Letters for February 13, 2003

Gentle Dan
Councilmember Dan Nguyen-Tan used gentle persuasion to broker a compromise for the Annie Bidwell Trail. The proponents and opponents agreed on a mutually acceptable project description. The City Council has forwarded this compromise for environmental review. I would like to say a public thanks to Dan for going above and beyond the call of duty and making local government work.

Michael Jones

Uneasy compromise
My sincerest apologies to the 270-plus people who signed a petition of support for our appeal of the Annie Bidwell Trail route, which was subsequently killed in a compromise “deal.” If I have sold you up the river, if I have transgressed an expectation or trust given the task handed to me, I am sorry.

An explanation is in order: Without the political maneuverings of Councilmember Dan Nguyen-Tan, our attempt for appeal would have died Jan. 7. After that City Council meeting, Nguyen-Tan informed the appellants that he wished us to come to a timely compromise for the current phase of “project description” so that an environmental review could begin before the spring wildflower season.

Most important, he felt that without objective consultant-gathered facts he would have a hard time weighing his final decision. Furthermore, both he and the mayor were unwilling to halt all new trail construction until a master management plan for the south acquisition was created, which is what we asked for if the appeal were successful.

To park users like you and me, the issues may seem a little more black and white, but for the council, which has supported this horrendous plan for some time, it’s more difficult to about-face. For the time being the compromise drops about 1.25 miles of new trial through pristine sensitive creekside habitat east of Salmon Hole stretching to about Ten Mile House Road.

Our hope is the environmental-impact report will show the council what an ill-conceived idea the creekside component of the trial is. In the meantime, the council majority (if there is such a thing) is aware that a master management plan update is overdue.

Also, the Annie Bidwell Trail Amendment to the General Plan, another example of horrible planning and protocol, will probably come before the council on March 4 for consideration. See you there.

Randy Abbott

Hear me now?
I realize that this may be a silly question with “civilization at stake” and all, but I was wondering if anyone knew what kind of cellular phone service those wily al Qaeda guys use.The news is full of reports of cell phone usage, from the caves and mountains of Bora Bora in Afghanistan to Yemen. The United States and Israel also use cell phones as a tracking device for their governmental assassinations. All I know is that every time I go up the hill to either Forest Ranch or Magalia I lose reception. I was also wondering what kind of plan most of them sign up for, unlimited long distance? Discounts for frequently called numbers? I just think we need some more answers, don’t you?

David Guzzetti

Presidential support
I guess it was inevitable that the far left would choose to throw stones and personal insults to our president on his State of the Union speech [“The state of the union? Resistant,” Guest comment, by Paul O’Rourke-Babb, Feb. 6]. Mr. Paul Rourke-O’Babble was the self-anointed this time around.

He starts out with the requisite bashing of the rich “stealing everything the rest of us create” and quickly moves on to prop up failed and failing social services, ones that are rampant with fraud, mismanagement and destined to collapse under their own weight unless huge amounts of “revenues” (taxes) are forcibly taken from one group and transferred to another.

The learned writer throws around a lot of impressive/depressing figures that I cannot rebuke at this time. I’m confidant other writers are doing so as I type. But my experience and gut feeling tell me that few of the figures are accurate. The 20 million below the poverty line is an arbitrary figure. The “poor” in this get very substantial subsides that elevate their quality of life but remain off the books, leaving the look of poverty but a higher standard of living.

In the end our president my not have the charisma of his predecessor or the paper intellect of his opposition in the last election. What he does have is a warm and wonderful connection with the American public at large. He is human and has faults like us all. He has, and will continue to have, support far in excess of the aforementioned subjects. This is what confounds the like of Mr. O’Rourke-Babb.

James Rodney Jenkins

What’s that sound?
Here are my conclusions regarding the impending war against Iraq:

First, Bush and his administration want to gain control of Iraq’s oil reserves, not just to keep SUV owners content, but also to protect the interests of corporations.

Second, Bush and his officials keep harping at the American people about the threat of another terrorist attack to keep us in a constant state of fear, worry and anger so that we won’t notice or care when they systematically do away with our civil liberties and dismantle all of the environmental protections put in place in the last 20 years. They do this so that corporations can get at our natural resources and make more money.

Third, this war will cost billions and is ruinous to our economy. Bush and his officials throw most of our tax money into military buildup while accusing the poorest among us of being wasteful. Bush’s economic advisors want to prevent “waste” by making the qualifications stricter for poor parents who can’t afford to pay for their child’s school lunch. As if war were a paying investment.

Lastly, I don’t want any Iraqi or American people to suffer and die just so that we can have a few barrels of cheap oil. That’s why you’ll find me, most Saturdays, down on the corner of Third and Main streets, along with other “peaceniks,” carrying a sign. I don’t know if it will help, but I won’t let this war happen without speaking out against it.

Karen Laslo

Homeless mix-up
It is important to point out that the Chico Community Shelter Partnership has not received a single complaint about the operation of the shower program [“Showers for the homeless raise eyebrows,” Briefly, Jan. 23]. The one complaint we know about that was directed to the DCBA is the one covered in your article. It also seems important to point out that, although we are an organization that offers services to all individuals who are homeless (or at risk), not all homeless individuals use our services. Many of the individuals whom I have observed “hanging out” at Has Beans are neither homeless nor clients of our services. As an organization we are committed to reducing the impact of homelessness on individuals and on our community. We believe this means working with as many members of the community as possible. We have consistently encouraged and offered opportunity to the business community to get involved. We invite everyone in our community to join us in our efforts to problem-solve around the issue of homelessness. Anyone wanting to get involved or for more information, please call the shelter office at 891-9048.

Tami Ritter
Executive Director, CCSP