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'Ask the Right Questions'



Arcata needs to get its priorities straight (Mailbox, April 13). There seems to be a trend infiltrating this small community where, despite a proud local identity, it hands its fate up to entities that don't seem to care about the people living in it. The Gateway Plan, for example, follows the dubious induction of Cal Poly Humboldt — another short-sighted project feigning interest in public involvement just to streamline the process. Never mind that there seems to be no concern of building on a coastal zone that will succumb to sea level rise in our lifetime.

The planning meetings, enticed by an expensive consultant, circle around a false dilemma of two inadequate options: It has to be in the Creamery District and it has to be now!

Why the push on increasing car traffic in quiet neighborhoods along K and L streets or building in a potential flood zone when they can first promote better walkability in Valley West? It's a neglected industrial area that would benefit greatly from safe trails and improved transit lines, particularly for Cal Poly students resigned to live in that area's motels.

With all the talk of development in the last year, the city council seems to forget its agency in the matter, easily swayed by the allure of urbanization without considering the limitations of the town's infrastructure, like its sewage system, police force and public transportation. Momentary gains for the few and enduring difficulty for the rest. 

All it takes is for one member to challenge convention and ask the right questions. Is there really a "housing shortage," or is there a lack of creativity in regulating developers or property barons, who promise housing but inflate the market so much that it leaves students homeless? 

Rose Nhem, Arcata

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