Letters for January 10, 2008

Lighten up on city staff, Ek!
Re: “Minutes shouldn’t take months” (Guest Comment, by Richard Ek, CN&R, Jan. 3):

Congratulations, Professor Ek. Your public attack on Ms. Gardner was impressive, indeed.

I empathize with your outrage at (gasp!) having to travel all the way downtown to gather ammunition for your editorials. I think it is a shame that you don’t find it as inconvenient to attend all those meetings, too, in the same location. I think it’s funny that you depend on news racks, rather than the Internet, to broadcast your opinions. It makes me want to say, “Duh?”

It’s fashionable and fun to publicly ridicule city employees. It’s encouraged by example: Just pick up any local newspaper and read it. Your public lambasting of Ms. Gardner was both vitriolic and well-written. Gosh. It’s fun just to say that word, “lambasting,” isn’t it? It’s fun to say “investigative journalism” and “Pulitzer Prize envy,” too, but I digress.

Did your students breeze online at the end of each term, or did they haunt the doorway outside your locked office until you got around to posting their grades (on paper)?

I’m not saying Ms. Gardner could not do better.

I’m not saying you could not do better. I would prefer your outrage when the city falls all over itself to rubber-stamp the developer-du-jour’s latest wetlands dream.

I am saying that I know Ms. Gardner works hard, and tries to do the right thing.

It’s a shame you aren’t working hard to improve the process instead of complaining about inconveniences and calling for Ms. Gardner to be sent to the Principal’s office.

Neil Dougherty

Editor’s note: Richard Ek retired from Chico State’s Journalism Department in 1991, before grades were available on the Internet. Answering the question, Ek replied that he went over marks on tests and papers in class and during office hours, and the Records Office had strict deadlines for grade sheets, which he met.

Other trails, same situation
Re: “Bollocks to those bollards!” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Jan. 3):

We’ve had a number of bollard accidents, minor and serious, on local multi-use paths (bike trails) in the Miami Valley of Southwest Ohio. Several multi-use trail users have successfully convinced local park officials that bollards are more hazard than safety device to discourage or prevent motor vehicles from going on the trails. In 20 years, no one could recall anyone driving a car, motorcycle or ATV on the trails.

Bollards are a solution for a non-problem—drivers observe the signs—and create more problems for inattentive or distracted cyclists.

Dan Carrigan
Yellow Springs, Ohio

Medication isn’t a bad word
Re: “Irene times two” (Letters, by Irene Cardenas, CN&R, Jan. 3):

I’ve gone literally crazy trying to agree with Irene Cardenas.

Nutrient-rich diets, regular exercise, cognitive therapy, bodywork, spiritual sustenance, vitamin supplements, etc., are helpful tools for balancing one’s mental health; none of these, however, is a panacea for mental illness.

Relying on “natural” and “alternative” holistic therapies for over 20 years, I was adamantly opposed to taking any “bad” meds. Consequently, I was 5150’d over and over again, incapable of recognizing my own detachment from reality.

No one involved in these hospitalizations, myself included, would characterize them as blissful experiences, to say the least. Medication was the only treatment that quieted my misfiring synapses in the throes of impenetrable psychosis.

To suggest that psychosis is a growth opportunity for self-actualization is ignorant at best and reprehensible at worst.

While not without side effects, medication is a necessary (and, luckily for many, an effective and available) treatment. Medication non-compliance devastates individuals and society: Large homeless populations, burgeoning prison populations, over-burdened emergency and hospital services, suicides, and addiction problems result when mental illness is left untreated.

I try to be tolerant of others’ opinions; if I’ve learned anything through my experiences, it is that reality is largely subjective. I feel compelled, however, to disagree with Ms Cardenas’ condemnation of those of us who rely on medication for promoting mental health; rather, she should be grateful we are willing to take it!

Name withheld by request
Tehama County

Peace begets survival
Re: “Israel-Palestine divide” (Letters, by Phyllis Cullen, CN&R, Jan. 3):

Dr. Cullen asks, “[H]ow does the Palestinian Authority expect Israel to make peace while it broadcasts anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist children’s stories calling for ‘Death to the Jews’ on television; and when they still overtly discuss renewing ties with Hamas’ terrorism? The Palestinian negotiator refuses to discuss the Jewish sovereignty of Israel or the explicit invocation for the destruction of the Zionist entity in the official Palestinian charter. Why would any sane people even try to discuss the possibility of a Palestinian state at this time …?”

I’m sure that there is racist stuff on Israeli television, too. Further, Dr. Cullen ignores what I previously wrote that even Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, which calls for an Israeli state and a Palestinian state side-by-side. Israel’s response to the Hamas cease-fire call was to say that it would build 700 more Jewish settler homes east of Jerusalem.

Dr. Cullen goes on to say “Peace, yes, but survival first,” but there can be no survival without peace.

Walter Ballin

Editor’s note: Letters over the past few issues drew the letter printed below.

Another response
I was very pleased when I read the cover story in the Dec. 20 CN&R [“Parted like the Red Sea,” by R.V. Scheide]. Such coverage is very rare given the fact that we live in an atmosphere where legitimate criticism of Israel is stifled and removed from mainstream media, providing Israel with a safe haven to continue its illegal actions against the Palestinians.

The story received many responses. However, these responses bear little of truth and are inspired from coverage about Israel-Palestine that is contrived, false and extremely one-sided.

Like any people living under occupation, Palestinians are raised on values of strength and determination that one day their land will be back, the land that International Law labeled as rightfully theirs as well. If that falls into anti-Semitism, then I fear we’re in a state of confusion, unable to differentiate between anti-Semitism and justice.

With many attacks on the Palestinian charter, it seems as we have forgotten that the Israeli state is based on the ideology of Zionism, which calls for acquiring all land between the Nile River in Egypt and Euphrates in Iraq. Isn’t that a clear indication of the destruction of a good portion of the Muslim and Arab world?

Finally, a claim was made about how Americans would feel if rockets were falling from Mexico every day. If this claim would benefit a side in the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, it would definitely be the Palestinian side.

“Peace, yes, but survival first.” The true question we should ask ourselves at the end is what’s truly on the rise: anti-Semitism, or Orientalism?

Amro Jayousi

Name of blame
Re: “Only one Hitler” (Letters, by Kevin Quinn, CN&R, Jan. 3):

You had better believe, Mr. Quinn, that there are a lot of Hitlers around. Who could be more of a carbon copy of Hitler than an Ahmedinejad threatening to kill almost as many Jews as Hitler did? Or a bin Laden threatening to kill the world’s 5 billion non-Muslims?

It would seem that the surest way to “trivialize” the Holocaust is, as Mr. Quinn appears to propose, to ignore its lessons and do nothing to prevent a repetition of it. That, too, is a form of Holocaust denial, the only difference being that it is done ahead of time instead of after the fact.

Chad Wozniak

Beneficial water use
Re: “Rewinding the clock” (Cover story, CN&R, Dec. 27):

I read with interest your list of the top 10 stories. I was particularly drawn to it by the addressing of the water issue here in the North State—namely the title “Whose water is it?” [atop one of the items].

Unfortunately, your article left little room to actually address or answer the question posed in the title. My opinion is it belongs to the rights-holder only as long as the water is used on local ground.

Right up front, let me say that I am a strong admirer and supporter of the agricultural industry. My whole concern—a long-standing one—is the practice of allowing growers with surface-water supplies to sell surface water and then pump groundwater to replace it for their farming operations.

The irrigation class I took at UC Davis many years ago taught that claims filed by individuals or water districts to surface-water rights could only be for a volume of water that was to be put to “beneficial use” on land owned by the individual grower or land owned by growers within the district boundaries.

To my mind, if a grower or a district elects not to use the established rights to surface water on their land or within their district, then that water supply should revert to the various Northern California counties of origin on a pro-rata population basis. Each county then could sell any annual surplus directly to end users—not middlemen—and use the proceeds to support infrastructure costs only.

Gordon Jones

We’re all vital
Anesthesiologists left Enloe [in 2006] over the same issues that prompted nurses and service departments to vote for union representation. The business and technical sections fell short of success, [but] we all stood with doctors against an administration that ignored concerns over safety, staffing, wages, morale and the like. Both doctors and staff left.

Now the doctors—an important part of a healthy care system—are back. Why? Because the hospital can’t function without them. Likewise, it doesn’t work without nurses, CNAs, unit secretaries and other support staff. Still, our understaffed and overworked force is not afforded wages and benefits received by our counterparts all over the North State.

Commitment to the common and community good makes for contented employees and a good image.

Peter Calo

Parole problem
It costs us $40,000 per person in prison per year. A person released on parole gets $200—with that, they are told to make a new start. Starting pay for parole officers is $7,000 per month, and for prison guards it’s $5,500—so if the person being released doesn’t make it [on the outside], that is job security.

[I’m] not saying they don’t deserve their pay or that they aren’t needed, just that something needs to be fixed. We are spending a lot we could save if we fix something.

Michael Tomlinson

CSI: Karachi—why?
As lamentable as the death of Benazir Bhutto is, the question arises of how she managed to re-enter Pakistan, after she went into exile under a cloud of corruption charges, without our consent.

What boggles the mind is to witness the arrogance displayed by the U.K. and U.S. in sending detectives to that sovereign country to investigate the case. (Yes, they were invited by Pakistan’s president—I just wonder whether he used his own words or read from the prepared script provided by his “masters"?) How would we have felt had other countries insisted on participating in the investigation of the assassinations of Jack Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy?

Sound absurd? Yet we are constantly meddling in the internal affairs of other countries whether authorized or not.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff