Letters for February 23, 2017
CN&R’s dam stories
Your extensive coverage of the Oroville Dam events was exceptional and needed. Jane Dolan (I’m her husband), as a member of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board (appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown), and I are following the crisis closely.
I spent many hours volunteering at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds over five days. The first night saw over 2,000 evacuees arrive and the response of many reminded me of my time in Vietnam. The people, mostly from Oroville, were scared and had many questions, but our community came through.
We owe thanks to many, including Gov. Brown for organizing state resources (CHP, etc.); other government agencies; Scott Stoller, the fairgrounds manager; the Red Cross for so much, especially trained volunteers; and businesses and so many people who dropped off everything from toys and clothes to food.
Thoughts concerning Oroville Dam and its spillways:
1. The emergency spillway was never designed for actual use and in its present form stands as a huge liability. We all saw what happened in 40 hours with very limited use. Can we all agree it will not/should not ever be used again?
2. Work should begin immediately to design and build a new spillway in the same location [as the emergency spillway] as authorities are now possibly wasting time and money on the emergency repairs.
3. The existing primary spillway would be used in its completely damaged but apparently usable condition until the second spillway is completed. Any changes or attempts to repair or reconstruct the primary spillway could compromise its use in an emergency. It conceivably could be “left alone” as “the” emergency spillway, so engineers and students would have plenty of time to study it and think about what happened. Things like prematurely corroded rebar or patched cracks may have pointed to deeper problems.
Editor’s note: The author is the other Bob Speer in Chico—not the former editor of this publication.
Some denied help
Re “‘Get to higher ground’” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Feb. 16):
I am a volunteer firefighter who left her home, family and safety to help evacuate others who could not escape on their own. I chose, like many other firefighters and police officers, to be a sitting duck to help those who could not help themselves and to protect Butte County residents’ homes and businesses from looters.
Many homeless people denied our help to evacuate them to safety. We cannot force them to accept a ride from us or any other form of transportation that the county departments helped provide. As we drove away to find and help others, we were sad. Felt truly awful.
I am also a volunteer at the Oroville Rescue Mission for the last six years. My brother and sister are living at that shelter. It was reassuring to know that the rescue had an evacuation plan in place to automatically get them to safety, from programmers to the shelter side. All were safe.
Be safe and be prepared.
No cutting corners
Re “Eye of the storm” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Feb. 16):
Congressman LaMalfa, you do not cut corners on repairing this dam. This problem could have been solved in 2005, but you and your buddies in So Cal agri-biz and water contractors wanted irrigation water and didn’t care about the potential problems with the dam. You are doing it again. Who is the “We” in “We can’t be fooling around or held up by a bunch of permits and lawsuits and nonsense.” It’s not me, it’s not the environmentalists, and it’s not the citizens of the North State.
How can the citizens trust you when you say something so thoughtless? If it takes two years or more, then let it happen, but do not sacrifice the economy and the lives of citizens in the North State for the greed of the water contractors and agri-biz in Southern California.
Environmental organizations are in agreement that climate change, caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, brings on extreme weather events like our recent “pineapple express” storms. They’ve been warning the public about this since NASA atmospheric scientist James Hansen first warned Congress back in 1988. For climate denier Doug LaMalfa to suggest that “environmental organizations” might cause delays with “a bunch of permits and lawsuits and nonsense” unfairly shifts the blame.
LaMalfa and fellow climate deniers are to blame. LaMalfa has never recognized the devastating costs of coal and carbon use, nor has he ever been remotely aware of how to make our infrastructure climate friendly. Like a medieval king hiding out from his subjects, he won’t even hold a town hall meeting. LaMalfa and Agent Orange (Trump) have a lot in common when it comes to climate denial, lying and shifting the blame, but the peasantry and middle class, recently cowering beneath the ill-prepared Oroville Dam, will not be fooled much longer. (Go to: www.indivisible guide.org.)
Evacuation and empathy
I wonder if any of the 200,000 people who had to evacuate due to the recent flood danger gave any thought to the plight of millions of people around the world that have had to flee their homes every day—many die, and many will never be able to go back.
Thankfully, our area was only affected for about 48 hours before returning home, and just look at the chaos those few hours produced. Imagine what it would be like to endure that situation for years or even a lifetime, yet we do not seem to have much empathy for refugees running for their lives. I hate drama, except in books or on TV. I prefer being contently bored in my daily life!
J. Troy Chambers
Re “Amazed by the left” (Letters, by John Matlin, Feb. 16):
Being once again admonished by an apologetic Trump supporter for pointing out the uneducated white male vote that went to Trump, 58 percent to 31 percent, I stumbled on a couple of other statistics that have me scratching my head. Voters 65 and older voted for Trump by a 53 percent to 45 percent margin over Hillary Clinton. Being in that particular demographic, I’m scared to death of losing my Social Security and Medicare benefits. Tom Price and the GOP Congress are salivating over dismantling them. Go figure.
Last but not least, the most bewildering result come from the white evangelicals who voted Trump by a whopping 80 percent to 16 percent. These are probably the same deplorables who put “vote for the American” signs out in front of their churches in 2012, and accused Obama of being the anti-Christ, etc. If Lucifer himself ran on a Republican ticket, he’d get the so-called evangelical vote, but like grab-happy Trump’s Calvinism/Reformed Church of America religion teaches, just whisper a prayer of repentance. Their hypocrisy still amazes me.
Time for a town hall
I became a U.S. citizen when I was 12 years old. I spent nine years in the U.S. Army, and I vote in every election. Usually Democratic. I’ve heard a lot the last few days about a Republican congressman from New York who held four town hall meetings this past Saturday, the first day of our hard-working Congress’ week off. He faced and listened to many protesters who disagreed with him. What a great example to our own representative here in California’s 1st District. Where’s Doug LaMalfa this week?
Lastly, my wife participated in the Women’s March recently and hasn’t received her check yet. Who’s paying these protesters?
‘Begin to fish’
There’s an old adage that begs the question whether you’re going to “fish or cut bait.” For the past three months, the Republican Congress has been “cutting bait,” looking forward to the future when the “fishing” will become lucrative for their programs. By now they should realize that that’s not likely to happen. The Trump administration has promised the fish harvest to the sharks, most of them with red stars on their sides and led by a great white named Putin.
If there are any patriots left in the Republican Congress who still believe country is more important than party, it is time for them to pick up their poles and nets and begin to fish, even if they may have to harpoon a few domestic sharks while they’re at it.
We can’t count on those who voted for Trump to change anything because they are more worried of being recognized as having been duped and, being too embarrassed to admit it, they choose to ignore it.
I fear if things don’t rapidly change, we’re in for a long fishless future.
W. Dean Carrier
Not a winner
Like Donald Trump, I too don’t like losers, and with his 39 percent approval rating, it doesn’t look like he’s exactly heading to the “Winner’s Circle.”
Mr. Trump: A free press constitutes one of the essential cornerstones of a free and democratic society. The Constitution guarantees that a free press shall exist to serve the American public.
It is absurd, ludicrous and quite untenable to assert that internationally respected American media organizations are the enemy of the people. It is the responsibility of the press to scrutinize the government, and specifically, to challenge your administration. It’s even more preposterous for you to suggest that members of the mainstream press corps and their respective news outlets are dishonest because their reporting is not to your liking.
Your proclamations would be silly if they weren’t so disturbing and dangerous. I demand that you apologize to both the media and the people of the United States for your recent insults to democracy.
The rest of the world is watching, sir. It’s time to start setting an example instead of creating a spectacle!
James P. Aram
Backing Speaker Bercow
An open letter to the speaker of Parliament: Dear Speaker John Bercow, I am writing to express my support for your efforts regarding the prospect of President Trump visiting England. Giving him a platform from which to spew his self-serving rants, half-truths and outright lies would be damaging to the standing of Parliament, and an embarrassment to most Americans.
Further, I sincerely hope that a way can be found to rescind Prime Minister May’s unfortunate invitation in such a way that it could be amended so as to not be a state visit.
My wife and I were in London last September and had the wonderful opportunity to visit Buckingham Palace. During our tour, we became horrified at the thought of President Trump, as the Queen’s guest, making a mockery of civility with his bombastic and narcissistic musings. We truly believed at the time that such a situation was not possible and yet here we are highly dismayed that such a visit may take place.
Speaker Bercow, we applaud your efforts regarding our president’s pending visit and wish you success in saving a lot of people the embarrassment from witnessing first-hand his uncouth and damaging rhetoric.
Roger S. Beadle
On speaking up
Tell your elected officials what you want. To find who represents you in the U.S. Congress, enter your zip code at www.whoismyrepresentative.com. Click on their name to get their office phone number. Call them. There are a few ground rules to maximize your call effectiveness: State your name and zip code, so they know you are a voter in that representative’s district. Clearly state what you would like to see happen; what you would like your representative to do. Talk about just a single issue. Stick to one phone call per day. Know what you are talking about—before calling, study up on what your interest is—get the latest news, try to recognize both sides of the issue, so you can talk intelligently to whomever you end up talking with. You will probably talk with an office staff member who will pass your thoughts on to the representative. We need to influence how our country is being run.
‘Fix the process’
It is really pathetic that our daily news is filled with hateful, un-American people who think protecting our nation’s borders is such an evil thing to do.
President Trump is taking his obligation as president seriously. His first call of duty is to protect the American people, which is something Barack Obama failed to address.
If you can’t properly and decisively know who you’re letting into the country, then you need to fix the process before continuing.
Common sense never seems to ring true with liberals and their agenda. They would let the refugee flood gates open, and then be horrified if there were terrorist attacks following the wave. American values are still the same, but immigrants from certain countries are definitely not. Liberals need to look at they’re empathetic riddled values and see if they line up with the brutal reality of the world. Our safety and our lives depend on it.
Beware the HEOWH
Maybe we (the Resistance) could withdraw all recognition of Trump as president and begin referring to him as what he actually is: The Hostile Entity Occupying the White House.
I wonder if the Oroville Dam would have been kept in good working order if Hollywood was the town just below it.