Letters for March 12, 2020
Re “Stuck in survival mode” (Cover story, by Ashiah Scharaga, March 5):
Surviving when destitute is a frantic, 24/7 job, and dignity isn’t part of the gig.
As I was reading the CN&R’s cover story, a dear friend texted me about a mutual friend whose FEMA-assisted housing has run out, rendering that person homeless. This is a grandmother with a medical condition who was couch-surfing with a family member on the Ridge when the Camp Fire took all they had but their lives.
Yet, in spite of the pervasive human travesty in front of us, we continue without any plans for immediate or short-term solutions to affordable and supportive housing. Neither are we sanctioning emergency shelters that people can use as a safety net from being without a place to safely lay their head at night. All of this harm is enabled by the federal, state and county response that is, by design, intended to force people to leave the area.
How we allow this to be an acceptable community response is woefully un-American and far removed from a neighborly, Christ-like response.
Two views on commentary
Re “Hatred and fear not welcome here” (Guest comment, by Lauren Kohler, March 5):
I’m grateful to Lauren Kohler for her insightful guest comment.
To the extent our objective is to limit or eliminate the human rights and civil liberties of any class or identity group, it’s useful to have language making that group less worthy—or just plain unworthy. In Chico’s ugly history, I have no doubt those who drove out the Chinese and lynched the Maidu had plenty of “othering” words available—like “chink” and “digger.”
History repeats itself as lynch mobs gather at council meetings, promoting the notion that the homeless are needle-scattering vermin. Calling them “transients” is one way to signal that sentiment: A homeless person is a human being; a transient is human litter, a thing that ought to be moving along, to anywhere but here.
To those who join these mobs, I ask you to do one thing, above all others: Spend time with the homeless on their turf. Hand out a few socks. Keep at it. I think you’ll find this all becomes more complicated than any version of the “us vs. them” formula will allow.
Ms. Kohler rails against the “us vs. them” homeless situation in Chico and then goes on to create her own of people who don’t use the word “transient” and those who do. She sings the praises of herself for not using the word “transient” and vilifies members of the community who do, with hate speech—using words or phrases such as “moral panic,” “crisis mode,” “aggressively posturing and screaming,” “fear-mongers,” “hate,” “glaring examples,” “hysteria.”
Is Ms. Kohler the example we should follow to fight an “us vs. them” situation? In her own words: “Thinly veiled hatred and fear have no place here, and combating it starts with a little bit of humanity in the way we talk about people.” I guess “a little bit” doesn’t apply to Ms. Kohler, only to everyone else.
I believe that civil discourse is the best way to talk one to one another, and I also believe that the citizens of Chico have every right to be upset over the criminal element within the homeless population who are using and abusing this city and others.
Re “Flaccid leadership” (Letters, by Robyn Engel and Steve Breedlove, March 5):
I feel obligated to correct misrepresentations of my record made in a March 5 letter by Ms. Engel. All of the following corrections are supported by the public record.
Contrary to the assertion that I “helped attempt to unseat Mayor Randall Stone,” I attempted to keep him from being unseated by offering constructive critique, and then voted against the motion to remove him. The statement that I am a “staunch proponent of landlord rights” is easily disproved by my vote to add just-cause protection for renters of thousands of single-family residences. To the claim that my motion on sit/lie “further criminalizes human beings,” it does precisely the opposite, by removing all the financial penalties currently in place that result in unpaid warrants that are the basis for criminalization.
While claiming that the issue of sit/lie is neither Democratic or Republican, it’s clear that retribution is swift when one breaks ranks in an attempt to find creative, compassionate compromises. In a time of such difficult challenges and community polarization, falling back on symbolic gestures does not move us toward long-term solutions.
Regarding the Breedlove letter, I will only say “consider the source.”
Editor’s note: The author is a member of the Chico City Council.
The latest hoax?
Re “Coronavirus, etcetera” (Letters, by Roger S. Beadle, March 5):
Mr. Beadle, President Trump doesn’t appropriate the budget for the CDC. Congress does. That is, when they’re not busy trying to get a duly elected president tossed out with a bunch of made-up malarkey pushed by the horrible, corrupt Democrat-controlled U.S “news” media. That should concern you and everyone else even more.
Could you provide us with any evidence that the coronavirus isn’t the latest hoax? I’ll wait.
Were you as outraged when Obama appointed Ron Klain as “Ebola czar” with absolutely zero experience in Ebola or public health? Get a clue, Mr. Beadle. Remember, ignorance left unattended breeds stupidity.
Editor’s note: The proposed budget for 2021—authored by Trump but not yet approved by Congress—includes a 16 percent decrease in funding for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
‘Travesty of justice’
PG&E is back to business as usual. This year, it has requested two rate increases on top of the four rate increases last year. In addition, the utility again proposed to the bankruptcy judge $453 million in bonuses and incentives to management.
PG&E already has the highest rates in the nation and has failed miserably in providing safe, efficient and affordable energy to its customers. The oversight by the CPUC [California Public Utilities Commission] and the fines that have been levied haven’t worked.
I fail to understand why the CEO left the company with a $2.5 million severance after the Camp Fire rather than in handcuffs. And why PG&E, on felony probation, hasn’t been charged for incinerating 85 people and the town of Paradise. The fact that no management has faced civil or criminal penalties is a travesty of justice.
I implore Gov. Gavin Newsom and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey to hold PG&E accountable with criminal charges. There should be no bonuses, incentives or pay increases until the bankruptcy is completed and fire victims have been compensated. Replace management and board and CPUC members, break up the company, or have California take it over if necessary.
No one should lose their life, home, livelihood or community because of PG&E’s continued greed and mismanagement.
The saga continues
Memory lane takes me back to June 27, 2019, when I sent a letter to the CN&R noting the similarities of Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
During an interview with NBC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, coughed in the background. Trump came unglued. “I don’t like that. I don’t like that, you know? If you’re going to cough, please leave the room,” Trump chided. “You just can’t, you just can’t cough.”
The episode couldn’t be faked, folks, and I knew at the time that Mulvaney was toast. Trump’s tantrum reminded me of when Kim Jong Un had his vice premier taken out and shot for dozing off during one of his speeches.
Flash-forward to March 6, 2020, and just as I said in my June 2019 letter, Trump has quietly exiled Mulvaney to Northern Ireland and replaced him with right-wing birther Mark Meadows. Yes, the same Meadows who wanted to “send [Obama] back to Kenya or wherever it is. We’ll send him back home.”
The continuing saga of the madman in the Oval Office—unfortunately for America, it rages on and is so predictable.