Letters for August 23, 2001

Music and more
Spark ‘n’ Cinder, George Souza Band, Brutillicus Maximus and the Steve Cooley Band together at the Senator Theater for the “Legends of Chico” concert! These gifted musicians have entertained thousands in our little burg for a couple of decades, and this is the first time that they have shared the stage together. That’s quite newsworthy, but it is not the primary reason that this is such an extraordinary event.

The musicians are playing for free, raising money for medical expenses for Adrian Baxmeyer, the son of Spark ‘n’ Cinder’s Billy Baxmeyer, who was severely injured recently in a freeway accident. The sign on the Senator Theater marquee will tell a story of more than a concert: It is the story of a community of people who watched their children grow to young adults—and a community that still stands together strong, helping to pick a child up when one of them falls. That’s the true legend of Chico.

If you are new to the area, haven’t heard this music and have no clue about what I am talking about—grab a ticket. This music and the people involved represent the heart and soul of our little city.

The “Legends of Chico” concert is this Saturday, Aug. 25, with doors opening for a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and the music beginning at 7:30.

Peter Berkow

Why we left
The people of Cherokee need to realize one thing: They live on top of a valuable economic resource [“Back to the mine?” Aug. 9]. That fact is obvious just from the history of the town. “Oh how romantic, an old mining town” is probably what some of them thought when they moved there, not realizing that’s why it became a mining town in the first place.

They have no legitimate reason for being upset with Supervisor Bob Beeler. He is doing his job. With the zoning situation, if you want things unclassified so that people can do what they want on their land, guess what will happen—people will do what they want, and that includes mining.

As for environmental concerns, that site received little if any mitigation after hydraulic mining was halted. The land has tried on its own to revegetate. Because of current mining laws such as the Mine Reclamation Act, that land will receive much better mitigation and revegetation than it ever has (since humans have been around anyway). And once you remove the source of the contamination (a leaking tank, for example), the contamination should dissipate. If they are reworking tailings, then undoubtedly the source of the contamination (mercury-tainted mine tailings) will be removed.

This article represents the essence of why my fiancée and I left Butte County after graduating from Chico State. That is the anti-business sentiment that pervades the communities there. It is a sad fact that we need money (and therefore a job) in this world to live prosperously. The people of Butte County can’t seem to realize this.

Brad Shelton
received via e-mail

Remember Custer
I am writing to commend Taran March’s coverage of the Sugarloaf Mine issue [“Back to the mine?” Aug. 9] and to comment on a statement attributed to Supervisor Beeler: “Do I go over a list of new businesses and decide which ones should operate? What would I be then?”

My immediate response was: “a competent supervisor.”

I have been living under a naïve assumption all these years. I believed that supervisors, like other elected representatives, served as watchdogs for the community, always vigilant in their quest to forestall predictable trouble and committed to such processes as critical thinking when making important decisions.

Beeler made me realize the error in my thinking.

Butte County needs its Board of Supervisors, but it needs members who take their duties sincerely enough not to serve merely as rubber stamps for business interests, often functioning as buffers between businesses and the people.

They are elected to serve the people, not industry.

To illustrate what can happen when politicians approve unexamined business proposals, let me remind everyone of the fiasco a few years back surrounding Kirk Cofer’s Custer Lane tire yard in Oroville’s “Enterprise Zone.”

Using the rationale that the yard would generate revenue, local politicians allowed Cofer to dump an ugly mountain of vermin-infested tires in front of the Custer Lane residents’ faces. It took years of lawsuits, police interventions, public meetings and considerable personal anguish before the situation finally resolved and Cofer left the area.

Butte County still has time, in considering the Sugarloaf Mine proposal, to learn from the Custer Lane episode before it repeats those same mistakes.

Shawn Hamilton

Anti-Dem conspiracy
I see on the network news that they will have to borrow billions of dollars to pay for George W’s tax cut for rich people, perhaps from the Social Security fund. It didn’t take Bush very long to dig a hole in Bill Clinton’s prosperity.

The Repubs, Greens and the U.S. Supreme Court wiped out our best chance to reduce the nation’s indebtedness when they teamed up to oust the Democrats from the White House. Too bad, because it seems like only the Democrats know how to run the economy in the interest of all the people.

Robert Woods
Forest Ranch

Good news, bad news
While I am glad that Spanish radio is expanding, I am also saddened by KHHZ’s taking over the KORV and KIWI stations that formerly served Oroville [“Radio en español,” Everybody’s business, Aug. 16].

I look at Oroville as “radio-free Oroville.” For years it has not had a “hometown” radio station. I worked for the predecessor of KORV-KAOR in the mid to late ‘60s and am sorry to see that the lack of a local radio station for Oroville continues.

AM radio prior to the ‘80s was required by the FCC to be “local,” providing local news, weather and music. Now, in Butte County only about three corporations own nearly all of the stations. Most are “satellite” stations that are automated and broadcast programming from back east. Chico has a few live morning shows, but other than that it is all automated and programmed.

As a person who did live radio in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘90s, I am saddened by the state of radio in the 21st century.

Larry Matthews
Yuba City

Oughta be a law
Wasting what’s left of the limited fossil fuel sources by driving around in huge gas-guzzling vehicles should be a crime. We have killed tens of thousand of innocent children for the oil to produce this fuel, and that doesn’t seem to matter? The war in Iraq and the sanctions the U.S. has imposed on that country’s innocent people aren’t about Saddam or the building of nuclear bombs. It’s about who controls the oil there, though we won’t be reading about that in the major corporate-owned newspapers.

Then, of course, we should drill the six-month supply of oil from the Alaskan wildlife refuge, right? Destroy the last of the pristine areas of this country all in the name of human gluttony. Then there’s this little issue of global warming, which from the lack of snowfall alone will reduce the amount of water needed to run our hydropower plants and to survive the summers. It won’t be long until we’ll need sunblock 500 just to go outside.

We are destroying our planet and our children’s future. Are we suicidal or just stupid? As long as our “standard of living” isn’t compromised, right?

Drive with pride!

Sherri Quammen