Home > North Coast Journal, Tom Abate > Abate committed

Abate committed

The strange saga of former North Coast Journal editor Tom Abate has taken a sad turn.  Following some odd and allegedly violent behavior, Abate is being held at Sempervirens mental health facility, according to the Arcata Eye.

After launching the NCJ some 30 20 years ago, Abate sold the paper and moved on to big city schooling and reporting. His brief return as editor to the paper in January was tumultuous from the get go because 1) it was sprung on everyone  — including then-editor Hank Sims, who was demoted (or not, depending on who you ask) in order to make room for Abate, and 2) Abate’s aggressive introductory interview on KSLG.

“This makes me sad, then angry, then sad, then angry, then sad again, then very very tired,” said Sims via Twitter.

Journal gets new editor | The Interview | Abate interview — the remix | Abate interview: THE MOVIE | Sims to leave NCJ | No public announcement for Sims resignation | Abate out at NCJ

  1. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Re: Sims’ comment. I certainly agree with the “sad” and “tired” parts. But what is the “anger” about? That he was replaced by a guy who turned out to (apparently) be unstable? Presumably Judy H. didn’t realize that when she hired Abate. Maybe she should have, or maybe there wasn’t any real sign of it before “The Interview,” I don’t know.

    Anyway, it is a sad situation. I hope Abate gets the help he needs.

  2. April 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    It seems like a normal reaction, tra. If your boss suddenly turned your seemingly stable world upside down with no warning, and the result is what we’ve seen at the Journal for the last 3 months, a range of emotion is perfectly normal.

    Unless you’re the Buddha. Hank is not the Buddha.

  3. Landlord
    April 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I think Sims has every right to feel anger. He lost his job and now the person who took his place is no longer there. It was a gamble. I would think his anger would be toward Judy H. I feel sorry for Abate. He was starting a new life.

  4. Researcher
    April 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    The Journal is 20 years old, not thirty.

  5. April 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the correction.

  6. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    You people are dense and troubled. Examine your own behavior.

  7. Big Al
    April 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    this is very sad, I hope he can recover and nobody else was to terribly traumatized.

  8. Mark Sailors
    April 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Note to self…..

    That is all.

    Continue discussion.

  9. tra
    April 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Heraldo and Landlord,

    Yeah, O.K., I can understand that. Of course the damage was already done and Abate was already gone, well before today’s news, so I was having trouble seeing why today’s news was producing anger. But I guess the whole situation just really sucks, and today’s news is just another part of that.

    I think Hank handled the story with a lot of class over at the Lost Coast Outpost blog…


    …in which he notes:

    If we can keep solely to the public matter that yoked our names together for a spell, let me say: That wasn’t his fault.

  10. Landlord
    April 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I think being replaced and having it work out would have been painful as well, but in this situation, I am sure Hank is feeling like his leaving and the trauma surrounding it was unneeded. He had to go through a lot, I am imagining. And Mr. Abate did as well. I am feeling sad for them both.

  11. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Spend a good amount of time with anybody…I haven’t met a sane person yet.

  12. Random Guy
    April 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm

  13. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    If we can keep solely to the public matter that yoked our names together for a spell, let me say: That wasn’t his fault.

    Whose fault was it?

  14. April 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Abate’s conspirator in the secret take-over of the NCJ, perhaps.

  15. Osprey
    April 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, now there’s a shocker……lucky he isn’t in jail after some the stuff he pulled in his short tenure.

    hope he gets help….maybe Judy should do the same.

  16. Andy
    April 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Although I do not want to make it appear that I am speaking for Hank (he may do so for himself here later), but as one who knows him and discussed this matter with him earlier today, I believe Hank was angry about some of the pressures (some unfair and others not) put on Tom that may have contributed to his apparent “meltdown” if that’s an appropriate term.

  17. April 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    I think Hank is where he needs to be right now. I heard him this morning on kslg and it was a perfect fit.

  18. Not A Native
    April 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I realized very quickly that Mr. Abate was having a nervous breakdown and commented here to that effect. I also stopped criticizing his job performance at that time.

    The question now might better be what can(should) a community do when a person has a condition like Abate has? Especially when that person is in a public position. The Pat Wiggins drama is also barely over but the denial still goes on. Truth is, many illnesses are stigmatized and mental illness is the most stigmatized. I hope Abate will finally get appropriate treatment and wish him the best fortune to overcome his condition.

  19. Mayor Snorkum
    April 16, 2011 at 12:24 am

    The poor bugger. Wife gone, job gone, new life gone. I hope he gets some real help.

  20. Anonymous
    April 16, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I think Sims has every right to feel anger. He lost his job and now the person who took his place is no longer there.

    Employers are allowed to be blithering idiots. Usually, the scenario is, your working conditions are BS, so you quit. Your departure forces your employer to wake up and make improvements, but you can’t come back now… it’s always better for the next guy.

    Or, you’re not appreciated in your job and so you leave, only to then watch your successor fail, sometimes several successors. You’re angry because you cared about your place of business, the work you were doing, and the people you worked with, but your employer was an idiot. You hate your employer for a while, then are saddened by the opportunity lost — what might have been. Sometime later, you allow yourself to be happy with your new work situation, but you never totally let go. There’s always a wistful regret that an idiot changed the course of your life, even if your new life is much better.

    Given how strikingly bad Judy screwed up, she owes all of her employees (and Hank) an apology, but I don’t think it will hasten the healing process.

  21. April 16, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Usually people who express public anger over losing their job or being demoted will also lose a reference and will find themselves blackballed by future employers. It makes you a “whiner” with a “bad attitude.”

    Sims had a public name to trade on and can write his own ticket, I don’t feel too bad for him. He should consider himself fortunate that he’s allowed to express frustration in public over losing his position and still be employable.

  22. April 16, 2011 at 6:21 am

    PS, I wonder if Hank’s new job will involve “hybrid journalism” such as trolling other local blogs from the less affluent side of the tracks.

  23. Decline To State
    April 16, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I can surely understand anger from Sims. Apparently he was totally unsupported and terribly under-appreciated by his employer. But what’s with Judy Hodgson? It appears that she replaced her more than competent editor with an old friend who had achieved some degree of success out in the “real world” without ever actually vetting him for the job. Abate proved to be unstable from his re-entry into Humboldt beginning with the KSLG interview, through his 2 month tenure as editor of the Journal and now with this most recent meltdown. In hindsight, given the amazingly poor judgment Hodgson’s shown, she should probably have been the one to leave the Journal.

    I’m sorry for Abate’s problems. I hope they weren’t exacerbated by this failed stint as editor or by us. I wish him a most speedy recovery.

  24. Mitch
    April 16, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I’m one of the more verbose comment posters at the Herald, so I’m in no position to urge people not to post comments.

    But I dearly wish this thread would just die a peaceful and immediate death.

    If Heraldo wants to post a thread for people to discuss shitty employers, mental illness, or the perceived quality of the NCJ, that would be great.

  25. Anonymous
    April 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I agree, Mitch.

  26. Anonymous
    April 16, 2011 at 8:41 am

    None of us knows whether we ourselves will at some time in our lives be diagnosed with a mental illness.

    We can protect ourselves from possible future stigma by changing our attitudes toward people who today are affected by mental illness.

    Let’s have more empathy and less judgment.

    Let’s be kind to people who have just discovered they are affected by mental illness but who have not yet received effective treatment to manage it.

    Let’s do what we can to assure Tom Abate that we wish him well as he seeks and finds healing. To the extent that public criticism placed pressure on him, let us take that pressure off him now.

  27. Landlord
    April 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Ditto 8:41 and Mitch.

  28. Owltotem
    April 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Dodged that bullet!

  29. Not A Native
    April 16, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Think anon 3:52 has well described a very common career scenario that professionals particularly face. The situation for Hank is even more complicated since he has a(probably very minor) ownership interest in the NCJ. So, in theory, he was a party to the decision to demote him. What else except conflicted feelings can he possibly have?

    I don’t see Judy making any public mea culpas or real amends to Tom or Hank. Too bad. This incident will simply ‘pass’ out of memory.

    Humans have much in common with other social animals. Like a wildebeest who notices lions have attacked one of them, is briefly agitated, and after sensing no immediate peril to itself moves on to the next patch of grass.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:02 am

    KARMA & LOCAL BACKSTABBING = An intoxicating social event. A bit different as compared to Humboldt Cremery, but still localized karmas and backstabbings suffice to say.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  31. Anonymous
    April 16, 2011 at 10:38 am

    sounds like the wrong person was committed… can’t you institutionalize business owners for destroying their institutions?…

  32. RAMDX
    April 16, 2011 at 10:50 am

    “But I dearly wish this thread would just die a peaceful and immediate death.”

    Wouldn’t that just be giving in to the stigma of mental illness? We should be willing and able to discuss this just as we discussed the interview on the radio. Didn’t Mitch write wordy posts about that?

  33. Anonymous
    April 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

    i’ve noticed mitch chooses odd times to be noble…

  34. RAMDX
    April 16, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Here’s what Hank posted at Lost Coast Outpost:

    “Former North Coast Journal Editor Tom Abate – a person with whom, in the spirit of full disclosure, your correspondent has a bit of history – was checked into Sempervirens last night after, among other things, allegedly threatening people with violence, then walking away down the middle of an Arcata road while disrobing, the Arcata Eye reports. It is a very sad story, and we at the Lost Coast Outpost wish Mr. Abate the best.

    If we can keep solely to the public matter that yoked our names together for a spell, let me say: That wasn’t his fault.”

  35. wurking stiff
    April 16, 2011 at 11:57 am

    frustration, anger, sadness, weariness, desperation in a generationally bad economy (and permanent contraction)– all the same human reactions and emotions millions & millions of people across the globe, from Egypt to Arcata, are experiencing.

    That Mr. Sims and Mr. Abate had to experience these circumstances in the glare of public scrutiny undoubtedly made their trials that much more of a treat.

    Mr. Sims has not been a “whiner” nor did he display any particular “bad attitude” during any of this as the self-aggrandizing nom de plume “noble” seems to imply.

    Frankly, if Mr. Sims failed to express some reasonable level of upset in his reporting of this relevant (and personal) story of regional media, it would lack basic authenticity. But in this case Mr. Sims managed to keep it real but not emphasize that part of the story.

    Good luck to Mr Abate in this difficult time in his personal story!

  36. RAMDX
    April 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Here are some details from the Arcata Eye:

    “A Fiesta Grill employee who asked not to be identified said two panicked men had entered the restaurant through a door in the the restaurant’s rear area, where the bar is located. Shutting the door behind them, one exclaimed, “Call 911! He wants to hurt me and kill me!”

    When the employee went to look for the alleged attacker, the two warned him, “Don’t open the door!” After calling police, the employee said he then observed the individual wandering off northbound on Janes Road carrying something in his hand, which he speculated may have been a screwdriver.

    “He looked like he was drunk and probably on drugs,” the employee said, describing the alleged attacker’s demeanor.

    The APD dispatcher log from last night describes a “subject in the middle of the road, taking off his clothes.”

    The log states that the individual was staying at an unidentified location. There, the log says, “he picked up transients and gave them clothes and let them stay in his room.”

    Chapman said that an officer discovered the subject flagging down vehicles at Janes and Heindon roads. The man was relocated out of traffic at the side of the road, where, Chapman said, he continued to “exhibit bizarre behavior.”

    The subject was then taken into custody as 5150 – a possible danger to himself or others – and conveyed to Sempervirens.”

  37. Random Guy
    April 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    “Abate’s conspirator in the secret take-over of the NCJ, perhaps.”

    yeah well, what’s crazier, the actual conspiracy going down in local politics…or that it can be tied to local media so easily? If society were dominated by ghetto black culture, everybody would just point and laugh at htis guy while he ran around naked for a couple days, then help pick him up by the bootstraps when he came to his senses. Instead we got parking lots full of people checking their hair before going into costco…humoring the debate that the planet is going extinct all by itself. Steve Martin’s said the reason he does comedy is to surpress his anger toward society. If george carlin were an anonymous blogger, everybody’d hate his guts.

  38. April 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    tra Apr.15 7:52 andAp. 16 8:41 am give a little different picture,
    I know because have been there–I know because the proper medcation

    got me out of the institution and gave me back my life

    My Tom be as fortunate as I was

  39. lies
    April 17, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Unless an offical from APD actually comes forward and states on the record that this was Abate, I’m going to chalk this up to a total smear campaign, the likes of which are extremely common among the failures in the local news scene.
    Sims is doing nothing at his new gig. There are thousands of other bloggers just like him, even locally, who think that echoing the original sources for news makes him somehow a reporter. He is using everyone else’s hard work while he sits back and gets fatter. Ask how much he makes at the new gig. It’s a LOT.
    Abate left the area, Sims is lazier even than the T-S and Heraldo and his ilk are total scum. They all know this but can’t get over the fact that they suck too bad to ever get a real job at a real news organization, which is why they won’t go away.
    No one would ever pay for their crapola, which is why they blog. And even then people don’t want it…

  40. April 17, 2011 at 7:00 am

    @wurking stiff

    Allow me to spell it out a little more clearly. I don’t think Sims is a whiner or has a bad attitude. But that is the label that anybody else in his shoes without his notoriety would be stuck with for speaking up in the same situation. That’s why I put certain words in quotes which, admittedly, is still wide open for misinterpretation.

    I do think Sims can be an intellectual bully – an intelligent, articulate, well-written bully but a bully nonetheless, but that’s another matter.

    Smart people tend to create value wherever they go and I’m sure it will be no different for Sims.. and Abate too, eventually.

  41. wurking stiff
    April 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I see the misunderstanding redferred to in paragraph one of your last and believe I understand your point.

    As to paragraph two and three– whatever. What you state there is true sometimes and sometimes not. Value, bullying, etc., often it all depends on circumstances and which side of the argument a person stands. As you say, there are tendencies yet never any guarantee.

  42. SmokeMonster
    April 17, 2011 at 11:13 am

    If Mr.Abate was bahaving like this its only fitting that Hank lost his job to him. Sims and Mielke are the biggest losers involved in the Humboldt media scene by far.

    Mitch- and the test wishing to kill this thread,its laughable that you make this request if it were RA,Virginia,etc.. this happened to the thread would be over 300 posts by now

    Random guy- are you African American? If not I believe you should probably STFU about their culture and what “they” would do in this situation.

  43. Anonymous
    April 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Abate just proved what we conservatives suspected all along. You have to be crazy to be a liberal.

  44. Random Guy
    April 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    smoketroll…I said black people, not african americans. I’ll keep in mind that your comments are merely educating us as to What White People Do…you should make your ethnicity clear, though. You talking for italian americans? german americans? dutch americans? british americans? irish americans? swedish americans? swiss americans born in mongolia? I’m just not ethnocentric like that, ya PC dipshit.

  45. The Monitor
    April 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Interesting comment by “not a native.” He realized that the man was cracking under the pressure and stopped criticizing him. The hot and heavy “debaters” here are pretty crude at times, with little feeling for what the outcome of their words might be. A little compassion goes a long way. Not all of us have a thick skin.

  46. McKinleyville Kris
    April 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

    As one who works closely with those with psychiatric diagnoses I can say that empathy would be nice, but what they really need is dental care. Mentally challenged or not, people are judged far more fairly if they have their front teeth.

  47. Anonymous
    April 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Jean Doran, thank you for sharing your story with us. I appreciate the journey you have made. We can ignore cheap shots from thoughtless people who use jokes to keep their fears at bay. In time, they too, will find peace.

  48. Anonymous
    April 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    no mention at the Journal yet?

  49. WhackyHumboldt
    December 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

    If you can’t make money attacking the enemy; all you have to do is sell out & join them….writing for Forbes is like having a rubber stamped membership card to the Wall Street Insiders Cheer Leading Club…. http://blogs.forbes.com/tomabate/

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