Letters for April 16, 2015

Where’s the transparency?

Re “Money talks …” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, April 9):

Days before the Chico City Council voted to approve the $1.5 million pay and pension package for the police, I sent its members an email. The city clerk placed an identical paper copy into their information packets.

The email simply asked the council members to disclose their connections to the Chico police force before they voted to spend millions of taxpayer dollars. At least three of them received endorsements and/or cash donations during their political campaigns.

Police endorsements are a valuable way to harvest votes. Tally up the police force, their spouses/significant others, and their friends—then take that number and double it for other sympathetic public service employees and it becomes easy to get 1,000 votes. Certainly enough to tip an election.

Predictably, no public disclosures were given to the taxpayers that night. Don’t the taxpayers deserve to know?

Honest disclosure takes courage. Honest disclosure defines trustworthiness. Honest disclosure is true transparency in government. Next time you hear the word “transparency” echoed throughout the City Council chambers, be ready to hear more fractured fairy tales.

Dave Kelley

Editor’s note: Mr. Kelley ran for a Chico City Council seat in 2012.

Way to go, propagandists!

Re “A predictable outcome” (Editorial, April 9):

Congratulations to the Chico Police Officers’ Association and their media partners at Action News Now for their successful disinformation campaign portraying Chico as a dangerous place to live. I hope when it actually becomes one they will happily take credit for it, as well.

Alan Chamberlain

Editor wastes ink

Re “Compare, contrast” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, April 9):

This past Thursday marks the seventh time (based on a brief search of the CN&R’s website) that the CN&R has mentioned some fault of the Chico Enterprise-Record since Melissa Daugherty took over as CN&R’s editor two years ago. Are there not better things to write about? It is one thing to take advantage of “good copy,” but using perfectly good ink to criticize the other paper’s ink, is, in my humble opinion, a waste of resources.

Jeremy Miller

Editor’s note: Mr. Miller used to write a blog on the Chico E-R’s NorCal Blogs site.

Measuring Measure A

Re “Cultivating rumors” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, April 9):

Thank you, Butte County Board of Supervisors, Butte County Sheriff’s Office, code enforcement and District Attorney Mike Ramsey for taking the lead in providing a safe and sane approach to this issue. Other Northern California counties are following in your footsteps.

I was greatly relieved to hear that the rumors on both counts, most especially regarding the district attorney, were false. Growers are happy to use their users as pawns and shills to help spread their vicious rumors, and the users so badly want to believe the growers’ lies. What a vicious cycle. And to think, if only they used their God-given talents to produce meaningful products and services, how much more beneficial their contribution would be to both themselves and society.

Colene Weckman

The arguing by proponents of marijuana about Butte County’s enforcement of Measure A is misguided. Instead of being grateful for the county defining what it will tolerate, the marijuana promoters clamor for more. And more. More stench of neighborhoods. More carving up hillsides. More illegal diversion of water. More pot for stoners. More thieves in the neighborhood.

There is no prescription from legitimate doctors that legally entitles you to possession or growing pot—regardless of Measure A, B or Prop. 215. A “recommendation” is not a prescription. Doctors are not allowed to prescribe Schedule 1 substances, which include LSD, marijuana, heroin, meth and PCP. Marijuana possession and cultivation is a federal crime, which for a first offense can land you in jail for five years and a $250,000 fine. Maybe the feds will look the other way; maybe they won’t. Maybe the federal law will change in the future—but for now, it remains completely enforceable.

Measure A was a compromise among our community about what we will tolerate. But for you stoners out there with bogus claims of illnesses treated by the snake-oil of pot, please remember we technically don’t have to tolerate any of it. Please abide by Measure A, and we will get along.

Barry Johnson

A poem for Earth Month

Once upon a time there was a species

That filled the world with all its feces

They spoiled the sea

They choked the air

They raped the land

Without a care

And when the mess was piled too high

All they did was stand and cry

They blamed the weak

They blamed the poor

But it spewed

From their own door

Their Gods told them it was okay

A better world is theirs some day

They said “so long”

They said “so sad”

To the only world

They ever had

Once upon a time there was a species

That ruined the Earth with all its feces

Dedicated to the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

James Mielke

More e-cig research

Re “Campaign vape trail” (The Pulse, April 2):

Dr. Karen Smith, director of California Department of Public Health, noted that aggressive marketing has helped to raise the use of e-cigarettes. Advertising budgets are big, reeling in nonsmokers and young people to start or never stop. Research is scant. What are the long-term effects? What about second hand exposure?

The first federal law pertaining to the dangers of smoking appeared on cigarettes in 1965. We now know that heart disease, emphysema, lung and throat cancer and many other health risks are related to cigarette smoking. Given this opportunity to not smoke, are we really going to use e-cigarettes?

The number of teens and tweens using these products doubled between 2011 and 2012. Manufacturers aren’t required to disclose ingredients; they don’t have to put danger warnings on their products. In some cities, laws have been passed about how people can purchase or use e-cigarettes. We need more research. If they want to market their product as a safe alternative to smoking, they need to be subject to rigorous FDA scrutiny and regulations. We need to know the true nature and danger of these products.

David Harris

Note to the councilman

A few days before the November election, then-candidate Andrew Coolidge and I talked on my front lawn about the great need to conserve water in Chico. I voted for him believing he would champion projects that met today’s urgent needs. Instead, Mr. Coolidge decided to squander his time on the trivial by focusing on the dubious proposition that fireworks sales will help solve our city’s problems. Never mind the stratospheric fire conditions we will face on July 4.

Wouldn’t it be great if Coolidge used his advertising talents to bolster a citywide campaign to cut water use by 50 percent? Or how about applying for a water bond grant to construct small and large groundwater-recharge basins rather than dumping stormwater into creeks? Our groundwater is dropping at a distressing rate, far faster than it is recharging. Chico citizens must realize that things we take for granted, like water, may be in very short supply for our children. Mr. Coolidge, please reset your bearings on the daunting challenges of today. Our very survival is at stake.

Daniel Barth

Do something

I am sick and tired of hearing everyone complain in this town about the vagrants. If you have a problem, do something about it. Complaining about it does not fix it. In the time it took you to complain about it to your friends, or on Facebook, you could have come up with an idea to fix it. Why waste all your precious time on negative energy?

Like, when it comes to the vagrants and our beautiful downtown parks, instead of them making us uncomfortable and running us out, we need to make them uncomfortable and leave. Or get them to respect our town.

I also keep hearing people talk about, or post pictures on Facebook of, vagrants washing their clothes in the fountain. Well, say something; tell them to stop. Instead of complaining about it, do something, say something. We need to take back our town.

Carrie Suydam

Missing the story

Re “Nice people” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, March 12) and “Remembering Rick Rees” (Letters, by Jane Dolan, March 19):

In a recent email edition of the Chico Alumni News, I learned Rick Rees had died. I followed a link and read a report on the Chico Enterprise-Record webpage. I was surprised to find only two comments, and so I turned to the Chico News & Review.

I am a baby boomer, like Rick; imagine my surprise when Jane Dolan’s letter about the funeral didn’t even merit the lead letter in the letters section. I write letters a lot, I guess. My very first was published in this weekly when I was a student: “That darn dog!”

Yes, rosters, I get it. Nothing much has changed in the “town and gown” thing. But seriously. Not even a “remember when” about Rick at CAVE or “hey, let’s take a closer look at his good works in the community”? The funeral would have been a who’s who of Chico. Was a reporter there?

I still remember how we tried so hard to do right by Chico—and Butte County. Rick was a good man, and my boss. I truly believe his untimely death should have sparked a full column (rather than a third of a column) and, at the very least, a lead letter. I don’t want to be “one of those”; you publish a fine weekly, but gosh, how could you miss the story?

Cliff Switzer
Carroll, Iowa

Stop deceptive pricing online

Countless times I’ve entered into buying items online only to find their price substantially higher after adding shipping and tax. Congress should pass legislation requiring online vendors to conspicuously display estimates of all charges before a shopper even puts an item in their cart. Congress should also require vendors to include unit pricing so shoppers can effectively compare competing offers.

Nathan Esplanade