Letters for May 9, 2019

‘Fear-based response’

Re “And then there was one” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga) and “Have faith in the Orange Street Shelter” (Editorial, May 2):

I am pleased that the low-barrier shelter on Orange Street is moving forward under the direction of Safe Space. Finally, in the near future, comprehensive services will be available to so many people who have been without since the explosion of homelessness began years ago.

On the other hand, I am dismayed by the NIMBY position taken by Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson. When she was hired, there was much fanfare about her devotion to diversity and inclusiveness. Well, here it is, embrace the real world, not the ivory tower, Dr. Hutchinson!

This is a wonderful opportunity for Chico State students to participate in supporting those among us who are facing the most daunting challenges in our society. Instead of being an adversary, there are many ways that the university can become a positive partner in this compassionate venture. My mind is racing with the possibilities!

Emily Alma


Gayle Hutchinson and Chico State’s fear-based response to the proposed Orange Street Shelter is a missed opportunity for student growth and improved town and gown relations.

I suggest she look to Harvard for a better example of how to respond. I quote from the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter website: “The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter serves the community of individuals experiencing homelessness in Cambridge and Boston. The student staff and volunteer network comprised of students and community members work together to provide guests with shelter, food, security, and a supportive environment of mutual respect. In addition to providing these fundamental needs, we work individually with those who seek our assistance as they strive to attain their own goals and make the transition into independent living.”

I suggest having students invested in the Orange Street Shelter would elevate the university. Instead, this administration has chosen to, once again, turn inward and isolate the campus from an active role in improving the surrounding community. I am so disappointed in the Hutchinson administration. I was really hoping for great leadership, but that is not what we got.

Barbara Hassig Morris


Among the burned

Re “Sleepless in Chico” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, May 2):

Fire burns sleep. That’s just the way it is. Nobody of the fire is sleeping. It doesn’t matter that you “didn’t have to outrun the flames.” You rode, into the fire. And you kept doing that. You know what happens to war correspondents. The same thing is happening to you.

And you’re not moving on. Every week, you’re back in the fire. In the stories you write, oversee. Others may play at shiny happy people. You won’t. Because you won’t forget. Or let others, forget. And you’re to be honored. In that.

I wish it weren’t so. But it is. You’re one of us. You’re burned.

Know that it won’t always be like this. Someday, there will be something, other than the fire. Someday.

Kevin Jeys


Marred by racist graffiti

White supremacy is alive and well in Chico, Calif. This is occupied Mechoopda Maidu land. Ali Meders-Knight is a Mechoopda Maidu indigenous woman, a mother of five indigenous girls, and an amazing artist. She is painting a mural celebrating Mechoopda culture at Second and Cedar streets with fellow artist Christian Garcia. Over the weekend someone vandalized their art with racist graffiti including swastikas and “White Power.”

Saturday was Chico’s “Pioneer Day Parade.” Romanticizing pioneers is whitewashing the history that colonizers murdered, raped and tortured indigenous people, and stole the land.

Sunday was an international day to honor all the countless missing and murdered indigenous women in North America. Native Women are the most likely of any demographic to experience sexual assault, domestic violence, police violence. Today I ask you to think deeply about the systemic and daily terrorism and trauma that native women live with for simply existing.

Rain Scher


Twenty-twenty hindsight

Re “PG&E’s outrageous plan” (Letters, by Walter Ballin, May 2):

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking on Walter Ballin, I don’t know the man from Adam. That said, I’d like to ask what he would do if he could turn the clock back a few minutes prior to the time the Camp Fire broke out.

PG&E operators at the Table Mountain substation were aware of a problem—strong winds—in the vicinity of where the fire started. Their choices at the time were to either shut the transmission line down or keep their fingers crossed that no problem would occur, and I’m certain the last thing on their minds was the absolute catastrophe that ensued when they chose the latter.

Additionally, the fire started on private property. I know the rugged terrain in the area, and logistics prevented any rapid-response access.

Putting myself in the shoes of the operators at the time, I probably would have agreed to keeping power on to what Mr. Ballin refers to as “5 million people in Northern California.”

Twenty-twenty hindsight makes geniuses out of all of us. I’m sure that if the operators had realized that even one life was in danger, not to mention the devastation involved, they undoubtedly would have shut the line down. Just something for Walter Ballin to think about. What a horrible disaster.

Ray Estes


Retort to a retort

Re “Commentary comeback” (Letters, by Peter Bridge, May 2):

Mr. Bridge said, [in response to Clancy Callahan’s guest comment on being kicked out of her rental]: “… to pay an average of $935 a month for eight years? That says more about the renter than the rental.” What it really says it that Mr. Bridge must not be aware of rental prices in the Chico area.

I, however, am, due to checking rental prices for various family members over the years. Even before the Camp Fire, a medium-quality “studio” apartment started at about $950 to $1,000 and has for several years. (Ever heard of college-town rental marketing? Wonder why there’s been no rental price-gouging since the Camp Fire? No need: Rent prices were already sky high.)

So what Ms. Callahan was being charged for rent for a house was not anomalous enough by any means for her to be foolish, as Bridge seems to suggest. (Sure, she might’ve found lower rent prices within commuting distance, like Paradise, for instance.)

Please, Mr. Bridge, consider an apology to Ms. Callahan for your insulting comments about her, and please don’t start bashing Camp Fire evacuees next. I had six family members who had to evacuate and find new places to live. Don’t make me have to write another letter.

Lynn Marler


Speak of the devil

Ms. Callahan was upset after being given 60-days notice to vacate, after her home of eight years was sold out from under her. I responded that “FYI: rapacious landlords could sell the rental, enter escrow, and give just 30 days notice.”

The News & Review followed the letter with this footnote: “Editor’s note: In the state of California, landlords are required by law to give 60 days’ notice to tenants who’ve lived in a rental for at least a year.”

However, here’s Ca. Civil Code 1946.1(d) paraphrased. A landlord who is selling his or her house to a person that wants to live in it may wait until entering escrow and then lawfully serve the tenant a 30-day notice.

I think my statement was informational and the editor’s note only served to confuse the issue—in more ways than one. Read the note again. By the time you’re 25, you’ve probably lived in “a” rental for at least a year. What if that’s not “the” rental you’ve been living in for only the last nine months?

I jest. But please understand. That 30-day notice, even after eight years in the rental, may in fact be lawful.

Peter Bridge

Ord Bend

Joking about lawyers

Just north of Chico, alongside Highway 99, stands a billboard that reads: “Fire Lawyers.” In this particular case, most folks would agree.

Kenneth B. Keith


‘Assault on our health’

Air quality matters. To you, to me, to our vulnerable children. And it’s declining, according to a study released by the American Lung Association, [which reports that] 43 percent of Americans now live in places with unsafe air. This decline in air quality, which has affected California in particular, is due to a combination of climate change (rising temperatures mean more smoke from wildfires and more smog on warmer days) and our current administration’s rolling back of environmental regulations and protections (like emissions standards) while simultaneously cutting the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, which will make pollution laws more difficult to enforce.

We cannot allow this assault on our health and our planet to continue. We can all do our part to help reduce air pollution and climate change, like driving less, using less electricity, and reaching out to lawmakers to let them know of our concerns. Contact Rep. Doug LaMalfa and ask him to support green legislation like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and the Green New Deal. For more ways to help preserve our planet, join the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org), Chico 350 (chico350.org), or the Sunrise Movement (sunrisemovement.org). Do it for our future—and our children’s future.

Dory Schachner