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Ferndale continues to reveal itself as a hotspot for bigotry in Humboldt County and it must end. This week St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church displayed on its marquee, "Hurt by LGBT culture? Healing here" due to the occurrence of Pride Month in the United States.

After several instances over the years, this display of homophobia indicates that there is more than just a racism problem in Ferndale, but a larger issue of general bigotry towards minority groups. At the end of the day, people are more inclined to spend their money and live in an environment in which bigotry is not present than an environment in which it is. If this behavior continues, it is just going to hurt the small businesses that rely upon non-residents contributing to Ferndale's overall economy. It will eventually affect Ferndale Elementary and Ferndale High schools, for people will look to send their children to other schools that do not have bigotry present in the town in which they operate. People will eventually feel unsafe and move out of town due to the lack of response to instances of bigotry. The continued accumulation of bigoted instances in Ferndale is an economic issue, and it is long past due that leaders in the community realize this.

It is ultimately the Ferndale City Council's responsibility to address this bigotry head-on. Therefore, I am calling on Mayor Don Hidley, Vice Mayor Stephen Avis, Councilmember Robin Smith, Councilmember Leonard Lund and Councilmember Phillip Ostler to not only release a statement condemning bigotry in Ferndale but to come up with comprehensive policies to effectively address bigotry in Ferndale because whatever they are doing now is not working. If we want Ferndale to have a brighter future, then it must not be left up to community members to address these issues.

Basil Piazza, Ferndale


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