Letters to the Editor, October 14, 2020

Yes on Measure F

The Arcata Fire District (which serves McKinleyville, Manila, Bayside, Jacoby Creek, and Arcata) hasn’t had a funding increase in 14 years. This has led to reductions in staffing, rotating closures of the District’s three fire stations, and big challenges to keep critical equipment in service.

I’ve been a direct beneficiary of Arcata Fire’s services — for a house fire years ago, and more recently several times when they were the first to show up when I called 911 for loved ones’ medical emergencies. We all hope to never need such services, but, wow, it’s so good to know they are there if and when you need ’em!

The District needs our help. Please join me in voting YES on Measure F.

Nancy Reichard

No on Measures A and F

Please, Arcatans, vote NO on Measures A and F. These are hard times for many of us. Our “leaders” are always trying to do something about the homeless problem. When will they realize that every tax hike, whether sales or property assessments, cause house insecurity which leads to homelessness. The City of Arcata passed a huge water rate increase that will continue to rise for the next eight years. Water! Now they want Meas A.

AFD does a fine job of responding to emergencies and in their own stats home fires are only 5 percent of their calls. Homes these days are built to keep fire damage to a minimum. If Meas F passes you’ll be able to count the days before the already top-heavy salaries will increase and plans to build new or remodel existing fire stations are being planned. 

I could see a one-time, build up reserve, tax, but not a permanent assessment. Several years ago the county got a large tax increase and the first thing our Board of Supervisors did was give themselves a large salary and benefit increase and also raised then sheriff Downey’s salary to $15,000 per month! How did any of that address the homeless problem?

As for the destructive wildfires problem... that’s climate change. The scientists have been warning us of that for decades and now its here. We would be far better off using our money to pay for serious lifestyle changes and get off our oil dependency. Pay attention to science and vote for leaders who recognize our true problems... but please vote NO on Measures A and F. Please stop using taxpayer money like a no-limit credit card and start using some common sense.

Diane Leiker

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No on Proposition ‘A’

I urge the citizen voters in the City of Arcata to vote “No” on Proposition “A.”

The management plan for the Arcata Community Forest states the following regarding use of excess timber harvest revenue from the Community Forest: Revenue.

Currently, the Community Forest generates operating and management revenue from periodic timber harvests. Grants have been to assist with forest expansions and grants have also contributed to habitat enhancement work within the Community Forest. 

Excess net timber harvest revenue is used to purchase and maintain other City parkland and open spaces. 

Several parks and open space areas have been purchased with timber harvest revenue, including the City’s Community Park. 

The City pays timber yield tax to the state on timber harvested even though it does not pay property tax on lands within the City limits.”

Proposition “A” on the Nov. 3 election asks then following: “To protect and preserve natural open space areas for future generations by: improving and maintaining, open spaces and trails; protecting land around creeks, rivers and streams to prevent pollution and improve water quality; protecting redwood forests, wildlife habitat, working lands, scenic hillsides and agricultural land; expanding public access and trail systems; shall the City of Arcata levy a special tax of $37 annually per parcel providing approximately $175,000 annually until ended by voters, with citizen oversight and all funds benefitting local open space as set forth in City Council Resolution 190-68?”

Harvesting on the Community Forest takes place based on the current price of timber at the mills. 

When the price is up the City can take advantage of the higher price, and can generate substantial revenues to be used specifically for what is called for in Proposition “A.”

Proposition “A” is a duplication of the process already provided by the Community Forest revenue stream and is not needed or required. 

It seems our illustrious City Council never saw a tax levy that they didn’t like.

Michael S. Vogel
Registered Professional Forester

A healthy city

A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential.

Bob Gearheart

For the cost of a few lattes

A common phrase we hear these days is “we’re all in this together,” which is pertinent to why we need to support Measure F.

Fire protection and first responder services are essential public safety measures key to a healthy community. 

The Arcata Fire Protection District has made cogent arguments for why this minimal tax is necessary to bring back, and protect, the level of services needed to meet our community needs, as well as California regulatory obligations. The cost of a few lattes per month should not deter our support.

When we can finally meet and greet at our local coffee shop, lets toast our fire fighters and the Arcata Fire Protection District. Vote yes on Measure F.

John Woolley

Who Ya Gonna Call? Fire District!

Best if read to the 1984 tune of ​“Ghostbusters!” by Ray Parker, Jr.

If it’s smelling strange...
In your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?
Fire District!

If a roof’s got flames...
And it don’t look good
Heavy hoses hauled.
They’re terrific!

Shrill sirens will ring clear.
Once they’re near, you will cheer.

If your heart attacks...
And then you collapse
9-1-1 is called.
Fire District!

If you’ve been a dumb a**...
And you need help fast
From a real bad fall
Ow! Horrific!

Responses must be quick
As the clock loudly ticks.

1884... Began its rapport.
Bell tower was tall.
Wow! Historic!

Think well equipped?...
Tired trucks make trips.
Hope they won’t stall.

Busters of our fires
Stuck in a quagmire.

It meets the needs...
Of five communities
For one and all.
It’s holistic!

Manila, Plaza...
Throughout Arcata
And City Hall
Such a distance!

Square miles of 62
They’ll rush to rescue you.

Up forest hills
Thousands of calls
“Can-do” spirit!

Jacoby, Bayside...
No one denied.
It’s quite a sprawl.
Near the Pacific!

Who live, work and play

Big Blue, Tomo...
Angels of Hope
Were real close calls.
Ahhh, beatific!

They’ll save your life...
They’re sleep deprived.
Money Tree ain’t tall.

Can you hear their alarm?
Second vote is the charm?

Every minute counts...
And it’s paramount
It’s safe for all.

Two-thirds required...
So it can hire.
Crews reinstalled.
It’s logistics!

Beyond a platitude,
Let’s show our gratitude.

Fire “hat in hand”...
And lines in the sand
A fiscal wall
Be realistic!

The uncertainties...
Now realities
No crystal ball
Think futuristic!

Heroic profession

If you’re tax fatigued...
And you feel aggrieved
That’s thinking small.

The added tax...
Will reverse cutbacks
To help shortfalls.
It’s that explicit!

Can’t afford to be cheap.
Three stations we must keep.

Details in the news...
Like the Mad River U.
Get informed, ya’ll.
It’s not simplistic!

If “F” fails, we’ve failed...
So it must prevail.
Vote “Yes!” this Fall.
Humboldt Civic!

Community’s the treasure.
The compass in the Measure.

Moonlight Macumber

Fieldbrook Fire thanks

To our amazing community,

Recently the Fieldbrook Volunteer Fire Department applied for State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist Grant program in which they have the opportunity to be the benefactors of $25,000. 

Jack Sheppard, the volunteer fire chief was notified that out of the 2,000 applications accepted from all over the United States, they were chosen as one of the 200 finalists. One of only six in California. 

The next step was for the vote to go to the public to choose the top 40 finalists that will receive the $25,000 grant.

We then reached out to the community for support to help bring this much needed funding home. It was time to rally the troops. Time to bring something positive to 2020. Boy did we rally! We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we received. People voted, people shared with their friends nationwide and asked for their help to bring this grant to the small community of Fieldbrook. 

We are proud of everyone for coming together for a cause when so much of what we see and hear these days is anger, disagreement and unrest. We thank you for making this a positive experience for all, no matter what the outcome. 

The leaderboard shut down 24 hours prior to the end of voting. At that time we were ranked number 17 out of 200. We needed to remain in the top 40 to receive the grant from State Farm. State Farm will be announcing the deserving recipients on Nov. 4. We are hoping to bring you positive news when we are notified of our status. We wait for now. 

We extended our deepest gratitude for your support. Thank you.

Jack Sheppard
Fieldbrook Volunteer Fire Chief
Carol Rische, Volunteer Grant Writer
Heather Vina, Heather Vina State Farm

Let’s keep Winkler

I live in Arcata and will be voting soon for City Council members. I strongly support Michael Winkler, and hope he will continue his service on the City Council. 

One of my biggest concerns for the future is climate change. There are limits to what a city council member can do to address climate change. But Michael stands out as someone whose influence on local climate issues has outsized the jurisdiction he serves. Starting in 2005, Michael was instrumental in pushing our local Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) to start the community choice energy program that is now its signature service.

As a city councilmember, Michael led Arcata to adopt formal goals to reduce its carbon emissions. Under his leadership, the city adopted RE Power+ from RCEA, so all its power is 100 percent renewable; specified, longterm, that all construction be all electric, and to phase out natural gas completely; added electric vehicles whenever possible, and systematically replaced natural gas furnaces with electric heat pumps. So far, heat pumps have been installed at the Marsh Interpretive Center, City Hall, and the library conference room.

Last year Michael’s leadership on the board of RCEA helped push it to commit to providing clean and renewable electricity by 2025.

Michael has been endorsed by the Sierra Club as well as the Building and Construction Trades Council of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, the Operating Engineers Local Union Number 3 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 551.

I hope that you will join me in re-electing Michael Winkler.

Valerie Gizinski

Orsini’s rare skills, experience

 I would like to endorse Greg Orsini for the Board of Directions position with the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD). Greg has the experience having served at many levels as staff for the District all the way up to general manager. 

My primary motivation is his hardworking and honest nature. He is able to hear all different sides in the community and his problem-solving skills are exceptional. Greg has the experience having served at many levels as staff for the District all the way up to General Manager. He is unusual as he brings a nuts and bolts knowledge combined with management and policy skills. 

Greg has always been loyal to the MCSD. He can listen one of the most important skills as an elected official. He has been an integral part of our most successful policies. He broadened his contact and knowledge to encompass the McKinleyville community. This expanded to the statewide special district organizations and our statewide representatives. It is very rareto have so many skills. 

 MCSD has one of the strongest recreational programs in the county. and Greg Orsini has worked to create a pathway to a community forest further improving our recreational opportunities. He envisioned converting an abandoned percolation pond into a natural flood plain and Coho rearing pond, through the utilization of grant funding , costing virtually nothing to the ratepayers. 

He has a strategic mind that insures we have the money for improvements years off in the future. He has maintained good employee and community relationships. I give him my highest recommendation.

John Corbett

Thankful for Joellen

Thank you Joellen, for being willing to throw your hat into the ring for the McKinleyville Community Services District board two-year position. 

I watched the LWV candidate forum for MCSD candidates, and I’m so proud of you! So few young working people are willing to delve into the details of community infrastructure and planning, but you certainly demonstrated being a fast learner on our most important issues. You didn’t miss a beat. 

Your poise, warmth, good sense and genuine eagerness for public service is delightful. You will be a great addition to the other directors who already know the scene but could use a fresh creative perspective to help them think outside the box in these unprecedented times. 

You’re a definite go-getter, networker and community builder. McKinleyville needs you. And I’m telling all my friends to vote for you. 

Again, thanks for being an MCSD candidate. 

Kate McClain

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Joellen in Mary’s tradition

It is McKinleyville’s good fortune to have an excellent slate of candidates running for the Community Services District board this year… except that it will be very difficult to choose only three of them! After reading about them in the last two issues of the Union, I believe McKinleyville would be well served by all.

But I do have a particular reason for writing. It is my disappointment at losing Mary Burke from the Board and my hope that Joellen Clark-Peterson is elected to fill Mary’s unique role.

Not only was Mary the only representative of young working families on the Board, she was highly professional, savvy, kind, and welcoming of new and diverse ideas. Joellen fits this description perfectly, plus, she would be the only woman on the next Board.

Joellen would also bring the broad perspective of her past work as a news reporter, Chamber of Commerce director, and Peace Corps volunteer, as well as her present work as communications specialist for small business development in 36 California counties.

Finally, I want to underscore what both these women have said about the importance of local community engagement as one antidote for the state, national, and global anxieties we are so inundated with today.

So please, if you haven’t heard this enough already, stay informed, make sure you are registered, and vote on Nov 3.

Joyce King

Aaron, Saulsbury, Som

I can’t help but notice that three of the NHUSD and McKinleyville School District candidates are all connected to the same family business. That fact, I guess, isn’t necessarily disqualifying. Their sudden interest in participating in school oversight, though, seems to be a desire to open our schools to face-to-face learning now. 

While I’m sure we all can’t wait to get through this pandemic and back to our “open” life, we don’t all have helicopters to get us to Walter Reed Hospital where scores of taxpayer funded doctors can save our lives. In the meantime, voting to open Humboldt County up to the rapid spread of COVID, which is ongoing in much of the rest of the nation, seems like a bad idea. It’s a bad idea for our teachers, for our students, their families, for our nurses, for our hospitals, for the few doctors we have here, and particularly for seniors (which now includes me).

So please vote for the candidates who are truly showing concern for everyone involved in our schools and our county. Candidates who have been actively involved in those schools. Candidates whose professional lives have been spent working with students and teachers. Candidates who have served on the school board, worked with at-risk students, ran a pre-school, regularly attended school board meetings, wrote successful grants, and showed up at the public forums. Candidates who are not “one-issue,” but instead have put in decades working with students and understanding the needs and wishes of our teachers.

Simply put, please vote for Aristea Saulsbury and Cedric Aaron for NHUSD board members, and Nicholas Som for McKinleyville USD board member. 

Alan Sanborn

Janelle Jones for NHUHSD

My name is Liz Franklin and I am writing this letter in support of electing Janelle Jones for Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board of Trustees. I have lived in McKinleyville for the past eight years and have known Janelle for seven of those years. Over that time, she has been a supportive and encouraging basketball coach for my son, she has sponsored several of my son’s sports teams, challenged me to overcome physical barriers, and has even worked with my daughter on developing her own fitness program. 

I have worked as an educator and school administrator for 19 years and know firsthand the demands and responsibilities that board members are faced with when making decisions that will ultimately affect students’ educational experiences. Janelle has the ability and drive to listen to community members, and the strength and fortitude to ensure she is representing their views in the decisions she will be making as a board member. My experience with Janelle has proved that her best intentions are to improve our community and help students succeed. I am confident in her ability to be a leader that ultimately will work to make the best-informed decisions for all students and families in the Northern Humboldt Union High School District. 

I encourage you to vote Janelle Jones for NHUSD Board of Trustees. Her energy, positivity and desire to better our school district, will serve and represent our community well.

Elizabeth Franklin

A NoHum boardmember’s view

For the past seven years, I have been a member of the Northern Humboldt Union High School Board of Trustees (NoHum). During my tenure with the district, I have seen some amazing transformations take place. We have the staff, the leadership, and innovative programs in place to make the district something we can all be proud of. 

Along with our generous community we have built a state-of-the-art Performance Arts Center to house our award-winning Arts Institute. With our Makers and Tiny Houses programs we are bringing vocational education into the 21st Century. The Yurok language program at Mack High is the only Native Language program in the state that meets the language requirements for the University of California. As a Trustee, I know there are many decisions the Board has made in order to achieve these great things, and many decisions we will need to make to continue to improve our district.

In this election, there are three candidates running for two positions on the board. The appointed incumbent, Aristea Saulsbury, is running as a team with Cedric Aaron for those positions. Over the years, I have worked with both individuals and find them to be hard-working community members with a strong grasp of the issues. While I do not know Janelle Jones, I assume that she, too, is a fine, hard working person. However, as far as I can tell she is a one-issue candidate focused on opening schools as soon as possible. Cedric and Aristea not only agree that we need to open the school as soon as it is safe to do so, but they also have a clear understanding of the broad range of issues facing our schools and community moving forward. This is why I strongly support Aristea Saulsbury and Cedric Aaron for the NoHum Board of Trustees.

This November we voters have many decisions to make to ensure a great future for our community: besides school boards, we have Prop 15 which will restore funding to both our schools and community that was lost in the 1970s with Prop 13. Prior to this law, the schools in California were some of the best in the world. After Prop 13 we began a slide in funding that has resulted in California schools being some of the lowest-funded in the nation. Large corporations pay nothing in property taxes while homeowners are left to foot the bill. Prop 15 will fix that and bring back needed funding to our schools and communities. Vote YES on Prop 15.

 Brian Lovell

Teacher of the Year’s view

Someone who doesn’t teach may not imagine the day in the life of a public school teacher. One elementary school teacher’s day may include, hugs and high fives, tissues and tears, counseling and cajoling. It certainly involves loose teeth, slobbery sneezes, slices of apples, crayons and glitterglueglobs. Secondary teachers handle romances, earbuds, pot-brownies, social media drama, suicide attempts, fights, sports, clubs, IEPs and AP tests. Before COVID, no day was without the physical shared classroom space of loud, messy, bubbling, sparking and life-giving energy. No day of teaching is boring, it is never redundant, never repetitive. Teaching is dynamic, emotional, and always intellectually challenging. It is a career that always requires love, patience, curiosity and commitment. Teaching is ethical and demanding work.

Teachers serve the community, now like never before, on Zoom screens attempting to engage students in their bedrooms, in their pajamas, with their cameras off, singing the alphabet, attempting to solve for x, conjugating verbs, guiding discussions, and fostering critical thinking and all of this, through the newly acquired language of technology. Most schools in Humboldt County are online currently, which impacts all of our families, and in turn our whole community. If it wasn’t clear before March, the COVID school closures have made it more evident than ever before, the central role that schools play in a functioning society.

School boards make decisions to guide the direction of the schools and then district leadership and staff carry out the gritty details. Serving on a school board is a thankless but important task. Of the many qualifications one needs to serve in this capacity, certainly at the top of the list should be a respect for public education, trust in its teachers and a vision of schools as vital democratic institutions. Nicholas Som and Manuel Fonseca for McKinleyville Union School District (MUSD), and Aristea Saulsberry and Cedric Aaron for Northern Humboldt Union High School District (NHUHSD) demonstrate these attributes in their actions and their words. They are not running on a single issue. They communicate respectfully to and about the teachers and leadership that they hope to guide. These four will be invested long after the virus is under control, but until that time, they will guide the two districts carefully. Vote for Fonseca, and Som for MUSD and Saulsberry and Aaron for NHUHSD.

Nora Wynne
Humboldt County Teacher of the Year

Aaron, Saulsbury for NHUHSD

The power of a school board lies in the diversity represented by its members. In this way, a board ensures a wider diversity of stakeholders have a voice and are represented fairly in decision making. This year’s school board races in both McKinleyville Union and the Northern Humboldt districts are a clear power grab by one local family. 

Two sisters, Rachelle Hicks and Janelle Jones, and the project manager (Chelsey Rios) for their family-owned business are running for three of the four available seats. It is not in the best interest of our diverse community for one family to be in charge of three votes across two school boards. In addition, there is the inherent conflict of a boss/employee relationship. We should elect board members who are independent of each other and who do not have financial ties to one another. 

Beyond their ties to each other, these candidates have no involvement in local school politics beyond the past three months. Their lack of experience and lack of prior interest in our schools’ leadership concerns me. Their primary interest seems to be the immediate reopening of schools. Our district has already made the decision to reopen. How much commitment will remain when their “one issue” is resolved?

The incumbents, Nicholas Som, Manuel Fonseca, and Aristea Salsbury have earned the trust of local educators. They have led wisely over the course of these rocky months. They deserve to continue the work they signed on for – to lead our districts beyond the current challenges and into the future. Newcomer, Cedric Aaron, clearly has the community leadership experience and vision to represent all stakeholders. Please join your local educational community in voting for leadership that truly represents us all.

Phyllis Nolan


Two years ago the County of Humboldt voted to become a Sanctuary county by approving Measure K. It became effective on December 21, 2018. Its main purpose was to ensure that the county was not spending county employee time, money or resources to do the work of the Immigration and Customs and Enforcement agency (ICE) and to promote trust between county employees and county residents. 

ICE is responsible for enforcing the civil immigration laws but its programs seek to enlist the voluntary cooperation of local law enforcement to detain people at the locals expense until ICE takes action. 

This is a type of unfunded mandate, using local resources to do the work of a federal agency. The adoption of Measure k and the adoption by the state of SB 54 precludes such actions. 

Humboldt County is home to a diverse population of people with diverse racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds including a large immigrant population. Undocumented persons pay taxes (some more than our president) and are entitled to access county services without fear of being improperly detained on behalf of ICE. 

ICE uses racial profiling to make stops. You can’t tell by looking at someone if they are documented or not. And in our society you are not required to carry ID on you at all times. Many of these community members are the parents of children born here and who are just trying to keep their families together.

Our immigrant community spends money in our local stores and pays for many local services. Unfortunately ICE has been active in Humboldt in the last decades, terrorizing our families. Although to our knowledge no violations of the Sanctuary ordinance have occurred, a large part of this community still lives in fear of authorities. 

As a community we can all do our part in making all our residents feel safe and welcome and not take action against a community member who has come here to be with family and make a better life for themselves. Values that we all share. 

For more information on the Sanctuary law contact Centro Del Pueblo at [email protected]

Brenda Pérez, Carlrey Arroyo, Jeff Blanck, Karen Villa, Octavio Acosta

Biden at the bat

We know in baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. In my opinion, it’s the bottom of the ninth for Trump and he has indeed struck out. 

The first strike came when Bob Woodward’s new book revealed that Trump has intentionally been lying to the public about the severity of the coronavirus since February, supposedly to avoid panic.

The second strike was the New York Times report concerning Trump’s income tax returns. The Times analysis revealed that the self-proclaimed financial genius is deeply in debt showing losses in 10 of the last 15 years he filed with him only paying a token $750 in taxes each of the two years since his election.

The next pitch was fouled off. Trump’s behavior during the recent debate was far from presidential, but then neither side really shined, although Biden did try to express a plan for the future over plan-less Trump’s constant interruptions.

The third and final strike was a fastball for sure. The president totally whiffed on his constant minimizing of COVID-19’s seriousness when he contracted and became hospitalized with the disease himself. It overshadowed his prediction that the virus “would just go away”, especially considering the ever increasing number of US cases and deaths, currently exceeding 7 million and 200,000 respectively.

So with Trump striking out, it’s now Joe Biden’s turn to come to the plate. I know he will do better because he has a better bat i.e. an actual plan for the future.

Sherman Schapiro


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