Thursday, October 14, 2010

Council Response to Recent National Youth Suicides - Protecting our LGBTQQ and Straight Youth

All youth should feel safe and be able to live openly with the support they need to reach their full potential.

At our Council meeting last night, I asked for consensus to work-up a response for our Trinidad City Council to the recent national stories of anti-gay bullying and tragic suicides of perceived and self-identified gay youth. I'm gathering information and would appreciate any suggestions you have.

Our LGBTQQ youth (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning) are specially protected in school by California Legislation which prohibits their denigration on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity - the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act (AB 537), the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 394), and the Student Civil Rights Act (SB 777).

LGBTQQ foster youth are protected here by Foster Youth School Safety Education (AB 3015) and the California Foster Care Non-discrimination Act (AB 458). The California Juvenile Justice Safety and Protection Act (SB 518) protects all youth from discrimination in state Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.

Recently, our governor signed the The Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543). It permits California youth ages 12-17 to obtain services without parental permission. LGBTQQ youth no longer face coming out to their parents prematurely and without support to get help. Without such support, some would face emotionally damaging and sometimes physically threatening situations at home.

Young bullies often identify with a parent or other adults who are bullies. Adults expressing negative views of LGBTQQ people send a dangerous message that leads directly to harassment, bullying, and violence against LGBTQQ youth. We need to unequivocally condemn the expression of negative views of LGBTQQ people as biased, unacceptable, and wrong.

Supportive residents, please be the best example for our youth - watch what you say and don't say, get involved, and help protect youth nationwide by urging Congress to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

As for me, I respectfully offer that if someone is being bullied or is a bully, I will help. I want the best for all our youth and I’m going to do what I need to do to give them the best possible future.

Please also see my previous post on this issue " Getting Better ... Bullies Are Sad and Weak " for more of my POV, additional information and resources.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Getting Better ... Bullies Are Sad and Weak

Being young is challenging. Being young and different can be overwhelming. Being young and gay can be deadly.

Nothing's Wrong!

Being different means being special. Discovering you are different may at first feel like a burden. Out of fear and inexperience, you may want to avoid or hide your difference. Out of fear and inexperience, others may want you to do the same. Some may even try to control you because they feel and fear similar feelings themselves.

Bullies are ashamed of their feelings. They immaturely "act out" their shame and pain by abusing others and themselves. There's hope! As we grow up, we learn the ability to express our fears, release our shame and solve our conflicts more constructively. There is nothing wrong with being different and being who you are. There is something very wrong with abusing others for being different.

What can you do?

If you're hurt and ashamed of being different, what can you do? Embrace your difference, reach out and find your support, and when it's safe, share yourself. You are all right and there is nothing wrong with you. When you discover that, any pain or fear you have will turn into joy.

If you're being bullied, what can you do? Bullies turn their fear and hurt into anger. Being bullied, you may impulsively get angry. Stop. If you turn your hurt feelings into anger, you'll be just like them. How can you stop getting angry? Have compassion. Remember bullies have been hurt by themselves or others. Remember they haven't learned the ability to express themselves appropriately. If compassion doesn't help, take another look at them. They are probably foolishly funny, so go ahead and laugh at them. Laugh to yourself if they are bigger though - haha. It's hard to get angry when you're laughing.

Like feeling strong? Have you ever stood up for someone who is different and being bullied? How did that feel? How did everyone react? Sometimes it takes just a few kind words to remind ourselves, and each other, that no one deserves to be hurt for who they are. A bully needs an audience or they have no power. Do not be that audience. Hold them accountable for their behavior and use compassion to help.

How can you help?

Whether you are bullying someone or bullying yourself, we all innately know that it is wrong. But why is bullying also stupid? Bullying only makes you feel worse. Help the bullies! By denying bullies an audience and some fast, false relief, you can help them. They will have to learn healthier behaviors to deal with their feelings. If people are in so much pain that they hurt others or themselves, they need your help!

To kids out there who sometimes feel alone and overwhelmed and desperate, you are not alone. As a young person, I experienced all sides of bullying. Bullying, whether it is physical or psychological, has to always be unacceptable. If you are being bullied, there are good people who care and want to help. I am one of them.

Show your support for those who fear it might get worse. For teens, check out the Make It Better site and start now! Watch some of my favorite It Gets Better Project video links and share your favorites. Visit and promote important resources for anyone who is afraid or would like to learn more and be supportive. Please send me links to sites and resources that you'd like to share or promote.

You Win!

Remember, if you turn your hurt feelings into anger, you'll be just like them. Transform your hurt, shame, and anger into joy and guess what? You win!

Some It Gets Better Project Videos

Tyler Oakley: Who am I to say your life is going to improve ... it gets better but only if we make it get better ...

Chris Colfer A world full of acceptance and love just waiting for you to find it ...

Michael Urie: Bullies aren't bullies forever ...
Jake Shears: No matter how hard your life feels ...
Zach: Humiliation in public and at home ...
Ty: Bullies aren't tuff they're ignorant ...
Jewel: Nobody should feel bad about themselves for how they are born

Resources- Sites:

The Trevor Project

Make It Better Project

It Gets Better

Give A Damn

Bullies to Buddies

Matthew Shepard Foundation

Resources- Pages:

Judy Shepard, We Must All Protect Youth from Suicide

PBS Kids, It's My Life, Bullies: What is Bullying? Page

PFLAG, Claim Your Rights Video

ABC News: Tyler Clementi's death brings attention to rise in suicides among gay youths

Towleroad Tragedy of Gay Teen Suicide: A Roundup Page

Fox59 Report, Indiana Teen Suicide After Antigay Bullying LA report: "Oklahoma gay teen takes his own life" and the Norman Transcript report, "North Grad Took Own Life After Week of 'Toxic' Comments".

Facebook (need to be logged in): R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes and at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools. RIP Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas. You are loved.

My Inspiration:

Judy Shepard from We Must All Protect Youth from Suicide
... we are calling one more time for all Americans to stand up and speak out against taunting, invasion of privacy, violence and discrimination against these youth by their peers, and asking everyone in a position of authority in their schools and communities to step forward and provide safe spaces and support services for LGBT youth or those who are simply targeted for discrimination because others assume they are gay.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

TBIDs -Tourism Business Improvement Districts and the "Humboldt Lodging Symposium" on Wednesday, June 23

If you're involved with tourism in Humboldt County, you know Tony Smithers. Tony works tirelessly for our industry's support and responsible growth at the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau, HCCVB. His passion for our area and its marketing seems boundless.

At the April, 2009 HCCVB board meeting, the board directed Tony to continue researching Tourism Business Improvement Districts and provide more information including any downsides to forming a TBID in Humboldt County. Please read his TBID Report online at the Humboldt Lodging Alliance's website.

Thank you Tony for all your hard work.

Please also see the Humboldt Lodging Alliance Tourism Districts FAQ for more information and their answers to questions like these:

What is a TBID?
Tourism Business Improvement Districts are a self-assessment by the lodging industry for the purposes of promoting the destination ...

Doesn't TOT pay for tourism promotion?
Even as destination marketing becomes more competitive and our neighbors have increased their budgets with TBIDs, Humboldt County’s marketing budget has decreased. While we will always lobby vigorously for government to invest TOT in tourism promotion, we need another funding source if we are to remain competitive.

Announcing the
Humboldt Lodging Symposium!

Wednesday, June 23, 10 am to 2 pm at the Red Lion Hotel, Eureka.

Come and learn about Tourism Business Improvement Districts (TBIDs) from John Lambeth, the leading expert in California. Hear from lodging operators Jeff Stanford from Mendocino and Bert Meyer from Redding on how TBIDs have worked for them.

The Humboldt CVB board of directors will be looking for YOUR direction on whether to recommend formation of a tourism district. Make sure your voice is heard!

Please RSVP to Charlotte Cerny, 707-444-6641
Questions? Contact Tony Smithers, 707-444-6635

Humboldt Lodging Alliance Website:
Humboldt Lodging Alliance Tourism Districts: FAQ
Tony Smithers, Humboldt County CVB: Tourism Business Improvement Districts Report

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tsunami & Earthquake Preparedness Event Monday June 14, 2010

tsunami earthquake poster

Monday, June 14, 2010 at the Cher-Ae Heights Casino Bingo Hall.
See the poster or the TVFD Blog for more information -
hope to see you!

State Tsunami Information:
California Department of Conservation

Trinidad Volunteer Fire Blog:
The Station Call

Trinidad Library Benefit Concert, Sunday June 6 at 3

Chamber Music Concert to Benefit Trinidad Library Trinidad Town Hall June 6th

Chamber Players of the Redwoods, an association of residents who play chamber music, will present works by Beethoven, Praetorius, Josquin des Pres, Thomas Morely and others in a benefit concert for the Friends of the Trinidad Library Building Fund.

The concert is free but donations for the Library Building Fund are very welcome.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Humboldt Arts Festival - This Sat and Sun

Be sure to check out the 1st Humboldt Arts Festival - "A Celebration of Humboldt County Art and Culture" this HSU Graduation Weekend the 15th and 16th in Arcata. Visit Robert Goodman Wines new tasting room at 937 10th Street, Arcata - great new space!

Humboldt Arts Festival:

LumberJack Online Article: Humboldt Arts Festival Spices Up Graduation Weekend

Friday, January 1, 2010

Trinidad 10 for '10 - Has It Only Been A Year?

trinidad's southern coastline with Coastal National Monument sea stacks

Has It Only Been A Year? Sometimes it feels like four already (lol). So, one down and four to go as a Trinidad's newest city councilmember.

New Year's Post-2010:

What a great holiday season we had in Trinidad! Lots of fun events with neighbors and family and new friends! See our Trinidad Chamber of Commerce Jan'10 Blog for some highlights. Hope everyone had a great time celebrating their holidays. Assessing last year, I'm not only grateful for the many blessings received, but also for the challenging opportunities I've been given. Looking forward to 2010 with the same personal guides as last year

Feel Good

Be Kind

Share Joy

Happy New Year!

For The Council It's Mostly the Same As '09. Finishing a list is fun. Honoring progress with patience and determined focus is important to finishing. We made some good progress on a few of these last year. Added more than subtracted to it for this year, but I'm looking forward to marking several off by next. Wish us luck!

No Particular Order - They're All Important

  • 1) Water: Quality, Rates, Supply, Infrastructure, Waste, Environmental Impacts, Fire Protection

  • 2) Coast Guard/BLM: Transfer of Trinidad Head Property & Development

  • 3) Local Business and Trinidad Rancheria: Even More Trinidad Support for Projects

  • 4) Trinidad's Conserved 12.5 Acres Management: Review & Implement From City's Perspective

  • 5) Planning: Complete General Plan Update, Ordinance Review & Codification, ADU Ordinance, Sustainability, Simplify Requirements & Procedures

  • 6) Trinidad Beautification: Gateway Oversight, Support Trinidad Community Organizations, Signage, Trails, Beautify City Easements, Fight "Urabanization" -Find Alternatives to More Sidewalks, Signs, Painted Curbs, and Proposed Speed Bumps.

  • 7) View Preservation & Restoration - Continue to Explore 12.5 Acres View Easements and Address Sovereignty Issues With Conveyance, New Sign Ordinance, Replace & Upgrade Street Lights, Utilities Under-grounding, Trail Mapping/Access/View Restoration

  • 8) Encourage Participation in Government: Build Trust by Council Policy and Procedure Reviews, Structure Meetings Better.

  • 9) Neighborhood Conservation & Business Incentives

  • 10) Communications & Infrastructure: Relocate Cell Towers - Accelerate Process & Increase Revenue, Free Wi-Fi for Trinidad - Explore and Implement, Storm Water Treatment, Roads & Parks Completion