Letters for April 5, 2001

Bush is no Clinton
George W. Bush figured that requiring coats and ties and holding meetings strictly on time would fit in with his idea of “being presidential” and put himself a cut above his predecessor. As Wall Street collapses and the Balkan powder keg explodes, Mr. Bush may find he is a bit behind the learning curve for presidential leadership.

There’s quite a difference between watching President Clinton handling world and domestic crises day by day and attempting to do the same with Mr. Bush’s obvious limitations in intellectual capacity. The U.S. populace will discover in time that it made a poor choice in allowing Mr. Bush to take over the presidency of our great nation.

Robert Woods
Forest Ranch

Monkeys and meadowfoam
Butte County meadowfoam is a different species from the commercially grown hybrid in Oregon, so it is ludicrous to try to say they are the same thing ["Troubled weatherman,” Letters, March 15]. It’s like trying to call a wolf a dog. They belong to the same genus, but they are different species. One is a wild species, which has existed for millions of years, while the other is a domesticated form dependent upon man.

Educated people clearly understand the importance of saving wild progenitors of domesticated species, as well as closely related species, as these increase the genetic stock for potential use by man. All over the world botanists continue searching for the wild progenitors and close relatives of commercially important plant species. With the wild forms, they can incorporate such traits as disease resistance, frost tolerance and rapid growth.

Once destroyed, Butte County meadowfoam will never return. It does not grow and survive in any other place on the planet. You may grow the plant in a pot, or in your garden, but it does not survive the test of time. It may appear in odd locations because seeds have been disturbed from their normal habitat, but these plants also will not survive the test of time.

As we all witness the ongoing destruction of the natural environment, it tells me that humanity is still more simian than divine, that the veneer of civilization is becoming very thin, indeed.

Tanya Henrich

Mining fever
Mineral Resources (MR) wants to excavate 2,000 tons of sand each workday for the next 50 years from the Cherokee hills, requiring 80 round-daily truck trips to south Oroville. Although MR has not yet shipped the first pound of sand, its site is already a heartbreaking eyesore (3.3 miles from Table Mountain Boulevard). But, not to worry, they’ve planted small bushes to hide the view.

Another mining company, AMT (Advanced Mineral Technology of Nevada, based in Idaho), has just applied to mine silica sand at the other end of Cherokee Road in an area surrounded by homes. Five families live less than 800 feet from this proposed open-pit mining operation, which will produce particles of silica. Inhalation of airborne silica dust can cause silicosis, a lung disease similar to Black Lung, which has no treatment or cure.

AMT wants to excavate 22.5 million tons of sand from the historic Cherokee Gold Mine site, including “the western, southern and eastern flanks” of Cherokee’s landmark Sugarloaf peak. Each working day over the next 23 years, AMT proposes to make 48 round trips with 20-ton diesel trucks from its (proposed) “improved” Cherokee Road onto Scenic Byway 70 through Oroville to Sacramento and beyond.

Cherokee will make every effort to preserve its history and beauty for residents and tourists. Cherokee cannot afford mining companies destroying our historic community and devastating our land, air, water, wildlife, roads and nearby human residents.

Cherokee Preservation Society
Contact person: Ja-Key Smith

Dale Earnhardt, God and the Constitution
Chief Justice William Rehnquist defended our Constitution and condemned those who would interpret it as a living, breathing Constitution, open to change and liberal interpretation. How true a statement! What a tragedy when we attempt to adapt and mold this foundational document to fit our personal agenda or current pop culture.

I was reminded of another tragedy, Dale Earnhardt, whose fatal injures may have been prevented if a modified safety harness had not failed. The original design of these belts had one specific purpose in mind—to save lives. They were never engineered for comfort, convenience or personal preference. We must presume, though, that a pit crew would never have anything higher in mind than the safety of its driver.

So it is with our Constitution. The framers were not concerned with the modern and evolutionary issues of a future society. It was created with forethought and deliberate purpose, as they relied upon a higher calling and moral authority—their faith and trust in Almighty God. The Constitution was also founded upon freedom. But freedom without responsibility and a moral compass is a house built upon shifting sand.

May we have the courage to trust in the wisdom and faith of our founding fathers, as they created this with our good and prosperity in mind. Let us never modify this safety harness to fit our personal agenda or that of those who attempt to change the course of this great nation.

Dan Bovee

Fiscal prudence?
On June 5, a special election will be held to determine whether the people of Chico want to spend $2.9 million of their tax money to subsidize improvements to the privately owned Hegan Lane Business Park. It is argued that this expenditure will bring jobs to Chico. How many jobs and at what hourly rate of pay will $2.9 million buy? Other private businesses also bring jobs to Chico but do so without public subsidies. How many other businesses in Chico could use public money to expand their operations? Why does a private bridge to Doug Guillon’s business park get such unprecedented consideration?

The money for the Otterson Drive Extension Project would come from your redevelopment and park funds. Redevelopment funds can be used for blighted areas, fixing potholed roads, sidewalks, lights, planting trees and building more affordable housing. Park funds can be used to build neighborhood parks in areas like southwest Chico, which has only one tiny park. Park funds could be used to build the recreation center that has been talked about for a long time. These improvements too will attract investors to Chico.

When considering how to vote on this issue, we urge you to look around your neighborhoods, look around your town. Is there anything besides a bridge you’d rather have this money spent on? Could it be spent on projects that would benefit more than just one private enterprise?

Lin Jensen
Karen Laslo