Letters for April 4, 2013

No more budget excuses

Re “Feeling the strain: Student Health Services at Chico State hurt by budget cuts, staff reductions” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, March 28):

I am very, very tired of hearing the budget excuse. There is always extra money available when they want to hire a new administrator, or give an administrator a raise. It shows where their priorities are, and it is not with the students or faculty; it is with themselves.

They hire insiders who are not qualified to do their jobs, they discontinue valuable educational programs because they don’t like people, and there is rampant retaliation. It is a horrendous situation at the university, with extremely lacking leadership. [President Paul] Zingg and his cronies hide behind a veil of “positivity” while making poorly considered choices that are negative to people, the campus and the community.

We are long overdue for a change in “leadership.”


Uncovered issues

Re “Cleaning up Chico: Council addresses homeless transiency” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, March 28):

I will miss Robert Speer’s very comprehensive coverage of the City Council. He’s the only game in town for that. There are issues, however, that I have not seen covered yet.

First, reading the Butte County Homeless Census and Report (2011) one is struck by the fact that there is no direct query as to where these people came from—only an indirect question as to how long they say they have been in this county. This obfuscates how many homeless are homegrown—job loss, marriage loss, illness, being turned out of foster care, etc.—and how many are here because of Chico’s reputation of generosity. Why wouldn’t we want to know that?

Second, Councilwoman Tami Ritter seemingly advocates for the homeless and not the general population. I don’t see her advocating any quality-of-life issues for neighborhoods. In fact, she’s pushing for more transitional housing stealthily placed in predominantly single-family-housing neighborhoods. What else to make of her statements that she’ll take anything, even six-bed (micro) shelters?

If many homeless are not deemed good enough to stay at the Torres Shelter, by what alchemy are they suddenly fit neighbors for families with children, vulnerable seniors and students?

Dee Mandic

Remembering Dr. King

Today, April 4, 2013, marks exactly 45 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis by James Earl Ray, who had escaped from a Missouri prison and volunteered for the presidential campaign of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who ran on a segregationist platform. Ray bought a rifle and a scope (being an escaped prisoner did not matter to the gun store clerk) and decided to kill Dr. King, who died immediately at the age of only 39.

The future looked bleak in 1968, but on Jan. 21, 2013, this country had an annual national holiday to celebrate and remember the great civil-rights leader. Jane Dolan (I’m her husband) and I (and nieces Sarah and Jessica) sat a few hundred feet from President Barack Obama as he was sworn in for a second term. I thought of Dr. King, who on the top of that mountain probably had tears.

While the names of such scoundrels as Richard Nixon and George Wallace will long be noted in the history books, it is those who risked their lives to bring about equality and a better America who get honored. We miss you, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but thank you for speaking out.

Bob Mulholland

This assignment stinks

Re “Sewage smells: Plumbing failure raises downtown concerns” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, March 21):

Excellent article on the plumbing problems facing local businesses on Main Street. It must be nice to be able to designate that block as a full-time reporting assignment. I was surprised not to see the same byline on the St. Pats Day piece, but I guess all that happened outside the Historic Seedy Tavern District.

Alan Chamberlain

Undesirable natives

Re “Canopy Challenge: Professor Calls for sustainable choices in city’s changing urban forest” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, March 21):

Chico State biology professor, botanist and conservationist Kristina Schierenbeck laments the lack of large natives in the city’s current and proposed tree-planting scheme. May I point out that there is very good reason to exclude some natives from the city’s “preferred planting list” and ask Ms. Schierenbeck to leave the decisions to the professionals?

Ms. Schierenbeck is “critical” of the decision to “exclude valley oaks, California sycamores and other large trees” from the list. Please … the native California sycamore is highly susceptible to the bud-failure disease anthracnose, which causes the native to lose its leaves multiple times in a rainy spring and drop branches up to several inches in diameter year-round. Wisely, the city has replaced the native sycamore on the list with trees such as the Yarwood sycamore, a disease-free look alike.

From out here in the real world, it looks like the city’s preferred tree-planting list is in good hands.

Bill Smith

Mayor’s ‘thoughtless gesture’

At the March 26 City Council meeting, the citizens of Chico witnessed a travesty in democracy. At a special meeting regarding the homelessness problem, Mayor Mary Goloff, without prior warning, announced that she was limiting public comments to one minute instead of the usual three minutes.

This decision limited the voices of 21 citizens who wanted to share their views on a subject that will quite possibly tear apart the town where I thought just a few years ago that I would spend the rest of my days.

When Goloff heard the numerous groans and muffled comments from the packed gallery, she had a look of shock on her face. What did you expect, mayor, when you used your power to stifle the voices of democracy?

After a well-timed break, at least six or eight citizens who had wanted their voices heard got disgusted at the last-minute ambush and left the chambers. Well done, Mayor Goloff!

It is a shame that many people who wanted to express their ideas left feeling slighted by our mayor’s thoughtless gesture. Madam Mayor, you have a lot to learn at your new job. Your decision to limit the voice of democracy will come back to haunt you.

Chris Nicodemus

Dubya’s dirty little war

Re “Was Iraq worth it?” (Editorial, March 21):

What exactly did we get out of the Iraq War? Supposedly it was fought because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. If that was the reason for the war, then why didn’t we go after Iran or North Korea? We knew damn well they were building WMD, but no, we didn’t go after them.

Then why Iraq? I believe the real reason for the war was so that George W. Bush could show the world and prove to his father that he could “finish the job” by getting Saddam Hussein as his daddy did not do.

So, what happened after the “ne’er-do-well” (Ronald Reagan’s description of George W. Bush) proclaimed “Mission Accomplished”? As the editorial says, $3 trillion and 4,400 Americans killed and tens of thousands of others coming home disabled and injured and we got what?

Iraq can no longer keep Iran in line, which it was doing before the war, and we’re $3 trillion more in debt for fighting a war without funding it. As a Vietnam vet (1st Cavalry, 1966-67), I’m hoping that the Iraq and Afghanistan vets will be treated a whole lot better than the disdain and contempt the Vietnam vets were treated with after Vietnam, because I don’t see how those wars are going to end any differently than Vietnam did.

I’m also hoping that the voting public now knows better than to buy the delusions of another politician like George W. Bush, because he does have a brother in Florida who people are making noises about running for president next time. Yikes!

Phil Elkins
Forest Ranch

‘Hatchet job’ film review

I would not normally comment on a review, since the arts are subjective and a matter of taste, but I must object to the horrid hatchet job perpetrated on Oz, the Great and Powerful (Now Playing, March 14) by Rachel Bush. She gave it two stars and ripped it.

Mick LaSalle of the SF Chronicle, perhaps America’s finest film critic, had the little man clapping, and his only complaint was that it was two hours instead of 90 minutes, but he didn’t know what to cut.

It is a very entertaining film, and best seen on the big screen in 3D. I’m sure lots of folks will be cursing her when they see it on their TV without 3D. I, for one, will be taking her reviews with a 10-pound bag of rock salt. A pity, since your other reviewers are spot on.

Jim Dwyer

Praise for Enloe

After the healthy home birth of our premature first child, we were rushed to Enloe so she could get help breathing. In my 20 years in Chico I’ve heard decent things about our local hospital, but the treatment we got there was downright exceptional.

As a new mother in a traumatic situation, I am deeply grateful to the NICU nursing staff for easing the difficulty for us. Enloe’s nurses and lactation consultants were attentive, skilled, caring, sensitive and respectful of our home birth choice and our desire for our baby to have skin-to-skin contact with her mother, which is proven to drastically speed healing.

When life tosses another unexpected turn my way, I can only hope to again discover support with the kind of integrity and skill we found at Enloe.

Jessica Rios

The K.L.E.A.N. team

The Chico Junior High School K.L.E.A.N. team is interested in helping the environment by picking up cigarette butts and adding no smoking to Bidwell Park. Bidwell Park is a place for kids to play and have fun, not a place to breathe in secondhand smoke.

We already have helped with the new policy in the city of Chico that does not allow smoking within 20 feet of any business entryway. We are currently working on a policy that would prohibit smoking in Bidwell Park.

K.L.E.A.N. team members, including adult staff, have attended City Council meetings to provide information about K.L.E.A.N. and these projects. Two of our K.L.E.A.N members spoke in front of the City Council, which took courage—something K.L.E.A.N. is also about.

Sure, we are for helping the environment by working on secondhand-smoke policies in Chico, but we also are having fun and building courage. K.L.E.A.N stands for Kids Leading Everyone Against Nicotine, and we need your help.

Taron Zilch and Kayla Bridges

The authors attend Chico Junior High School.