Letters for January 17, 2002
Your review of “the top stories” [“2001: A wild ride,” Dec. 27] of the year gone by states that the U.S. economy was robust in 2000. Well, to jog your memory, the GDP (gross domestic product) fell from a growth rate of over 8 percent the last quarter of 1999 to just over 1 percent in the third quarter of 2000, which explains the demise of Fleetwood and so many others. That was the beginning of the current recession.
Trail of love
I’ve posted a proposed trail system for Upper Park at chicopolitics.com. The genesis for the south side of the creek drives from the need to solve the erosion areas identified in the $30,000 resource inventory commissioned by Tom Barrett [“A developer in green clothing,” Guest comment, Jan. 10] and the rest of the Park Commission.
The trails on the north side consist of a mapping of the trails the Park Commission under Tom Barrett approved two years ago, except that I have suggested eliminating one of their trails.
I have proposed no net increase in trails and would like to bring the trails up to the standards in the 1999 trails manual. This will reduce the ongoing environmental impact of the trails system, as well as increase the accessibility to ordinary folks.
It is difficult to actually put a plan on the table; you tend to get shot at by all sides. Some of the mountain bicyclists think I am a radical environmentalist; former Park Commissioner Barrett thinks I’m a developer. I love them all and hope they come and provide their ideas for the trail system to the current Park Commission.
Recently, after running the state deeper into the red than the national government should be, Gov. Gray Davis announced he would not raise taxes. However, he already has raised the sales tax and is in the process of raising DMV highway fees (taxes), which is a mandatory burden on the poor. And his front man, John Burton, wants to raise the upper income tax.
Gray Davis also has joined the Ashcroft-Bush assault on the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is security (there is no security without privacy), rather than a burden against security. This moves us (not so gradually) a step further toward implementation of across-the-board fascism. CNN now has footage of National Guard troops practicing “internal checkpoints.”
Additionally, Gray Davis has signed unconstitutional anti-gun legislation and anti-forestry legislation, furthering the shutdown of the economy. Regulation and over-arching government corruption are the bane of the free market.
Making new terrorists
Bombing villages and killing innocent women and children create new recruits for terrorist organizations faster than we can kill or capture them. Expanding these tactics into Somalia or Iraq will destabilize our allies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, forcing them to abandon their alliance with the United States. Then the Moslem nations will proclaim “United we stand” against U.S. terrorism.
A recent article [“Humane Society grapples with overpopulation,” CN&R Newlines, Jan. 3] addresses a number of concerns Chico’s animal shelter is currently facing. Of the 2,600 animals that find their way to the Humane Society as strays each year, only about 25 percent are reunited with their owners. With a growing community and a small animal shelter facility, it seems unavoidable that Butte Human Society would experience a population dilemma.
Currently the shelter provides ongoing care for nearly 2,000 unclaimed homeless animals each year. Though Butte Humane Society shoulders the weight of Chico’s animal care needs, it is up to the whole community to help solve our unwanted-animal problems. Prior to bringing an animal into your home, determine if an animal’s expected lifespan fits your plans. A cat’s life expectancy is 12 to 20 years; dogs live 10 to 16 years. If you rent, you can’t assume your animals will still be able to move with you. Most important, spay and neuter your pets.
You can also help our local animal shelters by donating money and supplies to help care for our homeless animals. By becoming a member, your yearly contributions help fund ongoing programs. Additionally, you can volunteer your time, knowledge or expertise. And please, please consider adopting your next dog or cat from your local shelter. Give these deserving animals a much-needed second chance.
Director of the C.A.R.E. Center
Chico Animal Resource and Education Center
Subsequent letters attacking my guest commentary [“Don’t ignore the war,” Nov. 8, 2001] certainly prove that these times we are living in can be dangerous, disturbing and intimidating to anyone who speaks out for intelligent dialogue and peaceful resolution of the Sept. 11th tragedy. The “love it or leave it” crowd has once again emerged to threaten those who are among the most courageous of Americans, the peace activists.
Peace activists are booed off stage, thrown out of schools, fired from their jobs, called “America bashers,” branded unpatriotic and the “lunatic fringe,” intimidated and threatened, and falsely accused daily. The way of the peaceful warrior is not for the faint of heart, for ignorance runs deep like a demonic octopus whose many arms are always trying to strangle the truth.
This truth lives inside all who stand for peace, who advocate communication and negotiation over bombing and murder of innocent people: Peaceful solutions to problems are nearly always a better first choice than violent ones and should be pursued sincerely and exhaustively, if at all possible, before any other course of action is resorted to. The peacemakers will inherit the Earth as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. Keep the faith.
Imagine the possibilities
Anyone who sees the term “peace activist” as an oxymoron reveals the startling assumption that the only peaceful alternative to bombing is to “do nothing.” Joseph A. Pratt [“Lunatic fringe,” Letters, Dec. 27, 2001] commits a classic logical fallacy, often called a “false dilemma,” when he assumes that these are the only two possible responses to the abominations of Sept. 11.
In fact, there is a range of other possible responses, from the judicial approach that polls say is favored by the vast majority of Europeans, to diplomatic and foreign-policy responses, to covert special operations designed to ferret out the suspected criminals without killing and maiming the innocent people they are indeed “hiding behind.”
Americans have been tacitly discouraged by our government and the mainstream media from considering anything other than military responses. The watchdog organization FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) surveyed the op-ed pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post in the weeks between Sept. 11 and the start of the bombing of Afghanistan. The ratios were astounding. These newspapers published a total of 44 columns stressing a military solution and only two that argued for non-military solutions, both in the Post. The American public has thus been led to believe there are no viable alternatives to war.
Peace activists like John-Michael Sun and myself actively seek intelligent, civilized, humane, nonviolent solutions to the problem of capturing these criminals and bringing them to justice. To suggest that there are no alternatives other than “doing nothing” is naively over simplistic.