Letters for January 19, 2006

Oak Valley campaign
As it now stands, the Oak Valley housing development will provide more affordable housing and save the view of our beautiful Sierra foothills for all of Chico’s townspeople to enjoy. For this thoughtful and intelligent planning I thank Mayor Scott Gruendl, Vice-mayor Maureen Kirk, and Councilmembers Ann Schwab and Andy Holcombe.

Citing the fact that Mayor Gruendl is up for re-election and Vice-mayor Kirk is running for county supervisor in the 3rd District, a recent editorial in the Enterprise-Record chose to accuse Gruendl and Kirk of voting to change the Oak Valley Project merely to please their campaign supporters. It’s an accusation that summarily discounts the probability that the two councilors voted their best judgment on the matter and tries to make a fault out of representing a constituency as though that were some sort of hypocrisy. Gruendl and Kirk’s campaign was financed by the contributions of hundreds of ordinary people, each donating what small amounts of money they could afford. In view of this, it’s clear to me that Gruendl and Kirk represent a broad spectrum of Chico residents.

It’s not wrong for people to donate money to, and vote for, candidates that share their priorities and will represent their views on issues of concern to them. Gruendl and Kirk honored their commitment to these shared values when they showed the courage to stand up to a wealthy out-of-town developer who is trying to intimidate them, and any other citizen who might want to serve her community, by threatening them with a lawsuit.

Karen Laslo,

Squeezed out
I arrived in Chico some five years ago and was pleasantly surprised by the municipal service that provided free oranges to Chico residents each December. Last year most of the trees that supplied this fruit were removed and the program was eliminated.

Coming from the Northeast, where oranges don’t grow on trees and are a cherished commodity, I was disappointed by the cessation of the wonderful program.

Many of the side streets of Chico have public orange trees, the fruit of which appears to eventually rot on the ground. Since I, and I suspect others who valued this program, lack the equipment to efficiently reap this harvest, why not use the resources formerly used to harvest the fruit from the downtown trees to collect this fruit which would otherwise go to waste? Let’s not abandon this admirable Chico tradition.

Michael Farley,

Wal-Mart devotee
Heather Schlaff of C.A.R.E. is quoted as saying, “It’s always important to speak up.” Well, Ms. Schlaff, it is perhaps more important to check one’s facts before speaking up!

The Greenwald film you promote has been proven to be filled with erroneous information … not surprising when one considers the source of his funding. The people backing the film are disgruntled because Wal-Mart associates have repeatedly refused to purchase their services—union representation. (Why they think telling lies about us to the public will make us more receptive to buying their product is a mystery!)

Ms. Schlaff, I invite you to speak with some of the associates at your local Wal-Mart and get more accurate information about our wages and benefits. I, for one, resent the implication that I am some sort of slave laborer. I am perfectly capable of seeking other employment if I feel I am being undervalued or mistreated in some fashion.

In June I will celebrate 10 years with Wal-Mart. After nearly 50 years of working for companies large and small, I feel I am a pretty good judge of corporate ethics and concern for workers. I would not stay at Wal-Mart if I felt uncomfortable with the job we do and/or our place in the community.

Give me a call, Ms. Schlaff. The editor will have my telephone number. I challenge you to hear my side of the Wal-Mart story.

Elizabeth Hori,

Doolittle too late
Rep. John Doolittle issued a statement Dec. 14 attacking those he terms as “aggressive, politically correct activists who have hijacked America’s favorite celebration.” As an ordained minister, a citizen and a voter, I was shocked and insulted by his statement. This is typical of the divisiveness and polarization practiced by the current administration and reflects an un-Christian attitude.

I agree that Christmas has been commercialized and secularized. However, this has been the case for decades. It is a smokescreen and diversion to rant about political activists. The truth is this celebration was hijacked long ago to coldly increase the wealth of the special interests that control Rep. Doolittle.

Doolittle and his kind would have us believe they have a monopoly on morality and religious correctness. This is a distraction from the blatant immorality practiced by Doolittle and others who are beholden to those who pay for their election campaign. How can Doolittle preach to us about morality and religion while his name is connected to the Jack Abramoff bribery scandal?

I can only imagine where Doolittle’s co-conspiritor “Duke” Cunningham would stand on this issue. No doubt he would also viscously attack those who oppose his view of how Christmas should be celebrated. I am curious to know the content of Cunningham’s prayers this holiday season.

Rather than using media access to publicly insult their constituents, our elected officials should be reaching out and listening. I think the message they would hear includes moral concepts like honesty, integrity, humility, forgiveness, acceptance and compassion; concepts that should be in fashion throughout the year.

Lee Laney,

One-market family
I am writing in response to the Jan. 12 CN&R Newsline article, “Two market town.”

I have lived in Forest Ranch, along with my family, for five years.

One of our greatest loves for this community has been the sense of family that we have felt from day one. We believe one of the main reasons for this has been our almost daily jaunt to “The Store.” It hasn’t been that we have always needed to go there, but that warm homey feeling we received; just to pop in to say, “Hello” and to hear Larry laugh warmed our hearts, making our day feel complete.

I believe Larry Zavaterro brought that feeling to Forest Ranch as well as “The Store” along with his dream to run a “family-style” grocery. We recognized right away that Larry was “one of a kind.” His gift of gab, big boisterous laugh, and most of all his generous heart left us with a warm, comfortable desire to go back again.

Larry’s devastating and untimely death left us with a very dark cloud and a deep hole in our hearts that will never be the same.

Larry was family.

Several months have slid by since then and I believe we have been given renewed hope along with a new sense of family. Susan, Kyle and the many other wonderful people who have stepped up with incredible strength, courage and integrity are continuing on with the family quest. Each one has worked diligently to keep the doors open and the livelihood prospering. Every person at the store has a unique gift to offer always presented with love, kindness, and joy.

I believe we are truly blessed to have the loyalty of Zavaterro Grocery Co., aka “The Store,” to stick with us through thick and thin and I believe we owe them the same.

That’s what family does.

Trina Kerr,
Forest Ranch