Kym Kemp / Thursday, Feb. 27 @ 6:47 p.m. / News
When the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives a company a big fat “F,” signing a contract with that business might not be a good idea. Yesterday and today, salespeople from one of BBB’s “F” companies, Commerce Energy aka Just Energy Group, have been knocking on doors in Eureka.
The BBB has harsh words for Just Energy Group. The company, they say, has “a large volume” of complaints—583 in the last three years–and its salespeople give false information as well as use high pressure sales tactics. The Canadian government has slapped the company with fines for a variety of infractions.
Eureka resident Rick Werner alerted LoCO to the presence of the company’s salespeople in the area. He sent an email describing his experiences. According to him, around noon today, he was working in his backyard when a salesman from the company knocked on his door and spoke to his wife. Werner wrote that after his wife got rid of the man, she told Werner that the salesman “kept asking to see our last PG&E bill, so that he could determine if PG&E was overcharging us.”
This concerned Werner. He researched the company and found a plethora of sites
complaining about this [company’s] unscrupulous door-to-door selling practices. …I also read about many unhappy customers who had been suckered into signing a five year agreement with Commerce Energy on the promise of lower rates, only to find their rates go up drastically after a few months.
Deciding to follow the salesmen around and protect his community, Werner found the man chatting with a neighbor. Werner introduced himself to the neighbor and explained that he thought he should research the company on the internet and not show the salesman a PG&E bill. Werner did this for the next home and the next that the salesman tried to call on.
Werner continued to protect his neighborhood. He wrote,
The salesman gave up and just started heading north and met up with his partner. They discussed what to do as the three of us walked north. They knew they were not going to make any sales with me around. I asked them to just drive away, but they said they had been dropped off on 7th street and had to walk back there for a ride. Upon reaching Wabash, they asked if I was going to follow them all the way back to the van. Well, it was raining pretty hard at that point and I was quite wet, so I offered them a deal. I said if they stayed out of my neighborhood, I would let them be. They agreed not to work between Henderson and Wabash and between A and H St. I told them if I saw anyone from their company back in that area, I would follow them around all day long. At this point we parted ways.
Then he emailed the LoCO.
The salesman could be working other areas. Brittany Kesterson, a Eureka Police Department spokesperson, said that the company does not appear to have the proper permits and the EPD will be investigating.
If someone has already signed a contract, Lori Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of the BBB, explained to LoCO that they can still cancel. “In the US, if you sign a contract at your home, you have three days to cancel,” she said. “The way the rule works is the business is supposed to have wording in the contract on how to cancel.”
However, the company may not have included that information. If they haven’t, contact information is on their website. “The best thing to do if [a customer] wants to cancel,” Wilson said, “is to contact the company.” Try to get proof that contact has been made. “If that doesn’t work,” she said, “they should contact the BBB.”
In addition, Wilson said, “I’m afraid if the customers are giving them a PG&E bill [and] the company doesn’t have an ethical track record, they might use the information to sign people up without their consent.”
When reached for comment, Just Energy Group claimed to have no spokesperson available at the time.
Remember to read contracts carefully, investigate any unknown business, and be cautious about sharing personal information.
Other Links Pertaining to Commerce Energy:
Kym Kemp / Thursday, Feb. 27 @ 3:42 p.m. / Crime
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:
On 02-26-2014 at 08:20 AM Pablo Reyes-Sanchez (age 24) arrived at the Mendocino County Superior Courthouse in Ukiah, California.
Reyes-Sanchez was told to place the contents of his pockets into a plastic container by courthouse security staff at the security checkpoint prior to being allowed access to the courthouse facilities.
Reyes-Sanchez dropped a baggie into the container and it caught the eye of a security staff who summoned Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to the Court Security Unit.
Deputies arrived and arrested Reyes-Sanchez for possession of a controlled substance (approximately .5 grams of suspected cocaine) and he was also found to have an active felony warrant.
Reyes-Sanchez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the above charges and was to be held in lieu of $70,000.00 bail.
Reyes-Sanchez was arrested in December on domestic violence charges
He was also arrested in January for a DUI and, incidentally, made the Anderson Valley Recorder’s Advertiser’s Nice Try Award of the Week (See here) for switching seats with his passenger…in “full view of the cop.”
Photo of a water pipeline in Oregon. At this time, there are no images available for the proposed Humboldt County pipeline. (Photo from Malheur County, Oregon.)
What will happen to the millions of gallons of Mad River water that used to be purchased daily by Eureka’s two closed pulp mills? Current state law says that water must be assigned to some user. As Kelly Lincoln of KMUD explains in the audio below, “If the [Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District] does not find a user for the water, they will lose the water rights. Then someone else will be able to take the water and will not have to provide the District any compensation for it.”
The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District [HBMWD] and its Community Advisory Committee have decided to first allocate this water to the environment and local industry, as well as any other North Coast communities in need, Lincoln says. However, according to HBMWD’s calculations, “That will leave up to 50 percent of their water right in need of a user,” Lincoln explains. Thus, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District is looking for ways to export the unused portion of this water out of Humboldt County.
“The next piece of California’s extravagantly engineered water plumbing may be built from the Redwood Coast in the next couple of decades,” Lincoln says in the following radio piece. The plan is just beginning to take shape, but on Tuesday the 25th, Lincoln says, “the Board examined a map developed by their lead engineer showing about seven possible pipeline routes.” The map, she said, generated some controversy. It was the “most provocative piece.”
In the following story, Lincoln describes several possible routes for the pipeline in general terms and the possible outcomes of the two major route directions. One of the possible directions is south through drought-stricken Southern Humboldt where some Eel River water has been diverted to customers in Sonoma County. The idea might be to exchange some of the Eel’s currently diverted water for some of the Mad River’s water — thus restoring higher flows to the currently low Eel. “But a route south is the longest pipeline to build,” Lincoln says, “meaning it is the most expensive, and with the fewest customers to help pay for it.”
The other alternative is to go east to the Central Valley. This, she says, “would probably be half as long and … [there] are literally millions of people to buy the water.” But, she says, “the board imagines, however, that almost no one in the entire North Coast will like the idea.”
Lincoln explains in the piece below how moving the plan through the environmental and approval processes will take many years and will be difficult to achieve by the deadline before the District loses its current right to a significant portion of the Mad River.
Photo of a large water pipeline being installed in Libya.
Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Feb. 26 @ 5:42 p.m. / marijuana
Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research Press Release:
[On]March 11, 2014 5:30-7:00 p.m. [at HSU] BSS 162, Native Forum Room, Nathan Donahoe presents an in depth and behind the scenes look at cannabis entrepreneurship in Los Angeles over the last six years when there were more medical marijuana collectives than Starbucks. Unregulated and uninspected cannabis was freely sold in stores, dabs (concentrated hash oil) exploded on the scene and some collectives sold large “quarter pounds” of cannabis. In response, Los Angeles voters recently passed Proposition D which regulates and limits medical marijuana dispensaries within the city. Nathan describes the role regulation plays in shaping the southern California cannabis market as well as its significance for future growth in the cannabis industry.
Nathan Donahoe represents Cannabis Consulting Group, a Silicon Beach based cannabis think tank. Nathan advises the City of Los Angeles on cannabis policy and the National Institute of Health’s funded Cannabis, Health and Young Adult Study.
Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Feb. 26 @ 2:55 p.m. / marijuana
Another individual has been sentenced this week in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana case that involved multiple people originally from South Dakota, some of them growing on property in Humboldt County. Brett McFarland who owned property in Bayside and in Petrolia was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday in a South Dakota federal courtroom. He and his brother, Sean, as well as five others have pled guilty to charges associated with this case.
In July of 2012, Homeland Security raided various properties in Humboldt County including those belonging to McFarland. In January of 2013, there was a warrant served on McFarland’s house in Bayside. In November, McFarland pled guilty and awaited sentencing until this week. As as condition of his plea, he agreed to forfeit his interest in the Petrolia property which was paid for with the proceeds from illegal sales of marijuana grown on that land and other places.
McFarland, a musician (see album cover below,) will spend the next five years in prison and will also have an additional four years of supervised release. (Press release below fold.)
All the other defendants except one have already begun serving their sentences. Jaymar Adams, the remaining defendant, has pled guilty and will be sentenced on March 24th.
Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Feb. 25 @ 1:20 p.m. / Crime
The victim, Douglas Anderson-Jordet, on the left. Juan Ferrer, the defendant who pled guilty to manslaughter in Anderson-Jordet’s death, on the right.
The defendants in last November’s fatal stabbing of Douglas Anderson-Jordet on the streets of Arcata were charged with a variety of offenses, the most serious of which was involuntary manslaughter.
The prosecuting attorney, Elan Firpo, detailed her reasons for this decision on her candidate for DA Facebook page. She lays out her thinking point by point stating that the evidence would show that the victim was “inflamed in his demeanor” and that a witness heard him “yelling, homophobic, sexist, hateful statements at the defendants.”
A friend of the victim sent the following letter to the editor contesting this characterization of Anderson-Jordet.
Letter to the Editor from Ben Dale:
There are only three people left alive who know what happened to Douglas Anderson-Jordet on the night of November 25th, 2013. Their names are Juan Ferrer, Nicholas Stoiber, and Sophie Rocheleau. If Douglas hadn’t been violently assaulted and murdered by them that night, he’d be alive to defend himself and give his side of the story.
Human nature dictates that Nick, Sophie, and Juan would say anything they can at this juncture to vindicate themselves and denigrate Doug. However, when it came to my attention that they’ve resorted to defaming his character by claiming he instigated that night’s altercation with homophobic and racist attacks towards a female (Ms. Rocheleau), I became overwhelmed with the need to speak for him, since he is dead now, and can no longer speak for himself.
I knew Doug very well for nearly 10 years. He was my closest friend. Doug moved to Arcata to live somewhere more progressive than his lifelong home in central Minnesota. He was in no way the bigoted, cruel or angry drunk that his killers have painted him to be. Doug was a quiet, 50-year-old man who had been through a lot in his life. He was probably not so different from his killers in that he was a devoted animal advocate and passionate about music. In the 10 years I had the pleasure of knowing him, Doug gave absolutely no indication of violent tendencies, even when provoked.
I do not believe Sophie, Nick, and Juan truly wished to kill Douglas Anderson-Jordet the night of November 25th. It’s very difficult for me to write that, as my anger towards them has not yet blossomed into forgiveness. They certainly did Doug no favor by beating, stabbing him and leaving him to bleed to death in the street. And although they most likely did not ‘intend’ to kill Doug, they did. We should be questioning whether they should now be allowed to drag his name through the mud, persuading people to feel that perhaps he deserved it. He did not deserve to die, and I do not believe they deserve to freely walk our streets so soon after committing such a brutal offense.
It must also be noted how disappointed I am in the handling of this case by the DA, Elan Firpo. I attempted to contact her in January to give insight into Doug’s good character; she never returned my call. As a result, Doug’s integrity has been greatly compromised. The wellness of our community depends on better representation for victims of violent crime.
Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Feb. 25 @ 10:38 a.m. / marijuana
A marijuana grow on public lands. (Photo from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office via Emily Brady.)
Every once in awhile it’s useful…or, maybe just interesting…to see ourselves as others see us. This week Vice—which has been described as “an ever-expanding machine for selling counterculture cool to the world’s largest and most mainstream corporations” takes a look at Humboldt and, its contradictory relationship with—what else?—marijuana.
The story entitled The Stoners’ Paradise That Is Dreading Weed Legalization examines this area more from the perspective of growers as agricultural workers than drug dealers (though a reference to the “narco-economy” occurs, too.) The writer describes us as “one of America’s most unique farming communities, with around 30,000 people (over a fifth of Humboldt’s population) involved in growing marijuana.”
Emily Brady, who recently wrote Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier, is interviewed for the story and describes the community in a series of colorful images. Here’s a few:
- I went to a school fundraising event, and they were auctioning off bubble bags (used to make hash from plants), along with knitted scarves and baskets of tomatoes.
- One dealer I know is a former logger, an honest, kind and generous man whose father is a decorated WWII veteran in his eighties who also grows pot.
- They are the wealthiest farmers in history, but only because what they farm is illegal.
Though the images Brady paints are mostly positive, the article, as have others before it, looks slightly askance at an entire county making a hefty chunk of change from cannabis farming but still, as a whole, voting to keep pot illegal. (Yes, yes, we know, the 2010 bill wasn’t ideal. But, why do we get the feeling that no bill to legalize marijuana is going to meet with the approval of people whose income depends on it remaining illegal?)
(Note: KHUM and Redheaded Blackbelt—members of LoCO’s media family—are linked in the article.)