I read with amusement Ms. Marcy Burstiner's Nov. 8 column in the North Caast Journal entitled "Funny Business," wherein, among other things, Ms. Burstiner laments about the Arcata Police Department's assault on Mr. Freelove. A question for you Ms. Burstiner; Did you as a concerned citizen contact the Arcata Police Department to try to find out the facts regarding Mr. Shea Freelove's arrest or did you simply take his word as the true facts? If that's how gullible you are Ms. Burstiner, I own a bridge in San Francisco I'll sell to you real cheap.
Also Ms. Burstiner, you state, "the police should be our last option and not our first response." I am quite confident that had the Arcata Police Department not been in a position to respond to an actual critical incident on the plaza, your letter to the North Coast Journal would have criticized them for that!
Ms. Burstiner you state, "I like police and I like laws." As a retired Humboldt County sheriff's sergeant, I think maybe not so much!
Pete Ciarabellini, Eureka
The City of Arcata has long had a love/hate relationship with the Bill of Rights. In February 1860 "when a small group of white men massacred 70 unarmed Native Americans -- mostly women, children and the elderly -- on Gunther Island in Humboldt Bay," Bret Harte wrote an editorial which read "Little children and old women were mercilessly stabbed and their skulls crushed with axes. When the bodies were landed at Union, a more shocking and revolting spectacle never was exhibited to the eyes of a Christian and civilized people." This editorial caused Bret to be chased out of town, reportedly ahead of a lynch mob. On to the 1990s when the Arcata city government attempted to have Food Not Bomb activists jailed for five days for each time they served a dinner to the poor people of our community, when the activists were simply exercising their Freedom of Assembly. I was facing a more than 500-day jail sentence if convicted before Food Not Bombs prevailed. This year the Arcata has tried to silence the voices of poor people with signs asking for pizza, but not the vendors selling pizza. Freedom of speech or freedom of commerce?
Now the people of Arcata have lost their freedom of assembly on the Arcata Plaza on Halloween, when the area was patrolled by 36 officers and 15 cadets. When I asked a friend of mine who lives in Arcata about losing the Plaza, he replied, "Don't matter to me. I won't be there on Halloween, just the students will." I won't be there either. Halloween with 51 hopped-up cops sounds too scary.
Rodney Brunlinger, Eureka