Letters for January 22, 2009

Two views of his view
Re: “Editor’s letter to Obama” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Jan. 15):

Evan, you said it all. Thanks.

Gwen Nordgren

I read your list [of hopes for the Obama administration] and want to give my conservative take on your points.

“Timely, phased withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.” After we secure the peace and leave the region stable.

“True partnerships with allies, rather than coercive coalitions.” Our allies in Europe have their own priorities that don’t necessarily mesh with those of the United States.

“Peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians that recognizes the full history and complexity of the dispute.” I believe, unfortunately, there will never be peace between these groups. Generations of hate have been passed down.

“Oversight of the bailout packages approved for Wall Street and the Motor City.” I believe in the free-market concepts of our economy. If my business in Chico were to fail, I don’t see anyone coming to my rescue … and that’s the way I want it.

“Judiciousness with any future bailouts (if we must).” You can’t throw money at problems and expect them to go away. The fundamental reasons the failure occurred need to be fixed.

“Single-payer health care (‘Medicare for all’).” This is a great idea … if you don’t get sick. Don’t force the majority of Americans to join another government program that doesn’t work. Figure out something for those that need the care, and keep it as market-based as possible.

“Green energy” and “Green technology.” Sounds great, but it will take years to change over.

“Environmental protection—as opposed to ‘drill, baby, drill’ and erosion of the Endangered Species Act.” I predict that diesel fuel will rise to above $5 per gallon again in the next two years. With the instability of our economy, this is not a good thing. We need to use every safe means to increase our supply until other sources are available.

“Support for education with sensible, funded mandates—as opposed to No Child Left Behind.” School choice!! Liberals believe in choice, don’t they?

“Restoration of rights and protections taken away by your predecessor.” Name three rights you have lost in the last eight years that affected you personally, and how.

“Openness with the American people and our proxy, the White House press corps.” The press is pretty arrogant. As much as they fawned over the new president and built him up, they will love to tear him down.

Larry Stephenson

Letter-writers’ clarifications
Re: “Sculptor speaks” (Letters, by Jerry Harris, CN&R, Jan. 15):

In my letter to the editor, I didn’t know the circumstances for Pat Macias’ leaving the 1078 Gallery. When Pat mentioned it to me, she said nothing, except that “she was let go.” Other artists that I talked with never told me that it was for “economic reasons.” Whatever the reasons, I am sure that she will find new opportunities in the art world of Chico, or elsewhere.

Jerry Harris

Re: “Parliamentarian puts us in our place” (Letters, by Brahama D. Sharma,

Brahama D. Sharma never had the inclination, nor will he ever have the inclination, to put you, of all the editors, in your place. Thank you for publishing my letter.

Brahama D. Sharma

Editor clarifies: The headline was written by me, not Dr. Sharma.

Comparison shopping
Re: “Walmart guilt (or, my dirty little secret)” (Guest Comment, by Emily Brannen, CN&R, Dec. 31):

Having heard various advertisements regarding reasonable drug pricing at Walmart, I recently took a prescription for antibiotics to Walmart to be filled. The clerk quoted a price of $85. She did tell me that had the doctor written the prescription for a lower dosage and a larger quantity of pills, the price would be closer to $45.

I took the prescription to Costco, where I am not a member, and had it filled quickly and courteously for $17.

Yes, if one has the time and energy, it does pay to shop around!

Elizabeth Tice

Many of my clients [at Butte Creek Mortgage] wonder, with property and land values going down, why their taxes aren’t going down.

Well, it’s like this: Property taxes are based on the assessed value of your home. If you have purchased the property or pulled a permit on it in the last five years, your property is now based on the higher (assessed) value.

Is there anything we can do? Yes!

There is help, but it will mean you, the homeowner (raw land owner), will have to do the leg work. You will have to go get (or request) the paperwork from the county assessor’s office to contest that “assessed value.”

As we go about starting the new year and getting our paperwork ready for the tax person, maybe you might consider getting your property taxes in line as well. (Please talk with your tax person before you do anything).

If you need help or have questions, call the Butte County Assessor’s Office at (530) 538-6549 or 538-7701. This process is the same for all counties in California.

Elizabeth Daniels

Bust the barons
Looks as if gas prices are on the way up again. A few months ago, before the presidential election, gas prices dropped dramatically, raising questions about how or why those fluctuations occur.

Some of us, with suspicious minds, think that the oil barons might have been manipulating prices to affect the election. Now, with the election over and the Republicans having lost, the oil companies figure they might as well return to their obscene profits.

At one time, the Sherman Antitrust Law precluded such manipulations by industrial monopolies, but the law hasn’t been invoked for the past eight years and oil companies have had their way, amassing billions of dollars in quarterly profits.

We hope the new Democratic administration will take control of the situation on behalf of American motorists. People have to get to work, and many have suffered through the period when gas prices exceeded $4 per gallon.

It doesn’t make sense to allow an industry that produces a required commodity to set its own prices when competition has been eliminated and the public is at their mercy.

Robert Woods

Get efficient
[From the New York Times:] “The plain truth is that the United States is an inefficient user of energy. For each dollar of economic product, the United States spews more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than 75 of 107 countries tracked in the indicators of the International Energy Agency. Those doing better include not only cutting-edge nations like Japan but low-tech countries like Thailand and Mexico.”

We certainly can do better. Efficiency first—not drill first!

Roger Cole

I recently had the opportunity to see Bill Maher’s film Religulous, and it really got me thinking about how faith shapes our nation’s social psychology. The movie makes a strong case in defining the United States as a theocratic society. I think many of us are unaware of how truly Religulous this nation has become.

One thing the movie discusses is how religious influence can affect our interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. There is a section in the film that provides some interesting quotations from Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. All three warn of the dangers of incorporating faith into law. It is staggering how far we have drifted from the original intent of our nation’s architects.

I worked to get Barack Obama elected, but I did so with the internal dilemma of knowing his faith prevents him from supporting gay marriage. Of course there is little hope of finding support in the Republican Party. They made their decision to put God before country a long time ago.

I realize Bill Maher’s style turns a lot of people off, and he probably hurt his credibility by getting stoned in the movie. Beating up on faith is not usually something I would endorse, but I think this an important film that people owe it to both their country and their brains to watch. Religulous will be available on DVD on Feb. 17.

C. Kasey Kitterman

Intelligent life
I love our species as much as you, but I picked up a hitchhiker who said some things that got me to wondering. He said, “The best chance for intelligent life on Earth to last to its 100,000th birthday would have been if the Neanderthals had survived and not us.”

He pointed out that “the Neanderthal brain was slightly larger than ours and that no religious artifacts have ever been found at a Neanderthal site.” No religion meant no chronic religious wars. That Neanderthals lacked the experience of killing in large numbers is the reason humans “outcompeted” them.

It’s ironic, the hitchhiker said, “because they didn’t have religious strife is why they lost to us, but their lack of religious strife might have given them and ‘intelligent’ life a chance at the big 100,000.”

I said, “There are a ton of good people in every religion doing good every day; maybe the good side of religion is the baby and the intolerant warlike side is the bathwater.”

I have never heard this topic discussed in school or church. What would you have said?

Marvin Wisely