Letters for April 6, 2006

The left wing
With regard to the March 23 anonymous editorial entitled “The Texafication of California,” I have to lament the departure of former Editor Tom Gascoyne, who I felt delivered his words with a reasonable political balance, even though his liberal perspective was apparent in his message.

The March 23 editorial, with its flagrant left-wing viewpoint, clearly suffers from a lack of understanding for the words “revenge,” “rehabilitation,” “redemption” and “premeditated.” Capital punishment is the end result of the long road of jurisprudence, where a “civilized society” decides that certain acts and/or crimes can be so brutal and heinous in their nature as to be beyond rehabilitation or redemption and warrant permanent removal of the perpetrator from this life as a consequence of those acts and as a protection for our society.

The only thing “premeditated” about the long and painful analysis of various capital crimes by the criminal-justice system is whether each act rises (or falls, as the case may be) to the level requiring the death of the person who chose to act outside the accepted laws of our society. If one chooses to take the most precious and irreplaceable possession (life) from another human being and, in the process, subjects that victim to a regimen of torture and wanton cruelty, our society has, as a majority, decided that the consequence of such acts is the taking of the perpetrator’s life.

The author of this editorial obviously doesn’t understand the legal process, inasmuch as that person completely ignores the weight of precedent-setting case law delivered by the courts, their interpretation of the Constitution and the guidelines these decisions set in the administration of justice within state and federal law.

The author also claims quite erroneously that the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act, a.k.a. “Jessica’s Law,” is inflated by the “bogus claim that sex offenders have higher recidivism rates than other criminals.” The recidivism rate of sex offenders has actually been documented in a three-year (1994) study, at over four times the rate of non-sex offenders. (See: The Bureau of Justice Statistics Web site at: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/rsorp94.html). Whether you choose to be a left-leaning publication or not, it would behoove you and any journalistic integrity that you hope to claim if you’d simply check out the facts before you publish.

Mark McCandlish

Get punked
I’m stoked the N&R is promoting local music with the Cammies. Thanks. But isn’t it kind of funny there aren’t any proper punk bands playing at the punk showcase? Nothing against the folks who are playing which I am a fan of. Just seems kind of silly.

Brent Hainsworth

Staff turnover
Butte Environmental Council views the dramatic staffing losses at the Chico News & Review with alarm. The combined experience, talent, and historic memory that gave the Chico community an alternative news source to the one daily newspaper is gone. Photographer Tom Angel, editor Tom Gascoyne, and reporters Devanie Angel and Josh Indar have vanished within a two-month period. BEC is aware of the financial stresses on written news publications as witnessed by the recent Knight Ridder sale, but the CNR clearly had a crack advertising staff that kept the paper full of ads.

We wish the former employees well in their new pursuits and hope that management at the paper will consider what such turnover will do to local news coverage and their revenue stream. We have already witnessed the constant influx of fresh faces to the local TV media, shifting senior reporters out or giving them diminished roles. The use of inexperienced reporters results in greater use of police blotter stories and far weaker coverage of complex issues. From an outsider perspective, we encourage the CNR’s management to reflect on its stunning staff losses and for the sake of the community the paper serves, do whatever it can to attract and keep experienced reporters, including hiring an expert at team building and personnel management.

Barbara Vlamis
Butte Environmental Council

CN&R responds: It’s true that CN&R’s editorial department has suffered unusually high turnover, but for the record, former Editor Tom Gascoyne, former Associate Editor Devanie Angel and former News Editor Josh Indar all chose to resign from their positions; they were not shifted out or given diminished roles. Both Tom Gascoyne and Josh Indar continue to contribute to the paper.

Water is life
A United Nations report warns that 17 percent of the planet’s population (1.1 billion people) lack access to safe drinking water and 40 percent (2.6 billion) lack basic sanitation. This accounts for the loss of 1.6 million lives annually.

Essential to life itself, water is also a key resource of agriculture and manufacturing industries. Serious conflicts over shared water supplies have arisen between neighboring countries. It won’t be long before water replaces oil as a root cause of international conflict and terrorism.

Between 70 and 80 percent of all available water is used to grow animal feed crops and to process animal carcasses. Most of America’s surface waterways are used as sewers for runoff from feed crops and animal factories.

Concerns for world peace and protection of aquatic habitats are rapidly joining traditional concerns for consumer health and animal welfare as compelling reasons for kicking the meat habit in favor of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Howard Thatcher

A public thank you
The Chico Community Shelter Partnership (CCSP), which operates the Torres Community Shelter, would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the tremendous effort, commitment, and community spirit of everyone involved in the Empty Bowls soup supper on March 7. On behalf of the hundreds of guests of the Torres Shelter, we wish to especially thank the student organizers of this event for having designated the shelter, along with the Heifer Project International, to receive a portion of the proceeds. As in past years, this event showcased the very finest traits that we admire in the youth of our community. We also thank the Chico Rotary Club for renting the banquet hall for the event.

The well-orchestrated effort between the Chico High Rotary Inter-Act Club and the Culinary Academy and Art Club of Pleasant Valley High School was a tribute to the qualities of cooperation, compassion, and community spirit that we all admire in these young adults. Their yearly focus on organizations that provide improved nutrition for the underrepresented and marginalized in Chico and in developing countries is to be commended by us all. It was also clear from the list on the evening’s program that numerous local restaurants, businesses and caring individuals joined in generously supporting this effort.

On behalf of the many homeless guests of the Torres Community Shelter who will enjoy the simple suppers that the Empty Bowls dinner helps to provide, we are thankful for these dedicated youth and the compassion of our community.

Steve Troester
CCSP Chairman