Letters for April 30, 2009

Fond memories of Chico cycling

Re: “Wildflower chronicles” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, April 23):

The Bike Issue was altogether superb.

For more than 25 years, Ed McLaughlin has been a tenacious lobbyist and effective proponent of safe, attractive bicycle activities in this area; his leadership in starting and sustaining the Wildflower rides is one of his greatest achievements. I’d like to add just a note to the fine article on the “Wildflower Chronicles,” especially after Sunday’s ride that attracted more than 3,000 riders.

Back around 1971, I joined a small group of “10-speed” road bike riders that assembled every Sunday year-round at a big oak tree on the South Park Drive. We called ourselves a variety of names, but as the group steadily grew I think eventually we were the basis for what McLaughlin later organized as the Chico Velo Cycling Club.

There were many colorful bike riders back in those days, even a few pioneering women—Dolly Rupp, Claudine Campbell (later a writer for the CN&R), Vicki Fisci, and the legendary Kathy Brooks. Other regulars included Greg Voge, Gary Jones, Jeff Lindsay, Peter Lutz, Mick Coyle, Bill Neal and a certain young Chico State student named Ken Grossman.

Occasionally after a hot summer bike ride, we would stop by Ken’s house in Chapmantown and he’d serve us some sort of cold, mildly alcoholic drink. During the 1970s, as his brewing skills far surpassed his cycling prowess, we saw less and less of Ken Grossman on the Sunday rides.

But that’s a whole ’nother story …

Charles Geshekter

Share road safely, sanely, legally

Re: “Can’t we all just get along?” (Bike Issue story, by Ryan Laine, CN&R, April 23):

I am glad that your Bike Issue included a page on safety. I ride a bicycle and ride the bus more than I drive; I am on both sides of the motorist/cyclist divide. I have found both motorists and cyclists in Chico to be reckless in the extreme.

Just stand by any busy intersection and within 10 seconds you see a motorist do something reckless or illegal. Motorists are more dangerous, but they cannot compete with cyclists for open contempt for the law. Cyclists (of all ages) routinely ride on the left side of the road, on sidewalks, or the wrong way on one-way streets, not to mention their indifference to intersections, stop signs, red lights.

A few of us cyclists are safety conscious and law-abiding, but we are a minority. Can’t we all just obey the law?

Daniel Griggs

Only from his cold, dead hands

Re: “Caper Acres? Highway 32? Who knows?” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, April 23):

Relocate the disc golf course to Caper Acres? Not as long as I draw breath. Every single other person that I have talked to says the same thing. Absolutely not!

Caper Acres and the One-Mile area for that matter, are for the kids, families and other park goers! Period. Film at 11. It is not a place to be hurling heavy objects around potentially coming into contact with someone’s head.

What are the City Council and Park Commission thinking? Do they want the locals to revolt? Go right ahead and put the disc golf course in Caper Acres. See what happens. I know I will stand in nonviolent defense of the Earth, Caper Acres, and of Annie’s Covenant. And, I know I won’t be alone.

I have been out to the Highway 32 site many times. I love to walk my dogs there and see the views. Honestly, I haven’t yet seen any damage up there, other than that caused by foot traffic. If the golfers can keep their traffic to the established trails and clean up the occasional garbage and dog poo, I think it is a much better site.

Besides, if you want to talk about inappropriate use of Upper Park, let’s start a discussion on the massive damage caused to the ecosystem by allowing the regular golf course to remain there. But that is another battle.

Paul Fisher

Alternative energies

Re: “Lump of coal in ‘clean’ energy stocking” (Guest Comment, by John Callaway, CN&R, April 23):

I read with interest the commentary on “clean coal.” I wish not so much to argue with Mr. Callaway’s assumptions as to point out the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the room. I agree coal is possibly not the best choice for energy production; on the other hand, what are the politically correct alternatives?

Environmentalists want hydroelectric dams to be torn down. They file infinite lawsuits to prevent nuclear power development, making it more expensive, not to mention stonewalling waste repositories, which defies environmental logic. Windmill farms are stopped because of perceived threats to migratory birds and bats. Last weekend, there were demonstrations against biofuels as well.

Even solar, at best limited in utility in some areas, causes “destruction of the viewshed.”

As long as “no” is the only word in environmentalists’ lexicon, they will be respected by only the most radical of politicians. To pretend our carbon footprint will be reduced by their efforts is fantasy as long as extremism drives their self-defeating policies.

There are clean alternatives. Note the plural: alternatives. “No” is not the answer.

Ron Acevedo

Show true initiative

Re: “Untying the budget knot” (Editorial, CN&R, April 23):

Mr. Krol [the economics professor cited] blithely talks about using the initiative process to force legislators’ hands. In my opinion, the initiative process is exactly what got us into the position we all are wringing our hands about today. We hire representatives and their staffs to diligently research laws before they are passed.

Starting with Prop. 13, favoring the wealthy who turn over property at a much slower rate and work all of the loopholes they put into the initiative; through “three strikes” and other mandatory sentencing initiatives, which (along with victimless crimes and the über-powerful prison guards association) have us sinking untold dollars into keeping people locked up instead of educating them; to the present initiatives being foisted upon us because of our legislators’ ineptitude, the initiative process has taken so many expense and income items out of the hands of our elected representatives that, even were they willing and able to do their jobs, they couldn’t.

We will be paying for these proposed initiatives for many years to come—if only by hearing our representatives use them as an excuse.

Even though the partisan politicos we have been electing are inefficient and ruled by special interests, one need only look at the money and slick advertising involved in the initiative process to see how bad government can be when ruled by knee-jerk couch potatoes.

The answer is to get involved—elect thoughtful representatives who don’t prejudge every issue because of some dogmatic stance. You get and deserve the government you vote for.

Rich Meyers

Pickett omitted

Re: “Reverend rebukes the ultimate condemnation” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, April 23):

During Texas’ last legislative session, in the spring of 2001, supporters of HB236, a bill to ban execution of the mentally retarded, held a public rally at the capital in Austin and invoked the case of Mario Marquez, executed in 1995, and stated that Marquez was exactly that kind of murderer that HB236 was designed to protect. Supporters could not have provided a better case for Texans to oppose this bill and for Gov. Perry to veto it.

Marquez was angry that his wife was leaving him, so, in retaliation, he murdered his wife’s 14-year-old niece, Rachel, and his 18-year-old estranged wife, Rebecca. They were beaten and raped, then strangled to death. Marquez then waited for his mother-in-law to return home, beat and sexually assaulted her, then presented the brutalized bodies of the two girls to her as trophies.

Marquez’s performance IQ was measured at 75—16 points above the minimum required to establish that arbitrary “mental retardation” standard. And Marquez’s life and crimes, spanning many years, fully support that Marquez knew exactly what he was doing.

When given the facts of specific crimes, like Marquez’s, many would agree with the jury that such mentally competent, guilty murderers should face the death penalty as a sentencing option.

Dudley Sharp
Houston, Texas

Happy flashback

Re: “Born into garages” (Music, by Mark Lore, CN&R, April 23):

Kool article. I was part of the late ’60s early ’70s rock scene in Chico. My bands Panamiga and Sara Jean were popular and very active parts of the area music scene. After coming in fourth place in the 1968 California State Battle of the Bands (out of 120 statewide), we played every week in high schools and the college’s fraternity and sorority events. We played throughout Northern California and produced a recording that is available as a remastered CD.

After living and working in and around the music world in Southern California, then in business in the Bay Area for 35 years, I’m now back in Paradise and operate a recording studio and music camp (www.ParadiseMusicCamp.com).

Many of the members of these old groups are still in the Chico area, including John Miskella, Ron Pope, Roger Dallicci, Walter Sager, Pat Hilton, Michael Agliolo, Steve Smith and Rick Carpenter. We still all get together from time to time and play music.

Clay Reid


Re: “Ode to circular food” (Chow, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, April 23): Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works’ address is 117 W. Second St.

Re: “Born into garages” (Music, by Mark Lore, CN&R, April 23): The last name of Alex Palao was misspelled.

We apologize for both errors, which have been corrected online.