Letters for December 21, 2006

CN&R resonates with ex-Chicoan
Re: “Greed at the top” (Cover Story, by Jeff vonKaenel, CN&R, Dec. 14):

For me, nothing sparks as much emotional juice as the trouble journalists are having telling community stories—or any story that readers need and want to hear about.

I honed my critical thinking on the CN&R. My first letter to the editor was published here, and when I was as a student at Chico State and just too busy to read all the political tracts and election articles, I could trust the CN&R to help me make the right choice. If in doubt, I always turned to the daily as well.

I remember if both Chico papers supported a candidate, I knew he or she had to be good—unless I had a different idea, of course. And always, if there was conflict, I knew I should look into it a little more.

Jeff vonKaenel’s article brought this point home. “I’m not looking forward to the day,” he wrote, “when I’m publishing an alternative paper without a daily newspaper to be an alternative to.” Fast news in the name of profit is sweeping the country, and daily newspapers are falling off the charts like rocks off the edge of a cliff. Readers can see what the profiteers are doing.

Recently I have been grumbling about sports coverage in the CN&R, but in truth it is still a pretty good alternative newspaper. I hope the Chico daily is still fighting the battle, too. Without a good foil, how can we really know which battle to champion? When there is just one source for all, everyone will be in trouble.

Cliff Switzer
Sioux City, Iowa

You asked, he answers
Re: “Crunch deficit numbers” (Letters, by Charles Mueller, CN&R, Dec. 14):

I would be delighted to help Mr. Mueller with his understanding of how a deficit is created. The statements in my recent letter referred to only one side of the deficit equation—the income side. A deficit has two components: revenue on one side and expenditures on the other.

The much maligned “trickle-down” theory worked great on the revenue side. During the Reagan years, annual federal revenue increased by slightly more than 100 percent—it doubled. On the other side of the equation, federal spending increased during this same time period by slightly less than 200 percent—it almost tripled. The result was a large increase in the federal debt.

We need to keep in mind that when our elected officials speak of decreasing spending, what they mean is that they are going to talk about decreasing the rate of increase in their spending. If we look at federal spending from 1964 to 1994, it went from $119 billion to $1.497 trillion. The proposed budget for 2007 shows $2.798 trillion in spending.

All of this information in readily available—just Google any combination of words having to do with federal tax, budget, deficit, tax rates, etc.

Tim Edwards

Jewish fellowship
Re: “Chabad rabbi opens his home” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky. CN&R, Dec. 14):

Evan Tuchinsky’s article was a lovely welcome to Rabbi Mendy Zwiebel, his wife, Chana, and their daughter, Mushka. I would like to extend, on behalf of Chico Havurah, our own warm wishes to the Zwiebels. We are looking forward to a cordial relationship with the newest Jewish congregation in Chico.

Just to clarify a couple of points in Evan’s excellent article, I would note that although we value “community” (havurah means fellowship in Hebrew), we are more than the term “community group” implies. Our membership is proud of having formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit religious organization in less than a year.

Our Sabbath services have been held every Friday night (with summers off as is the local tradition) in locations we have been fortunate enough to rent. We moved before the High Holidays this year to the Congregational Church.

Relying solely on donations and pledges from members, the Havurah has sponsored Traveling Jewish Theatre (twice), Hip Hop Shabbat musicians from Oakland (twice) and a Jewish film festival. We value pluralism and extend outreach to those who have not felt comfortable in more traditional Jewish settings. Most of our services are lay-led, including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Thank you for an interesting article on Chabad House and the larger local Jewish scene.

Silona Reyman

About consultants …
Re: “Conservation gets a new tool” (Newslines, by Marisol Salgado, CN&R, Nov. 30):

Jamison Watts [executive director of the Northern California Regional Land Trust] refers to environmental consulting as the “other side” that promotes land development and hints they are anti-conservation. In reality, environmental consulting is critical to preserving the environment and the land within it.

Land development is a fact of life. It happens despite our desire to preserve open spaces. Development is the direct result of demand for housing and services brought about by our burgeoning population.

Environmental consulting firms provide valuable information regarding sensitive resources, quantification of wetlands and appropriate mitigation plans. Often they are seen as the “other side” by developers who have to preserve and protect our resources as a result of the consultants’ reports.

Land conservation is a wonderful concept, but how many of us have large tracts of land to place in a conservation easement? I have a single-family residence, and I applaud the work of environmental consultants.

Karen Starkey

Cell-free zone
My issue concerns the public’s relative lack of knowledge about CARD’s recent approval of a 75-foot-by-75-foot cell-phone building and tower behind Doryland Field/Hooker Oak in Bidwell Park. The known health risks associated with such high output of electrical fields are alarming.

Ordinances have led Chico to turn down projects that have “more than 500-foot distance from any occupied dwelling.” The CARD board and the cell-phone companies are calling a baseball field, the picnic areas, and the playgrounds “open space,” thus allowing a window in which to pass this resolution off.

Keep in mind that in such “open space,” American Legion plays an entire summer schedule, adult leagues play from spring through fall, and the two playgrounds, where my daughter plays every weekend, are going to expose a lot of Chico citizens to potentially harmful output from cell-phone towers not commonly found in city parks.

Zach Soinila

Early endorsement
Barack Obama 2008!

Norm Dillinger

Not quite first
Re: “This Flake’s no slouch” (Downstroke, CN&R, Dec. 14):

Based on records we had on hand, we thought Chico State’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Sandra Flake, was the first woman in that position. Thanks to the good memories of several current and former staff members, we can set the record straight and remember a real trail-blazer on campus, Dr. Patricia Brose.

Dr. Brose became a professor of education at Chico State in 1967. Then-President Stan Cazier appointed her acting vice president for academic affairs in 1976. She served for one year until becoming dean of undergraduate studies, reporting to the new VP, Bob Fredenburg. She died too young, at age 67, in 1994 in Chico.

While Dr. Flake will be the first woman to be a full-time academic affairs VP, and the first with the title of provost, she is not the first woman to lead our academic division. As public affairs director at Chico State, I’m pleased to have the chance to mark Dr. Brose’s accomplishments, and I apologize for temporarily losing track of this great woman and what she meant to the university.

Joe Wills
Chico State

Editor’s note: This error has been corrected online.