Letters for December 13, 2012

Buying a car, revisited

Re “Confessions of an ex-car salesman” (Cover story, by Walter Irish, Dec. 6):

I have worked at Courtesy Motors for the past 11 years selling BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, and frankly I am offended by portions of this article. I can say with great certainty that the staff I work with is extremely ethical. Yes, we try our best to make the most out of every transaction, but we start with so little margin of profit that we would be silly not to.

I find it often surprising that there is such a focus on grinding out an extra 1 percent or 2 percent off on a car when people pay 200 percent or 300 percent mark-ups at their local grocery stores and don’t seem to have a problem with that.

Mr. Irish states that a salesman tries to get you excited about the car you’re about to buy. Well, it would be a shame not to be excited, since they are a lot of money. Also, his conclusion that a lease money factor raised four-tenths would increase your payment $60-plus is incorrect, unless you lease a $100,000 car.

I understand why Mr. Irish is disgruntled: I sold cars alongside him for the couple months he spent with us. I don’t think I need to expand on that.

For my part, I will keep building relationships with the clients who have come to me repeatedly for the better part of a decade with whom trust and often friendship have been established.

Cedric Lafaix

Well, you can always trust a car salesman to talk about something he knows nothing about. A grocery in California works off a 1 percent to 3 percent bottom-line profit. Good going, car salesman.

Dan Williams

All of my car-buying purchases were disasters filled with pain and sorrow until I found out about the website www.carbuyingtips.com, which has a 75-page document and an Excel spreadsheet (all free) that you can use as your guide to buying a car.

I did read the book three times, but it was fun and worth it. I purchased two new cars from dealerships following the directions and processes in these documents. I saved thousands, not hundreds, of dollars and had fun.

The first time I used the method, I was in and out of the dealership (including test drive) in 60 minutes! The second car, 90 minutes.

George Gold

Chamber backs Zingg

The Chico Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted unanimously to support fellow director President Paul Zingg’s decision to suspend social Greek organizations on campus.

Fraternities and sororities were warned by the university that serious incidents, including assaults, abusive hazing and out-of-control parties, would not be tolerated. The recent death of student and fraternity pledge Mason Sumnicht after a night drinking on his 21st birthday with his fraternity brothers was the ultimate reason to take this action. The Greek chapters will be given an opportunity for reinstatement by meeting a revised set of strict guidelines that will be presented by the university.

President Zingg has made it clear that the campus intends to take additional measures to ensure student safety. Binge drinking threatens and destroys many students’ lives. Analysis indicates that binge drinking at Chico State exceeds national averages, and our community must resolve this crisis together.

The Chamber of Commerce board consists of a diverse group of business owners, CEOs and community leaders who are dedicated to serving the interests of Chico and this university. Many of us have strong bonds with CSUC. The Chamber Board stands resolutely with President Zingg and his courageous efforts.

Roger Hart
Chairman of the Board

Chico Chamber of Commerce

Anti-theft devices

Re “To catch a thief” (Cover story, by Carson Medley, Nov. 29):

This story reminded me of when I received my first smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy S, in the spring of 2011. Sure, I knew by having the word “smart” in the name this phone’s capabilities were far beyond those of any other phone I have ever had, but little did I know what that meant.

Thanks to GPS tracking, apps like “Where’s My Android” have made me fearless when thinking about my phone getting stolen. If ever lost, “Where’s My Android” will send the phone’s GPS coordinates. I am almost tempted by the idea of someone stealing my phone, which like Medley’s has two years’ worth of my life on it; I know I could confidently say, “Go ahead, take my phone. I’ll track you down and make your life a living hell.”

All in all, I agree with Medley when he says, “This was not about race but about crime.” Life is a sum of all your choices. Stealing is a greed issue, and now we have the technology to be fearless against thieves.

Rachel Ramirez

Will we learn our lesson?

The election’s over. No more robo-calls. No more ads. Are you happy with the outcome? Depressed?

I was disappointed in my fellow Americans, but on reflection I can honestly say that some of our most basic human lessons, learned from babyhood, are what we learn by experience. “Don’t touch that stove—it will burn you!”

Now, it seems, half the country’s voters must learn through painful experiences for the next four years. Get ready for higher fuel costs, food costs, unemployment and government gridlock.

This administration has failed on so many levels, and yet you followers have said: “Give him four more years to fix this.” I hope he succeeds and tries to bring the country together. I also hope he stops blaming Bush and Republicans for all our problems. At some point the problems have to sit squarely on the shoulders of those put there by us to “fix” things.

Look at the problems we have in California, and we just keep electing Democratic majorities! There’s even a fool-proof majority of Democrats now, who can raise more taxes without one Republican!

The rest of us can only keep our heads down and pray that there is something left of our great country to salvage in four years.

Loretta Ann Torres

What the GOP should know

No doubt many Republicans are shaking their heads as to why they again lost the presidential election. Speaking as a Chinese American, it appears to be that one big reason is quite obvious.

Consciously or unconsciously, the Republican Party covets the white voter.

Being 62, I am old enough to remember discrimination and racism. But we are now on the dawn of a new political era. Asian, Latino, African American and other American minorities are not asking to be treated special, just equal.

The Republican Party may not discriminate against minorities per se, but rather tend to ignore us. They seem to forget we minorities have a voice, as well as a vote.

Bill Wong Foey
Red Bluff

Over the financial cliff

For all the naïve, those suffering from intentional blindness, or those who simply don’t give a rip: Did it really matter who became our next president? Neither spoke the truth about the national debt, nor did they have any real solutions.

We have been over the financial cliff and in free fall for a long time. Our government needs $10.4 billion per day to survive. Our government can steal and tax all the private and corporate wealth in America, but this will pay the “interest only” on our debt for one year, and nothing on the “principal.”

Augie Velasquez

LaMalfa’s choice

During the recent congressional primary race, U.S. Rep.-elect Doug LaMalfa joined other candidates attending a political forum in declaring he would vote against increasing the nation’s debt ceiling.

It’s likely he’ll get a chance real soon to put his words into action.

Dare I say: Will LaMalfa keep his promise or succumb to the pressures of party politics?

Pete Stiglich

They were Inspired

Our family was thoroughly delighted and inspired by the winter concert, Let It Snow, held at the new Center for the Arts at PVHS and put on by the Inspire School of Arts and Science. The students were/are so talented. It was a marvelously diverse program and each act was terrific.

We are not an Inspire family. Rather, we went there for a bit of Christmastime cheer. What a bright light these students and teachers are for Chico! Thank you, students, for your effort, discipline, and sharing what you enjoy. Thank you, Inspire, for your commitment to students and performing arts!

Todd Demorest


Due to an editing error, our Greenways article last week, “Counting birds, rain or shine,” incorrectly stated that Mary Muchowski worked at the Butte Environmental Council. She works for the U.S. Forest Service. The error has been corrected online.—ed.