Letters for January 18, 2018

One on the cover

Re “Into the dark web” (Cover story, by Jason Smith, Jan. 11):

Indeed, a truly scintillating exposition last week revealing the onion router—TOR—that is lurking ominously somewhere deep within the World Wide Web. It seems unlikely the Oval Office will ever seriously condemn, threaten or ridicule the existence of such a disturbing entity. Unless, of course, people continue to refer to it as “dark.”

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

Anti-pot members must go

Re “Before you grow” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, Jan. 11):

It is utterly wrong that the Chico City Council made it so difficult for people to get marijuana by outlawing outdoor grows and dispensaries, considering that the people approved Proposition 64 by a landslide.

There are so many people who provide testimony about how medicinal marijuana helps them with their illnesses. Meanwhile, so many people get very sick and die as a result of adverse effects from prescription drugs like Norco, Klonopin, Ambien and Gabapentin that are overprescribed by doctors.

I had a good friend who literally got physically and mentally messed up from taking those prescribed medications for many years. She died last July. Medicinal marijuana would have been much better for her than those medicines. Had she not been prescribed all of those medications, I believe that she would be alive and in good health today.

The City Council members who voted to make it so difficult for people to be able to get their marijuana must be defeated next November and replaced by council members who will approve outdoor grows and dispensaries with reasonable regulations.

Walter Ballin


‘Not even debated’

Re “Open your eyes” (Letters, by Peter Bridge, Jan. 11):

The article “Tiny houses, big potential” quotes Pastor Dan Bryant, who said “concern [about the location of tiny house village Opportunity Village] disappeared.” In fact, renewal of the lease for the village in Eugene, Ore., (the primary model for Simplicity Village) was passed unanimously recently by the City Council.

That village is not even debated. I talked to a Eugene policeman and asked him if he liked the village. He said, “Yes.” Would you support another one? “Yes. I think crime has decreased in the area since they started the village.” I called the homeless project manager in Marysville and asked her if there was a big influx of homeless people into Marysville when the city got its village, 14Forward, going. She said, “No, there have been a handful of people.” That village, like Simplicity Village, is for housing local homeless people.

What are our options? Do what we have been doing and see the problem get worse unabated? Or take a page from a neighboring community that is working successfully? Any other housing plan takes years longer to implement. This (self-funding) model will get more people off the street, in less time, for less money than any other program under consideration.

Charles Withuhn


An addendum

Re “The malevolent seven” (Guest comment, by Jaime O’Neill, Jan. 11):

I would respectfully like to add to Jaime O’Neill’s list [of the worst people of 2017]. All the Republicans who have thrown away their sense of decency, morality and duty to the people they are supposed to represent for the money promised by their billionaire donors and blindly follow the totally incompetent person currently playing at POTUS.

Laurie Havens


Case in point

A couple weeks ago I penned a guest column regarding the difference between facts and fantasies. This past week a remarkable incident occurred that fully exemplified this issue. A derogatory remark(s) regarding so-called “Third World countries” was purportedly made by the president in a meeting on immigration with several senators.

Two senators, one a Republican and one a Democrat, reported that these comments were indeed made. Two others, both Republicans, claim they were not. This is a simple case of fact versus fantasy—or who is lying and who is not. Obviously there is no middle ground here; either the remarks were not uttered and two have lied that they were, or the remarks were uttered and two have lied that they weren’t.

It would seem the American public should expect that persons elected to high public offices could be trusted to tell the truth. But I guess not.

Dean Carrier


More on the vulgarity

It’s hard to imagine anyone being surprised, or even shocked, that Trump referred to parts of Africa and Haiti as “shithole countries.” We have known since he launched his campaign that he is a racist with xenophobic views. He built his campaign explicitly rooted in bigotry, exclusion and white resentment, and since becoming president has repeatedly displayed his lack of decency, concern for human rights and respect for democracy.

The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, embraced his comments when they posted, “This is encouraging and refreshing, as it indicates Trump is more or less on the same page with us with regards to race and immigration.” This is the main voice of his base, and it has nothing to do with the betterment of our country.

What should be shocking is the complicity shown by the Republican leadership in Washington. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called it “unfortunate.” No, Mr. Ryan, this jeopardizes our national security by stoking the flames of hatred against America. As of this writing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been mute, as have Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel and her uncle, Mitt.

Trump now has his wall and it’s the one he’s built between his despicable presidential behavior and civility.

Roger S. Beadle


Speaking of racism

Donald “Igor” Trump has been quoted numerous times saying, “I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet.” Let’s look at the evidence: The Central Park Five, housing discrimination lawsuits, Mexicans are “rapists,” birtherism, “There’s my African-American” (July 2016 at the Redding airport), Charlottesville, hurricane response in Puerto Rico, “shithole” countries, Haitians all have AIDS.

And Doug “he’s one of us” LaMalfa continues to support this creep.

Ed Pitman


‘Face of homelessness’

Re “From the ashes” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Jan. 11):

“From the ashes” has a personal bent as I have interviewed Mike Spurgeon and Jerry Weece several times over the years for the Without a Roof blog. Their story, and those of their housemates, of surviving and thriving together with housing is one that repeats itself over and over again from the hundreds of houseless people I have interviewed and spoken with over the years. The people in this article are the predominant face of homelessness; fellow human beings with little in their wallets but a lot in their hearts.

Bill Mash


The silver lining

Re “Two of a kind” (Editorial, Jan. 4):

I disagree with the Jan. 4 editorial. Kim Jong Un is definitely rational. I don’t know about Trump.

Kim knows that unless North Korea has nuclear weapons, he and his country could meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and what the U.S. intended for Bashar Assad in Syria.

By proposing talks with South Korea, Kim, not the U.S., is practicing wise diplomacy.

Trump campaigned on less military adventurism, and all the neocon Iraq war promoters supported Hillary, who boasted of her willingness to use military force to improve the world.

Whether the Democrats’ incessant McCarthy-like Russian bashing is an attempt to force Trump into the accepted military enforced, U.S.-as-top-dog-status foreign policy with the military industrial complex in full control, who knows? Certainly the foreign policy engineered by Washington’s “best and the brightest” is responsible for the disasters of Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia ad infinitum.

In response to Trump’s bizarre foreign policy, Europe is growing into the role of a responsible world leader, and Russia and China may follow. Trump’s legacy may be a multipolar world relying more on the long slog of negotiation, not military action.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

Test out the wall

Since the president is currently trying to blackmail the public into spending billions of dollars on his wall, I propose a test to show the world how effective his security barrier really is. Choose a 16-year-old boy, a 25-year-old woman and a senior citizen. (I am 87, and I would love to represent the senior citizens.)

Place each of these folks next to a sample wall that has been erected and see if they can reach the other side. Given enough time and good-old American grit and determination, I will bet all of them will be successful. Since Trump is so sure this wall is so great, have him put up a million dollars for any or all three of these contestants who accomplish their task.

In my last letter on this subject (see “About that wall,” Letters, Jan. 19, 2017), I stated that the only wall that I could find that did what it was erected for was the one at San Quentin Prison, and even that one has failed on several occasions—even with the inmates locked in cells and armed guards patrolling.

Don Rogers


‘Courage and sacrifice’

As reported by Reuters, the U.S ambassador to Panama, John Feeley, has resigned, stating that he “signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies. My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor-bound to resign. That time has come.”

Ambassador Feeley has demonstrated courage and sacrifice in standing up for what he believes and what is the right thing to do in the face of the current racist rhetoric coming out of the White House. It is long past time for all of us to do the same. History is full of examples of the citizenry standing by silently while tyrants in power spread racist hate and division. What happened in Europe can happen again, and if we are not diligent and vocal, it can happen here.

Dan Gordon


Thanks, Chico

After dealing with Waste Management for the last three months, I must say, “I am exhausted!” They are the worst people in dealing with customer service that I have ever seen! I can call them on a daily basis and get a different answer each time.

To the city of Chico: Thank you for giving us no choice! We are stuck! We had Recology for years prior to being forced to switch. We never had one problem with their service! Maybe city leaders should rethink their choice and select a company that is more suitable to handle the extra business—unless of course their palms have already been greased to the point of no return!

Martine Stillwell


Be a pal

Addressing the critical problem of below-grade-level reading skills in too many of our younger school children is a matter that ought to be of prime concern to all of us. That is the reason that I decided to become a Reading Pals volunteer at John McManus School two years ago.

Since then, I have seen the sort of steady and documented progress that the extra help, attention and practice provide. At the same time, I have benefited by finding good use for of some of my retirement hours, making new friends among the children, staff and volunteers, and staying in tune with what is going on in our local classrooms.

A new opportunity for literacy volunteers is opening up this winter, as the Reading Pals program expands to include Little Chico Creek Elementary School. With this major addition, the benefits of the Reading Pals approach will be extended to a whole new group of second- and third-graders who need a helping hand getting “over the bridge” to reading fluency.

Those interested in serving as volunteers are invited to call Volunteer Coordinator Katie Abarca-Good at 588-0119 or visit the website at readingpalschico.org. I hope that several more of our citizens decide to join me in the important work of being a Reading Pals volunteer.

Carl Ochsner