Letters for May 24, 2018
Left out of the cover
Re “History keepers” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, May 17):
Wow! I cannot understand how you could have failed to include the Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum in Oroville. Of the five museums in Oroville, the Tool Museum has thousands of hits on the website (boltsantiquetools.com) every day, returns more money to the city than any other in Butte County, is open seven days a week with volunteer docents, has a new speaker every month on a tool-oriented topic, and is the largest museum of its kind in the U.S. How could you not cover it?
Editor’s note: Good question. The answer: We covered it a few short months ago (see “Hard as nails,” Newlines, Feb. 15).
Heck of a meeting
Re “Heat from the dais” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, May 17):
Over the past five years, I have observed increasing public discourse related to the impact of unhoused citizens in Chico. Citizens have stepped forward to provide support to nonprofits such as the Torres Community Shelter, the Jesus Center and Chico Housing Action Team.
Public-private partnerships have come together through the Butte Countywide Continuum of Care to form an agency to coordinate applying for state and federal funding. The city of Chico put forward funds to support these efforts and partially fund, with the Butte County Housing Authority, a full-time coordinator of all things related to the unhoused—estimated to exceed 1,100 people ages newborn to 80 years old.
Emergency shelters are at capacity. At the May 15 City Council meeting, a citizen’s group supported an effort to move $40,000 in funding earmarked for community organizations into the general fund. A council majority acted to do just that, though that money could have gone to support efforts to provide housing and services to the unsheltered. Subsequent to that action, under “business from the floor,” a local citizen activist took exception to that action and, in his opinion, the marginalizing of a segment of our community. Mayor Sean Morgan had that citizen arrested. I object!
The Chico City Council’s meeting seems like it was entertaining, but what happened was certainly disturbing. During the public comment period, Mark Herrera, a former council candidate, was giving a statement that was what he meant to be satire. At a certain point, Mayor Sean Morgan cut him off, asking him to stop because he felt he was getting personal. Mr. Herrera was not done with his three minutes, so he continued. Mayor Morgan ordered the officer on duty to remove Mr. Herrera.
Mark Herrera was perfectly within his rights as a citizen to speak his three minutes—he was not disruptive, he was not cussing, not personally attacking anyone. He ended up spending the night in Oroville for simply making a point about something he feels strongly about with satire during a period of a City Council meeting meant for citizens to address the council. If anyone disrupted the proceedings (a public event), it was Mayor Morgan by interrupting, then having someone arrested for simply exercising his rights.
The City Council is scheduled to discuss numerous homeless-related issues that will demonstrate what sort of community we are: a caring community that takes the high road in problem-solving? Or a small-minded town that clings to the regressive practice of criminalizing homelessness? Two of the discussion items are intertwined; by approving one we pave the way forward for avoiding the other.
Approval of a declaration of shelter crisis (DSC) would open a toolbox of remedies for helping people get themselves off the streets and into stable shelter. Studies show that stable housing reduces crime, illness and joblessness—at significant cost savings compared to the price of enforcement, litigation, incarceration, clean-up and hospitalization.
Because DSC begins to provide unhoused people with places to be, it also reduces the need for consideration of the unconstitutional sit-lie ordinance. In 2014, the Department of Justice stated: “when adequate shelter space does not exist, there is no meaningful distinction between the status of being homeless and the conduct of sleeping in public” and argues that sit-lie laws “violate the Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, making them unconstitutional.”
We’re Chico, let’s lead the way on humane solutions.
A “hate group” is defined as a “social group that advocates and practices hatred, hostility or violence toward members of any designated sector of society.” The homeless population is a “sector of society” and, in my opinion, after extensive exposure to the rhetoric of “vigilance” club Chico First, this group qualifies as a hate group.
Since the inception of Chico First, members of Chico Friends on the Street have provided a direct challenge in both newspapers, on Action News Now, KZFR, social media and at several Chico City Council meetings, beginning April 3. Also, it was encouraging to witness the courageous Mark Herrera colorfully excoriate Chico First at the last council meeting.
But, it’s not enough to condemn homeless haters. We have to ask why we seek to make our public spaces inaccessible, hostile and punishing places for those with no decent alternative. We have to ask why demonization and criminalization are flourishing, in response to a shelter crisis.
Reinstatement of the sit-lie ordinance appears imminent. Please join us in condemning and opposing this law and all such actions. Win or lose, apathy is indefensible. chicofriendsonthe email@example.com
It raised my hackles reading of the Chico administrative services director’s ideas of how to pay for rising retirement costs. Here’s an idea: Cover retirement costs by cutting retirement costs. Administrators would never think of that; instead they want to hire more people to do the work they were hired to do. And you would think the Republicans on the City Council would have the ideological mandate to reduce government, but, no, they just added to the problem with huge raises for fire and police.
Chico has a low cost of living due to cheap student labor. It is obscene that our administrators earn six figures, and incestuous that these people keep giving each other raises. Let the gold-diggers move on; we want staff who want to live here more than they want money.
Getting due credit
Re “Upping the ratio” (Healthlines, by Felicia Mello, May 17):
You missed the real and local story behind this important piece of legislation. Senate Bill 968 (article failed to name the bill) originated in Chico. It started as a conversation in front of Mom’s between myself (California Faculty Association Counselor Committee chair) and Jason Conwell, our CFA campus staff representative.
Jason gets full credit for SB 968 as he said, “Mimi, you ought to propose a piece of legislation.” He then proceeded to teach me how this is done. Thanks to the support of CFA and Sen. Richard Pan, SB 968 was passed 6-0 by the Senate Education Committee on April 25. Next stop is the Senate Appropriations Committee. Jim Nielsen is on that committee. Please contact him and tell him that mental health counseling in the CSU prevents suicide, increases student retention and graduation rates. Students that graduate help their families and contribute to a more robust economy.
‘A human dignity issue’
Re “Locked out” (Cover story, by Ashiah Scharaga, May 10):
When I arrived at a client site Monday morning around 6:30, there was already a homeless woman inside who had pleaded to be able to use her business bathroom. I asked my client if she felt worried about letting her in, and she shrugged and said she wasn’t concerned … she saw a fellow human in need. The homeless woman thanked her profusely and left, leaving no mess or issues in her wake.
I know the homeless woman as well. She’s in her late 50s or early 60s, only been on the streets a few months, and can only afford around $400 per month for rent. Once she lost her old place, it got exponentially harder for her to find something.
For every story that gets repeated, about the mess, about the monsters among us, about the losers and the scum, the trash and the needles, the “transients,” there are dozens of stories like this one. Stories of people and businesses trying to do the right things, and stories of homeless individuals who are just trying to muddle through as best they are able.
Don’t tell me that the homeless don’t need bathrooms. It’s a public health issue, yes. But it’s also a basic human dignity issue.
Three for candidates
In a recent campaign mailer, incumbent Butte County Supervisor Larry Wahl says he “will continue to fight to preserve your right to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of your home and property.” When the Habitat for Humanity homes were planned for 20th Street in Chico, it was with the expectation that Chico Scrap Metal would relocate as dictated in our Chapman-Mulberry Neighborhood Plan.
Those future homeowners expected a peaceful and quiet space. In the ongoing conflict between the Chapman neighborhood and Chico Scrap Metal, Mr. Wahl clearly has failed to make his words the same as his actions. Incumbent Wahl also states in the same mailer that he believes in helping people in “resolving their issues.” Yes, he has helped Kim Scott (owner of Chico Scrap Metal) resolve her issues.
Larry Wahl will help you only if you share his arch-conservative philosophy. Butte County’s District 2 needs a supervisor in tune with today’s issues and neighborhoods. It needs a supervisor who will honestly represent all the district, not just the conservatives. Butte County’s Second District needs Debra Lucero as its representative. She will keep her promises.
I recently attended the Forest Ranch Community Association’s hosting of the three candidates for Butte County Supervisor District 3. It was clear to me that Norm Rosene is the most fit to represent the constituents of District 3.
Norm will fight to bring much-needed business back to Butte County without raising taxes, he will fight to keep our water in the North State, he is pro-public safety. Norm Rosene is not afraid to take on state government to bring our dollars back to Butte County, and he opposes Governor Brown’s sanctuary state status.
Norm is a businessman, professional and volunteer with tons of experience that will assist in making a good supervisor. Norm Rosene would be the best fit for the constituents of District 3, sharing the same ideals and values of District 3 citizens.
Norm Rosene has the backing of the Butte County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, which speaks volumes. Clearly, Norm Rosene has the public’s well-being in mind and will support those who serve to protect the citizens of Butte County: the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and Butte County District Attorney investigators. Please visit normrosene.com for more detailed information. Vote Norm Rosene for District 3 on June 5.
I am a registered Republican voter, and I’m distressed by the divisive and bitter state of politics today. Like so many of my Republican friends, I’m unhappy with my party’s representation in Washington. I cannot stand by while the party in power, taking their lead from the president himself, treats their constituents with malice and contempt.
To vote for Doug LaMalfa, or any Republican for that matter, is to validate the status quo. We need a change, and Republicans need to stand up and demand better representation, even if it means voting outside the party.
Audrey Denney is the representative we need. I have been inspired by Audrey’s message that we can come together, despite our political differences. Audrey sees people as people first, not just voters to either please or to ignore, depending on the R or D after our name. Audrey believes that we have more commonalities than differences, and that’s the type of leadership—servant leadership—that we need in Congress. We need a representative, not a politician.
Republican friends, we do have a choice! Join me in voting for someone who will truly represent us all well—vote for Audrey Denney for Congress!
Another shooting, more inaction
“Thoughts and prayers.” Oh, how heartfelt. I would imagine our spineless legislators in the House and Senate have programmed a key on their cellphones to immediately text that out when the next school shooting occurs. It certainly reduces the hurt, sorrow and loss for those parents whose children they’ll never play with again, laugh with again, watch playing sports or hug on their birthdays.
Going beyond “thoughts and prayers,” our sociopathic president lamented, “We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack.” Oh my, that almost brings tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, this expression of grief followed his pledge to the NRA earlier this month that “[the Second Amendment] will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president.”
Isn’t it about time we quit applying 18th century laws to 21st century weapons? We stopped doing that with automobiles years ago. Oh yes, I forgot…the Second Amendment was ordained by God! Such a sick society, I’m ashamed to be part of it.
As I sit and watch events unfold in Texas, another 20 students and adults are dead or wounded from another school shooting. Last week, I received a letter from the NRA soliciting my membership. In the center of that letter were the words, “They want to take away our rights and make them a privilege.”
Growing up, I hunted under the watchful eye of my grandfather. He let me shoot a .22 rifle at the age of 10. At 12, he gave me the gun. At 15, he gave me a 410 shotgun. Those guns were my prized possessions. However, I knew that if I ever misused one, either carelessly or maliciously, I could lose them forever. They weren’t a right, they were a privilege I had to earn and maintain.
At the drafting of the Second Amendment, wars were fought with flintlock muskets. In a land where it could take weeks for an army to reach an outpost, militias were necessary. Both flintlocks and militias are obsolete and ineffective. The NRA should remember that amendments can be repealed and that could seriously impact everyone, including legitimate gun owners.
Robert V. Grignon Sr.
Trump followers should be excited! Franklin Graham, Trump’s false prophet, is holding rallies in the North State. He and other “Christian” leaders, who worship and follow Trump, instead of Jesus, are spreading their blasphemous message to all of America, and spitting in the face of Jesus with every lie. Any Christians who support Trump have been deceived and lost their salvation.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3—Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (the son of destruction) is revealed; 2:4—He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So, he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
Trump fulfills many prophetic descriptions, along with his fallen “Christians.” He is the exact opposite of Christ. In Revelation 13:5—The beast was given a mouth to speak arrogant and blasphemous words, and authority to act for forty-two months. In 2 Timothy 3:1—For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3:2—unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good …
Imagine you are in your backyard and see some ants and get out the magnifying glass. No! Wait! Not to light them on fire like you did when you were a kid, this time just to investigate. As you peer through the glass, you notice that many of the ants have jewelry on their antennae and some have tattoos and body piercings. Do you say, “Cool!” Or do you think to yourself, “Those ants sure are self-absorbed.” As you further investigate, you can see that the ants have constructed an arena and are engaged in high-stakes sporting events. Do you say, “Those ants are very civilized!” Or perhaps, “Don’t those ants have anything better to do with their time and resources?” Past the arena you see a very large gathering of ants and their leader behind a podium. The leader is particularly orange. Do you question, “Alternate reality?” Or do you mutter to yourself, “Those ants are screwed!”
W. Jeff Straub
Irony in Washington
Re “Murkier than ever” (Editorial, May 3):
Is it ironic that a black man wants to bring slavery back to the poor, disabled and elderly? See Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. Anyway, I’m pretty certain I don’t want to be served by an elderly disabled person who’s terrified of making the one mistake, which will cost them their livelihood.
Remember Memorial Day
While many people in the North State will be enjoying Memorial Day weekend, maybe a picnic, a family dinner or even a trip but I hope that everyone will at least, on Memorial Day, think of those Americans we lost in our many wars (and unfortunately ongoing) and their families.
There are 26 cemeteries outside of America with graves and the names of 218,000 Americans who died on foreign soil. Over this weekend each of these sites will have an event, with both Americans and foreigners, to pay respect to those we lost in battle.
That’s the real purpose of Memorial Day—to remember those that didn’t make it home. Don’t let a school child go to bed on Monday night without letting them know why they had the day off from school.