Letters to the Editor, May 8, 2019

The city could easily solve homelessness if it wanted to

Oh boy, here Arcata goes again. 

Given a $400,000 grant to help all the town’s homeless, officials are going to spend it on five one-bedroom modulars, which means five people or couples will get sheltered and housed. Great planning, great reasoning, HA!

Take that $400,000 and use it to provide all our homeless with safe, sanitary camping and parking areas until proper and adequate housing can be built and met. 

But again, most of us common folk know that our city doesn’t really want to address this issue with any amount of reason or logic. They never have, or it would have been easily done by now. 

We (city) have land unused, whose access to water and sewage is already installed. The police are tired and overworked running from area to area to mitigate problems brought on by the homeless’s misery –just trying to find a place to rest, bathe, eat and shower.

Now, as in the past, our city “punts” its responsibility to the same old organizations (like “Arcata House Partnership”) that have utterly failed in their half-hearted and mean attempts in the recent past.

So, five people or couples will get housed later in this year! But what about the hundreds of others that will again face the coming winter weather of cold and rain?

Comfortable people of (and in) power can never understand! 

Michael Robert Langdon, P.H.R.A.
Arcata

Honest Village info needed

Dear City Councilmembers,

Over this past week I have been reflecting on the April 17 City Council meeting. Specifically the comments made by Director of Community Development David Loya regarding how EIRs are (1) generated, (2) how the results are interpreted and (3) how they are implemented.

(1) When EIRs are required Mr. Loya stated that he has regularly requested from developers that they provide the “initial drafts” of the EIRs concerning their projects.

(2) Mr. Loya stated that for the Village project he had “carefully” read over every section of the EIR submitted by AMCAL and interpreted it to be accurate at the time.

(3) Mr. Loya determined that some aspects of the EIR could not be implemented. In his words the mitigations were “unmitigable.” This is an oxymoron.

I believe Mr. Loya stated to the Council that the regulations governing EIRs were “pretty clear on this point.” I found this comment perplexing. If they had been clear to Mr. Loya he should have abided by them. Attorney Tim Needham, representing Strombeck Properties, was quite clear in his statement. 

Mr. Loya did not follow the letter of the city statute on the Village project and, more than likely, on other previous projects. Mr. Loya’s interpretation of the Village EIR is not viable, as the EIR itself should not be accepted as per city statute. And any “unmitigable” mitigations should be mitigated or the proposed project shouldn’t be considered in the first place. 

Mr. Loya stated that he and his staff can “revise” the AMCAL generated EIR “in-house.” I cannot see how this can be done. Mr. Loya needs to step away from the process. His gross failure to comply with the land-use regulations and subsequent willingness to accept the data and resulting AMCAL analysis of the data through a “careful reading” of the document suggest that an unbiased analysis is not credible. A revised in-house EIR, using the previously submitted AMCAL version should be out of the question. An independent, reliable, consulting firm needs to be retained.

This brings up a troubling question: How were the cost off-sets, proposed by AMCAL to the city, calculated? Was their EIR the basis for those related EIR cost off-sets? If so, the citizen who brought up the inequitable disparity in fees for sewage connection between home owners and the Village might want some answers as to how the city came up with those fees. How were all of the Village offsets negotiated? Was any comparison done with other similar projects in other cities? Who negotiated on behalf of the city?

Could it be that the structural foundation of this project, the EIR, has been the ... “there’s something wrong here, but I can’t put my finger on it” … problem all along? 

It is human nature to want to solve problems but what if the problems associated with the Village stem from false beliefs? A false EIR? Is the Craftsman Mall site, with its single traffic access point, really suitable for 602 residents, with all of the cars that would entail? Shouldn’t a project of this size have more than one access point? Has anyone asked for input from Mad River Lumber? Would the University, in writing, even agree to a traffic circle on its property at the Sunset – L.K.Wood intersection? 

It is human nature to want honest answers.

It is also human nature to become tired after a long, tedious and difficult journey. Some give up, some have other priorities, some lose faith. I hope for the best.

Sincerely,
Jack Roscoe
Arcata

Minimizing plastic impacts

No one can deny that plastics are useful. But I’m sure that no one enjoys seeing turtles being harmed by plastic in the ocean, or trash lining the sidewalks. It can take up to 1,000 years for plastic items to decompose in a landfill, according to The Balance Small Business website. Here are seven easy ways that you can help the earth by reducing your plastic use.

1. Recycle your Amazon packaging. Few people might know this one, but the air-filled pouches that are included in Amazon packaging can be mailed in to the company and reused! CCAT on Humboldt State University, California Department of Fish and Wildlife on 619 Second St. in Eureka, and the Jefferson Community Center on 8 Clark St. in Eureka has a box in their office that you can turn in the air filled pouches to and we will send them back to sealedair.com to be reused. Just make sure the plastic pouches are deflated.

2. Ditch plastic produce bags at the grocery store. When you bring your own bag for your normal groceries, feel free to put your veggies and fruits directly into the bag. Also, you can bring your own bags to hold produce. For example, I reuse bread bags to hold small veggies like Brussels sprouts.

3. Bring a bottle to refill your favorite soaps. At the Co-op in Arcata or Eureka you can refill your own bottle with Dr. Brohners and various other shampoos and conditioners. Dr. Bronner’s soap is 45 cents per ounce at the Co-op. To fill an 8-ounce container is $3.60, cheaper than buying a new bottle with soap in it. Plus you are saving another plastic bottle from entering a landfill. Another place that has soap by bulk is Bubbles on H Street in Arcata. 

4. Switch over to a bamboo toothbrush. You’ve probably heard that you’re supposed to switch your toothbrush every 6 weeks.That’s about eight toothbrushes per year. Amazon has packs of four toothbrushes for less than $6. After you get your toothbrush, you can recycle the plastic air pouches in our Amazon packaging collection boxes in step No. 1. Alternatively, you can pop into a local health foods store to get your plastic-free toothbrush and support a local business.

5. Switch over to reusable food storage bags. Instead of buying single use Ziplocks, you can get reusable bags with zippers. A one time buy on Amazon is around $9.99. They usually have cute designs on them, plus most are dishwasher and laundry safe.

6. Fill up on food items with bulk bins. Pretty much every local grocery store has bulk bins that you can fill up with stuff like granola, lentils, rice, and trail mix. If you bring your own reusable bag it’s a great way to reduce your plastic use, since so much food at stores comes in plastic packaging.

7. Share with your friends about what works for you in reducing your plastic use!

Spreading the word about easy ways to reduce plastic use will go a long way in helping keep the environment clean and marine animals healthy.

Switching over to a more zero waste lifestyle can seem a little daunting at first. I know I was overwhelmed when first starting. By taking small steps one at a time you can make a significant difference. 

Thank you for looking over these steps, lets keep Humboldt green!

Sara Moriarty-Graves
Arcata

Thanks for the museum grant

We would like to thank the McKinleyville Area Foundation for your generous grant to the McKinleyville Community Pop-Up Museum. We appreciate the support very much and know your support will contribute to the museum’s success. 

We invite all interested folks to join us for our Grand Opening on Friday, May 17 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Barbara Brimlow
Members of the Steering Committee
McKinleyville Community Pop-up Museum

 







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