September 3, 2009
Craig Smith's family has lived at 1805 2nd Street in Eureka since his grandparents bought the house in 1940. Now, the City of Eureka is threatening their home. Craig Smith, his family and friends and neighbors were present, filming, and opposed to City action when officials, police, and crews with three large earth moving machines arrived on Monday, September 1st. Many neighboring people have been helping clean outside the home, which is the main excuse that the City used to get an inspection and abatement warrant on August 24th. The warrant states that the City can go as far as to demolish the primary residential structure, which was built in the 1850's. Noting the improvements to the house, inside and out, and the public support officials told Craig Smith that he had two more days to clear everything from the outside. No machines were used.
This situation does not happen in isolation. It cannot be interpreted as a code non-compliance issue. Recall the “code enforcement” actions by local government and police Near the water, just south of the Balloon Tract, the Smith property is naturally attractive to local economic interests. The Smith family only recently lost the matriarch and owner of the house, Craig's mother. The family has not even had time to grieve due to the pressure and threat from the City to her/their home.
This incident is rooted in a longstanding collusion of business and government interests to privatize land for development, in effect chasing poor people out of their neighborhoods. All over the U.S., whether it is called bank foreclosure crises, code enforcement issues, or 'illegal' camping, money interests are forcing people out of their homes in a sweeping land grab. Neighbors and other community members here in Eureka are opposed to the actions that threaten Craig Smith and his family and will stand with them until they are secure in their neighborhood.
UPDATE: On Thursday September 3rd the city of Eureka planned to enforce the warrant as they had warned on Tuesday September 1 at 1805 2nd street. Ongoing efforts by neighbors, family and friends to sort through belongings and debris lasted into the wee hours of the morning. The dumpster outside the residence was nearly full as the city official and his henchmen arrived. Despite the efforts of the family and community the city hired a costly clean-up crew at the home owners expense. It was made clear by the city that their gesture to work with the family was false.
At 9:13 AM a concerned neighbor was arrested by an EPD officer, allegedly for “violating a court order” and “resisting arrest”. People on site observed and video footage confirms that this neighbor peacefully allowed her arrest, and that she was denied her right to a search by an officer of the same gender.