Letters for January 14, 2010

Guns and schools

Re “It’s just common sense” (Editorial, Jan. 7):

In Willows it might be legal to leave two unattended firearms in a car or truck; but in most places it’s illegal. Any other child in the school could have heard that there were guns in the truck and broken into it and used the guns for whatever.

We are fighting to keep our guns, and what we don’t need is more reason for the anti-gun lobby to come down on us. Legal, maybe—responsible, not by a long shot. I’m 68 and I worry about losing my rights.

Bob Newman
Stoughton, MA

What were the school authorities doing off of school property? Most places I’ve been, the authority to search without a warrant ends at the end of your property.

If the firearms were legally possessed and stored unloaded in a locked vehicle on public (non-school) property, by what right did the school require the student to open the vehicle for inspection? If I recall correctly, there is a constitutional amendment against unlawful, warrantless search and seizure.

In my not-so-humble opinion, this is one-size-fits-all bureaucracy run amuck.

George Hunt
Casper, WY

As far as I’m concerned they have violated that young man’s rights to have those shotguns in his truck. The school and police have overstepped their bounds. I hope he gets all the support from the NRA. He was a responsible young man and was authorized by his parents to have those guns in his truck. The truck was not on school property; therefore the police and school have no right to do what they did.

Stephen Adkins
Aiken, SC

I called the [Glenn County] superintendent of schools [Arturo Barrera] last week, and he called me back. He told me he was not the person who decided to expel Gary, but he would be the person making the decision on Gary’s ability to return to school. He expressed that he supports Gary’s right to return to school.

Tim Smith
Brentwood, CA

You advocate as a “common sense” action that the board overturn this expulsion, stating that there is no mention about the unloaded guns in the student handbook. However, you fail to look into the city, county, state and federal laws that may be applicable in this case. If there is a violation of any of these, the student is subject to the jurisdiction of the school’s administrative action.

Brahama D. Sharma

Editor’s note: According to published reports, local law-enforcement officials declined to prosecute any possible violations of the Penal Code on the part of Gary Tudesko.

Power of lobbyists

Re “Good for the ‘fat cats’ “ (Guest comment, by Jim Wikey, Jan. 7):

Mr. Wikey is absolutely correct. Unfortunately, the benefits to banks of “reform” has yet to be completely known, but recent regulations and changes in law make it clear that our legislators understand very little about what really needs to be done to help or protect homeowners and consumers.

Beginning Jan. 1, loan originators and brokers licensed by the state Department of Real Estate must get a National Licensing Endorsement, which means a new federal background check, credit check, fees, education, and passing an exam given by an independent company. After being licensed for 18 years with a great record, I don’t love the hoops I’m having to jump through for the federal government, which has done very little that has been effective in this mortgage crisis. (I voted for Obama and still have high hopes, however.)

Mortgage originators working in banks are exempt from many of the new regulations, for no other reason than that they have strong lobbyists and gave campaign donations in the millions to the legislators who wrote the law. Why wouldn’t real “reform” include everyone who originates mortgage loans, regardless of where they do it?

Banks are working hard (and legislators are helping) to put mortgage brokers out of business. Pretty soon there will be only about four large banks to control just about everything. When we get there, no one will like it.

Kristen Wilson

What’s good for all?

Re “The fifth element” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Jan. 7):

The general good or welfare is a very difficult concept to understand, embrace, and act upon. It probably is incapable of being made “clear.” However, it does exist as an attitude and method of pursuit, sadly so seldom embraced and pursued by more than a few at any level of our commonweal.

Abe Baily

To “promote the general welfare” does not mean taking money from one group to give it to another group; that’s Marxism. It does not mean take over GM and turn it into Government Motors; that’s Marxism. It doesn’t mean forcing people to purchase things they do not want, such as health insurance; that’s tyranny, which is a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator. It does not mean create a Nanny State. The United States was founded on the principle of self-determination, not government control.

If you do not have the wherewithal to run your own life, make your own decisions and survive on your own abilities, then you may want to have yourself committed, and then everything will be taken care of for you. Turning our great country into a tyrannical Marxist Communist state is not promoting the general welfare. The United States is a republic, not a democracy. Democracy is mob rule; a republic is a representative government ruled by law!

Tom Jefferson

No excuse for murder

Re “Youth” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, Jan. 7):

I wish to express my outrage regarding Anthony Porter’s characterization of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab as a misguided youth, and the comparison of his attempted premeditated murder of hundreds of innocent people to soldiers who may misdirect armaments intended for enemy combatants.

Far from being a conservative hawk, I am a progressive conscientious objector and pacifist, but even I cannot rationalize Umar’s egregious behavior, considering he is neither impoverished nor uneducated and has no moral justification for his actions. Being 23 years old and possibly sexually frustrated and impressionable certainly does not give one license to attempt such a blatant assault upon humanity.

Should we fail as a nation to demonstrate our disgust for such activity, we abet similar terrorist activity, regardless of intention. While I admire Mr. Porter’s willingness to voice unpopular perspectives, it is clear to most that we must send a clear message by taking away this young man’s freedom rather than excusing his misdeed as the natural consequence of a sheltered upbringing or youthful folly.

Richard P. Mazzucchi
Los Molinos

Hawking Tommy

Re Arts Devo (by Jason Cassidy, Dec. 31):

Many thanks to Jason Cassidy for his typically excellent review of the year, but I think he may have missed the very best of 2009: Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. First the Tommy-Oke fundraiser at Duffy’s, then a month-long, virtually sold-out run at the Blue Room, then a wild and wooly reprise at LaSalles.

Major props to everyone who performed or helped make it happen, particularly Jeremy Votava for hosting Tommy-Oke, performing as The Specialist at the Blue Room, and then letting me play The Specialist since he was serving as producer and bartending at LaSalles that night.

We’ve got it down, so let’s do it again. Chico freakin’ RAWKS!

Jim Dwyer

Gateways to meth?

Re “Marijuana isn’t medicine” (Letters, by Joe Canzoneri, Jan. 7):

Actually the very term “medicinal” reminds me of the alcohol-prohibition days. Prohibition actually creates more unregulated activity. It didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now.

As far as the dangers of marijuana … if the laws against marijuana were to serve public health, why do they allow alcohol and tobacco? I believe that marijuana should be legalized but regulated by age. It does far less social harm than alcohol and tobacco.

I’m actually more concerned with teen prescription drug and alcohol abuse, and it seems to me that coffee and energy drinks are a bigger gateway to meth than pot.

Alex Mackinum

Dr. King, Republican

As Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Butte County Republican Party would like to offer our own words of praise and adoration for Dr. King. A leader of his people and ahead of his time, Dr. King stood proudly on the principles of God for the equality of all. Our nation is better because of the impact he had.

Our country was based on the belief that all men are created equal and that freedom is a gift from God, not a commodity to be rationed by government. Dr. King shared this belief and was as articulate a proponent of our nation’s principles as anyone today. Although many today do not know it, and some will likely even deny it, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also a Republican.

This is not surprising for the honest student of history. King was hardly treated with kindness by the Democrats of his day. Democratic Senators Al Gore Sr. and even John F. Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act.

Our own party has been strong in recognizing the contributions of past leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, but there is more we could do to honor and respect the connection that King shared with our party. It is worth noting that the most prominent black man in American history was also a member of a party wrongly thought to be home only to wealthy white men.

Steve Thompson
Chairman, Butte County Republican Party

Selling sex

Re “Sex: Confessions of a Chico call girl” (Feature story, by Meredith J. Cooper, Feb. 12, 2009):

This article was not enlightening as to the reality of the consequences of prostitution and solicitation. In my hometown I saw men and women lose their reputations, marriages, jobs, and even their lives! Is the money or thrill really worth it?

The girl in this article certainly seems like she is sorry and tainted by the foul beast that is prostitution, and stuck in unhealthy servitude to it as well. I suppose I don’t really “feel sorry” for her or the others. There are STDs, crime (robbery of both johns and prostitutes), morality issues, lowering of community standards, fostering increased low self-esteem, unplanned pregnancy/abortion, and it’s against the law! For both johns and girls it slowly murders a large part of what is good and wholesome in them.

As a man, I feel even more strongly about how low men can sink. To take advantage of a girl, who is usually much younger, and use her as a receptacle for filthy relations is beyond reprehensible. If you are a married man, why? Work out your problems with your wife, get counseling, talk to a religious or professional marriage counselor. Don’t disrespect and make your wives into cuckqueens.

I’m not perfect or speaking from a soapbox, but where the hell have self-respect, common decency, and common sense gone?

Kelly B.

The limits of power

Mainly through our actions in the Middle East we have created groups that want to control their own land. We label these loosely knit groups as “terrorists” so that we may more easily wage war against the whole country in which they live.

Our actions have included a military presence, support of corrupt governments, arming and training of government armies or “police,” bombing, destruction of infrastructure, killing of civilians, torture and, more recently, “drone” bombing in Pakistan. We have given these “terrorist” groups reasons to fight and a convenient target by our military presence there.

How would people in America react to similar actions here by a foreign power?

In most countries the people with the most strength, military power and money rule. We can’t control other countries, not who rules and surely not how they rule.

Let’s stop the wars. We can’t afford them.

Norm Dillinger

Since my return from Europe, I have found that alternative newspaper people are the most snobs of the lot. I have been a writer and editor for Eugene Weekly, in Oregon; Pittsburgh Weekly, in Pennsylvania; and Philadelphia City Paper, and I find that people who work for these publications are only into themselves. Ego tripping.

And when people ask me why I don’t get more involved in this “community,” I run away to San Francisco, where I can work in peace. There is no cultural diversity here, and the few “house Negroes” who are accepted is pathetic, but that is the status quo. As an internationally known sculptor (yes, I am beating my own drum), I find Butte County very racist. Chico is OK, and I really like a lot of people that I have met here, but I certainly would not like to die in the University Bar.

Oh now, they are going to give me that old American standard, “Love it or leave it.” I love this city, but I won’t leave it—better to try and change it. Oh shit, the hanging party is coming. Happy New Year!

Jerry Harris

Give us real news

Give me a break! Who needs the constant flow of gloom and doom with reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Pakistan soon to follow and Iran in the cross hairs, the ongoing litany of homelessness, home foreclosures, health care issues, abject poverty, unemployment, outsourcing of jobs, economy in the tank, ripoffs by the elite, evaporated retirement funds and global warming, to name just a few, which are over the top, mind numbingly exaggerated and repetitive?

What we need more of is real human-interest stories close to our heart, such as the affairs of Boy Wonder, the 33 year old billionaire Tiger Woods, the sad saga of the Balloon Boy, the tragic life of Michael Jackson, the story of a custody battle for the boy in Brazil, the sordid details of private lives of celebrities and so many more, incredibly withheld and left unreported?

Isn’t it abundantly clear to all of us by now that the public has a right to know the real important issues, such as these, which cry out for our attention and concern, far exceeding the impact of all that other hoopla?

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff.

We can’t afford it

If you think we will start real withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011 you are dreaming. Of course, Obama’s statement means he can withdraw two troops and say he is not lying. The Afghanistan army will take at a minimum five years to arm and train. Since Afghanistan is impoverished, we will be paying for this army.

I would guess that we will have troops in Afghanistan (and Iraq) as long as I live unless people protest loudly. We cannot afford this war. Not in terms of lives lost, money spent or terrorists created through our actions.

Norm Dillinger