Letters for April 18, 2002

Four maids a-milking?
A few hundred people including myself were enjoying ourselves at the “Got Lucky?” dance benefit at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Sunday evening, April 14. However, when a good number of us came outside to leave, we found the Chico police meter maids had ticketed our cars. We had erroneously parked in the street on the 100 block of East Washington Street, adjacent to the auditorium in a preferential-parking area. Many of us assumed that would-be parkers would be exempted on Sundays, although the posted signs never stated such. All right, so I am guilty of “breaking the law.”

But what frosts my butt is the fact that it wasn’t just one meter maid who happened by and decided to ticket parked vehicles—thanks, S.M. Bennett, Badge Number 226—along this street, but four. Four meter maids hovering over some 20 vehicles like flies on candy. You can’t tell me that Police Chief Mike Efford didn’t have his meter maids on alert knowing that this community event was happening and hoping that some poor boobs (including myself) would inadvertently park on East Washington Street. At $19 a ticket, that brings almost $400 to the city coffers. Not bad wages for about 15 minutes of work. It’s also reassuring to know that no “revenge” will come my way from Efford and crew for speaking my mind about police tactics.

Matt Taylor

Kudos for Kevin
I wanted to bring your attention to a local police officer by the name of Kevin Coulombe.

Kevin began his career with the Fontana Police Department. He later joined the Paradise Police Department. Both agencies recognized the outstanding job Kevin did. Kevin received the Peace Officer of the Year award from each agency.

In 1989, Kevin transferred to the Chico Police Department. He has had a successful career. This year, Kevin received the Peace Officer of the Year award at the banquet sponsored by the Chico Noon Exchange Club.

Receiving that award from three agencies is truly an accomplishment.

During the last 60 days, the greater Chico Urban Area experienced an unprecedented increase in the number of stolen vehicles. A suspect was identified, but there had been little success in finding him, much less apprehending him.

Kevin was assigned to a task force charged with finding the suspect and taking him into custody. Then last Thursday, Kevin worked his magic when we heard those special words, “Chico 57, I am in foot pursuit!” Kevin had located the suspect on his own, and was now giving chase. He successfully directed numerous other officers into the area and within minutes the suspect was tackled and handcuffed.

We are very proud of Kevin. Chico is a better, safer place in which to work, live and play because of Kevin. He truly is, “One of Chico’s Finest.”

T. A. Moore
Chico Police Officers’ Association

Student threat
There are many reasons why the proposed Sterling student housing development at Highway 32 between Eighth and West Lindo avenues is not appropriate, but the main one is we do not want students in such a large complex disrupting our traditional neighborhoods. Even with the scaled-down plans, there will be 616 bedrooms in the first phase of this project, with the distinct possibility of phase two being the same size or larger. That is a conservative estimate of 1,232 bedrooms targeted exclusively at the student population of Chico. The likelihood of there being only one student per bedroom is unrealistic, which could bring the total student population of this complex easily to 2,000-plus people.

The zoning for this property is for a light industrial-commercial usage. Most of us who live in this area knew that when we purchased our homes. Most of us would not have bought here if we thought there was even the possibility of a large student complex being built in this area. Developers and the City Council do not have the right to lay waste to an entire established neighborhood and change forever the character and ambience of existing homes.

If you can show me any neighborhood in Chico that has been improved by the presence of large numbers of college students, I would be happy to go take a look at it and reconsider my position on this development.

Howard Magee

History of conflict
In recent years, it has become fashionable, particularly on college campuses and among the Hollywood elite, to blame Israel for its conflict with the Palestinians. The Palestinians are usually portrayed as victims and the Israelis the oppressors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before 1967, the land now referred to as the “occupied territory” was under the control of Jordan and Syria—not Israel. There was no attempt by those countries to form a Palestinian state. Among the Palestinians, the same rhetoric persisted then as now: Israel was occupied territory, and the Jewish people did not have a right to the land they called Israel.

When Israel was attacked in 1967, it wasn’t because it occupied Gaza and the West Bank. It was because Arabs, with the full support of the Palestinians, wanted to exterminate Israel. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed.

Many people ask why it was necessary for a Jewish state to be established in the first place. The answer is simple. Nowhere is religious intolerance more prominent than in the Middle East. Even in Saudi Arabia, often referred to as a “moderate Arab state,” it is illegal to practice any religion other than Islam. Israel, which comprises about one-tenth of the area once referred to as Palestine, was necessary for Jewish people to practice their religion without persecution.

Throughout history, the Jewish people have been the objects of hate because of their religious beliefs and their success. Keep that in mind the next time you read or hear about how the Israelis have been victimizing the Palestinians.

Dave Wiens

Conflict resolution
For 57 years the Israeli army has fought terrorists in the state of Israel and in Palestine, using troops, tanks, helicopters, searches for weapons, arrests and torture of intifada leaders and massacres of civilians. Negotiated truces are broken almost immediately by Arab suicide bombers or Israeli tanks.

Prime Minister Sharon of Israel is determined to expand Israel’s borders, using U.S. tanks bought with U.S. aid, $4 billion annually contributed by the U.S. taxpayers. You and I are financing the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes and the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian homelands, which continues during the peace talks.

Sharon wants to provide a homeland for Jews born and living anyplace in the world. The suicide bombers want back the land where they were born, land that had belonged to their families for centuries, before the Israeli occupation. Meet Sharon’s demands by expanding the borders of Israel to include all of Palestine, giving all persons born or living in Palestine full rights of citizenship in Israel, including the right to vote, to hold public office, and to leave and re-enter Israel. Meet Palestinian demands by restoring to them their individual lands. Match the right of Jews worldwide to migrate to Israel with a similar right of Muslim refugees from Afghanistan and elsewhere to migrate to Israel. Or deny both.

Use that $4 billion to compensate Palestinians for their land or to purchase land for Jewish and Muslim immigrants, all at market values. If Sharon refuses, stop U.S. aid. If Arafat refuses, buy our oil from non-Arab countries.

Bill McCord