Letters for June 8, 2017
On the cover story
Re “A deadly mix” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, June 1):
Chief Mike O’Brien: Making it a priority to get your officers to the 40-hour CIT training will help achieve your goal to “… keep this community safe.” Unless, of course, you don’t think mentally ill people are part of this community or deserve to be kept safe.
Two views on Paris
Has Trump just compromised the United States’ standing as the leader of the free world? For that matter, as the leader of the entire world. The United States is now only the third county in the world not to support the Paris Climate Agreement. The other two are Syria, mired in the ungodly carnage of war, and Nicaragua, which felt the agreement did not go far enough.
As I write this, it has been three hours since this unconscionable decision was rendered and already 61 mayors, representing 36 million people, have signed a letter pledging to enact and maintain the policies initiated by the agreement. Major corporations across the board, and across the country, including oil giants ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, support the United States remaining a major player in combating the climate changes that are threatening the environment and our own national security.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, with a membership of 1,407 cities with populations of at least 30,000, have pledged to support the Paris Climate Agreement. Chico is a member. I urge all citizens to call the office of Mayor Sean Morgan and ask that he, too, voice his support for this most important step toward the welfare of our planet.
Roger S. Beadle
Is the Trump exit from the Paris Climate Agreement a tragedy? Probably not, for the same reason the Nicaraguans refused to sign Paris: It’s a wimpy, feel-good agreement with no teeth. The Nicaraguans weren’t alone; NASA’s father of climate science, James Hansen, called Paris a “fraud.”
Rather than mourn the exit from Paris, better to examine the startling disconnect between environmental sentiment and day-to-day lifestyle. How many affluent, “eco-conscious” liberals are putting their vacation cash toward service to the world’s poorest people? That is, as opposed to burning barrels of oil flying to Hawaii or Tuscany or Timbuktu? How many Americans have phased out meat consumption, the most important environmental change possible? Answer: about 3 percent. How many heat and cool smaller living spaces and radically curtail automobile use? How many affluent Americans, of any political persuasion, do anything other than recycle and throw a few solar panels on the roof?
I’m particularity fascinated by the current lifestyle of Paris Agreement champion Barack Obama, as he so casually jet-sets around the world. It appears, as individuals, this agreement frees us to continue trashing the planet. Is Trump’s insanity more germane than our own?
Editor’s note: For more on this topic, see Editorial, page 4.
Not my president
Recently, in a restaurant at lunch, a woman at the next table overheard a conversation in which I was deriding the actions of the Trump administration. She leaned over and accused me of being “un-American!” She chided me, “He’s your president and you should be supporting him.”
In all honesty, he’s not “my president” because my president would support the historical morals, values and integrity of my country. Trump does not represent any of the positive values of my United States but only a self-serving minority of millionaires and “wannabe” millionaires. He represents an “if it feels good, do it!” dogma.
My America does not support turning its back on the poor and elderly; my America believes in the future as much as the present; my America does not believe in trashing the environment for short-term economic gain, leaving the wastes to our children; my America values truth and transparency in government; and my America believes in standing up to despots and dictators who suppress their people, not cozying up to them.
And, for those of you who believe this is being “un-American,” you were obviously raised in a different America than was I.
‘Dumpster fire’ bill
The GOP House of Representatives passed a tax cut that they are calling health care. Health care in the U.S. is 17 percent of the economy. House GOP members passed their version of health care without a Congressional Budget Office score. They passed a bill that not many of them read. They passed a bill that will have dire consequences to 24 million Americans. They passed a bill that will reduce Medicaid by 23 percent.
They passed a bill that is a moral and intellectual dumpster fire. They passed a bill that they had seven years to craft. [Yet] no hearings, no expert testimony, no public input, nothing but ramming it through. Donald Trump even said to the Australian premier, after passage of this bill, that “Australia has better health care then we do.”
Also, Trump is going against so many of the people who supported him in November. The poor and the elderly will be hammered by this bill, if it gets through the Senate. Thousands will die or go bankrupt. Hopefully the Senate will realize that Americans pay twice as much in health care as countries like Australia, Canada and Sweden, and give our citizens universal health care.
Heckuva ‘Weed Patch’
Re “Roundabout” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, May 25):
I appreciated your concern of the downtown weed patch that the city has ignored. [The previous] weekend was one of the biggest (CSUC graduation), drawing thousands of outside visitors. Wonder what they thought of the Weed Patch?
City leaders and management apparently didn’t see any need to spiff the city up to impress our visitors who just gave thousands of dollars to the local economy to house their children for four or five years.
If they followed the City Council meeting, they would have also seen a group of council members more concerned with keeping legally available pot out of town and no interest in filling potholes. Selling pot could finance filling potholes (the city’s pathetic attempt to fix roads by dribbling tar and throwing sand on it kind of fits in with the Weed Patch look).
Maybe they will pity our run down city or maybe they will let their friends know that Chico has lost its glow. City leaders are more concerned with filling their election coffers than filling potholes.
[Also] don’t let park rangers become gun-toting, sworn officers!
Editor’s note: For a follow-up, see Second & Flume, page 5.
A great benefit
Re “Paying rent in the tower of song” (Scene, by Carey Wilson, May 25):
I would like to thank Carey Wilson for his artfully written review of the Night of Leonard Cohen Music benefit for the Blue Room Theatre.
The article showed real insight, in recognizing the collaborative nature of Chico’s “multigenerational music community.” I have personally had the good fortune to participate in several of the projects organized by musicians and actors in their 20s who have included collaborators pushin’ 70. As one of those “elder statesmen,” I tip my fedora to the younger folks associated with Bogg, Uncle Dad’s Art Collective, and the Blue Room for keeping Chico’s arts and music scene relevant and inclusive for all.
And how wonderful all that good, cross-generational energy raised a boatload of cash to help keep our prized local theater venue afloat. I look forward to future projects—they help to motivate us crusty old griots to chug-a-lug the Geritol and get back up on the stage.
“And now it’s on to Chicago, and let’s win there.” I was in Vietnam in 1968 and did not hear the news for several days that right after Bobby Kennedy spoke those words (he had just won the California primary), he was shot, then died the next day (June 6, 1968), in Los Angeles.
For those of us with many years behind us, especially Latinos and African-Americans, Bobby was our hope for the future, including ending the war in Vietnam, expanding civil rights and helping low-income Americans. The Kennedy “Camelot” was over and America’s youth had gotten the message—your causes were not to be.
Bobby’s assassination was just five years after his brother, President John Kennedy, was assassinated. Most Democrats believe that Bobby Kennedy would have received the nomination for president at our Chicago convention and would have defeated Nixon. Instead, we got a war that continued for years and Republican Nixon’s Watergate.
Next year in June, there will be events all across America, including in Chico, to mark the 50th anniversary of this American tragedy of losing Bobby.
Best dancers ever
Our favorite live performance ever in Chico was the extraordinary bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan long ago. That is, until Sunday at Pleasant Valley High School while attending the Hype Dance Studio’s 13th Annual Dance Recital titled “Hyperbole.” Parents must be thumping their chests with pride. This was the most impressive assemblage of talent one could ever imagine. No exaggeration! We will return for the 14th annual, and hopefully you will, too!
Kenneth B. Keith