Letters to the Editor, June 10, 2020

Learning about Latinx

Thank you for publishing in the May 20 edition the letter signed by members of equity arcata. This thoughtful and well-written letter offers some useful suggestions and opportunities for the dominant culture to learn more about white privilege and racial equity.

My letter is to offer clarification regarding the action of Centro Del Pueblo and 7 other community organizations as briefly mentioned in the equity arcata letter. The action took place on May 1, widely recognized as International Workers Day. 

The May Day event showed support for Latinx neighbors and friends, representing more than 12 percent of our Humboldt County population, (although the population may be much higher than that due to under-reporting on Census counts). Latinx neighbors, many of whom are essential workers, are putting themselves at risk continuing to provide services for the rest of us. 

During the shelter-in-place, many work places are closed or greatly scaled back (for instance restaurants that have laid off many people) yet the undocumented workers are not receiving the financial “stimulus” checks, causing additional financial stress in their lives through loss of income. Other messages/banners on May Day pointed to the need for Health Care for All. 

For the undocumented members of the community, the pandemic has compounded the stress and fears that they are already experiencing with new fears of job and income loss, potential loss of housing and lack of adequate health care, within a context of fear of drawing attention to themselves for fear of ICE/deportation. 

These complicated matters interweave and overlap. They need to be reported on by the media. They deserve deep levels of exploration and discussion, in-depth investigation and reporting, plus consistent and persistent exposure and coverage. There is a lot more to the local news than people protesting outside the courthouse, not observing safe distance practices and demanding a reopening of the economy.

As far as I could determine, there were no news reports of the May Day event at all, even though it was attended by more than 50 people, all observing safe distancing and wearing masks. 

Photos and a facebook link which has video clips from the May Day event: centrodelpueblo/videos/519682862031912/

 In the interest of solidarity,
Linda Goff Evans

Let’s try a campground

The homeless problem has come to roost with the McKinleyville Land Trust. We own two properties – Mad River Bluffs next to Hiller Park and Chah Gah Cho next to the Mill Creek Shopping Center—whose purpose is to provide a variety of light-impact, recreational and educational activities during daylight hours and to preserve natural habitats. Our trails, diverse groves and meadows, and vistas of the Mad River and Arcata Bottoms are popular with hikers, dog walkers and picnickers.

These purposes are not compatible with homeless camps. A big task for our all-volunteer work force has been to regularly patrol potential camp sites, pick up trash, and try to persuade campers to leave, sometimes with the help of a deputy sheriff. We give campers notice of three days to move unless the weather is foul, but there is no alternative place for them except someone else’s property. Consequently the same people return as they get bounced from one place to the next.

How we deal with the homeless is a hot-button issue in our community and one that our Board wrestles with from a variety of viewpoints. We are caught in a dilemma between responsibility and compassion. We feel responsibility to the good people who procured these properties to provide our community with easy access to nature and a little bit of wildness in an urban setting. On the other hand, we feel compassion for the people we displace and compound their hardship. 

On finding a new camp, we may feel disgust, resentment, or depression, especially after carting off bags and bags of garbage to the dump. But after hearing a camper’s story, the initial gut-level response can give way to sadness, sympathy, and another sense of responsibility. We find that our campers are locals, not feral kids, vagabonds, nor trimigrants. Our encounters are unique and personal. I once found toddler-size clothing and toys at an abandoned camp. What was the story behind that?

We have tried various methods to find a solution. We have cleared undergrowth and thinned trees to expose hiding spots. We try to keep our properties trash-free with the hope that this will attract more people to use the trails, thus disinclining others to camp.

We are helped by community businesses, organizations and neighbors. Kmart opens their dumpsters for bags of garbage from Chah Gah Cho, and when the load is too great, Humboldt Sanitation accepts the load for free. Our neighbors have also cleared underbrush and cooperate with us to discourage camping. 

Sheriff’s deputies stationed in McKinleyville have expelled persistent campers. This spring, as we realized that weekly patrols by volunteers was not sustainable, we hired John Shelter’s group, New Directions, to interface with campers and clean up trash. The McKinleyville Area Foundation generously awarded us a grant to maintain this operation through most of the year.

Despite all this, the situation is getting worse, especially at Chah Gah Cho, and is likely to get more so with the deepening economic downturn. With the shelter-in-place strategy to contain exposure to the coronavirus, the Sheriff’s Department is reluctant to displace campers.

We have gone around and around to come up with new solutions and are at a loss of what more our organization can do. The solution lies with the larger community, and the one that comes to mind is the establishment of a managed campground for the homeless somewhere in McKinleyville. Such campgrounds have been successful in other communities and could be a win-win interim solution: good for property owners and good for the homeless, who would have a stable, secure place to camp, perhaps with access to services that can help them improve their lives, keep them safe, and find housing.

I believe that the McKinleyville Land Trust speaks to problems shared by many landowners in McKinleyville and Humboldt County. We urge the County, the McKinleyville Services District, and other governmental and non-governmental entities to pursue the establishment of a managed campground for the homeless in McKinleyville. We applaud the efforts of Steve Madrone, our County Supervisor, who is one of the first of our local leaders to advocate this approach.
Tom Lisle
Board Member, McKinleyville Land Trust

The census: just do it

To: Trinidad and Greater Trinidad residents

From: Dwight Miller, Trinidad city councilor


In early March I emailed many of you as I was assembling an email data base to help the city during COVID-time, and beyond.

That project is incomplete (a volunteer task... I’ve been busy during this period), but at this point it’s the most complete database we know of. 

I’ve received two requests to email you:

1. Today’s email: help the city (and county) with the 2020 census.

2. In a couple of days: help Trinidad School with information about a drive-by graduation next week (a COVID-inspired event).

Trinidad’s City Manager, Eli Naffah, received an email from the U.S. Census. They wrote:

“We are in need of increasing The Self Response Rates in the City of Trinidad. Individuals may respond through the mail, on the phone or online. Currently the 2020 Census Self Response Rate in Trinidad is 6.6 percent.”

 That shocked me, and Eli too! (In the 2018 election the City of Trinidad had an 80 percent rate of voting by registered voters.)

You may be aware that federal funding to support cities and states, and apportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives, is directly related to the number of people who complete the census. And, the Constitution says that we are all required (by law) to complete it.

There are many reasons this year’s census is going slowly (You were supposed to be “counted” by April 1)... we can discuss that later!

You don’t need to wait for someone to come to your door with a clipboard. That may not happen. You can self-respond in about 10 minutes.

The “2020 Census questionnaire should be completed by the person who owns or rents the living quarters or any other person who is at least 15 years of age with knowledge of the household.”

You can respond online at my2020census.gov or by phone, 1-(844) 330-2020 or mail in your 2020 Census questionnaire.

Just 10 minutes online or phone. Please do it. Instructions: my2020census.gov

Thanks from your neighbor,

Dwight Miller
[email protected], [email protected]

Keep restaurants affordable

I have bad news for restaurant owners if they are compelled to raise prices 25 percent or more. I noticed a soup at a local restaurant went up 30 percent. I understand that there are added expenses now. The bad news: dining out was a special treat for many locals. 

If restaurants are compelled to raise prices precipitously due to added expense, that will price many out of the restaurant experience entirely. I understand it is unfair, so is the cratering of incomes that enables many to barely afford the considerable expense of a family dining out even pre pandemic. I acknowledge it is a tough position for restaurant owners, but those that have to raise prices to a considerable degree will likely find the owners in a different line of work. 

Tough message, don’t blame the messenger for circumstances leading to reduced disposable income for many locals.

John Dillon

Trump's misshapen brain

For 3 1/2 years I’ve wondered if President Trump had a brain. From day one at his inauguration he insisted he saw a crowd far larger than photos revealed. 

He’ll often say one thing one day, then something else the next. When called on it, he’ll say he was misinterpreted; he’s never wrong.

Trump seldom expresses empathy for others. Currently he’s shown minimal sympathy for the thousands who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 or for Black Americans who are protesting for racial equality and demanding justice for George Floyd.

In fact, Trump has managed the near impossible. He’s turned Floyd’s killing by the police into a feather in his own cap by saying, even before Floyd‘s funeral, that George must be looking down in praise from heaven because of the positive effect the economic bounce will have on race relations, a bounce which ironically wasn’t experienced by blacks.

Lastly, we have the “Bible Walk.” Peaceful protesters were forcefully removed from the street so Trump could stroll to a nearby church for a photo-op holding a Bible. Trump with his ego may see the result as positive, but to me, I see an individual with an expression of indifference holding the Bible as if it were an object better left on the shelf.

In conclusion, I can now say Trump does have a brain. However, his brain is abnormal. It is almost completely occupied by his ego with little room for memory, empathy, or common sense.

Sherman Schapiro

Mad King Trump is mad

It’s not merely my personal opinion that Vladimir Putin’s puppet Donald Trump is deranged, delusional, demented and profoundly psychotic. That’s the educated opinion of the American medical community.

In April of 2017, over 41,000 American mental health professionals signed and submitted the petition “Mental Health Professionals Declare Trump Is Mentally Ill And Must Be Removed,” which in part says the following: “...Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’...”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself! It could not possibly be any more obvious than it already is at this point that the moronic Mad King Trump is completely mentally incapacitated, not to mention stone cold crazy. Traitor Trump is sinking fast, and the American people are paying for President Trumptanic’s idiotic incompetence with their lives by the tens-of-thousands!

Do any of you asinine Trump acolytes actually believe injecting household cleaners like Lysol or Clorox into your lungs is a legitimate and effective, non-lethal medical treatment for a coronavirus infection, as recently recommended by infamously insane dotard Dr. Donald Trump the plump chump? 

If anyone out there actually agrees with Jim Jones Trump’s psychotic lethal injection recommendation for COVID-19, please seek psychiatric help immediately. And stop drinking the orange Kool-Aid already, conservative cult members! Unlike the ridiculous Republican Party, most Americans don’t want to be Jonestowned.

Joe Biden for president, folks. 

Jake Pickering


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