Good grief

Ah, the privileges of elected office. You can return phone calls if you feel like it, attend meetings if you want—and “work from home” for weeks at a time.

Supervisor Bonnie Neely hasn’t spent a day in her office since Roger Rodoni’s untimely death almost two weeks ago. When asked for an explanation—not that she’s required to provide one—the Bon Bon volunteered that she was too grief-stricken by Roger’s passing to maintain regular office hours.

So sensitive of her! We’re touched. Of course, this suggests she’s taking her fellow supervisor’s death quite a bit harder than people who actually liked Roger, all of whom have long since resumed their normal daily activities.

But grief causes people to do strange things. Just ask Kirk Girard.

It would be fascinating to hear what role Roger’s death might have played in the Disservices Director’s decision to withdraw an offer on a San Francisco-area residence less than 24 hours after Roger died.

Was there a dramatic shift in market conditions? A significant change in interest rates? Well, no. It was probably just the sadness talking. Kirk and Roger were always so close.

Deepest condolences from Carlos Quilez

April 29, 2008

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

… I do not believe being the wife of a deceased Supervisor to be a qualification for an elected position. …


Carlos Quilez

So tasteful of him to have dated the letter one day before the unqualified widow was able to lay her husband to rest.

We’re sure Carlos sends his heartfelt condolences, etc.

Rodoni, retold

In the days and weeks to come, those of us who knew Roger Rodoni personally—and it seemed impossible to know him any other way—will partake in one of the activities he loved best: storytelling.

Almost everyone has a story about Roger, although few people can tell a story the way he could. Many of his tales were improbable accounts involving horses, drinking or guns. And when he managed to combine all three, as he often did, listeners were in for a treat.

It is no secret that we at the Humboldt Mirror loved Roger. We didn’t always agree with him—he the old school Libertarian, we the new age Democrats—and some of the things that popped out of his mouth made us laugh or cringe or both.

But you can imagine that we were delighted to learn, shortly before his death, that our affection for him was reciprocal.

We heard from several people that he read the blog religiously and spent long hours trying to figure out who the rascally bugs might be, and how they got their information.

The answer to both questions, he announced one day, was contained in our names.

“Mirrors,” he said. “And bugs. Get it?”

He gestured around the office and lowered his voice to a whisper.

“They’re in here. With us.”

Sometimes, for effect, he would pretend to examine the underside of his desk for listening devices before discussing particularly sensitive county matters.

It is not known whether his espionage theory was improved any before he died—nor will we ever know if he intended to follow through on his stated intent to make Humboldt Mirror lapel pins to wear to Board of Supervisors meetings.

That would’ve made for a good story, and we would love to have heard Roger tell it.

We’ll leave this thread open for any Rodoni stories you may have. Bonus points accrue for every horse, gun and bottle of whiskey you throw into the mix.

This just in: Roger Rodoni corn-holed everything

A press release issued by the Estelle Fennell campaign holds Roger Rodoni personally responsible for the decline of the timber industry in Humboldt County.

And the evidence she cites in support of this? Much of the job loss occurred in Rodoni’s Second District, where most of the timber jobs were to begin with.

Brilliant!! We love it!

Good thing the Ferndale earthquake struck before Rodoni took office, and better still that there haven’t been any deadly meteor showers or elephant stampedes on his watch, or we’d have to blame him for those as well.

Fennell’s breathless announcement made no mention of the industry’s precipitous decline throughout the Pacific Northwest, due in large part to harvest restrictions on public land and the expense associated with dramatically stepped-up environmental protections on private land.

Rodoni filled in some of the logic-gaps for her, and added that Fennell’s remarks betrayed “a gross lack of understanding of basic economic conditions.”

But Fennell insists that she is in fact a remarkably knowledgeable candidate.

She states on her website that the years she spent as a radio news reporter have given her “a true understanding of almost every aspect of what it means to live and work in the 2nd district.”

That’s kind of like saying the pimply faced kid who mans the drive-thru window at McDonald’s has a firm grasp of the problem of world hunger. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t, but we’d want to see what else he has listed on the ol’ curricula vitae before putting him in charge of UNICEF.

Still, on one subject at least, Fennell’s expertise is unassailable.

“I know how critical the need for good paying jobs is,” Fennell stated in the news release.

And you can take that statement to the bank.

After working two decades as a low-wage news hack for a backwater radio station, Fennell is hoping Second District voters will hand her
the very first
good paying job
of her entire life.

War of words continues in electoral haiku contest

Second and Third District candidates for the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors showed off their verbal wizardry Thursday at a competitive poetry jam attended by hundreds of potential voters.

But the event, sponsored by the League of Women Poets, wasn’t all fun and games.

The poetry jam raised almost a dollar for the Perpetual Campaign to Continuously Re-elect Bonnie Neely, which was apparently in need of both an envelope and a stamp so that the six-term supervisor could at long last respond to Third District candidate Bryan Plumley’s request for a meeting.

But it was another Third District candidate, Paul Pitino, who walked off with the event’s grand prize for this piece:

“No contributions
And no campaign endorsements
Maybe not so smart”

League President Marsha McBusybody called all of the haiku “powerful,” but said Pitino’s was especially moving.

“Like all great art, Paul’s work was transcendent,” McBusybody said. “In a very few words, we were made to understand the smallness of man, the vastness of his ambition and the vividly distinct possibility that Paul Pitino will mow lawns for a living until the day he dies.”

The other electoral haiku are listed below in alphabetical order by the candidate’s last name.

I love Indians
Local Solutions bought me
Blue Lake paid the bill

-Clif Clendenen, Second District


Unemployed DJ
Seventy thousand a year
Buys a lot of weed

-Estelle Fennell, Second District


Need a real job
Plan B is running Palco
I’d suck at that too

-Mark Lovelace, Third District


What sets me apart?
A Democrat with a job
Rare in Arcata

-Bryan Plumley, Third District


Hey you two-bit whores
Want to talk about apples?
Mine are fucking huge

-Roger Rodoni, Second District

Fifth District Indian casino kicks down major wampum to Clendenen’s Second District campaign

The Blue Lake Casino, patron rancheria of Bonnie Neely’s most recent re-election campaign, gave a sack full of bingo money to Clif Clendenen, the candidate Neely chose to replace her Board of Supervisors sparring partner Second District incumbent Roger Rodoni.

In a news release issued the day before the most recent round of campaign contributions was made public, Clendenen praised “the generosity expressed by the people of the district,” while carefully omitting the fact that the district in question wasn’t his.

The Blue Lake Casino, located in Supervisor Jill Geist’s Fifth District, accounted for $10,000 of the $13,683 Clendenen raised in the three-and-a-half month period ending March 17.

The Eureka Reporter notes that of that amount, Clendenen paid $800 to Neely’s longtime campaign manager Meghan Vogel, whom Neely ham-handedly dispatched to Fortuna late last year in an attempt to unseat Rodoni.

In 2006, the casino gave Third District Supervisor Neely $25,000 in her slim victory over former Eureka Mayor and current Rio Dell City Manager Nancy Flemming.

In the most recent contribution cycle, Clendenen was able to squeeze cash out of only 10 additional contributors, at least a few of whom appear to actually reside within his district.

Clendenen campaign manager calls ventriloquism act ‘political theater’

Fortuna ventriloquist Bill Thorington, the somewhat stilted voice behind sideman Clif Clendenen, called managing the apple grower’s campaign for the Second District seat on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors the “biggest challenge” of his professional career.

“Talk about a dummy,” Thorington said, shaking Clendenen’s head. “I’ve worked with sock puppets that knew more about the issues than this guy.”

Thorington said they tried running the real Clendenen for the seat, currently filled by Roger Rodoni, but after hours of instruction and public speaking classes, the candidate still sounded “uninformed, wooden and not completely human.”

Thorington credited Fourth District Supervisor Bonnie Neely with the idea of using a Clendenen puppet to run against Rodoni as political payback for the incumbent’s independent voting record.

“Bonnie was a godsend,” Thorington said, noting that Neely kicked off Clendenen’s campaign by assigning her own longtime political handler, Meghan Vogel, to file the necessary paperwork and put semi-intelligent words in the candidate’s mouth until management duties could be transferred to a professional ventriloquist.

Neely also made introductions between campaign staff and disgraced political has-been Richard Salzman, who helps produce much of the dialog for the act.

Additionally, Thorington said, the campaign was “indebted” to Neely for leaking county information to the duo so that Clendenen could appear better informed than he is or ever will be.

“That letter Clif suggested the county send to the Palco bankruptcy court, it looked an awful lot like the one the board proposed a couple days later, didn’t it?” Thorington asked, pulling strings in Clendenen’s back so that the candidate appeared to be winking and smiling.

When asked if it was appropriate for one supervisor to blatantly attempt to unseat another, Thorington replied without moving his lips.

“This is just political theater. None of it’s real. Besides, Roger dug his own grave. He should know better than to stand up to Neely or ‘vote his conscience’ or whatever crap he wants to call it. I can assure you the board will have no such difficulties with Clif.”

Former biased news reporter Estelle Fennell is also running for the second district seat. Insiders believe her campaign is unlikely to survive a primary challenge in June, when it will likely be revealed that Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan is pimping a low-level associate from John Edwards’ failed presidential crusade to manage her campaign.