Thursday, October 26, 2006

Exposing the NEW good-old-boys network

I hope you all take time to read all the way through Hank Sim's cover story in the North Coast Journal this week.

I almost didn't. I got part way through it and came to the mention of the "shadow group" Humboldt Business Council" and slammed my fist on the table.

Goddam it! No discussion of the so-called "Eureka Coalition for Jobs" or the so-called "Humboldt Business Council" is complete WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT THE SO-CALLED "ALLIANCE FOR ETHICAL BUSINESS", "LOCAL SOLUTIONS", AND ALL THE OTHER MORPHS OF SALZMAN -CONTROLLED "ACTION COMMITTEES"!

But LUCKILY I kept reading. Because Hank, for the first time, lays it out and EXPOSES the behind-the-scenes machinations that have influenced recent elections and are in play in the Eureka City Council races, the Eureka Mayor's race, and in the Supervisor's race.

Those who have been with me since the beginning of this whole thing know that the primary thing I asked was that BOTH SIDES of the story be told. Give the people all the information, and let them make an informed choice, but for God's sake tell them who is involved and what they are up to.

And Hank has done it.

Excerpt: "It's that the new boss, if it comes to that, is simply the flip side of the old boss. That point -- that La Vallee, Glass, Kuhnel and Abrams represent a new good-old-boys network, a nascent left-to-left-of-center political machine -- is just a little bit harder to explain away.
You can start with the basics. Their campaigns are coordinated; they all work together. They've all endorsed each other. To one degree or another, they've all cautiously expressed their skepticism of the Arkleys' Marina Center project for the Balloon Track, or disapproval at the city process that led us to this juncture. (Glass is the exception, perhaps -- he helped form a group, Citizens for Real Economic Growth, or CREG, that has been loudly critical of the Marina Center plan, though the candidate himself has tempered his public stance somewhat.) They've all been endorsed by the same lefty groups -- Local Solutions, the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee, the Eureka Greens. They have all been generously funded by Bill Pierson, owner of Pierson Building Center and therefore a man who would stand to lose considerably if the Marina Center, with its Home Depot big-box anchor store, comes to pass. (As has Supervisor Bonnie Neely, who is also up for reelection and has received a similar set of endorsements; her challenger, former Eureka Mayor Nancy Flemming, is likewise associated with the ticket headed by Bass. See "Supes On," the Journal's May 18 cover story, for a rundown of the candidates.)

Finally, there's the fact that Richard Salzman, the Trinidad political consultant and sworn enemy of Arkley, has played a large role in shaping the ticket. Salzman personally recruited Nan Abrams to run against Mike Jones in the Fifth Ward, as Abrams herself verified last week. La Vallee's campaign hired him this year. He works with Glass in the CREG effort, and, according to Glass, helped to remind Maria Hershey, a potential vote-splitter in the First Ward, to drop out of the race by deadline. Before Ron Kuhnel officially announced his candidacy for the Third Ward, Salzman approached Randall Herzon, another potential candidate, and asked him to drop out. Herzon eventually accepted Salzman's logic -- that a divided vote would ensure that Jeff Leonard would be reelected -- but is still galled that Salzman would pressure him to withdraw. (In the absence of the thoroughly sensible proposal to adopt instant runoff voting, or at least a return to citywide primaries, such pre-election machinations are perhaps inevitable.)

What does all this signify? It's not that the candidates in question are slavishly loyal to Salzman, or even to Pierson. "You don't run for city office without getting calls from Richard Salzman," said Ron Kuhnel last week, and as he said it he looked genuinely weary of such calls. He keeps his campaign apparatus separate from that of Glass and Abrams, even if he does cooperate with them, because of his discomfort at being thought of as a member of a "slate." But turnabout is fair play, and people who accuse Bass, Wolford, Leonard and Jones of being mere tools of Rob Arkley should be prepared to answer similar charges against their own candidates."

Read the whole story. And pass it on to everyone you know. It's good information, across the board. Both sides.

Related Stories:
TS - Let the Games Begin


  1. Sounds like some good information. I'm going to go read the whole article right now.

  2. Certainly casts Salzman in a better light than your slander.

  3. Thank you, richard. We needed to here that from you.

  4. What's your point?Chris Crawford is the same to the right(if not more)as Richard Salzman is to the left.Lame for Hank not to point that out.Rose,I expect bias from you.

  5. Chris Crawford has much less input or say on the right than you give him credit for.

    He's just another concerned citizen.

  6. Steve, that wasn't Richard ! It was R. Trent.

  7. Did I just see the word "kerfuffle" in both the Arcata Eye and in the Journal? Found this definition/article online...
    ‘Kerfuffle’ Befuddles
    Can you define ‘kerfuffle’? Neither could we, until the word caused a kerfuffle at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. A reporter used the word in an article, and some readers balked at seeing such an obscure word in their paper. Whatever happened to eschewing obfuscation? Bob talks to journalism writing coach Jim Stasiowski. (By the way, ‘kerfuffle’ means disorder, uproar, or confusion.)

  8. There is no one like Richard Salzman in Humboldt County.

    And, though Hank notes that "it's not that the candidates are 'slavishly loyal' to Salzman, or even Bill Pierson." I would contend that that is not the point. Most probably don't like him very much, he's pushy and he annoys them, they don't really like being associated with him but they feel they must - no, the point is not whether they are slavishly loyal, but whether they are BEHOLDEN.

    What happens when Salzman wants them to do a particular thing, and says "You owe me."

    But it isn't always that overt. He'll exert pressure by getting others to call and email, first to urge them to act or vote a certain way, or attend a certain event, or endorse another candidate or petition - then, if they balk, or fail to perform, he'll exert pressure again. This time the letters and emails will be more negative. And finally, they will become threatening. You may not even hear from Richard himself.

    Not only does he wield the power to raise money, but the power to cause trouble - to generate nasty letter writing campaigns (even if he does have to resort to writing them himself), and ultimately to recruit people to run against you, not necessarily to win, but to force you into a runoff, or to have to raise more money.

    How many of those candidates on the local solutions/Salzman/HCDCC/CERG slate have what it takes to stand up against him.

    I would venture to say - None. Because they knew what he was and they signed on anyway. That tells you alot.

  9. That simply shows you don't actually know all the candidates.

  10. I would assume you mean Kuhnel may have what it takes. OK. Maybe.

  11. Richard Salzman does not work with Local Solutions anymore. He won't work with them. They are too weak, and they don't do things his way. Why do you think Michael Twombly left the group? Michael and Richard are best friends.

    Haven't you seen the posts on the other blogs about how Nan has distanced herself from Local Solutions? Not from Richard though.

    You're right about everything Rose except that you oversimplify it. Something fishy is going on but you are wrong about the players.

  12. I do oversimplify it, because I have found that trying to explain the complexities right off the bat doesn't work. So I have been trying to lay the groundwork for understanding.

    Every day I get new pieces of the puzzle, more information about Team Salzman. I welcome new information. I put up an email link, and if you have something that can help, please get it to me.

  13. Well here's another piece: there is no TEAM SALZMAN. He operates solo cuz that is how he likes it. No permanent friends for him.

  14. He does not operate solo.

  15. your wrong Rose. He pulls people in to do his bidding but he is quick to cast them out when they don't go along with his desires. in that sense he does operate solo.

  16. I'm interested in hearing more - and curious to compare notes. Email me at There's a link on my profile, and should be one on the blog mainpage unless it gets wiped out by the change to beta.

    I agree he uses and discards people, but there is also an element that seems to have come with him.

    I've only begun to touch the surface of what he does, is doing, and why. Things like the Sacramento connections... haven't even started to get into that.


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