A pledge pool is underway for a neighborhood purchase of Jefferson School. Email email@example.com to pledge. Target is $600,000. Pledges are at $113,200 as of 9:20 this morning.
The Jefferson School can still become a neighborhood asset. You can show your support for the citizens of the west side by pledging. I have.
Tell Eureka’s new city council that they can put roadblocks in the way of citizens’ efforts to improve our communities, but they can’t stop them.
Tell the folks on the west side that just because Eureka’s new city council has abandoned them doesn’t mean the citizens of Eureka and Humboldt have abandoned them.
If you’re a reader of the Herald and wish somebody would do something, now’s your chance to step up. Please do it.
Now there’s a great idea. Time to shake that progressive money tree.
Our family has put up $200, maybe more later when we can. The only thing I can think of more worthy of our finacial support will be the campaign to unseat these disrespectful spiteful idiots that somehow weasled their way onto the council. Even Lance only got 75% and he was UNOPPOSED!
Let’s start a recall! Put them on their toes.
Great idea! Genius! And for the reason for the recall you can cite that they’re idiots and you’re not.
Maybe Heidi can make a Facebook page with the history, benefits to the whole community, and request for pledges. It might be an effective way to get this spiraling outward quickly.
I’ve seen worse reasons for a recall. But I think the money is better spent this way.
Thank you to Ruth, who pledged $1,000 on another thread.
This is one time when it is probably not best to donate quietly. Use a pseudonym if you want, but please consider letting Herald readers know that you are pledging.
And if there’s one specific reason you decided to pledge — a straw that broke the camel’s back — why not let people know?
I know you don’t want to hear this, but after falling for this same kind of donation in SoHum, that the community will be saving the Tooby Flat from haphazard development, protecting open space, prime ag land, wildlife habitat etc, only to fund and purchase what would become private property and called a community park. All run by a self appointed 501c3 public benefit BOD, with no membership and calling itself a private non-profit. Now we see that the whole point of using donations was to further private interest for housing development and rezoning.
Can the public see your bylaws? Are you a membership 501c3? Is your BOD elected? Are you tax exempt with the IRS, State SOS and AG? What is your EIN?
In SoHum, the biggest mistake in giving money to buy Tooby Flat, we were told anything to get a donation and they were rushed. No one saw it coming, we were never shown any documents, everyone trusted the people ask for money. 10 years later, look what we have, a private pay to play community park, with no input or say from the community. Twice as much money has been paid out in interest to private loans than what the property was puchased for. They sold 20 acres of Park property for $1 Million, and the Park is still in debt for a $Quarter Million.
We now know why it happened and by whom. Don’t make the same mistake we did here in SoHum, take your time and check it out, ask questions, get everything in writing, see all the documents, know your rights, because non-profits can do what ever they want to who ever they want. Look at those bylaws, make them stick.
but is the place for sale now??
I have pledged via e-mail.
You offer excellent advice, but it’s advice for a later time.
The west side group is well-known in its own neighborhood. YES, it SHOULD put together by-laws if it doesn’t yet have any. YES, it SHOULD hold elections and be transparent. But all that is for when any substantial money needs to be collected.
All that is being asked for now is pledges. If you’d like to see the west side’s plan for Jefferson School proceed, pledge. Worry about by-laws when the tsunami of pledges allows them to take the next step, and they can actually collect and use the pledges.
I just pledged $100.00 and encourage others to join in!! I think Eric has a good point as to using the money to buy the school instead of spending it on a recall. If we get the money for the school I believe the next step should be recall for brady and newman.
Oh yeah, and Ed (the burning man 11:18) please stay in your own backyard).
Put me down for $100.00
When CR first proposed buying Jefferson I thought it was a good idea, offering classes closer to people who would benefit but might not be able to afford the commute to CR. I thought the Westside neighbors were being NIMBY’s and frivolously throwing away what could only be an improvement over the blight of an abandoned school. Reading the comments from Heidi (and others) changed my mind. A group willing to work this hard for the community as a whole, and especially in these hard financial times, deserves all the help we can give.
I would concur with PJ on that one.
That sounds good Mitch. Didn’t mean to throw rocks at anyones great idea, just to do it right the first time without getting burnt. Something to think about, learn from others peoples mistakes.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
Once Burnt seems to be the only clear headed poster here. Who is this non profit group, who are their board of directors, who annointed them, what are they going to do with your hard earned money ?
Read Arnie Herscovik’s report. Read where he said the fix up expenses will be an additional $2.5 million and even getting a $1 million grant is very iffy. Neighbors, how do you feel about the building continuing to deterioate for years ?
The small group says they will do all the maintenance themselves. That sounds nice but I have seen it a thousand times, initial enthusiasm wears off within the year. Who becomes responsible in year three when the weeds are five feet tall and vandals have broken another dozen windows ? Where does the money for maintenance come from if the building hasn’t been rented out for enough to cover expenses ?
Neighbors, how do you feel about the annointed ones if (after the charter school drops out) they decide the only thing they can do to remain partially solvent is to rent to a pot clinic ? Or turn it into another half-way house ?
Arnie said that bank financing for the improvements would be hard to get and even then require another $750,000 as a down payment. Where does that come from ?
Those who spoke at the city council meeting and said the city could always sell it for much more than the six hundred thousand dollar purchase price because the building was appraised at $825,000 are living in a dream world. That appraisel was dated back at the peak of the real estate market several years ago.
One last thing, the school district is required to sell this to the highest bidder. Other governmental agencies get priority for the first period but not non profits. Besides that period closed a long time ago. Even if you were able to raise that money, you have to have it in the bank & not just in pledges. Pledges are rarely collected at anywhere near 100%.
Then you could be outbid by another buyer anyway.
Sometimes you don’t get want you want in life and this is one of those times.
I’m guessing anonymous doesn’t like the idea that he may have to compete with the neighborhood to buy the property. It’s so much nicer to go to an auction without any competitors.
Oh, and anonymous? How come CR only estimated $1.6 million for repairs, not $2.5 million?
And if the neighborhood group is outbid, at least Eureka City Schools will collect what the property is actually worth, rather than what you’d like to pay.
Excellent point, Mitch.
That suggestions was tongue-in-cheek. Couldn’t you tell?
I am mocking the supporters of our dimwitted council by suggesting the use of a recall because that is the solution they have employed in the past.
They gave us the Govern-ator via recall. (and how’d that end up?) They tried to oust our DA for challenging their good-old-boy power structure. But of course, recalls are stupid and expensive. What do you expect?
Buying the school will be the least expensive part of this plan. The 1.6 to 2.5 million dollars in repairs is huge. Add to that the ongoing maintenance, utility bills and insurance and I simply can’t see our community sustaining the costs even if every part of the building is occupied. Sorry, I do wish you well and hope I’m wrong.
Will the city give the group 200,000 they’re gonna lose..Why not!
The city did not pay the $200,000 into escrow. They dragged their feet on purpose and then tried to blame the school district.
OK, Decline to State. How does a project magically become viable when it goes to a developer? Are rents higher? Does it cost substantially less to tear the building down and construct low-income housing from scratch? Would the developer be getting free money from a government?
Because if the situation is that bad, I’ll gladly offer to take the site off of Eureka City Schools’ hands completely for free. All they need to do is call. I’m gambling that I might be able to do something with it, or even make a profit.
Or, if it has to be offered to a government, maybe the City of Arcata could buy the site and turn itself a nice profit. Or the City of Trinidad. Or the County, which could then stop renting Phil Crandall’s Taj Mahal at what are probably above market rates.
But apparently only private projects “pencil out.”
By the way, does anyone know what the rent IS for Mr. Crandall’s nice building? And who is getting that rent? And whether the county could save money by putting DHHS royalty into quarters owned by the county?
we have a fiscal study, tenants, a financial consultant and a mortgage broker that assisted with and concur that our financial analysis is sound. The rest of the pieces of this puzzle are still in place, it just can not bear 600k in debt on top of the construction costs. the snowballs chance in hell part is that we were so handily ripped from the drivers seat at the scent of any success what so ever is that there are undoubtedly other parties waiting. not partnering with the city is sad, they should have put skin into this game, they should have seen the value in the 1000′s of lives this will positively affect in the long run, they should have valued the property improvement, the health impacts, the educational opportunities, the small business incubator opportunities, they should have looked at the impact this would have on the future of the most dense residential section of Eureka, look 50 years down the road folks. Other cities would have been grateful and assisted. The community is urging me to try, hell I’ve been known to give blood for my people before. I am just saying it is a long shot. But damn, there is 5200 in pledges since last night at 11 and we have 110000 to start with. Oh and btw we have bylaws, we are not membership and we are not collecting on pledges until we become players. At that time and place we will ask an established non profit to assist as fiscal agents. We are new, we have only submitted to the state, we are finishing our fed application (tonight actually). Heidi (lunch is over bye)
I am in for $100. Will be happy to work on recall efforts for Newman and Brady.
With all the troubles facing our great country, our House of Representatives has, rather than tackle any of these challenges, trie to undo the work of the last Congress by passing a meaningless bill to kill health care reform.
And back here at home in Humboldt County, the Eureka City Council, with all of the troubles and challenges facing that city, rather than move forward and tackle any of the many challenges, has chosen to instead spend its time and the newly seated council-members’ political capital on undoing the actions of the previous council, which had settled the issue of Jefferson School, waiting only the closing of escrow on the deal.
It is time for citizens to speak up and let their councilmembers know they want them to get to work on solving problems and to stop wasting their time undoing the work of the previous council. The most pathetic of all of these players actions must be those of the new mayor, Frank Jager, who was one of the unanimous votes on that previous council, and then was most eager to facilitate this new council’s actions, undoing that vote?!?!
Or you could have something that made sense Richard.
“….. the Eureka City Council, with all of the troubles and challenges facing that city, rather than move forward into ever increasing financial difficulties tackled the problem head on and stopped the purchase of the former Jefferson school.”
Yours truly is almost in with a small pledge. One question: WCIA/Heidi, would you rather receive a ‘pledge’ or a direct hard cash contribution into your non-profit account (with no strings attached, spending however you choose)? I’m good either way. Thank you.
So 3:31 you think that Frank Jager was wrong when he cast his vote in FAVOR of the purchase? Frank should have the courage of his convictions to speak out in support of his own vote, but maybe that was cast before the current marching orders were issued.
I pledged already via email to Heidi; I just can’t stand it. I will give more later if I possibly can. I’m also angry enough to support a recall, and honestly, I never have even thought of supporting a recall. I believe the two we are referencing bought their way in; or someone else bought them in, because they seem woefully unprepared. Marion Brady didn’t even know what recuse meant? Holy Cow!
If this doesn’t fly, do we get our money back? Or don’t we even pay until you reach $600,000 in pledges?
Pledges only please. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Expiration of pledge
We do not want to receive any cash until we know we are actually in the realm of bidders. If we wind up by some strange alignment of the stars in that position we will ask an established non profit to act as fiscal agent and receive the funds.
I am your advocate and your workhorse. If the community wants me to actively pursue this I will do my best. The people of Eureka are incredible.
We’re in for $1000.
How about Arcata City Schools buys it, and leases it to Fuente Nueva WCIA buys the park and develops manages and maintains it as they had planned. Would that be sweet victory or what! Problem is the stonewall, footdragging, process manipulation and unequally enforced codes and permit requirements they would suffer for doing business in Eureka. Toga Toga Toga
Grassroots, thanks! And owltotem, yes, it would be lovely if Arcata City Schools bought the site in collaboration with the west side.
That might leave enough money to erect a statue to the 2011 Eureka City Council. I think that statue might be unique in approach, materials, and style, meaning it might become a popular tourist attraction, and that would allow for use of redevelopment funds.
Eureka would be ON THE MAP!
Heidi – it is a wonderful idea, the right thing for the right reasons, and I wish you much luck.
Arcata School administration isn’t crazy. They are not going to buy it either. Where the hell would they get $3 million dollars.
Mitch, which building are you calling “Phil Crandall’s Taj Mahal?” If you tell me that, I may be able to steer you toward accurate answers to your other questions.
That would be the DHHS Administration building on 101 at F, Eureka, Anonymous.
Yours truly is in.
Dear Robin Arkley,
Please take this opportunity to make some new friends and match all the pledges.
If you do, I’m in for $1,000.
You are probably living in a dream world if you think that could or would happen…not that I wouldn’t like to believe in the possibility.
If he does that and meets his other outstanding financial obligations, I too am in for $1000.
While I’m sure that any contribution from Mr. and Mrs. Arkley would be enormously welcome, I hope people won’t forget that Mr. and Mrs. Arkley are not the only people in Humboldt who can pledge — many smaller pledges provide as much cash as one large. Many smaller PLUS one large provides twice as much cash.
I can’t resist asking why QP at 6:37 and Anonymous at 7:47 feel the need to make their pledges contingent on participation by the Arkley family. Perhaps they could instead make a pledge and offer to double it, or even TRIPLE it, if the Arkley family were willing to make a pledge.
There are many ways to improve life for average, working class Eurekans: slow traffic in residential areas, route traffic around Henderson Center, support neighborhood small schools, plant trees. provide bike lanes, listen to the voices of the people…
Too bad there is no way to recall a self-appointed non-profit board if they turn out to be less than effective in regards to public benefit trust. Not that you guys would… but still,there is no mechanism for recalling a non-profit board that appoints itself and has power over real estate, neighborhoods, watersheds, wildlife habitat, development schemes…
A self appointed board, even if it is a saintly non-profit, does not have to let the community be involved in any decision making if it doesn’t want to. They can make all their decisions in private. But that can happen later, after the money is raised, of course. In fact, tonight on KMUD there was a show with a guest non-profit expert from Humboldt Area Foundation saying how it’s really cumbersome to have the public involved. Just sayin’ (from experience.)
Anonymous and “Jess”,
Your argument seems to be this: Yes, a neighborhood group worked with the city for two years to get a closed elementary school and fenced-off play area turned into an open elementary school, community center, and open play area. But it might go rogue, and then how could it be recalled. It’s an interesting argument, and it makes me wonder…
How does one recall a private developer who transforms a school at the heart of a neighborhood into housing?
That is exactly my point. It is just the same.
Except the developer puts his own money on the line.
Yes, just the same, except the developer puts his own money on the line.
And the neighborhood forever loses the opportunity to have a neighborhood school and playground for its children. (Oh, yeah. That.)
Maybe 6:37 and 7:47 (or family/friends) have had their lives impacted by actions of the Arkleys/SN. Perhaps they were laid off or are among the people they owe $$. Just guessing, but I would imagine it would rankle to see the Arkleys throwing money to other causes – or even read the suggestion they do so, as is the case here – while they continue to dismiss employees and don’t meet current financial obligations. That said, I can’t see them supporting this project under the best of economic conditions.
Please only pledge to the
Please do not send any money. No pledges will be called upon unless we wind up by a miracle in the realm of competitive bidders. This community is absolutely unreal. This is a broad base of supporters, confidential I promised, but wow, everything from $5 to $1000 and offers of raffle prizes, benefit concerts, mural painting, baking for bake sales, the list goes on and on, jeeze you guys, I wish we had a better chance at this, the generosity is really heartwarming. What an incredible community.
I must tell the truth though and there were quite telling spraypaint marks on the asphalt today, utilities marked by the “call before you dig” guys This is very indicative of plans for construction. So brace yourselves for more bad news. I love you guys all so much, your generosity and concern for the children and future of the Eureka is awe-inspiring, but no matter what I do not want to lead people on and see anyone get their feelings hurt more than we have all ready suffered. Chin, up we will do our best and continue our support and advocacy for our community and the world and our neighborhood will be a better place as a result. Heidi
And about the self appointed board thing, we were always just community members, loose knit, consensus based decision making, anyone, anytime, changing faces, everyone welcome, a formless group. The city hounded us that we were not even a non profit, so we did that. We knew we would have to arrange for donations, grants and lending and needed the “corporate structure” but truthfully, it still feels to me like the system was shoving us in a box. We will continue to operate like the loose knit group of neighbors friends and community partners that we are, every one is welcome, we have a humongous mailing list that meeting notices go out to. But when it comes to money and donations, you just have to play by “the rules”so we are. Luckily, there are some process oriented organizational types in our group that are comfortable with such structure, I’ll get used to it. Heidi
“It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber..”
. . .or when corporations have to sell cookies to do hostile takeovers, RIFs and buy city council members.
Except the developer puts their own money on the line? Yes, and your money and your money and my money, too.
It’s called “redevelopment”. The developer gets a sweetheart deal in loans, grants, or neighborhood improvements. This money would otherwise go to basic services like sweeping the streets or public safety. The developer then moves into his new home in the gated community on the hill.
I am in for $500.
Please send pledges to the email@example.com so I can send thank you notes, otherwise I don’t have your email. Heidi
You guys rock I can not believe the support, I am crushed, and grateful, heartbroken, and proud all at the same time. Huh, funny how we can care about the future of our children and our neighborhood so much and others care so little.
I answered your question about four minutes after you asked it. Did that help you find answers to my other questions?
What is the rent paid by the County of Humboldt for the building at 507 F Street? How does that compare with spaces which are currently available?
Why does the administration feel the need to be so far from where the majority of client services are delivered, back on Koster Street by Costco?
How many square feet per employee are used in 507 F? What about on the fifth floor, for the royals? How many square feet sit vacant, or are used as wide, wide hallways?
Given that there is a ton of vacant office space in Eureka, how much of a rent reduction has been negotiated in the past few years?
Who is the landlord? How did the rental arrangement come about? Who were the losing bidders, and why? How many people submitted bids?
To the Board of Supervisors — have you asked these questions? Do you have the answers? If not, why not? Isn’t that your job?
Redevelopment money is funded by taxpayers. It is OUR money but heaven help the people who believe we should have a voice in how it’s spent. Most welfare (“subsidies” when given to corporations or the wealthy) is transferred from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.
How naive and inane. Okay, let’s say it’s purchased. Then what? More in repairs? Maintenance? Insurances? Etc. Etc. Do people in this county ever think beyond lunch?
Interesting to see the usually bashed Rob Arkley be asked for help here. Why would he bother, when all of you will come back later and trash him, say he did it for some other motive, the money has strings attached, etc.
Also, he needs to get back on his feet and pay his local and other debtors before he can pledge money to anything major.
T. Person says:
February 5, 2011 at 9:23 am
How naive and inane. Okay, let’s say it’s purchased. Then what? More in repairs? Maintenance? Insurances? Etc. Etc. Do people in this county ever think beyond lunch?
Response: Ummmm, not really cuz so many peopel don’t even get to eat lunch, let alone breakfast – the most important meal of the day; and, we won’t needn’t discuss the poor school kids and their schit for school food that apparently California has festered upon its political tools. Poor kids getting fat and zitty, fat and zitty. Proactive choices I amsure.
T. Person (Anonymous, Jess, etc…) @ 9:23,
Yes. Repairs, maintenance, insurances, etc.
Paid for by rent. Rent. Get it?
Just like if it’s purchased by a developer, except the profit the developer gets to keep would have gone to the city if the city had bought it.
Are governments inefficient? Yes, especially when they are corrupt enough that their main goal might seem to be generating giveaways for cronies.
But when you have a property which would actually be monitored by an active neighborhood that views it as its own; a property in which a community feels ownership because it worked towards achieving its vision; then the corruption that benefits only cronies, and all the other inefficiencies, are found out, highlighted, and eliminated.
The building at 507 F was redone for this purpose (the County of Humboldt made a commitment) and I think they are tied in with some sort of contract.
And Anonymous 9:28,
Believe it or not, there are multiple voices on the Herald. Some bash, some don’t. Some invite help, some don’t. Is that really that hard to understand? It means you have to hold at least two thoughts in your mind at the same time, so yes it can be hard.
What sort of contract, 9:32? For how long? At what price? Reviewed how often? By who?
And, uh, 9:32, the City of Eureka went into escrow for the Jefferson School site, but now people are claiming it won’t have to pay for backing out. Isn’t escrow a contract?
Ms. Benzonelli and WCIA, would you like to post again for new readers of your request and details.
Why not make those who are pledging money MEMBERS with voting rights in this new non-profit? Really, this is a word of caution from experience. The donating public is asked to trust the board but the board does not have to trust the public by including them at meetings, or in selecting the board or in decisions of actions. If it’s all about the Neighborhood, why not make the neighbors members whether they donate, or pledge or not?
A guy who took over some public schools and privatized them said in a video on how to start your own charter school, “the great thing about being a non-profit is that cain’t nobody tell you what to do”. Please insist on membership voting rights for neighbors and those who pledge. Trust needs to work both ways.
Mitch said: Paid for by rent. Rent. Get it? Just like if it’s purchased by a developer, except the profit the developer gets to keep would have gone to the city if the city had bought it.
Or the loss . There is, of course that risk, whether the owner is the City, a private developer, or the neighborhood group.
Personally I thought that there was a reasonably good chance of the City at least breaking even on this, and that the potential benefits outweighed the risk that it might fail to break even.
So I think that the City ought to have followed through on their plans to buy the property. But not as a cash-cow, since profitability is by never guaranteed, even with the best of plans and the best of luck.
Mitch, you sound very confrontational. Kramer Properties owns the building you are speaking of. They put a lot of money into it to revamp it to make it safe, restored, and earthquake sturdy. I am sure they have a long term contract as it was custom fitted for the county offices.
I can think of two things at once, yes. Is it so hard for you to understand why Mr. Arkley would not want to make another gift that was not appreciated?
No, it’s not hard for me to understand why Mr. Arkley would not want to make another gift.
But I’d still be curious to find out exactly what the agreement is between Kramer Properties and the County of Humboldt, and whether the Humboldt taxpayer is getting the best deal possible.
I’ll also be curious to find out who bids on the Jefferson School site, if it goes to auction, and whether that person or company has any helpful connections.
If this area had any newspapers, I would not feel the need to bring these questions up. I hope that’s not too confrontational for you, Anonymous. My hope is that at some point, there will be enough confrontation that anyone who deserves to go to jail will go there.
Only $2,880,847 dollars to go!
And I’ve got to add, Anonymous, it would give me great satisfaction if YOU were one of those going where they deserve to go.
On a policy level, it comes down to whether, on the basis of the benefits the Jefferson School project could have brought to the community, the City should or should or should not have spent the up-front money and assumed the financial risks — or whether, due to the City’s already-weak financial position, the City Council was prudent in avoiding those financial risks, despite the risk that their failure to support the project could lead to ongoing blight and/or a future development that could be a lot less beneficial to the community.
That’s the policy question, and for at least some folks, they formed their opinion about the project along those lines.
But of course for many, political considerations were no doubt an equally important factor. Partisan supporters of the new council majority are, of course, delighted to see them squelch this project, not just because they see as an expensive and ill-conceived boondoggle, but, perhaps more importantly, that it was championed by the “other team.”
“Jess” etc… @ 11:47,
I agree with your points. I, like you, would recommend that the WCIA ensure that those who contribute have a subsequent voice. Of course, nobody has asked for contributions. All people have been asked to do at this point is pledge that they would contribute money if it became possible for the WCIA to buy the site, now that the new city council has backed out. It’s a way for people in the community-at-large to express support for the work the neighborhood group has put in, and to find out how much financial support might become available.
I don’t think everyone in the neighborhood should be an instant “member” of the WCIA. The only organization I think everyone should be part of is government, and the membership is called citizenship. But I think it’s very reasonable that those who contribute to a goal have some voice in how that goal is attained.
It’s curious to me that you and others are so concerned that people have pledged about an additional $15,000 in about one day. After all, the effort no longer involve city money, so the argument that the Eureka taxpayer would be placed at risk is moot.
Yet you seem upset at the thought that people might pledge their support to the west side neighbors who would like to see the school site at the center of their neighborhood be used as a school.
It just seems odd that this is a matter of concern to you. Do you object to schools and playgrounds? Is it some sort of ideological concern? Are you worried that people you don’t even know might be throwing their money away? It’s very confusing, “Jess”?
You wouldn’t, by any chance, have any financial interest in seeing the community shafted?
Mitch, what a hater you are. Enjoy your time being negative. It’s impossible to have a discussion with a person who has his fists in fighting mode all the time. Good luck to you.
Yes of course. Policy and politics. But there might be other considerations at work as well, right here in River City.
It just seems so odd to me that the new city council was so anxious to avoid this project in particular. Doesn’t that seem odd to you?
Golly gee, tra, I think it would be just fine if there were a competent investigative reporter interested in this. It would be just like the movies.
Good luck with the parole board.
Typical blamer. Hate the rich guys and blames them for his lack of success.
1:15 went beyond defensive to offensive over Mitch’s reasonable question of the motives of those opposed to people voluntarily pledging to help the Westside neighborhood buy Jefferson School. It seems quite likely he does have a financial interest.
PJ and others,
I hope the blogs readers are, at least, getting some enjoyment out of this whole predictable “dialog”.
It does seem to follow so closely to a script it makes me wonder whether some of the crooks around Humboldt have ever had an original thought.
You assume so much from one comment. I can’t help but assume you make snap judgments about people, from your wildly inaccurate assessment of me. No doubt Jane would leap to your defense. “Predictable dialog” is most certainly true!
There’s no way I can make an assessment of you, accurate or otherwise. You may be one person or several, and you may only be using “Anonymous” or you may be using several pseudonyms.
If I’ve misjudged you, I’m sorry. There is certainly a chance that you are a sincere apologist for those behind the curtain. But my questions remain.
Yes, I do assume that there is some sleazy business going on in Eureka and the county as a whole. And I do wonder about how the City and County choose which properties to rent, and who to deal with. And I do wonder about why the Chamber and similar groups never seem to need to justify their grants.
And I’ve yet to hear a sensible explanation of why the new Eureka City Council went to such lengths to get rid of a project that had a good plan, extensive neighborhood support, and was already in escrow.
Nor have I heard a convincing explanation of why people would bother to write here to taunt the community group for what appears to be an amazing response to a request for pledges.
But it’s sunny out, so I guess I’ll just have to continue the discussion at a later point.
I think the reason government agencies make contracts with proven businesspeople is that they have found they can count on them. I am not sure who else in this community would have been able to purchase and revamp the building in question.
No one is taunting the West Side group. I think taunting your comments is more likely.
I am sure there are many sleazy businesses but after being in several businesses here throughout the years, I have found most to be on the up and up.
I will be supporting the West Side group as well.
over and out!
p.s. The council didn’t appear to be desperate to get rid of this project. They rehashed this issue over and over, to my memory. They changed their tune, it seems. It is risky, and the more information that came out, the more worried they appeared to be about it.
You assume so much from one comment. I can’t help but assume you make snap judgments about people…
Well, since you can’t help yourself, I guess that’s different!
I got into the conversation late. What are people purposing to do with the Jefferson site if they did accumulate enough money to purchase it?
Mitch does seem to leap to judgment quickly and become argumentative. While he comes across as somewhat paranoid, he also does ask some legitimate questions. Btw, I didn’t get the impression anybody was seriously asking Arkley for anything. I took to be more of a jab or joke, which it is in more ways than one.
February 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm
I think the reason government agencies make contracts with proven businesspeople is that they have found they can count on them. I am not sure who else in this community would have been able to purchase and revamp the building in question.
Response: Proven to give in and take it up the arse maybe in order to take advantage of skyrocketing prices to help the jurisdiciton with tax collection schemes (again, grant scams) based upon transactional over-valuations. Too bad those businesses blew it and can’t depend on the customer for pushing along escalaing costs any longer – the major economic shift has yet to occur, be ready.
Look, the real deal is that there are those businesses who will “allow” abuse in return for favored profits, especially those grant projects that insiders help insiders profit from when throwing unlimited funding at projects that a printing press can resolve for the short term until the “Great Tsunami”. Good thing those local Tsunami Warning signs are up, but they don’t really explain the “kind of Tsunami” that is coming.
I got into the conversation late. What are people purposing to do with the Jefferson site if they did accumulate enough money to purchase it?
I believe that the idea is to pursue the same plan as they would have followed if the City had kicked in the up-front money: Try to obtain bank financing for the full purchase and rehab using the up-front money as down payment and rent from a charter school, commercial kitchen and other uses to pay the mortgage and upkeep on the building and grounds, with playground / community park also included in the mix. Consult previous posts for more details.
Sorry, Anonymous. The council was looking for any excuse, no matter how thin, from the very beginning. There was never any doubt.
Some cities, who actually care about values like community, have been known to actually BUILD Community Centers. Arcata has one. I’m guessing, without doing a lot of research, that there are others. Imagine that. A city actually doing something to support its citizens and help build a sense of community that can only improve the quality of their lives. What a concept!!! But in Eureka, when given the opportunity to create such a center for remarkably little money, the council tells the citizens that they don’t matter, that their quality of life is of no concern, that community doesn’t count. It’s almost enough to make a person want to move to McKinleyville! (I said “almost”.)
Now watch as the developer backers of this Clown Council push every button to feather their nests. Housing on the Jefferson site? Sure, if it can make enough money. The Hell with what the people want. Build big-boxes that will wipe out at least some of the local businesses? Sure, if it sucks enough money out for the develpoers and the corporations.
It’s a different world view. The Clown Council joins the developer crowd in believing that the world is only there to feed them, make them wealthy, and do their bidding. It’s their world and they are its CENTER. It’s sad, very sad.
I thought the council was supporting it and then when the council changed one new member got them going in the other direction?
The council has four new members and one returning member. Linda Atkins, the only returning member, supported it both before and after the election. One of the concil members, Lance Madsen, ran unopposed. Two, Brady and Newman, were elected defeating Glass and Kuhnel, respectively (in the latter case, Newman won with only a plurality, not a majority, because it was a three-way race). Glass had voted in favor of the project before the election. I believe Kuhnel favored the project. And then the fourth new council member was not elected, but appointed to replace Jager, who won the mayor’s seat.
Jager had previously voted for the project to go forward, but apparently changed his mind? (The more jaded view would be that perhaps he just waited until he had already won the votes of some Jefferson supporters, then stabbed them in the back once he had already won power…but I’m sure that’s not it!)
I may be paranoid but I am not argumentative.
Mitch, Tra, and others are thoughtfully illustrative in their comments as usual.
Readers may wonder who were those local community developers sponsoring new members onto the City Council? The October 2010 “Interested Parties” NCJ article by John Osborne is here and sheds light on this subject.
Or, the quick read could be here.
But we digress. Back to the discussion reaching the Jefferson School goal.
I have seen a community shafted by a self-appointed, non-membership non-profit.
Ask who is going to own the property. If the property is bought with donations from the public, the public must be able to elect the board, attend all the meetings and participate in writing the by-laws. Why would you not?
Public trust must work both ways.
How can you have Board elections (pro tem) if you are a non-membership non-profit? Don’t you mean self appointments?
How could you have an FEIN, if you have not filed with the IRS?
“WCIA has an FEIN# and all arcticles of incorporation submitted for approval, And officers pro tem seated”
The formation committee for 501C3 is
Heidi Benzonelli Pres pro tem
Richard Evans VP pro tem
Lisa Ollivier SEC pro tem
David Ogden Tres pro tem
Lorene Dunaway Member pro tem
Sylvia Scott Member pro tem
Ron Kuhnel Member pro tem
Official elections will occur once the 501C3 in fully established.
11,118 in 2 days, what a community.
OK regardless of the Jefferson outcome, with our passion, perseverance and willingness to work together toward a common goal, we will eventually succeed, we just dont know what the victory will be yet, we are definitely an unrivaled force.
I was downtown Eureka tonight, looking around, and talking to hordes of people, all the time wondering, who does this council represent? Anyone got any ideas? You guys all rock, your support is heartwarming. I will post the next WCIA meeting time and place on this blog so all citizens can attend. Heidi
Woops, didnt grab all the cells
$11,118 in 2 days
Skips, Sorry it took so long to reply to your request.
Here’s the deal for new readers. The citizens of Eureka worked for years with the city to purchase the abandoned Jefferson School for a park and Community Center. There is no park in 100 blocks of the most dense residential section of Eureka with the highest ethnic diversity and lowest median income. We dodged many hurdles, even invisible ones. The City Council voted unanimously to purchase Jefferson, adjusted the redevelopment budget and allocated the funds in September. All documentation had already been legally reviewed. Then a series of mysterious unclear events caused the escrow to extend through the election conveniently. 2 new council members who ran a campaign aligned with “Marina Center Now” spoke out against the Jefferson project. Marian Brady and Mike Newman asked for the project be put on the agenda as an action item at their first meeting. The citizens began formation of a non profit (The Westside Community Improvment Association, WCIA), so they had an established organizational structure, the Redwood Community action agency joined offering to support the Community group in finding funding as well as in property management of the facility. The WCIA worked with a Financial Consultant (a developer with 100′s of millions of dollars worth of projects in his portfolio) and with a national mortgage broker to assess the financial solvency of the proposed project. The project passed all lending litmus tests. A GREAT and secure tenant, who offered elementary education (a dire need in the community) as well as offered to work with the community to see evening use of the building supporting other community center, small business development, literacy and educational opportunities. The tenants financial predictions could support the debt service associated with renovation of the building. A park design was agreed upon and grant opportunities for both the park and the facility retrofit identified. The project was presented to city council and the WCIA offered everything from full 3rd party financial partnership (you buy it we assume all of the rest of the risk and responsibility)AND interim maintenance so NO general funds would ever be spent on this project.
The city council voted 4-1 to cancel escrow and back out of the purchase agreement. The city school district superintendent announced the next day the property would go to public bid. The WCIA, went home beat, the citizens of Eureka pushed back offering money, time, donations, fundraiseing opportunities. I (Heidi) felt a responsibility to community, if they want to try, I am there, I will assist, advocate and organize as I have for the last 2 years. So I set up an email account firstname.lastname@example.org, built a spreadsheet and posted the address on this blog. In less than 2 days over 11000 dollars were pledged toward the purchase of the school. WCIA already had over 110,000 worth of funds pledged already. These pledges will ONLY be used if there is an opportunity for the Citizens of Eureka through the WCIA to be successful bidders for this property. Is that what you wanted Skips? Sorry it took so long, I was busy all day, but had a fantastic day, spent the morning doing ground work for another incredible community development project, spent the afternoon helping a friend and appreciating the fruits of labor, was escorted by another friend to a fundraiser for 3 different community benefit projects, attended arts alive and realized, my community is alive and kicking, and I am proud to be able to serve.
Hope that is what you wanted Skips,
Tra, 3.22pm. The group is trying to obtain bank financing? If you and them had any experience in doing that you would realize how hopeless that is. These people will be laughed out of the building.
And, as Arnie Herskovic has stated, even if the bank was convinced, the group would need another $750,000 as a down payment for the construction loan.
A lot of wasted energy here. You are all being led down the path by a bunch of extremly naive people looking for media attention and that is the BEST motivation that you can attribute to these people.
Lastly, does it not concern any of you that one person claims there is a donor for $100,000. Then the ONE person keeps that name secret from everyone?
It doesn’t concern me and it only concerns you because you want to know who to smear for trying to help a community group over a developer and you will use any tactic to sabotage this positive effort by regular people. It isn’t your money or your neighborhood so the real question is, “WHY DO YOU CARE SO MUCH,” 7:30?
Hi-FI If you donated 100k with no contingencies but it be spent any way seen fit to see a specific humanitarian, controversial project to success, would you want your name publicized? Ms Brady has seen the signed letter. Hi Fi, you wouldn’t understand. It is an ideological difference, people who can actually quantify value, of things like access to education, common ground, open space, communities working together, children having a safe walkable community.
Mr. Newman even said “this project doesn’t make dollars and sense” cute, proof, he doesn’t get it.
A national mortgage broker judged the merits of the project and used the L/V, DSCR, investigated the tenants capacity to pay rent and advised the project was feasible and fundable. He also said, it would be almost impossible to fund if the city owned the dirt and advised we drop the land lease offer. That is why we changed from land lease to title transfer. The USDA govt guarantee was a result of guaranteeing a debt secured by land owned by the city. That was not our proposal. The project would secure the debt. (using a .75 cap rate and an indicated value based on the committed lease) that was all coming.
We brought interim maintenance and management to make sure the property would not deteriorate while we negotiated using the national mortgage broker (a personal business acquaintance of mine). Thus the 100k offer because maintenance, management, legal, insurance, etc until the permanent loan is committed isn’t free.
Let me tell you hi fi, we brought it, we brought a mortgage broker, we brought an established developer with experience and capacity. We were offered assistance by an established non profit. we may not have the “experience” as WCIA but we certainly had the resources, the capacity and the support.
You have to start somewhere. And longterm benefit to the children and families of a community, reclaiming common ground and engaging the whole community in the success. What a great place to start.
And why did you quit posting under your moniker? We know there are not a bunch of you.
Congratulations! $21,000 in internet fundraising, in two days, in this economy, is absolutely awesome.
It’s not looking like the needed $600,000, though I guess that’s still conceivable.
Maybe the neighborhood could look for a white knight developer or philanthropist willing to do something like the following.
For a fee, they would give you a one or two year option to buy the property from them at the price it costs them at auction. Then, you and they would work out a maximum price you’d be willing to bid, and they would go to the auction on your behalf.
If you were able to raise the money, the property would go to your group. If not, the developer would resell the property. It would be win-win for them: if you buy the property, they keep the fee; if you don’t buy the property, they resell the property into a better market and keep the fee as well.
If you have reason to believe you could raise the needed money given another year or two, this could work for the group.
And, if the new city council was acting on behalf of someone behind the curtains, having another party at the auction would ensure that the hypothetical shadowy party wouldn’t be able to cheat Eureka City Schools out of the fair market value for the property. (Not that I’m paranoid or anything.)
If the plan I describe above is not workable, I hope you or someone can ensure that Eureka City Schools invests a reasonable amount of money in advertising the property, so that this does not become another case of public property being “sold” to developers at “very favorable” prices. That sort of thing happens in Russia, but doesn’t need to happen in Eureka.
There are a bunch of us. Ask any banker in town, no way would anyone get any kind of commercial loan without at least twenty percent down.
I think most of us stopped talking with bankers about two, three years ago. Don’t you agree it’s best not to deal with thieves?
Then, obviously, we are shooting for twenty percent; at this point it may happen. Try to maintain some optimism for the community-it can’t hurt.
Incidentally, before someone lays the “community bank” stuff out, I’ve had dealings with both executives and clerks at Coast Central, about different issues. Both have lied to my face.
Thank you Heidi. I pledged like so many others, although I’d readily give a direct cash donation to the WCIA.
Why? Other donors feel the same way: We’ve seen what the WCIA does, what it’s capable of, and the galvanization of a neighborhood coming together with fine grassroots organization.
Folks, the WCIA has emerged into a powerful, advocative (and if they wish to be, political) neighborhood force which we haven’t seen the likes of in recent memory. They’re taking back their neighborhood and making it into something better.
Whether or not the Jefferson School Project goes through remains to be seen. It’s a huge endeavor. However, by supporting these efforts now the WCIA will continue their contributions, benefits, and vision for both the Westside– and Eureka– into the future.
Mitch, that sounds like a great idea. Time is critical here. All we need is the White Knight.
Hope is dim but it is NOT lost. Keep pledging. I thought Eurekans were empowered before when they brought forward the JS Plan. Now I think it was only the beginning.
I have had nothing but positive experiences at Coast Central.
If any loan would be granted by any bank or credit union, Coast Central is the best bet. They may be your only hope. They donate tens of thousands of dollars to local groups and causes every year.
I’m glad others have had positive experiences at Coast Central. I can only speak for myself.
I left Bank of America’s wonderful staff when Bank of America management was in the news for asking staff to clean up around ATMs for free.
I lasted at Coast Central for a year or two. Then, more than five years ago, I returned to Bank of America, after too many bad experiences with Coast Central.
I decided nice local staff was more important to me than corporate policy. I still thank Bank of America is a particularly foul corporation, but its retail banking treats customers like people.
PROVIDENT!!!!!!!!UNREAL, EXCELLENT SERVICE, FIRST NAME, HELPFUL, YOU NAME IT ABOVE AND BEYOND,NO FEES NO CHARGES, THESE GIRLS ROCK. They have pretty wild business banking expectations and do not deal in commercial loans otherwise i would keep all of my eggs in that basket. Highest competitive CD rates, when CD rates were worth shopping for. The best interest rates for personal banking (up to 25K)even though interest rates for small personal banking is a joke everywhere (SUPER REWARD CHECKING and the ACCUMULATOR). Mary Huber is a goddess and Lindsey has saved my ass many a time doing last minute telephone transfers. 10+ years not one fee, not one charge zip zero nada just great service. Wish they were local but I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
Thanks, owl. And Provident’s a credit union, too. If I ever decide to switch again, I’ll know where to go. I wouldn’t go back to Coast Central even is somebody took a billy club to me.
They use tazers now!
Coast Central screwed me and mine over my late stepmother’s accounts. But I will accept any twig that floats for the JS project. Bring on the MONEY!!
Mitch, all bankers are thieves?
I’m sure there are exceptions, Anonymous.
But the mortgage bankers who sold liar loans knowing that they could simply pawn the bad debt off on the American public have given all bankers a bad name. The investment bankers at Goldman Sachs and other once-respected names have given investment bankers a bad name as well.
I have no idea what percentage of bankers declined to participate in the glorious ripoffs, but it is clear that unconscionable numbers did participate, and that the vast majority of those participants continue to go about their business without suffering so much as a slap on the wrist.
I think you will find that, over the last thirty years or so, the practices of those in many professions have caused a great many people to realize that it is no longer appropriate to respect persons simply because they are members of formerly-respected professions.
I have respect, Anonymous, for anyone who works hard and makes a habit of putting the needs of others before needs of their own. It doesn’t seem particularly honorable to work hard simply to enrich ones’ self, but that’s not nearly as bad as working hard to cheat others. I have no respect for those who work hard at cheating or exploiting others, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, bankers or welfare clients, caught or not caught.
Does that answer your question?
People who plant deciduous trees on residential streets should be required to rake the leaves out of the streets in front of their neigbhors houses and their own.
Is Phil Crandal’s Taj Mahal the old Professional Building? The unsafe four or five story masonry building? Where is the reflecting pool? (But as to your other point, Mitch, this County loves leasing property from rich “good old boys” even though it bleeds the ordinary taxpayer dry.
Mitch, you wrote: “5:42, I answered your question about four minutes after you asked it. Did that help you find answers to my other questions?”
I am sorry I didn’t answer sooner, Mitch. I just found your response to my questions. I had thought you were talking about the Koster Street property. I see now that you are referring to the Professional Building. Here is what I can tell you about it. Despite my offhanded comments above, it may be a perfectly safe masonry building. It has been used by the County Department in question since before the building at 929 Koster was built. Whether it is owned by the County or leased by the County, I do not know.
I agree with your concern that when such properties are leased instead of being bought outright, there is a possibility that taxpayer money is not being spent efficiently.
I thought that person, not always polite, was talking to me.
The Professional Bldg has been brought up to earthquake standards and to code. If you think the person who did it is a rich good old boy, maybe no one else was able to step up to the plate. After all, most of us are in the same category until we become successful, and then of course we become some sort of enemy.
I looked – really looked – at the Professional Building on Google Street View a few minutes ago. Even there, it is clear that the Kramer firm has done a very good job of restoring it. I’m sure they incurred plenty of expense in the process, which they believe will be covered over the course of time during the lease period. Isn’t it fair to believe the County’s property managers evaluated the County’s costs carefully? If there is a conspiracy to fleece the public, let’s hear the details. If there are allegations, but no facts to support the allegations, let’s calm down. (I say that to myself as much as to anyone.)
It was referred to by Health and Human Services employees as the Taj, I would guess meaning by comparison with the Koster Street complex.
The county paying outlandish rent at the Professional Building was not some kind of conspiracy to reward the rich good old boys. Only professional victims think that.
It is just a matter of incompetant county administrators signing contract to pay rent far in excess of what county offices should be paying. Kramer simply took advantage of the county employees wanting far better offices than they should have. Kramer is charging a fair rent, but it should have been the private sector renting those offices.
You don’t do the retrofit without the tenant. Kurt knows that.
To those who do not believe in public ownership, I hope you just watched the community owned Green Bay Packers beat the privately owned Pittsburg Steelers in the Super Bowl.
Long live public ownership and congratulations to the only NFL team who’s fans can be sure they’ll never leave town for higher profits in some other market!!!
Does it really make that much difference whether incompetence or conspiracy is to blame? Your words were “took advantage.”
I simply believe that the public is entitled to information about what it is paying for public leases of privately-owned buildings, as well as the square footage per employee.
And I believe the information should be broken out in detail. That way, if a department head and his inner circle have given themselves a more or less empty floor of an expensive building while shafting both local taxpayers and the people the taxpayers think are being served, the public will have an opportunity, at least, to become involved in the situation.
I’m sure developers will always take advantage of incompetence and ignorance before they resort to anything potentially illegal. And if the leaders in government provide incompetence and ignorance in truly heroic quantities, those in-the-know will be able to gain riches at the public trough without even risking jail.
That’s our system. It’s not necessarily one where the wealthy break the laws. They don’t even need to. That’s how corrupt things are.
And lookie here! Who just elected incompetence and ignorance? And why?
Incidentally, it’s not just information about leases that I feel should be made public.
I think public employees should be anonymously polled about what they think of their department heads and immediate supervisors, and that information should be summarized by a private firm and made public.
I think information about turnover should be made public, along with sufficient information for the public to put it in context.
And I think, for a department like Health and Human Services, the amount of funds that actually go to clients should be broken out from those that go to administration, and the funds that go to administration should be compared with other department in other jurisdictions.
All this is basic management, and should be done religiously. It’s a responsibility of the Board of Supervisors, but not one I expect will ever be taken seriously in Humboldt County.
Mitch, Mitch, Mitch.
It was your buddy, Bonnie Neeley, that was right in there committing our tax dollars for many years for this “Taj Mahal”. We finally kicked her out of office in November. And the lease is public information. I encourage you to issue a request to view it. I would like the details also.
And Heidi. Kurt “knows that”, but do you? He had a real tenant, signed on the dotted line for a specific rent that made the project economically feasible. You don’t.
The most recent status update of the Jefferson School property by the Times-Standard’s Allison White of February 6, 2011, can be found here.
Sorry, the above link may not connect, so for the recent update T-S article of 2/6/11 try here instead.
I’ve never worked with Bonnie Neeley, contributed to her campaigns, or had any useful interaction with her. I’ve barely met her. I’m well aware that the Board of Supervisors, with or without Ms. Neeley, seems to work for Crandall, rather than the other way around.
I’d remind people that DHHS has (or had) around 1,000 employees. Its efficiency or lack of efficiency, and its attitude towards the most vulnerable of our community, is an important part of how Humboldt functions, and is a substantial chunk of our tax dollars. Humboldt might have been able to afford incompetence and grandiosity before timber was killed and the economy was stolen. Just because it could afford it then doesn’t mean it can afford it now.
You won’t hear the public employees complain as long as the union keeps paychecks and pensions high, but most people in DHHS are completely aware that actually accomplishing anything has been made next to impossible by layer upon layer of analysts and managers who are the real welfare recipients.
Who knows, Ms. Neeley may be as wonderful as some say. I would have no way of knowing.
Your assumptions are telling.
Perhaps you thought Ms. Neeley is my buddy because I thought having a stalker follow her around was wrong, and worthy of police as well as public attention.
But, see, I’d feel the exact same way even if the stalker were following one of your favored folk.
But, to return to the Jefferson School site, I again congratulate the neighborhood group on its fantastic work.
I hope it’s able to buy the site.
If it isn’t though, I hope there will be a lot of public attention focused on the auction.
If any participants in the auction turn out to have connections to the councilors who reversed a five month old unanimous decision of the previous council, I hope those connections are noted.
If there’s anything in writing about this decision having been made with commercial interests in mind, I hope it sees the light of day.
And, as I said before, if there’s criminality involved in this, I hope all those deserving to be in jail end up in jail.
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