Letters for April 9, 2009

It takes a village … and open minds

Re: “Angels in the classroom” (Newslines) and “Wisdom of the teen-ages” (cover story, CN&R, April 2):

I’ve taught every grade from kindergarten to grad school, and I’d like to emphasize that the additional help from church members at Citrus Elementary is definitely contributing to the higher test scores. It’s been found that the best way of teaching is the journeyman/apprentice system where a 1-to-6 teaching ratio is normal.

Community involvement in schools is a must. I worked for free for my old high school, Red Bluff, back in the 1980s to help them build a theater. The year the Performing Arts Center opened, the high school dropout rate plunged.

As for Craig Mathews’ statement that students write in typical student-writer fashion, that is because they are constrained to write mindless pap, otherwise they get in trouble. I knew a girl who was sent to continuation school just because she wrote a short story with violence in it. Communists invented political correctness in 1923 as a form of brainwashing, thinking that if they controlled what people said and wrote, they could control their thoughts—hence, school and its opprobrious indoctrination techniques.

Michael M. Peters

Every child merits good education

Re: “Look past dollars to education value” (Letters, by Carl Ochsner, CN&R, March 26):

Carl Ochsner’s response to my March 19 Guest Comment states that I am “bemoaning the proliferation of private and charter schools,” which misses the point of my essay. Unfortunately, I had to edit what I originally wrote due to space constraints. I am not against either type of school; in fact, my daughter attended Notre Dame from kindergarten to second grade.

As stated in my article, the quality of public education is suffering due to improper budget management by our government. As taxpayers, we should be angry.

Every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, has a right to a good education. I agree that public schools should try to implement what their competitors are doing correctly, but they also need adequate funding to do so.

Mr. Ochsner incorrectly states some common education myths—that time spent in school, homework and community or cultural values rank highest in predicting student outcomes—when studies show the quality of teaching (including continued professional development) and a positive learning environment are equally or even more crucial.

I would like to thank Mr. Ochsner for calling me “too young and too smart.” I’m not so sure I’m either of those, but that really made my week.

Desiree Gonzalez

Fitting farewell to our family

Re: “Sadness in spring” (Editorial, CN&R, March 26):

The Ching and Mautz families had wanted a private service to mourn the incomprehensible loss of four of their cherished loved ones. No one could deny them their wish for privacy at such a moment. I am not sure what changed their minds, but for more than 1,500 mourners who filled the Neighborhood Church, we are immensely grateful for their generosity and kindness of spirit.

I did not ski with Brent Ching or take part in the wonderful events spoken of so eloquently by friends and family at the service. Brent Ching was my dentist. He was a part of my community, and although I saw him only six or so times a year, I felt a huge sense of loss.

I tried to understand how more than a thousand people could be so moved. Perhaps it’s because this tragedy had a scope far beyond the small town limits of Paradise, Chico, Oroville and Durham. We were forced to watch the images played again and again on national newscasts—faces we knew now being spoken about on CNN, Fox and NBC.

Like all communities, we mourned the loss of one of our own. And when the news cycle moved on a few days later, as life demands, we were left with a profound sense of loss of people in our towns that we may not have all known intimately, but felt the loss all the same. The family will be remembered for its zest and relish for the wonderful things that make living in this part of the country so wonderful.

Gary Catsoulis

Opening eyes

Re: “Silence makes us all complicit” (Guest Comment, by Caspin Lange, CN&R, March 26):

I want to thank you for publishing the guest commentary about the Chinese government’s organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners.

It seems like some topics are just off limits to the larger U.S. media organizations. Thank goodness for the diversified independent media like the Epoch Times, which broke this story, and the News & Review, our own local alternative to the factory-generated news industry.

Michael Courter

Housing plan ‘hooey’

Re: “Plan will ‘beef up’ low-cost housing” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, March 19):

The city told us for years that if we built more housing, housing would become “more affordable.” They permitted unprecedented development, subdivisions in back yards, houses with no yards, and, still, prices went through the roof.

When he voted to approve Meriam Park, I reminded Andy Holcombe to make the developer build the affordable housing first. Little did I know, the city would buy roughly nine acres from that developer for $7 million, and then bring a corporate developer from Fresno to build it.

Holcombe and almost every person who stood up to speak in favor of the housing element report is on a public salary, working for agencies that stand to gain directly from grants targeted in the report. These are people firmly ensconced in the self-perpetuating bureaucracy whose salaries have bottomed out our local and state economy.

Their report blatantly ignores too many factors that affect housing and rents—including the student population. While the consultant admitted that college students make up a full quarter of our population, she could not tell us anything else about them. This discussion is not complete until Chico State and the city acknowledge the effect students have on our housing situation, but none of them care.

The sole purpose of this housing-element hooey is to perpetuate financing for bureaucrat salaries.

Juanita Sumner

Remote controlled

KPIG radio is now automated 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Sundays; this is a sign of the economic times. It’s probably just a matter of time before Mapleton Communications automates the station 24 hours a day, and there goes another unique voice on the radio.

Give them a call (310-209-7221) or e-mail (through www.mapletoncomm.com) and keep the PIG live. Noncorporate-controlled radio is a rare gem that needs to be preserved.

John Dubois

Editor’s note: John D. hosts The Kitchen Sink Friday mornings on KZFR/90.1.

Paper on a diet

If the Enterprise-Record gets any thinner or loses any more weight, it can be mailed in a stamped envelope. That way the paper can be mailed for 42 cents, reducing its costs. The post office can help its bottom line. Subscribers are still waiting for their reduction.

Jerry Olio

Wall Street cartels

Over the centuries, laws have been passed and enacted to protect society from crime, with sentences imposed as means of retribution but also to serve as a viable and visible deterrent. So-called “white-collar crime” has been a staple and fact of life, and our system of jurisprudence has always chosen to treat such individuals as rogues and scoundrels, rather than the criminals they really are, resulting in a slap on the wrist or a modest sentence with a relatively brief stay at a Ritz-Carlton style of prison.

Drug dealers are rightly judged to be leeches lodged at the artery of our communities and nation, which has resulted in the passage of suitable draconian laws with long-term incarceration and forfeiture of their ill-gotten gains. When attempting to gauge the collective damage wrought by the criminal activities on Wall Street and the pain, suffering and misery it has inflicted upon millions of our fellow citizens, one cannot escape the conclusion that it far exceeds in scope that of thousands of thieves, burglars, robbers, muggers and murderers—and, therefore, should be equated with drug dealers and dealt with accordingly.

This, once again, brings up the question of whom the system is designed to serve: Wall Street criminals, corporations, oligarchs and plutocrats, or “We the people” who have been relegated to the status of bit players, bailout-fund providers and pack mules for their larcenous enterprises?

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff

‘War is not the answer’

I am very concerned about the escalation of war in Afghanistan. It seems to me that we are sacrificing thousands of young men and women to a lost cause.

War is not the answer.

I suggest sending men and women to assist local labor in rebuilding homes, schools and hospitals that have been destroyed by our bombs. It would seem to me that humanitarian efforts would have a greater effect on uniting the population to reject the Taliban than our current methods.

War is not the answer.

I hope that other concerned readers will join me in writing to President Obama and our two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

Patricia Feldhaus


Re: “Survival of the fittest of the fit” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, April 2): Contrary to the caption, the photo that accompanied the strongman story did not show James Thomson, who is pictured now. We apologize for the mix-up.