Letters for December 16, 2010

Why kids hate school

Re “Writing shouldn’t be a punishment” (Guest comment, by Shannon Rooney, Dec. 9):

Shannon Rooney is right on the mark. By the time kids reach middle school, half of them hate school, and since English classes consist of reading “prescribed” literature and writing in the abysmal Reader’s Digest style (introduction, development, conclusion), there’s no room for freedom of expression or creativity.

This is because schools don’t educate, they indoctrinate: “Believe what we tell you to believe or you will be punished!”

I wrote a revisionist interpretation of Shakespeare in 1966 in high school English and got a D- despite being an A student; later I wrote a five-act play about the concept, which subsequently was stolen from me and I had to sue Hollywood over Shakespeare in Love, which got seven Oscars!

Ever since then I tell prospective writers: “Ignore your English teachers.”

Michael Peters

Mouthing lies

Shannon Rooney omitted one important fact about the drug offender being forced to write a report on “the nonsensical character” of California’s medical-marijuana program.

The plain truth is that dozens of medical groups, from the Wisconsin State Medical Society, the National Institutes of Health and the Vermont Medical Society to the San Francisco Medical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the Medical Society of the State of New York, to name a few, recognize the medical value of marijuana.

No doubt this judge expects a scathing attack on medical marijuana, but that is a lie. If the judge insists on forcing someone to mouth lies that they do not believe in, he is the biggest hypocrite in Nevada.

Ralph Givens
Daly City

Rights and responsibilities

Re “It’s all about choice” (Letters, by Paul Weber, Dec. 9):

Yes, it’s all about choice, if you have one. Not all parents can afford the commitment of time and energy to actively participate in their children’s education outside the home. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could or would! Some are even denied the opportunity of attending the school closest to their residence due to the restricted enrollment of the charter school.

You place the blame for exacerbating the achievement gap on the traditional public schools. I find it ironic that you make this statement when, if anything, charter schools are widening the gap between the haves and have-nots.

After teaching 36 years in public secondary schools, I’m proud of the achievements made possible in spite of declining funding. Excellent achievement in challenging courses has been and is presently available to conscientious students. There are learning tracks for varied interests as well as allied activities. If anything, the variety exceeds that of charter or private schools.

Secondary schools in Chico do not use a one-size-fits all approach. Schools within schools, advanced placement, and technology courses continue to expand. I challenge you to visit these classes.

Fear is a great motivator, but it should not be used to threaten parents into believing their sons and daughters cannot receive a good education in public schools. Public schools are continually seeking viable approaches to deliver the learning process, and I resent your status-quo implication.

If the same support were applied to improving public instruction internally as is provided to charter and private schools, there would be no need for segregation.

Shouldn’t parent choice also include responsibility as well as a right to provide the excellent opportunities to all children?

Dick Cory

Don’t expect my vote

Re “City Council gets a fresh face at a weird meeting” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, Dec. 9):

I think is it ridiculous and a complete waste of time to be revisiting this fireplace burn ban. I completely agree with [Councilman] Larry Wahl when he states that this is “another excuse to micro-manage our lives and our homes.” I pride myself in being from Chico because we tend to sway away from needless laws and rules that the Bay Area is so eager to enact.

We need to be putting our time and resources into much bigger problems, such as the lack of funding for education and widespread methamphetamine addiction, which is the prime cause for crime and theft in our town.

I believe that the City Council members are acting irresponsibly and on their own accord. If you are truly worried about air quality, you need to focus on giant backyard and rice-field burns. I will not support council members that waste our time and money on needless issues.

Carey Brocksen

Learning curve

Re “Probable cause?” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Dec. 2):

Mr. Campbell [Letters, Dec. 9] was correct in pointing out that it is wrong to shut down an establishment based on a clerical error. The clerical errors, however, were not due to inadequate training. All of our employees always follow strict procedures when it comes to patient verification.

No, what we are dealing with here are professional con artists using valid recommendations that were then altered using sophisticated “photo shop” computer programs. These forgeries are nearly impossible to detect, especially when we call the doctor and are told that the patient is legitimate. Liquor-store stings involving underage agents that simply look old is one thing, but this goes way beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior.

With this relatively new industry of medical cannabis we are all on a learning curve. These documents can’t be held up to a light like a hundred-dollar bill. There are no counterfeit-document “magic markers.”

Instead of this disrespectful (and failed) attempt to stomp us down, perhaps law enforcement could work with us in preventing fraud and abuse.

The worst thing about this whole statement of probable cause chicanery is that it has caused a complete loss of credibility for local law enforcement for when they get around to trying to fight real crime. In other words, if I was a judge I would be quite hesitant to ever again sign a warrant that was presented to me by any of the officers involved in this fraudulent and pointless vendetta against medical-cannabis dispensaries.

Robert Galia

Nickell’s bad example?

At the Chico City Council meeting on Dec. 1, when they discussed medical marijuana and the farmers’ market, I was shocked by how disrespectful the audience was toward council members during their discussions. There were a number of people who sat behind me who made rude comments under their breath when they heard a statement they didn’t agree with.

If you don’t agree with their politics, views or ideas they bring up during the meeting, then keep your remarks to yourself. Have an intellectual conversation after the meeting with the council member, or e-mail him or her with your questions.

Maybe they were doing this because they were following Tom Nickell’s example. Nickell was rolling his eyes and using his hand gestures, such as a talking mouth, when other council members would bring up points he didn’t agree with. I’m surprised Nickell would do this to his colleagues in a public forum and on live television.

All seven of these council members represent us and our great city of Chico. Let’s be adults and show them respect, because they are serving our community. If there are so many problems you want to fix, there will be an election in two years and maybe you should get your name on the ballot.

Jarrod Riggins

We’re still here!

As the days shorten in 2010, we liberals find ourselves under heavy pressure from the right, both locally and nationally. Republicans in Congress claim mandates from results of the November elections, pressing hard against the Democratic administration on many issues. President Obama is forced to compromise often, as repeated filibusters require a super majority in the U.S. Senate.

Election results, however, often pointed in another direction. We did well in the West, particularly in California. Democrats won all constitutional offices, and our victories over big money in the governor and senatorial races were solid. Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada and Colorado were also favorable, so Republican gains in the house were blunted.

Locally we retained two of three City Council seats and swept the CUSD election. All of these were grassroots victories, despite heavy campaign contributions for the losers. Our hole-in-the-wall Democratic headquarters buzzed with activity, while Republicans sat proudly in their affluent surroundings.

Progressives today remain steadfast, and we vote. Whether supporting national institutions like Social Security and Medicare, or our local City Council, we’ll be there when the votes are counted at election time.

Robert Woods

Leaping for joy

Thank you, SI Chico!

On behalf of LeapingStone and the children of Dédékè, Togo, I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for the $1,000 grant. This will allow us to provide the much needed desks and chairs for the new primary school we are building. Soroptimists International Chico is a fabulous organization, and we are proud to be a recipient of their generosity.

Natalie Huberman
President, LeapingStone