Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Haven't heard much about this, yet, but there is little else that I am so sure of: If someone who is 21 years old or older wants to go to war for the United States, I will whole-heartedly and very gratefully support their decision till my very end. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE who thinks it is okay to send someone under the age of 21 into war, should in my opinion have their head checked. I don't mean to imply youngsters who want that career track cannot train and prepare for the day, but these boys and girls I see reported as dead overseas, under 21, are breaking my heart.

Thank you all Vets, over and under 21, for your commitment, honor, and personal sacrifice.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Made It! NatGeo's Traveller, "50 Places of a Lifetime"

We made it!
Check out the list: 50 Places of a Lifetime - "WILD PLACES": Coast Redwoods, California

Our special neighbors are featured in October's National Geographic Magazine too. It's a fascinating article - "Redwoods - The Super Trees".
NGM Blog: Redwood Stories

"Long before The Bucket List and 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, we sought to showcase those treasured destinations that every curious traveler should visit in a lifetime.

Now, in Traveler's 25th-anniversary year, we recognize the first 50 places and offer another 50 that speak to the transformation of travel since 1999--how we travel, where we travel, why we travel. Ten years ago, we could see the emerging signs of a new kind of journeying--one that puts a premium on sense of place, authenticity, culture, sustainability, and experience rather than mere sightseeing."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Social Networking Butterflies

Social Networking Butterflies: Cities Enhance Government 2.0 Efforts

Written by Lance Howland
July 7, 2009

Some excerpts:

"This spring, Newsom got together with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to announce the new capability for residents to tweet to the city’s 3-1-1 city service line about, for example, potholes, overflowing garbage or an abandoned truck in a back alleyway."


“He’s a huge proponent of using new media,” said Julie Wong, a senior adviser to Garcetti. “City government should be more efficient about both getting the word out about services that are available and actually delivering the service.”


"The Los Angeles Fire Department is on Twitter, posting quick items telling the public about calls they’re rolling on, for example this entry on July 1: “*Cliff Rescue* 4100 S. Gaffey St.; MAP 854-B2; FS 48; one person over the side near point fermin; unknown condition;nfd; Ch:7,13 @7:57 PM” Article [link]

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let It Ring!

Independence Forever! - John Adams
Adams' final toast to the Fourth of July was "Independence Forever!" He died on July 4, 1826.

Friday, May 22, 2009

LATimes give Humboldt Beaches an A - 100% score

"With the summer coming, the state has made assurances that it will start restoring funding to beach monitoring programs, but there is no firm date," said Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay. "Until then, swimmers in many locations in greater Southern California are truly swimming at their own risk."

Marin, Mendocino and Humboldt counties went to the head of the class, with their beaches scoring perfect 100% summer grades.
To see the complete report, visit Heal the Bay's website.

Santa Monica Pier, Surfrider, Doheny earn 'Beach Bummer' status from Heal the Bay
10:30 AM | May 20, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Health Care Talk Participants - Thanks Again

Thanks for particiapting, you 7 people know who you are. Your stories were inspirational, and this new venue is still a part of the administration. Stay involved. People do care. Here's an email I received today ...

Congratulations! Today, was recognized as an Innovation in Government, as part of the White House’s new Open Government Initiative.
As part of the materials we submitted to the White House in order to be considered for the Gallery, we put together a short video about the site and about health reform, which you can watch by clicking here.
Thank you again for your commitment to health reform and we hope you will continue to visit for the latest news and updates on health reform.

Jenny Backus
U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services

San Francisco Butt Tax

partial repost
Andrew Carico
May 21, 2009
at Public

... Recently, Newsom indicated proposing a new tax on cigarette purchases throughout San Francisco to the city’s Board of Supervisors. This move is not just an attempt to make San Francisco a healthier city but a more lucrative one as well.

This tax stands out as the first municipal fee of its kind in the country—making San Francisco a national guinea pig for such a tax.

The purpose of the tax exists to offset the ever-growing cost of cleanup that it takes to keep the streets clean of cigarette butts. It would add 33 cents to every pack of cigarettes sold.


"High" Time For CA ( and Trinidad ) Taxes?

partial repost
James Spencer
May 21, 2009
at Public

Weeks ago, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger mentioned it may be time for California to “open the debate” on allowing the recreational use of marijuana, he lit up the eyes of legalization advocates everywhere.

He also peaked the interest of those who keep a watchful eye on the state’s budget issues.

The Office of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democrat from San Francisco, claims an initial estimate of $1.3 billion in new revenue to the state if his AB390 legalization bill passed. A share of that would go to local governments, said Quintin Mecke, communications director for Ammiano.

“All sales tax would still be applicable, that’s not including local fees,” Mecke said. “Municipalities could certainly take advantage of that.”


Friday, May 15, 2009

Congratulations Graduates!

Good work! Best of luck, and have a summer full of fun!
Then, "Go out and save the world!" -HSU Commencement

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Painful" Brown Act Violation Discussion

Reposting - PublicCEO Editorial May 14, 2009

The City of Orland had a discussion in an open City Council meeting last week that easily could have sent City Attorney Tom Andrews and City Manager Paul Poczobut crawling under the table.

According to the Chico Enterprise Record, two councilors at an Orland City meeting answered publicly to allegations of discussions with another councilor that violated Ralph M. Brown Act public meeting and conflict of interest laws.

Although it had to be painful for the city manager, we want to commend the Orland City Council for having the discussion in the open, where state law requires.

Not hiding under the desk.

The Brown Act is probably one of the most misunderstood and ignored local government laws in the state.

It is our experience that some local governments would have tried to hide this discussion.

Orland did not.

They had it in an open and public way – which is the best way to handle it.

The reality is that Brown Act violations happen. They happen all the time. The real question is what to do about it.

We like what Orland did. They may have an issue with a Councilmember or two but they will be well served by an open and honest process to address it. is dedicated to serving the public administrators in California. However, one of our foundation principles is compliance with open meeting laws in both letter and spirit.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"The Hits Just Keep on Coming" - Prop 1A

(partial repost

"County officials were stunned on Monday when Governor Schwarzenegger revealed that the black hole in the state budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year had grown to $15.4 billion; or $21.3 billion if the May ballot measures fail to pass. The figures were revealed in a letter to the Legislative Leadership and reported by KQED. CSAC is attempting to obtain a copy of the letter.

This revelation comes as the Administration is preparing to release the summaries of two approaches to the May Revision; one if the ballot measures pass and one if they do not."

Can't vouch for these sites, they just send me interesting stuff ...

Ref: Governor lays out budget cuts this week - before May 19 vote
( May 8/09

Monday, May 11, 2009

Prop 1A-1E Failing Could Trigger State Money "Grab"

Don't get too excited - yet. Do get informed, vote, and be prepared for alternatives if you vote against our administration's recommendations.

As an apparent "vote yes or else" tactic, our state administration has indicated the option of borrowing property tax revenues under 2004's Prop 1A. This would apparently be a consideration if the proposed 1A-1E fail. Given the mood of people I've spoken with, there'd better be a new push at explaining why we need 1A-1E, and not just the specter of what may happen if they fail.

It's my current understanding that essentially the state is depending on these initiatives passing, and looking to what options are if they don't. This is the responsible thing to do. They are "planning for the worst" and communicating that to voters in advance. As a scare tactic, it may work for some, and just be amusing to others.

Major Announcement - US Department HHS

Via U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:


This afternoon, President Obama will be making a major announcement: health care industry leaders are agreeing to take steps that could save the country $2 trillion over the next 10 years.

The coalition taking this action represents union members, insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, and they have agreed to reduce the annual health care spending growth rate by 1.5 percentage points for the next 10 years.

This is big news for our country and for families who are struggling with the high cost of health care. The steps these organizations have agreed to take, combined with comprehensive health care reform, could result in savings of roughly $2,500 for American families.

The President will be speaking today about this important step forward, and you can watch his remarks live at 12:30 PM EDT on While you’re there, be sure to sign the statement of support for comprehensive reform and encourage your friends and colleagues to visit the site.

Today’s announcement is another big step toward comprehensive reform and with your help we will make reform a reality.


Jenny Backus
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Day Mothers!

Happy day to you all ... relax, enjoy, and thank you for your special help :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Earth Day - Patrick's Point Park Cleanup

Celebrate Earth Day at Patrick's Point Park with the California State Parks Foundation. This year is the 40th anniversary for CSPF - congratulations! Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to our State Parks.

Earth Day Cleanup and Restoration

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trinidad Property Transfer

That post title sounds a bit cold, and doesn't begin to hint at the strong emotions surrounding this proposal. Maybe that's helpful?

Recently, I've had some good talks with some good people of polar opposite views on this issue.

If we are finished with public input on compromise and solutions, and instead are relying on our elected Council to make representative decisions for our residents, this has been a waste of my time. I don't think that is the case, and I think there is definitely some room for improvement in our current, publicly presented course.

As leaders, we need to watch out even more for the minority

On Voting:

This decision effects so many more people than just our residents in Trinidad. Even with a city-wide vote, the vote itself is not enough. It is a tall order to fill. A tall, tough, and unsavory order, but not an impossible one.

Right-fighting and "my morality is better than yours", set aside, Steve, our City Manager, and Paul, our City Attorney, have done well casting this in a more apolitical and less emotional view-point. By looking at this action in a somewhat colder light, as a legal property transfer with open-space protection, trail access easements, cultural and natural resource protection, and possibly view and vegetation restoration and protection, they are leading us to a stronger solution we can all get behind. One which cares less about how we feel about the past, and more about what will work best in the future for us as a City. As a City elected official, I believe putting our "final" decision and direction to transfer any property to a vote is still the best step we haven't taken.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, including the current property owners in the decision to transfer their ownership and responsibility for protecting this asset is best accomplished by such a vote.

On Not Voting:

The reason to not have a City-wide vote on this, is because we as a Council, and our fellow residents, feel we have enough clear, fairly researched and proven information before us. We have an easy decision that insures all parties have been heard, their concerns have been addressed, and that the best compromise and plan for insuring the protected future of the land has been reached. I don't feel like the presented public "solution" is quite there yet. Closer than ever, but not comfortably there. After listening to people's concerns again, I think we can still do a bit better.

The simple fact that there is a minority of people that still have a strong reaction against the current presentation, still feel left out of the process, and some that may not yet even be a vocal part of the process, is the reason to reach out and engage them in the next scheduled Trinidad general election.

Yes, several public opportunities for comment have been presented. Talk I've heard like, "if they cared, they'd show up to public meetings", talk saying people should send in more letters, etc., is just that - talk. It is selfish reassurance that those of us who enjoy public meetings, debate, and dialogue are doing the right thing, and they are wrong for not participating the way we happen to enjoy participating. In my opinion, as leaders, we need to watch out even more for the minority. The more "quiet" views. We need to make absolutely sure they are represented and addressed. A city-wide vote is the answer to this elected responsibility. When we have a great solution, it will be an easy vote that we will confidently present to our fellow residents.

I don't buy the argument that this issue is too complex, too important, and needs to be completed yesterday because it's been x-number of years since the City of Trinidad has done anything. Nor do I pay any respect to fears that we need to transfer everything before the current Council make-up changes, and we might end up with a more politically divided group again. The adoption of the Tsurai Management Plan, financial expenditure by the City at the Sebring property to begin addressing bluff hydrology, and new trail signage attempts are representative of a new direction and a new commitment to honor City obligations.

One could arguably state that the City has already met it's agreed to obligations since signing on to the Final Tsurai Management Plan two years ago. By Sue's statements the other night ( I'm guessing for the moment), it appears that the City has already revised "the language of access and conservation easement held by Coastal Conservancy to more specifically address permitted and prohibited activities on the property ... " [1]

If we haven't revised any Conservancy language, we definitely need a review of what it is now, and what, if any, expanded role we would like to give the Conservancy in any future property transfer.


1. See final TMP, Implementation section 12.5 Ownership, page 78. Also note arguably meeting the requirement to take "steps to transfer allowable portions of the TSA to the Yurok Tribe and put that land into trust status through the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs." From what was said at the last meeting, I don't think we can put any land with an easement, open-space, access, view or otherwise, into trust status with our Federal Government.


We will do well building on our current progress of coming together and publicly reaching consensus. This will create even more common ground. Retreating to our old arguments and fears will get us, at best, no-where.

The decision from a vote like this can be one of Trinidad's most healing and trust rebuilding actions ever. We have the opportunity to build faith in each other, and show our commitment to an environmentally sound direction that respects everyones culture and beliefs equally. Or, it can be bitterly forced down on some of our fellow residents by a 4/5 or better vote of our current Council - See final TMP section 10.6 Ownership, page 67: Government Code Section 37351 citation.

I want to pause and review everyone's concerns and solutions. If it hasn't been done, it'd be great to list all of these, and see where we address them with our current direction. Of course some people will be offended and feel left out right? Wrong. I believe there is a way to mitigate even that fear. I'll present my attempt at a better solution to vote on in my next post. If we as a Council are willing to celebrate all of our common ground, and work just a little harder to create just a little more, we will have a solution that works better for everyone involved.

When we have a great solution, it will be an easy vote that we will confidently present to our fellow residents.

Related Posts:

Related Links:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fear, Blame, Guilt and Targeted Punishment? How About Rewarding Being Responsible with Our Resources?

Let's start by finding out what it would cost each user to flatten the base water rate for in and out of Town users. Let's include our necessary use, maintenance, and future capital improvement costs, and factor in all the current and new conservation that our responsible residents will employ with this focus and see where we are.

"Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink (link)"
As with trying to conserve our way out of our oil and natural gas resource limitations, conservation of our water resources is only part of the responsible solution to managing our needs.

The ideal of conservation should not be appropriated to punish neighbors who choose to water their lawns in the rain or have different views than we do. Hanging an albatross around their neck is as silly as it sounds. Using the nobel, responsible practice of conservation to prop up our egos and make us feel better than our neighbors, or worse, work out some insecurity with those who have more financial resources and different views conform to our ways, is the wrong way to go. It's unnecessarily divisive, embarrassingly immature, and won't be nearly as effective as honest suggestions and truthful, fair conservation incentives.

We had an encouraging Council meeting last night. Most of our Councilmembers, me included, have very strong speaking personalities, and don't have a problem getting their twenty-five cents in - whenever they want. Last night our seats were moved around, and it produced a change. A few times, we went from one Councilmember to the the next in line from one side to the other - right down the line. It felt more organized and more fair somehow. A little structure goes a long way. Stan, our Mayor, did a great job of keeping our verbose speakers to their fair time-frames. This also helped. I think we would benefit from a little more structure at our Council table. Not so much the three minute rule (though some of us do go on), but maybe just a left to right or right to left order for speaking. It worked nicely last night anyway.

Water, water everywhere and not drop to drink.
I whole-heartedly agree that those "who loveth well both man and bird and beast (link)" are on the right tract. Even if that man/woman is your neighbor and his/her porch-light is brighter than you'd like, or s/he keeps her/his lawn greener than you would like, s/he is as worthy of your love and respect as our other bird and beast residents. Hopefully, we don't need to dislike our fellow neighbors, or their chosen ways of living, to encourage us to do the responsible thing. I suppose some may think the way Stan suggested last night - that because a water allotment was given, they should use it up because they paid for it. I never looked at it that way. I see how he and others do though. I'm glad he's responsible and doesn't follow his thinking - I doubt that anyone in Town actually follows that line of thinking. Water "wasters" can afford it finiacially, and will not be motivated to conserve more by saving 20 bucks on an already really low base rate. People who will be motivated at the low end, already are conserving - that's why they are at the low end. We need to park our emotions and practically look at our goals for water use and conservation.

My business manager, Jason, is one of the most environmentally conscious and resource conserving humans I know. I think an honest assessment of what impact this change will have on our dozen or so businesses needs to happen. Most businesses are not being wasteful. A business base rate needs to be fairly allocated just as a resident's is. Then, people who want more water to use the way they want, can pay more for it with a new progressive rate structure. Fair enough.

We shouldn't need to make other people feel guilty about watering their lawns in the summer, or hurting our fellow fish residents with wasteful water uses. We should look at ourselves, and our motivations, and approach this honorable endeavor with fairness, reconciliation and intelligent, imaginative solutions. Let's start by finding out what it would cost each user to flatten the base water rate for in and out of Town users. Let's include our necessary use, maintenance, and future capital improvement costs, and factor in all the current and new conservation that our responsible residents will employ with this focus and see where we are.

Post: Efficiency and Goofiness - Out of Towners Speak-Up!
See the email on out-of-town water rates - we can do better. "About ten years ago, we became aware that we were paying over 50% more on our monthly base water rate than those that live in town. When Janine asked Mr. Lin why, he said "because we can"

Nice Read:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Monday, January 26, 2009

McK News Gets Town Riled Up - If You're Not Part of the Solution ...

One of my favorite sayings - "Trinidad is a small Town with big personalities and even bigger opinions." Another one is from the last Council meeting - "Keep It Simple Stupid" (KISS).

I hear you.

Really Simple Solution:
Councilmembers who were involved in these email discussions, between a majority of the Council, should accept that what they did was poor judgement at best, apologize to our Townspeople for breaking their trust, and commit to not do it again. Dun.

McK News Gets Town Riled Up
Story: Uproar Over Trinidad Councilman's Blog. People are definitely reading the local paper and their Blog. Mostly, I think it was a fair article. As far as violations of trust go - that is what this is all about. But it's not about my violating the 4 individual Councilmember's trust to keep this away from the public. The violation of our Townspeople's trust by the Council having discussions like these, and apparently making decisions out of public scrutiny, is what's important here.

It should be clarified that these emails were not "private" nor should they have been. When a majority of the Council is communicating about subject matter jurisdiction items, like these, those discussions should be public and decisions to act should be made in and with the public's interest in mind - not just the interest of the individual Councilmembers who are participating. These emails were circulated within a majority of the Council at the time, and with Staff, and they were sent to me by Councilmembers.

If You're Not Part of the Solution ...
Before you get lost in He Said/She Said Land, I suggest you see my Report: Encouraging Controversy and Eroding Trust? - Previous Council's Email "Discussions" (link) for background, or at least read the emails sent to me and why I posted them (link). Then you'll make a more informed choice when you choose to be part of the solution, or part of continuing the problem. Getting informed, from the emails themselves, will help you avoid being trapped in the sometimes side-show like appearance of our town's politics.

Related Posts:
Report: Encouraging Controversy and Eroding Trust? - Previous Council's Email "Discussions"
McK Press Blog & Story: Uproar Over Trinidad Councilman's Blog

Inauguration-I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Post

Cool post picture - click it for a larger view at Bill's blog. He found it from a Guy Kawasaki Tweet referencing this satellite image of the crowd at last week's inauguration.

See Bill Geist's I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Post.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

With Friends Like These ... Council Rants

Colbert Wagging His Finger Animation

Wish we had video tape of our Council Meetings. I could submit one of last night's performances to the "Gadfly Hall of Fame"

[note: all underlined text in this post is a link to an external Web page]

As a favor to a mutual friend of Kim and I think Pat's, I suspended this post. I agree that they were getting all lost in their emotions and the focus was muddled in all sorts of amusing accusations. My attempt to jokingly point out these women's "little-girl-like" behavior in the audience that night was just that. They were completely behaved during the following meeting, and except for Pat, I think this is behind us. Stan is responsible for keeping order, and he did a fine job. The post is back up to now to answer their incorrect criticisms and the Press article. -MM2/25

I modified this post because someone, whose respect I value completely, told me I went too far with calling these women the Bobbsey Twin "Girls". This post is about Kim and Pat's child-like behavior (snickering, gesturing and interrupting) in the audience of the City Council meeting, and Pat's seemingly uncontrolled and unchecked rant. MM1/16

Even the best intentioned person can seem rude, foolish, or worse with such immature behavior (including me of course). That's hoping that she (Pat) had good intentions with her "rant" though. If Pat's intention was to help me learn something, or see that my words could have been expressed in a less hurtful way, I suppose she was successful. But at what an unnecessarily, extravagant waste of my personal respect for her. If her intention was to hurt or shame me, she failed totally. I'm guessing by her finger pointing and finger wagging, and her seemingly enraged, about-to-pop-a-carotid-artery facial expressions, that she was attempting the latter. Again, she failed, miserably. She did give me lots to blog about though (lol).

I did not leverage the responsibility for allowing their behavior to continue unchecked during our meeting, but I will now. That responsibility rests with our Mayor, Stan. He is chair of our meetings. He is responsible for keeping order in the audience as well as monitoring and helping speakers with their sometimes seemingly inappropriate, some may even consider them abusive, comments. Our Mayor is Kim's husband and he is a good man. I have no doubt he will improve his leadership with each meetings experience. I hope he, like I'm told his predecessor did, will find a way to help Kim conduct herself more appropriately in future meetings, and help Pat with her comments, if she starts "crossing the line" -MM 1/21

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Call of the Regular City Council Metting

From Gabe:
Posted: Friday, January 09, 2009


The Trinidad City Council will hold its first monthly meeting on
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2009 at 7:00 PM
In the Town Hall at 409 Trinity Street
Note: Council Members need to meet at 6:00 PM for the Closed Session

1. Personnel Issue: Section 54957(b), City Manager
2. Real Property Negotiations: Section 54956.8, Lease/Sale of City Property
• December 10, 2008
• City Manager
• Specific Department Reports
(Three (3) minute limit per Speaker unless Council approves request for extended time.)
1. Staff Activities Report through December, 2008
2. Financial Status Reports for October and November, 2008
3. Resolution 2009-01 Accepting an Easement from the North Coast Land Trust
4. Resolution 2009-02 Amending the City of Trinidad Personnel Rules and Procedures
5. Resolution 2009-03 Authorizing the Destruction of Archived City Records
6. Progress Report on Amending the FY2009 Budget
1. Appointments to the Trinidad Planning Commission
2. Selection of Council Member Representatives to Boards and Committees
3. Council Policy on Communications among Council Members/Staff
4. Discussion on Options for Trinidad Water Supply
5. Authorization to Proceed with Analysis of Membrane Treatment of Trinidad Water System
6. Discussion on Regulations for 215 Dispensaries in Trinidad

Regular Council Meeting Agenda 01-14-09 .pdf

Suspected Parking Lot Burglars Arrested

News From Our City Manager:
Sean Garmire/The Times-Standard / Posted: 01/10/2009 01:19:41 AM PST

A California State Park ranger arrested three people suspected of burglarizing vehicles in the Trinidad area.

According to Greg Hall, a ranger with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the alleged victim of an auto burglary stopped him while he was driving through Trinidad on Thursday, and reported that he had witnessed three people breaking into a vehicle in the College Cove parking lot.

Hall said the victim who reported the crime had allegedly witnessed the same three people -- two males and a female driving a 1980s white GMC pickup -- breaking into his own vehicle the day before. Authorities had been on the lookout for suspects matching that description since Tuesday.

The victim told Hall that after witnessing the burglary, he chased the three suspects northbound on Patrick's Point Drive. The man reported the suspects were driving too fast to follow, and he gave up the chase.

Hall issued a lookout for the suspect vehicle, and it was located after a short time by a ranger about 10 miles south of Crescent City.

According to Hall, Harley Hammers, 33, Shavonne Hammers, 31, and Jeffrey Brooks, 36, were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of possession of stolen property, burglary, possession of burglary tools and possession of marijuana.

Inside the vehicle were several items that had been reported stolen from a truck parked in the Trinidad parking lot. Hall said he believes the three had spent three days in Trinidad, and may have burglarized several vehicles.
The high number of auto burglaries on Trinidad's Scenic Drive and in nearby state park parking lots has been an ongoing issue for authorities. Hall said rangers are asking anyone who has had their vehicle burglarized in the Trinidad area within the last month to contact him at 845-5784.