Letters for April 23, 2015

Where are churches?

Re “Action on the homeless front” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, April 16):

While we’ve all seen the homeless problem here in Chico, I have to wonder, where are the churches in this situation? Safe behind locked doors. America has seen fit to exempt churches from taxation because in theory they volunteer to do God’s work caring for needy and poor people. So we give them a free ride, and what services does America get for their generosity? Mormons who bought a California election in an anti-gay campaign, churches picketing abortion clinics, candidates campaigning on a fundamental platform, all while churches lock their doors at night and do nothing for homeless, even homeless children. Time for accountability.

Jim Smith

Two on the Earth

Re “Coming together for the Earth” (Editorial, April 16):

The editorial did a good job signaling that there is opposition to environmental conservation and mentioning how fracking affects us but you can’t mention environmentalism without bringing light to how our addiction to fossil fuels and energy have forced us to look for alternative sources of energy. Banning fracking is a start, but a better proposition is renewable energy.

Conservation and taking care of our dear planet are things that I am passionate about, as I come to learn how our actions and behaviors have a direct effect on the health of the planet. I can’t help but get involved in one way or another. Whether picking up bottles and wrappers and placing them in the trash or using my bicycle as much as possible, I am more than sure that those small details do make a difference in the long run.

John Domogma

This paper is entitled to its own opinion, but it is not entitled to its own facts. Your editorial misstated the truth about water and oil production. The state Water Resources Control Board tested wells involved in a bureaucratic dispute between federal and state government agencies. State water officials found absolutely no contamination due to oil production. Some activists are distorting the truth in an effort to stop domestic energy production. Whether they like it or not, oil plays a key role in our daily lives and it will take time to transition to alternate energy sources.

Curbing domestic oil production will result in a greater reliance on imported foreign oil. The costly imports will have to be shipped in on tanker ships and transported by rail car, which have their own environmental impacts. California has the nation’s toughest standards for oil production so it makes sense to extract resources here, where we can do it affordably and responsibly.

Jennifer Smith

Troubling debate

Re “Train car troubles” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, April 16):

Regarding the “other side of the story” on not renewing the Empire Coffee lease, we learn that CAC’s decision is based on 1) bad landlord-lessee relationship (no specifics mentioned), 2) fluctuating revenues (challenged by the owner), and 3) no significant growth in the last three years (is there any café in town that has shown significant growth in the last three years?). The rest of the article largely talks about the agreement with the city and the original plans for the train car and that the CAC’s motivations are driven by the need to increase revenue. A fairly weak other side of the story if you ask me.

The story remains that a nonprofit community arts organization, dependent on the community and local government for support, chooses to not renew the lease of a longtime, well-respected, hard-working small business so that they can open their own version of the business and expect to be successful by receiving customer support from the same people who supported the business they just kicked out. Based on this very poor decision, hopefully the City Council re-examines the agreements with the CAC.

Steve Klein

Lamb vs. legume

Henri Bourride “drinks to spring and grills a little lamb.” Along the way, he mentions William Blake, April rains, Tanqueray gin, Ireland, Christians-Muslims-Jews, spare attire, printemps fever, children honing teeth, etc. The point of the entire exercise seems to be to fetishize and romanticize the act of consuming a chunk of meat—and by extension slitting the throat of a struggling, bleating lamb.

How about another perspective: A sentient being suffers, dies and loses 90 percent of its lifespan because it tastes different from lentil soup or vegan sushi. I don’t see the romance. Do you?

Also, in a previous issue, water use is listed by food type. Putting beef and chickpeas at the top of the list is misleading. A mid-range number for beef is about 2,500 gallons of water per pound. Beans—including chickpeas—require about a fifth of that. A soy burger has a “water footprint” of 7 percent of that of a beef burger. Plant-based diets reduce water consumption by several hundred gallons per person, per day. The differences in “carbon footprint” are even more impressive. Great website: www.cowspiracy.com/facts.

Patrick Newman

Trivial police work

It would seem, at least during the day, that Chico police do not have enough to do. Perhaps some of these officers could be reassigned to night duty when the problems seem to occur in our fair city.

I am a paraprofessional working with severely handicapped children with aggressive behavior problems, ages 11 to 19, at Loma Vista School. I recently returned from a lunch break to find the inadequate parking lot full, so I parked on the street. In my three years I have often parked in the three spots available in front of the driveway entrance to the back staff lot, as do other special needs staff. To my surprise, I received a $48 parking ticket for the two hours I was parked, (which is about $18 more than I earned during those two hours). I’m not sure when the barely visible sign stating “No parking during school hours” was moved to include these spaces, which are not in front of the school, but staff have parked there without a problem for the three years I have been there.

Now Chico police seem to have time to make sure us “law-breakers” pay a penalty for this egregious behavior. I have witnessed several more ticketed cars in the past few days. This is nothing short of harassment of dedicated workers who do not make 20 percent of what these police officers earn. I guess this new policy is necessary to allow Chico to pay for the raise these officers just coerced from the City Council.

Tom Fiske

Disappointed in Hillary

I am writing a farewell to my Hillary Clinton vote for president. I once worked for her campaign when I believed in her ethics.

It would be hypocritical, if not insulting, to continue after the recent revelations of her email diversions. Her explanations defy all reasonable logic. No one would have used a private server unless she wanted to avoid the very open transparency our government is supposed to have. She was caught red-handed in the proverbial cookie jar, and instead of confessing to her unethical actions, she copied a teenager’s excuse: “What? Who, me? I didn’t know.”

I grew up in Chicago, where political ethics is an oxymoron. Recently, city council members were caught using their work email to hide their public records. One lied and said it was an accident while another resigned and admitted they did it deliberately to avoid transparency.

The problem, of course, is that Hillary Clinton can’t resign from anything, because she is just a common citizen now. Her campaign told voters not to forget the past in order to improve the future. I will not forget the dishonesty, and that is why I will continue to look for a better future.

Prana Lewis

Another view on shopping

Re “Stop deceptive pricing online” (Letters, by Nathan Esplanade, April 16):

Complaining about shipping and tax charges when purchasing online, Nathan Esplanade writes that “Congress should pass legislation requiring online vendors to conspicuously display estimates of all charges before a shopper even puts an item in their cart.” My question for Nathan is, does he propose websites should require customers to enter their information before being allowed to show customers the price of a product? That’s what his proposal would require, because tax and shipping charges will both vary depending on a customer’s location, sometimes drastically. Either that or it would simply prevent websites from displaying prices to customers entirely. I don’t think Nathan has thought this through.

Nathaniel Perry

Respect for each other

In my opinion, some writers of recent letters to the ER on various topics, and the media in general, have shown a profound lack of respect for both public officials and fellow letter writers. Disrespect has become so prevalent in the media that we now view it as normal and OK. It seems to me that our societal problems are escalating because we don’t respect each other. When we call our governor “moonbeam” or denigrate our president with name-calling and extremely disrespectful images, and call each other names, how can we expect our young people to demonstrate respect? From a young age they look to us as models of how to behave toward each other and in society.

We certainly have the right to disagree with each other. That is the basis of democracy. When we resort to name-calling instead of intelligent discourse we are demonstrating our ignorance and frustration and certainly reducing our credibility.

I suggest the way to stop this is for each of us to become conscious and responsible for our words and actions. Maybe then we can show respect and kindness to each other, especially when we disagree.

Mary Brentwood


I would like to tell you about my grandmother. She was raised, and still is, Mormon. She has suffered so badly with arthritis that some days she can barely move, let alone sleep. She takes many pain killers and her liver is now in trouble because of them.

For years we tried to convince her to eat medical marijuana but, due to her beliefs about staying morally clean, she refused. Until this last year. We told her all of the benefits in the book, and let her speak to her doctor, her bishop and her heavenly father, to come up with the correct answer for her situation.

Finally the pain became more powerful than her resolve against this “drug” she felt so strongly about, and she agreed to let us make her an edible body salve. After, of course, getting a prescription for it.

She rubs it on her arthritis and takes it internally daily. She also found hemp oil online and is doing better than she has in years! This was truly the miracle she has prayed for.

Most people probably don’t have a story like my grandmother’s, and that is fortunate for them. But it does not give them the right to take away the opportunity we needed to finally give her, and so many others, relief from the excruciating pain they are living with.

I pray that we can somehow come to a middle ground with the district attorney to keep our community safe from drug traffickers, while still allowing and providing the opportunity to organically grow, and store, this medicine to the people who truly need it.

Keely Southwick

Support for refugees

Our war in Afghanistan has resulted in many deaths and caused 2 million Afghans to flee to neighboring countries. What we should be doing now is providing schools for the girl refugees in countries such as Pakistan.

A Quaker man and woman from Southern California have done this in Pakistan, resulting in two schools and 600 girls enrolled with many more waiting to get in. I learned about the school from a local RN with a background in construction who visited the schools to check on their needs. He has relatives, including a grandmother who live within 60 miles of the school.

He has since tried to raise funds for the schools with a local benefit event. I consider this to be a great investment in the future and am thus now sending 100 percent of the money I receive from my art sales directly to www.afghangirlsschool.org. Go to the above great website to get the full story and donate any amount. So far I have donated $430 which enrolls 6 Afghan girls for a year in the school. I mention this to show you how far your money goes! This is the best investment I have ever made!

Norm Dillinger