Letters for June 15, 2017
‘It’s about the planet’
Re “Overtaken in isolation” (Editorial, June 8):
Mister President, it’s not about Paris, Pittsburgh, or even pennies. It’s about the planet. My parents proclaim, “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” I prefer the Paris Agreement over pollution. Please pledge to the policy for the perpetual progress of the planet.
Our homeless neighbors
Re “Enough with the transient talk” (Editorial, June 8):
Thank you for your excellent editorial that includes official data regarding Chico’s homeless. Chico’s homeless are not outsiders; the far greater majority have been Chicoans or Butte County residents for years. Virtually all have become homeless while living here.
How can there be over $2.5 trillion stashed in offshore tax havens for the American wealthy (and the world’s wealthy) while the number of America’s homeless is growing exponentially, more and more American children go to sleep hungry at night and working families can’t even dream of higher education for their kids?
Someone’s got to retool “capitalism” to make it work for the people. Otherwise, it’s time for democratic socialism.
Re “Landmarks coming down” (Downstroke, June 8):
Is it truly necessary that Chico’s four historic water towers be torn down? According to the California Water Service Co., the towers do not meet modern earthquake safety standards, and the cost of bringing them up to code far exceeds the price of demolition.
But is that really true? Did Cal Water factor in the savings that might be gained by using California’s special Historic Building Code when upgrading the towers? Did Cal Water explore the opportunity to offset repair and ongoing maintenance costs by negotiating a property tax reduction under the Mills Act program? Did Cal Water look into the possibility of securing a 20 percent federal income tax credit by getting the towers listed on the National Register of Historic Places?
The City Council must insist that these and similar questions be carefully addressed by Cal Water. No demolition permits should be issued until all available options and incentives are thoroughly explored. Cal Water needs to work carefully with the city and with the California Office of Historic Preservation before taking any irreversible actions. It would be a crime to allow Chico’s iconic water towers to be destroyed based on faulty and incomplete cost estimates.
An essential freedom
Re “Not my president” (Letters, by Dean Carrier, June 8):
Whether we agree with Mr. Carrier’s observations of the current administration, he touched on a very important element of our Constitution that I fear far too many either undervalue or do not understand. The right to openly criticize our institutions, our government, and especially our president, is very American. To those who think otherwise, look around the world to see just how few countries offer that freedom.
We tend to forget that when our forefathers proposed the concept of freedom of speech, it was a radical idea. They realized that freedom of speech and the freedom of the press were vital in preventing the establishment and maintenance of tyrannical dictatorships. Even after almost 228 years, many countries still fear and brutally repress those who oppose the actions of their leaders.
To the woman who called Mr. Carrier un-American, I say, thank goodness I live in a country where I can openly disagree with whomever without looking over my shoulder to see who might be listening.
Robert Grignon Sr.
Four on cover story
Re “A deadly mix” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, June 1):
The failure to even mention race in the lengthy discussion of the controversial killing of Desmond Philips demonstrates either a failure to understand or an unwillingness to report on how America operates. Sixteen shots were fired toward Desmond Phillips. To dismiss race entirely is at best irresponsible, but in practice continues to endanger the lives of young black men (and others) by obscuring the fact that race matters in America. Another “lethal combo” is a society with a race problem, and journalism that fails to acknowledge it.
Thank you, Ken Smith, for your in-depth look at fatal police shootings in Butte County, especially as it intersects with mental illness. Our county and country need to take a closer look as well at police profiling and implicit racial bias. Police use force, especially deadly force, with black people at much higher rates, and this increases when the citizen is black and has mental illness. Our own police chief and district attorney have avoided discussing this issue locally. Most people who are directly affected are afraid to speak out for good reason. There is no true accountability in our law enforcement if people are afraid of them.
I noticed in the lengthy article that there doesn’t seem to be mention of David Phillips and his 911 call. Saying he called for medical help and the police barged in guns blazing does not go with the events on the call. David Phillips says things like, “He’s trying to kick my bedroom door in!”
The article also says Desmond had mental health issues, but other articles say he had head trauma. It would have been nice to have all the information in this case.
It seems David Phillips is trying to profit from his son’s death (fundraisers) and is not taking any responsibility at all for Desmond’s accidental death.
One thing I have never understood is why police are trained to kill. That is for soldiers and war. After the officers entered David Phillips’ apartment and saw that the subject did not have a firearm, they should have holstered their weapons. If two officers with bulletproof vests cannot disarm a person with a sharp stick with their nightsticks, they have a problem. If they had holstered their weapons that probably would have helped diffuse the situation.
I have read of many instances in which a civilian was threatened, and any shots [he or she fired] after one or two led them to to be convicted of murder or manslaughter because the threat is over.
“In June and July 2009, with Democrats in charge, the Senate Health Committee spent nearly 60 hours over 13 days marking up the bill that became the Affordable Care Act. That September and October, the Senate Finance Committee worked on the legislation for eight days—its longest markup in two decades. It considered more than 130 amendments and held 79 roll-call votes.
“The full Senate debated the health care bill for 25 straight days before passing it on Dec. 24, 2009.” —The New York Times, March 7, 2017.
In June 2017, with Republicans in charge, the Senate is on its way to pass Trumpcare with no Democratic input at all, one month after the house rushed it through without a Congressional Budget Office report.
Thankfully we live in California where single payer is working its way through our system, but the NIMBY attitude that shows exemplifies what got us here in the first place. For the richest nation in the world to spend more than any other for health care with poorer results is just insane.
We hear that Republicans in the U.S. Senate are meeting in secret to formulate a health care bill they plan to vote on by July 4. In secret? And why the rush job again? Whatever happened to government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”?
Tapping into stupidity
According to pundits across the spectrum of media, Trump won the presidency because he tapped into America’s anger. I don’t think he tapped into anger, I think he tapped into stupidity. According to his son-in-law, Trump lied to his base, and he still does because he believes they are so stupid that they will believe anything he says.
We’re almost five months into his presidency and not one piece of legislation has been crafted by his administration. All we have seen is him cozying up to world dictators while insulting the leaders of our allies, and signing a bunch of orders that, for the most part, were gifts to corporations without any job creation to speak of. He restocked the swamp with Wall Street billionaires and ethically challenged politicians. If he had a plan, how would he execute it? Of the 556 senior positions in the administration, 470 are still unfulfilled and have not received a nominee.
Many said they voted for him because he’s a successful businessman. Well, his Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City just sold for 4 cents on the dollar. Perhaps he might get someone to ghost write another book. Title it The Art of the Steal.
Roger S. Beadle
Re “Remembering Bobby” (Letters, by Bob Mulholland, June 8):
Reflecting on Bobby Kennedy’s assassination nearly 50 years ago after winning the California Democratic primary, I hope that assassinating charismatic leaders who represent bold change will no longer be a part of the American tradition.
June 10 was the anniversary of JFK’s inspiring commencement speech on peace. He was assassinated months later. The world lost so much hope with these assassinations, and that of MLK.
Would Bernie Sanders have been assassinated if he had won the California primary, particularly if he was being very loud about a less militaristic foreign policy?
Challenging the establishment and military industrial complex is rare and very difficult for a politician. However, there is hope in the recent UK election, where the Bernie-like Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, succeeded beyond wildest dreams. To begin resolving inequality, Corbyn called for higher taxes on the top 5 percent to pay for domestic programs, including improvements to health care for all and free college tuition.
And, responding to terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, he boldly said that ill-considered Middle East wars have increased the risk of terrorist attack and, “We must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working.”
U.S. Democrats could learn something.
More Trump talk
Let’s make a comparison of character. One person who recently appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee has a reputation of impeccable character, while the other person has done the following: 1) Belittled an American military hero (John McCain); 2) Belittled the Gold Star parents of a fallen American soldier (the Khans); 3) Divulged classified intelligence to his Russian buddies; 4) Dodged the draft (bone spur my ass); 5) Mocked a disabled reporter; 6) Sucked up to Vladimir Putin; 7) Fabricated conspiracies because he cannot accept the fact that he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes; 8) Bragged about sexually assaulting women and how he can get away with it.
I know who I believe.
It appears the president’s companies have been skimming money from charities. I mean, how much lower does one have to go below “stealing money from kids with cancer” until our Congress is just too embarrassed and finally impeaches him? When do they remove him from office and let America hold up its head on the world stage once again?
Good gravy, Congress. Please buy a clue.
Colonization must end
June 5, 2017, marked the 50th year of Israel’s military conquest of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since the 1967 Six Days War, Israel has systematically colonized Palestinian lands with Jews-only settlements, evicting hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, businesses and lands.
Fifty years is too long a time for colonization, occupation and general repression. It seems now pointless to continue the same stories of blame and entitlement; so many lives have been and continue to be savagely destroyed. So much of living on earth has been wasted.
Hearts and minds need to transform: an openness to “the other,” a letting go of perceived righteousness. Solutions to problems are always present, but they must necessarily take up the space that is occupied by both personal and collective ego.
I am reminded of a wise saying: “You have to be willing to lose in order to win.” Let’s brace for some welcome loss, so new visions—there are many already!—can be explored and implemented.
I was amazed listening to C-SPAN on a recent morning. Caller after caller whining about the Tea Party president, Comrade Trump. When asked by the moderator whether they voted for Hillary Clinton in November, the callers said, “No, I stayed at home,” or “No, I was disgruntled because Bernie got screwed by Hillary,” or some other lame excuse.
The Republican National Committee spends billions to keep voters from being able to register, especially in minority precincts. By staying at home pouting, we’re all stuck with a 71-year-old lecher with a historical low approval rating that and drops daily.
Ironically, most of the morning’s callers were from states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, etc.—which if not for stay-at-home voters, or Gary Johnson and Jill Stein voters, perhaps the Electoral College scale would have tipped in Hillary’s favor? Couldn’t have been a worse result than this monster we’re stuck with now.
Fair notice given
Re “State of disrepair” (Newslines, by Molly Sullivan, Elizabeth Castillo and Gabriel Sandoval, May 18):
Not a good year for California infrastructures! Failure of Oroville Dam. Failure of roads, highways and bridges up and down the state. The governor blames it on the taxpayers not willing to pay higher taxes. Cities blame the state and federal government, the state blames the federal government and taxpayers. The state was given notice of the spillway decaying in 2005 and chose to do nothing.
Meanwhile, an assessment on [Chico State] facilities’ condition warns “failures have the potential to shut down the whole campus.” ISES Corp. evaluated 39 campus buildings. Thirty-three percent are in need of total renovation or replacement.
This is not only a CSUC problem, it’s a city of Chico problem. Where would the city be if the college was forced to shut down or lose just 25 percent to 50 percent of enrollment? Loss of public and private jobs! Loss of sale tax, property tax and city fees!
It is time for the city and CSUC to hold annual public open meetings on the conditions of the campus and how they are making the buildings and infrastructures safer. In a structural disaster, the city fire and police will respond to the campus. We have been given fair notice of a potential disaster.
Indecent on all fronts
Whether spoken by Bill Maher, Ice Cube or any other person, the existence and implementation of the N-word lowers the aptitude and decency of all humans.
Kenneth B. Keith