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Wrong Priorities


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Week before last you ran a little story about the closing of rural post offices ("Rain or Shine," Sept. 8). One you mentioned, Kneeland, will be closed a little earlier than predicted (ostensibly to save $1.98). As of Oct. 3, we're now told, the building will be cleared out, and the people of Kneeland will now be able to pick up their packages in Arcata (for some residents an hour-and-a-half drive away, and longer if it snows). Your article failed to mention that the post office has been in that location since the former postmistress put in in her backyard something over 40 years ago, and that it had been one of the only public places this side of Kneeland School where people could meet and/or exchange information. When the new out-of-towner bought it and started to pressure the Postal Service to end their lease, the handwriting was on the wall. For the past several years, the employees have had to walk through the snow in the winter to use the portable toilet, rather than the now-fenced-off house. Though the residents were assured by postal officials that no decision to close it had been made, we all knew the decision had come down from on high: We don't want to waste money providing a ridiculous public service when we could be bailing out banks and invading other countries to take their oil.
Eighty six years ago, Calvin Coolidge said "The chief business of the American people is business." True, he went on to say, "We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things that we want very much more. We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization." But these days the former statement is the one that's remembered, and followed. Things like post offices, libraries, schools and the people who depend on them are expendable: They're not too big to fail.

Walt Frazer, Kneeland


Sweet Spot: For reviving a bit more of Calvin Coolidge's most (in?)famous quote, this week's Bon Boniere sundae goes to Walt Frazer of Kneeland.


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