Letters for August 10, 2006

Scoring the blame game
Re: “Unwanted neighbors” (Cover Story, CN&R, July 27):

Boy, was I angry at [author] Robert Speer for a day after reading the article. It is full of one lame excuse after another by Kim Seidler, the planning director for the city of Chico, as to why houses were built on the southern canyon wall of Upper Bidwell Park for all to see.

Mr. Speer gives us five assumptions of where and how things went wrong. He gives us the history of how the Butte Environmental Council (BEC) fought it hard in 1986 and lost on a technicality. He tells us the City Council did not step up to the plate at the right times. Then more lame excuses by the city workers.

Finally, Mr. Speer ends his article with the words, “Ultimately, though, the responsibility lies with the citizenry.” That comment is what made me so angry. I thought, “Why is it our job?” The city workers get paid to do their jobs. They are supposed to do it correctly.

I thought the City Council is supposed to monitor what the city workers do. Mr. Speer does put the blame on the City Council.

And after mulling it over [one] night, I think I now concur with Robert Speer. Too many people sit back and do not take notice of what is happening to the open spaces around them. Too many people do not want to get involved. Wake up, people. You cannot trust that the city and county workers will protect our open spaces. Attend City Council meetings! Attend county Board of Supervisors meetings! Join BEC!

Nora Burnham
Butte Valley

More on Upper Park ‘mistakes’
Are we really supposed to believe that the building of several houses on the edge of Bidwell Park is simply the result of a long series of mistakes? How many “mistakes” does it take to add up to incompetence? These “mistakes” resulted in a wonderful view for a few people while spoiling the view forever for the rest of us. Now that these “mistakes” have set precedence, we can expect that many, many more houses will be placed along the ridge.

I have a solution, however. Tear down the offending houses! When some people along Lindo Channel built on public land for private use, they were required to remove those structures. To be fair this time, divide the cost of the “mistake” between the city and the contractors who built the offending houses.

Mistakes can and do happen. Every effort should be made to correct those mistakes and prevent future mistakes. But when “mistakes” such as this happen and are swept under the rug, we have to hold those responsible accountable—or why bother to pretend to have rules at all?

Pete Piersons

Eye of the beholder
Re: “New role for plow” (Guest Comment, by Richard Ek, CN&R, July 20):

While neither condemning the “plow” on Park Avenue or defending it as “art,” I object to its existence.

In what way could this installation possibly reflect the people of Chico? Chico was not founded as a farming community. John Bidwell bought it with gold from his mining. He founded it, yes, as a farm, but mostly as orchards. He gave away or sold for cheap most of the early town. He and his wife gave Chico its wonderful Bidwell Park.

If you want farming, plowing towns, you only have to look around the rest of the area. This “art” doesn’t say anything about Chico.

Samuel Handley

More on the plow
Thanks to Professor Ek’s editorial outburst against the plow sculpture in Chico, I made an effort to look at and think about the piece of public art to which I’d not paid much attention. As far as I am concerned, the plow rules on Park Avenue.

But, I write in response to his statement, “Reasonable people, meaning the general public, don’t care for such esoteric symbolism. They believe good art must speak for itself that its beauty of meaning must stand out clearly. If somebody must explain what a piece of art ‘means,’ it is not art.”

I prefer French painter George Braque’s opinion: “There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.”

Vici Taus

Organic issue
Re: “More on CNF” (Letters, CN&R, Aug. 3):

Some selfish people say that Chico Natural Foods should not sell meat. The “sell meat and I will take my business elsewhere” attitudes of a few traditional ‘60s shoppers could cause CNF to go out of business.

They have the right to take their business elsewhere but this is “a dog in the manger” attitude, as getting omnivorous people to eat organic food improves their health and that of their family.

If complainers prevail, the growing number of consumers who want organic foods but are meat eaters will shop elsewhere. The percentage of vegetarians in the Chico area is too small to keep CNF viable against new competition; they need new customers.

CNF is dedicated to organic food, not just filling a market niche to keep up with the latest trend, and there is space to isolate meat from the rest of the store.

I hope Chico Natural Foods will do what is sensible to “meat” demand so we can all benefit.

Alan Gair

Editor’s note: For a contrasting view, please see Guest Comment, and for coverage of the deliberations, please see Newslines.

Local java
Aaaaaaaah! My family has been eagerly awaiting the rebuilding of the former much-beloved French Gourmet Bakery on The Esplanade at Ninth Avenue. For weeks we have watched the construction, and for weeks before that we worried about the empty building falling into disrepair. As a reminder to “be careful what you wish for,” I was hoping it would still be a coffee shop, and it is: A sign announced “Coming Soon—STARBUCKS.”

I am so discouraged to see local coffee shops closing or being replaced by this large corporation (I still mourn Mana Java downtown) and will be going farther up The Esplanade to enjoy Sin of Cortez or Cal Java.

The slam-dunk of coffee choices, though, has got to be Café Mondo on Nord—just a few steps south of that Starbucks. Travelers and newcomers might be forgiven for patronizing a place with a familiar name, but we locals can do better than that.

Pamela Beeman

Stop the insanity
Sixty-one years have passed since the atomic bomb ushered in the era of nuclear “negotiation.” And we haven’t looked back.

But look where we are now: War without abandon has become the darling tool of those who are able to dominate in order to protect their perceived “way of life,” “national existence,” economic stability, or even their own people’s lives. To answer an insult, a kidnapping, oppression or even slaughter, it has come to using full force on whole cities, and anyone in the way, not just military targets. Our wars today are wars on civilization.

Can our war-makers stop for just a moment to take in the breadth of the terror and ruin they are perpetuating? Can we as onlookers stop our daily routines and observe the insanity of our war-world? Who will demand a halt? Who will initiate reconciliation? I agree with Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Cathy Webster

Get plugged in
The car of today is the electric hybrid. The car of tomorrow is the hybrid with plug-in. The car of the future is the all-electric plug-in. The hydrogen fuel-cell car is not feasible or necessary, as electric plug-in cars have been already successfully made, leased and destroyed in the early 2000s by GM and other car companies.

You must take action to get an electric car. See Who Killed the Electric Car and visit www.pluginamerica.com, then phone your Toyota dealer and tell them you are interested in a hybrid plug-in car.

Norm Dillinger