Letters for March 23, 2017
Two on the cover
Re “Chasing the dream” (Cover story, by Gabriel Sandoval, March 16):
Thank you for the well-written article in your recent publication concerning the “Dreamer” students seeking a higher education in our country.
Having known Ms. Vera while she worked at Butte College as a student employee, I can attest to her intellect and her desire to succeed academically and work in the male-dominated profession of civil engineering. She is the kind of person we need in our country to help rebuild our infrastructure and serve as an example for other women to work in the STEM fields.
Ms. Vera and others like her deserve a pathway to citizenship without having to leave their homes here and seek readmission to our country from a place foreign to them. Our country and communities are better for helping such students.
The immigration article seemed to want to explain the goodness and value of the immigrants here without documentation. I truly believe that most Americans, especially me, honestly believe that they are both good and valuable. I believe they are honest and honorable. I believe that, like all of mankind, they are equal to me and deserve love and respect. But I believe that of the kind and tortured people of south Sudan, who are starving by the millions. I believe that of the many like nations suffering starvation.
It is not a matter of good or bad, love or hate. It is a matter of safety, practicality, and most importantly, protecting our ability to aid the truly needy by maintaining our national wealth. Our nation is a nation of compassion, of givers. Our nation has lost hundreds of thousands of lives protecting and saving the innocent. We spend billions. Our nation is not evil, it is not excluding. It is loving. But to continue supporting, financing and loving our fellow humans, we must make decisions concerning immigration. Think, immigrants: Are you more valuable at home, helping your countrymen, or here taking the place of a starving African? Peace.
Re “Knee-Jerk” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, March 16):
By becoming a City of Neighbors, Chico’s rating on the next Gallup-Healthways Community Well-Being Index could rate much higher. When I was a single mother in San Francisco, I wanted the kind of neighborliness for my children that I experienced during my childhood. So I went door to door and invited my neighbors to a Safe Block meeting at my apartment. Next we held a block garage sale at which more neighbors got acquainted. Then we had a block barbecue and got the city to close off our street so we could play volleyball.
Safeway’s slogan at the time was “Since we’re neighbors, let’s be friends” and that’s what happened on our block once the “ice was broken.” Everyone’s well-being blossomed, including our sense of “financial security” because we freely exchanged services.
If one neighbor on each block would invite the others to relate in mutually beneficial ways, not only would our city’s index of well-being improve but they would also create a safety-net and structure for what may lie ahead.
Focus on peers
Re “Healthy options, better choices” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, March 16):
We should all applaud Abbey Korte’s efforts to discourage teenage smoking in Chico. Reducing the amount of advertising and easy availability of tobacco products are undoubtedly steps in the right direction. However, to portray teenage smokers as victims of anything other than their own poor decisions ignores the available evidence.
I was a young tobacco user who years after quitting went on to teach smoking cessation classes. Among my tobacco-using peers and my students, I never once encountered anyone who felt they began using tobacco because of advertising. On the contrary, almost all began smoking to emulate their peers or celebrity role models. In my case, it was the fact that members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, plus most of the “cool” older students, were all smokers.
Another thing that gets kids going is the pleasant dizziness and light-headedness that accompanies those first few experimental puffs.
Research has shown that the most important factor that drives behavior, clothing choices, language and habits of youngsters beyond about age 13 is the ambient peer group. Therefore, finding ways to influence the norms of those peer groups should be our first priority.
Re “No sanctuary” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Feb. 23):
At a recent City Council meeting, the idea of a sanctuary city was discussed by attendees. Crying students came forth pleading and pouring their hearts out—knowing their education as well as their lives were on the line—only to be greeted by a smirking mayor, Sean Morgan.
As horrific as this was, there was a more sinister underlying theme. Forget the sanctuary city resolution, the real issue that night was whether or not to agendize community discussion about a sanctuary city. To vote to not agendize the discussion was to deny our community members their right to address their elected officials.
Addressing government is the cornerstone of our American democracy. Our Constitution begins with “We the people…” Just because we elect people does not mean we forfeit our right to address our elected officials about the issues facing our community.
Who denies people their democracy? Monarchies, dictatorships, autocracies and the Chico conservative regime. With impunity, they violated our right to our democratic process. One way to correct this wrong is the petition, direct democracy, which bypasses the corrupt council. The only question is whether we care enough about our democracy to pony up the people power to get the job done.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa recently supported HR 985, misleadingly called the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017. This law makes it impossible for citizens to file class action lawsuits as groups of people who have been injured by a consumer rip-off, pharmaceutical drug mistake, faulty product design, or sex discrimination/sexual harassment in the workplace event. It benefits only employers and corporations. Once again, politicians say they are helping people and then stick it to us.
Same thing with the replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Purported to be a Godsend, Trumpcare could charge seniors $10,000 additional or more per year and cuts all kinds of services. These “savings” then go to millionaires and insurance companies. Where are the politicians who will stand up for the people?
I suspect we will need to get the millionaires and corporations out of our government and then stand up for ourselves. The vote on The [Un]Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act is not final, but we will have to start making a lot more noise if Washington is going to hear us on this or any of the other bad decisions they seem intent on pursuing.
My neighbor’s recent admission to “having made a gross error” in voting for Trump brought to mind the Thomas Hobbes’ quote “Hell is truth seen too late.” Yet my neighbor’s admission was hollow, and I asked myself how someone could have believed that Trump would make a good, competent and just leader of this country after having listened to his campaign rants, lies and misogynistic utterances.
How could anyone trust him when he refused to show his tax returns and openly thumbed his nose at our Constitution? How could he have accepted someone who gets his advice from Steve Bannon?
It appears my neighbor’s change of heart is based more on self-serving as opposed to philanthropic issues: ‘Oops, I may not be able to afford my health care anymore!’; ‘Uh-oh…What about my federal disability check?’; ‘OK, I agree you need to eliminate immigrants taking our jobs. But, golly, will that raise the price of tomatoes? Will my grocery bill go up?’; ‘Does it really cost taxpayers $3 million every time the president goes to Mar-a-Lago (five times in the past six weeks)?’; ‘Keeping Melania and Barron in New York costs taxpayers $300 million a year? That’d sure help fix a lot of infrastructure.’; ‘Wow! I guess I just wasn’t listening close enough.’
The “president” states his budget proposal puts America first, but when you put the military-industrial complex first while devastating environmental protections against big businesses’ reckless pursuit of profits, then essentially this budget puts the American people last.
Other than appeasing military contractors and fossil fuel lobbyists, what is driving this budget? The need to cut waste? One can start that process by asking the “president” to stay in Washington rather than flying off to his Florida resort to play golf. To date, his five trips have cost taxpayers more than $15 million. Trump’s two older sons receive Secret Service protection, though this is not mandatory. Only a president’s minor children are required to have this service. President Reagan’s son, Ron, refused Secret Service protection, calling it unnecessary and expensive. Secret Service protection for sons Donald Jr. and Eric—for three non-government business trips to Uruguay, Dubai and Vancouver that enrich the Trump Organization—has cost taxpayers $167,723. Time for them to act like responsible adults since their father won’t.
This is not a budget for America, this is a gift to military contractors and enrichments of Wall Street wealth. I’m sure his cabinet of billionaires appreciates the gesture.
Roger S. Beadle
Elections have consequences, and perhaps the most consequential was last November’s Trump victory. Many immigrants already feel the pain, and I anticipate that more of us will suffer in the future. Most important is Trump’s goal to roll back Obama’s global commitment on climate change. The worldwide agreement to reduce fossil fuel use was a giant step forward and is endangered by Trump’s stance on this vital issue.
Another critical decision looms in health care. The Republican bill is obviously flawed and, among many other deficiencies, cruelly aims at the mentally ill, as described in a March 12 Sacramento Bee editorial. This is a reminder of former President Reagan’s health care approach of long ago, when so many mentally ill people became homeless. Republicans historically victimize our most vulnerable citizens.
We are entering perilous times. Trump’s tax plan will shift ever more wealth to the top few, leaving scant resources for the rest of us. November’s election will be remembered as one that put the world in a very dangerous situation. We need to think seriously in the coming months and years of our nation’s direction, and how to correct our present course.
Blame it on Mexico
The No. 12 jersey of Tom Brady of the almighty Patriots was found in Mexico? We are in serious danger of an even bigger wall being constructed now.
Kenneth B. Keith