Letters for May 30, 2019
Calling it like it is
Re “Taking control of sewer destiny” (The Goods, by Meredith Cooper, May 23):
“Then there are the jerks in Chico treating fire survivors like vermin.”
‘Uplifting and priceless’
Re “‘Resource for repair’” (Scene, by Ashiah Scharaga, May 23):
Jess Mercer’s unwavering dedication to bringing positivity and encouragement to Camp Fire-displaced students is one of the most uplifting and priceless acts of community service I have seen in my nearly seven years as a Butte County resident. In combination with her breathtaking Key Project Tribute, Jess has been able to bring joy, love and a sense of closure to thousands of suffering humans, young and old alike. Jess not only likes to say, “be awesome,” she’s also living it.
Re “Tit for tat” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, May 23):
I appreciate the fine footwork by CN&R Editor Melissa Daugherty in her quest to deconstruct the mechanics of the Stone-Ory “recall.”
Thoughts: 1) Those driving this recall are established darlings of the Enterprise-Record; they merely break wind and a reporter rushes to document the air and ground vector. This has been the case for months—the usual E-R, inflammatory “journalism” we know and love. This contrived notoriety is intoxicating for our queen bees, accustomed to nesting in the dark obscurity of the social media hive, where homeless-bashing banshees spend their fevered days conjuring an authoritarian future. So, why not fire a headline-grabbing recall-rocket, though perhaps aerodynamically ill-fated? The most exciting fireworks are those slipshod enough to surprise.
2) Why are these soccer-moms-from-Hades so intent on destroying Stone-Ory? Executing a man on the basis of an anticipated crime is a miscarriage of justice; let these boys prove they are capable of heresy before summoning the Inquisition! You may yet be satisfied they are harmless, even if not birds of your own vile feather … precisely.
3) This recall at least rates as a solid high school hijink. At most, it’s anti-aircraft fire—missing the target, but altering the flight path.
More on that effort
Re “Civil discourse” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, May 23):
There will be a Chico City Council election next year, so why are people organizing a recall of two councilmembers?
I seldom agreed with the conservatives that formerly constituted the majority of the City Council, so I looked ahead to the 2018 election for candidates with whom I agreed on the issues. I supported them and made sure I voted for them. It never occurred to me to recall the duly elected conservatives on the council. In a democracy, we make changes through elections.
The current council has faced an unprecedented disaster in the Camp Fire and its aftermath. I have attended many council meetings since the fire. I believe all the council members are working very hard. Incumbents Karl Ory, Randall Stone, Sean Morgan and Ann Schwab are putting their experience to good use. New Councilmembers Alex Brown, Kasey Reynolds and Scott Huber are learning on the run, showing due diligence in quickly understanding the issues and becoming productive members of the council.
Rather than wasting time and taxpayers’ money on a recall and costly special election, why don’t those behind the recall work on finding candidates who support their views to run in the 2020 election? Don’t they respect the decisions of the voters?
The recall against me is by fringe Trump Republicans. Several years ago, the Republican-controlled City Council attempted to evict the Saturday farmers’ market to build a multistory parking garage. I led the initiative to save the market and now every Saturday there are thousands of shoppers downtown.
The same council changed the Chapman Mulberry Neighborhood Plan to allow a junkyard to stay on East 20th Street, a few hundred feet from a school. The local district attorney has sued the scrap metal business’ owners, and California has cited them for chemical pollutants. I led the referendum to reinstate the neighborhood plan. The same council, spending $300,000 of taxpayer money, sued the voters and myself for the referendum. The courts ruled in our favor. The Trump Republicans lost control of the City Council last November.
We are in a crisis, with 19,000 Camp Fire survivors residing in Chico. Instead of helping the new residents, the Republicans are instead trying to take control of the City Council. The police and the rest of the city staff are doing an outstanding job, but now will be distracted.
My wife, Linda, and I hosted a survivor in our home, and we want to thank everyone who has provided assistance to these survivors.
You and I want safety in hometown Chico—all 112,000-plus of us. Yet 25 people (.022 percent of the population) launched a more personal attack under the pretense of community safety. Members of One Chico are trying to force a recall of Mayor Randall Stone and Councilman Karl Ory.
If victorious, we’d lose a progressive majority. Chico Housing Action Team’s Simplicity Village, Orange Street Shelter plans, all humanitarian efforts—dropped. In sum, big money would destroy us.
The council opposed Assembly Bill 430, a main reason for the proposed recall. AB 430 gives no voice to Chico. Rather, it gives free rein to millionaire developers.
One Chico members even cite Mayor Stone’s “unethical” posting of his children on Facebook as a reason for their campaign.
They demand Ory’s recall because Ory was sued (as a private citizen by the formerly conservative council when Ory voiced concerns of 9,000 petitioners uniting to Move the Junkyard). He’s being attacked for being attacked for exercising First Amendment rights.
Chico has too much heart and reason for this madness. The results would out-price us all, literally and symbolically, and would take our First Amendment rights, too. We can’t let that happen.
Re “Dramatic exit” and “Another long night” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga, April 19 and May 9):
The city of Chico currently spends about $25 million per year on our police force (and is proposing an increase in budget for the next fiscal year) while many of the mental health, housing and health care resources our community truly needs are going under- or totally unfunded.
While the Chico Police Department has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to successfully keep those most vulnerable in our community safe—with numerous documented instances of excessive force, anti-blackness, racism, transphobia and murder, including the murders of Desmond Phillips and Tyler Rushing—the City Council continues to pour money into the police.
The Justice for Desmond Phillips team invites the community to join us in voicing our concerns about it at the next City Council meeting. We will be making postcards to the city next Monday evening at Blackbird Café and folks can get more info on Facebook.
Ready the revolution
Re “Rally for reproductive rights” (Newspick, by Charles Finlay, May 23):
A sense of disempowerment concerning the restriction of abortion access—and the inevitable conservative Supreme Court decision—is justified given the logical contradictions within the “pro-life” camp. It’s the opinion of this hetero-cisgendered white man that resistance must address the social and the material, the intersecting evils of patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism. What to do?
There’s a women’s revolution taking place in Northern Syria to overthrow the sectarian, patriarchal, war-torn status quo. The Rojavan Revolution is a stateless movement based on a social contract of freedom, pluralism and ecology. The equal worth of all persons is explicit. It guarantees education and health care to all. It manifests as mandated gender quotas for representation in administrative councils that are elected from popular assemblies. Women form their own defense forces and have played a critical role in repelling ISIS. Women establish common houses to escape abusive fathers or husbands and to pursue education and culture among women. They build cooperative businesses together.
Women’s empowerment is central to the revolutionary process of social and material liberation in Rojava. We should study this model and build a better society where autonomy and collaboration are foundational principles.
Gun film enlightening
Re “Trigger happy” (Scene, by Robert Speer, May 23):
I went to see local filmmaker Sue Hilderbrand’s documentary, American Totem, at the Pageant Theatre. Although I’m an advocate for more gun control, I found the film to be quite balanced and objective. Ms. Hilderbrand’s film showed me a perspective of the gun culture that I hadn’t considered before. Thank you, Sue Hilderbrand, for your professional and thought-provoking film.
On PG&E’s plans
PG&E told Paradise residents it plans to underground electric distribution lines as they replace existing gas lines. The project will take five years. Undergrounding is the safest alternative, though expensive and slow to install and not practical in rocky, mountainous locations. Instead, PG&E should install insulated wire immediately, to prevent wildfire this season and the excessive tree removals required by Senate Bill 901 in Cohasset, Forest Ranch and all high-fire-threat areas.
PG&E estimates 100 million trees must be removed to protect dangerous bare wires and comply with SB 901. Focusing on undergrounding or tree removal overlooks the continuing threat posed by bare wire. Insulated wire offers an immediate safety upgrade and is more cost-effective than bare wire or undergrounding.
Given the long build time for undergrounding, the company should install insulated wire now while undergrounding begins. Seventy-thousand trees have already been wiped out by PG&E in Paradise’s utility easements. Trees are very much at risk everywhere else. Excessive tree removal is unnecessary if insulated wire is used.
Misuse of power
There hasn’t been much chatter from the White House regarding Trump’s consideration of pardoning a number of former military personnel who are convicted war criminals. While there is no groundswell of support for this incredibly injudicious proposal, there are a number of military and veteran organizations that have expressed their contempt for this misuse of the president’s power to pardon.
Martin Dempsey, a retired general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succinctly stated, “Absent evidence of innocence or injustice, the wholesale pardon of U.S. service members accused of war crimes signals our troops and allies that we don’t take the law of armed conflict seriously.”
It’s interesting to note that one of the proposed recipients of this thoughtless abuse of power is a former military mercenary, who while in the employment of military contractor Blackwater committed war crimes. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, brother of Trump cabinet member Betsy DeVos, and could well be under investigation for lying to Congress.
Donald Trump appears to have a serious disdain for the law, so I guess in some twisted way it makes sense that he thumbs his nose at the rule of law by siding with war criminals.
Roger S. Beadle
Swimming on the way
I have received some calls about the Sycamore Pool at One-Mile Recreation Area and when the pool will officially be opened. The city of Chico always “flushes out” Big Chico Creek to make sure no objects or debris that would injure swimmers are present. Biologists have told the city to hold off until the chinook salmon have finished their run up the creek to spawn. We believe that to be soon.
We are scheduled to have the lifeguard booths staffed by professionals on June 8 so the Sycamore Pool will be fully available and ready for use soon.
And I am again helping organize the Fourth of July activities at One-Mile. The Independence Day celebration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the annual 5k run, pancakes and sausage with coffee or juice for $6. We keep the prices low to encourage as many as possible to enjoy a great community breakfast.
We could use some volunteer help for this event that will again feature the Chico Community Band. Contact me at Randall@RandallStone.com or 924-4298 to help.
Attention, dog owners
Fellow dog owners, when walking your dog in Lower Bidwell Park after 8:30 a.m., please walk your dog on a leash. Not only is it Park Department rules and polite, it also is easier for dog owners who need to use a leash. You do have the privilege to walk your dog off leash before 8:30 a.m. Please be considerate.
On starting school later
The movement to recalibrate school districts’ daily schedules to accommodate students’ late-morning sleeping patterns is a wonderful idea! That way, when time arrives to comfort their hungry newborn, perhaps study for college exams or possibly go to work, your little darlings will be fully prepared and certainly well-rested.
Kenneth B. Keith
Last week’s Healthlines story (see “Peer support,” by Evan Tuchinsky) incorrectly stated that Iversen Center outreach coordinator Denise Peterson is a mother of three. She has four children. The error has been corrected online. —ed.