Letters for January 17, 2008

Vantage point, voting disappoint
Re: “Super Bowl Tuesday” (Cover story, by Nicholas Miller, CN&R, Jan. 10):

Yes, we would all like to wake up tomorrow and see a world filled with people who want for nothing. Where there is no poverty, no illness, no wars, no religious disagreement—as Mr. Miller seems to think a Kucinich or Paul administration would bring. I have not heard many call Obama “God” recently.

The fact is this vision of a world without any form of human tragedy, unfortunately, looks very different to many people. We cannot simply elect someone who has the power to call himself Supreme Leader of Planet Earth and somehow make all human suffering cease.

If Mr. Miller would have stopped listening to the rhetoric and looked at Sen. Obama’s foreign policy, he might have noticed a few “changes” from the world the Project for a New American Century would have us live in.

Humankind is rapidly becoming more connected. The world can and, I hope, will change for the better. Obama doesn’t look like a savior to me. But, of the candidates who seem to have a chance of winning the general election, I believe he would be the healthiest step for our country.

James Harbour

The outcome of the New Hampshire primary broke my heart. With the streets across the state clogged with Obama supporters, and with their candidate so far ahead in the entrance and exit polls, one has to ask how did an obviously desperate Hillary Clinton squeak to a win?

Could the answer lie in the Diebold voting machines? Not since the entrance of this machine in the American voting process have entrance and exit polls been proven so false. Even as I write this, Dennis Kucinich is asking for a recount of the votes in New Hampshire.

California Democrats and independents, please wake up and cast your votes for Barack Obama on Feb. 5.

Erica McLane

Too general a generalization
Re: “Party lines” (Cover story sidebar, by R.V. Scheide, CN&R, Jan. 10):

This article refers to Congressman Ron Paul, Republican candidate for president, thusly: “Paul … advocates the elimination of popular programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.”

Ron Paul does not advocate the elimination of these named programs. He does say that individuals should be given a choice as to whether they wish to participate in the Social Security programs. He is for the elimination of forced participation in these programs. In other words, if you wish to engage in your own private retirement system, you may choose that, as opposed to being required to participate in the public Social Security system, as it is now.

Dr. Susan Eissinger

[The sentence about] eliminating “popular” programs is false. [Paul] states that he wants to phase [Social Security] out for younger workers but fulfill the government’s obligations to workers who are “in too deep” to try changing.

If the government had not spent every cent of our contributions as they came in and had invested them in simple interest-bearing accounts, there would be no issue with these programs. However, every administration/Congress has spent every dime every year. That’s why there is a crisis in these programs—there is no trust fund, only IOUs from the government.

Since they have proven that they cannot be trusted, I feel Ron Paul’s answer is the best one.

John Palys

Editor’s note: We regret that the broad comment struck readers as an overgeneralization. For more specifics, check www.ronpaul2008.com.

She’s hip after all!
Re: “Got my indie genes on” (Days of Lore, by Conrad Nystrom, CN&R, Jan. 10):

This story brightened my day and brought me up a couple notches on the “cool list.”

Sometimes I worry I am not evolved or evolving enough when it comes to music, stuck somewhere between 1986 and 1993. I wonder: How will I keep up with my kids, like my own father did with me?

Although I joke about it now, my dad was keen to the music around me. “How’s that new Echo & the Bunnymen tape?” or “Oingo Boingo, huh? ‘Noth-ing bad ev-er hap-pens to me.’ “—he would laugh, and so would I, as his inflections were always on the wrong syllables, but he tried.

Conrad shows just because we become parents doesn’t mean suddenly the only music in the house is Raffi or Kidbopz. I enjoy “educating” (indoctrinating?) my kids simply through what I have on at home and in the car.

Whether it is my grandma’s Ruben Gonzalez CD, Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense DVD during housework, or Weezer (which my youngest especially appreciates—yes, his name is Jonas), exposure, energy and enlightenment weave into their little sponge-minds, and we are all the happier (and can I say, hipper?) for it. And any time the words “midwife,” “vagina,” “childbirth” and “Cat Power” can be tied into one column, well, I’m there.

As Conrad and his lovely wife’s childbirth educator, I am pleased at the opportunities this little guy will have with his obviously brilliant parents.

Stacie Bingham

Pro-choice for patients
Re: “Medication isn’t a bad word” (Letters, writer’s name withheld, CN&R, Jan. 10):

I respect the reader who shared the personal account about mental illness. As for the claim that I condemn people who take meds, I don’t. I am pro-choice regarding taking meds (or not). By “choice,” I mean fully informed choice.

Do some patients feel condemned because doctors’ research has found that meds cause brain damage? I mention this to safeguard people. I believe self-protection is important, and I respect their empowerment.

Regarding the claim that I’m ignorant, I learned about the connection between shamanism and schizophrenia at the 2007 convention of the American Psychological Association. How many people labeled “mentally ill” are becoming aware of spiritual, psychic or subconscious phenomena that are scary and disorienting until understood? Such phenomena are considered normal in other cultures.

As for medical noncompliance devastating society, those problems also occur when people take meds: homelessness, imprisonment, hospitalization, suicide and addiction. The claim that no “alternative” therapy is a panacea overlooks many reports of people who heal.

Regarding detachment from reality, people who are unaware of spiritual phenomena are detached from people who are. Homosexuals gained freedom from psychiatric labels in the 1970s, as many APA insiders were gay. Next comes equal empowerment for people who are becoming spiritual.

Irene Cardenas

Concern, not anger
Re: “We’re all vital” (Letters, by Peter Calo, CN&R, Jan. 10):

An administration type at Enloe told my wife my letters sounded angry. Hostile, hostile—I’m not hostile, just concerned about past events and unfortunate choices, like outsourcing and layoffs, and that they may rear their ugly heads again.

Peter Calo

Check other sites
Re: “Cancer cluster in Oroville” (Downstroke, CN&R, Jan. 10):

Several closed dumps (landfills) located in the Oroville area are under investigation. It’s very possible that the cancer cluster is caused by carcinogenic chemicals within these dumps.

Janice R. England, People Investigating Toxic Sites
Los Angeles

Tend to our trees
To guarantee that our urban forest will still be here for future generations to enjoy, we need to take care of it now.

Most of Chico’s trees were planted many years ago and, due to old age and neglect, are starting to come down, as evidenced by the recent windstorm. But even some of the oldest city trees survived the storm provided they were properly pruned by our new urban forester and her crew beforehand.

Still, old trees will eventually die and need to be replaced by a generation of mid-size trees, none of which are protected under the present Chico Tree Ordinance.

As it stands now, one out-of-town developer was within his rights to remove six beautiful mid-sized red-oak trees on Park Avenue where an old Grocery Outlet store is being replaced by a big-box sporting goods store. He relented and saved the trees only when a citizen spoke on behalf of the oaks at a meeting of the Architectural Review Board.

Since replacement trees are typically only one inch in diameter, they’ll be a long time growing before they replace the mature trees. To prevent this gap, we need to protect the generation of mid-size trees that now exist by bringing them under the “canopy” of the Tree Ordinance. Without this safeguard, I doubt that the lush urban forest that we rightfully admire today will look the same in 50 years.

Karen Laslo

Free-market solution
Re: “Rewinding the clock” (Cover story, CN&R, Dec. 27):

Chico’s budget problem is of its own making, as Richard Ek’s excellent comments have shown.

As much as we value public-service workers, especially emergency workers, the same market discipline in setting pay and benefits should apply as in the private sector. When there are 80 applicants for each firefighter vacancy, pay is not an issue. If it is harder to recruit police, perhaps resources should be shifted there.

It is wrong to tax the struggling private-sector economy to pay 27 percent increases over five years and provide gold-plated benefits to keep those secure in the public sector [compensated] lavishly, due to the city’s fear of, or collusion with, powerful unions. In European countries, state workers are paid less than the private sector but in return have job security.

I suggest market-based salaries and benefits comparable to the private sector; tax increases will only drive away business and yield less revenue than expected.

Roy Bishop

A lesson in plenty
Regarding the power outages, I am very impressed with people in our community. Everyone I talked with realized the people in Iraq, or the more than 2 billion very-poor people on our planet, experience loss of power, water and food on a daily basis.

Instead of complaining, people realized how much we have to be thankful for and how dependent we are on technology. Parents turned the inconvenience into a teaching opportunity about how people lived in previous centuries and in other countries.

Gayle Kimball

Pleading for leniency
Time is running out for teenager Gregory Dean Wright as he sits in his lonely detention cell at Juvenile Hall. He is pondering his bleak future of nearly 20 years in prison. He has never been to prison or even jail, and all he knows is what he has heard about the fate of those like himself. Today (Jan. 17) he is to attend his sentencing procedure in Butte County Superior Court.

Gregory is the teenager involved in the gun incident at Las Plumas High School. I was shocked when I saw the D.A. decided to prosecute him as an adult. In my naïveté, I thought in time the felony charges would be reduced, but no!

It may be argued that he deserves punishment, but why so severe? Are we using him as our sacrifice to show the world how tough we are on crime here in Butte County? The briefest look at the history of the case shows that the young man needs help. Both he and his family asked for help prior to the incident and none was forthcoming.

Please join with me in raising a cry of protest and asking for leniency for Gregory.

James Adams