Letters for December 17, 2009

The many uses of hemp

Re “Weed is winning” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Dec. 3):

Hemp is used for making a durable cloth (dating back to ship sails and still used in Great Britain on their historical ships for rope rigging). Cannabis plants produce more plant fiber per acre than trees do and can grow faster than trees when it comes to the time between planting and full-growth harvest. The cannabis plant has a higher sugar content than even cane sugar and can be made into ethanol or even biodiesel. Add soap, as well!

If people could see past the stigma of the medical and recreational uses of marijuana to these alternate uses, maybe even more revenue can be generated to help out with the state’s deficit.

Curt R. Larsen

Making stoners look bad

Re “A week on a pot farm” (feature story, by Ditas Kahlo, Dec. 3):

Sorry to say this, but even though you are making great money under the table, there is a lot to be said for honest work. I’m surprised the CN&R is actually publishing such a shameful article. It puts a stereotypical tone for those who smoke. Way to look like a stoner and write like one as well.

Cheri LaBorne

Planning Nielsen’s arrest

I will be attempting a citizen’s arrest on Assemblyman Jim Nielsen. A small group of dedicated citizens will be witness to this peaceful exercise of our rights. It will happen when Mr. Nielsen is known to be at a public event or function. I have met all the criteria of the California Penal Code, and I alone will choose the time and place.

The “probable cause” required is the proof we have that Jim Nielsen committed perjury and fraud when he filed to seek the Second District Assembly seat on June 3, 2008. This is a felony. The accusations are absolutely provable, but have been suppressed by our Tehama County district attorney, sheriff, grand jury and two Superior Court judges.

The citizen’s arrest is the only option to encourage the media to inform the voters of this public servant’s illegal victory. We believe he cheated and lied to win.

I can be reached at P.O. Box 5313, Corning, CA 96021-5313.

Donald M. Bird

He’s ‘right on the mark’

The Chico News & Review’s chief movie critic is a community treasure.

I almost skipped going to the recent Pageant Theatre showing of A Serious Man because of a scathing review I had read in The New Yorker, a usually reliable source of commentary. But The New Yorker’s reviewer had it wrong.

Juan-Carlos Selznick’s enthusiastically positive review of the movie, on the other hand, was a masterpiece of insightful criticism.

For example, he writes: “A half-dozen scenes in the film are little masterpieces in what amounts to an ingeniously astute and surprisingly heartfelt gallery of portraits of passive-aggressive manipulators, each of them acting in the guise of conventional well-meaning friends, neighbors, colleagues.”

That’s right on the mark. Keep up the good work, Juan-Carlos.

John Boyle

Miffed about Christmas

Along with a significant crowd downtown on Friday night (Dec. 4), I joined my wife in attending the Christmas singing and watched the lighting of the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, the mayor decided that this was not to be a Christmas-tree lighting, but rather a holiday-tree lighting.

Shame! When your publications by the DCBA (on glossy paper in full color, by the way) all say this is a Christmas tree and call other events “Christmas,” you as mayor should follow suit and not include your personal bias. When you replaced the word “Christmas” with “holiday” in your remarks, the crowd around me was not happy.

Merry Christmas, mayor!

Mark Woodson

Act now on bottling plant

Most of our region’s citizens believe that water should be kept in the North State at least until there are better data about how much water is in our aquifer and how aquifers interact.

Water’s availability is in question: Climate change will reduce the Sierra’s snowcap. Other private and state interests want Northern California’s water, e.g., Westlands and L.A. water districts. That is why we must be vigilant about the state’s recently approved “water package.”

Crystal Geyser, an international company, meets its bottom line by selling water all over the world, and it wants to drill for “blue gold” in Orland—a nearby town that needs sustainable industry. Crystal Geyser sued Calistoga when a city fuel tank contaminated a Crystal Geyser well. But two Glenn County officials declined an Orland planner’s request to certify that a bottling plant would not disturb Orland’s toxic plume—listed for 20 years as a Superfund site.

Bottling companies market water as it if it were pure, when it is often far worse than tap water. Orland would be involved in international deception, while profits go to a foreign company. Moreover, the trucks used (but not owned) by Crystal Geyser produce CO2 emissions.

Please urge that on Dec. 16 Orland’s City Council require an environmental-impact report (EIR) to fully account for: PM 2.5 diesel emissions; climate change and local water needs; effects on aquifers, wells, and a toxic plume; noise from chillers and trucks; and truckers’ impacts on roads and traffic.

Grace M. Marvin
Sierra Club, Yahi Group


Pit bulls R us

Re “Beware of pit bulls” (Letters, by Hugh Rhodes, Dec. 3):

“These [pit bull] dogs have an inbred ‘reptilian brain’ area that is vicious and very dangerous. This is well known!” Where exactly is Mr. Rhodes getting his information? It’s doubtful that it comes from any firsthand experience with pit bulls.

This breed isn’t born with any human aggression. Pit bulls have to be trained to be that way through abuse, torture, neglect, and lack of any socialization. But then, any breed of dog would be vicious after that.

Helen Keller owned a pit bull as a companion dog. They are great family dogs that would give their lives to protect a child.

Granted, they are over-bred. Too many are owned by ignorant, insecure jerks and backyard breeders who are causing the problem. Maybe, Mr. Rhodes, you should visit the animal shelter and see some of those pit bulls with cigarette burns on their faces, broken ribs, limbs missing, a decapitated spirit or an amputated soul. Then tell those dogs how evil they are.

But they won’t respond. Animals have no voice. They have no choice. They are stuck with whatever people dish out to them.

Jerry King

Re “Puppies’ worst nightmare over,” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Nov. 19):

The “study” quoted that alleges that pit bulls are responsible for 50 percent of attacks on humans is far from concrete. That single study (which is not confirmed by any scientific evidence or relevant national organization) relies on visual breed identification. Any large-headed, stocky dog with short fur is typically lumped into the pit-bull category, though dozens of breeds resemble them, and even variations within such common breeds as Labrador retrievers may be identified incorrectly. Without DNA testing or an accurate count of dogs of a particular breed, there’s no precise measure to determine which breeds are more likely to attack. This is why the CDC stopped tracking dog attacks by breed in 1998.

There’s also no scientific evidence for the study’s insinuations that pit bulls differ behaviorally or attack without warning. These are myths borne out of a lack of understanding of canine behavior and media sensationalism of dog attacks.

Regarding the “Beware of pit bulls” letter, perhaps Hugh [Rhodes] should revisit basic biology and reading comprehension—humans have as much of a “reptilian brain” as dogs or any other vertebrate, and I do sleep with a pit bull by my bed every night. I assure you, her snoring is the only threat to my wellbeing.

To better understand how myths, the media, and irresponsible ownership have created a perfect storm of tainted image for the pit bull, I highly recommend reading a book called The Pit Bull Placebo. The full text is available online through the National Canine Research Council.

Heather Schoeppach
Executive Director, Butte Humane Society