Letters for February 3, 2011

Butte’s not dangerous

Re “Are we doing enough?” (Cover story, by Shannon Rooney, Jan. 27):

Your attempt at yellow-press tabloid journalism, preying upon the pot-infused paranoia of local college kids, as it does, failed to convince me that our college campuses are inhabited by fiendish ax-wielding serial killers frothing at the mouth.

I suggest junior-college instructors teach high school and grade school for a while—they’ll then have to step in between kids to break up fistfights, confiscate nunchucks and throwing stars, face down gangs, deal with irate parents who storm onto campus, catch girls smoking crack in the girls’ bathroom, pry boys and girls apart from each other, know whose daddy is in jail for growing pot, selling coke, etc., and still find time to teach.

Mike Peters

Butte College is one of the safest places to pursue education. In my five years as a student, I’ve been on the campuses of Sac City, Folsom Lake, Yuba, Feather River, and Canada, and I have to say that Butte College is at the top of my list for having a safe, pleasant environment.

I do not feel that way at Chico State. Chico is a beautiful campus, but it does not have the benefit of geographic isolation: Anyone and “their mama” can walk on campus and blend in. I also assert that the Butte College campus police are very visible. I see at least one officer, if not more, per day, in the few hours I’m out and about. I’m even on a first-name basis with a few, which tells you just how many interactions they have with the population.

Safety is a valid concern. Butte College is already doing a very good job. Maybe it’s the students’ turn to pitch in.

Leo Savage-Low

Yes, Paleo is sustainable

Re “Issues with the issue” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Jan. 20):

In his letter Patrick Newman writes, “Putting an article on the ‘Paleo’ diet [“Old is new again,” by Christine G.K. LaPado, Jan. 13] in your Greenways section makes no sense. To associate this with ‘sustainability’ is absurd.”

Grass-fed, biodynamic meat production is not only sustainable, but also represents a powerful, decentralized food network that supports family-owned farms.

I suspect what was most off-putting for Mr. Newman was that a market-oriented, Libertarian business owner is doing something about the sustainability issue. This will be as unpleasant for many as the notion of Republicans doing yoga, but sustainability and food quality are no longer the sole province of the left.

Robb Wolf
Author of The Paleo Solution


It’s not about the gun

Re “A start on gun reform” (Editorials, Jan. 20):

This article is at best ludicrous, at worst irresponsible.

Trying to blame any violent tragedy on the amount of bullets a gun can hold is idiotic. Realistically speaking, you are more likely to get hit by one of the first few bullets being fired at you then the last few.

In regard to what happened in Arizona: A human being ended the lives of others. We should be thankful that he didn’t drive his vehicle through the crowd, or blow one up for that matter. Both would have resulted in greater loss of life, and both scenarios are easier to enact than buying a gun and bullets.

If we as a society want to end, or at least lower, the amount of violence in our nation, more laws and the hindrance of our rights is simply not the answer. You have to change how people think. The only way to do that is to talk to them, not at them.

But so long as it is easier for politicians to pass a law to have something to point at and say, “See, this is what we have done to make you safe,” then that is all you are going to get is another law that’s almost impossible to enforce and useless after the fact.

Stan Smith

Why is booze OK?

Re “The eternal Drug War” (Guest comment, by William A. Collins, Jan. 27):

Hear, hear! I am sick and tired of this stupid, costly war on drugs and the government’s insistence that “Drugs are bad, mmmkay?” Yet all the while alcohol use is not just A-OK, but actually encouraged everywhere from the corner grocery store to state dinners at the White House.

Alcohol consumption is responsible for thousands of deaths annually. Families go asunder every day because of alcohol. Alcohol is by far the most damaging and ubiquitous drug in our society, yet no politician ever demands or even suggests that it should be criminalized again.

The time has come for our society to take a look at the facts—the real facts, not propaganda disseminated by the same people who profit from the status quo.

Toni Carrell

Irrelevant objectivity

Re “Demonstration presents an ethical problem” (Newslines, by Vic Cantu, Jan. 20):

What is taught to journalists is that in any news-based medium the ultimate aim is to have a kind of outsider’s objectivity. However, often journalists, in the course of doing their work or for other reasons (like Kevin Hagedorn’s), become experts on a given thing. They start to have a solid idea of the truth or what’s right and what’s wrong, which is essentially at the other end of the spectrum from objectivity and equal reportage.

At that point the journalist really is no longer a journalist in the by-the-book sense. He becomes an expert. Some media outlets favor experts. Some don’t. Some just want raving madmen who know a few rhetorical tricks.

I feel like high-brow objectivity in journalism is no longer relevant in the increasingly crowded, competitive and highly rhetoric-based and opinionated modern media atmosphere. We need people like Kevin Hagedorn to know what the hell is really going on in the world.

Nathan Collins

Wally’s gall

Our congressman, Wally Herger, has a lot of nerve voting to repeal an act that will bring health insurance to millions of Americans who don’t have it now and make the insurance that we do have more secure for the rest of us.

He keeps calling it “government-run health care.” It is not. It is simply a set of rules for how private insurers must treat their customers. If insurance is to be available for everyone regardless of health status, it is imperative that everyone buy into the system. Families making less than $80,000 will receive subsidies to make insurance affordable for them.

In a country that spends trillions of dollars on invasions and occupations of foreign countries and trillions more bailing out bankers and giving tax cuts to billionaires, it is outrageous to say that we can’t afford to ensure that our citizens get good health care without the fear of bankruptcy.

Wally would serve his constituents if he spent his time working on ways of making the rules for insurers better for consumers rather than wasting taxpayers’ money on symbolic votes to repeal the best thing that has happened to American health-care consumers since the passage of Medicare.

Craig Vivas
Mt. Shasta

Logue’s ‘creative mind’

One thing we got in Dan Logue as our State Assembly representative is a creative mind. He can think of many ways to advance right-wing causes and work against environmental measures.

The resounding defeat of his Proposition 23 in the November election didn’t slow him much. Here he comes with an anti-government brochure titled “Rein in Regulatory Abuse,” asking us to detail the ways government regulations are hurting us. He’s abusing all of us by sending this junk-mail trash at our expense.

I’ve got news for Mr. Logue: If you want to be in government, then work for the people. Find projects, private or public, to create jobs. The big businesses you represent are only part of your constituency. The rest of us need schools, infrastructure and decent surroundings in which to live.

Your campaign contributions may come from Big Oil, but your pledge is to represent all the people. It’s time to start.

Robert Woods

Don’t forget doulas

I am writing to remind your readers about a vastly underutilized resource that Enloe Medical Center offers to mothers and families having babies there. I am talking about the volunteer doulas who devote anywhere from 24-60 hours a month being on-call volunteers.

The word doula comes from an ancient Greek word meaning servant, and doulas serve as emotional, physical and informational labor support. We will stay by your side for the entire duration of your labor and birth, and perform a variety of tasks, from massaging you, to role-modeling for your partner so he can be the best birth support he can be!

Doulas are professionally trained in all the non-medical aspects of childbirth and are usually hired independently by the mother. The fees can range from nothing to more than $1,000. Enloe offers doulas for free! We are a small dedicated group of women who passionately believe every woman who wants a doula present at her birth should have one.

So if you are birthing a baby at Enloe in the near future, simply ask your nurse if there is a doula on call that night. We’re here to help!

Amber Dayney


Brother, where art thou?

Re “State spending: myths vs. facts” (Guest comment, by Walt Schafer, Jan. 20):

Thank you, Walt Schafer, for your information about California state workers that we can only hope will undermine the litany of lies repeated constantly by too many conservatives. Obviously, having pretty much killed the private unions, it is time to attack those public unions who have provided a decent living wage for their members.

But who is served by these attacks? Not the majority of citizens who could improve their conditions and pay by banding together. And yet too many of us seem unable or unwilling to respond to the many corporate bullies who want even more of our money while they outsource our labor to countries with miserable wages.

After all, aren’t we supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps so that we too can be bosses? How can we attack the position we are supposed to compete for?

And so, too often, we turn on each other. We compete with those we should join. We attack those just above us on the pay scale because they have it better. Because we are unwilling to fight for our own improved conditions and wages, we spill our envy on our brothers and sisters.

This is competition gone viral! Surely it is not what any decent notion of competition is about. Making a better breadbox is competition; tearing down our fellow workers is not.

Perhaps the next time we hear the public unions attacked, we will not be so willing to join in.

Gerda Seaman

Props for the i-house

Re The Greenhouse (by Christine G.K. LaPado, Jan. 27):

This i-house is incredible. I love everything about it. Of course the composite deck is built in right from the pre-fab stage. Through the ages famous architects have tried to get pre-fab houses to catch on, with limited success, but there are so many advantages. This i house is just thrilling.

I will say I like the original i-house much better than the i-house 2.0. There is no clear front door, but who actually uses their front door? It’s a dated convention. Giving the house a front door tries to combine a new design element with a more traditional design element, and what you end up getting is not quite a workhorse and not quite a giraffe—more like a camel.

I really hope they continue to make the first model available after the 2.0 is released.

Robert Manderson
Charlotte, N.C.

Words make a difference

Re “Two views on rhetoric” (Letters, Jan. 20, about our civic discourse):

If words don’t make a difference, why do we spend so much time teaching our children the importance of speaking with civility and respect on the playgrounds and in school and Sunday school, and how can we expect them to follow those precepts if we and our leaders don’t demonstrate by our actions that those principles are truly important?

“A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger” wasn’t just for 3,000 years ago and might remind us that clear decisions are better made without the clouding of fury and anger.

Marcia Moore