Recent Letters To The Editor – May 30, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Postal erosion

I recently rented a box at the Arcata Post Office. One of the selling points was the 24/7 access. Therefore, I just about went postal when I got a notice in my new box telling me that the lobby now will be closed nights and Sundays due to ongoing vandalism.

I spoke with Gary Scott, the USPS officer-in-charge, who convinced me that they really had no alternative. He showed me urine stains on the carpet and fire scars on a door. He told me stories of having to clean up human feces and replace new carpets and of finding people passed out in their own piss. Portions of the lobby smell like a public bathroom. The people doing this are too wasted or too mentally ill to give a damn about security cameras. They return within minutes of being evicted. It seems the only other solution would be to post a guard at the door during off hours, but the USPS is hardly in a position to finance that.

So here we are once again: The law-abiding, responsible majority is being punished for the actions of a few. The easiest – and sometimes the only – way to prevent lawlessness is to take the opportunity for it away from everyone. Little by little, bit by bit, our rights, privileges, and liberties are eroded or rescinded. We live in a world of locks, passwords, alarms, speed bumps, and countless other safeguards against the unscrupulous. I’m all for societal compassion towards the less privileged, but where’s the compassion for the rest of us? It feels as if we just don’t matter anymore.

The post office situation points to the need for stiffer law enforcement; a better safety net for the homeless and mentally ill; and, perhaps more attainable, a public restroom in downtown Arcata and zero tolerance of anyone who abuses it.

Ken Burton

no fixed residence, Arcata

CHP vs. ducklings

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23 at about 3:15 p.m., after picking my son up from Union Street Charter school, I saw a mother duck lead her ducklings through the grass and head toward Samoa Blvd. to cross just west of the roundabout. I pulled over to watch and see that they made it across safely. I was not the only one who was so enchanted by the spectacle that I had to stop and watch.

The ducks made it safely across the west bound side of Samoa. Traffic started to slow, and those headed west bound were waving to alert the east bound drivers to the situation. By now, there was quite a hold up in both directions, but no one was in a hurry – except for one CHP officer who was at the end of the line of eastbound traffic.

We continued to watch, and although I couldn’t see them for the cars, I was pretty sure the ducks had made it across the east bound lane of Samoa. As the cars started to clear, I stayed to catch one more glimpse of the creatures. They had only the access road to the CHP station to cross at this point, so I assumed they were pretty safe.

But they had one more danger looming – the impatient officer. He turned down the access road and bore down on the ducklings without slowing. For one horrible moment, I thought he had hit some of them. But after he passed, I was pretty sure there were no dead ducks on the road, so no harm done – to the ducks at least.

However, I watched all this with my eight-year old son. He was ready to go into the CHP office and start yelling at the officer. At his insistence, we went back to the head of the access road to make sure there were no dead ducklings and indeed, there were none.

Thankfully, the ducks were alright, but the reputation of the California Highway Patrol is tarnished in the eyes of an impressionable youth (not to mention his mother). Whoever that officer was, he did not represent his agency well that afternoon.

Katherine Almy and Slate Taylor


Note: We received the following response from Humboldt Area Commander Harry Linschoten: “The CHP is in the process of identifying the officer that may be responsible and will determine what action, if any, will be taken based on the facts of the incident.” – Ed.

Cheese mill alternative

   I just read the Cypress Grove article in the Eye. Although I felt it had a disparaging attitude towards those against the Cypress Grove Cheese Factory expansion, the article did show the complex nature of the situation.

I don’t think anyone at the Planning Commission’s meeting was unsupportive of the Cypress Grove Cheese Factory.

What most people did not support was the elimination of Agriculture in the name of “Agriculture.” The proposal is to triple the size of the existing 13,000 sq. feet cheese factory to 37,000 sq. feet. This will put more than .5 of an acre of fertile, self-watering Arcata bottomland under compacted crushed rock and rebar reinforced concrete.

This isn’t a four-inch slab of barn concrete, it is industrial code gravel, rebar, and concrete. If our WPA sidewalks are any indication, it will seal off the soil from food growing for more than a century.

This project was justified because it is “Agriculture.” Here our laws fail us. A better statement of Agriculture would be: The use of sun, soil, and water to produce food (vegetables, grains, milk, meat). What Cypress Grove is doing is “food transformation.” They are taking a basic Agriculture food (goat milk) and transforming it into a different product (goat cheese). The question we all need to ask is: Does “food transformation” have priority over “food production?”

Could the Emmi Corporation find an already impacted Arcata site for a second cheese factory? I suspect they could, if they had the Will to do it. The Arcata Flakeboard site was suggested, as it is large and has excellent truck access. Emmi discounted it because of the hygiene requirements of cheese making. But did they even try to explore this possibility with Arcata City?

The owners of the Flakeboard site, Hambro, owes Arcata $2.2 million. Seems like a deal could be struck, the building razed, and, there you have it; a concrete slab, ready for a hygienic building!

With the human population increasing exponentially (seven-plus billion) and millions of acres of fertile farmland disappearing under “Development” (42,000,000-plus acres since 1982 in USA), our great grandchildren will be hard pressed to feed humanity. New Cypress Grove concrete on Arcata’s fertile farmland will only add to that problem.

 Craig Knox


Ag requires buildings

I note Craig Knox’s letter in the May 9th issue in which he is critical of of the Cypress Grove Cheese Factory expansion and suggests that perhaps a disparaging attitude exists about the long-term critics of the entire project as chronicled in these pages. I suggest that perhaps what irks folks about much of the opposition, and what Mr. Hoover was talking about in his open letter to himself, is the appearance of extreme mental contortions to rationalize and camouflage what is essentially just a NIMBY issue. Nobody wants to admit that they are simply exercising their Constitutional rights to just hate it and be agin’ it no matter what some hippies on the City Council once said about conserving and using prime ag land.

Now Mr. Knox has proposed a finely nuanced, hair-splitting, Rube Goldberg mental construction which opposes the physical construction of of a half-acre concrete slab which will expand the capacity of the CHEESE factory which it was clearly billed as from the beginning as Mr. Knox seems to acknowledge. Now, suddenly, after all these months we have the proposition that cheese is not actually an agricultural product (!?!) but is “transformed” from raw goat milk by Cypress Grove operatives. This is bad!?!?

For at least the last thousand years or so, in order to produce food, it has been necessary on farms to devote some of the surface area to a driveway, service roads, barns, storage and, oh, yeah, a home for the farming family. The Romans had excellent concrete and the Appian Way lasted for centuries. It’s simply impossible for humans to live without some impact and some percentage of any given producing acreage will be paved over or built on, no matter how groovy and organic the managers may be.

Mr. Knox wrote: “The question we all need to ask is: Does ‘food transformation’ have priority over ‘food production?’” I don’t know. Does exhalation have priority over inhalation? Does bread have priority over flour? Does pudding have priority over rice? Does yogurt have priority over milk? Does beer have priority over barley, hops, yeast and water? If the California Olive Ranch presses its own olives on their property, have they now “transformed” the ag. olives into non-ag. olive oil? Have they violated some ethical standard? No.

Cheese-making has been a boon for humanity since at least Neolithic times because it allowed for the concentration and preservation of nutritious milk. Does anyone honestly think that the neighbors in the Q Street imbroglio or the current controversy really gave a damn about feeding the masses? Come on. When seven billion starving people show up like a cloud of locusts, they might get to plant something, but not ‘til then.

The rest of the letter may have merit, I don’t know. The dubious introduction puts the entire letter in a bad light. It would seem much more sincere and authentic if the first paragraph was just NIMBY, NIMBY, NIMBY for four or five lines and then on to the Emmi Corp. and Arcata Flakeboard, etc.

I once cared for goats and they are not my favorite animals. I also hate goat cheese, but if others like it, I’m glad they have a state-of-the-art production and dispensary resource.

Well, I thought they did. Why is everybody’s dispensary being hassled?

Timothy Crlenjak

New Writer of the Purple Rage

Livid in the USA


Kind, thoughtful PG&E 

To Humboldt State University Administration, Arcata Main Street and Arcata Chamber of Commerce:

It was recently brought to my attention that PG&E had planned a large construction project for all day tomorrow at Seventh and H streets that involved trenching, clearing out and replacing a large gas transmission line, blocking a traffic lane, operating heavy equipment, etc. While the project did not involve cutting gas service to businesses, it nevertheless would cause a large and unsightly hole in the street, traffic congestion and possible gas odors.

Since this is Commencement weekend for Humboldt State University and one of the busiest weekends of the year for Farmers’ Market, our Downtown businesses, and the University, I asked PG&E to consider changing their plans to perform the work on another weekend. I argued it would be in extreme bad form to have such a construction project in our Downtown district during a time when our city and the University is working hard to look as welcoming as possible to thousands of out of town visitors.

I am very pleased to report that PG&E has agreed to change their plans and will schedule the work for another less busy weekend in the future.

Please join me in extending our sincere gratitude to PG&E for their kind and thoughtful support on this very important weekend. Special thanks to PG&E representative Alison Talbot for her incredible responsiveness on this issue!

 Randy Mendosa, city manager

City of Arcata California


St. Mary’s School closing 

Following the completion of the current School Year on June 15, 2012, St. Mary School in Arcata will close. This closure is for reasons of very low enrollment and escalating costs. The enrollment is currently 26 students.

The decision to close the School comes after a lengthy evaluation process which involved the Finance Council of St. Mary Church, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, and Bishop Robert Vasa, head of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. All are in agreement with the decision to close the school.

I ask all persons to receive this news as best they can. Kindly know of my prayers for the current School families and the School personnel who are directly affected by this decision. Know as well of my gratitude to all who have given support to the School—whether time, talent, or treasure. For over 50 years, St. Mary’s School has been forming students for responsible lives as members of the Church and as citizens of our global society. We are thankful for what has been achieved and the closing of the School does not alter this wonderful record.

Reverend Gerard Gormley, pastor

St. Mary Church, Arcata

Lust for quality

Many thanks to Erik Lust, City of Arcata water/wastewater superintendent, and his staff. They quickly responded to an issue of water coming from a new tank above Diamond Drive and California Avenue. Thanks to them, the situation we have has been completely explained.

When asked why our water tasted bad, had a horrible odor, was oily and brown, he wrote a detailed paper about the entire specific items the City was doing to alleviate the problem. Then, above and beyond, Erik walked the neighborhood to deliver the letter to each home.

This is a great response to a difficult situation that shows the City of Arcata really cares about the quality of life of its residents.

Alicia Abell



Excellent police work

Over the last nine months, three different Coast Central Credit Union locations were robbed. All three suspects have been identified, apprehended and are behind bars. Fortunately, no harm came to any of our staff members.

On behalf of our members and staff, we wish to sincerely thank all the law enforcement officers of the Arcata Police Department, Eureka Police Department, Fortuna Police Department and officers from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office who were involved in the investigations that brought these criminals to justice.

With the assistance of our digital on-location cameras and members of our community, the law enforcement agencies were able to identify these criminals and bring them to justice. Hopefully, this will act as a deterrent to any potential acts in the future.

Dennis Hunter, vice president

Marketing & Member Communications

Coast Central Credit Union


A huge deal, for a Song

I am Ma Song Lile.Be my partner in this huge deal worth $19.5M.

Mr.Song Lile

The Internet

Goodbye, Tom and Kathy

My wife and I are unoccupying Arcata next month and are moving to Capay in Glenn county.

We wish to thank the Arcata community for helping us raise our children. All three progressed through the Arcata School District and received degrees from HSU without student loans or police records. The group of parents involved with the Arcata youth sports then mentored a generation together.

Kathy and I enjoyed being part of it in our decades of coaching and volunteering. Earlier in our lives Kathy worked for the City of Eureka and Al Capone’s, and Tom toiled a decade at the Times Standard. 

Between us, we have lived in Arcata for 99 years with three generations born here. Add those friends to our gardnening service clients and we have too many goodbyes to manage. Please stop by the Arcata Little League fields Sunday, June 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. to say yours.       Sincerely,

Tom Hoffman/Kathy JantzHoffman



NALC Food Drive thanks

The city and rural carriers of Humboldt County’s Branch 348 would like to thank our customers and partners for the success of our 20th-annual May food drive, the largest one-day food drive in the U.S.

Our caring customers set out donations of non-perishable food next to their mailbox on Saturday, May 12. Letter carriers picked up and delivered over 20,000 lbs. of food in our effort to Stamp Out Hunger, the slogan for this year’s drive. And all those donations stay right here in the county, replenishing our local pantries.

We’d like to give a special shout-out of appreciation and thanks to several of our partners, including KIEM News Channel 3, Lost Coast Communications (KSLG, KHUM, KXGO, The Point), and the Eureka Television Group for their support and generous donations of air time; Campbell Soup Co. for printing our fliers and postcards; and finally, Food For People, Humboldt County’s food bank and community resource center, who do so much to see to the needs of our county’s poorest.

Thank you for your support, everyone. We could not have done it without you!

In solidarity,

Suzanne “Bones” Courteau

City Carrier, Branch 348, Arcata