Letters for August 7, 2014

Fracking feedback

Re “Delayed initiative” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, July 31):

I’m writing regarding the Butte County Board of Supervisors’ action on the attempted anti-fracking initiative.

It’s just the latest local example of the theocracy we live under. For that matter, the zeitgeist of the “Western world” in general. Their “God” is money. To hell with the constituencies’ needs or wants. Service those pocketbooks.

Hey, the judge said it would fly, let it fly. Insist on it, if need be, with every legal tool one has available. If no adequate response is forthcoming, protest. Recall ’em, impeach ’em, stone ’em with Nerf balls. Take back your lives and government—Gandhi-, King-, Christ-style.

Better yet, learn to love everything and everyone selflessly and get rid of government altogether. Anything’s possible. Everything’s a choice.

Robert Williamson

I attended the county Board of Supervisors meeting on July 29, and your article missed a few vital points.

Although the initiative to ban fracking in the county will now not make it on this November’s ballot, the petition for the initiative was certified as valid. So the initiative will go before the voters. However, that will not happen before November 2016.

In the meantime the supervisors are having staff draft a fracking-ban ordinance with the intention that they will then make it law. Under their direction, this ordinance would additionally prohibit the disposal of all hazardous and toxic liquid wastes as well as fracking fluids.

County counsel made a clear statement on the public record to the effect that, given the board’s direction and discussion at this meeting, no one should have any reasonable expectation that they can come into Butte County and frack.

The delay in bringing the initiative to the voters will only provide time for the mass of evidence to grow and even more firmly establish the devastating impacts that fracking has on local water, health, environment, property values, aesthetics and way of life.

The voters will have their say.

Doug Fogel

Grateful for (unarmed) helpers

Re “Homeless help recognized” (Newslines, by Vic Cantu, July 31):

Last holiday season saw an attempt to make our downtown safer through the hiring of armed guards through the R-Town Downtown Coalition. I was afraid for the safety of myself and others with their presence.

I have an entirely different response to the presence of the Downtown Ambassadors and the yellow-vested workers who do a marvelous job of picking up the detritus that accumulates daily. I have thanked some of the clean-up crew and always give them a smile. I am glad for their efforts to keep downtown clean and provide a friendlier face while urging our homeless folks to seek the appropriate services they need.

Forest Harlan

Adequate shelter needed

Re “Living tiny” (Greenways, by Ken Smith, July 10):

Thank you for the great story on tiny houses. The progress of sustainability is enhanced by embracing simplicity in as many facets of our lives as possible. Tiny homes would not only improve access to adequate shelter for those with modest incomes, but are also a large and logical step toward reducing energy consumption.

If we hope to avoid an expanding and deeply impoverished underclass desperately struggling to survive, we must find better ways of respecting and caring for one another very soon. If we choose instead to continue along this path of escalating greed and alienation, only more jails, more prisons and more militarized law enforcement will protect the fortunate few with anything left to lose from teeming throngs of those on the starving margins.

I beg us all to peer deep into our own humanity and recognize the obligations implied by our siblinghood and to the well-being of our descendants. The revolution of values that Dr. King espoused might find its slow and nascent rotations in the simple generosity of striving to make certain that many more of our neighbors have basic human needs within their certain grasp. CHAT—the Chico Housing Action Team—is determined to improve access to adequate shelter and we need your help.

Dan Everhart
CHAT, Chico

‘An abusive parent’

Israel does not have the right to defend itself. It is the military occupier. It is the aggressor. Palestinians have the right to resist and defend themselves from Israel’s abuses.

Israel has been terrorizing Palestinian children for over 66 years. It is like an abusive parent who every two years beats the hell out of the people it is obligated, as the occupier, to protect and then laments to the people, “You make me hurt and kill you.”

Israel thinks it can withdraw and go back to business as usual. Not this time! Israel must face consequences from the international community. Israel must lift the blockade of Gaza now as well as end the occupation of Palestine.

Sandra O’Neill

It’s Purple Heart Day

On Aug. 7, 1782, Gen. George Washington decided that soldiers who served of unusual gallantry could wear over their left breast the figure of a heart in purple cloth. Washington called it a “Badge of Military Merit.”

In December 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order, authorizing the Purple Heart to those who are wounded (or killed) in combat action against an enemy, retroactive to Dec. 7, 1941. In November 1952, President Harry Truman issued an executive order making the award of the Purple Heart retroactive to April 5, 1917 (World War I).

Today, there are over 525,000 Americans alive who have been awarded the Purple Heart, including over 35,000 from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 60,000 reside in California and over 200 in Butte County, including my husband, Bob Mulholland, who was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagles), and wounded in March 1968 in Vietnam in an attack on his base.

Aug. 7 has been recognized nationally as Purple Heart Day, and I believe it is an appropriate time to remember all those who have been wounded in action (and those who died in service to our country).

Jane Dolan

‘A humiliating experience’

The Butte SMART Coalition (Save Money And Reduce Tobacco) worked six months to try to earmark a mere 10 percent of the millions the county receives from the tobacco industry for cessation and prevention.

Coalition members gathered hundreds of signatures, prepared a presentation and enlisted young people to help. However, we were refused a place on the agenda and when a member went before the board and asked for 15 minutes of their time to present, he was told that it wouldn’t be fair to allow our group on the agenda when other groups aren’t, and that we could speak during public comment at the budget hearing.

We agree. It’s not fair that any group of concerned voters be denied access to the board. Any group of citizens that works so hard to bring an issue forward should be allowed on the agenda. Some issues are too complex for a five-minute comment, and the board needs to hear budgetary requests well before the budget hearings to take meaningful action. We were deeply disappointed in the process. Asking for 15 minutes of the board’s time shouldn’t be a humiliating experience.

DeAnne Blankenship

Dump Doug this November

Doug LaMalfa claims he’s “one of us.” Don’t believe it. He is one of them—one of the rich, one of the 1 percent, one of the fat cats. LaMalfa and his family have collected over $5 million in farm subsidies. Meanwhile, LaMalfa has opposed food aid programs that benefit the poor and unfortunate.

Apparently, LaMalfa believes in welfare for the rich and free enterprise for the poor. Well, folks, we can send LaMalfa home to work on the family farm. Of course, he may choose to stay on in Washington as a lobbyist for his corporate benefactors. That’s where the real money is.

We have a choice this November. We can elect Heidi Hall to Congress. She is obviously intelligent, thoughtful, well-educated and well-informed. She is not afraid to take on the tea party zealots and their fat cat cronies. Heidi understands the challenges and hardships facing the working class, the middle class, our veterans, our unemployed and the new generation that is coming of age in these tough times.

We need a voice in Congress who will speak for the 99 percent of us. So please, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, let’s all work together and elect Heidi Hall to Congress.

Ron Lunder

Getting what we paid for

The Chinese company that built the Bay Bridge did not even pay their workers our minimum wage. The investigations, inspections and reports on the Bay Bridge must certainly exceed what extra it would have cost to hire a U.S. firm that pays union wages.

R. Sterling Ogden