Letters for March 2, 2017
Love for science
Re “Taking back science” (Cover story, by Madeline Ostrander, Feb. 23):
Thanks for Madeline Ostrander’s thoughtful and informative article about citizen science. It is great that people can share their observations through the Internet. I have been posting some observations of Bidwell Park on the website Nature Abounds (natureabounds.org). I also think there’s a need for people to work in grassroots projects where science enthusiasts cooperate to develop projects and share observations. We who love science need local communities! I am fairly new to the area and hope to find some initiatives of this type.
Two views on media
Re “We are not the enemy” (Editorial, Feb. 23):
I, too, believe that the press is essential for the survival of a democratic republic like our country is. However, if the press abandons its investigative and objective reporting and instead uses its resources to sway votes and public sentiment toward the beliefs of the ones who control it, it is no longer a news organization. It is then simply a tool of propaganda. It ceases to function in the pursuit of honest journalism and becomes useless as a reliable source of information for use by voters in analyzing candidates, or their actions, objectively. This is counterproductive and, some might even say, an enemy of democracy and therefore our country.
Yes, journalism is essential and valuable to preserve freedom. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of media outlets in both print and on our TVs have lost their credibility as news organizations and are nothing more than political lobbies for their chosen candidates and agendas. The media demands to be recognized as valuable and not the enemy, but without earning such recognition and respect. Sad.
Most dictators have begun their reigns by first delegitimizing and then suppressing the press.
A free press is one of the most revered amendments in our Constitution and we should all be alarmed as to what is currently taking place with the Trump administration.
Trump calls the news media “the enemy of the American people.” Any news reports he doesn’t agree with, or heaven forbid, that question his actions, he labels as fake news. Then, in an unprecedented move that should trouble any patriotic American, press secretary Sean Spicer banned entrance to selected news agencies from a White House briefing. Apparently he forgot that last December he told Politico that a Trump White House would never ban a news outlet. “Conservative, liberal or otherwise, I think that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship,” he said.
Many presidents have had an adversarial relationship with the press, which is a good thing. It helps ensure that the press and the executive branch are honest with the American people through press releases and reporting. One needs only to look at Vladimir Putin’s first year in power with his press suppression to realize that his protégé Trump could be following the same path.
Roger S. Beadle
End of civilizations
No matter what I read in the Daily Kos, the Washington Post or New York Times; what is revealed by Rachel Maddow, David Corm, Dan Rather or most of the panelists on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week and even by Chris Wallace; no matter the stupid, meaningless, unfounded Trump tweets and the president’s willingness to eliminate our First Amendment rights; no matter the current similarities to the Nixon White House—the bulk of the Republicans I meet would rather see the country go down the tubes than admit they’ve been duped.
Ah, conceit, vanity and egotism, the primary components of the demise of civilizations throughout recorded history.
On Trump’s Isle
Just sit right back and I’ll tell a tale
A tale of a fateful time
That started on Election Day
With two candidates
The Donald was a mighty millionaire
The Hillary brave and sure
Two candidates did try that day
For a four-year tour, a four-year tour
The campaign started getting rough
A lot of lies were tossed
If not for the courage of the network news
The Donald would be lost, The Donald would be lost
He won that day and then began uncharted presidents
With Pence on board
And Ryan, too
Suspicious friends and their wives
Some big lawyers
Some family and his friends
Here in our White House
So now he is our president
He’s here for a long, long time
We’ll have to make the best of things
It’ll be an uphill climb
The president and Mr. Pence
Will do their very best
To make corporations comfortable
In their corporate nest
No jobs, no truths, be not at ease
The middle class
Like Timothy Leary
It’s weird as can be
So just sit back and watch my friends
You’re sure to get a groan
From Donald and his buddies
Here on Donald’s Trump isle
Editor’s note: In case you didn’t figure it out, please reread the above letter to the tune of Gilligan’s Island.
Re “Eye of the storm” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Feb. 16):
Having nearly lost 190,000 of his constituents in Oroville, Marysville and Yuba City, Congressman Doug LaMalfa is now demanding that Gov. Jerry Brown provide public tax dollars to shore up and repair Oroville Dam’s spillways.
Terrific, but where was LaMalfa back in 2005 during the relicensing of Oroville Dam, when Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizen’s League all pointed out the deficiencies of the emergency spillway and urged that it be armored with concrete?
Unfortunately, then-Assemblyman LaMalfa was too interested in protecting the pockets of his agribusiness pals in the State Water Contractors Association, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, who would have had to pay the costs of upgrading the emergency spillway. Result? No repairs were made.
As our state assemblyman, LaMalfa should have been leading the charge for dam safety. If LaMalfa ever finds the courage to hold a town hall meeting in Chico, he should account for his behavior in 2005. LaMalfa’s lack of vigorous leadership speaks volumes about his true loyalties. Is he really one of us?
More dam questions
The events that unfolded around the Oroville Dam up to the last-minute evacuation order for the communities of Oroville and below seem like a complete denial of facts. When those in charge knew the dam would reach the 901-foot water level, they needed to send out an advance warning. Instead, the message was that everything was fine and that the emergency spillway would be used for the first time. The wait-and-see approach put 200,000 people at risk, and that is not acceptable.
Question: Who actually is the director of Department of Water Resources? We hear statements only from the “acting director.” I want answers as to the current safety, the overall safety involving dam violations, the decisions being made, the follow-up, the oversight, the mistakes, the false assurances to the community.
We must hold agencies and politicians accountable to bring the Oroville Dam up to complete updated structural stability and adhere to the utmost safety in operative standards. I appreciate the emergency staff and crews and the many hard workers addressing this crisis, yet I feel it should have never come to this point; there has been a lack of safety and maintenance at the Oroville Dam and that fact cannot be denied.
Let’s do better
You drive your SUV to a 25-unit campground and select a site. You unload your tent, sleeping bags, supplies and your pet. You settle in for a time to visit with your fellow campers and share a campfire. You have two outhouses and two dumpsters to accommodate the most basic of needs.
Next scenario has you pulling and pushing your shopping cart or bicycle into one of 25 campsites. You unload your tent, sleeping bags, supplies and your pet. You are welcomed and settle in to share a campfire and some camaraderie with your fellow camp mates. This campsite restricts placement of outhouses or dumpsters to accommodate the most basic of needs.
In scenario one you leave voluntarily to return home after a few days of rest and relaxation.
In scenario two, government entities declare your circumstance a health and safety hazard and serve legal notice you are to return to the uncertainty of life on the streets of the community where you live.
I hope we will do better than this and find a new “campsite” where people find safety and comfort in numbers, and solace in an understanding community.