Letters for August 30, 2018

‘Wicked little problem’

Re “World on fire” (Cover story, by Alastair Bland, Aug. 23):

I read, with dutiful interest, Alastair Bland’s rendition of the climate crisis. One more article on our wicked little problem: a collapsing biosphere.

I do agree the “world is on fire.” What we seem to miss is that the real inferno burns—as every decent spiritual teacher has preached it—within our insatiable desire for things. More and more of everything.

A few years ago, I hassled Bill McKibben on the subject of lifestyle: Why is it he and his organization never mention our rapacious way of life? McKibben was as clear as he was wrong: It’s big solutions that count, and personal restraint is ritualism.

In my years on this planet, I’ve never seen anything but a multiplication of human needs and wants—one person and one decision at a time. Small people collectively creating big problems and hoping someone like Papa “Santa Claus” McKibben can magically find that “big way” to a world where every day is Christmas.

Anyway, it’s that time of year—the summer heat is winding down. Time to share our travel experiences. Prague? Yes, what a beautiful city.

Patrick Newman


Credit due

Re “Tangible links to Chico’s rich history” (Guest comment, by Michael Magliari, Aug. 23):

I so appreciated Michael Magliari’s guest comment regarding the link between the Cal Water towers and Chico’s history. Mike deserves the credit for saving these historic gems from demolition. The esteemed Chico State history professor explained the unique historic value of these iconic Chico structures, not only in their design and function, but also their relationship to the history and growth of our community.

I’d like to add another fact not mentioned. Mike Magliari is a local treasure! Thank you, Mike, for being our town’s premier preservation activist and convincing Cal Water to save these glorious, historic towers for generations to come.

Pam Figge


About overprescription

Re “Clamped down” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, Aug. 23):

Opioids such as vicodin and norco are overprescribed by many doctors. The same with benzos and other medications prescribed for patients to address anxiety and sleep issues. These medications often end up causing patients even more physical and mental health problems, and they also lead to addiction. Those medicines caused my girlfriend to fall and break a bone in her spine. After that happened, she was a physical and mental mess. She passed away a little over a year ago.

Whenever these medicines are prescribed, they should be prescribed very sparingly and only for a limited amount of time. Doctors need to spend more time talking with their patients about proper diet and exercise. This includes cutting back on eating sugar, not drinking too much alcohol and also not smoking.

We need Medicare for all that covers and encourages alternative health care such as chiropractic, acupuncture and naturopathy, and also vitamins and supplements, including hemp and medicinal marijuana. Hemp and medicinal marijuana are proven to be very effective for pain, anxiety, sleep and other issues.

Walter Ballin


On establishment media

Re “Not the enemy” (Editorial, Aug. 16):

We are fortunate to have two good local papers, but establishment media is often a megaphone for policies that the establishment wants promoted, as in the fake news of weapons of mass destruction necessary to justify the Iraqi war. In such cases, the establishment media is an enemy and a danger to the world.

The establishment media’s unrelenting push to demonize Russia radiates with similarities to the to the push for war with Iraq. And the public is buying it.

The establishment media is skilled at presenting accusations and insinuations so they magically transform into fact in the mind of a busy citizenry with little global literacy. Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi are/were not evil, but citizens were easily led to believe in their evil. They are/were simply obstacles to the U.S. geopolitical goals.

The U.S. invaded Iraq, disregarding international law, and was responsible for incredible destruction and some 600,000 deaths. This could be called bad policy. I call it evil. Putin, Assad, Saddam and Kaddafi have done nothing on that scale of evil.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

How about thoughtfulness?

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

Most thoughtful people would agree that our wildland needs careful management, but fire suppression is not the only value at issue. There are many stakeholders in this task, and naming one group as being at fault is not accurate and is a stumbling block to careful management.

The Nature Conservancy brought together federal, state and local governments to accomplish a flood control project along the Sacramento River that had languished for years. It is a project that illustrates new thought and solutions that would not have been found without careful consideration of a broad range of ideas. The Nature Conservancy didn’t begin by finding the other stakeholders at fault; they forged a consensus, and work is getting done as a result.

There is always disagreement in how to best solve environmental problems, and name-calling or fault-finding rarely helps. We can do our part by supporting people and organizations that don’t spread division, but welcome ideas and processes that help solve problems.

Gary Nielsen


The truth is the forests are burning because of years of mismanagement by liberal environmentalists. Simple.

Doug Drebert


The guest comment “Environmentalism run amok” and responding letters were mostly about finger-pointing, blame-game and vilifying people with whom one might disagree. This confirmed what I already suspected: Americans have thrown away democracy with both hands. The democratic process requires fact-finding, discussion, consensus-building and compromise, all of which are neglected, if not hated, in this country.

Daniel Griggs


In the early 2000s I renewed my bonafides as an “environmental extremist” talked about in numerous letters. I sued Butte County to enforce the California Environmental Quality Act. Though successful, the process involved being sued personally for $1 million in what was ruled an unlawful S.L.A.P.P. (strategic lawsuit against public participation), a law that protects the public against this type of intimidation. The out-of-pocket costs exceeded $30,000, and it took up years of my retirement.

I wonder if Mr. Smith, or his supporters, can actually cite some of the environmental lawsuits that he blames for our problem with today’s forests—maybe flesh the tropes out with some facts. I would cite the drastically reduced sequestration budget, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (no explanation necessary), at a time when much more funding is needed to implement the common sense fixes. Crews to control the undergrowth would be a good start.

The growing interface between wildland and suburbia accounts for most of the dollar loss and publicity recently. The Quincy Library Group collaborative work done with environmentalists, local community and the logging industry was quickly ignored. We can’t seem to put aside differences to make any realistic compromises work. We’d better start trying.

Rich Meyers


While I’ve hiked all over Butte County with you on many lovely hikes you often lead, and also shared a beer or two with you, your characterizations of “environmentalists” seemingly being the scourge of what’s wrong with our world is outrageous.

Joining the current political climate of maligning and blaming one group or another for what’s wrong only fuels the flames of distrust and animosity. Environmental activism comes in many shapes and forms, and I prefer to think about what you and I owe to environmental activism: clean drinking water, the very parks we hike in, protecting critical riparian rights throughout the country, fighting pollution throughout our country, standing up to governments that want to allow unnecessary mineral mining in pristine public land, protecting endangered species and generally making our planet a better place to live.

Do we need to continue to re-examine how we manage our forests? Sure. And perhaps when I hike with you next, we’ll shake hands as usual, and I will see you drinking from a reusable water container rather than polluting the planet with your one-time-use throwaway water bottle.

George Gold


Protection from police

According to the California Department of Justice, California police killed 172 civilians in 2017. Under current law, police can use lethal force whenever a “reasonable” officer would have done so under the same circumstances.

Assembly Bill 931 was introduced by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) to update California’s deadly-use-of-force standard. The new bill requires peace officers to use “time, distance, communications and available resources in an effort to deescalate a situation whenever it is safe and reasonable to do so.” AB 931 would require police to match best practices at California police departments that are actually reducing the number of police killings.

California must hold police to a high standard. AB 931 will make it clear that police must use deadly force only when there are no alternatives, and that the officer’s conduct leading up to a shooting should be taken into account. AB 931 will save lives and help repair our communities’ relations with local police departments.

Police should never kill when alternatives exist. When police calm down dangerous situations instead of escalating them, it saves the lives of residents and officers alike.

Concerned Citizens for Justice urges you to write to your representatives.

Diane Suzuki


Congressional tumor

In a powerful and heartfelt piece posted to Facebook from her hospital bed, Audrey Denney has made an appeal for health care access that goes well beyond the usual political speech. It has had, as of Sunday afternoon (Aug. 26), 59,455 views and been shared over 1,200 times. It can be found on her campaign Facebook page as well as on Daily Kos.

As a nurse, I loved her explanation of the large benign tumor that was removed as something that occupies space and interferes with the functioning of other vital organs. Once removed, all goes back to normal—in much the same way as politicians who occupy office while interfering with the smooth function of governance need to be removed.

Let us elect Audrey Denney.

Bill Monroe


Demanding answers

First Congressional District voters deserve straight answers from Congressman Doug LaMalfa on the expanding Trump administration scandals.

Last week’s events are disturbing: Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud. Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, and then his sworn testimony implicated Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator to make hush money payoffs in order to impact the 2016 presidential election.

Another disclosure: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office interviewed White House Counsel Don McGahn for over 30 hours. In addition, we learned that immunity was granted to two close presidential associates: David Pecker and Allen Weisselberg.

Meanwhile, in a Fox News interview, the president contradicted his previous claims on the hush money payoffs, and demonstrated clearly that he is lying and covering up what he knew and when he knew it.

LaMalfa is mistaken if he thinks he can ignore Trump’s scandals. At a minimum, he must inform voters of his position on two likely scenarios: 1) What if President Trump pardons Paul Manafort; and 2) What if he fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Congressman LaMalfa, the voters deserve answers, and whether you will take action to protect our democracy against presidential corruption.

Paul Cayler