Letters for December 2, 2004

Disc golf rights
A small group of enviro-extremists (the “Friends” of Bidwell Park) should not be allowed to hold the community of Chico hostage. Their radical ideology must not be the final arbiter over outdoor recreation opportunities in Bidwell Park. It is a park, not a nature preserve. Let the people use it.

Take a look at the group’s Web page. See how propaganda is being used against the disc golf community? Their selective use of photos, and an egregious interpretation of alleged environmental damage (purportedly done by disc golfers throwing little plastic Frisbees), exposes their extremist views regarding park usage. They demonstrate no causal relationship, but merely hysterically assert their opinions.

The courses are situated on less than 1 percent of the total acreage of Bidwell Park and have been at their current location for more than 10 years. They were set up on what was then federal land. They have been there long before the property was acquired by the city of Chico in 1993. The City Council and the Bidwell Park and Playgrounds Commission even approved of their location back in 1999.

Rick Leis
Chico Disc Golf Club

Keep it local
I offer a suggestion to resolve the debate over whether to rename a Chico street, recreational park or city plaza after Martin Luther King Jr.

The supporters of the renaming process should identify three prominent Chicoans who, over the past 50 years as residents of our town, have done the most to promote the vision of racial harmony advocated by the Rev. King.

The nominator should provide a brief two- to three-sentence biography of the individual, specifying the concrete achievements of the nominee that brought a demonstrable measure of inter-ethnic amity and inter-racial collegiality to our city.

Submit those three names to the Chico Area Recreational District board and let them decide which one, if any, deserves to have a city locale named after him or her.

Between now and the commemoration of Dr. King’s birthday in mid-January, both the CARD board and the supporters of a name change can show, by example, their commitment to inter-racial cooperation, Chico-style.

Charles Geshekter

Sleeping majority
Wake up, Rip Van Winkle! Are you aware that you represent a portion of the American electorate responsible for returning a controversial national ticket to office? You slumber, you jeopardize our future.

You seem well-meaning and dream of the pursuit of happiness, but your adherents have just elected (for the first time) politicians who in the last four years have taken us into a war based on a false premise, have plunged us into financial disarray through deficit spending, have supported questionable tax “breaks” and have left us sadly divided through their frequent flirtation with uncompromising rightists.

Apparently you dream of benevolent programs—improvement in health care, stable Social Security, a healthy environment, social justice, sound international relations. But, alas, minor matters—protection of the gun lobby, opposition to the expansion of stem cell research, trivial religious topics (and the like) have prevented your voting for those who would tackle the truly consequential moral issues of our day.

Morality? What of the thousands of lives lost on both sides of the Iraq war and its attendant terrorism? What of the homeless and the hungry in the world’s richest country? What of our millions denied adequate health care? What of the despoiling of the earth’s environment? These are significant moral issues.

Soon, we hope, you will awaken refreshed and clearheaded, perhaps in time to start protecting out future. Maybe you will ignore strict partisanship and the self-centered factions that compromise your judgment and will begin to search for the “big picture.”

Rise and shine, Rip! We can’t wait 20 years. We can’t even wait another four!

Richard A. Clark

Weeping minority
I really have to wonder what planet I’m living on. This last election, while encouraging in the record number of voters, was tragic in the realization that the majority of people in this country hold values that are apparently opposite to my own. How can this be?

I guess what eats me up the most is how people can look at you with a straight face and tell you that they voted for Bush because he held the moral high ground. Excuse me? I might as well have been punched in the gut. This man has lied us into a war that’s killed nearly 1,100 American troops and an untold number of Iraqis. Can we not see how immoral it is to not only start a war on the whim of George’s fantasies, but then be kept in the dark concerning the immense amount of damage and destruction we are causing? Do we care so little that George W. is viewed as the greater terrorist in the eyes of much of the world?

Is it the fact that Dubya labels himself a praying man that makes him moral? God help us if we are a nation whose faith is so shallow that we can be seduced by the devil who whispers what we want to hear while raining death and destruction on the rest of the world. The Christianity that I practice and that continues to challenge me bears no resemblance to the acts of this self-proclaimed religious man.

So I would ask any of the Bush fans to please respond and tell me what exactly makes this man moral. We need to have a serious discussion concerning this if we are to ever again have a leader that all of us can support and believe in.

Warren Haskell

Liberal hangover
I don’t really understand all this talk of post-election depression and having the blues over the re-election of the current administration. It’s on the radio, the major national evening news programs, and even in your paper’s “Streetalk” column, where four out of five people interviewed on a college campus felt some sense of disappointment over the election and a poor outlook for the coming four years. Thankfully they managed to find one positive and uplifting soul on our local campus.

Perhaps it is because our side is “winning” this war of ideas that I find myself in a slightly better mood. I must admit that I was looking for a significantly larger margin in the voting, but a solid win nevertheless. The country took an incremental step in my ideological direction on many fronts affirming, that I am in the majority of free-thinking and -voting Americans. This period in our long political history is but a recession from the excesses of the Great Society and New Deal age. A movement that corrected a great deal of some problems and a created a whole bunch of new ones.

In the end we are achieving a political balance, and there really isn’t a “deep” political divide that we have all heard about by the talking heads on TV. We have a statistical 50/50 divide in this country and that constitutes a check-and-balance system as designed by our far-sighted forefathers.

Rodney Jenkins