Letters for August 14, 2014

Punished for principles

Re “Catching up with Tim DeChristopher” (Cover feature, by Sarah van Gelder, Aug. 7)

Tim DeChristopher stood on principle even though it cost him prison time.

I’m a baby boomer and know I bear some responsibility for out-of-control government. I’m doing my part now to make up for that; however, I don’t believe “climate change” is the most important issue. It is the “justice” and “legal” system. Tim’s description of the judge’s parameters for allowing people on the jury is telling. Juries are supposed to be “the trier of fact and the trier of law,” though most citizens don’t know that. Juries can, by “jury independence” (aka jury nullification), determine whether a law was broken and, more important, whether the law is righteous. They were given that power by the Founding Fathers.

Our so-called justice/legal system is devoid of principle, as practiced today. People who serve on juries need to be educated. They don’t know the power they can wield as jurors. It is a shame and a crime to allow our current “injustice” system to continue in this manner. In my opinion, we must focus on this as the primary issue. Until we do, fine young men such as Tim, who are standing on principle, will continue to be sent to prison. I urge citizens to discover the “Fully Informed Jury Association.”

Carolyn Kiesz

Following the money

Re “Fractured finances” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, Aug. 7):

Thank you so much for publishing this insightful article about how much oil industry money is pouring into Butte County to obstruct efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing. This is the kind of investigative reporting I’m so grateful to have in our community because so often this part of the story is not being told.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens trying to protect water will be undermined by the powerful interests of those with money. Thank you to Leslie Layton of ChicoSol for her good work following this local story.

Robyn DiFalco

Another take on legalization

Re “An end to prohibition” (Editorial, July 31):

The CN&R’s argument that marijuana should be legalized because the associated punishment is more harmful than its use itself is not only circular, it’s short-sighted. Marijuana is actually quite harmful in that like any intoxicant, it impairs judgment and motor skills critical to personal and public safety—not just driving and operating machinery, but also while socializing and having sex.

Like alcohol, marijuana precludes us from maintaining intelligent conversation that facilitates our making and maintaining friendships with attractive, responsible, intelligent people. Further, like tobacco, marijuana’s bad for our lungs and immune systems, it’s expensive, it stinks, it makes us fat, and it’s a fire hazard. Moreover, as with alcohol, smoking marijuana encourages others to do it and suffer the same ill effects.

Growing marijuana’s also bad for the environment. It encourages people to lay waste to natural areas and to drain and pollute the air and streams. It’s taxing to law-enforcement, health care and the courts.

People need to stop being lazy and learn to overcome their inhibitions naturally instead of turning to alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. If they really need pain relief, they can get cheap prescription medication over the Internet.

Nathan Esplanade

Prohibition’s cost

Re “An end to prohibition” (Editorial, July 31) and “A flawed punishment” (Editorial, Aug. 7):

One things for sure: They’ll never use marijuana to administer the death penalty. If you use too much you’ll just fall asleep.

The War on Drugs (mainly a war on marijuana) is 43 years old. That’s longer than the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Korean, Vietnam, Kuwait and Iraq wars combined. The criminalization of marijuana has grown a mountain of dead bodies over the fight for money. There is also a mountain range full of broken families, because daddy or mommy got busted and now cannot get a job. The war has cost over $1 trillion-plus. For all the harm criminalization of marijuana has done and is doing, the plant itself has not killed a single person.

I’m afraid to sign this letter. Sure, the Declaration of Independence says the “pursuit of happiness” is an “inalienable right.” But today, the justice system has over 500,000 Americans behind bars for marijuana. The last 43 years has chewed up tens of millions of lives and I don’t want to be next.

Leroy W.

Missing Robin Williams

We all just lost a brilliant person whom most of us loved. I felt like I lost a brother. This person is Robin Williams. Robin chose to take his life. He was a one-of-a-kind person who had a history of mania, depression and the accompanying medications. Robin rejected clinical terms and instead chose to see himself in terms of being sad. We will miss Robin Williams’ laughter; he gave us the best medicine.

I can’t help but think and feel this tragedy could have been avoided. I do not know what Robin’s relationship to cannabis was during his life’s journey, but I do know that cannabis is a powerful medicine for overcoming depression. Living in Tiburon, Robin must have had access to medical cannabis. If Robin never used medical cannabis, we’ll probably never know why.

I know so many closet users of medical cannabis who cannot openly and/or legally use because of their social position, occupation and/or family. We need more understanding and less stigmatization.

Robin Williams will always be a shining light in my soul. I would implore anyone out there suffering from depression to try cannabis. Don’t wait until your last chance. Cannabis makes a difference. Na-nu, na-nu.


School can do better

I take no joy in writing this letter and am reluctant to do so, but feel compelled because of what I consider to be the importance of the subject.

While in Willows the other day, I took time to bike around town and rode by and through the intermediate school. I was impressed by its deplorable appearance, almost as though it was being abandoned. The shrubbery and trees display a lack of care, grass is intruding upon the sidewalk, especially outside the east side of the main building, and I could go on.

Visitors must have a negative response and students deserve better. There has to be someone who cares, perhaps a group of parents, teachers or students who could take it upon themselves to make this place a sparkling gem rather than the unkempt eyesore it has become.

I would think the school board and community would want their children, when going to school, to be greeted by a place to be proud of, rather than one that insults their sensibilities. Surely you can do better. One’s environment does make a difference.

Richard Shult

He’s got an idea

For the budget and our town needing a facelift, this is what I would do if I were the city manager of Chico: I would let go of three of the top-paid firefighters and police officers, which would add up to about $1.2 million. I would then hire for $20,000 a year 40 Chico State graduates who want to stay in Chico for their master’s degrees but cannot afford it. I would place them on bicycles as nonlethal policing pairs. They would help the homeless to the homeless farm and get to know all of the shopkeepers.

The other 20 would work for the fire department as apprentices as well for two years. Now, that would raise the level of education on both and maybe put a nicer face on Chico while saving $400,000. Let’s see, 40 for six? Just a thought. Let me know what you think.

Joel Castle

Getting what we paid for

The Chinese company that built the Bay Bridge did not even pay their workers our minimum wage. The investigations, inspections and reports on the Bay Bridge must certainly exceed what extra it would have cost to hire a U.S. firm that pays union wages.

R. Sterling Ogden