Letters for May 28, 2015

Missing Joe

Re “Final farewell” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, May 21):

Like so many in Chico, I was saddened to hear of Joe Person passing away. I first met Joe and Pearl in the 1970s and always admired and appreciated their involvement in our community. Joe was a man of compassion and commitment to civil rights. He was a living example of kindness and empathy and we are all blessed to have known him.

Every time I drive down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, I will think of Joe. Thank you, Chico News & Review, for publishing the “Final farewell” article on Joe.

Chico will miss him.

Jane Dolan

Unfair is an understatement

Re “Prop. 13’s unfair legacy” (Editorial, May 21):

You haven’t brushed the surface of the “unfairness” of this 38-year-old proposition foisted on the California populace by an apartment owners association lobbyist—Howard Jarvis.

Pre-Prop. 13, government was funded 65 percent by commercial real estate taxes and 35 percent by private real estate taxes. Funding is now 35 percent commercial and 65 percent private. There are loopholes that allow commercial real estate to dodge the supposed reassessment on transfer by hiding behind the corporate and partnership morass of ownership, on top of the slower turnover rate of commercial properties.

Any new taxes have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in a dysfunctional state and local government.

The resulting lack of funding goes directly to your favorite whipping boy—public employees. Local government has no money, so our misguided officials choose not to hire because of costs of benefits. The departments cannot do their jobs because of under-staffing. We have to have our cops, so the city makes them work overtime. Because of the overtime, the police and fire wages seem high and skew the retirement figures.

Rich Meyers

In defense of militarization

Re “Obama gets it” (Editorial, May 21):

When has a local police force used an armed aircraft or a machine gun? So the local law enforcement has rifles, and night vision goggles. You’re suggesting, like the mayor of Baltimore, that rioters should be left alone to destroy. There is a big difference between protesters and violent people rioting. As far as this order goes, law enforcement can still buy these items if they wanted to.

Law enforcement should have the weapons to respond to any attack. It is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them. The liberal mind sees law simply staying home until a town is destroyed, people are killed and, like in Baltimore, 200 businesses were destroyed.

Police use only tear gas and night sticks. The grenade launcher was a joke, too; when has anyone shot grenades into a riot? Perhaps President Obama is planning bigger riots and busing in tons more rioters like Ferguson and Baltimore that are now protesting to get paid. Did he not plan on sending armed troops into Texas? The man is a joke.

Allan Clark

Cheers to the Chow

Re “Bigfoot expedition” (Chow, by Jason Cassidy, May 21):

As a devout Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. fan, I greatly appreciate learning that one of the ales produced by Chico’s own brewery, [Bigfoot Ale], becomes better with age—much as might a fine merlot or cabernet. I was especially interested to learn that Bigfoot Ale gains in both quality and value as it ages, as opposed to the more ubiquitous Pale Ale and Torpedo Extra IPA, for example, that begin to lose their maximum goodness after four to six months.

As I pondered over this newly gained lore that a Bigfoot Ale, which is technically classified as barleywine ale, can be compared to a fine brandy or cognac, and consumed in the same manner, I realized that I have several dusty old bottles of Bigfoot Ale somewhere in the back of my faithful 1930s-era “Great Northern Majesty” commercial beverage cooling unit, known to family, friends and neighbors as Big Bertha, which contains my vast collection of craft beers from around the country.

You can imagine my gustatory delight when I discovered Big Bertha actually contained 42 assorted “Bigfeet,” ranging in age from 1997 to present, all maintained for years under strict wine-cellar temperatures and conditions.

So, thanks for the excellent article and valuable information. Now, where shall we begin?

Dave Kilbourne

Commentary response

Re “Choosing nonaction” (Guest comment, by Patrick Newman, May 21):

I found Patrick Newman’s solution to the world’s woes a little silly. I suppose we should all stop having children (as he proposes), sell all of our belongings, and go live under a bridge. Maybe all the homeless people in Chico are leading by example.

Robert Sockey

The point actually was …

Re “Bros continued …” (Guest comment, by Sherri Quammen, May 21):

Sherri Quammen says the point of my letter about “bros” was that young men are responding to a value system allowing bad behavior when they don’t get “what they think they deserve.” Interesting, but not what I wrote.

What I wrote was that college bros (and women—a sentence was removed during editing) are exhibiting behaviors acquired in a morally bankrupt society. Not that young men act badly when they don’t get what they “deserve,” but that our entire way of life is characterized by “bad behavior”—most notably gluttonous consumption made possible by the ruthless exploitation of people, animals and ecosystems.

Male-specific or “gangsta asshole” behaviors are a subset of a multitude of generalized behaviors: i.e., 95 percent of us continue to buy pig tissue produced in mile-long torture chambers where animals are systematically driven insane. Isn’t that “gangsta asshole” behavior of the first order? Amazingly, consumerism is accelerating in the face of environmental collapse; this is nothing other than society-wide “gangsta asshole” lunacy.

How could young men have any deep reverence for female human life—or young women any reverence for male life—when they are socialized in a culture that supports industrial-scale torture and the elimination of life on Earth?

Patrick Newman

It’s about choice

Re “Delivery dilemma” (Cover story, by Evan Tuchinsky, May 14):

This story touches on a very important aspect of the health care debate: choice. A pregnant woman deserves to be well-informed and cared for. The decision to birth at home can be the right choice for some women and hospital medical professionals need to work together; not against the women, families and midwives who plan to birth at home.

Kathy Brazil

Happy b-day, Medicare

This July marks the 15th anniversary of Medicare, one of the most important progressive reforms in our nation’s history. Prior to Medicare, roughly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 lacked health insurance. Today, virtually all older Americans are insured by this program. Prior to Medicare, about one-third of older Americans fell below the poverty line. Today, that figure is less than 10 percent.

Today, Medicare is under attack by reactionaries in Washington and around the country who would like to partially or totally privatize it, ignoring the fact that private health insurance is—across the board—more expensive and less efficient than Medicare.

Medicare is not perfect, but it needs to be expanded and improved, not undermined. Our ultimate goal should be a system of expanded and improved Medicare, covering all Americans through a publicly financed and democratically administered program of universal health insurance.

In this 50th anniversary year, we need to send a clear message to our senators and congressional representatives demanding that Medicare be preserved, improved and expanded, not undermined. And vowing that we, their constituents, will hold them accountable for their actions.

Tom ReedChico

No more warmongers

To honor those who lost their lives while serving in the military, we should do what it takes to see that the U.S. stops using military solutions to resolve conflict.

If there were a draft, you can bet that there would have been no Iraq War. In a recent congressional hearing, a general testified that a fair draft would be good for America, but bad for the military. A draft is very unlikely to be reinstated, but without a draft, I’m not sure the American public will acknowledge the huge costs and absolute stupidity of using war to solve conflicts, and there will always be conflict.

I wish we had a better choice of presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidates are all warmongers. The idea that Democrats would support someone with the extraordinarily poor judgment to vote for the Iraq War, and who then, as secretary of state, pushed for using the military in Libya, with similar bad results, is really depressing.

To truly honor those who have died serving in our military, support a candidate for president who did not vote for the Iraq War, and who will rein in the monstrous military, industrial, congressional complex. Support Bernie Sanders.

Lucy Cooke
Butte Valley


Last week’s Newsline story about the death of Joe Person (see “Final Farewell” by Tom Gascoyne, May 21) mistakenly reported that Person’s son Johnny was the lone black officer in the Chico Police Department. In fact, Johnny Person retired last year, leaving detective Brian Miller as the only black officer currently on the force. Apologies for the error, which has been corrected online. -ed.