Letters to the Editor, September 30, 2020

No new taxes: No on F

Vote NO on Measure F! This is the wrong time to raise taxes for any reason.

Too many of our fellow citizens are already hurting financially. Jobs lost. Businesses closed or struggling. Unemployment benefits uncertain. Food banks facing unprecedented demand. Homelessness a crisis with more to come as people fall behind on rent and mortgage payments. And against this gloomy backdrop, Medicare increased premiums and deductibles, and PG&E raised rates.

Those of us in Arcata already pay extra taxes for elementary and middle schools, the Northern Humboldt High School District, College of the Redwoods, stormwater drainage, and two — yes, two — existing assessments for the Arcata Fire District. In addition, Arcata got a multiyear extension of the city sales tax. 

Now it’s 2020 and here comes the Arcata Fire District back to the trough with Measure F — a third tax increase, this one bigger than ever. The City of Arcata is also back with Measure A, a tax increase for parks and trails.

Besides taxes, the City of Arcata has announced a near doubling of the cost for water and sewer, PG&E has filed to raise rates again, and Medicare probably will increase premiums and deductibles for 2021.

 All of these taxes and fees add up, and they hit seniors and those on fixed incomes especially hard. The only way to fight back is to oppose them wherever possible. 

Start by voting NO on Measure F!

 Richard Sanborn

Reopen fire stations: Yes on F

Like others I know, I have been shaken by the horrible wildfires that have devastated so much of our state and beyond. They have made me aware of the importance of having a fire district that can respond promptly to the first signs of impending disaster. 

That is why I’m asking everyone I know to vote YES on Measure F to ensure the opening of all three of our Fire District’s fire stations that support the communities of Arcata, McKinleyville, Manila, Bayside and Jacoby Creek. 

Let’s protect all our communities by voting YES on Measure F!

Sue Morse

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No on F, overpaid firefighters 

It’s time to share more information to taxpayers to “VOTE NO” on Arcata Fire District’s Measure “F”!

After the failure of Measure R, the District browned out, in rotation, the McKinleyville Station and the Mad River Station. As most of us know, this was in retaliation for not getting enough votes in support of the tax increase. The browning out of those stations saved no money. They had the same amount of personnel working each day saving nothing. There has been no employee salary reduction, no employee benefit reduction or employee contribution to help pay for medical, dental, optical or even retirement. Take a look at their salaries at TRANSPARENT CALIFORNIA. The current administration Is a bunch of heavy salary consumers that are reaping the benefit from the tax increase. The administration alone, including their Business Manager is over $850,000/year with benefits and perks. That’s just for five employees!

See transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/arcata-fire-protection-district.

Any thoughts on adding a transient occupancy tax or bed tax on hotel rooms? How about a public safety sales tax in the community that can be paid by everyone? 

The question we must ask the AFD Administration and Board of Directors is, why would taxpayers be asked to pay more than two-and-a-half times the rate of Humboldt Bay Fire District residents whose district also has paid firefighters. Single family residents in that district pay $72 per year. Yes, some of HBF revenue comes from sales tax, however not three times as much. 

The community should vote No on Measure F as they did with Measure R last year. 

Robert Johnson

Support first responders

In these uncertain times  one thing we can do for our community and ourselves is to support our local first responders. We have that opportunity with the passage of Measure F.

If passed, it will give our fire department the funding it needs for it’s vital job of public safety. Please join me in voting Yes for Measure F. 

Wishing safety for all,
Marilyn Page
Arcata Resident

Restore fast response

We have been residents of McKinleyville for over 35 years and it has always been a comfort to know that the fire station on Central Avenue was staffed by the Arcata Fire Department. 

We cannot allow for the possibility of that station closing and our having to rely on medical or fire response from teams that are three to four times farther away. 

We need to support our first responders and our community by voting YES on Measure F.

Beth & Marc Chaton

Vote for Measure F

We are strongly encouraging our community members to consider voting “YES” on Measure F. 

We feel this is important because if the measure passes, it will provide funding for our fire stations to remain open and staffed by restoring eight lost firefighter positions needed to operate all three of our fire stations. 

If this measure doesn’t pass, there will be closures of fire stations and those left open will be on rotating schedules due to staff shortages. 

Fatima and Vince Zinselmeir

Winkler for City Council

We support Michael Winkler for Arcata City Council. In addition to being a competent and well experienced incumbent council member, we know him as someone who loves Arcata and who volunteers as a one- man volunteer grafitti- removal person. We have seen him about town with his removal equipment and know that over the years he has cleaned up thousands of unsightly eyesores. He’s a supporter of public transit and we’ve seen him taking the bus. Last time he was up for election he was the only candidate who came to our door.

Our monthly power bills include non-polluting and renewable energy sources partly thanks to efforts on his part with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority. The City Council, including Mr. Winkler, have been good stewards of City finances during a difficult time. Arcata has had to make major budget adjustments due to Covid 19 losses of tax revenue. Mr. Winker’s goal of having Arcata become energy independent is in keeping with the spirit of our town and will eventually be one more way in which our little city will be a model for others to follow. We are also very concerned about sea level rise’s effect on city infrastructure and are glad that he shares these concerns and that mitigation efforts are one of his priorities.

Debbe Hartridge and Ira Blatt

Som, Fonseca for MUSD

Dear McKinleyville Community,

As 18-year residents of McKinleville, we raised our son to be a successful, literate man of integrity with the help of the consistent, quality education of the public school teachers of McKinleyville. Nicholas Som and Manuel Fonseca value our public schools – they have shown up and served us well as MUSD trustees.

The school board is the entity that runs the district, and, with your input, decides what programs will be implemented, and how money will be spent. Trustees hire and supervise the superintendent, and respond to local, state and nationwide mandates and issues. Without a functional school board of educated, thoughtful, empathetic trustees, the district that runs your local public schools cannot serve ALL students. Together, Nicholas Som and Manuel Fonseca have shown they represent the interests of ALL MUSD students.

I have been a public school teacher and administrator since 1994, most of that time actively representing teachers and students. The only way forward for our students is for teacher leaders to actively collaborate with the community and the school district and its trustees. Trustees Fonseca and Som are present, responsive and collaborative when communicating with teachers. Teachers know your children, and Fonseca and Som want to hear from them.

 Plan to vote, and, when you do, vote Nicholas Som and Manuel Fonseca for McKinleyville Union School District Board Trustees!

Most sincerely,
Jennifer Nichols

Joellen for McK CSD

I am writing to encourage McKinleyville readers to vote for Joellen Clark-Peterson for the two-year, MCSD board position. I have lived in McKinleyville for over forty years and as such, have a good understanding of the impact in having an effective MSCD board. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Joellen and her husband when they moved into our neighborhood in 2018. Through my interactions with her, I learned firsthand her ability to both communicate and to listen effectively. I have seen her skill and flexibility to engage people to reach consensus with positive results. Of projects that she becomes involved with, she rolls up her sleeves and actively works to their completion. 

While new to the neighborhood, Joellen was born and raised in Eureka and has made a positive impact in various parts of the county. I believe Joellen’s skills will do the same for McKinleyville if elected to the MCSD board. I believe that giving her a chance at leadership in our community will be good use of your vote. 

Patti Fisher

Joellen will serve well

My name is Ben Ebert and I have known Joellen Clark-Peterson for 10 years. She is a close friend and ended up marrying one of my best friends. I was happy to see that she is running for the two year position on the MCSD board and look forward to giving her my vote. 

My experience with Joellen has shown me that she is not only fiscally prudent, but she does her homework, is a “people person” and community service-oriented – these are the kind of qualities that benefit a board of directors. 

I am confident that Joellen’s presence would ensure that the mission and policies of the MCSD continue to be well thought out and carried forward. 

Thank you,
Ben Ebert

Joellen deserves your vote

I am writing this letter in support of Joellen Clark-Peterson, who is running for a two-year seat on the MCSD board. She was born and raised in Humboldt County and her work experience has involved community and consensus building. 

She works with small business development and as a community member she spearheaded a sidewalk beautification project in her McKinleyville neighborhood. She not only has good ideas, but doesn’t hesitate to be involved personally. 

Given all the dynamic projects the District is working on, someone who understands how to work in this way will be very important. She is positive, curious and personable. She deserves your vote.

Thank you.
Barbara Brimlow

Joellen is above average    

I can’t vote for her, but I can relate what it was like to work with Joellen Clark-Peterson, candidate for a two-year seat on the McKinleyville Community Services District.

As executive director of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce and part of the “Jo and Mo” team with her colleague, now-Executive Director Molly Steele, Joellen brought new verve to the Chamber. Her leadership imparted a positive direction and fun vibe to the whole operation.

Joellen partnered with the Union to better serve her members, our readers and the broader community. She was full of useful, practical ideas, and – this is all too rare – invariably followed through on doing the work. I don’t think the average non-journalist person understands how much grinding effort it takes to do interviews, shoot useable pictures, then put all that together into a regular series of columns. 

Joellen’s Chamber-related columns for the paper were always entertaining and informative, revealing the faces behind local businesses. It was additional hard work she could have skipped doing, and no one would have ever known or cared. But she did it, because that’s the kind of thing she does. 

I mention all this because I’m sure Joellen will look for similar creative opportunities to forward the goals of the MCSD. 

Apart from her work ethic, Joellen is calm and kind, zero drama and open to feedback, new ideas and information. 

If I lived in Mack Town, this is exactly the kind of person I’d want representing me and making decisions on the MCSD. 

Kevin Hoover

Fish farming destructive

In your Sept. 19 article on Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed industrial fish farm, you state that Nordic’s managers are confident regulators will find Nordic’s environmental impacts to be minimal. Well, here in Belfast, Maine, where Nordic wants to build another industrial fish farm, Nordic’s environmental impact would be anything but minimal. Here in Maine, Nordic wants to daily spew into our beautiful bay 7.7 million gallons of effluent, which would threaten our vital seafood and tourism industries. Nordic would also destroy mature forest, wetlands and the habitat of at least one threatened species.

In California and Maine, Nordic’s effluent discharge would almost certainly attract sea lice, which would likely attach to passing wild fish, potentially devastating wild fish populations.

Fish escapes are another environmental danger. Despite Nordic’s soothing assurances to the contrary, fish do escape from land-based industrial fish farms. Even Nordic has repeatedly admitted this. One way fish escape is through tears in filters. Escaped fish breed with wild fish, producing fish unable to cope with life in the wild. Escaped fish infect wild fish with diseases for which wild fish have little or no resistance. And escaped fish compete for spawning grounds and destroy the spawning grounds of wild fish.

Noyes goes on to say Nordic’s water filtration and ultraviolet light system are “able to filter out particles down to the size of bacteria.” Being able to do something and actually doing it, reliably, without mistake, are very different things. According to 30-year University of Bergen, Norway professor Are Nyland, such filtration and ultraviolet systems are not infallible. Nyland is perhaps the world’s foremost academic aquaculture expert.

But even if the filtration system were to work as Noyes says it can, it would still allow in bacteria, by Noyes’ own admission. That could cause massive fish die-offs, as it has elsewhere in land-based industrial fish farms. 

This would force Nordic to kill all the fish in the affected tanks, clean the tank with highly toxic chemicals, dispose of those chemicals and refill the tanks with large amounts of California’s scarce and precious water.

The September 19 article quotes Nordic managers saying Nordic’s plant would create 150 jobs. Well, here in Maine, Nordic said 60 jobs, then 60 to 100, then more than 100 and now 175. 

No explanation has ever been given for this magically expanding number. But many of those jobs would be in processing, and few of the rest would go to locals, as they would require expertise not found here in Maine – and likely not found in Humboldt County either.

Finally, the article quotes Nordic’s David Noyes likening Nordic’s effluent to drinking water. That’s ludicrous. No one in their right mind would bring effluent anywhere near their lips.

Lawrence Reichard
Belfast, Maine

President knowingly failed America

The U.S. has now surpassed 200,000 deaths from the covid virus – 20 percent of the world’s deaths despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population. 

We now know, in the president’s own words back in February, that he knew of the dangers of the virus. He said that he did not want to alarm Americans, so he played down the impact and even lied to us. 

Two of the 20th Century’s greatest leaders, FDR and Winston Churchill, saw their responsibilities much differently. Churchill said, “There is no worse mistake in public life than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away.” 

“The British people can face peril or misfortune with fortitude and buoyancy, but they bitterly resent being deceived or finding that those responsible for their affairs are themselves dwelling in a fool’s paradise.” 

Roosevelt said, “The American people must be prepared for it and they must get it straight from the shoulder.”

According to Jon Meachem, author of the book, Franklin and Winston, “People respect candor if they are confident their leaders have a plan for moving forward.”

Oh my!

Edward “Buzz” Webb



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