Letters for April 7, 2011

Our business of killing

Re “Obama’s tough decision” (Editorial, March 31):

Shame on CN&R’s editorial “we” who readily parrot idiotic claims to justify yet another fascist war for oil. Who is “we”? It sure isn’t me, or anyone I know.

Perhaps you have forgotten or wish “we” would forget that the story leading to war with Iraq the first time, “Iraqis killing Kuwaiti babies,” was false. The story (and all other war-justifying stories) was a complete fabrication put forward by the media with a multimillion-dollar bill paid by the American public.

In the promotion of Iraq vs. U.S. II, we again used our money (trillions this time) to produce lies necessary to start this fight. The most prominent lie was that Muslims did 9/11, when even a sixth-grader could tell it was a staged event, with absolutely no real evidence to prove otherwise.

Now Libya, next Iran, Syria, Yemen, etc., the miserable goose-steppers of the media will gladly make the case that these wars are necessary for some humanitarian reason. If that lie fails, just use 9/11.

A dictator who we actually support must be condemned because he may be killing his countrymen, and then we proceed to kill millions of them ourselves. Whose interests are we protecting? Not the people interested in living, who we claim to be protecting.

Who is going to stop the USA from killing those people uninterested in the U.S.’s imperialist agenda based on lies? Well, nobody if we can kill them fast enough.

Killing people is America’s fastest-growing industry, so it’s all in the public’s interest.

David Kiefer

One-sided blame

Re “Palestine needs our support” (Guest comment, by Ann Polivka, March 24):

I was distressed to read Ann Polivka’s guest comment. That’s because I’ve devoted much of my life to dialogue and understanding, including co-founding a Jewish-Palestinian dialogue, while her article blames only one side, Israel.

Ms. Polivka’s column makes no distinction between contested settlements on the West Bank or the 1948 War of Independence, when all the surrounding countries attacked the new state after the United Nations voted in its favor. Her article does more than criticize Israeli policies; it delegitimizes Israel’s very existence. She also ignores Israel’s repeated efforts to bring peace through the Oslo Accords, the Camp David summit, and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Polivka writes that “resistance … has taken many forms in Palestine/Israel—from letter writing to hunger strikes.” She glaringly omits the ongoing technique of violence and the suicide bombings that forced Israel to erect the much-criticized security wall. Her approach is that Israel is the only party that should be punished through boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Polivka writes that pressure should be applied until Israel “changes its laws and practices to recognize and protect full equal rights for Arab citizens of Israel.” But Israel is already the only country in the Mideast to grant full civil rights to minority citizens. Arab and Druze citizens serve in the Knesset and Supreme Court, as cabinet ministers, professionals and diplomats like Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin Muslim interviewed by the CN&R. While the standing of minority citizens in every country should improve, this is not what I would call “apartheid,” as Ms. Polivka does.

This guest comment could have made a real contribution to understanding, if the author had stated that both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered greatly from the conflict and have a right to self-determination and peace, and that we should all urge our government to work hard for a final settlement for which we all hope and pray. But with the turmoil in the Mideast revealing the true nature of its dictators and their abysmal human-rights records, why is democratic Israel the only one subject to a campaign of delegitimization? The way to peace is not through shunning and boycotts, but through negotiation, dialogue, and deeper understanding of the complex nature of the world’s problems.

Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan
Congregation Beth Israel


Parroting pro-Palestinian propaganda is so yesterday. Arabs all over the Middle East are realizing that they don’t have to continue living the way they are. Perhaps they are looking at their relatives in Israel, who are prospering (20 percent of Israel’s citizens are Arab).

It is exciting to watch the protests in Syria, Yemen, Jordan, etc. and wonder what these people envision for their future. Perhaps it doesn’t involve hate, terrorism and endless years in refugee camps. Let’s hope, anyway.

Barbara Segal

Dumbing down of America

Re “Budget bill threatens aid for needy students” (Newslines, by Dane Stivers, March 31):

As a Chico State student and a non-trad who is trying to finish his double major, this resolution if it passes will hurt my ability to finish at this school. If it weren’t for the Pell grant, I wouldn’t be able to continue in school.

What the Republicans in Washington don’t seem to realize is that some of them also used the same grant once in their lives. So why all of a sudden are they so quick to try and cut it?

I mean, it just seems like the state of California and the Feds are truly trying make for a dumber population, between the cuts that our governor is trying to make and now the feds with the Pell. It just figures that the highest-rated TV shows are ones where young kids are getting pregnant and not finishing school or people with names like Snooki are making it seem cool not to have a real purpose in life.

LB Ryan

Time to tighten belts

Re “Do they hate Chico?” (Editorial, March 31):

Doug LaMalfa and Dan Logue are trying to balance the budget in the most responsible way. Our state government has gotten us into this mess with continued outrageous spending, threatening each time they raise taxes, they will have to cut essential services (police, fire, etc.), if we the taxpayers do not comply with the tax increases.

When does it all end and they start cutting all the frivolous spending that has occurred over the decades unless we push back and force them to without further tax increases or extending the taxes set to expire, which we were told would get us out of the last hole they dug. Come on, Californians, wake up and see the handwriting on the wall.

As for education spending, it gets the biggest chunk of the budget. Those in the administrative end of education need to tighter their belts and manage their budgets better. Reduce some of these astronomical salaries and benefits. What happened to all the money from the lottery, which was designated for education?

I, for one, am sick and tired of paying for higher education for others anyway. Let them pay their own way. The taxpayers are already paying for K-12, and not getting a very good bang for our buck there anymore, by the looks of the abysmal scores.

Victoria Kathleen Coots

This article should have been titled, “Do the Democrat legislators and Gov. Brown hate California businesses?” The answer to that question is yes.

With high taxation and over-regulation, the Democrat-controlled Legislature continues to drive businesses out of California, whether that is to another state or overseas.

The left will argue that businesses need to pay their fair share, and that they don’t care about their employees (of course they would argue that is why we need unions). These people need to think logically. The only reason for business to exist is to make a profit. Without a reasonable profit, the business would not exist. If the business goes under, the employees are out of a job. Fewer businesses and fewer people working means decreased tax revenue. Lower tax revenues (the only way the government makes money) means fewer dollars going to state-supported institutions such as Chico State.

Following this logic brings one to the conclusion that Logue and LaMalfa actually love Chico and want what’s best for us.

Susan Hubbard

NPR leans left? Bosh!

Re “NPR leans left” (Letters, by Tom Hall, March 31):

Tom Hall contends that NPR is as left wing a news source as Fox News veers rightward. Nothing could be further from reality. I listen to NPR every day and I find it to be balanced and nonpartisan to a fault. Invariably interviews always present both Democratic and Republican spokespeople on contentious issues.

A survey about a year ago evaluated NPR’s left/right airtime and actually found a slight edge to the conservative side. Those conservatives who believe NPR to be a “lefty” media source probably are convinced that any point of view not 100 percent conservative and in consonance with Fox News must be, by definition, solely “liberal.”

If Mr. Cole wants to enjoy a truly liberal news source, he should listen to MSNBC from 3-7 p.m. weekdays. He might actually discover that factual media reporting does exist.

John W. Cecil

NPR is a legitimate source of balanced news. Study after study has shown this to be so. Fox News is news in name only. Fox News is nothing but pretense. Fox News is in fact an organization that promotes a rightist agenda, to the detriment of real news.

Anyone who actually listens to NPR, on the other hand, will note that it presents reasonable proponents of both sides of every issue, without trying to convince the listener that one side is right. It believes that the listener is intelligent enough to weigh both sides and determine the truth of the situation.

Liberals who listen to NPR complain that NPR is too conservative; while conservatives claim it is too liberal. From that little piece of information alone, one should logically conclude that NPR is right in the center.

Maurice Kugler

An unrecognized problem

Re “Equality in sports—and life” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, March 31):

Thanks for publishing Patrick Newman’s letter about the plight of boys in education and society. I’ve been trying to warn folks for decades. The vote in this country is 51 percent to 60 percent female in any election, so politicians are afraid to acknowledge the problem.

I took some “teacher education” (LOL) courses at Chico State when I retired and was disgusted that the feminist-controlled department didn’t know the actual stats on boys, and when I brought up the stats, they suppressed the info. They didn’t even mention the “boys are failing” issue in classes, not once. Oh yeah, it’s a vicious femiNazi university. A real clown college. I communicated with King Zingg about the problem, but he just buried his head in the sand, like everybody else.

Michael Peters

Vote—just not here

The claim that prevails among those who disagree with changing the voting to June, when college students are out of school, is to prevent them from voting. Not so.

Those students who come from another area can and, in all fairness, should vote by absentee ballot from whence they came, leaving the voting on local issues to the locals.

Upon graduating, most return to their homes. In effect they are visitors while attending the university. In reality they have no native ties to our area.

Joe Canzoneri

Focus on rights, not legalisms

The reason that the cultivation ordinances are working in Mendocino and Tehama counties is that they provide rights that are either “equal to” or greater than those provided by the state. Also of interest to note is that the zip-tie fee is totally voluntary in Mendocino County, and the funds are applied to a general fund, which works well in the Mendocino culture.

Charging a fee in order to hire someone to enforce the payment of the fee would be counter-productive and do nothing to encourage a good-neighbor policy. Any new ordinances in Butte County should clearly state guidelines for growing the maximum the state allows without infringing upon others. This should include a reasonable distance-from-property-lines restriction (5 to 10 feet), mandate that all plants be blocked from view outside of the property, as well as a limited number of prescriptions allowed based on property size.

Rather than hiring additional staff to inspect yards looking for violations, enforcement should be centered around complaints made. Butte County did not win in court when sued for violations of rights occurring from an illegal seizure of property during a marijuana investigation. This resulted not only in court costs, but also fines of $75,000 that reduced Butte County’s already-low funds.

The court’s judgment was based on Butte County’s not adhering to state law and ordered the county to follow state, not federal, protocols.

When creating these ordinances, it is something to be very mindful of. Can we afford to challenge the rights that California has given to its citizens, and do we even want to do so?

Diane Pillsbury

Editor’s note: The zip-tie fee in Mendocino County is voluntary for those with 25 plants or fewer. For cooperatives with more than 25 plants, it is mandatory.

Take care of the park

Many thanks to the Chico Parks Department and the Friends of Bidwell Park for the excellent job done restoring the native vegetation in the park.

Since most of your readers are not professional botanists or wildlife managers, perhaps some clarifying comments are in order.

Contrary to recent statements, Himalayan blackberry is definitely not a native California plant. This vigorous invader from Eurasia has vicious, recurved thorns and leapfrogs through our riparian forests by means of arching, 10-foot branches that take root wherever the tip touches the ground. The Jepson Manual notes that it is invasive along the Pacific Coast from Baja to British Columbia and is also causing problems in Australia and other countries. The manual also says that this plant is “favored by rates for food, shelter.” Definitely a plant to remove from the park.

The park restoration workers are replacing this green monster with the much smaller and gentler California blackberry, which has whitish stems and small prickles. It has earned out gratitude by being a parent of the welcome boysenberry and loganberry and is not invasive.

The “dark green, evergreen plant with shiny leaves” is the common privet and is native to China and Japan. Sunset Western Garden Book says, “Greeduy roots [for water/nutrients]. Fruit crop is immense and stains cars and walks. Seeds sprout profusely in ground covers and will need pulling.” A much better evergreen is our native toyon, whose red Christmastime berries are cherished by birds and animals.

Join me and other park volunteers as we pull the privets and plant the toyons.

Wes Dempsey

Rehab, not prison

End the “War on Drugs” = fewer arrests = fewer felons = fewer prisons = more state money = better public education = more opportunity = economic stimulation = less crime and more civic engagement = more egalitarian society = true democracy.

The USA is the world leader in the use of imprisonment against its population. Our “lock-up” rate is five to eight times that of Canada and Western Europe—a shameful legacy for a nation that proclaims itself a beacon of democracy around the world.

The choice to cage our people at astronomical rates has taken place over the past 30 years due to our draconian sentencing laws and drug policies. Let’s collectively say “NO!” to this Dark Ages thinking and “YES!” to creating excellent rehab opportunities, educational opportunities and a renaissance in our collective and diverse American culture.

Evanne O’Donnell

Raising the equity stakes

Re “Leveling the playing field” (Newlines, by Stacey Kennelly, March 24):

This is not frivolous. This is about fairness. The only way to effect change is to raise the stakes when reason is not enough to sway the masses who prefer inequity when it suits them.

I commend Cindy Wolff. It’s not easy to remind the human animal that civility requires we all share. It is our animalistic nature that selfishly justifies inequality when it is convenient to do so, because there is never enough to go around.

Jennifer Ball

I have had a girl and a boy participate in sports at CHS. While I believe the kids should reuse uniforms for X number of years, the girls’ uniforms (in my daughter’s case) were terrible. While some might portray Dr. Wolff as an upset parent, I think she has a legitimate complaint if the roster was trimmed for reasons related to uniform/equipment funding.

Ironically, I have heard more complaints from PV parents about the way their daughters’ teams were funded. However, as for Chico High, if you want to talk about gender inequity, look to the bathroom facilities at the playing field. As of yesterday, the portable toilets have not been put back out. Unless they put them back out today, the kids and any visiting team have no bathroom facilities.

Let’s face it: Even when the toilets were there, could the girls use a reasonably clean bathroom? Check it out. The district should have built a new facility and be ADA compliant. I’m surprised they haven’t been sued for that. Besides, it shouldn’t come to that if they do the right thing.

Glenn Loughlin