Letters for August 28, 2008

‘Screw you, News & Review’
Re: “Say yes to disc golf” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 21):

Several years ago, I made a conscious decision to no longer use the disc-golf courses up Highway 32 in Upper Bidwell Park. As an avid birder and amateur botanist, I had started to pay attention to the impacts of my actions. What had at first appeared to be a benign impact to the natural landscape turned out to be less negligible upon closer inspection.

The once abundant Butte County checkerbloom was nowhere to be found. Many of the songbirds and the rarely seen poorwill are no longer encountered. Several of the blue oaks have broken and dead limbs, some succumbing to early deaths. The areas once covered with spring wildflowers are now barren patches of dirt with little hope of re-colonizing in the thin Tuscan soils. Beer cans, fast food and smoker’s debris now lie on the land.

I cannot in good conscience return to play a sport that I enjoy. Your editorial position shows a complete lack of understanding of this very fragile natural environment.

The powers that be are going to build and maintain these courses regardless of their environmental impacts. Let us not pretend it will be otherwise. So do not pretend that you are engaged in nature while simultaneously destroying it.

Once my tax dollars are spent on this debacle, must I chain myself to a tree? Screw you, News & Review.

Andrew Tomaselli

What an incredible show of self-serving environmental hypocrisy the CN&R has displayed in support of disc golf in Upper Park. Would the CN&R have supported a paintball course or BMX track in Upper Park?

If the CNR had just said, “Hey, we like disc golf, and the damage it creates to Upper Park is worth it,” that would been an honest and legitimate argument.

To suggest, as the CN&R did last week, that disc golf causes no more damage than hiking or biking and is in an area rarely used by anyone else is ignoring the obvious. Do hiking and biking create acre upon acre of denuded land and dozens of dead and dying trees?

And to say Annie Bidwell’s deed does not apply because the land in question was added to Upper Park after the fact—well, I think Annie would slap your knuckles with a ruler for such talk. After all, national parks are routinely added to and always retain the rules of the original parcel.

Don’t get me wrong, I also love disc golf; I just don’t think Upper Park is the proper place for it to be played, and I think we should all be honest that if we accept disc golf in Upper Park, we are trading the sanctity of Upper Park and Annie Bidwell’s intent for a bit of fun.

Marc Kessler

Editor’s note: Check Newslines for the Park Commission’s decision on disc golf.

Good for them, not us
Re: “A vision for the future” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Aug. 21):

The very few who get rich on projects like this live in gated communities far from the crowded cities that will eventually envelop us all. All you have to do is take a drive south down the 99 to Sacramento to see what is coming—and, in fact, already is in some parts of Chico. Wake up before it’s too late!

Robert McCullouch

Money talk
Re: “Corporate tax deadbeats” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 21):

Yes, there are corporations that do not pay any corporate income tax (they pay many others along the way), because they do not make any money or they lose money. In the same way, almost 50 percent of individual filers pay very little income tax, if any (3 percent of the total), and about 6 percent get more money back from IRS than they paid due to the Earned Income Tax Credit program.

Yes, the nation’s debt has increased, and yes a part of that is due to the war we are fighting in the Middle East. But, the Bush tax cuts are not the other culprit. Federal tax revenue is at an all-time high.

The tax cuts did what all tax cuts do: They stimulate the economy, causing more people to make more and collectively pay more tax. The cause of the increased debt is primarily due to our representatives spending too much. To the dismay of conservatives, the Republicans have joined the Democrats in creating, expanding and funding far too many programs.

The supposed “surplus” when Bush took office was created by counting Social Security surpluses as income, which is nothing but an accounting trick.

If Obama wants to lean on the “fairness” doctrine in changing the tax code, he will do so at the expense of federal revenue. I know that it will make some folks feel better if corporate, capital-gains and top marginal rates are increased, but to do so will be to cut off the nose to spite the face.

Tim Edwards

Thank you for pointing out the significant differences between Obama and McCain on our dire economic situation.

McCain as president would rely on the likes of Phil Gramm, who dismissed struggling Americans as “whiners” who are merely suffering from “mental recession.” McCain is a fabulously wealthy man who cannot even say with certainty how many houses he owns. Obama has worked with the poor and “gets” the plight of the working poor and middle class.

As you stated, the primary causes of increased debt and deficit are Bush’s tax cuts for corporations and the super-wealthy as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I encourage voters to check out the Obama Web site [ www.barackobama.com] to find plenty of policy detail with specific proposals on economic issues.

Silona Reyman

Phil Gramm, financial advisor for John McCain’s campaign, is right. We’ve never had it so good, but we are a nation of whiners.

So what if McCain has eight to 11 homes, and you are struggling to put food on the table for your family? Whine on!

So what if he and his wife claimed $273,000 for household help in their 2007 taxes? If you have that many houses, you need a lot of help, right? Meantime, you’re complaining about the measly $4 a gallon you’re paying for gasoline, while you can’t afford drugs from the local pharmacist, and there’s you whining because you can’t afford your mortgage and you’re threatened with foreclosure.

We are a nation of whiners!

Lynn H. Elliott

It’s health care
Re: “Dinner or doctor? What a sick tradeoff” (Guest Comment, by Walid Faraj, CN&R, Aug. 21):

As I perceive it, the two major problems with medicine in the U.S. are incompetent doctors and the horrible money-grubbing that goes on.

In Canada, they have monetary caps on doctoring so that doctors do not process as many people as fast as they can for maximum profit. We should adopt the Canadian system.

We need more medical schools to produce more doctors, thus bringing down costs through competition. And we need higher qualifications for doctors. Where are the good, affordable doctors? We have to take the money factor out of doctoring and replace it with care, competence and responsibility.

Michael M. Peters

What sex ed can’t fix
Re: “Sex on the brain” (cover story, by Katie Booth, CN&R, Aug. 14):

According to this article, things are very bad. High school girls are getting chlamydia! Some are getting pregnant! Some are emotionally wounded! Boys say rude sexual things in the halls! And why, the author seems to wonder, can’t the education system fix this? She allows a couple of teachers a chance to explain: “If we knew the why, we could fix it.”

Well, this may sound a bit old fashioned, but cultures are held together by traditions, and one cannot “fix” that which one is simultaneously breaking. We cannot at once continue with our grand experiment—in rejecting nearly everything our ancestors knew about human nature—and expect adolescents to simply observe, from within a sterile bubble.

During the current era of nuclear-family demolition, many of today’s high school students were abandoned, very early in life, to an endless rotation of “daycare” workers. Hence, they suffer from attachment disorders. They grew up in homes where traditional fathers (strong, protective, incisive) were replaced by confused men, embarrassed by their own masculinity—or altogether missing in action.

They have been routinely traumatized by divorce. And they have been raised in homes where electronic media and mindless consumerism displace human contact.

We talk about safe sex. Where is the psychological safety, or the sanity, in any of this?

Could it be that much of this teen sex, or natural human contact, is an attempt to heal something? A perhaps awkward attempt to gain the emotional intimacy and authentic connection that our cultural riverboat gamble fails to provide?

Patrick Newman

Flash from his past
Re: “Artist of integrity” (Scene, by Alan Sheckter, CN&R, Aug. 14):

What a joy to find your article! Frank and Toni Wilson have been friends of mine for years. I met them in 1975 when they lived in Gloucester, Mass., on beautiful Eastern Point, not far from the Rocky Neck Art Colony. At that time he was known for his detailed and accurate porcelain sculptures of forest-floor flora.

I now live in Maine and have not seen them since they lived in Vermont. I’ve have never been to California, but I’ll be there next month, and we have a reunion planned! I really appreciated your story.

Linda Muise
Parsonsfield, Maine

Suggestions for Sacto
Please urge our representatives in Sacramento to vote against across-the-board budget cuts and for new revenues in upcoming budget votes. We must especially consider the needs of the poor and not add to our long-run economic deficit.

For example, decreases in human services also mean fewer jobs, fewer consumer purchases, less sales tax revenue and, thus, less money available to businesses and governmental bodies. Moreover, the shortcuts we make now would cost us, too—for instance, it would be far more expensive to place people in institutions if they can no longer be cared for at home via tax-supported programs.

As a result of the governor declaring a budget emergency, there are new ways to increase revenue. The two-thirds voting rule for legislators (that the state budget and taxes cannot be passed by a simple majority) can temporarily be put aside. Let us reinstate the motor vehicle tax and adopt a luxury tax as well.

Once the immediate budget is passed, we must address structural changes to our entire budgetary process.

Get rid of the two-thirds rule once and for all. Consider taxing individuals and businesses 21st-century property tax rates, rather than allowing only the lucky to pay levels assessed prior to the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. We also should seek changes in so-called ballot-box budgeting, where citizens can vote on new initiatives without realizing the potential costs.

We need to return the state to fiscal and moral health.

Grace Marvin and Julian Zener

Eatery already missed
I am so sad, mad, upset and even angry to have gone to House of Nature’s Own and found the “Permanently Closed” sign on the door.

We have been eating there almost every week since reading your article [”Nature’s call,” GreenWays, July 26, 2007]. The food was wonderful, and we tried almost everything on the menu. It was a great place to go after picking up veggies and fruit at the Farmers Market. We have been unable to contact them even at the contact left on the door.

Having lived in Chico for more than 35 years, I know restaurants come and go, and it is a shame Chico could not support the one raw restaurant in Northern California. We will miss it so much.

Delores Dean