Letters for February 14, 2013

Fears and facts

Re “Alternative to the tunnels” (Editorial, Feb. 7):

Operations of the twin tunnels with a capacity of 9,000 cfs will be based on the available supply of water, according to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. When water supply is low in the Sacramento River, the amount of water flowing through the tunnels will be reduced. When the supply is high, the tunnel flows will increase. Fears of draining the Sacramento River are simply not based on facts.

The actual purpose of the twin tunnels is to move water that is already permitted under rights granted by the state of California to public water agencies. Those agencies serve many farms, homes and businesses that are a vital part of California’s economy. No new project, according to California law, may negatively impact an existing water right, which appropriately safeguards the rights of those in the Sacramento Valley and the Delta.

The 3,000 cfs tunnel, which is actually a National Resources Defense Council proposal, provides no relief for farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. A recent study indicated that 750,000 acres of productive farmland could be fallowed because the NRDC proposal ignores the water-supply needs of thousands of farmers who provide locally grown food for our grocery stores.

Mike Wade
California Farm Water Coalition


Another tunnel alternative

If there’s not enough water to fill two tunnels, maybe they could run the bullet train through the empty one.

Floyd Stearns

Got stale beer?

Re “Ditchin’ the commercial shampoo” (Uncommon Sense, Jan. 31):

Hey, baking soda really does work for shampoo, and stale beer is good cream rinse, but I tend not to let beer get stale. The real utter scam industry, though, is shaving cream with the nasty chemicals and unsustainable containers. People have used soap for millennia, but what I find works better is lotion, which also functions as aftershave. Gets your face smoother than a baby’s butt!

Jim Dwyer

Lend the cops a hand

Re “Two nights of terror” (Newlines, by Ken Smith, Feb. 6):

This recent stabbing frenzy seems to be quickly turning into an epidemic. The current total is now 11 stabbing incidents within five days. Eleven! With this epidemic showing no signs of abatement, and with the chronic understaffing of the Chico Police Department, I urge concerned Chico citizens to consider getting personally involved with the ongoing Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program.

This group is made up of citizens volunteering to lend a hand in low-impact law enforcement work in order to make our limited number of sworn officers available for more time down in the trenches fighting the bad guys, the stabbers and the shooters. Thirty of us just began the 29th Chico Citizens Police Academy program that will go on for 16 weeks.

Chief Kirk Trostle welcomed us, and after a few well-chosen words of encouragement and appreciation turned the class over to Veronica Taylor, the highly dedicated and energetic VIPS program facilitator who presented a comprehensive outline on what we would be doing for the next 16 weeks. She explained how we could make a difference on a daily basis once our training was completed.

It sounded like a lot of involvement; in other words, just what we were all hoping for. Interested persons can call 897-5861 for more information.

Dave Kilbourne

Deadly bag ordinances

Re “Bags o’ trouble” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Jan. 10):

I was aware of the negative economic consequences of plastic-bag bans and plastic-bag taxes, both for bag manufacturers and businesses that use the bags. I was also aware that when you raise the price of things, you make things harder for the people least able to adjust to arbitrary price increases—the poor. And I was aware that any environmental benefit we’re likely to see from bag bans and bag taxes is speculative at best.

I was not aware, however, that the plastic-bag bans have a death toll, as Ramesh Ponnuru writes in Bloomberg News. A study has shown that the San Francisco ban results in a 46 percent increase in deaths from food-borne illnesses, or 5.5 more of them each year.

I guess the ends still justify the means?

John Salyer

Animals suffering under city

I have been volunteering at the [Butte] Humane Society for several years. It was a joy until the city took over. Now the facilities smell, they are no longer taking surrendered animals, and the new building is a horrible place for dogs. It is an enclosed sterile building with no windows for the dogs to at least be able to look outside.

I now dread going there. Yesterday was the last straw. The dogs no longer have bedding because the city will not wash it anymore; and they don’t have toys for some reason or other!

Please help if you care about the homeless animals in this county. They used to be taken care of very well, and they are not any longer.

Liane Vinson

Fitting tribute to a victim

Rick Magee loved his friends and family, loved the outdoors, loved to take a bike ride on a pleasant afternoon. It was during just such a joyful outing that this peaceful man met a violent end.

While cycling near Durham last November, Rick was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who, despite his seemingly desperate efforts to avoid capture, was later arrested. The driver eventually entered a guilty plea and will be sentenced Feb. 20.

We bring this to the public’s attention because there’s something simple you can do right now to help prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. Send a message to the sentencing judge, the Honorable James Reilley of Butte County Superior Court. Tell him this kind of behavior can’t be tolerated—that we can’t have a world truly safe for cyclists and pedestrians unless behavior like this is met with severe consequences.

What kind of behavior am I talking about? The guilty driver in this case struck from behind, causing Rick to crash headfirst into the windshield. The momentum then hurled Rick helplessly through the air. He landed on the pavement and suffered what turned out to be fatal injuries. The fugitive drove away without placing a 911 call that could have saved Rick’s life.

According to official records, he filed a false insurance claim the next day, stating that his vehicle was damaged by a falling tree limb. Investigators also state he tried to obscure the evidence after the car was in a body shop awaiting repair.

This is not behavior the community should accept. This driver, who had a previous record of infractions, including two speeding tickets, now faces a possible six years in jail on the two counts of felony hit-and-run and insurance fraud.

Go to www.nohitandruns.org to send a letter to the judge urging the maximum possible sentence. It might help make our roads a bit safer, and it would pay fitting tribute to an avid cyclist, our loved one, Rick Magee, who was taken from us forever in this senseless act of violence.

The friends and family of Rick Magee

Where’s my justice?

After I sustained $500,000 in injuries at the hands of a career criminal in 2005, Tehama County DA Gregg Cohen neglected to charge him with a third strike. This would have kept him behind bars for a minimum of 25 years. Now he’ll be back injuring innocents in as little as a year.

Since 1979, my assailant’s been convicted of 24 criminal offenses, including the sale of illegal drugs, robbery, burglary and prison escape. His incarceration affords him free room, board, entertainment, health care, occupational training and legal representation.

Meanwhile, based on false information about my injuries it seized without a warrant, the state revoked my driver’s license and effected the confiscation of my vehicles and work tools in 2009. Unable to work, I’ve been forced to exhaust my savings and sell personal belongings to live.

Despite a long and bitter fight attempting to receive crime-victim assistance through Mr. Cohen’s office, I’ve received none. My resulting financial hardship has undermined my injury lawsuit.

I’ve also sent Cohen no fewer than 50 emails, letters and faxes over the past eight months trying to get him to abate my neighbors’ chronic stereo blasting, dog screeching, and guinea noise. I’ve received no relief as yet.

Reading Mr. Cohen’s recent self-promoting press releases might fool a few into believing he’s a good DA. My own experience, however, indicates he couldn’t be worse.

Nathan Esplanade

The killers’ accomplices

I must take issue with your disingenuous comment, in response to Mr. Jim Peplow’s letter (“Why no mention?” Feb. 6), that “not one of the 62 mass killings in America during the last 30 years has been stopped by an armed civilian.” All this says is that there were no armed civilians on the scenes of those mass killings. If there had been, those mass killings likely could have been stopped or at least limited to one or two victims.

The reason there were no civilians there packing heat is very simple—anti-gun hysteria, shaming people into not exercising their constitutional and moral right to bear arms. That shame should devolve upon those who don’t want people to be able to protect themselves and others against criminals—and, incidentally, against an aggressive, increasingly undemocratic government.

The anti-gun fanatics are as much to blame as the killers. They are the killers’ accomplices.

Chad Wozniak

Newsrooms’ revolving doors

In the 15 years I have lived in Chico, I have noticed the news anchors were like a revolving door. Some of the younger people used it as a stepping stone to better and bigger things. The others, the more seasoned and adult ones, walked on egg shells waiting for the chopping axe.

This is so typical for any industry in Chico. Never get too comfortable because everyone is expendable.

Vern Leathers

Money for wars, fences for schools

As the gun debate continues around this nation, there appears to be more consideration of arming teachers and making our children’s schools more “battle ready.” That is one possible solution to the school-violence problem. Certainly there are other, better solutions.

I attended an elementary school in the Bay Area back in the 1960s and ’70s. I have visited back there occasionally over the years. When I went to school, there were no fences surrounding the school. Later in time a 6-foot chainlink fence was added. More recently, the 6-foot fence was increased to 10 feet, with mini fences built inside.

Honestly, it looks to me like a military internment camp. I now call my old elementary school “mini-Guantanamo.”

Do you consider “mini-Guantanano” a positive learning environment? I do not. We spend billions of dollars overseas on wars, but we don’t have the money for school activities such as music? Perhaps our priorities are askew? We are simply not engaging children’s potential and creativity, and that, my friends, may have a great deal to do with the violence we now see.

Jeff Straub

Freedom to soar

I just read that many school districts are transitioning to 100 percent charters. What they’ve finally learned is what teachers have stated forever: Local control is not a term just for school boards. Each school wants independence. We have long known that “one-size-fits-all” has been a disaster for public education. School districts like Chico that have long struggled with bad management would benefit from allowing their schools to manage on their own.

If you just take tiny Nord or Forest Ranch, you can see what happened. They were failing under CUSD control and now thrive on their own. Look at the success of Chico Country Day. One school board after another makes excuses. Too many in the community complain about CUSD while at the same time begging for school improvement.

Give each school its freedom. What are the negatives? A nonexistent district office? Schools that can no longer point to others as the reason for failure? Times have changed. There are too many examples of schools that have great staffs only to be held back because districts don’t want one better than another. Go for it. Give them their freedom. Watch them soar.

Lindy Moloney

Ninth Amendment link

The Ninth Amendment is vague but wonderful in its rhetoric. Many think it was one of the amendments that was not necessary but was included in the Bill of Rights to make people more secure. The U.S. Constitution does not specifically list all the rights of the people, and the Ninth Amendment was adopted to assure rights even if they are not named in the document. The federal government has only those powers given to it by the Constitution.

Read the 28 words of the Tenth Amendment. For the many scholars of law that are promoting changes in our Constitution (Bill of Rights), read this and weep. This concept of a living Constitution to accommodate today’s society would be a “nightmare.” A classic example of a “living” document—the U.S. Tax Code. Now, that’s a nightmare!

Jefferson’s quote states: The two enemies of the people are criminals and government. Let us tie the second down with chains of the Constitution so the second will not be the legalized version of the first. Thank God for Article 5 of our Constitution.

The Constitution did not undertake to define all our rights, and James Madison included the Ninth Amendment to resolve the objections of those rights could never be comprehensive enough to protect all fundamental rights.

The word “privacy” appears nowhere in the Constitution, yet we Americans tend to be fierce and independent—especially when it comes to freedom from arbitrary governmental interference in personal affairs. It’s fascinating to recognize that this treasured liberty is linked directly to our Constitution through the Ninth Amendment.

If “we the people” continue to be apathetic, there are those traitors (judges and legislators) in our society who will steal” our rights—without a constitutional convention.

Donald M. Bird
Rancho Tehama