Letters for December 10, 2015

Pope ponderings

Re “Rock star” (Cover story, by Jake Highton, Dec. 3):

When I read the headline about Pope Francis, I knew he must be doing an excellent job. In the world of Catholic apologetics, the article by Jake Highton is what is commonly referred to as a “shotgun list.” In other words, raise so many objections to the church at once that most are overwhelmed. I’m not overwhelmed. I and many other novice apologists can refute this article if given the time and opportunity. Since you’d give me neither, I’ll bring up one subject.

Why is it that when describing the priest scandal your ilk always describes it as pedophilia? Sex with a 14-year-old boy is nothing more than homosexuality. Ask your friends in the man/boy club—or whatever it is you call it—if they think sex with young boys is pedophilia. I would imagine they would tell you it is just a “natural” sex act between two males that “love” each other.

The devil knows he can get at Jesus through the priesthood. Just like he gets at all of us.

The Catholic Church is holy because Jesus is holy, not because its individuals are holy. The Church is not a museum of saints but rather a hospital for sinners.

Chris McCurley


About those meters

Re “Charity transparency” (Editorial, Nov. 26)

As executive director of the Downtown Chico Business Association, I felt compelled to respond to some of the issues raised in the editorial “Charity transparency.” The DCBA has been working closely with the city of Chico to install the “red top” meters as part of our effort to make downtown a safe and comfortable place for all visitors.

The meters are part of the Make Change Count program. Similar programs have been established in cities like San Luis Obispo and San Diego with positive results. All revenue from the meters is deposited in the Make Change Count fund established at the North Valley Community Foundation, and will be used only to provide direct services to the homeless. The city of Chico will shortly finalize a list of service organizations to receive these donations, but I’m sure people will understand why it was a priority to get the program up and running for the holiday season.

We strongly encourage all community members to make your change count and help the homeless in a positive way, rather than enabling behaviors that are detrimental to both the individual and community. Go to GoDowntownChico.com to locate the six donation meters.

Melanie Bassett


Another take

Re “Meter matters” (Letters, by Don Walker, Dec. 3):

While observing the sidewalk from a moving car, letter writer Don Walker separates the homeless mentally ill from young malingerers; the “mentally ill lady” who is worthy of our help from the “young bum” who should be harassed until he leaves town. I’d guess many people believe they have this same psychiatric superpower.

It’s been my observation that I learn a lot by talking to people on the street—as opposed to making judgments on the basis of how they appear during a drive-by. Instead of everything falling into two neat categories, I find things get very confusing. And the more confusing things get, the more difficult it becomes to tell who is worthy or unworthy. This is also true as I reflect on my own limitations—I’m not what I appear to be, especially to myself.

Walker proposes that we feed the new homeless meters—this will help the “lady” and drive out the “bum.” I’ll continue to give cash directly to people, both ladies and bums. I like how Walt Whitman said it: “This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks …”

Patrick Newman


Everyone deserves pie

Re “Turn out the obstructionists” (Editorial, Dec. 3):

Is it a coincidence that environmental perils have been bombarding the media at an increasing rate since the post-war boom started fizzling out in the 1970s? I’d like to shout out a resounding no! It shouldn’t come as a surprise that things aren’t what they appear to be on the surface when it comes to politics, and environmental issues have become a political battlefield.

It’s true that cars and factories release emissions into the air and it appears that many of our natural resources may not be as infinite as we had hoped, but isn’t it convenient that this is all coming to light at a time when the U.S. is in fear of losing its grip as global super power?

The industrial revolution helped make this country great and I believe that all of the political jargon about environmental devastation is simply another ploy to oppress those less privileged. It’s mighty easy for me to eat my slice of the pie, then withhold yours while claiming I’m helping you watch your cholesterol.

Doesn’t America stand for freedom? I think it’s time we stop keeping the impoverished down and let others have a piece of the pie, too!

Paul Ennis


Stabucks and alcohol

Re “Baristas to bartenders” (The Bottom Line, by Toni Scott, Dec. 3):

As if getting another bar in downtown Chico isn’t bad enough, but this is one more baby step in corporatization. Local watering holes and their patrons may want to take notice.

Nina Widlund


See this play

Plays offer a variety of permutations: good plays with poor actors, poor plays with good actors, etc. When a challenging play is performed by a group of excellent actors, don’t miss it. On Friday my wife and I saw The Other Place by Sharr White at the Blue Room Theatre. Here is an opportunity to see a thought-provoking play beautifully directed by Joe Hilsee and performed by talented actors: Cynthia Lammel, William Johnson, Hilary Tellesen and Hilsee.

The “facts” established at first by the seemingly reliable Juliana Smithton (Lammel) dissolve and reshape themselves as she confronts the “realities” of her husband (Johnson), and daughter (Tellesen) who is married to Richard (Hilsee). The result is that the audience is challenged to fit the various twists and turns in Juliana’s life into a cohesive whole: Who is the girl in the yellow-string bikini? Does Juliana have a brain tumor? And many more. There are many layers to Juliana’s character. It is a real treat to witness how easily Lammel shifts between the many moods demanded of her character.

Truly a professional achievement. Make certain you don’t miss this.

Lynn Elliott


Editor’s note: For a review, see this issue, page 33.

Do some research

Re “Change is … inevitable” (Letters, by James R. Jenkins, Dec. 3):

Mr. Jenkins brings up the hoary old chestnut so revered by conservative climate change deniers of the global cooling “forecasts” of the 1970s. Had Jenkins done a little research, he would have found that very few climate scientists embraced the “impending ice age” theory. I can find no record of any articles being published in scientific journals on this subject.

Articles were published in Time magazine and Newsweek, which sensationalized the theory. According to an article cited in Wikipedia, this global cooling hypothesis “had little support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s and press reports that did not accurately reflect the full scope of the scientific literature.”

There never was any agreement in the scientific community that an ice age was imminent. However, there is overwhelming agreement within this same community that global warming is on the way. For those of you still in doubt, you may want to check on global temperatures for the last couple of years.

Charles W. Bird


‘Bigots and buffoons’

If the polls are to be believed, a majority of Republicans now feel that ignorance, incompetence and bigotry are important requirements for high political office. How else to explain the popularity of Donald Trump, whose capacity for racist lies is equaled only by his overweening arrogance and self-promotion. Or Dr. Ben Carson, who may be the world’s only neurosurgeon who doesn’t believe in science. Both Trump and Carson appear to know less than my dog about foreign policy.

I have watched the political debates of both parties and am strongly supporting the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders. However, the comparative lucidity of all the Democratic candidates and the issue-oriented focus of their debates has led me to conclude that any of them—Sanders, Clinton or O’Malley—are vastly preferable to any of the prospective Republican candidates.

It’s time to reject the likes of Trump and Carson. Our country is too precious to be entrusted to the care of bigots and buffoons.

Tom Reed


‘We need each other’

Re “Good news, bad news” (Editorial, Dec. 3):

The editorial stated “recessions are cyclical” and that “another one is predicted for 2018,” which reminded me of how all of us can be prepared—through joining the Northern California Counties Time Bank (www.ncctimebank.org).

Timebanking is an alternative economic system that values everyone’s contribution equally. I do an hour of service for you and then you pay it forward and do an hour of service for someone else. Our time contributions are recorded by a computer program. Available services usually include household repair, child and elder care, office work, health services, arts and crafts, gardening, landscaping and many others, depending on the skills and talents of the members.

Service exchange with neighbors is how many people made it through the Great Depression. It is what we need to prepare for another possible downturn in the economy. In times like these, we need timebanking. In times like these, we need each other.

Renee Renaud


Notes from the activists

Re “Marching for the planet” (Newslines, Dec. 3):

Many thanks to the scores of Butte County residents who joined 250 others at Chico’s Global Climate March on Nov. 28—an unprecedented turnout for climate justice in our community.

Over 700,000 people participated in thousands of actions in 175 countries that same weekend, with the same demand: that our world leaders at the U.N. climate summit in Paris keep fossil fuels in the ground and finance a transition to renewables, and fast.

During our march, we also called on local leaders like Rep. Doug LaMalfa to act on our concerns over a changing world. But Paris isn’t the end—we know we still have much work to do—and so we mark the end of the U.N. summit with High Noon for the Planet, a rally on Saturday, Dec. 12, at noon (12/12 at 12) at Chico City Plaza, with speakers, music, and booths.

Learn more and pledge to take action, personally and collectively, to ensure a healthy and safe planet for ourselves and for generations to come. For more info, email chico350.org@gmail.com.

Claire Hutkins Seda


Join Chico 350 and Butte Environmental Council on Saturday, Dec. 12, for “High Noon for the Planet.” This rally at the Chico City Plaza is the follow-up to Chico’s Global Climate March and will take place the day after the Paris climate talks end.

The event will feature free food by Chico Natural Foods Cooperative, music by Smokey the Groove and selected speakers from our community as well as lots of booths offering personal actions you can take to slow climate change. Come join the festivities and learn what you can do to fight global warming and help preserve a healthy planet for all. The event is free and all are welcome!

Jake Davis


‘Peace and friendship’

As a member of the interfaith community for many years and past president of Chico Area Interfaith Council, I know that many of us—of all faiths and groups—believe that we can live in our community in peace and friendship. My sympathy and sorrow for those who cannot see it.

Ali Sarsour


‘Feeling the Bern’

I took part in a sing-along fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 5. A local group called Emily’s Band of Ne’er-Do-Wells helped us sing those old-time Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan songs about justice and peace. One song in particular by Pete Seeger struck me: “One man’s hands can’t tear a prison down / Two men’s hands can’t tear a prison down / But if two and two and fifty make a million / We’ll see that day come round / We’ll see that day come round.”

I see that song saying what Bernie Sanders is about—real democracy. When one man’s voice, one woman’s voice, one student’s voice, one transgender person’s voice and 50 make a million, we’ll see democracy come around. A very few people who have millions of dollars to give for preferential treatment don’t make a democracy. Millions of people with a voice and a vote make a democracy. That’s why I’m “feeling the Bern” for Sanders in 2016!

Linda Furr