Call to Action – Free Speech in Humboldt County


Message from janelle<>:

OOPS! Deepest apologizes!

Email correction– Please resend comments to Janelle Egger<> (if you sent an email to I have not receive it and the committee will not receive it).

and rumor control– An anonymous commenter at the blog “democraticHumboldt-First!” claimed the upcoming Oct 5 public meeting/forum was rescheduled.  Human Rights Commissioner Nezzie Wade has confirmed that, “The Oct 5 date for the forum has not changed.”

Please send your emails to the Board of Sups letting them know that:

— You support removing the interim codes enacted by the “Urgency Ordinance.”   —

You might also reference this document: The Constitution of the United Sates of America, Amendment I:  “Congress shall make no law…..abridging the freedom of speech,…or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble”

by email and/or phone:

Rex Bohn <> 476-2391 Estelle Fennell <> 476-2392  Mark Lovelace <> 476-2393  Virginia Bass <> 476-2394  Ryan Sundberg <> 476-2395

please send a copy to:  Janelle Egger<>


Send written comments to: Human Rights Commission 825 Fifth Street, Room 112 Eureka, CA 95501

To speak for free speech: * Forum info:

Saturday, October 5     County Office of Education in Eureka (901 Myrtle Ave.)

      1pm- draft document available for public review    
      1pm to 2pm- informal discussions
      2pm to 3pm- Panel addresses written questions
      3pm- Public Comment  
      Event may extend to 5pm.

From: janelle or Neil <>

Subject: Time to act for free speech and peaceful assembly in Humboldt

Once again I must ask you to speak, or write, in support of free speech and peaceful assemblies in front of the courthouse.

Next Saturday, October 5, there’s a Human Rights Commission sponsored forum to receive public comment.  An ad hoc committee has been meeting privately since March crafting recommendations on the “Urgency Ordinance” codes (laws).  They also communicated privately with the Sheriff, the District Attorney and a Deputy County Counsel. Now they are asking us what we think.

Unless we act, I see this headline in our future: “Board adopts six recommendations and Policy Statement written by the Human Rights Commission” Within the body of the articles we’ll read: “The Board indicated the Urgency Ordinance laws are still needed for health and safety.”

–Please join me in thanking the ad hoc committee for donating their time and for again recommending repeal, but we need to say “no thank you” to their draft Policy Statement.  Despite the written intent “to ensure protection of First Amendment Rights in Humboldt County” the draft Policy provides little, if any, protection.

Yes the draft Policy Statement “affirms” our rights, but then includes a list of vague restrictions. It states the County “shall develop procedures to meet the needs for communication, education, accommodation and enforcement to address complaints.” It also gives discretion to law enforcement, tipping the balance toward enforcement.  The discussions I heard among Commissioners at their regular open meetings emphasized communication, education and accommodation before, and to avoid, enforcement.

I think most of the officers I encountered in front of the Courthouse would ask the County not to use our criminal justice system to interact with people engaged in free speech and peaceful assembly on public property.  When there is an immediate danger to public health, safety or property law enforcement is there for County staff.  In other cases there should be a Board of Supervisors authorized civil process, such as abatement and/or court order, before involving law enforcement.

What I experienced during Occupy Eureka was law enforcement attempting to impose new restrictions.  Then County staff’s attempt, followed by a request for help to the Board of Supervisors. The Board directed staff to draft an interim ordinance and a week later the “Urgency Ordinance”, using health and safety as justification, put restrictions into the Humboldt County Code.  It was a mistake, and only forced a move to the sidewalk for three months until the last Occupy Eureka protesters left with their table.  A day or two later the homeless camp, or protest, was removed.  When will the interim restrictions on free speech and peaceful assembly enacted by the “Urgency Ordinance” be removed?  Only when the Board of Supervisors decides to do that, or is forced to.

—Please thank the ad hoc committee for again recommending repeal.  Ask them to stand firm and tell the Board of Supervisors it is time to finally remove the interim codes enacted by the “Urgency Ordinance.” In the draft Policy Statement the ad hoc committee wrote that there must be a process to impose restrictions.  But there is already a process and it was used to enact the “Urgency Ordinance.”  To protect our rights we need a more rigorous process before law enforcement is called and before laws impose restrictions. Until there’s an opportunity for an open meeting discussion of how to  provide this type of protection, at least the interim restrictions should be removed to protect future unpopular individuals or groups.

–Please thank the ad hoc committee for standing firm on removing the interim “Urgency Ordinance” codes from the books.  But say “no thank you” to a Policy Statement that encourages using law enforcement instead of civil processes to address complaints related to free speech and peaceful assembly on public property. Even though we may not fully agree with them, we need to encourage the ad hoc committee in their belated request for public comment.  If you can, do it in person.  If not, please write them an email or note or even a letter. Send written comments to:

<>  (to be delivered to the ad hoc committee)

Human Rights Commission, 825 Fifth Street, Room 112, Eureka, CA 95501

And cc the Board– Rex Bohn <> 476-2391 Estelle Fennell <> 476-2392  Mark Lovelace <> 476-2393  Virginia Bass <> 476-2394  Ryan Sundberg <> 476-2395

To provide input in person: Next Saturday the ad hoc committee will be at the County Office of Education from 1pm to 4pm. Their draft document will be available for public review at 1pm.  Scheduled are informal discussions from 1pm to 2pm. Then a panel will address written questions until 3pm and then receive public comment from 3pm to 4pm.  The event may extend to 5pm.  The Office of Education  is in Eureka at 901 Myrtle Ave.


About highboldtage

60 something ya. Libertarian Socialist, community activist, writer and troubador.
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