St. Joseph nurses accused of re-enacting scene from classic disaster comedy

Nurse Bonnie Ratchet

Nurse Bonnie Ratchet

The North Coast Journal‘s Ryan Burns reports that four ICU nurses and a supervisor placed on administrative leave from St. Joseph Hospital have now been fired for allegedly “over-sedating patients, disregarding medication schedules and spending too much time on the Internet — all while maintaining a ‘party-like atmosphere’ during night shifts.”

One of the five nurses, who worked the night shift together, told Burns, “Part of the reason we get paid more is to be up all night. There’s a lot of slack time. We read books, play games, watch the Internet, go check eBay.”

Potlucks and jam sessions were also part of the nightly routine, Burns reported, with two of the nurses involved “regularly strumming their guitars.”

The one nurse dumb enough to participate in this interview said the crew first made sure nearby patients were sedated, adding, “It’s actually very soothing.”

Okay. Well, if you say so, friend.

The tragical history of Dr. Faust

faust_tnRemember Faust? No, sillies. The other Faust. Goethe and Marlowe’s Faust, that German fellow with the awkward syntax who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for–well, something. We forget what. Knowledge. Power. An extra two inches. Does it matter?

The story itself is your standard-issue dog turns into a devil, offers to serve Faust on earth if he promises to return the favor in hell, and after the deal is inked in blood our protagonist commences the illicit banging of a hot chick who kills her mom so as to facilitate additional banging before getting predictably pregged and her brother dies defending her honor and she drowns her baby in the river, etc., etc.

Bo-ring, really, but the arrangement clearly turned out none too well for anyone, including Faust, who after that odd jumble of plot elements still had to follow through on the whole burning-in-hell end of things.

But the story has been notably cheerier for the other Faust–Ralph, whose narrative goes something like this: A lawyer of enormously so-so abilities is recruited by Bonnie Neely to Humboldt County where he is named Interim County Counsel and advises the board during the drafting of the General Plan Update, after which he is appointed by Mark Lovelace to represent the Third District on the Planning Commission while it considers and revises the General Plan Update, while at the same time providing legal counsel to the Northcoast Environmental Center, an organization which, on its own and as part of the Healthy Humboldt Coalition, actively lobbies both the Board and the Planning Commission to achieve its preferred outcome to–you guessed it–the General Plan Update.

That Mr. Faust as Interim County Counsel generously if improperly released dozens of GPU-related documents to Mark Lovelace–before the latter was elected, before he was even a candidate to be Faust’s future appointer–well that’s just another thread in the web.

But here’s one important difference between the two Fausts: No one’s suggesting ours sold his soul to anyone.

Honestly. Who would buy it?

He suits me not at all, our new-made Burgermeister!
Since he’s installed, his arrogance grows faster.
How has he helped the town, I say?
Things worsen,—what improvement names he?
Obedience, more than ever, claims he,
And more than ever we must pay!


Tired of the county getting all the good scandals, city of Eureka decides to create a crapstorm all its own

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the guy behind the wheel of the cement truck is probably Larry Glass.

He’s the unstoppable force behind Eureka Municipal Code sections 150.030.001 – 150.030.083—also known as the Rental Housing Program, which seeks to fund rental inspection and enforcement activities by imposing rules and fees on all rental property owners in the city.

Boring? Not a bit! In fact, it’s the best kind of political theater: Rich, fat slumlords pitted against vulnerable (but wholesome!) poor people, who with the city’s wise and beneficent assistance resolve their differences and live happily ever after in upgraded housing stock and quiet, tree-lined communities, possibly with Jesus.

But first things first! Let’s get on down to City Hall and register our rentals!! It’s like sex offender registry, only serious. Really! Have you ever known a child molester out of compliance to be charged up to $1,000 a day? Neither have we, but that’s what grandma would be looking at if she failed to register the other half of her duplex within 30 days.

So now it’s inspection time!! Yay! The ordinance gives the city the authority to enter any rental unit in response to any complaint, real or fabricated, by any person, connected to the property or otherwise, including staff, total strangers, and your ex-wife’s half-brother in Fortuna.

If you’re not home when the inspector arrives? No worries! They can get a warrant and break down your door.

Should any problems be found inside inspectors can order repairs to be completed within as little as 48 hours, and can then re-inspect afterward (“can” being literal here, as the city explicitly gives itself the right, after breaking into your house, to not follow up on their repair orders. They’re busy people, you know).

In some cases you may be able to get an extension on the repairs, if staff feel like granting one. But in other cases you cannot, regardless of the availability of funds, qualified repair people, or materials in stock at Pierson’s.

Failure to comply with the inspector’s schedule will subject you to fines of up to $1,000 per day per repair. And if you don’t pay all those fines, fees and penalties within 60 days, the city will put a lien against your property, even though obviously it’s a piece of shit and who would want to live there, or you wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place.

Well fuck-howdy, have we left anything out?

Oh—just this little gem under section 150.030.024 Right of Entry: “Whenever it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce any of the provisions of or perform any duty imposed by this chapter or other applicable law, or whenever the City has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in any residential rental property any violation of the provisions of this sub-chapter or other applicable building, zoning, housing, fire, nuisance, health, safety or related laws or regulations, the City is hereby authorized to send an inspector to enter the premises at any reasonable time and to inspect it and perform any duty imposed upon the City or authorized representative by this chapter or other applicable law.”

Translation, please? Remember how it was determined code enforcement officers didn’t actually have legal justification to take armed, pot-spotting Sheriff’s deputies with them on building inspections? Well, friends, that paragraph right there is exactly the authority they lacked.

We hope the Eureka City Council will see this compendium of rights violations for what it is. Good intentions are laudable, but they’re no excuse for policy as bad as this.

Humboldt Mirror rolls out pimp new format

The Humboldt Mirror is continuing its glorious but mediocre return with a move to an easier-to-read three-column format.

The new design was chosen primarily to make room for more widgets, which both of our readers seem to enjoy. In fact we would go so far as to say they’re crazy for widgets. Consider, for example, this e-mail:

Dear Humboldt Mirror,
This is the crappiest blog in the world. Heraldo’s, by the way, is the best.
I hope you shit a squirrel.
From, Andy Bird Anonymous

P.S. More widgets, please!

Well, you narcissistic douchebag Anonymous, message received! Now we’ve basically got widgets coming out of our butts. There are widgets for fun Twitter stuff, fun tag stuff and archived old stuff. We’ve got widgets for stuff you’re reading, stuff you’re saying, stuff you’re clicking and a list of links to other people’s stuff. We’ve even got a widget that will slap your ass and call you Susan–wait a minute, actually, no, we don’t have that one quite yet.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy the new format. Now as soon as those drunktards from the Graphics Department sober up, we’ll have some more of our world famous artwork to go with it.

Thanks, happy blog friends!! Enjoy!

Welcome to Suckville

Here’s a little good news for you scare junkies out there so worried about Humboldt County turning into the next Santa Rosa. No worries, friends, because we’ve already turned into the next San Francisco!! Awesome!

San Francisco City Councilman

moves family out of San Francisco

by C.W. Nevius
San Francisco Chronicle

Supervisor Chris Daly, the sworn enemy of gentrification in [San Francisco], announced Wednesday that he has bought a house in the suburb of Fairfield and has moved his wife and two children there. The revelation brought out his critics, who highlighted the extreme irony of him falling victim to his own legislative efforts to encourage the building of low-income housing at the expense of middle-class housing.

Daly, who was 28 when he was elected to the board in 2000, has been in the vanguard of far-left politics since he arrived from Maryland in 1993. He has opposed legislation that would encourage tenancy-in-common condominium conversions, which middle-class housing advocates say would allow young families to buy a place in the city, and even called for a three-year moratorium on all condo conversions. In addition, he has shown little interest in attacking the issues of chronic drunkenness and violence in the Tenderloin, the kind of quality-of-life issues that make the city less family friendly.

And now he’s announced that he is moving his family to the suburbs. (Actually, although he says he still lives in his home in San Francisco, tax assessor records indicate that Daly and his wife, Sarah Low, have purchased two homes in Fairfield, one in February and one in April.)

“Here’s a guy who has not only consistently voted against working-class families in San Francisco, he’s introduced legislation that has hurt them,” said fellow Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who has taken her fair share of abuse for owning a second home in the Wine Country. “How invested in the city are you when you sit on the board for a few years and then decide you don’t like how the city looks and move your family out?”

Daly would not respond to interview requests, but he has fallen into the pattern of thousands who have come before him. Idealistic, well-educated young people move into town, rent an apartment and become champions of social causes. After five years or so, when they discover that they might like to own a home, raise kids or live in a place where they don’t have to step over a homeless camper on their doorstep on the way to work, they realize they will have to move out of town.

“The reason is that you have this largely transient population who come here with their college ideals and want to enact ideological change,” said David Latterman, a local political consultant and analyst.

“It’s an anti-middle-class agenda,” he said of Daly’s legislative history in favor of building low-income units. “It is really about using a portion of the renters in San Francisco as political capital.”

Latterman’s point is backed up by some simple math. The 2000 census says that two-thirds of housing units in San Francisco are renter-occupied. But the majority of new rental units are for low-income or very-low-income households. Between 1999 and 2006, a Planning Commission report says, there were more than 4,000 units built for low-income families earning less than $48,000 a year, but only 725 for families of four earning between $75,000 and $113,000.

“We maintain that middle-income housing is underserved in San Francisco,” said Tim Colen, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition. “It is inconceivable, for example, that we could have a healthy, functioning school system without a solid middle-class presence.”

But young families get fed up – with either the high prices or the quality-of-life hassles – and move out. Meanwhile, the demographic that is encouraged is the low-income tenant.

“Why is it so damn difficult for a middle-class family to make it in San Francisco?” asked Latterman. “Because it is so expensive? How come there are so many low-income people, then?”

And now, after years of discouraging middle-income housing, Daly is caught in the same bind.

“I think that Chris did try to buy a place in San Francisco,” said Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. “But it is just too expensive.”

Maybe Daly should have thought of that when he was making it difficult for young couples with two kids to own a home in San Francisco.

Misty water-colored memories

AEDC…. AEDC…. We wondered why that sounded so familiar–like a high school friend whose name we remember but whose face is a pimply blur.

But then–aha!! That AEDC! It all came back at once–the dust-up! the excitement! the intrigue!! the whole stenchilada of controversy and scandal! All just a few years ago, but impossible to recapture now.

Instead–your indulgence, please. Allow us to recap, and we mean briefly! In one little sentence, even: The AEDC, acting as trustee for 584,000 of the City of Arcata’s CDBG dollars, spent 194,000 of them on the AEDC, instead of on a certain Foodworks Culinary Center, and then abandoned the project and defaulted on the loan.

A keyword addendum, if we may: HUD, displeased, city, fucked. You get the idea.

Then, of course, there’s the aforementioned audit report describing a spirited race toward fiscal imprudence between AEDC management and our very own Community Development Disservices Director–a contest which, as of now, is still too close to call.

So why, then, given the history, the audit, the bad math and sloppy accounting, the opposition from the community so clearly expressed during the public comment period Tuesday–why would the Board of Supervisors seriously entertain the suggestion that the AEDC be given in excess of a million additional dollars in public funds?

But we digress. Quick unrelated question–pop quiz, as it were: Anyone know who the controller of the AEDC is? Clearly not a very good controller, given the number and severity of problems described in the audit–but still. A name, please? Anyone?

Ah, that’s right. Something else we’d forgotten, until now. AEDC’s controller, Stephanie Witzel, is–coincidentally, we’re sure–the sister-in-law of Bonnie Neely, a name we couldn’t forget if we tried.

Audits and oddities

To: Humboldt County Community Development Disservices Director Kirk Girard

Subject: Headwaters Revolving Loan Fund request

Dear Director Girard,

Thank you for your recent request for an additional $1.5 million loan to the Arcata Economic Development Corporation from the Headwaters Revolving Loan Fund account. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request for the following reasons.

  1. An independent audit revealed that you mismanaged the first $1.5 million you gave to the AEDC. Specifically, the auditor noted that:
    a. You cannot account for the money.
    b. The AEDC’s independent auditor cannot account for the money but has aked to borrow some of it.
    c. AEDC staff cannot account for the money and are uncooperative when asked to try.
    d. As a result, it cannot be determined whether the county is being repaid promptly, or even repaid at all.
  2. We’re still looking for that $11 million and change in Community Development Block Grants your department gave out and didn’t keep track of.
  3. All of this was made public just last week, and we haven’t forgotten about it yet.
  4. The appropriate response to a report that rips you a redundant pooper and recommends suspending activities with the AEDC is not to say, oh, yeah, cool, so can I give them 100% more money to mismanage?
  5. I was already up to my tits in complaints about your incompetence and arrogance before this most recent example of both.
  6. The big “not recommended” with my initials next to it on the cover of the staff report? Yeah, fuckhead, that’s all me.

Oh and Kirk–funny thing. Somehow, the agenda for the July 14th meeting at which the audit was presented does not contain a link to the audit report. Funnier still, every other agenda item is properly linked to its relevant supporting documentation, and only that audit report seems to be missing. Weird, huh?

Loretta Nickolaus
Humboldt County Administrative Officer

Okay OKAY. Damn.

Dear Still Laughing My Ass Off,

Thank you for your numerous e-mails to the Humboldt Mirror, and for the remarkable persistence with which you send them.

So yes, to answer your question, in fact we are aware that Bonnie Neely recently changed party affiliation and will now repeatedly run for her Fourth District seat as a Democrat.

Happy now? Okay.

In other stunning news, Neely also announced that on U.S. Census forms she will now identify her marital status as “separated” and her race as “white.”

Thanks again for your letters, SLMAO. If either of our other readers has anything interesting or amusing to say, he or she can drop us a line at

The Bugs

Freshwater Tissue Co: Wipe-out or royal flush?

What are the chances that Humboldt County, a place not previously known for personal hygiene, could become the toilet paper capital of California?

Reading the information provided on the Freshwater Tissue Co. website, it’s hard to say. But FTC President Bob Simpson, whose company purchased the Samoa pulp mill in February, sounds confident.

In a video posted on the website, Simpson boasts that FTC would “produce an essential product that is somewhat recession-proof in that every consumer in America has to buy it.”

While that is a slight overstatement, we find ourselves in a rare moment of agreement not only with Bonnie Neely, who supports the project, but also with the ubiquitous Prog tool Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap. That the latter ostensibly presides over a ratepayer-supported water district and yet in an official letter of support to a US Congressman misspells “ratepayer” pretty much tells you everything you need to know about her.

It remains to be seen whether the support of these two public savants will withstand reality, or if this is just something they’re saying to cling to elected office. Regardless, we’re enthusiastic about the project and hope Simpson is able to raise the necessary capital.

Sure, we’re talking about toilet paper, and there will be jokes. We’ll undoubtedly tell a few of them ourselves. But we wouldn’t mind a bit if bathroom tissue eventually edged out Humboldt County’s other top exports—marijuana and national news stories making fun of Arcata—and replaced some of the thousands of jobs Neely and the Progressives have, through the years, worked so hard to drive away.

Exclusive: Humboldt Mirror scores interview with former NEC director

Shove over, Barbara Walters. Former Northcoast Environmental Center director Greg King took a few minutes out of his humiliating retreat for a little Q and A with the Humboldt Mirror.

The man whose claim to fame was finding a forest that had never been lost and, more recently, running the NEC into its own contaminated ground will likely be remembered as a folk hero, a true eco-warrior, and a surprisingly crappy businessman.

Humboldt Mirror: So Greg. Man. Why don’t you start off by telling us how the NEC went broke.
Greg King: Well, I spent a lot of money and raised very little. I’m told that may have been a factor.

HM: Seems like that would do it.
GK: Yeah. We bought a house we couldn’t afford, and then dumped another boatload of money greening it out. Everything all solar and made out of carrots and shit. It was pretty cool, to tell you the truth, and it was like four bucks a month for the PG&E, before it got shut off. Also that whole cleanup thing on our property was way more expensive than you’d think, even skirting environmental regs the way we did. We ended up capping most of it, but don’t tell anyone because then we won’t be able to act all outraged when everyone else does it.

HM: You had some big shoes to fill.
GK: You have no idea. Every day it was Tim (McKay, longtime NEC director) did this, and oh, Tim did that, until finally I was like, ‘Yeah, well you know who else did all that? Fucking Jesus. Now shut the hell up.’

HM: Talk to us about the Klamath settlement.
GK: Yeah. Wow. We didn’t see that coming. By then money was already tight, because we had shifted toward a Baykeeper model, where instead of raising money by doing good things, you raise it by suing everyone. The advantage to that approach is that then you don’t actually have to do the good things. And in fact the fewer good things that happen, the more people there are to sue.

HM: But wasn’t doing good the point?
GK: The point of what?

HM: Of the NEC.
GK: Oh. Well, okay, sure, but clean rivers and healthy habitats don’t pay the bills. No one writes checks for species that don’t need saving and rivers that don’t need un-damming, you know?

HM: Right. So Greg, do you think maybe you weren’t the right person for the job?
GK: Maybe. It’s just too bad the organization didn’t need any trespassing or guitar playing, because I’m really good at both of those.

HM: What’s next for Greg King?
GK: Well I think my wife and daughter and I are going up to the Smith to unplug and get back in synch with nature.

HM: So you’re moving into a broken-down camper on the banks of the river?
GK: It centers us.

HM: Well thanks. I appreciate your candor.
GK: Yeah okay. Can I get that ten-spot now?

Oh, you decide.

We’re plotting our glorious return, and boy will it be mediocre!!

The irreverence you love…. The irrelevance you’ve come to expect….

That’s right, friends! Just as soon as we round up those lazy bastards from the Graphics Department, The Humboldt Mirror will reclaim its spotty reputation and half-hearted production schedule. Go ahead! Thank us!!

But this may take a while. Last we heard from those miscreant designers, they were muling transporting kush product for Chris Kerrigan’s latest failure venture. Let’s hope Chris is a better dealer agricultural retailer than campaign manager (although it’s statistically unlikely that he could be any worse).

So listen up, Graphics Department. We’ve got things to do, people to skewer, trouble to cause.  And how are we to do this without the highly stylized if somewhat predictable graphic content both of our readers have come to know and love? Hmm? How?

So come on home to the bugs. Put down that dank and crack open an honest, wholesome PBR. Think of the fun we’ll have, the shit we’ll disturb, the many seconds of entertainment we’ll provide.

And if that’s not working for you, think of the information we’ll turn over to your parole officers if you don’t.

Yeah. That information.

What?? You’re coming back? We’re delighted!!

See you very soon, friends!