Party Totals

Posted by Heidi Walters on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 6:20 PM

We've all heard of the horrors inflicted upon the Arcata Plaza during this past Halloween's bacchanal. McKinley's statue debauched. Grass embedded with broken glass and decorated in human fecal matter. Revelers jabbed with needles. Drunken revelers hauled off to the emergency room or jail. Planters and irrigation systems assaulted and plants killed. Storefront windows busted.

And we know what New Year's Eve on the Plaza was like as a result of those Halloween excesses: tick-tock, tick-tock, nothing but the sound of a few dozen cops' hearts beating in vigilant, calm rhythm as they stood in rank around the temporarily fenced off Plaza as the hour of 2012 approached. That, plus occasional grumblings from would-be Plaza partiers stopping to stare at the empty Plaza and the law enforcement spectacle, a steady festive chatter from the smallish crowd clumped alongside bar row, a drum session nearby and other small pops of elation and frustration.

And the next day? A very clean Arcata Plaza.

Now comes the judgment and second-guessing. Was it worth it to cordon off the Plaza and kill the people's New Year's buzz? How did the two measures measure up -- the cost of cleaning up after the worst property-damaging impromptu party in memory on the Plaza, versus the cost of preventing another such debacle?

No doubt some folks would say that a party with cleanup is better, at any cost, than no party at all. They're likely not the ones doing the cleanup...

Anyway, here are some figures:

Halloween cleanup total cost: At least $8,600, probably more

Arcata Parks Superintendent Dan Diemer says that's $3,600 for the supplies, equipment and 40 hours of straight time it took 10 city staff to pick up and remove 3,000 pounds of garbage, scrub off graffiti, pick glass out of the lawn, remove human excrement, sweep the streets around the Plaza and take out broken landscaping; and another estimated $5,000 or more to repair the Plaza's eight damaged planters and their irrigation systems and replace the plants -- a job that has been postponed until the city has the money.

Not included in the total cost: repairs to damaged storefronts, such as broken windows.

New Year's Eve enforcement total cost: About  $7,000

First city parks staff put up a fence. The material was free because they had it already. And it cost the city about $900 for a total of five hours of city staff overtime (at time-and-a-half) to put up and take down the fence, said Diemer.

Then they deployed law enforcement officers. The  Arcata Police Department asked for reinforcements from six other jurisdictions, who all obliged at no cost to Arcata in keeping with a mutual aid agreement they've all signed.

The Journal called each agency for figures. Some provided more information than others:

Arcata Police: APD Chief Tom Chapman refused to say how many personnel his department deployed, stating it could pose a safety risk to reveal such info about an investigation. He said the total costs in overtime -- he didn't say what kind of overtime -- for his officers came to about $2,800.

Humboldt State University Police: Lt. Kris Mechals said the department assigned one on-duty officer to the Plaza for five hours and sent an on-duty supervisor there for one hour. Total cost for both: $365 in straight time.

Eureka Police: Project Manager Lisa Pulver didn't have the total costs yet, because payroll hadn't been done, so she aimed high: the cost to send two sergeants and one officer to the Plaza for six-and-a-half hours, assuming they were being paid time-and-a-half overtime at the highest rate, could be come to $1,077.

Humboldt County District Attorney's Office: We know the DA's office sent a chief investigator and an investigator to the Plaza, but despite leaving numerous phone messages we still haven't heard back on what it cost the department to send them. Cost: unknown.

Fortuna Police: Office Supervisor Robin Paul said her department sent a detective and a sergeant, who were there from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. She estimated their deployment, calculated in straight time, cost the department $664 ($352 for the sergeant and $312 for the detective).

Ferndale Police: Officer Heath Bohacik said his department sent one officer to the Plaza. He didn't know for how long nor at what rate of pay, and the department's computer system was down because of renovations. Cost: unknown.

Rio Dell: Chief Graham Hill sent one officer for eight hours on regular duty salary -- between $328 and $340 (he wouldn't say exactly). So we'll call it $334.

The known costs add up to $6,140. We figured in another roughly $300 each for the two DA investigators and one Ferndale officer, assuming they were there eight hours, to reach the estimated total cost.



Comments (25)

Showing 1-25 of 25

I don't think you calculated the lost revenue from the bars, bartenders, bouncers, and entertainers into your NYE totals due to the buzz kill.

Posted by DJ Dub Cowboy on 01/07/2012 at 2:30 PM

Props, dub. Very over the top baloney from the city and police. Arcata's police (whoever tells them what to do) are doing a great job of killing the town's own scene. Always less of it, and less room to grow.

Posted by yep. on 01/07/2012 at 4:30 PM

Im curious that if most people are realizing most students were gone, back to their hometowns for the holidays, and all this enforecment was unnecessary for the mob that doesnt permanently reside in humboldt.

Posted by ? on 01/07/2012 at 6:38 PM

There doesn't seem to be any other industry everyone appears so knowledgeable about like police work.

You rarely hear people waxing authoritatively about vacuum repair, milk delivery or groundskeeping.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/07/2012 at 8:25 PM

Well, what's really sad is how humans would throw more feces around on the plaza then Bill the Chimp used too.

Posted by anon.r.mous on 01/08/2012 at 6:07 PM

Good point. No one said: you're going about that feces throwing all wrong, Bill.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/08/2012 at 6:09 PM

re:Terrence, I don't know. last year everyone was an expert on goat dairying.

Posted by martha on 01/09/2012 at 9:32 AM

Many volunteers have put in numerous hours over the years tending to the flower beds on the Plaza. Most of the beautiful plants were donated by the Northcoast Growers Association as well as by community members and some were donated as memorials to loved ones who had died. The Plaza is the center of our town. Many of us want it to remain lovely and inviting to all.

How can any of you justify the gross debauchery that happened on our Plaza this past Halloween? Buzz kill? Good grief. Can you have a good time without destroying property?

(It is really too bad the City waited until the horse was out of the barn to close the door.)

Posted by geraldine on 01/09/2012 at 12:16 PM

What about the crisis response unit and all the setup for the "command center" by B of A? That isn't free.

Posted by tisha on 01/09/2012 at 1:03 PM

You're totally right, Martha. We were all goat tenders last year. What career will we be experts about in 2012. Mayan priest?

Man, we are totally lucky to have that response unit, newly to town. The NYE storms of 2005/06 completely maxed Arcata's response capacities, making even basic communication between AFD and APD a challenge. For a period of time, the City's radio relay antenna on Janes Road was down, and that was not good. We will have an earthquake, major storm or big emergency in the future and emergency responders will be able to do a much better job. If it gets used to coordinate at other events in the meantime, that seems fine, too.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/10/2012 at 12:22 AM

Plus, that dandy incident response vehicle was donated to the APD. Read all about it on the City's website:

Posted by Heidi Walters on 01/10/2012 at 1:39 PM

New Years APD arrest of percussionist Oliver Crane of the Janky Mallets.

APD announces that drumming is illegal on the Plaza Culture is also in the works for being outlawed...

Posted by Jeff Musgrave on 01/17/2012 at 2:11 PM

Yer way late... we already hashed the majority issues out. Samba drumer/APD d├ętent. We kinda opted to limit it to reasonable people since we were opting for a reasonable solution.

A lot happened since you last blog posted.

See you on the Plaza - you can witness what locals can do with a little elbow grease, good intentions and fewer snipes from the bushes.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/17/2012 at 5:27 PM

Drumming illegal on the plaza...the power of music, as well as censorship and oppression, thanks police state!

Terrence, GFY.

Posted by let freedom run out on 01/17/2012 at 5:45 PM

Yes, Terrence! Good For You!

Posted by Jen Savage on 01/17/2012 at 7:40 PM

No boring, inattentive anonymous blog poster... music... drumming... power... freedom... still allowed.

If you're not paying attention... you're outraged.

It's cool, we got this one. Carry on.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/17/2012 at 10:14 PM

Oh terrence, How "savage" your attitude! So so sarcastic, so non-anon! Who'd have thunk those mere virtues alone could extract such intelligence! A regular Generation X Green Patriot to a tee, all for the freedom of business as usual. You're a dillwad, guy, hopeless case. Looked at your facebook today? Trick question, dumbass!

Posted by Gen X sold out. on 01/18/2012 at 9:11 AM

good points, all, anon.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/18/2012 at 9:26 AM

Terrence, I know! I like how people like you say things like "it's cool, we got this one" and your "bros" all being all hardcore and in control and stuff, so in-the-know, so many steps ahead! You "got this one"! WOOT!

Posted by Gen X sold out. on 01/18/2012 at 9:35 AM

Well, thankee, anon.

I was thinking that you and the anon community might go offline for the day to protest my anon-censorship drive while the people who use their names figure out the best way to open the Plaza back up to public access.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/18/2012 at 9:46 AM

Right, people like you, Terrence? When you say "we got this one", what exactly do you and your "bros" have?...other than your pants pulled down, bent over with a smile for the next round of bullshit the city is gonna shove in your ass? Dumbfuck.

Posted by Terrence McNally sold out. on 01/18/2012 at 9:54 AM

Well, that's just not very neighborly at all.

Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/18/2012 at 9:57 AM

Oh... I just figured out who you are. That guy.


Posted by Terrence McNally on 01/18/2012 at 10:50 AM

Hey terrence, shouldn't you be out saving the world or something instead of being on teh internetz like for what you made fun of me for? I'm "that guy", what does that make you?

Bu-bye, dumpling!

Posted by hey terrence on 01/18/2012 at 10:59 AM

Hey terrence, shouldn't you be out saving the world or something instead of being on teh internetz like for what you made fun of me for? I'm "that guy", what does that make you?

Bu-bye, dumpling!

Posted by hey terrence on 01/18/2012 at 10:59 AM
Showing 1-25 of 25

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