For the curiously aware of Humboldt County
By Skippy Massey
Occupy Eureka Resists Setbacks, Weather, and Authority
STRATEGIC PLANNING AND OCCUPY REORGANIZATION: HSU’s Kate Buchanan Room hosted over 100 people representing Humboldt’s various Occupy groups last Monday for what was billed as a ‘Countywide General Assembly’ to explore the local movement’s options going forward. Among the list of topics: should the three groups, Occupy Humboldt, Occupy Eureka, and Occupy Arcata consolidate their efforts together? Under moderator Travis Turner, agreement and consensus reached an impasse after different ideas were tabled and discussed. Another meeting is scheduled for next week.
THE GOOD PRESS: Occupy Eureka held a rally at the Courthouse the Saturday after Thanksgiving with 200 individuals braving the chilly weather hearing speakers, music, and enjoying the food.
THE BAD PRESS: According to the press release from the Eureka Police Department:
ON NOV. 21, 2011 at about 11:00 pm, officers of the Eureka Police Department responded to a reported hazardous condition at the “Occupy Eureka” encampment near the steps of the Humboldt County Courthouse. While officers were investigating the incident, an aggressive intoxicated subject approached and confronted the officers. The subject, who was identified as Roger Alan Parshall (56 years old of Eureka) was soon taken into custody for suspicion of public intoxication and obstructing an officer. He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Several subjects were located sleeping in sleeping bags in a section of the illegal structure. These subjects were advised of the violation.
THEN ON Nov. 22, 2011 at about 7:30 am, officers responded to a verbal argument at the “Occupy Eureka” encampment. Upon arrival, officers were told that a member of the “Occupy Eureka” group was involved in a verbal altercation with two subjects awaiting the opening of the Courthouse. During the altercation, the “Occupy Eureka” member, identified as Heather Nicole McBride (19 years old of Eureka) allegedly threatened to assault the subjects. As a result of the investigation, McBride was taken into custody without incident for disturbing the peace.
With two previous early morning raids, nearly 50 arrests, and many problems over the past month, one would hope cooler heads would prevail, tensions might subside, and the provocative nature of the situation resolve itself. It didn’t, it wasn’t, and it hasn’t:
LATER IN the day at about 4 p.m., at the request of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Humboldt County Chief Administrator’s Office, Humboldt County Council, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, officers of the Eureka Police Department responded to the “Occupy Eureka” encampment to enforce the penal code violations regarding the illegal lodging. Deputies of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department and Officers of the California Highway Patrol assisted in this enforcement action. Upon officer’s arrival, several subjects were detained and identified concerning their illegal activity. The subjects were allowed to gather all personal property, that was not deemed camping equipment, and were escorted off the property temporarily, until the illegal structures could be dismantled. Once all subjects had been escorted away, the structure, constructed of concrete, wooden pallets, pipes, and tarps was dismantled and eventually hauled away. All supplies used solely for the purpose of exercising their right to freedom of speech were left at the scene for the group members to reclaim.
AS OFFICERS were finishing the clean-up of the area, a subject stepped out into oncoming eastbound 5th Street traffic with a large banner. He stopped directly in front of an oncoming vehicle. He was immediately taken into custody without incident for obstructing the street. The subject was identified as Hans Karl Ashbaucher (44 years old of Eureka). He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. This is Ashbaucher’s third arrest at this location in connection with the “Occupy Eureka” movement. A complaint regarding this incident will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office.”
ONE GROUP participating in Occupy Eureka noticed on their website: “STOP THE ATTACK ON CIVIL RIGHTS. Since Oct 8th, local police & officials have stolen everything we have, arrested us en masse with no warning or crime, beat us to broken ribs & concussion with hands & baton, arrested us for filming, kept us in jail illegally, deleted our videos, fenced off the courthouse lawn, & lied about it all. Cops now come many times a day & steal our signs, where people have demonstrated for decades. There’s no excuse for trying to wipe out our demo. It’s time to SPEAK OUT!”
ON Wednesday, a couple of Occupy volunteers were busy erecting a 6 X 8 foot makeshift shelter using wood, PVC piping, and tarps near the Courthouse steps in the late afternoon. What was going on and what were they doing? It is, or was, the short-lived Occupy Eureka Information Booth and Social Center– until it was allegedly stolen by EPD and its Occupy members kidnapped. Tom Sebourn explains more via the communiqué he received of the situation and arrests:
“In the latest show of complete lawlessness and blatant disregard for the Constitutional Rights of the Citizens of Humboldt County, the Eureka Police Department has once again raided the Occupy Eureka site and stolen both the Information Booth and the Scott Olsen Social Center. In addition to this robbery, they have also kidnapped 2 of our Comrades – Kimberly (“Verbena”) Starr and Stanton Woods are now being held in the Humboldt County Jail despite the fact that they were doing nothing other than exercising their First Amendment Right to speak and hand out literature in a public place. The EPD is trying to claim that Kim Starr was in violation of a court order when she handed out fliers. At the court proceedings to which the EPD were referring, Judge Cissna EXPLICITLY, on the record, said that she was free to speak and hand out papers on the sidewalk. They claim that she further violated orders by erecting the Scott Olsen Center (which was not blocking the sidewalk or in any other way impeding foot traffic and was only there to protect the information table from the weather and as a gathering place for Occupiers and conversations) even though she never even touched any part of it…”
GOOD LUCK, Travis Turner, Ms. Starr, and Occupy Eureka. We wish you the best. We really do. A recent Field Poll found 46% of California voters identifying with the Occupy movement while 49% do not. 58% agree with the protesters’ underlying reasons. 52% blame Wall Street more than the federal government (24%) for the current economic disparity. It’s doubtful these numbers come close to approximating local sentiment in supporting our local Eureka movement given its recent problems as previously reported and the overall message co-opted into a scattered mix of provincial agendas and demands– such as the removal of a chain link fence surrounding a patch of courthouse sod formerly accommodating the overnight tent city and unfortunately wearing out its welcome.
GRANTED, some of the protesters were treated rudely and roughly, probably unduly so; it appears civil litigation for these cases is on the horizon from the sources we’ve heard from. Nonetheless, bringing a more even disposition and clearly grounded solutions to the table — rather than the angry, threatening display of emotional wrought and malfeasance brought to the chambers of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on November 15 — would be best for all concerned. We believe in social justice, carefully and restoratively sought, with a sagacious prudence and considerate respect for all involved. Wise and cooler heads need to prevail preventing the unraveled ends from falling apart and imploding altogether, driving away those who would be otherwise sympathetic. Representing Humboldt — and the 99%– needs to be presented and presented well, without the confrontation, blame game, and the victim card being played. It needn’t be a fine line to tread; otherwise, it detracts and distracts from OWS’ important message that something has gone seriously wrong regarding the disparate inequality and the state of our nation today.
MORE: Heidi Walters and the North Coast Journal covered more of the Occupy haps here for readers… unless you’d rather go directly to the Occupy Facebook site for their more recent postings. Tom Sebourn’s blog kindly archived the latest ballads arising from the source, while the Humboldt Herald’s readers weigh in with their 220 comments and opinions describing more of the above.
LAST SNIPPETS, RUMORS, AND HEARSAY MURMURS:
KINGPINS AND COLD CASH CAN WORK WONDERS: The sentencing of the Hydesville marijuana kingpin, Stanislaw Kopiej, has been postponed. You’ll remember he was arrested with more than 425 pounds of processed pot, entering into a probation-only plea agreement deal only a mere 10 days later after his arrest with his attorney Patrik Giego and the District Attorney’s Office, after forfeiting $175,000 in cash. Monday’s hearing was continued to December 7 to allow attorneys in the case to review the “forfeiture language” in the agreement concerning his former $1 million dollar operation. Meanwhile, the trimmers working for him languish in jail after being hammered with unprecedented felony charges by the District Attorney’s Office– to the dismay of their defense attorneys.
BUCKLE UP AND LOOK BOTH WAYS: Humboldt sadly lost two citizens on the road recently: talented musician Bucky Osper and young Eureka High Student Mariah Redman. Be careful out there, folks. Or going to the new Harris Street Safeway that’s reportedly experiencing fender benders due to the two simultaneous left turn lights colliding with the blocked traffic entering the parking lot, making it one of the more dangerous intersections in the City, some believe.
PHYSICIANS AND PEEPS, HEAL THYSELF: The Two Rivers Tribune explained our national health front in a nutshell: School lunches lean towards the unhealthy, we’re living longer, teen birth rates are declining, Oxycontin-like drugs are smuggled in from Canada, newborns having an ‘explosive surge’ being hooked on prescription painkillers, and a rising level of drug use and alcoholism among doctors and health care professionals. Dr. DeCapua’s article noted, “Research suggest that 15 to 24 percent of lawyers suffer from alcoholism during their careers. The British Medical Association estimates that one in 15 healthcare professionals will develop an addiction problem. Doctors are three times more likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver than the general population.”
AN END RUN, PT II: THE GARBAGE WARS THICKEN. In the last Sentinel Roundup we reported that the Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) was making an end run of closed door negotiations utilizing Arcata Community Recycling Center (ACRC) employees amidst pending litigation. HWMA Executive Director Jim Test said that HWMA is still discussing leasing the Samoa Processing Plant and in a Nov. 10 closed session meeting met to discuss the possibility of keeping the Samoa plant open in an agreement with ACRC. In the latest twist, however, Fortuna’s Eel River Valley Disposal is looking at contracting for Arcata’s recyclables… and bypassing the Samoa Processing Plant altogether in favor of their new facility opening this month. The City of Arcata is pondering its new position of recycling authority. No doubt the clash of stubborn ill will between Directors Jim Test and ACRC’s Mark Loughmiller will continue in some form or another. Who would’ve thought there was money, plot twists and high drama in garbage?
BUSINESS AS USUAL STATS: The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council approved a $79.5 million budget—about $26,000 per person for 3,040 residents for fiscal year 2011-2012. In comparison, Eureka is looking at approving an approximately $55 million budget for 27, 191 residents, or $2,022 per person according to city sources. Humboldt County’s adopted $263.7 million budget for 134,630 residents comes in at $1,958 per person.
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS AND LOCK THE DOORS WHEN YOU LEAVE: If you’re one of Bank of America’s last customers, take note and heed. No, it’s not the fact that Bank of America recently secretly moved $57-75 trillion dollars (yes, that’s right; trillion with a T) of unknown derivatives to an FDIC-insured umbrella account that some say is preparing itself for bankruptcy, nor that the Federal Reserve Bank gave it and other institutions an equally secret $7.7 trillion dollar rescue and bailout coming to light, or that it’s just been hit with downgrades by the two major rating companies and also under investigation for illegally foreclosing on homes and using deceptive loan practices. If that isn’t enough of a warning in itself, it’s the fact that Bank of America’s stock is tanking big time. Currently around $5.53 a share (down 62% from the beginning of the year), experts believe it can’t go much lower without the institution going belly up. Corporate bonuses for such spectacular failure will be announced later– when the final figures for financial institutions are released– and before the projected layoff of 30,000 BofA employees. Our local branch of Bank of America is perilously close to going the way of the Dodo—or Mervyn’s, Hometown Buffet, Borders, Evergreen, the Eureka Reporter, and the Humboldt Beacon and the Times-Standard’s Monday edition.
POT PROMOTIONALS AND OTHER MERCHANDISE FOR SALE: Despite the economic downturn, there is a bright outdoor light of opportunity shining for some. If you haven’t taken the humorously crass capitalistic tour of Jorge’s Garden ‘O Humboldt Eden yet, you still can at Kym’s place. No doubt personal tours will be in the works shortly. Don’t forget to buy a T-shirt or mug at the gift shop on your way out.
THE PERFECT LOCO TRIFECTA? Lost Coast Communications media mogul Patrick Cleary, Lost Coast Outpost Hank Sims, and the ginger Redheaded Blackbelt Kym Kemp have joined forces. The fate of the Humboldt world hangs in their balance.
FAVORITE QUOTE OF THE WEEK LEST WE FORGET: “The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. We have the right to assemble, and we have the right to question our government! Nobody has the right to pepper spray peaceful, albeit obnoxious, protesters… GOT IT?” (~Ernie Branscomb)
HUMBOLDT EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS:
A NICE LINEUP THIS WEEKEND and a little something for everyone, musically speaking, with Hawaii’s ukulele-stretching Jake Shimabukuro on Friday, Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart on Saturday, locals Devin the Dude and Ishi Dube Saturday, 7 man swing and jazz band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing Sunday, and Humboldt’s beloved Huckleberry Flint set for Wednesday.
OR get outdoors in the rain or shine with the Arcata Marsh and Lanphere Dune walks and the Audubon King Salmon and Arcata bird outings listed in the Saturday calendar below, or take in the 22nd annual Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park candlelight walk.
HUMBOLDT’S infamous Impropriety Society is having their last-of-the-year-bash. Don’t know who the Imps are? Oh my. How does one explain this? Let’s put it this way: some things are best left unsaid and don’t look here and certainly don’t look here, either. We warned you, even if you are curiously aware.
…AND the Eureka Inn is scheduled to have their traditionally glittering Christmas Tree decorated and lit– delighting all on Saturday, too.
THE WEEKEND CALENDAR: