Letters for December 4, 2014

More heroes

Re “Local heroes 2014” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, Nov. 26)

Congratulations to this year’s local heroes, and here’s a nod to a few more: Cynthia Gailey, Safe Space emergency shelter coordinator. Her tireless team continues to overcome daunting logistics amid spurious criticism from those choosing to throw stones rather than build rock walls. I give her encouraging hugs every chance I get.

Honorable mentions start with Mama Rose’s selfless dedication to feeding poverty-stricken Chicoans, housed and unhoused, nearly every Sunday for almost 20 years. Another honorable mention, Jenny Lowrey, executive director of From the Ground Up Farms. She recently delivered two buckets of freshly picked tomatoes for Mama Rose’s Sunday dinner. Mama Rose smiled broadly when asked how she felt receiving the veggies. “You know how I feel.” Indeed, we do!

The last honorable mention is Jill Lacefield and team from the 100th Monkey Community Café. Paid internship for housing-challenged young adults to learn the trade of restaurant management and food preparation would make the café front-runners for 2015. All these individuals, and their teams, share one thing in common—they are changing lives one loveable soul at a time.

Bill Mash

Editor’s note: Each of the women mentioned above was featured in a story in our Local Heroes issue.

‘Take two’

Re “The most interesting man in the world” (Guest comment, by Richard Parker, Nov. 26):

The most interesting man in the world—take two: He is able to kiss his own ass. His mother was a coal miner in Argentina. A flashlight beam will pass directly into one ear, and out the other. He flunked third grade four times. He once sanded an outhouse door on a tuna boat—with his tongue. He claims the Boston Red Sox rode with Paul Revere. He plays Monopoly and tries to buy “Go.” It is rumored he is into kitty porn. He thinks Dos Equis beer is crazy for hiring him. He waits for the carnival to come to town. He once spent five days inside a 6-foot trash bag. His shoes are made from aluminum. He recycles peanut shells. He tried to plow a rice field with a unicycle. He offers answers to questions that have not yet been asked. His teddy bear was shot by a firing squad. He tried to break into a jail using a cell phone. The TV antenna on his house is a weather vane. He is not paid for his commercial work, but demands he be called: The most interesting man in the world. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Danny Wilson

The puns roll on

From Obama to Syrian dissidents: “Happy TANKSgiving!”

Stephen T. Davis

‘Shameful salaries’

Re “Absurdity” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Nov. 26):

Thanks for publishing the shameful salaries drawn by public officials like Mike Maloney, Kirk Trostle (former and current Chico police chiefs) and Paul Zingg (Chico State president). Another outrageous example is Johnny Person (Chico police officer). Scores of Chico police and fire personnel draw similar salaries and benefit packages.

My own research reveals that, with benefits, Maloney and Trostle’s salaries cost Chico taxpayers around $226,000 and $219,000 per year. Now age 52, “retired” and teaching at Butte College, Maloney will still receive this sum from Chico until he and his wife die. President Zingg costs the state around $417,000 per year. Even regular police officer Person receives about $190,000 a year in total in compensation—for a position requiring only seven months training beyond high school. In contrast, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Chico’s median household income is $42,896.

California police and fire salaries are 55 percent higher than the U.S. median, and those in Chico are among the highest in California. Further, insurance companies profit enormously from underwriting their extremely generous health and pension plans. Clearly, our government needs a sweeping overhaul.

Nathan Esplanade

Back the ban

On Dec.11, the Butte County Planning Commission will again review a proposed fracking ban in Butte County. In October, the commission correctly recognized the most immediate threat to our water and health is from the possible disposal of toxic fracking waste fluid here from fracking taking place in Glenn County. The commission moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that fracking wastes be banned from Butte County.

The commissioners need to understand that the fracking process itself also leaves toxic waste fluid in the ground, since more than half of the toxic fracking production fluid is left in the ground after the fracking process. Also, the fracking industry’s own research shows that 5 percent of well seals fail immediately and more than 50 percent fail over just 30 years. It’s obvious that any fracking activity in the valley poses an unacceptable threat to our groundwater and health.

Over 11,000 Butte County voters signed a petition to have a fracking ban placed on our ballot. Let’s all work together and get that total ban on fracking in Butte County. A total ban on all fracking activity is the only way to remove this threat to our well-being.

Doug Fogel

‘Quit stalling’

Re “Caregivers’ conundrum” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Nov. 20):

My thanks go out to Ken Smith for exposing the attempt by Butte County to avoid its statutory responsibility to engage in negotiations with the representatives of the union.

What are we to make of the fact that 49 county executives are not confused by the letter sent to the 50 counties not covered by the Coordinated Care Initiative by the Director of the California Department of Finance to the California State Association of Counties on Oct. 22, 2014? This letter states, “I want to make it clear that counties retain their current statutory obligation to collectively bargain in good faith for the IHSS program.”

The people who depend on this critical program to function in the world call on Butte County to quit stalling, acknowledge the obvious, and enter into negotiations with the union. The people who provide the services and the folks who receive the services have a lot more to say about reforming the system to better serve the interests of disabled Californians. A first step would be for Butte County to bargain in good faith with those who do the work that very few Americans are willing to do.

Forest Harlan
systems change coordinator, Independent Living Services of Northern California

A curious letter

Re “The root is divorce” (Letters, by Mike Peters, Nov. 20):

I read with fascination Mr. Peters’ letter in which he blames the divorce rate for an increase in the number of disruptive children in schools. Although I could challenge Mr. Peters’ assertion that there are fewer “well-behaved classroom[s]” compared with the 1970s and that a “stable family unit is the basic building block of civilization,” I will limit myself to the sexist slant of his letter.

To begin with, he makes the curious statement that “over half of American women don’t have husbands,” as if that’s a crime; however, there is no law stating that women have to be married. In the same sentence, he bemoans the high incarceration rate, implying that unmarried women are to blame. If by “women” he means “mothers,” then he seems to be absolving fathers from responsibility. He goes on to cite mothers’ drug habits for learning disabilities, implying that fathers’ drug habits are inconsequential. Finally, he insists that “all high school girls should be required to pass biology” so they will better understand their pregnancy responsibilities. Boys are excused. Curious.

Richard Rayburn

Prayer is for everyone

Re “Non-Christians pray?” (Letters, by Peggy Schrader, Nov. 20):

Is there a line in the Bible that says “Prayer is designated for Christians only”?! I always thought that prayer was a gift to everyone, and everyone has the free will to use that gift if they so choose. People all over the world use prayer in practice of their own beliefs, and that is their free will.

To think that what “you” believe is right, and that everyone else is wrong, is a form of insanity and brainwashing. Love is Love, period! You don’t get to judge anybody else. You have enough responsibility keeping yourself in check. You use 10 percent of your brain—maybe—so you might want to invest more of yourself into your heart and operate from there, because if you think that you know what is right for everyone, you are way off into the world of religious fanatic.

There is a whole world out there that doesn’t necessarily believe as you do, and that doesn’t make them wrong. If you think otherwise, you’re probably only using .5 percent of your brain.

Mandy S. Tilles

The other side …

Re “Peace for Israelis and Palestinians” (Guest comment, by Michael Leitner, Nov. 20):

Responding to Mr. Leitner’s guest commentary, I quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “You are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.” Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and BBC have listed 11 myths that demand debunking. Here are 2:

Myth: Only Hamas is guilty of war crimes, not Israel. A Human Rights Watch report “provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.” Amnesty International: “Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war.”

Myth: Hamas uses civilians of Gaza as human shields: The Independent: “…none [of the Gazans] have said they had been forced … to stay in places of danger and become unwilling human-shields.” Reuters: “A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces … of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.” If Americans Knew: “132 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 2,053 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since Sept. 29, 2000.” That’s 2,185 tragedies!

Jane Casa

Leitner speaks to the rockets that the elected Hamas government fired into Israel partially in reaction to Israel’s demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes and the burning alive of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli citizens. He did not mention that Gaza is completely surrounded by Israeli gun boats, military checkpoints, gun towers and fences. Israel fired so many thousands of rockets and dropped bombs on a million trapped women, children, and old and disabled people that it asked the U.S. Pentagon to replenish its stockpile. What civilized society does that?

He writes of the fear Tel Aviv people felt as sirens blared. Yet the people of Sderot felt safe enough to picnic on a hillside to watch and cheer as Gazan homes, hospitals and schools burned.

The sports games he sponsors harken back to the segregated South when black children played ball with the white children while their servant mamas worked. The games were fun, but at the end of the day the white children went home to privilege and the black children went home to poverty and oppression.

No sports program will result in the equality, security and freedom that tens of thousands of young Palestinians lack but deserve.

Sandra O’Neill

Out of water

My neighbor’s water well went dry.

Charles Withuhn

Smoking stinks

We are the eighth grade K.L.E.A.N. (Kids Leading Everyone Against Nicotine) Team at Chico Junior High School. The purpose of K.L.E.A.N. is to educate the community about Chico’s business-entryways law and to protect people from secondhand smoke.

The entryways law states there is no smoking within 20 feet of main entrances, exits and windows. One of our assignments was to observe businesses throughout Chico, looking for cigarette-butt litter and people smoking in entryways. During our observations in October, we discovered over 70 cigarette butts within 20 feet of each of the two entrances at a local health center.

Here are our recommendations on how to solve these problems: larger and more visible no-smoking signs in the front of businesses, putting ashtrays outside of the 20-foot perimeter of the businesses’ entryways, and moving e-cigarettes away from kid-friendly areas. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death. We as citizens of Chico should come together and enforce the laws to have a healthier community.

K.L.E.A.N. Team