Letters for November 3, 2016

PC run amok?

Re “Trolls awaken” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Oct. 27):

Oh, for cryin’ out loud, political correctness is communism. In 1923, a bunch of intellectual communists formed The Frankfurt School in Germany to implement communism through brainwashing techniques. Techniques they came up with were political correctness, multiculturalism and feminism. The concept behind PC is that if you control what people say, supposedly you automatically control what they think.

Mike Peters



Re “Avoiding conflicts” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Oct. 27):

Councilwoman and self-appointed procedural maven Reanette Fillmer and fellow watchdog Stephanie Taber are on the job, protecting Chico from the likes of Councilwoman Ann Schwab! I, for one, take cold comfort in this. As quoted in Sunday’s Chico E-R article, these two weave a tale full of misinformation. Their criticism of Schwab’s recusal from particular votes is founded on a blatant (and deliberate?) misunderstanding of ethical guidelines defined by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

Given Fillmer’s status as a member of the City Council, an entity governed by FPPC procedures, this is particularly astonishing. For the record, elected (and appointed) city representatives must successfully complete FPPC courses on ethics every two years. As a member of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission (2007-2015, several terms as chair), I learned that officials should recuse themselves in cases that could constitute a conflict of interest.

Apparently, neither Fillmer nor Taber recognize that FPPC requirements are binding and non-negotiable for Chico City Council members. Moreover, they won’t acknowledge a simple truth: Good public servants like Ann Schwab sometimes cannot cast votes because doing so would violate the public trust. Next time, these two should study the relevant policies before making misleading accusations.

Lisa Emmerich


What about Ms. Schwab?

Re “First strike” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Oct. 27):

You editorialize sharply—and deservedly so—on Vice Mayor Sean Morgan’s homeless criminalization history. But, in coverage of Councilwoman Ann Schwab—who voted in lockstep with Morgan —not a word.

On June 18, 2013, the city passed sit-lie. A quote from the Chico E-R: “Despite a vocal majority of citizen speakers requesting the city not pass a sit-lie law, councilors voted 5-2 to proceed with the ban … .” Schwab voted with Morgan—not Tami Ritter and Randall Stone.

On Sept. 15 of last year, 50 speakers made their cases for and against a behemoth set of ordinances, further criminalizing every behavior (sleeping, possession of belongings, etc.) necessary for survival. The new laws would allow police officers to arrest citizens for “offenses” as innocuous as leaving a cart unattended—a “storage” crime. Schwab voted with Morgan, passing this major humanitarian and civil liberties disaster; Ritter was the only dissenter. Months later, Schwab again voted with Morgan—not Ritter and Stone—to expand the same ordinances to all of Chico.

If “public” means everyone, including the person sleeping under cardboard, Ann Schwab has lost the public trust.

Patrick Newman


Speaking of Mr. Morgan

Fact-check, Sean Morgan. [On the sample ballot], Chico’s vice mayor lists “professor” as one of his occupations. The Chico State website (revised in 2016) lists Morgan as a lecturer. Being a lecturer at Chico State is pretty cool, but it is not the same as being a professor.

Pete Piersons


On the endorsements

I respect the CN&R’s recommendations for Chico City Council and urge our community to overturn divisive conservative policies that rely on fear, stereotyping and obstruction. Instead, focus on the positive reality of our amazing community: Chico is a safe place to live, a compelling location for business and a premiere place to raise a family. In fact, it’s the safest, nicest and most fulfilling place I have lived in my 56 years.

Let’s elect council members who embrace the inclusiveness of Chico and the dire need of those experiencing poverty and rooflessness by building a “Community Is Everyone” coalition of elected officials willing to roll up their sleeves and work with private- and public-sector organizations to expand opportunities for all, starting with the affordable housing crisis and a rental vacancy rate that is effectively zero.

Gratefully, not everyone will ever need the services of our dedicated police and fire employees, but everyone needs a safe place to call home.

Bill Mash


I completely disagree with your publication’s endorsement of the pot growers’ own ordinance Measure L. The very first sentence in your endorsement section states that there’s no substitution for experience, even though you were speaking of City Council members.

By saying yes on Measure L, it very obvious that you and whoever is on your editorial board have zero experience in having to live next door to large pot grows. In 2012, 99 plants were allowed. Of course, the growers grew much more than they were allowed.

This is how Measure A came into being, by a winning 64 percent. By endorsing Measure L, you are letting everyone in the county know that you couldn’t care less about the environment, our lack of water, the disappearance of our wildlife.

And most of all, our families. Measure L doesn’t protect the residents. When Proposition 64 passes by the state, medicinal patients will mysteriously disappear.

David Masarik

Yankee Hill

About third parties

George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000 by winning the state of Florida by 537 votes. Total.

I was 18 years old at the time, a freshman in college at the University of Florida. That year, as a headstrong young man with hopes of making the world a better place for all, I voted for Ralph Nader. A statement-to-the-system vote—a vote for change, I thought.

People warned me that I would be wasting my vote, throwing it down the drain, that this election was too important to do that. I didn’t buy it. Over 100 million people would be voting that year, so it was hard to think that my one little vote mattered. It was easier to think, “What’s the difference if one of them wins by 10 million votes or 9,999,999? I wanna make a statement!” I learned that lesson the hard way.

Voting third party can feel good, but it can also have unintended consequences. How might things have been different with a President Gore? Would 9/11 have happened? War in Iraq? I still do now, and forever will, feel guilty for throwing my vote away in the year 2000. Your vote does count, and sometimes it can count for way more than you think.

Chris Singleton


In 1992, the Democratic campaign declared, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Fast-forward 24 years to 2016, and we’re hearing, “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid.” So for all those who remain undecided or are Bernie-or-bust devotees, hanging in the balance of this election are workers’ rights, women’s reproductive and health rights and expanded health care for all, voting rights, civil rights, minimum wage and equal pay, air and water pollution regulations, marriage and gender equality, and policies for combating climate change.

The two presidential candidates have expressed stark, polar-opposite positions on these issues, and it couldn’t be clearer the direction their policies will move this country. It is through the higher courts that the direction and resolution of these issues will take place. So again, for those sitting on the fence, or electing to simply sit it out, It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

Roger S. Beadle


Thoughts on Trump

I’m really upset at Trump passing his boasting [about assaulting women] off as simple locker-room talk. That really was a royal publicly reveling in his right to abuse the peasants. You talked about his abuses in Scotland, but did you know there’s a documentary called You’ve Been Trumped, which covers the whole thing? In it, you will see Trump openly and repeatedly calling the natives’ humble farmsteads “pigsties.” He hires a girl on the spot because she’s a beauty queen, and you will see him pull that sneer face on purpose for the camera.

Any properties he was not able to buy he simply walled off from the rest of the world. When an aide asked if this was wrong, he responded, “Who cares, who cares?” Let’s not forget that the root of the word privilege is “private law,” as in the powerful don’t have to follow the same laws as the commoner.

This is not a man who believes that all are created equal; this is not a president. He is not even a Republican. He is Caesar.

Robert Kent Andersen


As a 22-year, service-disabled veteran from a military family, I am thoroughly dumbfounded that there are veterans who support Donald Trump. Not only is the man a draft-dodger, he’s a swaggering chicken-hawk advocating for more war who casually talks of using nuclear weapons as if they were Nerf rockets.

His thirst for the glory he perceives in being a wartime president is very clear. Perhaps those veterans might be OK with a war-hungry draft-dodger as the commander in chief, but they seem to have not given a fleeting thought to those now serving whom Trump has no qualms about putting in military cemeteries. I am no fan of Clinton’s by any stretch, but I’m not going to let Trump get any more of my brothers and sisters killed, wounded or disabled.

Jack Jernigan


I have been told not to mention who I am supporting for president. The idea is that I may lose votes in the upcoming election for City Council. Well, I cannot let this critical election go by without voicing my opinion about the presidency of our country.

I was a liberal years ago when Bill and Hillary were in the White House. I remember the lies told by both to cover up their many scandals. Vince Foster died while working for Bill and Hill. Monica was 20 years old and was seduced in the Oval Office! The disgust I felt led to my becoming a Republican. I have no real love for them either at this juncture, but (and this is important) we must clean up Washington as we know it!

Donald Trump was not my first choice; he was not my second choice; but he is not Hillary! Our country must not be fooled into letting this pay-for-play, slick-talking duo back in power.

Trump’s not perfect, by far; but he loves our country and will put us and our security first. Vote Trump Nov. 8. You’ll not be sorry.

Loretta Ann Torres


On Prop. 61

Pity the pharmacy corporations. Their profits are only in the billions (“Golden Era of Pharma Profits Over?” P. Ubel, Forbes, July 29, 2016). That must be why they are pushing so hard to defeat Proposition 61, which would require them to charge no more than what they now charge the VA.

Were Big Pharma to reduce its profits, they might then pay even more for marketing, which is already more than any other industry (Wn.Com/Pharmaceutical_Lobbyists.Com). No matter that the Congressional Budget Office estimates we will pay over the next 10 years $116 billion more than if prices were the same as the VA’s (Forbes, July 29, 2016).

Anti-61 billboards are laughable. Anyone interested in checking Big Pharma’s greed, be they Democrats, Republicans, Independents, whatever, need to vote in favor of Prop. 61. Only then will we begin to stem the tide of Big Pharma’s ridiculously overpriced drugs, made largely possible by grotesque marketing budgets and huge management salaries.

Incidentally, Big Pharma’s absurd claim that passing 61 will result in more bureaucracy is the pot calling the kettle black. How, without gigantic bureaucracies, will Big Pharma be able to manage its tens of thousands of employees?

William Todd-Mancillas


Two views on rigging

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago cooked the books every election cycle with his vaunted “political machine” and reliably delivered Chicago to the Democrats for decades. Daley contributed to John F. Kennedy’s narrow, 8,000-vote victory in Illinois in the 1960 presidential election. Verdict: rigged.

Al Gore to this day thinks Bush “stole” the election by 537 votes in Florida, because of improper vote counting, due in part to “butterfly ballots” and miscounted “hanging chads.” Verdict: rigged.

The Pew Center estimates there are 1.8 million dead people on voter rolls, and 2.75 million voters are registered in two states. I hear about more Republicans trying to fix those problems than Democrats, but maybe both parties like the results that dead people produce. Verdict: mutual rigging.

The reason I am writing this letter is because the Democratic National Committee is suing the Republican National Committee for allegedly aiding Donald Trump as he argues that the presidential election is “rigged.” The DNC claims, without any evidence, that Trump’s argument is designed to suppress the vote in minority communities. Verdict: Extreme and even hilarious hypocrisy, by the Democrats, for wanting to “rig” Trump’s right to free speech with a lawsuit.

Election trigger warning: Every rig counts.

Dave Kelley


To arrogantly assert—without a shred of evidence—that the national election is “rigged” is an affront to our democratic process. Moreover, it insults the intelligence and dedication of millions of Americans who invest their time and energy at the polls to ensure our voices count on Election Day.

I have volunteered at the polls. I now join the legions of Americans callously denigrated and personally offended by Donald Trump.

Several expensive pieces of hit mail were sent recently to Chico voters by well-financed conservative PACs. These mailers use distorted and misleading statements to smear the reputation of dedicated, hard-working, responsive and reasonable City Council members running for re-election. The sponsors of these mailers are hitting below the belt.

When did it become acceptable to manipulate the truth and defame competitors simply because they hold opposing views? This lamentable campaign tactic has been employed since time immemorial. Unfortunately, it works well to muddy reality and detract from important civil discourse and meaningful debate.

The recent Chico City Council hit pieces, just like the Trump campaign, demonstrate the ugly underbelly of politics. Are we really willing to accept this dirty brand of democracy? I hope not. Please get informed before you vote.

James Aram


On Prop. 55

As president of the Chico State chapter of the CSU Employees Union (CSUEU), I know how important it is to retain funding for K-college education and beyond. Proposition 55 will fund our schools and will free up general fund monies for public higher education, including the CSU system.

Gov. Brown has said that the state will be forced to make cuts if Prop. 55 doesn’t pass, and those cuts are certain to include CSU funding. In 2009, when state funding for the CSU system went to an all-time low, our members were asked to make a choice: layoffs for some, or furloughs for all. In a spirit of unity, we chose furloughs, amounting to a 10 percent cut in pay. Students suffered, too, with less staff to assist them, fewer class offerings, and rising tuition and fees.

When Prop. 30 was passed in 2012, funding for the CSU system began to stabilize. Prop. 55 does nothing more than extend a portion of those Prop. 30 taxes to ensure secure funding for education. The CSUEU board of directors and many other organizations have endorsed Prop. 55.

Join CSU staff, faculty and students in saying yes on 55!

Jessica Verardi


Council support

When I first met Jovanni Tricerri over 20 years ago, I could see that he was a natural leader, at ease with large groups of people and strong and persuasive as a speaker. Since then, I have come to see that Jovanni also possesses some rare dimensions of leadership: the ability to listen to diverse points of view and a skill for facilitating cooperation and dialogue.

Jovanni does not hesitate to take a stand and speak up, but he also has the humility and wisdom to weigh his perspective against opposing views. These are traits that elevate a good leader to a great leader; qualities that demonstrate character.

We need a City Council composed of individuals who represent all of Chico and who can engage with one another and with the community in respectful and meaningful ways. Jovanni will bring that kind of leadership to Chico. I’m voting for him because he is a person of character, someone I trust to be a collaborative, reasonable and ethical voice for our city. Join me in voting for Jovanni Tricerri for Chico City Council!

Malia Hayashida-Knight


The local elections are huge for the skatepark expansion. Please spread the word and consider this as you go to the polls. Chico Skatepark Solutions endorses the following for Chico City Council: Ann Schwab, Tami Ritter, Karl Ory and Randall Stone. Additionally, Tom Lando and Micheal Worley are up for re-election for the CARD board. They have both repeatedly supported and advocated for our success. Help them stay in their positions!

Scott Bailey


Two years ago, in the midst of a financial crisis, Chico voted Mayor Scott Gruendl out of office. His spending spree-partner, ex-Mayor Ann Schwab, wasn’t up for election, so she remained in office. Now, she’s up for re-election and her part in Chico’s financial crisis should not be forgotten, especially since there’s no evidence of a more responsible attitude.

Check your sample ballot. Nowhere in her candidate statement is there any mention of fiscal responsibility or fiscal restraint. Almost as bad, she claims leadership in protecting North State water. Not true. The regional organization she chairs set 17 water supply and water quality objectives over three years ago and has not acted on even one of them. No progress whatsoever. It’s time to thank Ms. Schwab for her service and help her move on.

Tony St. Amant


Measure L support

Do you smoke pot? Me neither. Do you want your kids smoking pot? Me neither. Do you want huge pot grows in residential neighborhoods? Me neither. Do you think we can just wish it away? Me neither.

Something has to change. I’m tired of the problems associated with the black market. I’ve read the new state law (MMRSA) that offers counties a way to sensibly license and regulate. It addresses all the concerns you and I share—appropriate land use, access by kids, environmental protection. It engages existing entities for oversight and shifts the burden of cost off the taxpayers.

But here’s the hitch: It works only if each county has its own local licensing measure in place. Measure L gives us that local licensing piece that we need. Friends and neighbors, we must move beyond adversarial politics and be smart about real solutions to real problems. We regulate alcohol without condoning it. We regulate nicotine without condoning it. We can support cannabis regulation no matter our personal preferences. I am voting yes on Measure L, and I encourage you to do the same.

Shirley Bland


When Butte County adopts a licensing ordinance for cannabis farming, two massive benefits will be created through the California State Water Board. First, licensing will automatically trigger their comprehensive compliance program. Cannabis farmers will be monitored continuously for environmental impact, including runoff, use of pesticides/herbicides, endangered species and wildlife protection. A certificate of compliance will be required that must be renewed annually. This is good, right?

Second, the water board is already “mapping” cannabis cultivation sites across the county. Once licensing takes effect, the county will be able to overlay that data on its property/parcel data. What a great tool! Elimination of cartel and rogue grows will be so simple. No more expensive flyovers! Better yet, enforcement will be paid for by fees from legitimate, compliant farmers.

If all that sounds like progress to you, then we need local licensing! New state laws (MMRSA) require dual licensing, which means Butte County must have its own system in order to trigger these benefits. How do we create that? Measure L does it for us. Let’s protect our children, our environment and let the farmers pay for enforcement! Vote yes on Measure L

Tim Taylor


Citizens for a Safer Butte County consistently uses fear tactics and skirts the truth (to put it kindly) in an attempt to keep sensible cannabis regulation from seeing the light of day. But who are they? While they malign local advocates as “outsiders,” their mailing address is in Merced County. (Proponent’s office is right here in Chico!)

So who are these people? What could they possibly gain from continuing a black market in our county? Do they really care about the risks to our children that the black market poses? Do they really care about our environment, our crime rate?

It strikes me as suspicious that an out-of-county group would put tons of money into maintaining a black market in my community! You might wonder as well. I could speculate as to their motives, but I’ll leave you to ask the question yourself.

Measure L is an honest approach to addressing real issues created by unlicensed cannabis farming. We’ve waited far too long for the protections our children need. Full regulation is years overdue. Don’t let outsiders tell us what’s best for Butte County! Vote yes on Measure L.

Andrew Merkel


‘Makes me sick!’

On Oct. 27, the seven thugs who call themselves “patriots,” who invaded and occupied Malheur Refuge in Oregon for 41 days this year, were found not guilty of “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States.” These people threatened federal employees while armed, desecrated sacred indigenous grounds for a strip latrine, possessed and discharged weapons in a federal facility, and “stole or converted to private use” a truck and surveillance camera.

Because of either a mistake in charging them with a 140-year-old statute to make some point, the judge’s 30-page instructions to the jury, or the prosecutor being overly confident because of the obvious guilt of the “patriots,” the conspiracy charge was not proven.

The same day in North Dakota, a peaceful prayer camp of indigenous people and their supporters was attacked by a group of highly militarized local and state police. More than 100 people were arrested. These people and their supporters have been subject to attack by dogs, stalking by tanks and MRAPs, terrorized by military high-frequency sound blasters, hit with shotgun-beanbag rounds, arrested, jailed and strip-searched for misdemeanors. The contrast makes me sick!

Rich Meyers


Lamenting development

Please! Anywhere except Humboldt Road! For those who’ve faithfully biked, hiked, cleaned and cherished Old 32 for decades, the foreboding sight and sound of skill saws, nail guns and unsightly development on an early Saturday morning is enough to make a guy’s border collie yelp in agony and despair. How much longer until this treasured local, historical wonder is destroyed forever?

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

Thanks for being nice

Re “Saying ‘Hello’ is OK” (Letters, by Jeff Straub, Oct. 6):

Thank you, Chicoans, for being my kind of people! I really appreciate the common courtesy most of you show when ordering at a drive-thru. I would personally like to thank those who 1) Wait until they are addressed before ordering, 2) Turn off their cars if they have a loud engine, 3) Speak clearly, 4) Are understanding/patient, 5) Have their money ready, 6) Don’t smoke, and 7) Understand that we are just doing our jobs.

The people really are some of the kindest, and I enjoy being part of this community.

Elizabeth Sweeney


Editor’s note: The author tells us that she works at a local McDonald’s.