Home > Eureka California, Jefferson School > Jefferson School heads toward escrow

Jefferson School heads toward escrow

[From the Westside Community Improvement Association.]

Friends, Neighbors and Community Partners,

Wednesday night, the Eureka City School Board made a decision likely to change the future of Eureka forever!

The School Board accepted the Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA) for the Jefferson School Site.

This is a huge step toward restoring common ground on the Westside. WCIA’s vision is to engage the community in planning, developing, and growing this project to realize the greatest benefit to the people. And we are going to need everybody’s help!

The Jefferson project is not supported by standard municipal funding; the majority of the money used to purchase, renovate and manage the diverse components envisioned will come from the community. We will be engaging in everything from rummage sales, benefit concerts to asking for annual pledges of support. This project is the first of its kind in Eureka and judging from the support we have already received we are confident the community believes in Jefferson as much as we do.

To all of you who have already sent your pledges and made it possible for us to get this far, THANK YOU! To everyone interested in offering support we are now a Federally recognized 501C(3) and are entering escrow as soon as tomorrow (June 3). Donations, ideas, and well wishes can be sent to

P.O. Box 5315
Eureka, CA 95502

or to

Westside Community Improvement Association Fund
c/o Humboldt Area Foundation
373 Indianola Road
Bayside, CA 95524

Jefferson is fostering the spirit of community and setting the example for how we can build our future together.

Richard Evans and Heidi Benzonelli (WCIA VP and P)

  1. 69er
    June 3, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Congratulations to Heidi and the Westside Community Improvement Association for all their hard work and determination to make a dream come true.

  2. skippy
    June 3, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Jefferson is fostering the spirit of community and setting the example for how we can build our future together.

    Well done and well said. Congratulations, best of wishes, and looking forward to your future and successful endeavors.

    June 3, 2011 at 8:04 am


    the motto is very familiar.

    Hopefully, the fundraising efforts and successes will be educational for all the tax schemeing types who like school measure bonds and such because they don’t want to pay twice as much, so they force other people to “taser prod” money outta of folks who don’t want the service nor the falsified improvement lists…….

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  4. Mitch
    June 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Ditto, ditto, and ditto. Congratulations and best wishes.

  5. Anonymous
    June 3, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Ya JL. All of those scheming types who believe public education made this country successful and an enriching environment for our kids. But go back to your hole and count your pennies – soon you may get your wish and education will only be for the wealthy.
    And without education we will won’t learn that low tax rates have never correlated with high GDP or quality of life (as expressed through the indicators of health, productivity, longevity).

  6. Down the Road
    June 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

    While not part of this group, I am part of the West Side. I would still vote for an assessment on my property to help pay for this project. What saddens me, disgusts me, appalls me is the dog and pony show that lead the neighborhood to have to use personal money, when taxes are already in place for this closed school. The school bond election was a scam. The city during an election period wooed these people and voted the project in to receive redevelopment funds. All a feel good maneuver by the good old boys to get their group elected. They then did a one night stand on the neighborhood.
    Brady the newly elected council person for the West Side turned on the project like a witch out of hell. What a sorry representative she is for this hard working economically stressed neighborhood. Kudos for this new group, the stuff of heroes. They have put their reputations on the line to save a school for the poorer children. What the hell has
    this city done for the West Side except intentionally
    blight it.

  7. Anonymous
    June 3, 2011 at 9:56 am

    How much of the money they bid for the property do they not have?

  8. Mitch
    June 3, 2011 at 10:04 am


    How much of your mortgage did you not have?

  9. June 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

    How much of the money they bid for the property do they not have?

    I’ve been actually wondering the same thing since they won the bid on this. Did they just make a bid hoping they’d get the majority of the funding later on? They could end up in trouble if that’s what they did.

    I’m not wishing ill on anyone. It just seemed strange to me they seemed to be struggling for the money and then, seemingly out of the blue, just bid on the property.

    Maybe I missed something?

  10. skippy
    June 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Don’t underestimate this group’s planned tenacity, efforts, and community support making it happen from what we’ve seen. Will it be successful? Time will tell; naysayers will abound. Mitch brought up a good similarity @10:04: it’s like anyone’s mortgage– or business venture.

  11. High Finance
    June 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I find it hard to believe that any bank or individual would loan them the money to finish the purchase.

    And they do NOT have any money available for the $2.4 million dollars they need to rehab the building into anything useful.

  12. tra
    June 3, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I find it hard to believe that any bank or individual would loan them the money to finish the purchase.

    Well, that’s your prediction. We shall see.

    And they do NOT have any money available for the $2.4 million dollars they need to rehab the building into anything useful.

    They may not have that money yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to raise that money.

    I’m curious, HiFi — do you want to see them fail, or would you be pleasantly surprised if they succeed?

    For my part, I’m cautiously optimistic about the prospects for this project, and I wish them the best.

  13. June 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

    The $2.4 million estimate isWAY too high. It was done to put the wosrt possible face on the project when the city was trying to bow out.

    Great work Heidi and WCIA!!!!! Our money is in the mail!

  14. Anonymous
    June 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Brady, and the others, undermined Eureka’s responsibility to this neighborhood’s children while voting to shamelessly subsidize the wealthiest club in town.

    Eureka’s neighborhoods can fend for themselves, their children can ride their bikes to other schools on un-swept glass-littered streets while the Brady Bunch’s political donors at Eureka’s Chamber of Commerce receive millions of public dollars over the years.

    A schools benefit to a community is unquestioned while any public benefit from the Chamber is shrouded in ideological blind-faith, their financial records are private.

    From Wall Street to Main Street, transferring public wealth to the wealthiest and promising the benefits will trickle-down, is the kind of “leadership” that wins celebration and political funding from the Reich-Wing,

  15. June 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Oops. I think the word is “worst”, not wosrt. Lisdexia ruels.

  16. Ed
    June 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

    If it’s true that there’s a number of qualified builders and construction workers who’ve volunteered to do maintenance and improvements on the buildings, you can cut the rehab cost by two thirds.

  17. Migh Finances
    June 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Unfortunately, I’ll be too busy with the Brady Bunch counting public money at the Chamber to lift all but my middle finger to help get the Jefferson School project going.

    (After all my lying zingers posted on Heraldo’s May 26, 2011 story, I thought a little honesty might redeem some credibility).

  18. Smart 5th Grader
    June 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    High Finance says:
    June 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

    “I find it hard to believe that any bank or individual would loan them the money to finish the purchase.”

    Jeez Mr. Hi Fi. Banks do all kinds of irrational transactions. If they lose money, the taxpayers bail them out. Have you not been reading the news?


    (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year…

  19. tra
    June 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    In this case the bank (or other lender) would have real collateral, in the form of the Jefferson School property. I don’t see any good reason why a bank wouldn’t lend them the money.

  20. High Finance
    June 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Tra, my answer to your question isn’t simple.

    If they succeed and something useful & viable is put in the building & property, I would be “pleasantly surprised”.

    If they succeed and the property is barely fixed up and a bunch of barely functioning non profit or non paying “artists” or other type groups go in, I would be very UNpleasantly surprised.

    At this point I fully expect them to complete the sale and then my biggest fear is realized. That the property sits deteriorating much like the Downtowner is with some bare bone repairs. Some of those groups I mentioned comes in, the property becomes an eyesore and another blight on the neighborhood and our town.

    Then a few years down the road somebody forecloses on the property.

    I am not a pessimist. I am a realist. Far too many people in that group and here are pollyannish dreamers with no real world experience in developing property.

  21. High Finance
    June 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Also Tra, your post at 12.22pm shows you don’t understand why & how banks loan money.

    Yes, they want collateral and the Jefferson property MIGHT be enough collateral for the initial purchase. But banks do NOT want to foreclose on property. It is expensive, time consuming and they lose money on most foreclosures. They want to make money by lending it.

    The banks want to see a realistic business plan that shows the bank the borrowers will make enough money on the deal to make the loan payments. The borrowers cannot make enough money on renting to a charter school or “community kitchen” types to ever hope to keep up with the payments.

    Especially now, with the banking crisis and the Federal Reserve cracking down on non performing loans, there isn’t a bank in the world that would loan money to this group on that project.

  22. Ed
    June 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Yeah, what they need is a proven economic winner, like tenements and strip malls.

  23. Smart 5th Grader
    June 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    And a Home Depot when they are closing around the nation.

    High Finance says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    “Also Tra, your post at 12.22pm shows you don’t understand why & how banks loan money.”

    So smug, so smart. I am happy you and Wall Street “understand why & how banks loan money.” What a tool!

  24. Anonymous
    June 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    ‘If they succeed and the property is barely fixed up and a bunch of barely functioning non profit or non paying “artists” or other type groups go in,…’

    You see Hi Fi will only be happy if there is a big plastic orange sign (like Home Depot) and invasive plants in cement planters, inviting non-artists (or other type groups) in their Humvees and polyester suits to purchase various plastic items.
    To invoke the Downtowner is just idiotic. It’s like suggesting the Marina Center will be as big an eyesore as the current KMart facility. Oh wait, it probably will be a few years after completion. Notice how the glorious BayShore Mall looks like a piece of shit these days…

  25. Living In Eureka
    June 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    HiFi, Isn’t it funny that NO ONE outside this neighborhood has said a word about the condition of Jefferson for the last 6 years it has sat empty. That is because the neighborhood has tried to maintain the property.

    This group has had support from all across the country – all the way to Washington DC. The Jefferson Project has grown much bigger than the West Side. It has grown much bigger than Eureka, or Humboldt. There have been many disappointments & setbacks for this group. But they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off & just kept moving forward.

    This is what the American Spirit is all about. YOU may not have given them the loan & YOU may have given up & walked away, but they didn’t!

    Now as far as what & who goes into Jefferson…That will be up to what the community wants. Oh and by the the way HiFi, when the time comes, I don’t think any of them will be turning to you nor will they be asking for your approval!

    June 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Fi says, “Also Tra, your post at 12.22pm shows you don’t understand why & how banks loan money.”

    Response: There is 1) the “technical” structure and methodologies (WHY) as compared to the, behind closed-doors effect, when 2) there is the “circumvention” of that technical structure and methodologies (HOW).

    It is kinda like teaching college students this stuff or that stuff to entrain their mindsets prior to graduation and degree; then, when they get into the real world, bit by bit, piece by piece, college degrees are less applicable because so many of the students were partly “set-up” with an inaccurate assessment of their futures…….. by those whose mission statements and goals are to take student body money by exchanging them a future worth of opportunities.

    When the consumer don’t want to borrow BANK’S MONEY, what scheme will be constructed by banks for maximizing consumer ingested debt, all just to create ill-gotten “CASH FLOW” that is more and more converted to cleansed profits for the financial sector and its affiliated liasons?


    June 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Then, when by force, a consumer must seek financial aides, what “banking sector” twist is invented (how)?

    If laws were equally protecting the “individual” when they loan money, but are re-negged upon (as compared to industry protections through the structure of law), then banks would be a pittance of what they are today. Call banks for what they really are – unnecessary, but allowed to do business because of greed for the powerful few at the top to near top of the sociopolitical food-chain and/or pyramidal spectrum.


  28. tra
    June 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm


    I realize that banks don’t want to loan money if they think they are likely to have to foreclose on the property in the future. Presumably they also wouldn’t want to loan money to purchase a property if they are convinced that after the purchase it would remain vacant, unprofitable, and blighted, all of which would reduce it’s potential value in the event that a default and foreclosure did occur somewhere down the line.

    So, IF, after looking at the group’s business plan, and doing their own analysis, a bank DOES decide thet it’s safe to lend them the purchase money, will you be revising your prediction that the project will be a failure? Or will you just assume that your own analysis is better than that produced by the bank?

  29. Migh Finances
    June 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I will be pleasantly surprised if you are successful, despite my countless posts berating this project since conception, and despite similar successes elsewhere.

    I am a RUMPIE. (Republican upwardly mobile professional).

    We kick it when it’s down and kiss it when it’s up.

  30. tra
    June 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm


    To put it bluntly, I get the impression that not only are you concerned that the project might fail, but you are actually hoping that the project will fail.

    Am I wrong about that?

  31. Anonymous
    June 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    So, no one reading this thread knows how much money the group has available to put toward the purchase today. How much money is the group trying to raise? It’s a fair question.

  32. tra
    June 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Anon 2:22,

    As WCIA is now a 501c(3) nonprofit group, their financial records are (or will soon become) available.

    Som how about this –

    Direct your question to WCIA and/or the Humboldt Area Foundation, then let us know what they say.

  33. taxed
    June 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    This is the second time the west side has gotten what they want. The first time was when they got Larry Glass as their council member, he actually listened to their concerns. The Chamber of Commerce purposely hides the Wealth of historic houses in this neighborhood. If they told tourists about the affordable historic architecture their good ole boy buddies would not be able to make $ as slum lords when the tourists decided to buy a historic home. We have been treated like shit for so long. A victory on the west side – it’s about time.

  34. Goldie
    June 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    TRA is right. It is time to start asking questions. The question I am going to ask the WCIA is this: How can I help?

  35. Living In Eureka
    June 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    If we had a True Ward System here in Eureka, Larry Glass would STILL be our City Councilman. Now…we have Brady. Which really means, we have Nothing! I wish there was a IQ test given out BEFORE you could run for office but that’s not going to happen either. 3years, 5 months…..and counting!

  36. taxed
    June 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Yes, the Loss of Larry Glass as our council person is a good case in favor of the True Ward System. I didn’t know how I felt about the system until now. We are on our own again on the West Side.

  37. What Now
    June 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Smart 5th Grader says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm
    And a Home Depot when they are closing around the nation.

    High Finance says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    “Also Tra, your post at 12.22pm shows you don’t understand why & how banks loan money.”

    So smug, so smart. I am happy you and Wall Street “understand why & how banks loan money.” What a tool!
    Actually, Highly Fried is more like a “stool” as in “diseased stool sample”.
    Kudos to the network attempting to better their community without relying on vampiric middle-agent real estate leeches like him.

  38. June 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm



  39. High Finance
    June 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

    If all of you were truely secure in the wisdom and feasibility of this project there wouldn’t be so many attacking posts against anybody who raises questions.

    2.22pm seems to be the only one who isn’t a lemming and actually wants some information.

  40. Anonymous
    June 4, 2011 at 9:43 am

    And if Hi Fi was secure in his predictions concerning the fate of this property (most have now proven wrong), he wouldn’t be invoking scare tactics of comparing the outcome to the DownTowner.

    Oh, and it seems pretty quiet over at the Marina Center – did “Marina Center Now” really mean next year, and the next year, and the next? My money is on Jefferson School (and even the DownTowner) being revitalized before a single plastic widget is sold at the Marina Center.

  41. Not A Native
    June 4, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Anyone inquiring how much financing is needed for the Marina Center and where it might come from?

    The uber-capitalists here only question the economic sources of private projects when the goals of those projects don’t agree with their greed model of human behavior. Nothing frightens them more than the spectre of people freely contributing their money unselfishly. Especially when its the ‘masses’ who are not supposed to have the capability to organize together for their common interest. That just ‘doesn’t compute’. Hi Fi, time for a new computer, eh?

  42. High Finance
    June 4, 2011 at 11:36 am

    How did you get through college without asking questions NAN ? I expect most here to just follow their heart and not their brains but I expected better of you.

  43. Down the Road
    June 4, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Hi-Fi: You are speculating and you are doing it without
    any foundation. I read an assumption into your thoughts
    that everyone involved in the Jefferson group is
    inept. Not True. They are not part of the inbred population that has control of this area. Please
    notice who sits on city council.

  44. Not A Native
    June 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

    To you Hi Fi ‘following your brain’ means acting as greedily and individually self interested as possible.

    You simply can’t understand, or aren’t capable to acccept the evidence that the supporters of the Jerrerson School acquisition are in fact following their brains, and it is you who is following an ideological ‘heart’.

  45. Rufus Leaking
    June 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Y’all leave HiFi alone! Why, without him lookin’ after those hard workin bosses by tellen em how to wright off taxes so’s to keep the bottom line up, ther’d be no jobs atall! Then we’d all be livin in squalor holler! Why, that dough would be wasted on edumacation “n the sick. Then where”d we be?

    June 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Ed says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm
    Yeah, what they need is a proven economic winner, like tenements and strip malls

    Response: Good point…..Bayshore Mall, Halvorsen Property on waterfront, urbanized “project housing” (apartments), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the FHA, etc…. banks are hard to understand in that they are willing to devour like cannibals while eating their own b-s. Propped-up values up for this when it benefits us or hurts them….but lower ’em for that if this or that….ah, there we go, now it fits just right….how is that loan recipients financial rash doing now?


  47. Westsider
    June 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm


    You are a real piece of work! Have you asked Arkley where his financing is coming from? The Marina Center coming soon???? Don’t hold your breath!

    This group has stayed with this project for years now. They didn’t give up when everyone (to include the city) walked away & shut the door in their faces. They have paid for lawyers, inspectors, studies and fees all out of their own pockets. No one in this group will EVER make a dime on this project.

    The children of this west side neighborhood want & need a place to play. This group wants to save & restore this beautiful old building. I think Eureka is very lucky to have people like this living in our community! They’re my Heroes!

    Maybe with so much time on your hands HiFi, you can help out with the DownTowner. It appears that they might really need your advise & help!

  48. Bunny
    June 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Jefferson School is a great project for the people and by the people. This will give a wonderful opportunity for youth, citizens of all Eureka and beyond! This is everyones opportunity to “Make a Difference”. Young,Old,Professional,Blue Collar,Fathers,Mothers,Teens, and Children can give back to our community in active participation. Let’s sow that seed and cherish on her future fruits!

  49. owltotem
    June 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Anon 9:43, the MC will break ground with a big piece of equipment and media coverage shortly before the 2014 election,MB and VB will be there to cut a ribbon on the news. They might even stir up some bs before the 2012, we are sheep, we prove it over and over….lemmings.

  50. Anonymous
    June 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Funny, isn’t that whole lemming over a cliff thing a myth created by Disney? Maybe some things you “know” and take for granted need to be reviewed and updated. Including hifi in on this one too.

  51. owltotem
    June 5, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I never saw it from Disney, but i remember it from a National Geographic nature movie in elementary school, it seems like they were all going off an icecliff. I remember wondering if the cameraman wasnt scaring them off the cliff into the water.

  52. tra
    June 5, 2011 at 1:04 am

    From wikipedia:

    Lemmings became the subject of a popular misconception that they commit mass suicide when they migrate. Actually, it is not a mass suicide but the result of their migratory behavior. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great. Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many may drown if the body of water is so wide as to stretch their physical capability to the limit. This fact combined with the unexplained fluctuations in the population of Norwegian lemmings gave rise to the misconception.[8]

    The misconception of lemming “mass suicide” is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors. In 1955, Disney Studio illustrator Carl Barks drew an Uncle Scrooge adventure comic with the title “The Lemming with the Locket”. This comic, which was inspired by a 1954 American Mercury article, showed massive numbers of lemmings jumping over Norwegian cliffs.[9][10] Even more influential was the 1958 Disney film White Wilderness, which won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature, in which staged footage was shown with lemmings jumping into certain death after faked scenes of mass migration.[11] A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, Cruel Camera, found that the lemmings used for White Wilderness were flown from Hudson Bay to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where they did not jump off the cliff, but were in fact launched off the cliff using a turntable.[12]


    June 5, 2011 at 5:55 am


    what animal species jumps of cliffs into the ocean – mass suicide. Saw it once as a youngster on Wild Kingdom or something like that. It was a huge pack of rabbits or rats or some other vermin….so long ago. It was (still is???) a cyclical event.


  54. tra
    June 5, 2011 at 10:48 am


    You’re referring to the lemming suicide myth. It was faked by Disney.


  55. June 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

    If you want to talk about local economic development, community benefit and public donations, here is a great example. It claims to generate $1,117,830.00 for Humboldt County annually, including creation of 25.27 new jobs.

    What the hell happened?


  56. Heidi
    June 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    looks like there is no need for a street sweeper around Jefferson.

  57. Anonymous
    June 6, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Wait, the city wouldn’t give $200k to the Jefferson project because of the obligation of maybe $40k a year to maintain, and now they believe that a 2.3 million dollar zoo addition, only cost $8k a year?

  58. Mitch
    June 6, 2011 at 8:03 am

    tra 1:04 am 10:48 am,

    The things one can discover here…

    I suppose next someone’s going to find out that “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” was faked, too.

  59. tra
    June 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Well “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” was clearly presented as a work of fiction, whereas the Disney piece on lemmings was presented as a documentary.

  60. Mitch
    June 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Humor, tra, humor.

  61. tra
    June 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    The thing about humor is that the humourous intent doesn’t always come across in text as it might in actual speech.

    But it’s not like I was taking offense to your 8:03 comment. I wasn’t. Again, sometimes hard to divine intent in these cases.

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