Letters for December 8, 2011

Raw milk’s danger

Re “Our local heroes” (Cover story, Nov. 23):

Your praise of local “nutritious-food activist” Carol Chaffin-Albrecht is misguided. When she promotes the use of raw or unpasteurized milk, she becomes a dangerous lady. Serious infection with a particularly virulent bacterial strain of E. coli becomes a possible outcome of this practice.

The danger is especially acute for young children and the elderly, with the resulting outcome leading to possible death or lifetime health problems. The source of this strain is cattle feces, whether contracted by ingestion of contaminated foods (primarily raw milk and undercooked hamburger), hand-mouth contamination (food handler), contaminated water irrigation or washing of food crops, or the use of unsterilized manure on crops.

For an adult to try to convince others to follow and decide such a path for young, vulnerable children in the guise of good health is, in my opinion, to be denounced.

Wash your hands, wash fruits and vegetables, cook hamburger thoroughly and pasteurize your milk (it kills bacteria).

Margaret Pahland

Whose facts are true?

Re “Local grandmas experience West Bank and Israel” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Nov. 23):

Many thanks to Christine LaPado for her excellent coverage of our trip to Palestine/Israel. The trip was an incredible mix of meeting kind, resilient people, eating delicious food, seeing amazing vistas, and encountering numerous injustices experienced by Palestinians.

Although we were already aware of great inequities before our trip, we had no idea how indiscriminately they are carried out to the general population of Palestinians and how many innocent people are victims of the cruel and unjust policies of the Israeli government.

Our travels took us from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to Nazareth, from Jericho to the Sea of Galilee to the Golan Heights, covering far more than Christine could cover in the space allotted for her article. We are preparing a PowerPoint presentation to share with others. If you would like to set up a presentation or attend one, please contact me at 893-3530.

Emily Alma

Why on earth would you publish such a misleading article before you check the accuracy of what these people have been told?

In Israel here are no Jewish-only roads, buses, and there were no children killed by trigger-happy Israelis. And, by the way, there are many Israeli Arabs, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Baha’is, tourists, all visiting, living and traveling freely in Israel. The same can’t be said of the “Palestinian territories” or the Gaza strip.

There have been Israeli Arabs traveling on roads being killed by Palestinians, though, probably by error, thinking they were Jews.

Facts in interviews should be carefully checked prior to printing falsehoods. Lies travel quickly around the world.

Sybil-Frances Kimbrig

A story of compassion

Re “No room for hate” (Letters, by Wayne Rice, Dec. 1):

Wayne Rice accuses Christine LaPado of biased reporting of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Nov. 23 issue carried LaPado’s interview of two local grandmothers, Sandra O’Neill and Emily Alma, who had visited the Palestinian West Bank for the olive harvest. (Palestinians request that internationals monitor the harvest so that if they are harassed by Israelis, the internationals can report it.) Rice accused them of searching out stories about Jewish people terrorizing Palestinians. (Please note that Alma is Jewish.) Rice requested that CN&R publish some stories of compassion, cooperation and love.

My reaction was very different. I too have visited the West Bank, and was appalled by the way Palestinians are treated by Israelis. I am also amazed by how biased American news media usually are in favor of Israel.

For example, most Americans do not realize that there have been six times more Palestinians killed in the conflict than Israelis, including 11 times more Palestinian children killed than Israeli children. We are frequently reminded of the numerous rockets coming out of Gaza and the suicide bombers; much less is reported about the Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers. (Nearly all of Israel’s military weaponry is American-made, and Palestinians know that.)

The fact that O’Neill and Alma made the trip to Palestine to help with their harvest, and the fact that these two Americans, one of whom is Jewish, were so well received in Palestine is itself a story of compassion, cooperation and love.

Sharon Fritsch

Often people who unconditionally support Israel, but who have little or no facts to back up their claims, resort to accusing those who rightfully condemn the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians as being anti-Semitic. In this case Mr. Rice implies that Emily Alma and Sandra O’Neill basically state that the Jewish people are “terrible” because they dared to visit the West Bank and report on the suffering of the Palestinian people living under Israel’s cruel occupation.

What Emily Alma said here is very important to note: “I was raised in the Jewish culture; it’s part of the reason I’m passionately involved.” I’m Jewish myself, and when I was young I was taught that as a Jew I must speak out against oppression by whoever commits it. That doesn’t mean except for when Israel or certain Jewish people happen to be the oppressors. In fact many Israelis happen to oppose the occupation.

Walter Ballin

Why involve government?

Re “Neighbors clash with Birdhouse owners over events” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, Dec. 1):

I’ve attended a Birdhouse concert, and enjoyed it. The Eldridges have an ideal home in which to share their passion for music experienced up close.

As a home host who has presented more than 60 house concerts, I believe culture is too important to leave to the experts. I’d like to see homes on every city block welcome artists and guests for a living-room performance.

The Eldridges have created something of immense value to many county residents like me. At the same time, I can understand how neighbors along normally quiet private roads in this remote area might feel wary of the extra traffic and parking of 20-30 carloads of unfamiliar folk.

But surely there is a way to address this challenge that will suit everyone better than a “one size fits all” ordinance. Let these neighbors work together to find a solution that works for all of them—and leave other neighborhoods free to do the same for themselves. Do we really need the government to do this for us?

David Zink

Chico’s big heart

Thank you, Chico City Council, city staff and Chico Police Department for your tolerance of and respect for the democratic process as manifested by the Occupy Chico/99-percent movement. It takes courage and a big heart to encompass truth-telling, however inconvenient. The Chico we all love has a very big heart!

Leslie Mahon-Russo

It’s about coordination

Re “Off-roaders say no to forest plan” (Newslines, by Nick Pike, Nov. 24):

I would like to elaborate why I, as a county supervisor candidate, support the county’s litigation against the Forest Service.

In my presentation Mr. Pike attended, I briefly mentioned that the Forest Service’s lack of coordination with Butte County was one reason that a recent decision was flawed.

Coordination is a process by which federal agencies are mandated to meet with local government in order to bring consistency between each other’s policies, plans and actions. It’s very important to Butte County for many reasons beyond the Travel Management decision. For example, it is vital in order to have consistency with our general plan’s economic and conservation elements as well as our integrated water resource plan.

It is my opinion that Travel Management happens to be a timely issue to seek court direction on how the Forest Service coordinates with our local government, regardless of what side of the “access” fence one is on.

I hope this information enables you and your readers to learn more about coordination and support our county’s decision to litigate. I invite you or your readers to contact me at doug@dougteeter.com.

Doug Teeter

Bike paths are safe

At a recent bike path ribbon cutting I was asked if the Hwy 99 Bikeway would increase crime in the area. The neighbor had recently read reports of an assault on a skateboarder at 2 a.m. on the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) bikeway west of Chico State. The answer to the question is no.

Googling “Bike Paths and Crime” yields many studies with uniform results: stable to lower crime rates, increased property values [along bike paths]. The UPRR path was put in through an already established high-crime area, West Sacramento, North Cedar and Columbus.

Correlation is not causation.

Ed McLaughlin
Chairman, Chico Bicycle Advisory Committee

Butts galore

Cigarette butts are a major litter item in parks. In time they find their way to rain gutters that can carry them from our streams and rivers all the way out to the ocean. They are not good for kids, small animals, our parks or our oceans.

Last year, the Leaders in Training from the Boys and Girls Club in Oroville helped me survey the problem. We picked up 1,725 cigarette butts in different places in Oroville parks in just over 2 hours. We even found cigarette butts near kids’ play areas, where smoking is not allowed under California’s Tot Lot Law.

Cigarette litter is a problem best solved by the community. I hope people who visit the parks do the right thing and throw litter away in trash cans, including cigarette litter, to keep the Oroville parks clean.

Raúl Raygoza
Environmental Health Division
Butte County Public Health DepartmentOroville