There is only one solution to the problem described in "Los Hechados" (June 10).
Legal citizens will not do their work. I did not use to believe this, as I worked at Sun Valley 33 years ago. The difference was that there were no chain stores or fast food joints with "help wanted" signs. There was literally no other work that I could find. Nowadays, as soon as an undocumented worker gets documented, he will go for the warm, dry, burger-flippin' job.
The only way to get a documented worker to do back-breaking, miserable field work is to make it pay more. If that means our food is more expensive, so be it. It's a lot more important than an iPod, anyway.
Edith Smith, McKinleyville
As a resident of the town of Samoa I want to share my experience of having migrant workers live in this quaint but deteriorating gem overlooking the Pacific. With about 100 homes, Samoa is quiet, private and isolated from through traffic. The atmosphere is friendly, neighbors are helpful and look out for one another. It is a kids-playing-in-the-street kind of place.
We'd heard rumors that vacant homes in Samoa were for Sun Valley workers (around 10 homes, not six as reported). We'd seen Danco workers placing furniture in the homes. On Jan. 23, 2009, our new neighbors moved in. I felt compassion for these workers and attempted to welcome them by making contact and practicing my limited Spanish.
Excepting outdoor parties with cars playing loud music, there were no initial disturbances. As time went on, numerous problems emerged. Some can be attributed to cultural differences, others to downright bad behavior, but the thread that ran through was the sense that these folks were dumped into a community in which they had neither stake nor permanence. Despite this situation I was open-minded. The exasperation set in when I realized that large quantities of people would be cycled in and out of town rapidly. After a few months the transient population became like a sea of unrecognizable faces.
Your story represents the workers eviction as mysterious. However, numerous residents were meeting to address the situation until the news that workers were moving came in late April.
Here are some of the problems that were encountered by our family and related by neighbors (many of which were reported to Danco, Jesse Rapan, the Sheriff's Office, Bonnie Neely and the NCJ's Heidi Walters): Trash accumulated in workers' yards and porches and blew around town; burning plastic wafted from chimneys; cars sped dangerously through town; residents saw workers drinking while driving; loud music played from cars in the predawn hours; women in the town complained of men openly leering and harassing them; one male neighbor was threatened and intimidated; suspected drug and prostitution activity (this is hard to prove, but not so difficult to figure out).
A July Fourth reckless/drunken driving incident left multiple cars damaged, a home and part of town flooded, as well as traumatizing residents. According to firefighters, Danco's representative claimed no knowledge of the damaged worker's home being occupied.
Mostly male, often hooded figures were omnipresent in town, regularly sitting/sleeping in cars, standing alone or in groups smoking, drinking and, on occasion, publicly urinating. Although rental agreements state, "Only those persons listed on rental agreement shall reside ...", this did not apply to the new neighbors.
There was a double stabbing weeks (not months) before your story; obviously the last straw for the worker housing experiment.
Many in Samoa foresaw the collapse of this situation as well as the denials of complicity by Danco (Dan Johnson) and Sun Valley (Lane DeVries). One resident met DeVries as workers were moving in next door. DeVries enthusiastically explained the housing plans to the resident. Your story does justice to the fact that the workers were treated like chattel. We here in Samoa are left shaking our heads at the disregard that DeVries and Johnson showed toward our community and quality of life.
T Jonathon Proctor, Samoa. Co-signed by the following Samoa residents: Christine Fiorentino, James Wren, Sarah Biggs, Patricia Gair, Ron and Cammie Skillings
Your feature on the fiasco at Samoa was full of significant details. However, I believe some larger points were not addressed.
The reason Sun Valley can hire these aliens is because of the traitors in our society, who ignore the will of the general population as regards to this issue.
The reason employers find it feasible is that the many social costs of providing for aliens are merely shifted to the larger society. Additionally, these workers, fearing for their jobs, are willing to accept wages and working conditions that citizens would find unacceptable.
While Arcata is busy posturing about its homeless and affordable housing, all of the above are exacerbated by the importation of aliens willing to compete unfairly with locals for jobs, housing and social services -- just as the 1,000 grow rooms in town wipe out any and all environmental efforts being made in Arcata. In short, liberalism is more and more being revealed as a self-canceling proposition.
The Sun Valley jobs were traditionally filled by those in our society needing employment during times of change or shifting fortunes. The use of aliens to work them deprives our society of this important buffer for our citizens. I personally have a very successful friend who worked there 25 years ago, during transition, and is doing well now.
While our police roam the streets arresting people for minor crimes, none of the Sun Valley ownership will feel the sting of the cell door slamming due to our perverse priorities of meting out justice.
For those bleeding hearts bemoaning the loss of civil liberties in Arizona, please refer to a recent USA Today feature, which shows that Mexico itself practices racial profiling on aliens from Central America, and adds a large dose of violence in the form of beatings, rape and theft of money to the mix.
California, home to the largest population of aliens, is massively in debt. The homeless population in our country emerged roughly at the same time as our open border policy did. Lastly, failing to consider massive invasions of Third World poor as a facet of global overpopulation (as most environmental groups refuse to do) simply hastens the demise of our planet, as this massive influx is fueled by amnesty. To encourage this overpopulation is to erase our borders in favor of some imaginary one-world vision, as well as preferring environmental posturing (like Arcata's) to any basic action to address environmental degradation at its roots.
I'm very disappointed to read so little reader commentary. The article was particularly poignant given the bravery of the people of Arizona in standing up to this ongoing insanity, as well as all the discussion it has provoked. Given the tenous state of our economy, and its faltering recovery, providing jobs and expensive social services to citizens of another country should be a topic worthy of discussion.
Joshua Kinch, Eureka
Sweet Spot: T Proctor wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.