Letters for February 25, 2016
The cats are killers
Re “Working toward a no-kill nation” (Guest comment, by Shelly Rogers, Feb. 18):
I was aghast that Shelly Rogers would make heroes out of people who release feral cats into the wild. Apparently such people believe that any cat’s life is worth more than the many native reptiles, small mammals, song birds, quail and other game birds that cats kill. Feral cats are an invasive species and anyone who enables them should pay large fines, and repeat offenders be put in jail. If Shelly Rogers wants a “no-kill nation,” then let us eliminate the worst killers: feral house cats.
Two on bottling plant plans
Re “Bottling plant gets a pass” (Newslines, by Alastair Bland, Feb. 18):
It came as a shock to me that Crystal Geyser, which is owned by a Japanese company, could sue the county of Siskiyou in a secret international trade court and that there’s no appeal process. What in the Sam hell are government officials doing allowing this? It sounds to me like officials lining their pockets at our expense.
This doesn’t just affect Siskiyou County; it affects us all. This type of shady activity is something we do not and will not ever need. They set up a deal that is a proposed boost to the economy, yet it gives them the power to sue and we can’t appeal it. What kind of Fred Flintstone garbage is that?
A Japanese-owned pharmaceutical corporation drawing thousands of gallons of water daily in a drought-stricken area? And they “could be” protected from any restrictions imposed by state or county laws? And they could sue governments that infringe on their profits?
According to your excellent article, a review of Regional Water Quality Control was last done in 2001. How much will extraction of 450 gallons per minute affect the area now? Is there a legal ceiling on the amount they can extract? Shades of 1984!
This tendency for huge private companies to come into an area and extract a public resource basically for free is endangering populations and remaining ecosystems around the world.
My comments pertain to the atrocious behavior at a Glenn County Planning Commission meeting in which the commissioners voted on the KVB solid waste facility. Specifically, I am referring to the 30 to 40 people, primarily Hispanic from Hamilton City, who had to stand at the back of the room or in the hallway of the board room for three hours during the public hearing! This is particularly galling because the room downstairs was already set to seat everyone.
In addition, the commissioners were specifically asked to provide Spanish translation and they didn’t for any part of the discussion on KVB Inc. Granted, someone in the back of the room who appeared to be staff said he could translate the comments section, but he never did. The Spanish-speaking participants were excluded from the discussion from beginning to end, including the CEQA notification process.
EIR notifications were never published in any of the local Spanish-language newspapers nor provided to the Hamilton City Library in English or Spanish. They didn’t accommodate those who didn’t have a clear understanding of the English language in a community that is 90 percent Hispanic. The commission had an obligation and opportunity to do the right thing, and it didn’t.
‘A matter of respect’
I want to thank the members of the Chico Planning Commission for their decision recently to put an end to the ongoing Chico Scrap Metal shell game. However, I doubt this is the last we will hear about the scrap metal yard located in the heart of a residential neighborhood. The owners have very deep pockets (read the list of consultants they have hired) and an equally deep-seated sense of entitlement.
Sadly, the Planning Commission discussion was quickly shifted from the Chapman/Mulberry Neighborhood Plan to the more emotional issues of environmental pollution and the sanctity of the free enterprise system.
Hundreds of volunteer hours were committed to developing a plan intended to enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Our leader and inspiration in this endeavor was former Butte County Supervisor Jane Dolan. From the beginning, it was the consensus of our neighborhood group that the scrap metal yard on East 20th Street was a noncompliant use. It was our belief at the time that the scrap yard would relocate once the plan was adopted.
Perhaps the owners will finally accept that our neighborhood was serious then and now. It is simply a matter of respect.
Editor’s note: For more on this subject, see “The big scrap,” page 18.
Re “Backing Joe” (Letters, by Michael Madieros, Feb. 18):
When Michael Madieros defends his benefactors on the basis of their charity toward a few “worthy” souls (60 beds! 60 beds!), while ignoring their eagerness to enact laws stripping Chico’s 500 homeless of their constitutional rights, he is asking us to ignore history. There has never been a tyrant, dictator or gangster that wasn’t charitable to a select few. Charity is the oldest distraction from fundamental injustice known to humankind.
Michael Madieros: Can anyone be a friend to the homeless while supporting the criminalization of their very existence? Can Team Cook/Montes/Madieros claim humanitarian status while supporting laws seemingly intended to drive the homeless from our city? With the systematic shredding of our social safety net and trickle-down economics producing a shitstorm of wealth inequality, are we entitled to live in the only city in America where we never see the consequences?
I’ve come to expect this from Madieros: either outright support for criminalization or painful equivocation on such issues as whether we provide 24-hour restrooms for the homeless.
Whether Madieros is his own man or not, he is not providing homeless advocacy—not by any stretch of the definition.
‘No magic ending’
I worked many years in the mental heath system in Santa Cruz. While helping the homeless is noble, one must address the fact that many will not stay in homes or shelters and be back in the woods or on the streets [due to] mental illness and addiction; many rotate through the system.
In society today, you can’t force treatment on these people. In Santa Cruz, it took about a year for a person to go from being admitted on a 5150 to being released or put into structured living, at which point they started over. The deeds are noble, but getting the homeless off the streets has no magic ending.
Enough with the religion
Whether President Obama or his successor chooses Justice Scalia’s successor, the language and logic of the First Amendment should be respected. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The Supreme Court isn’t Congress, but it does effectively make laws. As such, it’s arguably inappropriate that justices have religious beliefs at all. Yet, among today’s Supreme Court justices, three are Jewish and five are Catholic. Scalia was also Catholic.
Electing and appointing religious government administrators needs to stop—not just in the Supreme Court, but at every level of government. Since government decisions often deeply and profoundly affect constituents, they should be rooted in science and equity—not superstition and corruption. To ensure this, no person who’s practiced a religion or otherwise demonstrated belief in a supernatural deity in the last 10 years should be allowed to hold public office. However, to prevent McCarthyesque abuses, objective methods for determining religiosity should be established.
Finally, all candidates for public office should be required to demonstrate through written testing knowledge, intelligence and motivation sufficient to competently perform the required duties.
Re “Free Will Astrology” (Column, by Rob Brezsny):
I have been perusing your CN&R newspaper for approximately 260 weeks to date. Your newspaper is informative, enlightening, sometimes humorous, colorful reading. Rob Brezsny deserves an accolade, perhaps a raise—that’s your call (smile)—but for sure a verbal commendation for his astrological readings column. Literally vanquished with the validity of his “right on the money” projection(s) for the 12 independent astrological signs. I look forward week after week to his delineations thereof.
Stephon A. Bodenhamer
A note of thanks
Thank you to Soroptimist International of Chico for the generous donation of $2,000 to Chico Center for Learning. Since 2003, Chico Center for Learning (CCL), a nonprofit, has provided tutoring services for children with dyslexia.
Charles R. Schwab wrote in his 2000 letter to the editor to the Wall Street Journal: “Fifty years ago, dyslexia and other learning differences were vague and poorly understood concepts. Today research into dyslexia and other language-based learning differences is on the cutting edge of neuroscience. Researchers, using the technology of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are now able to image the working brain and literally see the difference in circuitry of dyslexic readers.”
Gov. Brown recently signed into law Assembly Bill 1369 requiring schools to assess struggling readers specifically for dyslexia, which is genetic and affects 1 in 5 students. President Obama recently signed the READ Act (Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia), which requires the National Science Foundation to fund research into “the early identification of children and students with dyslexia, professional development for teachers and administrators of students with dyslexia, curricula and educational tools needed for children with dyslexia, and implementation and scaling of successful models of dyslexia intervention.”
Most dyslexics are actually very gifted, right-brained thinkers but have difficulty with the left-brained process of reading and language. They can learn—they just need to learn using a proven, researched methodology. Read-read-read and retention are not the answers, but an Orton-Gillingham explicit, multisensory, systematic reading program is the answer.
Chico Center for Learning board president