Civility and more in decline
In the last few years, our nation increasingly has drifted away from the civility and ethical foundations that have been distinctive characteristics of our national commitment.
In particular, it seems that our commitment to human rights is declining in the U.S. The recent example in which the potential economic losses to our country were a serious consideration in determining whether the U.S. would call for a forthright questioning or condemnation of the alleged torture and murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey reinforces to me this general decline in our moral foundations, and is contributing to the declining status of the U.S. as a moral leader throughout the world.
Moral issues increasingly seem to be put aside and replaced by an emphasis on economic benefits and political advantages.
I am convinced that we all suffer from this and, by our silence as individuals, become complicit in sustaining these attitudes.
I believe it is important for each of us, independent of political party or affiliation, to place a high priority on assessing the broader moral implications of our voting patterns and political decisions, to consider the moral fiber of our candidates, and to assess the moral foundations and implications of the positions they advocate.
Richard G. Botzler
Yes on Measure M
If those who want our statue of President William McKinley were actually in the right, they would not have to resort to telling lies about why it should be brought down.
Have you noticed how those who attack the life of President McKinley cite many travesties of justice that have taken place in our history and they would have us believe that McKinley was behind them. Hogwash!
William McKinley was good man. He had nothing to do with any of the accusations that were voiced publicly as reasons to remove his statue. McKinley was against all the evil actions they mention.
President William McKinley deeply hated slavery. He gave up his job as a schoolteacher to fight to end slavery in the Civil War. After the war he went to law school and started his life in politics. McKinley’s fervent support of minorities is demonstrated in this quote:
“Nothing can be permanently settled until the right of every citizen to participate equally in our State and National affairs is unalterably fixed.”
When McKinley was elected president, he placed a never-before-seen number of minorities in his administration, many in high positions.
In the Humboldt County voter guide, pro-statue-removers state, “The McKinley statue does not belong as the centerpiece of the Arcata Plaza, the same place that served as the auction site for enslaved Indigenous children, women, and men…”
The REAL fact is, McKinley had a lifelong hatred of slavery; he would have been outraged by any such auctions.
Moreover, the Humboldt Room and the Humboldt Historical Society state that there is no evidence of the auctions taking place rather that they offer proof that it never happened. They are trying to sell us a bold-faced LIE!!!
Arcata City Councilmember Paul Pitino, signed off on this “alternate fact” (i.e., “lie”). I have to wonder, why Pitino would put his name on such a falsehood? I ask if it was ignorance or willful ignorance that led him to put his name on this lie?
Pro-statue-removers also like to cite several other actions that had nothing to do with McKinley and that he would have been horrified by. I repeat, history, not lies, bears out that McKinley was a good man who would have been horrified by such travesties.
Clearly, the opposition wants to tear down a symbol of America’s mistakes. They have simply targeted the wrong man. Again, it begs the question,
If pro-statue-removers are correct, why would they have to manufacture lies to justify removing the McKinley statue?
David LaRue co-authored the successful petition to place Measure M on the Nov. 6 ballot.
No on Measure M
History. One clear set of irrefutable facts, agreed upon by all parties, seen through unbiased eyes and told with unbiased voices. If only.
U.S. history books treat American presidents kindly. If a president is killed in office, some would have you believe that he was a champion to all. But the truth is never that simple, or true.
For the rest of the story, we must go to the written and oral histories of the original people of this land, the Wiyot and other tribes.
We must listen to the voices of the people of the Philippines, Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the other island nations invaded by the U.S. under McKinley’s leadership.
Here, you will find the stories of racism, horror, torture, starvation, murder, concentration camps, kill zones, genocide, the sale of children, slavery, massive land theft and other crimes beyond counting.
William McKinley is an extremely poor example of a person who should be memorialized in a statue, and placed in the center of a town, any town. That his statue has stood in the center of the City of Arcata is a dishonor and a mistake that should have never been made in the first place.
The correction of this poor judgment is long overdue. Vote NO on Measure M to remove the statue of William McKinley from the Arcata Plaza.
Activist Fhyre Phoenix has persistently protested the Plaza statue’s presence.
Stridency and fragility
After listening to KHSU’s Thursday Night Talk on Oct. 18 – which focused on the Arcata Plaza McKinley statue controversy and Measure M – I was struck by a few things.
I was impressed by the attitude and opinions being expressed by Lisa Lytle Morehouse. For example, her delivery was often Trump-like in its stridency and disregard for talking over other people while continually pounding the same short list of talking points, repeatedly expressing her hostility toward and discomfort with the opinions of other guests.
Civility aside, I found myself wishing someone had pressed her to explain exactly what she meant by feeling that her history/culture/heritage were being attacked, while she drew a line between “her/our” history and that of Native Americans, and that she had felt reverse racism directed at her.
IMHO, what she was displaying is the lack of awareness, historical tone-deafness, and callous disregard displayed by so many of us white people in the USA of the 21st century.
First off – though there is certainly room for debate on the subject – many feel that “racism... is an institutional and systemic belief that is only a tool of the powerful.” (“Can you be racist against white people?” – Irish Times, Aug. 11, 2018, tinyurl.com/y7dvyxpe). From that perspective, what we heard from Lisa was actually an expression of white fragility and xenophobia.
Second, I understood Lisa to be arguing for the holding up of “white” history and heritage. We continue to be in denial in this country about the horrors of slavery and genocide, which – along with rapacious resource extraction, environmental degradation, and socio-economic injustice – actually are major aspects of the history of domination by the white power elite in this country.
Are those the aspects of “her” history she wishes to extol, and whose legacy she wants to pass on to her children? Perhaps so, since many benefits accrue to us whites through these disparities. She should be honest about what she really means by “our” history.
Lisa repeatedly (and disingenuously) asked “What can we do to live in peace now?” Since she apparently showed up at the forum only to do battle from the (R) side of the aisle, she did not listen to or respond to the immediate answer offered by Erik Rydberg, who suggested that a good place to start would be to acknowledge and respect the desire of the remaining local native people (and many others of us) to remove the statue because its history and what it represents to them is offensive for multiple reasons. It seems to me that the statue’s removal is a minor and entirely symbolic gesture, one that hardly touches the horror inflicted upon these people, which they have not forgotten.
If Lisa and other people who subscribe to her beliefs truly wish to live in peace with neighbors who may not look or believe the way they do, they would do well to learn to better listen and interact respectfully, to acknowledge the suffering of others, and to self-examine their white privilege.
Democracy yes, mob no
Having read both points of view on Proposition M, I believe that President McKinley was in some ways admirable and in some ways flawed.
I was born in McKinley’s home state, Ohio, and I started kindergarten at McKinley School in Lakewood, Ohio. I have paid attention to the opinions expressed in the Union. I have purchased and read President McKinley, Architect of the American Century by Robert W. Merry. I can see both sides of the issue.
But my reason for signing the petition and voting “yes” on Proposition M is this: as a resident of Arcata, and a voter, I am appalled and disgusted that our City Council allowed itself, with one exception, to be bullied into deciding to have the statue removed.
The issue of McKinley’s fate should be decided by democratic process, not by intimidation and mob rule.
Sarah G. Edwards
Let’s open up that space
From my early days in a stroller, I looked up to a statue in the middle of the Arcata Plaza. Later I worked on the Plaza, as did my father and grandmother before me.
For three generations, we walked by him for close to 100 years. I often thought it would be great to have the original band stand brought back. Ask just about anyone today what their favorite day is on the Plaza and I bet they say Saturday.
Food and music are universal. Let’s open up that space for more music, local produce and a place to celebrate the past, present and future. Vote to remove the statue. Vote No on Measure M.
Gently relocate Bill
After returning from a brief trip to Portland Oregon, and experiencing their town square (aka “living room”) I am struck by an image of what our Plaza could be.
Imagine a free open space, with vibrant blooming indigenous plants and foliage, reflective of the changing seasons…
Imagine room for play, dance, music, festivals, alive with artistic expression while sharing nature’s bounty…
Imagine multi-cultural, inclusive and pan-historic statements of who we were, where we are, and who we want to become…
Oh wait! We almost have this…
Except for a very large, heavy, imposing bronze figure, painful to some, tolerated (but not loved?) by others, and occupying a huge chunk of precious and promising space.
Can we as a community, rise above our vitriol and come together, and gently relocate this symbolic mass (which may have served its purpose) to a respectful new home? Can we collaboratively redesign a vibrant healing space which will be an inspiration and source of joy to all?
Arcata is bursting with artists, visionaries, planners and implementers. Together can we create something wonderful?
One thing is certain. IF Measure M does pass, the discussions will end, collaboration will cease, creativity will be stifled, and we will all be “stuck” with our statue and surrounding structure just as it is, where it is, without even minute changes, until which time another ballot measure emerges, spewing more conflict and confusion.
Let’s stop kicking the can down the road and find a solution NOW honoring history while recognizing our present reality.
Statue has a role to play
Until the recent vandalism and defacement of the McKinley statue I was leaning to vote no on Measure M. My position was based less on the impossible to conclude historical debate and more on a notion that as times change the memorials and monuments to history around us can become irrelevant and even inappropriate.
I did feel that the McKinley statue had reached that point in Arcata. However, I now feel that it has at least one more important role to play in our community and therefore should stand for the time being.
When the statue was erected in 1906 it was a reflection of a nation honoring a slain President. The event of McKinley’s assassination obviously left a deep mark on the generation of people who remembered it happening, and thus a statue of McKinley in any town’s square could be a relevant and appropriate monument for that generation of people.
In Arcata as time passed, so did that generation of people who remembered President McKinley and remembered the impact his assassination had on themselves and the country. Likely by the late 1980s there were only a handful of people left from that generation.
A new generation could only wonder why on earth a statue of President McKinley stood in the center of Arcata and what role it could possibly serve for the community. Over the years this next generation, which I am a part of, defined the role of the statue in different ways. Some wanted answers and in trying to get answers as to why the McKinley statue is in Arcata and not McKinleyville they were inevitably led to the interesting story of the 1906 survival of the statue in the San Francisco earthquake or the story of its famous sculptor Haig Patigian.
At times, our statue has made us laugh when in good humor it was dressed up in all manner of garments, trash receptacles, covered in pumpkin remnants or in creative political signage. At other junctures, we have taken the time to pore over the historical record and debate McKinley’s tenure and status on our Plaza. In my view, all of these pursuits have been interesting and added intrigue, color, conversation and curiosity to our Plaza.
In short, I feel that the McKinley statue in the past forty or so years served a role that was somehow perfectly awkward, strange, interesting and useful for our weird little town. In recent years, its role in our community has felt less relevant and many people have taken offense it to being there which, in short, is understandable.
I too began to feel that it’s time for something else in the center of the Arcata Plaza.
An old statue might mean little to the majority of people in a community. However, it’s always going to be the case that it does mean something, maybe even a lot, to others in a community. I do believe that statues can and should come down when the time is right. However, that removal should only happen after a respectful dialogue and debate and maybe even a community vote takes place. The removal process should be carried out in a way that shows respect for the statue or monument itself as a symbol of respect for those in the community who will miss its presence.
When I went to the Plaza the other day and looked up at the statue now defaced by some patina-eating chemical I reflected on the harshness, incivility and divisiveness that the debate over this statue’s removal has caused in our community and the likelihood that anger spurred on by this debate caused someone to commit the act of vandalism. I felt really sad. Some of my sadness was for the old statue itself, but most of it was for our community.
Ideally this vote should be postponed until we engage in a dialogue over the statue that brings our community together to truly listen to one another and try to understand one another. I think this statue has yet another role to play in our community.
We need a plan for Plaza
Yes on M. Support Good Governance and a Better Plan for the Arcata Plaza
There are potentially endless arguments for and against the statue of president McKinley based on who you feel he was or what you feel he now represents based on our current times. This polarizing approach is missing the point. Instead, we should focus on developing the highest and best use of public spaces.
I am voting in favor of Measure M to keep the statue in place for now and insist the City Council lead the development of a comprehensive plan for the highest and best use of the Arcata Plaza that makes it a better place for all citizens.
The council’s decision to remove the statue with no plan for what goes in its place to make the Plaza better, no plan for what to do with the existing statue, and no accurate cost estimate or funding strategy is poor governance.
The Plaza is the centerpiece of Arcata and the citizens deserve a logical plan, not crowd pleasing piecemeal actions. I am voting Yes on M to keep the statue in place for now. We should insist the City Council step up and lead the development of a comprehensive plan to make the Plaza better and enhance the centerpiece of Arcata, and then let the citizens approve it.
Time to get rid of statue
As somebody who has written extensively about history and memory, and participated in campaigns to bring a social justice perspective to pubic memorials, I urge residents of Arcata to vote “No” on Measure M.
A public memorial can in my view serve one or more functions: acknowledge an atrocity or injustice committed against a large number of people in the past; celebrate social movements and leaders who have fought against injustice and inequality; and symbolize a community’s aspirations to create a society based on equality and dignity.
The McKinley statue meets none of these criteria. As president McKinley was associated with a war in the Philippines that practiced unspeakable repression and cruelties (including “water boarding”) against thousands of Filipinos. Under his leadership, racism against African Americans increased. He did not support any movements for social justice in California, including efforts by Native organizations to achieve reparations and return of stolen artefacts and human remains.
Moreover, the decision to erect the McKinley statue was made undemocratically by local political and economic elites. After the McKinley statue is gone, we should have an engaged public debate about how the Arcata Plaza can represent the best of us and our aspirations for equality, justice, and dignity.
Berkeley, Big Lagoon
Arcata deserves better
I’m writing to express concern about the way Councilman Michael Winkler has conducted himself in the debate around whether or not to remove the McKinley statue from the Arcata plaza. I have no issue with his conduct up to the meeting where the Council made the decision to remove the statue. He is entitled to voice his opinion and cast his vote. But once that decision was made by the Council, after due public process, I feel his actions have driven a wedge deeper into our community. At this sensitive time, we need leaders with empathy and understanding; Councilman
He failed when it came to processing the emotions that flowed during the council meetings leading up to the vote to remove the statue. He never demonstrated that he really listened and tried to understand the anguished voices of the young people, the descendants of the survivors of genocide, and their allies who spoke that night. Instead he treated those voices with no tolerance, expe
To this day Councilman Winkler has not validated those voices, instead choosing to ‘otherize’ them with oversimplified labels. A good example of this is his letter to the conservative commentator Mark Steyr (https://www.
Arcata, you deserve better. And you are also better than displaying a symbol known to be hurtful to the natives whose land this is and who are at the heart of your community. I urge you to vote no on Measure M.
Buh bye, Bill
It’s time to say, “Buh bye!” to Bill.
In his editorial, advocating a “yes” vote on Measure M, keeping the McKinley statue in place, Kevin Hoover invokes the need for historical monuments and for “inclusive history,” which he somehow imagines embraces both the actions of McKinley himself, and the collective history of Arcata, since the installation of the statue, 112 years ago. Most citizen interactions with the monument, over the years, have involved dressing him up for holidays, using him as a mannequin and obscuring his unsavory legacy.
The statue only came to our Plaza because one wealthy citizen, George Zehndner, revered the assassinated president, commissioned the casting, and donated it to the city. Had he not been shot, McKinley would never have inspired adequate enthusiasm to occupy our town square, or any other. He has absolutely no historical tie to Arcata aside from one rich resident’s adoration.
But because of Zehndner, his hero McKinley stands at the center of our town, gesturing expansively to the west, to the lands that he “assimilated”, imposing American influence and control through extreme violence and brutality, in the name of Manifest Destiny.
If Arcata had statues of historical figures scattered about town, and McKinley were just one of them, there wouldn’t be much of a problem. But, in Arcata, we have one Plaza, and one statue. That statue is William McKinley, and he stands at the symbolic center of our city, which is a BIG problem.
Those pushing "yes" on Measure M portray him as a brave Union soldier and an advocate for the rights of enslaved people. They ignore McKinley’s leadership in the imperialist and brutal military conquests of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines, and his lack of leadership in ending the oppression of black and native people in America.
Standing as the lone monument at the center of town, McKinley appears to represent all citizens of Arcata, but no matter how you dress him up, he does not represent the values of most Arcatans.
Please vote NO on Measure M.
And, as long as you are promoting racial and social justice, make sure to vote YES on Measure K, making Humboldt a Sanctuary County.
Address historic injustice
The author of the Mad River Union editorial on Measure M dated Oct 17, 2018 opines that we should not use “prevailing views” for past acts of oppression. Let’s examine some opinions expressed in original sources at the time of Arcata’s founding that reflect “prevailing views.”
On the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1860, “Massachusetts senator Henry Wilson thundered against the fact ‘‘that Indians are hunted down in some portions of the State of California... and the children... in certain cases sold as slaves.’’ Wilson insisted: ‘‘the abuses that have been perpetrated upon the Indians in California are shocking to humanity, and this Government owes it to itself to right their wrongs.” Proceedings of the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Congress (46 vols., Washington, D.C., 1860), 29: 2366.
In a letter dated January 12, 1862 from Lt. Lippitt to Major Raines at Fort Humboldt recorded from War of Rebellion Records vol. 50 pt. 1 p. 803. “Individuals and parties are, moreover, constantly engaged in Kidnapping Indian Children, frequently attacking the rancherias, and killing the parents for no other purpose. This is said to be a very lucrative business, the kidnapped children bringing good prices, in some instances Mr. Hanson tells me, hundreds of dollars apiece.”
From the San Francisco Bulletin dated December 6, 1861: “It is notorious that there are parties in the northern counties of this State, whose sole occupation has been to steal young children…and dispose of them at handsome prices to the settlers…”
Mark Twain, New York Herald, October 15, 1900: “But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the Treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Phillippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem.”
Contemporaries living in Humboldt County, the State of California and the nation from late 1850s through the early 1900s recognized the immorality of the abuses “settlers” wrought upon the indigenous peoples. We need to recognize and acknowledge these abuses and apologize. We need to
show respect today through our actions.
One respectful action is to remove the McKinley statue as requested by local indigenous peoples. Vote NO on Measure M.
Open up the Plaza
From my early days in a stroller, I looked up to a statue in the middle of the Arcata Plaza. Later I worked on the Plaza, as did my father and grandmother before me. For three generations, we walked by him for close to one hundred years. I often thought it would be great to have the original band stand brought back. Ask just about anyone today what their favorite day is on the Plaza and I bet they say Saturday. Food and music are universal. Let’s open up that space for more music, local produce and a place to celebrate the past, present and future. Vote to remove the statue. Vote No on Measure M.
Yes on Measure O
Over the past 25 years, Sacramento has taken $368 million in revenue from Humboldt County, hurting our public safety, ambulance, roads, services for victims and witnesses of child abuse, among many other essential services that maintain our quality life – enough is enough! We must renew Measure O funding to maintain our local control over local needs. Specifically, I write today about the funding for the local fire service.
Our county is protected by over 40 fire agencies, most of them being rural volunteer departments. Be it volunteer or career departments our agencies are plagued with limited funding. The fire service has received $5.9 million from this sales tax and our community’s fire services have benefited by receiving personal protective gear, fire trucks, hose, buildings to house equipment, and paid our dispatch fees. Renewing Measure O will continue to support your local firefighters and maintain resources that better – and more safely—protect County residents.
Measure O is on our local ballot to maintain this critical funding that cannot be taken by the state. Measure O simply extends – without raising taxes – existing voter-approved funding for critical public safety services that maintain our safety and quality of life. As the president of the Humboldt County Fire Chiefs’ Association, I urge all readers to vote YES on Measure O – keep Humboldt County safe.
President - HCFCA
Vote yes on Measure K
Please vote for Measure K. It’s the right thing to do for our community. This measure can save the county money as well as keep families together. There is nothing in this bill that would hinder law enforcement in arresting criminals.
Let’s try to act on moral conscience rather than fear. measurek.org
Yes on Measure K
On June 30, 2018, thousands of rallies, marches and demonstrations were staged in cities and towns across the U.S. to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families. Three thousand Humboldt County residents and spiritual leaders also took to the streets that day to express our shock and outrage at Trump’s inhumane treatment of children and families.
While the momentum of this movement has waned somewhat since the president announced that he was ending his policy of family separation, families are still being torn apart due to Trump’s harsh immigration policies.
If you are concerned about this, there is still something you can do: Vote YES on Measure K, the Humboldt County Sanctuary Measure!
A component of this measure would allow families to decide who will take care of their children if a parent is held for deportation. Children deserve the right to grow up healthy and free from trauma, regardless of their family’s immigration status.
The measure will also give parents the peace of mind to take their kids to school, to church or the doctor’s office, etc., without fear of being targeted for deportation. And it will help to keep precious dollars and resources here in our community rather than being highjacked for an unfunded mandate.
This is your opportunity to do something to affirm the basic humanity and dignity of immigrant families. Vote YES on Measure K!! Thank you.
Measure K for compassion, justice, responsibility
Think globally, act locally. Show compassion. Gather/Heed the facts. Align policies with ideals. Support the economy. Help your neighbors. Be fiscally responsible.
Brett, thoughtful and dedicated
Last year, we got to know Brett as he navigated a nuanced and challenging issue: The Village student housing project. Throughout the year, his willingness to listen, learn, and bring the community together, really shined. He is thoughtful, well informed, intelligent, caring and will take his role as an elected official seriously.
Brett’s community service and political connectedness captured our attention. He is well informed, deeply involved in a wide range of local issues, bursting with youthful energy and volunteerism. Getting to know Brett was like learning a new word. Once we got to know him, he showed up everywhere! We were especially impressed when we saw him on our weekend family days at the Eureka Zoo and The Phillips house in
his role as a Big Brother. We love that he does “tech with Brett” at the senior center and makes himself available to his constituency by hosting open office hours twice a month.
He is endorsed by many, to mention a few: The Sierra Club, labor organizations, Humboldt County Democrats, Arcata Indivisible and the North Coast People’s Alliance. We’re confident he’ll embrace a term on city council with hard work, thought, care, dedication to his constituency, curiosity and a willingness to think outside the box. You know, this election is important: please cast your vote and a vote for Brett Watson!
Maureen J. Jules
Erik S. Jules
Brett for City Council!
(Read to the tune of “The Addams Family.”)
HSU brought him here
Arcata he holds dear
He’s loved this town for over 10 years
Brett for City Council!
It was the Council’s decision
To fill the vacant position
A chance that he was given
Brett for City Council!
He listens and collaborates
Prepared when he deliberates
Helps you cross the bridges he makes
Brett for City Council!
Pragmatic and logical
He sees conflicts as solvable
Brett for City Council!
Focused on affordable housing
A park for doggy outings
The Marsh and its surroundings
Brett for City Council!
Climate Change and Plaza safety
Valley West and zero waste-y
Be more prepared if the Earth gets shaky
Brett for City Council!
Values living-wage salaries
An inclusive, proud community
And diversified economy
Brett for City Council!
He travels door-to-door
To develop his rapport
This helps him represent you more
Brett for City Council!
Office hours he now offers
Relationships he fosters
Concerned about tax dollars
Brett for City Council!
A great sense of humor
And volunteers for seniors
Envisions a stronger future
Brett for City Council!
At times we disagree
Still, my support comes easily
For me, he’s Arcata’s “cup of tea”
Brett for City Council!
So you see, he’s kinda awesome
He’ll help Arcata blossom
Consider a vote for Watson
Brett for City Council!