Letters for August 23, 2018

America’s deterioration

Re “Learning curve” (Cover story, by Ashiah Scharaga and Evan Tuchinsky, Aug. 16):

While attending four colleges in the 1970s, I never encountered a single homeless student. The fact that CHAT—an underfunded shelter program for the indigent—is now housing students, is sad, alarming, frustrating and instructive.

I graduated in 1980—the year Ronald Reagan was elected. I’ve witnessed 38 years of economic and social deterioration. We now live in country where the rich get much richer and the poor now number about 200 million, if we count the roughly two-thirds of Americans who cannot afford a $1,000 “emergency” expenditure. In other words, all those living in poverty and all those living one paycheck from being on the streets.

We are not a materially impoverished nation, but we are an increasingly impoverished nation with respect to our understanding of economic justice. Without major structural changes, we face a bleak future. We’ve already seen a five-year drift toward punishing the homeless through laws and policies designed to make life miserable on the streets of Chico.

And, speaking of misery, it appears reinstatement of the sit-lie ordinance—once again targeting our poorest people—may be on the agenda for the Chico City Council on Sept. 4. Please attend and voice your disapproval of further homeless criminalization.

Patrick Newman


The cover story flooded my brain with scores of interviews I have had over the years with students and faculty caught in the vice of poverty.

I thought of several educators who were excited to be starting the school year with new washers and dryers in their school. I thought of the young people who came to Youth for Justice back in 2015 and 2016 at the Chico Peace and Justice Center desperate for basic necessities and community connections.

I thought back to a conversation with a Butte County school principal who adamantly minimized the high percentage of students experiencing homelessness in the district. I thought back to a young man who slept in his truck most of his senior year of high school after being tossed out of his home when he turned 18. I thought a lot about how people unaffected by this crisis tend to go about their lives oblivious to the burgeoning population of children and young adults without a roof and how proud I am of the heroic effort students make under the most overwhelming of situations—poverty, the worst form of violence.

Bill Mash


‘Pretty stupid’

Re “Tricky Doug” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Aug. 16):

I am commenting regarding this: “In a letter dated Aug. 9 and carrying LaMalfa’s signature, Richvale’s own son erroneously states that citizens must be ‘over 21 years of age’ to vote …. Was LaMalfa trying to suppress votes? Or is it more likely one of his staffers simply made a blunder? It’s hard for me to imagine he personally writes back to his constituents—big donors excepted, of course—so I’d bet on the latter.”

If this was something deliberate on the part of LaMalfa to suppress the vote, it’s pretty stupid. It’s well-known that people can vote when they turn 18. We simply must get those 18- to 20-year-olds registered and voting and to vote for Audrey Denney this fall.

As far as this being a mistake by LaMalfa’s staff on what looks like a form letter that the constituent got, that is also a really stupid mistake.

I knew both Phillip and Sala Burton, who were Nancy Pelosi’s predecessors in Congress, before they died. I also knew the Burtons’ staff. Never ever would they make such a mistake in communicating with their constituents!

Walter Ballin


Howl-worthy commentary

Re “Environmentalism run amok” (Guest comment, by Bill Smith, Aug. 16):

Bill Smith spent 33 years with the U.S. Forest Service and blames environmentalists for big forest fires. Maybe that says a lot about the Forest Service’s own dilemma.

Western forests have been managed by forest fires for thousands of years. Trying to manage them instead by logging is futile, even if it wasn’t the big and older trees loggers want. A healthy forest is and was dominated by those mature trees that were tall and thick-barked and survived many fires. Those trees are gone, logged, and any tree that gets 100 years old has dollar signs all over it. How will we ever get mature trees and healthy forests if they’re cut down in youth?

We have fire suppression because we have built flammable homes and towns and infrastructure in the forest. So we’ve got drive-by timber and tinder forests and no plan to get back real forests where fire is healthy rather than destructive.

Alan Matthews


It takes a strong and confident editor to run a guest opinion piece that will have some CN&R readers howling. I commend you for printing the commentary by Bill Smith.

I used to be on the side of environmentalists who “protected” our forests at all costs, but I’ve done a lot of research the past six months, and I can’t argue with many of Smith’s points. He does go a little overboard, but he’s right on the mark in many cases. USFS scientists are pro-forest; that’s why they became involved in forestry. I can no longer dismiss their concerns and opinions.

Tim Milhorn


Speaking of forests

Re “POTUS’ perfect storm” (Letters, by Pat Johnston, Aug. 16):

Again, we have half-cocked liberals like Pat Johnston blaming President Trump for wildfires on the West Coast and flooding in the heartland. Over-regulation by Democrats has caused our forests to be undermanaged in the name of environmental protection. These fools have destroyed the very thing their ridiculous regulations were supposed to protect.

Also, putting Al Gore’s name in the same sentence with real scientists is laughable. President Trump has done more for the common man and common sense than any liberal has ever done. Our forest problem is a regulation problem that has led to forests full of brush, dead trees and policies that have allowed nothing to be cleaned up.

Put blame where blame belongs; not on President Trump but on the environmental extremists who have allowed no management of our forests.

Brad Pankratz


When California is on fire, who do the liberal thinkers blame? It’s “climate change.”

While there never will be agreement on the causes of climate change, we should all agree that poor forest management should be looked at for the cause of endangering our state’s forests.

Millions of dead trees should have been logged years ago. Logging companies were not allowed to log them, which would have made for less fuel. Just as importantly, the logging roads would have served as fire breaks and easier access for firefighters.

Common sense should tell you that endangered species’ habitat is better preserved when forests are not burning. The unintended consequences of extreme environmentalism are to blame for these huge fires.

California’s government has been under the Democratic thumb of environmentalists for 60 years. It’s time to change the way we Californians think about forest management and the Democratic majority in this state. It’s past time send the liberals packing in Sacramento.

Loretta Ann Torres


Pig of a president

Nixon was once on the cover of Esquire, his face made up by Madison Avenue, complete with lipstick, ready for sale, and I thought: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Well, you can sell Trump as a successful businessman, add phony credentials and accolades, then put him in the White House, but when he calls a woman a dog, he’s still a pig.

Trump has a history of publicly scorning women with despicable language: from Rosie [O’Donnell] to Carly [Fiorina], and the women who accused him of sexually predatory behavior. Gail Collins recalls Trump was offended by a column she wrote for New York Newsday and announced she was “a dog and a liar,” that her picture was “the face of a pig.”

He recently referred to a former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, as a “crazed, lying lowlife,” praising Chief of Staff John Kelly for “quickly firing that dog.” When Trump calls a woman a dog, is he calling her a bitch, because in the canine world a female dog is a bitch; or is he calling her an “animal” because she’s black?

Shame on those who believe this vile behavior dignifies the office of the president.

Roger Beadle


Dems aren’t red-baiters

Re “Her obsession” (Letters, by Lucy Cooke, Aug. 16):

I guess being called a Republican is about as big an insult imaginable, unless of course the appellation is a “Trump Republican.” Trump Republicans are the most spineless—lemmings who would follow comrade Trump to the gates of hell.

Lucy Cooke is “obsessed” with Democrats, whom she calls “shrill,” “hateful” and “warmongers.” Does she need to be reminded that Operation Desert Storm in Iraq was started 28 years ago this month by George Herbert Walker Bush, and its effects continue as the ink dries on this letter? And who could ever forget drunken Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy, who was accused on the Senate floor of having “no sense of decency”?

Cooke’s letter compares Democrats to the drunken McCarthy in an all-time low-blow. I’ve noticed her letters have gradually changed from Ralph Nader, Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders and Gary Johnson supporter to an outright Putin/comrade Trump sympathizer.

Cooke is entitled to her outrageous opinions, but not (like Trump and cabinet) entitled to her own facts. I just can’t get over actually being called a Republican—ouch.

Ray Estes



Last week’s Healthlines story (see “Cannabis on campus?”) did not include the most recent number of states that have enacted laws or regulations that allow students to use medical marijuana on school grounds. There are at least seven.The article has been corrected online. —ed.