Letters for November 16, 2017
‘A ghetto plot’
Re “Under one roof” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Nov. 9):
It is encouraging to see the community coming together finally prepared to do something about extreme poverty other than just criminalizing it, but trying to isolate all homeless people out on the edge of town is a ghetto plot promoted by business interests that blame poor people for weak sales. I wonder if Sears blames the homeless, too.
The distorted and worsening distribution of wealth we’re suffering is bound to leave the poorest people even more desperately impoverished. The cheapest shelter options are eventually razed under pressure from higher property values; shantytowns and trailer parks are unwelcome in gentrifying neighborhoods. Our society encourages extreme wealth inequality while simultaneously eradicating the cheapest shelter alternatives available to those squeezed out the wrong end of a ruthless economic system. We are forcing people into homelessness.
The expensive and oppressive urge to impose your own standards of conduct on those who offend you is almost certain to create a ghetto of outcasts, misfits and rogues banished for not reflecting the gleam of capitalism with sufficient shine. On the other hand, encouraging self-managed tiny house villages can foster a community intent on looking after one another with minimal impact on budgets or domestic tranquility.
Support for single-payer
Today, over two-thirds of all health care costs are paid by the government when you total Medicaid, Medicare and Veterans Administration payments, along with tax subsidies and private insurers being paid a huge share for the plans of our police, firemen and other public workers.
What the heck is all this argument about? Who gets to reap the last 20 percent for their care? We already have single-payer insurance and we have about 15 separate bureaucracies administering them at probably more cost than what it would take to just take care of them.
This whole argument over Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act] is nothing but a farce! I am a staunch fiscal conservative, but it is time to stand up and support a national health care (single-payer) model for health care. Most have it and the rest deserve it!
Cut off immigrant funding and aid to other nations if need be. I support our president, and I hope he sees my plea. He did, in fact, one time support it and he may again if our voices are heard. Both parties need to stand up and demand our health care!
What’s up with the ad?
Devin P. Kelley used a semi-automatic assault rifle Ruger model AR-556 when he murdered 26 people in a church in Texas on Nov. 5. It is based on the military assault rifle M-16 and has a suggested retail value of $799, but can be found on sale at various outlets. The Nov. 9 CN&R features this exact rifle on sale for $649.99. It is nice to know that we can find bargains on this rifle in our town so soon after a national tragedy.
Editor’s note: The author is referring to an advertising insert in the CN&R from retailer Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Wear a helmet
Re “Tactical takeover” (Healthlines, by Kevin Fuller, Nov. 9):
Reporter Kevin Fuller wrote a very nice article on bike lanes and their importance for bike safety in Chico. I found it a little sad and amusing that he would choose to photograph a bike rider who was not wearing a helmet to illustrate his piece.
As someone who survived a bike crash some years ago, only because I was wearing a helmet (helmet ruined, head concussed but intact), I can attest to the importance of all bike riders wearing helmets.
Also a bit jarring—speaking of safety—was the ad insert promoting guns. Just sayin’.
‘Deaths from despair’
Re “An uphill battle” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, Nov. 2):
In his excellent article, Evan Tuchinsky outlines the dimensions of the opioid crisis and medical and public health responses to it. But there are other issues we need to address if we are to effectively deal with this crisis.
American life expectancy has stagnated in recent years and has actually declined among white Americans. Major contributing factors have been suicide and deaths related to drug and alcohol abuse, what researchers Nancy Cole and Angus Black refer to as “deaths from despair.” This “despair” is related to dramatic increases in economic inequality, the deterioration of our communities, a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness on the part of many Americans—particularly low-income citizens— and a general failure of social solidarity.
If we are to effectively address the opioid crisis, we need to confront the conditions that breed it. Particularly the massive and ongoing concentration of wealth and political power that disempowers our citizens and destroys our communities. We need to ensure that there are decent, well-paying jobs available to any American willing to work, and if the private sector cannot provide such jobs, the public sector should.
What about alcohol?
By far, the most damaging drug available today is a socially accepted multibillion-dollar industry that lobbies our political process to ensure its continued revenue flow. Its access and availability is allowed time and time again by our cities’ misguided representatives granting licensing for its distribution and thereby encouraged consumption. The allowance of a wholesale-style warehouse distribution facility, and most recently a rezoning of an entire district to allow for microbrew establishments to flourish, just adds to the already overwhelming presence of local retail providers.
Rampant alcoholism accounts for socially destructive addiction and more declining health issues than any other current drug problem. It has become a primary factor in many incidents of domestic violence, rape, vehicular tragedies and violence in general, requiring increased policing and medical assistance at the expense of all citizens both economically and socially.
Yet, the four obstructionists on our City Council continue to restrict and demonstrate noncompliance with a majority of their constituents—who rightfully desire legal access to and availability of cannabis—while identifying its personal and medicinal use as being the problem. This displays a blatant lack of representation and reflects their own personal authoritarian desires toward alcohol promotion and cannabis vilification. Unacceptable.
The owner of Geology Rocks!, Kasey Valle, was incorrectly named in a feature on Aug. 10 (see “Crystallized vision,” 15 Minutes, by Meredith J. Cooper). We apologize for the error, which has been fixed online. —ed.