Letters for April 15, 2004

Clarification and correction: Last week’s cover story, “There is water underground,” referred to the county’s groundwater conservation ordinance, Measure G, which would regulate groundwater extraction. It should be noted that it would apply any time the extraction is a substitute for surface water being transferred out of the county.

Also, in the Sifter last week, a decimal got dropped, and a cubic foot of water suddenly amounted to 748 gallons. The correct amount is 7.48 gallons per cubic foot.

Coalition building
Since the capture of the Japanese civilians in Iraq, we can take the opportunity to think more about the “coalition of the willing,” the few countries that joined President Bush’s plan to invade Iraq. Congress was told—rather, it was hammered at them daily for months—that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons that were positioned to attack us. We were told there was a plan to lob nuclear missiles into our cities. So, if these threats were real and directed toward the United States, why did other countries join the fray? To assist in the defense of United States sovereign soil? I think not.

Despite the fact that the rhetoric was a pack of deceitful lies, I suspect that our “allies” in this war were arm-twisted with threats of various kinds. For example, in the Chico Enterprise-Record, dated Friday, April 9, page 12C (back of the paper) is a telling article that ends with the statement that the government of Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan pushed for joining the coalition as a way of strengthening an alliance with the U.S. and “sharing some of the burden of ensuring the flow of Middle East oil that Japan depends on.”

Half of the people in Japan were opposed to joining the battle in Iraq. This was Japan’s first foray to a combat zone since World War II.

It would be insightful to know truthful reasons why the other few countries did join the coalition, however limited in scope their involvement might be.

Tanya Henrich

Frisco-free radio
This is why I won’t support KZFR:

1. It’s a liberal crap hole with Frisco-leftist ideals. 2. There are no real punk shows. Even late at night away from FCC ears. 3. There are no electronic shows. They hate non-guitar music (which is quite dead, actually). The same chords over and over gets old, folks. 4. The imported S.F. shows are left-leaning. (I used to live there, so I know this.) 5. These imported shows take away time that could be better used by people in the (gasp) community. 6. Locals should be allowed to hear serious political and controversial shows that rock the boat and even piss off liberals and neo-cons. This will never happen, though. 7. This is why Chico radio is a joke.

Ashley Jensen
Received via e-mail

Single-payer health care
Eric M. Hitchcock’s remarks are timely ["Future health care on the line,” Guest comment, April 8]. I invite him to join us at Butte County Health Care Coalition. BCHCC organized in 1994 to promote the single-payer health care plan then on the November ballot. This November we plan to have a non-binding ballot initiative for the city of Chico.

With the escalating cost of high-technology medical diagnosis and treatment, fewer people have complete or even adequate health insurance coverage. Even those with the most generous plans have over time experienced shrinkage in coverage. There is every expectation that this trend will continue. (For the uninsured, the inability to meet medical expenses is the single-biggest reason for personal bankruptcy.)

Nationally, thoughtful studies conclude that financially, single-payer is the only direction to go. Currently a single-payer plan, SB921, sponsored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, is in process in Sacramento.

As more people become aware of the economics of for-profit health insurance, there will be less of the “I have mine—what do I care about others?” mentality mentioned by Hitchcock.

A change in November will help to make health care a right and not a privilege. Till then, check www.healthcareforall.org and BCHCC, whose usual meeting is the first Monday at 7 p.m. in the Chico City Council Chambers.

Carol Eberling

Déja Vietnam
As a Vietnam veteran, I am appalled that we have lost 600 men and women in Iraq and had 3,000 wounded since the war started a year ago. We are in a Vietnam quagmire all over again. I’ve been in such a situation. I know. The Iraqis, like the Vietnamese, don’t want a foreign force to occupy their country. How would you like it if the Red Chinese were walking our streets with machine guns and big tanks roaming around?

I was frankly disgusted with Condoleezza Rice’s “I don’t remember” testimony this morning before the committee on 9/11. She came across as a smarmy Sally Sorority mouthing bureaucratic gobbly-gook. Talk about a whitewash! Can she even talk straight? Students, it’s time to toss off the apathy and lethargy and start organizing political protests. Support our troops but question the political process. It’s easy to start wars, but it’s very difficult to end them. I see no exit strategy.

It’s cowboys and Indians over there, just like in Vietnam. War takes on a mentality all its own. Why are we there, by the way? I’ve forgotten already. Is it to stabilize the Middle East? Ha. That’s a laugh. The Iraqis love to fight. Win their hearts and minds? Get rid of Saddam? The oil? We have the best military in the world, but when your only tool is a hammer one tends to see every problem as a nail. Let’s try something different this time.

Michael M. Peters
Red Bluff

Fish futures
As a devoted father of two young children, a former grade-school teacher and a professional within our community, I feel obligated to speak up about coming budget cuts and the potential impact to the future of the Kids and Creeks Program.

Kids and Creeks gives our children the hands-on, out-in-nature lesson that can never be matched by mere classroom time. The program includes several spectacular lesson plans around a trip to the river, where the students release steelhead hatched from eggs. The program highlights the lifecycle of local fish, the water cycle, watersheds, erosion, habitats and the devastating consequences of pollution. Having tagged along on these field trips, I can say with authority that the lessons are vital, well planned and engaging.

We would be doing our children and community a great injustice by denying our students the experience that Kids and Creeks offers. The children in this program not only create life-long memories, but they also learn how to make a difference, an invaluable education they will carry with them into adulthood.

Please save the Kids and Creeks program.

Brooke Sheldon