Friday, October 31, 2014

More Television Stuff

I've wondered for some time when color television was developed. More importantly, when did it become commonplace and when did my family get our first color TV?

I think the first time I ever saw a color TV was in the mid '60s at a J.C. Penney's in Santa Ana, CA. I remember walking by it and my mom pointing at it and saying, "I want one of those". Funny thing is, I don't recall being as baffled by that TV as I've been over other tech developments. And I can't remember when we bought the first one.

Another funny thing is I remember watching what were likely black and white TV shows as if they were in color- the Ed Sullivan Show being an exception. I still remember seeing The Beatles on that show the first time in black and white. But other shows- The Monkees being one that comes to mind- I remember in color, even though someone pointed out here a while back that show was probably in black and white at the time. Maybe because of reruns that were colorized?

We might have got our first color TV in the mid- 60s when we lived in Tustin, or maybe we bought it a bit later when we lived in Irvine. My memory on that is confused as I'm pretty sure I saw some black and white shows when we lived in Irvine in the early '70s.

I was surprised to read on Wikepedia that color TV was actually developed in the '50s although not being widely sold until the mid- 60s. Maybe we did get our first one in the '60s but I remember watching black and white TV shows long after that. In fact, I still have my small, black and white, portable broadcast TV that I used for years after I moved up here (similar to the picture). I was watching black and white on that into the early '80s, I believe.
I've also wondered when we first got cable TV? Seems to me I remember adjusting the antennas on the TV we had in Irvine. That, and placing a fork or spoon on just the right spot on the top of the set to optimize reception. I don't know if we ever had cable while we lived there, but it would seem in a new development, as Irvine was then, we might have been among the first to get such a thing.

Wikipedia says cable TV first became available in this country in 1948(wtf?), with the first commercial systems being developed in the '50s.

I believe the first time I subscribed to cable was in the early '80s when I lived on Trinity Street in Myrtletown. It was Cox Cable back then and was probably around $18.00 a month. Still black and white, though, as I only had a black and white TV.
Then there's the Video Cassette Recorder, now on its way to the dustbin of history if not already there (although we still have a VHS recorder hooked up to our TV). Wikipedia tells us those were developed in the mid '50s. That doesn't surprise me.

I was surprised, though, when I started seeing those "instant replays" on sports shows. I'd be baffled. How the hell can they do that, I'd be wondering? Up until then you had to make a movie, take it to be developed and then run it through a projector. I had no idea how you could replay something right away as they'd learned how to do.

That was probably in the late '70s. Not long after that the first commercial VCRs started becoming available but they were pricey. I had a friend at work who was a big TV fan. He bought himself one right away for around $700.00- a sizable amount of money at the time. It didn't take long, though, for the prices to come down. Not six months after that I ended up buying my first VCR.  

I was living in Myrtletown at the time. I watched a fair amount of TV but some things I wanted to watch just weren't on when I wasn't working. I'd seen the old movie Clash of the Titans advertised but it was never on when I had a chance to watch it. I decided just for the heck of it to rent a VCR just to record and watch that movie. Just seemed like a fun thing to do. I'd make a party out of it.

On Myrtle Avenue and McFarland where those two domes are, that used to be the Video Connection. They rented Beta video tapes and machines. I wasn't planning on buying one right then, just renting. I went down there and noticed they had a couple machines for sale at around $250.00. Still a bit pricey, but a lot less than my friend paid for his.

I got to thinking and realized I could pay off that machine in a month or two. I went ahead and bought it, thus beginning a rather fun run of recording and watching videos with that VCR. I paid that off real fast and my TV loving friend was still trying to pay off the one he bought for a lot more.

Funny thing about that VCR, in thinking back about it. I had no problem hooking it up to my old TV after I bought it. Simple stuff that took less than five minutes. Nowadays, I'm totally lost in trying to hook up a DVR to our TV. Had to have a nephew come over and hook it up for us last time. Maybe it's an age thing?

Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade

A downside to the Winchell- Mahoney Show was it didn't start until school was over each day. That left me bored to tears the many times I stayed home from school faking illness, or the handful of times I really was. 

Nothing on TV at all, at least for a kid, except for Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade. I'd go nuts having to wait for his show to start. But start it did around lunchtime if memory serves. I always thought it weird seeing a Sheriff without a gun. Then again, Andy of Mayberry rarely carried a gun, either. 

Good cartoon show. Only wished it was on twice as long. Why I'd fake being sick to stay home from school for an hour or so of Sheriff John is still beyond me. I was too young to get into the soap operas.

Interesting info from Sheriff John's Wikipedia entry: The guy who played Sheriff John, John Rovick, came up with the idea for the show himself. He was also a radio operator and gunner in bombers during World War 2. He survived 50 missions, something few men did. He died in Boise, Idaho in October 2012.

It's Winchell-Mahoney Time!

Hooray! Hurrah! It's Winchell- Mahoney Time. It's Winchell- Mahoney Time! It's time for fun!

Only you older folks likely remember that. It was the theme song for the Winchell- Mahoney Show. Something on TV the other night reminded me of it. It was a cartoon show I watched back in the '60s. You had the ventriloquist, Paul Winchell, and his two dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff (I always thought it was Smith). 

They did the show before a live audience of young kids- my age or younger. There would be some slapstick back and forth between Winchell, Mahoney and Smiff, but I watched it for the cartoons. Even back then I think I found ventriloquist dummies creepy. 

I hadn't realized until I read Paul Winchell's Wikipedia entry what a career he'd had. I only knew of him as the guy who made those creepy dummies talk. I had no idea he was also an inventor and invented the first mechanical artificial heart. He died in Los Angeles in June 2005.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Colorado: Legal Pot Catching Up With Illegal?

Reason magazine takes a look at the competition between legal and black market pot dealers in Colorado. Their conclusion seems to be that legal dealers are becoming so much more efficient and cost effective, that they'll soon be able to compete with the still existing black market.

I'm skeptical. I still feel government (and people in general) won't be able to resist taxing marijuana as high as they can, just as they do with tobacco, alcohol and pretty much everything else. I would think the black market will always be able to beat that, never mind being able to grow your own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mad River Union: NO on P

The Mad River Union published their recommendations for the November election. They're only recommending in the Arcata City Council race and Measures P and Z.

I liked the way they put together their NO recommendation on P.  About the only problem I see is they used a lot of words to pretty much write what I already have about the measure: It's a solution in search of a problem. Still, the extra words were a fun read.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Sun Caused Outage?

Most of us have heard of the communications outage of last night that affected cell phones and internet, among other things. Latest word is it's being blamed on a cell tower problem. It didn't seem to bother us at our house

What we have had problems with lately is satellite TV. For at least the last week, maybe longer, we've had intermittent interruptions of some TV shows on Dish Network. Jeopardy was the most noticeable. All of the sudden it would freeze up for a few seconds. Kinda like when you're watching a video online and it just stops, except the picture would eventually get all broken up.

Last night it seemed to come to a head, strangely enough when the other outages were happening. At least two channels went black. Eventually a message showed up saying they were aware of the problem and were working on it. 

I wondered earlier on if it might have something to do with solar flares, or something along that line? After reading about this big sunspot and its resulting solar flares, I'm wondering if maybe it did have something to do with the sun? Anybody else have problems with satellite TV lately?

Monday, October 27, 2014

An Eyewitness Accuses

From the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat: A 24 year old man from Sonoma County has been released from jail and charges of kidnapping and rape dismissed. He was facing a potential life sentence. His cellphone records proved the victim/ accuser made up the story of him raping her. She had actually set up the meeting, apparently with sex in mind. Whether she'll be prosecuted, who knows?

Here's the story of the original arrest with Disqus comments included. There's a few "Oak tree, rope" type comments but most seem pretty mild compared to what I usually see when anyone is arrested on sex related charges.

You have to wonder how many similar situations and accusations have resulted in convictions when the "suspect" either didn't have cellphone records to back up his story, or didn't have the means to have his case investigated thoroughly? If it wasn't for this guy's cellphone records, he probably would have been convicted on the accuser's testimony and the physical evidence.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Craigslist Political Blogging

I've always been amused at some of the postings I've seen in the Craigslist local Politics and Local News and Views sections. As of late, though, it looks like those sections are giving our local bloggers a run for their money as far as hard- hitting commentary goes.

This one, posted Sunday, claims the Lost Coast Outpost is giving the Sheriff's Office the IP addresses of those making comments. He(?) claims Sheriff's deputies visited him after he made a negative comment about their anti- pot activities.

This one, posted Monday, claims city council candidates Chet Albin and Mike Newman are in cahoots with low life, ambulance chaser Jason Singleton of disability lawsuit infamy. They want to shut down more Eureka businesses.

He seems to really dislike local blogger, John Chiv. He goes after John Chiv in this second post from Monday. 

He doesn't like Rex Bohn either, according to this post, especially if he's in the company of John Chiv.

And from today's post, we find out the Lost Coast Outpost has aligned with Humboldt Citizens for Property Rights in a conspiracy to keep tourists away.

The ones above were from Local News and Views. He cross posted some of those to the Politics section, but this original one from Wednesday exposes the Lost Coast Outpost as a front for conservative voices including local "conservative"(?), Alan Dolllson.

Hard to compete with that sort of stuff, huh? He keeps this up he might run the rest of us local bloggers out of business (gulp!).

Obamacare Renewed

I wrote earlier this week about receiving notice from Anthem/ Blue Cross that it was time to renew my Covered California (Obamacare) health insurance plan. I had two main concerns: Why do I need to renew and what happens if I don't? Also, their cover letter seemed to suggest my monthly payment had been raised from $71.01 to $116.00. Are they really raising it that high so quickly?

I got another letter in the mail a couple days ago from Covered California. Basically it also said it was time to renew but, after giving all sorts of facts and figures, said if I didn't go to their web site and renew I'd automatically be renewed anyway. Naturally, I couldn't just let that go. I had to go see what the renewal process was if for nothing more than curiosity.

I went to the Covered California web site this morning only to find the same poorly done (imo) web page I experienced signing up at the beginning of the year. Tables overlaid over explanatory text and confusing navigation instructions, but I logged in and found my way in spite of that. After going back and forth a few times, checking a few boxes confirming one thing or another and signing with my digital signature, I guess I renewed my plan. No confirmation e-mail yet.

About the only thing of interest I found was one place where it gave a general description of my health care plan plus my monthly premium and the subsidy. The listed my monthly premium as $61 and change- about $10.00 less than I've been paying. Will I be paying the $61 next year, or the $116 that was mentioned in the Anthem/ Blue Cross letter? Only time will tell.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CalPers Can't Understand?

Reason magazine reports how folks at the California Public Employee Retirement System are baffled that some aren't happy with their latest manipulation of public employee pay. Governor Brown attempted earlier on to at least slow down pension spiking- the practice of adding any number of various bonuses and such to their total pay thus giving the employee more for retirement. 

CalPers rose to the occasion by categorizing the bonuses and other perks as base pay so they could continue to use them to count towards their pensions. Goes to show relief for underfunded pensions doesn't seem anywhere in sight, especially since the state legislature doesn't want to touch the issue.

Interesting factoid in the article:

"The Times notes that pension contributions from the state and municipal governments within California have jumped from $1.9 billion to $8.1 billion in 10 years. That’s not even getting into the massive problem of growing health care costs for government employees."

Fullerton's Minimum Wage Plan

I see John Fullerton sent his alternative plan for a minimum wage increase in as a letter to the editor of the North Coast Journal. Good to see I'm not giving away any secrets. I saw it earlier on the No On Measure R Facebook page.

Here is his plan for a "responsible" local minimum wage increase. My comments follow:

1) Any increase MUST be countywide and not discriminate against any one city. 

 2) My plan would have two rates. The lower one would be the rate mandated by the State of Calif (currently $9 per hour). That rate would be for the following groups; A) Workers under age 21. This would help them get their first job. B) Tipped employees. Ex; waiters and waitresses, most of whom make more in tips than in salaries. C) Employees in their first six months on the job. This helps employers train new employees. 

3) The higher rate will be for everybody else and be phased in. $ 10 per hour starting January 1st, 2015 $ 11 per hour starting January 1st 2016 $ 12 per hour starting January 1st 2017 This will give the local economy time to adjust and not cost so many job losses. 

4) Finally I would give employers a credit for their cost of any health insurance or retirement plans they give employees. This would help encourage employers to offer health insurance & retirement plans to employees and doesn't that help everybody ? 

It is certainly better thought out than Measure R, but I'm not onboard and wouldn't support it. Just a few reasons:

#1. Even some opposed to Measure R say they'd support it if it applied countywide and not just in Eureka. As far as I'm concerned the objections to Measure R still stand if applied to the entire county. Humboldt County as a whole is a depressed area. I see nothing good in dragging the whole county down instead of just Eureka. 

#2. I like that he has a two tiered wage that recognizes minimum wage jobs as entry level positions. Having the option for a lower minimum for those new to the workforce makes it easier for younger folks to get that first job.

However, it doesn't take into account older, less skilled folks like myself that might need a job to make ends meet when we're no longer able to continue what we've been doing. That makes it harder to find a job if you're over 21, especially so if you're in your 50s or older.

Oh, and there seems to be no accommodation for non- profits which often rely heavily on minimum wage workers. Probably just an oversight?

#3. Whatever, although I maintain the state already raised the minimum wage this year and will raise it again January 1. That should suffice.

#4. The idea of employer credits is a good one regardless of, and even without, any minimum wage increases.

Fullerton finished by saying we need to defeat Measure R first, then work on getting a county wide measure. I agree with defeating Measure R, but I'll vote against a county wide measure as well. 

I do appreciate that he stepped up to the plate and offered an alternative after being challenged by Measure R supporters for one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kid's Pot Use Declines in Colorado

I'm not one to take polls or studies at face value but U.S. New and World Report reports that juvenile use of marijuana in Colorado seems to have declined after it was legalized. There's some mention of it possibly being the result of a long term trend that started before legalization.

I've been led to believe that drug use goes up and down among all groups regardless (or in spite of) changes in legal status. Then again, my best friend for a while when I lived in Tustin, CA told me he wouldn't smoke pot if it was legal. As far as I could tell he was totally serious. Anyone else know anybody like that?

I haven't smoked pot since the early '80s. I quit mostly because I didn't like the crowd that came with it, at least at the time. It also tended to aggravate my social anxieties (I've heard the same thing from some others). I suppose given the right place and time I might smoke it again but have no great desire to- legal or not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Obamacare Renewal Time?

Got a thing in the mail yesterday from Anthem Blue Cross. It was from ABC but only for those with ABC Obamacare plans. It says it's "time to renew your individual health benefit plan". Renew it? I'd read something about enrollment periods starting up again in the news but I thought it was for people that weren't on Obamacare yet. Do I have to renew if I just keep paying the premiums as I always have?

It goes on to say they've made some changes to some of the individual plans. They attached a table to show the changes. 

Then they say if I want to renew to simply pay the $116.26 premium as it appears on my bill. What? I've only been paying $77.01. I'd heard Obamacare premiums might be going up depending on where you live. Am I one of those?

Hard to say. Checking the Anthem Blue Cross web site, it still shows my premium at $77.01, but the mail said the enrollment period runs from November 2014 to February 2015. Maybe the new premiums aren't in effect yet? Will my premiums go up, or down? 

This article from Reason magazine sorta explains the situation and tells us we won't know for sure until sometime after the middle of November. The Affordable Care Act folks held off on giving more info until after the election.

I guess I'll have to wait to find out the good or bad news. I'll expect the worst. But what changes have been made to my current plan? 

I only see two changes: They got rid of the $1000.00 co-payment requirement for out of network hospital visits. That seems like a good thing.  They also added a pediatric dental plan which wasn't provided before. That makes no sense at all for me as I don't have kids. Oh well. Overall the changes seem like a glass half empty, half full type of thing.

I guess I'll wait until after the election and see what bad news awaits me. Funny thing is, it almost doesn't matter since my health care provider, Redwood Family Practice, doesn't accept Obamacare.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Desalination 101

Another good article from the Sacramento Bee that pretty much tells all you need to know about seawater desalination. 

I keep hearing from some circles how California really needs to get going on desalination. What they don't realize is desalination is probably the most expensive way to get usable water. Even proponents admit the only way desal will become economically competitive is when the cost of other sources of water become expensive enough.

Not that I'm against desalination- Southern CA certainly should consider it- but for all the money these plants cost to build and run, they still only supply a relatively small amount of needed water- 7% of the service area is what the Carlsbad project will supply and that will be the biggest one in the state.

As someone in the article points out, they're making a commitment to buy the desal water whether they need it or not. It's a big decision to make when five years from now we might go back to wet winters and might not need all the water those desal plants provide. It's an expensive gamble even under the best circumstances.
Something I hadn't known before: I was always under the impression that the effluent from the desal plants is real salty, but that it quickly gets diluted back into regular seawater. The article says it is so salty it doesn't break down real fast in sea water. It's akin to oil and water so doesn't mix well. Still, over time it does or the water around Saudi Arabia wouldn't have as much life as it does. I've seen that myself.

Faro Hounds

I was out at Happy Dog Kennels on Jacob's Avenue Saturday. The first thing I see in the front dog run was what I thought at first were deer- reddish brown, long legs and big ears. A closer look showed it to be two dogs of a kind I've never seen before. There was an adult and a younger one.

I was intrigued. I was thinking maybe some kind of greyhound? I went into the office before I left and asked what breed of dog they were. The guy told me they were Faro Hounds, supposedly with origins in Egypt. More properly called Pharaoh Hounds, but a Google search for Faro Hounds worked. The kennel worker said they were the first he'd seen, too.

Pretty interesting looking dogs, but from what little I've read about them it seems their origins might be from Malta and not Egypt. Anyone else ever seen a Faro Hound?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

S.F. Chronicle Does The Freddy Wrong

I suppose it was inevitable. The San Francisco Chronicle seems to be working its way into a pay site. One of my favorite weekly columnists, Willie Brown, seems to be behind a paywall now. I checked a couple other stories and there doesn't seem to be a paywall on them. Maybe it's just a glitch?

Probably not. Maybe just the more viewed pages to start and the rest to follow. Looks like it might be $10.00 a month for a subscription. I can't find anything about rates for online only. Too expensive for me, regardless. I'm bummed.

Everything You Need To Know About Prop 47

The Sacramento Bee did a great job of summarizing Proposition 47. Prop 47 is the one that will reduce some felonies to misdemeanors and thus supposedly reduce incarceration rates. They tell what it does and doesn't do, along with who supports and opposes the measure (Paul Gallegos is listed as a supporter).

I filled out and sent in my absentee ballot yesterday. I voted Yes on Prop 47. I'm almost sorry I did. Maybe I should have just left that one blank? It wasn't the Bee article that makes me feel that way. I wrote here earlier I was giving it a grudging Yes vote.

It just strikes me as if they're saying some common criminals aren't as much of a criminal anymore because they've redefined their crimes, and that those same criminals are going to go on the straight and narrow now that they're only going to be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony. 

I have nothing against rehabilitation. I certainly don't want anyone languishing in jail for "victimless crimes" such as prostitution or drug use. I do have a problem with career petty thieves and the like and that there seems to be little we can do to deal with them anymore due to lack of jail space. Reducing the classification of their crimes doesn't stop them from their predatory behavior. 

Oh, well. My vote is cast. Whether it passes or not I suspect it won't change much, if anything, from the standpoint of crime victims.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Measure R Sign Wars

It probably shouldn't be called a war since in this case it's pretty one- sided. Seems the Yes On Measure R folks have been busy taking No On R signs around town. I noticed someone took one from a neighbor's yard the other day, although mine is still up. I think they took one I put up on I street a while back, too, but I'll have to go back and make sure. Maybe it just fell down.

Got an e-mail today from the Protect Eureka folks telling me that half their signs have been stolen so far, some up to four times after being replaced.

This should be no surprise to most of us. The Yes On R people do things like that. The No On R people don't.

Weird Mail

Anyone else notice mail being a bit slow lately? Maybe it's just me but it seemed as if at least some the checks I received as payments showed up a bit late this month. I'm wondering if they're already routing our mail through Medford(?).

Some of the checks I usually receive early in the month didn't show up. That's not too unusual. Then on the 15th I received maybe four checks. All were postdated the 14th but two of the checks were dated a week earlier, and that's for mail originating in Eureka. So, a week to get a letter from two blocks away. 

If it is the shutting down of the Eureka main office and re- routing to Oregon, it does strike me as odd. I believe Federal Express sends all their packages back east before delivering them locally.

Saw a news clip on a Bay Area TV station about it a few years ago. The guy was doing a segment on FedEx and had a FedEx delivery guy standing there with him. He asks the FedEx guy if he wanted to mail his package to a building across the street, where does it go after it leaves his office. The delivery guy said it went to their San Jose(?) center, then was flown to their main routing center in Pennsylvania(?) then back to San Jose where it would be delivered the next day. All that just to send a box across the street.

FedEx makes it work, assuming they're still doing it that way. Wonder why the post office can't? Not that I really care. When the checks get here, they get here. It's not that big of a deal. Just wondering

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday: A Bike vs. Car Collision

I had just gotten into my truck to go to work yesterday around 10:30am. I was facing north on E street. I had just started my engine when I noticed a guy on a bicycle ride out from behind my next door neighbor's fence that borders the Nazarene Church parking lot. It seemed like more of a blur than anything else because the guy was going so fast.

For a split second I thought there was no way he could turn onto the sidewalk as he was going too fast. I figured he must by planning on turning into the northbound lane of E street instead. There were cars coming down the street in both directions.

Nope. He goes flying into the street attempting to cross it without looking. It happened so fast. There's a car traveling southbound. I see no way for the car not to hit the bike or the bike the car. I'm thinking I'm about to see the bike guy get killed. Yep, except the bike flies into the driver's side front part of the car, instead of the car hitting him. The bike was going so fast (plus, no helmet) I'm figuring the rider must be seriously injured.

Parts of the car fly off and land on the street. The rider and the bike fall to the ground but I'm surprised to see the rider immediately get up, swear, and start picking up the bike and other stuff that fell down- he ignored the car parts. He limped a little but otherwise seemed ok.

The guy he ran into pulls over across the street, gets out of his car and starts walking back towards point of impact. I get out of my truck and shout out to him that I saw everything that happened and it wasn't his fault. The bike guy flew right into the street and into his car. He yells to the bike guy, "Are you ok?". The bike guy just goes about picking up his stuff and starts looking at his bike to check for damage.

The car driver tells me he thought he killed the guy. I told him that's what I thought, too, but that it wasn't the car guy's fault.

The bike guy rolls his bike to the sidewalk next to where the car guy parked. The car guy and I walk over to where he is. The car guy asks if the bike guy has insurance. The bike guy says he doesn't. The car guy asks if he has identification. The bike guy says he lost his ID. 

The whole time the bike guy's just adjusting things on his bike with no seeming concern about anything but himself and the bike. I can't believe the bike is in the shape it is as he really creamed the car. The collision took of the car's side view mirror, broke the driver's side window and put a big dent in the metal above the left front tire, yet the bike seems in pretty decent shape.

The car guy then tells the bike guy that he's taking his bike. The bike guy says something like "No, you can't have that". The car guy tells him he messed up his car and he wants something to help pay for it. The bike guy refuses saying he has to go because he's on his way to a job interview. He's full of shit.

Bike guy says he has a battery charger in his pack worth $60.00. Will the car guy take that? Car guy isn't interested. Bike guy then reaches into his backpack and pulls out a large bottle of whiskey. It looks full although the seal on the cap was broken. Car guy says "I'll take that just so you (the bike guy) won't have it". With that the bike guy hops on the bike and rides off- basically a hit and run.

A girl parked in the Nazarene Church parking lot that also saw the whole thing yelled to us if everything was ok. I gave her a thumbs up. Me and the car guy go over to speak with her. She says she saw it all and it was the bike guy's fault as he'd just come racing through the parking lot before he went out into the street. I told her I saw pretty much the same thing except I didn't see him in the parking lot.

He didn't seem interested in taking her contact info down. She went back to what she was doing and I told the guy if he needed a witness that I lived in the house my truck was parked in front of. He asked me if I wanted the bottle of whiskey. I took it and tossed it in the ivy next to my driveway.

I asked him if he had uninsured motorist insurance, although I'm not sure if that applies. He said his insurance should be fine and that he'd be ok. With that, he got into his car and left.

I do wonder if he'll be ok with insurance. I'm not sure how that uninsured driver thing works but he probably still needs to pay a deductible and it could be quite high. He got burned by the flake bike rider as I'm sure the damage to his car probably was at least $1000.00.

About the best that can be hoped for is the bike guy suffered internal injuries he was unaware of and will crawl off into the bushes and die. Yes, I mean that. 

He recklessly caused an accident and a lot of misery to a guy that was just minding his own business, yet didn't seem to give a damn about it and might well do it again. We don't need people like that on this planet.
That sort of thing makes me wonder. I read about such things happening in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat fairly often. Comments to the story often include someone calling for bicycle registration, or something similar. I'm surprised nobody ever calls for mandatory bike collision insurance. 

Do we want to go there? I'm not sure I would, but it would be nice if bike riders could be held responsible for their actions. It would also be nice if we could prohibit dirt bags that cause accidents like that to never be able to ride a bike again.
Speaking of eyewitness testimony, as I've brought up here lately: I realized not long after that accident I'd be hard pressed to give a description of the guy. I might recognize him if I saw him again, but I don't know I could have written down an accurate description of either him or the bike. I'm one of the worst when it comes to being a witness.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cooking for Wellness

I was out in my garage yesterday afternoon when I heard car doors close out in front of the house. I went out to see who it might be and saw a car parked behind my truck with two women on the sidewalk. They were looking at my house as if they were going to approach it but when they saw me I could see the one lady point to me and they headed my direction.

Both of them wore green aprons that said Saladmaster on them. The older one came up to me and said they wanted to make me a salad. Thinking it was some new entrepreneurial effort in town I thought that interesting so listened and asked a few questions. She ended up saying they only make the salad inside the person's house as they wanted it to be just right and perfectly healthy.

Interesting idea for a business, I thought. I told them I was famous local blogger and if they had a brochure they could give me with more info about themselves I'd give them a plug. The older one had just one small flyer she showed me but didn't seem interested in letting me keep it. I got the impression it might be the only one they had.

Looking at the brochure, there wasn't much on it. No contact info at all. No phone number, web site address or anything. I thought that strange but just chalked it up to naivete on their part. Hey, if you're starting or running a business, shouldn't you give people a way to get hold of you?

I asked about contact info and she told me to go to the Cooking for Wellness web site. With that, I told her I wasn't interested in a salad right then but I'd check out the web site and give them a plug.

I went inside to write down the address and mentioned it to Connie. She said something along the line of, "Yeah, I've seen them before". She went on to tell me they sell cookware- very expensive cookware. They do the salad thing to get into your house and then try and talk you into buying their very expensive cookware.

Nope. That's not for me, but this is the plug I promised them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Robots vs. Minimum Wage

Yet another commentary about the threat of automation taking over human jobs and that minimum wage increases will speed up that takeover. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the writer, a libertarian, suggests the best way to deal with the advent of robotics is to get onboard:

"There is a way that Puerto Rico can benefit from this paradigm shift. Education officials could make robotics a core class beginning in grade school. It should be continued throughout high school and be required for graduation. Understanding how robots work and are programmed and maintained will give Puerto Rican school children and young adults a leg up in the new robotic world order."

I guess that makes sense in the short term. What else can you do? The problem as I see it is that automation, combined with artificial intelligence, is going to eventually take those jobs, too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Informative and Calming Ebola Article

Calming for me, anyway. It is kinda scary when you're told it's not easily spread yet people keep getting it despite precautions. We still need to keep in mind if it was as easily spread as some are starting to suggest, it would be much more widespread than it is.

This Reuter's article looks at how it spreads. The writer suggests ebola isn't an airborne disease and isn't likely to become one. It can be spread by droplets, though.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rep Candidate Beats Dem On Pot?

I'll admit to not following the race for State Attorney General closely, if at all. It was still a surprise to read the San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders note at least one difference between the two candidates for Attorney General: Republican Ron Gold supports recreational use of marijuana. Democrat Kamala Harris either doesn't, or doesn't want to commit herself.

I wouldn't call myself a single issue voter. I'm not even sure of exactly how pot should be handled legally, but I appreciate someone taking a bold position. I was considering not voting in that race. Now I'm thinking I might vote for Ron Gold. Good thing I haven't sent my absentee ballot in yet.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Great No On Measure R Ad

A very hard- hitting paid advertisement (.pdf file) opposing Measure R appeared in today's Times- Standard. I didn't catch it in the paper but received notice of it through the No On Measure R Facebook page feed.

Update: Since at least one commentator couldn't use the link to the ad, I copied and pasted it below. Hat tip to John Chiv for however he got it on his blog. Sorry for the formatting problems. It didn't copy and paste here easily, even after me trying to fix it:

                                          Fair Wage Folks” have fooled a lot of  people
                                           Measure R was never about a living wage

Measure R has never been about a “Living Wage” or improving the local economy. Measure R has always been about the Occupy movement’s disdain for Walmart. An honest byline would have read “Get Walmart”.  If their true intentions are in doubt, look at the early content of their social media pages and consider these questions: Why does this stop at the city limits? Why is it only companies with over 25 employees? Why is there an exemption for unions? Does a union employee not also deserve a “Living Wage”?  Does a worker in a small cafe not deserve a “Living Wage”? Does an employee who works in Myrtletown not deserve a “Living Wage”? The Unions and local Occupy Movement have their crosshairs on Walmart, but a lot of good, locally owned Eureka businesses, and many organizations serving the elderly and poor are being caught in the crossfire.

People are struggling, and I’m sympathetic. Early on, I lived in the back room of a body shop in  Mckinleyville until I found my footing working multiple jobs. The last four businesses I worked for all closed down when they succumbed to financial pressures. I still have my last paycheck from one of them. It never cleared the bank.

Now I work for a good company. 20 years ago I started with City Ambulance, who operates Humboldt Dial-A-Ride and City Cab, earning $3.35 per hour as a part-time EMT. After paramedic school, nursing school, a bachelor’s degree, and a lot of hard work, I make significantly more. I’ve always had an opportunity to succeed on my efforts, but I see that opportunity disappearing for my kids who are just entering the workforce. I see how companies are responding to the increasing pressures from minimum wage hikes, health insurance, increases workman’s compensation insurance increases, and regulatory changes.

City Ambulance gives a portion of profits to the employees at the end of each year. 5 years ago, we paid over $100,000.00 in performance bonuses. Perfect attendance- $200.00; Accident free- $300.00; No customer  complaints $200.00; and the list goes on. Many good employees received a full month’s check or more in the form of a bonus, and we gave away a cruise each year at our company picnic. Last year, that number was down to $25,000.00. The bonus may not even exist this year. So who lost out in favor of wage pressure and excessive regulation? The employee who showed up for work on time with a good attitude and took care of our customers.

In 2007, we had over 100 employees and used local work assistance programs to help the unemployed and disabled re-enter the workforce. We discontinued the program in 2008, after an 18.5% increase in the minimum wage over just two years, and we’ve since cut our staff down to about 90 employees.

Benefits? You can’t find five taxicab companies in all of California like ours that have health insurance, retirement and vacation for their taxicab drivers. All of that is in jeopardy as we look for ways to survive. We could add a surcharge of $1.50 on Eureka taxicab fares, but fares have already doubled over the last five years. How much will the market bear? The fact is we will find some creative way to restructure. There won’t be any winners.

Those benefits that atrophy in favor of wages are all pretax, so we ALL feel the sting when they are reduced. Just 5 years ago, we paid for a very generous health insurance plan for employees. Today, that’s been scaled back to a minimum plan and employees must contribute 5-9% of their wages. Unlike this proposal, the City of Seattle had the good sense to recognize that benefits should be factored into the minimum wage.

Our Dial-A-Ride services? Well, if Measure R passes, the City of Eureka will have a choice. Pay significantly more for service or cut back on transportation for the elderly and disabled. Which do you think will happen? We are not alone in this plight. Senior nutrition programs, childcare services, afterschool programs, parks and recreation, and other transportation programs are caught in the crossfire and many are preparing for cuts to service.

City Ambulance will adapt in a way that will sadly upset some lives. Not because my boss is a greedy corporate fat cat, but because this family business that has supported our little league teams, community non-profits, our employees, and has given back to the community in immeasurable ways for over five decades, is caught in the crossfire. Measure R is what happens when the desire to punish Walmart trumps concern for the community.  I trust that voters will see the forest for the trees and vote “NO” on Measure R. One more thing. If you think our taxicab drivers deserve more, I agree. Don’t wait for the inevitable fare increases forced by regulation. Give it to them directly with an extra $1.50 in your tip. I always do.

Jaison Chand,  Eureka

Saturday, October 11, 2014

McMurdo Station

The Del Norte Triplicate has a story about a couple in Crescent City that spent a couple tours working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. That got me curious about what sort of digs they have down there. I found this web site that includes live web cams of McMurdo Station. The picture almost doesn't seem real but is live.

S.F. Hotel Restaurants Having Rough Time

Former Mayor of San Francisco and now columnist for the Chronicle, Willie Brown, comments:

"Hotel restaurants may soon be a thing of the past here in San Francisco. I’ve had more than one manager tell me the city’s continuously rising minimum wage and union rules are making it impossible to make money anymore.

'We take in a million a year at our restaurant, but it’s costing up to $1.6 million a year to operate,' one hotel manager told me. 

The prediction is, hotels will convert their restaurants to self-serve breakfast buffets, just like the Hampton Inns out in the suburbs."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mad River Water Sale Update

The Mad River Union has an update on plans to sell water from the Mad River to areas down south. The bottom line as I read it is it will be hard to find a buyer since the least expensive means of getting the water down there is about the same cost as desalinization.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

More Eyewitness Stuff

Radley Balko takes a look at recent developments and research into eye witness testimony.

I'm not sure what to make of that video in the article. I watched it with sound off but expected some sort of test after it was done.

Monday, October 06, 2014

November Ballot- Part 3

Eureka City Council:

Frank Jager runs unopposed for Mayor. I'll give him a vote if only because he's a friend. Makes me wonder what I'd write if I had a friend running for office I wasn't going to vote for?

Marian Brady runs unopposed for Ward 1. No compelling reason to vote for her so not voting.

Ward 3, Ward 5- Newman vs. Bergel, Arroyo vs. Albin: It should be no surprise I'm voting for Newman and Albin, although  Bergel and Arroyo seem like pretty decent candidates by themselves. 

One glaring difference between them and the incumbents is Bergel and Arroyo support Measure R- the raising of Eureka's minimum wage, although mention was made somewhere they've been backing away from that recently. Not sure that's true but support does show, if not poor judgment, than at least a major difference between us in what we believe Eureka needs.

I'm not particularly enthusiastic about these races. If Measure R wasn't in the picture and Arroyo and Bergel simply entered the race on their own I might have just not voted.
As an aside, I noticed city council gal Melinda Ciarabellini has endorsed Kim Bergel, thus shunning her current council mate, Mike Newman (Wonder what that's about?). We've also heard Mayor Frank Jager on the radio plugging Chet Albin.

I've wondered before if it's a good idea for current council members to get involved in endorsements for city council races? Not that they shouldn't be able to let their preferences be known. I just wonder if that might make things a bit awkward on the council after the election?

I'm not suggesting they shouldn't be able to make endorsements at all if they're already on the council. Maybe just tone it down a bit and stay away from radio and TV appearances.  I suppose that's easier said than done.

I've appreciated the few times I've seen an officeholder stay out of the endorsement game. Past state assemblygal, Virginia Strom- Martin comes to mind as one who refused to endorse any of the Democrat challengers in the race to replace her. A class act, imo.

From Military To Police

A lot of discussion recently regarding the militarizing of the police. Here's an educational poster of sorts giving all sorts of information on how military equipment ends up in the hands of local police departments.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Freddy Like His Dumbphone

I kinda enjoyed this article in the San Francisco Chronicle, although the title is a bit misleading. Forget Smartphones- Dumbphones Are Now Hip isn't quite right as the article say less than 30% of users use phones other than smartphones. 

I wouldn't say that makes it hip, but It did make me feel a little bit less the loneliest guy in the world. Whad'ya know? I'm not the only guy in the world without a smartphone.

I'm not like the gal featured at the beginning of the story who doesn't even do the computer much. I live on this computer for much of the day, but I don't feel any need to be staring into a smartphone all day long. I have a dumbphone- an LG221C(?) with Tracfone that I rarely use.

If there are any of you out there like some mentioned in the article that have had the same phone for 5 years or more, it might be in your best interest to buy a new phone. If nothing else, you could end up with a better deal.

My old Tracfone was similar to the one I have now except the screen image was more difficult to read and it didn't have browser capabilities.  I only replaced it because the battery didn't seem to be fully charging after around 3 years of use. Bought a new dumbphone similar to what I'd been using and was pleased that it not only had a better and slightly larger screen view, it also was a much better deal.

I paid around $21.00 every 3 months on my old Tracfone. That gave me 60 minutes of use, although you get to carry over any unused minutes. You also got charged double minutes for calls outside of your service area, or "roaming".

With the new phone I pay the same but get double minutes for the life of the phone- that's 120 minutes instead of 60. Not only that, but no roaming fees. Calls are priced the same no matter where you are or where you're calling.

If you're one of those old phone holdouts, it won't hurt to take a look at what what kind of deal you might get if you buy a new phone. It doesn't have to be an expensive phone, either. Newer dumbphones can be quite a bit better than the old one you're replacing.

November Ballot- Part 2

On to the statewide ballot propositions:

Prop 1- 7.5 Billion Water Bond- Yes: I'm not really satisfied this isn't, or won't be, filled with a bunch of frivolous spending, but water infrastructure development is needed and this seems the best we can do.

Prop 2- Creation of a Budget Stabilization Account- Yes: I believe this will create an account to pay off debt and for use when state revenues drop- the often talked about Rainy Day Fund. I'll go along with it.

Prop 45- Health Insurance Rate Changes- Not Sure: This will requires the Insurance Commissioner's approval before any changes are made to health insurance rates. Seems to me we already have enough government involvement in health insurance rates. Not sure if this might not make things worse. If I don't vote NO, I'll stand aside.

Prop 46- Drug Testing for Doctors, Malpractice Award Increase- NO: The three separate actions this initiative would achieve should be reason enough alone to vote NO. They should be separated into three separate initiatives so you can choose each proposal on its own merit. Mixing a bunch of stuff together in hopes that the voter might vote Yes because of one is wrong.

Aside from that, we need more doctors in this state, not less. Telling them if they'll be subject to piss tests if they practice in California will give them one more reason to open their practice in some other state.

Prop 47- Felonies to Misdemeanors- A grudging Yes: I'm not particularly comfortable with the idea of reducing criminal charges as a way to keep people out of jail. Then again, I'm one who has said time and again people shouldn't be arrested for simply eating, drinking or smoking things. I guess I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't go along with this. 

On the other hand, if someone is a career petty thief, or some small time crook, I'd prefer they spend as much time in jail as possible. I don't know that it matters whether they're charged with a felony or misdemeanor. I want them locked up where they can't prey on us.

Prop 48- Indian Gaming- Not Voting: This has something to do with approving gaming compacts between the state and some indian tribes. I really don't care about the specifics. I'm tired of hearing about indian casinos and all the back scratching between the casinos and politicians, local and statewide.

Almost makes me sorry I circulated petitions for the original indian gaming initiative that made it legal in the first place. But I'm not. If the indian tribes want to open casinos, they can have at it, but it should also be available to everyone else. Then again, even if everyone had the right to open casinos, I'd still be tired of hearing about it. I'm as tired of hearing about casinos as I am of hearing about pot all the time.

Local Measures:

Measure P- Countywide GMO Ban- NO: A solution in search of a problem. Meant as a slap in the face to Monsanto and other large businesses more than anything else.

Measure Z- Countywide Sales Tax Increase- Not Voting: A half cent sales tax increase throughout the county to help bolster the county coffers. I might not mind too much if I thought this was the only tax increase we'd be seeing on the ballot in the foreseeable future. It's not, and it won't be. 

I suspect this tax will also apply out of county when you buy large objects such as appliances and automobiles as Eureka's sales tax does. That's just plain wrong. Why I'm not voting instead of voting NO I'm not sure I can explain. I guess I'm happy to let the rest of the folks in the county fight it out and I'll stand aside.

City of Eureka's Measure Q- .5% Sales Tax Extension- NO: I'll vote No on this one if only because I think it's very wrong that it applies outside the city limits for larger purchases. Measure Z gets half a pass in that regard. This one doesn't.

Aside from that, as with Measure Z, there are too many taxes on the ballot now that will probably pass and likely more to come in the next few years. Things are expensive enough and I'm getting worried about being able to make ends meet. These taxes are just a small part of that but they will make things worse. 

And none of these taxes do anything to deal with the largest part of the ever growing drain on city and county coffers: Public employee pension and health care costs.

City of Eureka Measure R- Minimum Wage Increase- NO: Increases minimum wage to 12 dollars only in the City of Eureka. Another attempt at a slap the face of business. 

This puts Eureka, a depressed area needing all the new business it can get, at a disadvantage to all the other areas of the county. It will also make it harder for those of us relatively unskilled laborers to get jobs. The last thing we need.

The state has already raised the minimum wage and will raise it again next year. That should suffice.

City of Eureka Measure S- Eureka City Schools Bond- NO: Not sure what the term of this bond will be but even if 20 years I'm suspicious. They'll be using the money for some legitimate repairs, or so they say. They're also using it to upgrade technology systems. 

I can't see taking out a 20 year loan for equipment that likely won't last anywhere near the length of time to pay back the bond. We'll end up being asked to pass a new bond for newer equipment while still paying off the old bond.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Freddy Does Self Check- Out

I told myself I wouldn't do this, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Aw, heck. I suppose I'd have to try something new for the first time, regardless, so long as it didn't cost any extra money.

I was in Winco today. My back really hurt and the lines were long. I'd forgotten it was the first weekend of the month and was hatin' it. I got in line behind a lady with probably a quarter of the store in her shopping cart, put my bag on the floor and settled- or suffered- down to wait for the line to move.

Then I turned my head and noticed at the far end of all the checkout terminals (same side as Customer Service) a big sign saying "Self Check- Out". Whoa! Hadn't seen that before. Did I miss it earlier on? Connie said she thought they had one for some time, but she doesn't shop there. What would she know? I don't recall seeing it a week ago.

I grabbed my stuff and headed over to self check- out. The sign said "around 15 items". I had maybe half that. I've always felt they needed an Express Lane at Winco for folks with just a few things. This fit the bill perfectly, especially considering my back was killing me. 

There were three or four terminals there with only two being used. I watched one lady briefly to get an idea of how it worked, then went over to one of the empty terminals.

First question on the screen was whether I brought my own bag. I answered Yes and I thought it asked me to put in the bagging area so it could confirm the bag. I must have got it wrong because a Winco gal that was monitoring the operation came over, grabbed my bag and put it back where it was to begin with- the right side of the station. She said something about a scale needing to weigh it, but I didn't see a scale there. I'm still not sure where the bag was supposed to go. Whatever.

After that I just grabbed the few things I had and ran their bar codes over the scanner. Then I pressed the button saying I was finished. The screen then had me pick what method I'd be paying by. I chose debit card and it prompted me to use the debit card scanner just as you do when you normally buy stuff. I ran my card, did the PIN thing and was done. 

Would have been out of there a lot faster had I knew what I was doing, but simple enough. Maybe next time? I've told myself I wouldn't be using these self check- outs if only because I'm concerned about automation taking more and more people jobs. Probably not much harm using it for one or two things, though.

A Look At The November Ballot- Part 1

Our sample ballots arrived in the mail yesterday. That gives me a chance for a preliminary look as to how I might be voting, or not. I'm sure you've all been waiting for this. My choices highlighted in red :

Governor of California- Brown vs. Kashkari: I consider Brown to be an average California governor. He's vetoed a few bad bills but signed a lot of bad ones. That's average. Kashkari might well do the same.

But Brown's dogged support for the high speed rail project earns him an D, if not an F in my book. That's a large part of why he ended up being graded by Cato as dead last among the nation's governors in regards fiscal responsibility.

I might not vote in this race except for the high speed rail issue. For that reason alone I'll vote for Neel Kashkari.

Lieutenant Governor- Newsom vs. Nehring: Another one I might consider not voting in, except I'm not a fan of Gavin Newsom. I'll likely go ahead and waste my vote on Ron Nehring.

Secretary of State- Padilla vs. Peterson: I don't know that can find any compelling reason to vote in that race but I've paid little attention to it. I might well stand aside.

Controller- Yee vs. Swearingin: Swearingin was the one by most accounts I've read, until she started talking about maybe supporting Brown for Governor. That makes me question her judgment. If I don't stand aside in this race I'll vote for her.

Treasurer- Chang vs. Conlon: Probably Conlon if I don't stand aside.

Attorney General- Harris vs. Gold: Stand Aside?, although Harris does have a reputation for partisan activities while in office. I might choose Gold. I wouldn't choose Harris.

Insurance Commissioner- Jones vs. Gaines: Stand Aside

Board of Equalization, Dist. 2- Ma vs Theis: The Board of Equalization deals with enforcement of state tax laws. That would suggest the Republican might be the obvious candidate, except I've never noticed any particular stand out actions from Republicans on the BoE. I'm leaning towards Theis, the Republican, but won't probably decide for sure until I fill out my ballot. I may just stand aside.

House of Representatives, Dist. 2- Huffman vs. Mensing: I hate Jared Huffman for his time in the state legislature alone, but I'll have to admit he hasn't done much that I'm aware of since he's been in congress to piss me off. Heck, I even defended him against some critics in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat earlier this year.

I'll be voting for his challenger, Dale Mensing, unless Mensing comes up with something stupid before the election.

State Senate, Dist. 2- McGuire vs. Wiesner: I've disliked Mike McGuire since the first I've heard of him. Being on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is probably reason enough to vote against him. I'm not particularly fond of his opponent, Lawrence Wiesner, either. In that past I've stood aside when he ran for congress as he's very hawkish.

This is a state office, though, Since Republicans are in the minority and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, I see little potential harm should Wiesner actually win. If nothing else, he might vote NO on some of the stupid proposals that come out of Sacramento whereas McGuire will most certainly vote Yes. I'm choosing Wiesner.

State Assembly, Dist. 2- Wood vs. Heath: I believe Jim Wood sits on the Healdsburg City Council and is a big defender of their water fluoridation program (that's up for a vote this November)- probably the last type of person I'd vote for. Aside from that, this is a state office in a state run by Democrats so there's no potential downside if his Republican opponent actually won. My vote goes for Matt Heath.

Superintendent of Public Instruction- Tuck vs. Torkalson: Tom Torkalson is the status quo incumbent. Marshall Tuck has the reputation as the non- statist challenger. Torkalson is also the teacher's union favorite. Marshall Tuck is the easy choice in this one.

Judicial Races- I'm not voting in any of the judicial races. There's no way I know of to tell which ones I'd want as judges and which ones definitely not. I've wrote before here it's too bad there's no analysis done on these judicial elections by the various interest groups; Reason Foundation, ACLU and such. They could look at past decisions by the candidates and give you an idea which of the judges are worth casting a vote for.

I'll do Part 2 tomorrow which will cover the state ballot initiatives. I might even throw in the local elections depending on how I feel.

Tim Martin on Dan Johnson

You never know where Times- Standard columnist, Tim Martin, will be coming from. A really nice piece by him today on the local Left's most hated, Dan Johnson. Nicely done.

Let's see if Sylvia DeRooy posts one of her Shut him up! comments as she often does.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Charlie Bean on YouTube

Local disabilities activist, Charlie Bean, does a good commercial opposing Measure R on YouTube. Nicely done. The YouTube video froze up on me half way through, but I'd heard the full commercial on 105.5FM radio less than an hour earlier.

New City of Eureka Newsletter

I was surprised to find in my inbox this morning an e-mail from the Eureka City Manager's office that had the very first edition of a City of Eureka October eNewsletter attached. How did I get signed up for that? Not that I'm complaining. It comes in pdf format.

The City Manager's column at the beginning says it's a supplement to their quarterly reports which are available on the city's web site.

So what was inside? A brief introduction from the city manager, a calendar of city government events, a story of sorts about a police dispatcher, a mention of the Welcome to Eureka project planned for the south end of Broadway, City of Eureka job listings and a plug for the city's God awful Tree Lined Streets program, among other things.

One thing I found rather odd was this disclaimer at the bottom of the e-mail:

 This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.   ­­ 

What's that about? One of those standard disclaimer sort of things?

I didn't see any subscribe instructions but, if you're interested in getting the newsletter, try e-mailing Executive Assistant to the City Manager, Christine Tyson. She's the one that sent it and wrote that if you don't want it to contact her.

Anybody else get one?

Those Annoying PG&E Commercials

The wife suggested last night that I should write a letter to the editor about those tiresome PG&E commercials on television. We've both gotten quite annoyed with them. After all, we don't have any choice but to buy power from PG&E, do we?

What's the point of paying thousands of dollars for commercials telling everyone how dedicated and happy your employers are when we have no choice but to deal with them. And those commercials are paid for out of our utility bills. 

I can see the cable and satellite TV companies running commercials. They compete amongst themselves for our business. PG&E doesn't. It almost seems as if they're rubbing our noses in it by using our money to tell us how great they are.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

NorCal Sheriff's Meeting

The Del Norte Triplicate reports on a meeting by five northern California sheriffs, including our very own Mike Downey. Make what you will of the story but I found it disappointing that electoral politics reared its ugly head. Not sure if that was the purpose of the meeting or simply the Triplicate making it seem that way.

My No On Measure R Letter

I didn't even have to check the Times- Standard to see if they published my letter opposing Measure R. It showed up this morning on my No On Measure R Facebook (actually, Measure R Vote NO) page feed:

Measure R is bad medicine for Eureka's economy

Raising Eureka's minimum wage to $12 an hour is a bad idea.
The state just raised the minimum wage to $10 July 1 and will raise it again next year to $11. When the minimum wage is raised, that's the way to do it: gradually, so everyone can adjust to it. Measure R raises it too high, too fast.

Measure R also makes Eureka less appealing to businesses. What kind of message does it send when Eureka mandates a higher starting wage than elsewhere?

What kind of people do we want to attract to Eureka? Business owners and professionals, or those seeking minimum wage jobs? We want business owners and professionals. I'd be willing to wager most of Eureka's minimum wage workers also want businesses moving here, not other minimum wage workers competing for their jobs.

Let the state raise the minimum wage when needed as has already been done. Let's not put Eureka at a disadvantage by making it harder for businesses. Vote NO on Measure R.

Matt Owen also had his No On R piece published on the Lost Coast Outpost yesterday.