Letters to the Editor, May 1, 2019

Bumbling disregard

In the late 1970s, when the puppeteers of California State University Chancellor’s Office (CSUC) held fewer and looser ropes on Humboldt State University, I was a journalism major at HSU. I was on The Lumberjack newspaper, raking muck. I was on KHSU, writing and reading news; playing music; and hosting Talkback, KHSU’s call-in talk show. To keep a student-centered KHSU on-air 24-7 took a lot of commitment from students and faculty (and probably from administrators, but I wasn’t familiar with them). I appreciated that experience; so I understand the university’s late-to-the-game lament that KHSU has deviated from its charter to promote student involvement in the radio station. 

But I don’t believe it. Simply put, the purported interest in enhancing student opportunities is a ruse for the university’s recent myopic dismantling of KHSU as we have come to know it.

The primary problem is that HSU has become a colonial outpost in the CSUC empire – just a stop along the administrative gravy train where administrators go to maximize retirement on their way to the administrator graveyard. The KHSU debacle is the latest in a litany of recent inexplicable decisions from HSU. Before this, the Villages apartment project brought to light the university’s clandestine involvement in residential development. Before that, HSU grossly mishandled the dismissal of a Native American studies faculty member; it closed its First Street Gallery in Eureka’s Old Town; and it axed its nursing program. 

How could a university repeatedly take such bumbling steps with such disregard for both student learning and community relations? Easy. There is no local accountability for the HSU administration’s actions. The CSUC mothership in Long Beach is several light years away from North Coast reality. Granted, HSU has no legal obligation to be locally accountable. It does not have to be a good neighbor. And that’s the rub.

HSU’s relationship with the community could be better. It could be a mutually beneficial partnership that strives to make both the university and the community better places. HSU could be more transparent and forthcoming in its goals, policies, and intentions. But it would take an administration that is not afraid of students, not afraid of being open and honest in the university’s intentions, not afraid of building bridges to the community. It would take an administration boldly committed to the betterment of HSU, its students, and the community around it. 

Instead of another administrator to serve as a clumsy, callous, lockstep governor for a distant throne disinterested in its holdings, we need a courageous leader whose actions are rooted in fairness, integrity, transparency, and respect.

So, as we witness the intransigence of the Trump administration against any and all inquiries, I am depressed to see my alma mater act as deplorably. Though it will be burdened with sifting through the wreckage left by this one and with implementing edicts from the CSU Chancellor, I hope HSU’s next administration will care enough about its students and its neighbors to do better.

Lindsey McWilliams
Arcata

The river flows no more

Friends, Poets, Poetry Lovers, and Fans of Letters to the Editor,

There will be no more Mad River Anthology, KHSU’s twice-monthly poetry program, which aired for over 30 years, beginning in the late seventies until about 2010, hosted during that time by Steve Miller, Jerry Martien, Nick Karavatos, Tim Ayers, Brent Jenkins, myself and others. There are no more locally-produced public affairs and arts programs on KHSU.

Of course, rivers sometimes do disappear. Go underground, dry up, evaporate. Sometimes they come back. Sometimes they don’t. Seismic events, volcanic eruptions, dams, diversions, depletion or neglect can all be the cause.

But our world is a closed system. Water has its cycles. Rivers play their part. As do we. And it’s the rocks that make the rivers sing. 

April was National Poetry Month. 

Thank you for listening. Thank you for reading. 

Be a rock. Sing your song.

Vincent Peloso
Fortuna

Appalled and saddened

Chancellor Timothy White
California State University
401 Golden Shore
Long Beach,CA 90802

Dear Chancellor White,

I am appalled and saddened by the HSU administration’s decision to close down KHSU and shocked by the way the decision was implemented.

I urge you to step in and provide the leadership so sadly lacking by the HSU administration.

This entire crisis could have been avoided if the administration had respected that Peter Fretwell was universally disliked by the staff and volunteers because of his poor decisions based on little understanding of the culture of the community and KHSU.

Now that the damage has been done as a result of Fretwell’s and the administration’s poor leadership, the university needs to remedy the situation by replacing Fretwell entirely and reinstating all the devoted staff and volunteers, who for many years have provided shows of depth, richness, and variety that we all value highly and that need to return to the airwaves.

To face the university’s financial challenges, it could well look into the incredibly high salaries earned by so many administrators, not to speak of having created such an excess of administrative positions.

My husband served on the faculty for 34 years, and I often enrolled as a student and was part of the community as an administrator of a local non-profit. When we moved here we believed what made HSU special was its close ties to the community. We had worked within large universities – UC Berkeley,Stanford, San Francisco State, so being part of this vibrant and community oriented university was truly exciting. HSU should not lose its support from the community (as this disruption of the station’s character and quality is now causing.)

Losing the unique and creative programming made by its staff and volunteers would be a tragedy.

Kate Shattuck Green
Trinidad

The Wruck/Rossbacher wrecking ball

At long last, the pernicious Humboldt State administration is exposed for what it is: authoritarian. The toppling of KHSU has exposed this long hidden fact.

The local press should pursue this disclosure with all of the investigative resources at its disposal. Editors no longer need be deferential to the campus because it’s an economic mainstay; it is very much in decline and it has betrayed the trust the community naively placed in it. 

 Reporters will have to be tenacious. The Humboldt State bureaucracy is opaque, skilled at intrigue and stealth. It has rarely received the press scrutiny that would hold faceless and power-craving administrators accountable. 

 All future city and community interactions with the campus “leadership” should proceed on the basis that the administration is stealthy, devious and not to be trusted. 

The Wruck/Rossbacher wrecking ball of KHSU was a naked power play as old and timeless as the Sibylline books: underhanded, dictatorial, non-negotiable – an authoritarianism typical of the Trump administration.

The University Senate should end the pretense that it is a co-equal branch of campus government. It is long past time for senators to strip the administration of its subterfuge that it willingly and respectfully shares power with students, staff and faculty. 

There was nothing collegial about the savaging of KHSU. The administration’s claim that it is “student centered” and a community partner is a farce.

Thomas Paine warned, “The secrets of governments, like the secrets of men, are always their defects.”

HSU’s authoritarianism is no longer a secret. The press and the Senate should shine an unswerving light on the administration’s damnably dark politics. 

 Paul Mann
McKinleyville

Scandalous predators  

A recent New York Times article contends, “we can’t reform health care because so many people are invested in private insurance companies and the complex economic roots they have established.” 

This crass and callous complaint merely gives evidence to the impropriety of what we have come to accept as normal. It is what a heroin addict experiences—life on heroin is perceived as ‘normal’ while withdrawal pain and disruption is to be avoided. 

So, are we to keep on subjecting the population to the scandalous depredations of private insurance and predatory behaviors of pharmaceutical companies because so many are addicted to juicy profits? Yes, reform will be “disruptive” but it is the only way to rehabilitation, national growth and prosperity. 

The alternative, to continue down this path of out-of-control healthcare costs, is the road to increasing national disaster. Costs will continue to spiral, while bankruptcies, homelessness and death follows when access to health care is denied and the commonweal crumbles. 

America, it’s time for national rehabilitation—it’s time to join the rest of the civilized world with a universal, guaranteed, single-payer healthcare system. Support Jayapal’s HR 1384.

Patty Harvey
Director, HCA/PNHP–Humboldt
[email protected]

Willow Creek

Franklin Graham, Mr. Wrong

Evangelical spokesperson Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and a good friend of Donald Trump’s, has a problem with presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. He objects that Buttigieg campaigns as a practicing Episcopalian who also happens to be gay and married to his partner Chasten Glezman.

Graham says that Buttigieg should repent for what he sees as the sin of being gay and that his sexual preference should not be politicized. And Graham may be right in the sense that the mostly conservative Evangelicals he represents would agree with him. 

But the general population would not.

The acceptance of the rights of the LGBTQ community have been steadily on the increase. A national poll from February shows that 68 percent of the respondents would be comfortable or enthusiastic about a gay or lesbian candidate while only 54 percent would feel the same about an evangelical.

One need only harken back to Catholic Jack Kennedy or black Barack Obama to find two candidates who managed to overcome what many thought were fatal handicaps. 

And don’t forget, if it weren’t for our Electoral College system, we would have had our first female president by now.

So I would say to Franklin Graham that he has a right to his own opinion, but most of us would not see Buttigieg’s gayness in the condemning Biblical terms he does.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake

We’ll get right on that

Wake up Newsie!

Your task, if you decide to accept it, is to bring down the Rockefellers.

I can give to you a mayor who promises he was illegally printing $money$ for the West Virginia congresswoman and J.D. Rockefeller.

In May of 2017, the mayor of Greenbrier County dialed 911 after he discovered that I broke an alleged piano de-icer. He said, as I listened, “I can’t make any $money$ today.”

Who wants to bring dow the Rockefellers? I know the old hand in you ain’t dead yet.

911 call, mayor’s personal cell, May 2017.

They have kept me hostage for three years and terrorized my 4-year-old daughter and her household. 

It’s time to get full frontal assault! We need you – and I know you can’t resist the Rockefellers on a platter printing millions of fake dollars!

Wow! Right. (Check it out for yourself.)

The author of Abel vs. Cain.

Jeffrey Williams
West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility
Charleston, West Virginia

 







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