Letters for April 28, 2016

The danger in shortcuts

Re “Boon for birth control” (Editorials, April 14):

I would urge caution in response to the law allowing pharmacists to dispense hormonal oral contraceptive pills without a prescription. Presumably the pharmacists are going to ask all women they give these to whether they have a personal or family history of blood-clotting disorders, smoke, are hypertensive, have any hormonal disorders and check their blood pressure. Pharmacists and their employers will also be the ones facing the malpractice lawyer when inevitably there is a mishap and all the precautions are not properly documented. Universal access to a well-qualified prescribing doctor is better than potentially dangerous shortcuts to access care.

Roy Bishop


Editor’s note: The author is a medical doctor.

Calm down, bleeding hearts

Re “Rebuttal times three” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Christia Funkhouser-Ruckel and Robyn Alana Engel, April 21):

My critics have several things in common: no sense of humor; the use of stupid pseudo-intellectual clichés, which they copy from each other; and an inability to distinguish between real compassion and their own abject, self-serving pity.

These folks babble about “systemic injustice,” “fascism,” “criminalization,” etc., but they’re all talk. They want you to think they’re smart. They are not that smart, and they’re not too honest, either. Where in my letters did I ever advocate being unkind or inhumane? Where did I suggest “criminalizing” poverty?

I said homeless people need help getting off the streets, not being made comfortable there, but that sounds mean to them. Yet, what is meaner than this phony Christian charity that perpetuates people’s suffering? Bleeding hearts never solve anything, as I learned from 20 years of social work. Your pity only strokes your own ego. It makes people dependent and increases their problems, and therefore the community’s problems.

Michael Bagwell


In response to the camp of people that seems to think that the city’s latent homelessness is solely the fault of extenuating circumstances, let me offer a different perspective.

First of all, I myself have been homeless; a homeless heroin and meth addict. To hear homelessness advocated as some sort of viable alternative lifestyle strikes me as ignorant in the extreme. Even more so is the criticism of the various nonprofits and other outreach groups that are helping homeless people.

I myself was homeless due to the consequences of my addiction. It took a “nudge from the judge” to get me started on the long road of reintegration into society. It has been a lot of work. The attitude I see among homeless people is that they want help but are unwilling to put forth the effort to obtain it. Starting at the bottom with nothing is not easy. But with a “hand up,” it’s possible.

In closing, I’d like to add that there is no singular solution to the homeless “problem.” But the harder it is to survive on the street, the more people seek the path to getting off the street.

John Matlin


‘A deadly intersection’

Re “Rescinded” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, April 21):

I want to express my disappointment in Randall Stone’s lack of leadership as a public servant. I am a longtime resident and home owner on West First Avenue. First Avenue and The Esplanade is a deadly intersection.

The Esplanade as it stands now is not original. Stop lights and left-turn lanes were added by Fred Davis. Historically, in Bidwell’s time, the boulevard serviced horses, Model T Fords, wagons, trolleys, bikes and people as a dirt road.

The consultant did a pretty good job with taxpayer money, emphasizing the need to comply with state and federal mandates for bike and pedestrian safety as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Esplanade is public space and needs to meet the needs of all people, not just those driving cars. And it needs to serve the public in the safest and most accommodating way it can via change, as it always has.

Mr. Stone, backtracking on a vote for a comprehensive plan for public safety and usability sends a message to the public that you are a politician, not a public servant. Your job as a public servant is not to get re-elected but to make well-informed, educated decisions that promote public good—even when it is unpopular.

Molly Amick


More on roundabouts

Re “Hot dogs and pie charts” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, April 21):

Picture this: You’re driving south on The Esplanade at 7:45 a.m. Both lanes are bumper-to-bumper. Approaching Third Avenue, you realize every car is merging into the right lane. The Esplanade is backing up while the left lane becomes empty. Why? Yes, the First Avenue roundabout was designed with two lanes, but only the roundabout’s outside lane allows traffic to exit. Drivers quickly learned that entering from the left (inside) lane dooms them to driving in circles. Another problem: East First Avenue traffic is also bumper-to-bumper, and when that traffic enters the roundabout it has priority over southbound Esplanade traffic. Esplanade traffic must stop and wait until a safe opening presents itself.

Here’s my point: When The Esplanade and First Avenue traffic are at their busiest, this roundabout will demand that all three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic merge down to just one useable lane. This is a recipe for gridlock far worse than anything The Esplanade currently faces.

And, if you forgot, student pedestrians and bicyclists in a rush to get to school will also be trying to navigate this roundabout at the same time.

Improved safety? I think not. Efficient traffic flow? Absolutely not.

Bob and Mary Evans


There is no place on The Esplanade for roundabouts. Truck and other traffic will immediately self-detour to Nord Avenue and Mangrove Avenue and add to the congestion already found on those streets. Then we will want roundabouts on Nord and Mangrove. The whole issue needs much more public and professional input.

As a county resident living in the (not offshore) Chapman Islands, I believe that the entire Chico City Council is behaving like a bunch of children battling in an ideological sandbox standoff. They are doing a disservice to the community. They are also an embarrassment.

Unless they can learn the word compromise, the whole bunch—all seven—should be voted out of office.

It is time to increase the effort to create council election districts. City Council members are chosen in nonpartisan elections. They should make their decisions in a nonpartisan process.

Ronald Angle


Scrap talk

Chico Scrap Metal must be moved from its current location. Having lived in Chapmantown for 44 of my 47 years, I’ve been across the street from Chico Scrap Metals’ ugly fence bordering 16th Street since 2005. All the previous efforts made “to improve aesthetics and neighborhood compatibility” by the owners were on 20th Street, and those were a joke!

Monday through Saturday, the racket from Chico Scrap Metal starts at 8 a.m., so I sleep with a white noise machine and am forced to turn it up loud when the giant industrial machinery begins and continues until 4 p.m. I feel sorry for people around here who work the late shift. A lot of dust/dirt comes in my house loaded with contaminants (and bad odors sometimes). Then there is the rat population living in the junk to contend with and the stray cats who hunt them.

The families and agencies involved in building the Habitat for Humanity homes nearby did so based on the junkyard (oops, Chico Scrap Metal) being moved. The house next door has been up for sale for four months. Lots of people looking, then they see the junkyard. Their look of disgust says it all.

Brenda Harlan


For 16 years now the owners of Chico Scrap Metal (CSM) have known their 20th Street location would be out of compliance with both the Chapman-Mulberry Neighborhood Plan and general plan. While the other displaced businesses all relocated dutifully, CSM has sought, and received, extensions to every previous deadline until council finally resolved that no more extensions were allowable.

CSM was undaunted by this resolution and their delay tactics might finally bear fruit. Mayor Mark Sorensen voted to move CSM in 2011, but now joins junkyard advocate and City Councilman Andrew Coolidge and conservative Councilmembers Reanette Fillmer and Sean Morgan to consider tossing out years of hard and thoughtful work by previous city councils and staff who determined the industrial activities of CSM are not suitable for residential neighborhoods and the health hazards related to that activity could not be left threatening the largely poor and minority residents of Chapmantown.

It’s especially galling that those exposed to toxins at the CSM site reside mostly in an unannexed neighborhood and therefore lack representation at the city level. Sounds like yet another example of disenfranchised people being denied justice by policy makers subject more to the whims of the powerful than to the well-being of all those affected by their official decisions.

Dan Everhart


If you or I were required to move, we would sell our current home and use the equity to buy a new house. The owners of Chico Scrap Metal have said they want $1.5 million to move their 20th Street junkyard! Yet they own the 2 acres across the street from Chico’s No. 1 tourist attraction, Sierra Nevada Brewery. CSM bought the property decades ago—with city money. If the junkyard wants a city handout (again!), what equity do they have?

Their bad practices got them a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars a couple years ago—too bad! That money would have made a nice down payment.

The junkyard has been an illegal use since its last extension ran out 16 months ago. The cost of the business’ required move has been amortized over 12 years, as they have gotten two extensions. If, at its May 3 meeting, the City Council gives them a rezone and other protections, the junkyard will never move, at least not for less than the $1.5 million they demand.

If we fail to move the junkyard now, we will fail the children of the Chapman neighborhood forever.

Karl Ory


Editor’s note: The author is a former Chico mayor.

Where’s Doug?

Has anyone seen Doug LaMalfa? The man who claimed to be “one of us” is among the missing. He is seldom seen around the district, and now it appears that he is afraid to participate in the upcoming debate sponsored by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters.

LaMalfa has mastered the practice of feeding at the public trough. While in state office, he exploited loopholes in the law to maximize his take in farm subsidies and sponsored special legislation to benefit his fat-cat cronies.

Upon entering Congress, he happily began doing the bidding of John Boehner and the other establishment politicians.

Instead of fighting for the hard-working taxpayers of the North State, LaMalfa has sold out voting to fund corporate welfare including such boondoggles as $7 billion for Amtrak subsidies, $30 billion in highway bailout and failing to protect our most precious resource, North State water, scoring him lots of campaign contributions from outside the district.

When asked about his dismal record, LeMalfa replied, “You have no idea the pressure that I am under.” Well, as the saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

There is a viable, well-qualified alternative in Joe Montes.

Jim Ledgerwood


Two views on fracking

Fracking is dangerous to the quality of our water and air. A major concern about fracking involves what is done with the wastewater it produces.

Fracking combines up to 8 million gallons of water with up to 40,000 gallons of toxic chemicals in order to break up bedrock in the search for gas and oil. After fracking, this hazardous mix is disposed into injection wells or in open air ponds. Besides threatening the health of our water, methane, the major part of natural gas, can and is escaping into the air. (See Bill McKibben’s new article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry,” March 23, 2016). Methane is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, meaning that transporting the wastewater from the drilling site further spreads contaminating pollutants.

World leaders signed the Paris climate accord last week. For our planet’s sustainability and our children’s future, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Voting yes on Measure E, June 7, to ban fracking in Butte County, unites us with movements all over the world to do just that.

Eric Nilsson


The anti-fracking advocates are using your emotions to get you to vote their way. They want you to believe that our groundwater in Butte County is in jeopardy of contamination and that to save it you must ban fracking in Butte County. The majority of Butte County does not even have the correct geology to fracture. If this was an ideal location for gas extraction, wouldn’t big oil be lining up to collect?

So why the need for a fracking ban in Butte County? There isn’t a need. It’s so the anti-fracking promoters can add Butte County to their list of California communities that are opposed to fracking. They want to use you to make their list longer, so they can go to other counties and tell them that Butte County banned fracking so they should, too. My concern: If we ban fracking in Butte County because it makes us feel good, what are we going to ban next? Eating because it makes us fat? Drinking water because we’re in a drought? Vote no on Measure E and tell them you don’t like being used and you don’t want to be added to their list.

Colleen Cecil