Home > Arcata, Humboldt County > BROKEN GLASS HAZARD ON THE PLAZA


City of Arcata

Last night the Arcata Plaza was trashed by hundreds of unruly Halloween revelers. Due to the amount of broken alcohol bottles, citizens should be very cautious if they walk on the grass of the Plaza. Despite efforts to clean the area there are many shards of glass still on the grass.

Damage to the Plaza includes graffiti painted on four sides of the McKinley statue, mounds of trash left in the park and on the street, trampled flower beds, and broken bottles.

During the evening the Arcata Police arrested nearly thirty people and responded to over 100 police calls, including seven alcohol related medical calls in the downtown. Some of the medical calls were for over-intoxication, head injuries, and one man who drunkenly jumped from a roof, breaking his ankle.

Police Chief Tom Chapman said of the event, “the level of disrespect for the community is astonishing. The combination of alcohol and a costume gave some a sense of lawlessness.” Chapman said the department will be reviewing video footage in an effort to identify those responsible for criminal conduct.

  1. Anonymous
    November 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    So it turns out that the homeless and the Occupiers are the more responsible elements in the community when compared with the bar hoppers, drinkers and general party crowd…

  2. Omnomnonimous
    November 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Right about now would be the time that the firsts generation of kids who were raised on non-stop video gaming are hitting drinking age. I’m not talking Mario Brothers but the full on violent 3D stuff that’s only been around since the mid 90’s or so.

    People can claim until they’re blue in the face that these games have no impact on behavior but how in the hell can they not when so many kids spend every moment that they’re able to plugged into a TV set blowing shit up? How can they not become desensitized to violence and general destruction of property when all their waking hours are occupied in the simulation of same?

  3. November 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Good thing they were just drinking alcohol instead of toking reefer or it could have been serious.

    have a peaceful day,

  4. stoneycreek
    November 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Based on what? Degrees of irresponsibility? Facts? Logic? or “Because I said so…”

  5. Not A Native
    November 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Judging from the amount of pot I smelled around the plaza, there were plenty of stoned people there.

    Oops, they were just seriously ill folks whose medicine made them so much better they were well enough to go to the plaza, get drunk, and then decided to trash the place.

    I wonder how the amount of money the plaza merchants selling alcohol made for themselves compares to what it costs the City to clean up??

  6. Bolithio
    November 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    OK weed, video games … dont forget heavy metal!!

  7. Plain Jane
    November 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law, they riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

    Plato 400 BC

  8. 69er
    November 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Outhouse tipping, flaming paper bags of dog poo, howling door and window screens along with soaping windows was mild in comparison. Halloween should be for those less than drinking age, There are enough safe indoor activities now for the younger set that door to door trick or treaters are minimal, we had 4 in a quiet, safe neighborhood.

  9. November 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    You are so right 69er young adults should have no fun at all. Nose to the grindstone. Work at Target fulltime – well anyway 30 hours a week. 2nd job as a detail monkey for a car lot. STFU and be happy you have an effin job (or two part time jobs without bennies). Remember God loves you.


    have a peaceful day,

  10. Plain Jane
    November 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a kid, 2nd only to Christmas. Trick or treating is for kids. Dressing up in costumes to party (or religious rituals) is almost as old as mankind in every culture so it must fulfill some basic need.

  11. Anonymous
    November 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I hope the cops find the vandals and jerk the gonads right off em. Same with the two punks they caught in Fortuna breaking the cemetary stones. Damn them to hell.

  12. 69er
    November 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I have had my share of halloween fun and it has never been destructive, that is the part of having fun that pisses me off highboldtage. There are many ways to have fun and not be destructive and endangering others. So why don’t you “shut the fuck up” and grow up. I have had my share of jobs with and withoud your so called bennies. I’ve paid my dues and am now enjoying the good life and don’t appreciate assholes like you trying to destroy it.

  13. 69er
    November 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I’m with you Anon 3:51, that seems to be the kind of fun that our friend highboldtage condones too.

  14. November 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    And 69er if there were no alcohol there but just a little pot smokin how destructive do you think it would have been? Tell the truth.

    What part of non-violent don’t you comprehend. I don’t advocate violence or destruction. You are hallucinating, gramps.

    have a peaceful day,

  15. November 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    If it weren’t for HSU and a couple of thousand college age kids Arcata would be a hamlet. Especially with the disappearance of the logging industry. When you have that many young people and you have bars sometimes there is gonna be some exuberance. Every silver lining has a cloud. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch over it we have more important things to talk about.

    have a peaceful day,

  16. 69er
    November 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Don’t try to bs me about just a little bit of pot, you must think I just rode in on the turnip truck you ignorant idiot. I have seen the results of a little bit of pot as well as the other drugs you probably approve of. Yes we have more important things to talk about, ridding society of your kind of reasoning is a perfect example.

  17. November 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    How are you going to eliminate my kind of reasoning 69er? De-educate me? Force me to watch television? Don’t be shy.

    have a peaceful day,

  18. 69er
    November 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Your type of education is your problem. I am having a peaceful day, every day is a peaceful day for me. I just stay away from Arcata and your ilk and it is peaceful.

  19. November 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    So here is something that is important to talk about.

    Someone opined here a couple of days ago that there were two classes of homeless people, the mentally ill homeless and the able bodied homeless. Let us assume that is true. If so setting aside the able bodied for later, what is everyone’s solution for the problems of the mentally ill homeless? I welcome answers from anyone but especially the compassionate conservatives like Domino twenty one, 69er, High Finance etc etc. We are all ears.

    have a peaceful day,

  20. insider
    November 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    “Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a kid, 2nd only to Christmas. Trick or treating is for kids. Dressing up in costumes to party (or religious rituals) is almost as old as mankind in every culture so it must fulfill some basic need.”

    We’re counting on you to clean up the broken glass, excrement, hypodermic needles, condoms and trash at the Arcata Plaza.

  21. November 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I went to UCLA but I didn’t graduate. My education was interrupted by the Viet Nam war, tear gas, riots and that asshole Ronald Reagan.

    But just so you know 69er I had several professors that were Marxists and even one or two that were hard core commies, and I had a few who were conservative, you know William F. Buckley conservative not the rabid racist fascist kind we have these days.

    Since I was a young conservative then myself I often argued with the Marxists and once wrote a paper applying the dialectic to John Locke treatise but I got an A on it even though the prof was a soft commie. He had to admire my logic and my cojones. Don’t get upset with yourself if you don’t understand this paragraph,

    You would be surprised how diverse the professorial corps was back then even in a supposedly liberal institution like UCLA. And it was free. I had maybe a thousand or two total in student loans when I graduated and paid off. We need to get back to offering that kind of free education to our young people.

    have a peaceful day,

  22. Little Buddha
    November 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    There was something spooky in the air last night. And it got a little crazy. Arcata is a college town. Every year there is a fresh batch of kids arrive, on their own for the first time. I bet a few young people learned a bit about some things last night. Hope so. Crazy electric vibe last night, I left before dark, you could feel it coming, like rain.

  23. November 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    We can be thankful that no one apparently was seriously injured, considering the vibe. By that I mean no one shot, stabbed, eyes gouged or teeth knocked out like a friday night in Old Town Eureka in the 50’s and 60’s. I wasn’t here then but you can read about them on Murls blog. Sorry I don’t have the link handy.

    have a peaceful day,

  24. Decline To State
    November 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    This is so disappointing. My opinion of our society gets increasingly lower and lower. My one ray of hope was that we here in Humboldt are somewhat removed from the rest of the U.S. and have remained about 20 years behind the times. It seems in this digital age we are rapidly catching up with the rest of the world and I find that terribly sad. My only solace is that I’m getting older and probably won’t be around to see the really ugly shit.

  25. November 1, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Just imagine in your mind you could pick up the plaza and fly it a few hundred miles down to say Arizona and drop it in the middle of Tuscon. Same crowd, same vibe, same amount of alcohol but the only difference is that its Arizona and EVERYBODY IS PACKING HEAT. Now be a citizen. Now be a cop.

    OK now wake up you are back in Arcata the nightmare is over……

    have a peaceful day,

  26. Ponder z
    November 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law, they riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

    Plato 400 BC
    AND plain jane 11-1-11

    But Jane, this description still fits, no? Just because they are away form home for the first time students, or just homeless bums, dose not give them the right to trash public property. These hooligans need a war to be drafted into. The students are no doubt form liberal parents and have been given everything the ever desired in life. Now lets hope they get a criminal record.

  27. not an old fart
    November 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Here’s an idea…when hundreds of people spontaneously come together to CELEBRATE LIFE WITH A LOT OF NOISE AND THRASHING AROUND, AND EVERYBODY DIGS IT, like 4/20 as well, ACCOMODATE IT. The cleanup money is well spent. Peanuts for a fantastic time for hundreds of people at an event that happens a whopping one day of the year. Bunch of old grumps who forgot what life’s about.

  28. Mitch
    November 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm


    What I’m hearing is not that people shouldn’t have fun, but that they should not leave broken glass on a public grassy space. That doesn’t seem like it should be very controversial.

  29. not an old fart
    November 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Well duh. But at events like this, it happens. Every single time. So obviously expect it and let people HAVE A SINGLE NIGHT OF FUN IN A LARGE CROWD LIKE THAT. Old farts been wearing tidy whiteys a size too small ever since you all “grew up”.

  30. tra
    November 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    The problem is, it’s just not that easy to clean shards of broken glass out of a grassy area.

    At any rate, this incident is a good reminder that despite all the hysteria about homeless folks, transients, and protesters, it’s actually the drunken bar-hoppers who usually cause the most problems.

  31. not an old fart
    November 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    “The problem is, it’s just not that easy to clean shards of broken glass out of a grassy area.”

    No, the problem is our of touch morons like above who don’t get it, go out of their way to bitch and moan about it even though they’ve got a million things of their own to take care of, and suddenly nobody can gather like that anymore.

  32. Anonymous
    November 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    You haven’t spent any time in the Community Forest if you think homeless people don’t create toxic environments with their trash.

  33. Matt
    November 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    “No, the problem is our of touch morons like above who don’t get it, go out of their way to bitch and moan about it even though they’ve got a million things of their own to take care of, and suddenly nobody can gather like that anymore.”

    The problem is the idiots who caused the problem and mess (not to mention all the fights) last night, not the people who are upset about it today.

    For example, they left 3,000 lbs of garbage having their “fun” last night. That’s *a lot* of garbage, even for drunk boneheads…


  34. Anonymous
    November 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    In contrast, I live in central Eureka and have had some less pleasant experiences in recent years. This year was a very different story. I had well over 100 “Trick or Treaters” who were mostly young, excited, costumed, well-mannered children accompanied by parents. It felt like a return to the past, to be honest. A fun evening!

  35. arcatawitch
    November 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    It simply breaks my heart to see our lovely Plaza, the center of our town, so trashed and disrespected. This mess has been the worst I have seen in my 25 years in Arcata… and it will happen all over again on New Year’s Eve.

    I spoke with a firefighter yesterday who was at the scene most of the night, and he told me the cops were still arresting drunks at 5am. Good grief.

  36. Mitch
    November 2, 2011 at 11:31 am


    It’s one thing to smash bottles on pavement. It’s another thing to leave broken glass on a grassy play area used by children. If that’s something that is inevitably tied up with “having fun,” then grassy play areas used by children should be off-limits to events populated by those who must “have fun” in that way.

    It’s unfortunate for the supposedly adult partiers, but the children’s safety takes priority over the right to smash glass wherever one feels like it. Fascist, I know.

  37. not an old fart
    November 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Mitch, a right to smash glass? Use you’re brain, that’s not what I’m talking about whatsoever. Instead of all these bored losers who literally spend 99% of their lives indoors, and their free time pointing and yelling at kids on the internet, why not encourage the city to politely, not politically or police-ially (new word!) talk shit about the event altogether.

    Look into how foreign towns and cities handle wild celebrations like championship futbol (soccer) wins, etc. California’s media is adopting the most police state lockdown attitude in the nation (crying ‘safety’ from the ‘wolf’ with a straight face) and it’s been increasing dramatically over the last decade.

    yeah, the mess in the plaza was SOOOO astronomically bad it took the regular crew less than a day to clean up.

  38. Mitch
    November 2, 2011 at 11:47 am


    1) Sponsors should put down tarps over grassy areas, or
    2) sponsors should construct wood platforms over them, or
    3) sponsors should keep glass bottles out of the event, using security or police, or
    4) the grassy areas should be off-limits.

    If an event is not sponsored, and has a history of creating a health hazard, it should not be allowed unless a sponsor (which might be the City of Arcata) steps in to provide for one of 1,2,3 or 4.

    You don’t see broken glass on a playground as all that much of a problem, especially if a crew can clean it up in a day. I do.

  39. not an old fart
    November 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Mitch, again, use your brain, that’s not what I’m saying AT ALL. A sponser? How about the city for the sake of the people. They just cleaned it up (in less than a day), and I promise top dogs will still get bonuses and salary increases and bla bla bla. Grease your gears a little, guy.

  40. neomoderate
    November 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I have an idea NAOF. Ya’ll go out and have your fun, get your butts up in the morning and come clean up your mess. Rights come with responsibilities, if you haven’t noticed. I hope you had fun though, because my money says you won’t see that level of debauchery on the plaza ever again. There were fights on the plaza while the kids were trick or treating in the afternoon for chrissakes. Give me a break. As far as your “rights” go, your (or my) right to have a good time ends when your choice of a good time starts negatively impacting the community around you. Yes, I’ve staggered around the plaza at 2 AM plenty of times, but it’s beyond me why someone would want to thrash it.

  41. tra
    November 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I kinda like the suggestion of having an organized event, maybe a series of musical performances, on the plaza on Halloween and on New Year’s Eve. More of a concert/festival atmosphere, rather than a blackout-drunk frat-party atmosphere.

    We could still have alcohol, just in plastic cups, rather than bottles, and perhaps the alcohol sales could help defray security, sanitation, and clean-up costs.

    Clearly there are a lot of people looking to party down on Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Perhaps the comunity could try to just channel this energy into a more positive direction.

    If all that is just too ambitious, there should at least be some kind of a surtax on alcohol sales to help defray the costs of maintaining the plaza. The bars and liquor stores must be rakin’ in the dollars on Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

  42. not an old fart
    November 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Use your brian as well, neo, I’m not supporting vandalism, but a straight forward approach to celebrations like that. Go move to some prissy gated community with their own private fairgrounds rather than encourage the kind of PR that allows a few bad apples to ruin a good celebration for all. That’s what this is doing, setting up a foundation of bad press to lockdown next year. And some of you are encouraging it with your lazy bored asses sitting at a computer like boring old farts. BAD.

    And whoever told y ou there were fights on the plaza during trick or treating (did you decide plural for effect?) lied. I was there. Night was roudy especially peaceful with everybody having a great time. Tame compared to the last several years. One skirmish stopped before it even started when a few people started yelling “YOUTUBE!” at them. They went their own ways immediately. I heard another fight was equally non-violent after that.

    Don’t be such a grump, let people play, it’s what life’s about.

  43. neomoderate
    November 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I like the idea of an organized event too…get the venues involved, music all around the plaza…could be fun. No one here is in favor of lockdown BTW, but what happened the other night is out of hand.

    Fights were in front of the Jam, two of them. They broke up quickly, but scared the hell out of some kids.

    Seemed to be a lot of party houses around town this year. Don’t know what the deal is with that, but for awhile we felt like we lived down the street from a frat house. Taken care of now. Don’t get me started on party houses in residential neighborhoods…

  44. anonymous
    November 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    My wife and I had dinner at the Plaza Grill then walked around the plaza twice at about ten o’clock. We enjoyed seeing the young people all costumed up and partying, at that time things were under control but a little wild. Wondered what the weight limit for Mckinleys statue would be since the number of climbers seemed to be limited only by space. Was surprised by the lack of police presence at that time, saw one patrol car drive by. Thought it would have been a prime time to roll the Incident Command center truck and establish a friendly police presence to keep things under a little control.

  45. Thorstein Veblen
    November 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Maybe its a generational thing, having had to watch for broken glass along the river, lake, along the roads, at ball parks and basically everyplace when I was a kid. Come to think of it, lots of people used to just chuck the empty soda/beer bottle out the car window after drinking its contents. I’ve been cut up, usually on my feet, sometimes with pretty big gashes. Maybe these younger people who have been raised on plastic containers just don’t know how it horrifies at least this one old fart that little kids might be playing in broken glass.

    I don’t necessarily approve of the drunken brawls and passing out, etc., but at least that is probably self-inflicted. Innocents, especially pre-schoolers, etc., getting gashed is more troublesome. I suggest that nofa go to the Plaza, take off his/her shoes, and pick up the glass shards with the bottom of his/her feet. Then report back on how he/she feels about breaking bottles in such a place.

  46. Anonymous
    November 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I talked to an HSU student who lives a block from the Plaza and was there on Halloween. She noted that last year there was a very heavy police presence and she remembers them walking throughout the crowd and even checking people who had water bottles etc to make sure it didn’t contain alcohol. This year she states she was there until midnight and did not see one cop. She also noted that the line at the liquor store was out the door and around the corner and that there were beer and liquor bottles all over the ground. This student is credible and not a crazy partier so I take her observation seriously. Her theory was that either the police do an “every other year” type of enforcement or maybe they wanted something to happen this year so they stayed away.

    Food for thought.

  47. fast eddie
    November 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Not to justify the mayhem, but it was Halloween. Perhaps Arcata will find it cheaper to hire more police than the large crew that spent hours cleaning up. Seems like they’d need around 10 cops on the plaza for Halloween and New Years.

  48. November 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    They just need to make the bars and restaurants serve in plastic on those days. Keep the bottles off the plaza so they don’t get broken either accidentally or over someones head. You do this by providing a pouring booth where people can just pour their bottled bevs into a plastic cup and proceed into the plaza. The bottles can be recycled to partially pay for it. Let the people have fun. Just do a little planning folks.

    have a peaceful day,

  49. not an old fart
    November 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    5:34, cops were driving up and down G and H streets all night, saw them every few minutes at least. I saw a couple of them walking th eperiphery a few times, they were incognito probably for a reason, and I’d thank them for it as it really was a good vibe going on as usual. No doubt plain clothed officers in teh crowd. The crowd wasn’t angry or violent at all, I circled plenty of times, never saw broken glass or heard anything break, bet all that happened way after hours and I’d bet again that it was very minor but they felt obliged to make this warning. Worst I saw was somebody had vomited by the southeast bench. Typical. Actually, tame compared to something like this in the city.

    The line around the corner at the liquor store was comedy! Half those people were already drunk, and everybody was cutting up front, being selectively allowed in by…what would you call it, a liquor store bouncer?…a guy who worked there standing at the door doing crowd control. It was a very disorganized line, I would have had no problem getting in there without a wait.

    Mountains out of molehills, really. Keep in mind, before the end of the very next day the plaza was back to it’s usual grand self. No devastation, definitely not an issue worth complaining about. The event itself makes it one to be happy about, we had a great time and it’s fantastic to be around others experiencing the same thing. Stuff like that doesn’t happen often enough, if you ask me.

  50. Anonymous
    November 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I think they will close it off next year. If the people can’t behave (and these were mainly not college students) they will have to remove the location. Or have a planned event with parameters.

  51. Anonymous
    November 3, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Somebody above seems to have missed the point about the broken glass. Broken glass does not just disappear with the passage of time.

    After the big earthquake that hit our area about two years ago, I was finding broken glass in my Carpets for MONTHS afterward. Despite vacuuming and going over every square inch of carpet more than once.

    Will children EVER get to play on the grass at the plaza again?

    Without risking slicing their legs to shreds, I mean.

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