Letters for August 19, 2004

Park it over there
Why a four-story parking structure? Does downtown Chico really need that much more parking?

Part of what makes the ambiance of downtown so pleasurable is that the configuration of shops encourages sauntering, so much so that on Thursday nights during the summer whole streets are cordoned off for just such mingling. And on Saturdays, year-round, the Farmers’ Market becomes a village square where gazebos of delectable local produce, tempting pastries and unique crafts spring up among young trees that shade an open parking lot, inviting Chicoans to share and enjoy.

Building the current three-story parking structure (Salem between Third and Fourth streets) alongside an already-existing three-story building was one of the things that made it viable. If downtown Chico really needs another parking structure, I would suggest the north side of First Street at Wall, between two tall structures and backing up to the creek, or perhaps the south side of Second Street between Salem and Normal, which would be close for university and downtown events.

Of course, the largest and perhaps most useful lot on which to put a parking structure would be the square east of (behind) City Hall. There, half the ground floor could be reserved for city vehicles, with the second and fourth floors for public parking, leaving the third floor for city and/or store employees from where a covered walkway could be extended to City Hall.

Any one of these locations would be physically less intrusive or disruptive but still supportive of what makes our town so special.

Carolyn Fields

The face of CDF
It’s over. The most significant issue that mankind has ever pondered, discussed or debated has been resolved. God does exist.

Although I was one of those granted the privilege of looking directly into the face of God, you don’t have to take my word for it. God communicated with thousands of earth people in radio and television broadcasts and in newspaper articles complete with photographs.

As some may have predicted, God appeared with signs and wonders, performing miracles with wisdom, power and compassion. Although God is truly complex, we were given a simple three-letter description of this awesome force: CDF.

Unfortunately, joyous as this event was, there remains considerable frustration. We are left without adequate vocabulary to express our sincere appreciation for the miracle God delivered to the Cherokee area of Butte County.

Lee Edwards
Resident of Red Tape Road

Party links
As a Chico resident, I join other Democrats in the Northstate who are building campaigns for Kerry, Boxer and local candidates. Offices are opening; signs and literature are being distributed. Meanwhile, we are working on a possible visit by John Kerry or John Edwards.

As a veteran, I want to encourage all veterans who support Vietnam veteran John Kerry to join the effort for a possible Kerry visit.

If any veteran wants to help out, please email me (bob@cadem.org.) with your name, best phone number, mailing address and type of military service. Or you can drop me a note to: P.O. Box 4924, Chico, CA 95927.

You can also go to www.cadem.org or www.johnkerry.com for campaign details.

Bob Mulholland
101st Airborne Vietnam (1967-68)

Pool would be cool
I am a member of the Chico Aquajets Swim program. I started swimming at the age of 6 and have been with the team for seven years. I am writing to request that the City Council consider the construction of an aquatic center for this great town and for the Aquajets to practice.

The Chico Aquajets have produced two Olympic swimmers, Haley Cope and Roque Santos. Many other Aquajets have qualified to practice in the Olympic trials. The Chico Aquajets is a great program run by Betsey Aird. The coaches focus mainly on techniques and developing life-long swimmers who love the sport.

Throughout the 55 years of the Chico Aquajets, the team has trained at numerous locations in Chico, including One Mile, Chico State, the Shapiro Pool, the PV pool and the In Motion Fitness pool. We left the Shapiro and PV pools because they were in desperate need of repair and were not fit for a swim team. We are now at In Motion Fitness, which has a wonderful pool, but there have been too many complaints from members about the busyness of the facility and the number of swimmers on the deck.

I have been to a number of swim meets at neighboring communities, and most of them have beautiful, state-of-the-art aquatic facilities for the whole community to enjoy. I was wondering why Chico doesn’t have a new pool. I believe swimming is a great sport for people of all ages. In my opinion, Chico needs a new aquatic center.

Clara Chrisco

Not an annuity
In my letter of Aug. 5 [“The big cheat”] I addressed the appropriation and spending by Congress of the Social Security (SS) trust fund. Here I would like to address why paying into SS buys nothing.

When SS began in 1934, premium payments by workers were called “contributions,” and people over the next 20 years came to think they were paying into a government insurance policy in which they were accruing property rights similar to an annuity. Some folks wanted to take out their equity early, an idea that ended up in court when the government refused such requests.

In 1960 the U.S. Supreme Court came down with a decision (Flemming vs. Nestor) that said the contributions were simply taxes imposed by Congress that did not accrue as equity or entitle anyone to future benefits. Indeed, the court held, the government was under no obligation to pay benefits at all because SS did not represent a legal insurance contract that matured at minimum age 62.

With the SS trust fund worthless, would the government dare default on benefits in three or four years when the baby boomers start to retire and overwhelm the system? No, because SS represents the only income for more than 6 million retirees now, a figure that will quickly grow, and social unrest would result.

In 1993 Congress taxed the top tier of SS recipients at 85 percent, thus cutting benefits. The only avenue left to save the system is to make the wealthy pay a small tax on earnings beyond the present $87,900 cap.

Richard Ek