Letters for April 28, 2005

To the mayor!
I really enjoyed the article about Scott Gruendl [“Strong Mayor,” CN&R cover story, April 7]. I had the pleasure of working with him for eight years at the Glenn County Human Resource Agency. He truly is a down-to-earth guy. He is spunky, compassionate and humorous and a wee bit feisty! Hats off to Mayor Gruendl! Best wishes on all his future adventures.

Lisa Ceccon Teeter

Faith builder
Yay Chico! Thanks for keeping my faith in human nature alive. On Thursday, March 31, in the San Francisco Chronicle, there was an article concerning a four-year study, sponsored by the U.N., which tells us that “humans had ruined approximately 60 percent of ecological systems to meet demands for food, fresh water, timber, and fuel” ("Humans’ basic needs destroying planet rapidly, report says"). The same day the CN&R printed some numbers regarding our dependence on oil ["Downhill from here,” Sifter]. And then, in the same issue of the CN&R, we get notice of a parking garage (where else?) on the site of the Saturday Farmers’ Market ["Parking lessons"]—yet another shrine to identifying characteristics of humanity: ignorance, sloth and greed.

Nelson Kaiser

Mission accomplished
The FBI director, Robert Mueller, is currently encouraging Congress not only to renew the anti-American “Patriot Act,” but also to expand its powers. He uses the well-worn mantra that to fight terrorism the federal government needs broader powers and we must all sacrifice some of our liberties. If I remember correctly, President Bush stated right after 9-11 that the terrorists’ goal was to destroy our way of life: our freedom. Thanks to our short-sighted and foolish national leaders, the terrorists’ goal is being achieved.

Jeff Straub

The city’s soul
On April 4, 2005, I attended a meeting whose purpose was to gather input from members of the community in the designing of the proposed parking lot structure to be built at the site of the Farmers’ Market.

One of the numbered items in the guidelines to be considered by participants was whether the Farmers’ Market should be included in the plans.

The Farmers’ Market makes up part of the soul of Chico. Every Saturday, rain or shine, hundreds of good folk make their way faithfully to the Farmers’ Market to buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, olives, olive oil, baked goods, wine, jewelry, pottery, plants, to drink coffee, tea and lemonade, to listen to music, to talk, and maybe even to get a hug. This is a time and place for people to come together—to be.

Erich Fromm, in his book To Have or to Be, states the matter succinctly: “The difference between being and having is not essentially between East and West. The difference is rather between a society centered around persons and one centered around things.”

I trust that those folks planning how to spend $10 million shaping brick, mortar, metal and concrete into another parking structure do not neglect the soul of Chico.

Roger T. Jansen

Union labeled
Hell will freeze over before California state Senators Dick Ackerman, R-Irvine, Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, and John Campbell, R-Irvine, send out a letter stating: “Every month corporate executives take millions of dollars out of the dividends of shareholders for political purposes without shareholder approval. Join us to stop this abuse.”

However, I just received a four-page mailing from the above Republican senators imploring me to sign a petition to get an initiative on the state ballot making it illegal for California unions to participate in the political process by using dues to advance the interests of their members.

The Enterprise-Record has reported twice that the courts have ruled illegal Gov. Arnold’s attempt to repeal the California Nurses Association-sponsored “safe hospital nursing staff ratios.” Of course, corporate hospital associations are major dollar contributors to Arnold and have fought safe ratios.

Only a few short months ago Enloe Medical Center administrators trumpeted in the Enterprise-Record how their union nurses exceeded national hospital safety standards. To Enloe’s current credit, it is making every sincere attempt to comply with the 1:5 nurse/patient ratio. Enloe knows safe staffing pays dividends—in healthy lives.

So, in the near future when you’re walking out of Safeway or Wal-Mart and some guy, sent by Arnold and his gang, shoves a petition in your face to “prohibit unions from taking money out of the paychecks of public employees,” tell them you’ll gladly sign the petition—when there is a legitimate campaign finance law protecting ordinary working citizens from big-money interests that take dollars out of shareholder dividends for political purposes.

Bert Marshall RN
proud member of the CNA

Kindergarten bully
How does a person turn from being the “Kindergarten Cop” to the “playground bully"? The answer is easy: power and bad influence.

In his movie Kindergarten Cop, Arnold Schwarzenegger became the kind, sympathetic kindergarten teacher. He helped children and especially their teacher. He seemed to understand the issues and problems teachers face.

Then he ran for governor with messages to parents and the public touting his support for our schools and his dedication to the education of our children. Many of us thought we would finally have an “education governor.”

Last year, with that assurance, education helped the governor solve the budget crisis through a mutual agreement. He now wants to forget that.

What happened?

The answer is simple. The same thing happened to him that happens to many people. Money, power and peer pressure caused him to become the “playground bully.” Moreover, on the playground, bullies only associate with bullies and everyone else is fair game.

“Kindergarten Cop” turned bully is now trying to intimidate, terminate or push everyone around who does not agree with him. Even some associates become targets of his threats.

He talks about reform, but “reform” means my way or else. He says “join me. Join my gang and we’ll bully everyone else to get my way.”

What do we tell our children? “Don’t give in to the bully.” Fight back!

Well, it’s time we not give in. Obviously, everything Arnold learned, he did not learn in kindergarten.

Jerry McGuire
California State PTA

Your column on the less-desirable people using our benches was outrageous [“Bench work,” Inside view, April 14]. The Constitution starts with “We the People.” That means all the people, not just a select few with money to buy more stuff. The Constitution is written for the people, not for corporations’ right to profit. On the road to 1984 (George Orwell) some in our business community have decided that less-desirable people who don’t spend money in their businesses shouldn’t be permitted to use the people’s benches.

The benches are beautiful works of art that bring art of quality to the downtown area. They are to be used and enjoyed by We the People. That is the way a democracy works. A corporate-run government is fascism. It begins when powerful industry uses government to make laws against the people’s God-given rights. What kind of Chico do you want?

Charles Finlay