Letters to the editor: March 1, 2023

Denounce hate

I am writing to express my concern about a flier wrapped around a copy of the Chico News & Review in a plastic bag and delivered to my door. The flier contained a message promoting white supremacist ideologies and included the phrase “Love Your Race.”

I was deeply disturbed to receive this, and I’m sure I am not alone. I am concerned about the this group’s deceptive tactics to reach a wider audience and promote its hateful message. The CN&R needs to address this issue and make a statement about its stance on hate speech and bigotry.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Tara Purcell

[Editors note: The CN&R received several messages from concerned county residents regarding the dissemination of the hate-speech fliers. See our response in this issue’s Editorial, “Shining a light on hate.”]

Questions for Christians

Re: Guest Comment: “Missions to Serve” (By Donald Heinz, Feb. 2, 2023)

Guest Comment contributor and retired Professor of Religious Studies, Donald Heinz opines: “These days, ‘social justice Christians’ are determined to take the gospel out the church door and make it a social gospel.”

Here are a few questions asked after 10 years of pushing for homeless human rights, across an array of issues: Where were Christians when the Chico City Council passed criminalization laws on over a dozen occasions; and as the police, at our insistence, profiled, rousted and arrested the homeless, year after year? And when a very small number of us fought for 24 hour portable toilets? And the city orchestrated the demolition of Chico’s only soup kitchen? And the city swept homeless camps, time after time? Or, just last month, when the city again barricaded restrooms and drinking water on City Plaza? Where were Christians during the seven years a small number of Chico citizens stood in solidarity with the unhoused on City Plaza, Sunday after Sunday? In all this, where was the Christian voice?

Where was your voice during our 10 year homeless holocaust? And here’s a question truly worthy of a scholar’s attention: What the hell is wrong with the moral DNA of Chico’s Christians?

Patrick Newman

Growing pain

Re: Editorial: “We decide Chico” (Feb.2, 2023)

When I read what’s happening (and has happened) to Chico, I have to remind myself that I can’t go back to the 1970s. And for those who can’t remember or weren’t born yet, Chico was a small town that grew quiet, dusty and blistering hot in the summer.

My tiny apartment needed air conditioning, so I went to Bidwell Park to cool off. I liked Five Mile best at first, and often met friends there. But once I discovered Upper Park, there were days I found myself alone, basking on a water-worn rock in the middle of Big Chico Creek. Soon, I started taking a canteen with me, staying until the shadows fell in the canyon. There were days when not a single person shared Salmon Hole with me. Now there are houses overlooking Upper Park.

I am trying to remember the names of all the housing projects that have come and gone in Chico, but developers stopped building one when I was there because of environmental concerns (at least in part). But now, more bulldozing and ecological destruction is coming? Given the housing crisis in Chico and elsewhere in California, opposing this may be selfish, but I would have signed the [Valley’s Edge] referendum petition if I could. I loved watching trout jump as the shade drifted closer to me on a late afternoon. It saddens me that more and more places like that are being destroyed.

I am writing this after the petition deadline, but the Butte Environmental Council office was once just a few blocks from where I lived. Finding affordable housing was a nightmare even then, and Chico needs answers. Still, I studied what we needed to be doing in 1975 when I took a class at Chico State on the environment and man, Geography 114. Sadly, what I learned in 1975 is trumpeted today as breaking news: The things needed to save ourselves and our planet from environmental destruction.

Good luck, my friends.

C. DeForest Switzer
Sioux City, Iowa

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April 6 print publication is March 27.

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