Suddenlink, you’re infected
When the tech from Suddenlink appeared at our front door, masked, I put on my mask and welcomed him in. I led him through the front room, down the hall, and into the room with the desk and Wi-Fi equipment.
A few minutes later, I asked if he had been vaccinated.
He said, “No.”
It then occurred to me that I should have asked before admitting him. I hope that, had my great-grandchildren been in the house, I would have been more careful.
As he was leaving, I followed him outside. “May I ask you what made you choose not to be vaccinated?”
He shrugged and said, “It’s not for me.”
I regret that I, speechless, didn’t plead with him to 1) let people know that he hasn’t been vaccinated before entering their home and 2) avoid entering a house where children are present. (Current rates of hospitalizations and deaths among young children are very alarming.)
No business should be sending unvaccinated employees into the interior spaces of people’s homes, especially into the presence of children or others who have not been vaccinated.
Everyone has a bad bicyclist story
“Bikers: slow down on the forest trails” by Tricia Riel Saunders in the Aug. 25 edition reminded me of an incident that I experienced about two weeks ago.
The intersection of Harris and “J” in Eureka is the location of several dental and other offices. 824 Harris is where my dentist’s office shares a duplex building with an unrelated business; separate steps and doorways. You would never know it just to drive by; there is no sign whatsoever visible from the street other than the dentist’s sign. Looks like one large office.
So, I had parked my rig in the parking lot, masked up, and was walking the short walk to my dental appointment when suddenly, out of “nowhere,” a bicycle loomed at me going way too fast on the sidewalk. The wide-eyed pilot came to a quick, wobbly tweak around my carcass and continued on, shocked, SHOCKED that a pedestrian on the sidewalk might be impeding his day. His mount was a clunky-looking velocipede with a motorized assist on the rear axle.
He pulled up to the adjacent office door as I was approaching the dental door. No acknowledgement or apology for scaring the bejesus out of my aging body. No recognition of our shared humanity.
As he fumbled with the key to his kingdom, I remarked that bicycles belong on the street, and I don’t like being frightened. He said something like: “That’s why I’m so careful.” Yeah, uh-huh. He pulled his bike through the door and apparently locked himself in. The only sign at his door was “entry around back.”
Later, I went around back to find his sign, only visible from the parking lot: “Dept. of Health and Human Services, Mental Health Branch, Administration.” At least I got a hearty laugh out of it. You could go nuts just trying to find HEADquarters! That’s a very old chestnut, the mental health professional who is a shallow back eddy in the stream of human consciousness. Remember Monk’s shrink from the classic TV show? This dude could maybe pull strings and get some counseling.
Trish, I don’t know what to tell you. There are many clueless people riding bikes and driving cars in dangerous and often illegal ways. They just don’t care. That’s the way they roll. The cyclists don’t want to be in the street because people just like them are driving tons of metal around and baby might get hurt. But if YOU or I get hurt, it’ll be OUR fault for being in the way.
Last I heard, the BLM operates a dedicated, off-road bicycle trail in the superb King Range. Just for cyclists. Give ’em a call. The local office is close by. Maybe when fires and COVID permit, a group camping trip to the spectacular KR could be planned where cyclists could literally knock themselves out and get a free chopper ride from the USCG in another ho-hum day of life-saving.
Climate action needed
It’s apparent to even the least aware that the climate crisis is here even in Humboldt County, but so far lawmakers are oblivious to real solutions. We’ve delayed so long now, that solutions must reduce carbon dioxide emissions radically. Individual actions like solar roofs haven’t saved us; only strong government action can.
We used to believe that 1.5 degrees Celsius rise would be safe, but we’re at 1.2 degrees now and damages are already too high. It’ll be hard now to hold temperature rise to 2.0 degrees.
Three friends of mine have lost homes to fire in the last two years. As temperatures rise I fear more will follow.
What’s the right mix of policies to restrain temperature rise? Should new legislation support efficient buildings, renewable electricity, nuclear, efficient appliances, carbon pricing, or electric cars? How about cutting coal and oil? Each option will make a difference, and MIT scientists now offer a handy way for each of us to prioritize the options.
The En-Roads model (en-roads.climateinteractive.org), from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, combines technical and economic modeling to forecast temperature rise with any mix of policies the user chooses.
It’s easier to play than a video game, but it’s more serious than any game. Compared with older non-gamers, young video players have more at stake in their futures. They could pass on their findings to parents and to legislators.
It turns out that one policy is essential to keep us below 2.0 degrees, regardless what other polices we choose.
Unless we place a high price on carbon dioxide pollution, other necessary policies can’t work soon enough. The good news is that where pollution prices are high enough, mostly in Europe, they have reduced carbon dioxide emissions.
California claims to be at the forefront of climate protection. But heretofore lawmakers have taken only meager steps to put a price on carbon. California’s cap and trade program, designed twice by fossil fuel lobbyists, results in a carbon price ($17 per tonne) less than a tenth what En-Roads shows ($247) is needed.
Beyond arresting the climate crisis, another issue ignored in Sacramento is how California will pay for damages (fires, floods, and sea level rise) the crisis causes. Those damage costs should be paid by fossil fuel burners who cause them, by revising cap and trade fees upward to cover losses. Need I say that fossil fuel interests continue to oppose any such idea.
Given the urgency, we should all ask Assemblymember Wood and Senator McGuire to demand prompt, drastic revision of our moribund cap and trade program.
Eureka & HumCo’s debilitated finances
As current Eureka City Councilmember Natalie Arroyo campaigns for Humboldt County supervisor, one of her, one of our, greatest challenges is the debilitated financial situation of governmental agencies.
In 2015, Eureka started paying down its pension debt with a $900,000 payment, a yearly debt payment that increased to $6 million in 2021, is currently scheduled to increase to $8.4 million in 2029 and continue until 2038.
In 2015, HumCo had $220 million in pension debt, but could only pay 21 percent of its $28.5 million obligation. Now, just six years later, in 2021, HumCo announced its pension debt increased to over $330 million.
In response to this huge increase in pension debt, HumCo brings forth the projection that its pension contributions will increase by $17 million per year for at least the next decade.
This means additional payments of, for example, $17 million more in year 1, $102 million more in year 6, increasing to $170 million more in year 10.
Total increase in HumCo pension spending over the next decade: $935 million. (HumCo also has $250 million in deferred maintenance.)
Add Eureka and HumCo pension debt payments together and we have over $1 billion, yes, over $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) in funding taken away from services over the next decade.
It will take a tremendous amount of creative thinking and many bold steps to overcome this $1 billion loss of funding for services and get things done.
Thanks for listening,
Dozens of depressingly dimwitted dolts
Regardless of the outcome of California’s current gubernatorial recall election, the state of California’s recall provision needs to be reformed immediately after Election Day, Sept. 14. And here’s why:
Any completely unqualified attention seeker with $4,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor, so long as they survive the Battle Royale runoff where dozens of depressingly dimwitted dolts compete to be California’s last political comic standing.
No need for a democratic majority of the vote, if you’re one of this year’s 46 ridiculous replacement candidates. After all, Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger only received 48.6 percent of the vote when he replaced Governor Gray Davis after the successful recall vote in 2003.
Now in 2021, if California’s current Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is recalled his Republican replacement will take over with at best half of Schwarzenegger’s percentage of the vote.
Gov. Larry Elder? Yeah, I don’t think so. The only thing hosting a right-wing radio show qualifies loser Larry for is admittance to a local insane asylum in L.A. when Newsom survives the recall.
For California’s sake, we must change the recall law to ensure that this is the final curtain call for the crazy clown car of recall candidates circus that has made a silly situation stupid! (And we Californians are paying $276,000,000 for this malarkey?!)
In addition to eliminating the clown car of recall candidates, the recall provision should be reformed so that if a future governor is recalled by the voters, the sitting lieutenant governor becomes the state’s next governor.
Those that are on the fence as to whether they will bother to vote in the recall election should take note of the tactics of neighbor snitching on neighbor from the Texas Republicans to achieve political goals.
I’m sure California Republicans will reject this pernicious intrusion into personal freedoms. They reject mask mandates, so it is a foregone conclusion they won’t employ the same snitch tactics here.
You California voters who decline to vote in the recall can rest assured that those tactics will never be repeated due to the honorable nature of the California Republican Party that rejects these inarguable intrusions into “personal liberty.”
Delta surge halts CenterArts season
I am writing to let you know how much I miss seeing you at our shows and also to give you an update on the CenterArts season.
In a normal year, of course, now would be the time that we would be sending out season tickets and eagerly anticipating the first shows of the year.
While it has been far too long since we have been able to gather together in the theater, the health and safety of our campus and community are the absolute priority.
Given the most recent spike in local COVID cases due to the Delta variant, we have made the difficult decision to postpone any public performances for the time being.
We will be closely monitoring the current situation and hope to give you an update on our plans as soon as we are able.
Thanks so much for your understanding. As always, we greatly appreciate your support of our program.
Humboldt State University