Letters for April 24, 2014

Three on the council meeting

Re “Ending speculation” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, April 17):

While the war on drugs rages on, people like Mary Goloff are caught in the travails of the numbingly common occurrence of addiction to prescription drugs, alcohol or both. The realities for successful recovery depend on many factors, including economic wealth.

Addicts experiencing homelessness are often trapped in a vicious cycle of being forced to get and stay clean while sleeping on the streets. Policies at many emergency shelters exacerbate the problem by subjecting emergency shelter applicants to pill counts for acceptance. Once admitted, they are required to make sure their pill counts meet their prescribed doses, nearly always without any supervision other than themselves. Pill count discrepancies can and do lead to admittance refusals and expulsion from shelters and back onto the streets.

I long for the day when we develop a safety net that understands there is no reason any fellow human being should be forced to live outside.

Bill Mash

Fire Capt. Dave Main went before the City Council explaining how he didn’t really want free-market competition, with Cal Fire bidding to provide services to Chico. Councilwoman Mary Goloff looked him in the eye and asked him if he knew the median household income in Chico (Main made $314,000 in wages and benefits in 2010). Main said he didn’t know and that you can’t trust reports you read on this. Mary asked him again, and then informed it was $42,000. Main appeared not to care, and was mumbling something about how you get what you pay for. Think about it.

Michael Jones

Based on acquaintance with his father, I expected a high degree of personal integrity from David Main. Main’s appearance at the April 15 City Council meeting was disappointing. He said he was involved in the union side of the contract negotiations that left Chico with the obligation to give the three-year notice of intent for considering other options for fire protection.

He stated it was in the best interest of the city, and did not admit any self-serving interests by the union. When asked by Councilwoman Mary Goloff if he knew the median income of Chico households, he was dismissive and gave the impression that it wasn’t his problem, and he couldn’t care less.

On one hand, he’s telling us we should pay him $234,000 per year because he’s looking after our best interests, and on the other he couldn’t care less the city is going broke. David Main may have at one time imitated his father’s integrity, but now he and the union more closely resemble arrogant elitists.

Ken Goodwin

More animals, please

Re “Defense spending” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, April 25):

It seems to me we should not be worried about the mosquitoes, but of what we as a people have become. We are not above blame; we destroy habitat, killing animals that are the natural predators of mosquitoes, and then sensationalize the contraction of disease.

We should be working together with organizations to increase predators of mosquitoes. Under no circumstances should we increase pesticides! If we increase pesticides, then the insects will have more pesticides inside of them.

When a predator such as a bat, bird, larger insect, fish, reptile or even an amphibian eats that insect, the pesticide builds up inside of them, too. The chemicals build up in the animals until the pesticide kills them! This is a vicious cycle in which predators are continuously killed off, yet the mosquitoes remain. This is why so many native animal populations are in decline.

Efforts should be made to increase funding to organizations that increase natural predators. People should educate themselves. It’s your responsibility to not contract disease! Do not blame your ignorance, fund nature conservancies!

Aithne Loeblich

More fracking letters

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

I wanted to thank Supervisors Steve Lambert, Doug Teeter, Bill Connelly and Maureen Kirk for their votes in favor of a ban on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in Butte County. They all demonstrated a willingness to learn about the issue and to consider the impact on our community. Most important, they were willing to vote to protect the beauty, bounty and public health of our community.

Fracking operations are prone to accidents and have high leakage rates, leading to contaminated groundwater. Over 60 percent of Butte County residents rely on groundwater as our drinking water source and local agriculture is 97 percent reliant on irrigated crops. Each gas well uses 1 million to 8 million gallons of fresh water mixed with toxic chemicals. While it may not feel like an immediate threat to Butte County, the industry trade journals indicate that this region has potential (geologically) for extraction of natural gas using fracking.

We know there are fracked wells in surrounding areas, such as Sutter, Glenn and Colusa counties. The millions of dollars invested by lobbyists to prevent fracking legislation in California means the only way for communities to limit or prevent fracking is to address it at the local level.

Robyn DiFalco

I think we need a ban on fracking the whole country wide. I know it’s a big bite to chew, but it’s high time we tried. It’s real clear to me things have gotten quite dire when you come home to find that your water’s on fire. Our babies can only suckle the breast for so long, and then what will feed them when the water’s all gone? A first step has been taken, you’ve granted a wish, but even my dog knows it’s better to not crap in your dish.

Danny Dietz

Say no to pot

Sadly, Butte County’s for-profit pot growers have qualified their referendum for the November ballot. Flush with cash, they brazenly sold their propaganda to the public as a “health” issue while it was really about “the money.”

Medicinal users have the right to grow today in generous amounts. Conversely, for-profit growers abused their “license” to grow in 2013. They are spoilers. Their “liberty” came at the cost of scaring citizens, raiding water, threatening wildlife and constructing eye-sores county-wide, creating public outcry. This led the Butte County Board of Supervisors to adopt the current ordinance.

This referendum is a personal threat to my family! Last year, we were terrorized for being neighbors to a major grow. What I learned is that for-profit grows threaten the personal safety of adjoining property owners. They have no business in rural Butte County neighborhoods. In fact, pot is the only crop requiring lethal force for theft protection, putting all who venture near the crop in harm’s way.

Dianna Wright
Butte Valley

Crack outside City Hall

At 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, I dropped paperwork off at City Hall. I exited the south door and on the grass between the City Hall and the Old Municipal Building a group of men were sitting. One was lighting a crack pipe in plain view. Is this now acceptable behavior in Chico?

If this is now going to be a common occurrence, I will no longer bring my family to downtown. My children do not need to be exposed to this. If the habit is funded by robbing or stealing, I would rather not be a target.

Craig Edwards

A couple more tips

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

Three more water saving ideas: Sponge baths with 1 quart to wash, 1 to rinse. While waiting for hot water, catch it in a large pail and use it to flush the toilet. If you have one or two large raised beds, use a soaker hose. If not, use a good old-fashioned watering can. The old ways are often the best.

Jim Dwyer

More on the market

The farmers’ market is rallying support for the market by declaring they are being evicted. This is not true. Their current agreement would have automatically renewed if they had not pushed to expand.

As a result, the City Council decided to start discussions to determine future terms. The agreement requires a 180-day notice of any changes. The deadline was close so the agreement was terminated in anticipation of negotiating a new agreement. This is fact! Watch the June 18, 2013, council meeting on the city website. The Chico Certified Farmers’ Market has refused to negotiate. They want the whole parking lot, at a loss of 70-plus parking spaces needed by the downtown and the market.

They have tried to get this space before, but council members have wisely declined. Now they are trying by misleading the public. This is not about eviction, it’s about expansion. If you are supporting the initiative because you want the market to remain the same, think again. The initiative will create a market that is twice the size, twice as crowded and congested, with much less parking.

Yes, the future of the CCFM is threatened, but not by the city or local merchants but by their own actions.

Tom Hall

What’s not to love about the farmers’ market? I go there often. All the controversy, however, seems a tempest in a teapot. The current market is between Second and Third streets; a proposed move is to the municipal lot between Fourth and Fifth streets. Do the math; in effect, it’s moving the market one block! Come on, people, get your panties in a bunch about something more important.

Roland McNutt

I too love the downtown Chico farmers’ market. It is a great resource for buying directly from producers, and it is always fun just to stroll. I want to see it continue to prosper.

The issue seems simple to me. Good News number one: The farmers’ market is so successful that it has outgrown its current location. Good News number two: The city of Chico is supportive and would like to explore new opportunities that accommodate current and future growth.

The city has a variety of properties that just might work. Bad News number one: The leadership of the farmers’ market refuses to sit down with other interest groups and explore new options. Bad News number two: We are now inundated with political campaign tactics that vilify city leadership and use scare tactics that polarize and lead people to believe the farmers’ market is in danger of being closed, which is simply not true.

Please, spare us all this drama. Work toward common goals, look beyond what exists, and envision something that will be even better, for now and into the foreseeable future.

Lee Laney

It’s clear that the Saturday farmers’ market is tremendously successful right where it is, so let’s take that as a given and start asking: What reason could anybody—downtown merchants, city government, developers, perhaps—have for wanting to force the market to uproot?

The stated objection is that it takes up too much parking, so shoppers don’t patronize surrounding businesses on Saturday. That begs credulity. The parking lot is half-empty every other day of the week. Perhaps that’s because some potential shoppers want to park right smack in front of their destination and won’t walk the block or two from the parking lot, or perhaps some are deterred by the perceived nuisance of the downtown transients, but Sunday through Friday, there’s ample room in that lot.

Conversely, it has been surveyed and documented that market patrons stroll on to other businesses during their downtown visit. So parking is a red herring.

What other reason might there be for wanting to evict the farmers’ market? Well, there’s the city’s fiscal crisis—maybe selling that lot to a developer could raise a lot of cash. High-stakes developments, however, usually entail big promises, tax abatements, and infrastructure costs we all absorb; if there’s any possibility of selling that lot into private development, the voters have a right to hear about it and vote on it.

Alicia Springer

Three for Al Petersen

The people of Butte County have an important vote on June 3. This assessor position has always been filled by an appraiser.

I am recommending Al Petersen, whom I have had the privilege of knowing for the past 25 years. As an independent fee appraiser, and as a real estate instructor at Butte College, I have known Petersen to distinguish himself as a man of integrity and character.

Petersen’s qualifications go beyond any other candidate. He has the experience of working as an independent fee appraiser for Yuba, Butte and Sutter counties in the assessors’ offices. He is currently chief appraiser and works directly under the assessor of Sutter County. His work in the assessment and appraising sector gives him unique experience that makes him a perfect fit.

Butte County needs an assessor who understands the taxpayer and makes sure properties are valued accurately. Petersen has built strong relationships in all the counties that he has worked in. Let’s not rely on politicians who say they are for the people, yet have no knowledge or past experience on county government tax issues. Take my endorsement seriously, and vote for Al Petersen.

James Currlin

In this age of dysfunctional government, what we all can appreciate are those in elected positions who do carry out their work with professionalism and dedication, those who are capable and qualified in their field. Al Petersen will be one of those.

This upcoming election for Butte County assessor is a nonpolitical position (no policy is brought forth nor voted on), so the qualifications for this position should be experience in the field, and of course, integrity.

I have been acquainted with Petersen and his family for more than 25 years, beginning when he was a local independent appraiser, moving on to Butte County as appraiser, then onto Sutter County as chief assessor, managing appraisers. He is not a career politician. He is a professional in his field. I urge you to scrutinize the candidates running, and Petersen will stand out.

Tony Jewett

Not being knowledgeable about the duties and role of a county assessor in California, I inquired of three thoroughly trusted friends who are or have been employed by, and in one case a consultant to, California counties.

It was explained to me, in general terms, the complexity and thoroughness required to understand, much less to manage, such an office. Without prompting, each friend recommended Al Petersen as the only candidate running for the office who has the knowledge, experience and management expertise worthy of my vote.

The friend with consulting experience opined that counties in California are split between being headed by professional assessors as opposed to political assessors. “Political assessors wouldn’t know an assessment procedure or computation if they sat on one, much less how to do one or supervise folks who did know how to do one,” and that those with professionally headed offices were the much healthier counties in all respects: income, infrequency of delays, appeals, and lawsuits.

I have now met and spoken with Petersen and intend to vote for him.

Abe Baily

One for Bill Connelly

The assessor’s office badly needs new leadership. It is responsible for fairly reassessing values of homes that have lost value during the horrific downturn in the real-estate market. According to Proposition 13, when a home is sold, a new market value is determined by the assessor’s office.

The fairest and most accurate way to determine the value is the new sales price or the bank appraisal that the lender uses for the loan amount, which are well documented and independently reviewed.

This election we will have a choice of electing career bureaucrats who will conduct business as usual, or a person who will look out for the best interest of the taxpayers. Taxpayers need a change of culture in the assessor’s office. Bill Connelly is that person.

Jim Ledgerwood


In December 2013, the adult smoking rate in Butte was 20.90 percent, above the state average of 13.63 percent. In 2013, Butte County received $2,946,746 from tobacco settlement lawsuits (MSA), none of which was used for prevention or to help smokers quit.

From 2000 through 2008, the county put roughly 10 percent of the $1.5 million received at that time toward tobacco prevention, and it made a difference: Daily tobacco use by ninth-graders dropped from 16 percent to 7 percent, according to the California Healthy Kids Survey.

Smoking cessation groups were offered countywide on a regular schedule. Hundreds of smokers attended and many quit. Currently, the county offers no groups to help smokers quit.

The state estimates that tobacco costs Butte County over $38 million annually! If 10 percent of the current funding was redirected to smoking prevention programs we could bring those costs down dramatically. Please join the members of SMART (Save Money And Reduce Tobacco) in asking the Board of Supervisors to practice sound fiscal judgment by using a small portion of these funds as intended, to reduce and prevent tobacco use.

If you’d like to be involved in SMART’s efforts to save lives and money, contact us at Buttesmart@gmail.com.

Bruce Baldwin
Butte Valley

Thanks, Lulu’s

On April 15, we were privileged to accompany a group of Fair View High School students on a visit to Lulu’s warehouse. Our students were treated to a tour of the impressive facility by owner Debra Cannon, and enjoyed a workshop that highlighted do’s and don’ts for interviews and for writing résumés and cover letters.

Cannon and Sarah, Lulu’s H.R. director, took time out of their demanding schedules to inform and encourage young women who will soon be seeking employment. This experience was an invaluable introduction to real-world expectations.

Our students and community are fortunate to have business leaders who voluntarily invest in our kids. We deeply appreciate Cannon’s gifts of time and expertise.

Karen Washington, teacher, Julie Alpert, volunteer Fair View High School