Letters for August 8, 2019

About Vang Pao

“Who will lead the Hmong?” (Cover story, by Stephen Maganini, Aug. 1):

I thought you might be interested in this passage, pages 138-139, from Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. It refers to what happened to the Hmong almost immediately after the fall of Saigon.

“Hmong fought to board … aircraft. Several times the planes were so overloaded they could not take off, and dozens of people standing near the door had to be pushed out onto the airstrip. On May 14, Vang Pao, in tears, told the assembled crowd, ‘Farewell, my brothers, I can do nothing more for you’ … and [he] boarded an evacuation helicopter. … [M]ore than 10,000 Hmong were left on the airfield, fully expecting more aircraft to return. When it became apparent that there would be no more planes, a collective wail arose from the crowd and echoed against the mountains.”

Michele French


Questions remain

Re “Council Ring confrontation” (Newslines, by Andre Byik and Meredith J. Cooper, Aug. 1):

In your coverage of the incident at Bidwell Park involving an 11-year-old girl, retired peace officer David Blake expresses the difficulty of knowing exactly what occurred. The videos do not tell the whole story, but they do tell a critical part: use of force on a child by law enforcement personnel. Chico PD would not release the police report to us, which is why Concerned Citizens for Justice (CC4J) raised these questions in our press release:

1. Was the child a danger to herself or others? Was restraint essential for her protection or the protection of the officers or public?

2. What effort was made to defuse the situation? What de-escalation techniques were used?

3. Did the police contact the Butte County’s Behavioral Health team or Children’s Services?

4. Were the law enforcement officers sufficiently trained in de-escalation techniques?

CC4J will speak out when such situations arise. We want a transformation of culture where officers are thoroughly trained in de-escalation, where de-escalation becomes the first response in every crisis, and force used only when other alternatives have been exhausted. This will build trust and respect between the community and law enforcement, and make our community more safe.

Diane Suzuki-Brobeck


Editor’s note: Readers can find videos of the altercation at tinyurl.com/CopsKids.

I support Concerned Citizens for Justice. I agree that the police need better training for dealing with these situations. I understand that the 11-year-old girl who ran away from home lived with grandparents who couldn’t control her.

So, more needs to be done. First of all, we need to teach sex education and family life in schools and those classes must be mandatory—like English, math and science. We must also do more to encourage birth control.

We must do everything possible to help families to raise their kids better. However, when families are unable to do so, we need good homes for the kids. I was raised in such a home when I was a child. Kids could be placed in group homes in the neighborhoods with good house parents. For placing kids into these new homes that would be created, I say the younger the better. With much less money being spent for wars, a bloated military budget, on prisons—and with the super wealthy paying their share of taxes—we could institute policies to help our young people make decent lives for themselves.

Walter Ballin


What’s the percentage?

Re “Correcting the record” (Letters, by Anastacia Snyder, Aug. 1):

In an earlier letter—while questioning Catalyst Domestic Violence Services receiving $207,000 designated for sheltering the homeless—I stated that Catalyst provides no shelter to men, who make up the vast majority of the unsheltered homeless in America. The Catalyst executive director has corrected the record, saying Catalyst does shelter men. I wonder if the director would now divulge the percentage of total “shelter nights” provided to homeless or potentially homeless men. I’ll wager it’s less than 1 in 100—and if so, we are talking about a technicality, not substance.

There is unquestionably a relationship between domestic violence and loss of housing. Impoverished men, women and children continually hit the streets to escape abuse. Of that population, it’s culturally unacceptable for the male component to divulge victimization in domestic incidents—with less than 1 percent reporting. Given that domestic violence services are nearly exclusively female-focused, while large numbers of men are affected (see Straus and Gelles, “gender symmetry”), such services, as a vehicle for housing the homeless, are guaranteed discriminatory and exclusionary.

I remain unconvinced that Catalyst is the best vehicle for holistically sheltering the homeless; I am convinced Catalyst has the complex administrative apparatus necessary for capturing funding.

Patrick Newman


No assistance, all act

The Camp Fire Housing Assistance Act (Assembly Bill 430) provides no assurance that affordable housing will be built, such that low-income Paradise survivors will have housing. There is no requirement that the housing would allow the density requirements for infill development. When the bill states “development has a minimum density of four units per acre,” many realtors will choose to build profitable housing on lots larger than is typical for infill; this housing may be too expensive for most Paradise survivors.

AB 430 doesn’t begin to combat climate change. For that we must have walkable cities. Residents in new developments should travel fewer miles in cars than has been typical, and be able to walk, bike or take energy-efficient transit to jobs, school, etc. “Vehicle miles traveled” must be reduced. By building smart-growth communities, instead of the most profitable houses, we could create bike- and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

My hope is that the state Senate committees that are looking at AB 430 will take these issues into consideration and that the governor vetoes the legislation if they don’t amend it to address real needs. If it is growth for growth’s sake, it is not a Camp Fire Housing Assistance Act.

Chris Nelson


Guns are the problem

Are we as a people/society in this country numb enough yet? Just another couple of days in paradise, so to speak. Hatred, “plain as the nose on your face,” as my elders would say, is our new national norm. In America today you can buy a gun and then plan a mass shooting with automatic assault weapons. Or maybe it’s the other way around—it doesn’t matter. It’s too easy in America.

Hatred, guns, weapons, violence of people you don’t like, understand, or know! Generations of this will not be solved with gestures, words of encouragement and “understanding of others.” Studies—you know, “science”—have absolutely shown that the weapon/gun is the problem.

Are we numb enough yet, or are we to wait for more—in your community, at your children’s school, at our Walmart? Can we afford, really, to wait until 2020 for change? What is our threshold? I guess we will find out.

Brian Johnson


‘Completely ridiculous’

What we learned from the recent debates is that Democrats have gone completely off the radical deep end. Advocating for open border lawlessness, Medicare for all including illegal aliens, free education, canceling student loan debt, and environmental extremism.

These policies are completely ridiculous. They’d put our public safety at risk, raise taxes on everyone, and destroy a thriving economy. These promises would cost trillions. When asked how it will be paid for, they act as if it doesn’t matter.

These policies have nothing to do with what’s good for the country, but have everything to do with giving an already unaccountable government and Democratic Party more control of our lives.

Look at the epic failure of the cities and states these Democrats control. Homelessness, unaffordable housing, high energy costs, and uncontrolled taxation to name a few.

The debates were a wake-up call for all pragmatic Americans. We now can clearly see that Democrats want to control us by calls of false racism, false victimhood, environmental extremism, and uncontrolled immigration at our borders.

This is what happens when you have an unaccountable elitist class of bureaucrats that puts its own ambitions in front of the people’s.

Brad Pankratz


Moscow Mitch, etc.

Whew, it’s been a long time since our elected officials in Washington have had a break and they’ve accomplished so much! So much, in fact, that Moscow Mitch has over a hundred bills sitting on his desk that he won’t bring to the Senate floor for a vote.

I’m guessing that Trump and Putin don’t want a lot of these bills to pass. Meanwhile, as of today, six Republican (I almost called them Republics) members of their caucus announced that they would not be seeking re-election in 2020. These six included the only member of color on that side of the aisle and the woman (one of only 13) who was responsible for recruiting women to run for Congress as a Republican.

Boy, talk about making America white again. I look forward to attending one the many town halls that Doug “he’s one of us” LaMalfa will be holding to explain to his constituents what, and why, his views are. What’s that? You haven’t heard about any town halls? Oh.

Ed Pitman


No more sellouts

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that requires gubernatorial and presidential candidates to submit tax returns in order to be on the primary ballot in California. At first glance, this appears to be a jab at our grease-painted commander in chief. And, maybe it is a bit of retribution for Cheeto’s disdain for California (remember his tweets during the Camp Fire?).

However, one needs to consider that this is a good idea. If this were to go into effect immediately, four of the top-tier Dems also would be banished from the ballot until they comply. Of course, they would comply, because all candidates do—except one. This law will be tested in the courts and the outcome would probably favor 45’s continued deception regarding whom he owes and who “owns” him.

However, if this law were to go into effect in the next presidential cycle, when our current embarrassment is over, it might prevent a compromised candidate from having an opportunity to sell out the country for personal gain like this one has.

Dave Schwartz


Stumbling POTUS

Excepting his emblazoned “poorly educated supporters,” Donald Trump stumbled through yet another Stephen Miller teleprompter speech and insulted the intelligence of the American people. Trump reached the height of hypocrisy pretending to condemn white supremacy after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Yes, the same forked-tongue Trump that has condoned hate speech in one taxpayer-funded rally after another. Recently a Trump supporter in a Florida rally yelled out, “Shoot them,” referring to illegals crossing the Mexican border.

Thanks to the Electoral College, Russian meddling and candidates like Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders, the American people have had to endure two years of the most ignorant excuse for an American president in history. Exhibit A: Trump called Dayton, Ohio, “Toledo” in his speech. It reminded me of when this dunce called Paradise “Pleasure.”

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Ray Estes


‘Words do matter’

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Remember the nursery rhyme? Today, words do matter. Let’s take the word “exonerate.”

I watched most of the Mueller hearings. The thing that caught my attention was when Mr. Mueller was asked about why he inserted the word “exonerate” in his report, when this word has never been used in any DOJ report in history?

Our basic system of laws are: innocent until proven guilty. You and I are innocent until facts prove we are guilty. No president is above the law, but he is also deserving of that same basic right.

When Mr. Mueller’s report stated he could not “exonerate” the president, he went beyond the historic practices of U.S. law. His report should have stated: “there is not enough evidence to indict” or “there is enough evidence to indict.”

I could go on to the word “racist” used over and over again by the media to paint President Trump as one. But again, no firm evidence, except sound bites that have painted him as such. Actions should speak louder than words. Sadly, today it’s just the opposite.

Loretta Ann Torres