Letters to the Editor, June 20, 2018

God and Trump

According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. government has a right to separate immigrant children from their parents when they cross the border illegally.

Sessions says this right was defined by Apostle Paul through “his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” 

However, by the U.S. law as defined in Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, the president has been given the right to pardon individuals who have been found guilty of federal crimes.

In a sense then, the president has been given the power to play God as his pardon power supersedes what otherwise would be dictated by the criminal law of the land. This is nothing new as presidents of both parties have granted numerous pardons over the years.

But in the case of Trump, I have some problems. Last August he didn’t hesitate to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio before he served a day of punishment for being found guilty of racial profiling when searching for suspected illegal immigrants.

He said Arpaio was worthy of a pardon based on his many years of service in law enforcement.

Now it is told in both the Old and New Testaments that God is a compassionate God.

So why can’t Trump, who has god-like powers when it comes to Federal law, show the same compassion to the comparatively innocent illegal immigrant families that he showed to the guilty Joe Arpaio?

Instead of doing nothing besides continuing to falsely blame the Democrats for the law behind this situation, he could instead simply direct Attorney General Sessions to allow these immigrant families to be detained together.

I think God would smile.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake

Say no to The Village

Dear Council Member,

I am concerned about The Village project proposed to be built by AmCal in north Arcata. I believe that, from the outset, the developer, in collusion with the HSU administration, has been underhanded in its dealings with the City of Arcata. The communications unearthed by the Mad River Union reveal clearly that the plan all along has been for AmCal to turn the finished “privately owned dorms” over to the University. Since that is now obviously the case, it should have been on the table two or three years ago — so that the City Council and the city manager could have better evaluated the project’s effects on our city and its budget.

On its face, this project appears to be a way for the University to acquire new student dorms without paying the union wages it would otherwise be subject to. But that’s not my greatest concern.

The city is being asked to rezone 11 acres from light industrial to residential. That’s probably appropriate, considering the parcel. That will also add to the city’s property tax income. However, once AmCal sells their completed project to HSU those 11 acres will be removed forever from Arcata’s tax base. There is an “if” clause in the proposal, which should be read as a “when” a public entity buys the parcel. That would require a mitigation of, if I remember correctly, 8 percent of the purchase price, or $300,000. That’s a decent lump sum, but a truly paltry amount over a 40 (50? 80?) year period. Given inflation and customary tax increases, a single family home in Arcata could end up paying almost that much over the next 40 year period.

Yes, it would be wonderful if new HSU students could find a place to live easily when they arrive here — particularly a place where they wouldn’t have to pay first and last month plus security deposit. Yes, the developer has made some very desirable changes to their original plans.

On the other hand, young families also need to be able to afford to live here. So do new faculty or young professionals and working families. The need is for everyone, and I would hope that new development reflects the entire community need.

But, mostly, please, keep Arcata’s land in private (and whenever possible, individual) hands. We have only so much land between the green spaces we value to the east and west. That’s our tax base — we should not be allowing any of it to slip away.

I can only assume that the HSU administration was aware that the City of Arcata might not look fondly on ceding a portion of its tax base to the state — and that probably accounts for the clandestine nature of their involvement in this project. Either way, it stinks.

In light of all the new information, The Village project looks to be a land grab by the university, and a future financial disaster for the city. As a City Council Member, I think you should also be bothered by the years of under-the-table negotiations that you were not privy to. I urge you to say no to this project.


Alan Sanborn

Note: the Humboldt State internal communications to which the writer alludes were gathered by the Arcata Citizens for Responsible Housing, not the Union. – Ed.



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