Letters for December 9, 2010

Nothing is secret

Re “You are being watched” (Cover story, by Mike Miliard, Dec. 2):

Being watched, computer documentation, phone calls, etc., have been going on from the beginning. If you think no one sees what you do on the computer and think you can delete things and they can’t be retrieved, you must be naïve. The phone company hears everything. The computer was created for a reason, as well as cell phones. All sources of communication can be traced, whether you think so or not.

Tonya Moore

It’s all about choice

Re “How schools have changed” (Guest comment, by Steven Morgan, Nov. 24):

Despite the author’s nostalgic remembrance that school’s primary purpose is to provide education in “places near to where students live,” what’s changed over the past 20 years in education are issues revolving around a relative drop in student achievement, an increase in the high-school drop-out rate, an emphasis on standardized testing, a loss of fine-arts and vocational offerings, and an increase in the achievement gap between low-income minority students and white higher-income students—a trend exacerbated by the traditional educational system.

So where does the culpability for increasing “segregation” truly lie?

Parents should have the right to choose a school that best meets the needs of their child. The major flaw in the system is there aren’t enough choices and openings in alternative, magnet, and charter schools to accommodate everyone.

It’s obvious that a one-size-fits-all approach to education is not the answer, yet proponents of the status quo continue to point the blame finger and demonize schools that are trying to make a difference.

Instead of turning this issue into a philosophical argument to push policy, we need to remember that a child’s education is deeply personal for that child’s family. Parental choice is an essential right, and we need to work to create more great schools, as every child deserves an excellent education.

Paul Weber

Editor’s note: Mr. Weber is principal of Chico Country Day School, a charter school.

‘Totally unacceptable’ tactics

Re “Probable cause?” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Dec. 2):

How sad that even to speak out against this bullying by our district attorney and his task force puts us at risk of being the next “target.” For those of us who have gone to the extent of getting medical-marijuana licenses so that we can have some relief from pain—legally, and we use the collectives to purchase our medication—this is totally unacceptable. We’ve followed the law—and our law-enforcement personnel don’t have to?

Ramsey should be busted. By the way, has anyone ever experienced a bar-room brawl by people under the influence of marijuana? I seriously doubt it—the natural effect of marijuana is to sit back and watch quietly the goings on around them.

Go after the serious drugs: PCP, ecstasy, heroin, crack, and spend our tax dollars there, instead of wasting them on the medical-marijuana (cannabis) patients.

Tracie Feldhaus

I don’t use [marijuana], I never have, don’t think I ever will, but I am amazed at the tactics used here. They are trying to build a case based on “clerical errors” more than anything. Those things could happen in your everyday pharmacy if someone accidentally skips a step in the process.

It sounds to me like the issue is possibly inadequate training for a job that should be handled with the same protocols as your everyday pharmacy, but I can’t think, with the exception of CPC selling with no script whatsoever, that any of these operations are guilty of anything other than negligence, and that’s a person-to-person issue, not a problem worthy of shutting down the whole operation.

The dispensaries just need to make sure they have properly trained their employees and watch their backs. How [District Attorney Mike] Ramsey connected Dylan [Tellesen] to CPC when he had written info in his possession that clearly stated that there was no connection before this even started is amazing.

Chuck Campbell

Let’s talk it over

Re “Tea and conversation” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Dec. 2):

Your column spoke of something our society desperately needs: civil discussions. And you exemplified that in your column by noting how interesting and respectful your experience was with the folks in the Tea Party movement when they greeted you at Scrambles. You ended by saying, “So much for stereotypes.”

I had a good feeling, almost glowing, as I finished your article. Excellent conveyance of your experience, Robert. My wish is to see more of the liberal and conservative people in our community discussing issues in the same genial manner. Thank you!

Joseph Morreale

Help David beat Goliath

Two small Fire Safe Councils in the foothills (Forest Ranch and Yankee Hill) are partnered in competition with more than 1,100 other projects nationwide for grant funds from Pepsi Refresh, and we need your help.

Forest Ranch is vying for $25,000 to create a shaded fuel break along the 3.2 miles of Crown Point Road as a crucial fire break and an evacuation route for residents. Yankee Hill is trying to obtain $250,000 to construct three Concow Cabins for families who lost their homes in the 2008 fires.

Our two Fire Safe Councils are currently in 164th and 159th places in the voting and need the community’s help to get Forest Ranch into the top 10 and Yankee Hill into the top two by Dec. 31 to qualify for funding.

After enrolling at www.RefreshEverything.com, each person can vote once a day online (search key words “Shaded Fuel Break” and “Concow Cabins”) and by texting (104360 and 104812) to Pepsi (73774). Or you can vote through Yankee Hill’s website, www.YankeeHillFireSafe.org, and at the same time enroll to win a 32G iPod Touch.

We know we can’t win this competition by ourselves, but with the community’s help everything becomes possible.

Bruce McLean
Forest Ranch Fire Safe Council

Sorensen’s ‘backroom deals’?

Mr. Sorensen wants each council member to hand-pick a commissioner for planning and other boards and commissions instead of using the public process that has served us well.

From my 16 years on the council, I do not feel the process was ever “awkward.” The open meetings for these appointments were always respectful and offered opportunities to all and not just to those who had political connections.

The alternative that he offers smacks of cronyism and makes our local political leaders more like the power politicians most of us abhor. How would the average “unconnected” citizen access these appointments? Must they then attempt to lobby council members in secret? Sounds like potential backroom deals to me.

How would the public know of the appointee’s qualifications or ideas? Also, what if a commissioner’s behavior and practices became a public issue? Would the council then take action or leave that to the member who appointed them? Now that’s awkward.

Keep the process an open one that encourages all citizens to participate and not just the connected ones.

This all sounds like a power grab by a council member who hasn’t even taken office yet. Ironically, Mr. Sorensen, a conservative, was chosen as a planning commissioner by a “liberal” council, so that tells me the current process works and is an open one.

David Guzzetti