Letters for November 9, 2017
‘Culture of criminalization’
Re “Two views on JC move” (Letters, by Siana Sonoquie and Dan Everhart, Nov. 2):
In the absence of a “housing first” solution—the only viable, lasting solution—homeless people have an inviolable right to live in the public space, without being criminalized and with as much material support as possible. Easily accessible downtown food and clothing distribution, as is now available through the Jesus Center, is vitally important to the well-being, stability and survival of people living in the public space.
Any future programs must not be “hide the poor” facilities, where people are driven into a “navigation center,” either through systematic deprivation or a choice between county jail and a “mall of services-type” compound. There is much support for this kind of authoritarian-Marbut approach, both in city government and the business community. Recent history suggests that the Jesus Center is aligned with these powerful forces, regardless of what is said publicly about any new facility.
The public, as donors and citizens, can be instrumental in protecting the civil liberties of the homeless. But only if we are vigilant and involved in reversing the culture of criminalization, intolerance and coercion that has come to dominate Chico culture. If you would like more information on homeless advocacy, please visit chicofriendsonthestreet.org.
‘Truly one of us’
Re “Meet the outsider” (Newslines, by Kevin Fuller, Nov. 2):
I have followed Dennis Duncan for quite some time, and this I know to be true: He is unapologetic about not accepting super PAC or special interest money of any kind.
He plans on specializing only in the people’s interest. He believes in affordable higher education and fixing our infrastructure with 21st century solutions now. He believes all these things and is the only candidate challenging Doug LaMalfa with the legislation ready, or formally has endorsed proposed current legislation. He is truly one of us.
Duncan has spent a majority of his life as a social worker or working with the homeless. He recently organized a demonstration in front of LaMalfa’s office in Oroville regarding the lapse in funding for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) that affects 40,000 children in our district alone and almost 9 million nationwide!
The very next day, LaMalfa gave a speech on the House floor in Washington blaming the Democrats for his failure to lead. Duncan has LaMalfa on the ropes and he has not even received one vote yet. He is dangerous to LaMalfa. It is time the rest of the people knew why.
Open letters to LaMalfa
Why do you favor seriously mentally ill people like Devin Kelley in Texas—who abused his wife, cracked the skull of his infant son, was kicked out of the U.S. Air Force and served 12 months in confinement for domestic violence—having guns capable of massacring 26 people in minutes?
The proposed federal tax plan is little more than a massive tax giveaway for those who need it the least. It abandons homeowners, schools, fire departments and vital services like rebuilding roads, bridges and water and electric systems. Please vote against the proposed tax plan.
You opposed the California gas tax hike needed to rebuild California roads, but support tax cuts for the wealthy. Thirty-five million dollars a day for Warren Buffett to spend is not enough for you? You have to give him a tax break and pay for it on the backs of people with student loans?
Rick and Sharon Norlund
Living in fear
Re “A matchstick” (Greenways, by Kevin Fuller, Oct. 26):
I live near Bidwell Park and walk among its grand trees daily. But my perception of this urban treasure has been changed by the terrible fires north of San Francisco and the recent CN&R story about the park’s vulnerability to a major fire and what that might do to the city.
I now see the waist-high dry grasses and downed trees nestling in beds of branches as hazards. I live in fear, waiting for the rains, knowing that warming temperatures due to climate change mean this danger will escalate.
As we’ve seen in this year of unprecedented natural disasters, climate change is not a distant problem. It’s here, now.
Join me in efforts to convince our leaders to begin dealing with the threat by enacting legislation putting a fee on the carbon content of fossil fuels, and returning the money to the people. Economists and climate scientists agree this is the fastest way to slow climate change.
While the plan (found at citizensclimatelobby.org) has bipartisan support, we need to educate and encourage more politicians to act.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa says on his website that he worries about leaving monetary debt to our children. Together, let’s convince him not to leave them an unlivable world either.
Anti-BDS and fascism
While Texas won’t require individual homeowners applying for federal hurricane funds to pledge not to support a boycott of Israel, it is required for businesses. Wisconsin also passed an anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) measure to punish Americans not supporting Israel.
Shouldn’t you be free to avoid fascist people? Or a fascist country? Isn’t America’s domestic policy, demanding what country you can support, fascist?
When trampling your civil rights while “supporting” some other country is more important than rebuilding your own, you have to ask who’s actually running your country.
Are boycotts logical? Probably not when you’re boycotting freedom of choice. Remember boycotting french fries into freedom fries? Denigrating France because the country dragged its feet supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Iraq had no WMDs or terrorism prior to being “freed” by American fascism.
What new distasteful aspect of conformity must Americans not boycott next? Isn’t supporting a peace group really a boycott of American foreign policy? Aren’t boycotts of GMO foods a boycott of prosperity and life itself? Boycotting worthless climate change initiatives means you’re a James Bond-esque villain bent on destroying the world! The fantasies that overpaid media and politicians create to ridicule free choice and thought are endless.
Shouldn’t Americans be free to pursue happiness without paying for someone else’s unhappiness?
Re “What is racist?” (Letters, by Richard Stephens, Oct. 26):
Today we live in a world where everything is open to interpretation, regardless of the facts. Mr. Stephens says, the two gentlemen behind me at the gym are “obviously more familiar with the world” than I because they have the facts and I don’t?
Stephens says, “I’m guessing he only did this because he himself is very tolerant.” No, I am not, not when it comes to idiots spouting off their racist [garbage].
Further, Stephens says, “Industry moguls agree that Jewish influence in media is undeniable.” Like Oliver Stone and maybe Mel Gibson, paragons of virtue? What is undeniable is that there are a lot of people in the entertainment industry who are Jewish just like there are a lot of white people and/or Italians and/or African-Americans (in growing numbers) in the entertainment industry. So Harvey Weinstein is Jewish—does that make all of us Jews disgusting sexual predators? Oh wait, don’t answer that.
And yes, Mr. Stephens, I am the same man who is president of the Atheists of Butte County and I successfully petitioned the Chico City Council to follow the U.S. Constitution and allow secular invocations.
Acknowledge the threat
Re “Military madness in the Trump era” (Guest comment, by Chris Nelson, Oct. 19):
The title of the guest comment suggests that there would be less military madness in a Hillary era. Hillary was/is very much a hawk, as are a large majority of elected Democrats.
In the Senate recently, only Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Jeff Merkley (Oregon) and Ron Wyden (Oregon) and Independent Bernie Sanders (Vermont) voted no on the National Defense Authorization Act. In the House, 60 percent of Democrats voted for a defense budget bigger than Trump’s budget, by $57.4 billion more.
During the 2016 campaign, Hillary proudly touted her hawkishness, while Trump promised to end military interventions all over the world. Trump is hollowing out the State Department, the instigator of regime change to protect the national interest in the guise of democracy promotion; but he is certainly not reining in the military.
Citizens ought to be concerned that the entrenched foreign policy establishment joined with the military industrial complex drives foreign policy, and a president with different ideas would be seduced, defenestrated or gotten rid of.
This threat needs to be acknowledged, so when the U.S. elects a president who does not agree that military actions are the solution to conflict, an engaged and watchful citizenry will be some protection.
The inevitable end
Re “Departing” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, Oct. 26):
The definition of death, by our human standards, is when our bodies and minds stop working. It’s how we react to it that matters, be it clinically, dramatically, or with acceptance. Death is often a tragedy in Western culture. No large celebrations but small gatherings of friends and families in grieving. For the young, it’s the monster in the night, but for the old it’s what they’ve been waiting for all their lives. We fantasize about it. We write stories about defying it, bargaining with it and even becoming it. But it’s completely unavoidable. How and why we accept it is ultimately what matters to the living.
Re “Boorish bullying” (Guest comment, by Jaime O’Neill, Nov. 2):
On target and well-written, Jaime. I couldn’t agree more.
Fee for flowers
Well, well, well. It finally happened. My prediction has materialized. I’ve said for years that as soon as state official figure out a way to capitalize from the Table Mountain wildflower season and the crowds it attracts, they will. Starting Jan. 1, the state is planning to charge a fee to enter the Table Mountain wildflower areas.
We all need to thank the local media and recreation departments that, despite much protest, continued to promote this yearly event until it became an out-of-control circus. Kudos to the CN&R. I wrote in twice asking you to please back off the promoting, and from what I saw, someone listened.
Editor’s note: Starting in 2018, visitors to the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve will need to purchase a lands pass from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Lands-Pass to learn more.
A note of thanks
Once again, I am amazed at the generosity of the Chico community. Specifically, I’m referring to the Chico Community Scholarship Association’s (CCSA) recent fundraiser, where we raised more money than the previous year’s record donation levels. This level of success could never happen without our supporters’ willingness to open their wallets to help students achieve their education goals.
A special thanks goes to the following local businesses whose gifts were critical to our success: Mooney Farms, Art Etc., Sohnrey Family Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Live Vine Vineyard & Winery, Pour House, Valley Oak Veterinary Center, Fresh Prep 2 Go, The Hair Co., Dr. Thomas FACS, Mecca Salon, Massage by Candi, Canyon Oaks Country Club, Chico Dental Care, Collier Hardware, Tom Foolery, Mike Halldorson, and of course our hosts for the evening, Beatniks Coffee House & Breakfast Joint.
To our business donors and to everyone who supported us by attending our fundraiser, the CCSA board of directors gives you a standing ovation. We had great attendance and a good time was had by all. Most importantly, thank you for helping the CCSA provide scholarships to our local high school graduating seniors. What can be better than that? Hopefully we’ll see you again next year.