Letters for September 14, 2017
Reaction on rangers
Re “Go-ahead on guns” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Sept. 7):
I am not pleased that the City Council majority voted to arm the Bidwell Park rangers. This will undermine the interpretive and educational aspects of their duties. There are some people who violate the laws and lack respect for the park and other park users. This problem also requires law enforcement’s involvement.
It is clearly obvious that laws such as “sit/lie” are ineffective. All those laws do is simply move the homeless around to other parts of the city. We need on a national scale a new New Deal to put people to work fixing our infrastructure and to perform useful work for our communities. Federal dollars should be returned to Chico and other local governments to help fund our services, including park rangers.
Housing is needed for low-income people. Our people with mental illness must be cared for, and that must include homes and hospitals for those who need such care. Neither of our major political parties is seriously dealing with these important issues. This includes the time when Obama was president and when there was a Democratic Congress.
There is a problem with criminal activity and homeless people camping in the park and other parts of the city, but arming park rangers will not “solve” those issues. Early Wednesday morning [Sept. 6], with no armed rangers on duty to protect them, there were many people walking, jogging and riding bikes to school through the park. They didn’t appear scared or worried about the “criminal element” or the despicables that one Bidwell Park and Playground commissioner harasses because he doesn’t think they should be across the street from his mansion.
The number of calls for service at One-Mile, City Plaza and Depot Park increased by 24 percent since 2014, according to a city report. Instead of laying off longtime park rangers and arming new ones, why hasn’t the police department been asked to make the park one of its priorities?
When I was on the park commission, we had to beg the police chief to have patrols sent into areas of the park because of criminal activity that the department should have been dealing with in the first place. Mayor Sean Morgan and the conservative City Council members can blame Gov. Brown and a couple voter-approved laws but making Chico safe is their responsibility and arming rangers won’t make a difference.
What I do not see is a means to downgrade the to-be-armed park rangers; this I feel is a necessary process, for the ratcheting up of paramilitary styles is too reminiscent of Nazism—it is a double-edged sword to overly react to situations requiring reasoned force.
It is outright frightening to me to think of park rangers forced to act as police. Had they preferred this type of work, they would have gone there in the first place. While it isn’t the same as taking a teenage kid and making him use an M16, it is disgustingly close.
At one point in our history, the well-heeled were called nonduckers, for they were safely out of the range of gunfire. That is fairly how I view the four council members who feign “doing something.”
That is point one.
Point two is housing availability. I find it hard to believe anyone with a choice would prefer to camp in the miserable heat, where plumbing is not up to 20th century standards, etc. The problem is greater than just this city; it is repeated all across our state.
Re “Quarantine ill will” (Editorial, Sept. 7):
People agree that sea levels are rising and polar ice is melting, although they disagree about why this is happening. There is a single cause for these events. Hot, salty tears have recently been pouring into the ocean from the Statue of Liberty’s eyes, causing increases in sea levels and warming of the oceans.
Throughout her life, Lady Liberty has welcomed all to the United States of America. She not only has the following inscription, she also lives it: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”
I believe that her brokenhearted tears will continue until the anti-immigration rhetoric and actions in the USA cease.
One of the more effective ways to keep a populace divided is to proclaim that the truth is a lie.
Dictator wannabe Donald Trump knows this and uses attacks on the press, eviscerating journalists by proclaiming them to be the enemy of America. He understands that journalism remains one of the best restraints against tyranny and sees his attacks on a free press as a means to manipulate public opinion.
This became all too evident when he accused the press of falsifying his supportive statements about white supremacy. Listening to his ever-changing opinions on the carnage in Charlottesville, for example, you would think that he was the victim, not the woman who was murdered. He berated the press’ reporting of his statements, which changed daily, and in the end blamed those who stood up to bigotry, hatred and outright racism.
Donald Trump is the enemy of America. He undermines our credibility in the world by insulting our allies, refuses to denounce dictators who suppress freedom, and spews divisive rhetoric designed to turn Americans against each other, all while using the power of the presidency to enrich his personal wealth and authority. Shame on him and those who enable his behavior.
Roger S. Beadle
Join the resistance
Re “Stop criminalizing poverty” (Editorial, Sept. 7) and “Costs of criminalization,” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Sept. 7):
Chico’s poorest citizens—those who live on our streets—have been stripped of their civil liberties by our City Council. This has happened incrementally and, to all appearances, with the support of the majority.
It’s true that these new laws have the effect of moving people around the city, because they are designed to make Chico’s most vulnerable citizens uncomfortable everywhere they go. Profiling and ticketing and arrests are the order of the day. To what end? Well, to make poor and disabled people go elsewhere. Oroville? Sacramento? Reno? Who knows?
But, don’t count on any of the big, charitable organizations to resist this police state mentality; they are sold-out to the DCBA. And, don’t wait for the ACLU to ride to the rescue; they’re not coming.
One way to resist our unconstitutional laws is to meet the homeless, right in the public space, and lend support. This at least says, “Regardless of majority opinion, I affirm your right to be here.”
This is the mission of Chico Friends on the Street. We need help. Do you have blankets you can donate? Food? A willingness to get to know the street population on “their turf?” Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Our own slavery’
I hope we all had a good Labor Day weekend. It is time we begin to take the ideas celebrated there seriously.
When six people control as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population, and 20 people have as much wealth as half the people in our country (per Bernie Sanders’ speech at Riverside Church), it is time to forge a new age of unions.
Economic power is political power; therefore, when we allow these huge concentrations of wealth, we allow the destruction of government by the people. Here in Butte County, those of us whose daily work makes life nice for everyone must stand together and tell employers that we will not work for less money than will pay rent and buy food.
The average white male is now making $2,100 less per year than he did 40 years ago, with inflation, and it is probably worse for all the rest of us. If we tolerate that, we tolerate our own slavery, and we tolerate the destruction of the United States of America. So, what are you going to do about it?
Sunday, Sept. 17, will be six months since Desmond Phillips was killed by Chico police officers Jeremy Gagnebin and Alex Fliehr while he was in a mental health crisis. Since then, Chico police have also used excessive force in killing Tyler Rushing. The City Council has voted to arm our park rangers with guns.
The police need more and better training in de-escalation and dealing with mental health issues. We need more community alternatives to police. We need justice for Desmond Phillips. We need better mental health resources that are accessible to everyone.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” —MLK.
It is our duty as members of the Chico community to support the #Justice4DesmondPhillips campaign and to create better competency and resources for mental health in our town. Let’s make Chico a safer place for everyone regardless of race or class. Let’s keep that conversation going on Sunday in memory of Desmond’s life. The community will gather at City Plaza, 2-4 p.m., to remember Desmond and the families of those who have been killed by police.
Sixteen years later
R.I.P. to the 2,996 who died in the 9/11 attacks, and also to the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and the 90,000-plus Afghans killed so far in unprovoked U.S. aggression since 2001. Almost 30,000 of the Afghans killed were civilians.
R.I.P. also to the few thousand U.S. casualties of the ensuing wars, many of whom were pushed into the military by an economic draft, but even those compelled by patriotism to volunteer were only responding to a cultural conditioning that promotes that often dubious virtue. A propensity to swear allegiance to something, and band together without scrutinizing details of the cause sufficiently, has inflicted much harm in human history.
There is a trillion dollar trove of rare earth metals in Afghanistan, essential to modern electronics and renewable energy systems. During his outrageously colorful campaign, the current president repeatedly advocated taking oil as the spoil of our thinly veiled resource wars. The administration’s recent commitment to expanded U.S. presence in the region is undoubtedly intended to maintain enough control for mining it empty while the billionaire gang of extreme and ruthless capitalists lick their blood-dripping chops.
Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of empires. Will it become our own?
Re “Regarding the DNC” (Letters, by Lucy Cooke, Sept. 7):
I think Lucy Cooke subscribes to Breitbart News. The way she keeps whining about Bernie Sanders (aka Santa Claus) getting screwed by the DNC in the 2016 primary elections is getting tiresome. Senior Breitbart staffer, and Trump’s former (now fired) right-hand man, Steve Bannon, is lock-in arms with the Cookes of the left.
Bannon recently made a statement during a TV interview asserting that the “Democrats won’t be competitive until they have their own civil war.” Unfortunately, the naïve Sanders’ supporters don’t get what Bannon is doing. First and most important, Bannon is the epitome of the “snake in the grass.” Even Rush Limbaugh wanted his dittoheads to vote for Bernie to “create mischief” in the 2016 primaries.
People like Cooke make it easy for a demagogue like Trump to take the White House hostage. Sanders is quick to point out that he’s “not a Democrat.” Hey Bernie, next time run as an independent. Simple solution for simple folks.
More on Trump
I would like to begin by saying that Donald (may I call him Igor?) Trump is fulfilling one of his campaign promises. He is, in fact, creating jobs. Everyone close to him, including his family members, is lawyering up and creating numerous jobs in the legal profession. But I’m sure there’s nothing to this. Pretty expensive, though, and I’m wondering how they’re going to pay, what, a thousand dollars an hour. Oh, I know where you can buy a cool hat.
Perhaps the greatest relief that accompanies natural disasters is not having to hear from the president for a couple weeks.
Kenneth B. Keith