Letters for April 19, 2001

SUV envy
Occasionally I pick up your paper to check and see what the liberals are complaining about. I can’t remember reading an editorial before that had so much “poor me” content ["True patriots,” Inside view, April 12]. Just because you’ve worked yourself all the way up to editor of a newspaper that is so popular it has to be given away, and as a result you probably don’t have a pot to piss in, you take shots at others who have achieved sufficient success to be able to afford an SUV.

I’d bet my bottom dollar that your “friends” who take public transportation or drive roller skate automobiles would buy SUVs in a heartbeat if they had the money. Why? Because they’re safer, provide utility to a family, provide a controlled drive on slippery roads, and yes they burn more gas than the bicycle that you probably use for transportation.

As to the flag issue, people like you, who would rather tear up, burn and otherwise desecrate the American flag, are indeed looked upon by patriots as left-wing, liberal pinko commies—and for good reason. You environmental wackos would rather punish working Americans with a punitive cost of living to protect some insignificant wild flower or rodent that adds nothing to benefit mankind than get off your collective asses and get real jobs that earn real money so you could pay taxes, purchase a house, send your kids to college and purchase an SUV with an American flag mounted on top.

Dave McDonald

This trail is my trail
These environmentalists drive in a 1992 Colt Vista and a 1990 Geo Metro—no sport utility vehicles here. We invite the New & Review to help do something about the problem, instead of just pointing out hypocritical behavior. What we need is to get trails in our greenways, parks and ecological preserves. It is ridiculous to drive miles to Lassen to find a decent trail when you want to go on a hike.

Why don’t you endorse the Annie Bidwell Trail? Then you could hike from the N&R offices up to the ecological preserve through some of the most beautiful country in the world without once getting into a car.

Additionally, let’s revive Ed McLaughlin’s visionary plan for a trail along Lindo Channel, and then I’ll go out the front door and walk up there, too. Clean, healthy fun, and no internal-combustion engines. We could even sing some patriotic songs. Maybe “America the Beautiful.” Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” is another fine expression of love of country.

Michael (and Caryn) Jones

Do it for Jonathan
Thanks for sharing your significant observations of the courage and noble accomplishments of Jonathan Studebaker ["No ordinary bag of bones,” April 12].

I believe we could best honor the spirit and memory of Chico’s beloved disabled advocate, Jonathan Studebaker, if the developer of Floral Gardens Square could replace the 142 feet of public sidewalk on the project’s East Avenue frontage. The public sidewalk was removed more than nine months ago. I walk there every morning before sunrise. I know of one physically disabled man who fell off the rough trail. The unsafe location is used daily by pedestrians and bus users.

Our public works officials should be ashamed for failing to enforce the regulations meant to protect the public. The project’s developer should have established a safe walkway overnight.

Vince Phelan

Extremist anti-humans
Butte Environmental Council General Manager Barbara Vlamis came up with the fiction that Foothills Associates have tied the new high school to a housing project and are using the school to get the houses approved. This myth plays well to BEC’s anti-human constituency, for whom housing and growth must be fought at all costs. It also attempts to shift the blame for delays away from environmental extremists, where it rightly belongs. Make no mistake; it is Caye Goodie of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service who is holding our school, highways and airport development hostage to the most extremist of environmental positions.

Vlamis knows that the high school and the housing are two distinct projects, as recognized by all agencies. The Army Corps permit application reads, “the projects appear not to be dependant or interrelated with each other and may constitute two separate projects.” They are not tied together and are on different pieces of property. Vlamis also knows that the agencies require that all of the property under the same ownership in the same watershed be considered on the same application.

Further, Vlamis lobbied for the similar local requirement and claimed a victory from BEC’s frivolous appeal by having that Chico General Plan requirement publicly restated. BEC no doubt would file yet another lawsuit had the housing not been included.

John Gillander

Flag debate opportunity
I appreciate the recent [proposed] lining of The Esplanade and South Park Avenue with American flags as a golden opportunity for consciousness-raising about what we feel it means to be an American in 2001. The project’s stated goal: to “make Americanism a part of the character of this city.” I applaud the Elks and affiliated groups for bringing the subject right out into the forefront of our town.

My first reaction was dismay. I felt that with the flag as a symbol of values, meaning potentially many different things to different people, Chico’s people should have been consulted before using the public space to display this symbol year-round.

My concerns were, what values are represented, and do all Chicoans hold those same values? Is “Americanism” the same for everyone? I was very concerned that the flag project is riding roughshod over a range of perspectives and values that has not been expressed.

But then I realized that, actually, the flag project provides us with an opportunity to explore these questions as a diverse community. It is time to update our collective definition of what is American. What things are unique about our country that bring out the best in people, that make the world an even better place to live in? I challenge teachers, newspapers: Sponsor/debates/essays/op-eds on flag perspectives. Only when we hear from all parts of “we” will Americans have a complete, real image of what and whom the flags stand for.

Barbara Castro

George W. on flags
The issue of whether various streets in Chico, including The Esplanade, should be lined with American flags is one of personal taste, not patriotism. Chico has long been known as a city of trees, and the Esplanade is one of its most beautiful tree-lined streets. In my opinion, lining it with American flags will detract from its beauty and should be reserved for special occasions.

I recognize that reasonable minds may differ on this subject and that the various service clubs and individuals supporting the idea have the best of intentions. I also applaud Councilmembers Dan Nguyen-Tan and Maureen Kirk for having the fortitude to oppose the idea.

Our country’s greatness is measured by the fact that such opposition is permissible.

George E. Washington