Letters for August 5, 2004

No way San Jose
Once again the scenic views at the entrance to Upper Bidwell Park are threatened with destruction. Once again the people of Chico are being asked to sacrifice a beautiful and valuable part of Chico for the sake of shortsighted financial gain. Currently, California’s budget crisis is causing some members of the public to lobby the city to sell this property as “surplus land.”

This area, commonly known as Bidwell Ranch, is anything but “surplus land.” This land is part of the experience of the park enjoyed by hikers, walkers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, families, elementary school children on field trips and tourists to our area. Putting 1,500 houses on this property certainly will not add to our enjoyment of Upper Park. Imagine hiking up to the North Rim, turning to see the incredible view and finding only houses, fences, and cars crowding literally up to the trailhead.

Recently, a proposal to sell the property in order to balance the parks and recreation budget was put forward for the City Council to consider. Proponents of the sell-off are not going to tell you just where this “surplus property” is, nor how valuable it is to Upper Park. Shortsighted fiscal policy should not endanger long-term quality of life values. The sea of houses stretching to every vista as one nears Sacramento should be enough to remind us of the possibility that Chico, too, could fall victim to the blight of poor planning.

What is good enough for San Jose, Roseville, or Sacramento is NOT good enough for Chico. Please, oppose any measure to sell Bidwell Ranch as “surplus property.”

Lisa Brennan-Smith

The big cheat
I thank Rodney Jenkins for his letter [“Robbing from Peter…” July 22] responding to my Guest Comment of July 8 entitled “How to save Social Security.” Apparently he sees my solution as unfair to the wealthy.

In my allotted 450 words, I lacked space to also write about the failed trust fund. Newt Gingrich, former house speaker, said it best on national TV from his Washington office on April 7, 1995 while summing up the completion of his “Contract With America.” He explained that the money Congress had supposedly been setting aside from the baby boomers’ SS taxes had been borrowed and spent as part of the budget. The SS trust fund consisted of nothing but IOUs from the U.S. Treasury. Thus when the baby boomers retire in a few years, the money will not be there, and the government can’t borrow to cover the huge shortfall because it already has too much debt.

Big payroll tax increases in 1977 (12.1 percent on the first $17,700 of earnings including Medicare) and 1988 (15.02 percent on the first $45,000 of earnings including Medicare) supposedly made SS safe until 2030 through its trust fund, but Congress instead borrowed and spent the trust fund money.

Will Rogers, the great American humorist, once said that nobody could tell him man was descended from the ape because he never knew an ape that was greedy, devious and cruel. To me, greedy and devious are the key words here because they describe the actions of Congress in cheating millions of senior citizens.

Richard Ek

Edwards is no Cheney
If John Kerry is destined to be president, one would think that he would choose a running mate who could step in and be president if, God forbid, something happened to him. Instead of looking after the well-being of the people of the United States, he chose a potential VP for himself. One he thinks will help him get elected.

He tried to pick a man with all of the attributes necessary to be president, but John McCain turned him down, opting to support the current commander in chief. The fact is, Kerry only courted McCain because he thought he would bring some Republicans along with him. McCain is too smart for that. He’ll make his own run for the top spot after Bush’s second term.

Say what you will about our current VP, but remember he has the intelligence, skills, values and experience to lead this country should it become necessary. Kerry’s choice is about power and doing whatever it takes to get elected. Bush’s choice was about providing himself with the best support and advice and leaving Americans with a credible and capable president should something happen to him.

Some 35 years ago, my grandfather told me that the only people who lie more than liberal politicians were trial lawyers. If he was right, the Kerry-Edwards ticket will make the Clinton administration look like a bunch of Boy Scouts.

C. F. Passantino

No on free trade
I am writing to make you aware of an issue that, if carried out, will be greatly detrimental to our country. I refer to the so-called Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Billed as a free-trade agreement, it is rather a sovereignty-destroying scheme detrimental to our country, our freedoms and our American way of life.

Like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement of Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), it will tend to erase our borders and lead us into a one-world-system government. It will be comparable to the European Union (EU).

Consider this comment from the New American magazine on Jan. 26, 2004: “The Free Trade Area of the Americas is a plan to merge the countries of the Western Hemisphere into a European-style common market. Like the EU, the socialistic FTAA would gradually claim the power to overrule the national law and constitutions of its member states.” If, as a result of joining the FTAA, we are absorbed into a one-world system of government, our Constitution with all its safeguards for human rights and liberty would be a thing of the past.

You can see why I and many other citizens are greatly concerned. You can find out how to stop the FTAA by consulting the Internet. A first step would be to write to our congressmen and senators in Washington.

Robert Vilcone

Wild blue yonder
Even in the jet age, the Air Force has to “crank up” its bombers.

Stephen T. Davis

Ford truck man
In case you haven’t noticed, all-American super country superstar Toby (Fort Truck) Keith has a brand new re-release of his 2003 holiday hit CD “Shockin’ y’all.”

This burn is the dame on the outside, same cover, same less-than-subtle play on words and images. But inside! Oh, that’s another thang! This one comes with somethin’ extra special—all the footage of all of Toby’s Ford truck commercials. Really!!

Last year Keith made FORTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLARS. How about you? Keep on truckin'!

Bob Garner