Letters for April 29, 2004
Houses on the Buttes
For most of my life I have lived in the shadows of the Sutter Buttes. I have always had a keen interest in these mysterious peaks. From 1992 through 1996, I worked for the Middle Mountain Foundation as a tour guide.
Recently the state purchased 1,785 acres in Peace Valley for a future state park. Unfortunately, the state did not purchase the 280-acre parcel that includes Cat Rock. The seller, Circle “H” LLC, decided to hold onto the property. Why? To place on the market three parcels.
The easement agreement states: “One single-family residence plus reasonable outbuildings may be constructed on each of the three parcels.” At some future date there will be a request brought to the Sutter County supervisors to build three homes next to the new state park, complete with exclusive easement through the park.
When I first heard about the state buying Peace Valley, I was happy. I thought that finally a piece of the Sutter Buttes would be preserved from threats like housing developments. I am dismayed to discover that state purchase opens the door to the first housing project within the interior of the Sutter Buttes, where none could be built before the state came along.
Two central issues of the day regard health. The health of our planet is endangered by global warming. The health of our people is endangered by lack of exercise and obesity. Local action that we can take is to encourage people to exercise in the nearby parts of the great outdoors. But God help you if you propose utilizing Chico’s parks, preserves and greenways for this purpose.
The environmental movement has a noble tradition but locally has gone astray. The Butte Environmental Council, Sierra Club and California Native Plant Society are downright unethical in their opposition to public access to public lands. Why is it that I must spend my time driving hours (see www.chicohiking.org) to work on trails in distant national forests? Because of the relentless opposition to the Lindo Greenway Trail, Upper Park’s Annie Bidwell Trail, Bidwell Ranch access trails and CSUC Ecological Reserve trails by the local environmental leadership.
John Muir must be rolling indignantly in his grave.
Current difficulties within the Chico Unified School District compel me to write. I worked with Jeff Sloan beginning with his tenure at Bidwell Junior High. His administrative style quickly became apparent.
Mr. Sloan has spent years carving out an empire. His very public and frequent statement that he “does not ask permission, just forgiveness” is a clear indication that he is well aware of the policies and laws governing his actions as a principal of a California public school but chooses not to follow them. At last he is being held accountable.
The outpouring of support from Marsh Jr. High staff, students and their families is not surprising. Mr. Sloan hand-picked his staff and his student body by promising and delivering equipment and favors. The problem is that people no longer have equal access, a cornerstone of public education. This appears to be a flagrant disregard of the law.
My hope is that the CUSD administration will keep in mind the larger picture. Do you want to send a message to young people and families that the end justifies the means? Or, that we are all accountable for our actions and we need to function as well as we are able within existing laws, whether or not we agree with them.
Kathleen P. Muldoon, M.S.W.
Retired school counselor
Basted in space
Will global warming cook our goose?
Stephen T. Davis
Just war for oil?
In the argument over whether the Iraq war is a just war, the present administration, the initiators of this war, offer the elimination of a murderous tyrant and the future promise of a democratic Iraq as the ends that justifies the means of war. The demonstrations around the world preceding the invasion of Iraq made the accusations that the reasons behind the U.S. invasion for were for oil and the strategically important position of Iraq. The administration denied this, stressing the great threat to our national security because Saddam Hussein was lying about possessing weapons of mass destruction and links with al-Qaeda.
Now I’d like to know what has been happening to the great oil reserves of Iraq in the past year. One year later, with the major reasons we were summoned to war proven false, the left-wing radio shows and liberal press speak of the chaos in Iraqi life, the low morale and desertion of our soldiers, the continued death of our military personnel, the strong anti-American sentiment and the misleading reasons for the necessity of war, but no information about what is happening to the second-largest oil reserve in the world.
How can we justify the privatization of another country’s valuable resource (by force) for our own profit, or rather the profit of the few? The sale of Iraqi oil should be distributed to all the Iraqi people to help them better their lives. The U.S. went another $87 billion in debt, the money to be shared among a few American contractors helping to rebuild Iraq. Why not use the oil profits? And when we turn over supposed sovereignty in July to the Iraqi people, are we leaving them their oil fields?
In 1998, the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation conducted a survey of American adults on their knowledge of environmental issues. The average score was below what could be achieved by guessing. The Streetalk column in your April 22 issue ["Are you concerned about global warming?"] shows that not much has changed. The news stories and commentary in the same issue show how this happened.
In response to Mr. Rates’ accusation of KZFR racism in ignoring hip-hop programming ["Freedom for KZFR,” Guest comment, April 18], I would imagine violent lyrics (more prevalent in older rap/hip-hop) was what they were adverse to “promote.” The station plays tons of black jazz/blues/R&B/reggae and West African music. When I heard hip-hop on KZFR, it seemed out of synch with their mellow hippie ‘60s slant. I know black musicians (older dudes) who had it, but it’s not a “generational” divide. The canned beats, vocal cadence and attitude of delivery make me tense like a leaf blower or power mower. Like video games, there’s the angst of subterfuge.