Letters for April 20, 2017
For the congressman
An open letter to Doug LaMalfa: Your grandfather taught me how to water ski at Lake Almanor in the early seventies. Learning how to deep-water start on a single ski presented me with a difficult challenge. Tony, a person who did not get in the water himself, yet had a great power of observation alongside a passion to guide, did not give up on me. He analyzed and presented different methods until, finally, voilà!, he hit upon the approach that allowed me to rise out of the depths and be able to freely traverse across the waters.
I present this story as a metaphor in that I request that you follow your grandfather’s example and adhere to your campaign slogan—“He’s one of us”—to find ways for all of “us” who are your non-Republican constituents to rise out of the deep waters and be able to traverse across the surface as you do so freely.
Editor’s note: Read CN&R’s report on Mr. LaMalfa’s town hall in Oroville on page 8.
Bernie = Nader
Re “Speaking of Dems” (Letters, by Lucy Cooke, April 13):
First and most important, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat; he’s an independent. Sanders proved to be the modern-day Ralph Nader in the 2016 election. In 2000, Nader shaved enough votes off from Al Gore to give George W. Bush a 547-vote win in Florida. The rest is chaotic history.
Your totally confused letter writer is right about the “lack of vision” of the Democratic party in the 2016 primary elections, allowing Sanders to run as a Democrat. Had Sanders run as an independent, perhaps recent history would not have repeated itself, sparing our once great country the Trump nightmare. Gary Johnson, Wikileaks, poorly educated white dudes and Russian meddling also contributed to Trump’s rise in power. Meanwhile, good ol’ Bernie bought himself a beachfront home in Vermont.
‘A path beyond’
During my peace-time Army stint, I was a field artillery forward observer. When calling in a full volley from 8-inch howitzers, you could sometimes feel the ground rumble 15 miles away. There was a sense of immense influence in guiding the damage those guns inflicted, like Zeus himself casting fury upon a trembling planet.
My stomach sinks to consider the power our president now drinks so deeply in his regal winter palace, sentencing distant humans to death while sharing exquisite chocolate cake meant for royal palates. Such heady nectar would make a tempting habit, even to more disciplined souls, but with a man of such marginal restraint as President Trump, further intoxication can only escalate the oafish and volatile destruction he spews on anything that doesn’t muster juicy profit or rim his brimming ego.
The twisted offspring of greed, fear, hatred and power are hideous to behold, but might yet still be forestalled by advancing a value most already cherish, equality or equity. If we get very serious about reducing inequality right away and begin on the edge, where need is most urgent, then maybe there’s still time to chart a path beyond this descending spiral of greed.
Fire service in jeopardy
On April 25, the Butte County Board of Supervisors will consider [ending winter staffing at] many rural fire stations. This should be unacceptable to everyone who lives in Butte County. For those of us who live in the foothills, a local fire station is crucial. Without one, homeowners insurance would skyrocket, if available at all. Response time to fires and emergency calls is invaluable.
For those who live in Chico or Oroville, imagine a relative in a car accident where the first responders are 40 minutes away. If you don’t get involved, our rural fire stations will disappear. Call or email your supervisor. Come to the meeting on April 25. We need to let them know that we expect our tax dollars to go to fire protection and public safety.
Lest we have another Clinton/Sanders in-fight, Dems might want to open their minds to all candidates running for governor in 2018. Delaine Eastin will be in Chico on April 29, 1-2:30 p.m., at the Chico branch of Butte County Library to introduce herself and take questions.
In a recent SF Chronicle article, Eastin wasn’t even mentioned, despite serving four terms in the Assembly and being an outstanding (only female to date) state superintendent of public instruction under both Democrat and Republican governors.
Eastin defines herself as a “champion of education,” “defender of the environment” and “warrior for civil rights.” Top-down party politics doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for her. She’s running a progressive “for the people, by the people” campaign and walks the talk of Main Street (vs. Wall Street).
I believe her appeal will reach moderate Republicans in the North State who are tired of being ignored by Sacramento. Eastin is a hardworking, “get it done” person whose motto is “Together, we can do better.” I would be proud to have her be California’s first woman governor. I hope community leaders of all political stripes will come with open minds and wallets.
Fewer guns, not more
It has been one month since Desmond Phillips was killed by Chico police. Desmond suffered from PTSD after being beaten by Sacramento police officers for being unresponsive. Chico police knew Desmond had PTSD and mental health struggles. Both officers were rookies. Desmond needed mental health resources.
Police broke down his door, tased Desmond, then shot at him 16 times. The narrative presented by District Attorney Mike Ramsey has changed multiple times between public reports he has made. And now he has ruled Desmond’s death “justified.” A Butte County sheriff’s captain has accused Ramsey and Chico PD Chief Mike O’Brien of “propaganda” regarding this incident, including misrepresenting the training the officers had completed.
Now the City Council is talking about arming our park rangers with guns. In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on patrol. Police officers there have saved lives—exactly because they were unable to shoot. Our city is going in the wrong direction. We need fewer guns and more de-escalation and nondeadly force training.
Rangers, not cops
I am against the plan to have Bidwell Park rangers carry guns and become sworn enforcement officers. The city had hoped to quietly implement this major change without a chance for the public to comment on it. Fortunately, Park Commissioner Elaina McReynolds found out about this and brought it to light at a City Council meeting.
The problem goes beyond arming rangers. Patrolling the park seems to be a low priority for the Chico Police Department. I can see a time when these new “cops” will be pulled away from the park to help police in other parts of town.
Park rangers protect the park’s natural values, serve as a constant official presence, answer visitors’ questions, and explain regulations. Police enforce the law and, when necessary, arrest lawbreakers. The rangers’ duties must remain as they are. The police department needs to have at least one officer patrolling the park at all times.
Everybody professes to love Bidwell Park, yet it has fallen into neglect and its natural values are threatened. This is mainly due to city policies that have stripped the park of necessary staffing. Concerned citizens need to attend City Council and Park Commission meetings to raise their voices about the proposal to turn rangers into cops, and about policies that are damaging Bidwell Park.
LaMalfa and vets
Currently, the Military Officers’ Association of America (MOAA) is tracking five key bills affecting our military and its personnel.
MOAA is an independent, nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization, with focus on legislation affecting the military. Over the years, the MOAA website at www.moaa.org has proven to be a reliable source of information for tracking how well individual politicians support military-related legislation.
Of the five bills winding their way through the legislative process, Rep. Doug LaMalfa is co-sponsoring only one, H.R. 299, Support Blue Water Navy Veterans.
For whatever reason, LaMalfa has chosen not to co-sponsor the remaining four bills.
They include: H.R. 1384—Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act; H.R. 333—Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act; H.R. 303—Retired Pay Restoration Act; and H.R. 92—CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act of 2017.
All these bills have been around for several years, but can’t seem to garner the support necessary to become law. For whatever reason, Congressman LaMalfa has decided these bills are not worthy of his support and co-sponsorship. Previous attempts to ascertain his rationale have gone unanswered.
Dare I say, perhaps you’ll have better luck than me.