Letters to the Editor, March 28, 2018

Profit over people at Lazy J

I am a resident of Lazy J Mobile Home Park in Arcata. Recently the Arcata City Council received grant money that is to be used to help local low-income people in the area pay their rents.

It works very much like Section 8. This grant money will pay a certain percentage of the income qualified person’s rent and they will pay the rest. The City of Arcata will oversee the program. To me, it’s a very worthwhile and extremely helpful program for those of us who are low income and struggling to pay rent and also pay for other basic necessities.

The problem for the low-income seniors who live here in the Lazy J Park is that the owners of our park, Sun Communities, Inc. are refusing to accept this program. They have refused to sign any of the necessary paperwork. They haven’t really given any reason why, just that they don’t want to.

Shame on you Sun Communities, Inc. for having no compassion for your low income senior tenants! I don’t understand why you are so dead set against participating in this wonderful program that would benefit so many deserving low-income seniors. The City of Arcata will administer the program, and your staff wouldn’t have to do any extra paper work.

I guess you are only concerned with your profit margin and have no respect for your tenants or their needs.

Valorie McIntosh

Check the historical record

In their letter of last week Ms. Ryerson and Mr. Paniak do not refute a single assertion I made in my guest column. Instead, they deflect to “why does he not mention…” on two issues.

With regards to American imperialism/expansion overseas, I did not mention the great Senate debate about the issue. That is because there was no mention of it in the Feb. 21 meeting. The vast majority of the meeting involved how McKinley allegedly participated in Native American genocide and so my only comments about the Philippines were in response to what Mr. Phoenix had said on the 21st. But even on this matter, Ryerson and Paniak unfairly stack the deck by selectively citing some of the fine people like Twain and Carnegie who opposed McKinley”s policies. Why didn’t they tell you about other cohorts who opposed the policies like Pitchfork Ben Tillman and his ilk, clearly the truly vile racists of the era who wanted to make sure America wasn’t “infected” by native Philippinos? I won’t retell their disgusting racist statements here but you can google them if you doubt me.

At last week’s City Council meeting I was booed and heckled when I said McKinley did not participate in an Indian genocide and did nothing in his time of office to purposefully do harm to the Indian people. I stand by that statement.

Councilmember Ornelas and Ryerson/Paniak point to the Curtis Amendment of 1898 which resulted in negative effects to five tribes in the then territory of Oklahoma. The clear implication is that McKinley, who merely signed the bill, is responsible for this contribution to genocide. What a blatant display of white patriarchy!

Oh, wait, historical truth unfortunately does not fit with their ideological narrative. You see, the bill’s author, Charles Curtis, was the only Native American in Congress at the time. His mother had three tribal affiliations; Mr. Curtis always identified as a member of the Kaw tribe, on whose reservation he spent the early years of his life. His aim, which sadly did not eventuate, was to endorse policies of assimilation which he had navigated so successfully, eventually being elected to the vice presidency of the U.S.

Now I don’t know of any Native American organizations in all of our country that would even begin to suggest that Charles Curtis was trying to betray his own people in authoring such a bill. And yet this is the only “evidence” that Ornelas and Ryerson/Paniak can cite during McKinley’s term of office that was “anti-Indian.”

So, please, remove your ideological glasses and take a hard look at what you are saying: McKinley demonstrated his racist patriarchy by signing a bill introduced by a Native American! Bless us and save us!

I know many individuals of minority or marginalized groups feel the council’s action was a blow against white supremacy; while I believe they are wrong on historical grounds I can very much appreciate their feelings. I fervently hope we can achieve substantive gains to ameliorate the justifiable hurt that still besets us in 2018: Justice for Josiah, an end to the fear of deportation of the undocumented, tough policies to end the gun madness, a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, support for tribes’ pursuit of equitable water and fishing rights.

Peace and Justice,
Bob Holcomb

Join in Steve’s campaign

Dear McKinleyville Community,

In these difficult political times, it’s easy to slip into feeling hopeless. But we don’t have to feel that way! We can do local things, right now, that will really matter.

One of those things is coming up at noon this Saturday, March 31. A group of us are gathering together to canvass for Steve Madrone, who is running to become our next county supervisor in the 5th District, which includes McKinleyville.

Steve was one of the key people who helped us build the Hammond Trail. Now he wants to ensure we have clean, safe drinking water. He wants to help develop new parks. He supports full sheriff’s deputy staffing, a Town Center for McKinleyville, and much more. Steve is committed to listening to our ideas and concerns and will advocate for all of us in the 5th District.

Please join me and many others at Pierson Park, 1608 Pickett Road in McKinleyville, this Saturday at noon to canvass for Steve. We’ll have a brief training session at the park, and then we’ll carry Steve’s campaign materials and answer questions as we knock on doors in McKinleyville neighborhoods.

Our journey to a better Humboldt County Board of Supervisors starts with one step. Come walk with us on March 31.

You can learn more at votemadrone.com.

Kate McClain

Rational gun control guidelines

Following my recent letter (Feb. 28) in the Mad River Union, I have gained a variety of insights from others and the wide variety of viewpoints they have expressed. Gun ownership and use of guns are viewed by many as an accepted and important part of their lives, including many people who live in rural areas of the U.S. (See Leonard, 2018, nytimes.com/2018/03/16/opinion/guns-gun-control-america.html). Leonard also notes that gun advocates grieve just as much as gun opponents do when there are mass killings and other forms of gun violence; however, gun owners tend to emphasize that such violent events in our society are not the fault of the guns themselves, but rather the fault of people using guns for bad purposes. As Pinker (2011, The Better Angels of our Nature) states, anyone who can hunt, harvest crops, chop firewood, or prepare a salad also conceivably could carry out murderous acts toward others with their home-related implements. Yet there are, of course, no efforts to ban or abolish those implements.

If we view the current controversy about gun possession and use primarily as a human problem, with guns bearing relatively little direct significance, proponents readily can promote wider availability of guns in order to increase overall public safety without increasing rates of violent use of guns in society. This latter position frequently is endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which regularly cites data supporting this view (e.g., Lott & Mustard, 1997, Journal of Legal Studies).

However, there also are other studies that conflict with the NRA perspective and report that households with more guns tend to have higher mortalities through suicides or murders (See Kaplan, 2018, nytimes.com/2018/03/12/health/gun-violence-research-cdc.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad).

Of course, many of these differences of opinion relate to factual data that can be tested and verified.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had conducted research on issues related to gun violence in the U.S. for a number of years. But NRA leaders argued that “research highlighting the danger of weapons is part of a gun-control agenda to confiscate firearms” (Moyer, Scientific American, October 2017) and, following strong pressures from the NRA, Congress has withheld funds for research on gun violence by CDC since 1995. Coincidentally, since Congress curtailed CDC gun research, over 600,000 people have been shot (Kaplan 2018).

As recently as 2012, Congress refused to appropriate the funds requested by President Obama for gun violence research after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet, I continue to believe that it will be very difficult to develop effective societal norms and values until we have the research needed to reach consensus on the factors that increase or reduce the likelihood of gun violence, and of how we can most effectively reduce gun violence, while still having firearms available for acceptable and appropriate purposes. Thus, I strongly advocate congressional allocations for the CDC to study gun violence to gain a more objective assessment of the causes related gun violence and the relationship of access to guns to suicides, murders, accidental deaths, and mass killings.

I fully recognize that ready access to guns is a deeply-embedded value for many Americans. Yet, in the past, other deeply-embedded values have been changed by clear majorities in our society, following religious, moral, socio-economic, psychological, and political assessments. These changed values include societal attitudes toward corporal punishment of children, slavery, persecution of homosexuals, inequitable treatment of ethnic, gender, and cultural minorities, and sexual harassment. All of these past societal values have been embedded in American society just as deeply as the current attitudes concerning access to firearms. I firmly believe that our society can and should enact revised ethical (and legislative) guidelines for gun ownership and use.

Besides funding the CDC, I propose that, as a nation, we carefully and consciously define the appropriate and acceptable uses of guns in our society. We also must ask ourselves what types of firearms are appropriate and acceptable (or not appropriate and acceptable) for each of the different acceptable uses of firearms. It is inconceivable to me that an assault-style weapon would be seen as appropriate for hunting or as a protective gun in one’s home. Guns are tools for specific purposes. I predict that large gun collections, when viewed like knick-knacks or toys to show off, eventually will be seen by most Americans as morally questionable and, even, ridiculous

I warmly welcome readers to share divergent viewpoints on this controversial and highly-charged topic so that our local community can build consensus worth sharing with state and national leaders.

Richard G. Botzler



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