Home > City of Eureka, Clarke Historical Museum, Humboldt County > Worry over Clarke Museum continues

Worry over Clarke Museum continues

Scrutiny of leadership at the Clarke Museum hasn’t quietly gone away since the board unceremoniously fired longtime Curator Pam Service shortly before Christmas.

While the BOD is entrusted with care-taking priceless artifacts of Humboldt County history — and receives money from the City of Eureka to do so — the public is not welcome at its Thursday (March 8th) board meeting. When the public did attend its one annual public meeting in January, the process was anything but open according to some attendees.

Several members of the local heritage community sent a letter to the Clarke board on February 21st calling for them to reinstate Ms. Service and to be open about financial struggles facing the museum. But so far, the board is not open to being open about the storm that’s blowing at 240 E St.

North Coast Journal: Fight at the Museum

  1. Clarke
    March 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    A museum without a curator is like a ____ without ____.

  2. Anonymous
    March 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Hasn’t the Clarke board been taken over by Arkley acolytes? This power play has his fingerprints all over it.

  3. Just Middle Class
    March 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    The Clarke has excellent staff and is doing a great job with thier mission of preserving intrepreting the history of Humboldt County. It more looks like Ms. Service is using her political actiivist skills to try to get her job back.

  4. snorkle
    March 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    If the museum receives public funding are the board meetings subject to the Brown Act?

  5. Tired of idiots who "know better"
    March 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Any organization with a board that meets behind closed doors is suspect. I’m not sure they are allowed to do that under the law. Funny as it may seem, Calif. law does apply to Humboldt County even if the leading cash crop is illegal.

  6. March 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    It more looks like Ms. Service is using her political actiivist skills to try to get her job back.

    It appears you oppose Ms. Service on political grounds or you wouldn’t spin strong community support as a one-woman act.

    She has offered to go back for less pay and forgo health benefits (after all, the decision to fire was strictly financial, says the board). That’s not the offer of a greedy person.

  7. Just Middle Class
    March 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Site your source.

  8. Just Middle Class
    March 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    It is strange that this is an issue on thei overtly liberal political blog, does call into question the intent.

  9. March 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    In other words you can’t think clearly about anything that appears on this blog. You are not alone.

  10. March 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    No, unfortunately, JMC has a frightening amount of company.

    But… given that the museum gets money from the city, someone with knowledge of the situation needs to call the Grand Jury and file a complaint. Pronto. I was thinking about donating some things. Not now. I agree that any non-profit board meeting behind closed doors raises all kinds of red flags. There is clearly a lack of accountability.

  11. Just Middle Class
    March 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Oh, H., I can think quite clearly, and you deflected the point, which shows a lack of clear thinking on your part. The point you avoided is that this is not a political matter, yet this blog seems to want it to be so. The Clarke Board seems to have made a financial decision like many others are making today and it dows not fall prey to political gamesmanship.

  12. anonymous
    March 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Wonder if LeValley was the treasurer of the Clarke Museum?

  13. March 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    It’s a matter that exists to people in this community. Appearance on this blog doesn’t make it political except in your angry mind. This post could be removed and it wouldn’t change that there is a problem and that you are going to hear about it.

  14. just middle class
    March 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Now, H, it just happened that a decision made in December is now bantied about to somehow apply pressure on the Clarke Board to restablish a position that they deleted because of budget issues. If Ms. Service was not a political activist this would not have made a blip on this political blog. Many others have lost their positions because of budget issues and it does not raise to this political issue. The “problem” is that these are tough economic times and non-profits and others have to make difficult decisions, like this.

  15. Anonymous
    March 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Maybe she just wasn’t doing the job and they couldn’t reveal the reason due to legal problems??

  16. March 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    It’s not just now being bandied about, JMC. The fact that you weren’t aware of this ongoing issue shows you are simply having a knee-jerk reaction because it’s on the Herald, a blog which you have been bitter about for years through various pseudonyms.

  17. just middle class
    March 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Oh, my, H. are we going to get personal? Shall I lay on the couch so you can work on my anger issues? Since you raised the issue of the Clarke, then what are your sources so we asertain if you are “reporting” the issue or just pushing Ms. Service’s political agenda. You are claiming “knowledge” of what the Board did, so what is your source since you calim that they are not “transparent”? Outside this, then you are just blowing hot air.

  18. 713
    March 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Sounds like it is only ongoing in the eyes of the employee who doesn’t work there anymore. People get laid off everyday, big rip. Go get another job.

  19. March 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    JMC bases analysis of the issue on its appearance on this blog. Not very deep but there it is.

  20. just middle class
    March 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    So, H., let us add depth and you are making all of these claims to know what the Board did and it seems that Ms. Service must be your source. As 713 says, peiple get laid off every day and so does a local political blog “go to bat” for all of those folks or just a local liberal political acitvist, as Ms. Service describes herself. Absent any credible source, you are “the pot calling the kettle black”.

  21. March 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Service is not my source. Your angst over her is your own. Sorry.

  22. 713
    March 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    A bunch of people at st joes are getting laid off. No story there? It does seem a little political since there are two stories about one politically connected person losing their job and nothing about the others. Also, when most people get laid off they just look for work, not try to lobby or pressure their employer into re-hiring them using their political connections.

    What about all the recycling people? Nobody wants to touch that one.

  23. jmc
    March 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Bingo 713

  24. March 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    A key issue here is the quality of care given to Humboldt County’s historical heritage. Should it be managed in secret? Should concerned parties be cut out of the process, especially in a time of hardship? The challenges are financial but there is clearly more to it based on the way recent events were handled.

  25. jmc
    March 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    The Clarke has been managed by its board for a very long time just as every other nonprofif. Now when they lay offa politically connected employee it becomes your blog issue. This whole issue iz juzt polotics plain and simple. So Service ks not your source, yeh sure.

  26. Anonymous
    March 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    713 – Nobody wants to touch the people laid off at the ACRC???? The council chambers were full of people advising the ECC not to contract with Willits Solid Waste because of the jobs lost at ACRC. Our ECC voted to lay off 15 Eureka residents with living wage jobs and benefits to save its rate payers 34 cents/month. Why don’t you “touch” this one with our ridiculous city council?

  27. Anonymous
    March 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I think I would prefer an unceremonious firing over a ceremonious one.

  28. March 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    This is the first time the Herald has blogged about an employee getting fired from the Clarke. You seem invested in singling out Pam, but the Clarke’s poor treatment of her is not the only issue involved here, and it is not going unnoticed.

  29. jmc
    March 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Now here we have a real issue.

  30. Harold Knight
    March 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Hard economic times is when those irritating little cliques at work become bloodthirsty to protect their own, advance their friends and family and punish outsiders. Of course the layoff was political, or they would have offered the Curator a staff position.

    Once the remaining staff realize…again…that a successful museum requires knowledgeable leadership, they’ll have the opportunity to promote one of their own, qualified or not, and the good ol’ boy universe will be in balance again.

  31. Anonymous
    March 7, 2012 at 12:52 am

    This whole thing stinks. You get rid of the curator of a museum in a town that is in need of cultural attractions. The only thing this sorry town has built in the last couple of years is showers for the homeless. Build it and they will come. Fuck the tourist and locals that like a little culture in their town-that is the attitude of this poor abused city. Welcome losers and low lives. You are welcome here unlike the taxpaying citizen that enjoys prosperity and a good quality of like.

  32. 713
    March 7, 2012 at 3:42 am

    “A key issue here is the quality of care given to Humboldt County’s historical heritage.” – a key issue for me is the quality of care people get when they go to the hospital. When you have to wait weeks to get a life saving surgery or opt to travel out of the area while you are sick to get timely treatment, you will agree.

    945 – it was my impression those people were laid off because HWMA sabatoged the ACRC contract in order to buy their facility on the cheap.


  33. law reader
    March 7, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Does the City have anyone appointed to this board from a legislative body? Read Brown Act paras. 54952 (c)(1)(b).

    Would this also apply to the Chamber of Commerce?

    The people of Eureka should file complaints with the Grand Jury
    regarding every infraction the City of Eureka is committing.

    Although, I think the Grand Jury and every other enforcing
    agency is full of the Bubba Boys and Girls, at least the complaints
    would get some publicity.

  34. just middle class
    March 7, 2012 at 7:36 am

    The Clarke Board does not have a city representative.

  35. just middle class
    March 7, 2012 at 7:48 am

    To be a Brown Act board, the Clarke must receive public funds from the city AND have a member of the City Council appointed as a voting member of the Clarke Boaard, which it does not. Also the Chamber board does not have a City Council member so it is not a Brown Act board.

  36. Owlboy
    March 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

    This blog is the blind leading the blind. Most don’t have a clue about the law, the issues, or what H is trying to start by posting this sillyness. Its all about a progressive agenda.

  37. Hmmm...
    March 7, 2012 at 9:47 am

    ‘scuze me. Can anyone tell me who is on the board of directors of the Clarke Museum? Don’t find that information on their website. One might think they would be proud to be representing such an institution, but if they meet behind closed doors and are not transparent in their decision making, maybe not. How might one get appointed to that board?

  38. March 7, 2012 at 11:00 am

    The current president of the Clarke is Lonnie Wellman. Their 2009/10 Winter newsletter lists the following BOD members:

    Jim Moranda
    Vice President
    Lonnie Wellman
    Charles Petty
    Wendy Wahlund*
    Board Members
    Gary Albee
    Jeff Bowser
    Paul Burns
    David Glen
    Gerry Hale*
    Don Hill
    Rosemary Hunter*
    Shirley Laos
    Anita Rest
    Roy Sheppard
    Lane Strope*
    Ann Sullivan
    John Winzler*
    Advisory Board
    John Burger
    Mock Wahlund


  39. Anonymous
    March 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Eureka Bubba’s learned long ago that making it difficult to discover basic information obscures their political, ideological agenda and those appointed to maintain it.

    The museum is another Eureka-onion begging to be peeled…like the police force, the lawsuits and settlements, the Chamber, Waterfront Drive, the Balloon Tract, Martin Slough, and the Yahoos behind the scene enriching themselves with public subsidies, controlling local elections, committees, boards, and appointments to keep it that way.

  40. Jim White
    March 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Yep, all related to, or associated with Bubba-Inc.

  41. Queen Gertrude
    March 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Just Middle Class said:
    March 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    “The Clarke has excellent staff and is doing a great job with thier (sic) mission of preserving intrepreting (sic) the history of Humboldt County.”

    Really? How did their “excellent staff” get into all this? I an unable to evaluate their staff and I am curious to know more on the facts of this evaluation. I am not sure what “preserving intrepreting” means.

    This whole “Just Middle Class” reminds me of “Teacher” and of course, “High Finance”. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  42. March 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    “Just Middle Class” will want to read this week’s North Coast Journal cover story for confirmation that the hot air he blows is based on political bias and not related to facts in reality.

    The letter in support of Pam Service that was sent to the Clarke Board of Directors contained nearly 40 signatures “including the Big Lagoon Rancheria chairman, two tribal historic preservation officers (Karuk and Blue [L]ake Rancheria), archeologists, professors, doctors, writers, and even a former Clarke board president ([Jack] Irvine).”

    I’ll post the link when the Journal updates its website.

  43. March 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I have done volunteer work for the Clarke for a number of years (I did the website), and I was also distressed to hear that Pam had been dismissed. I felt that she was an extremely valuable employee for the organization, and that she brought professional expertise to the management of the museum. She certainly didn’t merit that kind of dismissal. All the same, the Clarke still has an excellent group of people running its daily operations. Ben Brown and the staff that remains are conscientious and hard-working, and extremely capable. I would say the same about the Wellmans. However, I was at an Eureka City Council meeting, in which the City had planned to completely eliminate the funds not only for the Clarke, but also the Senior Citizen Center. After listening to pleas from Pam and other members of the community, and a strong statement of support from Linda Atkins, the council grudgingly gave each organization $25,000. One city council member, Marion Brady, protested their decision, criticizing Pam for her supposed lack of ability as a fundraiser. This I feel, was particularly unjust because running a museum was Pam’s domain, and fundraising should be the domain of the Clarke’s Board of Directors, in my humble opinion. Getting rid of Pam Service didn’t do anything to help the Clarke’s fundraising problem. I have no idea if politics influenced the Board’s decision to part ways with Pam Service, but it would seem an unfair bargain if it was over a donation of $25,000, or the threat of withholding it. Fortunately, the management of the museum is in very good hands. I wish I was more capable as a fundraiser. Maybe my politics are all wrong.

  44. Just Middle Class
    March 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Well, H. It must be a very tight circle when you are in on what is going to come out in the Journal. Not expecting anything new, the “letter” has been around by email long before it was sent to the Clarke, as the group was trying to get more signatures.
    I just don’t get how all of this political pressure is going to change the minds of the Board, It seems like it would have the opposite effect.

  45. March 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    You sure feign a lot of ignorance for someone who’s known what’s been going on for weeks.

  46. Smart 5th Grader
    March 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Are you saying the Clarke board is going to ignore the community?

  47. Smart 5th Grader
    March 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    RE: “minds of the Board, It seems like it would have the opposite effect.”

  48. 713
    March 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Well I just read the Journal. What a letdown, H. I was holding my breath waiting for the smoking gun. Where was it? Seems like the museum will be fine. 33 of the 37 signers of the letter are suddenly worried about the museum but are not current members? $25.00 come on, if they are so concerned, why haven’t they been members?

  49. March 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    What smoking gun were you looking for? A straw man?

    Perhaps if the board were more open with its supporters it would have more of them.

  50. 713
    March 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    What is the worry over the museum? The article made it clear to me there is nothing to worry about, especially since they laid off an employee to bolster their finances.

  51. jmc
    March 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This has nothing to do with openess of the board, only a political activest who washed Laird off. The Journal clearly showed that Ben Brown is doing a great job. Time to move on and let the Clarke do the good job it does.

  52. March 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I want to clarify a few things that I brought up in my earlier comment. First, I tended to agree that there must have been some political interference to oust Pam Service from her position, in which she has so ably performed. I had one conversation with Lynn Wellman, where i expressed my dismay about Pam’s departure. She was understandably a bit defensive, which I didn’t understand at the time, but she said a few things which I now take to mean that $25,000 dollars isn’t very much to go around, since all the investment income of the Clarke has dried up, at least temporarily. Pam had to go, if for no other reason that with her salary, she would have to do everything the rest of the staff does.
    All the same, a lot of significant things were said at the Eureka City Council meeting, which took place on July 5, 2011. Pam and the director of the Senior Citizen Center made their pleas for the funds they had lost. One person remarked in the following discussion that the City Council was making large donations to the Chamber of Commerce, which has enormous corporate backing, yet these two civic organizations, which contribute so much to the quality of life in the community, were completely cut off. Harpham also spoke, complaining that the police were missing a few officers. Tyson was loath to give up any funds, saying that the Zoo was a more deserving recipient for the funds. Linda Atkins made a decisive motion to return the funds to the Clarke and the SSC, and most of the other council members agreed. Marion Brady was not happy with their decision, and tried to attach a provision to the gift to the Clarke, that she personally should become a board member, and have direct personal control over how the money was spent. She didn’t find any support with this suggestion, and finally went on to say that Pam was overpaid, and that she was a lousy fundraiser. I personally found this to be extremely unfair criticism, since as the curator of a museum, Pam was doing what should be described as academic and technical work, yet she was being judged on a criterion of mere profitability. I thought, how Republican, to judge everyone and everything on purely economic performance. But whether Marion Brady or anyone else from the City actually went ahead and entered into discussions with members of the Board, you will have to ask her. It does appear that. because of the lack of money being donated to the Clarke, and the shrinking of its endowment, Mrs. Brady wouldn’t need to do anything. I found the article in the Northcoast Journal to be very helpful in explaining what is happening at the Clarke. Pam is an active member of the Democratic Party, but I am sure that she has had nothing to do with all the people who have been suspicious of the Boards actions. Quite simply, she is missed.

  53. 713
    March 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Some have said she went around gathering signatures for the letter.

  54. Plain Jane
    March 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Using “some have said” to smear is pathetic.

  55. 713
    March 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    My point exactly Jane, read the article.

  56. Anonymous
    March 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Marian Brady is a Democrat – long time Dem Steven. For you to say “how republican” is ridiculous.

    Both parties eat there own, this is no exception.

  57. Anonymous
    March 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Phillis, errrr, Plain Jane by her own actions over the past years of prolific posting on this blog is by her own definition “pathetic”.

    Phillis, you have constantly gone over the top based on innuendo, but I am glad that you recognize this behaviour as being pathetic. Perhaps you can change your ways after all.

  58. jmc
    March 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    So,H, I read the arcle and I found:
    1. A dedicated staff who has things well in hand
    2. A laid off emploee wbo will do anything to try fo get her job back.

  59. Plain Jane
    March 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Pretending you know who I am is what is pathetic 9:22. You are, in fact, smearing Phillis without any foundation.

  60. March 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Your reading of a NCJ article does not dismiss the concerns of many respected people who signed the letter to the board.

  61. 713
    March 8, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I was under the impression their concerns were about the artifacts being cared for. The article makes it clear the artifacts are in good hands.

  62. just middle class
    March 8, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I agree with 713, my reading of the article showed that Ben Brown, Curator, was the person who curated the Native American collection, not Ms. Service. Her claimed “love” for the museum certainly is not displayed by her stirring up the pot and using her political activist skills. It is shocking how far some of her friends will go, for Jerry Rohde, from Humboldt State University, is attempting to organize and “occupy” of the museum. How silly can this whole thing get!
    If these people really cared for the Clarke, they would be working to help its financial position, the reason Ms. Service was laid-off, rather to further the financial difficulties.

  63. Jerry Rohde
    March 8, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Although I now spend most of my time in the 19th century, I must now come back to the present since jmc has inaccurately called me out.
    I am one of the signators to the letter to Clarke’s Board. I have also been part of an email circle of communication that grew out of the circulation of the draft letter.
    At no time has Pam Service contacted the circle. And I am not aware of Pam doing anything else that could be called “stirring up the pot.”
    The communications within the email circle covered not just Pam’s abrupt termination but many other concerns, including:
    1. Board conduct at the public meeting following Pam’s termination, which was considered unresponsive and even rude.
    2. The financial condition of the Clarke and the lack of any public reporting about it.
    3. The Board’s lack of accountability to the public and a structure that provides for lifetime members on the Board.
    4. The history of the acquisition of Native American objects by the Clarke and the status of efforts to repatriate some of the objects.
    Regarding jmc’s mention of my involvement:
    A. I have had no contact with Pam Service about her termination or about any of the other issues mentioned above. I’ve probably spoken with Pam about 10 times in my life and then only about history related topics.
    B. I have not tried to organize an occupation of the Clarke. When another member of our circle of communication suggested it, I replied that I thought it would at best be a media event that would have little impact on the Board and suggested that we consider more strategic activities.
    C. I’m unclear as to why jmc mentions my affiliation with Humboldt State unless it is to imply that I might attempt to foment anti-Clarke activism among the University’s young scholars. I am in fact a researcher and not a teacher at HSU and have very limited contact with students.
    I’m very pleased that the operations of the Clarke have now come under public scrutiny. I invite jmc to join in the scrutinizing.

  64. just middle class
    March 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I think this explains it:
    Hi everyone–
    It’s been suggested that we “occupy the Clarke” in protest of the Board chair’s refusal to let us speak at Thursday’s meeting. If this tactic is to have any impact we’d need to have a good number of occupiers participate. I’d suggest that we decide what would constitute “occupying the Clarke” and then poll our group to see how many will commit to participating. If it looks like we have enough people (I’d suggest double figures as a minimum) then we could proceed. Otherwise, I think we should look for other actions that could take place at a later date.
    If we’re really serious about long-term success, I think it is time to prepare what we used to call (in the protesting 60s) a “power structure analysis” of the Clarke. This would include studying not only the interior structure of the governance and control of the Clarke but also the exterior structure, most notably the level of authority that the City of Eureka maintains as a grantor of funds to the institution. This will give us an understanding of where best to address our efforts for creating change. It seems that we want to address not simply the immediate issues of Pam’s termination and Board arrogance but also the “closed” nature of the Clarke and how it be changed to truly represent the public’s interest. The analysis that I suggest would be a first step in this larger process, followed by developing an overall strategy for achieving our goals, rather than limiting ourselves to tactical encounters of limited effect, such as protesting at the Board meeting. My take is that the Clarke’s structure needs a major overhaul and that short-term actions will not achieve this, although they could help inform and activate more of the public.
    Jerry Rohde, M. A.
    Ethnogeographer and Historian
    Cultural Resources Facility
    Humboldt State University
    1 Harpst Street
    Arcata, CA 95521-8299

  65. Jim White
    March 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

    713 says:
    March 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    “33 of the 37 signers of the letter are suddenly worried about the museum but are not current members? $25.00 come on, if they are so concerned, why haven’t they been members?”

    Only half the businesses in Eureka are members of their Chamber of Commerce. The Eureka Chamber of Commerce represents one of the richest private clubs in town, their financial records are not available to the public, yet, the city subsidizes the Chamber over $100,000 each year while neighborhood schools, pubic facilities and services collapse.

    Where the Hell is the media?

  66. Alas
    March 8, 2012 at 11:12 am

    “I think this explains it:” (just middle class 10:30 am).

    Rhode already explained it at 10:04!

    Did you have a point?

  67. Just Middle Class
    March 8, 2012 at 11:19 am

    The point was that he claimed that he did not support the “occupation” which is not what was in his email that was broadly transmitted.

  68. Plain Jane
    March 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Rohde’s “support” for occupying the museum consisted of suggesting a group discussion of it and what would be required if there was to be an occupation and then goes on to suggest that a “power structure analysis” would have a higher likelihood of success. JMC obviously has reading comprehension problems.

  69. Radar
    March 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Well put, Plain Jane. Methinks JMC has an axe to grind.; why else the unwarranted remarks toward Rohde ? I wonder whom JMC will try to trash next. The list is probably a long one.

  70. Anonymous
    March 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm
  71. March 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    where did my coment go//????

  72. owltotem
    March 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Herald wont double post so if your comment is a duplicate of the one on the other Clarke post only the first one will post. (I read it)

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