Letters for August 11, 2011

Views of the elephant

Re “The elephant in the room” (Cover story, by Darwin BondGraham, Aug. 4):

“Progressive backbone”—are you kidding me? We can’t even vote out that disgusting far-right Congressman Wally Herger! Every time a vote comes before him that would actually help his constituents, he votes however [Speaker John] Boehner tells him to vote. Every time!

Our state senators and reps are every bit as bad. Just look at [Sen. Doug] LaMalfa, he does the same thing, voting hard-line Rethuglican politics as a matter of course.

I’m disgusted by politics to the point where I’ve actually considered quitting voting. If it were not for the fact that I’d blame myself for the ensuing messes that will surely ensue, I’d never vote again because I feel that I’m not heard.

Toni Carrell

The elephant in the room is not the GOP. It is JOBS. There are very few living-wage jobs available, and as more slide down from the middle class to the underclass, those left standing pick up the assets left behind—short sells, foreclosures, etc.

Taxing the “rich” has never worked; they provide the money for investment and jobs/ business. All people need to pay taxes, not just those with an income over X amount of dollars.

Show me the nongovernmental jobs in Chico/Butte County that pay decently; there are none, so underground (untaxed) economies develop dependent on illegal labor and not paying a living wage but using taxpayer services such as schools, health, police, fire, etc.

The Tea Party has radical nutjobs that this paper loves to ridicule; how about looking at the truth? The Dems, GOP—all have nut jobs.

The news media should be a watchdog, not a liberal-agenda cheerleader.

Jeff Mimbs

Where are all the businesses that were here when Reagan was president? My last two employers left the state, and my husband’s employer is leaving. I know of many other businesses that are closing down or leaving the state because the costs are just too high here.

California is cutting the wrong stuff. The Legislature should start with their own salaries, then move on to bring the businesses back. Cut the corporate tax rate, or eliminate it entirely for those businesses willing to come back and to entice new ones to relocate here.

This article screams propaganda; I for one have not fallen for it. California is leaning to the left so far that the road may no longer be passable. The road is too steep. I for one will keep on climbing with hope that the road will level off and at least move to a smoother terrain somewhere between the right and the left.

We need to put Californians back to work. If there were more jobs there would be more taxpayers.

Liz Rigney

Green Schooler speaks out

Re “Struggling to take root” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, Aug. 4):

I am a Chico Green School (CGS) student. On its face, it sounds like CUSD has good reasons to shut down CGS: no WASC accreditation and alleged Brown Act violations. To my parents and me, it just seemed like CUSD wanted to watch out for us. So I decided to do my own investigation.

WASC seems like the most serious issue. I decided to call up the executive director of WASC. He told me that Chico Green School had actually sought accreditation much earlier than most schools. I asked him: “Does being denied accreditation on the first visit mean that CGS can’t or won’t be accredited in the future?”

He laughed and assured me that many schools that have just started up are denied and given items to correct. He said that WASC was coming again this fall, and that most of WASC’s concerns with CGS had already been corrected.

On the issue of Brown Act violations, my research was even more surprising. Although CUSD had made a big fuss about CGS’ alleged Brown Act violations, at its Aug. 1 hearing Jennifer McQuarrie, attorney for CGS, pointed out that CUSD had violated the Brown Act at that very meeting. I saw the look of astonishment on a few of the board members’ faces. I thought, “Why aren’t they following their own rules?”

When I looked further into the matter, it was clear that CGS had done everything it could, above and beyond the law, to remedy the alleged violations and to properly train their board.

I think CUSD’s effort to shut down CGS sends out a very strong message: “We don’t want innovation in Chico.”

Ryan Shidyak
CGS senior

Paid prevaricator

There seems to be something about paid signature-gathering that makes it impossible to tell the truth. The latest blatant liar was a nice-looking older gentleman who’d been outside Trader Joe’s for the last week or so.

Here’s the background: In its efforts to close the gap in the budget this year, the Legislature passed a requirement that online retailers with any physical presence in California must collect and remit sales tax to the state. You can agree or disagree with that idea. I happen to think that freedom from sales tax has given online retailers an unfair advantage over the “brick and mortar” businesses that employ people in our communities. So I support the new law.

But Internet giant Amazon hates it, of course, and is circulating a ballot initiative to overturn the tax. And they can spend lots of money to get it on the ballot. So when I told Amazon’s paid signature-gatherer that I supported the tax, here was his response: “Oh, that’s what this is for—if you support the new law you should definitely sign this. Without this ballot measure the Supreme Court will overturn the tax.”

I laughed and told him he was a liar and went about my business.

If you want to overturn the new requirement and add to the state’s budget problems, then by all means sign that petition—but don’t let a liar fool you into signing something you oppose.

David Welch

Used and abused

We love Butte County and Chico, yet we’re disheartened because participatory democracy is considered whining. A hard-working group of concerned citizens give up their time, study maps, work with difficult websites, learn about the geography and population of our beautiful county, all with the understanding they will have a voice in the redistricting process, and what is the result? We’re “whiners.”

A little review: At the June 14 supervisors’ meeting, Larry Wahl introduces Draft Option 4. No discussion, just here it is. By the next meeting (July 12) the map is motioned for adoption—again, no discussion regarding the merits of the map.

A group of residents most affected by the redistricting is now aware of what’s going on and attempts to get involved. At that point the understanding is, please, provide us a better alternative and we’ll take a look. Hence the scramble and valuable time spent devising Option 6 and presenting it at the public hearing on July 26. Instead of public process, we get a popularity contest and mud-slinging. A large group of Wahl Tea Party supporters shows up at the meeting touting the merits of Supervisor Wahl and absolutely nothing about the substance of Option 4.

As an elected body, aren’t you embarrassed? Your constituents request a voice and expect their supervisors to listen. Instead we get elementary-school behavior and the “teacher” tells those who want to learn to sit down and shut up.

Hilary Herman

I read yesterday that soon (not soon enough) the Board of Supervisors’ meetings will be streamed live on the web. This should go a long way toward the transparency that government says it seeks but frequently misses.

I am referring to the insistence by county personnel and our supervisors that our recent redistricting process was properly noticed. The notices were so far below the radar that nobody noticed them until they were noticed! As it turned out, noticed too late.

Web streaming should allow watchdog groups to monitor supervisorial activities without traveling to Oroville during working hours. It might have alerted us when Option 4 (splitting neighborhoods in two) was sprung at the last minute at the June 14 meeting and jammed through at precipitous speed in spite of citizen and Chico City Council pleas. Encouraged to present an alternative, we were then accused of whining.

Could the web have saved us from being so used and abused? Maybe not, but it might at least have helped clarify the process and educate us. After Proposition 11, we citizens were under the false impression that redistricting in California was now safely in the hands of a citizens’ committee. Most of us didn’t understand that state law still has county supervisors redrawing their own district lines.

Web or no web, I think it’s time to consider a statewide county charter amendment to create redistricting citizens’ committees ensuring that the people’s interests rather than politicians’ re-election chances are considered first.

Maria Phillips

Why apologize?

Re “Reacting to racism” (Guest comment, by George Gold, July 28):

Several people have commented on why I apologized, saying that Mr. Nazi Stud was wrong, not me. Some made a comment about my name? Hmmm. I’m Jewish and I love being Jewish.

My apology was only for the language I used to express my displeasure at Mr. Nazi Stud. There were children at the Graduate, and for that reason my language was inappropriate. They saw me angry, which is OK, but not together with the language I used. I noticed that Mr. Nazi Stud didn’t write in to apologize.

George Gold


One of the respondents in last week’s Streetalk feature, Jesse Bonham, says his answer to the question “What do you want to do before summer ends?” is not what he intended to say. What he intended to say was, “Harvest my pot.” The additional comments attributed to him, given in response to follow-up questions from the CN&R’s interviewer, were not intended for publication and, as published, were inaccurate, he says.—ed.