Letters to the Editor, July 29, 2020

 Don’t burn out firefighters

Thank you, Jack Durham, for your opinion piece two weeks ago (July 15, 2020) regarding the Arcata Fire Department. I agree with you that the “advice” of the “Humboldt Taxpayers League” to not fund our communities first responders seems penny wise and pound foolish. 

With the devastating California fires these past few years, it is already difficult enough to find homeowner’s insurance if you live anywhere near a forested area. Once the word is out that we are limping by on very minimal local fire coverage, our insurance rates will certainly rise way beyond the increase being asked to run the AFD effectively. 

AFD has not had a rate increase in 14 years! We need to support our local professional firefighters, not burn them out. 

I, for one, want to know that experienced professionals are there, rested and ready to respond effectively, and safely, whenever someone within their large district needs them. 

Lisa Bethune

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What about Cliff’s joke?

It was reported that the county faced accusations over their diversity plan, and Deputy P.D. Rory Kalin brought up Supervisor Rex Bohn’s ill advised “tamale” joke that was offensive to latin people (notice - didn’t say the unpopular in the latin community at large Latinx moniker). 

It’s just coincidence that the conservative Bohns’ “joke” was mentioned, but nary a word of an arguably more offensive “joke” using a word that starts with ‘N’ to describe Black Americans by the Progressive Cliff Berkowitz. 

I’m not slagging Cliff, seems like a nice guy and probably more in line politically with my own beliefs. I am calling out selective outrage. I get the Progressive discomfiture, calling for his resignation in every local publication and being so sure in the last election that folks would sweep him out of office. 

Imagine the disappointment, a contemporary term would be butthurt, when Mr. Bohn was not only re-elected, but wiped out the Progressive 65 percent to 35 percent. Anthrax did poll slightly lower than 35 percent, but only just. 

Mom always said how unfair it was when other folks opinions don’t align with you of the golden halo. Yeah, tamale joke… bad man… N word… hey he’s a Progressive give the bro a break. No selective outrage here, tamale joke WAY worse than… I can’t even say it.

John Dillon

Too soon for mass influx

The COVID-19 epidemic is at record-breaking levels elsewhere in California, particularly southern California, and most infections are in younger age groups, particularly the 20s. Humboldt County has so far controlled outbreaks, at least until a recent wave of infections that has mostly come from outside.

Now Humboldt State University is about to import an expected 1,000 students into this community, many from southern California and all in the most infectious age groups, even though there will be few classes for them to attend.

 Bringing these students together here now is a danger to them and to university staff, and could stress community as well as campus medical resources. Besides the dangers built into this situation, there is more evidence that masks and physical distancing, and avoiding large indoor gatherings in this age group will be ignored than there is that they might be universally observed. Community spread of COVID-19 poses risks as well for essential institutions and businesses that the total population, and seniors in particular, depend upon. The city of Arcata is particularly vulnerable due to its small population and workforce.

This is not the time to resume student residence in Arcata.

Bill Kowinski

We marched, talked

At least in the ’60s and ’70s we knew who sent the feds…

This is an old, old story, but what was old is new again. There are many of us in this country who have been fighting the good fight for freedom of speech, equal treatment under the law, due process, the right to vote, women’s rights and all the things we were taught when we were young. All the things the USA is supposed to stand for and often doesn’t.

We stood in the streets and on our college campuses. We talked about the rights of young men not to be drafted and killed by the thousands in “undeclared wars”, or any wars for that matter. We talked about the rights of people of color to lived lives unmolested by police, politicians and the KKK. We talked about lives lived in poverty and the conditions of Farm Laborers.

We marched, oh how we marched. And as we marched and talked, we were told we had no right to free speech or freedom of assembly.

But at least when the federal troops came, we knew who they were (by the uniforms) and who had sent them… J. Edgar Hoover and later Richard M. Nixon. Their names, ranks and faces were visible. They did not beat on children nor shove their mothers. They did not take people away in unmarked vans to some new sort of rendition program. And they never entered a state or a city without the express permission of the governors, mayors or police chiefs.

We currently have a psychotic in the White House that issues Executive Orders to violate the rights of states and the rights of citizens to “Protect Federal Property”. Really?? If the Feds are so afraid of the people of Portland, Oregon or anywhere else in this nation, then they should close their offices and slink back to Washington DC, sit at the side of the White House and await further orders.

Why should a person, the ACLU, any city or state have to sue the Federal Government to establish their sovereignty? I know Trump has never read the constitution or had it explained to him in short, non-boring sentences, but there has got to be at least one lawyer in the West Wing who has. It is about the rights of the individual person, the individual city and more importantly it is about State’s Rights.

The sooner Trump is removed from his office the safer we will all be!

Thank you for listening,
Jan Phelps


Dead puppet walking

 Vladimir Putin’s puppet Donald Trump is a political dead man walking. Nov. 3 is the scheduled date of Trump the traitor’s political execution which will be watched live on TV by hundreds of millions of happy people both here at home and around the world. The end of Trump’s tyranny will be the beginning of hope and change for us all.

 Don’t miss your chance to vote for the American presidential candidate Joe Biden. The political demise of demonic Don the con will no doubt be the highest rated reality TV show of all time, so stay tuned, because the voters are about to tell Trump he’s fired!

 It’s all over for Benedict Donald. Russia’s useless idiot Trump the chump is done. The American choice for president Joe Biden will be elected the 46th President of the United States in an overwhelming electoral college landslide, not to mention by what is sure to become one of the largest popular vote margins of victory in American presidential election history. 

 Jim Jones Trump’s deranged death cult (formerly known as the Republican Party) is a national embarrassment. Fortunately, most Americans are good patriotic people who will no longer tolerate traitor Trump’s psychotic circus of incompetence, corruption and cruelty. This upcoming election is all over but the shouting. Specifically, the shouting will be coming from the world’s whiniest lying loser Donald Trump with his usual dimwitted and dishonest refrain of “Hoax! Fake news!”

The story of the November 3rd election will be America wins, Vladimir Putin loses, and delusional Donald Trump can go inject his lungs with Lysol all he wants, it won’t save his illegitimate, pathological presidency from the wrath of the American people on Election Day. Trump is a loser and an idiot!


 Jake Pickering

Burning down the house

After months of denial, President Trump has finally confessed that COVID-19 is for real. He has admitted publicly that “the pandemic will get worse before it gets better.”

This new-found concern contradicts very recent claims of his such as 99 percent of the cases are “totally harmless” and the virus will “just disappear.”

Further, he suddenly declares that wearing a mask is “patriotic.” This from a man who previously refused to be seen wearing a mask in public even when required. In fact, he mocked others, such as reporters and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, for doing so.

Why the about face? It’s not from a sense of guilt or an admission of prior mistakes.

Rather, Trump recognizes that the easing of restrictions he had previously championed have now led to a resurgence of the virus. 

His poll numbers are falling due to public opinion that his pandemic response has been poor so far. And businesses are closing again which will weaken the economic recovery which he sees key to his re-election.

So before you congratulate Trump on seeing the light, think again. He’s still not concerned about you and me, he’s only doing it to get re-elected. 

Giving him praise now would be like thanking a child for giving up playing with matches after he’s already set the house on fire.

Sherman Schapiro

Dixieland band

I would very much like to know what my generation’s Nobel Poet Laureate, or any member of The Band has to say about their song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

 Christopher Mackinney

According to “The Music Aficionado” blog (musicaficionado.blog), members of The Band said this:

Levon Helm: “Robbie and I worked on the song up in Woodstock. I remember taking him to the library so he could research the history and geography of the era for the lyrics and make General Robert E. Lee come out with all due respect. It was another of those workshop songs we worked on a long time before we got it down. Robertson’s take on the events that ripped the nation apart are not siding with any of the parties but rather describe the sentiment and human suffering of a confederate soldier at the end of and shortly after the war.”

Robbie Robertson: “There was a chord progression and a melody rumbling through my head, but I did not know yet what the song was about. I played it on the piano one day for Levon. He liked the way it stopped and started, free of tempo. I flashed back to when he first took me to meet his parents in Marvell, Arkansas, and his daddy said, ‘Don’t worry, Robin – the South is going to rise again.’ I told Levon I wanted to write lyrics about the Civil War from a southern family’s point of view. ‘Don’t mention Abraham Lincoln in the lyrics’ was his only advice, ‘That won’t go down too well.’ I asked him to drive me to the Woodstock library so I could do a little research on the Confederacy. They didn’t teach that stuff in Canadian Schools. When I conjured up the story about Virgil Caine and his kin against this historical backdrop, the song came to life for me. Though I did stop and wonder, can I get away with this? You call this rock ’n’ roll? Maybe!” 



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