Letters for March 7, 2019

Communication is key

Re “Missing in action” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, Feb. 28):

Your basic assumption and compassion for the homeless community will have an impact on what you do as a community and as an individual. —Lloyd Pendleton, director of the Utah Homeless Task Force on the Oct. 12, 2016, Without a Roof radio program on KZFR 90.1 FM

The Butte Countywide Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) mission is to end homelessness in Butte County. This governing body manages various state and federal grant funding streams, the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the biennial Homeless Point in Time Survey and all other federal, state and county requirements attached to the execution of grant allocations and data collection within Butte County.

It’s vital that the general public, stakeholders and policy makers understand and respect the dire challenges, hard work and dedication of the CoC toward eliminating homelessness in Butte County and how to connect to the CoC to assist with its endeavors. I’m happy to champion the development of a CoC communication plan and look forward to helping to educate community members, of all persuasions, to the facts on the ground and the need for all of us to feel grateful for having a roof.

Bill Mash


Beds versus housing

Re “Omission” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 28):

“We need shelter beds, and we need them yesterday.”: This makes sense, with a few caveats: 1) We must remember that “beds” are not housing and housing is the honorable solution. 2) Unless the homeless are supplied with materials needed for survival on the streets, they are vulnerable to deprivation-based coercion. That is, to being forced into a shelter at the point of a “deprivation gun”; this is de facto incarceration. 3) As long as we continue to criminalize the life-sustaining actions of the homeless, they are vulnerable to legal coercion, with shelters serving as county jail annexes. 4) Many on the streets would respond well to a supportive housing approach, but would not respond well to life in a high-density homeless shelter. Mental illness is rampant on the streets and shelters are typically inappropriate settings for the mentally ill. 5) There is strong interest in getting poor people out of sight—and human rights be damned. That’s why authoritarian types enthusiastically support “consolidation”—a one-size-fits-all compound for the homeless.

To guard against this direction and all it implies, the citizens of Chico will have to be vigilant: Not all shelter is created equal; Hitler provided “beds.”

Patrick Newman


She listened, responded

Re “Listen up, Trump-bashers” (Letters, by Mick Watkins, Feb. 28):

It is heartening to see that conservatives also read the CN&R (i.e., the letter from Mick Watkins, who criticizes our state’s Democratic leaders. But I think he is wrong on all accounts).

First of all, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s withdrawal of National Guard troops from the Mexican border was a rational act, given the fact that by law they can do nothing there but mend existing fences and offer medical care (a waste!). Secondly, former Gov. Jerry Brown did not call for an open-border policy. Nobody has. Not wanting to waste money on a wall is different from proposing the elimination of customs and border patrol agents.

As for Brown’s horrible punishment of “working taxpayers” by championing the 12 cent per gallon gas tax, did you not notice the results of the last election? Apparently 57 percent of the voting population prefers to pay a bit more on gas to contribute to improved roads, bridges and public transportation.

Lastly, Brown calling the proliferation of devastating fires in California the “new normal” is not the same as saying we should do nothing. He was warning us that climate change is real and we are now suffering the consequences of our inaction.

Denise Minor


Political comebacks

Re “Bernie defenders united” (Letters, by Walter Ballin, Emily Alma and Charles Holzhauer, Feb 28):

Only in a so-called democracy like America could you win an election by more than 3 million votes and be accused of running a bad campaign.

In 1991, I was at the playoff game at Candlestick Park between the S.F. 49ers and the Washington Redskins attended by 65,000 fans. Before the game started, jet airliners flew over the stadium with a deafening roar, only to have their sound drowned out after the start of the game by the roar of the raucous crowd. Try to imagine a stadium that held 3 million fans (46 times the crowd size in the “Stick”), then you’d get an idea of how bad Comrade Trump was actually clobbered in the 2016 disastrous presidential election.

I realize the Electoral College will never be abolished because of the “unfairness” to states with small populations, but calling a candidate corrupt, stupid or incapable of running a good campaign ignores the reality that the Electoral College is long past its purpose of protecting Southern plantation owners from being “snowed under” at the polls by their former slaves who they considered to be two-thirds of a human being.

Ray Estes


A recent letter about the 2016 presidential election needs clarifications. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the Democratic presidential nomination by 3.7 million votes over Bernie Sanders. The two candidates nationally split the white vote, but minority Democrats voted for Clinton by 3-to-1 margins over Sanders. Thus, Clinton won the most grassroots delegates by 451, so the superdelegates did not swing the election to Clinton.

Clinton won California by 438,537 votes; thus, she got the most grassroots delegates from California. As a DNC member, I remind new activists that a majority of white Americans have not voted for the Democratic nominee for president since LBJ in 1964. Thus, the minority voters in the 2016 presidential primaries had a lot of sway with most superdelegates.

Sanders recently acknowledged he ran a terrible campaign with minority Democrats and he has brought on a new campaign team to replace the all-white male campaign team. It was the Russians who hacked into the DNC systems to cause rift among Democrats.

Those who did not vote for Clinton in the general election got what they wanted—President Trump. Now let’s focus on electing a Democrat next year to send Trump home to Russia.

Bob Mulholland


Speaking of Sanders

Continuing our dialogue regarding blaming Bernie for Hillary’s loss to Trump: In your editor’s note you state, that “12 percent of those who supported Sanders during the primary went on to vote for Trump.”

Bernie took the high road, did not chastise mainstream Democrats for the many ways they undermined his candidacy, energetically campaigned for Hillary, yet according to this analysis, 12 percent of Sanders’ supporters voted for Trump. Why blame Bernie? Maybe, dear staunch, die-hard Hillary defenders, they voted for Trump because he spoke to their concerns more effectively than Hillary did.

Bernie Sanders is a true activist for justice—economic, social, environmental, racial. He has had decades of experience to hone his views; he is a man of true integrity. Sanders’ platform in 2015 has now taken hold for Democratic policy. As a presidential candidate he will influence the progressive platform even more. The thought of Bernie becoming our next president or even just continuing to influence the Democratic debate gives me more hope than I have had since he lost the primary to Hillary in 2015.

Emily Alma


‘Battle for survival’

I have spent the last 100 days or so working every single day on my fire insurance claims and in my application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a loan. I was initially approved verbally for a $200,000 SBA loan at 2 percent. I later received written confirmation that I had been approved for an SBA loan of $238,000 at 2 percent. After some more time passed, I recently received the full loan package from the SBA; it’s about an inch thick.

When I finally went through each and every page, guess what I found? I found a document that says I must assign any and all of any insurance proceeds that I have received (and any future insurance proceeds) to the SBA before any loan funds can be disbursed. Of course, my answer to the U.S. government is: No, thanks. The battle for survival continues.

George Gold


Parking questions

Re “Parking plan advances” (Downstroke, Feb. 7):

Parking. It seems like it has always been an issue and always will be. The more parking spots there are, the more cars will try to park. But, why are there no parking meters on handicapped parking spots? Not on street parking, city parking lots nor in the parking structure. Why don’t disabled people have to pay but nonhandicapped people have to? Is this a state law or where is this coming from? And what about half the parking that Hotel Diamond is taking from the parking garage? Do they pay the full amount for it? It does not seem right for one establishment to take almost half the parking structure.

Daniel Lassotta


Walking the talk

I’ve known good Christians, my mother was one; I have known those who were Christians for the sake of convenience; Christians who donned the mantel to make a buck; and Christians who wore it on their sleeve to make a political point.

For many years my wife and I have enjoyed visiting majestic cathedrals and historically significant churches while traveling in Europe. During our last visit to London we changed our itinerary so as to explore smaller churches, their history and architecture.

So on an August afternoon we strolled into a northeast London neighborhood to visit a quiet church on a quiet street. As we entered the church, the sun showing through the stain glass windows brought comfort and a sense of peace. As we made our way around the interior, we noticed that a number of pews in the back and side parts of the church were occupied by homeless people softly sleeping, using jackets as pillows.

I didn’t take a picture; I thought it would be rude. As we left, I said to my wife, “Finally, a church doing what it’s supposed to be doing.” It was very touching, but also surreal.

Roger S. Beadle


Open the files, CPD

The public may now obtain certain police officer personnel records by making a request under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). Senate Bill 1421, written by California State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown, mandates that police release certain personnel files of officers involved in alleged police misconduct.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, SB 1421 requires release of police records when sustained findings by law enforcement or oversight agencies have shown officers to have lied, been involved in sexual assault, shootings, and other incidents where death or great bodily injury are a result, even when the use of force was found to be justified. The officer involved receives some form of discipline and their personnel files note the conduct. Until now, these records have been private in California. The Chico Police Department has yet to implement SB 1421.

Police departments in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto, Richmond, B.A.R.T., and Berkeley have independent oversight commissions in which civilians review complaints against their departments. Concerned Citizens for Justice’s vision is for a civilian oversight committee in Chico.

Diane Suzuki