Letters for December 18, 2014

Two views

Re “Arrests, not deaths” (Editorial, Dec. 11):

Sadly, in the case of Eric Garner, the “crime” he allegedly committed was supposed to have been handled by a “written ticket” requiring a court appearance. It was not something warranting an arrest. What a sad situation.

This was an egregious crime of excessive use of force by law enforcement. And police wonder why we don’t respect them anymore. It is time to stop looking at citizens as though every one of us is a “criminal.” Selling single cigarettes should not ever cost a man his life. I hope something is done about this. At the very least it should culminate in some kind of mandate that these sorts of excessive force issues be investigated by outside panels of objective individuals.

In my opinion, if the members of the grand jury had been objective, they would have brought charges against the officer and that should have led to a jury trial.

Carolyn Kiesz

What is the response if you talk to protesters? The officer should have tried to wound Michael Brown? George Zimmerman should have let Trayvon Martin beat him to a pulp? The cops should have somehow known the replica gun was not real?

The challenge is for any of them to put themselves in that spot and tell us how the outcome would change? Would you let someone possibly beat you to death? Would you let a 300-pound guy who just tried to kill you charge you? Would you let a kid pull the gun and wait to see if it goes off? And how would you arrest a 350-pound 6-foot-4-inch guy who did not want to be arrested?

There were millions of arrests this year, yet four catch your eye? There were over a thousand blacks killed by blacks? No black leader has said stop resisting arrest and fighting with the law. If you do crime, you will be arrested—one way or the other. It is a shame for many to think police should willingly give up their lives for a hunch this person is not intent on killing them. It shows lack of contact with the real world, a void of common sense.

Allan Clark

About CUSD’s process

Re “Two for the trees” (Letters, by Michael Christopher, Dec. 11):

Two large red oak trees will be removed for construction of a science building near Oleander and Memorial at Chico Junior. This location was preferred by science teachers, not the northeast corner.

The teachers’ preference was $4.5 million. The final option is $2.8 million, a less-expensive design. The budget for this work is $3 million. The final option allows for modernization, including a new drop-off/pick-up area, fire alarm system, exterior painting, restrooms, upgraded technology infrastructure and ADA modifications. These improvements are impossible under the $4.5 million option.

Location considered the following: alignment with an existing building wing, creating good traffic flow; placement at the school frontage adding visual improvement; delineating boundaries for the student commons area; enhancing open space in the west playfield area where students gather, have lunch, play sports, hold graduation and participate in after-school program activities; allowing construction to be phased, causing the least disruption. The placement starts to create a single point of entry for a safe and secure campus.

Stating that the building’s location was made for political purposes demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the careful and transparent process that has taken place.

Julie Kistle
director of Facilities and Construction, Chico Unified SchoolDistrict

Regarding Measure A

Re “Pot ’O money” (Downstroke, Dec. 11):

California NORML objects strenuously to Butte County’s requirement that medical marijuana be cultivated in a contiguous space, and to the proposed “Stay in the Box” campaign advanced by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office to ensure compliance with this scheme.

Cal NORML is in favor of using square footage of plant canopy rather than plant numbers as a scientific measure of crop yield, as determined by DEA studies.

To force plants to grow in some imaginary box, crammed together, will increase the likelihood of disease, making for an unhealthy product. Many patients, especially AIDS patients, have compromised immune systems and are especially susceptible to molds in particular. Furthermore, growing this way will interfere with a patient harvesting their required amount of cannabis. As far as I understand state law, [the county’s $446,500] budget allocation [for Measure A enforcement] won’t go into effect until the board takes a second vote on it. Locals should contact their supervisors.

Ellen Comp
Cal NORML deputy director, Berkeley

Forced annexation wrong

Re “Council makes a mess” (Editorial, Nov. 27):

I do not agree with the conclusion in your recent editorial about the attempted forced annexation of the Chapman/Mulberry neighborhoods that the agreement “was a well-thought-out plan.” A government process that does not allow for disclosure of information and a means and time to understand and to discuss and provide input is simply disrespectful.

The process was meetings between the staff of LAFCo and city of Chico held without any public participation and no public notice. This process nearly completely shut down public participation in this important issue, relegating anyone with interest, curiosity or questions to having two minutes at a council meeting. The process was wholly disrespectful to the residents of the neighborhood.

A few months ago, when the lack of notice was brought to the attention to the City Council, the council put the issue off to an October meeting and directed staff to at least mail a letter to the residents. Then the October meeting got canceled when city staff said they’d forgotten to send the letter.

People have a right to be informed, a right to question, a right to give input and a right to impact the decision.

Jane Dolan

Striving for peace

Re “More on the Middle East” (Letters, by Rabbi Julie Danan, Dec. 11):

I was glad to see Rabbi Julie Danan’s letter, in which she pointed out the years that professor Michael Leitner has spent striving for peace in Israel-Palestine. I attended Leitner’s presentation in which he described how the sporting events he had coordinated between Israelis and Palestinians had reduced hatred between those two ethnic groups. Bravo! However, it was unfortunate that no time was allotted for questions following his presentation.

At Chico Peace and Justice Center, we discussed Leitner’s presentation and wondered what he believes is the cause of all the hatred that he has worked so hard to dispel.

I also attended Leitner’s on-campus showing of the documentary The Case for Israel. It noted that when Israel declared itself an independent nation, “some” Palestinians were forced from their homes. It did not say that in 1948 Israel forced 700,000 Palestinians from their homes, Israel then forced another 300,000 from their homes in 1967, and every decade since 1948 Israel has forced tens of thousands of Palestinians from their homes.

Unless fundamental change is made in Israel’s policies, sporting events will have no lasting value.

Sharon Fritsch

Check this out

Re “Goodbye, bipartisanship” (Editorial, Dec. 4):

Let’s set the record straight on nonpartisan councils. Under the left-leaning councils, this is what the facts tell us:

Mayor Maureen Kirk/Vice Mayor Coleen Jarvis, 2002-04; Mayor Scott Gruendl/Vice Mayor Kirk, 2004-06; Mayor Andy Holcombe/Vice Mayor Ann Schwab, 2006-08; Mayor Schwab 2008-12/Vice Mayor Tom Nickell (2008-10) and Vice Mayor Jim Walker (2010-12). Mayor Mary Goloff /Vice Mayor Gruendl, 2012-August 2013.

Nowhere can I find a mention that Councilmen Larry Wahl or Bob Evans was even considered for nomination as mayor or even vice mayor. If they had been we would not be in the financial abyss we are today.

It will take a strong financially like-minded conservative majority council many years to put us back on track to build back our public-safety departments, infrastructure and operating reserves so that this city will be able to withstand the next economic downturn.

Finally a majority of voters have chosen the right people to set the right course.

Stephanie L. Taber

Editor’s note: What Ms. Taber’s letter does not mention is that in August 2013 the liberal majority voted in progressive Scott Gruendl as mayor and conservative Mark Sorensen as vice mayor—a bipartisan arrangement that lasted approximately 16 months.

Two views on trees

Re “A canopy imperiled” (Cover story, by Tom Gascoyne, Dec. 4):

This article was full of important information for citizens concerned about the kind of urban forest we will leave the next generation.

For me, one of the main issues has become communicating to other Chicoans benefits of trees of which they may not be aware. Here are a few examples: The asphalt of shaded streets lasts 10 to 25 years longer than the asphalt of sunny streets. Trees save water by slowing the evaporation from landscaping. Trees help purify, and buffer water runoff. Trees shield children from ultraviolet rays (skin cancer is the most common from of cancer in the U.S.). Studies have shown that patients with views of trees heal faster and with fewer complications. Neighborhoods without trees have shown to have greater incidence of violence than their greener counterparts. Retail districts with trees experience 12 percent increase in customer spending. Trees are sound buffers. And trees combat the greenhouse effect by absorbing CO2.

Chico has suspended its tree-planting program and yet we are losing our large trees at an alarming rate. If you value trees let the City Council know. Let’s not be the generation that was too busy to care for our urban forest.

Charles Withuhn
Chico Tree Advocates, Chico

The article by Tom Gascoyne about whether our urban forest is imperiled forces me to respond.

The naïve and immature rantings of Mark Herrera and the impassioned delusions of Charles Withuhn do not make for a crisis in the tree world of Chico.

I have been a licensed landscape contractor for over 30 years. My company partners with several of the most professional property management companies in Chico and together we oversee hundreds of Chico’s trees. In any given year we remove many trees that are declining in health or causing damage to homes or are a hazard. We always plant more replacement trees than are removed.

I have worked with Dave Bettencourt on matters pertaining to city trees and have found him to be a dedicated and experienced arborist. He understands that an urban forest is not static but is constantly in a balance of removing declining or inappropriate trees and replanting new trees better suited to our urban environment.

Chico needs more “boots on the ground” (trained tree workers). We do not need another bureaucrat (urban forester) who goes to endless meetings to listen to the whiners who do not understand arboreal realities.

There are many licensed and trained people in the private sector who are actually maintaining the urban forest and it is thriving!

Bruce Burton

Stop oil trains on Feather River

Lake Oroville provides water for 25 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland in California.

If a railroad tank car laden with toxic Bakken shale crude oil derails, ending up in the Feather River, all of the water in Lake Oroville will be poisoned. This catastrophic event would bankrupt Union Pacific and force its operation into government receivership.

Bakken fracking oil contains highly carcinogenic, toxic and poisonous chemicals that would instantly mix with the water in Lake Oroville, rendering all of the lake’s water unfit for consumption by people or irrigating crops.

The longer this contaminated water is in Lake Oroville the more of it will seep into and destroy our groundwater. If fracking-contaminated water in Lake Oroville reaches the Thermolito Afterbay, it would seep into the groundwater west of the Afterbay.

Fracking oil is shipped in train cars, because it is highly explosive and it would blow up the normal crude oil pipelines crossing America.

There are alternatives to energy; there are no alternatives to water.

If a fracking oil train car spills into the Lake Oroville watershed, it will destroy our economic future. Demand that toxic fracking trains not be allowed along the Feather River watershed.

John Scott
Butte Valley

Confused by letter

Re “Obamacare’s a Ponzi Scheme” (Letters, by Nathan Esplanade, Dec. 11):

Nathan Esplanade writes that socialism is government production of goods and services. He then goes on to talk about Obamacare, which is odd, because the private insurance market is not produced by government at any level. Has he confused production with regulation?

Nathaniel Perry

Stop labeling

Re “Top toys” (Sifter, Dec. 4):

I was shocked and disappointed with your “top toys” list, which separated the top five toys of the year into “Boys” and “Girls” categories. This sort of sexist labeling is what perpetuates the idea of traditional gender roles. Trucks, Barbies, Hot Wheels and LEGO are not gender-specific—they are for children of all genders.

Maggie McMillan

Editor’s note: That was not the CN&R’s list, but rather a list compiled by the National Retail Federation. We agree that toys are not gender-specific.