Letters to the Editor, December 11, 2019

Tilting at windmills

The windmill issue seems to be a dilemma for the local green community. It is agreed that we humans must act quickly and decisively to curb the environmental chaos caused by greenhouse gasses. Why then, when a plan for alternative energy is dropped in our midst do we pause? Think global, act local…right? And we don’t have to worry about how to do it, Terra-Gen has the logistics all figured out. All we (the Supes) have to do is say yes and, viola!…easy money for the county and an eased conscience for those concerned with doing “something” to help. And all this without changing our lifestyles. 

The main perspective of support for the windmill project is for “clean energy production” and significant revenues for the county. If that were the end of the story it would be a no brainer, however many of the public comments at the Planning Commission meetings have brought up other perspectives that should be considered and honored by the elected officials representing the interests of the people of Humboldt County as well as the health of the “realm” which the project will effect. It is important to recognize that this “realm” is unique, both culturally and environmentally. The Wiyots have been physically and culturally connected to this land since long before the problems created by industrialization brought us to the brink of asking for a sacrifice for the greater good. Simply put, they should be considered a major player and their cultural motives deserve the Supervisor’s utmost respect (even more so than Terra-Gen, whose motives are simply financial). The communities of Scotia and Rio Del have also clearly voiced their disapproval of this project which will directly affect their communities. 

The environmental question can also be viewed from another angle. Terra-Gen and its supporters see the fate of Monument and Bear River Ridges from a clean energy producing perspective, wind being the resource that will help Humboldt County do its part to lower greenhouse gas emissions… there may be “casualties” to wildlife but the overall good outweighs the bad. Or does it? The wildlands of our county are home to a unique complex of biodiversity, something that is critical and will be even more so as climate change challenges the ecosystem. So when we look at the value of all the land that will be affected with this project we have to consider the “long run” and ask ourselves if it’s more important to get 20 to 30 years of wind energy (or less if Terra-Gen moves off to more profitable enterprises) or to draw a line, stand our ground and preserve a significant chunk of biodiversity that may come in handy in the future. So where’s the greater good? In the end, when the Board of Supervisors considers the windmill proposal the decision should be based on where the greatest value of this land lies… short-term energy production or long-term biodiversity and resilience. 

Whatever the decision, this vote will a defining moment for Humboldt County and the legacy of each member of the Board.

 Greg Jaso

Bernie for justice, health and the environment

I recently relocated to Humboldt County after seven years in Portland, Oregon. The main reason I came back was because I was homesick for the sense of community I felt during the 14 years I lived in Arcata.

Reconnecting with old friends and meeting new neighbors has been joyous and I’ve found affinity with kind souls from Bernie 2020 Humboldt.

I’m proud that I earned a Master’s degree in Social Work during my time in Stumptown, but I regret that I didn’t do my part to support the Bernie Sanders campaign for President in 2016. I donated money, I went to debate watch parties, and I even got to cheer Bernie on at two “yuge” rallies including the inspiring “Birdie Sanders” event.

What I failed to do during that time was engage in the volunteer activities I used to enjoy when I worked for campaigns in Arcata and throughout the county. These tasks are vital and include talking to friends and neighbors, canvassing door-to-door, phone banking, organizing house parties, and writing letters to news media. After

graduation I told myself I would not waste another opportunity to help Bernie get elected and pledged to help the campaign in whatever ways I can.

I connected with the Bernie 2020 Humboldt group at the Farmers’ Market on the Plaza last month and immediately got involved. Volunteering with other Bernie supporters in Humboldt has restored something that was missing from my life in Portland – a sense of connection and solidarity with my neighbors.

The Bernie 2020 campaign is unlike any other presidential campaign in history. It’s a diverse coalition of ordinary people joining together for universal justice. The policies that Bernie is proposing are popular and would benefit working people throughout Humboldt County.

I’m especially enthusiastic about supporting Bernie because his lifelong commitment to social justice and his vibrant campaign make me feel hopeful and align with the values that have inspired me to pursue a career in social work.

My focus in graduate school was clinical social work practice. I was trained to be a mental health clinician and psychotherapist. In addition to studying trauma, addictions, individual counseling, group therapy, and ethics, my education was grounded in social justice.

Among other things, I learned to recognize how inequity leads to the injustices of discrimination, marginalization, and oppression.

The holistic approach to social work I developed through my education and experience is rooted in mindfulness, ecology, and community. The practice of mindfulness allows us to cultivate compassion which enhances self-esteem and encourages us to serve others. Ecology is the essential relationship we have with the natural world and is a vital foundation for processing environmental grief and taking action to mitigate climate catastrophe. 

Community is fundamental for our development as social creatures and is the basis for the mutual aid and cooperation that promotes healthy co-existence.

Bernie’s campaign embodies these values. At a rally in Queens, New York, with 26,000 of his close friends including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Bernie called on his supporters to look for others in the crowd who were different from them in some way and to ask themselves if they were willing to “fight for someone you don’t know.” He recognizes that “we become more human when my family cares about your family and your family cares about my family.”

AOC is a forceful Bernie supporter who was inspired to become a political organizer by Bernie’s belief that all of us are worthy of human dignity and basic human rights. Senator Nina Turner is another potent surrogate for Senator Sanders. In uplifting speeches she asks supporters to raise one hand to commit for fight for themselves and their other hand to fight on behalf of others.

Bernie’s comprehensive plan to respond to the climate crisis resonates with my ecological approach to healing and justice. Bernie recognizes the value of Indigenous wisdom and environmental stewardship and he supports tribal sovereignty. The Green New Deal he’s introduced with

other members of Congress will create good paying jobs, transition the economy to sustainable energy production, and help communities deal with the worst effects of the climate catastrophe including fires, drought, and floods.

Building community is a critical component of structural social work practice and is the heart and soul of Bernie’s campaign. In town hall meetings, Bernie demonstrates how he listens to voters and is willing to fight for policies that benefit working people. As our Organizer in Chief, Bernie will implement his agenda through his grassroots mass movement. He has already demonstrated how he can mobilize his network of supporters to elect other candidates for office and stand in solidarity with groups demanding justice such as labor unions on strike.

I encourage my sisters and brothers in Humboldt County who support our movement to get involved with the campaign - check us out on Facebook at BERNIE 2020 HUMBOLDT or on Twitter @Bernie2020HumCo. Folks can also visit berniesanders.com or download the BERN app to find and RSVP for local events.

Everyone is welcome to join us to watch Bernie in action at the Debate Watch Party we are co-hosting at Savage Henry Comedy Club in Eureka on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Rob Amerman

Bernie's bothersome past

In his Dec. 5 etter to the Times-Standard, McKinleyville resident Rob Amerman cited Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal as the sole reason why Amerman will be voting for Senator Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary in March.

In case you weren’t aware, there are several Democratic candidates who support Medicare for All who also happen to be viable general election candidates (unlike Bernie Sanders, who has no realistic chance of being elected president). If you actually want to see Medicare for All implemented, I recommend that you vote for Elizabeth Warren instead. Warren can win.

Until these myopic, naive Bernie Bros can provide a satisfactory explanation as to how Sanders would be able to successfully handle the following issues which would certainly be highlighted by the GOP in a general election, their irrational insistence that Democrats vote for non-Democrat Bernie Sanders should fall on deaf ears.

1. Bernie Sanders is on the record repeatedly having unreservedly and uncritically lauded lavish public praise on a number of anti-American communist dictators, like Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro for instance. (Have you ever watched Bernie’s infamous videotaped interviews on these subjects from Aug. 8, 1985 and from June 13, 1988? You should.) In fact, Bernie Sanders is the only prominent American politician to express more love and respect for totalitarian communist tyrants than Donald Trump does!

2. Then of course there was Bernie Sanders’ still inadequately explained 1988 marital honeymoon in the Soviet Union, where upon returning to Vermont the Marxist socialist Sanders predictably and pathetically voiced his unabashed praise for the Soviet system. One would think that a reasonably intelligent man who is at least nominally Jewish would know better than to openly and unapologetically congratulate an anti-Semitic totalitarian regime for making their trains run on time! But no, Bernie is not nearly as intelligent as advertised. And furthermore, could you ever possibly imagine saying to your fiancé, “We’ll be spending our honeymoon in North Korea with the Dear Leader.” I didn’t think so.

3. Less well known is the fact that in 1963 Bernie Sanders lived and worked for several months on a Stalinist commune near Haifa in Northern Israel that explicitly saw the Soviet Union as its political role model. Sanders’ communal Israeli kibbutz actually flew the red Soviet flag over its compound, the very same red Soviet flag prominently displayed in Bernie Sanders’ office when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont during the 1980s.

4. And then there’s that bizarre, incredibly disturbing “rape fantasy” article that Sanders wrote which was published in 1972 when Sanders was a 30-year-old far-Left Marxist gubernatorial candidate in Vermont. Where does one even begin in attempting to explain just how awfully atrocious Bernie Sanders’ views were on the subject of rape? Well, how about this quote from Sanders’ asinine article: “A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused. A woman enjoys intercourse with her man - as she fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously...”

Seriously now, Mr. Amerman, why would you vote for someone like that to be President of the United States? We already have someone like that as President! We certainly do not need to replace one foolish, misogynistic, geriatric Russophile with another. There are more qualified, much less crazy Democratic candidates to choose from.

Get a clue, Bernie Bros. Senator Sanders is a sure loser in a general election, which is why (in addition to the 78-year-old’s recent heart attack) Bernie Sanders should drop out of the presidential race immediately. 

Losing in 2020 is not an option. Democrats must nominate a candidate who can actually win.

Jake Pickering



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