Letters to the Editor, May 17, 2017

Justice for David Lawson

As Mayor of Arcata, I too want justice for Josiah. The City wants justice for Josiah.

Josiah Lawson’s death has shaken our community to its core.

I, along with the other Council members, Police Chief, and City Manager commit to putting our resources, time, and energy, into the on-going investigation to find the truth about what happened at the party the night that Josiah’s life was tragically taken.

We need to work so people of color feel safe in our community. The on-going investigation is being treated with the seriousness and thoroughness that it warrants.

To seek justice, we need time to continue the forensic and physical investigation. We also need anyone who was at the party to speak up. This truth needs to come out of the darkness.

There is a tell-tale heart, or hearts, in our community. We need you to step forward and speak the truth.

I want to praise the students who were brave enough to speak truth at the preliminary hearing. Please recognize, this was just a preliminary hearing, a step in the court process, and certainly this case is still open and on-going.

To friends and family of Josiah, I offer my sincere condolences, and my commitment to seeking justice. I know some of you might be leaving the area soon, as the semester is ending, but rest assured this investigation will continue.

Susan Ornelas
Mayor of Arcata

Questions from Zoellner’s uncle

The following questions for Arcata Police were sent to the Union by Jay Zoellner, the uncle of Kyle Zoellner, who was arrested on suspicion of murdering David Josiah Lawson. The charges against Kyle Zoellner have since been dropped as the investigation continues. – Ed

Questions I have for ADP:

1) Was Renalyn Bobadillo stabbed at the party and if so by whom?

2) If not why did Elijah Chandler make his public statement that she was and why did Police Chief Chapman publically state “It looks like it”?

Statements from various media reports made these last few weeks:

• From Elijah Chandler: Trained in first aid, Chandler stanched his friend’s knife wounds with his T-shirt and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He and Lawson’s girlfriend, who had been stabbed at least twice on her left arm, struggled in vain for some 15 minutes or more before EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) arrived.

• When asked if more than one person had been stabbed, Chapman said, “That’s still being investigated. I can’t confirm that. It looks like it.”

• Within two to four minutes, post-3 a.m., as sirens wailed in the background, police radioed that a woman had been stabbed, that multiple units were responding and that Arcata medical had been alerted.

• Shortly thereafter came word via the California Highway Patrol of “at least one report that a man was down,” evidently referring to the fatally wounded student, HSU sophomore and criminal justice major David Josiah Lawson, 19, of Perris in Riverside County.

The wounded female may have been Lawson’s girlfriend, Ren, reportedly stabbed twice on one arm, according to an eyewitness.

Jay Zoellner
McKinleyville

GOP health care hoax

President Trump tweeted this week that “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” He has reinforced this opinion in prior tweets declaring that the real issue is finding out who leaked information about possible Russian contacts with his campaign organization or about Michael Flynn’s meetings with the Russian Ambassador.

And his opinions are certainly echoed by his delegated press conference mouthpieces Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. However, until the ongoing investigations into these matters are allowed to be completed, if at all, we won’t know if the story has been a charade or not.

However, one charade does continue in Washington. It is the hoax called the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare). This is not a bill designed to really support health care, especially one that deserves to be lauded by the GOP as an improvement to the Affordable Care Act.

You would think an improved bill would at least cover as many people as the one it replaces and would also guarantee that those that have pre-existing conditions would continue to be able to get affordable coverage. But that’s not the case.

The first incarnation of Trumpcare was predicted to cause 24 million people to lose coverage by 2026 and it’s unlikely this version will do any better. Also, whereas the ACA does not allow discrimination for individuals with pre-existing conditions, Trumpcare would let states opt out of this restriction.

Instead they can establish high-risk insurance pools for such individuals which should guarantee that many truly sick people will no longer be able to afford insurance that covers the care they need.

You can tell how much some GOP congress members even understand the health care issue at all when they make comments such as “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care” or they imply that people who need the high-risk pools clearly must not “lead good lives.”

Tell that to a parent of a Down syndrome baby or a child cancer victim.

If not improving health care, what does Trumpcare actually do? There is a long list of things which include the elimination of a number of taxes and required government payments all of which had helped support the ACA‘s costs.

I will mention just one change as it clearly defines the apparent GOP need to benefit the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. The ACA partially supported lower income American’s costs through funds raised by a .9 percent surtax on earned income and a 3.8 percent surtax on investment income both for high income tax payers. These surtaxes will be eliminated by Trumpcare.  According to the Tax Policy Center, this will save the wealthy around $275 billion over 10 years with those earning more than $1 million getting a tax cut of $51,400 a year on average. That’s well over the combined annual income of a minimum wage earning couple. Currently, a final bill still needs to be crafted, so we can only hope it will be less of a health care charade and more of a bill that actually provides improved health coverage for Americans.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake

GOP denies right to life

The Republican Party has long advanced the right to life in its party platform. The mission of the National Right to Life organization is “to protect and defend the most fundamental right of humankind, the right of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death.”

The Declaration of Independence of Independence states that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Republican Party has long been pro life against abortion and against assisted suicide or the right-to-die.

However, the right to life is denied in Trumpcare, also known as the American Health Care Act. The Republicans recently passed a bill in Congress that is much more about repealing Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) than providing good health care to the American people.

The bill would allow states to eliminate guaranteed health care based upon pre-existing conditions which is the most popular piece of Obamacare. The states then would then setup high risk pools that would carry high deductibles and high costs that would make them unaffordable for low and middle income families. The bill would significantly raise costs for older Americans because it is based upon age.

In a nutshell, individuals cannot afford health insurance until their income hits a moderate level because the cost of living will be equal to or greater than your income. If you can purchase “lousy” high deductible insurance, it will not cover the essential elements of health care.

If you receive these benefits, you will not be able to pay the deductibles let alone the portion not covered by your insurer. In the end, these costs will be burdened on those who can afford health insurance, thus raising their costs as they have in the past prior to Obamacare.

The bill would also mandate block grants to states for Medicaid that would substantially reduce the amount of money to states by billions of dollars and ultimately remove millions of low income Americans from Medicaid. Essentially, the Republicans are denying health care to millions of Americans that ultimately leads to the death of Americans and denies these individuals the right to life.

The main problem with health care is that the costs continue to rise substantially each year and no one seems to want to address the real issue. Per the PBS News Hour, health care costs have been steadily rising for the past 15 years at over 10 percent per year.

The average American is paying higher health care costs while wages have remained stagnant over the same time. Per the PBS News Hour, the cost of health care in America is two-and-a-half times that of the rest of the western developed nations. The United States is the only western industrialized country that does not provide universal health care, also called single payer or Medicare for all.

The solution is a single payer health care system that eliminates the profit and greed of health insurance companies with its huge executive salaries and its blatant lobbying costs of $150 million per year by the health insurance companies and $175 million per year for the prescription drug companies.

A dingle payer health system, like Medicare, would allow the government to negotiate prices of medical services and prescription drugs to become more affordable like the rest of the western world.

Capitalism is based upon profit while our rights are based upon the need to serve everyone. Health insurance can simply be deducted from our paychecks just like Medicare and Social Security with no caps on the amount of income so that individuals will pay per their income and not their age and those in poverty will not be penalized because they cannot afford insurance.

If life, liberty, and happiness are indeed so important, then it stands to reason that health, which dictates the quality of our life and determines our ability to enjoy liberty and pursue happiness, is equally crucial to our welfare.

Winchell Dillenbeck
McKinleyville

Thanks from sunny Blue Lake

The Board of the Blue Lake Museum Society would sincerely like to thank the Union and Janine Volkmar for the glorious article she wrote about the museum (Wednesday, April 5). We especially loved the format used – that of the now extinct Blue Lake Advocate, started by our town’s founder, Clement Chartin. Ms. Volkmar really showed our lovely museum in its best light. As a consequence, we had the most well attended opening ever! So thanks again!

And to all who missed the opening, please visit us any Thursday, Friday or Sunday, from 1 to  4 p.m. until the end of September at 330 Railroad Ave.

Mariel Morison, secretary
Blue Lake Museum Society

 







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