Letters for December 6, 2007

What’s amiss is ‘media hype’
Re: “Where the money goes” (Editorial, CN&R, Nov. 29):

The recent public discourse over the salaries of our local Fire Department is typical misinformed media hype. The editorial of last week’s CN&R continues this perspective. The article went as far as to compare the salaries of a local fire captain doing an enormous amount of overtime with the joint chiefs of staff in D.C., stating something is “amiss.”

I encourage this editor to publish his home address so when your fire alarm goes off at 2 a.m., the “amiss” Fire Department can decide if it will come to your aid.

What has not been published is that much of this overtime is our local firefighters assisting in fires outside of our little city. The department in turn is reimbursed from the responsible government and actually makes some net general funds from this.

The editorial attempts to portray some sort of reason the public sector should accept lower incomes because they live in Chico. I work in the private sector and would not accept a substandard wage because of living in this great area.

Professor Ek’s article about the analysis of the city’s budget attempts to compare road quality and the public sector’s wages. It is like comparing the CSU Chico professors’ wages and the education one can obtain from the university. It doesn’t relate.

Do you not think that our roads are poor because of our love of SUVs and oil? Or is it because we are paying those who protect us a fair wage?

Rob Glatthaar

Editor’s note: Chico Fire Chief Steve Brown confirmed that the California Fire Assistance Agreement—uniform for all 900 local departments—covers CFD’s expenses for staffing backfills behind officers lent to state or federal agencies. The reimbursement includes an administrative fee and pay at a rate above CFD’s; Brown says this is “not really a profit—it is discretionary funding.” Moreover, he says, “there’s no circumstance when we wouldn’t respond to a 9-1-1 call” (even to an editor’s home).

Ordinance has veteran fightin’ mad
Re: “Eliminate the abuse factor” (Editorial, CN&R, Nov. 29):

With all the outrage over the anti-party ordinance, I decided to drop by City Hall, get a copy and read it. It is Draconian, oily and sleazy.

The ordinance is totally unconstitutional, and since it targets college students, it reeks of age discrimination. The ordinance applies to church meetings, stage plays, dances, weddings, funerals, baseball games, etc., etc. It applies to having an unregistered keg, unusual noises and parking your car wrong, among other things. It is disgusting!

I suggest we recall the City Council, elect our own representatives, then fire the police chief, city attorney and city manager. The city belongs to the people who live here, not the clique at City Hall.

As a United States combat veteran, I am offended beyond belief. This stinking ordinance spits on the grave of every soldier buried at Arlington [National Cemetery].

Michael M. Peters

‘War'? What war?
Re: “Appeasement’s cost” (Letters, by Gary Lapple, CN&R, Nov. 21):

Where is the war referred to in Gary Lapple’s letter? He states that “we can spend now and win.” We are dealing with occupations, not war, in Afghanistan and Iraq. How do we win an occupation?

Lee Edwards

Don’t fear this food
Re: “Au naturel” (Chow, by C. Moore, CN&R, Nov. 29):

The article [reviewing House of Nature’s Own] seems to lump a raw diet in with a vegan/vegetarian diet. I worry that, when they’re lumped together, people are scared away from a healthy, delicious vegan diet.

Raw foodists do not consume cooked food, which, personally, I could not do. Vegans do not consume animal products but do consume cooked food. While it may be difficult for some to go raw, it is far easier to go vegan.

I have been a vegan since I was 17. With all of the great ethical reasons to switch to a healthy vegan diet, it is definitely worth considering. Whether you want to go vegetarian to reduce animal suffering, to save our environment, or just be healthier, it is easy to make the switch. These days there is ample vegetarian food available.

Readers can start by replacing the meat in their current dishes. Soy hamburger crumbles can be added to chili recipes. Refried beans can be used in tacos instead of beef. Use marinara sauce on pasta instead of meat sauce.

Then, branch out into new foods such as Thai, Chinese, Mediterranean, Indian, etc. Try rice cheeses, soy milks and delicious dairy-free ice cream. For great recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, check out www.cok.net.

William McMullin
Portage, Mich.

The Pollocks of poetry
Re: “End times for rhymes?” (Letters, by Irene Cardenas, CN&R, Nov. 21):

This is a belated response to the letter concerning the Poetry 99 winners. I used to love poetry. I used to write poetry—that is, until a college English professor told me I should think about writing ballads instead. Like Ms. Cardenas, I, too, have become disenchanted with modern-day “poetry,” as well as modern-day art and music.

Possibly without realizing it, the editor’s note hit the problem squarely on the head: Writing good poetry using rhyme and meter is just too hard. It is much easier to write so-called free verse. Simply throwing words at a blank piece of paper and calling it poetry is much like throwing paint at a canvas and calling it art.

True art should be something everyone appreciates and enjoys. Out of curiosity, I asked four people I know, ranging in age from 22 to 83, to read the poem “Fingers” [which placed first]. Everyone I asked struggled to understand the theme of he poem, and several called it gibberish or words to that effect.

I’ll take the poetry of Emily Dickinson any day.

Robert Grignon

Norm’s endorsement
I would be comfortable with either John Edwards or Barack Obama as president. I think John Edwards would be more likely to make the necessary changes in the system so that it operates more equitably.

It is too bad that early primary states, polls and the press will determine the Democratic candidate and thus the next president.

Norm Dillinger

Profits over people
If it were not tragic, it would be laughable. But it is criminal: In the richest country in the world, 47 million of its citizens do not have health-care coverage. And 57 million do not get sick pay.

My grandson has to pay $50 per month for a policy with a $4,000 deductible.

While politicians squabble over health-care bills that have “mandates” to buy but no clear demands on what you will get for your money, we have to rely on people like Nuñez and Schwarzenegger and Clinton, who accept large pots of money from insurance companies whose “healthy” profits are what is making the rest of us sick.

All other industrialized nations have universal health-care plans, yet the U.S. staggers under the weight of almost twice the cost and few of the benefits.

U.S. Medicare (not the new so-called Medicare Advantage) provides a model of a single-payer plan that could be extended nationwide. It costs the taxpayer 5 percent for administration. But too many people are still yelling “socialized medicine.”

The countries that provide this health care are not socialist states. They simply assume a responsibility to heal and care for their sick. Let’s do the same.

Gerda Seaman