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Another View: Real danger from jihadist refugees

As Middle Eastern refugees continue making headlines, it might be interesting to compare them to a group of former refugees who call Crescent City home.

Because the Hmong people of Laos sided with the U.S. during Vietnam, thousands were persecuted, dispossessed, imprisoned and executed after America’s withdrawal in 1975. Surviving refugees fled to countries around the world, including the U.S.

The Hmong have since become such an integral part of our community, most of us no longer think of them as refugees, immigrants or foreigners. That’s one of the reasons I love this nation of ours — anybody can become an American.


Coastal Voices: Community support growing for housing homeless Del Norters

“If you build it, they will come” is a transposed meme from the fantasy-drama film of 1989, “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner and others. Today it is a phrase that describes the perception of some Del Norte County stakeholders (supervisors, council members, and some of the general public) to argue against the development of emergency and transitional housing for the unhoused (homeless) citizens of Del Norte County.


Another View: Light of the World is too powerful to extinguish

Not everyone believes Dec. 25 is the day Jesus was born. 

Some Bible scholars say biblical texts prove he arrived in Autumn. Others say it was spring. It’s commonly believed that no one knows, and that the date was chosen to Christianize an ancient pagan festival involving the sun god and the winter solstice.


Coastal Voices: Communities need to step up to end human sex trafficking

The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution to make Jan. 11 a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.

In every country throughout the world—including the U.S. — women and girls are trafficked and enslaved for sex. They are someone’s mother, daughter, sister, friend — hidden behind locked doors and pulled shades, forced against their will to engage in sex acts with dozens of men a day.

Sex trafficking — the transport of women and children within and across national borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation — is a $32 billion dollar annual industry. Right here in the U.S., an estimated 14,500-17,500 victims of human trafficking are brought in each year, most of them women and girls trafficked for sex.


Another View: Consumption-based rate won't help poor

Yet another in a long line of Crescent City sewer and water-rate hikes is in the works, even though many residents are already struggling to pay the current rate.

In the last six years, my minimum combined water and sewer bill has gone from around $62 dollars a month to about $84, and may exceed $100 after the next hike. It would be even higher if I didn’t diligently conserve water.

How are those of us who aren’t well off going to keep paying ever increasing rates, with no end in sight? I’d like to know why our city council hasn’t devised a plan to provide some sort of relief for low income ratepayers. Pacific Power provides a discount for those who can prove they need it, as does Frontier Communications.


Coastal Voices: Rebuild lives by teaching reading skills

This community knows about rebuilding lives. After the 1964 tsunami, Crescent City had to rebuild the harbor and downtown area. After the 2011 tsunami, the harbor had to be rebuilt again.

“With literacy, reading rebuilds your life,” says Phoebe Lenhart, Coordinator of Del Norte Reads.  “If you put yourself in a stimulating environment, it re-energizes you.” Lenhart compares not knowing how to read to what it might feel like living in a foreign country and not knowing the language.


Another View: Elections keep offering un-electable candidates

The presidential election is 11 months away, and I’ve already tuned out.

None of the candidates rings my bell. I yearn for a George Washington or an Honest Abe. I think it’s time to radically transform the way we elect our commander in chief.

The present system keeps shoving self-serving political hacks at us, until we can’t help but cheer when untested outsiders take center stage. At first they seem so fresh and appealing, but after we’ve had a chance to examine their track records and qualifications, we realize they’re no more fit to govern than we are.


Yes We Can: Last Chance need an emergency designation

The issue of the unstable condition of Last Chance Grade has been in the minds or residents for many years. It is in the minds of many old timers that rely on this major north-south link for commerce, business, medical, recreation, schools and untold other reasons.

When I was on the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, my colleague David Finigan and I served on a 2-on-2 Committee with state and national parks and our goal was to be able to get a route planned that went through park land at some point on a projected eastern path. I spent five years on the transportation committee and a year and a half as its chair, working with Crescent City and Caltrans to get the ball rolling on a complex project. I felt we were making headway.

Three years ago after much discussion with now-Supervisor Roger Gitlin, Roger asked Kurt Stremberg and I to co-chair a Last Chance Grade bypass committee. This proved to be great partnership, what with Kurt’s loss of his parents at Last Chance in March 1972.


Coastal Voices: Sutter Coast still working to sustain, improve area's healthcare

A few days ago I heard a story on the radio about the people of Ft. Bragg who are very concerned about the possible closure of their only hospital. The facility is bankrupt and “is barely hanging on,” according to the report.

Sutter Coast Hospital—like so many small rural hospitals—also continues to have its share of financial ups and downs, but our leadership team remains vigilant in exploring and implementing prudent operational changes that have helped provide some near term financial stability. In addition, the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare), provided much-needed health insurance coverage for many in our region. As a result, some care that would have traditionally been provided for free by Sutter Coast is now being at least partially reimbursed by the state Medi-Cal program.

At the same time that our leadership team has been working hard to preserve high quality service offerings and improve Sutter Coast’s financial health, we’ve also had to invest a lot of time and money over the past several months into fighting a lawsuit having to do with details relating to the donation of the property where Sutter Coast Hospital stands today.


Coastal Voices: Hard look at Ward, grand jury needed

It has now been nearly six months since the publication of the 2014 Grand Jury findings and the subsequent uproar over those findings regarding the DNSWMA. After a laughable and tepid response by the Authority's director to the charges laid by the Grand Jury and continued questions concerning both the report and the direction of the Commission in the current year isn't it about time someone actually looked into both the 2014 Grand Jury's path to the findings in the report as well as looking into Mr. Ward's empire.

If anyone with an open mind had attended just a few of the meetings of the DNSWMA in 2014 and simply listened, It was plainly obvious that Mr. Ward and his cabal were actively working against the three commissioners on the 2014 board to pursue a certain agenda.  The R3 Consulting Group's report quite clearly put a stake in the heart of Mr. Ward's agenda, placing certain members of the  2014 Commission squarely in the path of the ire of Mr. Ward and his Group.  When they didn't get their way, low and behold along comes a Grand Jury report placing the entire blame on certain members of that commission.  Maybe once an investigation of that Grand Jury occurs the Public can have some confidence in Del Norte Grand Juries going forward.


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