Letters to the Editor, September 19, 2018: This land is everyone’s land

Yes on Measure M

My name is Lisa (Lytle) Morehouse. Arcata has always been home; it holds my roots.

My family moved to Arcata in 1968 and I have lived here 50 years. I grew up poor in a trailer park in town. I bore my children here; my father died here. I have volunteered in my community and have donated countless hours to my fellow citizens regardless of their ethnicity or background.

This is my home; MY heritage. I support keeping the statue of President William McKinley on our Plaza. The ground we stand on is OUR land; it belongs to each of us who have called it home for generations and who pay taxes to fund it. We ALL have a valid voice in our community, in OUR land.

We all live together on this land and will for centuries more. As long as people live together and share the same land, there are going to be different perspectives and ideologies that sometimes clash. In our current day clash over a statue, our city council is the arbiter and has changed a 100-plus year old decision to honor a president and has spoken for some 9,000-plus residents; representing the interests of only the loudest, most threatening and oppressive voices.

In so doing, the council feels it is honoring the cultural heritage of a group who have resided on this land for generations, but they are dishonoring another group’s heritage who have also lived on this land for generations... mine and many people like me. Demanding respect for one group, while not reciprocating respect for another will only widen our divide.

Ironically, when I have voiced my support of our historic statue, I have vehemently (or venomously) been called a “racist,” a “white supremacist” and “white privileged.” I have been told I am “insensitive.” In essence, my history, my roots, my culture – the very things they are defending for themselves – don’t matter.

I attended the City Council meeting on March 21 and listened to voices that pointed a verbal finger at anyone in support of keeping the statue, deeming them inhumane. I felt intimidated and literally afraid to walk out to my car in the dark. Numerous people at the meeting voiced that they want peace and harmony to exist in our community, as do we all, yet, ironically, that finger being pointed make those of us in support of our statue afraid to speak... oppressed. With this type of intimidation, we will never live in harmony. We will never live in the peaceful and accepting community those voices want. Ironic.

If anything, the statue has created awareness of our history. Awareness is the first step in understanding. Understanding is the next step in making change. Without these steps, change is slow to happen. By removing the statue, people say things will be better. So, when the statue is gone, will those that have called me slanderous names be quieted? Will they miraculously start being kind and act without malice? Racism and prejudice will just go away? Why not leave up the reminders as a lesson and begin teaching people our history at school and through community projects?

I would like to have a say in whether our historic statue stays. Measure M gives me that voice. My heritage and history on this land has been deemed irrelevant according to the council’s vote and these divisive voices who have oppressed many with a differing view into feared silence. I say practice what you preach.


Lisa Morehouse

Image courtesy Carman Gentile

Our Plaza gazebo awaits

My vision for the Arcata Plaza is to go “forward to the past” and have a gazebo (or bandstand) like it originally had near the start of the 20th century. The gazebo could provide a venue for the bands which perform at special events. The musicians would be sheltered from the sun or the drizzle during the Farmers’ Market, the Oyster Festival, the North Country Fair and the Fourth of July. Imagine hearing a brass band in the gazebo perform the stirring marches of John Philip Sousa on Independence Day.

The gazebo would also provide a focal point for various groups to hold free speech assemblies like the Veterans for Peace Friday night peace vigils, community memorial services and celebrations, and we can’t forget the famous Women in Black statement of silence.

I understand that my vision is a very expensive proposition. The removal of the pedestal and statue of President William McKinley for sale or donation will be a protracted process. The circular foundation will need to be modified to comply with ADA accessibility codes. And the gazebo costs will include both construction and long-term maintenance. Perhaps the costs can be covered by gifts from some wealthy one-percenters, or by a long-term fundraising effort by the citizens, or by some generous donations from the tribal casinos.

It is possible that I may not live long enough to see a Plaza gazebo, but I invite my fellow Arcatans to share the vision.

Carman Gentile

McKinley being installed on the Plaza.

Our Plaza history beckons

The attached postcard was shared at a recent gathering of family and friends. It was part of the Historical Arcata PostCard Series Produced by the Arcata Downtown Business Community.

This card was number 14 in the series. On the back it states,”President McKinley’s statue was commissioned by George Zehndner. Haig Patigan, a sculptor working in San Francisco, completed the statue in April 1906. The statue survived the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and was placed on its pedestal in May of 1906.”

We felt it was appropriate to share this postcard at this time in Arcata’s history and to convey that we feel that the statue should continue to stay in Arcata at its current location.

The statue is a part of Arcata’s history and should be preserved as such. Regardless of President McKinley’s political beliefs and actions, it is important that we know and understand them so that they can be avoided in the future.

This belief is supported by the quote most likely attributed to writer and philosopher George Sanatyana and in its original form read, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

David Lonn, McKinleyville
Diane Lonn, McKinleyville
Bill Rogers, Arcata
Dolores Rogers, Arcata
Larry Ford, Arcata
Jackee Ford, Arcata
Jere Buck, Arcata
Les Bestul, McKinleyville
Sheri Bestul, McKinleyville
Kenny Quigley, Eureka

Yes on Measure K

Measure K is on the ballot for this November’s election. It is a county-wide referendum that extends and solidifies the language of California state law SB-54. It’s a very low cost policy that ends up saving the county money at the end of the day and the only upfront cost is for printing the new policy and adding it to the county’s official record.

We will save money by preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from using Humboldt County’s staff time, resources and funds for completing a raid. This relationship has caused some counties hundreds of thousands of dollars and while it is a voluntary agreement, the request for funds is rarely refused. This new referendum does not prevent Humboldt County staff members from going home and supporting ICE’s work on their own time. In a county with limited resources we need to budget and plan well. A high, unexpected cost can do serious damage to our institutions’ well-being. No county subsidization for federal policy enforcement!

Measure K also prevents police officers from using fingerprint technology to ID people at traffic stops. It’s claimed that this will help to catch people working here unlawfully. This new technology is not cheap and Humboldt County pays the bill, not the feds. But once they start installing this technology in police vehicles, who knows where it will stop? Prevention is the best medicine for avoiding a police state!

Vote “Yes” on K!

Ben Amundson

Vote for affordable housing

I think most of us who live in the state of California are very tired of sky-high rents. Thanks to the work of many dedicated volunteer activists, Proposition 10 will appear on your November 6 state ballot.

Proposition 10 is called the Affordable Housing Act. It is extremely important that you vote for it if you rent an apartment, townhouse, condominium or house in this state.

This allows local governments to adopt rent control ordinances. There will be regulations that govern how much landlords can charge tenants for rental housing.

Rents in our great state of California have been skyrocketing out of control for decades. In my opinion, they are not affordable for the majority of people who live here. All residents who rent are affected. Singles, married with children, single parents, veterans, disabled and seniors are all trying to keep a roof over their heads while paying exorbitant rents.

Housing is a basic need and should be one of our rights as Americans.

Wages and social security checks never go up as high or as fast as rents do.

If you are a renter living in California, make sure you get out and vote November 6 for the Affordable Housing Act!

Stop your landlords from charging you ridiculously high rents that you can’t afford.

Valorie McIntosh

Summer as it should be

Summer as it should be! Families playing outdoor games. Little kids rolling down a hill. Senior couples tapping time to the live music. Happy Humboldters dancing. Teens (and some younger and some older!) skateboarding. Picnicking on food from home or hot dogs and pizza from food trucks. Yummy desserts for sale by the Teen Center.

The Thursday evening events at Pierson Park in McKinleyville were wonderful! Maybe we don’t enjoy the summer weather of the surfer songs, but my family and friends had a great time.

Thanks to the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce and the MCSD Parks & Recreation Department for making it happen. Thanks to Charlie Caldwell for making the safe skateboarding happen each time. I appreciate that our McKinleyville businesses sponsored successive weeks and hope you great folks will do it again next summer. Thanks to: Coast Central Credit Union, Essential Elements, Grocery Outlet – McK, Humboldt Skate Park Collective, Lube Central, McK ACE Home and Garden Center, Muddy Paws, Redwood Capital Bank, Specialty Foreign Auto, State Farm - Heather Vina, The Club for Fitness and Wright Property Management.

Patricia Thomas

Main Street thanks

On Saturday, Aug. 18, Arcata Main Street held our 4th Annual Explore Arcata/Pizza Feed.

We brought almost 300 residence hall students to the Plaza for a tour of the downtown. We followed this event with concert of music on the Plaza from 3 to 8 p.m.

Participating businesses offered specials and discounts. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

We especially want to thank the Director and staff of the HSU Residence Living, the Hotel Arcata for donating their Banquet Room, The Jam for help with the pizzas, The HSU Women’s Softball team who helped with serving and clean-up and all the businesses that participated with specials.

It was a great success and we look forward to next year.

Jeanette Todd, executive director
Arcata Main Street




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