Some People Just Talk; Some People Walk the Walk: How SoHum Is Dealing With Crime

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A shattered needle that members of LOP believed was dropped by a drug addict. [Photo provided by Melissa Sutherland.]

At first Tara Sutherland of Southern Humboldt Locals on Patrol thought the glint of white on the asphalt in front of the Garberville Courthouse Monday night was a shattered pen but, as she drew close, she realized what it was.

“There’s a needle here,” she warned. Sutherland and eight others were walking as part of their night patrol after their first town meeting this year.

The group gathered round the needle. One group member opened a large pack containing everything from food and hand warmers for the homeless to garbage bags meant to contain discarded items snapped up with their trash grabbers. Out came a sealed container designed to hold needles dropped by drug addicts in town.

“Number 52,” said Melissa Sutherland, sister to Tara. “I’ll have to buy another pencil.” As a visual reminder of the dangers they clear from the town streets, she puts a pencil in a large jar every time they find a discarded needle. This September when LOP (Locals on Patrol) have been patrolling Garberville for one entire year, she plans to donate the pencils to students at the local school.

Earlier that evening, the group had met with Supervisor Estelle Fennell, Sergeant Jesse Taylor of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Connie Beck of the Department of Health and Human Services and about 75 of their fellow townsfolk. They had a list of concerns they wanted to address. Chief among them was the increasing public signs of drug use in the town.

Tara Sutherland, one of the founding members of the group which started last fall said, “People are shooting up in daylight on the streets.”

“We can watch drug runners come from certain rooms” in the motels, said business owner Beth Allen.

John Earp who runs the 76 station in town complained, “I have customers come in saying, ‘What is going on in town. We were scared to come in…I wouldn’t even have stopped if I had known it was like this.'”

“That affects your business,” he added.

“We used to be a tourist town,” said Beth Allen. “Now our Yelp reviews for our town are terrible. Our tourist business has dropped off.”

But LOP working in conjunction with Fennel, Taylor and Beck is trying to address the issues.

One possible solution to motels harboring drug sellers and other law breakers was a proposed ordinace that could be passed for the unincorporated areas of the county such as Garberville similar to the one that closed the Blue Heron Motel in Eureka–an ordinance that would allow for the assessment of fines on motels that had too many law enforcement issues.

Another solution proposed was putting together a MIST unit (Mobile Intervention Service Team.) Fennell said that with that unit in place, officers and experts in mental health come to the area and become more deeply involved. They look for people with serious mental health issues and build trust with clients over time. “They just get to know that person” and their issues, Supervisor Fennell said.

John Anderson, a Mental Health Clinician stationed in the community pointed out that sometimes when services are presented, there have been few willing to take help. “I’ve been out on our streets along with my case manager…offering services,” he said, “but the response, if any, is very, very minimal.”

Sergeant Taylor said that Sheriff’s Department had just gone through “a massive hiring phase.” He explained, “Our staffing level is improving.”  In addition, he was working on getting more officers for the area. “I’m Southern Humboldt’s biggest cheerleader,” he stated.

To the crowd’s pleased astonishment, he announced that officers like to work this area. “Garberville is a coveted spot,” he said.

The board of LOP agreed that over the last few months the Sheriff’s Office was more visible and more responsive.

“We have noticed a huge difference,” said Tara Sutherland. “Thank you for that.” But she also noted during the meeting that the area needed a resident deputy and “we really need 24 hour coverage.”

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Tara Sutherland wearing the LOP green vest informs two men sitting on a railing that the town has a no loitering policy.

After the meeting as the crowd drifted away, Sutherland and LOP donned their green Locals on Patrol vests. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday they gather in Garberville at 6 p.m. for a patrol through the town. On Wednesday, they meet at three when children get off the school bus. Because of the meeting, they headed out on patrol later than normal.

Sutherland, four months pregnant, didn’t appear to hesitate when seeing people in violation of the group’s standards.  She admonished firmly but politely two men sitting on a railing in front of a business.

When the man offered excuses, one of the members of LOP pointed to a damaged part of the rail and stated that the business owner didn’t want people sitting there as it could harm his building.

When the man didn’t move quickly, another member asked him about his instrument case. When he opened it to reveal a violin, the woman complimented it and spoke to him quietly about its beauty.

Eventually, the two men left. Though they obviously would have preferred to remain where they were, the interaction between LOP and loiterers was non-confrontational.

As the group walked through town they were greeted once by residents with applause and shouted encouragement. Sometimes community members hand them money to help with expenses, said Tara Sutherland. Earlier that evening at the meeting, she had told the gathering that many in the community were angry and ready to strike out because of the deteriorating situation in their town. She was worried about violence and that, she said, is why LOP was organized. “We are the final step before the vigilantes come out,” she declared.

During the meeting, Sutherland had repeatedly requested support. “Be our backbone,” she asked the assembled crowd. Without community support, she said, LOP would not be able to function. Sutherland addressed the gathered business owners asking them to step up and support the group’s efforts to move loiterers out of doorways and off railings by coming outside their businesses and standing in solidarity beside the group members.

“We want [those violating the group’s standards] to know our community is backing us,” she said. She also asked for community members to join the patrols so they have the required four person team.

Right now the small group seems strong. The gathering on Monday was relatively large for such a little town.

But whether or not the Locals on patrol will get the support needed to keep the group vibrant and a force for order in the community depends a lot on who is willing to help. As local resident Traci Bear Thiele said, “Some people just talk and some people walk the walk.”

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190 comments

  • The man in the background is Charlie, he is a local and lives by Steel head Creek in Alderpoint, He plays his violin in town, never any trouble from him, He is an asset to the community.

    • He was quite sweet but insisted that by sitting there he was keeping others from sitting there…which seemed logically a little twisted to me. But I also find street musicians an asset that should be encouraged.

      • I suspect that Charlie finds the “NO Sitting” sign challenging… He’s been right there every time I’ve seen him in town… We should buy him a folding chair… No chairs out front at Flavors in the winter.

    • Charlie Duh! Harassing locals. He never causes any problems! He owns property here. He comes to patronize town & practices his instument! Get to know who lives here & not just your friends! Great your trying to improve things but your policy of not loitering is BS. I dont like the junkies on the street either but this is the 5th story i have heard about someone being harassed!!! Yes harassed by town patrol. Stories from non junkie locals who stopped to talk to a friend inbetween businesses and asked to leave. People working at businesses in town on a smoke break have been harassed too. Like i said get to know who works in town n others that live here besides your family n friends! This is an unincorporated town. Town really doesnt have a LEGAL policy of no loitering so your actually vulnerable towards a lawsuit. Sure owners let you post signs but your enforcement has crossed the line too many times. Maybe consider more research & a lawyer for your protection! Your gonna need it someday with these tactics you follow.
      PS. Im not posting my name cause im afraid of being harassed by patrol for having a difference of opinion.

      • I like street musicians and I’d like to encourage them not discourage. That said, I’d tell my kid, who is much lighter, not to sit on that rail. It’s showing signs of damage from people using it as a chair.

        • Thats fine but he plays his instrument in several locations in town where there is no railing sat upon. They gonna make him leave those spots too? People working in town on smoke breaks weren’t sitting on railings. Are they gonna ask Rays food workers to not sit on that wall in between parking lots & not smoke during their breaks?

          • There is a sign placed there by the shop owner, asking that people not sit on the rail. The rail is being damaged. Charlie is a great person, and has been playing his violin around town since long before I moved here 21 years ago. He should know better than to encourage people to go against the shop owners wishes. His sitting there encourages others to sit there, and to ignore all signs, placed by all shop owners. It does not hurt him in any way to abide by the shop owners wishes. He CAN easily change and we CAN clean up our town, and win our tourists back.

            • Ok ok. I get there was a railing there & a sign but what about when he plays somewhere else?That’s not ok? Is anyone allowed to patronize town anymore or just your family & friends? And what is considered proper use of town. What about the group of Christains i know who were done eating, talking in front of their cars after they ate. Were told to move on? What about workers on their smoke breaks who been harassed? Last i checked this was PROFILING not cleaning. Sorry! Ya’ll need some better training and an overview of the law. This can help protect your group when ya’ll cross the line with the wrong person. Didn’t John Casali move to avoid a lawsuit? From a young woman, who claimed having a miscarriage after he dumped their camp in the trash? He was trying to clean up town before ANYONE CARED!!! He didnt follow law accordingly and it cost this nice man.So from what i have experienced and heard about Town Patrol, they are setting themselves up for trouble. Not knowing the difference of what is and is not allowed by LAW. By the look & sound of it, they have bent it too many times to their liking. Thats fine right now but in court its not and they dont care how frustrated you are about the situation, if one of your patrol crosses the line in the wrong way, it can become a problem like poor John encountered.

              • We know Charlie, he lives near my grandparents. We have never harassed him while doing anything. That night all we asked of him was not to be sitting on the railing which behind him said, “please do not sit on railing.”

              • This is a joke. Really? Charlie is a good man. The only problem I’ve ever had with him is when he drives to slow down AP road. lol and that’s a good thing.! Ya know this “LOP” thing is alright, but come one guys! You don’t deserve respect being pushy rent a cops. Obviously a pack of eight of you is going to be intimidating no matter how polite you are. Especially to people who aren’t all there, mentally that is. Once again weird fascist views against hippys that have been here way longer then the people on LOP had been born.
                What a JOKE!

      • Garberville and Redway are not incorporated…that’s one of the reasons why we can’t get anything done down here.

    • Smell the coffee, not charlie!

      No trouble? Really? Just try eating your food (he loiters at this restaurant often) after catching a whiff of this Charlie. He always smells powerfully atrocious.

    • The Penal Code on Loitering……………

      PENAL CODE
      SECTION 653.20-653.28

      653.20. For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions
      apply:

      (b) “Public place” means an area open to the public, or an alley,
      plaza, park, driveway, or parking lot, or an automobile, whether
      moving or not, or a building open to the general public, including
      one which serves food or drink, or provides entertainment, or the
      doorways and entrances to a building or dwelling, or the grounds
      enclosing a building or dwelling.
      (c) “Loiter” means to delay or linger without a lawful purpose for
      being on the property and for the purpose of committing a crime as
      opportunity may be discovered.

    • Looks Good On Paper

      But he didn’t “meet the groups standards,” which I find the most interesting part of this story. Is it based on physical appearance? Conformist vs. non-conformist attitudes, ideas, or speech? Perceived economic status? Liability issues? Signage with no legal standing? Signage with legal standing? Cleanliness? Smelliness? Education level? Apparel? Frequency of presence? Mental capabilities? Sour-notes? The stated qualification of these “Group Standards” would be an interesting follow-up. What are the rules? Are they legal? Are they applied across the board? Additionally, loitering laws/trespassing laws can only be enforced after a property owner/controlling interest asks the person to leave– who doesn’t– then contacting LE, and upon arrival and complaint also having them directly ask the person to leave, and then the “offending” person refusing the stated requests from both the private party and LE. People who do not own or legally control the property have no standing with respect to “policing” another’s property or city/county/state/federal property. One negative incident initiated from either side– and it’s clear there is a division of thought– and someone is inheriting a litigation nightmare. Speaking of litigation, keeping a broken railing broken when it is clearly a hazard and then advertising it on social media is, well, not all that productive.

  • We need cameras in town with feeds back to the sheriff station which should be manned 24 hours. Still waiting for Prop Z funding for 24 hour deputy coverage. Most of the junkies, tweakers and transients are not from this area. If they can’t prove that they live here, they should be bussed up to Eureka where there are services for them. It is unfair that So Hum has to put up with this plague and it does not make sense that the county can’t even give us ONE deputy for 24 hour coverage. I would think that the loss of businesses and tourist dollars would be hurting the tax base and that the county would get more proactive about the situation down here. Seriously, most of these transients are from somewhere else…why should we have to suffer at the hands of these undesirables?

    • I can list a dozen local junkies & alcoholics on the street here in so hum

    • “If they can’t prove that they live here, they should be bussed up to Eureka where there are services for them.” NEWS FLASH! This is America! It’s citizens have the right to move about freely. Luckily for you, me, and every other citizen it is not a country that allows towns to remove citizens simply because they are not from that town.

      • Well said!

      • Okay…what’s your solution? We remove law-breaking citizens from society all the time.

        • I’m not claiming to have a solution, nor am I claiming that we don’t remove law- breaking citizens from society. Being homeless or transient, whatever we call it, whether by choice or not, is not illegal in this country.

          • I agree finding a solution is difficult. What has been the solution of choice in many places has been the passage of laws that in essence make it very difficult to be without a house. This is referred to as the criminalization of homelessness.

            The motel ordinance in Eureka closed down the motel, how many people were arrested for crimes? How many people were evicted because of the activities of others? A resident who reports a crime in the motel is not only risking the revenge from those reported, but also loss of housing.

            http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/civil-rights/

        • The solution is called ‘due process’, the legal variety, not ‘whoever I don’t want hanging around’..and all society has a long sad history of this same sort of polite vigilantism.
          Plenty of Americans of many descriptions were asked to move along for their own good as well. The Constitution and it’s due process functions protect us from just such abuses as forced removals.
          ‘Due process’..that has been the USA’s positive solution for a long time, it should work for you and for me.

      • we're not really free.....

        Maybe you would be a good person to remind san fran and other cities about your views and to stop bussing their “unwanted” up to our area.

    • Are you nuts? BIG BROTHER will only encourage the fascism into which we are rapidly descending. We do not need the fucking sheriff watching our every move. Set up cameras for your business if you must but keep the government out of it.

    • There is no apparent reason to wait for measure Z funding. According to this http://thclive.net/2016/02/13/county-announces-extra-2-million-dollars-in-measure-z-funding-new-tax-in-same-day/
      The County failed to spend $2 million Measure Z taxes collected in the first year. One would think that that $2 Million would fund a deputy or two.

  • Oh, and can we please replace Estelle Fennell on the Board of Supervisors? I cannot think of a single thing that she’s done for us except cost us $87,000 dollars for her salary. Our roads suck, the transient/drug zombie situation is out if control, and the treatment of Southern Humboldt as the pesky skunk living under the house is, frankly, tiresome at this point. The only time I heard Estelle deal with the transients is when she got involved with cleaning up underneath the bridge at the north end of Garberville, and that’s only because she was concerned that a transient fire would run up the hill and burn her office.

    • Estelle told me that we just got a million dollars for our roads. Measure Z which she supported is paying for more deputies. LOP as well as business owners said at the meeting they were seeing improvements in staffing here.

      • I don’t think a million dollars is a lot of money. That might fix the one-lane bottleneck in the Dewitt grove on Briceland Road with little money to spare…

      • Do you think a million dollars will really do much more than the pothole filling we get now? A million dollars is a drop in the bucket.

      • Questioning Town Patrol

        “Our” roads means the whole county, NOT just us! And the push to help the homeless is EUREKA not us, at least not at first, and you just know that the towns up north will get help before we do. Estelle may say she has concerns about “her” community , but she hasn’t even made the Vets give us the hall for a shelter for the homeless during extreme weather. AND it’s a COUNTY building. One night only has it been used for an extreme weather shelter and that’s because one compassionate Vet had a key and basically broke in! It was much lower than 32 degrees, people were waking up in the camps with ice in their hair!? Where was town patrol then? Sitting at home stroking their egos because they picked a few needles?? Do you know or even care how many Mike Miller and the ERCP crew pick up from the camps which you say you would never enter. Town Patrol is all about main street and the businesses there, but you even hassle tourists! How is that helping people’s view of our town???

        • Are you talking about the time the homeless were let in without permission and no one stayed to babysit them and they proceeded to rip the place off and piss and shit on the carpets? There are different groups with different missions trying to make this a better place. Why are you railing on LOP for not doing it all? if the transients are waking up with frost in their hair perhaps it is time for them to move on to somewhere where they can find services. Why should Estelle MAKE the vets give the hall to the homeless? They’ve proven they can’t even handle one night in there without screwing it up.

        • Melissa Sutherland

          My sister has participated with the ERCC before. As far as their personal count, we have asked. As far as we know they don’t keep count, but brings up a very good point! There are probably hundreds up there further proving that we have a rampant drug problem on our hands! We NEED county help! badly. But it hasn’t happened, that is why so many other groups have formed. I commend there ERCP on there efforts and the amount of hours they have dedicated to clean up. I have really been trying to make my schedule more flexible, so I too can participate. Thank you for the reminder! ERCP…. I will make sure I volunteer with you good people very soon!

    • Kenny is working out of Eureka.

      • Ya kym I know they sent him to eureka ,but why ? ud think that him being a local downy would leave in so hum with being said . Downey’s probably left him up in Eureka because he was probably doing too good of a job down there in so hum

        • Sadly I don’t think Kenny was doing a good job, maybe being a local was a hinderance . I see a big difference in town now with LOP and Jesse Taylor, I hope this trend continues .

        • I think that lop should concentrate on were the hard drugs are being supplied if they cut the head off the snake then the snake dies get evidence pictures of the room or rooms that are the main artery of the drugs pics of the king pin drug dealer I mean there must be a pattern I want to say that Tara and her crew are the best they really care about or town ,and they are doing something ,and no matter what u do there is always someone has to bitch .

  • Charlie might benefit from a portable walking cane seat. The community could raise funds for it (for several) to rent out for the day. Charlie’s would be free rental, for being the inspiration behind a new economical growth. In Humboldt, even nickels a day is growth.

  • I like the idea of nuisance abatement fines being levied against the Lone Pine and the Johnson Motels to offset the high frequency of calls for police response. Any puppy-monkey-baby can see the foot traffic in and out of these places and figure out what’s going on.

    • This is a good idea. I feel lil bad for the owners. I have friends who tried talking to them bout the issue unfortunately the impression is we are all like that. If laws will convince these humble owners to improve, then so be it.

    • Excellent suggestion. I have been stalked and harassed by Drug Dealers staying in those Hotels. Of course they infuse themselves in the general population and gain credibility & standing in the community bombarded with various drugs. Others who manipulate the community use these parasites to purge those who they perceive as a threat. Law enforcement is well aware of these scumbags and refuse to spend their time on those who are truly a threat to the community. Instead they harasse trimigrants, trimmers and other law abiding citizens just because they are homeless.

  • Since when did it become legal for non- law enforcement citizens to enforce anything on public property? Who are they to tell some other citizen to move away from anywhere that’s not their property? What type of training did these vigilantes have that taught them how to tell the difference between someone loitering and someone sitting down having a smoke while on their lunch break? If the town really has a “no loitering policy” (doubtful) then isn’t it LEO’s job to enforce that?

    • If we had full coverage LEO presence and if we stopped the revolving door up at the jail, we might stand a chance. Again, what’s your solution…or do you think there’s nothing wrong with the zombie invasion of Garberville and Redway?

      • But while town patrol deals w a zombie invasion, dont they know to not shoot in the head the ones who are not bitten! Or are we just gonna mow them all down to save ourselves?

        • Let’s start with the meth and heroin dealers…we all should recognize that addiction is a disease but if you’re dealing meth or heroin, you are directly poisoning our community and contributing to the decay of the moral fabric of our society. Run the dealers out of town, dry up the source of meth and heroin, and things will start to improve around here. Here’s a good tip: everyone have their smartphones at the ready so when you see obvious dealing or bad behaviour going on, whip out the phone and hold it up as if you’re recording video…this should work whether or not you’re actually recording…the optics of potentially being videoed can go a long way in discouraging such behaviour.

          • Questioning Town Patrol

            the sheriff actually told us to take pix, as often they cannot come to every call if they are in the cove for example.

          • Cutting off the revolving door of a live in dealing hotel would definately be the biggest first step to ending the deals on the street n the lingering junkies. Then maybe town patrol can stop Profiling.

            • We don’t profile. Charlie is actually an example of that. We know who he is and that he is a local. We have always had a good relationship with him. If we only allow locals to sit on the wall, then we would be accused of harassing the transients. As far as your other information about us harassing people on breaks or hanging by their cars, I have not personally witnessed that on any of the patrols I have been on, so I can’t say what happened those times. If you are seriously concerned about what we are doing out there, then come join us and see what it is like.

              • Im afraid of being harassed for a difference of opinion, so i dont come, but i will vote for a measure that will force fines on the heroin hotels to shape up

                • You would never be harassed for a difference in opinion. If you actually came you would probably see our thought are more than likely the same.

      • Once again I don’t have the solution. I guess you could just murder onyone who isn’t from Garberville. I don’t believe in zombies so I really have nothing to say about that.

      • Generally speaking I do not have a problem with considerate and respectful transients in any town. I do have a problem with anyone who discards drug paraphernalia anywhere other than a designated place, anyone who harasses other citizens, anyone who steals, destroys or vandalizes property, etc.,etc. It’s not only transients who do theses things though and not every transient does these things either. I’d bet that some of those needles were from born and raised locals. If Charlie wants to sit on the street and play his violin or just chat with his friend then he should be allowed to do that. I’ve encountered many very talented and entertaining Street performers over the years and I’m glad I had those opportunities. The point I keep trying to make is that it’s wrong to discriminate against a whole group just because some of that group is bad. If you have a way to show me that all of the transients on the streets of Garberville are bad then I’ll admit I’m wrong and join your team. The reality is you can’t do that. No one can. I don’t have a solution but I do believe a good place to start would be for all drugs to be decriminalized. Since that will not happen in my lifetime I think you should get used to non-locals visiting everyone’s town.

    • Seems to me you are complaining about this group of citizens trying to clean up their town. You are lucky they are a group of visible citizens doing their business. i admire what they do. It could be a bunch of vigilantes lurking in the shadows. Then you might have something to complain about. Druggies on our streets isn’t OK.

      • I agree because the next logical step is the rise of vigilantism as the local populace gets angrier and angrier. I hate to entertain the thought but desperate times require drastic solutions…how about the formation of a local Garberville Militia? Sounds intense but doesn’t the fear and anxiety caused by the heroin and meth dealers amount to domestic terrorism? The LEOs can’t get a grip on the situation because of the revolving door up in Eureka. I mean, seriously, someone gets caught with a pound of meth and they’re allowed to get bailed out for $50,000?

      • Never said it was ok. Check your reading glasses. What i dont like is the patrol harassing folks who did nothing, like Charlie, for Real!! I never denied where they have been helpful. But where is it helpful to harass people, who want to patronize town & businesses? Im talkin bout nonjunkies who said they were harassed by the patrol. From people working in town on a smoke break to folks who finished dinner and were on the sidewalk taking in front of their parked cars were asked to move on. Hello! Those were positive patrons who left with negativity toward town cause of this group. Even funnier, they were Christians, not junkies. They said they had a pleasent visit until they were haressed by the patrol. So again, how does that perticular behavior help town, running everyone off that they PROFILE, they believe doesnt belong here?

      • Not everyone on your streets is a “druggie”.

    • The owner of the property was actually with LOP.

  • Schools get out early on Wednesdays, meeting at 3 is not really addressing the issue. 3 on the other days is needed, but 2pm is needed for Wednesdays.

    • Melissa Sutherland

      I’m very sorry that my schedule isn’t as flexible as most. Wednesday is my night to manage the patrol. We were walking after 7pm putting me home between 9:30 & 10pm. We have elected to take some training on the side that conflicted with our normal 6pm patrol. I volunteer 6-10 hours weekly to help the patrol. We have pleaded for more volunteers… & have been blessed with many returning faces, but unfortunately rarely new. Another reason I pushed it back to 3pm was I thought more parents would be able to help! Kids were home from school. It would be light outside, so if they were intimidated to walk during the night that wouldn’t be the case.. They would be home in time to make dinner…. I am still hopeful! … I hope to see more people at 3pm today outside Rays. Have a good day.

  • Disappointed with your brainwaves

    That guy is sweet as can be …. He is more of a “local patrol” then anyone else…(and guess what ….he’s not a beggar ).if your going to harass people off the street in front of a coffe shop in hopes of bringing in tourism….err catch 22?!!…and further more how is it they consider themselves “locals” and they don’t know him?? Think…. And I belive from a legal standpoint if you are a group of (as little as) 4 people you can be legally considered/labeled a “gang” and confronting/approaching a smaller group of people engaging with them … Telling them to leave is intimidation….If your going to walk around in a self justified “posse” you may want to know what you leagaly can and can’t do as a citizen…… And don’t get me wrong I love travelers and despise the pathetic junkybeggers who ask for money…. But it’s good to be able to tell them apart….. Think next time , think!!

  • Questioning Town Patrol

    There are things I like and admire about what you’re doing Town Patrol, but realize that every person you flush off main street does no magically disappear, but usually ends up in a sleazy motel room or on a side street. One homeless young man I talked to who was sitting outside Ray’s next to the book store said all they want is “out of sight, out of mind.” To “harass” the guy playing lovely violin in front of Flavors is ridiculous. If the business owner wants him gone she will say so. Did you ask her if she wanted you to take control, and for heavens sake, bending the railing? This is where I think you go wrong, as well as just forcing people off the main street into the shadows, which can leads for more disassociation with community, more hopelessness, more drug and alcohol use. Business owners on the side streets, behind the BW and many other places complain of the increase of loitering and drug use outside their businesses now. To say you’re the last stop before vigilantism is just egotistical and misguided. You all need a lot more training and stop all this egotism.
    From this article it appears that you never even mentioned the years and years of selfless, amazing work Mike Miller and the Eel River Clean Up do twice a weeks for many, many years, following on the good work of John Casali. They are cleaning up the camps that exist in many many places around and in our community. Once when I saw you on street patrol I asked if you ever went into the camps, and your reply was never unless accompanied by the sheriff. ERCP goes in for hours and hours every week, and does a great service to this community which otherwise would be filled with trash and our lovely river filled with even more human waste, dog waste, litter and etc. So your mission is to only clean up Main St for the tourists, so why not say so.?
    Are you a registered, legal non profit? Or are you even umbrella’d under one? The ERCP is umbrella’d under the Mateel CC for example. When people hand you money where does it go? Is anyone being paid. Are the businesses paying you .? You state that you have a president, a treasurer, etc but you are not a legal unless you are a legal non profit. And as a community we deserve to know this.

    • Well put.Thank you. I know know which group id rather support.

    • Why did John Casalil stop? I miss him! And for Charlie – the coffee shop was closed and he was not playing his violin. He was just “hanging out” (does anyone use that old fashioned term nowadays?)

    • Melissa Sutherland

      So many good questions. Would love to sit and have coffee, please reach out if you are interested. But speaking for myself, I do not feel comfortable going into the camps unaccompanied without county officials. I believe everything that is being cleaned up should be documented by the county, fish and game and by the EPA every single time. That is just my opinion. When I have the opportunity to make it out with the ERCP, soon I hope, if they do choose to go to go into a camp… I will be honest, I would be scared. BUT knowing that they have been there numerous times and know the do’s and don’ts … that would satisfy me at least to take the time to experience it. & from there I would make my own mind up with what I feel comfortable doing. We need to work together, not against one another.

  • Well, Little Town of Garberville, you are reaping what you sowed. I recall, over 50 years ago, when Garberville was the best little summer tourist area. The businesses catered to the visitors who traveled from around the world to enjoy a small piece of our beautiful community. This community, that so many took for granted, is now a cesspool that is avoided by these same travelers. I, too, avoid Garberville and shop elsewhere. The early 80’s were when I noticed the complete turnaround of the area, from Mendocino County through Southern Humboldt. Businesses were catering to the growers with the large quantities of cash. The tourists became an inconvenience. Too many times I noticed an inquisitive visitor being ignored or pushed aside to make room for the customer known to the proprietor as one with the big bucks. So many times I commented on this disastrous turnaround. Without hesitation, I was reminded by the business people that the unlimited cash flowing through the community was keeping it afloat and how the towns would “dry up” without it. Oddly Garberville survived for decades on tourism and could still do so. Agreed there is year around cash flow from the growers. The tourists also bring in year around cash, albeit more so in the summer months and not in the quantities as the growers. Yet, Garberville and the surrounding towns were a clean safe place to live and work. Of course times and places change bringing in the positive as well as the negative. Sadly, the negative replaced the positive at an accelerated rate in Southern Humboldt. As the growing industry grew, the green rush brought in everyone looking to gain something for nothing. The homeless excelled from the free handouts. 20 and 30 year old “homeless” multiplied as they waited for trimming jobs that never came to fruition. Yet, moving on to another area to obtain a legitimate job is appalling to them. Drugs, preferably meth and heroin, are easily obtained and became a social event that snowballed out of control. Now those that have destroyed their brains, by their own means, are considered to be suffering from mental health issues. Well, no kidding! There is a difference between those who were, unfortunately, born with or suffered disabilities beyond their control and those whose conditions are self induced. You can not help those that refuse to help themselves as they wait for free handouts. The bleeding hearts scream and yell that these people need help, but not one will take any into their own homes. Now, Little Town, you want the government to clean up, immediately, the mess it took you decades to create. My hat’s off to the citizen patrol. The efforts are encouraging, but it would behoove you to differentiate between those that are a menace and those that are a colorful peace of the scenery. Charlie is colorful and his music appreciated.

    • Well said!!!!!!!! Interesting you mentioned the real major tourism that used to be here. I wondered if anyone knew or remembered. I was astonished to find out Humboldt has something like 8 State Parks. I think this might be more than all other Ca counties. I even found an old Knapps cup souvenir magnet on ebay. Open it up and there was an Ave of the Giants map. Was very old and proof to the very point you just made. Thank you

    • Very well said.

    • You are eloquently correct

    • Very well said!!
      I miss the tourists. It always bothered me when I’d hear someone sneer & snide them. Then they sneered loggers. Now they trash what’s left of small businesses while sneering large corporations. People vote with their feet, but sometimes they wear the wrong shoes.

  • Melissa Sutherland

    People, people…. SHLOP knows Charlie, we talk to him often! He knows more than we do. He kindly offers his support and suggestions often. I think you all forget that every member of our patrol has lived in southern Humboldt for decades, upon decades. So please don’t just jump to conclusions that we are out harassing people. There are many people we look forward to running into, Charlie is one of them.

    • You technically are harassing people. Putting them online for everyone to pick at it is definitely harassing. If it’s not what is the word for what you are doing.?

      • Melissa didn’t put Charile online. I did. I chose his photo in part because I thought he showed an aspect of a well-known and liked local who was being treated exactly the same as someone who was homeless. (In part I chose his photo because I forgot my camera at home and had to use my phone which takes crappy photos and he was sitting at least in the light.)

        • I mean you as in LOP. Sorry not trying to single anyone out. Yea I understand the choice of the photo, makes it controversial, which is the point of the news. But It is still technically harrassing.

          • No, it’s not. Taking a photo in public is not harassing someone. In this case, it is part of informing the community. The community has a difference of opinion on how to respond to a perceived rise in crime in the area. Photographing something occurring which points at issues on both sides–a need to keep an orderly town and a need not to annoy people engaged in peacefully enjoying a quiet talk is news. Yes, the person having their photo taken may not like it. But if you are in public, you don’t have a right to not be photographed. If so, then all news photography would have to stop because one of the people in a riot or in a choir singing Christmas carols might feel it is harassment.

            • I completely understand those laws. Not talking about the picture itself being harassment. It’s just my opinion. Im more the live free type. If someone wants to sit on a steel railing that has been there for forty years I’m like whatever.

              • Check out the end of that brick wall that the railing is on…It’s coming apart. It would be a pain to have to fix that and to know that someone was going to sit on it again and again until it crumbled underneath them. My personal feeling is I’d love to see benches and parklets that encouraged street musicians. But that were set up in a way that kept the sidewalk clear.

                • Yea it’s pretty tore up, very true. But That’s a wonderful idea I think benches would be a great solution. 🙂

                • That’s a wonderful idea for a functional community but we’re not that. Just look at what’s happened at the community square.. It over ran with bum/drunk/druggie transient freaks.
                  You give them a inch they take a mile.
                  No way do I support giving them more places to sit and harass people in town.
                  No Way!

                • The railing is owned by Josh Sweet let him protect it . I actually think it is against code anyway .

  • In the early 80s Garberville was still a tourist destination, including the 90s and up until about 5 or so years ago when the transients decided to invade southern Humboldt. The transients lounging about all over town is what scared off the tourists. I’m no fan of the current green rush but at least they have money to spend and a home to go to. I seriously doubt shop owners pushed tourists aside to cater to growers, as they say- every dollar counts. Now we have a rampant hard drug problem going on like most of the nation, what the answer to that problem is is beyond me. I’ve known Charlie for 40 years and he should know better and understand what LOP is trying to accomplish .

  • Or u just dont like what im saying cause its a difference of opinion. If you read my statement properly earlier instead of being blind by my different opinion, youd see i agreed with your idea about the hotels. Cut off the dealers cuts off the junkies. Its a good approach. I been pointing out the groups vulnerable spot that could cause its downfall. But if you think its ok to profile go right ahead, violate rights, dont heed to the advise that could help your group from getting in trouble as Casali did.

    • John Casali is a hero he done more single handed to clean up the riverbank and homeless camps out of his own pocket I don’t think anybody has done the work he did and he was rediculed for his efforts

      • Debra Carey and Paul Encimer (transient advocates) threatened him with lawsuits for what he was doing.
        They want this town to be a drug infested bum camp..
        It’s mind boggling.

    • I was not calling out John as a bad man. He cared before Anyone. But a suit nightmare fell on his lap cause of possible human rights violation. I was not saying he did anything wrong but an example of a good siuation gone bad. So are THE LOPs t’s crossed and i’s all dotted correctly so this can be avoided in the future. By many of the groups responses i feel maybe not. Im trying to be optimisic but im not feeling it.

  • It’s just Turtles all the way down.

  • Unless you have paroled with us, you have no say!! Hearing about harassment is just that HEARING!! people who sit behind their computers and type nonsense and feel like they have every angle covered. Guess what…. you are completely incorrect!!! Maybe if you got off your computer for 5 min. And walked with us you would see what we do! 🙂

  • I witnessed 2 of the 5 harassments i mentioned, not just heard. Your negative reply only intimidates me from coming to your meetings or patrols. Is this how you run the group? Im not incouraged. There have been many valid points today & you write them all off as nonsense. I wish to not be involved in a group that might take it too far. Especially when you just act offended and dont see the point they are trying to make that could help your group from taking it too far. If you cant heed to advise on the internet with out a neg response, i’ll be damned to sit in a group of haters. Proof in the pudding deariest!

    • NO MATTER HOW POLITE YOU ARE, A GROUP OF 8 PEOPLE IS STILL GONNA INTIMIDATING. THATS WHAT THIS HAS BEEN FROM THR BEGINING, PEOPLE SO INSECURE THEY CANT BE NEAR A HOMELESS PERSON SO THEY FORMED A GROUP. YOU CANT SEE THAT. THAN YOU HAVE TO GROW UP AND EXPIERENCE REAL STRUGGLE. NOT GETTING HELP FROM MOMMY AND DADDY, ACTUALLY RELIEING ON YOURSELF I BET ALL OF YOU ON “LOP” ARE SPOILED, BEEN SPOILED, AND GOTTEN HAND OUTS MOST OF THEIR ADULT LIFE. BE HOMELESS FOR A WEEKEND. SEE HOW HARD IT IS. I DARE YOU LOP!

      • The homeless you support are disrespectful entitled peices of human garbage.. Scum of society.
        They all need a lesson of self respect [edit]
        Garberville is sick and tired of this politically correct bullshit, it’s killing our community.
        [edit]

    • You clearly were not at the meeting nor have patrolled with us. As far as you seeing 2 of the 5 harassments I can almost 100% say you interpreted it incorrectly as I am usually at every patrol and if I am not my mother or sister are there. We don’t treat anyone differently then I would treat anyone else. We get yelled at, cussed at, spit on ect. So who is harassing who. As far as business owners, have you not been in town lately and seen our sign in their windows. Also I have personally been asked by nearly half of the business owners to keep people from loitering ect. Which gives us permission. We know the difference between charlie sitting there playing his violin and sitting on a marked railing with “do not sit on” behind it. We have never harassed him nor asked him to move before we had seen him on there. There was no disturbance of any kind nor an argument occurred from the situation. We also had the owner of the entire building with us on that particular night and he as well asked him to not sit on it. As far as taking criticism we have taken plenty. I will however not take it lightly from someone who has no insight on what we are doing. Take your time to walk behind us and observe and actually see both sides of the situations from beginning to end before you pass judgment. If you knew me , my sister, my mom, Babette, jace, tyler, Stephanie and her husband, Elmer and many other nightly people you would know we are the most giving and kind hearted people who actually do care about our community. We are not out there bullying. If they are following out County laws we don’t even talk to them except to say hi and how are you. This is all I am going to say and like I said previous of you wish to actually know walk the walk! Have a great day

      • Okay we have different views. I really do enjoy the fact that you all are so passionate, and you are actually out trying to make a difference. It intensify’s the homelessness in our community, which is a good thing to a certain extent. I am looking at it from both sides, stating facts. Some are my opinions, but you shouldn’t look at it like we commenters have no insight on what your doing. You should take in some of our statements and learn, take in good information and disregard the bad. You can’t just say they’re all just wrong. That gets you no where. We obviously want a difference to be made. Just make sure you all are going about this correctly because I’m scared of the repercussions in the future. I know that some of the homeless are not mentally stable. And yea maybe they won’t do anything rash to the LOP but some other time of day, say to random people because the homeless people get fed up from being pushed around even more than they already are. It’s just slippery slope and you need to have chains on. And those chains are critisicm and opinions, when you form a group like this its expected. You have a good day as well. Glad I could get my opinion in. 🙂

        • It’s time. Yes I will try to from now on not get so frustrated and listen. Taking community members advice or input is always welcome. Thank you

          • Hey no worries. Thank you for being rational with my, controversial opinion. Everyone’s human. And I would be lieing if I said I didn’t support what you guys are doing to a certain extent. We all know something needs to be done, just how to deal with it? Well, you have to start somewhere with some method. And at least you stood up and are trying. 🙂

          • And you guys do help people. And you are making headway.

            • I would love to hear some ideas you may have. It’s a long haul and a hard job but we are in this. We are still new and learning everyday. Any positive and ideas really are greatly appreciated and get taken into consideration by our group! We know we have had some issues and are learning as we go which is why we are trying to get to know all the laws, evolved with the sheriff’s dept. And human health and county dept. We don’t want to assume everyone is the same but at this time we can’t treat some people different and give them special treatment and allow them to do something that we wouldn’t want anyone else doing. We really are not out there to bully just to insist on people respecting our town. We offer so much to everyone out there and if they are willing we would go above and beyond to help them.

              • But u asked restaurant patrons to leave, when they were standing outside after their meal, talking before they parted. They moved on with no arguement to LOP but they dont plan on coming back to town, good restaurant or not.They did nothing wrong! WHO judges what it loitering or is not loitering? If questions cant help on the internet i’m not sure how it would help in public. Im more than ever affaid & fear being ostracized if i were to ever volunteer or attend a meeting with a different opinion.

                • I am not sure what you are talking about. That isn’t something we would do. Let me know the date and I would be glad to review the recording from that evening and even present you with it. On a nightly basis we are usually d a along with the same people over and over. Not to often do we interact with others. If you attend our meeting it is done in an organized manner. You get your turn to speak and we let you do so. Then we return after with our input. You will not be harassed at our meeting nor would.we tolerate it. If I don’t reply right away it’s because I am Busy. As far as anything else you may be reading my reply to someone else!

      • I feel so welcomed to volunteer or come to meetings now, Especially when you just twisted my words around to benefit yours. Your clearly listening to Everyones concerns LOP

      • Kudos to Tara for offering to have people walk along and observe. Some members of local law enforcement have not been so open when they were interacting with homeless people. Some have been hostile and threatening.

      • Let Josh Sweet patrol his own buildings

  • Questioning Town Patrol

    Ummm Melissa, the word is patroled not paroled. You may have been born and raised here, but as some business owner on main street told me, ‘they are the redneck version of the ERCP, who, by the way removed all the litter and trash from main street, town square and the side streets AS WELL as the river twice a week. Those who say the tourists wont come here and rely on Yelp for their information is also ridiculous. Burlington campground is FULL most of the summer. I go to a river bar beach up there and there are people from all over the world enjoying our community, our grocery stores, our cafes, restaurants, our businesses, OUR now cleaner river (thanks to the ERCP) ?? Many! And then there’s all the revenue from our wonderful, world class festivals and all the people who bring their cash here from far and wide. Talk to David Katz about how much cash his solar ATMs dole out at RoR, Summer Arts etc. See how many motels are full, the biker run, etc etc. EVERY town in California has transients, the homeless, the addicts, did you know that Skid Row in LA now is 50+ blocks long? Look at the camps behind the mall in Eureka, then look at the few dozen unfortunate folks here. Look at the numbers the ERCP calculate are in those camps. Look at all the trimmigrants who also bring cash into our community and are for the most part are respectable kind people. AS ARE the people you slam in town! I gave a group of them at the town square oranges one day and they were nothing but polite, gracious and very thankful. Ask yourself you Christians, what would Jesus do for the poor, meek and humble? What would Gandhi do? Shame on your egotistical pandering to a few redneck business owners!! For your derision of the illness that is addiction, that is mental illness, that is people down on their luck!!
    And by the way Estelle and others move the mobile health big bus from the parking lot at the Baptist church in Redway!! There are very few homeless people anywhere near that spot. I asked them about moving it once and they all nodded their heads and did NOTHING. Put it outside the food bank, on the main st of Redway where the homeless stream out of the camps every day!! Sheesh this isn’t rocket science, it’s bureaucracy and laziness to find REAL solutions.

    • Melissa Sutherland

      I’m sorry, I cannot seem to find where I misspelled patrol. Please disregard my typo. But yes, it does make more sense to have that bus located at a different spot. I don’t understand all of the negativity, we are really just trying to help. We are willing to take suggestions. We could really use more help. We really need to work together, not against each other. I’m willing!

  • The non-profits, advocates and hotel owners need to be and will be held responsible (financially) for the depreciation and loss of revenue that these bum/drug addicts have inflicted on our town.
    Every small business has lost sales over the last 3-5 years from the influx of transiets scaring away tourist. Yelp and Trip Advisor and Tourists directly support this claim.
    It’s time to laywer up against the people who are directly at fault for ruining our town. The bums can’t be held accountable but those who are supporting it can.
    County should be next.

  • Speaking of Rampant. Blatant Dealing in Broad Daylite;
    who’s that guy always hanging out in front of sig coffee @ the bus stop??
    wears “silva-thin” sunglasses with a red beard and rides a little bike
    AND ALWAYS WITH A BACKPACK???
    Comes up from those houses down below Willow Ave
    there’s actually two “sliva-thin guys” working togethre there
    I Wonder Why He’s ALWAYS There ??. . Lotsa Tyme on His Hands?????
    Sheriff Taylor said “he’s aware of him (them)”

  • It is not illegal to stand in front of businesses. Did the LOP finish high school? You need to reread your constitution, or read it for the first time. You need to brush up on the laws or the gypsys will turn you inside out when they get here.You are violating people’s rights and you can be sued Tara Sutherland.

    • Yes I graduated. Thank you for the heads up on how ignorant people can be. Also have you read our county laws or ordinances? You should really take some time and read them, especially under the no loitering law. You may find that everything we are doing is completely legal! 😉

      • legal to harague people who were eating at a cafe in town? legal???? how about immoral, unfortunate and might lead to another Yelp comment about our town being full of wackos! who are u Tara and co to determine who’s a druggie, a diabetic, or just plain scruffy? according to ERCP and Karl at public health many of the needles discarded are from known diabetics. Tara your egotism is so huge it is mind blowing. Im not saying you don’t do some good, but you aren’t addressing most of the questions asked here.

        • When did the group “harague people who were eating at a cafe in town?” And aren’t the needles a hazardous waste no matter who is discarding them?

          • Dear Kym _ I see it is time to jump in and tell my story. I take GREAT offense to the above remark that the discarded needles in town are from diabetes – they are NOT! Ask any Drs. office — they take great care in telling diabetics how to properly dispose of their needles/syringes and it is NOT to drop them on the streets or hide them in motel towels..yes, that is how I got stuck by a needle and I called the customer a lier when he told me he was a diabetic. He ran away as well he should have because it was/is a lie. You can put your needles/syringes in a plastic coke bottle with a lid on it and its safer than throwing it down on the ground. That is the action of a person with no consideration for the protection of others. I am a victim of this. Within 24 hours, I had to undergo bloodwork and preventative shots that lastedover nine months. Truthfully, it changed me forever and is one of the reason I support LOP.BTW, I have never gotten my full strength back either but I thank the good Lord that all bloodwork came back negative. I could have gotten HIV or Hepititis. And no one would want a young person to go through that! Truthfully, those infections were really hard on my body….and this is a true story and it is MY STORY..

    • Bring it on mother fucker, we’re ready to lawyer up on all you advocate mother fuckers, run you al out of town.
      We’re getting Garberville back and we’ll sue you the fuck out of here!!

      • Is this guy in the group? Is this how the group runs & behaves? Not really interested in volunteering now.😞

        • An anonymous person posting is not speaking for LOP. Tara Sutherland and Melissa Sutherland are.

          • I’d hope not. Thanks for the clarification.

          • Yes, thank you. Wow, we post with our names to make sure people know who is speaking for who! 🙂

            • And i post without because frankly im affraid of ya’ll. I want to volunteer but am just afraid the group goes to far sometimes and dont want to be associated with a group that might not have it all together. I witnessed 2 moments that made me uncomfortable. I trust my gut not your replies so far. Im sorry you disagree but do wish you luck.

              • That is totally fine. Maybe we could sit down for coffee sometime and chat. Come up with ideas you have. Maybe then you may feel more comfortable and see who we are as people. I keep hearing of these incidents and I would love to know the dates so I can review the video recordings. Please from now on take note if you see anything and make me aware. As I am usually patrolling but now being 4 months high risk pregnancy I will be slowly pulling myself out as drs. Orders. I will review and gladly share with you anything if you have time. Thank you and hopefully someday we can work together.

  • Had to work, so I only caught half the meeting. I want to thank all of the people that made that meeting happen and everyone that participated, especially, the members of locals on patrol, Sergeant Taylor, supervisor Estelle, and the new head of the county health depart. I don’t go to meetings very often but I was very happy to see such a great turnout of people who really care about our town . Stories were shared and tentative solutions and plans were put forward. I believe it’s only going to get better with that kind of teamwork. I have already seen a marked improvement with this group of locals on patrol and also better law enforcement coverage at nighttime.

    • What meeting? Estelle Fennell is excellent at gatekeeping and excluding those who she feels is a threat to her political objectives. This woman migrated to the US from Ireland as a Computer Graphics Designer and then spent 25 years as News Director/Manipulator of KMUD. No education or understanding of social issues and why the problems exist. This woman takes drug money from the same people who perpetuate the problems. Any solutions from an individual who lied to get into office is a joke!

  • Lots of good points. The town patrol, you’re hearts are definitely in the right places, no doubt, but you’re ignorance of the rest of the world outside of garberville is showing. I’ve observed the patrol a couple of times when the chance arose, and do my own cleaning when on work breaks, and yall definitely come off like a strange lynch mob type thing mobbing around. I used to travel this whole country following music and never came across anything quite like you guys. Now I live here for many years and you guys throw the word local around and use it like some badge. However long you’ve lived somewhere doesn’t make you better or give you say… Shit, most of the actual property owners of the businesses in garberville love out of state… So go talk to the twins, or the big bald shady guy, or the one legged dude, or the strange chicks with pitbulls coming out of the johnson., but quit acting so defensive and better cuz you’ve lived here for decades and decades. This is America, youre the son or daughter of an immigrant and or murderer of the natives. NONE of us are local unless you are native. Oh lemme guess. You’re 14% cheerokee or yurok?

    • I am actually in rolled with the round Valley for being a wailaki which is from the eel river. We are locals. Just a little insight so you are aware. The only reason we go in a group, usually of 4 but once in a blue moon have more is because it’s usually just females with 1 guy. Doesn’t define a Lynch mob

      • God you just gotta defend everything huh? Cheers to you. You are the most amazing person in our community . I’m just as local as you. I’m not walaiki or born here. You got no idea why some of us move here and it’s to get away from people like you
        On and it’s enrolled. Yea you are the most local local there is. This must mean it’s more your town than mine cuz you walk a patrol rite?

  • Getting garberville back? See? Your just a prejudice narc American scumbag. Go vote for Donald Trump or something. No one was advocating junkies, just not being mobbed up on. I’m gonna start hanging out in town at night, cuz I wanna hang out in my town, and go home when I please after hanging out in my town, and I hope the town patrol bothers me so I can tell em off . deal with the real problems. And spot pretending like you’re the only good thing going on around here jeez

    • If a liberal tolerant community is what you’re after I suggest you move to Eugene or Portland.
      Your entitled radical ideologies has gotten us to where we’re at today in Southern Humboldt. Starting in the mid 1970’s, back to the landers slowly introduced these principals and broke down the conservative values that made Southern Humboldt a beautiful, safe, prosperous place to live.
      Fortunately, the hippies either assimilated or, if they haven’t, they are aging and passing away.
      Times are changing again and for the better.
      Southern Humboldt will get its small town values back, it will be a great place again and your mentality will not ruin this place for another 40 years.
      And yes, I am a American and a Humboltian and you fascist disrespecting liberals will not turn our little towns to shit anymore.
      We will create a safe community for our children again, just like when we were kids!
      Take your “we all share this planet together bullishit” somewhere else.

      • I’ve lived in Humboldt since 1960 when I was born, and my father was born here and his mother was born in Mendocino and her parents were both born there and …I’ve got to say, as lovely as I think Humboldt is, you’ve got a rosy view of what it was like before 1970. I thought I had some soft pink spectacles but you’ve got me beat.

        Prosperous? I remember some mighty poor folks. Beautiful? I remember some terrible environmental damage. Safe? Maybe if you were white, straight and male. I remember a lot of words like “nigger” and “injun” used pretty freely. Domestic violence was something that happened more frequently than it should have to women and children. People who dared to wear different hair styles got beat up. People with different sexuality were mocked and sometimes driven to suicide. Bar fights were mighty frequent. Drunk driving was practically a sport with extra points awarded for guzzling behind the wheel. I celebrate our small town values of helping each other in times of need but I think a little outreach to folks who come from different cultures is a healthy thing.

  • Questioning Town Patrol

    Yes, diabetics might be properly educated by their doctors, but how about the ones who live on the streets? how about the ones those amazing ERCP folks have come to know in the camps, which you choose to ignore. Where do these people you call bums live?? The ERCP folks have told me of one guy who keeps his needle stash in a tree, he is a diabetic, he lives in a camp by Dean Creek. ERCP is extremely cautious about handling things like needles, they have a sharps container, were trained by Beth, Karl from the health dept. So, I do not agree that there are NO diabetics amongst the homeless, that is just not true, and they do not have the means to get to a doctor often. Many of these poor folks are on the street, in the bushes, in the camps because they cannot function in society, they are ill, they need warmth, compassion, food, shelter and HELP. Not to be told get off the fence or in front of Ray’s so they can go sit on the Vets Hall instead! Where on earth is the sense in that. In fact I was there when a guy was arrested outside Sicilitos for selling meth. He used to deal from the steps in front of the Baptist church, so how in heck is that helping?? It may move him from Main St but take the problem one block away? Your poor education shines in the debate Tara etc. Sorry to say it but being “in rolled” in Covelo? You should check your spell checker. I know a lot of people who graduated high school with a D -. And WHO ON EARTH ARE YOU TO ENFORCE COUNTY CODES ANYWAY ???? You are not cops, you aren’t trained social workers or anything official that gives you the right to pick and choose who to move on/harass??? And the answer to Kym’s question, it has been stated here by several witnesses that a group of people were by their car, having just eaten here, and the town patrol told them to move on. Tell that one to Yelp, out of the 7 comments about Gville, 3 of them written by Kathy Epling, may she rest in peace. And why would anyone with half a brain think Yelp and/or Trip advisor is some kind of benchmark?? Again I say look at the the tourists that fill the campgrounds, come to festivals and spend money in places like Amelias, Calicos, Treats to name a few. Listen Tara and your gang. Answer these questions, including mine of earlier about what is your status? Are you a non profit? I think not as that process takes months to achieve. Are you umbrella’d by a 501C3? do you even know what one is? And so where are your funds going and to whom? I think there’s a good chance your whole outfit is illegal on SO many levels. If you’re so transparent as you claim to be by putting your name on this thread, so how about a little more transparency, before YOU get shut down??

    • Look, I think you might have valid points. But it is hard to take you seriously when you want me to believe something that is attested to by “several” anonymous witnesses, when you attack someone’s spelling of enrolled like improper spelling invalidates points (especially when your own grammar is not impeccable,) and when you attack anonymously people who are donating long hours of their own time for not being transparent enough….

      If you want an honest debate, and you can’t give up your anonymity, then at least stick to the issues that directly affect what the town patrol is doing and avoid personal attacks.

    • Those people adopted our town to be bums in.. We don’t want that and we don’t want them anymore!
      You can’t just pick Garberville and decide that you’re going to be homeless and disrespectful any longer!
      I purpose that a public audit be performed on all of these “non-profits” that are supporting the transient bum agenda and really see where the money being donated to their efforts are going.
      I smell a massive lawsuit brewing.

      • FYI any American citizen can pick any town in America they want and go there to live. Not all homeless people decide to be homeless and not all homeless people are disrespectful ,but we all do have the right to move about this country freely. And I personally am very glad to have that right.

  • Is this a joke? there’s nothing worst than a reformed meth head with a green vest and tazer. Another group going to save southern humboldt? The reformed group, that will taze that addiction out of you? What a joke! Growers, meth heads, the mentally ill all wearing the green vests!

    • Wow really street damn, you’re really going to call these young ladies meth heads and reformed heroin addicts??? You know the saying. Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house. I’ve known these young ladies since birth and you are totally wrong. How dare you judge. I think you need to keep your comments to yourself. If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Just saying. I’m not afraid to hide my name. I I proudly walk with these young people. I admire them. As you should. But nobody knows who you are because you like to keep your name anonymous.. Some real courage

  • Melissa Sutherland

    We have tried our hardest. This is a learning experience for all of us. We can only take this one day at a time. Thank you for all of questions and concerns because it’s an eye opener. I have personally committed many hours to this group, and it’s really hard to sit here and read all of this. Those who know me… know how compassionate I am, I give everything I do my all. & I am by nature a very giving person. This will be my last comment, but to those who wish more information please PMS me. There is a lot to digest. Best Regards to all my community members.

    • Mellissa, don’t let the bum supporters and advocates get you down, that’s what they’re best at. Being the loudest, most obnoxious, unreasonable voice in the room.
      Remember, they’ve been screaming “start a revolution” for 40 years now.. What that means is a collapse of a functional, structured society. A society of rules and standards.
      They’re “utopia” is a never ending festival parking lot party.
      They’re still giving it their last efforts before they all die of old age.
      What you guys are doing is wonderful, 99% of the community supports you and your efforts!
      Thank you for everything you’re doing and keep up the good work!!

    • The fact still remains that you and the other members of your group are just citizens. Citizens just the same as the citizens you think you have authority over. You have no right, anymore than me or Charlie or whoever, to govern the streets of any town. No matter how much you’ve convinced yourself otherwise, you just don’t.

      • Im with ya Dumboldt. I agree with you on this installing own government a militia. You know something else that has always bothered me is during Reggae on River at French’s campground how a branch of LOP, I assume, block highway access to 271 and maybe others and set up militia checkpoints. Which article of the Constitution gives them the right to shut down a U.S. highway? I must have missed this in my Civics class. All of this in the name of protecting the ol mighty green giant.

      • Ever heard of Neighborhood Watch?? What Lop is doing is nothing new or radical. Citizens walking their towns and neighborhoods have a better grasp on what is going on than law enforcement does. Do you like the fact that Garberville is being overrun by drug dealers, addicts, transients and criminals? Do you like the fact that tons of garbage must be removed from transient camps tresspassing and giving less than a damn about this town? Do you like it that crime has gone up astronomically in Southern Humboldt? If a group of concerned citizens walk the streets trying to make this a better place than I’m all for it because the criminal behavior in Southern Humboldt is thru the roof.

        • Do you like the fact that you live in a country that doesn’t allow just anyone to tell you what you can or can not do simply because they decided that they don’t agree with you or your ways?

          • Yes, so let us just tiptoe around town and let the anarchy rein because expecting people to act in a respectful way is asking too much. You may accept this behavior, most do not.

  • I think Garberville needs Tara Sutherland for mayor

  • I will no longer reply to anyone with negativity. You have points, questions, or advice we are more than willing to communicate. But for the people who are being absolutely out of line I no longer care nor will I read anything you have to say or post! Thank you Kym for such a great article as well as joining us to see what it’s about. If more people were like you they too would agree with what we are doing. However I have to remind myself that some people just have so much hate in their heart all the produce is evil. Anyways thank you too everyone who supports us and to those who are still questioning us please please come walk with us or at least come join one of our meetings! 🙂 would we really be publicizing people to join if we though what we were doing was wrong lol ggeesshh

  • Kudos for doing the best you can.

  • Best string of the year Kym… Congratulations… Journalism close to home and clear views of the issues.. In the “tourist” years, the timber industry immediately offered employment to men wandering into the community… It was not all sweetness and light as those guys drank and fought their way through a hard life… Many lived in tarpaper shacks ’til they found housing… The point is that during the day, they were in the woods or the mills and town could attract tourists… At night, things were pretty rowdy… I remember the vehicles from those days and the streets of Garberville are a totally different story today… We live in a highly prosperous community… Businesses here do very well but have a hard time finding employees from a community that can find work in the hills…
    The transient population and the trimmigrant population are totally different groups… Contrary to local wisdom, trimmigrants are quickly hired if they look acceptable and they make good money, spend some here (try the line at Flavors in the fall) and leave… The transients have a huge drug and alcohol problem along with plenty of mental illness… Most are unemployable… The same problem exists all over California, we are far from unique.. The US has a growing population of the discarded… Always told to “move on”… No solution in sight… We can move them out and more will come… They can act out to get “3 hots and a cot” in jail but we’ll now put them on the street almost immediately… Increased policing is helpful, the Town Patrol helps but our society is becoming increasingly deranged.. Just look at our political situation…

    • Ben, I think a good look at the vehicles then and now would show the relative difference in prosperity levels of our communities then and now. It was common to see vehicles in various stages of decomposing driving down the road. I would venture from my memories of the time it was on out of three.

      But today, that kind of vehicle is a rare sight. Something seen maybe a couple times a month.

      • Ahh yes. The rusty pickup or 70’s gas guzzler sedan was a staple up in Mckville back in the day. If it was a truck there was usualky a bench seat/ton of kids in the back…good times….

      • Kym, I believe that you and Ben are two of SoHums most precious assets. Two people that have paid attention, and love our SoHum home, and try to protect it from those that just plain don’t care.

        The Trimigants, mostly Europeans, are incredibly interesting, mostly friendly people. I talk to them a lot when they come into our store. Most have found work or have something lined up. I’m amazed at how many of them have musical talent. I often ask them if they know how to play a musical instrument and offer to let them try our stringed instruments. One guy from Spain blew us away with his classical guitar playing. We sometimes have have two or three people playing guitars, ukuleles, and keyboards, and singing. They all seem to be able to play ukuleles. We have a fun summer last year with all the talented people. We had one person drive all the way from Covelo, on a Sunday, to buy a guitar that he had fallen in love with. Ironically we happened to be in the store when he tapped frantically on the windows to let him in.

        The street derilics are, sadly, mostly unemployable. I like and enjoy a lot of the streeters, but some are real assholes, and obviously take great joy in being in everybody’s face. But, of course, they ALL look scary to the people that do not know them. Many of them aren’t able to properly care for themselves, but the test to see if they are able to care for themselves seems to be if they know their names they’re okay. Another subject for another day….

        Say what you will about the lumber industry, most of the people living on the streets today would have had jobs in the 50’s or 60’s.

        • Your comment shows me, and hopefully others, that, as far as the topic of this discussion goes, you see it in a rational, logical, and open-minded way. Thank you for that. You have the ability to recognize individuals and not make judgements based on a whole group. The fact that you take the time to talk to a person before making a judgement about them is a lesson that many people commenting on here should really pay attention to. Everyone of us has our own story, and just like you said, many of them are very interesting, but we only know that if we take the time to listen. To run someone out of town because they’re assumed to be part of an unwanted group, without even taking the time to have a conversation with them, to me is just wrong.

        • Aww, I think you and Ben are some of our treasures. Something about people caring for their community makes them heroes in my eyes.

  • Dear Kym and members of LOP: thank you for your work in making a difference in our area, thank you for your positive attitudes, and thank you for listening to others’ opinions with respect and consideration, even when they are not showing the same to you.

    When I had a store in Garberville, from 1999-2012, I treated everyone who came into my shop with warm welcome and respect. It was a point of honor to me. I had two lovely benches outside. I had to remove the benches because people panhandled those who were trying to enter my shop, even when I begged them not to. I only had two rules: no smoking or panhandling in front of my store, but my asking nicely fell on deaf ears. When I opened up each morning, I would have to pick up a shocking number of used needles and condoms, among other trash, from people who apparently spent the night there. Sales fell off, as tourism dropped dramatically. Although I still had a steady business from my local customers, it wasn’t enough to pay increasing rents and expenses. I have great respect for those shop owners who are still in business, and thankful that they give us places to shop without having to drive north. I know it’s not easy. I also understand that homelessness, drug use and mental health problems are national issues, and we need national solutions. We have such limited resources to help people here. But I think LOP asking for everyone in our town to show a tiny bit of respect for what others have created is not too much of a burden!

    • Thank you for your positive feedback. We are in the process of working with the county mental health to try and work on these issues in a good manner. We are aware and have good communication with the majority of the homless, transients and others but also have to deal with others who are not so polite and love to test our towns/County laws and in which case we ask for them to comply and if not we call the sheriff’s dept. It’s really sad how our town has become but it really is improving. If people would come together instead of having negative things to say we could figure ways to work together. Joining and seeing first hand of what we are doing would truly impress more people than not. All these rumors of the negative things we have done but not giving me dates to look up and show those nights to prove our either innocence or improve isn’t helping. We record EVERYTHING! We have and do listen to people when They want to communicate. We have even made friends with some and helped many. People are just to fast to pass judgment. I think it’s a great thing we have started as we are people who are actually passionate in helping others if they will take it instead of being people to just be rude and turn our heads. We are a group of people who have big hearts for our fellow community members as well as people passing through. We just want/demand respect for our community in the process. We have spent a lot of money and time in making this happen and helping people in the process. We are not planning on going anywhere and plan to keep making a positive differenc in our community! 🙂

      • Tara, your biggest opposition is Debra Carey and Paul Encimer. You heard how delirious Paul is at the town meeting, usually that delusion over powers people’s efforts.. The only difference now is that you and your group actually have video evidence of the dysfunction/harassment that Paul and Debra support.
        That evidence is enough to bring a civil lawsuit against their organizations for destruction of the peace, depreciation of commerce and possible terrorism.
        Don’t let these wack jobs win!!
        Keep up the good work!

  • I think LOP should video there patrol or were a go pro . That way they are covered . Proof is in the pudding plus it covers there ass tara if you read this please let me know if you know who I am .I want to join your group can you let me know if that’s ok

  • Wow so much negativity, attacking the group for trying to help clean up a one beautiful small town. They are doing nothing wrong, maybe if more locals had the pride in their community or the balls to do something. This would have never been a problem. Maybe some of the real issue by those of you attacking, is the fact you don’t want the transients moving to your town. So they should just stay there in garberville. Not all of them are a problem, that is the truth. But the more that gather the more problems, and the less likely the ones that need help will receive it. Then you end up with an area like devils playground or whatever it’s called in eureka. Or you start getting bodies washing up, like what had happened here. Does anyone want their children or family around that? These locals are not harming or harassing those people, they are just trying to clean their town. Maybe get it back to a place where both locals and tourists, would want to revisit

  • Saw that Charlie guy still sitting on the railing today, right next to the “no sitting/loitering sign”
    Real rebel this one. No fucks giv’n

  • To the Sutherland folks: I think that the major majority of people who care around here really do appreciate what you guys and gals are doing, whether we patrol with you or not. Frankly some of us can’t or just don’t want to, and hopefully are doing our own part in making this a safe place for children, which is really the most important . however I think sometimes you have given off a feeling that if you don’t patrol or support the patrol then you don’t care, and that’s just not true. So maybe just don’t let it get to your head, but keep on keeping on. That’s what we are all doing. Trying to survive. derelict or not. Complicated as it all is, we are all in this together. Bum, mayor, addict, cop, grower, merchant, trimmer, you name it. And I think you should visit a camp with people you feel safe with, just to see what’s there under your local bridge. I just found a firepit near my bridge. Guess I gotta do my own patrolling.
    Talk about your Plenty’s tall about your ills

    One man gathers what another man spills

  • I love Garberville! I am not a local (Weird cause I do live here) and I sometimes am offended by the bragging and boisterousness that comes from people who love to say just how local they are. Although I was not born and raised here I happen to love the beauty of the area, I love going into Ray’s and seeing Paulette or the others who always greet me with a smile. The people I see at the local shops are so friendly it makes my day to go in and chat. I have worked in some of the businesses here and they all were run well by great locals. I came here to go to school and be with the greatest guy on earth. I have fallen in love with this place and its people. The only thing that I do not like, is the lack of people wanting to let others feel at home here by constantly and I do mean constantly talking about how they are true locals. Honestly, I can see why you all are so proud to be from here it is amazing, however, when you do not let good people (not talking about the transients) feel like they are a part of the community you are going to drive away people who could be an asset to this wonderful little town. Just a friendly little bit of info to ponder. Oh and I think what these town people who are taking time out of their lives to try and help deserve a pat on the back I love to see you on patrol.

    • Absolutely true….

      Sigh, and yet it’s part of the culture. I’ve been known to tease my poor husband who’s lived here since he was nine, that’s he’s not really a local.

      • Awe sounds like you too have found happiness with a great guy. I know that it is part of the culture around here, so I usually just let it go, I would think it would be helpful if when the ladies and gentlemen are out on their patrols they might offer some options with the people who are living on the streets: I have found some options that are free and might offer some sort of hope for them to get their lives turned around. Delancy Street http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org/ is a possible option as well as Narconon http://www.narconon.org/ and Alcoholics Anonymous http://www.aa.org/. The group could also let them know that they can also contact the state to see if they qualify for assistance for drug treatment and mental health concerns. The patrol could also tell them about the dangers of hepatitis, HIV, and many other diseases that are prevalent among the homeless and things they could do to prevent others and themselves from contamination I believe that there are pamphlets available through health departments offices. I wish that we could wave a magic wand and make the world a better place, but it ain’t that easy everyone needs to think of some solutions and work together and try to meet head on the destruction of the little community we all love so much. Arguing about things will not help anyone, I commend you Kym for your hard work of trying to bring the community together. I wish I wasn’t so swamped with school I would love to help more.

        • You must be sober for Delancy street .They don’t have enough space for the people in San Francisco .I doubt they have room for loosers from humboldt

    • One suggestion.. If you love this town, start thinking like a local and defend values that are necessary to thrive.
      Love this little town and condone the behavior that is dividing this community.
      Make Garberville Great.

  • Josh Sweet Steve Dazeys nephew owns that railing let him police his own real estate . The town square allowed people to camp in there van for months .They even let them plug into the power .We never go to Garberville any more except to go to the credit union

  • POLICE ACADEMY PART 11
    CITIZENS ON PATROL; SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT
    OUGHTA BE FUNNY !! CAN I PLAY MAHONEY?

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