Monday, July 24, 2006

Local Traffic and Weather Together

I had a flurry of local hits on my blog over the weekend, and a few comments from locals. I don’t tell anyone locally about my blog, for what ever reason, so it was interesting. Also on Saturday, as I was getting out of my truck, a woman walking by my house stopped me and asked if this was The Petch House. She was nice, and we really didn’t talk that long, but still it was an odd experience. It was as if suddenly worlds collided. I asked her how she had found my blog and she couldn’t really recall exactly. She said she was just surfing around checking out other local blogs and mine was one of the few non-political blogs in the area that has regular postings.

Most of the local traffic to my blog was generated from people finding one of my earliest posts about me adding my house to the Local Register of Historic places. I won’t go in to the details again, you can read it if you want - Parts 1 & 2, but a local lunatic added a letter to my application as part of the public comment process. In the letter he complained about any city business that happened to pop into his pee-brained head. It was a little disappointing to me because I had spent a lot of time researching the house and The Petch Family and done what I thought was a very nice write-up, and now the only public comment to be forever attached to my write-up is this crazed letter by a man named Mr. Droz. Well, it seems he is now going to try and run for Mayor and I guess some local people Googled his name and found my blog. He haunts me even today.

I noticed that too about local blogs, that most of them that get regular postings by their authors are political in nature. This is a small town in sparsely populated county. We have only one real local TV news cast but there is a lot of print news media, considering the size of the area. Eureka has two daily newspapers, and then there is The Arcata Eye, and The North Coast Journal. With so much news in print already it’s hard to believe there is that much to blog about. I must admit, though, the population in this area is pretty polarized.

The county is dominated by the city of Eureka, and then 9 miles north, the city of Arcata. Humboldt State University is in Arcata. The majority of the county is liberal and registered Democrat or Green, but Arcata is about as far left as you can get. It seems like every other week the city council is voting to impeach Bush or Cheney for something. I am registered Green and consider myself to be Socially Liberal and Fiscally Conservative – to a point – but even Arcata is a little too far left for me sometimes.

Then there is another very vocal part of the area that is far right conservative. We get regular letters to the editor from people that sound like they want to ditch the US Constitution and use The 10 Commandments as law. And then there are just the hard-core Republicans and their letters are just so venomous. They must be listening to the hyperbole on Talk Radio 24/7 to get so angry and mad. I couldn’t imagine living my life like that. Lately there has been a tit-for-tat battle going on amongst letter writers arguing which are more violent, Christians or Muslims. To be honest, I think if you took a body count from the past 2000 years the corpses would be stacked pretty evenly on both sides.

When I moved up here from Santa Cruz about 7 years ago (Santa Cruz is another far left liberal college town, like Arcata) everyone looked at me like, “Eureka!?! Why aren’t you moving to Arcata?”. You would have thought I told them I was moving to Mars. Frankly, after 12 years in Santa Cruz I got tired of living in a crowded, far left liberal college town with bad streets, no parking, and over priced housing. Arcata is a nice town but there is no way I want to live there. People, tie-dye was a fashion statement 35 years ago, but come on….. we’re in a new millennium, for Pete’s sake!

No, I like Eureka and a lot of people don’t understand that. I like Old Town, Down Town, the old neighborhoods, and I love my house. Even in this county Eureka is the town everyone loves to hate. It’s almost comical how much some local people dislike Eureka. I think that you have to spend a lot of time someplace else in order to appreciate this city. Yes, there are problems with drugs, and the crime is higher than other parts of the county, but really, the city is pretty tame compared to every other place I’ve lived. I just have to chuckle when I read a letter to the editor in the local paper when someone complains that a cop didn’t stop to direct traffic when a traffic signal has broken and is flashing red. It’s quaint.

Yes this city needs help, but show me one city in this country that doesn’t. I think Eureka gets dumped on here a lot because it is the Big City for the area, and even though it’s small, it still appears to have Big City problems. It’s all relative, though. Spend a week in LA and you’ll think this is Mayberry only with better weather and better architecture.

And speaking of better weather, we broke a record with the heat on Sunday. It got up to a blistering 68 degrees. That is toasty for Eureka. Of course, with the heat index it felt more like 72. I came very, very close to breaking sweat…..but not quite.


merideth said...

glad to see you never slow down Greg...i missed a lot while on vaca (though i thought of you when we saw the signs to Eureka)...your new blog layout looks nice!

Greg said...

Boy, a cabin on the Russian River. Now that sounds nice, and it reminded me that I needed to put in a request for time off, which I'm doing today.

Alicia said...

I lived in the college town of my first job and decided I wouldn't do it again. 20 minutes out of town you have real communities with mixed politics and a sort of 'whatever' attitude that goes along with genuine neighborliness. It's really refreshing, and no one complains about the bars not being hip enough--since there is only one. There is only so much academic liberalism that the underpaid worker-for-the-people can take.