Letters for March 10, 2016
Immigrants as consumers
“The first step” (Cover story, by Richard Heinberg, March 3):
The Chico News & Review is to be commended for publishing the fossil fuels article by Richard Heinberg. Most significant is the warning in the last paragraph that the transition to sustainable energy use is not optional. Nature will play the trump card.
Although the author explains various ways that use of energy derived from fossil fuels can be reduced, he leaves out the one way that is probably the most important. When it comes to use of natural resources, the average amount used per individual is significant, but the number of individuals doing the consuming is also very important. If there are more consumers, there will be more consumption, and if there are fewer consumers, there will be less overall consumption.
Census data reveal that during the last several decades at least 75 percent of the nation’s population increase has been due to immigrants and their children. Over a million immigrants now enter the country legally each year.
It is long past time our legislators reduce the number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, that enter the country. With those efforts in place, the nation could eventually achieve a more sustainable economic and environmental condition.
‘Walk a mile’
Re “Nowhere to go” (Newsline, by Howard Hardee, March 3):
The Chico City Council’s understanding of homelessness is abstract at best; this is best reflected in the most recent nondecision regarding public restrooms while expanding various penalties. I challenge the council and other decision-makers to walk, sleep, eat and relieve themselves [without being homed] for just two nights and two days to better get in touch with the issues.
Council members: bring a sleeping bag, tarp, backpack and a water bottle. Also, don’t forget to wear some funky clothes, follow all the ordinances you’ve created and $5 pocket change. Come on, be brave; step outside your comfort zone and experience what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. For added value, undertake this project when it’s raining. I eagerly wait for your photo-ops and report.
The city of Chico has closed the bathrooms while the police write tickets to the students and homeless. All of these people have a right to sue Chico collectively (class action). I spoke with an attorney about this, and he is interested. Mr. Berg’s office is on The Esplanade, if anyone would like to contact him. All records are on file with the police department and can be pulled up anytime.
I used to love Chico, but Chico has changed. The shame falls directly on the far-right faction of our Chico City Council. Arresting people is not the answer. It costs thousands of dollars to arrest and then transport people to the county jail (housing, public attorney, court, etc). A farm where they could work a couple of hours a day for safe space is the answer.
Re “Jury duty” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, March 3):
In her column, Melissa Daugherty stated that she was struck by “how many people had either experienced domestic violence personally or were close to someone who had.” I realize that domestic violence isn’t a one-sided issue, but considering that 80 percent to 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, maybe it’s time we ask ourselves why.
According to a 2014 Gallup poll, 75 percent of people in this country still believe that the Bible is the “word of God.” The same God who, in the book of Genesis, allowed Lot to offer his daughters up to be gang raped by two men and later, after Lot’s wife was murdered for her disobedience, Lot had sex with his daughters to assure that they would have children, because he felt no man would have them now since they had been made “impure.”
These are just a few examples of how the “word of God” has instructed men to treat women. Since over 75 percent of the U.S. population believes that “God” not only allowed these atrocities to occur, but also that they were divinely sanctioned by him, why would the act of abusing one’s wife or daughters, or any woman for that matter, be so unfathomable?
Re “The big scrap” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, Feb. 25):
I want to applaud the CN&R and Ken Smith for excellent coverage of the Chico Scrap Metal (CSM) debate, and thank the City Planning Commission for its careful deliberations regarding the CSM plan for aesthetic improvements to stay across the street from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
The Chapman-Mulberry Neighborhood Plan was developed by the community, and approved by the city and county a dozen years ago. Zoning plans serve multiple purposes, not the least of which is protecting residential neighborhoods from incompatible activities that pose health and environmental risks and nuisances (noise, smells, pollution, attracting garbage, etc). Processing scrap metal next to families with kids, and near schools and parks in a low-income neighborhood, is wrong.
CSM is still contaminated, and capping it with concrete will not prevent further accumulation of PCBs and heavy metals as long as scrap metal is processed there. CSM has had 12 years to find a more suitable location for scrap metal recycling, and in that time almost 20 Habitat for Humanity houses have been build right next door under the assumption CSM would move. Let’s find a solution to this problem that will allow CSM to operate in Chico where it should—in an industrial area.
Re “Just say ‘thank you’” (Letters, by Bob Evans, March 3):
Bob Evans says I oughta “thank” wannabe Congressman Joe Montes. Montes supports homeless criminalization, but I should gratefully focus on his charity. There’s a term for this: suspension of disbelief. Like thanking someone for a cupcake while knowing there’s a turd baked into it.
In other news, Michael Madieros continues to prove he’s unlike any homeless advocate in America. At the March 1 City Council meeting, he went to the podium in support of expanding homeless criminalization ordinances—meaning more rousting, churning and punishing of the homeless population. According to Madieros, criminalization builds trust. Next—with stunning mendacity—Madieros returned to the podium on the homeless restroom issue and gave a rousing plea for elaborate facilities—for which the Sorensen/Morgan/Schwab-types will never grant a permit.
But, while Madieros blew smoke, he once again refused to support Councilwoman Tami Ritter in her quest for decency: opening existing restrooms and installing portables. Ritter’s pragmatic approach is not “dignified” enough and just coincidentally—wink, wink—the downtown elite will not support the action.
Madieros gains influence as an arm of the Chico Police Department, an advocate for landlords and the go-to Enterprise-Record homeless guru. But, as a friend of street people, he’s down the toilet.
Re “Turbocharging neo-fascism” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Feb. 11); “Backing Joe” (Letters, by Michael Madieros, Feb. 18) and “Just say ‘thank you’” (Letters, by Bob Evans, March 3):
Over the last several weeks I have been the object of both condemnation and praise. While I obviously appreciate and prefer the latter, as a veteran and former judge, I am a strong advocate of the First Amendment (and all of our Constitutional rights), and I support Mr. Newman’s right to express his opinion. I have always tried to be fair, open-minded and courteous to others, and I will be no different in this case.
In that spirit, I would ask that my opinion also be heard. I am neither a puppet nor a hired gun for my friend and mentor, Wayne Cook, whom I call “Coach.” I am my own person, and I have always spoken with my own voice. There is perhaps no one on Earth with more experience than me saying “no” to Coach.
I would like to say this to Mr. Newman: Although I have never met you, and I know not what offense I have committed against you, I apologize. I need your help to continue working on the important issues in this community. And I would like to invite you to join me in the Chico Youth Court and Stairways programs.
Read the entire text
Re “Enough with the religion” (Letters, by Nathan Esplanade, Feb. 25):
The writer cites the Constitution and urges that its First Amendment be respected, but then asserts that “[N]o person who’s practiced a religion or otherwise demonstrated belief in a supernatural deity in the last 10 years should be allowed to hold public office.”
I would suggest this person read the entire First Amendment, which states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. I would also suggest that he read the last sentence of Article 6, which states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification of any Office or public trust under the United States.”
The writer further calls for a written test to qualify candidates for public office based on their “knowledge, intelligence and motivation.” Could he construct such a test or even pass one?
The writer exercised his right of free speech under the First Amendment when he sent his letter. But neither he, nor anyone else, has the right to deny to others the rights that we all enjoy under the entire text of the Constitution. I am proud that I live in a country where the exact same rights are guaranteed to atheists that are guaranteed to believers of all faiths.
Clowns narrowed down
Now that the Republicans have narrowed down the clown car to the final three, and we’ve learned the relative size of each one’s penis: Do we look forward to the next debate bringing out the highest scorer in Counter Strike, World of Warcraft, or League of Legends as legitimate credentials to be the next commander in chief?
Torres guests are thankful
Kudos to those community individuals and groups that have sponsored events, made donations of goods, services, money, clothes and personal items and signed up for People Helping People in support of the Torres Community Shelter.
Examples of recent events are the concert at Lost on Main, the Empty Bowls event and the Music Gala at the Ramada Inn. The community’s response to the current financial hurdle experienced by the shelter is needed and greatly appreciated. More community events are scheduled. It costs close to $1,700 a day to keep the doors open.
From my experience, staff are hustling to maintain the services the guests deserve and expect. The budget is as lean as possible. Our greatest need now is to gain new monthly donors. Whether you commit $5 or $50 monthly, your investment in our success is working 24/7 to transition people from homelessness into hope and homes.
I encourage all who can to sign up for People Helping People, which is the monthly giving plan established by the shelter. Sign-up now at chicoshelter.org/donate or call 891-9048. The 100-plus individuals who call the Torres Shelter home thank you.
Billie Kanter, Torres Shelter volunteer and board member
A tribute to Mike
Since the 2001 demolition of the Trade Center that deliberately triggered the prearranged War on Terror, the term “hero” has been evoked with great and often overbearing frequency.
As adolescents hiking Mount Wilson, we discovered our babyhood comrade Mike certainly epitomized genuine heroism. Among the young group was an enormous, older brute puffing like a freight train while desecrating the woods with filtered butts. Concluding a marathon day, minuscule Michael slammed all the collected filth in the culprit’s hand, demanding staunchly: “Never trash my forest again.” Echoing mega decibels down the meandering canyon, not a creature stirred in the wilderness for hours. Mike’s audacity rivaled his brilliance and that episode remains paramount in our memories today.
The grand illusion persists that someday people might cherish a promenade or cycle in the parks, trails, mountains, Old Humboldt Road—anywhere on Earth—and not be repulsed by the brainless subhumans who think the globe is their personal toilet bowl. See ya in Valhalla, Michael—sought to be like you, but as Will Rogers wrote, “We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit along the curb and applaud as they pass by.” Just as your very brief life passed by.
Kenneth B. Keith
Comprehensive obit site
Fast-approaching 50, I’m increasingly finding obituaries online for people I once knew. Alarmingly, a few have been for people my age.
Frustratingly, obituaries rarely disclose how the person died. In most cases this is probably unintentional oversight. In others it’s likely to avoid embarrassing the deceased’s family, as when a person died from alcoholism, obesity or suicide. Since some newspapers now charge for obituaries, some decedents sadly don’t get obituaries at all.
To ensure we’re apprised of threats to our health and civil rights, the government should create and maintain a free, publicly-accessible website containing comprehensive obituaries for every deceased American. As with clean air, water, and freedom of speech, access to such should be considered an inalienable right.
After all, learning a person we actually knew died from smoking, drinking, or overeating could provide just the push we need to quit such behavior ourselves. Learning they were murdered could summon our offering information helpful in prosecuting a killer. Finally, including information summarizing a deceased person’s relationships, pleasures and accomplishments could inspire our striving for similar success.