Letters to the Editor, Nov. 29, 2017

DRON’T DO IT Camera drones were used at this year’s Peace Lantern Ceremony and briefly at the opening of the Humboldt Bay Trail North. KLH | Union

Lamenting the instrusive development of the Marsh

I was at the grand opening of the Humboldt Bay Trail North in the Arcata Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. A crowd was there for the takeoff, many bikes, music, etc. I was there to observe as I have concerns about the extent of the paved road system (aka trails) through the Marsh.

Part of me felt like protesting with a sign quoting Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Prior to the opening, and the crowd that would soon follow, I walked along what was known as Sparrow Alley, the trail just south of Allen Marsh, and running west to east from I Street to the bridge crossing Butcher’s Slough in the area of the AMP treatment plant. You see, a peregrine falcon was perched atop the power tower near there and I wanted to see its reaction to people crossing the new aluminum bridge after the opening.

I situated myself, with binoculars, at the east side of the bridge, and waited. The crowd started to come across and after not too long the peregrine left. To be fair, it could have just been hungry, and made a move. The bridge is very noisy when bikes and skaters cross. Something like rubber matting is needed.

Yes, I could have been more involved with the process but I was fighting other battles. From 1982 to 1985 I was a Wildlife student, and did my senior project at the Marsh out of the observation blind adjacent to Mount Trashmore overlooking Allen pond. I have a history with the Marsh. I’ve talked to many people about my concerns to hear what they thought.

One person with a connection with the Marsh said that if I wanted it to remain more pristine I should consider moving elsewhere more rural. To me that’s like saying America, love it or leave it.

  The trails are from 8 ½ to 10 ½ feet wide. There is no more than a 2-foot border on either side of the trail. How does this affect wildlife? A birdwatcher hardly has enough room to set up a scope tripod unless on the road-like trail. Where would less responsible dog owners allow them to poop?

Over at Hiller Park trails are eight feet wide, look more natural, less like a road, and with much more border on either side. In fact when I was on the “trail” along the west side of Allen pond I heard a car go by on I Street and felt like I needed to move to the side.

I realize the value of the trails, bikes, ADA concerns, etc., but feel the project may have gone overboard and out of context to the Marsh setting, at least in habitat not as wide open.

Perhaps in the future we will have an annual bike race through the Marsh? Kinetic Sculpture Race perhaps?

It’s a concern. I will give it a chance and see how I feel. That’s why I didn’t protest.

George Green
Arcata

Fore! GOP tax plan could tee you off

If the GOP dominated Congress has its way, the tax deduction for student loan interest payments may be eliminated altogether while a tax break for private golf course owners including Donald Trump would be maintained.

Currently, golf course and other private land owners such as farmers can claim a conservation easement for part of their land holdings and get a tax deduction for not developing it. During the Obama administration, there was a proposal to eliminate this deduction for golf course owners alone as a means to raise revenue, but that change never occurred.

By favoring the “golf course” deduction today over that for student loan interest, the GOP again demonstrates its skewed priorities favoring the wealthy. They would rather let the tax code continue to subsidize private greens fees than assist college graduates with their student loan payments.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake


Wood needs to support
health care

In a recent Ukiah article, our Assemblyman Jim Wood attempted to justify his refusal to advance SB 562, the single-payer, universal healthcare bill for California. This, despite the California Democratic Executive Committee having unanimously endorsed the bill – a strong plank in the California Democratic Platform. We find his arguments unfounded and without examination of the facts as follows:

`1. He complains that rural areas will be underserved, that doctors will not be incentivized to work rural areas. But once everyone, including rural folks, is truly covered by 562, there will be so much need for more doctors and clinics that caregivers will have plenty of work to do ... right now, rural clinics are CLOSING because 90 percent of people who go there are patients who are minimally subsidized to the extent that there is not enough money to cover costs. If the playing field were leveled, caregivers would have as much incentive to work rurally as they do in the cities ... not to mention having a better lifestyle!

2. Wood claims businesses are left out ... in fact, under 562, businesses of ALL sizes will save “bigly” by no longer paying employee insurance (as will the employees). All businesses would pay is a 2.3 percent gross receipts fee, with the first $3 million exempted. A sales tax increase of 2.3 percent would cover the rest of the cost of universally supplying high-quality healthcare, with poorest citizens receiving a tax rebate to ease that burden (with no sales tax on food, utilities or housing). The sales tax would be more than offset by the huge savings from no more premiums, deductibles, or co-pays.

This also answers Wood’s contention that there is no funding mechanism in the bill. The non-partisan, 90-page Pollin Report from the U of MA (see PERI—Economic Analysis of the Health California Single-Payer Initiative) has determined that this program will not only cover every resident but will save the State of California $39 billion. Sound far-fetched? When you cut out the middleman (corporate insurance profit) and control pharmaceutical cost, “far-fetched” WILL happen! The bill also provides for re-training insurances workers into the new program.

3. Wood opines that elders would look askance at having Medicare folded into this system ... Medicare as we know it has many flaws, which Wood enumerates as positive elements. Namely, besides various co-pays, 20 percent of caregiver cost must be paid for either by the elder or by purchasing private insurance coverage. Medicare today does NOT cover vision, dentistry or hearingn – what oldies so often need. The subsequent devastating costs result in one out of four old guys going bankrupt. I submit that elders would LOVE to have their existing Medicare folded into this system!

4. Mr. Wood is correct in noting there may be a challenge to obtaining waivers from the federal government to retain our current levels of subsidy from them. However, the ACA provides a ruling that any for state that discovers a means to more economically provide healthcare than through the ACA, subsidies cannot be withheld. Further, there are various other legal remedies and precedents to rebut such unilateral withholding.

Mr. Wood, we have a bill on the table that is a blueprint to solve these problems. WHY won’t you put the rubber on the road so we can activate that program instead of endless talk about alternative possibilities? Your “Select Committee” this week never mentioned SB 562.

If you have additional ideas, why not incorporate them into this bill? Why allow this bill to molder on a shelf without argument, amendment, or comment? Why aren’t you working to IMPROVE the bill to meet whatever standards necessary?

You say proponents are “stuck on the idea of SB 562.” It is not an idea, but a way forward.

People are going bankrupt, losing their homes and dying. It’s urgent. Let’s work on it!

Patty Harvey
Healthcare For All – Humboldt
Willow Creek

 







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