Letters for January 18, 2007

‘All foods are organic’
Re: “The big O” (Cover Story, by Kate Washington, CN&R, Jan. 11):

This story can be summed up as the penchant of the American public to follow the most trivial notions of the day with little or no substance in the realm of clothes, cars and food.

The power of molding the public to buy, by Madison Avenue, is well established. It is this inherent American trait to make a buck in the name of economy that is uppermost criterion, even over and above established scientific knowledge.

The psychological advantages of organic food weigh more heavily than the real nutritional values. Yes, the public has been sold the goods that somehow the synthetic chemicals used as fertilizers, and as the saviors of food products from pests, is injurious to the well-being of human beings.

It is not the fault of the synthetic chemicals but rather the abuse of these great advances in agriculture that are the real villains.

This is not to undermine the attempts by some to produce food without these abuses, but instead to emphasize that there are misconceptions about what passes as “organic food,” even without the present attempts by corporations to take advantage of the demand for “organic food.”

To this retired chemistry professor all foods are by their very existence organic.

Thus one takes the term “organic food” with a grain of salt and hopefully with the mirth of a glass of the best of Bordeaux Grand Cru, preferably, PETRUS and/or the best of the Batard Montrachet.

Brahama D. Sharma

He thinks she protests too much
Re: “Consciousness, conscience, consequence” (Guest Comment, by Cathy Webster, CN&R, Jan. 11):

I commend Cathy Webster for expressing her views. I will always be thankful for the right of anyone to believe as they like and have the right to express it. How did we as Americans get that right? You be the judge.

As for shutting down the assassin school, I ask, did you do right or wrong? Think of this: A well-trained assassin does his job with the least amount of victims or so-called innocent bystanders. An untrained assassin might use a car bomb to do the same job. How many suffer there?

Before you label me a war monger, I do not like people killing each other over stupid things. But until we as humans learn to coexist, there will be fighting, loss of life, maimed people and orphans.

I hope I did not misunderstand the intent of her article, but I almost puked when she spoke of laying one’s life down for one’s friends. That is what many people have done, and their loved ones are not blessed to have them around. The places she has gone in her belief sound more to me like someone stating, “Look at me—see what I have done,” and perhaps feeling a little adventure. Why not uproot yourself and dig into the wrongs where they are happening and don’t worry who knows about it—do it because you believe in it.

Calvin Driver

Cooperation, please
At the Chico Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City event, the city manager and seven city councilmembers were invited to state their priorities for Chico’s future. Everyone acknowledged the challenges our town faces and spoke of ways to overcome them. Vice Mayor Ann Schwab spoke eloquently about “the heart of Chico,” priorities that would affect Chico in positive and beneficial ways. The atmosphere was hopeful for progress and cooperation—with the single exception of Larry Wahl.

Of all the participants, Wahl was the only one who spoke in such negative terms that the sense of working together was an appeal completely lost on him. In contrast to Schwab’s forward-moving address, Wahl recited a litany of complaints and fault-finding, moving backward toward divisiveness and controversy.

If Wahl persists in this retrograde behavior for the duration of his term in office, he’ll have little to contribute to Chico’s future.

There are many changes occurring within the city government. Chico is moving towards becoming a progressive, up-to-date, sustainable community like many other towns in our country. Wahl is invited to join the other councilmembers in this process of necessary and hopeful change. If he refuses to do so, he’ll just get left behind.

Karen Laslo

Editor’s note: See Newslines for coverage of the forum, to which the letter below (from a former councilman) also refers.

Planning, please
Vice Mayor Schwab acknowledges that we have a five- to 10-year supply of housing in Chico and is quoted as saying, “We don’t need to look for any new growth areas right now.” Given that shortsighted view, Chico’s current housing inventory will be replaced by housing shortfalls and record housing prices, far worse than we experienced just two years ago.

Introducing a new growth area takes up to—and often in excess of—10 years to bring on line once environmental and infrastructure needs are addressed. If we aren’t planning today for our future, what will happen in five years when the current supply is depleted?

Parents of grammar- and high-school-aged children, speak up—this affects your kids! In just a few short years, your adult children may want to buy a home in Chico and discover what my adult children have recently found—that we have become an elitist community where the only affordable housing is in government-subsidized projects.

Our elected officials have a responsibility to plan for our community’s future.

Dan Herbert

Redeploy new cops
Chico does not need more police. The city does not have that big of a crime problem. Its problems stem from poor priorities, officer discretion and manpower mismanagement.

Six additional traffic cops have been funded by grants. The traffic fiefdom is badgering citizens with expensive, low-priority citations around the city’s over-funded concrete plaza. These citations are misdirected and generated by Chico police to justify increases in government size and regulatory harassment.

One big problem is that while these squealers are badgering pedestrians and bicyclists downtown with cheap, cherry-picking police tactics, higher-priority traffic crimes are occurring. They should bust large, heavy, flammable, polluting, speeding, traffic-causing motorized vehicles, not bikes or pedestrians that lessen problems.

A number of these new union traffic cops have been given cushy day shifts instead of at rush hour and weekends, when citations are needed. Investigate drag strips like The Esplanade on weekends and Pine at rush hour. Downtown is not the only problem area.

Getting out of their cruisers would facilitate a better citizen relationship and understanding of priorities. They could then do something useful, like pick up trash or assist other departments with more serious crimes.

Scott Love

Our congressman?
Wally Herger, apparently voting the will of his constituents, cast a ballot in the first days of the 110th Congress to prolong the misery of persons suffering from Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and a host of other diseases that stem-cell research might cure.

Herger also voted to keep poor people in economic servitude. By voting against the minimum-wage increase, Herger attempted to deny poor people relief from their unremitting poverty.

Herger also voted to maintain America’s vulnerability to terrorist attack. He did this by voting against the bill to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Committee.

John Omaha

House Minority Leader John Boehner recently commented on the subject of stem cell research, stating: “The sanctity of life is the issue. Taxpayer funds should not be used to destroy human life, plain and simple.”

I assume, then, that he will be immediately recanting his support of the Iraq war?

Adam L. Brinkow