Letters to the Editor, October 28, 2020

Winkler saved Arcata

I was surprised to see Kevin Hoover dredging up our statue removal of several years ago in order to attack Michael Winkler (Mad River Union, Oct. 21). 

As I explained in my Dec. 25, 2019 letter to the Union which Hoover published but obviously didn’t read, Arcata narrowly escaped a potentially ruinous lawsuit when the statue was repeatedly defaced and attacked. I know this because I was there when statue removal opponents discussed filing a lawsuit that could have crippled the city. Thanks to Mayor Winkler it didn’t happen. 

Did Winkler overreact by calling the mob of screaming thugs who shut down our statue meetings “a lynch mob?” Ask the six cops at the door.

Gordon Inkeles

Rescue the rescuers

Since retiring after nearly 40 years in the Fire Service and Public Safety sector, I have not often interjected my opinion on Community Safety issues such as Arcata Fire Protection District’s Measure F. 

Measure F is so important to Humboldt Bay’s overall safety that I need to pose the question of “Who Rescues the Rescuer” to help you understand how important it is that the AFPD regains basic capability to protect the citizens they have sworn to protect.

Recent disinformation provided by the Humboldt Taxpayers League and others regarding AFPD’s Measure F has been well chronicled. The rebuttal information recently authored by Paul Nicholson, provided a much more accurate picture for the residents to evaluate the Measure upon. 

The foundation from which modern fire or community protection is structured around is based upon appropriate response time and initial resource arrival with the ability to stop or slow the growth of the incident. The initial response is followed by the remainder of a well-equipped, force to effectively fight the blaze, as fires can easily grow in as few as 3 to 5 minutes to the point of flashing over and consuming a whole room. 

Many are unaware that the same methodology is applied towards community medical emergency protection and was the reason why the Fire Service began medical responses- i.e.- the response system was already in place, including strategically placed resources. Stations, initial response personnel (engines) and an adequate response force (ambulance, extrication equipment) were located strategically throughout the community. 

And the same critical time intervention threshold in medical situations such as not breathing, cardiac arrest or even severe bleeding share the catastrophic damage timeline of 3 to 6 minutes for brain death to begin. In retrospect, it is easy to see why Fire Departments took on this critical medical response responsibility as there is a system in place with distributed stations/resources and personnel available for immediate response within each community.

However, there are those folks that try to compare local agencies without taking into consideration the unique differences and challenges each community has. The key element is that each community must determine the effectiveness of their Fire Department and the real question is, can the residents of AFPD really afford to weaken their Community Protection System further?

I close asking you to seriously explore and become familiar with this critical issue and subsequent decision. It is important to consider that Measure F comes with a Citizen’s Oversight Committee and a sunset date of 10 years. In return, you and your neighbors will see the restoration of the eight vacant firefighting positions that have been frozen due to budget cuts; the re-opening of the third fire station to ensure safe and rapid emergency responses; adequate funding applied to the equipment/vehicle replacement fund to address aging firefighting equipment as needed; and the replenishment of the emergency reserve funds, so critical in providing continuity in operations during these uncertain times. 

By supporting Measure F, you help to ensure that we don’t collapse the current Community Protection System and reduce the risk of needless damage, personal injury or loss of life.

So, I ask again, who Rescues the Rescuer?

 Eric Smith
City of Eureka Fire Chief (retired)

Firefighters are overpaid

The base salaries for the Fire Captain and Fire Chief are available to anyone wanting to look for them. It is acknowledged the small Arcata Fire District (AFD) employs a Fire Chief that makes approximately 50% more than the national average. Benefit packages are hard to compare but Mr. Campbell admits his is very, very generous. He also says “it’s California” to justify why he makes so much more. However, the AFD fire fighters make essentially the national average, not 50 percent more. There are also more captains and chiefs than actual fire fighters within AFD. The point being is that the top heavy structure of the current system is simply unsustainable.

Regarding a fall from a horse 30 years ago. Yes, I remain grateful for the assistance received as I am sure everyone is. 30 years ago, AFD was a strictly volunteer Fire district. Mr. Nicholson’s suggestion that I am somehow ungrateful is nonsense. 

The Humboldt Taxpayer’s League (HTL) and many others (including AFD) recognize that the current AFD management is unsustainable. This same ballot measure has been rejected by voters twice before. HTL had tried in earnest to work with AFD toward a perhaps better management system that the voters might support. It is unfortunate that instead we not only are presented with a twice-failed measure yet again, but also are seeing a constant barrage of personal attacks by Mr. Nicholson and Chief Campbell. Such assaults undermine their argument which has a lot of problems as it is.

When the first two fire taxes were approved by voters and supported by HTL, we were told it would sustain the Fire District for many years to come. Now we are told those tax assessments aren’t enough. It would appear that the abandonment of the largely volunteer department and transformation into one so top heavy has created this unsustainable yet essential organization.

A YES vote says “keep doing what you’re doing even though it doesn’t work.”

A NO vote says “enough is enough and we can do better.”

Uri Driscoll

A colossal bargain

Saving lives and protecting our community isn’t as complicated or controversial as some would make it, nor is it any more expensive by the month or by the year when we look at facts. 

It’s a fact that the Arcata Fire Protection District protects the lives of 37,000 people within our 62-square-mile area, and they need a small tax increase to be able to maintain fire stations and equipment, to hire and train firefighters and medics, and to build up some reserves to better serve the community. Such a tax would vary depending on type of property – for example, a single family residence would add $98 to a yearly tax bill, or $8.17/month. 

Aside from supporting firefighters as a citizenship duty, such a small contribution toward those who risk their lives to ensure the safety of all of us and our belongings seems like a colossal bargain. 

 Vote YES on Measure F to support safety for all.

Carol McFarland and Don Nielsen

Measure F thanks

Thank you to the Friends of Measure F community group for putting together an excellent educational campaign to teach our voters about the Arcata Fire District. 

Thank you to our amazing community members who continue to support the fire department and firefighters who serve within. Thanks to all of you who called the fire department to get facts about Measure F instead of voting solely on information that was put out to mislead the community. 

Thanks to the hundreds of you who publicly endorsed Measure F. 

Our local public service colleagues who endorsed and supported Measure F with letters and signs, we thank you. Your firefighters know the majority of this community supports them and understand they are appreciated. Your firefighters appreciate you and are humbled by the overwhelming support from all of you. 

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Sean Campbell

Yes on Prop 15

For California voters the single most important vote this election may be a yes vote on state Proposition 15.

You’ll correct almost 40 years of injustice in property tax law that has allowed the wealthiest corporates to benefit from a law that was sold as protection for individual homeowners (Proposition 13 in 1978).

These corporations have pocketed what should be their fair share of our collective tax burden to the detriment of our schools and our communities’ safety. Homeowners and small businesses are exempt (in fact it cuts small business taxes!), as are all agricultural and timberlands. This tax will be levied on just 10 percent of our most expensive commercial properties.

Proposition 15 will close property tax loopholes benefiting wealthy corporations, cut small business taxes, reclaim billions every year to invest in our schools and local communities, exempt homeowners, renters, small businesses and agricultural land so they continue to be protected by Prop 13, and prioritize transparency and accountability by requiring public disclosure of all new revenues and how they are spent.

Just 10 percent of California’s most expensive nonresidential commercial properties account for 92 percent of Proposition 15’s loophole-closing revenues. Learn more at: www.yes15.org.

Richard Salzman

Orsini the Outstanding

Dear Community of McKinleyville:

How often do we as the public get to elect a person who on day one will be a continued asset to the community? 

Greg Orsini is that special person. He has spent many years serving the community of McKinleyville as an employee of the McKinleyville Community Services District, both as a nuts and bolts guy and as of lately the manager of the District. He has been an outstanding manager and has made many changes and additions to the District that have been beneficial to the continued operations of the District and savings to the public. 

We now have the ability to continue his expertise and dedication to our community by electing him to the Service District Board of Directors. 

Please join me in voting Greg Orsini for the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors.

Mark Rynearson

Oryan Peterson-Jones for council
I have known Oryan Peterson-Jones for the past two decades. I am supporting him for Arcata City Council as there are changes that I want to see for Arcata: the need for affordable housing, the need for climate change action, and bottom line I want to see action on the part of our city council. Go vote!
Jeremy Cotton

Meet Jason Robo

I’m Jason Robo, Blue Lake city council candidate, currently a Blue Lake parks and recreation commissioner. Some projects I’ve initiated thus far are workout stations alongside the new Annie and Mary trail, establishing bat habitat under the Mad River bridge, and acquiring removable canopy to cover parks during the rainy season. I think local institutions are far more important than distant bureaucracies. I intend on engaging and informing the public and have added a public access and transparency agenda item to our most recent city council meeting.

Since studying political science at HSU I’ve earned certifications in personal training (American Council on Exercise), nutrition (Cornell), and The Science of Well-Being (Yale). I am seeking to apply this knowledge to public policy. The absence of addressing diet, exercise, and overall well-being in the governmental response to COVID-19 is a form of negligence.

As a big picture thinker I research the interconnected nature of major issues. I have a track record of being perceptive. Last winter before the pandemic was known I was reading “Bird Flu: A Virus of our Own Hatching” by infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Greger. His non-profit nutritionfacts.org is a tremendous resource FYI. Factory farming poses a major threat to human health and Greger’s informative “Pandemic Prevention” lecture on YouTube was over a decade ago. 

“You called this one,” a political science professor noted in an E-mail to me in spring 2007 followed by a link to a news article. The Sallie Mae student loan industry scandal began. In the weeks preceding I noted they stood to benefit directly as a result of the never-ending “budget crisis”. It was my critique of raises for administrators while hiking tuition, increasing class size, and laying off employees that initiated my suspicions. 

At HSU I’ve led multiple highly active clubs, was elected chair of Associated Students, and served as a senator on the faculty’s academic senate. I’m not afraid to speak truth to power. History professor Tom Jones noted in a LumberJack letter to the editor in 2007 that I was “dismissed as inappropriate and disrespectful” for being the lone voice questioning administrative interference in a widespread move to censure or vote no confidence in then President Rollin Richmond’s administration. Jones stated, “One might have hoped that Senator Robo’s pointing out the conflict of interest inherent in the provost’s participating in Senate debate over the details of a document intended to voice faculty complaints to the president, would have been welcomed by the Senate as a long-overdue objection to the intimidating role that administrative presence often plays at academic senate meetings.”

After graduating I shifted from activism to journalism and comedy. I hope to share some laughs as we deal with difficult issues. 

I’m not a fan of single-use plastic so I haven’t posted signs around town. I know many may have voted already, but for those who haven’t please consider me to represent you. Mad River Rapids RV Park is the nearest polling location open 10/31t to 11/2 from 8am-4pm and on election day November 3rd 7am-8pm. 

My hopes are to have a more responsive government. You can find informative resources, a stump speech, and my bio at my website. I look forward to tackling issues promoting human health, crime prevention, and local business in Blue Lake and beyond. I hope you will find me fit to serve. jasonrobo.com

Jason Robo
Blue Lake

Freedom & responsibility

Recently Michael Tomasky addressed the question about mask-wearing in society during the current Covid-19 pandemic. (Opinion | There’s a Word for Why We Wear Masks, and Liberals Should Say It). He noted that Vice-President Mike Pence recently articulated the view that “We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.” And most of us have seen no shortage of individuals telling a TV interviewer that they believe in personal freedom, are tired of having the government telling them what to do, and have no obligation to wear a mask if they don’t want to do so. Tomasky further addresses “freedom,” and quotes from the classic treatise, On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill; Mill wrote that liberty (freedom) means “doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow, without impediment from our fellow creatures, as long as what we do does not harm them even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse or wrong.” 

More succinctly, Mill notes that the exercise of freedom is closely tied to the notion of exercising responsibility in the practice of that freedom. It has been pointed out, tongue-in-cheek, that each of us has the “freedom” to drive at excessive speeds, including “under the influence.” While that may be true, there are consequences. Even if such practice is done without injury to ourselves or others, our doing so also provides a model to others that it is OK to do that. “If some engage in an action, it makes it easier for others to imitate. Drawing on the ideas of one opinion quoted in Tomasky’s article was that even if one is not afraid for oneself by not wearing a mask (or driving under the influence), one should be afraid for those we love, friends, and co-workers, exposed to someone not wearing a mask (or driving under the influence). I believe that an important part of freedom means our freedom not to get infected by those who don’t wear a mask (or injured from someone driving under the influence). I agree that genuine freedom cannot be separated from genuine responsibility. I welcome your responses, including alternative outlooks.

Richard G. Bottler

The Hausers’ generosity

As a resident of downtown Arcata, I would like to thank the Hausers for keeping their lawn and incumbent tree open to the public.

If I were them, I would be tempted to put up fences to deter the community members who make free with their beautiful space, often leaving litter behind.

Everyone who has enjoyed their spectacular walnut tree and rested on their wall owes them a debt of gratitude.

Thank you , Hausers!

Jada C. Brotman


Related posts