Letters to the Editor, Oct. 4, 2017

What if what we think is hogwash?

Regarding the ongoing controversy over the McKinley statue placed in the Plaza by our forbearers, I would like to discuss an ideological pathology I will call “epoch-ism”; simply stated, the arrogant and unwarranted supposition that we live in a unique and special era when all wisdom and knowledge has been revealed to us at last.

Even a cursory review of history shows that, at any given time, at least 50 percent of what passed for settled opinion was later shown to be false. What would lead us to believe that we are lucky enough to live in the only period in the history of mankind that is different? Do we really have such absolute confidence in the righteousness of our present beliefs that we can begin to dismantle key pieces of our heritage?

Although certainly wrongheaded about some things, our 25th President risked his life in the war to end slavery in America, faced unthinkable personal tragedy with poise and grace, and showed integrity and commitment to the common purpose that few if any contemporary politicians can match.

Several generations ago, for whatever reasons, the hardworking and dedicated citizens of Arcata chose to place this memento of their era in an honored place at the center of town. Instead of wasting our time and energy trying to tear down what they bequeathed to us, we would be better served to try to figure out which half of what we now think we know for sure will later be shown to be pure hogwash.

Carl R. Ochsner

Growing cannabis in the seaside village

As we all know by now, after years of struggle and lobbying state government, California residents finally won the right to grow six marijuana plants within their own homes for their personal, medicinal, or for that matter culinary use. But there are some authoritarian government officials who still can’t seem to get that through their heads.

At the Sept. 27 meeting of the Trinidad City Council, the subject of regulating personal marijuana cultivation within city limits came up. The council does not want you to be able to grow your legal plants, which must be indoors, unless you have a city permit to do so.

The council did not yet have anything in writing, but were reading aloud from drafts. One attention-catching matter was the fee that the council wants to impose.

When I asked how much the fee would be, they were all very vague, but the city manager finally said that it would be enough to recoup the city’s expenses.

Come on, people! Any time a government official has to leave his or her office and walk through your door, you are paying not only for that person’s hourly wage, but also for the time it takes some secretary to write up their staff report, and the agency’s overhead contribution to both their vacations, office space and retirement accounts. In other words, big bucks. I know because I worked for the state earlier in my life.

The council was also concerned about the release of chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the watershed.  When I asked why nobody cares if you put chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the roses growing outside in your yard – or that matter on the other houseplants growing in your home, which also end up in the watershed, Councilmember Rotwein had an interesting answer.

She said that she did not care if the city made it very difficult for people to grow their personal plants, because starting in 2019, they could buy them from a commercial seller.

Need I say more?

Elaine Weinreb

Living in the flight path

Hello, and thanks to Daniel Mintz for that article on air service in the county. However, as a homeowner in McKinleyville, one aspect of commercial air service here that’s not been covered is noise.

What is the acceptable trade-off of noise discomfort and distraction to residents, in exchange for access to major airports (stated with a footnote, to follow)?

Having recently moved to the south-east part of McKinleyville about two years ago, we noticed that we are directly under part of the approach path for arriving flights.

Granted, this was disclosed (in a way) in our real estate documents – and, there seem to be only, as Daniel notes, three flights a day now, but the last one is right at midnight.

So, from my perspective, there are already “enough” flights, and I don’t welcome any more, due to the noise factor. Is it loud?  If you count having to interrupt a cellphone call to run into the house – and close the door – from your deck, to continue the call while the plane roars over, the answer is yes.

Now to my footnote: the article mentions that the three factors residents are interested in are “reliability, improved connectivity and ticket pricing.”  OK, I agree with those, as long as you can throw in the noise factor.  Maybe no one hears the planes in Eureka or points east or north. To return to those factors, they are important: just this year, my wife was unable to attend a meeting in Los Angeles because of flight cancellation.

To United’s credit, the company refunded our ticket price. Coincidentally, this issue was mentioned in the first paragraph in the North Coast Journal piece about the former Eureka police chief’s decision to leave.

The problem was not here, but in San Francisco (because, as we know, all out-bound flights must go to that hub – that’s terrible connectivity – what happened to that direct flight to Sacramento?).

And reliability? Everyone we’ve talked to here has tales of being delayed at both ends, and which flights to avoid during certain seasons of the year.

Driving to Santa Rosa to get a flight is a bit of a “pill” to swallow. Driving to SF the day before a flight is an even worse one, let alone driving to Sacramento. But, guess what, that’s our fall-back for the next big trip we need to take.

Again, thanks for the time to deal with this issue in the Mad River Union. We will be watching for future developments in the county’s dealings with other possible air service providers, and will attend public meetings to bring up the noise issue.

Eugene Baker


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