Letters for November 23, 2017

On target

Re “Plan lacks transparency” (Editorial, Nov. 16):

It is praiseworthy that the city of Chico is considering a comprehensive plan to provide for the homeless, including wraparound services and a low-barrier option. Finally, we are having this conversation!

However, your editorial was on target. Mark Orme’s and Laura Cootsana’s vision raises many concerns. Just as with arming park rangers, there is this “sneaky” element to building the plan without including major stakeholders.

The “disappointment” expressed by some council members to the Torres Shelter’s request to “slow down” was rude and dense. It was obvious that that Torres representatives could not openly discuss the situation; obvious that they had been left out of the conversation. Torres should be front and center in such discussions, as the organization has the experience of sheltering large numbers of homeless for 15 years.

Councilmembers Ann Schwab and Karl Ory admonished that this mega-plan does not address the issue of providing housing. A comprehensive plan must include a structure for people to be housed, not just sheltered. A tiny house village would be a great start, but Chico must tackle the challenge of affordable housing on a large scale as poverty increases and more citizens are finding themselves without a roof.

Emily Alma


Canadian system better

Re “Support for single-payer” (Letters, by Garry Cooper, Nov. 16):

Thank you, Gary Cooper, self-professed fiscal conservative, for speaking truth to power. A national single-payer health care system (i.e., guaranteed health care) is more accessible, effective, and less expensive than our present system or any other form of private for-profit health care.

I lived and worked as a health care provider for 10 years in the Canadian guaranteed national health care system. I also lived and worked as a health care provider for 20 years here. From every angle my wife, children and I encountered as health care consumers, the Canadian system was superior. Access, delivery, attitude, effectiveness and, most significantly, cost were all better for the consumer in Canada. And as a health care provider, with no concerns about payments, insurance or patient income, health care delivery was much simpler, friendlier and more focused on health care.

Canadians love their guaranteed health care system. No politician, no matter his or her party or philosophy, would seriously consider attacking the core of their health care system.

A recent Canadian poll asked, “Who was the most admired Canadian in history?” The winner was Tommy Douglas. Who was Tommy Douglas? Not a hockey player. He was the creator of the Canadian health care system.

Doug Fogel


Vehicular embarrassment

Sitting at Second and Main, I see multitudes of pickup trucks going by in all their obese, over-engined, pointlessly four-wheel-drive, dual-cabbed, military-style glory. These vehicles are an embarrassment to the very idea of human intelligence.

By the 1970s or ’80s we could, and should, have begun to make pickups as light, safe and fuel-efficient as passenger cars, while still being able to haul a thousand pounds when necessary. Instead, we made them bigger and heavier, with bigger engines and four wheel drive (which is purely a sales hook), and we mostly drive them as passenger vehicles! Ford brags that the F-series line is its most profitable, which means the company has manipulated our egos so as to separate us from our cash.

We move tens of millions of people hundreds of millions of miles every day in this country. We run millions of tons of unused cargo capacity on American highways every day. AAA says that the average cost of a car is now $10,000 per year, which, multiplied by the 253 million registered vehicles, means more than $2 trillion per year. This is stupid; nothing to brag about. Surely we can use this astonishing wealth to better effect?

Nelson Kaiser


‘Maladroit behavior’

While Trump’s bombastic display of ineptitude continues, the Republican-controlled Senate continues its quiet assault on our judicial system.

While the GOP has always sought the help of the courts to further its narrow and self-serving agenda, the sleaziness of its members’ contemptible behavior came to the forefront when the Republican Senate contemptuously disregarded the Constitution, as well as ethical behavior, and blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

When Trump took office there were 107 judicial court vacancies. These justices are lifetime appointments, and they will have extraordinary influence over our elections. They will oversee lawsuits on voter suppression, congressional district gerrymandering, and campaign finance laws.

The Federalist Society, an ultra-conservative organization that seeks to overhaul the judicial system, was instrumental in President George W. Bush disregarding the rating process for judicial nominees. It holds great sway over whom Trump nominates. So far, in keeping with his bigoted and sexist behavior, his nominations are 91 percent white and 81 percent male. Hardly representative of our country’s population.

One nominee is a 33-year-old lawyer who has never litigated a court case. This is but one example of maladroit behavior that could permanently damage the integrity of our voting system.

Roger S. Beadle


More on Trump

Trump is at it again. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a no-bid contract to a Russian company [called Elite Security Holdings]. The head of this company, Viktor Budanov, was the former head of the KGB. His employees and security officers are all ex-KGB officers. This no-bid contract is to guard the United States Embassy in Russia. So now we know what Trump and his bro-mate Putin talked about at the recent presidential trip overseas.

Mona Uruburu


Innocent until …

A founding principle of our democracy has always been “innocent until proven guilty”—until now. Today it’s: “guilty if I say so and keep repeating it.”

Since when does the media get to find anyone guilty without an indictment or court trial?

Hollywood’s reputation of the “casting couch way” of starlets finding fame has been around for years. Do I condone Harvey Weinstein’s actions? No way! But he should be allowed that same principle of innocent until proven guilty. Ditto for judge Roy Moore or all the odious men throughout our nation who have abused their power over women (or men.)

This same media tactic was used against President Trump before and after the 2016 election. He’s still painted an abuser of women, when his only proven action was being taped talking about women throwing themselves at him, etc.

The actions of accusers who wait for decades, then come forward to ruin careers and reputations, should be suspect.

Loretta Ann Torres


Editor’s note: President Trump was taped telling Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that his celebrity allowed him do whatever he wanted with women, including, as Trump put it, to “grab them by the pussy.”

Tax plan is harmful

I am an advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association, and I am deeply concerned about the proposed elimination of the medical tax deduction within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.

As a retired pastor I saw firsthand the effects of Alzheimer’s on the entire family. It takes a tremendous toll in physical and emotional stress to the caregivers, but it also takes a toll on the family’s finances. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the nation, with health and long-term care costs far greater for people living with Alzheimer’s.

Caregivers spend their life savings on long-term care, and rely on the medical tax deduction to offset these costs. More than 630,000 Californians have Alzheimer’s disease, and it is the fifth leading cause of death in the state.

As Congress moves forward with negotiations, I encourage community members to join me in asking Congressman Doug LaMalfa to consider the impact on those caring for the nearly 5,000 people in Butte County who may very well rely on the medical tax deduction.

Richard Hoyt Jr.


Speaking of Alzheimer’s

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. During November, the Alzheimer’s Association recognizes and honors the more than 15 million people in the U.S. who currently provide unpaid care to a person living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, with approximately 12,000 of those family caregivers living in Butte County.

Having been one of those 15 million people caring for my grandmother, I know how important it is to recognize this problem and push national and state legislation that would help ease the burden for families. One such bill is the federal Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), HR 1676.

Palliative care is a medical specialty separate from hospice focused on managing symptoms and easing pain at any stage of a chronic disease like Alzheimer’s. It has been shown to improve quality of life for chronically ill patients, and lower health care costs by preventing hospitalizations.

PCHETA would launch nationwide education and training programs to expand the palliative care workforce. I thank Congressman LaMalfa for cosponsoring PCHETA, and I also send a heartfelt thank you to all the caregivers who give their love, support and patience to those affected with Alzheimer’s.

Angie Martin


‘Highly dubious claim’

Re “Six dead in shooting spree” (Downstroke, Nov. 16):

I was pleased to see that the immediate lockdown of Rancho Tehama Elementary School (a small, rural K-6 elementary school near Corning) was successful in frustrating deranged shooter Kevin Neal’s attempt to storm the campus and cause multiple fatalities.

I was disappointed to hear the NRA-originated propaganda talking point, parroted through our California 3rd District Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher, that—had some school staff members been permitted to carry concealed weapons (small handguns, I assume, as you can’t easily conceal a shotgun or a rifle) –there would have been a different result in this attack on the rural elementary school.

This is highly dubious claim and wishful thinking to the highest degree.

No, the real problem here is not the fact that school staff members were not allowed to carry concealed firearms, the blood shed here is directly on the hands of the NRA and the multimillion-dollar munitions industry for the 2-3 million often poorly regulated AR-15-style assault weapons (and/or unregulated ‘ghost gun’ copies) out there in the U.S., many in the hands of single-event serial killers.

These weapons have only one purpose—to kill and to maim.

Mark Gailey