Letters for April 19, 2018
On the cover story
Re “‘Environmental catastrophe’” (Cover story, by Julie Cart, April 12):
We have been warned for decades with numerous studies about climate change affecting our forests, especially as they pertain to drier, hotter conditions, bark beetle infestations and wildfires. Last year’s fire season was the most destructive fire season on record, but still is no surprise.
Obviously, forest mismanagement over the years adds more tinder. Investing in forest thinning is a big part of the solution, especially if only one of those “late season blazes” last year caused “$9 billion in reported property damage.”
And speaking of investment, “cross laminated timber” projects would “boost the economies of forest communities,” as the article points out, and is one of the win/win solutions proposed by Audrey Denney, Democratic candidate for our 1st Congressional District. If California’s raging wildfires are the “new normal,” we need a new road map for our future.
Re “City drops the ball” (Editorial) and “Staying or going?” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, April 12):
The words “transparent” and “closed session” are peppered throughout this paper’s April 12 edition. Why is it so important for our City Council to conduct the public’s business in private? Is it fear of being questioned? Concern over lengthy meetings? A defense against hearing new ideas that might cause them to question preordained decisions?
The Brown Act allows closed session for the following narrow discussion of real-estate: “a legislative body of a local agency may hold a closed session with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property ….”
This doesn’t mean that no public discussion can take place around real estate issues; for instance, the pros and cons of a certain property acquisition can be discussed in public as long as the price and terms are discussed in private. If a closed session meeting is scheduled to take place, a public discussion of the nonprotected aspects of the issue that is being discussed should be scheduled immediately beforehand in the open portion of the same meeting.
Being elected to City Council isn’t a mandate to craft decisions in the absence of public input; it’s a directive to seek participation of the community in problem-solving.
Re “Politicking, indeed” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, April 12):
Scott Huber, candidate for Chico City Council, is commendable for directly experiencing homeless for two days and nights on the streets and at the [Torres Community Shelter]. Empathy for the less fortunate and appreciation for the complexity of solutions to their plight was an inevitable result.
Volunteering time for Safe Space Winter Shelter, operated by Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT), also offers such an opportunity, especially relevant to those in public and private life who ponder and work toward solutions for a chronic problem variously adversely affecting most citizens.
Re “Out of context” (Letters, by Rob Berry, April 12):
My first impression of Rob Berry came by way of a posting on social media: Berry described rolling up on homeless people and soliciting personal information; the “conversation” being a prime example of sadistic voyeurism. Long into the narrative, Berry describes telling his new acquaintances he’ll be reporting them to the “property manager” of an abandoned commercial building, where they dared to linger.
This sort of thing is seen as heroic in the eyes of some and Berry has built a following in his Chico First “vigilance” club.
Conversely, Berry is appalled by real heroism, the kind exhibited by Melissa Holmberg. Holmberg attended Berry’s Chico First meeting and publicly confronted Mayor Sean Morgan with comments he made at said meeting. The most memorable being Morgan’s reference to Oroville as a “Third World country” and a good place to dump Chico’s homeless.
Also, Berry has blown a gasket over remarks by professor Robert Jones. Jones had the audacity to describe the efforts of Chico Friends on the Street as political in nature: a principle-driven expression of solidarity with the homeless. Berry reveals much in his richly ironic claim that such a stance is an affront to the “democratic process.”
Giveaways and warfare
Feeding the homeless at City Plaza is a feel-good action that may be alienating some whose support is important to providing more options for shelter, meals and services.
I remember how the Occupy movement degenerated into little more than the right to camp anywhere. Regarding those who are homeless, emphasizing “the right to public space,” if it makes progress toward “solutions” more difficult, seems counterproductive.
Hopefully the Jesus Center will find land fitting its plans.
Reality suggests that an area for camping be found and equipped with portable toilets and water, and have monitoring by volunteers. A fee and/or responsibilities for upkeep by residents should be expected.
Shelter comes first, but having individual, lockable and monitored, small storage units for the possessions of those homeless might be sensible.
Most citizens are oblivious of the nearly $22 trillion U.S. debt, with $6 trillion of that debt incurred by Democrat-approved military actions/wars that have only made the world more unstable and the U.S. less safe.
Those wanting more resources for domestic programs, such as more readily available drug treatment and mental health services and more affordable housing, might want to vote for those advocating a better U.S. foreign policy and less war.
Ex-Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudin allegedly was paid $30,000 in hush money by National Enquirer not to report an alleged illegitimate child Donald J. Trump had with his house maid. I’ll say it again—drum roll—“Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa, Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.” Why do Bernie supporters back an unethical jerk like Trump?
‘Everyone is a psycho’
Semi-automatic weapons have been with us longer than most of you have been alive. For example, I had a .22 semi-automatic tube-type rifle when I was 15—about 1960 in my case. It fired at least 15 shots. My friend had a shotgun with a prevention tube removed that could fire five shots, maybe more. Imagine that, and not one was used to kill people.
Granted, when the AR-15 was made, the [manufacturers] should have restricted the number of shots it fired. But the only difference between my .22 Ruger and an AR-15 is style.
The problem is today everyone is a psycho.
Vote ’em out
Why have the grounds of the CARD Center on Vallombrosa been fenced off from public access? According to the published minutes of the Chico Area Recreation District board of directors meeting on Dec. 17, 2015, board members Jan Sneed, Herman Ellis, Tom Lando, Bob Malowney and Michael Worley unanimously voted to pay over $250,000 of our tax money to BCM Construction Co., a local developer, in order to plant flowers and prevent us from approaching them.
The wrought-iron fence and keypad entry gate are an unwelcoming and insulting addition to the formerly open and versatile lawn area we used to enjoy picnicking and playing on. It was already a lovely place for weddings, with more room for seating before the planters went in.
CARD staff is quick to point out that their flower cage is open to the public Monday through Friday during business hours, but I for one would have preferred to not have been excluded from the area the rest of the week—at any price, let alone for over a quarter of a million dollars. There are countless ways that money could have been better spent. Please vote these board members out at your next opportunity.
Editor’s note: The total price tag for the Creekside Rose Garden at the CARD Community Center was $368,000. Chicoan Marilyn Warrens contributed $150,000 to the cost after years of advocating for a local rose garden.
Last week’s Second & Flume (see “Politicking, indeed,” by Melissa Daugherty) incorrectly reported that the City Council can sell land on a simple majority vote. In fact, doing so requires a vote of a minimum of five members of the panel. The error has been corrected online. —ed.