Letters for January 13, 2011

Some others to watch

Re “Who to watch in 2011” (Cover story, Jan. 6):

Looking at your people to watch, I did not see one homeless person who is out there trying to better themselves. There was no artist, no musician, and not one black person. They were all typical middle-class people.

Are there any students to watch? Oh, there might me one out there who might cause a social revolution. Well, we can’t have that. The people to watch in 2011: the police, pretty boy Mike Ramsey, and the drunk students at Bella’s Sports Bar who consume way too much alcohol instead of devouring books.

Jerry Harris
San Francisco/Chico

Time to say ‘Enough!’

A few hours ago, Congresswoman Giffords and others attending a meeting with her were shot by a gunman armed with what early reports indicate was a semi-automatic weapon. Even with information still incomplete, I am going to come out and say what our allegedly “liberal” media will be far too timid to say:

This is the totally natural and predictable result of much of the far-right rhetoric of the last two years. One man pulled the trigger, but many people contributed and share in the guilt: Every radio shouter and TV bloviator of the far right owns a piece of this action.

Sarah Palin, who chose to illustrate members of Congress she opposed with the crosshairs of a gun sight, owns a piece of this action. Every far-right nut who has referred to liberals as traitors—and every media outlet that has published their rantings—owns a piece of this action. Sharron Angle, with her talk of “Second Amendment remedies,” owns a piece of this action.

All of those, high and low, who engage in violent rhetoric and fetishize the gun own a piece of this action. As does everyone who allows that rhetoric to go unchallenged. It’s time for the sane citizens of America to say, “Enough—we will no longer tolerate this.”

David Welch

Clearing up ‘confusion’

Re “Arts Commission confusion” (in “Other notable stories from 2010,” Dec. 30):

The fact that my “exit” from the Arts Commission may have something to do with “the already existing perception that the commissioners’ roles in the public art process are unclear” is absolutely absurd. As I clearly stated at my last Arts Commission meeting, I needed to resign due to work.

There is no uncertainty as to what the roles of the Arts Commission are. Personally, I commend our city engineers for including aesthetic treatments in the railings, roundabouts and sidewalks. I am thankful that they did not choose plain old Caltrans-issued galvanized steel railings and asphalt-covered roundabouts. They took the time to consider our beautiful Bidwell Park surrounding this throughway and made this project absolutely spectacular.

Carin Hilgeman

Dead birds aren’t funny

Re “It’s raining … blackbirds?” (EarthWatch, Jan. 6):

Is there really anything in the least bit funny about all these horrible deaths?! I mean, really?

Your writer needs to get serious and start respecting all the inhabitants of our Earth (most of which is messed up, thanks to humans, especially the uncaring ones).

The headline, the opening sentence, the entire tone … it’s all unnecessary and cruel, even. I’m embarrassed for your writer’s insensitivity.

Susie V. Kaufman
Santa Clarita

Students’ sleep: two views

Re “Lessons from late Wednesdays” (From this Corner, by Robert Speer, Jan. 6):

Don’t worry, Robert. You’re not the first parent to be bamboozled by a teenager into adjusting sleeping hours to suit youthful preferences. In 1965 I tried to con my dad into letting me drop first-period algebra so that I could snooze a bit later. Thank goodness he stood his ground.

If kids need to get more sleep, then they need to hit the sack a bit earlier, not expect the adult world to alter itself on their behalf. Besides, just which parents would be more available for a teacher conference at 8 or 8:30 a.m.? Certainly not those who are working standard day shifts.

Another point: How will these late-sleepers get to school when Mom’s taxi has already left for work—on foot, by bicycle, or (heaven forbid!) the public bus?

We have spent the past four or five decades indulging our teenagers and finding ways to cater to their every youthful impulse, with generally unsatisfactory results. Perhaps it’s time we realized that our most important duty is to prepare these kids to become independent, self-reliant, and functional members of an adult world, and to set our expectations accordingly.

Carl Ochsner

I agree that the benefits of beginning the school day an hour later than the current schedule is both good for the student’s overall health and well-being as well as excellent for that same student’s mercurial morale.

My eighth grader, one Savannah Kilbourne, who is currently attending Chico Junior High, seems to get more health and vitality out of that one extra hour than any other time of her weekly sleep cycle. She looks forward to “late-start Wednesdays” almost as much as she looks forward to the final bell on Fridays.

Now if we could just arrange for late start Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we would all have happier, healthier and better-rested children, especially the human adolescent life form who seems to thrive on sleep more that any other age group—or species, for that matter.

Dave Kilbourne

It’s just not an issue

Re “From DADT to AIDS” (Letters, by Dan Rogers, Jan. 6):

I served in the Coast Guard aboard a cutter for two years, with a crew of 125, and many months at sea. I served with gay officers and crew members with no issues.

What Mr. Rogers has not experienced is working with a dedicated, close-knit crew where trust and personal responsibility are of paramount importance. Believe me, when fighting a shipboard fire or performing a rescue in heavy seas, one is not thinking about whether the person helping is gay or not.

The fact is, gays and lesbians have served in the military for years, risking and giving their lives for others and this country. Calling these people second-class citizens is insulting and inappropriate.

Walter Mahoney

About 65,000 gay men and lesbians are currently serving in our military, and now they will be able to live authentic lives, and our military will be further strengthened by enabling us to keep these highly trained military personnel.

Mr. Rogers neglects to mention that we have already lost thousands of highly trained military personnel, including much needed Arabic linguists, because of that unfair, demeaning and discriminatory policy that has hitherto served to weaken our military.

“Ignorance” is sometimes understandable! “Arrogant ignorance” must be viewed as intolerable when anyone bears false witness against others and seeks to raise the specter of an increase in AIDS, when due respect is finally about to be shown God’s lesbian and gay children in our military!

The Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker

Why choose charters?

As a parent of a school-age youngster, I would weigh the differences and effects before selecting a charter school over public schools.

First, I might be seeking smaller class sizes. That would be valid but detrimental to public schools (left behind). Possibly I might wish to become more intimately involved in my student’s education. I could have done this in public schools. I never knew a teacher who refused help!

Maybe I’m looking for a school providing a more selective curriculum. Can’t fault that, but there is room for selecting “tracks” in public schools, plus a diversity of allied activities.

Teaching advanced-placement classes (IPS and PS II) in junior high had advantages and disadvantages. Taking the “cream off the top” left our general-science classes devoid of leadership models. We found by transferring the substance of these investigative courses into our general-science classes we were able to better accommodate the needs of all students. After all, as I explained to one parent, your child must live with the general population, not in isolation.

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching highly motivated students with involved parents, but saw the greater need for sharing these discoveries with those students otherwise denied. Isn’t that what schools are all about?

Dick Cory


The information box that accompanied last week’s Greenways feature, “Growing with Grau,” had the wrong phone number for signing up for David Grau’s five-part organic-gardening series beginning Jan. 16. The correct number is 342-6188. Our apologies for the error.—ed.