Conservative Sweep?

Glass out; Bass, Jager, Brady win in Eureka -- most everything else too close to call

| November 04, 2010
Matthew Owen, husband of Virginia Bass, rallies supporters at Avalon.
Matthew Owen, husband of Virginia Bass, rallies supporters at Avalon.
- Photo by Andrew Goff
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In Eureka, conservatives won big, with Virginia Bass overthrowing six-term supervisor Bonnie Neely. First Ward Concilmember Larry Glass looked to be decisively beaten by businesswoman Marian Brady -- a huge upset that surprised many, including Glass himself. And Measure N, the ballot measure/referendum that cleared the way for the Marina Center development, at least insofar as city government is concerned, looked as if it were headed toward a big win.

Of all the Eureka races, only one remained in doubt: the three-way Third Ward contest. At press time, Mike Newman and Ron Kuhnel were neck-and-neck, each with about 43 percent of the vote. Xandra Manns trailed far behind, with 13 percent.

Proposition O, a Eureka citywide half-cent sales tax increase, was headed to easy victory.

When the third-round results, which included all but one Eureka precinct, were announced, Bass' husband Matthew Owen clinked his glass to call the assembled revelers to attention in Eureka's Avalon restaurant. He read off the latest numbers for Bass and Brady, both of whom were in attendance, to massive cheers, hugs and woo-hoos.

Meanwhile, other races around the county were mostly too close to call at press time, owing to the extraordinarily late count at the Humboldt County Elections Office. High turnout and a complicated two-page ballot meant long turnaround times for new results Tuesday night.

Fifth District Supervisorial candidates Patrick Cleary and Ryan Sundberg were all but tied in the early results, with Sundberg showing a very slight lead. But almost no precincts had reported by press time, and it was way too early to call anything.

The contentious race for District Attorney started out looking like a breeze for challenger Allison Jackson, who opened up a 19-point lead in the early absentee and vote-by-precinct results. But that lead narrowed throughout the night, down to 9 points by the time the Journal went to press, with half the precincts counted countywide.

Assistant Assessor Mari Wilson looked to pull off a big upset against Johanna Rodoni in their race to be Humboldt County's new assessor. Rodoni had raised and spent over $100,000 in her quest for the office; by the end of the night, it was clear that it was all for naught.

In Arcata, absentee results showed incumbent city councilmembers Mark Wheetley and Alex Stillman with big leads, though no precinct results had been counted either.

The Election Office was slammed at the lunch hour. Citizens were dropping off ballots as the phones rang and rang, while a beefed-up elections staff scurried from place to place carrying sheaves of papers. County Clerk-Recorder Carolyn Crnich was down in the basement with the tabulation equipment, fiddling with a computer in preparation for the count to come.

There had been a couple of minor snafus that morning. A school lockdown in McKinleyville interrupted voting at Morris Elementary for about 15 minutes at around 9 a.m. More seriously, it turned out that ballots for two precincts -- Loleta and the Ferndale outskirts -- had been printed upside-down. The tabulation machines would not accept them. Crnich estimated that around 100 votes were cast at these locations before the problem was corrected. Those votes would have to be transferred to new ballots before they could be counted.

At noon, the office had about 1,500 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots that would not be counted on election night. That compared with about 14,760 votes that had already been delivered and counted, and which would be released shortly after polls closed.

"The [remaining] absentee ballots probably won't be counted for another couple of weeks," said Crnich late Tuesday evening.

At around 7:30 p.m., Gallegos campaign strategist Richard Salzman led a dwindling team of phone-bankers still trying to get voters to the polls. The lights were out at Jackson H.Q. Earlier in the day, while rallying with her supporters at the courthouse, Jackson said that her people would not be conducting an extensive Get Out The Vote campaign. They had gotten their message to the people and that should have been enough, she said.

Then the first results were posted, and they brought ghastly news for area progressives. Absentee ballots always skew conservative, but these were particularly so. Jackson had opened up a 17-point lead over Gallegos; Bass a 29-point lead over Neely; every Eureka city race showed conservative candidates with very healthy leads.

The Eureka City Council meeting ran long during the night, continuing right on through the first round of results. Bass was presiding over the meeting as mayor; councilmembers Larry Glass and Frank Jager, both of them on the ballot, were trapped there as well. Candidates Ron Kuhnel and Marian Brady came through council chambers before moving out to their parties.

"It's election night -- I gotta see what's goin' on," Kuhnel said. To which Bass responded, "Let us know, will ya?"

About an hour later, the meeting was over and Glass was on his way out to the car. The absentee results showed him trailing challenger Marian Brady 64-36.

"Sounds pretty grim," Glass said.

"Is this surprising to you?" a reporter asked.

"I certainly didn't go into this expecting to lose."

"Is there still time to turn it around?"

"I dunno. That sounds pretty bad." He climbed into his car and took off.

The only person bucking the trend on the left side of the aisle was Fifth District Supervisorial candidate Patrick Cleary, who trailed his opponent, Ryan Sundberg, by about two and a half points -- a safe place to be at, given the absentees' typical conservative skew. "It's a good sign," Cleary said upon arriving to his campaign party at Six Rivers in McKinleyville.

Meanwhile, at Avalon, a crowd of about 40 celebrated their candidates' early leads. Richard Marks, Supervisorial candidate Virginia Bass' campaign manager, was ecstatic at the early returns. "This isn't a referendum, it's a demand," Marks said.

Bass herself was only cautiously optimistic, despite a nearly 30-point lead over incumbent Bonnie Neely. "It's a small percentage of votes, but it's looking good," she said. Likewise, Jager didn't let his 25-point lead rile him too much. "It looks really positive," he said. "It's preliminary, but there's more and more people voting absentee. We won't really know anything until the second and third wave come in."

"I fucking hate politics," said Joan Gallegos, the incumbent district attorney's wife, at his Lost Coast Brewery shindig.

 

Reporting by Ryan Burns, Bob Doran, Andrew Goff, John Osborn, Jennifer Savage and Hank Sims.

Frank Jager and supporter
Frank Jager and supporter
- Photo by Ryan Burns
Marian Brady
Marian Brady
- Photo by Ryan Burns
Ryan Sundberg
Ryan Sundberg
- Photo by Bob Doran
Patrick Cleary talks with Mark Lovelace
Patrick Cleary talks with Mark Lovelace
- Photo by Bob Doran
Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich processes election results late Tuesday night while Eddie Perez of Hart Intercivic — the Austin, Texas, company that provided the county's voting system — calls out the time of the latest precinct report.
Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich processes election results late Tuesday night while Eddie Perez of Hart Intercivic — the Austin, Texas, company that provided the county's voting system — calls out the time of the latest precinct report.
- Photo by Ryan Burns

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Comments (33)

Showing 1-25 of 33

A more accurate title would be "Progressive Defeat" rather than "Conservative Sweep." Everyone who won in Eureka is a registered Democrat!

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Posted by Mayor of Henderson Center on 11/04/2010 at 11:30 AM

Newman wasn't. But I think we're past the point where the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" accurately describe Humboldt County's true political parties.

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Posted by hanksims on 11/04/2010 at 11:55 AM

Mayor of Nothing, Newman's a Decline to State, Jaeger's a Republican, I think Madsen is a Dem and Brady's a Dem. So is what you meant to say "Half the people who won in Eureka are registered Democrats"? Think, man, Think.

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/04/2010 at 12:10 PM

I don't think the liberal/conservative narrative fits. Glass is an arrogant, pompous, know-it-all boob with a propensity for bullying and denigrating City staff. Neely is an out-of-touch bureaucrat who cares more about cronies and special interests than her district. La Vallee's hallmark as Mayor was his alliance with an Arcata-ish ideological fringe. Jager is that rarest of breeds, a moderate and pragmatic Republican. Bass is a centrist who left the Republican party in spite of her family's long-standing ties to it. Brady is a Democrat. Measure N arose as a response to the bureaucratic arrogance of the Coastal Commission.

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Posted by Thirdeye on 11/04/2010 at 11:28 PM

Big money in politics seems dirty to me. I had to shower after hearing the results this week. Was it just me, or was it blantanly obvious that Arkely sunk a ton of money into these races?

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Posted by LostinHumboldt on 11/05/2010 at 9:30 AM

I dunno, Thirdeye. If namecalling is your thing, there's plenty of that to go around. I'm not sure it can pass for analysis either way.

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Posted by hanksims on 11/05/2010 at 9:39 AM

And yet, Eureka's winners were early supporters of LNG, Wal-mart, then Home Depot, hardly your typical democrats. As always, the big story goes unreported. How many eligible voters don't even register? That pathetic 66% turnout is probably far under 50%, rendering ALL the political pontification irrelevant.

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/05/2010 at 3:41 PM

Namecalling, Hank? Like using the blanket label "conservative" for pragmatic, solutions-oriented candidates who don't toe a certain ideological line? Glass, Neely, and La Vallee earned their descriptions with their actions. This is from someone who donated to the DSCC quite heavily this year. Nationally, the morons are on the right. Locally, the morons are on the left.

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Posted by Thirdeye on 11/05/2010 at 4:47 PM

Yes, Thirdeye - your polemic masquerading as analysis is quite amusing. The fact that you call candidates who talk about jobs but don't deliver them, after years in public service "pragmatic, solutions-oriented candidates," speaks volumes about your perceptions and level of intellectual honesty. Being for more redundant retail and oligarchic, old backroom-style throwback Eureka politics makes you neither "pragmatic" nor "solutions-oriented."

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Posted by Neal Latt on 11/06/2010 at 1:28 AM

Good morning, Mr. Latt. Lovely fall day, isn't it? I'm curious about a couple of things. Which candidate are you referring to as talking jobs but not delivering them after years in public service? The one who was a County Supervisor for 24 years? That's the only one in this year's crop that had any significant tenure. What oligarchic, backroom style politics are referring to? Surely you don't mean Bill Pierson colluding with Baykeeper and lobbying the Coastal Commission, do you? Or are you referring to the ballot measure that was passed by 69% of Eureka voters? Recruiting that percentage of voters into an oligarchy through back-slapping backroom deals must have been no mean feat. Lastly, what is redundant about a retail establishment that would provide locally what people currently go to Crescent City or online for?

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Posted by Thirdeye on 11/06/2010 at 10:15 AM

I was surprized Glass lost but that's probally because he lied when he said he was for businesses & for the Marina Center particuarly when he said these things as the election grew closer . As for , LaVallee & Kuhnel I'm glad these drunkards lost . Kuhnel is shutting down Cannabis dispensaries while he admits to his addiction to drugs ( Beer ) did not make any sense . LaValle & him are liars , too .

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/07/2010 at 11:54 AM

Here's a demand for you, Richard Marks: stop over-developing our county. You obviously hate Humboldt County, or you wouldn't want to transform it into another generic big city. Why don't you just move to a place that already worships money and development and leave us alone. You and your ilk are destroying Humboldt County. Get the fuck out of town, asshole.

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Posted by Auntie Arkley on 11/07/2010 at 12:37 PM

"Why don’t you just move to a place that already worships money and development and leave us alone. You and your ilk are destroying Humboldt County. Get the fuck out of town, asshole." Dear Auntie Arkley. I think 69% of Eureka just voted in favor of development and I believe that the message is loud and clear that it's time for you anti-job, anti-development, so called "progressives" to as you put it: "get the fuck out of town."

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Posted by Another Arkley Stuge on 11/07/2010 at 1:59 PM

Go talk to random people on the street about the Marina Center. See for yourself just how many of them knew what kind of details about what they were made to believe they were voting for with Measure N. Pretty blue signs with a sailboat, the nice name, parks by the water to have a picnic with the family, how relaxing. Very few people know Marina Center is just a fancy way of saying shopping mall/apartment complexes funded by an international bank. A bank that's in some serious lawsuite trouble right now too. Be sure to tell people about the real issues behind the nice blue signs and comfortable name, see what they think then.

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Posted by $$$ bought the N vote on 11/07/2010 at 3:23 PM

Go talk to random people on the street about the Marina Center. See for yourself just how many of them knew what kind of details about what they were made to believe they were voting for with Measure N. Pretty blue signs with a sailboat, the nice name, parks by the water to have a picnic with the family, how relaxing. Very few people know Marina Center is just a fancy way of saying shopping mall/apartment complexes funded by an international bank. A bank that’s in some serious lawsuite trouble right now too. Be sure to tell people about the real issues behind the nice blue signs and comfortable name, see what they think then Ok then...so tell us what you know and how it should be different.

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Posted by mary on 11/08/2010 at 4:38 PM

Matthrew Owens = another Pot bellied alcoholic . We could care less what this drunk says ...

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/09/2010 at 12:13 PM

Well you cared enough about him to bring up his name, lolzzz.

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Posted by p on 11/09/2010 at 12:51 PM

You're wrong, 12:13...I COULDN'T care less what that guy has to say. :P**

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Posted by Not P on 11/09/2010 at 1:50 PM

The point is that he's drinking while he was being photographed . THIS SENDS A WRONG MESSAGE to Children that it's OK to get intoxicated & worse yet , sends a message to Children that it's OK to drink & get in a car and drive . Shame on you , Mr. Owens .

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/10/2010 at 7:37 PM

Yes, let's all stop drinking at celebrations.

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Posted by Joel Mielke on 11/11/2010 at 7:37 AM

Yes , stop alcoholism . This drug was found in a recent study to cause more harm & addiction to society than Heroin or Meth . There is more deaths , crime & murder involving alcohol than there are all " hard " drugs combined . So , Joel you need to get away from your old fashioned ideas before you kill yourself or someone else . Is it OK to celebrate with alcohol get in your car & drive or to show kids it's OK to get drunk ? Sounds to me your pretty old & have been brainwashed to believe when you celebrate you must drink & get drunk . Are you really that stupid ? THIS SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE TO CHILDREN .

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/11/2010 at 8:07 AM

.......or are you really , Matthew trying to justify you problem with alcohol ?

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Posted by Anonymous on 11/11/2010 at 8:33 AM

"…….or are you really ," Either Jerry Droz has become a Puritan, or the teetotalitarian Anonymous has oddly similar problems typing.

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Posted by Joel Mielke on 11/11/2010 at 11:13 AM

It doesn't matter what he's saying in that pic, all he's thinking is "I am SO getting laid tonight!"

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Posted by losers won on 11/11/2010 at 11:21 AM

Either Jerry Droz has become a Puritan, or the teetotalitarian Anonymous has oddly similar problems typing.
Ah, good call!

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Posted by hanksims on 11/11/2010 at 11:54 AM
Showing 1-25 of 33

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