Letters for September 6, 2018
Labor under Trump
As we celebrated Labor Day, brought to you by organized labor—the people who brought you the weekend, the 40-hour work week, minimum wage and much more—many tried to demonize unions and claim that their influence is waning.
Meanwhile, under Trump’s tax bill, CEOs’ pay has risen to 271 times their average worker’s pay of $58,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Average CEO pay for the top 350 companies in the U.S. is $15.6 million (does anyone really need $15.6 million?). In 1978, the ratio was 30 times the average worker. Over these years, workers’ wages rose 11.2 percent while CEOs’ rose 937 percent. The U.S. worker continues to be the most productive in the world.
The Waltons—owners of Walmart and the richest family in the U.S. with a net worth of $149 billion, according to Forbes—got there on the backs of 1.3 million nonunion workers and U.S. taxpayers by limiting worker hours to get around pay and health coverage and encouraging workers to apply for Medi-Cal because they don’t pay a living wage.
Next year, as we enjoy our holiday, let’s give organized labor a small thank you and try to put a stop to this obscene greed.
America has become a misbegotten vessel floundering on a sea of disregard, with Captain Clueless at the helm, navigating his seas of deception. He’s under attack, cornered, paranoid; his self-image faces humiliation. His leadership is in question.
In moments of diplomatic overtures and national oversight, leadership in these matters calls for a president who is polite, thoughtful and respectful. What we have with Captain Thumbs is rude, inconsiderate and arrogant. Which is why we should question his policies.
Andrew Wheeler, former lobbyist for coal company Murray Energy and acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has announced the dismantling of Obama-era emissions regulations on coal-burning plants, touting job creation, ending the “war on coal,” forgetting to mention the “war on life.”
The administration’s own recently released analysis outlines jobs aren’t the only things that will increase. They anticipate as many as 1,400 more premature deaths annually by 2030 due to the increase of airborne fine particulates, which are linked to heart and lung disease. Their report went on to say there will be up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems annually, a rise in bronchitis, and tens of thousands of missed school days.
All for a few more votes?
Roger S. Beadle
In support of newspapers
The tragic shooting in June at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., also brings into focus how precious our community newspapers are.
As crucial as their central task is, to inform us about local issues, they do so much more: highlight area organizations and businesses; affirm principled values and standards; provide space for ads, opinions and other submissions … glue that helps hold our communities together. And at such a paper the people doing the work are not part of a faceless monolith, but are our neighbors, accountable and committed (no one takes a newspaper job to get rich).
I realize, if you are reading this, that I am likely preaching to the choir. So, to my fellow newspaper faithful: Let us not take these assets to our communities for granted. If their financial backing were to falter, would we respond? I read that in Sonoma County residents are buying stock in their newspapers in an effort to save them. It is hard to truly appreciate something until it’s gone, but we must try, in these difficult times for community newspapers, to stay aware of what these papers mean to us, and give them all the support we can.
The road to worse
The right wing of the Chico City Council scrambles to inflict even more of the thoughtless damage it has wrought under Mayor Sean Morgan’s waning tenure. Affluent and authoritarian representatives of the status quo have persuaded the council to deny the shelter crisis that has plagued the city for more than half a decade and to reinvigorate inherently unconstitutional and wholly ineffective criminalization statutes that make it illegal to perform activities of daily living if you are unhoused.
There is a strain of conservatism that strives to prove its theory that government is always incompetent by assuring it is whenever they’re in majority. Throw in with the right if you will, as it barrels along most oblivious to the standards, practices and insights of those scholars and professionals immersed in the field, but it will surely lead to even more detention camps soon and to even worse once that becomes too expensive.
Editor’s note: The Chico City Council is expected to discuss the shelter crisis issue at its Sept. 18 meeting.
Note to pro-lifers
I know what it’s like to be homeless. Because of family dynamics, I found myself in this situation and spent a couple of months at Sabbath House at the Jesus Center. I spent five years on a waiting list for low-income housing while I rented rooms. I’m 80 and live on Social Security.
But I’ve never considered myself to be a person who holds judgment to homeless people until today. While waiting for a bus, I met a family with eight children under 12 and another on the way. They live at the Torres Community Shelter.
Here is my rant for all you “right to life” people. You want people to keep having babies and you close the Planned Parenthood centers and work your butts off to cancel Roe v. Wade, but you certainly don’t want to care for those children after they are born. I don’t think taxpayers should have to pay support for more than two children and everyone who can work should work.
We need a new Conservation Corps where homeless workers live in dorms and we take some of that prison money and train people in building trades, etc. We can rebuild America—as soon as we get rid of our corrupt government.
On bikini baristas
I heard on the news last night that Java Detour is turning into Bottoms Up, a drive-thru coffee joint where the women wear bikini bottoms. I hope there is some public outcry over having this type of business in Chico. I have a teen son who was watching at the time and it is a shame I can’t even watch the news without an image that should be reserved for Playboy magazine being broadcast. I also have a teen daughter. I hope that both conservative women and liberal feminists will come together to oppose having women debased in such a way as this.
He’s choosing Denney
A woman stepped forward to the pharmacy counter, with her two children in tow, to pick up medication. When the pharmacy technician asked about her co-pay and showed her the slip stapled to the bag with the price, she froze. The technician asked, “Do you want me to put it back?” She softly replied, “Yes.”
Doug LaMalfa, our congressman, receives contributions from a super PAC that pours money into the war chests of Republican candidates across our nation. The PAC receives big contributions from major drug manufacturers. This “dark money” from Big Pharma ensures that drug prices in our country remain the highest on earth.
Audrey Denney, the Democrat challenger for LaMalfa’s congressional seat, does not accept corporate contributions. It’s a grassroots campaign with 4,500 individual contributions so far. A growing number of people support her. If she wins, that mother and her family, and families like them, will finally be represented by a human being who cares about them, as opposed to LaMalfa and his super rich constituency.
Denney will need your vote on Nov. 6. Please calendar the date and visit her website, where you can get to know her and, if your circumstances permit, make a donation to her campaign.
Carr Fire lessons
I assume a comprehensive, independent assessment of Cal Fire’s performance in tackling this monster fire, identifying strengths and weaknesses, will be accomplished and made available for public review.
While we await such an assessment, I offer a few of my own observations:
1. During the early days of the fire, it was impossible to gain reliable information regarding the fire’s status and projected path. Cal Fire public information officers should be front and center starting the first day of the fire holding frequent media updates on fire status.
2. A single official source of information about the fire was needed, with access to a current fire map, road closure and evacuation lists, shelter locations, structure and repopulation maps, incident update reports and links to key supporting agencies.
4. A Cal Fire toll-free number would be helpful, with options for the latest on fire status, evacuations, road closures and important information.
Dare I say, lessons learned from the Carr Fire will better prepare us for the next big one.
Farewell, Sen. McCain
I sneaked into the hotel room in New Hampshire in 2000 where John McCain and 150 supporters had gathered when he was declared the winner of that state’s presidential primary, beating Bush Jr. by 43,276 votes.
I went to many presidential candidate rallies and campaign offices. At McCain’s office, I spent time with many former “roommates” of his from the “Hanoi Hilton.” As a Vietnam veteran myself, I appreciated their service and what they endured as POWs. And I talked to McCain several times.
Long before I met McCain, on my first visit back to Vietnam in 1985, I toured the “Hanoi Hilton,” and went to the lake he landed in after ejecting from his plane. I thought long and hard about McCain’s five years as a POW.
What I really appreciate about McCain is how, despite what he went thru as a POW, he worked hard with President Bill Clinton in establishing diplomatic and trade relations with Vietnam. Thank you, John, and R.I.P.
Our gifted and talented cousin Charles did more for this nation than all of the McCain family combined. At only 19 he was flown home from Vietnam in an appalling red, white and blue rectangular prism. Youthful and vibrant Chuckie was not given an opportunity to orchestrate his own elaborate and self-congratulatory funeral because half of him never found its way home. Such human slaughter and this week’s deification seem fully unnecessary.
The death of Sen. John McCain has not left a void in our country. It has left a chasm I cannot see being filled by any of his contemporaries. In a time when the one thing this country needs most, men and women of virtue and integrity, we have lost one of the greatest. His duty to his country and his fellow man far exceeded his duty to party and politics.
Robert Grignon Sr.
In a time when it’s unthinkable to discriminate by gender, race or age,
Political segregation is all the rage.
No need for Russia, China or North Korea to start a fight,
The impending implosion will be quite a sight.
What’s most important to Americans is which side one picks,
As we confirm to the world, we’re a land full of …
Good, hardworking people who respect each other’s perspectives.
All abusers deserve prison
The pope must actually start using imprisonment as a deterrent for one of the most heinous crimes possible, that of child sexual abuse. Not just sentencing them to “a life of penance and prayer.” He has all the legal authority he needs to imprison almost anyone who is in Vatican City.
The statute of limitations shouldn’t matter; the pope is the sole sovereign of the nation-state. People who sexually abuse children—especially repeatedly—must spend the rest of their lives imprisoned. I believe this is the only way to begin to restore the dignity of the Vatican and the religion as a whole. And more importantly to do some measure of justice to the victims.
I attended Catholic schools for about eight years. If I’m wrong, or if you disagree or have a comment, let me know.
Last night, my wife and I decided to attend the first football game in Chico High’s new stadium, and I must say it was quite an impressive event. The venue itself is truly first-class—every square foot of space is beautifully laid out and appointed. The engineers, architects and contractors did an amazing job to make this stadium the best I have ever seen at a high school.
Equally impressive were all of the participants and staff in attendance at the event. The band, cheerleading squads and choir were a joy to watch and all were excellent in their execution of duties. There are obviously a lot of positive activities for students to choose from at that school and the school pride showed.
The students, staff, administration, sports boosters, parents, coaches and everyone associated with the event should be congratulated on a job well done!
And the icing on the cake—the football game was entertaining as well and Chico High won their first game in the new stadium!
Questions for candidate
The percentage of Californians who belong to the American Independent Party (AIP) is 3 percent. There is a reason for that. The AIP is a far-right political party in the United States that is best known for its nomination of George Wallace of Alabama, who carried five states in the 1968 presidential election running on a segregationist platform.
With the recent rebirth of the white nationalist movement and all the divisiveness and racial tension that has followed in the wake of Charlottesville, Va., it would be a serious mistake to bring this type of thinking into our local government.
I am troubled by the fact that one of the candidates for mayor of Oroville, Chuck Reynolds, is a registered member of the AIP. That makes me wonder about his judgment.
There is one caveat, however, and that is many people do not know what the American Independent Party is. A Los Angeles Times investigation in 2016 found that 70 percent of people registered as AIP voters did not realize they had joined a far-right political party.
So, which is it? Is Chuck Reynolds a white nationalist or simply uninformed? Either one disqualifies him for office from my perspective.
Recently I enjoyed a short vacation in Chico, staying at a pleasant hotel downtown. My only complaint? The hotel TVs all defaulted to Fox News initially when turned on, including the TV in the dining area. I asked the hotel manager about this and was told this change started when they switched from Comcast to DirecTV. She has contacted DirecTV numerous times to try and have the TVs reprogrammed to a more neutral station, and has been told there is nothing that can be done about this. My assumption is DirecTV has entered into a marketing arrangement with Fox News that requires their station to be aired initially. Very disappointed to see this.
A news story in our Aug. 23 issue (“Water war” by Graham Womack) did not specify the waterways that conservation biologist Jon Rosenfield was referring to when he said 50 percent to 60 percent of water must remain in-river from February to June to restore salmon populations. He was referring to the San Joaquin River’s three lower tributaries. We have updated the story online.—ed.