Letters for January 1, 2015

Collector, not thief

Re “Decades’ worth of loot” (Local stories, by Meredith J. Graham, Dec. 24):

When drought uncovers Indian artifacts at Lake Oroville, collectors face fines for retrieving them. Most recently, a Feather Falls collector had his collection confiscated and is facing felony charges. This upsets me. If this collector didn’t retrieve them, someone else would have. It would be naive to think otherwise.

I also understand the archaeological argument—by removing these artifacts from where they were found, information is lost about how they were used and what this indicates about the area. Further, sitting in a citizen’s home makes them unavailable for public view, study and enjoyment.

However, if these artifacts really are that valuable, why hasn’t the state or tribe retrieved them in the many times the lake’s been low? Arguably, their not having done so constitutes negligence and (or) abandonment.

The Feather Falls collector should be thanked for doing the work the state and tribe wasn’t motivated to do. Further, he should have his attorney fees reimbursed and be compensated for the years he expended finding, collecting and protecting the pieces.

Nathan Esplanade

An inside job

Re “Input was given” (Letters, by Robert Speer, Dec. 24):

In Robert Speer’s letter about the forced annexation attempt on Chapman/Mulberry residents, Speer actually repeated the arguments that former Supervisor Jane Dolan (I’m her husband) raised—private meetings (without notifying the residents) by governments to force annexation is wrong.

“Insiders” made the case that there was a legal notice and did not mail a letter to the residents until Jane raised that issue.

Speer mentioned two council meetings that start at 6:30 p.m. where the public can listen to council members arguing about the consent calendar and the minutes.

There are several neighborhoods that lie within the city or a few hundred yards from the city edge, including Butte Creek Estates—mostly higher-income middle-class voters, on septic tanks with a golf course and clubhouse. If the government staff tried to force annexation there, lawsuits would be filed. Instead, government staff would say that they are important residents in the community; in fact, I golf with some of them, so let’s notify them by mail and hold a public meeting at their clubhouse (and serve good food there).

Insiders treat low-income neighborhoods differently and that’s why Jane is standing up against this forced annexation!

Bob Mulholland

Nailed it

Re “Listen more, talk less” (Letters, by Landon Jensen, Dec. 24):

Last week’s letter about the CUSD school board was awesome! You know how sometimes someone says something that just nails what everyone else has been thinking? That letter did it perfectly.

School board governance is so antiquated and now contributes to the dismal situation in education. We seem to get some of the least able people governing our schools. So much time is wasted on ridiculous small talk, drivel, awards and singing. Absurd! Board members who shouldn’t be opening their mouths would be better off remaining silent and thought a fool than talking and removing all doubt.

The two times I showed up at a meeting, there was an hour of pure nothing before the real business began. It’s no wonder our schools are struggling. The people in the audience who should be able to talk are basically muzzled with a ridiculous time limit while the board members talk ad nauseum.

I would suggest the board visit big city meetings. They are packed, and an audience would never tolerate the utter wasting of time that goes on here. Just as students are expected to improve, the adults running meetings could do the same. For 2015 and beyond, let’s see real improvement!

Rusty Meechum

A peaceful protest

Re “In the name of justice” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Dec. 18):

Thank you for the excellent coverage of the local march in solidarity with national protests of police killings of unarmed black victims. I was a monitor for the march and I, too, like the organizers, experienced it as very peaceful and nonviolent.

When the march paused to enter The Esplanade, which turns into Broadway, those marchers who were risking arrest entered the streets where the boisterous march transformed into a reverent, silent marching vigil. The onlookers coming out of the stores and restaurants contributed an air of respect to the march with whispered comments such as “It’s about Ferguson.”

Our local police presence presented an air of protection and support of First Amendment rights. I commend the young organizers for leading our community in freedom of speech and peaceably assembling.

Diane Suzuki

Two takes on arts

Re “Arts identity diminished” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Dec. 18):

It is definitely still a tough time to be on the Chico City Council and unfortunately it needs to get worse for Chico to dig out of its debt situation. The “spending and buying votes/friends party” has been over for quite some time now.

At the last council meeting, the Arts Commission supporters were not happy with the council’s decision to essentially keep the commission barely operating due to staff time, money issues and restrictions.

Councilmembers Ann Schwab, Tami Ritter, Randall Stone and the art community should not be upset with the current majority that is trying to do what is best for Chico’s financial future. It reminded me of spoiled children who have no idea how bad things are financially and are still demanding the best Christmas present that they could ask for. If Councilwoman Schwab along with the past two, probably three council majorities, hadn’t pissed away millions upon millions of dollars to put Chico in this huge financial hole, then the current majority wouldn’t have to be the bad guys/financial adults on the council.

What is our current [general fund] debt? What is our current pension debt?

John Salyer

Chico City Council members [who voted to reduce the number of Arts Commission meetings] should be ashamed of themselves for this base act to “re-right-wing” a quarter century of visionary work by a few that has profoundly affected many.

Your hacksaw surgery is cutting off the life and limb of your town’s identity. I don’t think there is currently a triage team strong enough, or smart enough, to fix it either.

Liz Gardner
Palo Alto

‘We can do it’

I am saddened by our culture of gun violence, police brutality and the prison industrial complex, environmental devastation, economic disasters from student loan debt to the housing market, and the plain truth that the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle class are losing more and more.

I try to contribute to society, but at a certain point all the good works that all of us achieve will not hold back the pain and suffering of many. When I look closely at the root cause of every issue I mentioned, I see one startling truth: We have lost our democracy. Corporations run our government. The people—the real, living people—have lost what millions have given their lives for. True freedom.

We must overturn Citizens United, which essentially gives corporations personhood, with all the rights of personhood but none of the responsibilities. If, for one year, every person in every foundation and every good-works nonprofit would band together as one, with one goal, to overcome Citizens United, we could get it done. Then we would have half a chance to save our democracy.

If we, with full intention, decide to do this, we can do this. Make it your New Year’s resolution.

Debra-Lou Hoffmann
Forest Ranch

Help is here

Re “Of things that suck” (The Pulse, Dec. 11):

Bureaucracy is never fun—often, it is downright painful. But no one wants to go bankrupt from a medical emergency, and the decision was made that mandatory health insurance was the best option for helping all Americans have affordable health care.

For those people out there who are avoiding the situation of purchasing health insurance, help is available. Open enrollment for Covered California is happening now. There are free services and enrollment events scheduled, and there are even helpful people right here in Butte County who are waiting to help you walk through this whole process in the least painful way possible. Dialing 2-1-1 is free, and there are local call specialists (bilingual: English and Spanish) standing by to help get people connected to insurance coverage and affordable health care.

Sara Haskell
Information & Outreach Specialist, Butte 2-1-1, Chico

Tree troubles

I was contacted by constituents to take a stand on the tree removal in Oroville along Feather River Boulevard. After careful consideration, it seems PG&E needs to at least slow down until it is known what costs would be involved in avoiding a taking of the historical trees.

The trees are well over 100 years old and have stood watch over one of the oldest cemeteries in Butte County. They are beautiful and provide shade over many who sit in their cars and eat lunch. They also provide shade for many of my deceased relatives who haven’t said anything to me yet, but rumor is they are rolling over in their graves.

The City Council of Oroville is in a tough position as the threat of public safety—real or perceived—ties their hands for liability reasons. Who knows, a root may puncture a line and lightning will strike in the next 30 days setting the sidewalk and cemetery on fire taking many headstones out of public view while displacing the local squirrels.

In conclusion, maybe a little positive public relations between PG&E and the general public would offset the cost of moving the lines to where they belong under the street.

Bill Connelly

Editor’s note: Mr. Connelly is a Butte County supervisor whose district includes Oroville.

New app needed

Fellow Chicoans, how about we create a Chico app and put decisions to direct representation. We have the technology, why should we suffer and pay for people to tell us what we want? Let’s make our city work how we want it to. No reason to stop there either. A California app should be next, then federal level.

I’m tired of being misrepresented by republicrats. We are Americans—many have died for our rights and freedoms. Direct representation is nonviolent revolution.

Richard Hooste

Hope during the holidays

Re “The holidays aren’t so bad” (Weekly Dose, Dec. 11):

The reasons to have depression during holidays are as many as the ones to be happy during these special dates. You may remember a lost loved one, but you may go visit the loved people who live far from you; you may feel guilty for not having done your best during the year, but you have a symbolic date to restart your life.

Personally, I choose to enjoy the holidays, not only to celebrate, but also to recover strength, hope and peace. It’s a time to donate some time to hear that relative who I do not get along well with. It’s a time to hand out some material things I do not use anymore.

The Daily Misery Index of 2014 showed that the lowest rates of searches occurred during holidays and the numbers found at the end of this year tended to follow the average. This fact made me think that the time of induced depression can be also days to fight against it.

If people’s searches on the Internet are suggesting a more positive mindset toward holidays, it seems to me that this is a first step to beat depression, anxiety and stress.

Melissa Gomes