Monday, April 04, 2005

Humboldt County No Confidence Movement Update

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors

The Supes are meeting again this Tuesday, beginning at 9am. The published agenda shows the Election Department report as item E, preceded by what looks like several hours worth of business. Since I can't imagine they'd be held up in the Supervisors' Chambers all day, I intend to call the Election Department on Monday to see when they plan to leave their office. I will post and circulate another announcement when I can make a more specific request for your presence.

The current agenda makes reference to a non-existent document to download, though it is labeled identically to the doc that can be successfully accessed through the 3/15/05 agenda. This is where the Elections Department decries their situation and bemoans not knowing what to recommend. That is, they feel pressured under the 1/1/06 deadline imposed by the federal HAVA (Help America Vote Act) calling for standards meeting the needs of disabled voters, but they can't make a comprehensive proposal of how the County should spend about $1.9 million because there are no good clear options. It would seem to be a point of agreement with GuvWurld.

Front page, below the fold headline from the 3/22 SoHum Independent:

County in 'Near Crisis' Over Election System Changes

The "near crisis" phrase was pulled from a quote by Elections Clerk Carolyn Crnich. The label applies not only to Humboldt County, according to Crnich, but to the state of California. Again, absent the context, we might appear to concur.

Also of note, County Elections Manager Lindsey McWilliams claims that tested touch screen machines performed at 100% accuracy. The basic laws of statistics, and the general concept of margin for error, make this hard to accept; it is almost laughable considering the performance of touch screen machines everywhere else. What is more, McWilliams writes off the need for a security audit of how election equipment is stored...because he acknowledges the failing grade required due to the "unfettered access" of the Public Works department.

We'll be doing some preparation for Tuesday's Supes meeting at the Voter Confidence Committee's gathering tonight (Monday 4/4), 7pm, Liquid Cafe on Myrtle (Burre Center/Eureka). Also check out the VCC pages Scott has built into the Realizing Community site.

In Eureka:

City Councilmembers Chris Kerrigan and Mike Jones have agreed to co-sponsor a town hall forum on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). It will be at the Wharfinger Building on Eureka's waterfront, April 28, 6pm. I am working with the Voter Confidence Committee to plan and promote the event and this is also an agenda item for tonight's meeting. We need volunteers and the meeting is THE place to find out what you can do.

In Arcata:

To recap, versions 5.1 and 5.2 of the No Confidence Resolution have both been submitted to the City Council. On Feb. 2, Councilmember Paul Pitino moved that the Council consider the resolution at the next meeting. Councilmembers Dave Meserve and Harmony Groves announced they would form a subcommittee to revise the resolution and that it would come forward at an undeclared future date. Because the City of Arcata then sponsored a town hall forum on another topic, which Meserve lobbied for heavily, No Confidence was placed on the back burner. I spoke with Meserve at the end of last week and he said the other matter was likely to be temporarily resolved either when Council meets on 4/6 or 4/20. So it looks like it will be May before the Council deals with No Confidence. It seems Meserve may have been looking to Groves to take the first steps in editing the resolution. He encouraged me to contact her and I hope to do so this week.


Letters to the editor of all Humboldt publications (see Kathryn Hedge's great piece from the Arcata Eye which also gets into the Arcata topic I vaguely reference above).

Calls to all Supes, and Councilmembers in both Eureka and Arcata. Click HERE for contact info.

Click HERE for more ways to help.



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