Letters for February 10, 2011

Counseling for the council

Re “Councilman switches his vote to end political rancor” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 3):

It appears that the three City Council members supported Mr. Sor Lo because he would provide more diversity to the council and provide better representation of the community.

If this is true, then I suggest that they recall the idea of dividing the city of Chico into districts that has been discussed in the past. The council members did not like this idea. Rather they support the “top vote-getters win” concept. Wouldn’t districts truly provide the best citizen representation on the council? It seems obvious that it would.

Which way do you want it, council members? You can’t have it both ways just to fit your agenda.

I support the discussion of district representation in Chico. It works for the Butte County supervisors. Why not us?

Wayne Edwards

The empty seat on the Chico City Council has finally been filled. Even though everyone is probably exhausted and eager to put this item to rest, it’s important to acknowledge that this situation will occur again. The appointment was a messy stop-gap measure.

The city needs a policy to prevent the community from reliving this ordeal in the future. I urge the City Council to adopt an ordinance establishing such a policy. To help jump-start this process, I propose the following language:

“If a vacancy should occur within the Chico City Council, for any reason, within 180 days of an election, the unsuccessful candidate of the previous election with the highest number of votes shall be appointed to fill the remaining term of the vacant position. Should the unsuccessful candidate with the highest number of votes be unwilling or unable to serve, the remaining candidates shall be selected in an order based on number of votes received until the position is filled. If none of the unsuccessful candidates of the previous election are willing or able to serve, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the City Council.”

Steve Scarborough

Who’s the real ‘elite’?

The Chico Enterprise-Record regularly launches name-calling tirades against involved citizens who propose growth policies to stop intensifying air pollution, threats to our water, and loss of prime agricultural land and wildlife habitat.

But shouldn’t citizens challenge these problems that threaten our health and future generations? Won’t our grandchildren wonder why we didn’t consider their needs, instead of just our own short-term desires?

When I advocated for a healthier, more sustainable future, the E-R called me a “strident ideologue.” An ideologue advocates for a point of view, like the E-R does every day. OK. But strident? Loud and harsh? Me? Gimme a break.

Their latest name-calling is that I and other outspoken citizens are “the liberal elite.” Liberal is defined as “open minded.” OK. But what about expressing our concerns is “elitist”? Is it because they consider us more educated or informed? That’s one definition. Is it because they think we’re rich? Gotta be kidding. Is anyone an “elitist” who feels entitled to express views differing from the E-R’s editors or owners?

The power of the press to express itself is far superior to the rest of us—an “elite” position with a responsibility to report the real news.

Name-calling and negative attacks against active citizens only create anger and polarization. The E-R could instead contribute to an informed citizenry and positive community dialogue by respectfully reporting on citizen concerns and ideas. When they ignore the news because they disagree, and attack the messengers, they demean their paper.

Jon Luvaas

Editor’s note: The author is a former Chico planning commissioner.

More about the meeting

Re “How to end divisiveness” (From this Corner, by Robert Speer, Feb. 3):

So let me get this straight, Robert: If you were meeting with the CN&R editorial board about expanding your market share, and Chico E-R people came uninvited, you would welcome them in? I doubt it. Yet that’s what you suppose people who organized a sustainability strategy meeting should have done when someone showed uninvited.

I facilitated that meeting, and I asked the person to leave. I wouldn’t hesitate again to ask uninvited people to leave a meeting. No apology here. Were we told by the library that our planned private meeting needed to be open to the public? No. Nor were we given a contract to sign in advance stating that meetings in the conference room had to be open to the public. Now we know.

It would have been appreciated if, rather that following the lead of the Chico E-R and making this story about petty politics, you’d actually focused on the real content here—the fact that despite the general plan’s stated vision for Chico to have “clean and measurably healthy air” in 2030, the EIR says that under the general plan build-out our air is likely to get even dirtier. Instead of reducing pollutants already exceeding health standards in our town, the plan as currently drafted will make the air worse. Trying to improve this situation is what our meeting was about.

Luke Anderson

I want to address a misconception in your column. While the Butte Environmental Council does get involved in divisive issues from time to time, we are an inclusive organization that welcomes dialogue and debate.

More to your point, for the past few months BEC has been arranging special outreach “discussion” events that bring people together around common interests. In October we screened the film Collapse at the Pageant Theatre, followed by a discussion of how this film related to the Chico general plan.

This month we hope to host a screening of the film Blue Gold in Paradise, followed by a discussion of water issues on the ridge, and on March 19 we will host BEC’s First Annual Brunch at Trinity Methodist Church.

All of our events are open to the public, and times and locations can be found on our website at www.becnet.org.

Mark Stemen
Butte Environmental Council


Finally a course

“Patience is a virtue.” “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” “Good things come to those who wait.”

Statements like these may comfort people who have been waiting 17 years for a disc-golf course to be built in Bidwell Park. Those of us who championed this creation know the process was not really about patience. What success we achieved was based on hard work, determination and compromise.

This disc-golf project required a decade of attending dozens of meetings of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission and City Council. We collected 8,000 referendum signatures to deflect a council decision that removed people from our park. In the last six months volunteers have contributed 2,000 hours of labor and donated $50,000 in labor and funds to our park system.

It is with a lot of pride, and with some sense of having completed a grueling decade-long marathon, that we’re happy to announce an opening date for the recently named Peregrine Point disc-golf course. The course will open Saturday, Feb. 12, at 10 a.m. (assuming dry weather). Vice Mayor Jim Walker will preside over the opening ceremony, and commemorative T-shirts and discs will be sold to support the new course.

For more information/directions to Peregrine Point, visit our web site (www.chico-outsiders.com).

Lon Glazner, president
Outside Recreation Advocacy


The health-care leviathan

Re “Why Enloe expanded” (Letters, by Mike Wiltermood, Jan. 27):

It could very well be the case that Enloe Hospital was, in essence, forced to expand, as Mr. Wiltermood seems to suggest. Further, I see no reason to hold any hospital CEO personally responsible for the runaway cost of medicine in America. Mr. Wiltermood is simply responding to a set of external forces that are driving our health-care system off a cliff.

In 1960, health-care costs were 5 percent of GDP; they are now 17 or 18 percent of GDP, and climbing. These numbers cease to be idle statistics when we begin to consider what each of us—or those in the next generations—are going to be required to do to support this leviathan.

When we go into the marketplace for an automobile, there is everything from a Toyota Corolla to a Maserati. When we purchase health care, there is only one vehicle on the lot, an increasingly complex and frighteningly unreliable medical-industrial vortex. The MIV has a lease rate of $2 trillion per year—but of course that was last year.

Patrick Newman