Letters for October 1, 2015
About that new law
Re “Rookie moves” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Sept. 24):
I am saddened by the lack of humanity in arguments supporting the Offenses Against Waterways and Private Property ordinance. Does fear dehumanize those who have no home, no place to put their stuff, no place to move their bowels?
When we privileged folks have a dear one with mental illness or addiction, we give them care, and they are usually able to live with dignity, often as highly contributing citizens. Research shows that when people are housed and provided services to help them deal with their disabilities, a high percentage become able to care for themselves.
Those who blame the least fortunate while clinging to their lives of privilege are in dangerous denial. When people with no social support—crippled with mental illness, addiction, extreme poverty—are stranded on the streets with no means to clean themselves, despised by the public and law enforcement, they become less competent, more angry or depressed. The challenge of self care becomes overwhelming.
Chico City Council, please make it a priority to work with citizens to find solutions, not create criminals. We must meet the challenge of escalating homelessness with compassion, creativity and generosity. Many citizens will be there to help!
The butthurt conservatives believe this new ordinance will finally give the cops the tools they need to “crack down on those people.”
The butthurt liberals believe that this new ordinance will lamentably give the cops the unilateral power to harass “these people.”
Both are mistaken. This ordinance is a tautology; it states that unlawful misconduct is against the law, and is thus a crime. It doesn’t criminalize homelessness; it criminalizes crime.
Perhaps if any party simply listened to Deputy Chief Britt’s testimony to the council, they’d understand that what this ordinance gives the cops is the ability to offer offenders an alternative to the criminal justice bardo. It gives the police the discretion to offer criminals committing already criminalized crimes the option of going to a shelter, getting services, and perhaps choosing a Facebook-worthy Life Event.
It is now incumbent on the council, and the community for whom it deliberates, to address unmet needs and the deficit of adequate services. At a minimum, yes, public toilets (with showers and rudimentary laundry facilities) are the most urgent demand. If this legislation fails (best bet, candidly), then we failed. If services can scale to demand, we all succeed. Your move, conservative council. Consider it strategically.
No response here either
Re “Faulty Coplogic?” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Sept. 24):
An addendum to the lack of police follow-through is the response I got a few months back. I was checking Craigslist for motorcycles for sale and saw a listing advertising new Apple computers to trade for motorcycles. I called Chico PD and told them I bet the computers were stolen and the clerk agreed wholeheartedly but said they had no one to deal with such crimes. I persisted and told her it couldn’t take that much time and might close more than one case. She thanked me for the call and didn’t ask for my name or number.
Re “Only in America” (Letters, by Patricia Pierce, Sept. 24):
Folks like Patricia Pierce would rather cling to their pet myths about homelessness than face the actual reality. The truth is that for many Americans, homelessness is just a missed paycheck or medical emergency away. Decades of upward income distribution have brought us widespread poverty, a broken mental health care system and a tattered social safety net. With such complicated issues to solve, perhaps it’s no wonder some would rather scapegoat the most vulnerable among us.
Pierce asks us to get our facts straight, but she doesn’t bother to cite any, so here are some statistics from the National Runaway Safeline:
Over 50 percent of “runaways” reported that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving but did not care; 80 percent of runaway and homeless girls reported having been sexually or physically abused; 34 percent of runaway youth reported sexual abuse before leaving home; 43 percent of runaway youth reported physical abuse before leaving home.
The myth that unaccompanied youth are lazy or incorrigible may help us forget about our collective responsibility to take care of them, but it ignores the very real and desperate situation these children are in.
Quite a suggestion
Re “Shifting the burden to Oroville” (Guest comment, by Patrick Newman, Sept. 24):
I have a suggestion for Patrick Newman, who is always whining about the treatment of the homeless among us. He could invite them to camp on his property. This would reduce the numbers of them camping in Bidwell Park, under bridges, in City Plaza and along Big Chico Creek and Lindo Channel.
Reaganomics is not responsible in any way for their plight. The majority of citizens prospered living and working under the system. There are some among the homeless who have mental or drug-addiction problems. For those, help is available. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic street disorder can be helped by the Veterans Association.
I knew of two people who lived homeless in Chico during nice weather. They had credit cards and cellphones. When it became cold here, they moved to a warmer state. They returned to Chico when the weather was nice.
I have no problem with providing temporary aid to, for example, a woman with children who has been abandoned or abused, but we should not be encouraging homeless individuals to come here. The only free service the city or county should provide is a bus ticket back to from wherever they came.
What’s in a banner?
The proposed military banners for East Avenue are inevitably a de facto recruitment tool. What kid doesn’t want his or her face on a banner? And yet, according to the data, if one of our kids joins the military, does a tour and makes it back, he or she is now more than twice as likely to commit suicide, twice as likely to become chronically homeless and more likely to to be unemployed (18- to 24-year-olds). The military might have been a good deal in the past, it might be a better deal in the future, but right now, the data suggest otherwise.
If Chico Military Heroes is really sincere about honoring our veterans, why not join forces with Chico Housing Action Team and line up some of the needed housing for the 50 to 80 homeless veterans in the Chico area? How hollow and hurtful this vinyl banner would appear to the homeless vets, who have unmet needs, who would walk below them? Isn’t it just a little ironic that we have criminalized homeless vets on one day, [the latest City Council action] and would “glorify” them with vinyl banners the next?
Re “What’s your favorite veggie?” (Streetalk, Sept. 24):
I’m glad 60 percent of Chico Natural Foods customers know what a vegetable is. Many don’t know how to tell the difference between it and fruit. I love asking people the question, “Is corn a fruit or a vegetable?” Most respond, “Sounds like a trick question, so I’ll say ‘fruit.’” It’s neither. It’s a grass, or a grain, like wheat.
If you eat the whole plant that comes out of the ground like kale, broccoli and asparagus, then it’s a vegetable. But, if the plant makes a flower that gets pollinated (by a bee, bird, bat, beetle or just the wind) producing the edible part, then it’s a fruit. Sorry, zucchini boy. Zucchini is a fruit in the cucurbitaceae family, which includes watermelons, cucumbers and pumpkins. Tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant are all fruit. So is avocado.
In the olden days, fruit was wrongly classified by our royal forefathers to affect its trade taxation. People were easily misled. So, too, is mushroom girl and her salad. Iceberg can’t possibly be her favorite vegetable and mushrooms aren’t them at all. They are the fruiting bodies of a fungus. That’s all I know. If you’ve don’t like my explanation, you can go pollinate yourself.
Re “Sphincter says what?” (Letters, by Pat Johnston, Sept. 24):
Pat Johnston opined that women supporting Donald Trump are ignorant and lack self-respect. I disagree. I like that Trump’s aware of America’s problems and has the resolve to discuss the extreme measures needed to solve them.
Johnston likened Trump to Hitler for aspiring to deport 12 million illegal aliens. Trump is like Hitler in his belief that a race of people are selfishly and aggressively displacing a native population’s own race, culture, values and control of the country.
Allowing unchecked immigration and overpopulation won’t enable America to “move forward and prosper.” Rather, such will force everyone to work ever harder for ever-diminishing food, clean air and water, housing, peace and freedom. That is, while simultaneously enduring ever-increasing traffic congestion, unemployment, drugs, crime, and destruction of farmland and wildlife habitat.
Finally, Johnston condemned Trump for professing to be Christian. Trump’s human—just doing the best he can—within the rules of government to succeed and enjoy life in an imperfect world. What makes Trump different is that, financially at least, he’s a lot better at it than the rest of us.
Debt questioners unite
Re “Everything you’ve heard about the debt is wrong,” by Charles Eisenstein, Sept. 17):
As fans of Charles Eisenstein’s work, we agree with much of what he describes, especially that he questions the unquestionable legitimacy of debt, while showing there are growing numbers of others doing the same.
A growing number of people in Chico are inspired by another idea called Copiosis. Unlike Eisenstein, Copiosis presupposes that debt can be eliminated easily, freeing all debtors (even nations) from these burdens, while making creditors whole and preserving the equity values that debt represents. We are excited to be implementing two demonstration projects, one here in Chico, to offer real-world cases of Copiosis in action. The project gets underway in mid-October.
Eisenstein says “Radical proposals such as these bear in common a recognition that money, like property and debt, is a sociopolitical construct.” Copiosis further asserts that our current socioeconomic system—capitalism—also is a sociopolitical construct, a construct that we can replace with something better. We believe Copiosis is that better thing. We look forward to demonstrating that in the coming months right here in Chico.
Erica Charlesworth and Lynn Haskell
Thank you, officer
I want to express my gratitude to the most considerate police officer who rescued me on Labor Day. After lunch downtown with a friend on a very hot day, I forgot where I had parked my car. I am a very senior citizen.
After wandering the streets for almost an hour, I approached two policemen, explaining the situation. They were on assignment but they promised me help.
Within 10 minutes a young officer offered me assistance. He took my car keys, scanned the neighborhood and soon found my car. He returned to where I had sought shade and shelter, picked me up and took me to my car. He made sure I knew where I was and how to get home. He then led me to The Esplanade and slowed traffic with flashing lights so I could enter the busy intersection.
I am eternally grateful. I am just sorry I did not write down his name so I could thank him properly. I hope you all read this with a note of appreciation for the men in blue who devote their careers to taking care of us, especially those of us who are alone a lot.
What are the benefits?
Re “More booze, more problems” (Guest comment, by Michael M. Peters, Sept. 17):
Many of the damaging effects of alcohol abuse are listed, but this list is only the tip of the iceberg. According to Chico State’s Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center website, “Alcohol is involved in 200,000 deaths in this country/year, and there are more than 1,000,000 alcohol-related discharges in this country/year. Half of all traffic-crash deaths are alcohol related. DUI is the No. 1 killer of American teenagers. Maternal consumption results in a variety of alcohol-related birth defects in 4,000 California newborns each year, in 36,000 children nationwide.”
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, “Substance abuse is both a cause and a result of homelessness.” And the list of problems goes on. I challenge the producers and retailers of alcoholic products, starting with the locals, to come up with an equivalent list of well-documented societal and physical benefits of alcohol consumption. I also challenge them to take part in solving the social problems that their products contribute to. Any takers?
Just a little sarcasm
That darned Vladimir Putin! He’s such a goody-goody! Oh, yes, he may join Russian troops with troops from other nations to fight the big, bad nemesis ISIL in Syria, but only with the authorization of the United Nations and/or Syrian President Assad.
Just because that’s a tenet of the United Nations doesn’t mean Putin has the right to make the USA look bad by mentioning it. This is the 21st century and the great USofA is the leader of the New World Order! We can lay war on nations anywhere, anytime we want. Someone needs to tell Putin that.