Letters for October 29, 2015

Banner banter

Re “Banner years” (Newsline, by Robert Speer, Oct. 22):

Once extreme right-wingers got control of the Chico City Council, it was inevitable that military banners would be given a Dr. Strangelove salute. Other lucky redneck towns have enjoyed this blight for years.

But, it’s not too late for Chico Military Heroes to change course. At a recent council meeting, I suggested that these durable vinyl banners would make nice tarps for the homeless and thus might better honor those who defend our country. The banners could be redesigned and distributed free of charge.

Since the City Council has further trashed the Fourth and Eighth amendments—with its recent homeless criminalization/incarceration ordinance—the banners might carry the text of the Bill of Rights.

The banners could also detail some of the factors driving homelessness: child abuse/abandonment, mental illness, brain injuries, physical disability, addiction, etc. (Along with “free choice to sleep in the rain,” for the 1 percent that fall in this category.)

Perhaps, if the homeless carried these banner-tarps through the coming El Nino winter, they might help remind us of our core constitutional values and serve to educate us as to the array of calamities leading to life on the streets—in this, the richest country in the world.

Patrick Newman


I read the article and wondered why the City Council would approve a project that privileges a small group of our military heroes while ignoring the vast majority. Are not all military veterans as important as those currently serving? After all, many of them gave the greatest sacrifice of all or came back suffering for the rest of their lives from wounds, amputations, PTSD, sexual assault, etc.

What of those who experienced the hell of war only to take their own life? Or now work hard for peace? If I were a parent or was one of them I would want myself or my family member in the community’s conscience just as much as those currently serving.

Yet, this project makes invisible all our military heroes/heroines except a small few. It is a project grounded in divisiveness. If we can’t honor them all in a banner display, let’s not do it. We already have ways to honor all. Military heroes/heroines shouldn’t be divided up into false categories. Speaking of that: who decided to honor only a select few? Who died and left them God?

Beau Grosscup


I’m curious. How much does it cost to make each of the banners? I’m a veteran and I feel this banner project is missing the point. I’m sure that the individuals championing this project have the best of intentions, but wouldn’t it be a more appropriate display of honor to donate the funds collected for the banner project to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Disabled American Veterans?

I’m sure our men and women in uniform past and present would agree.

Mike Pulliam


Wow, I am stoked. Please tell the City Council to make my veteran’s flag Rasta colors. As a Vietnam-era veteran in Chico and slighted in every other way by this council, I commend the conservative warmonger for this flag action. Please tell them to hang it at Second and Flume above my RV. Mr. Wahl would be so proud.

Joel Castle


‘Off the mark’

Re “Gender rolling” (Scene, by Carey Wilson, Oct. 22):

The review of Aphra Behn’s Restoration play The Rover is way off the mark. Behn was not a “proto-feminist.” She was a royalist and admirer of Charles II and was in favor of the Restoration. She liked kings. She had had quite enough of Puritan England and its social experimentation, as had many others (Cromwell’s body was dug up, put on trial, found guilty and hung and beheaded—a display of Restoration wit). Behn would take umbrage at being labeled a feminist.

At the time, cavalier playwrights would not accept pay since it was beneath their social standing at court and would place them in the crass commercial class. Behn was broke, however—so she wrote commercial tripe for money; she did not break any new ground. It’s disingenuous that modern day feminists appropriate singular women of historical note and then claim them as one of their own.

Mike Peters


Being black in Chico

A panel of four Chico State students shared their experiences being African-American in Chico in a Black Lives Matter workshop this month. All of them have suffered the indignity of walking down the street in a mostly white college town to be assaulted by racist slurs and commands to go back to the jungle. Cans have been thrown at them from passing vehicles displaying Confederate flags.

Even more offensive is what happens on a campus that says it values diversity. Teachers and students also look to the black student in class to speak for all people of color. Many classes require group work; the students said they’re the last to be chosen simply because of their skin color. Once in a group, the others don’t want to meet at the black student’s house. That not only hurts, but also impacts their academic success.

The students were frustrated that racism continues unabated just disguised in different language. A political science major who grew up in “the hood” in Los Angeles said, “There’s a negative stigma about being black and it has an effect on me.” A black woman on the panel said she worries about getting a call that something harmful happened to her brother and her partner. Time to discuss how to end racism in our community.

Gayle Kimball


Too many babies

A Web page that puts world population growth in alarming perspective is the U.S. and World Population Clock. It features “odometers” for both the U.S. and world populations running in real time. The U.S. odometer showing one birth every eight seconds is alarming. The world meter’s running so screaming fast it’s terrifying—like watching water rise around you aboard a sinking ship.

Also alarming are the population listings of the 10 most populous countries. I thought the United States had too many people. India—a country that geographically is about twice the size of Alaska, has almost four times our population. China—the world’s most populous country—has over four times our population.

India’s fertility rate is 2.5 and China’s is 1.7. Accordingly, India’s population’s expected to surpass China’s to become the world’s most populated country by 2028. India’s unrelenting growth is ironically rooted in the poverty its overpopulation causes. To ensure sufficient children survive starvation to provide for them in their old age, Indians have as many children as they can starting at the earliest age they can.

Nathan Esplanade


Volunteer for the kids

I just want to brag for a minute about the 136 volunteers from the Chico community who spent more than 4,100 hours reading with kids who needed a little extra encouragement this past 2014-15 school year.

We at Reading Pals want to send a huge “thank you” out to all of you who are making a huge impact in the lives of local kids by giving the gift of your time. For every month that students are enrolled in our program, they are doubling their rate of learning. We are seeing such fantastic results because we have fantastic people like you that are dedicated to making Chico a better place for everyone. You are our heroes! We can’t wait for the improvements this year holds!

Check out readingpalschico.org for more information on the difference that is being made by local volunteers and join us! One hour a week to makes a huge difference in the life of a child—do you have an hour to spare?

Michelle Anderson Curran

Reading Pals, Chico

‘Never stop caring’

As a member of Division 32 of the California Retired Teachers Association (CalRTA), I urge you to find a way to give back to your community during Retired Teachers Week, Nov. 1-7. Statewide, CalRTA members logged in approximately 2.1 million volunteer services to their communities. That’s $55 million in service!

Anywhere you go in Paradise, Oroville or Chico, you are likely to find retired teachers providing assistance. They tutor for local schools, distribute food, drive seniors to appointments, assist in hospitals, and serve on community boards and clubs.

In our local school districts you will find retired teachers adopting schools, often those in which they taught. These retirees provide encouragement, financial grants and in-school support. Last year, Division 32 donated 14 stipends of $100 each to the classrooms of 14 selected teachers. We cared about our students and our communities while we taught, and that caring didn’t stop at our retirements. Join us in giving back. You’ll find the effort well worth your time.

Dick Cory

CalRTA, Chico

A horrible sentence

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is a 21-year-old citizen of Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to be beheaded for his participation in Arab Spring protests when he was just 17 years old. He was tortured and forced to sign a false confession. Recently a Saudi court upheld his sentence despite growing and high-level international condemnation. It is reported he could now be put to death at any time.

I urge everyone to do something to try to prevent this horrible sentence from being carried out. You can call President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry at (202) 647-6575, or call the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., at (202) 342-3800. There are numerous websites that are collecting signatures urging Saudi Arabia to reconsider this horrible sentence.

Sharon Fritsch