Letters for August 9, 2001

Dolan’s outdated
David Reade, the Republicans’ guru for Butte County, is reaching deep into his bag of political tricks. Democratic operative Bob Mulholland, doing his best to get off the high moral ground, reacts with some even dirtier tricks.

The issue here is whether Jane Dolan should be on the county Board of Supervisors. Jane started out in the 1970s looking out for the little guy and asking if our wonderful democratic political system could be emulated in a more democratic economic system. Over the years she has morphed into a “good old boy” and now can be found manipulating the system for her powerful friends. Her behavior trying to exclude the general public from the park-bond-purchased Big Chico Creek Preserve was the last straw. It is time to fill Jane’s seat on the Board of Supervisors with a new and more idealistic Democrat.

Michael Jones

Where’s the money?
Why is it that school districts across California have found a way to pass along the money allocated by the Legislature to improve teachers’ salaries to teachers, but here in Chico we keep hearing that the money needs to be absorbed to fund ongoing operations?

Every district that stepped up to the plate in the last year to give teachers the kind of raise the Legislature intended was faced with making a different choice. Every one of these districts had programs to run, facilities to maintain and a dream of expanding with time. Yet these districts chose to use the money from the state as it was intended, to reward teachers for their contributions within the school community.

Of course, these districts have leadership in place that recognizes, respects and values teachers as partners in the education of their citizens. What a novel idea; I wonder if we might try it locally.

Mary Flynn

PEN and sword
With the recently passed one-year anniversary date of my formal contractual separation as executive director of Parent Education Network (PEN), I am now able to comment on important First Amendment­free speech issues involved in my departure from PEN.

In addition to internal staff-related problems, Machiavellian organizational politics, and my poor health due to heart bypass surgery, my termination was also based on the reaction by some individuals, both outside and inside of PEN, for me publicly expressing my so-called “liberal” and “progressive” views in the Chico News & Review and other local newspapers, as well as in speaking engagements in the Chico­Butte County community, on several legislative, political and social issues impacting children, parents and families.

These views included preventing school violence, promoting community tolerance, reducing public drunkenness and alcoholism, advocating for funds to build a new juvenile hall, and supporting the AIDS Foundation participation at a community health event at the Chico Mall. In addition, there were my views expressing PEN’s opposition to Proposition 21 (juvenile justice) and Proposition 28 (repeal Proposition 10), preventing children’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the home and family vehicles, advocating for county tobacco settlement funds being allocated to health care and tobacco control for families and children, advocating for more effective and comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention and sexuality education, and exposing the tobacco industry’s corporate irresponsibility and criminality. Finally, my views included promoting family and child literacy and expressing PEN’s opposition to ACA 21, the proposed so-called “parental rights” amendment.

I have learned now that exercising one’s freedom of speech often comes at a high price.

Rick Kropp

Walk the talk
It is with inestimable joy and pleasure that I finally get the chance to reply to something that ultra-conservative columnist Russ Neal of the Paradise Post has to say, Maybe this stands a chance of being printed.

I refer to Mr. Neal’s recent letter [“Golf is a walking game,” July 26] defending the PGA against the decision of the Supreme Court to allow handicapped golfer Casey Martin to pursue a living in his chosen profession, a right we should all have. Of all the dissenting Supreme Court justices to righteously quote, why would Russ pick the most biased, reactionary jurist of all, Antonin Scalia?

I take it from what he says that Russ Neal is a duffer himself; he puts his opinion forth on this subject so vehemently. Come on, Russ, do able-bodied golfers ever have to walk more than five miles in a single 18-hole game? Even if they do, it’s probably good for them and they do it in a series of 18 leisurely strolls. At any rate, the heat and humidity that they allegedly endure are also experienced by anybody who has to ride a golf cart in order to play at all. Unless there are air-conditioned golf carts, which could then conceivably be a bone of contention.

Finally, I love the way people like Russ Neal say they “pray” for other people like Casey Martin in his attempt to play in the sport he loves. I think, however, a real Christian, as Russ purports to be, would back up his prayers by fighting for equal rights for the handicapped, even a fellow golfer. Whether you are religious or not, action speaks louder than mere words.

Jay Castor

Dolan not playing fair
Jane Dolan-Mulholland has been making a lot of fuss lately over the new redistricting plans put before Butte County. Apparently she doesn’t believe in fair elections and is afraid of losing power. Her desperate tactics are evidence that holding political power is more important to her than serving the people of Butte County.

In 1991 the supervisor districts were “redesigned,” and Jane Dolan was given an unfair advantage in the 2nd district (also known as gerrymandering). Small surprise when you consider that she drew the lines on the map herself, probably with advice from her husband, Bob Mulholland.

Dolan’s gain was a loss for Butte County farmers. They were left with only one supervisor to represent their interests before the county. Dolan likes to claim that she supports agriculture, but she’s now fighting tooth and nail to keep farmers out of her district! She’s even threatening to sue our county if she doesn’t get her way. What kind of services will we lose to pay for the court costs?

Voters who are disgusted with this behavior can voice their opinions on Aug. 14 at the next supervisors’ meeting, or call your supervisors and let them know that you support fair redistricting in Butte County.

Fairness is the foundation of American politics, but elections in the 2nd district have not been fair for the last decade. If Dolan needs an entirely liberal district and strong-arm tactics just to stay in office, perhaps she should relocate to San Francisco or Communist China.

Steve Thompson

The Wholistic Enchilada
I wish to say a special thank you to all who participated in presenting Chico’s Holistic Arts Fair Saturday, July 28. With information and demonstrations ranging from an African shamanic healer to intriguing aura photos, it truly was a wholistic affair.