Letters for March 5, 2020

‘Flaccid leadership’

Re “Partisan jabs convolute the debate” (Editorial, Feb. 6) and “Contentious and divisive” (Letters, by Scott Huber, Feb. 27):

Partisan jabs convolute the debate?!? Politicians, bureaucrats, the ruling elite, petite bourgeoisie and professional-managerial class refuse to accept the imminent threat of ecological, economic and social collapse, and the existential threat climate change poses. Neoliberal fundamentalism is a bipartisan affair that ignores the social costs of unrestrained capital. Moreover, this naive desire for civility and both-sides-isms obscures the spectacle of an astroturf political stunt bordering on a lynch mob. That kind of irrational fear is manipulated to some pretty horrific ends, and it’s your job to undermine it.

On the subject of flaccid leadership, Huber’s letter last week was a sad technocratic defense of the indefensible. What services can we conjure without funding? Will housing magically appear because the business community finds a heart? Yeah, right.

As an affluent white man, Huber can’t see how police terrorize the exclusively poor (especially black and brown) underclass. Criminalizing poor people is wrong, even dressed with platitudes. His vote was a grotesque betrayal of his supporters who wanted a humane approach to the housing catastrophe. He’s a fool who played right into the mob’s rope-burned hands.

Steve Breedlove


For many reasons, Councilman Scott Huber’s support of sit/lie isn’t surprising. After all, he helped attempt to unseat Mayor Randall Stone months ago. A staunch proponent of landlords’ rights to evict tenants on a whim, Huber keeps us renters at risk of homelessness.

Moreover, sit/lie defies the U.S. Constitution (Martin v. Boise). Huber’s stance thus opens Chico to costly lawsuits, while further criminalizing human beings for being extremely poor.

The maneuver ruins Chico’s reputation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—increased homelessness, the logical result.

Plus, Huber broke council protocol by stating during the meeting that an email he’d just received swayed his vote. He was promised $10,000 for shelter, he announced.

Huber suggests that social workers [should] partner with police to fix the problem, yet this is already happening. All levels of social services are stretched far beyond capacity. In fact, nearly 3,000 people are still on a waitlist for Camp Fire case managers.

It’s incumbent upon Huber to respect council protocol and Chico leadership, and abide by the U.S. Constitution—at minimum.

His failure to do so creates a bill we can’t afford.

Far more devastating, higher numbers of human beings will die outside. This is neither “Democratic” nor “Republican.” It’s unconscionable.

Robyn Engel


Coronavirus, etcetera

Re “Preparations” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 27):

When U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stepped to the podium, it’s clear his job wasn’t to outline a strategy to combat a global pandemic; it was to give President Trump fealty through kudos.

At a recent campaign rally Trump exclaimed that coronavirus is a “new hoax” by Democrats and the media. His supporters believe the self-serving sewage that comes out of his mouth.

In 2018, Trump axed 80 percent of the funding for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program devoted to global disease outbreaks, and eliminated the National Security Council position leading global health security and biodefense. He seeks further cuts to the CDC and National Institutes of Health budgets, and Medicaid funding. His leadership makes it easier to get sick and harder to get medical care.

To Trump, the coronavirus threatens his re-election, not the health of Americans. U.S. commerce is endangered and Wall Street investors have factored in his incompetence, which is contributing to the market sell-off.

Trump tapped Vice President Mike Pence, someone who substitutes moral pronouncements for scientific knowledge, to head up the response team. All statements and interviews by scientists must be approved by Pence. Soon after his appointment, Pence headed to Florida for a $25,000 a plate fundraiser.

Roger S. Beadle


The current crop of Democrat presidential hopefuls and their local ilk scare me far more than the coronavirus ever could.

Ken Carlsen


Chico’s bungled bike racks

There are thousands of us in Chico who use bicycles for daily transportation. Theft or damage is a constant worry. Vast resources are spent for parking cars, when we should be encouraging nonautomotive transportation, especially downtown.

We need more and better bicycle parking. There is an obvious need for a parking space in front of the Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe, especially now that Bill’s Towne Lounge is across the street. There should be a space in front of Campus Bicycles—imagine a car dealership without any parking. The DMV has badly designed racks for bicycles, and they are installed backward, as so many of that type are all over town. Barnes & Noble has had its bicycle racks installed incorrectly, so as to be almost unusable, for at least 20 years.

If car drivers had to put up with this sort of thing, you would hear the whining from here to the moon. In one of the potentially most bicycle-friendly towns in Northern California, we can do better.

Nelson Kaiser


Disappointing no-shows

Recently, the local League of Women Voters (LWV) sponsored important candidate forums. Such forums offered voters a chance to get to know candidates running for elected office.

Noticeably absent were key Republican incumbents, including Congressman Doug LaMalfa, state Sen. Brian Dahle and state Assemblywoman Megan Dahle.

Their absence was conspicuous, disappointing and, in my opinion, inexcusable.

After communicating with the LWV, I learned the following:

Doug LaMalfa replied he would not attend such events during the primary season, but would participate during the run-up to the general election in November.

As for Brian and Megan Dahle, neither offered the courtesy of a reply.

According to the LWV: “Starting in December, as soon as the official list of candidates was ready, we tried to contact Megan and Brian Dahle by email and by phone with no response whatsoever. We also tried some personal calls. Our initial emails requested their availability, also with no response.”

While town halls, forums and press interviews may be annoying, inconvenient and perhaps even politically disadvantageous, they are an inherent part of holding public office and must be accommodated at every opportunity.

Dare I say, if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the political kitchen.

Pete Stiglich


Here we go again

The GOP-controlled Senate is celebrating the resurrection early this year. No, not Easter—rather they’re restoring the seemingly dead Burisma/Biden probe that Rudy Gulliani spent millions of taxpayer dollars on and that led to nothing but debunked dead-end streets.

Since Feb. 7, no tweets, no Sunday talk shows, not a peep about the “rabbit hole” probe. Interestingly, at the time, Biden was trailing in the polls and lagging behind three other contenders in the Democratic primaries, including losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Fast-forward one month, and Biden suddenly won every county in the South Carolina primary, and was back in the race as a threat to Trump. Biden furthermore picked up endorsements from former Democratic rivals Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke, as well as heavyweights Rep. James Clyburn and retired Sen. Harry Reid.

All of a sudden, on the same day that Biden won in South Carolina, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson thought it necessary to restore the seemingly dead Burisma probe, suggesting he would subpoena former Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko to testify in the Senate about Hunter Biden’s corruption as a Burisma board member.

This is where your taxpayer dollars go, folks. Once again, GOP hypocrisy never ceases to amaze.

Ray Estes


One for Sanders

I support Bernie for president. He is the one who can decontaminate us from the autocratic self-serving Trump regime. He has some good plans for the American people that will actually see the cost go down and improve our lives.

Remember that he alone will not be able to improve our lives. We must take back the Senate and put the government in the hands of the people. The Constitution says “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” It does not say welfare of corporations and corporate farms, which amounts to corporate socialism.

As Harry Truman said, socialism is a “scare word … for almost anything that helps all the people.”

Harvey Nelson


Indie voter left out

I was disenfranchised from voting in the primary because I am an independent voter.

I was unaware that as an independent voter I was required to request the primary ballot. I returned the ballot I received, not knowing I would not receive the primary ballot separately. Because I had already returned the ballot, I was not able to receive a primary ballot and therefore not able to vote in the primary. I am thinking of all the independent voters who have been disenfranchised by this process.

Richard Davis


Heckuva show

Once again, Chico Performances presented an outstanding dance production, BODYTRAFFIC, at Laxson Auditorum last Saturday night (Feb. 29). Quoting the program: “Named the ‘company of the future’ and ‘one of the most talked-about companies’ … BODYTRAFFIC is internationally recognized for its high caliber work and palpable love of dance.”

The diverse and incredible choreography was superb—the dancers performed with amazing skill and off-the-charts joy of interpretation. While Chico is known as the City of Trees, it should also be recognized as a City of Fine Arts, because every week is filled with remarkable local talent in local venues.

Chico State contributes with inspiring performances as well, many of which wouldn’t be seen here without the university’s celebration of the arts. Many thanks for a terrific show!

Terese Barich