Letters for December 22, 2016

One on the cover

Re “Utter stagnation” (Cover story, by Julie Cart, Dec. 15):

Our legislators need to know about Dr. David Johnson’s research at the University of New Mexico showing that soil rich in mycorrhizal fungi produces twice the yield with no extra irrigation. Chico State’s Regenerative Agriculture Initiative sponsored Johnson’s talk three months ago (it’s now online).

For 10,000 years, farmers haven’t known that plowing kills the mycorrhizal fungi. Using no-till farming and reintroducing the fungi allows symbiosis: all the roots are encased in fungi that bring minerals to the plant in exchange for 20 percent to 50 percent of the sugars photosynthesized by the plant. Plus, there is no need for nitrate fertilizer, which saves money and ends nitrate runoff.

Also, mycorrhizal fungi help “traditional” seeds outperform GMO seeds. Finally, high levels of fungi can sequester up to 50 tons of CO2 per acre in a stable form that doesn’t degrade back into the atmosphere, which could offset all human-caused CO2 emissions in one or two decades.

American farmers could earn $250 an acre for CO2 sequestration, once the government sets up an incentive program like many other nations have. Mother Nature’s 400-million-year-old magic fungi could solve huge problems for us “higher lifeforms”—if we let them.

Lauren Ayers


‘Tiresome template’

Re “Blame wealth inequality” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Dec. 15):

It appears that Patrick Newman finds it necessary to reduce every situation to a simple morality play, with evil oppressors in silk top hats sticking it to the helpless victims of an irredeemably corrupt economic system. This tiresome template is an especially difficult fit with respect to the tragedy in Oakland.

I, too, was acquainted with the young Chico woman who perished in the fire, through her close friendship with my daughter. As a result of this, and my own youthful adventures many years ago, I may have some insight to offer.

Many of those who were gathered in the warehouse had purposefully foregone more lucrative and typical lifestyles for part-time work or self-employment that allowed them to follow their passions. They had traded a more predictable and probably safer existence elsewhere for the chance to be where creative arts were concentrated and unconventional lifestyles celebrated.

Yes, living costs are higher in the Bay Area, but for the most part they knew this going in and were willing to endure the financial sacrifice and inconvenience involved. They may have been foolish to use an old warehouse as a setting for a large dance party, but they were not economic victims. It diminishes their memory, in my view, to portray them as such.

Carl Ochsner


Season of giving

Women’s Health Specialists is doing a dignity drive. The drive is to benefit low-income women in our community. We are collecting period products: tampons, pads, menstrual cups and panty liners. The products will be distributed to clients who receive services from Catalyst Domestic Violence Services and 6th Street Center for Youth. We will be collecting items through the end of the year. People can drop off items at our Chico location: 1469 Humboldt Road, Ste. 200, Chico. Please help us spread the word!

Thea Harter-Leahy


LeeAnn Schlaf is a retired social worker living in Chico who saw a need and decided to fill it.

The mission of Chico’s 6th Street Center for Youth is “to provide a safe place where youth experiencing homelessness can acquire the skills, resources, and opportunity they need to transition into healthy independent living and adulthood,” according to the organization’s website. With this in mind, LeeAnn has come up with a project to help ease the burden of being homeless this winter.

It’s starting to look a bit like Santa’s workshop at LeeAnn’s home as she puts together her “good morning bags.” Each is seasonally decorated and contains a few mints as well as a small, lined book in which people can write their story, take notes, and keep track of contact information. Each bag also contains a travel pouch that was purchased locally. Within each pouch is toothpaste, two toothbrushes, deodorant and soap as well as a package of tampons (in the women’s bags). In addition, LeeAnn has collected jackets, vests and socks for distribution to homeless individuals.

Although she has no illusions of solving the homeless problem in Chico, LeeAnn’s goal is to bring some relief to those less fortunate and to perhaps inspire others to do the same.

Bill Unger


Editor’s note: The author is LeeAnn Schlaf’s husband and a member of CN&R’s distribution staff.

Happy holidays, everyone

To our Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah. To our Christian friends, Merry Christmas. To our friends of all faiths and those who choose to have their own private faith, may we all be blessed with peace in the coming years.

Ali Sarsour


Inquiring minds

A few post election questions:

1) Does the GOP locally (Butte County) really want someone who campaigned to completely eliminate the Energy Department heading it up? How will that help it to do its legitimate job?

2) Do you think Trump thinks the EPA stands for the Environmental Pollution Agency? Is he confused? Do you really want to go back to any and all corporations being free to pollute anywhere and everywhere? What do your kids think of your view?

3) Why do you (Butte County and Northern California) think Trump is hiding and lying about his tax returns?

4) Do you really think the Electoral College should install someone who lost the popular election by almost 3 million votes? How is that “one person, one vote”?

5) Do you really think Trump is too dumb to know what a true blind trust is?

6) Do you care about Russian hacking of our elections? Why or why not?

Karen Duncanwood


Hacked or leaked?

Fake news has been in, well, the news. Are we getting fake news from the intelligence agencies regarding the Democratic National Committee email hack/leak? According to the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), we are.

Bill Binney, a former NSA official, says this is a leak—not a hack. So does Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who admits to helping someone in America leak this info to Wikileaks. You can listen to Binney at peterbcollins.com in an interview from late October. While you’re there, check out Peter B. Collins’ daily news and comment podcasts. Haven’t heard this in the corporate media? Not surprising. That’s what they do—”the lie of omission,” as Orwell said.

Paul Ellcessor