Letters for December 15, 2016

About the forests

Re “Pines imperiled” (Cover story, by Howard Hardee, Dec. 8):

It’s sad to see all the trees decimated by the bug kill. The drought has caused a lot of damage. But look at Google Maps, at the devastation of the clear-cuts Sierra Pacific Industries has done from Stirling City to Manton in the last five years.

When you cut down trees (timber) at such a massive volume, the pheromones released by damaged trees attract bark beetles. The bugs were already here before the drought. The larger population of woodpeckers—pileated and flickers—increased due to the insect-infested trees. This goes for the stumps and damaged trees left behind by the timber company.

The drought has brought a huge die-off. However, if Sierra Pacific Industries had not clear-cut so much acreage, maybe the natural order of the forest would have been able to keep up with the bark beetle outbreak.

Lloyd Romine


Blame wealth inequality

Re “RIP Donna” (Arts DEVO, by Jason Cassidy, Dec. 8):

The Oakland Ghost Ship fire was brought closer to home when I heard about a friend’s connection to fire victim and Chico native Donna Kellogg—along with reading the tribute by Jason Cassidy.

The fire—claiming 36 lives—was the worst California building fire since the San Francisco quake of 1906. Our local daily responded with a characteristically facile editorial, hammering the point that building codes must be more tightly enforced.

For decades, we’ve been hearing that the U.S. is trending toward Third World-type wealth distribution, as economic data reveal growing numbers of people with zero assets (now about 50 percent), a drooping middle class and an ever wealthier class of financial predators. Nations with grossly unjust wealth distribution drive people into slums and onto the streets. As we drift in this direction, what can we expect to see, other than more shelter-related problems and outright disasters?

Contrast Trump Tower—where Donald, Melania and Barron share 30,000 square feet of Rococo splendor—with the Ghost Ship, where dozens of people shared a dilapidated warehouse. (Or, contrast Trump Tower with the 2 to 3 million homeless people, in crowded shelters or under tarps.) We are seeing injustice made visible and “code enforcement” ain’t gonna fix it.

Patrick Newman


‘On a silver platter’

Bernie Sanders [switched his party affiliation to] Democrat, yet the now-fired Debbie Wasserman-Schultz allowed him to run in the primaries against Hillary Clinton. Add to the recipe in the general election Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and enough votes were cast for these no-chance losers to tip the scale in Donald Trump’s favor in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, handing to him and his cabinet of billionaires the White House on a silver platter.

Recent history proves that voting for third-party obvious losers was a vote for Trump, or, as in the 2000 Florida vote, George W. Bush. (Ralph Nader garnered more than 97,000 votes in the fateful 2000 Florida disaster that Bush won by 537 votes.) In the meantime, good old Bernie bought himself a new $750,000 home.

Ray Estes


Speaking of the rich

Will the Electoral College elect the candidate that won the popular vote by almost 3 million or the guy the Russians want in office?

R. Sterling Ogden


We may have gotten lucky on Trump’s pick for the Department of Energy. During the Republican debates in 2012, that was one of three departments that Rick Perry promised to abolish if he were elected president and the one he couldn’t remember when stating that position. There’s a good chance he’ll forget to go to work.

Chuck Samuels


Buckle up, people

Noam Chomsky says that wages—adjusted for inflation—haven’t increased in the U.S. since 1979. I hear that if minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since the ’70s it would now be over $20 per hour. I began working as a mechanic (“technician” is the term Honda prefers) in 1978. So, my entire career has been in a period in which working people got no raises. Years of training, decades of hard work, doing skilled work and making money for my employers never mattered.

This is the story of tens of millions of us in this country. We are getting paid less than we were 40 years ago! How can we be surprised when working men and women elect someone who seems different? If the trend doesn’t change, we can look forward to some real unpleasantness. As the mechanic in that old ad says, “Pay me now, or pay me later.”

Nelson Kaiser


Hostile takeover

Have you ever heard of Tammany Hall politics? That organization dominated Democratic politics in New York during the mid-1800s. Its tactics were thuggery and bullying to control the political machine that elected “anointed candidates” into office.

I witnessed such a “Tammany Hall” meeting on Dec. 8 at the regular monthly meeting of the Butte County Republican Central Committee! I sat next to the chairman and vice chairman expecting to say the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer (as we usually do at our meetings). Instead, your senator, Jim Nielsen, took over and called the meeting to order, loudly proclaiming he was installing the new members of this body (elected in June 2016) himself! No parliamentary procedures were followed! Loud shouts of no! no! followed from the current members of the committee!

I, too, was elected in June to be a delegate in 2017, but was appalled to find most of the other delegates were staff members of elected officials! (Current bylaws state that installation of officers and delegates occurs in January, not December!)

Methinks this was done by our elected officials to head off possible changes in bylaws preventing staff members from being officers! Dirty politics just got dirtier!

Loretta Ann Torres