Readers may have noticed some contradictions on these opinion pages over the last two issues. In the Oct. 17 edition, we ran an editorial in favor of keeping the statue of William McKinley and urged voters to support Measure M. The next week, Oct. 24, our editorial called for the removal of the statue, and urged voters to shoot down Measure M.
How could the Union be both for and against the statue? Well, we’re not.
We were trying to elevate the debate beyond a series of personal attacks and insults that have dominated online discussions. The idea was to try to present readers with the strongest arguments we could muster on both sides of the issue and give readers some food for thought. I’m not sure if we succeeded or not. That’s up to you to decide.
As for McKinley, whether he stays or goes is something that definitely needs to be decided by voters, who will do so Nov. 6. Their decision, either way, should be respected.
Whether McKinley is truly a symbol of racism and oppression is a matter of opinion on which reasonable people can disagree.
If a majority of voters decide that McKinley has got to go, then the issue is resolved.
However, what happens if Measure M succeeds, but the vote is close? Might Arcata find itself as a community where nearly half the people view a metal sculpture that looms over the town square a symbol of racism and oppression?
If this is the case, do we really want to offend half the populace on a daily basis? Wouldn’t it be better to end the divisiveness and just find a more suitable location for McKinley?
If Measure M passes, then it will be up to statue opponents to regroup, get their own measure on a future ballot and convince the public that the statue has to go.
Symbolism aside, imagine the possibilities for the center of the Plaza without the hulking bronze statue, its giant base and the surrounding planter box. It could be a wide open spot for dances, concerts and more.
And rather than being simply “anti statue,” with the goal of simply jettisoning Bill, what if we instead sought to find him a better home. Maybe there’s a place where the statue could be put in an historical context and serve an educational purpose.
Measure O and Prop. 6
If you want adequate police protection and you want to maintain deputies in McKinleyville and elsewhere in unincorporated Humboldt County, vote yes on Measure O.
If you would like crappier, under-funded and under-staffed police protection, then vote no. It’s that simple.
As for Prop. 6, you get to decide the fate of local roads, bridges and other transportation projects.
If Prop. 6 passes, our infrastructure will crumble and town’s like McKinleyville will see significantly less money for paving and other roadway improvements. Vote no on Prop. 6, unless you enjoy potholes, or just enjoy complaining about how our infrastructure is falling apart.