Letters for April 17, 2014

About the ban

Re “Hit the road, frack” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, April 10):

A thousand thanks to the Butte County Board of Supervisors for banning fracking in Butte County! Thank you for being concerned about our water quality. Thank you for thinking of future generations.

Sharon Fritsch

After viewing the provocative and unbalanced video that KHSL posted on its website about the same meeting, I am writing in appreciation of your more balanced reporting of the proceedings of the Board of Supervisors on April 8.

Out of the 12 to 15 well-informed, well-spoken and rational speakers, reporter Brian Johnson or his editor chose to focus on the inflammatory and heated comments of Dan Levine (who is not a part of Frack-Free Butte County). Mr. Johnson’s choice to link Mr. Levine’s threat that frackers will be met with “armed resistance” to the proposal to ban fracking that was put before the board hurt all of us at Frack-Free Butte County.

What Mr. Levine chooses to do is his business, but irrational threats and fear tactics are not what Frack-Free Butte County is about. We believe in the ballot box and verifiable facts. In my opinion, the KHSL piece was nothing more than pro-fracking propaganda. The residents of this beautiful county deserve better. Thanks again for covering this historic meeting and reporting it intelligently.

Marlene DelRosario

Following the fracking issue in the local news, I was not surprised to see how the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted. The supervisors voted to move forward because of the lack of gas wells in Butte County. Twenty-six wells is a tiny “fracktion” compared with the number of wells here in Glenn County. I’m afraid we wouldn’t get the same reaction from our board.

I commend the conservative board’s vote but the moratorium isn’t really related to politics since none of the supervisors have to worry about angry constituents in the Butte County gas industry. It’s sort of like asking for a ban on rice-straw burning in Marin County.

Mathew Amaro

He likes the guards

Re “Trio of shootings in 24 hours” (Downstroke, April 10)”

After the recent rash of shootings and the influx of new transients, is it time to bring the private security company back to our town? What about the sit/lie ordinance that is not being enforced? Go ahead and walk around after dark downtown and see for yourself.

Steve Kasprzyk

Water weigh-in

Re “Let’s get serious … or else” (Cover feature, by CN&R staff, April 3):

The article discussing Butte County’s water woes mentioned Northern Californians’ displaced sense of ownership. It brings a comic strip I once saw to mind. The picture showed a bunch of animals—zebras, elephants, giraffes, etc.—all standing in line in front of a watering hole. In front stood a lion, leaning on a sign that said “$.25.” I’m glad to see this issue getting some attention. Especially since, during our last downpour, I witnessed a local restaurant’s sprinklers on.

Kevin Bennett

I have appreciated the recent articles during the past two issues of the CN&R exposing the multiple threats to our water caused by water use and misuse in the Central Valley.

Twice as much groundwater is being consumed than water is being returned by rain and snow. Most alarmingly, little is being done to control and protect this essential resource. As groundwater goes down, the tree roots may not be able to reach it and Chico’s canopy of beloved trees would die. With time, the land can subside, as in sink! Yes, dead trees and sinking ground.

We need to conserve water, more than just turning off water when brushing our teeth. Massive amounts of water being exported for profit to huge agribusiness in the southern desert, where no one should be growing water-intensive crops, needs to be stopped. Once that is under control, we need to put into place local conservation efforts for all citizens and businesses.

AquAlliance is the group prepared, willing and able to protect the groundwater of this valley. We must support them with our dollars so they can work on legal defenses both in and out of court. Please contact them at www.aqualliance.net.

Kathleen Faith

Roosters need love, too

Re “Coming home to roost” (Greenways, by Claire Hutkins Seda, April 3):

I was happy to hear of the Leslie Corsbie’s recent adoption of hens from the Animal Place, and welcome them to the fraternity of those bird lovers among us.

About 10 years ago my family adopted from the Animal Place, too—12 roosters, survivors rescued from a SoCal cock-fighting ring. Everybody loves hens, but rejects roosters from misinformation, and many birds die because of it. They do not deserve this. Getting my boys was an eventful day in my life. I took them sight unseen—a Dominique as big as a turkey, two elegant Yokohama “long tails,” three tiny mille fleurs (“thousand flowers”), and six “victim” birds—gentle silkie roosters.

The birds dispelled many myths—one in particular is that roosters can’t live together peacefully. These boys did. Watching roosters is amazing, and fighting cocks are bred for beauty and desire for human approval as much as skill. If you want pets, then a couple of roosters fit the bill. Hens are sweet, docile and produce food, but roosters are personality on two legs. Unless you have city ordinances against roosters (which is the case in Chico), don’t believe the bad press—adopt a rooster, or two.

Annette DeBrotherton

More market love

Re “Fooling with the market” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, April 3):

When the United States was formed, about 90 percent of the citizens were farmers, who fed themselves and others. Farmers—especially those who grow produce—are the backbone of our nation.

And small farmers are the nerves which emanate from the backbone to any American citizen who cherishes fresh produce.

I want the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market to be afforded the magnanimous respect that it deserves by keeping it active, in its current location or a larger location.

I will vote for government officials who support the sustaining of our farmers’ markets.

Clay Olson

Please count me as one more vote to keep the farmers’ market right where it is. I shop downtown anyway; that’s where I get everything from hardware to Army surplus. So having it at Second and Wall makes it convenient on Saturdays to continue my round downtown.

And as someone who travels across the States a fair amount, I’m pleased to tell you that the Chico farmers’ market is so far my favorite—both for what you can get there and for the social atmosphere.

Jonathan Richman
Chico/San Francisco

An important story

Re “In crisis, must travel” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, April 3):

I am saddened to know that families are forced to travel so far away from home to get their children treatment. Like Dr. Nielsen stated, I can imagine how difficult it must be for families struggling with this problem to have to be so far away from their children during a time when their children need family support the most.

After reading your article, I was left with mixed emotions: sadness for the families because I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be in this situation, but at the same time I was filled with happiness at the fact that this article was written so that others who, like myself, were not aware that this was a problem can learn that this is an issue that deserves attention.

My hope is that people who work with children read your article and that they work harder to try to get help early on for children who need it so that hospitalization can be prevented. Thank you again for a well-written article on a topic that needs to be at the forefront of those working with children.

Veronica Hernandez

Hypocritical enforcement

Re “‘Cellphone zombie’ patrol” (Downstroke, April 3):

Driving and talking or texting on a cellphone is dangerous. Duh. Now we can be fined for it in hopes that it will reduce cellphone use while driving. I have no problems with this.

I do have a problem, though, with the fact that law enforcement seems to think they are exempt from this law! I have seen numerous law enforcement agents driving and talking on the phone. How is this ok? Is it safer for them than it is for the average citizen?! Last week, I saw a police officer in my rearview mirror (speeding), who passed me (without using a blinker) while talking on the phone! It is infuriating that somehow they think they are exempt from these laws. How about setting an example, law enforcement? Before you start fining?

Jane Miners

Earmark the money

Tobacco is the only legal product, when used as intended, that will kill 50 percent of the people who use it. Smoking results in almost half a million deaths a year and $300 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity. These statistics are not just big numbers. They are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, co-workers, neighbors and our community.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) revenues coming into Butte County is almost $3 million. Using just 10 percent of these funds for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts would reduce the very high smoking rate of 20 percent in Butte County.

The state of California reports that tobacco use costs Butte County over $38 million each year. Studies have been done that concluded that effective prevention programs can save between $15 and $18 per $1 invested. It’s time to be fiscally responsible. It is very simple. Spend a little, save a lot. Join me to support our request for the Butte County Board of Supervisors to re-establish an ordinance to set aside 10 percent of MSA funds to be used for smoking prevention and cessation for the people of Butte County. Do it for our children.

Matthew Foor
Butte County Tobacco Coalition member, American Cancer Society, engagement representative

In 2013, Butte County received $ 2,946,747 from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), bringing the total dollars received to just over $32 million since 2000, with payments scheduled through 2045.

In 2002, the Board of Supervisors allocated approximately $150,000 per year for ongoing county-wide smoking cessation and tobacco prevention. Unfortunately, this funding ended in 2008 and has not been reinstated. Butte County’s 20 percent smoking rate is one of the highest in California and remains the leading cause of preventable deaths.

Proposition 99 funds are declining, TUPE funds for Butte County schools will end in June 2014, federal funding for prevention in schools ended in 2010, and most middle schools no longer have health class due to funding cuts. We have a public health crisis.

The intent of the MSA was to use the funds to prevent future tobacco-related disease and deaths. Investing some of these funds in prevention and cessation now will greatly reduce health care costs in the future! Please tell the Butte County Board of Supervisors that you support earmarking at least 10 percent of MSA monies to help smokers quit this deadly addiction, and to keep our youth from starting.

DeAnne Blankenship

‘Enough already’

Re “Ms. Taber responds” (Letters, by Stephanie Taber, April 10):

Thank goodness the Chico City Council decided to pose Measure A to the voters via special election and not be decided by a mail-in ballot. I can only imagine the issues that would have arisen with that kind of vote.

Measure A was an embarrassing failure for both Stephanie Taber and Supervisor Larry Wahl, and a clearly discriminatory attempt to alienate the student (read: liberal) vote in this town. According to public record, Ms. Taber was paid $28,630 by the county of Butte in 2011. I wonder how many of those dollars earned by the admitted “sole sponsor” of Measure A were paid to Ms. Taber, at the expense of the county, while she inappropriately advanced her own personal cause—Measure A—on the county’s dime? Enough already.

Mary Galvin

Prioritize the Nature Center

Re “Arts, culture take a hit” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, April 10) and “Up the creek” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Sept. 26, 2013):

The prospect of the bleak economic situation in this city forcing the Chico Creek Nature Center closed is truly disturbing. I’m a recently returned daughter of Chico, living the past 13 years in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but finding the draw of Chico’s parks and streams undeniable once I became a mother.

Imagine my surprise upon relocating my family here, to find parks (among other beloved Chico institutions) going under the knife due to government mismanagement of the city budget. Just as the Nature Center was part of my childhood, my daughter now enjoys a weekly visit herself: talking to the birds, getting up close with the rabbit and tortoise, learning the movement of snakes, feeding goats by hand, investigating the native gardens, and learning from the staff. It is such a great resource!

As a mother and native Chicoan, I enjoy all of Chico’s parks, but because I have a physical disability and am a single-income family, the Nature Center is uniquely precious to me: It is an affordable, accessible, child-friendly, educational public space. I hope the Chico City Council understands the value of this place and prioritizes funding to the Chico Creek Nature Center.

Olivia Schmidt

Face the problem

Re “An apology, but no resignation” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, March 27) and “Strong-arming the budget” (Cover feature, by Dave Waddell, Feb. 27):

Mayor Scott Gruendl needs to address this $13.1 million deficit now. Saying that council members should have been paying more attention and a spontaneous apology are not going to fix this deficit.

“Chico’s staff in 2012 averaged $67,645 in wages, or about $5,500 more than the statewide average. Much more striking is the almost $32,000 average in benefits provided to Chico city workers, which is about $14,500 more per employee than the state average for municipal workers of $17,500, according to the controller’s data.” In Dave Waddell’s article, we found out that the City Council spent $29.1 out of $35.4 million (82 percent) of the city’s general fund solely on public safety. After nearly a decade of this fiscal recklessness, it is time for the City Council and Mayor Gruendl to face these problems head on and own up to this irrational spending.

Jae Greenwald