Letters for January 27, 2011

Online’s better deals

Re “Downturn hits A.S. too” (Cover story, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Jan. 20):

As a master’s student, I don’t support the bookstore, because I don’t appreciate being ripped off! It’s bad enough that professors think I need to buy four to eight textbooks for their single class. Then, at the bookstore, the cost is approximately $200 in books per class, meaning I have to spend $600. Though I’m lucky to receive 10 percent in buy-back of my used books, which they in turn resell at 500-1,000 percent profit!

Online I can buy my books at a fraction of the cost of the bookstore. That $600 bookstore bill will usually come out to a $200-$300 online cost. Then when I go to resell those books online, I can shop around for buyers that give me the best price quote, averaging 50 percent of original cost. They pay for the shipping of my books, and I receive a direct-deposit payment.

Joshua Allen

Low down on Sor Lo

Re “City Council applicants pared to two” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, Jan. 20):

What should have been a democratic process to appoint Bob Evans to the City Council has now ballooned into race/class politics. Mayor Ann Schwab has already implied that she doesn’t want another white, middle-class council member. Councilman Holcombe’s claim that there are disenfranchised groups that must be represented by the council is little more than magical thinking. What he means by disenfranchised voters are people who shy away from campaigns when it’s time to run and those too lazy to register and vote.

While many talented people came before the council to make their case for appointment, I don’t believe Sor Lo is the right person for this position. First, he’s never voted in a city, state or national election. In the Jan. 21 Enterprise-Record article about Lo, he makes the absurd claim that if the City Council appointed Evans it “would send a message to minorities that they are not welcome in this community.” He goes on to make another insensitive comment, that “He’s the same people as we already have” (referring to Evans).

Reverse racism has no place in our town or country. The council and the citizens of Chico should never feel guilted into selecting a candidate based on a worn-out social-justice theory.

Bob Evans has already proven his ability to create jobs, and he was the fourth highest vote-getter in the election. College students coming out of Chico State need jobs, and so do many other citizens. This is not the time to replace the job issue with a lecture on political correctness. I would encourage the council to select Evans for his ability to reach out to students and to articulate sound economic policy.

Dorian Olio

As I headed home following Tuesday’s City Council meeting, I reflected on the events of the evening. At home, Wanda had followed the proceedings on Channel 11, and was enthusiastic about Sor Lo’s insightful speech on behalf of his application for the council vacancy. I also had been impressed by his appearance, poise and moving speech.

Reading the next day’s accounts of the meeting, I realized that Mayor Ann Schwab, Andy Holcombe and Scott Gruendl had done their homework and discovered an outstanding person for the council. Wanda and I urge the swing council members, Mary Flynn and Jim Walker, to support Sor Lo at the Feb. 1 meeting. He would strengthen that body and widen its horizons for all Chicoans.

Robert Woods

I applaud Sor Lo for coming forward with his sincere desire to serve the Chico community and its people. But isn’t it sad that he believes that not appointing him will give minorities the idea they are not welcome?

All are welcome, and if the minorities or majorities (I like to call them “people”) want to take part in the government that affects them, perhaps they could take responsibility for their world and participate regardless.

I will be first to say I do not support Bob Evans. What I do support is what is right. The Chico City Council’s decision to accept letters of interest from members of the community to fill the fourth seat on the council is redundant. Candidates did this already when they ran in last November’s election. The voters spoke at that time, and Bob Evans received the fourth- highest vote to a position the council was very aware was coming. Put him in the seventh seat.

This rubbish about who’s conservative and who’s liberal has absolutely nothing to do with who should serve, and only emphasizes this council’s lack of ability to represent the people, darkens the cloud that hangs over politics in general, wastes time and energy, and if this behavior continues will cost the people of Chico a pretty penny for a new election.

Do the right thing! It gets easier the more you practice it.

Traci Williams

Why Enloe expanded

Re “Issues with the issue” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Jan. 13):

Considering the high cost of health care, it is understandable that some might question Enloe Medical Center’s construction project. I would like to clarify, however, that our construction project was precipitated in large part by California’s new seismic code requirements, which will force us to vacate two inpatient-care wings of the hospital by 2013. We are also experiencing tremendous overcrowding in our Emergency Department and our surgical services areas, among others.

In addition, our new tower will increase the number of private rooms we have available, which is increasingly becoming the standard of care for all patients. The huge price tag is unfortunate but consistent with, if not lower than, similar projects in California. Hospital construction is extremely regulated and time consuming.

Still, I would argue that, far from being an extravagance, the construction project is a very real necessity for a growing population.

Mike Wiltermood

Editor’s note: Mr. Wiltermood is CEO of Enloe Medical Center.

Love-hate relationship

Re “Their real motive” (Editorials, Jan. 20):

The latest effort by Chico’s conservative faction, with help from the Enterprise-Record, is a campaign to move local elections to June in the hope that the student vote will be a nonfactor.

This is perplexing. Conservative business folks really, really love those student dollars, yet they fear and loath the student vote.

I propose an exchange. Move elections to June without any further debate. In response, Chico’s 14,000 or so students should make a concerted effort to shop elsewhere or online whenever possible. To me, that sounds like a fair trade.

Chico’s conservatives want it both ways. They wish to profit from Chico State’s student body but they do not want to give that student body a say in the affairs of a town in which they most likely will reside for five years or more.

Business as usual.

Ron Angle

State spending: two views

Re “State spending: myths vs. facts” (Guest comment, by Walt Schafer, Jan. 20):

I have been a state employee for more than 34 years. I have experienced full circle the benefits and the downfalls. This is the worst I have ever seen employee morale.

We are not ignorant, lazy or rolling in dollars. Most of us are conscientious, intelligent and loyal. I may not be a self-made bodybuilder or married to Kennedy royalty, but I can say that, as a state employee, I can hold my head just as high.

Professor Schafer has confirmed that for me. Hopefully, those who do not work for the state will read and give credence to his article.

Tamara Babcock
Paso Robles

Dr. Schafer, a former government employee, made a compelling case that California government has not actually grown more than the economy during the remarkable run-up over the last few decades. A much more salient point is that government should never be allowed to grow at anywhere near the same pace as an expanding economy, especially not a booming economy.

Business can and often does contract even faster than it grows. Government does not contract easily. When government does shrink, which now it must in California, it is extremely painful for those who are dependent.

It will also be painful for those who are not dependent but who will be forced to pay even higher taxes. Higher taxes may make our state noncompetitive with Oregon, Nevada, and other states. It is a vicious cycle that is tied in part to letting government grow too fast.

Marshall Thompson

‘The most compassionate choice’

Re Joel Salatin’s talk on Monday, Jan. 17:

Certainly animals living on “happy” farms are living better lives than those on factory farms. However, we encourage conscious consumers to allow their compassion to blossom by considering questions on all phases of the animals’ lives, not just their lives on the farm.

What would be a humane way to end any animal’s life? How are they transported to the slaughterhouse, how long must they travel, and do they get food and water en route? Are animals destroyed rather than given antibiotics, which would disqualify them from an organic certification? How are layer breed roosters disposed of (suffocation, grinding, or raised for meat)? Are sheep tail-docked? If so, do they get anaesthetic? Are male cattle castrated? If so, do they get anaesthetic?

Most farmed animals, even those on small farms, have been selectively bred to grow abnormally large (in the case of turkeys, chickens, and pigs), to produce unnatural volumes of milk (in the case of dairy cows) and extremely high numbers of eggs (in the case of layer hens).

All animals are sentient beings. If we take the time to get to know them as individuals, we would no more want to eat them than we would want to eat our dogs. All of us are raised to believe that eating meat is normal, natural, and necessary. In reality, it is none of these. Going vegan is the most compassionate choice a person can make for all animals.

Sophia Pospisil, Michelle Faucher

Jeannie Trizzino, Morgan Faulconer
Chico Vegan Coalition

The company of bats

Re “To the bat cave!” (Greenways feature, by Jennifer Jewell, Jan. 20):

Great piece! Over here at Chico-based Greenfeet.com, we’ve been fans of bats for years. They’re a wonderful addition to our local ecological system, and if you are looking for bat houses, look no further. Visit us for bat houses approved by bat conservation groups designed to keep them safe, warm and happy. We’re local, so you can pick up or have it shipped.

Thanks for continuing to educate consumers on issues such as these. Once you understand bats, their behavior and their benefits, you’ll see them for the wonderful creatures they really are!

Valerie Reddemann

On reading Huckleberry Finn

Re “Huck on the hook” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Jan. 20):

Besides “that word” that I also loathe, Twain’s greatest novel has usages and syntax apropos to the 1850s, and no doubt humor that is outside of our modern context. It is undeniably also a patchwork of low burlesque, prejudice, abusiveness and violence. However, if “Huck” is to be filtered, it should be done inside a mature brain, not outside by ineffectual censorship. Intellectual maturity is at a premium in this age of reality TV, pornographic pop music, and blood-chilling political rhetoric.

I think that novelist Lorrie Moore and CN&R Editor Bob Speer may have hit upon a surefire way to make sure that Huckleberry Finn is read by today’s youth: discontinue teaching it in lit classes for younger students!

Substitute Tom Sawyer instead, to provide an unobjectionable alternative, but intimate that society “officially” disproves of the sequel. We’ve always swarmed all over anything that is “banned,” and Twain’s masterpiece of American history and morals will never die, forever spotlighting societal ills that still hugely bedevil us today.

Sam’l Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was a bonafide genius; flawed as many of them are, but nonetheless a genius—and a uniquely American one. As your feature article of last year said, Mark Twain still matters. Now, more than even.

Wick Humble

As an artist and writer, I do not believe that a writer’s work should be altered. Mark Twain is one of America’s best writers. Huckleberry Finn is not my world, but a time and place that is part of American and black culture. Sometimes our PC society goes overboard.

Yes, the N-word is a term of endearment to black people. The “rappers” don’t even know their history, and because the racists say, “Well, they use it,” doesn’t mean that they are in love with black people. Racism affects all of us. At times I have questioned myself when I use the R-word.

We all want to live in a peaceful and just society. Let’s continue to better ourselves.

Jerry Harris
San Francisco/Chico

My dad gave me a deluxe hardbound copy of Huckleberry Finn when I was 10 years old and I read it four times. I consider it to be the finest piece of distinctly American literature every written. It’s our patriotic duty to read it! H.L. Mencken said that Huckleberry Finn was “one of the great masterpieces of the world,” and Ernest Hemingway said that “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”

There’s nothing racist about the book—it’s just two boys who are best friends having a terrific adventure on the river. My favorite characters are Huck’s dad talking about the “govment” and the king of France and duke of Bilgewater—and who hasn’t known guys like those two, guys who bum cigarettes and drink beer and tell everybody how great they are or used to be or could have been? Why, that’s everybody I know!

To elaborate, Huckleberry Finn is anti-racist; it is about freedom; it is about two best friends, Huck and Jim, traveling down the river to free Jim from slavery. Huck is an Abolitionist despite not wanting to be one. It’s a very deft novel.

Michael Peters