Letters for August 15, 2013

Overlooked brewers

Re “Craft-beer takeover” (Cover feature, by Jason Cassidy, Aug. 8):

I was elated to see coverage of my—and thousands of others’—favorite beverage. The fact that you folks highlighted only two of our local brewers didn’t do the craft beer industry any justice. World-renowned Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co., a start-up financed by casino monies, are hardly considered “craft” beers.

I was looking forward to reading up on what our local “bathtub” brewers had to offer. Had Mr. Cassidy perused the shelves of any local market, he would have found a locally brewed beer which would have fit more into the craft-beer category—namely Feather River Brewing Co. located in Magalia. There, Roger Preecs has been putting a quality product on the shelves, and in some select Chico eateries, since 2000. Why wasn’t his product mentioned? The Honey Ale, Raging Rapids and Dark Canyon he brews have won numerous “People’s Choice” awards.

I challenge Mr. Cassidy to do some more research beyond the obvious. After all, I’m sure any proud brewer would give him a taste test for his efforts. A posted challenge at the Home Brew Shop may get some “bathtub” brewers into a friendly “show ’n’ tell.”

Dirk Wohlau

Editor’s note: The Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewer is one that is small (less than 6 million barrels produced per year), independent and traditional.

How utterly hypocritical

Re “Righting the ship” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Aug. 8):

I am back living in Chico after 13 years away. I missed being here and seeing how progressive accomplishments have kept Chico the wonderful, family-oriented community it is. The coverage of Larry Wahl’s minions, Stephanie Taber and Mary Kennedy, leading a Tea Party demonstration complaining about city spending reminds me the struggle continues.

I hope our city will not suffer from a prolonged barrage of their rants about spending on community services when their faction needlessly cost the city $151,000 in June of 2011!

Yes, these people cost the city $151,000 by forcing a special election (Measure A) to change local election law. Had they succeeded [at pushing the voting date from November to June], a significant part of our population—Chico State students—would have been denied fair voting access.

Thankfully, they lost that election by 68 percent. The cultural and economic contributions the university generates help make Chico the standout “gem” it is in Northern California. The university drives the local economy, and their votes related to community matters should count. Maybe these Tea Party people should spend their energy pressuring Mr. Wahl to reimburse the city that $151,000 and not push for more cuts to vital services!

Jane Martin

Context to salaries

There has been a loud hue and cry over the last several months regarding the cost of Chico’s senior management team of Brian Nakamura, Mark Orme and Chris Constantin. I have attended numerous meetings and maintained some semblance of files, which I reviewed to refute or justify the complaints.

Nakamura’s $214,000 salary is considered outrageous by some, except when compared to Tom Lando’s annual salary of $233,000 his last year with the city (he retired at 55 on $145,000 per year), and the fact that taxpayers paid for his doctorate. Where was the hue and cry then? (See CN&R cover feature “Breaking the bank,” by Richard Ek, March 29, 2007, to check the figures.)

Constantin, the administrative-services director, is doing the job of four previous employees. He replaced Jennifer Hennessy, the city’s tell-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth former finance director, plus the human-resources director, the risk manager, and the senior IS analyst—all of whom earned a combined total of at least $640,000 per year. And the outrage is because Constantin earns $160,000 per year plus benefits—and we taxpayers didn’t even have to pay for his higher education! The hue and cry obviously should have been past tense, not present tense.

Stephanie L. Taber

Help for horse owners

Re “To the slaughter” (Greenways, by Meredith J. Graham, Aug. 1):

Your article about horse slaughter mentioned Horse Plus Humane Society as an option for horse owners who no longer can keep their horse. There is another local organization that can provide an alternative to having to give up your horse.

Back in the Saddle Project (BITS), located in Oroville, has a “hay bank” for residents of Butte, Glenn and Yuba counties. BITS offers feed assistance for horse owners facing a temporary crisis, enabling them to keep their horse rather than having to make the choice to give the horse to a rescue or sell it at auction.

Rescues are already overloaded and turn horses away, and it is always preferable to keep a horse in a home where it is already wanted. You can visit www.backinthesaddleproject.com then click on Haybank to find out more or give a donation to this worthy cause.

Tracy Mohr

More science, please

Re “The art of business” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, Aug. 1)

What nutrition background does [Dylan Tellesen] have? As a lifetime resident of Chico and a nutrition major at Chico State, I am not sure I am comfortable doing business with a natural-food company that hires someone with no nutrition background as their marketing director. It’s just going to be more “hype” and less science.

Crystal Vasquez

Regulations long overdue

Re “A detriment to business” (Editorial, Aug. 1):

It’s important that establishments with liquor licenses tailored toward restaurant clientele aren’t sidestepping regulations and fees when their true business model is running an alcohol-fueled nightclub.

The issue of security and property management is something that needs to be tackled head-on and is long overdue.

Bill Mash

For medical, think locally

Re “Less paperwork, more care” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, July 18):

Patients should be aware that services at a hospital-owned practice may be at up to twice the cost of a similar physician-owned private practice, due to the higher insurance-contract rates hospitals are paid and their ability to charge a facility fee on top of the office-visit cost.

It is a pity that physicians have been driven into this form of practice by rising costs, low reimbursements and overregulation. Local physician-owned practices remain the best value for patients for office visits and procedures.

Dr. Roy Bishop
Argyll Medical Group, Chico

Website lacks credibility

I checked out www.savechiconow.org and submitted the following comments on their Contact Us page:

“Please have the persons creating and posting information on your website also post their names and affiliations.

“Otherwise, it cannot be credible because its lacks accountability. Please be careful to present factual information that does not just add to the vitriol of our democratic process, which is designed to be clumsy at best. Most of Chico’s citizens would appreciate a thorough presentation of its complicated budgetary issues, not a scandalization of its leadership.”

Woody Elliott

Initiative invades privacy

The new Common Core learning standards allow for an immense amount of information (including your child’s medical history, family income range, behavioral abnormalities, dwelling arrangement, religious affiliation, just to name a few) to be collected about your children.

The stated ambition is to create a personalized education plan for each child. The unfathomable potential for government abuse of that information aside, the direct concern at the moment is the sharing of that information with third-party organizations. Due to regulations put into place in 2011 that navigate around the Family Education Privacy Act (FERPA), this information can be legally shared.

To find more about this subject, visit cuacc.org or search EAGnews.org for: Invasive Common Core data mining.

John Salyer


In last week’s Newsline “Musical chairs,” by Robert Speer, the story incorrectly stated that Mark Sorensen was voted vice mayor by a unanimous decision. Council members Ann Schwab and Randall Stone dissented. Additionally, Scott Gruendl, not Sean Morgan, nominated Sorensen for the post. The errors have been corrected online. –ed.