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Game of Groans



Has anyone else noticed the erroneous TV schedule listing for the Access Humboldt channel?

On the first and third Tuesday evenings of each month, for instance, Access's local government channel has apparently been airing old episodes of the Addams Family. According to my TV schedule, that time slot is supposed to be reserved for meetings of the Eureka City Council. Weird.

Not that I'm complaining. I can't get enough of my favorite character – the deadpan, Frankensteinian "monster." Although thinking back, I don't remember Lurch reading so many dull, civic proclamations into a microphone or, for that matter, constantly asking Morticia and Uncle Fester to vote on stuff.

Ranking the News

Is even-handed coverage of the marijuana industry important to you? If so, you're reading the right paper.

A master's thesis recently published by Humboldt State University student Ian Huddon-Cossar concludes that the North Coast Journal is "the most holistically informed" newspaper in Humboldt County when it comes to reporting on cannabis issues. Huddon-Cossar's methodology ranked papers lower for engaging in one-sided coverage (either pro-grower or pro-law-enforcement), and higher for more balanced reporting.

Based on articles published between 1995 and 2010, "Media Ownership and Cannabis In Humboldt County News Media" arrives at the unexpected conclusion that the most pro-police newspapers are those nearest the weed-industry epicenter: Southern Humboldt Life and Times and Redwood Times. Huddon-Cossar singles these publications out for parroting law enforcement orthodoxy in covering marijuana issues.

Were Huddon-Cossar's findings inclusive of the 2014 media landscape, one wonders what his analysis would make of online outlets that seemingly publish a sheriff's press release for every single weed bust from Ettersburg to Orleans.

I mean, is it really news when someone goes to Death Valley and gets a sunburn??? What Goes Up...

Are you doing everything possible to pollute Humboldt Bay?

If you're a lucky resident of Arcata or Humboldt Hill — and own a toilet — chances are you've already made your "contribution" to spoiling Humboldt's tidal waters.

For everyone else, it's time to dig deep. For a limited time only, your tax-deductible contribution can help poison the harbor, while celebrating the birth of our country — all at the same time!

Having raised only half of the $30,000 needed to ensure showers of toxic junk will explode on schedule over bay waters this Fourth of July, Eureka's annual Independence Day fireworks drive is pleading for your support.

Tree-hugger types warn that your generous donation could end up celebrating the red (strontium), white (aluminum) and blue (copper) in ways you probably hadn't imagined (do you take percholates with your patriotism?) above the skies of Woodley Island.

While studies do not link fireworks with any long-term health effects, it doesn't take a scientist to tell us that when you blow up a veritable children's chemistry set, it's gotta' come down somewhere.

Cyndy Day-Wilson: A Star Is Born?

A late member of the Eureka City Council has leveled disturbing charges of dishonesty against the city attorney, setting off speculation about the professional consequences of fibbing to the boss.

In a three-page affidavit and an accompanying investigative report released a month after his death, Lance Madsen all but accuses Cyndy Day-Wilson of dangling from a telephone wire, pants fully engulfed.

The affidavit centers on former police officer Madsen's looksie into the circulation of a memo supposedly authored by erstwhile City Manager William Panos. Ms. Day-Wilson leaked the confidential, council-eyes-only memorandum to city staff, Madsen declares, casting a dark cloud over City Hall.

Although claiming never to have read it himself, the emotional devastation unleashed by the Panos Dossier upon city rank-and-file led Madsen to the daring conclusion that the memo probably didn't say, "Surprise! Everyone gets a free iPad!"

But the question is, even if the allegations against Ms. Day-Wilson are proven true, can she be sent packing?

You decide: The city attorney is one of just three city employees who serve "at the pleasure" of the city council (the other two are the city manager and city clerk). The city attorney's employment terms are — unlike almost every other city employee — governed not by union regulations or an MOU, but by a simple, 12-page contract between the employee and city council.

Under the heading "Termination and Severance Pay," the contract provides that the council reserves the right to terminate Ms. Day-Wilson's employment for cause and "without liability for any severance pay whatsoever" for, among other enumerated breaches, "any acts of dishonesty."

According to Madsen, this wasn't just any act of dishonesty — say, a white lie to opposing counsel or a disgruntled citizen — but one right to the face of a sitting councilman.

Although Madsen sadly succumbed to illness in April, he "names names" of potentially corroborating witnesses. At this time, neither the city council as a whole nor Ms. Day-Wilson have commented on the charges.

My question is, "Why not?" This thing has a huge upside!

Should the council conclude that she fibbed and isn't so enthralled with the click-clack of her Donna Karans, it's probably true that Ms. Day-Wilson won't be nominated for Citizen of the Month.

But think about it: She could star in a remake of the 1997 Jim Carrey comedy, Liar, Liar. An actual (or as the case may be, former) attorney would be perfect in the role of the underhanded lawyer who undergoes an "awakening" to tell the truth.

Barring that — and provided she keeps her law license — Ms. Day-Wilson could always get work at another municipality. But she may want to start her search a little ways down the food chain.

Anyone know if the Palm Springs Snow Removal District is hiring?

Ryan Hurley is a Eureka-based attorney. Follow him if you dare: @BuhneTribune.Ryan Hurley

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