Letters to the Editor, September 26, 2018

McKinley? Why McKinley?

Supporters of Measure M want to keep the statue in place. Recently an Arcata City Councilmember touted McKinley’s civil rights record stating “McKinley actively supported the rights of black Americans at a time when black Americans were being systematically deprived of those rights.” Actively supported? Actual civil rights activists of his time, including Ida B. Wells (one of the founders of the NAACP), Archibald Grimké (attorney, journalist, diplomat and former slave), James H. Wolff (Civil War veteran and attorney) and others wrote an open letter to McKinley, severely criticizing the inadequacies of his response to the brutalities of white supremacy. This letter was adopted by The Colored National League. It can be viewed, among other places, at the Library of Congress website. 

A white person in modern times cannot speak with more authority about the totality of McKinley’s civil rights record than actual civil rights activists of his time. Attempting to do so requires an appalling lack of insight. When this lack of insight comes from an elected government official, it is even more concerning. 

People may not be aware that before his presidency, as head of the Ways and Means Committee, McKinley lobbied his party to abandon their growing resolve to enhance voting rights for Black citizens in the South. Even President Harrison was in favor of this bill which had passed in the House by a partisan 155-149 vote. Why did McKinley want to play such an active role in the systematic deprivation of civil rights at a time they were sorely needed? Because he wanted to secure a silver tariff, and this was part of the deal he is well known for brokering. And yes, he succeeded on both counts. Look up: “McKinley? Why McKinley?” At wnd.com. 

McKinley did not have to sign the Curtis Act. But he did, stripping 90 million acres from Indigenous Peoples in North America and eventually abolishing their legal authority. What was that about civil rights?

The councilmember wrote that McKinley was “the direct opposite” of Confederates. How so? McKinley used the power of the U.S. to take Hawaii, Guam, Philippines and Puerto Rico and bend them to U.S. interests. He began U.S. enslavement of these nations. He used his military to kill “everyone over ten” in the Philippines, the pace of which was quickened to aid his chances at a second term (Blount, James H. The American Occupation of the Philippines, 1898-1912. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1913, p. 251). Some say this was “protection” for these regions which faced inevitable seizure by other nations. Occupation, mass murder, displacement, ethnocide, ecocide and resource extraction is not protection. 

It’s understandable why “old-timey” Arcata would erect his statue. It’s unfortunate that some still have the sort of “old-timey” values that require glaring omissions of systematic human and civil rights violations. 

Don’t be misled. Vote NO on Measure M.

Joel Morrison

Old fat white men back at it

This country was originally populated by various indigenous tribes, protestors escaping religious persecution, slaves kidnapped and sold into bondage, and indentured slaves. In its 242 years of existence we have been through an awakening about the rights given to each and every one of us.

The 14th Amendment granted civil rights to many classifications of citizens, except there were no constitutional guarantees granted to the largest segment of the population, women. This amendment was ratified in 1868 and yet it took 52 years for women to gain the right to vote in the 19th Amendment. Neither of these amendments gave complete rights to women; all they said was a group of old, fat, white men GAVE women the right to vote. Since by 1920 women had most of the buying power in the United States, business men decided they could placate them with the vote.

It took the rest of the 20th century for women to gain the rights to own property, inherit estates, have custody rights to their children and to be able to divorce an unsuitable or abusive husband.

To date only Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin have community property laws where women are entitled to half of the property of a marriage. In the other 46 states it is catch as catch can. If you have money and a good attorney, you might be all right. If not, you will probably get screwed.

Roe v. Wade is not just about abortion. It is the only constitutional guarantee for women to have a right to their bodies, their persons. Without this constitutional protection any male slave freed after the civil war has more constitutional rights than any woman. 

And now the old (some are really old), fat, white men are working vigorously to deny women the rights of life, liberty or property as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Sen Kamala Harris asked the latest Supreme Court nominee to quote any law about a man’s right to his body, and he just laughed.

Women Unite! Contact any senator to fight the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Yes, contact any senator. Remember the Senate and House of Representatives are accountable to us all, not just their own constituents. The critics of this appointee say people will die, and they will. Women died by the thousands from 1920 through 1972 from the effects of botched abortions. Do not let this happen again.

As we have been shown, resistance is futile. RISE UP and oppose this latest attach on women’s rights.

Thank you for your attention.

Jan Phelps

Divide and conquer

I am a regular listener, community member since 1971, and contributor to KHSU. I’m reading and hearing with dismay about the conflicts between KHSU staff and volunteers and the current administration of HSU. Tonight, however, I’m motivated to speak out. 

I understand that the TNT [Thursday Night Talk] show tonight was cancelled “by management.” The talk show was to be a session with 4 of the KHSU Community Advisory Board members to learn more about the issues and opinions on the table. Cancelling the show was a stupid move and reflects the HSU administration’s fears of conflict and lack of transparency with the wider community. Most of all, and most disturbingly, it’s a suppression of free speech. 

President Rossbacher’s memo dated Sept. 17 to the CAB members requesting that they “individually and privately reply to me about your understanding of what you intended in your vote at the June 27, 2018 meeting” looks to me like divide and conquer. Free-thinking people in a democracy don’t need to explain their vote. Cancelling further CAB meetings and TNT sessions with CAB members on board is disrespectful to the community of KHSU listeners like myself. 

I hope there will be CAB meeting as scheduled on Sept 26 to allow more community members and loyal KHSU listeners to express themselves. KHSU needs our support to be able to survive and thrive and it won’t be the same without the diverse voices and programs its airs. 

Tim Haskett

Yes on Measure K

It’s been reported in BuzzFeed that the Trump administration’s Justice Department, under AG Jeff Sessions, has created the “Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee.” This administration may intend to implement a nationwide zero-tolerance approach to marijuana similar to the current policy of zero tolerance in regards to the undocumented.

When the Justice Department starts to require local law enforcement to arrest and detain people on federal marijuana charges, there will be an outcry in our community for our local LEOs to take a pass on enforcing those laws?

The very same thing is already happening when it comes to the undocumented. Disappointingly, we are hear push back both from our law enforcement officials as well as from some county supervisors (Estelle Fennel in particular) that we can not afford to pass Measure K. Why? Because “K” would codify that local LEOs not become lackeys for the Trump regime in the enforcement of immigration laws.

Either we stand united as a community for our values and our right to self-determination or we buckle under the pressure of this out-of-control administration and their policy of zero tolerance.

Vote Yes on Measure K.

Richard Salzman

Will dollar stores die?

A large portion of the goods sold at dollar stores are imported from China. I wonder how long it will be before these stores are forced to raise their prices due to the Trump administration’s tariffs? 

Such a move would certainly affect a great number of individuals, especially those who rely on such stores to help keep their budgets in check.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake

Rescind the St. Joe layoffs

As the president of the Humboldt-Del Norte Central Labor Council, I have the privilege of representing thousands of working people across these two counties. In addition to being working people, we will all someday, whether we like it or not, become patients in a local hospital, most likely St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka or Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna. 

So as the leaders of working families and as future patients, we are shocked and disappointed by the announcement that at least 35 caregivers at Eureka and Redwood were laid off this morning. Apparently Hospital administrators missed the memo that Nurses and health care workers issued at a press conference earlier this week: staffing in the hospital is already unsafe. And now, with 35 fewer patient care sitters, emergency room and pharmacy technicians and other critical care staff, staffing is even more bare bones.

Nurses and health care workers are already asked to do too much with too little. Staffing is already razor thin, supplies in great demand and workers pushed to the limit. And when caregivers are tired, stressed and pushed for greater productivity, how do patients fare? Unfortunately, not well.

Frankly, the Hospital’s economics don’t make sense. First of all, as “non-profits” they do not pay federal, state or county taxes and so they do not contribute to our communities like the rest of us do. According to publicly available data, St. Joseph and Redwood have fallen more than $750,000 behind on their commitment to charity care, which they provide as a trade-off for not paying taxes. And finally, in 2017, St. Joseph Hospital netted $43.7 million in profits while Redwood made $14.3 million. So they don’t pay taxes, they’ve shorted their charity care giving and they made a combined $58 million in profits. Where has all that money gone? And yet, they lay off working patient care workers? It makes no sense.

We urge the leaders of St. Joseph Humboldt to rescind these layoffs, bring these workers back to their jobs and ensure safe staffing at all times. And we call on Hospital administrators to be more accountable and more transparent to our community. We are the patients – present and future - and we deserve to know that we will be taken care of and where our money is going. 

Mike Hetticher, president
Humboldt and Del Norte CLC



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