I belong to the Rio Dell senior exercise group, and we have had the use of the Rio Dell First Baptist Church building for the past five years.

The church recently asked us to leave their premises, citing pressure from the Humboldt County assessor’s office. When I contacted the assessor’s office, I was told that state regulations did not permit the Rio Dell senior exercise group to use the facilities at the Rio Dell First Baptist Church. Now our group is left with no place to get together for exercises, and our health is deteriorating because of it.

The state of California is systematically excluding seniors from access to vital resources, and is systematically limiting the church’s community outreach. These arbitrary rules by the state are very harmful to the community, and must be challenged.

Our group has exhausted every avenue of appeal. We have contacted 2nd District Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell, Assemblyman Jim Wood, state Sen. Mike McGuire, and the Humboldt County Assessor’s Office; all to no avail. Today we filed a complaint with the ACLU to try to change the state law and loosen the states egregious restrictions on the church. The church should have a right to allow bunch of old people to exercise in its basement.

And a bunch of old people should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Rick Pelren, Fortuna

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