Home > David Tyson, Eureka California, Garr Nielsen, Matthew Owen > Politics and the police chief firing

Politics and the police chief firing

The campaign manager who ushered several current elected officials into office in Eureka was busy taking stock of the opposition at Monday’s meeting in support of fired Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen.

Matthew Owen, husband of Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass and hero to Eureka Republicans for his political wins didn’t speak at the meeting but took copious notes.

Yet somehow, the few who support the firing complain that Nielsen supporters — rather than Owen’s flock — are politicizing the unpopular move by City Manager Dave Tyson.

Tyson tipped his hand when he sacked the Chief last Friday. Despite ousting Nielsen without cause, Tyson got all dramatic about it and gave Garr “about 5 minutes” to gather a few items, and turn in his uniform before escorting him out of the building.

Councilwoman Linda Atkins, a Nielsen supporter, said Tyson’s big move may have been geared to “demoralize” the community.

She said funds from Measure O, which raised the sales tax in Eureka to pay for police and fire services, will now be used in part to pay the severance package for breaking Garr’s contract without cause. Measure O had support from both sides of the political isle, including Atkins and former Councilman Larry Glass.

Tyson appears to have 4\5 support from the city council in every little thing he does.  He is a friend and supporter of the small contingent of bad actors in the EPD who resented the positive changes brought by Nielsen. Tyson’s role in that despicable chapter in Eureka’s history is preserved in the deposition transcripts that came out of the Tawnie Hansen case, in which a former city employee sued the city and Tyson for harassment and hostile workplace environment.

  1. anon
    June 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Matthew looks like he’s been eating really well.

  2. High Finance
    June 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    You’re so predictable Heraldo.

  3. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Angry William Shatner.

  4. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    That’s a fact HiFi, you always know HH will always twist the truth or just make something up and call it the truth.

    You (HH) are so sleazy. But predictable.

  5. Curley
    June 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    How is he politicising anything when he didn’t even speak? Sounds like Larry Glass politicised it by singling him out to hassle him in front of everyone else.

  6. Oldphart
    June 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    How many people actually are angry and how may don’t really care? A lot of sound and fury from not very many folks. Just really loud folks. And don’t forget angry.

  7. Down the Road
    June 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    The deposition that D. Tyson gave during the Hanson debacle
    may end up costing the city big dollars. There may be a huge
    flaw in the At-Will contract with Garr Neilsen. Read the
    At-Will doctrine. When you get through. Read the Peter Principle.

  8. Mayor of Henderson Center
    June 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    “Tyson appears to have 4\5 support from the city council in every little thing he does”

    That’s right Larryaldo, elections have consequences.

  9. June 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I see. So the election wasn’t really about “Marina Center Now,” it was about “a rubber stamp for Tyson Now.”

  10. June 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    E-Town is so damn sleazy.

  11. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    When will we see the ground-breaking ceremony for Home Depot, so Larry’s minions will pivot to a new whining-point?

  12. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Where is that shiny new Home Depot at already? What’s the hold-up 4:16?

  13. June 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Don’t you kids ever get along?

  14. Waren Zevon
    June 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    our home town karl rove. matt is a legend is his own mind.

  15. Not A Native
    June 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    The politics of Eureka elude me. Sometimes, I think I understand Iraq and Afghanistan better than the local scene. Clearly there was some kind of power shift signalled by Kerrigan and then a reaction to that shift.

    As a guess, I think ‘progressives’ created an expectation that they uniquely understood the ‘new’ economy and could bring economic prosperity in a short time. But instead, the local economy continued worsening(in concert with larger trends). The existing power structure capitalized on that by smearing “progressives'” credibility and motives, in order to demoralize their tentative supporters. And some progressives are ‘chips off the old guard’, with inflated egos, believing they deserve respect and loyalty regardless of the efficacy of their projects. In summation, fickle electorate and unlucky timing.

  16. Joel Mielke
    June 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “Matthew looks like he’s been eating really well.”

    That’s very clever. Can you also tie your own shoes now, Anon?

  17. Brady and Newman
    June 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    What?

  18. Brady and Newman
    June 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Matthew Rocks! He arranged for Rob to buy our seats for us.

  19. Anon
    June 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    This is starting to look like a bunch of kids fighting in a sandbox.

    We don’t know why the firing and probably never will as it is a “personnel issue” that won’t be discussed no matter how many signatures are on a petition. That would be a big time law suit if it was discussed and that is why he was fired for “no cause” because if it was “for cause” he could file a law suit. The attorneys are not dumb that counsel the City on what and how do do things.

    Isn’t there another law suit against/or with Garr in it that has not been dismissed? I just don’t keep up with all the various lawsuits that have been filed in Eureka but someone may have been doing that and probably should have been doing that so any answer?

  20. anon
    June 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Amusing that Matthew was there furiously taking notes. He obviously drew the short straw, fitting for a man of stature.

    HIFi, what do YOU think he was doing there, since we know it wasn’t to support the chief or call out Tyson?

  21. anon
    June 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    that should read, of HIS stature.

  22. anon
    June 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Another question you should be asking Tyson: How did both of his kids get low interest home loans through the city redevelopment funds, when the truly needy in the community were denied. That civil grand jury complaint process is looking better and better.

  23. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    The loans are supposed to be given for houses in the Redevelopment zone as I understand it. That would mean that his kids should be living in the historic sections of town, where Garr did his best in cleaning up the area. Do you know where they live? Are they shuffling redevelopment funds to a residence in Cutten or East Eureka?

  24. Joel Mielke
    June 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    “Amusing that Matthew was there furiously taking notes.”

    “Amusing”? I’d like to see if Anon would have the guts to attend a public meeting where he’s sure to be reviled by most of the attendees. He’d probably be too busy wetting his pants to take notes. I’d bet money on that.

  25. Al-anon
    June 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I think his pants were damp after Glass called him out. Him being there just means he likes running with the big dogs more than he cares about being shamed.

  26. Al-anon
    June 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Jioel, if he knew he was gonna be reviled, then the logical assumption is that he wasn’t there to support the chief. So what do YOU think he was there for??

  27. The Monitor
    June 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Tyson and crew are very sure their poop doesn’t stink but in truth we have a strong, fresh onshore breeze to carry the smell away. What we need are some hot windless days to let the outhouse smell linger in town. The smelly cloud will center over city hall making it easy for the most casual observers to determine the source. Only an incurably biased mind will continue to ignore reality. Lets hear it HIFI. You are so good at “teaching” us the true way. I know I can’t “truly see” because the smell is making me tear up so. A great educator is what we need. So I am sure HIFI and friends will clear the air for us who are wondering in the wilderness.

  28. June 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    In all fairness,he is married to a Supervisor who represents the district,and may have went on her behalf.He had the same right to be there as anyone regardless,and for whatever reason he wanted.

  29. Al-anon
    June 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I don’t care where his kids live. That they BOTH got loans smacks of something not quite aboveboard. It should at least set off a few alarm bells somewhere. If it doesn’t then people deserve the wretched mess the budget is in and the shell games he continues to play with their money..

  30. June 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I am speaking of Matt Owen in the above comment.

  31. June 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Before the meeting started Mathew said he was “going to set the record straight.” I had to leave before that happened…

  32. June 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Oh, for crying out loud! Now public meetings aren’t public meetings. Firing someone is “geared to demoralize the community.” Are you kidding?

  33. Al-anon
    June 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    And we aren’t saying Owen didn’t have a right to be there. We are just commenting on the extreme oddness of it, given where his alliances lie.

  34. Joel Mielke
    June 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    “I think his pants were damp after Glass called him out.”

    You obviously don’t know Matthew Owen. And it’s none of anybodies business why he was there if he didn’t disrupt the meeting.

  35. Joel Mielke
    June 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    “Are you kidding?”

    How many times have we all wanted to ask Rose that?

  36. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I am curious as to where Tysons kids live. Redevelopment area or not? Is there rerouting of redevelopment money out of the redevelopment zones?

  37. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    This does matter if there is Redevelopment money being used outside the Redevelopment zones. Shell game indeed.

  38. The Straight Scoop
    June 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    anon at 8:49, the truly needy don’t often qualify for a loan, especially these days. A friend with a couple million in various accounts at a local bank wanted to borrow $250,000 to buy a building, and could use the building as well as his cash in the bank as collateral. Guess what? The bank still made him jump through all kinds of hoops to get the loan. They wanted to make sure he didn’t have all sorts of debts the bank wasn’t aware of.

  39. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    This is important if there is Redevelopment money being used outside the Redevelopment zones.

  40. Cheers
    June 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Owen’s attendance is as much about intimidation as it is info-gathering. Otherwise the blood wouldn’t have rushed out of his face when Glass called him out, a site I won’t soon forget. It’s the kind of look that inspires police to search vehicles.

    This is a small town, and our opponent’s evening martinis and the “can do no wrong” attitude such narcotics instill is painfully relevant.

    It was also perfectly legal for Owen to attend a progressive democrat meeting claiming he was a “democrat” to everyone’s amusement.

    Same intentions, I assure you.

  41. What Now
    June 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    ***********************************************************************************
    And as alayys,you’re predictably f*cked up, HIghly Fried.
    Go crawl back in your bottle of booze.

  42. skippy
    June 29, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Eureka Councilmember Linda Atkins will speak her mind about the Garr Nielsen affair and City Manager Tyson with John Matthews today.

    It’s this morning at 9 a.m.,
    94.1 FM and online at KSLG.com here.

  43. June 29, 2011 at 1:32 am

    “Sometimes, I think I understand Iraq and Afghanistan better than the local scene. ”
    I hear that. I think it demonstrates the success of the national/global propagandists. They package up the complexities and subtleties of the Middle East in such a way that I have the illusion that I “understand” it. But I can’t really “understand” it from here.
    The “local scene” is right here in my face; yet the only understanding I’m coming to is that human nature is running rampant.

  44. High Finance
    June 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

    More hate speech from “What Now” who uses many multiple identities all of them nasty & mean spirited.

    More libel & slander from “Al-Anon” making spurious charges against Tyson with no facts or proof of any kind.

    Some (but not all) of you give the left a bad name which helps you to lose more elections with your hate & nastiness. I have to chuckle when you types ask after the election “Wha happen?”.

    Keep up the smears and insults. We are counting on you to help us get Linda Atkins out of office next.

  45. June 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

    You right-wing screwballs are a sad lot if you think your 4-1 majority isn’t enough to get what you want in Eureka.

  46. Joel Mielke
    June 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Sorry HiFi, but if you think that the left displays more “hate & nastiness” than the right, then you must be wearing Rose’s colored glasses.

  47. High Finance
    June 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Just listened to Linda Atkins on KSLG.

    Atkins to fellow council members and City Manager – “F YOU”.

    Unbelievably unprofessional. This lady is off her rocker.

  48. Al-anon
    June 29, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Well it’s true what she said. There are only 2 on the council elected by majority. 1 ran unpopposed, 1 was appointed, 1 did not have a majority. They are all doing what David tells em. Doesn’t surprise me that they don’t listen to citizens who come to meetings. Linda sounds like the only 1 with a brain.

  49. June 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Now, now, HiFi. When you put quotes around something you are implying that’s what she said.

    A bigger “F you” is what she described — how the council repeatedly ignores the people who speak at public comment in order to vote in their pre-determined way.

    Aren’t you the one crying about how you don’t know why the Chief was fired? And isn’t your buddy Dave Tyson who is the one refusing to come clean?

  50. Al-anon
    June 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

    People will move on since they always do, but I bet more are going to be paying attention to Tyson & his band of merry men. If they don’t they deserve what they get.

  51. High Finance
    June 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

    First, she neglected to mention Frank who slaughtered her fellow traveler LaValley for Mayor.

    Then she failed to state the reason that Lance ran unopposed is because he is very popular and nobody would have had a chance against him.

    And she and you fail to understand how a council or board acts. Tyson does not act unless he has a consensus of what the majority of the board wants. Tyson made sure he had the support of the majority before he fired Niesen. The council does not do what Tyson wants, Tyson does what they want. He may influence their decisions, but he does not make them.

  52. Al-anon
    June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am

    HiFi, it’s simple math, put 2 & 2 together if you can: Tyson > his buddies on the council (ie ex cops) > buddies at the PD (Murl, Suzie etc)

  53. Al-anon
    June 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

    HiFi you’re not listening, The council doing what Tyson wants is what Linda was frustrated about. Go the council meetings.

  54. High Finance
    June 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Heraldo, you know full well that personell issues cannot be made public. That rule has been in effect for many years and it was put into law to protect the employees.

    As far as “ignoring” the public will at meetings. A big THANK YOU is in order to the council for standing up to pressure by small special interest groups who pack council meetings at times. Just because they dominate that meeting does not mean they represent the will of a majority of Eurekans.

  55. June 29, 2011 at 9:46 am

    So did the city attorney lie when he said there was nothing to report out of closed session after the employee evaluation of Chief Nielsen?

    Tyson appears to have had his private meetings with his little duckies on the council, but they will have to own up to their support of this firing, which costs the city money and goes against popular sentiment.

  56. June 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Heraldo, you know full well that personell issues cannot be made public.

    Then why do you keep asking for the reason Garr was fired?

    You suggest Tyson is lying when he says Garr was fired without cause. I would agree with you, but for different reasons I’m sure

  57. High Finance
    June 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    “Nothing to report” is a legal term. It means that no votes were taken, it does not mean the issue was not discussed.

    The “private meeting” was the closed session. If you are making allegations that Tyson and the city council violated the Brown Act you should have some facts or proof first.

  58. June 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I’m not making that allegation. Tyson and the council will have to answer for this. Pulling this crap on a Friday a week and a half before a council meeting will not make it go away, no matter how much they click their heels together and wish for it.

  59. Al-anon
    June 29, 2011 at 9:55 am

    HiFi has already made his mind up about the firing, he is just trying to act like he is being more reasonable about it with his lets wait and hear why. You never will, as you know, and that should be cause to scrutinize Tyson’s actions

  60. Plain Jane
    June 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Don’t forget the both Brady and Newman said they would defer to Madsen on police department issues, Al-anon.

    HiFi, Frank doesn’t have a vote unless there is a tie. She was speaking of the city council members who actually vote on issues. Madsen’s popularity may or may not be the reason no one ran against him, but that isn’t an established fact.

    Linda Atkins made a great point in her interview that the council ignores the public comments at meetings and make their decisions about what the public wants based on the phone calls they receive. Not a very transparent way to run a city government. The majority of ex-law enforcement on the city council undoubtedly still has connections with the “old guard” who was trying to hound Nielsen out of town and they finally got their wish. I can’t imagine anyone from outside wanting the chief job after this despicable treatment of a chief who was held in such high regard by the public.

  61. anon
    June 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

    When the dust settles, I would not be surprised if there was a civil grand jury complaint on several issues brought up that show Tyson in a less than favorable light. There seem to be plenty of folks in and out of city hall who can attest to the man “exceeding the parameters” of his job.

    Yeah this is a warning,Dave. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    And Patty, you should probably establish a relationship with a very good marital therapist… or a divorce attorney.

  62. Plain Jane
    June 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

    We also can’t forget that Atkins was shocked that Nielsen was fired on Friday so it doesn’t compute that the city council took a closed session vote and ordered Tyson to fire Nielsen, as some have suggested. Nielsen’s contract required 4 council votes to fire him so when was this vote held? Did Tyson and the 4 pro-Tyson council members have an off-the-record meeting and decide to fire Nielsen?

  63. June 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Hiding behind some employee protection right to conduct business as usual is merely a lame excuse to do what everyone wants – Keep everything secret and unaccountable.

  64. Kubla
    June 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Does anyone have a link for the Atkin’s interview?

  65. anon
    June 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Tyson’s contract requires 4 council votes to fire him. The chief’s doesn’t. It’s just Tyson’s. But Tyson had to first know he had the council support, which obviously he knew ahead of time. That’s the way it was done in the old west, over a glass of whiskey and some good steak. Nielsen never knew it was coming because Tyson is as deceptive and disengenuous as they come.

  66. June 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

    The Atkins interview will be found here in mere moments.

  67. June 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Tyson’s current contract only requires three (3) votes to fire his sorry ass.

  68. anon
    June 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

    unfortunately you probably won’t get 3 votes from the sorry asses other than Linda on the council.

  69. Plain Jane
    June 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

    If I lived in the city limits I’d be working on 3 issues at once.

    1. A petition to fire Tyson.
    2. A recall of Madsen, Brady, Newman and Ciarabellini if they ignore the petition to fire Tyson.
    3. A referendum for a true ward voting system.

  70. High Finance
    June 29, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I believe you are mixed up again PJ.

    Nielsen’s contract does NOT require 4 council votes to fire him, Tyson’s first contract did.

    Nielsen is an “at will” employee and can be fired only by Tyson.

  71. Plain Jane
    June 29, 2011 at 10:53 am

    There may be some problems with that, HiFi. Atkins is seeking legal counsel regarding the contradictions between city code and the city charter because the only city dept. heads who aren’t “merit” employees are the city manager, city clerk and legal counsel. A “merit” employee is not an “at will” employee, obviously, so if Nielsen was a “merit” employee, he can’t be fired without cause by anyone.

  72. Joel Mielke
    June 29, 2011 at 11:41 am

    “Nielsen is an ‘at will’ employee and can be fired only by Tyson.”

    Add to this the fact that our City Manager cannot discuss “personnel issues,” and we have a perfectly opaque arrangement with no accountability to the public.

  73. robash141
    June 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

    We can recall three of them Ciarbellini should just get summarily booted .No one voted for her anyway.

  74. Humboldt Rick
    June 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Tyson is an over-paid asshole whose every move has been to destroy Eureka. SAVE EUREKA — SACK TYSON.

  75. The Big Picture
    June 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    There Hi-Liar goes again @ 9:45AM, ranting about “the majority of Eurekans” when most eligible voters don’t even participate.

    History provides endless examples of issues that surprisingly motivated the disenfranchised to turn out and vote.

    The Reich-Wing must always worry.

  76. June 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    This is for High Finance at 9:27 AM; are you off your rocker? I just listened to the entire interview with Linda Atkins; she was completely professional at all times. She disclosed nothing about what happened in closed session, she stated she needed to continue to work with Tyson as well as other council members, and she said she was frustrated. She also said she was astonished that Chief Nielsen would just be terminated without cause-by Tyson. What part of this interview could you possibly find unprofessional? What is the matter with you, and how exactly do you contribute to this community?

  77. June 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    HiFi brings you the Brady Bunch. Remember the gargantuan signs?

  78. June 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    The council damn well have better NOT voted on firing Nielsen in that closed session meeting. Firing was not an “action item” and was never posted on the agenda. Unposted items CANNOT be voted on. The Flabulous Four seem to think that even expressing such a though as firing gives Tyson license to do what he’s wanted to do for a long time. Tyson can’t stand Nielsen because the Chief saw through Tyson’s games and attempts to micro-manage the Police Dept. for the old guard disgruntled dinosaurs. Tyson protects his own, even in the face of blatant incompetence.
    Time to go, Dave.

  79. The Monitor
    June 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    HIFI can’t get out of his own way to see the issues, the truth of what happen, or the sequence of event. However you have to give him credit for long wind and dogged pursuit of right wing talking points. He is a waste of time to read.

  80. Anonymous
    June 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Maybe HIFI has some sort of dementia. Something is off, he sounds as if he is not running on all cylinders. Has anyone else noticed this?

  81. June 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Personnel Issue/Personal Issue????This costs the citiizens of

    Eureka–don’t they have the right to know Why????

  82. Anon
    June 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Sleazy doesn’t appear to be the half of it. There are a lot of past and present employees from all departments in the city who know the truth about Tyson. They should probably be prepared to be called out about it, possibly in a legal setting, because I don’t think this is going to go quietly away, much as Tyson would like it to.
    There is too much out there now:

    1. Where is the $ coming from to pay the chief/
    2. Is there a misuse of Measure O money involved?
    3. Did Tyson use his office for his adultery?
    4. Did Tyson’s kids get favoritism in securing city redevelopment money for their residences?

    This is just for starters, the the city council better think long and hard about the contract they just extended. The blowback is going to get ugly.

  83. Anon
    June 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    An audit AND a civil grand jury complaint, now you’re talking! Where do I sign up? How do we get em going?

  84. Anonymous
    June 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    How do I get back on here as 69er????

  85. June 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Fill in the name field when you leave a comment.

  86. Anonymous
    June 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    tempest in a small teapot

  87. Anonymous
    July 2, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Hey Heraldo, or should I say Larry Glass and Mark Konkler, I didn’t know you had such a hard on for Matt Owen.

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