A Call for Arcata to Pull Together

Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to mskymkemp@gmail.com. Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication. Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of Redheaded Blackbelt.

Letter to the Editor,

A lot of us have been asking ourselves what’s next? How do I step up in light of frightening local and national events? We, the parents of Arcata Elementary School, had a similar question in September when a 12-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on her way to school. HSU students were asking themselves the same question when one of their own had his jaw broken in an argument that started over racial slurs. And just last week after a man was stabbed outside of the Arcata Co-op, we find ourselves asking that question yet again. What next, what now?

We stand together. That’s what we do next. A growing group of Arcata community members are working to build a Community Safety Partnership — a coalition of community-based organizations, school boards, businesses, and individual volunteers — that can work in collaboration with our local government to promote a vibrant, safe, and healthy environment in which to live and work. Numerous public and private meetings have been held to identify priorities and several projects are about to be launched, such as a collaborative art installation that emphasizes beauty while enhancing safety along the pathway where our student was attacked.

However, we recognize the need to create long-lasting and comprehensive engagement with these issues. To that end, we have petitioned the Arcata City Council to form a Public Safety Committee composed of council members, police, business owners, concerned community members, and K-12 school and university representatives. Rather than an end-all solution, the formation of this committee constitutes the first step toward making public safety a city-wide priority. Such a committee can articulate with community organizations to solve broad-reaching problems and ensure that the average Arcata citizen has a place to take their safety concerns and walk away with tangible action.

While the recent incidences of violence in our community are alarming, we need not grab our pitchforks. We cannot, for a moment, alienate the most disenfranchised and vulnerable among us; but that doesn’t mean we tolerate the predators that hide among them. This is a call to take back our community. To clean our streets, show up for our loved ones, call out bad behavior and protect the town we love. We recognize that our city leaders and police cannot solve these problems alone. We want to pool together our collective energy and resources to encourage community engagement with our public spaces and each other; to build a strong community policing program that emphasizes prevention; to deter aggressive and intrusive public behavior; to support mental health and addiction services; to productively and humanely address the growing population of homeless; to support our local businesses by creating an environment conducive for them to operate viably; to get children to school safely; and to work with our university students and staff to heal the divide between minority students and the community at large.

The Arcata City Council has placed the Safety Committee on the agenda of their upcoming meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. We strongly encourage all that are concerned with community safety to attend this meeting, to sign our petition, and to get involved. A website is in development and scheduled to launch within the week,

. The website will serve as a hub for interested organizations and individuals to connect, inform, and collaborate. Questions and comments can be directed to info@arcatacsp.org. The petition can be signed online at change.org or on paper at the following locations: Arcata Chamber of Commerce, the Arcata Main Street office and PastaLuego in Jacoby’s Storehouse.

Melissa Lazon and Anjali Browning
Organizers of the Community Safety Partnership.



  • We really need something like this all over Humboldt 🙁

  • You really need to address the toxic heavy metals that have been added to the water before you talk about security and safety, this is part of a community that doesn’t understand why people are breaking down. You voted for the addition of a known carcinogen and doctors , dentists, teachers and superintendents all signed off on adding something to the water,.. not meant to treat water. Fluoride is a toxic substance, and we drink, bath. And grow our gardens with it. I can’t believe such an incredible community with the brains and heart and spirit have allowed this medication of our families. Please contact the city to show a clear reason why we add fluoride to 100% of the water, when statistics show less than 10% treated reaches the mouthes of our nearest and dearest. Please take time to educate yourself on why stain and Hitler both added fluoride to the water supply of the prison camps. Good luck, we need to start there and keep workin towards protecting our community. Peace

    • Look at all the silly people

      You’re worse than an anti-vaxxer and your willful ignorance is a danger to the community. Fluoride is not a heavy metal and the rest of that bullshit you typed out made about as much sense as a Trump supporter trying to explain why they voted for a deeply stupid con man.

      We expect deeply stupid people on the right wing, they live in a bubble of disinformation and circular nonsense where Breitbart is supposed to be news and Alex Jones is supposed to analysis, but you’re of that particularly nasty strain of viral stupidity that has been allowed an outsized voice due to the expansion of digital media. Stop with the bullshit already, you’re embarrassing yourself.

    • Give us a break. Fluoride is not a heavy metal, and it’s a naturally occurring element. After water has become highly processed through the filtration process, it is stripped of this element that binds with phosphorus. We look at communities that have no fluoride in the water and we see bone loss, bad teeth and poor memory. Furthermore, there is no intelligent argument that compares violence to fluoride use. Violence has really increased over the last 4 years, and it roughly parallels the rise of global Islamic extremism. Obviously, not all the violence we’re seeing is directly inspired by Islamic extremism. However, unstable people often overreact to social conditions out of fear, paranoia or sense of impending doom. I mean, we have people saying they want to destroy western civilization and have a reputation for beheading and burning people alive. That’s guaranteed to unravel a few minds that don’t have a good fix on reality.

      • I have drank fluoridated water maybe 2 of my 34 years and any dentist will tell you my teeth look so nice because of that fact.

    • I knew Hitler and Stalin are responsible for the deaths of millions. But also adding flouride to the water of their prison camps? Those inhuman monsters!

  • You had an article on trimmigrants and the crime they bring, somebody roped off a certain area of town preparing for harvest season, well here we are again . Seems to be a repeat every year, except every year more weed to trim , so every year crime gets worse.

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    Why demand the city council form a worthless group to deal with this when it’s obvious that their failure is the cause of these problems?

    The best way is toss out the entire grouping at election time and start fresh if you believe votes are even counted.

  • This stuff isn’t new it is just that poverty is increasing and indifference is with it. Suicide rates have skyrocketed among Americans over 50, including women. (Google NYT suicide rate) I was raped as a 11 year old. I fended off a knife wielding attacker in East Oakland 30 years ago. Children have languished in the foster system for decades and people would rather by more toys, more cars and give wealthy corporations freedom than pay to protect children. JUST A FACT. Same with most orphanages for centuries prior. CASA never has enough volunteers and should be a PAID social support not CHARITY. Mentally ill and injured are living in the streets forced to take pharmaceuticals or self-medicate. So many have been suffering for so long I hope that when there is no longer a safe little bubble of denial we finally get serious about caring for our fellow humans. Arcata does far better than Fortuna, Eureka or McKinleyville and still overall this area is cruel and likes to say it is soooooooo “Generous”. Eyes-a-Rolling.

  • It’s a good place to start.it may or may not work,but at least someone is trying.this is a way to get ideas.input!!!!why put people down for trying.your never wrong doing the right thing!!!!!!!!

  • im i the only one who smells a non-profit hyping crime? humboldt in general is an exceptionally safe and friendly place.

  • Humboldt is an exceptionally safe place? A non-profit hyping crime? Seriously? Do you understand that crime rates are rising here while they decline nationally? Do you realize that in less than two months time, a 12-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on her way to school, a minority student at HSU had his jaw broken in a racially motivated fight, and a beekeeper was stabbed outside co-op? This is to say nothing of less violent crimes such as the robbery of Jacoby Storehouse, vansplosions in the middle of town, mobile and apartment lab explosions, shall I go on? If you had come to the council meeting last night, you would have heard university students who are afraid to leave campus, university staff who are losing students because their parents are afraid for them to attend HSU, business owners who are harassed and left to clean human waste from their storefronts daily, residents who have had thieves tunnel into their homes through crawl spaces or drop in through skylights, residents who live next to drug houses that now see 10- and 12-year-olds visiting regularly. I could go on and I’m only speaking of Arcata now, but Eureka and other Humboldt communities are experiencing even worse. I’ve spoken to business owners in old town who are robbed at least every month. Do you really call that safe? As for non-profit hyping, nothing could be further from the truth. There is no non-profit, we haven’t raised a single dime. Quite the contrary. This was a movement started by two moms, Melissa Lazon and myself, in the aftermath of the attack on one of our students on the path that many of us use daily. When we began to hear how wide-spread and complex these issues really were, we realized it was time to wake the ef up. This aint the quaint and quirky Saturday farmer’s market seaside Humboldt town that we want to believe. Poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, and crime are on a rapid rise. Police Chief Tom Chapman gave his unwavering support to this project last night because he knows that their resources cannot meet the need and community members are their best asset. Either we get ahead of this trend or it will get ahead of us. Everywhere we go, people thank us for doing this and tell us their stories. Believe me, neither of us were board and looking for something to do with our time. I needed a new project like I needed a hole in my head. But, we saw that this was bigger than any one of us and that to preserve and improve the quality of life for all our community members, and hopefully even beyond our city limits, we have to come together. The council, the police, residents, business owners, students, it’s bigger than any one of us and it is time for all of us to step up. Engage!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *