‘Virtually No Arm of Government Is Addressing’ the Deterioration of Southern Humboldt, Says Letter to the Editor from Darryl Cherney
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The deterioration of Southern Humboldt County, California and the 3000 person Garberville/Redway area in particular, can be outlined as follows. Since I moved here 32 years ago, we have lost 100% of our bookstores, half of our auto mechanics, 90% of our local doctors, half of our veterinarians, most of our local nurses, half of our restaurants, 75% of our motels for tourists, 66% of our small engine repair shops, all of our evening/night access to the Redway post office boxes, our only movie theater, our Grange Hall, our entire Veterans Hall which also served as our local courthouse (next one is 62 miles north), half of our vegetable garden supply stores, half of our safety from being murdered or robbed along with about half of our sheriffs, half our thrift shops, the ability to leave one’s home and car unlocked, our ice cream parlor, much of the darkness of our night sky, the solvency of our community center which verges on bankruptcy, all of the security and peace of mind of our remote homesteads due code enforcement, and somewhere between 40 to 80% of our sales in whatever stores remain. I’m sure I’m left a whole lot out. While there is still much to recommend our area such as our beautiful mountain elementary schools, the majestic redwoods and the Pacific Ocean, I must point out that virtually no arm of government is addressing any of this except in that all arms of government are vigorously and deliberately making it worse (well maybe not the library). In other words, rather than having a government that works for the people, we have one that works against us. The tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars fees and fines leveled against people for drinking their own water, living in their own self-built homes, or driving their dirt roads amount to this: piracy, racketeering, and extortion. An elder or anyone for that matter can not pay fees and fines more than their homes are worth, let alone do the years work the county demands of them to be done in just a few short weeks. Governments engaging in piracy is an old tradition. Governments (and the bureaucrats who run them) preying on their own people is as old as history. But I say this: water and shelter are human rights. And I suspect this: whether it’s by ballot measure, voting them out, or good old fashion pitchforks and torches, the people of Humboldt County are on the verge of striking back.