Letters for December 17, 2015

Water watcher speaks up

Re “Farewell to fish” (Cover story, by Alastair Bland, Dec. 10) and “Rebuttal on water” (Letters, by Thaddeus Bettner, Nov. 26):

While water districts pay lip-service necessary to mask limited supply in the face of unquenchable demand from south-of-Delta desert regions, the facts of damage and near extinction are clear.

GCID, the largest Sacramento Valley district, was forced by the courts to install fish screens in 1992. It now claims to be the friend of salmon while populations collapse and GCID extends water transfers to more districts north and south of the Delta. The result: a 2014 die-off of over 95 percent with more predicted in 2015.

GCID claims that their “[10] wells would be for local supply when our surface supply is shorted and diversions are limited in order to protect fish and the environment.” Really? GCID’s grants/plans may say that, but reality is found in the Sacramento River and the Delta: salmon runs and other fish are on the brink of extinction.

GCID’s actual purpose is best expressed using their own words: “… improve Central Valley system-wide water supply reliability through participation in the emerging water transfer markets … [that would] … integrate the Lower Tuscan Formation into the local water supply system and into the Central Valley wide water supply system;…” Translation: exports to desert agriculture using groundwater.

Barbara Vlamis


‘This decision is ludicrous!’

Re “Man shot accidentally?” (Downstroke, Dec. 3):

I have watched the dashcam video of Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster’s assault on the [allegedly] drunken driver who wrecked his vehicle a dozen times and I cannot see how Butte County’s district attorney can rule this “not justified but not criminal.”

If you or I had accidentally shot someone because we were “startled,” we’d be in jail on assault charges or at least negligent discharge of a firearm. Seriously, do we as citizens of Butte County want an officer on the job who gets startled and fires his weapon when someone exits a wrecked vehicle? This decision is ludicrous! Officer Feaster should be fired immediately and an unbiased third party should conduct an investigation to determine what criminal charges should be filed against him.

Michael Pulliam


Editor’s note: For more on this story, see Newslines, page 9.

Ripping the university

Re “Confidence wavers” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Dec. 10):

Considering the recent no-confidence vote, Chico State’s failures as an academic institution become noticeable. The university has more part-time “freeway professors” than full-time profs, which makes it easy for the administration to politically dominate the school.

It can take five to six years to get a four-year degree because staff can’t schedule classes sufficiently even with the modern miracle of the computer.

The campus is woefully mired in cultural Marxism—our students are supposed to be educated, not brainwashed. The university can’t budget. They can’t even field a football team.

I’ve talked to Associated Students presidents about all this and they reply that Chico State students are politically apathetic.

I went to UC Berkeley in the 1960s and we’d go on strike, all 30,000 of us, and shut that university down. We effected change through social reconstructivism, and this is what Chico State students are going to have to do if they’re going to improve their university—they’re going to have to take charge of their own education. If you don’t think for yourself, other people will do your thinking for you.

Mike Peters


Paris reality check

At unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09.pdf one may find the text of the COP21 Paris Agreement. I recommend reading it with the same trepidation reserved for driving a nail into one’s cranium. The agreement is a tour de farce of redundancy, political correctness, vacuity and evasiveness. I approached it with the bar set low and found I was digging a root cellar.

The word “forest” actually appeared, once or twice, lost in a tangle of verbiage like “Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency.” I never saw the words “population limits” or “reduced consumption” or “sacrifice” or “carbon tax” or “plant-based diet” or one specific reference to what real humans might agree to do differently in their daily lives. It would have been far better for one country to agree to one specific limitation on human recklessness, than 195 agreeing to float the future of the world on this nonbinding, snake-oil slick of good intentions.

James Hansen—deservedly known as “the father of climate change awareness”—has called Paris a “fraud.” It’s worse than a fraud. It’s a fraud possibly resulting in the incineration of a planet—I don’t think we have a word for that.

Patrick Newman


Bernie is looking out

Something needs to be done about the high price of prescription medications in the United States. Our prices are twice as high as the average for major industrialized countries. And, tragically, in 2014, 1 in 5 Americans did not fill a prescription because they could not afford it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings have introduced the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015. If enacted, this law would do the following: require Medicare to negotiate prices with the drug companies (currently banned by law); allow importation of drugs from Canada, where prices are 40 percent lower; close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole by 2017; and outlaw various anticompetitive practices by the pharmaceutical companies.

In this and many other areas, Bernie Sanders is leading efforts on behalf of the average person rather than the big corporations.

David Potter


And then there’s Hillary

Recent letters mention Hillary Clinton, so here are my thoughts. I met Bill Clinton for the first time in 1978 and Hillary in the 1980s. Hillary has devoted her whole life to the public cause, starting with the Children’s Defense Fund, then as first lady of Arkansas, then first lady of our country. Then she was elected as U.S. senator in New York in 2000 and after a competitive presidential election in 2008, with Barack Obama being elected. Then President Obama selected Hillary to be his secretary of state.

Hillary has been in many countries in all her public roles urging countries to change their culture/policies and let women and girls have access to education, job opportunities and civil rights. Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan was almost killed for doing the same. She survived and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am a big admirer of both. There are powerful interests in our country who will do everything to prevent Hillary from becoming the first woman president, because a President Hillary will push for equal pay for equal work, paid family leave and move the student loan interest rate down, as well as being commander-in-chief!

Bob Mulholland


Help the planet

On Saturday, I went to Chico’s climate change rally, High Noon for the Planet, which happened as tens of thousands of people in Paris rallied at the same time.

I am a seventh-grade kid from Wildflower Open Classroom who thinks that that the climate rally helps people understand what is happening in the world and what needs to be done to stop climate change from happening. It is important that kids get involved with climate change because it puts them on a path to help stop it.

At the rally the people could make personal goals to help with stopping climate change. I think that if everyone made a personal goal to help stop climate change we would be closer to stopping it. With this rally I believe that we can make a difference with the importance of collective action and coming together to push our leaders into acting. Even when people say that it is too late to save the planet from climate change, we can still make a difference if everyone participates. Kids and adults should get more involved to make sure we have a healthy and safe future for the generations to come.

Johnna Louie


Fed up with dark streets

The poor street lighting in downtown Chico has been an issue for some time and has resulted in many car accidents and crime. Residents face a recurring obstacle walking through sketchy streets with poor lighting, clutching their belongings in hopes of not making the next news cycle as a sexual-assault case, theft or hit-and-run victim.

It sounds extreme, but these accidents have occurred one too many times. People have a right to be concerned. It’s clear that better lighting would reduce crime and make our streets safer for residents. I understand that more street lights have not been installed in these areas largely due to the cost.

City Council has addressed the issue many times, yet I have seen nothing done. As a Chico State student and member of this community I feel it’s time for action. We as a community have to work together to bring more attention to the issue and take it upon ourselves to raise money to bring better lighting to our city.

Katharine Reed


Looking for art

I was up from San Francisco and home to Chico for the Christmas holiday. I was shocked to see the condition of what used to be a premier art gallery (1078 Gallery) in Chico.

I looked in and was appalled at the condition; it was like a junkyard. The exhibits didn’t have numbers on them. That is very unprofessional. When I moved to Chico, it was said by a visiting art critic that Chico was one of the best small art cities in America. What the hell has happened? Art occupies little in the American mind, but Chico can do better than people fighting over wide-screen TVs on Black Friday at Walmart.

Outside of Chico State there is little art to offer in downtown and other venues. Let’s hope and support the new efforts to bring an art museum such as the proposed old vet’s building, so that Chico can claim a quality-class museum. Merry Christmas and a Happy Art New Year.

Jerry Harris

San Francisco/Chico