Letters to the Editor, August 25, 2021

DRILLED OUT The long-buried survey marker, removed and extracted from the granite steps and preserved for future use. Via Kyle Schlagenhauf | Green Man Builders

Monument extracted and retained  

The removal of the planter and the granite steps which supported the McKinley statue on the Plaza has also possibly removed an important part of the City of Arcata’s elevation datum system.

On the southwest portion of the steps “is” or “was” a brass elevation benchmark which was established some time ago to be used to control the elevations for the west side of the City of Arcata. Hopefully the elevation datum was re-established. If not, to do so could prove to be costly.

Scott Baker

Note: According to Assistant City Engineer David Caisse, Assistant City Engineer Dave Ryan surveyed the original monument and set a few temporary benchmarks nearby. The granite steps were removed taking the original survey monument with it. While at the contractor’s yard, the monument was cored and removed, leaving am approximately one-inch ring of granite around it. In the near future, the existing monument will be reset (the actual location is yet to be determined). Once in the final resting place, the monument will be resurveyed and a new record of survey will be recorded describing the new position and elevation. – Ed.

The wondrous beauty of creation

A reply to Mr. Ochsner (Union, Aug. 12):

The psychedelic era remains a mysterious conundrum. It was an important learning experience by not a viable lifestyle. Those who made it a lifestyle did often go to ruin, but much of what people experienced simply reflected their own core being. 

One I met had hallucinated the branches of a bush as writhing and threatening snakes was a mafia member and he did not learn much from the experience. He remained an ass.

The spiritual/religious experience was real and valuable. I treasure it to this day. I saw nature and the divine presence in nature for the first time. But then I was raised in the country so the natural world was in the core of my being even though I did not realize it. Has it faded over the course of time? Yes and no. I remain vitally in love with the Earth’s beauty. 

As to understanding how so beautiful a world could be so afflicted by monstrosity (mostly human), as it is, while knowing that God is all there is. I have no answer. No one does. The stock answer is that in order to love and appreciate the wondrous beauty of this creation we are part of we need to experience its opposite. That I know is dead wrong. One does not need ugliness to see beauty any more than we need hate in order to have love. We need an open heart.

Would I drop acid again now? No. In my foolhardy youth I had trust and luckily it did not turn out as badly as it might have. Now I don’t need the learning experience, it is part of me. Now there’s really no telling the relative safety of what’s out there. 

Free will has also been suggested as the source of our failures. I rather doubt that one, too. I don’t think God has a split personality, but we do in that our right and left brain ways of knowing things are rarely fully integrated. I expect that is the next step in our evolution, May we live long enough to achieve it!

Margo Gross

Bikers: slow down on the forest trails

To the Fine People of Arcata… 

I am writing about bicyclists using our Arcata Community Forest Trails. 

I’m a regular bicyclist myself. I regularly use my bike for recreation and for transportation in town. I’ve ridden my bike in the forest at times as well. I love that our trails have been multi-use trails. I enjoy seeing people ride their horses out there… and I have even been lucky enough to see a llama being walked every once in a while.  

 I bring my dog to the woods almost every day and I enjoy the peace of the forest, as well as seeing other regular community members who also enjoy our fabulous trees. 

That said, I have noticed that MANY of the bicyclists using the trails are going EXTREMELY FAST… and with NO regard for the people or dogs walking out there. 

When I have raised my voice in fear of getting hit (numerous times over time now), I’ve had bicyclists berate ME when I’ve been worried that THEY might crash into me or my dog. Not OK. 

I’m very healthy, flexible, fit and strong (despite my petite size). I’m generally comfortable in my skin, so it’s not like I’m running around in fear, in general. 

I can’t imagine how young children or elder hikers feel when bikers are speeding up on them. 

 Today, I had TWO bicyclists come up fast and almost hit me and my dog in the forest. Two separate encounters. One of them commented that my scream “wasn’t helping.” What else was I supposed to do when they obviously didn’t see me (or my dog)… and when they neglected to slow down (after seeing us)? Their comment only got me feeling MORE MAD about the situation. 

This kind of thing has happened with increasing frequency and it’s really not OK. 

 Bikers need to remember that they’ve GOT TO SLOW DOWN when they see people on the trail. The reckless speeds of cyclists racing through the forest has become an ever-growing problem. It’s unacceptable that so many bicyclists seem to have NO regard for hikers or our animal friends out there. 

 Apparently, we need some strategically placed signs in the forest, to remind bikers that they are SHARING the trail with hikers and horseback riders (as well as a lot of adorable dogs). 

 Pedestrians usually have the rite-of-way on public streets. Why do bicyclists in the Arcata Community Forest have such a hard time understanding this concept out in nature? 

WEEKLY, I have to protect myself and my dog from bikers who are coming up too fast on me & barreling though the forest at dangerous & unpredictable speeds. 

 Cyclers obviously need help understanding that they must YIELD to people (and other cute creatures) who are on foot. Bicyclists are disturbing the peace of others in the forest and it’s simply not OK. Cyclists should be able to use the forest, but should be able to be RESPECTFUL. 

Can we please do something about this? 

SLOW DOWN, People.

 Tricia Riel Saunders
(a.k.a. “Trish The Dish”)

California is alive and well

I love California and have always been proud of being a native San Franciscan. I think when you live up in the Northwest Corner you lose sight of just how beautiful and diverse is this state. The Great Nation State of California is alive and well. 

Last week I drove to Upland California, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles to celebrate the 90th birthday of my Aunt, the last surviving parental unit in our family. Since 299 and 36 were closed I drove down to Hwy 20 and crossed the mountains into the Sacramento River Valley. Crops are growing, trucks are trucking and in general the economy seems to be improving. I went halfway and stopped off the freeway at the Westley exit. 

I knew as soon as I pulled off that this exit hosted one of the first gas stations built along I-5 when it was first formed in the late 1950s. Through the ’60s and ’70s it remained the one beacon in the night along the darkest stretch of California highway system. The total darkness no longer prevails, but it is still a great place to drive at night.

 The following morning, I got up before the sun and heat could arrive and I got out on the freeway in the darkness. The first thing I saw was a line of 18-wheelers travelling north thru the San Joaquin River Valley. An army of soldiers moving goods from north to south and also from south to north. 

As the sun rose, and the mists of the morning parted, all I could see for miles and miles around, was FOOD. Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Grapes and all manner of growing food. Where the ground was too harsh for growing, there was cattle, probably 100,000 of them coming into the feeding pens to eat and get water. 

And winding its way thru all of this was the Great California Aqueduct. Begun in 1963 as a way to irrigate most of the state, it paved the way for California to grow food. In the past California grew more than 80 percent of the fresh food in this country with the help of immigrant itinerant farm workers. While that is not probably true today California remains the fifth largest economy in the world.

 I made the remainder of my trip into LaLa Land, skirting most of the commute and the endless repair and upgrade of the freeway system down there. I spent the next five days among the Pod People. 

Ah, the pod people. You all know who they are. Mostly white they join ultra-conservative churches, insist on home schooling (as long as they do not have to do the work), live in gated communities and refer to anyone who is not “one of them” as riff-raff. The first time one of them used that term, 20 years ago, I thought they were kidding, but they consider all of us, who travelled far to be with them, as riff-raff.

And the Pod People were everywhere. We were constantly told to take off our masks, wanting to get in arguments about everything simply because we are all union-working, intellectual liberals. 

Before our arrival we had all, seven of us, swore to our Aunt that we would be nice and not get into it with the Pod People. But they would not leave us alone. The most we could do is try to embarrass them as much as possible. 

The problem with Pod People is they want to impose their way of life on others and will not leave it alone. Also they can’t tell they are embarrassing themselves.

 I read the roadway signs all over the place. I find it disturbing when tyrannical, jingoistic slogans are recycled into even more tyrannical, jingoistic slogans. “Make California Safe Again” Ring any bells.

They are trying to recall Gavin Newsom using recycle rhetoric. All kinds of charges designed to put POD PEOPLE in the governor’s mansion. Really, I have been among them. VOTE NO on the recall.

 Thank you for listening.

Jan Phelps

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Questions on losing yet another war

 I read today that for every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan during the last 11 years of war, at least 13 children were shot and killed in America! 

On the average, seven children are shot dead every day in America. So, why is it that more children die each year than soldiers, yet we deify soldiers and forget the children? I wonder why?

On 9/11, 2,977 people lost their lives. In Afghanistan 241,000 have lost their lives. Of those 71,000 were civilians. That means that for every American life lost we have killed 81 Afghans. Since the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, I wonder why?

 In the post-9/11 wars, seven thousand troops died in Combat and thirty thousand have committed suicide. I wonder why?

 The United States is the number one arms dealer in the world, and in many ways the most violent. Of the top 20 most peaceful nations in the world, the top five are socialists. 

So, if capitalism is the “best” economic and political system in the world, why is it the most violent, and incarcerates more of its citizens, then the rest of the western world combined? I wonder why? 

 We were told that the war in Afghanistan was being won and that over 300,000 thousand Afghan troops had been trained to defend the country. Now over 20 years of fighting and Trillions of dollars lost, the country is overwhelmed by the Taliban. I wonder why? Was some lying to us? Who was it? I wonder why they were lying.

 When I see pictures of Kabul, I am reminded of Saigon, yet another failed meaningless war; the “horror” of it all is unfathomable! When will we ever learn that those who take the sword will perish by the sword?”

 As a son of a disabled American Veteran whose life was deeply affect by the violence of war, I am ashamed of what this country has become and am grateful that my father did not live to see his sacrifice, and the sacrifice of his generation, be disgraced and dishonored by the greed and hypocrisy of those politicians of both parties who have allowed the military industrial complex to destroy our children and the children of this earth. And for what money and power? I wonder why anyone would do that?

 So, for God’s sake, if not for the sake of our children and grandchildren; let us now wage peace with the same passion and intensity as we wage war!

 “It is my conviction that there is no way to peace-peace is the way.”

– ​​​​​​​​​​Thich Nhat Hahn 

 Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard
Abbey of the Redwoods

Clean Electricity Standards

Humboldt County is hardly immune to the impacts of climate change, as evidenced by the current orange glow of the sun through the smoke from the Monument Fire and the recently-released maps of the devastating effects that a single meter of sea level rise would have on the communities around Humboldt Bay. 

Effective public policy will be required to prevent the worst of these outcomes, and the best policy currently before Congress is a clean electricity standard (CES) that puts the U.S. on a path toward 80 percent zero-emissions electricity by 2030. 

A federal CES will not only help mitigate climate change, but it is also projected to create up to 2.2 million jobs by the 2030s, lower electricity costs, and remove deadly air pollution that disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color. 

I strongly urge everyone in the community to contact our elected representatives in Congress to express your support for the CES. We may not have a pro-climate majority for much longer, and the window for action is closing.

Joel Armin-Hoiland

Liberate South Dakota

700,000 old dirty bikers, mostly unvaccinated
Are in Sturgis, SD having yet again invaded.
The residents of Sturgis voted back in 2020
To cancel this frivolous super-spreader event,
Because lives take precedence over leather.
No matter how hell-bent are these rednecks,
Who think drinking is better than thinking…
Wake up, y’all! The Trumptanic is done sinking!
Still, South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem
Loves disgusting Donald, and here’s her poem:
“Kristi Noem is the poster girl for COVID-19.
Gov. Noem has fought against the vaccines.
Kristi hates hiding her so-called pretty face,
She won’t wear a mask.  Gov. Noem’s so vain!
The Delta variant is Kristi’s favorite virus yet.
Please! Assless chaps are hardly hygienic.
Noem’s afraid of wearing a harmless mask,
While bikers are in South Dakota to smash.
If there’s a virus out there, dirty bikers have it.
They’ll give it to you, South Dakota residents!
Steppenwolf said you were ‘Born To Be Wild’.
But in South Dakota it’s more like ‘Sieg Heil!’
Gov. Kristi Noem has been a pandemic denier.
Noem’s one more Republican who is a big liar.”

Jake Pickering



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