Letters to the Editor, May 27, 2020

Share your thoughts on water/wastewater rate increases

The close vote for increased taxes for the Arcata Fire District means it is likely to be back on the ballot again soon. Next time I hope some informational public meetings will be in the daytime. Those of us who no longer drive at night found 6 p.m. too late during the winter. I visited the Arcata station and spoke to a long time volunteer who was on lunch break during a day long training session. I later spoke at length with Chief McDonald. Both were courteous and informative. I was still left with unanswered questions and hope they can be addressed before the vote to increase taxes for property owners is before us again.

About half of calls are for non-fire related problems. I was told there is no law requiring fire personnel to respond to requests for assistance; it is a public service. Theoretically, volunteers could meet this request, if organized and trained to do so. Many young adults volunteer to maintain trails in parks; is giving assistance to pets or people who need a boost down or up a possibility?

More urgent is the proposed increase in water/sewer rates. When the notice of the public hearing was received on May 8, I was surprised at the timing. This proposed project has been studied and discussed for several years. Why is the major, costly decision being required of property owners in the midst of a pandemic when public hearings are online and our minds are on more personal health matters? We can’t simply call or email our answer. We must, before the July 1 deadline, write a letter with identification of our name, parcel number and our position on this matter. Over half of the 6200 water users must do so or it is passed. In the past, this has been a done deal for passage.

Why must an overhaul of the water, sewer collection and distribution system which should last many generations be paid for in five years? Even cars get longer financing; mortgages can easily extend 30-40 years. I’m told that CA has a state code, i.e., requirement, that “adjustments” like this must be paid off in five years. If it is so important, in these exceptional times with economies so uncertain, perhaps our timing is bad. Couldn’t we consider doing part of the work now, then take the next part in due time?

The friendly clerk who answered some questions had no answers for others. I read the information on the City’s web page and it was not there, either. Is there any breakdown of the 6200 parcels receiving water as to single family, apartment or multifamily units, commercial occupancy? Look at your bill. In February, mine was $77. Two people lived here and we used one unit of water. Google “water consumption of appliances” and their data refer to an “average family of four” estimated to need 12,000 gallons of water per month. In Arcata we are expected to use much less; we are given 400 cu. ft. or 2992 gallons as our base allowance. How many homes are occupied by just one or two persons?

Just as some of us are better at reducing waste, some are good at saving water. My first home relied on caught rainwater and we hauled water in the summer. My habits have remained intact. The City could motivate us to change to low flow toilets, use timers for showering, convert lawns to ground cover, etc. Enlist water meter readers to inspect storm drain runoff and require homeowners to use an alternative to the storm drain. That, alone might mitigate much of the trouble.

I support needed work to keep our water clean and the sewer treatment plant effective. However, only when enough people express an opinion in writing will there be a chance to extend the work and repayment within five years of this major city utility overhaul. The deadline is July 1.

Sara M. Turner

Remember the casualties

President Trump is currently on a crusade to get the U.S. economy open again. Yes, that is important; there are so many people suffering who desperately need to get back to work. And yes, he also knows there is a side benefit; it could likely increase his odds to get re-elected.

But where in all this is the acknowledgement of the 90+ thousand individuals who have succumbed to COVID-19 here in the U.S.? So far Trump has both de-emphasized this statistic, and when acknowledged, blamed the deaths on others.

I think it’s time to start acknowledging those that are dying as the government tries to get the pandemic under control. Perhaps the president should declare a weekly day of mourning such as “Half-Staff Friday” to honor those who have succumbed so far. Such a move would show that Trump actually has some empathy for others, a trait seldom seen except on rare occasions.

As an additional future move, whoever is president when the pandemic is officially declared over should have Congress establish an annual Pandemic Remembrance Day to honor those who have died currently as well as in previous pandemics such as the Spanish Flu of last century.

Sherman Schapiro

Part-timers matter

One might think our socially responsible little town would respond to an economic downturn by securing the jobs of our lowest paid workers. How many families were supported by our part-timers, laid off in order to tighten the budget? It would seem to this citizen that the best way to economize would be for the highest-paid workers to take a cut in pay. 

Our city is very generous to its senior employees. Surely these folks are in the best position to weather hard times. Perhaps the desired savings could be reached by cutting the salary of all supervisors and above or anyone with 20 years service by... say... 15 percent. Those of you who take home 5,000 to 10,000 of our dollars each month could get by on less, couldn’t you? If not, perhaps you might retire, and we can promote someone with less expensive needs. Laying off part-time workers is a shameful act in difficult times. I expect better of my city.

P. Givins

'They' don’t want us talking

So they forbid us to go to church, to school, to restaurants, to bars, to clubs. (Concerning the clubs, however, there are exceptions. The Ingomar Club, to take an example close at hand, still holds its meetings and the restaurant is still open to members. But, to quote Mr. Fitzgerald, “the rich... are different from you and me,” i.e., they get more.)

But in some places they are forced to allow us to gather. In those places they have ordered that we be muzzled so that even in grocery stores and pharmacies we can’t easily talk with each other.

Why can’t they afford to have us talking? Because increasingly we have been talking and doing to get rid of them and their incompetence. And because things are going to get much worse, and we will be talking even more about them and doing even more about them.

Unless they can stop us. The virus lockdown is their attempt to stop us.

Any questions? If yes, please send them to me at [email protected]

Tom Arnall

Co-op conquering COVID

I’ve been a member at the Co-op for many years now, and my family appreciates them in so many ways. It’s a home away from home, and in normal times, we were in there practically every day - grocery shopping, grabbing a cup of coffee, meeting for lunch. Many of the folks there have known my son since his birth, 17 years ago. Some of them know us by our member number!

But recently, we’ve found a more important reason to be grateful to the Co-op. The folks there have taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously from day one, and I believe were the first to implement practical safety measures, for the sake of their customers and their employees. Weeks ago, I heard a story on the national news about grocery stores that were slow to get plexi-glass panels up to protect their workers, but by then, the Co-op had already had them in place for a while. Spacing markers were in there from the get-go. Having the employees get bulk items for shoppers is a nuisance, probably for the employees as much as the shoppers, but they have risen to the occasion with grace and good cheer. 

To the Board of the Co-op and all of the employees, our deep gratitude for all you do, and for your swift and sincere efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe. 

Katherine Almy, Richard Taylor and Slate Taylor

White-centric news

Echoing the thoughts of Equity Arcata and their white privilege article: Why did the Union cover the shelter in place protests outside City Hall in Eureka May 1 when, as EA pointed out, it “centers the feelings, voices, and experiences of white people… over people of color?” 

Humboldt County is well over 80 percent white and shockingly, some of those folks are rednecks. That the gathering was part of nationally prominent protests deemed newsworthy in many states is of no consequence. 

No more white-centric news stories like the one on the Arcata Fire Measure R, it’s failures and implications. Know the percentage of racial minorities in AFD? Few, if any. Please, no more centering of experiences stories for the pigmentally challenged.

Subscriber John Dillon

McK Area Fund thanks

The McKinleyville Lions Club would like to recognize and thank McKinleyville Area Fund for their donation to our Winter Express program. This donation will be used to benefit our 14th annual Winter Express event in December. Winter Express is a program that would not be possible without the generous support of the community and organizations such as yours.

With the assistance of approximately 250 volunteers, a total of 651 Kindergarten – Third grade students from Big Lagoon, Dow’s Prairie, Fieldbrook, Morris, Orick and Trinidad schools enjoyed this excursion. They had their photo taken with Santa, were able to choose four gifts for their family members and the gifts were wrapped, tagged and ready to go under the tree at home.

It is organizations such as McKinleyville Area Fund that help make Christmas a special time for children. The experience of having their photo with Santa and choosing four gifts for their loved ones is a memory that they will cherish for many years to come. We appreciate MAF’s continued support of the McKinleyville Lions Winter Express program. MAF’s generosity helps make our community a better place.

Submitted by:
Cyndi Bainbridge
McKinleyville Lions Club

McK Area Fund thanks again

I want to take this opportunity to make a huge thank you to the McKinleyville Area Fund, John Kulstad and all of the MAF Board of Directors for their generous support of the McKinleyville High School Volleyball team. 

We were in need of new uniforms for the Varsity and Junior Varsity Volleyball teams due to new rule changes on uniforms. With their generous support and assistance, we will be able to order new uniforms! The MAF has enhanced our opportunity to suit up all the Volleyball athletes with appropriate uniforms for years to come. Even with our fundraising efforts, it is hard to raise enough for uniforms for one team…and now we are able to purchase for both teams!

Thank you again to the McKinleyville Area Fund! The Volleyball athletes at McKinleyville High School, Coach Janis Grondalski, Coach Jocelyn Grondalski, and our Athletic Department thanks you for your generous grant!

 Janis Grondalski
Head Volleyball Coach
McKinleyville High School





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