Letters to the Editor, April 10, 2019

Pete Villarreal and Amy Erickson. Submitted photo

Whooosh... (smooch!)

So glad to hear that Pete is being well taken care of. He certainly was an Arcata fixture for many years. 

Thank you, Amy Erickson. Blow him a kiss from me.

Tisa Jewell

Bohn’s bad remark

Recently, I was informed that Supervisor Rex Bohn made a statement at a non-profit fundraiser about Mexican food, asking if it was authentic enough to “make you want to go out and steal hub caps.” Several reliable sources directly heard the comment.

Nationally, radio commentators, professional coaches, actors, and others in the public eye were forced to resign, or were terminated, for making racist, homophobic, or sexist comments. Their removals were positive moves. Hate words have no place in the public discourse. They dehumanize and incite discriminatory behavior. 

But most of us know this. Why would we allow a powerful, local elected official to get away with something like this?

Mr. Bohn may say that he was “only joking.” Not only is this kind of “joking” hurtful to me and to members of my community, but it fuels the current villainization of Mexican and Latinx people. His statement means that we are all criminals. Mr. Bohn should know that jokes re-enforce cultural attitudes, practices, and policies that treat an entire community like criminals.

Such joking should no longer be tolerated in Humboldt County. Mr. Bohn is unqualified to represent me, and other Mexican and Latinx constituents in District 1. 

Renee Saucedo, Centro del Pueblo
Eureka resident

Healthcare for everyone

Single-payer health care is now all over the news and, in current media parlance, “sexy.” That means, one would assume, it ignites passion – passion, indeed, in those who suffer from the depredations of our crumbling healthcare system. That includes the poor who have no access to health care, the underinsured, whose endlessly rising premiums and deductibles ensure that a doctor visit is unaffordable, the elderly whose prescriptions make them choose between life-saving medicine or forgoing food and shelter and even the “safely” employed whose insurance packages cut ever deeply into their paycheck and make job loss or change unthinkable—all these (almost everyone, except the very wealthy), yes, are increasingly passionate. They want and need change. 

 Another passionate group is those working to establish that change and see the answer in other industrialized democracies that spend half what we do with better health outcomes. Imagine the lives in these other industrialized democracies paying no premiums, no deductibles, no doctor or hospital bills. The small taxes required are happily accepted, while nowhere is heard a desire for such as we experience in the U.S.

And there is yet another group, more accurately identified as DIS-passionate — who are pushing back, clinging to a status quo, enriched by the disaster that the rest of the nation endures on a daily basis; namely, corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and their stockholders. Instead of passion they bring cold determination to maintain their corporate cash cows. They skim and transfer the cream from premiums and obscene pharmaceutical costs, representing 33 cents on the dollar of public funds, into profit, sky-high salaries and unnecessary administrative costs that provide not a whit of value serving the health needs of the public. Those lost dollars would, in fact, almost entirely fund national, universal healthcare. Even the Koch Brothers’-funded study at Mercatus Center at George Mason University showed, according to the Nation magazine last July, that “Under a single-payer system, Americans would get more quality care for more people at less cost,” saving some $2 trillion over the next decade. And this, claim other single-payer studies, is a very low estimate.

The New York Times recently ran a piece that listed potential horrors of transitioning to a single-payer system. Great losses, it was claimed, will be incurred in jobs, wages, doctors and hospitals not to mention (but they do) insurance companies and investors in them. Jobs, however, are an included consideration in a single-payer transition—insurance company workers, for example, will be needed and valued in running the new order. Wages can only increase when employers and employees are released from the burden of buying private insurance. Doctors will be relieved of the burden of insurance denials, complex insurance codes, restrictions and requirements to the tune of an average cost per doctor of $83,000 per year. Hospitals, too, will benefit from streamlining procedures as will the phalanxes of nurses who can cease spending their time on the phone and computers wrangling with insurers. And, the insurance companies themselves, as the Times opines, will move into other arenas and will “come out fine.” That leaves stockholders... and it must be said, it’s hard to worry overmuch for those with retirement portfolios at play in the stock market as opposed to those who now go bankrupt, lose their homes and even die without adequate health care. 

Passion has been ignited. What is needed now is the political will to renounce corporate arm-twisting and carry that passion to fruition: universal, guaranteed health care for everyone. 

Patty Harvey, director, HCA/PNHP–Humboldt Chapters
Willow Creek

Lady Flipofferty

I have been noticing an increase in the removal of irrelevant and offensive monuments occurring in these United States lately. Perhaps some stealthy operation is being planned to remove the Statue of Liberty from her pedestal in the near future since she does not stand for anything any more. Or maybe we could just replace the torch with an extended middle finger.

Robert Thoman


John Wiebe

If you must collapse on the asphalt with your pants down, do it here

Suddenly, on Saturday, March 30, I’m lying there, on the asphalt, flat on my back, near a tower of trash at the McKinleyville recycling center, Humboldt Sanitation, with a rope around my ankles and my trousers around my thighs. 

It’s just not supposed to happen like that to an old frat who is not even 90 and hasn’t jumped a tennis net or led a demonstration for at least a decade. 

I was acutely embare-assed! Perhaps I would be able to unload the trash and sneak out of there without anyone noticing. I was wrong, and being a bit battered I couldn’t even get off my badly-bruised butt! 

A powerfully-framed young man, came to the rescue, pulled the rope off my legs and hoisted me, (all 230 lbs.) onto my feet. 

I failed to get his name but noticed that “NOPE” was emblazoned on his sweatshirt. In this context, however, it was clearly “YEP!” Two other men had noticed the “tamasha”; they told me emphatically, “Get in your car and sit!” 

Almost before I had time to fasten my belt and dust myself off, Stephen Bianco, who just happened to be a supervisor, unloaded the trash on my Rav4. 

Then Kyle took over; he had learned that I had hit my head in falling. “What year is this? he asked. “Who’s our President? “Quote the Pythagorean Theorem?“ 

I had trouble with the second question, but passed the test. 

Kyle’s expertise in accident response was evident; on the highways, I believe, he is Officer Phillip, CHP. 

To top off my adventure at the weigh-station window, I got to see Rayanne again. She waved me on. 

“No charge!” I would have paid just to see that beautiful smile! 

Hostility and polarization abounds; wasteful lifestyles are commonplace, so it is most encouraging to find friendly faces in unlikely places. 

Certainly, in that dump, of late, the Great Heart of the Golden Rule did not appear to fibrillate! 

John Wiebe



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