Letters to the Editor October 25

Dear Editor,

Measure E is a Fortuna Police & Essential Services Measure designed to provide funds to maintain essential services including increasing and restoring police positions, repairing aging/deteriorating streets and potholes, maintaining 75 acres of parks and medians plus city-owned buildings including The River Lodge Conference Center, Monday Club, Fireman’s Pavilion, City Hall and more, and enhance programs and other recreational opportunities for youth and seniors.

Measure E will increase sales tax in Fortuna from 8% to 8.75% (Eureka and Arcata are currently 8.75%). This tax amounts to just 75 cents for every $100 spent on TAXABLE items (groceries, utilities and prescription medications are excluded).

Fortuna has cut and consolidated positions and benefits have been reduced and there is still an on-going shortfall. Reserves are running out. Measure E funds will stay in Fortuna and the measure will sunset in eight years. The measure will provide approximately $1.2 million annually to the city and requires independent annual financial audits and a community oversight committee.

We live in Fortuna and urge everyone to VOTE YES ON MEASURE E to make Fortuna the safe, attractive, fiscally sound city we all want.

Walt & Julie Wilson

Fortuna

Dear Editor,

I teach insurance law at the University of Connecticut School of Law. I just read your Oct. 17 article, “Fire science shooting home insurance rates sky high” and I thought it was very interesting. One of the insurance issues I work on is how big data — here, fire metrics/science — is fragmenting insurance risk pools by allowing much more granular risk assessments. This has the advantage of more closely tying risk to insurance rates (assuming the model is accurate), but also makes standard insurance policies like homeowners and auto increasingly expensive for some individuals who previously were lumped in (pooled) with others. Your article provided an excellent example of this problem and I will distribute it to my law class for discussion. These are not easy issues and you did a very nice job of making it explainable. Thank you for writing it.

Peter Kochenburger

Executive Director, Insurance Law LL.M. Program

Deputy Director, Insurance Law Center

Associate Clinical Professor of Law

University of Connecticut School of Law

65 Elizabeth Street, Hartford CT

Dear Editor,

Netflix’s new 100-minute documentary, “13th,” conceived and directed by Ava DuVernay, should be required viewing not only for high school civics classes across the nation, but also for everyone else who needs to be reminded that America remains a constitutional promise unfulfilled for our black citizens.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery, but did it in language that has come back to haunt African-Americans in ever more perverse manifestations: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The film spells out the implications of that brief but toxic phrase of exception: punishment for crime. The phrase has rationalized a tragic history that continues to unfold even today—if not more than ever today. As soon as Lincoln decreed the end of slavery in 1865, thousands of freed blacks immediately began to be arrested for petty crimes like vagrancy, and found themselves on chain gangs and in prisons, in a word, back into the state of rampant injustice from which they had so recently been released.

“13th” reviews with painful specificity the history of our nation’s failure to honor its commitments to our African-American citizens between 1865 and today, when we have 2.3 million people in our prisons, more than any other country, a grossly disproportionate number of these prisoners of course being black. Many such prisoners perform involuntary servitude, almost always without meaningful compensation, increasing the profits of many a corporation all too happy to exploit a convenient source of free or nearly free labor. Sounds like slavery all over again to me. See this film, and see our country in a new light.

Winslow Myers,

c/o PeaceVoice,

Portland, Oregon

Dear Editor,

After decades of mentoring, feeding, sheltering, and educating thousands of misplaced, rattled, abused throwaways of society’s cesspool, Paul Encimer will be forced out onto the street in 60 days. Doing the Lord’s work and paying the rent each month, apparently wasn’t enough for the God-fearing, pious slumlords of the broken down, sewage leaking, rat infested building at the edge of town, where the tireless advocate for the poorest of the poor toiled with his wife Kathy Epling to bring some modicum of respect and help to society’s most vulnerable. The bookstore was the highlight of Garberville, a place where unfortunate souls could pick up their mail, charge a cell phone or get a bucket of fresh water and a plate of food. Moreover, it was the intellectual and spiritual hub of Garberville. As the town plunges headlong into its march toward monetary mediocrity, all we can say, is we will really miss you Paul.

God bless you and thank you for all the work you’ve done.

Thomas Martell

Garberville

Policy on Political Letters

Effective Oct. 4-Nov. 3: We invite readers to limit commentary on candidates and measures on the November ballot to letters of up to 250 words. Letters must include the author’s full name, address and daytime telephone number for purposes of verification. Letters are published in the order received within 24 hours of verification. Group letters, letter-writing campaigns or letters that have previously run elsewhere will not be published. No more than one letter per author will be published within a 21-day period. Nov. 1 will be the last day before the Nov. 8 election that we will publish letters raising a new issue about a candidate or measure on that ballot. Election letters that are merely character attacks, political event announcements, or political thank-you notes will not be published during these dates.

Email letters to editor@redwoodtimes.com or mail them to: Letters to The Redwood Times, P.O. Box 3580, Eureka, CA 95502.

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