Letters for August 24, 2006

Tailor education to life
Re: “Put to the test” (Cover Story, by Monica Unhold, CN&R, Aug. 17):

The article was very interesting and introduced the public to the CUSD superintendent [Chet Francisco]. He seems to have many good ideas. However, I disagree with his plans for a third high school serving only 300 to 400 students.

More than half of CUSD graduates do not go on to college, and every one of them needs some job skills when they enter the 21st-century workforce. I would rather see a series of technical institutes co-located with the existing campuses, offering a variety of vocational specialties. Students could take their normal academic classes as they presently do, and then attend specialty classes on a part-day basis. Specialty areas might include business, Internet technology, computer technology, pre-nursing (articulated with Butte College), construction, etc.

CUSD really needs to do a better job of serving non-college-bound students.

Gene Lucas

Peaceful thoughts
Re: “World-weary in a weary world” (Essay, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, Aug. 17):

Jaime, I feel the same impotence and frustration you seem to feel. My son is in the Army in Iraq, and his regiment has just had its one-year tour extended indefinitely. I am feeling intense rage, sorrow and impotence.

I don’t think the current approach to peace activism is going to change the course of leaders and countries acting completely from fear-addled stupidity. I don’t think we will easily let go of this aggressive, fearful behavior. But you are correct in noting that we are at war within ourselves, and it is this internal war that supplies the energy for the external chaos.

There are things we can do; mindful, compassionate actions we can take. But they are hidden beneath layers of our own reactive fears. As quietist as it sounds, I think we must find ways of sitting still and then continue to sit still, to listen and to breathe until something cracks open within. Then the one small piece of “right action” will be apparent.

It won’t “save the world” in the way we are conditioned to want to save it. It won’t make it “safe for democracy.” But it will usher one more voice of compassion onto the stage and lessen the reservoir of fear just a bit.

Bill Martin,
The Still Point Center for Zen Practice

Similar point, different take
Good grief, Charlie Brown—can’t you find something better to print than a whole page of “ain’t it awful” angst by Jaime O’Neill? That a portion of humanity has not yet learned to love their neighbors or themselves and thus still engages in conflict is no reason to despair of the whole human race.

I disagree with his belief that nothing he says, thinks or feels about any of this matters. Quite the contrary: His lack of inner peace here contributes to the lack of peace over there, because in some mysterious quantum way, we are all connected.

I suggest he stop watching the nightly news and “cursing the darkness” and find a way to personally “light one little candle” by doing something loving toward his own neighbors. He might “tap into his inner hero” in the way your guest commentator Rory Rottschalk wrote about (CN&R, Aug. 17).

Renee Renaud

Hero call resonates
I have to say that I really admire and agree with the guest commentary by Rory Rottschalk. The major theme of his piece that motivated me to write was: “What if as a community we decided it was our (my) responsibility to ‘reach out and touch someone'? We could align ourselves with these organizations, sharing the challenge of communicating hope to the hopeless.”

His vision of hope makes me think of a very worthwhile organization in our community, the Community Collaboration for Youth. They help young people who are at risk of not fulfilling their human potential, and help turn their lives around by providing encouragement and guidance in their transition to adulthood, incorporating a supportive, creative atmosphere. Their positive approach gets results that enable youth to pursue and be proud of their accomplishments and gives us all an opportunity to become the kind of hero Rory envisions.

As a member of the community, I am volunteering to help CCY. I invite and encourage those who care about “at-risk” youth to tap into your inner hero and support this worthwhile cause. For more information about CCY, please visit www.ccychico.org.

Thank you, Rory, for pointing out the responsibility our community has in making sure all of our members have the ability to maintain healthy and happy lives.

Donna Garrison

No ‘happy dance’ here
Re: “Case for war” (Letters, by Frank Candlish, CN&R, Aug. 17):

I find this letter rather ironic since it preceded the story on Sue Hilderbrand [and Camp Casey Chico] by a mere four pages. How can we as a people be so far apart on an issue?

We have Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly and a host of other talking heads passing on to the general (and not so bright) public the lies, fears and hatred that keep all these weak-minded souls in this country in check. Five hundred weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq … maybe after we set up house! If they found one, Bush would have been doing the “happy dance” on top of the White House with the cameras rolling. That would have given him justification for his invasion. I’m pretty sure Fox News would still be showing that triumphant moment daily.

Have you ever served our country? I’m speaking from experience—12 years of experience. We owe more to our people who have decided to put their lives on the line than to risk their lives on a lie. No more American blood for oil. How many of our finest and brightest must be laid to rest before we wake up and bring them home?

R.C. Osmond

Moving motion picture
My husband and I saw Deepa Mehta’s magnificent film, Water, at the Pageant. It is breathtakingly beautiful and gives new meaning to “women’s rights.” While the story takes place in 1930s India, discarded widows and child brides are still a fact in too much of today’s world.

Take a friend (you’ll want to discuss it afterward) and see the film. It gave me so much clarity for the absolute necessity of microfinance for women and all aspects of women empowering women. I can’t get this film out of my mind, nor do I want to forget one minute of it.

As always, I am eternally grateful our community is home to The Pageant.

Trudy Duiseberg

Downtown lowdown
Sitting at cafes around Second and Main, especially on weekend mornings, the car traffic is so obviously a threat to pedestrians and bicyclists that I have heard many people remark on it. There is also so much noise and stinking exhaust that sitting or walking on the sidewalks is often unpleasant.

Perhaps downtown business owners should consider the opposite of a parking garage, with its increase in vehicle traffic—eliminate vehicles, except deliveries, from downtown.

Run a trolley from the end of The Esplanade up Broadway to 20th Street. Plant shade trees all the way up Broadway and Main Street. Install fountains and more public art. License franchise areas for low-impact public transportation throughout the city (taxis, pedicabs, electric or even horse-drawn trolleys with regular routes? Use your imagination.). Chico becomes more beautiful and livable, jobs are created, downtown businesses flourish.

If we make Chico a town where people do not need a car, then suddenly have an average of three to five thousand dollars a year to spend on other things—think about it!

Nelson Kaiser