Letters for August 18, 2011

Walmart not a good fit

Re “Gateway superstore still a go” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky, Aug. 11):

One of the most appealing things about Paradise is the lovely, locally owned shops. We already have Kmart and big corporate grocery stores. I can always find exactly what I need in Paradise.

That is not to say that there are not a few items that I buy at Walmart. But think about it: It is only 12 miles down the hill to Walmart. Or, if you don’t drive, the B-Line has a stop right in front of Walmart.

I realize in these economically challenging times we do need to create ways to increase revenues. However, to make Walmart the gateway to Paradise just goes against everything that makes this community beautiful and unique.

I am reasonably sure that many of our locally owned stores will close their doors when Walmart opens, and that is very sad. I know that we are creative enough to come up with other solutions that not only increase revenues, but also maintain the beauty of our Sierra foothills community.

We just might prove that creativity and community can be as powerful and successful as the almighty corporate dollar.

Mary Carlisle

Walmart tries to do this everywhere. They just paint their buildings different colors, and use different stucco to try to fit in with the community.

The one place Walmart won’t be able to ever fit in is Paradise—and that’s setting aside all economical issues.

Ryan Shidyak

Dolan remembers Fulton

Re “Len Fulton, 1934-2011” (Editorial, July 28):

I was saddened when I heard that Len Fulton passed away.

I served with Len Fulton on the Butte County Board of Supervisors, but more than that he was a good friend. Len was a very talented poet, a writer, a playwright and a book publisher, but he most loved serving in public office and helping the people of Paradise and the Ridge.

In 1982, with the vote of Len Fulton, we got the three votes to create the Greenline around Chico to protect our valuable farm land. Without Len, the west side of Chico would have subdivisions now out to the Sacramento River.

I attended the memorial service for Len and was pleased to see more than 100 people (including former Supervisor Ed McLaughlin of Durham and county employees and his longtime friends) recognize and remember Len’s lifetime of accomplishments.

I will miss Len, but I will remember him as a remarkable citizen of Paradise and an ally in preserving Chico’s beautiful and vital agricultural west side.

Jane Dolan

What America needs

Re “Views of the elephant” (Letters, by Jeff Mimbs, Aug. 11):

Jeff Mimbs’ letter is correct on the jobs issue. However, he’s uninformed on the job situation in the Chico/Butte County area and repeats the myth about taxes and job creation.

“Living-wage jobs” are exactly what we need. However, with the attacks on organized labor, started by the Republicans with Taft-Hartley and Reagan permanently replacing striking workers, and the arbitrage of labor since Clinton signed NAFTA and GATT, we have a real shortage of such jobs.

Mimbs’ statement that there are no “nongovernmental jobs in Chico/Butte County that pay decently” is just uninformed. There are lots of private-sector unionized jobs that pay a living wage with benefits and pension. Enloe Medical Center, UPS, Safeway and Save Mart are just a few of the unionized employers in this area that pay a living wage.

Finally, Mimbs perpetuates the myth that higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations “has never worked” because they create jobs. The facts are that in the 1940s through the ’70s the top tax rate was 70 to 90 percent and we had nearly full employment and a thriving middle class.

The wealthy don’t create jobs; demand creates jobs. And demand occurs when people have money to spend. Henry Ford famously increased wages for his workers so they could afford to buy his cars, thus creating more demand.

American workers need a raise in wages and the repeal of trade agreements that stripped away the tariffs that protected those jobs and wages—just like we had from the ’40s through the ’70s.

Paul Ellcessor

Memorable My Way

Re “Homage to Frank fizzles” (Scene, by Alan Sheckter, Aug. 11):

I recently saw the show My Way presented by the Chico Theater Company, and I am left speechless by the pure talent we have in Chico and the amazing productions that this theater puts on.

I am speechless that, after seeing this production, your critic came to the conclusion that this was forgettable. I found it completely the opposite! The actors Andrew Hancock and Darin Young sang nothing less than breathless. With the harmony of Alayna Roby and Chiara di Benedetto Brown, I am left without words to accurately describe their talents.

Your critic was only right about one thing: The accompaniment of the musicians was excellent.

This was an amazing show, and I believe that for my ticket price I got much more than I deserved!

Krisjan McDaniel

Bigger education issues

Re “New charter blossoms” (Cover story, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Aug. 11):

Nice article about the new charter school. But bigger issues regarding the educational disaster in the USA eclipse the charter-school issue: enormous high school dropout rates (58 percent in Nevada, for instance); teachers and administrators falsifying test scores à la the Atlanta scandal and elsewhere; boys bailing out of education (only 40 percent of college kids are male, and most high-school dropouts are boys); the notorious lack of male teachers (91 percent of grade-school teachers are female); grade inflation; the dumbing down of America, etc.

Cultural Marxism has infiltrated our schools—political correctness and feminism are communist dogma, deriving from the Frankfurt School in 1923. As a paper in a university town, I’d like to see the CN&R, rather than doing promo pieces, do a series of articles on the failure of American education. That’s where enlightenment begins.

Michael Peters

Proof is in the proofreading

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

I was amused by the juxtaposition between the Chico Green School’s argument in the article as to its quality of education and the school’s own advertisement, which appeared on page 18.

If the quality of this ad is indicative of the level of excellence expected of Chico Green School students, I can see why their charter is in question and why the school was denied WASC accreditation. The advertisement is rife with errors in grammar, mechanics, and accepted usage that, as an educator, I was appalled to see appearing in print.

If the supporters of the Chico Green School want to build support for their cause, perhaps they should spend more time on their editing process. I have a very hard time supporting a school that produces a product for public consumption as poorly proofread as their Aug. 4 ad.

Michael Pilakowski

The code is clear

Re “Panel back-pedals on medi-pot ordinance” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, Aug. 4):

In a July 20 letter regarding the Chico City Council’s ordinance regulating medical-cannabis dispensaries, the executive board of the Chico Police Officers Association states very clearly why local law enforcement cannot abide by it, or any other city guideline that goes against federal law, regardless of its just, moral or ethical standing within the community.

In fact, the letter smartly points out that it is the precise wording in the Municipal Code regarding the function of local law enforcement … that ties their hands in this matter.

One hopes that we might share a common vision with those we entrust to maintain our public safety, but what the code really asks of them is to “Prevent crime and maintain law and order in the city by enforcing the laws of the United States, the state, and the city….” That is the crux of the biscuit insofar as what local sway we might have with law enforcement.

Between now and the next time the issue of dispensaries is argued before the City Council, I believe that the wording of the Municipal Code should be perhaps modified so as to give our officers more discretion in carrying out local statutes.

Michael R. Sherman

Creating a healthful lifestyle

Re “Growing community at the commons” (GreenWays feature, by Claire Hutkins Seda, July 14):

I would like to thank Claire Hutkins Seda for her thoughtful article about the Murphy Commons Community Garden. I wanted to add that the gardeners are doing much more than becoming familiar with their neighbors, creating opportunities for more physical activity, and achieving better nutrition through growing their own foods. They are addressing head-on some of the factors that determine health quality by changing their behaviors and the environment in which they live, learn and play.

In their own way, the gardeners are contributing to their society by making changes that increase their chances to live long, healthy lives while combining their resources and those resources that are shared with them.

It has been a rewarding experience to watch these community members create their own agenda and to be there to help them along the way by sharing tools I have learned through community organizing in tobacco-control work. Their dedication to show their kids a healthier lifestyle through sustaining the garden is, by far, my favorite part of partnering with the gardeners.

Raúl Raygoza
Butte County Public Health Department


‘One-dimensional stereotype’

Re “Labeled disabled” (Cover story, by Stacey Kennelly, July 28):

The cover photo with Briana Beaver caught my eye because of her strong stance and determined look. However, the article was disappointing. Why did it begin with the typical deficit-based depiction of this terrific young woman? My guess is that the writer was unable to get past her own internalized view of people with disabilities as weak and pitiable.

I’m hopeful that CNR will work to rectify this outdated view of people with disabilities and include another article on Brianna Beaver in the future. Let’s hope the article shows Brianna as a real person rather than one-dimensional stereotype with the focus on her disability. “Labeled Disabled” began and then continued to focus on cerebral palsy rather than Briana’s accomplishments and other aspects of her life.

I also suggest an article on the journey of a person without a disability as he or she grows to truly understand people with disabilities as equitable. Stacey Kennelly is an insightful writer, but there are people in the disabled community who could help her grow in her perceptions of the people who come first, before their disabilities.

Laurel Hill-Ward

It’s Pelosi’s fault

Re “The bigger problem” (Editorial, Aug. 11):

At the beginning of 2007, the national debt was $8.5 trillion. At the beginning of 2009, the national debt was $11.2 trillion. On the day Bush took office in 2001, the national debt was $6.1 trillion. We went from $6.1 trillion to $8.5 trillion in the first six years of Bush (an increase of $2.4 trillion or roughly 33 percent). We went from $8.5 trillion to $11.2 trillion in two years after that.

What was the difference? Nancy Pelosi and her gang took over the House.

For those of you who may not recall, the Constitution requires that all revenue bills (spending legislation) originate in the House of Representatives. Get it?

Vince Quaresima
Forest Ranch

Editor’s note: Mr. Quaresima doesn’t say where he got his figures. Ours came from U.S. government agencies via the New York Times and the Boston Globe. As our editorial stated, when President Bush took office the national debt was $5.8 trillion. When he left office it was $11.9 trillion, a difference of $6.1 trillion. The period 2007-09 Mr. Quaresima mentions corresponds with the onset of the recession and a decrease in revenues, which along with the two wars (supported by Democrats as well as Republicans), the earlier tax cuts for the rich and the Medicare drug plan, brought the debt to $11.9 trillion.