Letters for February 18, 2016

Remembering Vandy

Re “Our fellow man” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 11):

My heartfelt empathy goes out to the family of Vandy Dawn Caruthers, who was recently found dead after sleeping illegally in areas throughout and outside the town belt.

Vandy once told me her mother named her Vandy after passing Vanderbilt University in Tennessee on the way to the hospital to give birth. This was Vandy’s start in life—named after a university. I tried to help Vandy, once promising her, after she told me her daughter was getting married in Tennessee, that I would pay for her to fly to the wedding if she would let me help her get away from street living. She turned me down.

Vandy died of hypothermia. Her body lay on the ground for up to six weeks before she was found. Does the universe care that Vandy is dead? Will her death, and the others who have died in our town, change our minds about homelessness and the protected spaces of the propertied class?

Bill Such


School takes no stance

Re “Protest on principle” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Feb. 11):

Blue Oak School was the focus of “Protest on principle” in last week’s paper, outlining one family’s experience surrounding SB 277. This feedback prompted reflection on the statewide situation with the new California law.

Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 277, requiring all school-age children to be fully vaccinated in order to attend school, barring all religious or personal belief exemptions.

If a child is not current on all vaccinations by July 1, 2016, they will not be permitted to attend any K-12 school; their only option is home school. However, under the law, existing personal belief exemptions on file before Jan. 1, 2016, remain valid until the next immunization checkpoint (kindergarten and seventh grade).

For some, SB 277 puts at odds their right to free appropriate public education (FAPE) and their personal health care decisions. This dilemma has caused individuals throughout the state to organize and speak out. We’ve experienced this discourse at our school between supporters and nonsupporters.

Blue Oak holds no position on SB 277. The administration received questions regarding the law and took proactive measures, communicating to our families the intricacies of SB 277 and their options within it, thus supporting all of our families’ rights to an informed decision within the guidelines of the law.

Shannon O’Laughlin

education director, Blue Oak School


It’s not ‘green’

Re “BEC’s hypocrisy” (Letters, by David Gerard, Feb. 11):

Letter writer David Gerard should do his homework before casting aspersions on the Butte Environmental Council’s integrity. We do our homework because our integrity is a core value.

Supporters and opponents urged BEC to take a position on the proposed waste facility near Orland, and I told them I would need to review the environmental impact report (EIR) first in order to make an informed assessment based on the merits or impacts of the project. Having reviewed the EIR, we have taken a position that the proposed location on the banks of Stony Creek, atop a recharge zone of the Tuscan Aquifer, is a serious concern. Even the EIR states that the “environmentally superior alternative” is to build the facility at the former site of the Glenn County landfill.

Our other concerns include traffic and emissions, habitat impacts and the fact that it would disproportionately impact the largely Hispanic population that lives closest to the facility. The project proponents are promoting this as a state-of-the-art recycling and renewable energy generation facility. Look closer: All that glitters is not as “green” as it would at first appear.

Robyn DiFalco


Editor’s note: Ms. DiFalco is the executive director of the Butte Environmental Council.

Backing Joe

Re “Turbocharging neo-fascism” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Feb. 11):

I have more than once laughed as I read an opinion describing me as a pawn or at least beholden to Wayne Cook or Joe Montes—like they are an evil team that will not rest until all those experiencing homelessness are living even more unfortunate lives. Neither Wayne Cook nor Joe Montes has ever asked me or Stairways for anything—the opposite is true.

We are constantly asking Montes for some form of support. Montes is the founder of Stairways Programming’s board of directors, a tireless fundraiser and a mentor. Without his teaching me common-ground methods, Stairways would not today house over 60 or supply services to over 100 individuals. I hope the people of Chico see through the agenda of those opposed to Montes and judge the man on his deeds. Every person who experiences a successful outcome through Stairways does so because the program exists, and it exists because of Joe Montes.

For someone who supposedly hates homeless people, he sure does work hard to help them live better, healthier and more fulfilling lives. If you are going to describe his record regarding the homeless situation in Chico, you don’t get to ignore the truth.

Michael Madieros


Editor’s note: Mr. Madieros is executive director of Stairways Programming.

Thanks, public-safety folks

Re “Paradise officer charged” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Feb. 11):

I just want to publicly thank all our police and other first responders, paid and volunteer, and road crews. They serve the public in a professional manner daily, doing difficult and sometimes dangerous work. Without their efforts, our streets would see even more carnage and chaos.

I also feel that the real culprit in this story/tragedy is a multibillion-dollar culture/business that constantly tells us that we’re not having a great time unless we’re guzzling booze. Where are those citizens who profit the most from alcohol consumption when it comes time to pick up broken bodies, lives and families? Not the profiteers; it’s our first responders. If any readers get pulled over for a DUI or reckless driving, they should try thanking that officer for potentially saving their or others’ lives, instead of giving them a bad time.

Tom Molina


See ya, Manning!

Three goodbye cheers to Peyton Manning! Relieved the Broncos prevailed so fanatics wouldn’t suffer seeing No. 1 Cam Newton prancing about in powder-blue diapers. Bred for football, moments after victory, at the pinnacle of an excellent career during the ideal opportunity to express gratitude to others—most notably that defense—and Payton praises the almighty Budweiser.

He should have barked out an audible for a Big Mac with a jumbo sack of lime-flavored Flaming Hot Cheetos, to go for three of the healthiest and most vital products for kids. With one-fifth of the globe tuned in—and with millions detesting alcohol for obvious reasons—hopefully that’s his last play call.

Thirty people die in drunken-driving accidents daily in America. One human every 48 minutes gets splattered and 2,000 children are laid to rest annually due to some wasted idiot behind the wheel. And Super Bowl stats for spousal sacks are still being tabulated. Manning’s own brother, Eli, almost tossed it away once with a DUI! It may be time for a Manning huddle to have No. 18’s skull examined immediately instead of waiting until death, like the sometimes great, late Ken Stabler.

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

One man’s ‘survey’

With all the talk about homelessness, I decided to do my own personal survey by walking around City Plaza and chatting up a few people. Many were either so mentally ill or drugged out that I did not use them. I ended up talking to 10 people. Of those, it seemed that only two had a legitimate hardship and were actively searching to solve their problems. The others appeared primarily to be people who had tried and failed at living some type of communal/agrarian lifestyle.

All of them seemed to think that things were rigged against them and hated “the system” and “the man,” therefore rendering them unwilling to seek out a “regular job.” Many of them had modified their body and face to the point where they looked like an animated fishing lure. Fair or not, their appearance would probably preclude them from obtaining employment. They have every right to do this, but they shouldn’t expect “the system” to support them.

I had some admiration for the “hobos” when I was younger. They traveled the country by rail or by hitchhiking. They worked when they needed to, yet never received government assistance. I support helping the truly needy, but not the lazy.

Denny Royston


Just maybe

Maybe a caring and compassionate community will finally step up and provide all needed services for its homeless, transient, down-and-out street people, improving the quality of life for one and all.

Then maybe the city of Chico could follow their example.

Michael Bagwell


Bagging on Hillary

In a previous debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, one of the moderators asked Clinton if she felt responsible for the chaos in Syria, and twice Clinton refused to answer the question.

There’s no doubt she was involved in the changes of regime that preceded the upheaval of 12 million Syrians. She ought to be held responsible for her poor judgment and not running for the presidency. Hillary Clinton is part of the Bush War Machine. If she gets into office, it will be a victory for the Republican Party.

She says we don’t have to worry about another financial crash, because legislation has been put in place to stop this from happening. She lied in front of millions of people. The regulations that are in place are inadequate. We need the Glass-Steagall Act to stop another financial crash.

John Breen