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OPINION

Letters to the Editor: Jan. 6. 2021

Mount Shasta Herald

Jury duty in the time of COVID

Siskiyou County Superior Court has resumed jury trials. I have received a summons for jury service on January 15, as if there is not a pandemic raging.

My husband and I are in the high-risk category for COVID, and have been in isolation since March, when Gov. Newsom issued the first shelter-in-place mandate. We have avoided all indoor venues, except for grocery shopping, which we conduct (masked) at the earliest hour provided by the store, to reduce the possibility of close contact with anyone.

Having sacrificed so much to protect ourselves and others, I am not now going to sit in a poorly-ventilated room filled with strangers who have their own interpretations of health and safety protocols. The public restroom is a super-spreader event with every flush. But if I refuse to appear, I will be breaking the law.

The pandemic is worsening: Just in the period December 18-31, Siskiyou County Health Department reported 157 positive test results out of 951 tests given, reflecting a 16.5% COVID positivity rate. Statistically, with 12 jurors and 3 alternates, 2.475 jurors will already be infected when seated, which means everybody will be infected by trial end.

I am willing and able to perform jury duty via remote access software such as Zoom. The court clerk acknowledged that the court is using remote access software, just not for juries.

I am not minimizing the challenge to the court. COVID has upended everybody's lives. But we don't yet know when the vaccines will be available in Siskiyou County, nor how they will be delivered to waiting arms. In the meantime, the only safe position I can take is not to spend hours with strangers.

The court must make accommodations for everyone’s safety.

– Kathleen Beaumont, Mount Shasta

A letter to LaMalfa

Dear Mr. LaMalfa,

I consider your recent actions to be seditious and perhaps, treasonous. You cannot acknowledge that Biden won the presidential election and that our elections were fair. You signed onto the baseless Texas lawsuit, which was thrown out of court and continue to question the legitimacy of the electoral college vote too.

Here is a translation of what you seem to be telling the voters in California’s 1st Congressional district and a majority of the nation’s electorate and voters:

“We don’t like the president and vice-president you chose, so we simply won’t accept the result of a free election. We’ll deploy lies and phony statistics to justify imposing our will on the rest of the country. The heck with democracy. But we’ll continue to enjoy the Social Security checks and the farm subsidies.”

Those who promote this nonsense should put up or shut up. If you think our nation’s democratic process is illegitimate, you can demonstrate your sincerity by resigning.

Your embrace of conspiracy and disinformation about the election increases the risk of right-wing violence. This is a national security concern, and you should be ashamed to be a part of it.

You are carelessly walking away from democracy and seeking to undermine the very institutions you took an oath to defend.

Please resign.

– Jean Nels, Mount Shasta

New Years fireworks

New Year’s evening at midnight some fools in Mt. Shasta decided it would be a good idea to set off loud fireworks and wake up me and possibly hundreds of others.  After about 25 minutes of trying to get to sleep between loud explosions, when they set off the coup de gras of blasts around 12:30 A.M I finally decided to call the police. 

The dispatcher asked if I knew who was doing it.  I did not.  She then said the police were out looking for them, but they were difficult to find because they would stop and then start again.  I completely understood that.  That would have been a good point for her to stop talking. She did not. Instead, she told me that if they were “safe and sane” fireworks they were legal.  They may be legal to set off during the day before say 9 or 10 PM, but it is not “sane” or legal at midnight to wake people up out of a deep sleep causing them to lose hours of sleep thereafter.  She then went onto say “after all it is New Years Eve”.  That was completely inappropriate. I don’t care what day it is and told her that.  Setting off fireworks at midnight for half an hour is what is known as disturbing the peace whether it is New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July.  Why else were the police out looking for these individuals if it was completely legal and a perfectly excusable thing to do because it was New Year’s Eve?

Dispatch making excuses for individuals who are breaking the law is not the proper or comforting way in which to address citizens making a complaint.  I hope Chief Cross or Lt. Restine will explain this to Dispatch!

Happy New Year! 

– Betty Kreeger, Mount Shasta