Letters for October 6, 2016
Re “Learning curve” (Cover story, by Meredith J. Cooper, Sept. 29):
This story paints a one-sided, tempting picture because of the tax revenues associated with marijuana legalization, but it ignores how the homeless population in Colorado has spiked since legalization. It is especially ironic that two other stories ran in the same issue—“No place to live,” about the lack of affordable housing, and “The issue that won’t go away,” on Proposition 64/Measure L. All three stories intersect when it comes to marijuana legalization and homelessness.
Take a look at Pueblo, Colo., for example. Yes, revenues increased, but so has the homeless population. Does Chico need this? Good luck, merchants, keeping downtown attractive. Good luck, Chico State, convincing parents that Chico is wholesome.
When I went to college, Chico was known as the “party school.” What’s next? According to a story in International Business Times, “Pueblo, in fact, has become widely recognized for marijuana.” The article continues, “Families tell [the director of Posada—a homeless services center] they’ve come from places like Tennessee and Oklahoma because of marijuana, and they end up camping outside of town and using Posada for showers.”
“It looks like something out of The Grapes of Wrath,” the director is quoted as saying.
The U.S. has not always been paranoid about marijuana. In fact, until a hundred years ago, even opiates were readily available and prescribed by physicians to manage heroin addiction (Chasing the Scream, 2015).
So, what happened? With the end of alcohol prohibition, Harry Anslinger (commissioner, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, precursor to the DEA) needed an alternative mission to justify his agency’s continuance. His solution was promulgating myths about drugs making people crazy, causing blacks and Mexicans to rape and pimp white maidens, and go on killing sprees. In fact, Reefer Madness was based on his “Assassin of Youth” article (American Magazine, 1937). He spectacularly frightened the public into supporting drug wars that have ever since been fixtures of public policy.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage is a current incarnation of Anslinger. LePage claims 90 percent of drug traffickers are black or Hispanic and are impregnating white women. His evidence consists of a thick stack of newspaper clippings, which he apparently cannot presently locate. Some public figures and agencies profess to safeguard us from dangers they themselves fabricate. We must insist they use reliable, valid evidence to substantiate their claims. “Taking their word for it” is not an option.
A clue for the seemingly clueless: If you want to legalize marijuana in California, stop referring to it as “weed” and “pot” and quit talking about “bongs.”
Take a page from the conservative master propagandist Frank Lutz, who came up with the terms “pro-life,” “death tax” and others, and create a new term that is more palatable, like “the green herb” or something like that.
Don’t bag on big banks
Re “Stand up to the bully banks” (Editorial, Sept. 29):
The News & Review suggests that we all abandon our big banks and go over to a local bank or credit union. The suggestion is flawed on two accounts. First, whatever happened recently at Wells Fargo was, according to my contact, isolated, at least in California, and corrected quickly.
Second, how about the negative economic impact on those folks at the big banks when they lose their jobs because we abandoned them? The best advice for anyone should be to look at your bank statements and regularly balance your accounts. Then look at your credit card statements and immediately report all irregularities.
Letter of support
Ann Schwab, a long-term Chico City Council member, twice serving as mayor, deserves to be re-elected. Ann remains an advocate for a vision of Chico that embraces more than a sound budget, security and fixed potholes. She has a vision of a vibrant, prosperous, sustainable, friendly community.
Ann came to town originally to attend Chico State and fell in love with Chico, its natural setting, its friendliness, its nature as a community of people interacting with and supporting each other through community involvement. Besides being a partner with her husband in a longtime successful downtown business, Ann has worked for many years for CAVE at Chico State; encouraging, guiding and supervising students through participation in local volunteer activities.
As the distribution of her lawn signs around Chico shows, she is supported by voters in every neighborhood. On the council she deals with every issue on its merits. Her voting record shows something similar; she is open to argument, no matter who it comes from. I urge you to vote for Ann Schwab.
School board backs tax
The Chico Unified School District board of trustees and the 13th District PTA have voted to endorse Proposition 56, the tobacco tax initiative. Prop. 56 will save lives and keep children from smoking by raising the tobacco tax by $2 per pack of cigarettes.
Each year, nearly 17,000 kids start smoking in our state and almost a third will eventually die from tobacco-related diseases. The negative ads about Prop. 56 on television are funded by the tobacco industry in an effort to deceive voters and protect industry profits.
Prop. 56 will increase funding for anti-tobacco programs in schools and provide more funding for research and treatment of tobacco-related diseases. The CUSD board of trustees joins a broad coalition of school officials, including State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson and the California School Board’s Association, who are standing up to Big Tobacco and saying “enough” to their efforts to prey on our children. The measure is supported by the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Join us in helping save lives by voting yes on Prop. 56.
Eileen Robinson, CUSD board president
Re “Steinem and Warren” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Sept. 22):
Chico State’s Book in Common—My Life on the Road—is really not a book in common. It was written for a narrow readership: materially comfortable, white, middle-aged women—centrist in their politics and sexist in their views. The book is a study in reverse sexism and I feel sorry for undergraduates; they will be expected to worship “icon” Gloria Steinem, when in any real institution of learning, they would hear at least one person eviscerate this book in a public forum.
Gloria Steinem has a long history as a chameleon. She worked for the CIA and admires war criminal Henry Kissinger. While Steinem’s romantic interests and husbands were all rich celebrities, her memoir turns this toward a long tale of earnest fundraising at a posh resort. As if to inoculate herself from charges of materialism and elitism, she fawns on famous American Indian women. In all her enlightening travels, I wonder if Steinem ever had time to sit with a homeless Indian man?
It’s no surprise that Steinem tried to shame millennial women for supporting Bernie Sanders. Steinem is an Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda feminist: They’ll never be radicals on any level. They have way too much to lose.
Kaepernick no criminal
Newsflash! NFL players didn’t appear regularly on the field for the National Anthem until 2009. From 2008 until the present, the National Guard has funneled millions to all 32 teams for producing patriotic spectacles at games.
Most Americans know nothing about the anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance. At nearly every event, fools disrespect the glorious colors and chorus by talking, eating, wearing hats and, of course, texting—mainly from ignorance and lack of parenting. Colin Kaepernick has justification for expressing concern. He’s not a criminal. His ethnicity has been brutalized by mine for centuries.
You don’t have to be an astrophysicist to discover this. Still, inexcusable conditions persist unabated while merely “talking about it” remains nonconstructive. Intelligent, brave change is in order. Let’s see if any criticism comes when the first non-Afro-American takes a knee to join the mounting protestation against the blatant injustice in America.
Kenneth B. Keith
Saying ‘Hello’ is OK
When I chose Chico State back in the 1990s to finish my degree, it was because of the people of Chico. It was just an initial vibe I felt, but as a struggling student now living here, I was treated very kindly by locals who would employ me to do odd labor jobs.
I couldn’t tell you how many times a relative stranger purchased a sandwich for me at lunchtime as I painted their garage or whatever. I remember saying to myself, “Chicoans are my kind of people.”
Chico has certainly grown since I moved here. Much of that growth is from transplants from the Bay Area and Southern California and increased student population. All are welcome, of course, but certain advice needs to be given. In Chico, you may be approached by a stranger. This stranger may even look directly in your eyes. Having your L.A. game face on, your initial response may be to look away or pretend you are not aware of what is about to happen. Fight that off. When the stranger says “Hello,” the best response is a smile and a return greeting. It will be OK, I promise!
‘Inspiring to witness’
Re “Mni wiconi: Water is life” (Greenways, by Samuel White Swan-Perkins, Sept. 15):
It’s inspiring to witness indigenous activists using nonviolence to challenge the powerful extraction industry over the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens at least four major rivers. The Sacred Stone Camp began with a ceremony that taught [the protesters] that, if they conducted themselves in prayer and ceremony they would win, but if their resistance turned to violence they would not.
The only violence so far has been committed by contractors and authorities against the peaceful movement. When violence is exerted against nonviolent protesters it exposes an underlying brutality in the system, which then undermines broader public cooperation.
Nonviolence teaches that efforts for advancement should be characterized primarily by constructive activities aimed at improving things; obstructive activities are best left as last resorts. If the Sacred Stone resistance continues into a fully rounded nonviolent movement, then perhaps an important turning will have finally begun its overdue rotation.
Water is life, say the water protectors in North Dakota, mni wiconi in their words—may the wisdom of protecting it find us all.
Bring back rollerskating
With new life coming into downtown Oroville, why not bring back the old rollerskating rink? I’m told by a senior citizen in the area that it was “really something”—a very beautiful place, took up a good portion of the block. Now that the Oroville Inn is restored and bringing in the students, creating more business, and restoring the old State Theatre, downtown Oroville will again be a place people will go to spend money and enjoy their leisure time.
Re “Bikes getting pillaged” (Letters, by Michelle Hale, Sept. 22):
I wanted to follow up. My letter sounded like I was speaking for the administrator and entire Chico Stolen Bike group. That is not the case.
I had expressed my concerns to City Council members via email as well and one of them contacted Police Chief Mike O’Brien, who contacted me. I want to give credit to the chief for responding. I still believe this problem is not getting addressed as it should, but for a busy police chief to reach out to a concerned citizen, well, that speaks a lot about his commitment in my mind.
Making America respected again
After four Iranian patrol boats followed and harassed the U.S.S. Nitze in the Persian Gulf Aug. 23, Trump said at a Florida campaign rally, “When they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water, OK?” At Monday’s debate, Hillary condemned Trump, saying that could start another war. Trump denied it would.
While it’s dubious whether the Iranian sailors constituted a legitimate threat, I appreciate that Trump wouldn’t tolerate their shenanigans. Such would communicate to hostile countries and terrorists throughout the world that we take our defense seriously. By doing so Trump would not only ensure the morale and safety of America’s armed forces, he’d earn the offenders’ respect. It would also render America’s military presence more foreboding and effective.
In making this statement I’m not saying America’s military presence in these areas is always justified. I’m just saying that for the safety of everyone—America and its adversaries—clear boundaries should be established and enforced.
Last week, the CN&R reported that bank robbery suspect Eric Avalos-Guevara pleaded no contest to a charge of resisting arrest in Yuba County earlier this year (Downstroke, “Alleged bank robber busted,” Sept. 29). He actually pleaded no contest to delaying a police officer. We apologize for the error, which has been corrected online. —ed.