Letters for March 29, 2018
One on the cover
Re “Bloat” (Cover story, by Dennis Myers, March 22):
In addition to the “thousand U.S. military installations encircling a planet that has only 200 countries,” the last Pentagon budget that was enacted contains a whopping $700 billion. We give billions of dollars to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel with its brutal occupation of the Palestinians. Only eight senators, including Bernie Sanders, voted against that budget. We have so many urgent problems in our country that we need to be spending this money on, including right here in Chico and Butte County.
As a general rule, I don’t believe in considering only one issue when voting, but this, along with having improved Medicare for all, are litmus tests to me. Public officials or candidates for office, including Democrats, who are not willing to oppose this wasteful war spending and support improved Medicare for all, don’t get my votes anymore. These are not just minor issues.
‘Shame and disappointment’
Re “Spot-on, Mr. Mayor” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, March 22):
I have been trying to find the words to describe my shame and disappointment in our illustrious mayor, after viewing the same TV news interview you mention in your column. You mimicked my sentiments eloquently while defining Sean Morgan’s narrow and naive comments regarding his community and constituents.
I would like to believe he represents the few and not the majority; however, he is in a position to represent and his lack of professionalism is an insult to the citizens of Chico. I am more embarrassed for him than I am disheartened he is an elected official in a community that upholds higher education. Sean Morgan does not represent me.
As a social worker, I work with many of these “transients,” advocating for their human rights. While working alongside public defender Saul Henson, we have made numerous attempts to prevent the disenfranchised from being oppressed further. I also work at the Psychiatric Hospital Facility (PHF) where I support treatment for many who struggle with mental illness.
These are people who have families—brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. They are humans who have needs. More criminalization will only lead to funding being misdirected while the homeless—including veterans and mentally ill individuals—go further into the shadows.
Chico First members and some individuals from the Jesus Center have turned the word compassion into a dirty word, and I resent it deeply.
They say it isn’t compassionate to share food with the hungry, except at designated pit stops, and, of course, the hungry must behave a certain way or “Oh well, maybe if you miss a few meals, you’d be rehabilitated.”
Hopefully, they don’t treat their children this way. They say it isn’t compassionate to hand out sleeping bags or blankets when it is cold and raining—and the list goes on.
These self-righteous, profit-oriented Chico inhabitants should at least be honest enough to acknowledge that they don’t care about the poor. They just want the homeless to disappear from “polite” society, and compassion has nothing to do with it.
Stand up, Christians
Happy Easter to all Christians. I’m pissed at you. On one of the most significant days of your faith, I am thinking about the intelligence of our Founding Fathers, their insistence on the separation of church and state, and their brilliant ideas on freedom of religion. Freedom of religion intrinsically includes freedom from religion.
The policy of the U.S. cannot use faith-based logic, as has been proven by our head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt. His evangelical Christian belief informs him that climate science is a hoax because god gave the resources of Earth to mankind to use up, and somehow Jesus will make it all better in the end. He rants against and ends the EPA’s “regulations,” which are actually protections for U.S. citizens.
We have a president and local congressman who exemplify this selfish attitude, even as they have children and grandchildren who will have to deal with their profligacy.
It is time for real Christians to stand up against the people who have co-opted their religion with the foolishness that says, because you think you have the “correct” faith-based answers, you can impact my life and my body.
Five decades later
Recently, NBC television broadcast a very interesting yet disturbing retrospective of the American civil rights movement of my youth [Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media]. What disturbed me was how little has changed in five decades.
Black youth, sometimes unarmed, are still being killed by white law enforcement officers. Those black youth may now be registered to vote, but they are also still dead. Law enforcement was the strong arm of a racist South in the 1960s. That strong arm still flails away today, but in nearly every state of this nation.
Worse and worse
In June 2015, when Donald Trump declared his candidacy, I laughed and said, “Well, it can’t get any worse than this!”
A year later, again in June, when Trump was nominated to run for president by the Republican Party, I shook my head, and said, “Well, it doesn’t get much worse than this.”
In November 2016, when Trump secured the presidency, I angrily claimed, “It’ll never get worse than this!”
But then, as each week brought new issues—Access Hollywood; Charlottesville; Comey; Bannon; Russian election meddling; “I’m rubber and you’re glue” dialogue with Kim Jong Un; Stormy Daniels; etc.—I worried, “Could it really get any worse?”
And now, each evening I watch the day’s news and go to bed saying, “It absolutely can’t get much worse than this.”
But by the time the morning tweets are posted, it always is.
Dear Mr. Carrier
Re “Two on guns” (Letters, by Dean Carrier, March 15):
Mr. Carrier’s argument that “AR-15s don’t fare very well against tanks, aircraft and napalm,” suggesting American citizens should relinquish theirs, is an all-or-nothing fallacy of logic
AR-15s are not to resist an armed assault from Washington, D.C., any more than Kentuckians with muskets would be. Politicians may lust for absolute power, but 100 million armed Americans are a daily reminder that America belongs to the people. The Second Amendment is a deterrent, not a challenge to a fight.
As to the Ukraine, Obama laughed at Mitt Romney for saying Russia was a threat. Obama whispered to Dmitry Medvedev (paraphrased), “I’ll be more flexible when I’m re-elected.” Obama’s foreign policy was to “Lead from (offering your?) behind,” and he bent over complacently as Russia violated the Ukraine. Obama sent no armaments because (paraphrased), “Russia has the high-ground, so sending them would be futile.”
But Ukrainians fight on with AR-15-type weapons, weapons somewhere between all-or-nothing, because they prefer independence over subjugation: more like the French Resistance than some “cheese-eating surrender monkey.”
It isn’t one world, Mr. Carrier; not yet. Consider the current global uncertainties before you wish for a disarmed American populace and pen your own screenplay to Brave New World.
We are the only country in the world to have raised over a generation of youth with or at risk for [post-traumatic stress disorder] simply from going to school, constantly fearing that their school or they themselves might be the next target. And we can’t blame this fear of present danger on an outside threat; we have brought it on ourselves.
It is truly past time for a change in our gun laws. We can’t bring back the victims who died because of lax and shameful gun laws, but we can honor them by working for change at all levels.
Taxes = higher prices
It didn’t take very long for the 2018 gas tax and car registration increase to affect our quality of life—I’ve already noticed higher prices on staple groceries. Today the news confirmed as much—Yoplait and Cheerios are up in price “due to transportation costs.”
This tax increase has no “low-income subsidy.” Poor families will pay a higher percentage of their income, just to get to work and buy food.
Gas tax proponents claim the money will go to fix roads, but according to the San Diego Tribune, only half the money will be dedicated to traffic infrastructure. “The other half of the money would be spent largely at the discretion of local municipalities on a variety of projects.”
The city of Chico already receives gas tax from the state, as well as over a million dollars a year in “franchise fees” from PG&E, Comcast and Waste Management, for use of city streets, and look at the condition of our streets.
California registered voters can still sign the gas tax repeal petition that is being circulated by Reform California. Signature gatherers have been working at Chico Safeway stores. You can also download the petition to print, sign and send in at reformcalifornia.org.
Ignored by CPD
Last Friday (March 23), four cars had their windows smashed and belongings taken at the Upper Bidwell Park Chico Canyon Trailhead at the top of Centennial Avenue and Chico Canyon Road.
I returned from my trail run to find broken glass inside my car, including in my infant daughter’s car seat. Two pair of sunglasses were stolen, which cost less than having the window replaced. Another victim had a bottle of sunscreen taken. At least two more cars were hit the following day.
I called Chico PD immediately and was told to file a report online; no officer would be coming. The dispatcher seemed unphased and uninterested. The Chico ER showed no interest and is aware of high crime at this location.
This parking lot is popular among Chico locals and visitors. It is very visible with a residence across the street and next to the entrance of a private gated community. There is no signage at the parking area warning of the high crime rate; however, the abundance of broken glass and trash suggest it.
I would like to see Chico PD do a much better job of protecting citizens and taking our losses seriously.
Name-caller in chief
Now that Trump has replaced Gen. H. R. McMaster with John Bolton as the national security advisor, I wonder if he’ll call Bolton “walrus face” behind his back and “Wally” to his face?