Letters to the Editor, July 5, 2017

On parking issue, stay chill

There are many issues and concerns around parking, particularly when folks seem to be living in their parked vehicle.

As reported in last week’s Mad River Union, county supervisors among others have legitimate concerns about is- sues such as a recent parked vehicle re in Garberville and anecdotes of drug sales from parked vehicles.

However there is something important for the County Counsel, who the supervisors asked to look into this issue, and for all of us to understand: The Ninth Circuit Court, within whose jurisdiction we live, ruled in June 2014 to strike down the Los Angeles ordinances against “living in” parked vehicles.

From an LA Times story following the ruling:

Tristia Bauman, senior attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, said the ruling would affect any city in California with a vague ban similar to Los Angeles’. “We’re seeing a dramatic uptick in these type of laws,” Bauman said. “Cities have a goal of reducing visible homelessness rather than taking constructive actions.”

So, to save Humboldt County taxpayers the expense of an inevitable lawsuit that would need to overrule this 2014 Federal Appeals Court ruling, I trust that the County Counsel will study the precedent and not recommend any ordinance that would breach established civil rights.

And for the rest of us, I encourage you to stay chill. Feel fortunate that you have a roof over your head, and try feel- ing a bit more generous and compassionate to the least fortunate in our communities, even those who are “just passing through.” They have rights, too.

Bruce LeBel

Important to discuss racism

I am sending this email to offer my appreciation to Craig Tucker for requesting that the issue/topic of racism be placed on the agenda for the meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee.

The front page article “McKinleyville looks at racism” in the June 21, 2017 issue of the Mad River Union outlines the background and need for placing this topic on the McKMAC agenda.

It is important that the McKMAC provide a forum for the community to openly discuss issues and concerns about racism.

Since McKinleyville is not incorporated, we lack a city council to turn to when community-wide issues need to be discussed.

I agree with Craig Tucker’s assessment “...pretending that there is not a problem is not the right thing to do.”

The right thing to do is open up a dialogue that welcomes comments, issues and concerns about race related topics.

The Equity Alliance of the North Coast from the Humboldt Area Foundation has taken a leadership role in facilitating discussions on racism. Following is an excerpt from their website, hafoundation.org:

The Equity Alliance of the North Coast is focused on understanding and improving racial and social equity through education, dialogue and coaching opportunities for organizations and individuals.

I attended two events facilitated by Equity Alliance: One was held at the Arcata Portuguese Hall soon after the tragic killing of Josiah David Lawson; the second workshop took place on June 12 at Humboldt Area Foundation and was titled, “The Business of Race.”

I recommend that multiple organizations in McKinleyville including McKMAC, McKinleyville Community Services District, the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce, McKinleyville Union School District, McKinleyville High School, the Boys and Girls Club, the McKinleyville Grange, the McKinleyville Resource Center and local churches co-sponsor a meeting or series of meetings to be facilitated by Equity Alliance of the North Coast inviting the community to speak and listen to each other as we engage in dialogue about race and racism and its effects on the community.

Linda Goff Evans

Veggie Independence Day

Here are the ten best reasons for barbecuing veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs at this year’s Independence Day gatherings, rather than ground-up animal body parts:

• Focusing on traffic and fireworks safety, rather than food safety.

• Giving your eyes a break from reading government food warning labels.

• Not sweating cancer-causing compounds if barbecue temperature is too high.

• Not sweating nasty E. coli and Salmonella bugs if temperature is too low.

• Not wondering about the real contents of that burger or hot dog you’re chewing.

• Giving your body a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones.

• Not sweating the animal cruelty and environmental devastation guilt trips.

• Not having to explain to your kids why we cherish Fido but eat Babe.

• Enjoying the exploration of veggie meal offerings in your supermarket.

• Celebrating a day of independence from the meat industry.

Ernie Steele

Trump’s health care inconsistency

It’s called Trumpcare, but in truth, President Trump really has no health care policy. When Trump ran as a candidate, he promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which at that time had an approval rating close to 40 percent.

He promised to replace it with a better program with insurance for everybody and said he would also leave his hands off Medicare and Medicaid.

He even slammed several of his fellow GOP candidates for having a more restrictive take on this.

Once in office, President Trump agreed with those backing a simultaneous repeal and replace strategy over those who favored an initial repeal with subsequent replacement, a process which the GOP had been trying to accomplish for seven years.

In May, he only had praise for Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP House members for passing a replacement health care bill.

It kept pieces of the ACA in place while saving around $150 billion from the federal budget over 10 years and leaving 23 million more individuals uninsured than would be under the ACA.

Trump even held a celebration for the House members in the Rose Garden to honor them for their success.

Then the issue was turned over to the Senate where an all-white male group of 13 GOP senators worked in secret for a number of weeks to come up with their own plan.

Amazingly, before they had quite finished, Trump suddenly expressed his opinion that the House version was “mean.”

Regardless of Trump’s opinion, the Senate came up with a similar “mean” proposal (yet unvoted on) which notably would save about double in 10 years while leaving 22 million uninsured and making larger cuts to Medicaid.

Unfortunately for the GOP members of Congress, while all this was going on, the general public had done an about face on the ACA and suddenly gave it over a 50 percent approval rating while the House and Senate proposals rated under 20 percent.

This left Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with a bill that needed massaging because it couldn’t muster enough votes for passage being opposed by the ultra-right for being too similar to the ACA and opposed by the more moderate for being too severe with large numbers losing coverage and cuts to Medicaid which would negatively impact the health of many individuals and state budgets.

I would bet the overwhelming vocal public opposition they experienced likely played a part as well. But not to worry.

Even though unnamed sources say Trump had demonstrated in meetings that he really didn’t understand the details of the health care bills at all, he put them both aside and proposed a simple solution in a Tweet: if the senate can’t settle on a bill, it should just repeal the ACA and come up with a replacement plan later. Simple!

So you see, Trump’s health care policy had changed yet again; and who knows what may come next.

I would bet that whatever plan is adopted in the future, it won’t be the better program with insurance for everybody and untouched Medicare and Medicaid that Candidate Trump originally promised last year either.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake


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