Letters for September 29, 2016
Two views on re-opening
Re “Road block” (Cover story, by Howard Hardee, Sept. 22):
“Access denied” is all too true in describing Upper Bidwell Park for many people in Chico. Older people (like me), people with many kinds of disabilities, and even many people who simply lack the ability to bike or walk very long distances are denied access to Upper Park without being able to drive on the road. Even families with small children aren’t able to access Upper Park without the road.
As a taxpayer who has frequently been blocked by the gates, I believe the city’s goal should be to enhance access, not to limit it more. Upper Park is a wild area, but not a wilderness. There should be options for solving this that don’t keep people out of the park because they can’t walk or bike long distances.
It has always been my desire to climb to the top of Mount Shasta. But the years went by, my knee was replaced, then my ankle, and at age 77 my stamina just isn’t up to it. But wait, I’m a tax-paying citizen! Doesn’t the government owe it to me to provide access to the peak so I can experience the view; maybe an escalator from the city of Mount Shasta?
A sad fact of life is that most of us will never have the mental, physical or economic capacities to achieve all of our loftiest of desires. I will never be able to swim like Michael Phelps, understand the universe like Stephen Hawking, or finance global disease control as Bill Gates does.
As much as I would love to, I can no longer pedal a trail bike or hike to Devil’s Kitchen or Brown’s Hole. Why should the city be obligated to provide a means for me to drive there? Why do we believe society is responsible to provide everyone with everything they want? We’ve modified Yosemite so that “everyone” has access and now there are valley traffic jams, air pollution and debris deposition. Let’s not ruin Upper Bidwell for the same reasons.
W. Dean Carrier
Re “Honesty is key” (Arts & Culture, by Robin Bacior, Sept. 22):
Loudon Wainwright III is by no means the household name of that of Pete Seeger or Joni Mitchell, but the mention of his name “… can be a little dizzying.” Ms. Bacior’s implication that Mr. Wainwright is not a well-known name is further promulgated by not mentioning Wainwright’s early 1970s smash “Dead Skunk,” as it is best to mention a performer’s background and, specifically, early works, in order to provide context for the reader. Bacior’s failure to note the song leads me to believe that she’s never heard of it, and that her age may be a prohibiting factor.
The year 1973 was, of course, the Stone Age to many on your staff who lack life experience and, most often, general knowledge of a topic. “Dead Skunk” was on the only record to chart for Wainwright, and reached No. 8 in Canada and No. 12 Down Under.
“The many associations that come to mind (when mentioning Loudon Wainwight III) …” are even more “dizzying” when such important facts are omitted, leaving we senior citizens asking, “Huh? Why?”
Editor’s note: Ms. Bacior is a CN&R contributor. The remark Mr. Collins takes issue with is related to the breadth of Wainwright’s work, which includes recording 26 albums, as was noted in the story.
I have been a registered voter in the city of Chico for 20 years. I have supported and campaigned for numerous candidates on both sides of the aisle. I have never been as excited as I am to support Jovanni Tricerri for Chico City Council.
Jovanni is a bridge builder. He brings people from the right, left and center together to find real solutions that work for all. He leads with compassion, heart and a true attitude of service for the greater good. He understands the mechanics and logistics of running an organization, and more importantly, he understands relationships and compassion are the way to build a community. He has already demonstrated he is a leader through his work as a founding member of the Downtown Ambassadors and the Chico Children’s Museum.
He currently serves hundreds of nonprofits, and our community, as the director of community engagement for the North Valley Community Foundation. His desire is to empower others to serve and that is why I urge you to vote for Jovanni Tricerri for Chico City Council.
I first met Ann Schwab when I arrived in Chico 20 years ago. She worked for and now directs C.A.V.E., a program that organizes Chico State students to volunteer their time and energy for the citizens of Chico. I said, “That’s cool; her job helps everybody.”
When elected to City Council, Ann led the effort for environmental protection and chaired the Sustainability Task Force—while some council members called it a waste of time. I was impressed; she maintained her energy and determination.
As a downtown Chico small-business co-owner and chair of the Mayor’s Business Advisory Council, Ann urged the city to prioritize clean economic development and balanced growth. In light of past efforts to sell off parts of Bidwell Park and current grading of viewshed land to the east and north for more developments, I said, “That makes sense, thank you, Ann.”
I recently asked one of my heroes, a Chico firefighter who had come to the rescue of a friend, why he supported Ann so strongly. He said, “She understands the real meaning of public safety.” I agree. I trust her to keep valuing “all” of us in Chico.
Pot pros and cons
Some law enforcement personnel and organizations oppose Proposition 64: Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, El Monte Police Chief David Reynoso, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, etc. This group argues that legalization will lead to more crime, despoiled environment, increased use among young people, and encourage use of harder drugs.
Other law enforcement personnel and allied organizations support Proposition 64: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), etc. This group argues that the drug war has been an abject failure, astronomically expensive, discriminates against minorities and poor people, has ruined hundreds of thousands of lives (both in this and especially in other countries), corrupted law enforcement, and enriched gangsters and syndicates.
One would hope that voting decisions are based not on the political affiliations of supporters versus advocates, but upon careful consideration of evidence instead of tiresome, unsupported accusations. Too much of what we read in letters to the editor are opinions based on fuzzy logic devoid of supporting documentation. We can and should do better.
Two years ago, before Measure A was passed by the law-abiding voters of Butte County, it was the Wild West in Butte County—all because marijuana laws were lax and allowed open grows. Measure A passed and, for the past two years, the incident rate for home-invasion robberies, drive-by shootings, dope rip-off robberies and murder over marijuana dropped. People now could enjoy sitting on their deck or porches and not be driven inside by the obnoxious smell of maturing marijuana plants.
Now these same dopers are attempting to repeal Measure A and replace it with an even more lax marijuana grow measure. Measure L would cancel Measure A and we would be back to the lawlessness of three years ago. Our land would be transformed into an insecticide- and fertilizer-damaged landscape with contamination of our water supply.
Colorado is now facing a 150 percent increase in emergency room admissions of juveniles suffering from marijuana overdoses, mainly due to “edible” marijuana, an increase in homeless individuals who arrived for marijuana, and small-business owners are leaving the state due to no competent employees in the job market. Do we really need this in Butte County?
Measure A allows for medicinal grows and use within reason, not grows for profit. Let’s keep Measure A. Measure L is a loser for Butte County.
Support CP&J Center
The Chico Peace and Justice Center’s annual dinner is coming right up, this Wednesday, Oct. 5. We are pleased to have Sue Hilderbrand as keynote speaker, presenting clips from her forthcoming film, A Frayed Nation—New Views on Gun Issues.
The filmmakers interviewed gun enthusiasts, who describe a day at the range in terms of a “fun” gathering with friends; members of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club about the legacy of the Black Panthers in terms of self-reliance and self-preservation of the black community; and a rescue worker who witnessed the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, when civil society collapsed.
Roots Catering will provide a delicious dinner, including a vegan option; music by folk artist Sherri Quammen; free child care; a drawing for two beautiful quilts, vacation get-away and more. Purchase early bird tickets for $40 at Pullins Cyclery, 801 Main St., or online at www.chicopeace.org.
This will be a thoroughly enjoyable evening—we hope folks will join us.
Emily Alma, CPJC board of directors
Notes on The Donald
It is very weird that a country founded largely to get away from imperious rule is showing interest in having a king again. The spirit of our nation and the French awakened the world to the ancient ignorance of monarchy. I believe the Trump followers are so frustrated that his emperor-like bearing seems fresh and original. He is very different, arrogant, spoiled, defiant and, like Dirty Harry, everything is fixed with force.
Well, my fellows, we may have to waste a lot of our time and treasure putting “his majesty” back in the 17th century, where kings reign and people like you and I dream of self rule.
Just from listening to him, I don’t think Donald Trump would be a very compassionate president, but I think he could be a very cruel dictator.
‘A beautiful event’
Re “Singing for a cause” (Guest comment, by Dan Holmes, Sept. 22):
The benefit for Torres Shelter guests that Dan Holmes is spearheading is going to be a beautiful event. It would be a shame for anyone reading this to miss it. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Neighborhood Church (the dome).
There was a sample of the event Saturday at a flash mob in the mall. I’ve never been part of a flash mob before and so I really didn’t know what to expect. When one of the Chico Gospel Choir members started to sing, I worried her voice wouldn’t be heard over the crowd noise. Within seconds, her brave voice rose above everything and then dozens of other voices joined in. I sat there awestruck; it was beautiful.
I found myself thinking about these 100 people participating that come from so many backgrounds, so many economic situations, so many political ideologies, so many faith denominations, and have so many other differences between them. We live with much divisiveness in the world these days. It sure did my heart good to see and hear the unity of all those voices joining together selflessly to help others. Absofreakinlutely wonderful!
Brad Montgomery, Torres Community Shelter executive director
Don’t forget the junkyard
Re “Setting the stage (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Sept. 22):
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Chico City Council—and the greater community—were as supportive of the relocation of the Chico Scrap Metal nightmare as they are supportive of the preservation of the El Rey Theatre?
From Bernie to Hillary
I was an outspoken supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Now, like Sen. Sanders, I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton. Also, like Sen. Sanders, I am encouraging others to do the same.
I remain committed to Bernie’s vision of a more democratic and egalitarian America, and like thousands of others, I am working to build a movement and to promote specific planks of the platform on which he ran. But it is obvious that our first task must be to prevent our nation from sliding into the abyss of ignorance, bigotry and hate represented by the campaign of Donald Trump.
I have friends who have chosen to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I have heard their criticisms of Clinton and I agree with many. But Clinton is the only candidate who can defeat Trump, and if Trump is not defeated, all that has made this country worthwhile and all our hopes for the American future that Bernie described so compellingly are at grave risk.
To my Green Party friends: Vote for Clinton. With your eyes open. But vote for her. Vote so we can live to fight another day. Vote as if your future and the future of your children depends on it. Because it does.
‘Not a great record’
An open letter to State Sen. Jim Nielsen regarding his email to his constituents touting his accomplishments in the 2015-16 session:
If we can afford tax cuts for the rich and allow corporations to hide their profits in the Cayman Islands, we can afford to fund Medi-Cal and the health benefits it gives to those in need. You opposed this funding.
The California minimum wage will increase only minimally over the next six years and only for those employers with more than 26 employees. Less than 26, it’s delayed a year. Next year the minimum wage will be raised from $10 to $10.50/hour. You call that “radical.” What do you think people can live on? You voted against raising the minimum wage and you don’t want to fund Medi-Cal either. It seems incongruous.
Then you state there is “a severe new demand that farmers pay employees unprecedented and substantial overtime wages.” Unprecedented? We’ve been paying overtime pay for years to most employees. You don’t think farmers should have to pay overtime? No, you don’t. You opposed overtime pay for farm workers.
Not a great record, senator. I’m not impressed.
Clinton’s not the solution
The Democratic establishment long ago abandoned its base in favor of serving corporate interests. Bill Clinton passed NAFTA, a “free trade agreement” that allowed U.S. corporations to ship millions of American jobs overseas. Obama is currently pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership-FTA that will allow U.S. and foreign corporations to sue governments for environmental and other laws that may infringe on their ability to make profits wherever they deem fit. Obama and other Democrats made the Bush tax cuts to billionaires permanent, causing $3.2 trillion in lost tax revenue every 10 years.
The disgusting truth is, Democrats like Republicans, have supported the interests of their corporate financiers over ours on almost every occasion.
Scientists have warned that global climate change is accelerating to the point where we have only a few decades before total environmental catastrophe. Is it wise to vote from fear or potential SCOTUS appointments if Clinton will continue to allow big corporations to rape, pillage and pollute our environment? Clinton is the problem, not the solution. Look up her campaign contributors and voting record and see for yourself. We must stand up against these corporate puppets and demand change. It’s our only hope. Jill Stein for president!
Practice what you preach
A local yoga studio is promoting a retreat in Maui—at $1,750 per head, not including airfare. So what’s the cost of airfare? If 20 people fly to Hawaii, the cost is an additional 26,000 pounds of CO2 in the environment. (Per individual, imagine a yogi sitting in the lotus position with the weight of 15 sacks of concrete in their lap.) About 80 percent of this CO2 will be absorbed in oceans, contributing to acidification, increased water temperatures, destruction of marine ecosystems (suffering and death of diverse life forms) and the release of marine methane deposits.
Within yogic traditions there are some potentially useful moral concepts. The most fundamental are outlined in the five “Yamas.” The first of the Yamas is “Ahimsa,” meaning “nonharming.” To practice Ahimsa, one must not unnecessarily harm any sentient being.
I suppose yoga poses can be divorced from yogic traditions. But, most yogis (our local yogis being no exception) will claim it’s a package—that they follow a “spiritual” path. What should be of interest is how and why this path fails to connect action and consequence in the moral sphere—just as this same moral autism permeates our wider culture.
Thoughts on the debate
I appreciated PBS’s near-instant availability of an online transcript of the first Trump-Clinton debate. Albeit, its associated commentary almost exclusively trashed Trump. The media generally seems predisposed to this—probably because Trump doesn’t kiss their asses. He’d rather be honest and forthright than politically correct.
Perhaps Trump’s worst moment was espousing that police should be allowed to stop and frisk to ensure citizens aren’t carrying weapons. Trump himself likely suffers little risk of being searched, arrested, jailed, fined and receiving a career-killing criminal record. That is, for being found to be carrying an unregistered weapon, resisting arrest, giving a false name, etc. Accordingly, I can see how Trump might see being stopped as no big deal. However, as president, Trump would have advisers to apprise him of these implications. Accordingly, voters shouldn’t evaluate candidates for their positions on small issues, but rather only on major ones like immigration.
The media also trashes Trump for not perfectly reciting facts. This is similarly unfair. Live debates aren’t contract negotiations. Rather, they’re just forums for gaining some insight into candidates’ knowledge, positions, perceptiveness, logical ability and conviction.