Letters for December 4, 2008

Bad grammar, but a great idea
Re: “Shop local” (Editorial, CN&R, Nov. 26):

I read it once and let it pass. I read it again and tried to understand. Now I have read it in a third issue, and I just can’t take it anymore.

In the sentence “shop local,” the subject (you) is implied because the sentence is a command. The verb (shop) is being modified by what should be an adverb (locally). However, you are using an adjective (local). All you have to do to remedy the situation and set my mind at ease is add two little letters!

Thank you, and remember, SHOP LOCALLY!

Kendi Merlo
Los Molinos

Editor’s note: Good point! The concept started out as “shop local independent businesses,” but the shorter, catchier, campaign-button-friendly phrase has taken root. (A rose by any other part of speech …)

Heartened by education reforms
Re: “Poor schools shortchange all of us” (Guest Comment, by Dick Cory, CN&R, Nov. 26):

As one who has held a teaching credential for over two decades, I welcome the changes that are sweeping through the field of education. We are finally beginning to move toward a “system of schools,” rather than a “school system,” and the end result will be more choice and variety for families, greater efficiency and innovation, and stronger accountability as well.

The proliferation of charter schools, private schools, and alternative forms of public schools provides a greater opportunity for excellence to flourish, as families “vote with their feet” for the option that provides the best outcomes for their children.

Mr. Cory bemoans the presence of testing, and we can all reasonably argue the merits of the federal No Child Left Behind program. But the reality is that some testing has been and will always be a crucial part of the education process. We simply must be able to measure learning outcomes in order to determine which teaching approaches are effective, and to clearly identify students who need more or different efforts made on their behalf.

The problem of motivating and retaining new teachers can be addressed somewhat by implementing performance-based pay and tenure approaches, rather than the strict seniority systems currently used by most districts.

I agree with Mr. Cory when he states that we all eventually pay, through higher social service and criminal justice outlays, for poor school systems. That is why so many of us applaud the reforms, nationwide and in Butte County, that are beginning to take hold in education.

Carl Ochsner

Green ideas ripe for implementing
Re: “Not that kind of envelope” (Sustainable Space, by Greg Kallio, CN&R, Nov. 26):

When we built our house in Red Bluff in 1959, we put in an attic, a half cellar, large eaves and fiberglass insulation—the result being that even in 118-degree summers, all we had to do was open the windows at night to let in the cool air, close them in the morning, and the house would be cool all day without air conditioning.

“Green” and “sustainability” have been around for a long time, even going back thousands of years. The techniques are there; one only has to implement them. For instance, there’s something called a Carnot engine [invented in 1824] that generates electricity off heat differential.

All we need is for large corporations to go green and we’ll be OK.

Michael M. Peters

Disc-ussion continues
Re: “Differing views on disc golf” (Letters, CN&R, Nov. 26):

Some City Council members are using the Bidwell Park [Master] Management Plan as an excuse to make a bad decision concerning disc golf. This plan was created in the last four years, while disc golf has been in existence much longer

“Grandfather” the disc course in. Using the logic of the management plan as law, the regular golf course should also be removed.

Disc golf provides a healthy recreational outlet for young and old, and the Upper Park course should be preserved. It uses a small portion of mostly unused Upper Park.

Norm Dillinger

I think the vote on the restoration alternative was one of the most courageous votes I have ever witnessed. Instead of making the “easy vote,” four council members did the right thing knowing full well the intense heat they would be taking from the proponents of Alternative A.

It is that kind of courage that has made the USA the most conservation-minded country in the world. Historic leaders of the conservation community—the likes of John Muir and Gifford Pinchot—would be proud of the strong stand for the long-term stewardship of our valuable wild lands.

With that being said, and as a gesture of good faith, we should make every effort to create a top-notch disc-golf course in an appropriate location within Lower or Middle Bidwell Park. I recommend a Disc Golf Development Committee be formed as soon as possible. As a proponent of the restoration alternative and as an avid disc golfer, I deeply thank the council members for their foresight and courage on this issue.

Marc Kessler

The Upper Park disc golf location has had more study and public debate than almost any other project ever has. The environmental review process ran its full course.

In the end, a council majority recognized the biological issues that made the location so problematic. The council realized that disc golf isn’t actually free, and that the real costs would have taken away from other unfunded park projects. In the end, the council saw that disc golf needs to be located in a place that is more accessible to all.

In the near future, disc golfers need to respect the rule of law and gracefully leave the site to recover. In the future, everybody needs to make good on promises to find a new home for disc golf. In the future, unsanctioned park activities should not be allowed to continue until all review is complete.

The council vote on disc golf was not one for anyone to celebrate. I do believe, however, that Upper Park will continue to be the special place that it is because of it. <pPhil Johnson<br>Chico

Point to the process
Re: “A pointless process” (Editorial, CN&R, Nov. 20):

After a lengthy, California Environmental Quality Act process with input of experts and ordinary citizens alike, the City Council used the best information and voted to relocate disc golf from Upper Bidwell Park. It is understandable that some are disappointed; it’s fun to play way up there.

To conclude that it has been “a pointless process,” though, and “the process has been a disaster” perhaps reflects misunderstanding of what “the process” was. It’s a lot more complex than a small group of elitists getting a few Frisbee-throwin’ kids kicked out of a park.

Based on your editorial and some of what others write, the reasoning seems that as long as the city spends substantial money during the CEQA planning process, a green project-light is assured. Not so; CEQA is a law-based process that provides public forum to gather information, and through analysis, determine and minimize to the degree possible, “significance” of project effects.

Sometimes, one of the possible outcomes for complicated projects is “no project.”

For the Upper Park disc-golf course, the process has determined significant impacts that together require 26 pages of expensive, ongoing mitigation and monitoring measures. Some of these measures are “best attempts.” Worse, some of the most consequential impacts are not mitigable.

In their vote, council members used information from the CEQA process, fully considered other significant realities, and voted against a problematic project. The council members demonstrated sound leadership in their decision. The process was neither “pointless” nor a “disaster.”

John Dittes
Los Molinos

His survival counts, too
Re: “They’re a ‘swindle,’ author says” (Newslines, by Bryce Benson, CN&R, Nov. 20):

There is another side to the argument that individuals such as Stacy Mitchell conveniently ignore when blasting the big-box stores. These stores are life-savers for the poor and those such as my wife and I who are on fixed incomes. Without the competition these stores bring to the market, prices can and do get completely out of hand.

As an example, we live in Paradise, where the grocery stores seem to feel they have a captive market. By driving to Chico and stores such as Food Maxx and Winco, we save, on the average, $100 a month, and that is taking the cost of gasoline into consideration.

I know that small, mom-and-pop stores have trouble competing, but for us it is a matter of survival. With my prescriptions, for example, the pharmacy up here charges me an $8 co-pay for one month’s supply; Walmart charges me $10 for three months’ supply. That is a savings well worth the cost of driving to Chico.

Robert Grignon Sr.

Re: “Credit where it isn’t due” (Letters, by Dylan Tellesen, CN&R, Nov. 20):

Hilary Tellesen’s husband’s rebuttal to the mini-bio on her [third-place] winning entry to the poetry contest was a perfect putdown.

As a feminist, years and years before there was such a name for it, I read the letter with actual glee.

He missed his calling as a satirist, unless she, as a writer, ghost-wrote it.

Thelma Behrens

Editor’s note: Thelma Behrens was the second-place winner in Poetry 99. She, Hilary Tellesen and the other winners have been invited to read their works at the CN&R Poetry Slam, 7-9:30 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 10) at 1078 Gallery.