Letters for December 4, 2003

Another hero
How about a story about Barbara Vlamis of the Butte Environmental Council—she’s a real Chico hero too! [“Local heroes,” cover story, Nov. 26].

Truman Saito

Lost generation
I’ve just finished listening to the taped edition of Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation, with its poignant memories of those times when I was proud of my country, our flag and all that it stood for. Now, at age 74, I am saddened to be reminded of what we have lost in stature and moral character.

Our “lone wolf” foreign policy has been the slippery slope that has brought us to the brink of disaster as a nation and threatens to upset the precious balance of nature on our planet.

Your editorial of Nov. 6 [“Repairing Iraq”] was “right on” regarding our responsibility in repairing Iraq and what our president needs to do in leading us through that process. Your word, “humility,” should have been in capital letters, however.

South Africa, with the moral fortitude and leadership of Bishop Tutu, promoted national healing with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I wonder, could Billy Graham get George Bush to eat some “humble pie"?

Dorothy J. Parker

Multiple sanctity
The actions taken by the New Hampshire Episcopalians (i.e., inducting a homosexual bishop) are an affront to good Christians everywhere. I am just thankful that the church’s founder, King Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon and his wife Anne Boleyn and his wife Jane Seymour and his wife Anne of Cleves and his wife Katherine Howard and his wife Catherine Parr are no longer here to suffer through this wretched assault on traditional wholesome Christian marriages.

Tangerines Fairchild

Affirmative reaction
The thought police in Renton, Wash., have banned Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, from the public school reading lists because of the use of the “N word” in the dialogue. Twain believed in the equality of all races and classes. Two of his novels, Pudd’n’head Wilson and The Prince and the Pauper, used the same plot structure, the switch of foundlings between families of differing social class or caste, to illustrate the innate equality of all mankind.

The use of the N word made his portrayals of racial attitudes more graphic. It is ironic that the books of a champion of racial equality should be banned in public schools because of his realistic depiction of the prevailing prejudice of that time.

Bill McCord

The fourth dimension
I attended the Michael Moore presentation last month and witnessed a woman ask Mr. Moore how he felt about the Illuminati and George Bush’s non-human bloodlines. Moore proceeded to act as if he knew nothing of what she was talking about and managed to make a joke out of the question. J. Wagers was smart to clear it up for us [“Reporter cries wolf,” Letters, Nov. 26], but I feel that Moore chose to evade the question and play dumb when he actually knew what the woman was referring to.

Michael Moore has made several references in the past to aliens running modern politics; the most recent was on The Daily Show, when he literally referred to Bush as an alien (go to ComedyCentral.com). He was most likely being sarcastic, but it’s obvious that the concept is not new to him. So why did he evade the question? Has he learned that it may be true and he’s afraid to expose that information? In any case, for us to decide what is or isn’t possible based upon one journalist’s third-dimensional point of view is simply us limiting ourselves in a limitless universe. I hope that someday the average person does not fear being ridiculed for entertaining “outrageous” ideas such as these.

Wally W.

Vouch for vouchers
Mr. Mitchell’s urging of people to become informed about vouchers is a thought that I can support [“Voucher vs. public schools,” Guest comment, Oct. 30]. Everybody should be well-informed about supporting/opposing new ideas before doing so.

That been said, I clearly state my overwhelming support for the idea of choice in the case of mandated school curriculum, ineffective—or worse—teachers and a bloated and top-heavy administration.

Having experienced it myself and having put my three daughters through it allow me to say that there must be a better way. Not that my daughters didn’t benefit from going, just that the experience left a lot to be desired. My offspring have done quite well, graduating well up in their classes, GPAs above 3.5, continued education beyond high school and good solid citizens after that.

The problem is those children who don’t do well in the current school setting or lack the parental support at home to “fill in” and correct the stuff that was taught at school, or in some cases that the whole curriculum is an affront to the way that the parents want their children raised.

The partial disassembly (reform) of our current school system should not be taken lightly, yet it is far overdue. The public school system took on a life of its own in the late 1960s and into the ‘70s, much of it for the good. Yet, unlike a large corporation, it hasn’t gone through a significant down-cycle to make it more responsive to the taxpayer/consumer. Without some true reforms and accountability to its taxpayers, it will remain less than its promise.

Rodney Jenkins

Grounded future?
I would be rich if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone complain that some small influential group had twisted a public policy to benefit the few at the expense of the majority, and I’m afraid I’m on the verge of being eligible for another nickel.

The Chico Airport Commission is considering a master plan that proposes extending the runways to allow the airport to grow naturally with the growth of its service area. As the area’s population and business community grow, so will the demand for better airline service—hopefully meaning somewhat larger aircraft that will bring down the cost of flying in and out of Chico.

There are only two ways to extend the runways, either northward away from the core of the city or southward toward the densely populated areas inside Eaton Road. With compelling common sense, the master plan proposes to extend the runways northward. But a small, determined group is lobbying for rejection of this approach. Their opposition to the master plan would leave only two choices, no runway extension at all or increased noise and safety issues in densely populated areas. Others need to be heard.

Anyone who is concerned about the future of air transportation for Chico and prefers an airport expansion option that favors the majority rather than a fringe minority needs to attend and speak at the next Airport Commission meeting, Dec. 9 at 4:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

Tony St. Amant