Letters for August 16, 2007

Farmer describes cause of effect
Re: “Waterway windfall” (GreenWays, by Toni Scott, CN&R, Aug. 2):

I read your article with interest. A major point did not sit well with me—that is, your description of the featured orchard: “It’s hard to imagine that just over a year ago, this land—600 acres south of Marysville—was a barren stretch of earth, devoid of any life.”

I suggest that you talk to the local people. The reason why this land was “barren” is because Yuba County’s Three River Levee Improvement Authority destroyed this productive walnut orchard and made it into a setback levee on the Bear River. River Partners’ “restoration habitat” (what I consider “trashy jungle weeds") is not as productive, or nutritious, as the original agricultural crop that previously existed on this farmland site.

TRLIA is now planning another extensive levee project on the nearby Feather River, in the same community, to build a major setback levee, six miles long. This massive project will take 39 thriving farming parcels out of production, including other adjacent farming properties, solely to provide dirt for the construction of the new setback levee.

Property condemnations and eminent-domain proceedings are taking place even before a setback levee permit has been granted and the funding is in place. I know this because they are in the process of taking my own farming parcel by eminent domain.

I sell my tree-ripened fruit at certified farmers markets in five counties, including Chico’s Thursday Night Market, and this project will put me out of business. “Waterway windfall” feels more like “drowning torrent” to me.

Jeanette Rice

Tip for workers’ comp patients
Re: “Chronic condition” (Newslines, by Vince Abbate, CN&R, Aug. 2):

I would like to recommend a book to anyone who suffers from chronic pain, or knows someone who does. The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mind/Body Disorders by John Sarno, M.D., explains the cause for many cases of chronic pain and explains how these cases can be cured. It is an amazing book that has the potential to help lots of miserable people.

Debbie Ducommun

Past evil continues to echo
Re: “The way to Mauthausen” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, Aug. 2):

Thank you for your important story. For those of us still working to end genocide, the most important part was the very last question: “Did we learn anything?” Unfortunately the answer is a resounding no! After Hitler was defeated, other tyrants continued to exterminate their own people without a pause.

Stalin and Mao each murdered more people than Hitler while the world stood by. Pol Pot murdered a quarter of the population of Cambodia. The international community did nothing as millions died in the Rwandan genocide, and the response in Sudan is nearly as pathetic.

We are now getting ready to have the Olympics in China less than 20 years after it massacred young democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, which it is still trying to deny. In addition, China continues to control and suppress the Tibetan spiritual faith, Falun Gong and unregistered Christians while it threatens to invade Taiwan. Finally, investigations have produced convincing evidence that China is using the organs of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners to fuel its booming organ-transplant tourism industry.

My fear is not that we will forget the terrible genocides in history, but that we have gotten so used to them that we can block out and ignore their horror. We can even hold the Olympics in China a few blocks away from where a prisoner of conscience is being tortured!

Michael Courter

Did we learn anything, indeed. Hannah Arendt and her term “the banality of evil” are more pertinent than ever as our bureaucracies grow more labyrinthine and accountability is further and further removed from action (most notably in executive circles).

I applaud both author and subject, for together they warn us that “the sleep of reason breeds monsters.” Let us awaken from our dangerous narcolepsy.

J. Murphy

Case … and point?
Re: “The power of those words” (From The Fray, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Aug. 2):

Your writer doesn’t seem to see that Mr. Porter’s column [From The Edge] wasn’t written for 6-year-olds. He is adult fare—pithy, ironic, brutally honest.

My childhood friend was Slo-Mo, and I was Shorty, descriptive and a good explanation of our situation to our peers. Would we have understood spun expressions such as developmentally disabled or height challenged? Was my plain friend cosmetically challenged? Children are more realistic than we give them credit for.

Word spinning to achieve political correctness becomes half truth, and half truth leads to doublespeak, and that leads to what we hear every day from our media and our current administration. We need people like Mr. Porter to remind us of that.

Rae Montgomery

Can we consider terms that are more positive than “mentally ill"? I think this term is often misapplied. For example, trauma survivors often experience mental and emotional distress when they begin to face what happened. This is often called “mental illness.” However, it can actually be embraced as a long-term healing opportunity, similar to the grieving process.

Research on the placebo effect shows that when people think they are ill (or well), this belief changes their brain activity in ways that physically reinforce the expected condition. So, calling some people “mentally ill” may keep them in a troubled state, instead of nurturing their pains into post-traumatic growth.

Perhaps not all conditions that are called “mental illness” result from trauma, but since the way we think affects people, using positive terms can put people on a path toward health and growth.

Irene Cardenas

Speaking of labeling …
Re: “The cheese factor” (Chow, by Henri Bourride, CN&R, Aug. 2):

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Henri and Colette for their recent visit to my restaurant, The Cheese Steak Shop, where they found it “tasty” and “better than expected.” Additionally, I appreciate them sharing so much detailed information about our menu offerings with the CN&R readers.

However, I must clarify one item. It is unfortunate that Colette referred to one of our regular customers as a “bimbo.” Wendy is a living, breathing customer who told us how she felt about our sandwiches. In fact, that voice heard over the radio (which prompted the article) is actually her. See, she was so motivated that she went to a local radio station and recorded her testimonial. In fact, all of our testimonials are from real customers.

Gene Hrubi

Line strikes a chord
Re: “Chico rock city” (Cover story, by Mark Lore, CN&R, July 26):

OK, we get it. We’ve known it since the late ‘80s. The CN&R does not like the Funnels. Period. Never have. But hey, that’s cool. We’re used to it.

We never expected to receive the star treatment reserved for the sullen, black-clad “artists” of our day, but your brief, Barry Bonds-like hatchet job impugning our accomplishments and integrity was truly a low blow.

The Funnels’ inclusion in your article was mandatory. Even the CN&R staff had to admit that. And had you left it at a brief mention of our name and said “they were pretty good and pretty popular” it would have been fine. But no, you had to take one last shot at us by saying “won Best Band in the CN&R Best Of issue six years straight by staging ‘ballot parties.’ “

Ballot parties? Where in the world did you get that? Oh yeah, from your same sullen, black-clad darlings who did not win Best Band six years running. So let me put this issue to rest: “Ballot parties” never happened. Ever. Not once. The idea of stuffing ballot boxes or holding ballot parties is deplorable, and would not even have entered our minds.

The Funnels just released a two-disc retrospective, The Last of the Funnels. Hopefully, you will consider it for a review. If not, we understand. Why write about the last offering from one of Chico’s most beloved bands ever when there’s always another obscure, sullen, brown-clad band from Portland or Seattle to fawn over …

Paul Bruce


In my 30 years in Chico, I’ve found the vitality of the local music scene to be one of the numerous reasons Chico is so special. As such, I found Mark Lore’s terrific piece to be long overdue. Lore apologizes for any omissions inherent to such an enormous undertaking, but I thought he did an excellent job of chronicling the influences, trends and personalities that contribute to this vitality.

The section “Hippie frocks meet indie rock (1977-1987)” clearly was written with facts based on anecdotal information as Lore exposes his era. He dismissively refers to the Funnels with a comment regarding their winning of the CN&R’s Best Of contest for six consecutive years based on their staging of “ballot parties"—as if to suggest that this achievement was without merit. This comment is not only untrue, it completely marginalizes the impact and influence of a band that was, in my opinion, the best band of that time period.

During the ‘80s the CN&R created the title of “Living Legend” to see some diversity in the Best Of competitions. Had the Funnels not been one of the initial Living Legends, their streak would have undoubtedly extended beyond the six years, which preceded this deserved accolade.

Dave Schwartz

‘Braking’ the law
I do not know how many times I have seen bicycle riders break the law. They go through four-way stop signs and stoplights. Sometimes they do not look to see if there are any cars or trucks at the intersection.

I was at a four-way stop on Warner Street and Fourth Avenue one day. I looked to my left and saw a young girl on a bicycle run right through that stop sign. She did not look at all. If I did not notice that she had run that stop sign, I would have hit her. I would be shaken up really badly, and she would have had a broken leg and some lacerations.

Sometimes I see bicycle riders zigzagging between cars stopped at a red light. What if a driver’s foot slipped off the brake pedal at the same time a bicycle goes right in front of them? Don’t bicycle riders know that they have no protection around them?

I have done a little research on bicycle accidents. From 2004 to 2007, there have been over 170 accidents in the Chico area alone.

Alex Buchmiller

Stance reconsidered
Please note that Sierra Club, Yahi Group no longer supports disc golf in Upper Bidwell Park. The executive committee of the Yahi Group wrote to the city’s Planning Department on June 26, stating that the executive committee group specifically endorses keeping Upper Park wild.

Personal inspection and concern about damage to trees prompted us to reconsider the role of Upper Park in our community. We reviewed the club’s 2003 support of disc golf in Upper Park and believe that subsequent disc-golf impacts and studies about disc golf in Upper Park require a change in our position. We believe that Upper Park should be kept as wild as possible, with the exception that the public should have access to Upper Park through well-maintained and signed trails.

Preserving the park in this manner means that there should be no “developed recreation” such as disc golf in Upper Park. Instead, we urge that other parts of the Chico community be considered as a location for disc golf, which many know to be a well-loved sport with many participants.

Grace M. Marvin
Sierra Club, Yahi Group