Letters for April 11, 2013

Big Ag vs. whistleblowers

Re “What’s the beef?” (Newslines, by Alastair Bland, April 4):

Assembly Bill 343 is obviously an attempt by agribusiness to tie the hands of animal welfarists. To claim it’s not is insulting.

As stated in the article, in order to prosecute or apply pressure for change in animal treatment, there has to be a pattern of behavior established, not just an isolated incident. AB 343 is a thinly veiled attempt to prevent investigators from being able to establish a pattern.

Supporters say those filming can keep investigating… riiiiight… because the abusing party isn’t going to fire the person who blew the whistle immediately. Sure, and I have some Rolex watches I can sell you for just $20.

Animal lovers hate that more animals are tortured while the investigation is in progress over days or weeks, but they know that shutting the offending place down, or forcing them to change their methods, will stop the suffering of many, many more animals in the long run.

Teresa Walsh

Ag-industry supporters of California’s proposed ag-gag legislation, AB 343, claim that they just can’t seem to understand why someone who supposedly cares about animal welfare would sit on evidence of animal abuse. This thinly veiled incredulity betrays the insincerity of those in the ag industry who sponsored and support this regressive legislation.

I’d have more respect for those who support the bill if they would just come clean and admit that AB 343 is just another demonstration of Big Ag’s unwillingness to allow for transparency by attempting to further silence whistleblowers.

Fortunately for those on the side of what is good, right and moral, the tide of public opinion has turned against the brutal practices and routine animal abuse Big Ag perpetrates upon innocent, sentient beings. Instead of helping the industry by uncovering and making public heinous factory-farming practices, supporters of AB 343 continue to defend an industry that requires the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.

Robert C. Jones

The author is an assistant professor in Chico State’s Department of Philosophy.

Day centers for all

Re “The day center idea” (Editorial, April 4):

It’s a sad and dangerous impetus when the desire to remove homeless people from public sight leads to a long-overdue discussion of a Chico day center. A lot of the people who frequent the 600 or so bars downtown do so because they have no better place to be. Can we build a day center for them as well?

Bill Mash

A damaging statement

Re “Monca finds a home” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, March 28):

I was extremely disheartened to read the following statement, “Chico has never had an art museum…” in the article. This is simply untrue.

I am a huge supporter of the arts in Chico and as such have worked tirelessly for the last four years as a volunteer PR/marketing chairperson on The Turner Museum board. I am deeply saddened to know that with one small phrase so much damage has been done to the many, many hours of work I have given to raise awareness of this local treasure.

Deanna Lares

Robert Speer responds: I was referring to the kind of all-purpose regional art museum that exhibits the full range of visual arts. The Turner is indeed a local treasure, but one that quite understandably focuses exclusively on prints. I apologize for not making that distinction clearer.

Give food, not money

I attended the Chico City Council study session on March 26 regarding the Clean and Safe Chico program.

The CEO/president of the Chamber of Commerce, Katie Simmons, told us not to give to panhandlers; it makes sense why we shouldn’t. But that’s something I do. If I have money to give and I see someone in need, I want to help them. I’ve been truly blessed with more than I could ask for, and to give a little of it to someone in need just feels right.

But I am going to make it my goal to make food packages that I can pass out instead of just spare change. I know going the extra mile to make those packages will go a lot further. You might even make their day by showing them there are people who care.

Matthew Patrich

Local tomatoes in April?

Re “A new vintage” (Chow, by Henri Bourride, April 4):

Restaurants who claim to use seasonal, local, organic, etc., ingredients on their menus, in my experience as a cook, often are pulling the wool over the public’s eyes.

Just one example is your review of Tannins Wine Bar & Bistro. How can you tell your customers you are using farmers’ market tomatoes in April? This is the time of year for planting tomatoes, not harvesting them and using them on your menu.

Tannins’ website is advertising farmers’ market tomatoes, which in my opinion is a bold-faced lie. Where is the integrity of the chef, and does he or she expect the public to be so naive?

David Bracy

Editor’s note: The following letter was posted online in response to Mr. Bracy’s posting.

That’s an interesting perspective, David. It seems a bit nit-picky, though, as the article states that the owner said she uses local produce as often as possible—not exclusively—which you seem to have read.

To be perfectly honest I had the same curiosity when I ate there; so I asked, and they were perfectly forthcoming, informing me that when in season they use farmers’ market tomatoes, but currently buy from S&S (the local distributor listed in the article). Seems fair enough to me, no?

It sounds like you have some personal vendetta going on here. Try the place. My girlfriend and I loved it. Nice article, by the way.

Jacob Duncan

Tea Party hypocrisy

Re “LaMalfa and Agenda 21” (Guest comment, by Allan Stellar, April 4):

This is another great article by the same reporter who did an amazing job uncovering the senselessness of the Adin coyote hunt a couple of months ago [Feb. 28]. After reading Stellar’s account of the Chico Tea Party meeting, I am struck by how similar the participants of these two seemingly different events really are.

Both the coyote hunters and the tea partiers complain about any governmental regulations put in place to protect our environment for future generations. They often cry that these protections are a direct assault on their God-given freedoms. Ironically, these same people defend the government’s right to decide who can legally marry, based on the moral guidelines of some imaginary man in the sky.

I’m glad Mr. Stellar has the stomach to attend these events and uncover how the fear, selfishness and irrational beliefs of others can determine how the rest of us are allowed to live our lives.

Keli Hendricks

Show me the bills

Although I carefully read the newspapers and watch the morning and evening news on television, I simply cannot find the reports of the government’s efforts to confiscate all the privately owned guns in this country.

Obviously that’s the case, as the majority of those writing to you against firearms regulations cite this as fact. They state they are fearful of being left helpless against the criminals amassing on their doorsteps each evening and, of course, the day their brothers, sisters, relatives and friends in the military will turn on them and put them in concentration camps.

I would be fearful too; I just need to read the proposed legislation they have all obviously seen.

Try as I will, all I can find is proposed legislation to ban semi-automatic military weapons; ban magazines with the capacity of firing large amounts of bullets so unloading would be unnecessary if you needed to kill a lot of people fast; ban the trafficking of guns (which would be a huge aid to the war on drugs); and requiring those who purchase guns to prove they are neither criminals nor desiring to become such ( I recently had to do just that to volunteer to teach nature studies to children in our public schools).

Could the CN&R please provide me with references to the legislation to take all my guns?

Dean Carrier

Editor’s response: Like Mr. Carrier, we know of no such proposed legislation.

Regulate cheap shots

Re “A perfect storm: Will enough be done to curb Chico’s culture of binge drinking?” (Cover story, by Mark Lore, March 28):

These drink specials at local bars have to be curtailed. Some local bars’ whole business is built on cheap shots. I don’t think it’s ethical for local bar owners to push hard-alcohol drinks on young, inexperienced student drinkers.

A college kid starts downing $1 shots, one after another, and this can lead to all sorts of negative things happening—car accidents, sexual assaults, fights, stabbings and ultimately death. Students all over the United States are dying of hard-alcohol overdoses.

The city has the power to do something about this, and ought to do it. They have regulatory control over these bars. They keep denying this, but they actually do, if they research the matter carefully.

Richard Golfer

Drinking in Chávez’s honor

Re “Calling for respect” (Newslines, by Jesse Mills, April 4):

Not knowing enough about César Chávez, I always thought it was just another reason to drink. I will say I do honor him by having a drink or two on his day. Having a drink or two doesn’t mean I don’t respect him for what he did. We all show honor differently.

Personally, I like what the students and staff did at Chico State to honor César Chávez. He was remarkable with his farming. For students to take time out of their day for Chávez is something I wouldn’t have thought of.

I understand there are other ways to celebrate, but keep in mind we are in a college town and there are very few ways to show celebration. To put Chico on the spot for not honoring properly is offensive.

To those who do show true honor for Chávez, I give a standing ovation, but I also respect those who also have drinks in his honor. Overall Chico State did well, and I feel they should continue to celebrate the way they do in his honor. Good job, Chico State. Keep up the good work and the positive influence.

Ashley Castle

Bush wasn’t the only one

Re “Dubya’s dirty little war” (Letters, by Phil Elkins, April 4):

I’ve been watching the TV news and reading newspapers regarding the recent 10-year anniversary of the Iraq war. The mainstream media make me sick, because they lie, obfuscate and misinform all the time. They try hard to revise history, like Phil does, calling Bush names, mocking, ridiculing and trying to blame only conservatives, cloaking the truth.

Liberals like Hillary Clinton, Reid, Kerry, Biden and more vocally supported the invasion of Iraq. They agreed with all the intelligence at the time that told us how dangerous Hussein and his rapist thug sons were, especially after the Sept. 11 massacre in New York. They gave Bush a 93 percent approval rating! Did you conveniently “forget” that, Phil? But what do we see and hear from the left?

As a Vietnam vet myself, Elkins’ letter really is disturbing. Letters like his and liberal editorial cartoons lampooning Bush and Cheney, yet absolving all of those men and women on the left, are ridiculous!

I salute George Bush for ridding the world of those three Hussein madmen despots. I salute the Navy Seals for killing the mastermind terrorist Osama Bin Laden, and I especially salute the 1 percent. That’s right, only 1 percent of our nation serves in the military!

Journalism majors blather endlessly on and on, negatively, while those good men and women proudly serve this great nation. Semper Paratus.

Joseph Morreale

Take some responsibility

Re “Parking meter ‘money grab’” (Letters, by Rick Anderson, March 21):

After reading this particularly ill-informed tangent, I must pose an objection. The author described how he was disgusted with the “parking war” going on every weekday.

First off, this “war” (really?) is absolutely preventable. This is a fee to park your vehicle downtown within a certain time frame; any lack of planning on his behalf that warrants his receiving a citation is his responsibility.

I have to ask, has he taken a poll on the demeanor of the city employees that explains his statements or is he just promoting disdain for local government?

Also, if he feels that the parking-meter fees are too costly, then maybe the bus is a better option for him on those days.

Lastly, I would strongly recommend that he do a little more research when he chooses to use words such as “in Chico it’s a money-grab.” Nothing in his article identified how the city would be vulgar or corrupt in posing a penalty for violators of parking meters.

Steven Anders

CARD’s deceptive tax hike

My family received a survey from the Chico Area Recreation & Park District regarding their proposed tax hike. We wanted more information, so asked for their 2012-13 budget figures.

CARD says they need a new tax because of falling property tax revenues and a “disappearing RDA.” What they don’t mention is the recent $400,000 “side fund payoff” to the California Public Employees Retirement System. CalPERS has demanded public employers pay more toward their pension premiums, offering some savings on interest if they pay a certain amount immediately.

CARD, employing about 30 people full time, also paid $375,000 in regular pension premiums last year and $300,000 in health-care premiums. Salary and benefits totaling about $5 million eat more than half their $7.2 million budget.

They earn about $3.3 million of their annual revenues from their programs and rental of their facilities. The other $3.5 million comes mostly from taxpayers—county taxes ($2,345,782), homeowner assessments ($162,753), fees on new homes ($23,750) and $924,000 from the RDA credit card.

CARD currently suffers a $420,000 deficit. Their capital-projects reserve fund shows a sudden negative balance of $344,500. It appears to me they took money from their capital-projects fund to pay their CalPERS “side fund payoff,” and now they want us to replace that money.

It seems misleading to offer an aquatic center when what they are really asking for is money to pay for their pensions and benefits.

I’ve posted the budget spreadsheet at chicotaxpayers.wordpress.com.

Juanita Sumner

These PAWS are clapping

A wine-tasting fundraiser was held on March 28 for Paws of Chico. Ed Burns of Quackers provided the beautiful Crystal Room. Chris Hostettler, owner of the Grocery Outlet, donated a variety of wine from around the world. Paws raised $1,123 to assist individuals who are struggling to pay bills with the cost of spay/neuter for dogs and cats, including strays and ferals.

Thank you to Chris, Ed and Brian Corbit of the CN&R for making this a very successful event. Our community is fortunate to have these individuals supporting the animals in Chico.

Cynthia Gerrie