Letters for December 7, 2017

On the cover story

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

Thanks for making midnight shopping safe from deadly flowerpots. I feel secure that men in black with guns impersonating police officers are protecting my right to consume.

Since when do crimes against property merit capital punishment? And when did security guards and police become the judge, jury and executioner? So much for the Sixth Amendment to our Constitution that states, “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”

This type of “law enforcement” makes a mockery of our constitutional rights and shows disdain for the sanctity of life. Since flowerpots are now considered a deadly weapon, can we issue them to law enforcement in the place of guns?

Molly Amick


It’s starting to feel as if we’re in a state of martial law around here, so I have a suggestion: try mounted police. I’m from San Jose, where mounted police routinely patrol outdoor concerts, parades, parks. The system works well because it is more than an exercise in crime control—it’s an excellent way to enhance public relations.

An unruffled policeman on a fine-looking horse can ease the tensions before they have a chance to get worse. Anyone who has ever ridden a horse knows that the rider must remain calm in order to stay in control, and these days self-control in law enforcement is sadly lacking.

Lest anyone think that this is simply a ruse to avoid confrontation with evildoers, be assured that the rider will have a radio at all times. If the city can afford a big budget for armed guards, it can certainly afford to keep a horse or two. Besides, the kids love it.

Susan Grant


‘Opposing viewpoints’

At two homelessness forums last week, opposing viewpoints were apparent. Some want to improve and concentrate services by relocating and expanding the Jesus Center. Others believe that keeping the homeless close to downtown assures they’re not forgotten.

While the factions debate, wet and freezing weather is imminent. The Jesus Center relocation is only proposed at present, so we can assume build-out is years away. At the same time, our parks and downtown continue to feel less safe, and city residents are increasingly uncomfortable using them.

In times of crisis, triage focuses on solving the most immediate needs first. Toilets are the first and arguably easiest problem to solve. It’s foolish to believe we can deny bathroom access while hoping to curb unsanitary “improvising.” If we need to find the most vandal-proof portables available and hire security, let’s do it. The alternative is unacceptable.

Before we can effectively encourage homeless people away from parks and shopping areas, we need secure shelter to redirect them to. A quick and relatively inexpensive remedy is CHAT’s tiny house proposal; even faster and cheaper—homeless campgrounds such as those in Auburn, San Diego and Portland, Ore.

Ask City Council to implement short-term solutions to this pressing crisis.

Scott Huber


At a recent panel discussion on homelessness, Jesus Center Executive Director Laura Cootsona was asked about the cost and fate of the Robert Marbut “deep dive” study, which was commissioned by the Jesus Center last spring. Cootsona declined to reveal the cost and indicated the study was kept in-house and would not be made public. When pressed on whether the report was shared with Chico city government, Cootsona indicated it was not.

Since Marbut is a controversial consultant, who recommends that municipalities build one central compound and contain the homeless—by means of deprivation (ending citywide food and clothing distribution, etc.) and criminalization (a choice between county jail and a compound)—it’s important to know if his report was in fact held in strict confidence at the Jesus Center.

Since influential Jesus Center board member Mayo Ryan brought Marbut to Chico, is it reasonable to think he would not have shared Marbut’s recommendations with City Manager Mark Orme? If he did share these recommendations, is it reasonable to think it happened without Cootsona’s knowledge?

It’s an interesting coincidence that Marbut was here last spring and a few months later Orme presented the Jesus Center with city property for a compound. What gives?

Patrick Newman


Editor’s note: For more on this subject, see Ken Smith’s report on page 8.

Fun with guns

It has become apparent to me that assault rifle enthusiasts are only getting half the exciting experience of being well-armed. The butt end of the thing is pretty cool, but the real excitement comes from being shot at by someone equally well-armed. There’s nothing quite like a hail of rifle bullets whizzing by your noggin to wake you to life’s real possibilities.

I therefore propose that we bring back legal dueling. Assault rifles at 100 yards would be good—much closer and it would be over too fast. Cover could be optional, but a restricted lateral space would be necessary for safety, and, of course, two good backstops.

Each guy (or gal) would have one full mag—two in California because of the 10-round restriction. Put it on TV and help fund the schools, like the lottery. My preference would be for the M-14—the best all-around assault rifle ever made. Then you have something substantial in your hands if it ever comes to butts and bayonets, unlike the various M-16s, which are kinda winky.

Dave Cowan


GOP’s next agenda

Now that the Republicans passed their massive tax giveaway to the rich, they’re coming for our Social Security and Medicare.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) just revealed to Politico the Republicans’ plan to eviscerate the retirement of American workers. They’re connected: the Paygo law (“pay-as-you-go”) requires federal deficit increases to be offset by spending cuts. The new tax cut will expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, triggering cuts. Budget deficits are intentional: they force cuts to or elimination of programs Republicans abhor.

Government can’t help the American people because every available tax dollar must be given away to their rich donors. Now they’re taking away our Social Security, Medicare and the last remnants of the tattered safety net. They won’t stop until the last morsel is picked from the last bone of the U.S. economy.

To the barricades, people! Take to the streets! March on Washington! It’s time for the American people to take back our government from the plutocrats and restore our republic!

Charles Holzhauer


This is the new simplified tax form for the 99 percent. Line one: How much did you make last year_____? Line two: Send it in.

Pete Piersons