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Just when you thought crime and lawlessness in beautiful Humboldt County couldn't be worse, county officials and area law enforcement group Humboldt Deputy Sheriffs Organization were unable to reach an agreement regarding public safety personnel salary and benefit increases yesterday.

Basically the HDSO was holding out for more than the 4% pay increase over the next year offered by the county, but the county ended the negotiations after that offer, and a previous offer, were rejected by the organization.

The HDSO told the Eureka Reporter that all county employees are underpaid, which shouldn't come as a surprise for Humboldt County News readers, as we are constantly pointing out the terrible crime and practical lawlessness that plagues the area. In case you haven't noticed, it's basically a free-for-all here, with burglaries, car theft, and for-profit criminal marijuana production constantly taking place in every neighborhood.

Unfortunately, things will only get worse from here due to many Humboldt County employees, including law enforcement, strongly considering taking positions in other parts of the state. County Personnel Director Rick Haeg told the Reporter that sheriff's deputies could easily take jobs in Santa Rosa for 30 to 40 percent more than what they make here, and Santa Rosa's cost of living is barely higher than Arcata's. In fact, individuals in Santa Rosa tend to have nearly twice as much disposable income than those in Arcata.

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Another potential problem that could arise from this lack of salary increase for county personnel is that of corruption. The harder it is for county employees to make ends meet, the more likely we are to run into bribery, embezzlement, and other forms of corruption. When county officials are underpaid, the quality of their work shall soon decline in relation to their disgruntlement. Shoot, the DA is likely to charge local resident Kerri Malloy, owner of recently closed Eureka burger joint Steve's Coney Island, with felony embezzlement after he allegedly forged checks totalling $8,000 from the Arcata Chamber of Commerce's budget. And he's not even a county official, just another business owner with a failing restaurant in Eureka, turning to crime and theft during tough times.

Anyway, crime is already totally out of control in Humboldt County, and it is truly a shame that our officials cannot figure out a way to channel more county funds into law enforcement in order to increase overall quality of life for law-abiding citizens. It's no wonder Humboldt is a mecca for low-life criminal pot growers, meth dealers, and thieves. Who's gonna bust them?

<< Marijuana Grow Raided in Eureka Marijuana Legalization Could Be on November Ballots >>

By Archibald, on Jul 2, 2008 - 9:12
Mr. Haeg has for years told those seeking reasonable pay increases that they were "lucky" to be working in Humboldt and to leave it they wanted more money.
Nice work, genius. By the way,
he's pulling down quite a bit of money himself. However, just try finding a list of county official salaries on line

Love it or leave it

By Chad, on Jul 2, 2008 - 12:30
Gosh! we better get them money before it's too late!! "But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Condoleezza Rice
These kind of scare tactics have been played out by the Bush Admin already. How about getting the Dr's back who have already left? Why so many grow houses?LOL I feel for the cops, but hey 'welcome to the world of (non pot growing) underpaid folks who love Humboldt county'. LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. I would feel safer walking down a dark alley here than I would in broad daylight in any other cities of equivalent size. Cops having to deal with gangs (real gangs, not hippies)SHOULD make more money. Cops here do not have it all that bad, take the low wage, living here is the real pay off.
I do not appreciate the scare tactics here or on the radio, and I think a lot of the folks here in Humboldt are going to be turned off to the cops plight for this reason alone. BUT! "The harder it is for county employees to make ends meet, the more likely we are to run into bribery, embezzlement, and other forms of corruption." Like manipulating the public through fear tactics?

No Fear!

By The Authors, on Jul 2, 2008 - 14:19
Actually, we are not trying to strike fear into the hearts of anyone at all. What we are trying to do is bring light to the fact that wages are incredibly low here in Humboldt County, and yet the cost of living is so incredibly high. Yes, there are many of you out there with the "love it or leave it" attitude, but to us that is nothing more than a lazy cop-out as far as we're concerned.

We want change, and we want a better life in the place we live. Is that too much to ask for? We support our local law enforcement workers because they are responsible for keeping this place safe for us and our families, and without them there really would be no law whatsoever.

Also, your reference to "any other cities of equivalent size" and the claim that they are all more dangerous than Eureka, is very, very misguided. Please look up some crime statistics for the Eureka area compared with other cities of similar size, and you will see that Eureka has a terrible crime problem, with burglary, theft, and rape being far more common per capita than many, many other cities of similar size. Sure, you can always find a city more dangerous than another, but the facts are out there and Eureka has a very real crime problem.

By Chad, on Jul 2, 2008 - 14:49
Low wages are a problem in Humboldt County, for all of us, not just the police. Funneling money to the police will not help the crime problem. Higher wages to poor people in Humboldt would reduce the crime problem. Poverty sucks
I do have the 'love it or leave it' attitude, but it's not that I wouldn't want to see cops get paid better. I just would like us all to be paid more fairly seeing how poverty really is the source of most crimes. right?

Points well made

By The Authors, on Jul 2, 2008 - 15:09
Thanks for your very reasonable comment, Chad. Yes, overall wages for all (non-grower) residents are far too low here. There are barely a handful of restaurants in the area that pay their head chefs good wages, and that is precisely why good food is so hard to find here. The same goes for customer service, which is far worse in Humboldt than in, say, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, or really any other part of California that we have visited (and that's most of the state).

However, we have to disagree with you about poverty. Sure, poverty does go hand in hand with crime sometimes, but in general those who are career criminals would not likely benefit from, say, higher minimum wages. This is because, from our experience, most criminals (we're talking about car thieves, burglars, drug dealers, even for-profit marijuana growers) are simply not interested in working real jobs. That's why they're criminals. Burglarizing homes doesn't necessarily pay a whole lot more per year than working at Starbucks, for example, but it also does not require the person to show up to a job every day, or really to do anything according to anyone else's schedule or needs. They just knock over a home or business when they need to, and can basically be considered self-employed.

However, that same person is unlikely to become legitimately self-employed, and usually the reason for that is an overall lack of education. Maybe the parents didn't educate, maybe the school system failed, but the point is that those who don't possess marketable skills, and yet are bright enough to see opportunities (like an unlocked parked car), will always be criminals in a place where law enforcement is not strong enough to deter the crime.

In cities with well-funded police departments, crime is almost always lower because there is a real threat of getting caught if you commit a crime, such as a burglary. So those people who may lack marketable skills but are smart enough/educated enough to weigh the consequences against the potential gains may actually be deterred from succumbing to a life of crime and instead go get a minimum wage job to stay alive, simply because they don't want to wind up in jail.

We definitely acknowledge, however, that education is critical to preventing crime, but adequate law enforcement is also very important.

If we had more cops, crime would be less of a problem. If we raised the minimum wage, it is very unlikely that crime rates would fall. Why would criminals go get jobs when they are at no greater risk of getting caught and prosecuted than they were when wages were lower?

By A community member, on Jul 3, 2008 - 6:26
We need less police in America, might as well start here.

By Anticrime, on Jul 3, 2008 - 8:06
How can you possibly say we need less police? My house was burglarized in broad daylight, totally robbed of everything, guns, computers, jewelry, family heirlooms you name it they took it. Cops were so busy in Eureka they wouldn't even come out to my house to take a report.

How the HELL can you say we need less police in this country? Who the hell are you gonna call when your house is burglarized, or you are attacked, or your daughter is raped, or your car is stolen?

The idiot above who says we need less police in America is either a criminal himself, or just a complete and total moron who has no clue what life is like once you move beyond your 20s and start doing things like owning a home, having children, or becoming a REAL member of the community.

By anonymous, on Jul 3, 2008 - 12:57

if the police were so useless in your case, why in the world would you support MORE useless cops? i agree with the earlier poster who said that LESS police would actually improve things.

By Anticrime, on Jul 3, 2008 - 16:26
Did you not read what I wrote? They were so backed up with violent crimes that they couldn't spare the manpower to come check out my burglary. That CLEARLY illustrates a lack of law enforcement resources. More cops == more resources to investigate crimes. When the police don't even have time to come check out a burglary, then there is absolutely zero chance that the criminal will ever be caught and prosecuted. Therefor there is absolutely no deterrent for that criminal, and he will undoubtedly strike again because he can never be caught!How can you possibly think that less police would solve our crime problem? Or do you deny that there is a crime problem?

By anonymous, on Jul 3, 2008 - 18:02
crime is terrorism.....

if you are so concerned, i would consider getting a gun and a safe to put your valuables. also, insurance on valuables that are worth $1000 or more may be advisable.

dont be part of the fear monger crowd. act like a responible citizen and get to know your neighbors. watch out for your neighbors. BIG BROTHER wont protect you as well as you would like to think.

By Jake, on Oct 23, 2008 - 14:01
I don't live in CA, but I have to agree with the poster who said we need LESS, rather than MORE, police. I have had my share of interactions with cops, and I find them to be worthless. I'm not saying that there isn't a cop out there who has helped stop a crime, but every time I've been the victim of a crime the cops were either too lazy or too corrupt to do anything about it. The times when they were citing me for something, I found them to be more harmful than helpful. They're annoying. I don't count on the police to protect me or my family. I keep weapons in the home for that. Time after time the "law enforcement professionals" in our country have shown themselves to be power-hungry thugs who do more harm than good. Note to those cops out there with integrity: If the shoe doesn't fit, don't put it on. Maybe you should stand up to your colleagues who are abusing their position.

By leave town cry-babies, on Dec 2, 2008 - 23:14
wow, to say that ppl who do not work are criminals is one the most pathetic statements I have ever heard. Ranting that "growers" don't have education or values. Let's then just say that niggers are all poor criminals too. The dumb thing I see is neglecting a golden opportunity that is right in your face. Go worship in your christian cult you dressed up hicks!

By cry baby?, on Dec 5, 2008 - 16:03
Yeah, we should ALL be dealing cocaine, selling crack, growing pot, and stealing everything we can get our hands on. I mean, anyone who neglects opportunities like that must be a COMPLETE idiot!

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