Letters for December 19, 2002

Corrections: Last week’s Back beat story, “Rooms with a view,” by Christopher Allan Smith, misnamed Professional Audio Services. We regret any inconveniences this may have caused.

Also, in the “Out&about” feature on nonprofits, Victor Treatment Centers actually spent $22,730,991—95.5 percent of its revenue—on programs. In the same piece, be advised that the top salary of $143,357 for the Chico State University Research Foundation is for someone working on a project funded by a private grant; its administrative director makes less than that.

Hypocritical democracy
The United States should be the moral leader of the world.

A moral country would not wage a pre-emptive war with another country. This action legitimizes such action by other countries.

A moral country before exporting democracy should have a democracy. Beyond the local level only the rich, or those financed by the rich, can run for political office and have equal access to the media and the debates.

A moral country should eliminate its own weapons of mass destruction before asking others to do the same. It should also not be the largest arms dealer in the world.

Norm Dillinger

Religious tax
The president has decreed that federal money should not be denied to faith-based providers of social services. I agree. And they should then be taxed the same as any other provider.

Without a balancing tax to offset their advantage of labor costs (volunteer) and current tax-free status, they will soon dominate in the social-services field. While this in itself may not be bad, any governmental advantage to one group over another should be avoided. And certainly any governmental preference to a religious-based organization over a secular organization would appear to be in violation of the intent if not the letter of the Constitution.

If religious organizations want to compete for federal tax dollars, they should compete on an even playing field. They should pay taxes.

Roger Graham

Thrilla in the Grilla
Thank you for the uplifting article [“The grilling season,” by Devanie Angel, Everybody’s Business, Dec. 5]. I was impressed by the reporting, and the article brought many friends to the restaurant, even a gorilla, but I keep telling the gorilla that it’s Grilla and not gorilla. A small correction: The restaurant is not all organic but as much as possible both organic and local.

Fred Marken
owner, Grilla Bites

received via e-mail

Gaining interest
Hey, I found our money!

Thanks for the article on unclaimed property listings ["Hey, I found your money,” Out&about, Nov. 27] on the state controller’s Web site. I checked under my wife’s name and found a claim for $552. Based on the address and the company listing the property, we think the claim may be 22 years old. Using 5 percent annual interest rate compounded yearly, that comes to more than $1,600! Hopefully, we can have our claim paid before Gov. Davis lays off most of the staff in the Controller’s Office.

Dan Hatcher

Holding our own
Last Sunday I hung up a load of laundry to dry on my clothesline. I noticed the air was smoky; in fact, the air quality was quite bad. But I had no idea how bad until I took my clothes down the next day and, after a sniff test, decided they smelled so badly of smoke they needed to be rewashed. This is just another case of Butte County and the city of Chico being unconcerned with the air quality of our area.

Not only are we in a valley that receives pollution drifts from Sacramento, we create our own pollution by continuing to allow leaf and orchard burning, rice field burning and unregulated wood stove and fireplace fires. My house, which is located in the heart of Chico, smells as if I have a wood stove burning most evenings, even though I don’t have one and have all my windows closed. I have trouble breathing on these nights and feel angry that my health is being compromised by unmindful and uncontrolled burning.

Please, Butte County and the city of Chico, realize we cannot continue to pollute our environment without dire circumstances. Please take into consideration the health of the citizens of this beautiful valley and work on regulating burning and make our air safe to breathe again.

Janet Allenspach

It’s a wonderful shelter
The Chico Community Shelter Partnership would like to express its gratitude to the many people who attended the Dec. 4 benefit performance of It’s a Wonderful Life. The very talented actors of the Chico Cabaret are to be applauded for their fabulous performance, and it would not have been possible without the very generous hosting of the event by Phil Ruttenburg.

We wish to thank those who have supported CCSP’s efforts and to encourage those who may not know about the services we offer to get involved.

To sponsor a square foot of the Torres Community Shelter, which is currently under construction, or to purchase a square foot as a holiday gift for someone on your gift list, call the shelter office at 891-9048.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Tami Ritter
Executive Director

The Board of Directors of CCSP

Free to be me
I would like to respond to Greg Redeker’s Guest comment article [“Not addicted to oil, just freedom,” Nov. 27]. First, I just want to point out that we “segments of society” who ride the bus are not less free than Mr. Redeker. Rather, we enjoy a different kind of freedom. We are free to spend our money on things other than car payments, car insurance and petroleum fuel (and yes, like narcotics, gasoline sales support terrorism. But let me not digress on the evils of automobiles).

We are also spared the time lost to hunting for a parking space and the liabilities and stress of driving. We are free to talk on a cell phone during a journey without endangering the lives of everyone else on the road, which brings me to another point: If the issue is freedom, Mr. Redeker might have also mentioned that entails responsibilities.

Mr. Redeker seemed rather put out that public transportation requires government subsidies, but he fails to recognize that automobile drivers are heavily subsidized in the form of public roads. Who ever expected a public highway to pay for itself? When was the last time you used a toll road? Since when does a highway not require “enormous outlays of capital and infrastructure"?

Automobiles (in one form or another) are here to stay. That is fine, but public transportation benefits everyone, not just a segment of society. Everyone benefits by the reduced traffic and pollution and by the added freedom of another way to travel. The British have already learned that new roads actually cause more traffic rather than relieve congestion. We would do well to spend more on public transportation and less on new roads. And even those who love their cars could try riding the bus occasionally in order to enjoy a different freedom.

Daniel Griggs
received via e-mail