Letters for October 20, 2016
Where’s the commitment?
Re “Lessons from Utah” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Oct. 13):
On Monday afternoon, Lloyd Pendleton, a housing-first advocate, spoke to a full house at Bidwell Presbyterian Church about a solution to chronic homelessness. He detailed Utah’s successful program that has won national recognition and reduced the chronic homeless population by 90 percent in 10 years.
One would think that City Council members who have made homelessness a mainstay of both their tenure on the council and their election campaigns would make attendance a top priority. Unfortunately, Mayor Mark Sorensen, Vice Mayor Sean Morgan, Reanette Fillmer and Andrew Coolidge were no shows. Their absence spoke volumes about the sincerity of their commitment to solving the homeless issue in Chico. Fortunately, three council members, Tami Ritter, Ann Schwab and Randall Stone, were there to listen and learn about a proven, nationally recognized program that works.
The City Council’s frustration in dealing with homeless people has resulted in ordinances whose constitutionality is at best questionable. At the very least, every council member should have attended to show their genuine concern for the issue. The absence of a majority of the City Council members was shameful.
Excellent article on Lloyd Pendleton, a compassionate and pragmatic advocate for the homeless. His housing-first model is an inspiring alternative to failed approaches. As reported, three Chico City Council members attended Pendleton’s presentation. Since attendee Tami Ritter is the only council member with a solid record of advocacy, I’d like to have heard her thoughts—in addition to those of waffler Randall Stone, who was quoted at length.
Given her horrific record on homeless issues, the attendance of Councilwoman Ann Schwab struck me as transparent electioneering. (In the meantime, nothing changes overnight, except the weather. People need raincoats, sleeping bags, tarps, etc. Please contact email@example.com.)
On another subject, mega-landlord Wayne Cook suggests voters follow their “conscience.” Cook’s protégé, failed congressional candidate Joe Montes, was hammered by a fraudulent mailer last spring. Hence, the conservative Cook is pissed off enough to torpedo Montes’ primary opponent, Republican Doug LaMalfa. Sadly, both Montes and LaMalfa support expanding the U.S. war machine, stripping social services (Planned Parenthood, etc.), more tax breaks for the 1 percent, ending marriage equality and acquiescing to climate catastrophe. In addition, Montes is a homeless criminalization booster. In this sordid context, how might Cook define conscience?
Re “Trump’s card: smug progressives” (Guest comment, by Evan Tuchinsky, Oct. 13):
Trump or Frump? This election has degenerated into ad hominem attacks and important matters are being totally ignored. We have a $20 trillion national debt, the USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world, our education system is ranked only 17th in the world and, according to the 2015 inspector general report, 307,000 veterans died because they didn’t get competent medical care.
Slogans are all people have to define their politics: Trump—“Making America Grope Again” or “Hillary for Prison rESIDENT.”
And in the wings is Bill Clinton waiting for his third term by proxy. “Heh-heh, I’m the new FDR.”
Women have controlled the vote in the USA since 1980, so Hillary is playing the sexism card to the hilt. Trump doesn’t realize Hillary’s tactics go back to the Tammany Hall days (the immigrant community was the base of their political capital) and that he is up against a political machine years in the making. But if he loses, he can come back. As the defeated Willie Stark said in All the King’s Men after he lost his first election against a hail of dirty politics: “I feel fine. I learned something. How to win.”
‘A clear message’
The disparity between expressed values and beliefs and practiced behaviors has been a clearly apparent feature of American culture for virtually all of the country’s history. Injustice and discrimination based on race, gender, religion, national origin and sexual orientation have been facts of life for many generations.
Donald Trump and his followers provide us, and most unfortunately the world, with a clear picture of how alive, entrenched and close to the surface these inequities remain in our culture, and in our body politic. Rather than being a candidate whose persona and message are an affirmation of our highest values and an embodiment of what it means to be an American, he panders to the lowest common denominator, inciting fear and fostering divisiveness. Not to mention proposing policy clearly in conflict with the Constitution.
Nothing is “presidential” about this man.
This election provides the American people with an opportunity to deliver a clear message to the world that observes us with great interest, concern and attention. Donald Trump and his message do not reflect who we are or what we stand for as a people and they never will.
Let’s send this thin-skinned bully back to his gilded tower, which, coincidentally, he says he won’t mind returning to!
Pot: Kettle’s black
Re “Year of incivility” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Oct. 13):
Your newspaper is a good read for open-minded readers who appreciate how inconvenient facts agitate the misinformed.
It is unfathomable to most readers how one can label Hillary Clinton as a socialist bottom feeder propelled by insults when in fact her opponent is the one insulting Mexicans, Muslims, Syrians, women, people with disabilities and calling his opponent the devil and threatening to throw her in jail like a teapot dictator.
I wish you could more fully describe the many accomplishments of Hillary and dispel the vicious attacks she has suffered throughout her selfless career to make the world a better place for children, minorities and other disenfranchised Americans.
If you want to see a consensus about Donald Trump’s inadequacy, one need look no further than last Sunday’s columnist page in your conservative colleagues’ Chico Enterprise-Record.
One can only hope that the few Trump supporters left are simply deluded and not cretins that excuse his inappropriate remarks and admissions as commonplace behavior. As for the rest of us, I hope that Doug LaMalfa’s intransigent support drags him into the same gutter with voters that consider science, the Constitution and respectful behavior as things to be ignored should they conflict with their self interests.
Richard P. Mazzucchi
This is in response to the letter by Brad Pankratz and his attack on the editor. What happened to everyone having their own opinion without name-calling? I am a Republican, but by calling Melissa a moron you are doing the exact thing the liberals say the Republicans do. Why resort to calling names when her views are different from yours? You are entitled to your opinion, but calling her the moron makes you the moron.
Opposing views on J
Why Measure J? Measure J is a local bond measure that will help assure that Butte-Glenn Community College continues as a premier learning institution providing affordable education for our local area. Our community college has long been recognized for its many excellent training and education programs providing for careers in such professions as welding, law enforcement, fire protection, nursing, agriculture and automotive technology.
Measure J will help upgrade and expand classrooms, replace outdated plumbing and wiring, assist our veterans in finding high-paying jobs, and provide new facilities for vital educational programs. Measure J funds cannot be spent on administrators’ salaries or pensions.
Measure J provides stringent safeguards including creation of an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee to assure proper accountability and annual auditing. This Committee will be required to include representation from a bona fide taxpayers organization, a business organization, and a senior citizen organization.
Many educators, public safety and business leaders, and professional workers back Measure J. Please join these supporters and vote for Measure J.
Dear Chico Chamber of Commerce: I see you are endorsing Measure J, the Butte College bond. After adding the 2002 Butte College bond tax, found on my property tax bill, to the measure J proposed tax, it looks like my out-of-pocket “Butte College tax” next year will be $150.
I spend my discretionary money in local shops downtown. I will let you choose the shop I no longer give money to. Shubert’s? Made in Chico? Collier Hardware? Tomfoolery? Farmers’ market?
How dare you endorse property tax like this. I expect a public response from you.
Weighing Measure L
To consider supporting a measure, one must be able to understand it. Key sections of Measure L are impenetrable. It would be frustrating and wasteful of time, money and labor to work out how it would intersect with existing zoning ordinances and land use requirements.
L also asks for too much too soon. Ours is a conservative county. Most residents are chary about allowing greater accessibility to marijuana, much less chancing flawed revision of land use strictures. Briefer, clearly written, focused measures are preferable. I suggest two: one permitting at least one dispensary just beyond municipal boundaries and transportation of products to and from it; a second allowing commercial cultivation restricted to existing agricultural zones, with maximum grow areas of 1 acre for properties 5 acres or larger and smaller allotments on properties larger than 1 but smaller than 5 acres. We especially need at least one dispensary.
All but the most obdurate prohibitionists concede cannabis’ medicinal value, especially for seriously ill patients. Presently, to obtain these pharmaceuticals one must call a number, describe one’s needs, trust a stranger to select suitable product, then arrange delivery in a brown paper bag. Not an optimal experience.
Instead of regulating big alcohol “drug” companies, let’s have people manufacture their own alcohol in their backyard. Give them all a 10-by-10 box to serve their own needs. No license, no rules, just make sure your still stays in the 10-by-10 box. What’s the worst that could happen? Exploding stills, rampant bootlegging, risks to the environment, access by our children, opportunistic crime. All the things we don’t have to worry about now! That would be a step forward, don’t you think? I joke, of course.
If I seriously proposed this, you would think I was out of my mind. But that’s precisely how Measure A treats cannabis. This makes no sense! Ask 10 teenagers what’s easier to get, alcohol or cannabis, and they’ll all say cannabis. Why? Because a 10-by-10 box is no better than prohibition. Want to change that? Then license, monitor and control the cannabis industry.
For our children and our grandchildren, we must do something different! Alcohol regulation works! Why in the world should cannabis remain unlicensed, unregulated and uncontrolled? Measure L is regulation! Much-needed regulation! Vote yes on Measure L—a real solution!
Butte County’s Measure A regulation ordinance protects our environment, our wildlife, our real farmers, our precious water, and most of all protects our way of life and the enjoyment of our homes, in beautiful Butte County.
Measure L, on the other hand, is written by the pot purveyors who want large-scale commercial pot grows over the entire county. They want to change the zoning laws to suit their own needs. They want dispensaries in every city and township. They want mobile pot delivery service in all of our neighborhoods!
Measure L will allow every single parcel in the county to grow on 25 percent of their property [up to an acre]. This would subject neighbors to the constant skunk smell of pot. Also in Measure L, there will be no local control, no system for nuisance complaints. Measure L will be the destruction of Butte County.
Protect our county regulation. Protect our families. Vote no on Measure L, also vote no on Proposition 64.
Editor’s note: Measure L covers unincorporated Butte County, not incorporated cities and townships.
Don’t forget Florida
Elections have consequences. Ralph Nader received over 97,000 votes in the fateful 2000 Florida general election. Al Gore lost the state by a mere 537 votes. Experts agree that Gore would have received the lion’s share of the Nader votes had he not handed the 29 electoral college votes to “Dubya” Bush on a silver platter.
Fast-forward 16 years. Deplorable right-wing whackjobs (with the assistance of Russian hackers) pulled for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic primaries. Pot-smoking Gary Johnson runs as an independent to tip the scales by 6 percent, or just enough votes to hand the chaotic Trump and his Russian backers the White House.
I guess it’s understandable that the whackjobs would concentrate on Sanders and Johnson, given the sorry cast of characters (all 17) that ran in the GOP primaries. I know that the younger voters view the Gore vs. Bush 2000 election as a disaster from the past, however, we’re still dealing with the seemingly endless Bush wars in Iraq, the squandering of a $5 trillion treasury, countless lives lost, 22 vet suicides per day, etc. Don’t let history repeat itself.
A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for grab-happy Trump.
Letters on the council
Ann Schwab is a valuable mix of idealism and practicality, youthful energy and tested wisdom. Ann has years of experience working in private business and public service. Just the kind of person we want participating in our local government. I am so thankful that she has the energy and desire to do this. Please give her your vote and support in this coming election.
As a council member, I am always looking for ways to help improve our residents’ quality of life through innovative initiatives and fiscally responsible opportunities. Recently, I proposed a program that enables homeowners to make clean-energy and energy-efficiency changes to their homes and pay for them gradually through their property taxes. The program is called HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
This public-private partnership uses our existing residential real estate to take big strides for our community in saving energy, reducing homeowners’ utility bills and creating local jobs. Since the program is privately financed, it incurs zero costs to our taxpayers.
Chico is in a unique position to leverage this program to break from the pack in the emerging clean-energy economy. From solar-powered parking meters to LED lightbulb retrofits in municipal buildings, the city is committed to reducing its energy footprint in ways big and small. Through this program that I’ve brought to the city, Chico can improve its carbon footprint on existing buildings and not just on new developments—of primary importance to combating climate change.
It is these simple policy considerations that make all the difference in our community and why I’m seeking a second term. For more, visit www.StoneForCouncil.com.
Editor’s note: The author is a current city councilman seeking a second term.
In 2013, the city of Chico was approaching bankruptcy after years of deficit spending. Since then, we have paid off millions in debt, strengthened our police department, and built a fantastic city management team that has the support and resources needed for success. We have come a long way in three short years, yet we must stay the current course to avoid the financial peril we so recently averted.
Vice Mayor Sean Morgan has had a vital role in making progress. His extensive knowledge in business management and organizational health have been indispensable in the dramatic repairs made to our city. Sean has been an absolute leader in the years of recovery efforts!
Jovanni Tricerri is also one of the quality people we need on the City Council. His business sense and common sense will help us continue down the path of renewed financial strength. Jovanni has for years been extensively engaged in our community from the Downtown Chico Business Association, to North Valley Community Foundation, to serving on the Police Advisory Board and writing our current police staffing plan.
Please support the forward progress! Vote for Sean Morgan, Jovanni Tricerri, Loretta Torres and Jeff Glatz for Chico City Council.
Editor’s note: The author is the mayor of Chico.
Governor suppresses movement
On Sept. 24, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2844 into law. Although it purports to be an anti-discrimination law, its purpose is to suppress campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel due to its oppression of Palestinians. This law is unconstitutional as the Supreme Court has held that nonviolent boycott in defense of human rights is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.
AB 2844 conflates BDS with discrimination and prohibits California from signing any contract over $100,000 with anyone practicing BDS against any nation recognized by the United States. There is already a long list of entities that could be affected by AB 2844. Among the more prominent are the European Union (which has forbidden member states from transferring funds to settlements in the West Bank), the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, and Morgan Stanley Capital International (they offer socially responsible stock that boycotts the occupation of Palestine).
The Senate Appropriations Committee concluded that AB 2844 will waste around $140 million annually due to more expensive contracting and potential lawsuits. The good news is that Jewish Voice for Peace is working hard to overturn AB 2844.
About those trains
The least that can more easily be accomplished, in my opinion, is to require the toxic chemical (including oil) -carrying trains to slow down while passing through Chico, and we can politic to require these trains to be carrying triple-walled chem/oil cars, even though triple-walled have failed in past derailments.
Members of Chico 350 would like to thank the Butte County Board of Supervisors and the office of Rep. Doug LaMalfa for addressing the potential dangers of transporting crude oil by rail through the Feather River Canyon.
The board has written a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration expressing concerns about transporting hazardous material through this critical California watershed. The route through the Feather River Canyon is classified “high hazard” due to frequent rock and mud slides (44 since last October) and a derailment there would cause the railcars to topple into the river below which empties directly into Lake Oroville.
In fact, there have been multiple incidences of train derailments in the canyon since 2007. These spills have been of diesel fuel, ethanol, cooking oil and corn. It’s just luck that they weren’t carrying crude oil. In North America, there have been 12 derailments of crude oil in the past three years resulting in 47 deaths and billions in damage. We cannot afford to risk one here. We appreciate the proactive stance in protecting our public safety and valuable watershed by the Board of Supervisors and Doug LaMalfa and their efforts to address this critical situation.
‘Toward environmental consciousness’
A PBS report (10/6) on the historic world agreement regarding climate change reaffirms President Obama’s dedication to the global environment. Reduction of atmospheric CO2 is imperative; we have the knowledge to reverse climate change if the signature nations follow through on their commitments. Obama strongly led efforts to switch from coal to clean energy.
Candidate Trump supports a coal-driven economy, insisting that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China. Consider the consequences of a Trump presidency to our world environment. He believes that he can enhance the U.S. economy with coal-fired power. Compare Trump’s views with a long line of Democrats going back to Franklin Roosevelt, who founded the Soil Conservation Service, flood control measures, and environmental projects too numerous to mention.
Al Gore, probably the “greenest” candidate ever to run for president, awakened us to our greatest threat with his film, An Inconvenient Truth. Historically, Democrats have led us toward environmental consciousness, and 2016 is no exception. From Clinton through our local progressives, you can depend on each to protect the earth, worldwide and at home. Vote Clinton-Kaine, Reed, Ritchie, Stone, Ritter, Schwab, and Ory.
A sad day
It’s one thing to be down on your luck. It’s a whole other thing to make a career out of being a trash parasite. Alas, I guess it’s the times. It’s a sad day when a beautiful woman like Chico is visibly infested with lice, bedbugs, scabies and maggots. We’re gonna need an ocean of Quell lotion.