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Measure M 

Editor:

We would like to thank the following groups, organizations and businesses for supporting/endorsing no on Measure M: Humboldt PSL, Humboldt Buddhist Peace Fellowship, World Indigenous Women's Alliance, Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, The HOPE Coalition, Pan Arts, The Art of Removing Art, Save the Mattole's Ancient Forest, The Bret Harte Breakers, musician Sarah Torres and The Cissies.

We encourage Arcata voters to visit the city of Arcata website for documents about the removal of the statue at the center of our plaza. Information can also be found on our web site at www.nomckinley.com.

Pamela Ann Brown, Arcata

Editor:

We would like to thank the following groups, organizations and businesses for supporting/endorsing NO on Measure M: Wiyot Tribal Council, Yurok Tribal Council, North Coast Co-op, Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee, North Country Fair, Tsurai Ancestral Society, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, True North Organizing Network, HSU Department of Social Work, HSU Department of Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies, HSU Department of Native American Studies, Northtown Coffee, Bueno Buttons, Raspberry Kitten, Renata's Creperie, Northtown Books owner Dante DiGenova, Onyx Arcata, Yurok Designs and Photography, Arise Bakery, We Are Your Community, Club Ballet Folklorico de Humboldt, Word Humboldt, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters and True North Board of Directors.

We encourage Arcata voters to visit the city of Arcata's website for documents about the removal of the statue at the center of our plaza. Information can also be found on our web site at www.nomckinley.com.

Alice Woodworth, Eureka

Editor:

I like Bill McKinley, the guy who's been hanging out in the Arcata Plaza since 1906. He should be removed, they tell us, because in the 1860s indigenous people were sold in the plaza. But that was not Bill. He was thousands of miles away fighting to free slaves in the South.

They say Bill does not belong because he had nothing to do with Humboldt. But like Alexander von Humboldt, Bill has become one of us. At the Oyster Festival, I spotted him cleverly disguised as Poseidon, god of the sea, complete with a flowing beard and trident. At the Fairies Festival he carried a magic wand. As McKinley did in real life, his statue is always willing to help out. Our Bill has become as natural to the Plaza as the two beautiful — and not-at-all native — palm trees that tower majestically behind him. Vote yes on Measure M.

Doug Ingold, Arcata

Editor:

The British recently erected a statue: a towering sculpture of a bull with the wings of an eagle and a human face. It is a Lamassu, an ancient Babylonian image created and positioned at city gates, to guard all humanity.

The original stood in Iraq for almost 20 centuries. It was annihilated during the ongoing war initiated by the U.S. The replica at Trafalgar is made of thousands of crushed date syrup cans, once Iraq's second most important export. Wartime destroyed 30 million date palms, as well.

Evidently the British do not regard statues as trivial. But we have been living with McKinley for over a century, like mice scampering around over Ozymandias.

McKinley was, however, as Robert Merry and Dick Cheney have described him, the "architect of the new American century." His government set the malignant pattern for U.S. imperialism.

Put him away. No on M.

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia

Editor:

As somebody who has written extensively about history and memory, I urge residents of Arcata to vote no on Measure M. A public memorial can acknowledge an atrocity or injustice committed against a large number of people in the past; celebrate social movements that have fought against injustice; and symbolize a community's aspirations to create a society based on equality and dignity. 

The McKinley statue meets none of these criteria. As president, McKinley was associated with a war in the Philippines that practiced unspeakable repression (including "water boarding") against thousands of Filipinos. Under his leadership, racism against African Americans increased. He did not support Native American movements for social justice.

Moreover, the decision to erect the McKinley statue was made undemocratically by local elites. Post-McKinley, we should have an engaged public debate about how the Arcata Plaza can represent our aspirations for equality, justice and dignity.

Tony Platt, Big Lagoon

Editor:

If Arcata had statues of historical figures scattered about town, and McKinley were one of them, there wouldn't be a problem. But, in Arcata, we have one plaza and one statue. That statue is William McKinley and he stands as the symbolic center of our city, which is a big problem.

Those pushing "yes" on Measure M, keeping McKinley on the plaza, portray him as a brave Union soldier and an advocate for the rights of enslaved people. They ignore McKinley's leadership in the imperialist and brutal military conquests of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Philippines and his lack of leadership in ending the oppression of black and Native people in America.

Standing at the center of town, McKinley represents all citizens of Arcata. And no matter how you dress him up, he does not represent the values of most Arcatans.

Remove McKinley! Please vote no on Measure M.

Dave Meserve, Arcata

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