Letters for January 28, 2016

Wrong architect

Re “The Chico code” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, Jan. 21):

This story piqued my interest in discovering some of the “secret symbolism” of our city.

Imagine my surprise when I got to where Cort Lindahl credits the design of the Bank of America building to Timothy Pflueger, and relates much of his theories to Pflueger. The building was, in fact, designed in 1931 in the Art Deco style by Henry Anthony Minton, a San Francisco architect whose two main clients were the Bank of Italy (later Bank of America) and the Catholic Church. Minton was not a member of the Bohemian and I wonder if he would have agreed with Lindahl’s local theories?

Richard Macias


Editor’s note: Mr. Macias is exactly right. We have corrected this error online.

About the boulevard

Re “Uneasy Street” (Newsline, by Howard Hardee, Jan. 21) and “Esplanade no sacred cow” (Editorial, Jan. 21):

The Esplanade is one of the better functioning thoroughfares inside the Chico city limits. Sure, there is the horrible intersection at First Avenue and the lousy traffic that occurs every weekday morning in and around Chico High School, but I doubt that any widening of streets or intersections, or the addition of mini-roundabouts, separated bike lanes and pedestrian signals will improve anything. ADA-compliant ramps at all crosswalks? Yeah, maybe a good idea.

I’m dumbfounded that no one has mentioned the bike lanes that have been there all along: the frontage roads. Yes, cyclists need to obey the traffic signs and signals, and they must be absolutely aware of what’s going on around them—especially at the intersections of First and Sacramento avenues—but cyclists need to be “head’s up” wherever they ride.

Aside from the above-mentioned traffic problem with the high school (hello, CUSD?), traffic on The Esplanade seems to move along just fine (at 28 mph). Perhaps some measures to improve safety for students coming and going to CHS are in order. But let’s not overengineer and overspend where little improvement will be realized.

David Hurst


South Dakotan speaks up

Re “Bearman” (Reel World, by Juan Carlos Selznick, Jan. 14):

Good article about The Revenant. However, Juan Carlos Selznick states that Hugh Glass was mauled by a bear “somewhere along the Missouri River.” In fact, this incident happened at the confluence of the north and middle forks of the Grand River, over 100 miles from the Missouri River. This area is now under water due to the construction of Shadehill Reservoir. A monument is constructed on the south side overlooking the area. This recreational lake is located a few miles to the south of Lemmon, S.D., my hometown.

The town is located on the North Dakota-South Dakota border in the northwestern corner of the state. I spent the first 18 years of my life there. In the early ’60s, our Boy Scout troop 48 camped out and hiked the ground near the monument. We learned the history of Hugh Glass from our scoutmaster.

This Hugh Glass history will stick in our minds forever. To see it finally make it to the big screen is gratifying. The town had a red-carpet premiere and other events leading up to the release of the movie. Not much of the hoopla made it out to Hollywood, but to South Dakotans, is was huge.

Chuck Coats


Editor’s note: Mr. Coats is indeed correct. While Hugh Glass was hired by Gen. William Henry Ashley to join a fur-trading venture up the Missouri River, the bear attack happened at a point in the journey where the group had traveled to the Grand River, a tributary of the Missouri River. The error has been corrected online.

Celebrating ukes

Re “Small package, big gift” (Arts & culture, by Ken Smith, Jan. 21):

I had the privilege of seeing The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra at Laxson Auditorium. It was fabulous, but just as wonderful in their own way were The Pukes, the kids from Parkview Elementary School playing and singing their rendition of a Taylor Swift hit. They really sounded great!

It’s great to see how popular the uke has become in Chico over the last few years: There’s Chico Ukes; which has over 40 active members and meets every month; uke programs in the public schools; and, most recently, a beginning uke class for retirees 50 and over through the OLLI program (sorry, it’s full for this semester) at Chico State.

In addition, the local music stores are now stocking a large assortment of ukes for beginners and more experienced players alike. There are ukulele festivals, cruises, workshops, etc. Besides being a fun instrument that is suitable for any genre of music (although I’ve never heard opera played on it), the ukulele has a multicultural as well as a multigenerational appeal and is relatively easy to learn for those with no musical background or playing experience. Yep, the uke is thriving in Chico!

Bill Unger, OLLI uke instructor


More on cop shooting

Re “Death and justice” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Dec. 24):

The response to the police shooting in Paradise has engendered a lot of negative comment directed at District Attorney Mike Ramsey for not charging Officer Patrick Feaster with a crime. As a non-attorney, I tried to read the California penal codes related to criminal negligence, manslaughter and homicide.

I think I understand why Mr. Ramsey took that position. To be criminal, the act must be intentional or so grossly negligent that a reasonable person in the same situation would know that the behavior could result in serious injury or death. An accident or a mistake is not criminal.

In the video, Officer Feaster exits his car, draws his weapon, and the weapon discharges almost instantly. Officer Feaster used a Glock 21c, which does not have an external safety. It can discharge unintentionally when mishandled. Feaster had to pull his gun with his finger already on the trigger. The gun appeared to fire accidentally. Actually, Mr. Ramsey should have presented the case to the Grand Jury to let them determine if Officer Feaster committed a crime. However, I do not excuse Officer Feaster’s conduct. Officer Feaster’s subsequent actions were deplorable.

Robert Grignon Sr.


Congressman’s rebuttal

Re “Hypocrisy in action” (Editorial, Jan. 14)

The editorial claims Republicans blocked the Senate bill in a House committee; in reality, the senators were unable to pass their bill out of the Senate. It never even came to the House for consideration and I had no opportunity to vote on the bill, much less “stymie” it. The editorial states that a “local” agreement required Congressional approval in order to move forward, ignoring the obvious contradiction in claiming a purely local agreement would even need Congress to act.

The truth is, the Senate bill would have authorized hundreds of millions of federal taxpayer dollars for the project. The editorial also ignores that the Senate bill indemnified PacifiCorp of any liability, leaving the federal government holding the bag for problems during dam removal, or if the 13 million yards of sediment behind the dams is contaminated or caused flooding downstream.

It seems unusual for the CN&R to support massive giveaways to a multibillion-dollar corporation owned by Warren Buffett, but that’s exactly what it does in this editorial. The fact is, California and PacifiCorp can start removing these dams tomorrow if they choose to; they just need to pay for it themselves. The only reason California, PacifiCorp and environmental groups demanded federal involvement was to pick up the tab.

Doug LaMalfa


Editor’s note: Republican opposition, including Mr. LaMalfa’s, to this bill has been well-documented in multiple newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee. However, it is true that the bill died in a Senate committee. That error has been corrected online.

Monumental mission

With an upgrade to Celestron’s Advanced VX 8-inch telescope, our search beyond Proxima Centauri into deep space is approaching realms unknown. We’ve expanded our quest several parsecs (3.26 light years) in hopes of locating phenomena seemingly extinct in contemporary America.

Our aspirations are not to discover large lifeless bodies but rather something much more bedazzling. We’re anticipating an event that would transform Earth and maybe, inadvertently, earn a Nobel Peace Prize. Our dream is this: to discover a space-time in the cosmos where small living bodies still play joyfully outdoors in the neighborhoods, thriving on the infinite games they themselves create, unencumbered from fear except the dreaded thought of knowing Dad’s evening whistle will soon close the curtain on another magical day.

Perhaps we will also need to enlist the Hubble Space Telescope and Mount Wilson for this monumental mission. Any assistance will be appreciated. We’ll even share our new scope!

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

Help kids with reading

Do you have an hour a week to do something very beneficial? If so, you may be interested in volunteering for the Reading Pals program.

Reading Pals volunteers are concerned community members willing to spend one hour a week helping a child learn to read. The ability to read is fundamental to success in school and the workplace. In Chico, 42 percent of our children are not able to read at grade level. Children who aren’t able to read proficiently by fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school. A solution to the problem is through one-on-one tutoring. Students improve when someone reads along with them. Locally, STAR IRL testing scores have shown dramatic improvement for students enrolled in Reading Pals.

Volunteers are provided with the curriculum, a dedicated classroom on campus, and on-site classroom teachers for advice and support. Additional volunteers are needed at Chapman, Citrus, McManus, and Rosedale elementary schools. Reading Pals makes sure kids in our neighborhoods have the best chance for success, ensuring the success of our community as well. If you would like to help, please visit the website at www.readingpalschico.org or call 588-0119. You will make a lasting impact.

Ron Sherman