Letters for December 14, 2017

About the cover story

Re “Vanishing act” (Cover story, by Alastair Bland, Dec. 7):

As a frequent fisherman of Northern California’s coastal waters, I was shocked at the cover of this week’s CN&R. “Meet the species devastating Northern California’s marine wildlife” was printed next to a bright orange fish.

My first instinct was to question why a state-protected fish is being protected if it’s devastating marine wildlife. After reading the article, much to my relief, the orange fish was just an innocent bystander caught up in the picture. The fish, a Garibaldi, is California’s official marine state fish and protected by law with a zero catch limit.

Bill Martin


Editor’s note: The species that is devastating marine life, including the red abalone, is the purple sea urchin, which is featured prominently on the cover of last week’s issue.

Let’s pay attention

Re “Compassion or containment?” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Dec. 7):

In Ken Smith’s article, the executive director of the Jesus Center is quoted as saying, “I really believe that the mark of a healthy community is one where we each take care, provide opportunities and come alongside those who are suffering, who are on the margin for whatever reason.”

This paints an incomplete picture. Care and concern by private citizens toward our homeless brothers and sisters is certainly important. But so is moral outrage at a system that fails and continues to target the most vulnerable among us.

Homeless advocate Patrick Newman has articulated four systemic practices against the homeless that we must challenge: demonization, criminalization, deprivation and containment. We need to end the punishing practices that are now routine in the city of Chico. And, we need to pay attention as the city moves forward on any plans to manage the homeless population. Who will benefit from these plans? Who is harmed?

Annie Chen


Taking council to task

Re “Last-ditch effort” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee) and “Common sense be damned” (Editorial, Dec. 7):

The City Council’s pot ban is supposed to be for public safety. But this same council has cut police traffic patrols and closed fire stations, both of which are definitely against public safety!

Six of 10 city voters chose legalization, which the council chooses to ignore. They render your vote a waste of time, so they can pursue their own agenda. This is not democracy. Thus, the entire council should be recalled. Public servants? What a joke. They also have a short deadline to get signatures [to put the issue to a vote]—basically railroading the public. They should be removed for putting illegal drug dealers back in business.

Don McMurray


Some great recent examples of how democracy works. Last year, 61 percent of Chico voters (a virtual landslide by current standards) voted to remove criminal penalties for marijuana.

The response of the right-wing City Council majority? Dramatically restrict access (no dispensaries, no more delivery service) and approve a new mandate that the growing of all weed (even medical) be done under energy-consumptive indoor lighting. Oh, and don’t forget the mandatory inspections of the interior of your house by city workers.

Apparently the task of implementing the actual will of the people is just too big of a job for our City Council majority.

Maybe we need smarter leaders.

Mayor Sean Morgan took it a step further, explaining his decision to do the opposite of what voters requested. No need to follow their desires, he said, because “the majority of Chicoans don’t vote.” Apparently he understands and wishes to honor the unknown choices of his own silent majority, the nonvoters.

So Mr. Morgan, a question for you: If, as you say, voting percentages don’t matter, because most people don’t vote, on what basis do you consider yourself to be mayor?

Not surprising that many people don’t bother to participate.

Dave Hollingsworth


Editor’s note: Mayor Sean Morgan said the above quote to Chico E-R reporter Ashiah Scharaga following the Dec. 5 meeting at which numerous citizens lambasted the council for adopting a law prohibiting commercial cannabis operations.

Ten suggestions

Re “Red flags” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Dec. 7):

In response to questions of confidence in Jesus Center management, here are 10 suggestions:

1) Include former Jesus Center Executive Director Bill Such in the conversation. 2) Become more financially transparent. Donors should not be in the dark as to executive compensation or Jesus Center assets. 3) The current executive director sits on the board of the DCBA; eliminate this conflict of interest. 4) The Jesus Center board is very heavily weighted toward the business sector. Recruit a new board with more ministers, social workers and advocates. 5) Create public forums and make decisions with wider community input, especially from the homeless. 6) The director is apologetic for the presence of the homeless on Park Avenue. Instead, advocate for homeless access to the public space. 7) The Jesus Center is no longer following a hospitality model and it’s not following a best practices social work model. Return to the hospitality model and bring in social workers from Chico State for additional analysis and direction. 8) Initiate an ombudsman program, providing independent homeless advocacy. 9) Reinvigorate day programs. 10) Implement these suggestions simultaneously; they are interdependent.

Patrick Newman


Rotten, indeed

A movie in the ’80s titled Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, portrayed two con men bent on fleecing rich women. Today we have our own dirty rotten scoundrels, a Republican Congress that is hell-bent on fleecing working families, aspiring young people and vulnerable seniors.

While the economy is growing for big business, the economic well-being of most Americans is diminishing. It’s simple. Those who have most of the wealth want all of the wealth, and the only place left to find it is in the weathered wallets of the heart and soul of our economy, the working class. This self-serving agenda is diametrically opposed to common sense. Biting the hand that feeds you is the sign of a rabid dog, one that will destroy all that sustains it and then starve to death. Unintended consequence.

Worldwide, eight men control as much wealth as the combined wealth of 3.6 billion people who represent the poorest half of humanity. Many are Americans struggling to survive on a poor man’s wage while Republicans, who mock them as parasites sucking the blood of the economic well-being of our country, would like to see them disappear. A rabid dog indeed.

Roger S. Beadle


‘Consider the tragedy’

Re “Under the gun” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, Nov. 30):

Thanks to the CN&R for the great article about armed guards in Chico. I was very uncomfortable that this is referred to as an “industry.” We are a community and certainly don’t require industrial, gun-toting hired mercenaries, and I was so glad to read the DCBA is moving away from armed guards. Individual businesses must consider the tragedy that could have been avoided in the death of Tyler Rushing.

My hope is the Chico Police Department will not rely on armed guards, and I urge everyone to let Chief Mike O’Brien know your thoughts.

The key word in all of this is “armed.”

It is really disturbing to have ads for guns for Christmas gifts fall out of the CN&R each week. On Jesus’ birthday the greatest respect would be to honor the call to peace. Stop profiting from violence and death!

Chris Nelson


RNC is shameful

I am shocked from reading that the RNC is again financially supporting an accused child molester. I can understand an accused [sexually assaulting] president offering support to an accused pedophile wannabe senator, who allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl.

I am surprised to see that the Republican National Committee has become a supporting organization. Shame on you. What you are doing is giving a green light to pedophiles to have free range to sexually assault children.

Where there is no condemnation of the behavior, sexual assault of children, there is no moral compass. America has always had a moral compass. By making a determination that pedophiles have a higher status in America than Democrats, you have engaged in making children in America less safe.

If I understand your position, family values now include that it is OK for daddy to diddle daughters, deny the accusations and run for political office. How shocking to hear this level of immorality from an organization that professes the sacredness of birth.

Peggy Lopez

Red Bluff

Mind the park

Who’s minding the store these days in Bidwell Park? Great swathes of the Upper Park grasslands from Sycamore Channel to Horseshoe Lake and beyond have become overgrown with waist-high star thistle. Whatever controls were used in years past, which were at least partly effective, must have been neglected in the past two or more years, allowing the noxious weed to become so widespread and densely established.

Now—before the late winter/early spring growing season—is time (way overdue) to plan a strategy to combat further infestation. The East Bay Regional Park District in Alameda and Contra Costa counties employs goat herds to chomp down the thistle as it emerges from winter dormancy. Could goats work for Upper Park? Controlled burns? Well-timed mowing? Whatever the best method, it’s worth spending some maintenance money to try to beat back star thistle in our city’s park treasure. The longer we ignore it, the harder it will get.

Alicia Springer