Letters for December 25, 2014

Coyotes’ victory

Re “Score one for the coyotes” (Guest comment, by Allan Stellar, Dec. 18):

I could not agree more. I had the privilege of working for the USDA Resource Conservation Service under direction of the local Resource Conservation District in Yreka back in 1976.

I remember in particular going out to advise and assist a sheep rancher in the mountains. The rancher told me how the BLM had come in with helicopters the previous fall and harvested 400 coyotes from the mountain on which his ranch sat. But his problem was that ground squirrels were wreaking havoc with his hillside irrigation ditches.

He said he could come out with a whistle and a .22. When he blew the whistle they would pop their heads up and he could shoot a hundred rodents without moving his position—sort of like whack-a-mole on steroids. Well, a coyote will eat about 10 rodents a day. So, 400 coyotes times 10 rodents times five months = 600,000 living, eating, reproducing rodents.

A .22 bullet weighs 2 grams. If every shot counted and they stopped having babies, he would need over 1.25 tons of .22 ammo. Killing coyotes is good business for ammo suppliers, not so much good for anything else.

Richard Roth

Not his kind of Santa

I saw the ad in front of the Down Range shooting club off of Highway 99: “We build AR’s for Santa.” It gives a whole new meaning to the Christmas song, “You better watch out/You better not cry/You better not shout/I’m telling you why/Santa Claus is coming to town.

If I was a kid and I saw this banner, on Christmas Eve I’d light a fire under our chimney.

Mickey Bitsko

Input was given

Re “Forced annexation wrong” (Letters, by Jane Dolan, Dec. 18):

Ms. Dolan is wrong. Residents of the Chapman/Mulberry district were not shut out of the annexation discussion.

The agreement regarding annexation of the Chapman/Mulberry neighborhoods was reached through a negotiating process typically used in such situations. Representatives of the two parties, the city of Chico and LAFCo, worked out a deal privately hoping to avoid a lawsuit. Following that, the agreement was the subject of two lengthy public hearings before the City Council, at which about two dozen people, including Ms. Dolan (twice), spoke on the issue. A notice announcing the second hearing was mailed to every resident of the neighborhoods. Ms. Dolan’s charge that “[t]his process nearly completely shut down public participation in this important issue” is simply not true.

Besides, after listening to neighborhood residents, the council voted, 4-3, not to sign the agreement that would have annexed the neighborhoods. Not long afterward, LAFCo sued the city—just what the agreement was trying to prevent. As many have stated, annexation is going to happen, one way or another. Unfortunately, because of the council’s failure to sign the agreement, it will be more difficult and more expensive for property owners.

Robert Speer

Editor’s note: Mr. Speer is CN&R’s former editor.

Demonizing doesn’t help

There have been a number of recent deaths of young black men at the hands of police in circumstances that seem very dubious. There have been powerful protests against those deaths—protests that often seemed poorly focused and were sometimes hijacked by nihilistic vandals.

Many of those protests have targeted police as a group. Police officers and their unions have responded by closing ranks to defend their fellows even when their actions clearly don’t live up to accepted standards. Now, we have seen the murder of two police officers in New York, by a criminal claiming to be motivated by revenge for the killings of black men by police.

It seems to me that reasonable people ought to be able to agree on a few things: Policing is difficult and dangerous work, often requiring critical decisions under great pressure. The vast majority of police officers are decent people doing a job under trying circumstances. A few police officers are sadistic bullies who never should have been allowed to put on a badge. The entire community suffers from the actions of those officers and benefits if they are weeded out. Demonizing whole groups of people—whether young black men or police officers—serves no good end.

David Welch

Discrediting the cause

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

It is an ongoing insult to all of us who are interested in the truth to keep equating the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City.

Garner died for rather passively resisting arrest for a minor, nonviolent crime. It is absolute nonsense to imply that he died because of a previous medical condition. He truly was an unarmed victim. The only reason that Michael Brown was unarmed is that he was unsuccessful in wrestling away the weapon of a sworn police officer trying to do his job. At the time of his death, he had just committed two violent assaults, including the one on the cop. Why are progressive people so silent about those unfortunate little details?

There are way too many innocent black victims of police violence around the country, and it is obviously a severe and ongoing problem. But I don’t believe that the facts show that Michael Brown belongs on that list. The movement for change discredits itself by placing him front and center. It damages its own credibility, undermines the many good cops who are just trying to do their jobs, and demeans the memory of truly unarmed, innocent victims.

Dave Hollingsworth

Decisions, decisions

Re “Arts identity diminished” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Dec. 18):

Fear drove the decision to vote against the card room: Attending my first council session, I was interested in the decision-making process of the city and to see it firsthand. I walked away confused and disappointed.

While listening to the pros and cons of changing the zoning requirements so a card room could be open downtown, I soon realized that those for it never had a chance. I listened to how the card room did not fit the “culture” of the area. I heard how it would be a “drag” on incoming businesses. I even heard that it could attract “a different client.” It’s natural to be uneasy when change is happening around us, but to judge and make decisions based on fear and “what might happen” holds no ground.

The card room could well be a metaphor for anything in society that people don’t understand and don’t want to be associated with (feel free to plug your group in). To come to the conclusion that the location is better off vacant is ridiculous. This county prides itself on the entrepreneurial spirit of having a dream and pursing it. To deny a person the opportunity to at least try is unfortunate.

Jonathan Johnson

Herb Caen, the noted San Francisco Chronicle columnist, once described Chico as so lacking in culture as to have Velveeta cheese in the gourmet section of grocery stores. Events of this past week support this appraisal.

First, CARD’s delay in moving ahead on the aquatic center was disturbing. This much-needed facility would enhance the community of Chico whether or not you would use it. Swim events would bring money to our economy. We all prosper from the positive reputation of our city.

Then, further delay in establishing the rose garden events center at the CARD Center was discouraging. We should appreciate the benevolent efforts of Marilyn Warrens and the Butte County Rose Society over the last decade. Such an enrichment center would add to the value of Chico. Stakeholders and interested contributors can only do so much. Pitch in, Chico!

My final dismay came in reading of the downgrading of the Chico Arts Commission. Have we become so politically correct (conservative?) that we are afraid to support any Chico improvements? Will our community soon deserve the image Herb Caen stated? As a Chico oldster, I should say, “Why worry?” But I do.

Dick Cory

Here’s an idea

I have a very simple solution for most of Chico’s problems: Tax the rich and vote out the Republicans and let responsible and caring people run the government.

Rod Caudhill

Listen more, talk less

Re “About CUSD’s process” (Letters, by Julie Kistle, Dec. 18):

I am hot about a letter I read from a school district construction person arguing why the two gorgeous trees will be removed at a school. Why would that person write instead of the superintendent?

I watched the meeting and painfully listened to board members give their opinions, drone incessantly instead of asking questions. Very simple five-word questions like “Can the tree be saved?” were avoided for long stories or lectures from two members. I know board seats are entry-level positions, but these people make the basic mistake of thinking that a mic encourages them to talk. Listen more and talk less. You pay a superintendent a lot of money; ask hard questions of the people we, the taxpayers, are paying! If they can’t answer, find people who can.

You have a union leader attending, and you never once turned and asked his opinion. You have an empty room because you don’t allow the community to speak beyond three minutes. If a board member can’t adhere to that, why would you want the public restricted when they are the ones you represent?

Quit the personal comments. Listen more, talk far less, and ask simple questions. Then wait for answers.

Landon Jensen

Lies and torture

Re “Stop torture—all of it” (Editorial, Dec. 18):

Vincent Bugliosi, a famous prosecutor, states that we could convict George W. Bush for sending our nation to war on the basis of lies in 2003. Now it’s official: We torture.

Mark Twain wrote about just this sort of thing in 1901: “… we cannot conceal from ourselves that, privately, we are a little troubled about our uniform. It is one of our prides; it is acquainted with honor; it is familiar with great deeds and noble; we love it, we revere it; and so this errand it is on makes us uneasy. And our flag—another pride of ours, our chiefest! We have worshiped it so; and when we have seen it in far lands—glimpsing it in that strange sky, waving its welcome and benediction to us—we have caught our breaths, and uncovered our heads, and couldn’t speak, for a moment, for the thought of what it was to us and the great ideals it stood for. Indeed, we must do something about these things; it is easily managed. We can have a special one—our states do it; we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and crossbones.” A war for oil. Period.

Nelson Kaiser

The Cuba question

Congressional puzzle: Rubik’s Cuba.

Stephen T. Davis

‘All lives matter’

While I applaud increased truth about the injustice of our police and justice system toward African-Americans, I want to reframe the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, which is divisive and is goading the haters.

The truth is, “All Lives Matter,” including Iraqi lives, Afghani lives, ocean life—all life is sacred. Many well-meaning people are adopting this BLM slogan. The recent murders are a symptom of a larger issue. African-American men are vilified in the media all over the place, that’s OK? The larger issue is way beyond this single symptom. Our cultural and economic “Disregard for All Life” is the larger issue.

When we change to a culture and economy that “Honors All Life,” and that nurtures life, then all life matters, and that unites us. And it solves the problem of militarized racist police. When I was a kid, they were peace officers, and were there to protect and to serve.

Keep being beautiful, black brothers. It takes courage to face this insane and cruel system. I am inspired by hope and optimism that we will join for a true respect for all life.

Eartha Shanti