Letters for August 21, 2003

Soldier’s view
The letters from Garth Talbott to his sister have given me the most meaningful coverage of this war and its aftermath than any I have encountered so far [“Hello from Baghdad,” cover story, Aug. 14]. Thank you to Garth and his sister Anna for sharing them.

Gabrielle Walters
Received via e-mail

Kiosk love
Just a note to say I love “Kiosk,” that simple sideline that lets us know when and where the big-wigs will be making decisions that will affect us all and reminds us that we are invited to participate.

I’m hoping others love it too and it can appear in every issue. By the way, at some point in the not-too-distant future, as part of the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan update, the city will conduct one—if not two or three—public meetings to measure the public’s concerns about “the park” that in turn will have a big influence on park management until the next time the M.M. plan is updated. You know what I say? The more the merrier! How about some pre-emptive coverage explaining to everybody just what a master management plan is and why all city park systems use them and why we should be glad to participate.

Hope this letter’s not too political; don’t want to scare off the “too cool to care” or “too pathetic” or “let our politicians run things for us” crowds—just want to see a big turnout from a diverse group!

Keep on lovin’ Chico.

Randy Abbot

Population flush
The population of California doubles every 30 years, in recent years primarily thru immigration, legal and illegal, and the high birth rates among immigrants. Local water officials report that the water level in monitored Butte County wells has been dropping during the past four years, to historic lows.

The population of the United States has doubled in the past 70 years. Underground water levels in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, three key grain-producing states, have dropped as much as 100 feet, resulting in wells going dry on thousands of farms on the Great Plains.

The world’s population has doubled from 3 billion to 6 billion in the past 50 years. Aquifers are being depleted in China, India and the United States. These three nations supply half the world’s grain harvest. The water table under the North China Plain, which grows half of China’s wheat and a third of its corn, is dropping 10 feet each decade.

At current rates of growth the world’s population will double to 12 billion by 2050. How will they be fed? Fund family planning in underdeveloped nations. Give up swimming pools, lawns and flush toilets. Half the world doesn’t have flush toilets. Will it come to that in Chico?

Ask each candidate for governor what they would do about population growth.

Bill McCord

Don’t fence me in
After reading the article about Tom DiGiovanni and the Doe Mill Subdivision [“Here comes the neighborhood,” cover story, Aug. 7], I wasn’t sure if I should throw up or laugh. Come on, Scott, living in those houses is like living in Disneyland? Maybe because it’s so crowded or at least will be when or if it sells out.

Spare us all the tripe about how Tom builds “neighborhoods” and people who live there are all warm and fuzzy because they sit on their porches and talk to each other, unlike areas where people who live on large lots do. People make the neighborhoods, not the builders. If living close and playing in parks makes people more friendly, then New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles should be some of the safest and friendly cities around.

People move to Chico because there’s room here. You don’t have to live on top of others; you can have space. Crime is relatively low and not violent most of the time. Visit these large cities and see what happens when an area is too crowded and people have no privacy. Parents don’t want to leave their houses to supervise their kids at play, and kids start hanging out alone in parks and alleys and trouble begins.

I live in an area of large lots and homes. I sit on my front porch (that’s not built on the sidewalk) and talk to people as they walk and bike. I watch the neighbor ladies take walks together. We have block parties four to five times a year. Kids get together and shoot hoops, ride skateboards and bikes, and swim at each other’s homes.

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but please don’t pretend that this type of living is the right one. Large cities are proof that high density doesn’t make better living conditions. If it did, why would we want to live here?

Lorraine Hill

Measure of cynicism
Being new to the area, when I saw the cover of your July 24th issue, I sincerely thought Assemblyman Rick Keene was missing [“How the CN&R Lost Track of Rick Keene”].

Much to my surprise, Tom Gascoyne wrote 100-110 column inches to insinuate that Assemblyman Keene lacked discretion in his dealings with the Chico News & Review.

What surprised me the most was Gascoyne’s approach to the story. While attempting to demonstrate Keene’s indiscretions, Gascoyne demonstrates his own immaturity by wasting 60-70 column inches before he actually shares any substantive information.

In an attempt to expose Keene’s inappropriate attitude toward the Chico News & Review, Gascoyne’s cynicism proves that, although Keene’s actions are not warranted, they are not entirely without cause.

Luke Waters
Received via e-mail

For what purpose?
I can’t get the image out of my mind of the living hell of an Iraq summer without electricity and with little or no water. It must be a most excruciating experience for a people who had a senseless war visited upon them and who watched their homes devastated and their lives torn apart.

I contrast such a war with World War II, in which a mad dog was running loose in Europe and it took the courage of great war leaders like Churchill and Roosevelt to challenge Hitler and eventually triumph.

Our soldiers are suffering in the heat like the Iraqis. Some are dying, as are Iraqi people. Did all this really have to happen?

Robert Woods
Forest Ranch