Letters for February 27, 2014

About that meat

Re “Butcher with a heart” (Cover feature, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 20):

George’s Mobile Slaughter and Custom Butchering does a fine job processing locally raised farm animals in our region. George Westbrook knows his craft and keeps a good conversation while he’s at it. I’ve had a tough time arranging bulk purchases of hormone-free, openly grazing pork and lamb, and Mr. Westbrook offers full service for both. If you like good meat, I can’t recommend the Quincy Bluegrass pork sausage highly enough.

Mike Sawley

Re “Slaughter” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 20):

Melissa Daugherty informs us that most of the slaughter images captured by photographer Melanie MacTavish were “too graphic for publication in a community newspaper.”

I find it interesting that images of food production are considered off limits. These are not photographs taken at the scene of a tragic traffic accident where the publishing of such images might be insensitive to victims’ families. These are images of how our food is produced. That that process is considered “too graphic” or disturbing reflects “bad faith” among meat eaters since one should be bothered by such slaughter.

It’s the choosing not to witness in black and white how one’s food is produced that is disturbing, since such willful ignorance further facilitates the fully unnecessary slaughter of these sentient beings for food.

Robert C. Jones

I appreciate the courage that Melissa Daugherty demonstrated in her column on witnessing the slaughter of a lamb. It is not necessarily easy to share one’s experiences of conscience and matters of the heart in a public forum and Melissa has done this again and again.

For those of us seeking to limit the suffering we create, it is almost inevitable that we ask questions concerning the suffering of animals. This questioning has a very long history—dating back thousands of years. I hope the questioning is intensifying in our time, because the current horrors of animal food production go beyond anything our ancestors could have imagined. (A 30-second online video of “confinement” pork production will offer plenty of insight for the uninitiated.)

If anything, the story in the CN&R described the production of meat in the most responsible manner occurring today. For those who continue to consume meat, it is important to support farmers who have a similar ethic.

For those of us moving away from animal food consumption, it is important to support each other in every step we take in creating a more compassionate world.

Patrick Newman

‘Medicare for all’ is best

Re “Well-rested, thanks to Obamacare” (Guest comment, by Vic Cantu, Feb. 20):

Vic Cantu’s piece does an excellent job of listing the “propaganda” of the right. What he fails to mention is the objection to Obamacare by many on the left. That objection is the use of private, for-profit, insurance companies to provide the coverage.

Cantu’s excited about his premium of $1 a month that would have cost $300 per month. He fails to mention that the remaining $299 will be paid by the government to the insurance companies. For that $299 per month—$3,588 per year—the insurance company will have to provide the “free preventive checkups, immunizations, counseling and screenings” and cover costs above his $6,500 per year deductible. An unlikely occurrence unless, as he correctly points out, he had a “serious illness, accident or disease.”

Additionally, he fails to mention, and may not be aware of, how few medical providers, doctors and hospitals, are enrolled and accept Obamacare. It is a potential problem that people like Cantu who have enrolled discover when they try to use this so-called insurance!

The bottom line is medical coverage could be provided for less with “Medicare for all.” Instead, we get more privatization of health care, just like everything else. Turn everything into a profit center so more can be paid to the CEOs and stockholders. Business as usual in America!

Paul Ellcessor

Editor’s note: Obamacare is not a type of insurance. It is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal law. Mr. Ellcessor is correct that those who qualify for expanded Medi-Cal under the ACA may have trouble finding a doctor who accepts Medi-Cal. For more on that subject, see “Obamacare and the docs,” Healthlines, page 16.

Intersection has issues

Re “The path not taken” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Feb. 20):

For nine years I lived one block from the intersection of East First and Oleander avenues. One summer, I heard three crashes at that intersection, including one involving a bike and one a motorcycle, years before the recent accidents there.

I also regularly drove out of my way to avoid turning onto The Esplanade from East First Avenue because there is no turn signal and motorists regularly rush through it or turn on red.

In 2008, I attended many meetings coordinated by the Chico Avenues Neighborhood Association and the city to try to deal with these traffic issues. My request for a turn signal at The Esplanade and First Avenue was greeted with condescension by the city representatives. The city’s attempted solution for the Oleander intersection, described in your article, was to put in the curb extensions, then remove them due to complaints and give up.

The attitude that “there is nothing to be done” for this intersection that kids cross to go to Chico Junior High School is upsetting to me, and I am not a “happy citizen” about this unsolved hazard.

Julie Danan

I am glad to see some attention given to the dangers that exist on First Avenue. I would like to point out that it is not limited to the intersection of First and Oleander. I live on the corner of First and Arcadian avenues, where I have witnessed numerous accidents over the past several years, including a recent pedestrian versus car.

It is very clear to me that 35 mph is an inappropriate speed for such a narrow road. It sees heavy traffic and parking congestion due to its proximity to both Chico High and Chico State. For comparison, Fifth Avenue between The Esplanade and Mangrove has bike lanes, bulbed intersections, a 30 mph speed limit and less traffic.

It is time to slow the traffic to 25 mph on First Avenue. Signage is a very inexpensive solution to reducing accidents.

Scott Slattery

I bike on Oleander Avenue nearly every day, and during vehicle rush hours, it can be nearly impossible to cross East First Avenue. A possible solution? Install push-buttons at Oleander—similar to those at pedestrian crosswalks—that would light up a flashing yellow sign with a cyclist/ pedestrian symbol on it that drivers on East First Avenue would see.

Another possible solution is adding crosswalks. Since bicyclists are allowed on sidewalks in this area of town, per rules of the road, vehicles would be required to stop to let a bicyclist cross if they are in the crosswalk, just as they would if that cyclist was a pedestrian.

This is not an “us versus them” situation. Cyclists and drivers both are going to school and work, and wanting to get there in one piece.

Lisa Williams

Two views on school board

Re “Mismanagement here, too” (Letters, by Leslie Elena Thompson, Feb. 13) and “All about Dan” (Letters, by Tam Hammersly, Feb. 20):

It is unfortunate in 2014 that there are still people who dismiss a woman simply due to her age. Two recent letters to the CN&R (written by women!) took pot shots at the current members of the Chico Unified School District School Board because of their age and gender.

I beg to differ. Having worked with four of the five members, I know this is a group of dedicated, thoughtful, intelligent women who each bring a unique perspective and multitude of life experiences to the board.

This is not a job of glory. It is community service with long hours, complicated issues, and little thanks. They do it to make sure the children within CUSD get the best public education the district can provide. It is the voters who determine who serves on the City Council, school board, and other elected positions. I am proud to live in a community where the electorate looks at the credentials of the candidates and not their number of years on the earth.

Jann Reed

Editor’s note: Jann Reed is a former member of the CUSD School Board.

I wanted to offer my perspective about all the recent negativity about Chico Unified School District. School districts are not unlike football teams. A few players can make them rise, or because of a bad coach or chemistry, they can sink.

I read last week’s letter criticizing the school board. I compare that to fans blaming the owner for a last place team. Chico Police have done major personnel changes to improve. City Council brought in a new “coach” in Nakamura to improve.

Unfortunately, education still is run by an antiquated system: a board composed of people with no experience manages a mammoth organization. The results are often predictable.

I watched my first school board meeting last week to see the dynamics of CUSD and to judge for myself why they get so much ridicule lately. I turned it on just as a vote was stopped by one of the board members who wanted to talk about a pretty flow chart. I couldn’t stomach any more.

Whether it’s bad management or a poor board, we are all in trouble if you think that pretty flow charts create improvement. Nothing is more important to any community than the quality of its schools.

Burt Chapman

What transparency?

Re “City gets $5.3 million gift horse” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, Feb. 11):

At the Feb. 18 City Council meeting, Mark Orme, the assistant city manager, asked the council to waive the two-week “sunshining period,” which is the typical review time for memorandum of understanding (MOU) reports. An MOU defines the proposed pay and benefits between the city and their collective bargaining groups.

The title of this MOU report begins with “Transparency in Negotiations” and ends 169 pages later. This report is billed as a “final draft,” complete with double underlines for new language and strikethrough font for deletions.

Orme said that sunshining “was unique for Chico. It gives the public the opportunity to have more time than the typical public would in a municipal agency to review contracts.” Later, he emphasized that Chico’s sunshining should continue; however, this time, the city is in a “dire emergency.”

Orme said delaying immediate approval would cost $36,000. The prior labor contracts expired in December. Since January, more than six weeks have elapsed before the “final draft” reached council. No one mentioned that six-week delay cost $108,000.

After a mere 20 minutes, the seven council members unanimously approved waiving the sunshining period. No transparency, no citizen oversight. Isn’t that how we got into this mess in the first place?

Dave Kelley

Editor’s note: Dave Kelley is a former Chico City Council candidate.

Flushing opportunity

As a longtime Chico resident and someone who has owned, started and sold numerous businesses over the last 35 years, I have always looked for ways to make money. In the last year, I have communicated to city management and City Council about looking into the possibility of utilizing one of our assets to bring in some much-needed income. This asset—the waste treatment plant—has tons of potential! How? you ask.

The treatment plant dumps 7.5 million gallons of water into the Sacramento River every day! This water is so clean that the environmentalists approve of it being put in the river (it is one step away from being drinking water).

Even if we sold it at 1 cent per gallon, that’s $75,000 a day. Gov. Jerry Brown has just submitted a $680 million proposal to state lawmakers to help California communities reduce, reuse and collect water in their communities. Let’s do something about this now.

This could fully fund the Police Department and pay back depleted city coffers.

The finance director says he is working on it, so let’s hear what he’s found out!

Dave Donnan