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California Focus: New law could threaten vote-counting reliability

Suddenly this fall, a potential threat has emerged to the vote-counting reliability Californians have enjoyed for the last six years.

This comes from a new law just signed without hoopla by Gov. Jerry Brown, who listed it among 30 signings and five vetoes in a press release.

Here’s the possible threat: This measure will allow the California secretary of state to approve new electronic voting systems that have received no certification at all for use in actual elections. It also ends a long-standing requirement that all electronic voting systems be certified at the federal level before they’re used here and allows counties to develop their own voting systems.

This bill cried out for a veto from Brown, considering the problems encountered by electronic voting systems during much of the last decade. Comprehensive testing demonstrated that many could be hacked, with the possibility that programming might be inserted so that – for one example – when a voter touched a screen favoring one candidate, the vote actually went to someone else.

No one ever proved that such hacking occurred in a real election, but the machines’ hardware and software could make this kind of cheating virtually undetectable. Some Democrats have long believed cheating of that kind occurred in Ohio in 2004. They note that the head of a firm called Diebold Election Systems co-chaired the Ohio campaign of Republican President George W. Bush and promised he would never allow 2004 Democratic challenger John Kerry to take that state.

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Letters to the Editor Oct. 17, 2013

Newspaper's priorities are astoundingly off-base

Again I’m astounded by the lack of good taste this newspaper has when reporting what’s newsworthy, regarding the Oct. 8 front page. 

First of all you’ve given top billing to some inmate who no doubt in my opinion deserves to be where he belongs (“The media and the SHU”).

Second, you’ve got three photographs, two of which depict an inmate in a well-deserved custodial type environment.

And thirdly, you’ve given a CR professor a small portion of the front page, which appears to be a horrific attack by a shark, second billing to some felon who in my opinion deserves to be where he is despite his obvious “please feel sorry for me” look for the Triplicate’s camera.

Thanks, Triplicate, for putting an inmate on the priority pedestal first, instead of a obvious law-abiding citizen whose tax dollars feed, cloth and house this (for the lack of a better word) person in our state penitentiary system.

Frank Villarreal, Cape Coral, Fla. 

Reporting on sex charges insensitive to the children

The Triplicate printed an article Oct. 10, “CC man faces sex crimes charges,” divulging details of the charges placed against a local man for child abuse.

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Letters to the Editor Oct. 15, 2013

City must cut spending before seeking rate hike

I have to respond to the Sept. 28 Triplicate editorial, “Protest aside, what about our water?” How arrogant to try and make this protest about people not wanting to improve their water system.

When I read that people might be willing to pay more if blah, blah, blah, it made me mad. This is not about willingness, it’s about ability. What part of “can’t afford it” do you not get?

These people you think have no willingness already can’t make it month to month. It’s nice for you that these rate increases are not a concern, but in the area your paper serves, you are in the minority.

The Triplicate itself is an example of making the necessary changes to survive in this depressed economy. It made its paper smaller. It decreased publication from five days to three days. It cut back on its expenses. If it hadn’t, perhaps it would have had to close its doors.

Our city continues on its same path no matter the circumstances, like it’s 1993. It continues to raise salaries and pay the city attorney an annual increase. It’s paying its interim finance director $7,322 a month, plus a housing allowance of up to $2,000 per month. Champagne tastes and beer budget.

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Letters to the Editor Oct. 12, 2013

Scare tactics on water rate hike don’t add up

I have read with interest the recent and near back-to-back Coastal Voices contributions of two of the Crescent City Council members touting the Council’s decision to raise water rates.

Councilman Holley’s spiel primarily focuses on the “greying” of the system, which was constructed in the 1950s. The system includes a tank/tower at Wonder Stump Road, which is in need of “beefing up” to withstand earthquakes. I suppose it is possible by computer search to tally the number of quakes it has withstood to date. I would guess they are not a few.

One wonders why it suddenly is found to be in need of retrofitting. Of course everyone knows the Big One is overdue and retrofitting is not a bad idea in and of itself, but the timing is questionable. Why now, with the American economy in shambles, does Crescent City suddenly feel the urge to raise rates so we can beef up a water tower?

Of course, there is the city water fund that is perennially losing money in the hundreds of thousands annually. According to Interim Director of Finance Susan Mayer, the fund experienced an operating deficit last year of $334,000 and during the previous three years it has been losing between $300,000 and $500,000 annually.

Of course the reason expressed for the deficit is that the city has been dipping into its reserves to pay its bills. The only statement on the website’s report in the matter of the deficit is that rates have not been increased.

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Three games that stood the test of time

Every Warrior football season I really get excited. Watching the present Warrior teams play always bring back long ago memories of my senior year as a Warrior football player.

There were three games that always bring back cherished thoughts. We opened our season at Cave Junction on a Saturday afternoon. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and we won a hard-fought game against the Cougars.

After the game they invited us to meet them at a local residence for a watermelon feed, which was great. There was a whole pickup load of watermelons to eat.

During the feed I had the chance to meet and talk to the Cougars’ outstanding running back, a young man named Ron Mauer. After graduation Ron went on to Southern Oregon College and I went on to Humboldt so we met again in my first year as a Lumberjack.

After that we both ended up in the Army and while I was in basic training I found that Ron was playing football for Fort Ord and was backup running back behind the great Ollie Matson.

After getting out of the service and returning to Humboldt I was in my last season as a Lumberjack and we were playing Southern Oregon. It was the one game while I was there that I got to be captain. When we went to the center of the field for the coin toss, guess who was the Southern Oregon captain: Ron Mauer.

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House Calls: Infection prevention and you

House Calls runs monthly. Today’s column is written by Deanna Russell, ICU supervisor and “Infection Preventionist” at Sutter Coast Hospital.

October is “National Infection Prevention” month and the kickoff for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Flu Vaccination season (October 2013–March 2014).

It is a perfect time to learn techniques to help you stay healthy at home, in a health-care setting, local schools and everywhere. 

These healthy prevention tips come from the National Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology (APIC) http://consumers.site.apic.org/infection-prevention-in/everywhere-else/. 

Staying healthy at home

Don’t bring infections home to your family. Follow these steps to ensure you create and maintain a healthy and infection-free environment:

• Wash or sanitize your hands after you come home from public places. Wash hands before preparing food, before eating, between handling uncooked fruit and vegetables and raw meats, and after toilet use.

• Use safe-cooking practices. Foodborne illnesses frequently arise from poor food preparation and dining habits.

 

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Church Notebook: ‘Outreach in Park’ donations sought

Seventh-day Adventist Church putting on vegetarian cooking class

Ghosts and goblins, black cats and bats — we have no difficulty in recognizing the next “holiday” on the calendar.

But this is one fraught with controversy, because some churches put thumbs down on this one, while others have parties to keep the kids off the streets.

Whatever your view on this one, it’s sure to be challenged in the next couple of weeks.

We do celebrate that day at my house, but for a different reason — it’s my birthday.

It’s another of those times, however, that we need to be more cautious driving, and to keep our ears tuned for trouble.

Kids are excited and running from house to house to collect treats. They don’t look where they are going, and oftentimes those cute costumes they’re wearing obscure their vision — so it’s up to us to keep them safe.

The other negative aspect, sadly, is that these days predators are a concern, and events like we see on Halloween can make youngsters more vulnerable. Even if we don’t personally have kids out there making the rounds, other people do, and I think we should all want to keep them safe.

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Pages of History: Still raided, but where are culprits?

From the pages of the Crescent City American, October 1928.

Mystery surrounds the capture of a still on French Hill last Wednesday when W. C. Smith, L. R. Black, P. A. Brunk, Claude Willis and W. H. Taylor swooped down on the big manufacturing plant and brought it to Crescent City together with two prisoners.

The still contained three parts, making an aggregate capacity of around 900 to 1,000 gallons. Where the mystery part of the subject comes in is in the fact that there were two men brought in with the still yet the two men are not in jail nor is there any record in the Justice of the Peace’s Office.

Officers of the county freely admit that there was a still found and that arrests were made, yet there are no prisoners and no one has given bail. The justice of the peace states that no one has been brought to his court. 

Gold nugget found

Dan London, who owns a fine mining claim on Myrtle Creek, about 10 miles from this city, picked up a gold nugget on his claim last week that weighted out to $67. Mr. London also had several smaller nuggets, the aggregate find running well over the $80 mark. 

This property has been mined ever since the early 1850s, and there never having been a period of more than a year or two that the property has not been worked with good results. 

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E & P: A new appreciation for DNHS coaches

Today’s the first day on the job for the Triplicate’s new sports editor, Michael Zogg, who just arrived from Iowa.

That’s good news for readers who follow the Warriors and have perhaps noticed that the coverage has been a bit spare in the past month as various news staffers have filled in here and there. Three different people have covered football games, for example. Fortunately, whatever the sport, the words have still been accompanied by Bryant Anderson’s fine photos when Del Norte plays at home.

I’ve been part of the makeshift arrangement, and one thing I’ll take from it is a stronger appreciation of the dedicated coaches who lead our young athletes. I’ve interviewed several of them by phone after a contest, and whether they were celebrating victory or looking for the positives in a defeat, their knowledge of the sport and their empathy for their players was obvious.

We’re lucky to have them, and these conversations have reinforced my belief that the athletic opportunities afforded to our kids — from youth sports to high school varsity competition — are an important part of what makes this a good place to live.

Have fun with them, Michael.

Covering the prison

Once again, reporters came from far and wide to tour Pelican Bay State Prison last week in the wake of a hunger strike protesting the indeterminate terms many inmates serve in Security Housing Units.

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Letters to the Editor Oct. 10, 2013

Del Norte is better off without Alexander as DA

This unsolicited letter is in response to Veronica Candelaria’s Oct. 8 letter, “The D.A.’s Office is failing while Alexander is absent.”

I have personal experience with the likes of former district attorneys Bill Cornell, Mike Riese and Bob Drossel.

I’ve also spent more than three years litigating criminal conduct opposite Katie Micks as the acting D.A. This, during the haze of Riese’s last three years of his second term, or in the current absence of Alexander. All I can say after living through Cornell and Riese is, thank God we now have someone who understands there are 52 (at most) felony trial days in a year, and about 400 felony cases (down from Alexander’s irrational 1,000 per year). There are 2,200 or more misdemeanor cases put in the system each year, with 24 trial days.

Ms. Micks processes the cases along as well as can be expected, especially since the state will not create another judgeship in this town, despite meeting the state’s own criteria for such an appointment.

Alexander is the type of person to set another up and have them besmirched for his own career benefit. I know — I am his victim.

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