Letters for April 21, 2005

Enloe Medical Blob
Anyone growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s can probably remember the popular movie, The Blob, in which everything and everybody in the path of the growing alien life-form was consumed. But, that was science fiction. An example of real horror was the ancient practice of sacrificing humans, cutting out their hearts, to appease the gods. But, that was ancient history.

These two metaphors come to mind when researching the proposed Enloe Medical Center expansion at its Esplanade site. It’s monstrous. It’s gobbling up homes. It’s growing. And it seems that nothing can stop it. It’s also tearing into the heart of Chico: the Chico Avenues neighborhood along the Esplanade. Is this neighborhood the sacrifice that appeases Enloe administrators for the greater good; the rest of the Chico community?

City planners’ past decisions apparently did not protect homeowners like June Williams who just wanted to stay and live out their years in their own homes. Not so much as a slatted chain link fence was erected between her Magnolia Avenue home of 50 years and the Enloe parking lot a few feet away. Now, she gets headlights shining in her windows up close and personal.

The Avenues neighborhood still holds its charm, even though about 20 of the homes are now owned by Enloe. Today, these structures remain, and so do the beautiful varieties of trees and shrubs. This is not the place for an ongoing expansion project like a medical center. Somewhere in the periphery, near Highways 99 or 32, is much more sensible. It sure would be nice to see Enloe sell those homes back to the community; keeping the Avenues neighborhood residential and using the money toward building at a better location. There should be no sacrifices. Medicine is a healing art.

Helen Chambers, Connie Lerche, Lucia Bodine, Kathryn Richards
CSU, Chico graduate students

Parking pains
You failed to mention another ingredient in the downtown parking stew: the loss of 50 parking spots in the Salem parking structure to be reserved for Wayne Cook’s Diamond Hotel when it opens ["Parking lessons,” CN&R cover story, March 31]. In addition to the loss of spots in the Salem structure, parking spots on Fourth Street, in front of the hotel, will be converted to three-minute spaces for loading and unloading hotel guests. It’s an inevitable parking headache for those of us who work downtown daily.

It seems that the loss of these spots could also be a nuisance for people attending events at Laxson Auditorium, the Thursday Market and Friday concerts in the park. On top of this, the parking lot on Wall Street could be closed for two years, and the city wants to raise the meter fees and increase the hours and days for metered parking. Can’t the working stiff get a break around here?

Nancy Dodaro

New alternative
Apparently it is no longer necessary to perform research, or even to think, before setting words to print. Thus, your April 14 editorial, “Stanching the flow.”

Only a person who has entirely bypassed the thought process would assert the existence of a “foolproof national ID card.” Thought would alert one to the reality that nothing is “foolproof,” reflection suggest that a national identity card is likely to prove no more “foolproof” than a nuclear-power plant.

Too, an activated cerebrum would conclude that endorsing George II’s bracero program is to embrace feudalism.

If your editorialist had opened a law book, s/he would have found no need to demand a “law making it a serious misdemeanor” to employ undocumented workers. Such laws already exist.

Perhaps understaffing explains “Confessions of an eBay Opium Addict.” Certainly it’s easier to purchase a first-person “Reefer Madness” screed than to meticulously chronicle the ordeal of Dr. Frank Fisher, the Redding physician prosecuted for the “crime” of prescribing opiates to chronic-pain sufferers. Many years after indictment, on offenses as serious as murder, Fisher was recently adjudged guilty of nothing—though rendered bankrupt and homeless, his former patients sentenced to unimaginable suffering.

Rush Limbaugh and those of his ilk refer to themselves as “the alternative media.” Yours was born an “alternative” paper, back when the word meant something different. A few more issues like that of April 14, and yours will qualify again as an “alternative” paper, this time in the most current sense of the word.
Kevin Jeys


I happened to pick up the March 31 edition of the Chico News & Review and read the essay by Jaime O’Neill, “A crime against trust.” This college instructor assigned his freshman-level college students to write a brief in-class essay regarding the United States going to war in Iraq. As I read the essays, I was appalled by the poor spelling, grammar and sentence structure.

However, as I read on, I discovered that the only thing that discouraged the teacher was that the students didn’t share the correct political ideology after being taught (or brainwashed?) by a generation of like-minded peers. This begs the question of just what had the students been taught, or not taught. Perhaps this is a perfect example of what is really wrong with education in America today.

Jim Killoran

God’s Country
U.S. world policy may be summarized as follows: The poor have too much wealth, the rich don’t have enough, and the world’s problems can be solved at the point of a gun—our gun.

Diddly-squat countries who disagree with the U.S. administration best beware: De-mock-racy is coming your way, and your resources are ours.

The true believers have talked to God and know he’s on our side. He’s the Old Testament God of harsh judgment toward our enemies and favoritism toward us. Jesus, that wimpy, New Testament, love-your-neighbor peace monger, would have us turn the other cheek and allow terrorists—anyone who disagrees with U.S. policies—to continue wasting air by breathing.

U.S. administrations will continue to support the Zionists in Israel—are they not the most chosen people?—and the Saudi Royal regime—do they not guarantee us access to the world’s largest reserves of oil? Who cares if these regimes are pariahs in the Middle East? One country’s pariah is another’s best friend.

Americans, I suggest you be really careful with your thinking. I suggest you be uncritical: Continue getting your news and information from Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and other propaganda instruments of the U.S. government. Get a pro-troop decal for your vehicle, drive everywhere you go and give the finger to misguided dummies who ride bicycles to work, attend peace rallies or have the gall to speak out for those less blessed than us. The true believers know we’re blessed because God loves us, not them.

John Burge

Stroke of genius
The controversy over the proposal to change the name of Community Park to Martin Luther King Park is petty! One small mind whittled King down to fit on a park bench. Think big! George Washington is honored by the state of Washington, pop. 4,132,000; Washington, D.C., pop. 638,000, the capital of the United States; and Washington, Pennsylvania, pop. 18,000. Abraham Lincoln is honored with Lincoln, Nebraska, pop.172,000, the capital of Nebraska; and Lincoln, Rhode Island, pop. 17,000. How about renaming the state of Mississippi, pop. 2,521,000, or Montgomery, Alabama, pop. 178,000, in honor of King. Chico, California, pop. 47,000 (1990 census) is too small for a man of King’s stature.

California, population 36,000,000, should, of course, be re-named the state of Chavez, in honor of Càsar Chávez. We wouldn’t have to change the names in common usage of UC Berkeley, UCLA or CSU, Chico.

The reduction in key strokes, 10 in California to six in Chavez, should result in sufficient savings to replace all the state automobiles with Humvees, for the safety of state employees who face the public out on the streets. King, with only four keystrokes, would further streamline state government and balance the budget.

Bill McCord

Grim realty
Lots of stuff in the news. Scott Peterson’s death sentence for killing Laci. Martha Stewart finishing her jail time. Schools closing around Chico for lack of funds.

We don’t hear much about the Hubble telescope, doomed to burn up in our atmosphere when it comes out of orbit. One of science’s great achievements in the 20th century judged not worth saving by the Bush administration.

Then there’s Social Security. Bush seems intent on doing away with that through privatization. Doesn’t mater that it’s been the lifeline for seniors and the disabled for decades, a successful program that costs only seven-tenths of 1 percent to administer.

Now we hear that the big oil companies will be drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Guess that Bush-Cheney-Rove weren’t quite able to control enough of Iraq’s oil to satisfy the demands of the SUVers, though they sure tried, at the expense of thousands of Iraqi lives and quite a few of our own. Now it’s the lives of Artic wildlife that will be sacrificed.

Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to take our PERS money in California, another of those eminently successful government programs that benefits people who’ve worked hard all their lives and pays for itself. And Schwarzenegger was elected by what percent of the vote?

Seeing Bush at his press conference, surrounded by reporters, all of whom are more learned than the president, makes one wonder how we elected him. Or did we?

Robert Woods
Forest Ranch