During the recent flap over prison realignment, local police departments welcomed the added workload like it was the Ebola virus. Tire tread on the Crown Victorias was wearing dangerously thin, they pleaded. Run them down any further, law enforcement brass warned, and 9-1-1 could go AWOL.
And so it goes with unfunded enforcement mandates issued forth from on high. Or does it?
In a curious about-face, the city of Eureka is suddenly rolling out the welcome wagon and putting on a fresh pot of Folgers for a certain class of suspects who the boys in blue would — depleted coffers be damned! — be most amenable to policing: Massage therapists.
Although officially advertised as the restorative cure-all for bad backs everywhere, "massage therapy" is acknowledged with winking familiarity as the Madison Avenue rebranding of a profession that ranks right up there among the world's very oldest, if you catch my meaning. The problem is existing legislation deems massage-compliance the province of an obscure capital backwater known as the California Massage Therapy Council. With bureaucrats policing rubdowns from a Sacramento cubicle farm, Eureka's finest have been about as busy as a dogcatcher in Pyongyang when it comes to keeping the peace behind Massageville's velvet curtain.
In other words, what to do if you were the innocent victim of a backrub that went unexpectedly carnal? Don't call the Eureka Police Department, try Jerry Brown instead.
In the minds of Eureka officialdom, John Q. Customer deserves better. An honest massage after church should be available, the thinking goes, without fear of the session transforming into a full-blown episode of Girls Gone Wild.
A bill circulating in Sacramento would restore enforcement to locals, placing control over the massage table to the Eureka badge. Keeping tabs on realignment prisoners drew torches and pitchforks. But the fellas will practically have to draw straws when it comes to policing Madam Aphrodite's Exotic Massage Palace.
Putting on its best Eddie Haskell charm offensive, the city council has even taken the unusual step of directing a letter from Mayor Frank Jager in support of the legislation (Assembly Bill 1147, the Massage Therapy Act of 2014). We need this law, Mayor Jager attests, so that local governments can prevent ersatz massage therapists from "engaging in prostitution."
What — Old Town's Third Street promenade isn't keeping the boys busy enough? Well, if all goes well, Seaport crime-fighters will soon be deploying their hands-on approach at Eureka's more than half dozen bordel — ahem — massage therapy offices.
At attention, ladies!
Can Crabs Manager Fill Big Shoes?
Saturday marked skipper Tyson Fisher's inaugural game at the helm of the good ship Humboldt Crabs. Fans delighted in the Crabs' 10-0 blowout of the Fairfield Indians, most viewing it as a sure omen of Fisher's winning ways.
But winning isn't everything. With the season barely one week old, the Crabs' notoriously discerning fans are already raising eyebrows at some of the new guy's uncouth habits.
Sources divulge, for example, that Fisher's ground crews were seen mowing the grass with indelicate, high-horsepower riding lawnmowers. The Crabs' previous manager — a man whose interest in grass reportedly was so keen that he grew it during his free time in custom, ventilated greenhouses — insisted that grass be hand-trimmed, its aromatic contents packed carefully into turkey bags.
Still other fans — nostalgic for past skippers' refined approach to America's pastime — are crying "foul" over Fisher's failure to assimilate. During Saturday's game, the rookie manager reportedly was overheard commanding a base runner to "steal" second base, upsetting fans put on edge by a past a past coach's affinity for embezzlement.
Critical fans are hopeful that Fisher can amend his ways prior to this weekend's three-game set versus the Seals at Arcata Ball Park.
Congrats to the Arcata High Class of 2014!
I would be remiss if I did not begin by telling you what a privilege and an honor it is to have been invited back once again this year as your commencement speaker.
As you stride across the stage today to receive your diploma, the first completely original and unique observation I want to make is that yours is not one small step for man, but one giant leap for mankind.
Always remember that as you enter college and the workplace, events we experience today actually share many abiding features with those of the past.
Choosing which college to attend, for example, can at times feel like an inner civil war — just like the one four-score and seven years ago, when our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation. It was a nation conceived in liberty, and — as I always say — it was a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Hmm. Wow — it's amazing, isn't it, the analogies you can come up with all by yourself? I mean, without Googling, YouTubing or anything.
Man, what a trip.
Anyway, it also occurs to me that the shifting sands of today's job market and political landscape are much akin to the Soviet Iron Curtain that once descended across Europe. And as I always say, today's young people should squarely confront their inner Soviet prime minister and declare, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Or, expressing the sentiment another way, but still completely in my own original words, "ich bin ein Berliner."
Moving along here — gotta' renovate the Downtowner, so I won't keep you long — but just the other day I had a dream, and when I awoke I had this unique, original and 100 percent authentic personal insight: That one day men will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I mean — wow — what a heavy thing to think up all by myself, you know?
Finally, as you young men and women of the Arcata High School graduating class of 2014 embark on this great journey called life, I want to leave you with a concept that personally came to me the other day: Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Because you have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Thank you, good luck and please remember me next November.
Perhaps Mensa Can Solve This Riddle?
It is a "news" website, yet it offers regular coverage of no governmental body. Its crimes-and-courts reporting consists of little but verbatim republication of law enforcement press releases. An inordinate amount of its content is produced by an individual known only as "Puff n Tuff." And it derives the lion's share of its funding, rumor has it, from a gambling casino.
Its very raison d'etre having eluded us average folks, the Lost Cause Outhouse news website laid out its cause for existence last Saturday before the local chapter of Mensa in hopes, one surmises, that an audience flush with pocket protectors could actually divine its mysterious purpose.
The confab — presented by Outhouse editor Hank Sims — touched on such topics, as a press release puts it, as "what it is," and "what it does." Hmm...
At press time, the best answer we can come up with is that "it" provides a sounding board for cranks who aren't familiar with Craigslist's Rants and Raves section. If any Mensa member has a better answer, would they kindly elucidate the rest of us? Thanks!
Ryan Hurley is a Eureka-based attorney. Follow him if you dare: @BuhneTribune.