Letters to the Editor, October 3, 2018

Speed hump all roads

On September 5th I emailed the following letter to Arcata City Manager Karen Diemer and Arcata City Engineer Doby Class. I was seeking responses not just to the letter, but, in particular, to increasingly dangerous traffic conditions in Arcata. I have yet to hear from either Diemer or Class.

The City of Arcata appears content to continue adding living units and therefore population to the city without adequately addressing the associated increase in automobiles that are now clogging our little streets. Of paramount concern is the way in which far too many drivers blithely careen at appallingly high speeds across crowded lanes of traffic, putting everyone at risk. These people need to be slowed and cited.

It is also clear that collaboration between the city and Humboldt State University to reduce student car trips is virtually non-existent (a contention recently verified by an employee of the city). Visit campus on a warm weekday and you might find fifty bikes scattered around the school. But stand on just about any corner near campus and watch as hundreds of single-occupancy vehicles flood streets and parking lots. This has to change.

By filling up our small community with people and, especially, cars, the city of Arcata (and HSU) is neglecting is foremost obligation to protect its residents from harm.

Certainly the baby steps taken by the city, over the past decade, to calm traffic and provide somewhat safer bike/pedestrian travel are appreciated. But the benefits of these steps are negligible compared with ever growing automobile congestion and unsafe driving conditions and practices.

City of Arcata:

I would put the current need for traffic calming in Arcata near the level of emergency.

Yesterday: The black SUV headed north on H Street, late afternoon, weaving in and out of traffic at perhaps 40 mph, maybe even faster, skidding to a halt at 16th, there peeling out into a left, almost running into someone waiting at the stop sign at G.

The young waif peeling out from 11th to head north onto K, probably hitting 40 before the turn. Also yesterday.

On my little street, someone speeding past playing children as if they were pylons. Yes, yesterday.

It seems every day is like this now. Every day I see this type of behavior in Arcata. Soon, another person will die because of it.

A few months ago a friend of mine was crossing 11th street and was almost run over by a car, traveling at perhaps 50 mph, that was passing another car. The car narrowly missed him, an agile adult, but it ran over his dog. The driver never stopped.

I see people going 40 to 50 on 11th Street all the time.

Three times in the past couple of years I have watched errant drivers pass through the northbound stop sign at Eighth and G without even slowing down. Last year the same thing happened as I was about to cross K, eastbound on 11th. A driver heading north on K drove right through, at about 30 mph, without seeing the stop sign. Had I kept going, had I not noticed the errant car, my daughter, in the passenger seat, would have been seriously injured or killed.

I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but the picture is clear: It appears there is a

diminished concern for human life, at least in the numbed mind of the harried, hurried, excited, intoxicated, “smart”-phoning, and otherwise appallingly dangerous driver. And there are more of them than ever on Arcata’s little streets. This is a disastrous combination. We cannot expect people to do the right thing in their cars. We have to do it for them.

As Arcata’s policy of “in-fill” moves forward without concomitant measures to calm and reduce traffic, and to otherwise make our streets safer, the city is remiss in its first obligation, to protect its citizenry.

This is a request for the city to immediately move forward with measures to install traffic calming devices, and change traffic policies. These changes would include the following:

1. Speed humps* on ALL streets except a few primary arterials, prioritizing for first installation all residential streets, 11th St., L.K. Wood, Sunset Avenue, and Janes Road.

2. Speed limits on most small, residential streets reduced to 15 mph.

3. ENFORCEMENT. In the decades I have lived and traveled in Arcata, not once have I seen a police car with radar positioned on a city street. In terms of allocating resources, the drivers I am describing are far more dangerous than the plazoids ever will be.

*Please do not be dissuaded by emergency services personnel who might erroneously claim that such traffic calming puts people at risk due to increased travel times for ambulances. A friend of mine who, for the past three decades, has run a paramedic operation in the Bay Area, and who knows Arcata, tells me this: “It’s generally not true that speed humps and such keep us from getting to a call timely. We don’t want them on arterials necessarily, but especially in a place like Arcata, where the streets are narrow and dense and there are a lot of closely spaced intersections, ambulances are not going to travel much over the speed limit in any case. The lives you save and injuries you prevent with traffic calming more than make up for any very slight delay, if any, of an ambulance.”

Many thanks,
Greg King
Arcata

Note: Arcata’s citizen-led Transportation Safety Committee meets the third Tuesday of every month at Arcata City Hall, 736 F St. The TSC reviews all transportation matters and makes recommendations to the City Council, commissions and staff – if you have a traffic issue, this is where the solution will be born. – Ed.

Campus too dangerous

It is time that students, prospective students, and their parents be made aware of the dangers of attending Humboldt State University.

As was spelled out in the September 19 Lumberjack article, “Ripple in the radio,” Kimberly Comet, director of Risk Management and Safety Services at HSU, feels the university’s campus has become too dangerous for KHSU nighttime disc jockeys to continue live broadcasts! This despite being patrolled by both the City of Arcata’s Police Department and the university’s own law enforcement.

I urge everyone—students and non-students alike—to educate the public (through letters to the editor and social media) of the dangers lurking at HSU. Let the public know the campus has become a place where those responsible for your wellbeing can no longer ensure your safety.

Until we have an administration that will provide for the 24/7/365 security of everyone on campus, new enrollment should cease.

Richard Salzman
Arcata

KHSU needs a Board of Directors

I have been involved with KHSU since 1986. I have been a paid staff member and a volunteer programmer/producer. I am currently a member of KHSU’s Community Advisory Board.

The chaos at our beloved KHSU continues. Since early May communication between station staff and volunteers has been truncated. Volunteers are not permitted at the station after 10 p.m., the General Manager is all but cloistered. Many questions, few answers. No transparency.

Humboldt State University holds a precious gift in public radio station KHSU. It is time for the university to share responsibility for KHSU by creating a board of directors.

A board of directors, consisting of University-appointed members and community-appointed members, can potentially rescue KHSU from the downward spiral that seems to be out of control now.

I am urging HSU President Lisa Rossbacher to do the right thing: Remove KHSU from the bureaucracy of University Advancement (Is that really the best oversight for a radio station?) and start the process of creating shared responsibility of the station with the community that loves it.

Please, President Rossbacher, it is time for a Board of Directors.

Geraldine Goldberg
Trinidad

It’s those old white men again

Lying under oath to congress is a felony. It constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors” as defined by the Constitution of the United States of America. It is grounds for impeachment and removal from office.

While there has only been one Supreme Court Justice ever impeached and removed, we can always do it again. I, like many people, were aghast at the bile, anger and rage exhibited by Brett Kavanaugh in his statements on the afternoon of September 28th.

I was appalled. I have known many lawyers and even some judges, but have never seen any one of them act that way. Can you imagine being in a courtroom and being subjected to this horrible man?  He sounded like a petulant 5-year-old.

And what is it with these old white men and their hands. They all hold them up like they are surrendering or trying to call attention to the size of their hands. There are old adages about the size of hands, feet and sexual organs, but really.

They should all take their hands and their size 7-1/2 Gucci tasseled loafers and show them to someone who cares.

Or is it that Brett Kavanaugh surrenders. What is he surrendering from? Is his past life of debauchery finally catching up to him? Are his good-old Prep School friends finally go to turn on him?

Most citizens don’t get the privileged life that was afforded to Kavanaugh. Most people do not get the sins of their pasts to be white-washed by a cabal of old, fat, privileged white guys who seem to run this country.

As a woman I object. Remember, resistance is futile, just as the Borg have told us. RISE UP. Stop the erosion of our lives and our futures. Get rid of these bums.

Thank you for listening.

Jan Phelps
Arcata

You won’t regret Brett

I first met Brett when I was Executive Director of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce and he walked into my office to learn about becoming a member. Over the years I learned that Brett is honest, generous, kind, has sense of humor, and goes above and beyond in anything he does. Brett Watson is a friend, a good friend. If you have Brett in your corner you are one lucky person. In the case of Arcata you are one fortunate community to have Brett working on your behalf. Brett cares about the community, he is trustworthy, knowledgeable about the issues that are important to Arcata, he is ethical, has integrity and he will be available to listen to and hear your concerns. Please vote in November and when you do consider voting for Brett. You will be glad you did.

Sincerely,
Sandy Scott
Candler, North Carolina

Measure K for safety

What could be more threatening to families than what we have witnessed at our nation’s border – separating children and placing them in detention facilities while parents are sent away or detained elsewhere? CNN reported on Sept. 20 that between July and early September 2018, at least 41 people have been detained after attempting to retrieve their young family members from government-run detention facilities, now at 92 percent capacity with more than 13,000 children in custody.

Measure K offers a means of ensuring that all residents of Humboldt County feel safe in contacting first responders for emergencies, sending their children to school and accessing health care systems. Measure K is consistent with provisions in California State Values Act, SB-54. Measure K builds on SB 54 by providing for a means of families to specify parental preference regarding custody and residence of their children if separated as a result of federal action.

By supporting Measure K, Humboldt County will be aligning with more than 60 other local jurisdictions around the USA in standing up to the federal government by asserting that we do not want local funds to be used for underwriting the work of federal ICE agents.

If ever there was a time to think globally and act locally, now is the time and voting for Measure K is the way to show your support for keeping families together.

Linda Goff Evans
McKinleyville

 






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