Letters for July 21, 2016

About those oil trains

Re “Stop that train” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, July 14):

Judging by the photo in the article, the best way to stop an oil train in Chico is to trespass on railroad property. Like the article said, the biggest risk is for a train to collide with a vehicle or a trespasser. This has happened many times in Chico. An alternative would be to transport oil by pipeline, but the so-called “climate change activists” are against those, too.

Adam Clegg


What can more easily be accomplished, in my opinion, is to require the toxic chemical (including oil)-carrying trains to slow down while passing through Chico, and we can politic to require these trains to carry triple-walled chem/oil cars, even though triple-walled have failed in past derailments.

Clay Olson

Santa Cruz

End this war, too

One of the benefits of ending the bankrupt war on marijuana would be making money available for truly needed programs.

Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on investigating, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana “criminals,” we could instead upgrade infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings), further beautify parks and beaches, support sustainable energy research, hire more teachers, reduce tuition, award scholarships, more effectively steward natural resources, safeguard retirement portfolios, improve and expand drug abuse rehabilitation services, increase medical research, award grants to the arts, museums and other nonprofits, subsidize Medicare for All, etc.

Those presently employed in occupations dependent upon the drug wars—DEA and allied agencies, for-profit prison staffs, prison guards, probation and parole personnel—would take financial hits until alternative employment became available. However, that would be a good problem to have.

We incarcerate more and a higher percentage of citizenry than any other country, nearly 2.2 million. Moreover, a hugely disproportionate percentage of California’s prisoners are black or Hispanic, an injustice requiring extensive remedy. As with all wars, ending this one would be triumphant.

William Todd-Mancillas


‘Rock on, Ruth!’

Raised in Flatbush, in Brooklyn, mom and sis dead by the time she was 16, Ruth Bader Ginsburg climbed the pinnacle of the legal profession, mightiest force ever for women’s rightful advancement—and deserving and qualified of expressing her ailing heart.

Ginsburg, the incomparably enlightened and accomplished associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has evidently heard enough, especially from someone so indecent as to criticize veteran P.O.W. studs like John McCain. Rock on, Ruth!

Hopefully support for Trump dwindles to just those attaining the exalted level of a Trump University certificate. Golly, $34,000 buys a course outlining what worthless course to purchase next. That’s how to rake in millions—not with bankrupt casinos and golf courses. This is who is raping our fellow citizens—it’s sure not my Mexican family.

Could he actually become the next president—this boorish, bully breed of predator politician? The Smothers Brothers defined politics as POLI (many) and TICS (heartless, blood-sucking organisms). This might make the traditional role of the loyal opposition nearly impossible come November.

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

Superdelegate update

I wanted to share the latest information on the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the week of July 25. Five of us delegates (representing both Sanders and Clinton) from our congressional district had lunch together to share information on how the convention works.

Sen. Sanders will speak on Monday night. On Wednesday night, we will count the votes from California’s 551 delegates, so when the convention secretary asks, California, how do you vote?, the report will include the over 200 votes for Sen. Sanders. On Thursday night, Secretary Clinton will give her acceptance speech and then the Sanders/Clinton coalition will campaign across America.

Trump and the whole Republican ticket is clear: huge tax cuts for billionaires; abortion (even in the case of rape) criminalized; nuclear weapons given to Saudi Arabia (then a military coup); 12 million undocumented people picked up by vigilante groups and put in internment camps; Muslims barred from entering the U.S.; and extremists nominated to the Supreme Court, ones that will turn the clock back to the 1950s on civil rights.

Bob Mulholland


Speak of the devil

This is your last chance, Bob. If you and your superdelegate colleagues can be brave, you can strengthen the party to its strongest ever and easily defeat the Republicans by changing your vote to Sanders. You would reflect your community and the wisest choice for our progeny. Sway other superdelegates who know this is the right thing to do, even if it works against your and their own personnel standing with those who put money before all else.

You have a grave responsibility bestowed on you, unfairly or not. Be a hero, Bob, and have the satisfaction of knowing you did everything you could to secure a healthy future for all.

R. Sterling Ogden


‘Important questions’

Another uproar: “Melanoma Rump gives plagiarized speech!!!” And the real shame in this? Her husband failed to micromanage the writing team, to hire a competent lot of sycophants. How can a man be king when he can’t be trusted to go into the free market and buy an original speech—one that makes his wife appear as something other than an utter fool?

Could this be more “misogyny” at work? Did the wannabe king throw the wannabe queen under the locomotive of patriarchy? Is there subconscious sexism in the mix? Sabotage?

Personally, I feel hurt. I listened in good faith, believing the speech to be as original as Melanoma’s puffy-cloud-sleeve, $90,000 dress. I thought she probably scribbled the whole thing in Slovene, on an old lunch sack, while lurching along in a cigar-smoke-filled caboose—the way Lincoln done it. (Well, OK, Lincoln wrote stuff in something like English.)

How do I go on? Yesterday the sky looked so blue. Today, the weather is the same, but the sky is a dirty sock sort of color—something like that.

Can we be great again? How do I restore my faith? These are important questions.

Patrick Newman



A story in last week’s Newlines (see “Stop that train,” by Ken Smith, July 14) incorrectly stated that BNSF Railway Co. operates the railroad tracks along the Feather River. The track is owned by Union Pacific and used by BNSF through a trackage rights agreement. We apologize for the error, which has been corrected online. —ed.