Letters for January 25, 2018
On finding your ‘pack’
Re “Ten ways to get healthy” (Cover story, Jan. 18):
The fourth recommendation is to have a “strong network of family and friends”—to find our “pack.”
At last Saturday’s Women’s March there was a huge “pack” of women with the same values and goals. What if they were all connected on the basis of where they live, as neighbors as well as activists? What might happen if we if we formed a Chico Neighborhood Women’s Network?
I know from personal experience that our “sisterhood” would become even more powerful, productive and healthy. I was part of a 200-member Neighborhood Women’s Network in San Francisco’s Richmond District when we were protesting the Vietnam War. By freely helping each other face-to-face in neighborly ways, we had more time and enthusiasm for community service. We had more fun, too. We had block parties, garage sales, potlucks and swaps. We started environmental action and anti-nuke groups, a community center, saved a lot of Victorian homes from demolition, and built a playground.
In order to connect their members as neighbors, Chico activist groups need to get their addresses, as well as their emails and phone numbers. I don’t know if there is a computer program that would help put together such a neighbor’s network, but if there is a will, there will be a way.
More on the march
Much admiration to those who organized and volunteered at the Chico Women’s March on Saturday. It was heartening to see thousands of neighbors demonstrating such enthusiastic solidarity. It was also encouraging to see several local candidates actively cultivating progressive support—Debra Lucero and Tami Ritter are both running for county supervisor seats, while Heather Minton, Rich Ober, Jeremy Markley and Scott Huber are contending for three upcoming Chico City Council seats; they all have ideas worth hearing.
Millennia of aggressive economic competition, compelled by testosterone, forges a bleak dystopia of our grandchildren’s future. Perhaps more cooperative humans can lead the overdue enlightenment we desperately require. Women are generally more nurturing than men and more consistently pursue collaboration instead of domination. These traits are better than aggression at marshaling the expansive unity our growing range of severe global environmental crises demand.
Advanced compassion is also required closer to home, where public education steadily declines, infrastructure repairs are ignored, more and more neighbors are driven to starkest poverty while official priorities always favor the powerful.
If you’re a male candidate, please seek and heed abundant guidance from smart, kind and competent women, especially grandmothers and those from marginalized communities.
Voters deserve a say
Re “The scrap continues” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, Jan. 18):
The 2018 Women’s March theme of “Power to the Polls” must be honored this November by allowing the referendum on Chico Scrap Metal to go to the voters.
The health and well-being of the children and families in Chapman Elementary School and homes surrounding the nonconforming facility must take priority over its continued operation. The dust and runoff from the facility are hazards that cannot be ignored.
The current Chico City Council majority keeps spending money to prevent the public from having our say. Is there any doubt that if the facility were in an upscale Chico neighborhood the entire council would have voted to have it moved in a hot minute?
We’ve watched government and industry put the needs of contributors and profits ahead of public safety many times before, only to be left with human suffering and much larger bills—like the $87 million that Flint, Mich., will pay out, or PG&E’s $333 million settlement for chromium 6.
When the government fails to protect its citizens, the people must fend for themselves. Our City Council majority has abdicated its responsibility to protect the community. Let’s see how the voters feel about it.
More about the scrap
Since Chico is trying to forget things unwanted, why don’t we create a single site for Chico Scrap Metal, the Jesus Center and marijuana dispensaries? We could put all three way out by the airport. That way, we won’t have to think about them ever again.
Speaking of things “best forgotten,” we should create campaign signs for Doug LaMalfa: “The 1% says: ‘He’s one of us!’”
Mother’s plea: boot LaMalfa
I am writing this letter as a mother who lost a child to an opioid overdose in 2015. He was one of 54,000 people to die of an overdose that year.
We are in the midst of a crisis, yet our leaders are doing nothing to address this issue. During the past year, Congressman Doug LaMalfa has supported repealing the benefits in the Affordable Care Act that require insurance companies to pay for drug treatment and mental health services.
Families facing addiction need access to treatment. People can recover from addiction. Our congressman has done nothing helpful during this crisis. It is time District 1 had a representative who cared about solving this terrible crisis, rather than blinding voting to support donors and big business.
People’s lives are depending on it. I am voting to replace LaMalfa in 2018. We deserve a better congressman.
Whooping on the way
In 10 months, Americans will deliver a historical message to the Republican Party: If you cheat us, you won’t be in power.
America realizes when it has been screwed. Eighty-three percent of tax benefits under the Tax “Deform” Act will go to the super-rich, including large corporations. Instead of paying an effective 18 percent of their income, these corporate giants are expected to actually pay an average of 9 percent. Starting in 2018, over $1 trillion will be transferred to the upper class at the expense of middle America.
Republican leaders calculated that the middle class will be content as hamsters with crumbs. Even those crumbs are scheduled to disappear after the next two elections, although tax benefits for the jet set and mega-corporations are permanent. The tax plan, carefully kept under wraps until the last minute, was in essence a payoff demanded by large Republican donors, many of whom threatened to cut off campaign contributions if the Tax Deform Act was not passed.
The middle class will give its message by voting against all Republicans for all political offices on the 2018 ballot for this historical betrayal. The only kind of message the Republican elite understands are butt-whoopings at the ballot box. The message will be simple: “This will never happen again.”
An important day
Saturday (Jan. 27) is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day, I would suggest, for parents to explain to their children that throughout history, humans have become monsters, including in this country with the slaughter of Native Americans, the lynching of thousands of blacks, the killing of thousands of Mexicans in the Southwest after the U.S. “annexed” Texas to California, the internment of tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans and others.
But Holocaust Remembrance Day is about World War II, with Hitler and his Nazi military killing up to 12 million people, including Gypsies, disabled people, political prisoners, artists, teachers, gays and 6 million Jews. My father and his Army unit liberated the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp on May 5, 1945, where one of the survivors was Simon Wiesenthal. As a kid, I came across a box of photos my dad had from that Nazi prison—depicting humans that were barely alive.
Let’s use Saturday to talk to others and parents to talk to their teenagers about actual history. And thank our World War II veterans.
Others are culpable
One of the darkest numbers in American history is 144. That is the current estimate of the number of blameless young women and girls abused by that miserable, disgusting, selfish creep Larry Nasser. What this number tells us is that there were many individuals who were present and in positions of power who shirked their responsibilities, and, instead of stopping this horrible creep—or helping any of these young women, many of whom the public has identified as heroes and who were desperately in need of help—closed their eyes.
U.S. Olympic officials, coaches and others effectively supported Nasser and condoned what he did. Nasser was just way too blatant, aggressive, obvious, profligate and arrogant to credit any claim that others were unaware. Think of it: there were people who knew, had to know, that the heroines being cheered on TV were being serially subjected to the most awful, damaging abuse possible solely for the venal gratification of one scoundrel.
So until we focus attention on the enablers as well as the most horrible and sick among us, we are not truly moving forward as we should. If no one else is held to account, with Nasser, indeed prosecuted, we will not really have moved beyond this sort of outrage.
Norman B. Beecher