Letters for November 22, 2018
Camp Fire aftermath
Re “Camp Fire” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, Nov. 15):
As I type, over 8,700 homes have been destroyed in the Camp Fire. In the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, Butte County will show negative growth in the Housing Census.
Once upon a time, back in the mid-1980s, a multifunction development was proposed for Nance Canyon, south of Chico and west of Paradise. It never really got off the ground because we were in a “slow growth” era at that time.
The upside of that project’s demise was that its principal planner, Tom DiGiovanni, chose to remain in the area and establish New Urban Builders and build a whole new neighborhood along Doe Mill Road and other dynamic projects.
It is time to dust off those Nance Canyon plans and reconsider the site. Perhaps it could become the “New Paradise.” It is unrealistic to expect a rebuilt town of Paradise to have much resemblance to what has been destroyed. The commercial infrastructure will be very slow to return without an immediate customer base. Nance Canyon is 10 minutes from southeast Chico’s existing commercial core.
All the old models need to be reconsidered. The disaster on the Ridge requires new and more flexible development models be immediately considered. Otherwise, many of those 8,000-plus homes will be rebuilt in neighboring counties.
Paradise lost? I think not. It could be a miracle in the making.
The mystics of all religions have told us that that the only thing that is real is love, and that all else are blocks to the awareness of loves presence. All of the damage California has suffered from the fires has not damaged our ability to love and in fact has awakened us to its presence among us.
The destruction of Paradise, as the worst fire in the history of California, could be the turning point, the time when California wakes up and leads the way to solutions for a sustainable way of life. What happens in California has often spread to the rest of the United States and then to the world. We have experienced that climate change is real, and we know “all you need is love.” I believe in miracles.
As a wildland firefighter, I helped battle the 1993 Topanga Fire. I was also impacted by the 2008 Humboldt Fire. Years later, the Camp and Woolsey fires are running the same ridges, primarily because of lack of forest/brush management.
What is known: In California, “forest volume continues to increase on both private and public forest lands. The greatest threat is not loss of forest due to harvesting … but catastrophic events such as wildfires …” (University of California Forest Research and Outreach).
Wildland managers will tell you they’re not allowed to cut limbs or even move a rock on public lands without clawing through rolls of red tape, which saps finite resources. Utility company reps will tell you homeowners often choose trees over proper clearance. HOAs block cutting limbs/trees/other. And a fair percentage of homeowners who choose to live in “forests” fail to live up to their responsibility of maintaining their acreage.
Lawsuits fly, gobbling up critical time and resources.
Until politicians and tree-huggers (I love trees, too!) reverse bad policies, remove burdensome regulations, provide incentives and hold all property owners accountable, we will continue to reap what we sow. (Government agencies own 60 percent of California’s forest land.)
John J. Blenkush
We live in one of the most flammable places in the world. Maybe it’s time to minimize the use of wood and start building with adobe/cob. Adobe houses are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Most importantly, they don’t burn.
President Trump is right about the mismanagement of our forest. “Raking and cleaning” is fine, but what our forests really need are to be “dead wooded” (the physical removal of the dead wood).
Unlike a rain forest, our forests don’t clean up after themselves. Every year, there is more and more dead wood, then there is a fire. This has been nature’s way since the beginning of time.
But this is a different world. We need to develop a symbiotic relationship with the forest. When we take care of the forest, the forest takes care of us. Otherwise, say hello to the desert.
If we really are serious about saving our habitat, then it starts in our own backyard, one tree at a time. Imagine Northern California: adobe/cob cottages; people living safely and sustainably in our dead-wooded forests. Paradise would be an understatement.
I trust Rep. Doug LaMalfa will use his leftover campaign funds to send our community enough rakes to prevent LaMalfa No. 4 Fire rather than spending our tax dollars given as corporate welfare to subsidize his private business.
“Demand outweighs supply” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga and Meredith J. Cooper, Nov. 15):
Before the Camp Fire, Chico had a housing crisis. Post-fire, this crisis is only going to intensify. Thankfully, our intrepid City Council convened an emergency meeting to issue a 30-day stay on evictions and rent increases of more than 10 percent. If only the crisis were going to abate in the next 30 days. It won’t, of course.
Nothing could more appropriately close out the terms of Councilmembers Andrew Coolidge, Reanette Fillmer and Mark Sorensen—and the mayoralty of Sean Morgan—than experiencing the worst crisis the city has faced in living memory, and responding with a pointless Band-Aid that won’t last until Christmas but which allows them to pretend they did something.
Don’t blame Trump
Re “That ‘SOB’ POTUS” (Letters, by Roger Beadle, Nov. 15):
As usual, Roger Beadle’s comments are inappropriate and inaccurate. I admit that our president’s recent comment about the California wildfires were somewhat inane.
However, the fact remains that most of our forest areas have not been managed properly. If you think back 20 or so years ago, timber harvesting was big business in Northern California. There were numerous mills supplying lumber for our construction projects. Some areas were clear-cut and then replanted—one of the better management programs that cleaned up the area eliminating fuel for fires and maintaining a sustainable supply of lumber. Other areas were selectively harvested and cleaned up that left immature trees standing while removing the older trees and associated debris.
Unfortunately, uninformed folks put a stop to most of this harvesting because of supposed environmental reasons, particularly on government lands. Remember the spotted owl concern? So, in fact, our forests have been mismanaged. This has occurred on most lands irrespective of ownership.
My understanding is that our president did not specifically cut off aid to fire victims or any other groups. And don’t try to blame President Trump for mismanagement or cuts in funding. Remember, he has been in office for less than two years and the problem started many years ago.
Electoral College retort
Re “Hit the road, sir” (Letters, by Loretta Ann Torres, Nov. 15):
Ms. Torres said: “For those who never learned history: Our founders thought the votes of the less populated states should be just as important, in national elections, as the more populated states. If only ‘popular votes’ are counted, then the West Coast and the East Coast will always decide national elections.” There are states that are not on the West or East coasts that Donald Trump failed to carry, not to mention all of the people in other states who also did not vote for him. So, do all of those people’s votes not count?
As for what Ms. Torres said here: “If you don’t like this type of government, I think you should find another country that is more to your liking.” So, what she advocates is fascism, which is something that her leader, Trump, likes. I suggest to Ms. Torres that, when we don’t re-elect Trump in two years, perhaps she find another country where everyone must go along with the leader. To use her words, I say her logic is “flawed.”
Vile, huh? Here are some quotes from comrade Trump’s own cabinet and former cabinet members, who don’t last long with that tantrum-throwing jerk.
Chief of Staff John Kelly: “He’s an idiot” (referring to Trump) and “we’re in crazytown.”
Former economic adviser Gary Cohn: “He’ a professional liar.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis: Trump has the intellect of “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: He’s a “[expletive] moron.”
Listen to the names Trump calls his opponents: “Low IQ Maxine Waters,” “crooked Hillary,” “horseface” Stormy Daniels and Jeff Sessions, a “dumb Southerner.”
Vile is going easy on a scoundrel like Trump.
I’m no match for these turncoat Democrats, whether he be the so-called president of the United States or a weird local-yokel letter writer, but no one will convince me that it’s fair for Wyoming to have one Electoral College vote for every 195,000 citizens and California to have one for every 711,000.
What’s the point of even having an election when the Electoral College loser has more than 3 million more votes than a blowhard like comrade Trump? I’ll stay here and do my best to piss off the religious right.
About those refugees
The plight of a people is written of and often taught. How a very long time ago a religious group of people, facing poor conditions, lack of opportunities, prejudice and death began their exodus from these inhuman conditions. Carrying only what they could gather, they traveled by foot and cart through dangerous lands. Chasing were troops in hot pursuit bent on their capture and death. The pilgrims arrived at a large body of water they would need to cross to gain safety and enter the land of promise and opportunity.
This time Pharaoh’s army waits on the other side!
This time both parties are Christian!
Perhaps we should remove the welcoming plaque and melt it down to sculpt tears falling from Ms. Liberty’s eyes.