Letters for April 13, 2017

Demanding justice

Re “Re-evaluating policies” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, April 6):

Within 55 seconds of police breaking down the door, Desmond Phillips had 16 bullets shot at his face, neck and chest with many going through the wall and into the next apartment. The dangerous weapon they found in Desmond’s hand: part of a door jam.

Who were the officers protecting when Desmond’s father told them that he and his grandchildren were safely locked in another room? On a previous incident, a female office was able to calm Desmond down. Why wasn’t she called in on this occasion?

It is likely District Attorney Mike Ramsey will find this shooting justified because he has on almost every other occasion in the past. The consequences: The officers involved will not be held accountable for their gross misjudgment and excessive use of force.

When did it become OK for men with less than six months training to become the judges, juries and executioners of citizens in our communities?

We must demand the formation of a citizen’s oversight committee to investigate these types of incidents and demand better training for “our” police officers. All law enforcement should be held accountable for reckless and dangerous behavior because it puts all our lives in danger. Demand justice for Desmond Phillips!

Sherri Quammen


Obama vs. Trump

President Obama could speak intelligently and eloquently about any policy he was asked to—foreign or domestic. In his first 100 days, he addressed fair pay for women, moved on the economic meltdown, started the fix for our broken health care system, created stricter guidelines regarding lobbyists, banned torture and waterboarding, and established higher fuel-efficiency standards.

I am embarrassed every time I see our new president at the podium alongside a world leader. He shows his lack of preparedness and grasp of any real subject every time. Trump and his party have proven the only thing they can do is say no. After seven years and 60 tries at repealing the ACA, Republicans can’t even put forward a proposal they agree on.

The Senate just used the “nuclear option” to complete the theft of Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat. Now that Trump has spent $50 million on a fireworks show in Syria, we need to worry that he will feel left out and want to use his “nuclear option” too. Son-in-law Jared Kushner hasn’t told him the difference between the two “nuclear options.” Placing nukes in South Korea—what could go wrong?

Richard Meyers


On order and discipline

Lately, we’ve heard disturbing news about a nude photo scandal involving U.S. Marines. The Navy’s also dealing with its own sex and bribery scandal. Are these isolated instances or is there an undercurrent of misbehavior more pervasive than we care to imagine?

Relying on a 26-year military career, I’d say there’s been a significant decline in military order and discipline. As a squadron commander, I performed inspections of enlisted on-base quarters. I was shocked by what I saw. Spit dripping down walls, empty beer cans and pizza boxes strewn across the grounds, music blasting across the courtyard and vehicles parked on grass and shrubbery.

So, what’s causing this decline in behavior? Perhaps it’s the “don’t rock the boat” attitude among military leadership, who prefer not to draw negative attention and possibly compromise a coveted promotion. Or, there’s the reluctance to offend the all-volunteer force for fear they may not re-enlist.

Senior leadership must send a strong message to officers and the enlisted that failure to maintain good order and discipline will not be tolerated. Dare I say, all the fancy, high-priced weapon systems in the world will never replace a well-disciplined fighting force—the key to victory on the battlefield.

Pete Stiglich


Ranger debate

The conversion of Chico Park Division’s current three park rangers to pistol-packing “Park Cops” is proposed for summer 2018. This will cost taxpayers more in salaries, benefits and early “safety retirement.”

Less ranger time will be spent in Chico’s parks and open spaces interacting with park visitors, explaining park rules and protecting the park’s natural and cultural resources. Instead, more ranger time will be required in police training, including: defensive physical tactics, shooting, interpersonal relations and law. This will also result in more of a law-enforcement attitude by rangers. Is the perceived need of greater safety for rangers and park visitors worth the increased costs and reduced ranger time in Chico’s parks?

Woody Elliott


‘Deceptive behavior’

Don’t be fooled by the deceptive practices of the Women’s Resource Clinic. Every year, this anti-choice organization holds a Walk for Life fundraiser. Participants gather sponsors in the weeks preceding the walk and provide limited information about what the walk benefits.

Women’s Resource Clinic (WRC) is named similarly to local abortion provider Women’s Health Specialists in an intentional attempt to misinform potential clients. WRC always stages its annual Walk for Life event (April 29) within a week of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser (May 6). Individuals may donate to WRC believing they are supporting the relay.

This deceptive behavior is reflective of WRC’s bait-and-switch mentality of the “clinic.” The organization advertises “free pregnancy tests” to lure young women in need, but doesn’t inform them of the anti-choice mission of the group. Before you donate to any organization, ask how the money will be used and what organization will benefit.

Sandra Scholten


My point was …

Re “Speaking of Dems” (Letters, by Lucy Cooke, April 6):

My latest letter to the editor was prompted by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asking Gov. Jerry Brown about Democratic leadership, and Brown whining that “there’s a total vacuum.”

A recent poll showed that Sanders remains by far the most popular political leader in the U.S. with a favorable rating of 61 percent. CN&R had edited the sentence to read: “A recent poll shows Sanders leading other politicians with a 61 percent margin.” That is nonsensical and unlikely!

My point was and is that establishment Democrats still refuse to recognize Sanders’ ability to inspire and lead!

Had those same establishment Democrats not been so full of cowardice and lack of vision, and not backed the rigging of the primary for Hillary Clinton, Sanders would have won the primary and the election.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

Editor’s note: CN&R apologizes for the editing error. The aforementioned letter has been corrected online.

Never-ending saga

Re “The making of Monca” (Cover story, by Robert Speer, March 23):

As the author of the above article that revealed the rift between Reed Applegate and the Monca board, I need to respond to letter writers who believe the board treated Applegate poorly.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The board has consistently thanked and honored Applegate for his generous donation to the museum, even after he reduced it from 400 paintings to 130. He was neither ousted from the board nor disrespected by its members. That he once envisioned a museum to house his collection doesn’t mean he could have created one. That took the dedicated, unpaid work of the board members and some 150 volunteers, as well as the generosity of several major financial donors.

Donating art to a museum does not give one the right to decide how that art will be exhibited. The museum will have significant operating costs; it is the board’s responsibility to generate revenue to pay those costs, not Reed Applegate’s. It has decided that having a variety of exhibits during Monca’s first year, including many works from Applegate’s collection, is the best way to go. I’m sorry that Applegate doesn’t agree with them. He’s a good man, and his donation is something Chico will enjoy for generations to come.

Robert Speer


In light of recent letters to this paper, the Museum of Northern California Art (Monca) wishes to clarify its relationship with Reed Applegate.

In 2009, a group of dedicated individuals began legal work to create Monca; in August 2011, nonprofit status was granted to Monca. A board of directors was formed, which did not include Applegate.

Then, in autumn of 2011, Applegate verbally informed Monca and the media of his wish to donate his entire art collection to Monca; in January 2012, Applegate joins the Monca board of directors; and in the spring of 2013, Applegate makes unrestricted, documented donation of 130 pieces of art to Monca.

In the spring of 2016, Applegate gives written notification that future donations will have conditions attached: exclusive exhibition of his works in the two largest galleries for entire opening year and dedication of large ballroom space to his art once that space is acquired.

After consideration of establishing precedent for acceptance of such terms, Monca’s board of directors voted to reject Applegate’s demands. Applegate was never dismissed from the board, nor has he submitted his resignation.

We shall continue to recognize, exhibit and honor Reed Applegate’s original gift of art as we strive to fully meet our mission.

Pat Macias


Editor’s note: Ms. Macias is president of Monca’s board of directors.

Peer pressure, smoking

KLEAN stands for Kids Leading Everyone Against Nicotine. Nicotine and other drugs can take over people’s lives. Nicotine is used in insecticides, yet people still choose to chew and smoke it. Even if one does choose to quit, tobacco use can catch up to you and you will face the repercussions.

Today, our generation glorifies drug use on social media. What is seen through one’s Snapchat story or Instagram post, someone’s younger sibling sees, getting the idea that drugs are cool. Teens nowadays are influenced more and more by their peers, and pressured into doing things they don’t want to do. Young teens are posting pictures of them illegally smoking nicotine.

From a personal experience, students from KLEAN were told by a peer that a couple of young people at a junior high school were caught smoking on campus. Although they faced consequences, the female student continued to smoke and the boy felt peer pressured into continuing, despite his opposing feelings toward smoking. Not only does nicotine affect you, but it also affects the people around you. It’s time to think twice about the use of nicotine and how it’s affecting our society.

Sherise Porchia