Letters for February 5, 2009

More blunt questions about chief
Re: “Chief concerns” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Jan. 29):

Regarding Evan Tuchinsky’s questions about Bruce Hagerty: Why is everybody so secretive about Hagerty’s pending departure?

I have a few questions of my own.

Hagerty was hired by then-Mayor Maureen Kirk. Kirk had three candidates to choose from but, for some reason, traveled only to Ridgecrest to interview Hagerty, hiring him shortly thereafter. She told a newspaper reporter that Hagerty is the stepfather of a dentist she knows, and that he and his wife had wanted to move to Chico. Is that why she hired him?

Who knows why the rest of the council rubberstamped the contract, giving Hagerty an unprecedented salary-and-benefits package?

Hagerty has had more than a few complaints from the public. Almost as soon as he was in the position, he started threatening cuts in service every time the council did not pony up to his financial requests. He received a lot of criticism when a vandal spent hours in Cal Park and the Chico PD refused to answer citizens’ calls.

Shootings of unarmed citizens have dramatically increased under Hagerty. He also made the pursuit policy that killed 15-year-old Christy Priano and stood by that policy despite national criticism and changes to that law directly resulting from the Priano case.

Let me ask a blunt question: Why is this man still on the job?

We need to change the city charter to elect our police chief.

Juanita Sumner

Editor’s note: Kirk told the CN&R that she traveled to Ridgecrest to do research on Hagerty as part of a group that included then-City Manager Tom Lando and a representative of the Police Department staff. It was Lando who hired the chief.

Iraqi’s war story is eye-opening …
Re: “Escape from Iraq” (Cover story, by Ted Cox, CN&R, Jan. 29):

This is an amazing story. Nobody from America knows what’s going on in Iraq, unless they have been there or are from there. We take our rights and safety for granted. “Escape from Iraq” is an article that shows the real story and the people involved in this war where so many bad things are happening.

I’m so glad our country could offer safety and a little bit of security to this family [the Salibas], who have gone through so much.

Emerald Behrens

… and maybe illustrative, too?
So, just a week or so beyond the anointment of the Obamessiah, suddenly there’s an article in the CN&R that suggests perhaps deposing sadistic tyrant Saddam Hussein was a good thing and that there might be issues if we were to simply abandon Iraq now. That article would never have been published while that horrible George W. Bush was in office. Amazing how some bits of reality become more palatable post-election.

Next up: an article about how liberal “social engineering” through Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Community Reinvestment Act created a subprime secondary market that otherwise never would have existed, creating unnatural liquidity that led directly to the housing price bubble, subsequent meltdown/correction and our current situation?

Nah, that one requires too much thinking, might suggest that free-capital markets are smarter than government and could lead to the conclusion that the Generational Theft Act, er, I mean Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 will turn the current recession into a depression only for the next decade or so, if we’re lucky. Following the about-face on Iraq, we wouldn’t want our readers to become even more confused, now would we?

Alexander Tytler, Scottish historian, [is commonly attributed with writing] circa 1800: “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.’ “

Guess where we are in that progression?

J. Kirklin

Editor’s note: Rather than debate the complexities of Iraq coverage spanning the decade, I’ll just refer readers to our Iraq roundtable on the fifth anniversary of the invasion (in the March 13, 2008, issue) as an example of multifaceted discourse.

‘On-going problem’
Re: “Grisly new details in jail paralysis case” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Jan. 29):

This is a travesty. This man [Reny Cabral] was mentally ill and was withheld his medication that would have controlled this behavior. He should have never been in that [Glenn County] jail to begin with.

The jail officers and Highway Patrol officers should be charged with attempted murder. They attacked him and assaulted him unmercifully. They blatantly ignored the information from his family and doctor to administer his medication.

This is an ongoing problem in our county jails: officers making decisions about patients’ medications and evaluations with no medical knowledge. Their job does not extend into decisions regarding medical treatment. It is against the law to withhold medication to an inmate.

This man lay on the floor for nine hours paralyzed and not one officer would help him. What kind of people have been hired and trained with our taxpayer money that are so cold and calculated that they dole out abusive treatment and torture and leave a man to suffer paralyzed? I feel fearful and threatened more by these officers than the common criminal.

This has got to stop and until we as citizens speak up and demand their removal and a change in policy, we all live in fear for our loved ones’ lives if they are incarcerated in the hands of these barbaric officers.

Tricia Ring
Red Bluff

Ek responds to DA
Re: “Ramsey and others take Ek to task” (Letters, CN&R, Jan. 29):

In his letter to the CN&R, District Attorney Mike Ramsey said I’m confused about the law (not so) and thus misrepresent it (Guest Comment, Jan. 22) as it applies to the current fraternity hazing case, a legal tempest in a teapot. The case turns on Matt’s Law, a recent statute aimed at felony punishment for hazing pledges in a manner “likely to cause serious bodily injury.”

Ramsey couldn’t find a hazing victim—nobody was hurt—but said the law didn’t require him to name one other than the amorphous John Q. Public in his misdemeanor-level action against three frat officers. The trial and appeals courts bought this legal bafflegab.

Well, John Q. Public (including me) doesn’t like it when lawyers, prosecutors, and the courts use mumbo-jumbo technicalities to bully people and send a message. I’m no Beta Theta Pi fan, but it seems that’s happening here where the defendants could each get a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Also, I mentioned the DA is throwing scarce resources at this trivial case—14 court actions so far, with the jury trial yet to come. The Butte County courts have taken a $500,000 hit this fiscal year with more on the way, so Ramsey should be paying attention to using resources on more important things.

The DA needs to work out some kind of deal in this suit that never should have been filed and stop the money bleeding.

Richard Ek

CUSD responds to story
Re: “Local schools, local food” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Jan. 22):

As the interim director of Nutrition Services for the Chico Unified School District, I am pleased that many in our community have expressed an interest in improving the quality of our school lunches. We want all our children to be healthier, and we know that what they eat directly contributes to their well-being.

In December, we provided an average of 7,885 student meals daily. Of those, 93 percent of breakfasts and 75 percent of lunches were for students who qualified for free or reduced-price meals, and who might otherwise not have had access to nutritious food.

It’s important to us that we meet our own expenses, not encroach on the CUSD general fund, so dollars go where they are best utilized: on the direct instruction of our children. At the same time, we keep our prices as low as possible. Our only sources of income are federal and state reimbursements, food sales and grants.

As an entity operating with public funds, we are required to put out to bid all large or long-term purchases. We would love to buy our produce from local growers. If you are a local grower or supplier, we encourage you to request a bid packet so we may include your business in the bid process this summer. We are required to choose the supplier with the lowest bid price who can meet our specified needs for quality, consistency and delivery.

If you have specific questions, comments or suggestions, please contact me (891-3021 or tharter@chicousd.org).

Tanya Harter
Chico Unified School District

Crack down on partiers
The latest clash between CSUC students and Chico law enforcement should be ample proof current policies are not working. An obvious solution would be for the university to make a conduct contract part of the enrollment process. Any student who can be identified on film not leaving a disturbance when ordered to do so by police should be expelled without refund of fees or any other financial consideration.

Most people accept some amount of underage drinking as part of the college experience, but destruction of property and violence against police should not be tolerated. It is not enough for Paul Zingg to publicly condemn the actions of these bad apples. Threat of expulsion is the right and just deterrent.

My generation gave us the Beastie Boys’ song “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party).” Echoing former CSUC President Robin Wilson, it is time to take that axiom out back and shoot it in the head.

C. Kasey Kitterman