value in reading people's feelings even if they're only venting.

Just a couple other observations on Matt's commentary: 

He criticized Prop 47 (the recent ballot initiative that reduced some felonies to misdemeanors) suggesting it lets even more people out of jail. That might seem the case but as I commented on the LoCO, it seems the vast majority of those people were already being released anyway because there isn't enough room in jail. I'm not sure Prop 47 really changed much.

He also made the suggestion of having a legal place for the homeless to camp and perhaps even providing housing of some sort for homeless folks, if I read him right. I might agree with a legal camping place, with reservations. I'm not so sure about providing actual lodging. 

Seems to me we've already done both. Years ago we let the homeless turn the South Jetty and Clam Beach campgrounds into their own camping spot. We've also turned a number of hotels and motels on Eureka's Broadway into "temporary" housing for homeless. Some would argue both those efforts only made things worse. 

So what is the answer to Eureka's homeless situation, consistent with human rights? I don't know.

An Anti- Government Surveillance Tool

Anti-War.com tells us of a new software program that detects the more commonly used government surveillance malware:

"Unlike the more all-purpose antivirus and anti-malware programs, Detekt centers around detecting and warning end users of surveillance malware of the sort known to be used by government.".

There's a link there where you can download the free software. They caution that the software likely doesn't detect more modern government developments. As for me, nah, I won't bother. It would likely just give a false sense of security. Besides, what do I have to hide???

It would be interesting, though, to see if any of the old surveillance stuff is on my computer. If any of you try it and actually find something on your system, let us know.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Obligatory Post

No ideas to present today so I'll just make an obligatory post so no one will accuse this of being a dead blog. But here are some links to check out if you're as bored as I am:

Reason magazine looks at why young folks may forsake the Democrats and go for Rand Paul.

A business in Old Town that sells yarn and knitting related stuff has a new web site

Video and transcript with one of my favorites, Greg Gutfeld, talking about climate change.

Hey, I had to post something!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bringing The Crowd To Its Feet

One of those fun things that shows up on your Facebook page. Just under 5 minute video of a couple of cello players that go in front of an audience expecting heavy metal, or some such. They're nearly booed off stage until they get going. Then the audience ends up on its feet.

Addendum: I see one commenter to the Facebook post claiming it was staged to make the video. Maybe so, but still pretty cool.

Ernie's Letter

A letter from our very own Eel River Ernie to the Lost Coast Outpost regarding the Fortuna City Council's vote on $3000 chairs for public safety(?) dispatchers. Short and sweet, it would have made a good letter to the editor to any of the local papers:

For pure entertainment value you have to watch tonight’s (11/17/14) Fortuna City Council meeting discussion on the purchase of chairs for the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) employees.  The Council voted to spend $3,000 dollars per chair for these employees and during the discussion talked about how it is not real money as it comes from a state grant fund and not from their budget.  It would be really hilarious if it wasn’t so indicative of the current City Council’s attitude toward the expenditure of taxpayer dollars and they wonder why their proposed tax increase failed…
Eel River Ernie

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hardest Places To Live In U.S.

The New York Times has a map identifying the hardest (and best) places to live in the U.S. Humboldt County seems to be doing a bit worse. Del Norte County even worse, with Mendocino holding its own.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Eureka's Mail Processing Center Closure

More chatter over the proposed shutting down of Eureka's mail processing center with postal employees protesting and circulating petitions yesterday to stop the closure. The Times- Standard covers the story and KIEM TV has a poll up on their web site asking if you'd sign a petition opposing the closure.

I voted No on the KIEM poll, although I don't like the idea of them relocating the processing center. I'm not sure it's that big a deal. So what if mail takes a little longer to get here? I'll adjust, although I might change my mind if I stop getting my 3 Suddenlink ads every week. Then I'll be pissed.