Letters for November 29, 2018
Sharing the pain
Re “Local heroes” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, Nov. 21):
Patrick Newman and his allies, myself included, are doing a service to our community by being present and accountable for folks living without a roof. Meeting people where they’re at with care, love and connection to community provides a vehicle that not only makes Chico “cleaner and safer” but also more engaged in the realities of life in one of the poorest counties in California.
Oh, how I wish Mayor Sean Morgan was right when he blabbers that helping destitute human beings is all about the selfish need for advocates to feel good. In practice, the effects of compassion fatigue are laid bare among all of us and, in my case, amplified by mild to moderate depression that I have managed for years.
I have been side by side to this sacrifice with countless volunteers from organizations such as Safe Space, Crisis Care Advocacy and Triage, the Jesus Center, the Torres Community Shelter, et. al. We share the pain and responsibility we have to be present for one another in times of personal tragedy knowing full well, “if you have a roof, be grateful.”
How about sirens?
Re “Community of seniors” (Newlines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Nov. 21):
Growing up pre-dawn computers, I lived in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. During the Cold War era, there was a simplistic system of antiquated warning sirens. These were placed on top of poles and would sound off to warn us of nuclear attack. This actually meant to kiss your ass goodbye. However, in this futuristic technological culture, a warning siren of this type could alert mountain communities of impending danger. This would avoid cellphone networks being impacted and give people a clue to seek more information.
Trump’s trip to ‘Pleasure’
Re “The leftovers” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Nov. 21):
Now we can say why Dumbold Trump hides behind the bully podium for his rallies. Not because he is trying to hide his obesity, although that does allow him a false cure. It’s because he does not know what to do with his lying hands.
Look at him as he spoke while standing between Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom at the Camp Fire. The meaningless words coming out of his mouth were topped by the crazy swirling gestures he made with his small paws. It looked like he was whipping up an imaginary bowl of “covfefe.” Additionally, the only tool he recognizes is a rake. Not because he ever performed manual labor, but because he uses a rake to flatten that starched, flat-top mop on his empty head.
Trump’s special cross-continent flight to visit the fire-ravaged town of Paradise, which featured his customary finger pointing and blame assessment, finally reached an apex when he erroneously referred to it as “Pleasure.” This faux pas is extremely disturbing, callous and a slap in the face to the poor souls who lost life, limb and property in the conflagration.
There have been countless leaders throughout the ages who have suffered terribly from extreme arrogance and insensitivity. But never, anywhere at any time, with such insurmountable stupidly. It seems impossible to believe there is even one person alive that genuinely still supports this unscrupulous con man. But it does warm the heart tenderly during this precious holiday season to realize there are so many adults who still fully believe in Rudolf, Vixen and Blitzen.
Kenneth B. Keith
Act quickly, landowners
Re “Demand outweighs supply” (Newslines, by Ashiah Scharaga and Meredith J. Cooper, Nov. 15):
Now that we have survived the worst fire disaster in California history, it is time to avert even more agony and suffering. Many of the residents of the Paradise area were renters and are now at the mercy of their landlords to be honorable and forthright citizens.
Those displaced will need their deposits (which by law should have been placed in an escrow account and need to be refunded within three weeks) and the pro-rated amount of the rent they had paid for the month of November. It will be impossible for the evacuees to get new housing without the refund of their monies. With vacancy rates so low, it is imperative that landowners act quickly so that the folks who paid their rent on time and faithfully are able to establish a new life.
Perhaps there could be a registry that gives landlords a space for them to provide their new addresses as we know many of them were affected as well. I trust that there are legal agencies who will help evacuees in case their landlords prove to be disreputable or dishonest. Let’s hope that they are far and few between.
Poem for Paradise
Hawks lazing in the gyre
Above a sleeping town
The quiet mountain air
Our quotidian routines
Never augured the calamity
The vicious after scenes,
So many outcomes
so ineffably obscene
All the media chronicles
Every painful photograph
Like a private crime scene.
A random disconnect
In a PG&E power switch
Perhaps a mis-tossed cigarette
And one flickering moment
Without a catalyst
When the coming blaze—was not completely lit.
What could well have been ‘not much at all’
Instead became catastrophe.
As acorns birth our valley oaks
Conflagration springs from spark
The reverberation of an instant’s slip
Traces eternal arcs.
And homes, like oil, burned in the conflagration
From that first Camp Fire spark.
Sierra winds dubbed ‘Diablos,’
A name so apt it aches
Blew the flames to Chico
87 lives away.
Insouciance turned inferno,
Begot the agony of loss;
We found ourselves beyond the pale
Past Rubicons we’d never cross.
Incinerated neighbors, family, friends
We, who fled the flames, often
Lost everything we owned
And in the aftermath were left
Scarred, wounded and bereft
Surviving, most, on charity alone
And yet we readily grasped
that we were better blessed—by far
Than many we had known.
Southeast Asian tsunamis,
U.S. hurricanes as well,
Spread torment all across our world
But in less than thirteen hours
One day in California
Was all it took
Paradise turned to hell.
And it may seem so far away
The vengeance of some others’ god
Retribution visited on those who
May not share your virtue,
your ‘steadiness of mind’
You imagine, but yet may someday find
The dial on your clock
At precisely 6:29
In an otherwise unmemorable day.
And a day becomes forever
Lives turning on a pin
It’s always unexpected;
And fools come rushing in.
Still in less than thirteen hours
One day in California,
Turned Paradise into hell.
More quickly than can be expressed
More efficiently than these words can tell
The infernal cursed Camp Fire—yes
Turned Paradise to hell.
Norman B. Beecher
‘The Smoke Today’
I am here such as it is so much less than yesterday.
Can you see through me?
The Smoke is all around me in me is me.
Far too much has been lost to The Smoke Someday
The rains will come and push The Smoke down down into the ground where it will wait to finally finish me.
Can you see through me?