The following letters appeared in the Chico News and Review on March 29, 2018, in response to CN&R editor Melissa Daugherty’s criticism of Mayor Sean Morgan’s public mockery of local homeless advocacy groups’ actions.
Shame and disappointment
I have been trying to find the words to describe my shame and disappointment in our illustrious mayor, after viewing the same TV news interview you mention in your column. You mimicked my sentiments eloquently while defining Sean Morgan’s narrow and naive comments regarding his community and constituents.
I would like to believe he represents the few and not the majority; however, he is in a position to represent and his lack of professionalism is an insult to the citizens of Chico. I am more embarrassed for him than I am disheartened he is an elected official in a community that upholds higher education. Sean Morgan does not represent me.
As a social worker, I work with many of these “transients,” advocating for their human rights. While working alongside public defender Saul Henson, we have made numerous attempts to prevent the disenfranchised from being oppressed further. I also work at the Psychiatric Hospital Facility (PHF) where I support treatment for many who struggle with mental illness.
These are people who have families—brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. They are humans who have needs. More criminalization will only lead to funding being misdirected while the homeless—including veterans and mentally ill individuals—go further into the shadows.
— Valerie Sanz
Chico First members and some individuals from the Jesus Center have turned the word compassion into a dirty word, and I resent it deeply.
They say it isn’t compassionate to share food with the hungry, except at designated pit stops, and, of course, the hungry must behave a certain way or “Oh well, maybe if you miss a few meals, you’d be rehabilitated.”
Hopefully, they don’t treat their children this way. They say it isn’t compassionate to hand out sleeping bags or blankets when it is cold and raining—and the list goes on.
These self-righteous, profit-oriented Chico inhabitants should at least be honest enough to acknowledge that they don’t care about the poor. They just want the homeless to disappear from “polite” society, and compassion has nothing to do with it.
— Sandra O’Neill