Letters to the Editor, February 24, 2021

Town Center alternatives needed

Humboldt County planners and the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (MMAC) are currently engaged in a Town Center Masterplan for the community of McKinleyville. Proposed commercial/residential development on a private parcel behind Safeway will permanently impact approximately three acres of seasonal wetlands and an undisclosed and unmitigated take of approximately 10-acres of forested (one-parameter) wetland, despite the fact that the McKinleyville Community Plan specifically protects one-parameter wetlands. Impacts will include bisecting wetland features, impacts to hydrology and wetland fill. 

Results from the 2020 Town Center survey conducted by the County, continue to demonstrate the overwhelming community support for protection of wetlands from development impacts. 

Please join our Facebook page, “McKinleyville Town Center Wetlands and Alternatives” for volunteer-led environmental analysis on the project’s wetland impacts and for brainstorming of project alternatives. 

Also, act now to demand that the county develop project alternatives to avoid wetland impacts and demand an accounting of impacts to all wetlands, including one-parameter forested wetlands, as per the McKinleyville Community Plan. To provide your comments, contact the MMAC at [email protected]. You can also request to be put on an invite list for future public meetings on the project, which are held remotely through Zoom. 

Kelley Garrett

Arcata Bottom development questions

Honorable Councilmembers,

I regret that COVID has meant I have not met some of you in person. My name Sean Armstrong, and I’ve made Arcata my home since 1995. I started volunteering on an Arcata city commission when I was 20, have chaired an Arcata city committee twice, co-authored Arcata’s ordinance capping the number of chain restaurants with Mayor Pereira’s husband, and worked for the City in 2011 leading the development of Arcata Bay Crossing, the homeless housing development with the marbled murrelet mural. 

My wife, Shail Pec-Crouse, and I co-founded Tule Fog Farm in 2007. In 2008 I used my leadership role at Danco Communities to arrange for Eddie Tanner to rent what is now Deep Seeded Community Farm. Since 2011 I have been former Mayor Michael Winkler’s business partner in Redwood Energy, now employing 15 Arcata residents and supporting the design of 1 in 4 Zero Net Energy residences in North America, all of which is regulated affordable housing. 

For your consideration, I have six related questions about the involuntary, surprise annexation of my family farm for you:

• New councilmembers, had you known while running for office that a 51 acre annexation of farm land was proposed by city staff against the wishes of the farmers, what would have been your position? 

• New councilmembers, if you had known that city staff was also proposing a new General Plan at the same time, a process which is used by residential developers to rezone farmland, what stand would you have taken on rezoning my family farm?

• Continuing councilmembers, how do you respond to your Director Loya, with PlanWest in their acting capacity as LAFCo staff, proposing in April of 2020 to triple the size of the annexation you approved on Feb. 5 of 2020 without informing the City Manager or returning to consult with Council? Do you see your authority as elected officials being respected in this scenario?

• A new EIR was circulated in the county, without informing the applicant, Danco, or the landowners, and not brought to your Council for review or ratification – Councilmembers, is that the your standard of professional conduct by Arcata city staff? 

 Michael Winkler has told me that in 2020 City staff did not inform him, in his role as mayor, or the City Council, that the Community Development Department Staff had unilaterally decided in the fall of 2020 to discard the existing Arcata General Plan and was planning start writing a new one after the election. He describes this lack of consultation or direction from the mayor and council as a non-standard process. Do you agree that the director of Community Development has unilateral authority to discard the General Plan without direction from the council, or even consultation with the mayor and city manager? 

• Is it the considered wish of this Council to proceed with Annexation and discarding the General Plan?

I would very much appreciate your thoughtful replies. 

Sean Armstrong (he/him for business, but occasionally she/her)
Managing Principal, Redwood Energy
Arcata Bottom

Read all about it

Yikes! Are we kidding? (Whiteness Accountability Space available, Union, Feb. 17).

In the American system of life and justice, individuals are responsible for their behavior — not for the color of their skin. Therefore, everyone ought to be held accountable for any wrongs they have committed, but no person, irrespective of race or ethnicity, should ever be required to explain, defend, or apologize for something over which they have no control — their DNA.

If my fellow liberals are beginning to feel that much of what’s coming out of our college towns now seems silly and counterproductive, I suggest the following two books, which may restore some sanity, balance and perspective:

White Guilt, by African American author Shelby Steele, does a great job of explaining the origins of the endless demands for white atonement.

Whiteness, The Original Sin, by Euro-American author Jim Goad, takes a humorous and definitely irreverent view of the same topic.

Both volumes are readily available on line and in some bookstores.

Carl R. Ochsner

Dismantling accountability

I can’t wait for the “Dismantling Capitalism” conference by Cooperation Humboldt. As said in print in the Union, I really need a decolonization of my body, kind of like the Uighurs need de colonization in the dismantled capitalism of China. 

Shame that can’t be combined with the Whiteness Accountability Symposium of Equity Arcata so the harm caused by merely discussing racial politics in “diverse spaces” by the pigmentally challenged can be mitigated. 

Please white folks, don’t discuss racial politics in diverse spaces other than the approved one by the Great and Powerful Oz. They are way wiser than you, the unaccountable reader.

John Dillon

Trump: guilty as charged

Cornel West is a black professor of philosophy at Harvard, professor emeritus from Princeton, and a theologian. In a Firing Line interview with Margret Hoover (on PBS) he referred to Trump as a “gangster.” 

We’ve all heard about protection rackets from organized crime. A business owner has to pay the mob for “protection,” and no harm will happen to that business, the owner, or the owner’s family. But if the owner fails to pay, consequences are deadly. 

That is exactly what Trump had established with Republicans in the House and Senate. You pay for protection by agreeing to absolute loyalty to Trump, and your political career will survive. But if you dare to disagree with him in any way at all, he will sabotage your next primary election through negative statements about you. Your political career ends. If that fails, he will find another way to get revenge. 

Though Trump is out of office, his strong grip on his enablers continues, as well as the unflinching loyalty of his base. It’s not known how many Republicans really wanted to impeach him, but fear of losing their jobs stopped some of them. 

For example, four years ago Ted Cruz called Trump a pathological liar. But later, he converted to become a total Trump supporter. He publicly agreed with Trump’s allegations that the election was a sham, and he voted to acquit Trump against impeachment. Republicans who voted to impeach have been harassed by their peers.

Even if Trump did not plan to incite a riot, he is still guilty of criminal negligence. He repeatedly inflamed rage among his supporters by constantly repeating that the election was stolen ever since the November election. He knows that if one repeats a lie enough times, people will begin to believe it. Millions of his supporters believe his lies. 

Trump planned his protest rally on the day of election certification. He promised a wild time to those whom he invited. Why would he promise that if he didn’t plan to stir up trouble? He was well aware that his words would attract hate groups. 

For more than an hour he amped up frustration and rage with his voting fraud lies. His statement of desperation clearly injected urgency into the crowd. “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore!” 

At the same time, election certification was in progress. Many in the crowd thought, “If we don’t act now, Mike Pence will certify the sham election.” 

Trump told the crowd that he was going to the Capitol with them. If he was at the Capitol during the violence, he could not have denied his guilt. That surely is why he went back to the White House. He watched the violence on TV, and nothing to stop it.

We need to return to a two-party political system for our government to function freely, and without outside influence from Trump. Let’s hope that his grip on the Republican party fades, and the MAGA divisiveness withers, so Republicans can again unite as one party, for the good of our country.

Dave Tschoepe



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