Letters for August 21, 2014

Responses to cover package

Re “Constant change” (Cover feature, by Tom Gascoyne, Aug. 14):

Sebastian Tamarelle, owner of the new oyster bar on Broadway, must have spent some time analyzing the fitness of his location before putting “every available hour” into it. Now he is complaining about the homeless—and wondering why the police don’t “scoot them along.” (Scoot them along to where, Mr. Tamarelle?)

Has Tamarelle compared Chico commercial rent rates with, oh, how about Carmel-by-the-Sea? Newsflash: Downtown Chico is not an exclusive commercial district for 1 percenters and rents reflect that reality. Additionally, indignation directed at people who are broken enough to be seen “digging through garbage cans” is pretty hard to swallow along with gourmet oysters and high-end beverages.

When Campus Bikes owner Budd Schwab says that 50 percent of the people on the street are there because of a “lifestyle choice,” he is repeating a popular lie. This is a popular lie, because it gives us cover; we can imagine that our economy, social services, foster programs and the American family are all working just fine. Therefore, anyone under 30—and that’s the 50 percent he’s talking about—is on the street because they arbitrarily decided to wander into a grueling, shelterless existence. Has Schwab ever spent 15 minutes listening to that 50 percent?

Patrick Newman

Life is a tapestry of choices. Everyone experiencing homelessness has made a choice to do so. The clear majority simply had no other choice. Those with options chose homelessness as the best choice they had. They all had one thing in common—they were poor when they made that choice.

The choice of words by the executive director of the DCBA was refreshing, particularly that the downtown is in much better health than most people think and that simply getting rid of homeless people isn’t the solution. These two choices are joined at the hip. The reason downtown Chico chooses to do well is the actuation of the view that community is everyone.

No one exuded this better than Mr. Schulman, who relishes his love for downtown as do those who choose to be steady visitors, myself included. Perceptions from afar are often fuzzy and off-kilter. Proximity is a great equalizer. Add downtown to your quilt of places. You’ll be pleased with your choice.

Bill Mash

Parking, parking, parking. I’ve lived here for seven years now, and on countless occasions I’ve been to the Saturday morning farmers’ market and to the Thursday Night Market. I’ve been to sold-out concerts at Laxson Auditorium, and not once, not once in seven years, have I been unable to easily find a parking space.

Now I will admit that I am happy to walk two or three blocks from where I park to where I’m going. Perhaps it’s time to embrace the idea of getting a little exercise when we go shopping rather than an expectation of parking right in front of our shopping target.

George Gold

Tiny houses don’t cut it

Re “Adequate shelter needed” (Letters, by Dan Everhart, Aug. 7):

The homeless population is very much in need. I hardly see a building that is no more than a small shed without running water, heat or a bathroom as “adequate.” We treat our animals better.

It can be given any fancy name in the dictionary, but as a country we’ve been here before: shed, shack and even shantytown. What are people supposed to do when temperatures reach 20 degrees as they did this last winter, trot on over to the outhouse? And what about heat? And how about showers, do they reach for the garden hose? It screams poverty and degradation not the least bit to raise up their lives.

Why, why should anyone donate to such a cause?! Homeless people need homes. We have groups putting people in real homes. Granted, they need more funds to house more people, but they have a handle on what to do and how to do it. Let’s support their efforts instead of reinventing the wheel. Winter shelter and day center, yes! Shacks and sheds, no way!

Crystal A. Mourad

Billboard-buyer speaks out

I’ve heard that some are offended by my billboard on The Esplanade south of Cohasset. It says the U.S. supports Israel killing children, and suggests boycott, divestment and sanctions.

The Aug. 13 Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon has been quietly transferring munitions to Israel despite the direction of the White House and State Department not to do so. Israelis used U.S. funding to pay for the weapons. For decades, the U.S. has been giving Israel $3 billion a year for weapons.

It seems the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned against is in control. But Obama is not giving up. The White House has halted a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel, and demanded that all requests from Israel for U.S. munitions be routed to the White House and State Department, not Pentagon backdoors.

All U.S. citizens are complicit in Israeli killing. For those of you who do not wish to be complicit, call the White House at 202-456-1111 to show your support for Obama in limiting Israeli access to U.S. weaponry.

To better understand the current situation, I recommend an article titled “Israel Provoked This War,” on Politico by Henry Siegman, a former national director of the American Jewish Congress.

LJ Cooke

Get wise about water

Riding through town each day I see some businesses watering their nice green lawns during the hottest part of the afternoon. And those who water at night often have broken sprinklers or irrigation lines that can spew hundreds of gallons per hour straight down the gutter.

This is unfortunate for us all. Ideally businesses would let their lawns die like so many residents have; or at least water only every few days. At the very minimum, we should stop watering during the hottest part of the day.

Please, have your business’ landscaping company do a thorough check of your irrigation lines. And if you notice the sprinklers running during the day, ask that they be adjusted. All it takes is a call to your landscaping company. If your business insists on keeping its lawn, it’s ideal to water in the early morning or during the night. If we all work together, we can get through this tough drought!

Jake Davis