Letters for May 23, 2019
Lies predate Trump
Re “Russia plunders while Trump babbles” (Guest comment, by Roger S. Beadle, May 16):
William Binney, former director of the National Security Agency, said of the neocons in the U.S. State Department who got us into the Iraq War: “They’re a group of people who never had to make a thing work in their lives.” John Bolton was one of those neocons. Neocon Victoria Nuland in Obama’s State Department orchestrated the 2014 bloody overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president. Today, neocon Elliott Abrams, signatory to the infamous neocon Project for a New American Century—touting U.S. “exceptionalism”—is leading the attempted regime change in Venezuela.
Roger Beadle, open your eyes. Lying, callow people were running things in Washington, D.C., a long time before Donald Trump came to town.
Re “Above and beyond” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, May 9):
The sacrifices made by journalists covering breaking stories, often in horrifically trying and stressful situations, is an invaluable form of heroism. The CN&R’s unwavering dedication to your craft connects us all and demonstrates the power of community awareness. Bravo to the entire staff of the CN&R.
Stumping for tax hike
Re “Secondary effects” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, May 9):
The article states that “based on year-over-year analysis, Chico had gained over 19,000 residents” after the Camp Fire.
This figure is based entirely on estimates, there are no “hard numbers,” as Mark Orme claims. I read the [California Department of Finance] press release. “Estimated occupancy of housing units and the number of persons per household further determine population levels. Changes to the housing stock are used in the preparation of the annual city population estimates. Changes in city housing stock result from new construction, demolitions, housing unit conversions, and annexations.” So, they not only “estimate” the number of houses occupied, they also “estimate” how many are living in each house.
Furthermore, “These population estimates are produced annually by the Department of Finance for use by local areas to calculate their annual appropriations limit.”
There’s no science; they just make up numbers to get money from the state. City staff is also using these numbers to stump for a local sales tax increase, proposing to use the proceeds to finance bonds. They’re trying to play on our sympathies for the evacuees to get us to raise taxes, and the cost of housing. Learn more at chicotaxpayers.com.
Editor’s note: In interviews with the CN&R, Chico City Manager Mark Orme has referred to Chico’s new population figure as an estimate. It was based on spikes in traffic and daily flows at the Chico Water Pollution Control Plant.
Speaking of taxes
In 2016, two housing tax increases were passed. In 2017, a garbage tax was passed. Now the Chico City Council and CARD are paying a political consulting firm over $100,000 of our tax dollars to get more tax increases passed. The City Council’s tax increase alone is estimated to cost a family of four an additional $1,200 a year in taxes. These taxes are regressive, meaning they hit the poor the hardest.
The reason for all the tax increases is because of unsustainable city employee compensation, especially pensions. City bureaucrats and other city employees have multimillion-dollar pensions. In a state that has among the highest living expenses and taxes in the nation, and in a county with a 21 percent poverty rate, instead of implementing pension reform our City Council intends to try to maintain this unconscionable status quo on the backs of poor people.
Our City Council members, including the so-called liberals, care far more about multimillion-dollar pensions for city employees than they do about poor people. In next year’s election, vote these politicians out of office and vote against their regressive tax increases.
Discussion on facts
Re “Scoffing at committee” (Letters, by Loretta Ann Torres, May 16):
Not sure which “climate hysterics” Ms. Torres was listening to in the 1970s, but it was pretty common knowledge that global warming is due to man’s influence. Today it is unquestioned.
Earlier projections of impact were erroneous only in their estimates of the time it would take, most giving us until the last third of the 21st century to make some drastic changes. They couldn’t envision that, per a recent report by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, the CO2 levels in our atmosphere are at levels not seen in over 2.5 million years. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently were salivating about the newly opened “Northern Suez Canal” for shipping and extraction of resources in the Arctic because our polar caps are disappearing.
Sorry, Ms. Torres, this is not a belief system. Those of us alive in the ’70s have no stake in this, except for our wishes for our children and grandchildren. By the time we die (I’m 74 looking toward 100), climate refugees from Florida and New York probably will need to be resettled, because people didn’t “believe” in climate science. “All politics is local,” so I’m hoping to have a discussion about what to do, based on the facts.
Blame Gov. Brown
Re “Three on PG&E” (Letters, by Walter Ballin and Bob Mulholland, May 16):
Four days after Obama clinched the 2008 Democratic primary, his opponent Hillary Clinton endorsed him. Four weeks after Hillary defeated Bernie Sanders by more than 3 million votes in the 2016 Democratic primaries, Bernie sheepishly endorsed Hillary. Walter Ballin calls waiting four weeks to endorse a candidate “vigorous.” That doesn’t meet the laugh test in my book.
According to a recent analysis, former UMass professor Brian Schaffner noted that about 12 percent of Bernie supporters from the 2016 Democratic primary crossed party lines and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, the number of Sanders defectors was greater than comrade Trump’s margin of victory.
Speaking of Trump, I would support him before I’d ever support a PG&E CEO, Wall Street CEO, or any other so-called CEO, so let’s set the record straight. I asked Ballin to put his feet in the shoes of the operators at Table Mountain substation on the fateful night the Camp Fire broke out. How does that equate to backing CEOs?
Ballin’s consequential kook in the White House is sending battle ships to the Persian Gulf as we speak.
Mr. Mulholland, please forget having the PG&E board do a town hall with Camp Fire victims. While the board members might fake caring about Camp Fire victims, they mostly represent their PG&E stockholding hedge funds, and their concern is profit.
As you have some stature in the California Democratic Party, get former Gov. Jerry Brown and his friends at the California Public Utilities Commission to do the town hall with Camp Fire victims. Only they have the clout to make change with PG&E.
First, they could apologize for their lax oversight of PG&E, allowing PG&E to become so casual in regard to maintenance and safety, but laser-focused on their profit. Former Gov. Brown and the CPUC need to accept responsibility for their enabling of PG&E resulting in PG&E’s equipment being the cause of 17 of the 21 major wildfires in 2017, and now the Camp Fire.
Providing safe power to fire-prone areas is not going to be cheap. Real change would require restructuring to remove the profit motive. Strong, creative and strategic action is needed, now!
Brown, show that you care. Do something to make up for the pain and the colossal carbon footprint of the fires you enabled.
Support the shelter
If you are a part of “not in my backyard,” that is the No. 1 reason why you should be supporting [the Orange Street Shelter].
Our local homeless community often stays in Depot Park. Our local homeless community often stays in the City Plaza. You don’t like to see them outside. You don’t like when homeless folks urinate and defecate outside in public.
If you agree with the statements above, please take a moment to realize how backward your logic is when opposing the shelter. Offering [homeless people] shelter will keep them out of sight, off of the streets, and give them a place to sleep and use the restroom. It also will help them regain stability in their lives.
This is not in question; this has been proven time and time again. Do your research. Providing a place for them to rest safely, practice proper hygiene, and improve their mental health is the best chance they have at re-entering society. It must be at this central location, making it accessible.
Depot Park is already a popular location for our friends without homes. You will not notice a difference, except for the fact that you will not be able to see them anymore.
Tackle real issues
I recently read an article about increased THC in the regulated, “recreational” cannabis on sale today. This article was from NPR Radio via the web, a most respected news outlet today. I respect their coverage.
Maybe, just maybe, we should find the priorities to research and address issues in our society like cellphone use on the roads, streets, highway, endangering the public every day in our world. Maybe strive to eradicate infectious diseases such as measles (again), sexually transmitted diseases, overprescribed medications by unethical doctors. Maybe more education, mandated in global, let alone “national,” media.
Most importantly, more help at the city, county, state and federal levels to address homeless people in our backyards, streets and creekbeds. These are public health and real social issues in almost all of our lives today. Thank god for THC. Thank god or goodness or whatever for public radio, TV, for following these stories, but is anybody paying attention?