Letters for July 4, 2019

Utility challenges stories

Re “Dried up, desperate” (Cover story, by Ashiah Scharaga, June 27):

PG&E is concerned about the impacts of no canal water in the Middle Miocene Canal and is committed to working with stakeholders to identify potential short- and long-term solutions, including offering trucked water in the short-term to the contracted users at no charge to help them with critical needs.

Last week’s article omitted several important facts. It did not mention water contracts clearly state there is no guarantee of delivery, or that users have been urged to have alternatives. Nor is it mentioned that even if repairs had already begun on the upper canal, it would take years and cost PG&E electric customers more than $15 million.

The references to foothill yellow-legged frogs (FYLF) are misleading. The incidental observations of adult FYLF passing through pertained to the upper canal (not middle) and only close to the west branch of the Feather River when the canal was out of service. The canal is not suitable breeding habitat for FYLF. No egg masses or tadpoles were ever observed. According the California Department of Fish and Wildlife database, there have been no recorded sightings of FYLF near the Middle Miocene Canal since the 1950s.

Paul Moreno, PG&E spokesman


Editor’s note: Regarding PG&E’s view that it is not obligated to supply water, please see Ashiah Scharaga’s follow-up story in this week’s issue (page 9) that includes the precise contract language.

As reported in last week’s companion story (“Where the wild things aren’t,” by Scharaga), a memo authored by a California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist charged that the absence of water in the Miocene Canal likely jeopardizes at least two species, including the foothill yellow-legged frog and the California black rail.

Regarding the price tag for fixing the canal, it was inadvertently omitted from the story and has been added to the online version.

Goodbye, Grant

Re “Fatal conditions” (Newslines, by Andre Byik, June 27):

Grant—aka Wilson Tyler—was a fixture at City Plaza where we often met, usually on Sundays at the CFOTS (Chico Friends on the Street) gathering. He seemed to literally live in the square, though he’d find places to hide and sleep at the margins. Grant was a great source of information about the downtown and the unhoused homeless—the homeless who do not typically seek shelter.

I asked Grant if he would accept a housing unit were it available, possibly with help from a social worker. He was unequivocally positive about the idea. I don’t remember a specific conversation on the subject of why Grant was not interested in staying at a high-density shelter, such as Torres Community Shelter. But, it was clear he was not successful in that kind of environment.

Facilities such as the proposed Orange Street Shelter are needed, but it’s important to never lose sight of the human rights principle of basic autonomy, unless a person is a danger to themselves or others. We fall into a grave error when we use an empty shelter bed as the justification for issuing a “camping” ticket to a man like Grant—often leading to arrest on a failure to appear (FTA) warrant.

Mr. Tyler, you are missed.

Patrick Newman


Water and other worries

Re “Thanks, local officials, for standing up to the state” and “For health’s sake, don’t listen to the state” (Editorials, June 20 and 27):

I agree with the editorial, where it said, “Anyone living in the burn zone should question the state’s minimalist approach to the contamination issue.” Face it, the water is bad. I seriously doubt you should even take a shower in it.

When they use parts per billion, they fail to mention that even lower levels “could” be a problem with cancer. This brings me to more obvious conclusions—if the water is bad, and it really is, what else have they lied about?

What about the truckloads of debris that are being driven all over five counties? They say there is no problem, but I feel they are lying here as well. Would they like some of this soil to put in their vegetable gardens?

We are exposing communities to dangerous chemicals, and they know it. Time to check trucks for thousands of people’s safety.

Zane Libert


An important story

Re “Environmental catastrophe” (Cover story, by Julie Cart, April 12, 2018):

When the CN&R published an article called “Environmental catastrophe,” by Julie Cart, it was a huge wake-up call for me, and the statistics freaked me out. I still think it is the best article I have read on [forest management and wildfire threat] and there’s been a deluge of information since the [Camp Fire].

I urge everyone to refer to the CN&R archives for this valuable information, because at this point in time, we should all be well-informed. Yes, controlled fires will destroy good trees and wildlife. Dr. Albert Schweitzer describes a similar dilemma in French Equatorial Africa in the early part of the 20th century. Even he, a major environmentalist, had to concede that there was no choice.

Susan Grant


Protect the children

The Trump administration’s plan to house 1,400 immigrant children at the Fort Sill, Okla., Army post has become a point of protest for Japanese-Americans hoping to prevent children from being confined into what they call “concentration camps.” Some protesting the repetition of history were children themselves when they were concentrated into camps during World War II.

Founded in 1869, Fort Sill has an inhumane history. Native American children were separated from their families and boarded there; then it was used as a segregation camp for 700 Japanese-American men in 1942. This post was last used to house 1,861 unaccompanied children in 2014.

During the Obama administration, Oklahoma’s Republican leaders opposed lockups at Fort Sill, but they are now defending them.

Ill treatment of refugee children separated from their guardians causes captivity trauma and other mental, emotional and physical harm. It must be stopped now. People of the world must be shaking their heads at the way this administration treats innocent children. We must do better.

Diane Suzuki-Brobeck



Make America What Again? Mexico, Canada, Britain, Europe—no longer trust us. We withdraw from nuclear deal with Iran—attack! Pull out of NATO, our protection from Russia—now our friend. Saudis kill journalists, fly into Twin Towers—friend! Russia undermines votes—friend. Lies, rape, child torture, inhumane photos—the daily quota. Mueller report, important—ignore. News, FBI, CIA, Congress—fake, don’t trust. Cabinet ministers—in, out, graft, crime.

Make America Great Again? Unemployment down—good. “Economy booming.” But wait! Food prices up. Boom! Household items, prescription drugs up—boom, boom! Much-heralded new tax bill.

My wife and I retired. We’re on a fixed income and “own” (mortgage company’s euphemism) our home, small savings and contributions—but were slammed for extra thousands this year! Boom! Each has his/her opinion. Along come the politicians: Here are our opinions. Repeat, repeat, a mantra, believe. Their opinions replace ours. Time for a new slogan: Keep America What Again?

Lynn H. Elliott


‘Destroy and divide’

GOP strategist Jeff Roe tweeted to his 16,000 followers to donate $1 to the campaign of self-help guru Marianne Williamson to “keep this vibrant Democrat on the debate stage.” This is the same tactic used by Rush Limbaugh in the 2016 presidential primary race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It could be referred to as what former Sanders staffer Tezlyn Figaro called “destroy and divide.” It seems as though Sanders has a competitor in Williamson for the Ralph Nader award.

Roe is no stranger to dirty tricks—he was Texas Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz’s campaign manager in the 2016 presidential election. Furthermore, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez couldn’t have dreamed of a better way of ensuring four more years of the White House being held hostage by Trump than the ridiculous format of the so-called recent Democratic debates.

Candidates need to concentrate on Trump, and give up the Kamala Harris-led “food fight.”

Ray Estes


Disappointed by favoritism

Supervisors Bill Connelly and Tami Ritter requested funds to cover the full cost of building permits for veterans who are rebuilding after the Camp Fire.

I expected a wiser sensibility from Ritter than such pandering to veterans—reinforcing the worshipful awe the U.S. has for its military, when that military has been making us less safe, while creating huge debt.

Since fighting the very necessary World War II, veterans have engaged in military efforts mostly aimed at keeping the U.S. dominant, protecting U.S. corporate interests while wrecking countries, killing hundreds of thousands and destabilizing Europe with floods of refugees. U.S. military actions have made the U.S. less liked, less trusted and, most important, less safe and the world more unstable.

A military is necessary and the U.S. must keep commitments made to veterans. But too much veneration puts the military on an undeserved pedestal, obscuring that the real and very serious threats to U.S. citizenry are not from terrorism, Russia or China, but from the effects of climate change and the likelihood of a pandemic for which our profit-driven pharmaceutical industry does not find it profitable enough to do the necessary research.

To survive, the U.S. needs cooperation, not military confrontations.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

Rethink your votes

You happy we Californians just had to swallow another gas tax? Do you feel we’re being taxed without representation? There’s no balance in Sacramento for us taxpayers. Democrats have the majority, so much so they have the two-thirds majority they need for any tax on us.

Let’s go back a few years: 1776. The colonists were being taxed on their tea. Taxes were being raised higher and higher every year. Taxes were being imposed on them from faraway England. There were no voices in London to stand up to those higher and higher taxes. Sound familiar?

You know the ending: Our country won its freedom after a bloody and ugly war with England.

Lucky for us Californians, we don’t need a war. We just need to send different representatives to Sacramento to stop our unfair gas taxation. Time to rethink your Democrat-voting habits.

Loretta Ann Torres


Pond problems

Thinning of the riparian growth around the Teichert Ponds has opened the viewscape. The work was done by a crew provided by a state program. The plant removal improved access while uprooting homeless encampments. A win-win situation at no cost to the city.

Beneath the brush removal lies a deeper problem. Water detention has flooded trails. The standing water and silting creates larger breeding areas for insects, such as West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. Algae blooms form from the stinky, stagnant, standing water.

This was discussed at length during last year’s storm drain meetings.

These problems can be solved. Unplugging the pond outlet to Little Chico Creek is essential to drain down water from the ponds. The outlet—plugged first by beavers and now trash, slash and dirt—has caused rampant excessive growth of cattails and silting. The ponds next to the freeway are becoming a bog.

Restoration plans—approved by the city and permits given in 2008—await funding. A beaver-proof gate, proposed at the outlet, would allow for controlled vertical draining. Opening the outlet is essential now. Join me in making this a peaceful pond, for which we can all be proud.

Dick Cory


Others to support

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently stated he would fly the flag to support our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. But I was wondering if that included our homeless LGBTQ or otherwise. It is a luxury to offer any symbolic support for any marginalized group at this juncture in California. Let’s get everybody housed. Solicit philanthropists, engage the public, and utilize the energies of the higher-functioning homeless.

Amy Anderson

Nevada City

Nearly irrelevant GOP

I’m sure the champagne was flowing at former Assemblyman Brian Dahle’s headquarters in celebration of his election to the state Senate.

While certainly a well-deserved victory, I’m left wondering if it really matters.

Today, Democrats make up 43.1 percent of all registered voters in California, while the percentage for Republicans has dropped from 31.1 percent in 2009 to 23.6 percent in 2019.

Obviously, most voters like what Democrats are selling, giving them a veto-proof supermajority in both houses of the Legislature.

This supermajority gives Democrats the ability to do just about anything they want without the need for Republican votes. This includes raising taxes, crafting bond measures and overriding vetoes.

Republicans can holler all they want about the need for pension reform, protection of Second Amendment rights, lower taxes and less government. But it matters not. Democrats ultimately will do whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want. And there’s no way to stop them.

The Republican Party’s best and only hope is to attract new voters to party rolls. This requires a massive, comprehensive marketing campaign intended to sell its vision for the future of California. Not an easy task to be sure.

Dare I say, I’m not holding my breath.

Pete Stiglich