I thank Ryan Burns for attempting even-handed coverage of the rally to protest Caltrans proposed work at Richardson Grove ("Realignment," Feb. 10), but found myself wishing he had said more about the reasons many people have for opposing this project.
The impact on Richardson Grove will be huge. Bigger trucks equal more road damage. Cutting the roots of old growth trees and covering them with cement will ultimately kill them. The economic study is bogus and ignores the minus side of the ledger.
The campgrounds are right next to the [highway] and people need to cross the [highway] to access trails. The records for the past decade show one death on that stretch of road and an average of six accidents a year, most because of sloppy driving at speeds too great.
The answer: Put in cameras to take a picture of any vehicle going over 20 mph on that one-mile stretch and rake in big revenues from speeders. Take the money saved to fix our roads.
I have no doubt that the trucking industry as well as other big business interests have a finger in this. That's what it's all about: greed, big money, build, build, build!
Sylvia De Rooy, Westhaven
What has been lost in the latest round of media coverage of the Richardson Grove situation, as has been the case all along, is that this project cannot be justified on any grounds whether practical, economic or moral.
The project is unnecessary because trucks currently pass through the Grove day and night. No accidents caused by "off-tracking" have occurred or have been documented. Safety is NOT a factor - - the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians is being totally ignored.
Richardson Grove is a State Park belonging to all the people of California and is dedicated to the protection of the old growth redwood trees therein - their protection should be the paramount interest.
Economic benefits to local businesses and consumers are unproven and dubious at best. The cost of the project at $10 million is morally repugnant in this time of cutbacks to education and social services.
The cumulative impacts of traffic congestion and urban sprawl are ignored. Ultimately our focus should be on sustainability. Continued dependency on diesel trucking is clearly unsustainable, making the project entirely unjustified.
Barbara Kennedy, Weott
Driving to the Caltrans/Richardson Grove demonstration in Eureka on Monday, my friends and I shared sentiments about the demonstrations in Egypt. It was hard to resist comparisons between Mubarak's intransigence and that of CalTrans and the political and business interests pushing the road widening project.
Thomas Jefferson emphasized that democracy depends on the consent of the governed. Protesting in the lobby of the Eureka Catrans office at one point when I was handed a bullhorn, I echoed Jefferson's point and asked: "Do Caltrans and the politicos have our consent for this project?"
Unsurprisingly, my question was met with a resounding "NO!"
With only 3 percent of old growth Redwoods remaining, when is enough enough? Do we wait until there is 1 percent left to insist on a moratorium?
Now is the time to draw the line.
Jefferson Parson, Garberville
I was at the rally Monday, Feb. 7 at Caltrans to save Richardson Grove from road widening. Everything about this gathering was positive, except when a large police officer kneeled down on the chest of a man who had both arms locked to people on either side while another officer squeezed two pairs of nunchucks around his ankle and calf (less than two feet in front of my face.) His writhing and screaming did cause all of the onlookers to powerfully chant "shame" repeatedly, and many in the nonviolent crowd did then resist being forced out of the lobby where flagrant torture was occurring.?At the rally were locals from all walks of life. There were beautiful signs saying things like Slow Down and Yield to Nature. There were lively speakers, singers, prayers, guitar, mandolin, trumpet, drums, and many chants. Democracy and peaceful civil resistance was celebrated.?To me this issue is about massive development of the Humboldt Bay region, and a huge increase in our industrial police state, which will cause quality of life to decline. The time has come to weigh these things we call progress and Nature, and to stand together for the future, with deep respect.
Mark W. Randall, Phillipsville