Letters for August 29, 2019
‘Orgy of consumerism’
Re “Demand a better climate change plan” (Guest comment, by Mark Stemen, Aug. 22):
There probably was a time when we had “10 years to save the planet.” But by 1980, the modern environmental movement was dead in the cradle. We coasted through the next four decades reciting the mantra, “I recycle.” At no point in that 40 years did we have an adult conversation about real sacrifice—and that conversation remains off limits.
Environmental initiatives from academia are largely academic, as is obvious in the carbon footprint of any college campus: Faculty and staff international jet-setting, alone, incinerates enough oil to make Red Adair roll over in his grave. “Helicoptering” parents burn more oil than the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Cafeteria choices remain decidedly zoocentric. If anything serious were happening at Chico State, or any university, we’d see significant lifestyle change.
And, it’s true that we can’t rely on government to get it done. Why? We hire them (it’s called “democracy”) and as much as we’d like to think this is not in our control, we don’t want government orchestrating an 80 percent cut in consumption; that is, the deep structural change needed to bring us into a sane relationship with the Earth.
So far, we’ve opted for an orgy of consumerism—with windmills, where possible. All else remains unthinkable.
Deeply concerning plan
Re “Lights out” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, Aug. 8):
Watching 20 speakers consecutively trash Police Chief Mike O’Brien’s wildly unprecedented proposal was fun for those of us typically critical of the local police.
Still, this is deeply concerning. Not only is O’Brien prepared to suck all public funds into a standing army, but he also seems eager to move toward normalizing martial law.
A couple of City Council members expressed interest in alternative ways to ensure public safety, so I thought this worth sharing: Recently, I was doing research and visited the Mexican city of Cherán. Like much of its surrounding region, Cherán was ridden with crime before a 2011 insurrection incited by illegal logging. They ended up banishing the police and political parties, electing instead to govern themselves by neighborhood assemblies, and organizing modestly paid community patrols. It now vies for the safest municipality in the country. I asked a member of the patrols why they were so successful, and, without need to ponder, he responded: They patrol only their own neighborhood, where everyone knows who they are.
Chico has a lot of problems to solve. Police violence is one of them, and others require money; so we should be looking for alternatives to the financially overbearing, anonymous and bureaucratic police system we have.
On a recent morning I met a man who lives near the Jesus Center—a nice, reasonable guy whose house is across from a congregation point for unhoused people. He regularly encounters individuals abusing drugs, and they’re sometimes hostile toward him. He understands that these aren’t representative of all homeless people, that they’re a subset. While he cares about their plight, he admitted to “compassion fatigue,” because after repeated negative encounters, his desire to help has diminished.
He speculates that his frustrations are not so much with the addicted individuals as with the local, regional and national leaders who have refused to take decisive action to address the problem. I get it.
In the coming months I’ll be asking our Homeless Task Force and City Council to take action on a number of proposals designed to compassionately address the impacts of homelessness in Chico. The first of these proposals asks the council to agendize discussion of a homeless jobs program. I encourage readers to email their council members to show their support for such a discussion.
Some will say these proposals are too much, others will say they’re not enough. I invite people with better ideas to bring them forward for discussion.
Editor’s note: The author is a member of the Chico City Council.
Re “State of denial” (Newslines, by Andre Byik, Aug. 15):
What is Congressman LaMalfa’s position on climate change and the environment? All I know is he thinks it’s a joke to say he believes climate changes. I tried unsuccessfully for three months to talk to a staff person about his policy to no avail.
I started in May with the local office, was referred to Kathleen Devlin, who referred me to Communications Director Parker Williams, who did not respond to any of my emails. I called the Washington, D.C., office several times, was given a name of someone who might know but she did not respond. I called D.C. again and first was told his policy was on his website. When I said I didn’t see it, the staffer said actually it wasn’t there and to talk to Mr. Williams. I said he doesn’t respond, and that was it.
So I’m letting readers know our member of Congress is unresponsive to constituents and has no positive climate change policy that I could find, even though it’s the most pressing issue facing us. We should not re-elect such a dinosaur.
Imagine President Obama making this claim: “I am the chosen one.” Obama was labeled as the beast rising out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns (aka anti-Christ) by local right-wing kook letter writers.
In reality, the manchild currently sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office is the person responsible for the aforementioned blasphemous claims. Where is the outrage from so-called evangelical Christians?
President Obama risked his entire second term on capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. The raid was a huge success, ending in the death of OBL. Quite a contrast from our current so-called commander in chief, who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War because of “bone spurs.” Calling Obama a coward, with Gen. “bone spurs” holding the White House hostage, hardly passes the laugh test.
Once again, it’s just another glaring example of GOP hypocrisy.