Letters for February 28, 2019

Bernie defenders united

Re “Don’t dismiss Bernie—yet” (Editorial, Feb. 21):

First, after not getting the Democratic nomination himself in 2016, Bernie Sanders endorsed and vigorously campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders’ agenda, including improved Medicare for all, better Social Security benefits, free tuition at public universities, a $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal to put people to work, indeed will benefit the majority of Americans and is supported by the majority of the people.

Sanders will stop this business of regime change, endless useless wars and will drastically cut the bloated military budget. He is the only major candidate who is for an even-handed policy to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sanders doesn’t take any corporate PAC money. All of his campaign contributions come from people who donate. As a member of Congress since 1990, he’s gotten a lot of legislation enacted by the amendment process and has been able to get Republicans to work with him.

I have never been so inspired by a presidential candidate, since Robert Kennedy in 1968, as I am now by Bernie Sanders. I am proud to support him and I believe that we will nominate and elect him this time.

Walter Ballin


I usually agree with CN&R editorials, but not this one. I am not dismissing Sanders; I’m thrilled that he’s running! Your editorial assumes that Jill Stein voters would have voted for Clinton, but that is unlikely. Many Americans did not like or trust Hillary—that’s why they did not support her! Many hard-working Americans did not feel that she understood their plight, while Bernie’s advocacy for working people struck a deep chord.

Those who blame Bernie Sanders for Hillary’s loss are in denial about the failings of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. She ran a terrible campaign; for many voters, her vision did not light a spark. Her campaign was dragged down by revelations of ineptitude and corruption and the underhanded way they repeatedly sought to undermine Sanders’ campaign—all the way through the Democratic primary. I still mourn that Donna Brazile compromised her integrity by informing Hillary of debate questions ahead of a debate with Sanders—remember that?

Without DNC interference, I believe Sanders would have won the primary and the presidency. In this 2020 round, may integrity prevail, and true visionary policies raise all boats.

Emily Alma


In your editorial, “Don’t dismiss Bernie—yet,” you write that Bernie supporters “helped put us where we are today” and “many progressives have yet to atone for making a reckless [choice].” I’m confused. Might you be thinking of Ralph Nader’s 2000 run on the Green Party ticket? Unlike Nader, Bernie ran as a Democrat, not as a third-party candidate. When he lost the nomination, he supported Hillary Clinton. Also unlike Nader, Bernie did not draw votes away from the Democratic candidate in the presidential election and thus help elect a Republican. The quotes above apply precisely to Nader in 2000, but I don’t see how they apply to Bernie.

Charles Holzhauer


Editor’s note: The editorial is in reference to those who supported Sanders during the primary but subsequently voted for someone other than Hillary Clinton, including Donald Trump, in the presidential election. According to post-election analysis, 12 percent of those who supported Sanders during the primary went on to vote for Trump.

Substance over image

Re “Woman’s day” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 14):

Within hours of Kamala Harris being elected to the U.S. Senate, California Democrats were drooling over her “demographic allure,” viewing it as the asset propelling her to president in 2020.

I don’t care if Harris slept her way into top-tier, big-money Democratic politics. I do care that her core values are modest, easily trumped by political expediency, as displayed by her time as California attorney general.

In Congress, she voted yes on her first hugely increased defense budget. When time to vote on her second defense budget, she realized it was politically expedient to vote no.

Image trumping values might be a California thing.

Looking closely, Gov. Jerry Brown always disappointed, being more carefully cultivated image than substance. C-Span recently aired an interview with Maureen Dowd and Brown. Brown declared how much he liked women in expensive clothes and jewelry. Dowd asked Brown about wealth/income inequality. He seemed perplexed, then dismissive, clearly disinterested.

Melissa, you may think it is “about damn time” for a woman candidate. I don’t give a damn about the gender; I want a candidate who is more substance than image, with core values, bold ideas and in touch with the real needs of poor and working people.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

About that meeting

Re “Heavy lifting” (Newslines, by Robert Speer) and “Love is hell” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 21):

I’d like to correct (or clarify) Mr. Speer’s reporting on the City Council’s vote on the recommendations of our Sustainability Task Force (STF).

In an inadvertently confusing series of actions, Mayor Randall Stone first made a motion to: adopt new California Standards, to revise our Climate Action Plan to achieve those standards and to seek grant funding. Councilmember Ann Schwab seconded the motion but mentioned changing our STF to a Climate Action Committee (CAC) as part of her reasoning. I noticed and made mention of the discrepancy and Councilmember Schwab withdrew her motion. I then offered the mayor a friendly amendment to include changing the STF to a CAC, and when he declined I made a sub-motion, adding conversion of the STF to a CAC to his original motion.

That motion, seconded by Councilmember Karl Ory, was voted for by only myself, Schwab and Ory, losing 3-4. Mayor Stone’s original motion, minus the STF to CAC conversion, was then voted on, and desiring to make some progress on the issue, I voted for it, allowing it to pass 4-3.

Scott Huber


Editor’s note: The story in question incorrectly reported that Mr. Huber dissented during the final vote in a series on the STF. It has been corrected online.

After years of raising objections at council meetings and in the media, the human rights concerns around depriving the homeless of toilet access were again well-articulated by several speakers at the Feb. 19 council meeting. Sadly, to the exclusion of any reference to human rights violations, your reporter focused on comments concerning location and number of toilets; then quoted an environmentalist, highlighting threats to waterways. It’s not that these are unimportant concerns, but to ignore the human rights dimension is to miss the heart of the story.

Though the right to shelter is a basic human right (Universal Declaration of Human Rights), thousands now live in our public spaces due to a dearth of affordable/public housing and inadequate social services. Compounding the problem, we live in a city that has long criminalized and deprived the homeless population. I’m happy to see that our council is moing, at least incrementally, toward justice on our streets.

Regarding Ryan Adams: The New York Times coverage reflects a decline in the quality of American journalism. Adams’ alleged criminality is a legitimate news story. On the other hand, “he said, she said” claims of “emotional abuse” are rightly the province of the National Enquirer.

Patrick Newman


Listen up, Trump-bashers

Yes folks, for all you Trump-bashers here in California, you have a much more serious problem. His name is Gavin Newsom, a protégé of Jerry Brown.

Brown did more to raise the crime rate in California starting with Assembly Bill 109 and an open-border policy. His initial response to the Camp and Carr fires was that “this is just the new norm for California.”

Brown’s 12 cent gas tax and DMV hike is another way to punish working taxpayers, as he spends billions on a high-speed train to nowhere.

Newsom recently withdrew troops from the Mexico border, stating the emergency is “manufactured.” I have to wonder how the parents of Kate Steinle feel about that.

Mick Watkins