Letters for January 31, 2008

Readers opine on the candidates
Re: “Primary picks: Obama, McCain” (Editorial, CN&R, Jan. 24):

The Chico News & Review’s endorsement of Sen. John McCain was all I needed to convince my conservative friends why they shouldn’t support him. Thanks for a job well done.

Blake Driver

Ron Paul is the only candidate even worth voting for.

On stage at the debates, he states and defends exactly what he believes, unlike other candidates who must resort to personal attacks, empty rhetoric and inconsistent statements to try to win over voters. His goal as president is not to run our lives (like other candidates who seek to legislate their personal values onto us), but to give us back the freedom we are granted by our Constitution to run our own affairs.

He is a true Republican amongst the Neocons who have hijacked the party in recent years, and he is the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—who would actually end the war in Iraq as soon as safely possible.

We’ve been taken advantage of by our government (that exists to serve us) for so long that we no longer recognize freedom when we see it, even though it is just a vote away.

Ashley and Evan Odabashian

The presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama represents a refreshing change in American politics.

His candidacy allows for a possibility to heal the current bitter divisions that exist between red state/blue state and Republican/Democrat. He has received an extensive list of endorsements from colleagues who served with him in the Illinois legislature—Republicans and Democrats. A friend brought a term to my attention this past week: He stated that Obama is “post partisan.”

The appeal of his candidacy has gone beyond age, beyond race and beyond culture. His positive, eloquent approach to this campaign has brought hope for a new era of civil political dialogue in this country.

A win for Obama in the California Primary this Tuesday would pave the way for his nomination. Your consideration of his candidacy is very much appreciated.

Charles G. Zartman Jr., Ph.D.

I am most offended by your attack on my free thought with your editorial suggesting a “clear” choice in November. In order for a set of options to represent a choice, each option must result in a different outcome. Please explain to me how different votes represent clearly different outcomes.

How does choosing someone “against the war” while funding it over someone supporting the surge even before it was popular represent a choice, let alone a clear one? All I see is a continued waste of resources, regardless of the figurative leader.

Do the choices you purport [actually] represent different outcomes on issues such as the Patriot Act, military commission, homeland security, immigration and debt spending?

Any real opportunity at choice passed on Jan. 22, the deadline to register as a Republican, so one could cast a ballot for Ron Paul in the Californian primary. I implore everyone to ignore labels, stereotypes and fancy sound bites, and spend time exploring what is in your best interest and then act on that.

Daniel Haren

Editor’s note: Marla Doherty sent an articulate letter of support for John Edwards. He withdrew from the race, so we withdrew her letter from print edition, but we’ve left it here, optimistic wording intact.

Electing John Edwards for president, we’d see:

• Honest government, with a hands-on friend in the White House working tirelessly for the public good rather than for record-breaking corporate profit. Edwards is the only 100 percent lobbyist-free candidate.

• Equal opportunity for all and a better future for our children. Edwards is the only candidate whom Martin Luther King III urged to “keep going.”

• Tax reform and effective policies good for citizens and for our national security—based on strategies known to end poverty and strengthen the middle class at home and abroad.

• Clean environment and reinvigorated rural communities. Edwards is the only candidate endorsed by a national environmental organization and the first with a plan to halt global warming, and he offers transition assistance to those whose jobs are affected by new carbon-reduction regulations.

Edwards—who, unlike others, runs his campaign with zero debt—knows how he will pay for his plans, which will save average Americans several thousand dollars a year in reduced taxes and health-care costs.

A vote for Edwards is a vote for our country and our children’s better future.

Marla Doherty

No cut = increase
Regarding your comment about [McCain opposing] Bush’s tax cuts, some things to keep in mind:

First, not extending the tax cuts constitutes a tax increase. Raising tax rates is the worst possible thing to do in a weak economy. The Great Depression was caused by attempts to balance the budget through tax increases, not the 1929 stock market crash.

Second, every tax dollar collected is a dollar of capital unavailable for job creation. Capital, not government, creates (and preserves!) jobs.

Third, if you’re among the 70-plus percent of Americans who belong to a union; have a 401(k), IRA or employer pension plan; or own stock, remember that taxes reduce the corporate income supporting stock values. Better think twice before bashing “excessive corporate profits”—the profits you bash may well be your own retirement nest egg.

Fourth, what is “rich”? $50,000? $100,000? $150,000? $150,000 may be an above-average income, but it isn’t so rich compared with Chico house prices. Yet families making $50,000 to $150,000 will be hit hardest if Bush’s tax cuts aren’t extended.

Finally, tax and spend doesn’t cure social problems. Yes, you can create the European-style nanny state with high enough taxes. But you’ll also have permanent 10 percent to 12 percent unemployment (vs. 5 percent here today) and a standard of living that is a quarter or a third of today’s.

Chad Wozniak

Acceptance is relative
Re: “By the grace of God” (by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, Jan. 24):

In the article about Bidwell Presbyterian, the Rev. Steve Schibsted calls his church a place people will be “accepted for who they are.” That was not my experience.

About seven years ago, my partner said she wanted to attend Bidwell Presbyterian. This appealed to me, as my family began attending Bidwell shortly after we moved to Chico in 1957. I received my early Christian training in the Sunday School and was married there, some years before I came out to myself and others as a lesbian.

Bidwell had some conservative ministers in the past, so I scheduled an appointment with the Rev. Schibsted. He and I had a lovely chat, until I mentioned that I was a lesbian and asked him if I would be accepted in the church. His smile dropped into a frown. “It’s OK with me, as long as you don’t have an agenda,” he said.

“An agenda?” I asked.

“You know,” he said, “the type of people who just want to stir things up.”

A year or so later, Bidwell’s delegate to the presbytery was instructed to vote against allowing gays to become deacons or ministers.

I now have attended Trinity United Methodist for six years. People there don’t see me as someone with “an agenda” just because I’m gay. Our minister led the process for our congregation to become “reconciling”—that is, to extend a special welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

I would rather have that basic acceptance than all of the rock bands, giant projection screens, and multimillion-dollar renovations combined.

Nancy Park

Regretting her choice
Re: “United we—and Roe v. Wade—stand” (Guest Comment, by Eileen Schnitger, CN&R, Jan. 24):

I felt sadness at reading Eileen Schnitger’s article. I had the “choice” in my early 20s, and I exercised that choice two times. Since, I have suffered emotionally at the horrific actions I took. I look at the children I have now and wonder what those two babies would have been like.

The Gonzalez v. Carhardt case she mentioned did not criminalize a “medical technique”; it made partial-birth abortion illegal. Now women cannot have late-term abortions, wherein the mother is put into labor and partially gives birth. The doctor can then open the fetus’ skull and mutilate the brain, thereby killing it.

In my opinion—and I think I have a right to have one since I am a woman, right?—I am thankful that partial-birth abortion is no longer an option. It shows that our culture is still human.

I wish that I had not had the right to an abortion. Now I am spending the rest of my life quietly in anguish. No one talks about the long-term damage abortion does. Women are being misled. It would have been better to have dealt with the pregnancies by other means. And because I feel so much shame over my actions, I cannot give my real name.

Name withheld

A plea to PG&E
Re: “After the storms” (Newslines, by Brad Brown, CN&R, Jan. 17):

First of all, I’d like to say that was a great article; in fact it was the most informative that I had seen about PG&E. I have lived in Cohasset for 14 years and have seen my fair share of power outages in the past—one lasting for five days about 11 years ago.

My question remains: What puts me at the bottom of the list if I pay my bill just like everyone else?

We were without power for seven days. We had no water or heat. As far as the road being closed, I couldn’t get home where my kids were; they were worried, and so was I.

I am grateful to the PG&E crews for all their hard work, but do think upper management needs to handle things better.

Janna McClaskey

Feeling powerless
I saw the PG&E ad in the [Jan. 24] issue of the CN&R, thanking us for our patience and understanding. Well, actually, they weren’t talking to me, because I wasn’t patient and I still don’t understand.

I don’t understand why they had to bring crews “from as far away as Kansas.” What, were they blown there by the powerful winds?

If you peruse the past few years of news regarding PG&E, you will find that poor judgment has landed them in bankruptcy. They, like Enron, lost their collective ass during the scandalous power trades that left “Caleefornya” with rolling blackouts and Gray Davis out of a job.

Slowly but surely, they have raised our rates and their profits, while lowering our service levels. The lady I talked to on the phone was in San Jose and said they were “mobilizing” crews from Stockton. While they were mobilizing crews to deal with live wires laying on the ground all over town, Chico PD was on overtime, manning the streets to make sure nobody got fried.

Come on, anybody who’s lived here longer than Alan Chamberlain knows we have at least one storm like this every year, that lines have always gone down, and that service has never been out, at least in my part of town, more than a few hours.

PG&E service will only be as good as we demand.

Juanita Sumner

Editor’s note: For more on PG&E see this issue’s Guest Comment.

F-ing exasperated
We have no candidate worthy of our votes. Instead of candidates who stand in the light of the idealism of public service, we have self-absorbed leeches who care only about their status at the polls. We are stuck with a contest, best compared to high-school ridiculocity, that leaves the majority (those of us who actually give a fuck about the state of our nation) wondering where our loyalties lie.

The simple fact that our stated political affiliation limits for whom we can vote is obvious evidence enough. We have let ourselves be divided in the self-interest of our “leaders” without a thought to the millions affected by our votes. We have handed, willingly and without a fight, control to those who most effectively piss on the ideals of our democratic society, and in those votes cast for the front-runners, we castrate ourselves.

Oh! Fuck it! Who cares?

Let’s let self-interest govern our society! Let’s allow this experiment in democracy to falter!

Let us give in to partisan politics! Let us be divided!

Fuck it! Who cares anyway, right?

Garth A. Talbott

Re: “Will religion affect your vote?” (Streetalk, CN&R, Jan. 24): Due to an entry error, Joel Trenalone’s last name was misspelled. We apologize for the mistake.