Letters for January 31, 2013

Homelessness seen anew

Re “Homeless in Paradise” (Cover story, by Amanda Allagree, Jan. 24):

I seldom read anything in the paper that touches both my heart and mind, but Amanda Allagree’s perceptive article on the homeless population in Butte County did both. Allagree’s writing shows a maturity beyond her age, and I admire her courage in tackling such a charged topic. After reading her story, I will have a different reaction when I encounter homeless people on our streets.

There is no simple one-size-fits-all reason why some people end up without a place to call home. Where once I would have avoided eye contact, I will now remind myself that people without homes are not so different from me.

Letha Albright

Because Amanda Allagree is only 16, I assume she was enrolled in Steve Metzger’s class because she’s in the College Connection program that gives the brighter and better-motivated young people of Butte County a chance to take college-level classes before they graduate from high school. Good on Mr. Metzger for spotting the obvious talents Amanda has, and good on Amanda for using those talents to bring to light such an often overlooked subject.

In my years of teaching at Butte College, I dealt with more than a few budding young talents like Amanda, many of them in the very well-run College Connection program. Finding and nourishing their enthusiasm and their gifts was one of the compensatory joys of teaching, and so I knew what Steve Metzger had experienced when he had the opportunity to work with Amanda and help usher her work into print. He did a service to her, and she, in turn, did a service to her community in writing such a vivid and compassionate piece. And the CN&R also did a service to the community by running it.

Jaime O’Neill

I connected with the difficulty of being homeless and the time and energy expended on surviving. It’s exhausting, and often humiliating.

I went into a downtown business early this morning to check on some gloves I lost. The door was open, and I carefully went in, saying over and over again, “Hello?” Halfway through the establishment a flabbergasted man said, “Just get out of here,” and shooed at me with his hands as if I was an animal.

I paused at the front door to calmly confront him. “Listen, I’m a human being,” I said.

“I don’t care. Get out!” he snipped, his hand moving in a sweeping movement signifying my insignificance.

Later that morning I spent time with Guitar Clem and his dog Mud. A pleasant young gentleman with face iron laughingly shared, “A lady came by, petted Mud, and carried on how cute he was. Several times I said, ‘Hello, good morning.’ She totally ignored me!”

On a good day we’re treated as well as dogs. Not today.

Bill Mash

Cats on the loose

Re “The felines among us” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, Jan. 17):

We recently had to deal with a feral cat in our north Chico location. First let me say that the people at the shelters who deal with excess animals do a great job. However, when a feral cat is entering your house in the middle of the night through your cat’s door, you have a problem. Disease, fleas, ticks, etc. can be a problem.

I was able to live trap the cat, but when I took it to the shelter, the folks wanted to have the cat neutered and released in our yard.

Sorry! Cats kill, according to the American Bird Conversancy, 500 million birds a year in the United States. The shelter says there are almost 15,000 cats in Chico. I much prefer to see birds in my yard rather than cats spraying around the house.

Releasing these dangerous cats is not the correct answer to this huge problem. Let’s be realistic and find a better way to deal with the cat issue.

Marc Devereaux

Those who were silenced

Re “Roe v. Wade at 40” (Editorial, Jan 17):

Let us celebrate 40 years of progress since Wade v. Roe. Sadly, millions are not with us to rejoice in this monumental advancement in our culture.

How far have we come? Some hold trees as a national treasure, so much so that we call them tree huggers, yet there are too many who will never feel a loving hug. Some hold high our need to reduce our carbon footprint, yet there are too many who will never leave a small footprint in the sand. Some hold woodstove emissions as harmful to breathing, yet there are too many who will never take their first breath of air. Some hold loudly that it is a woman’s choice, yet there have already been too many who were silenced before uttering a sound.

What say ye? Have we taken the path less traveled?

Rey Martinez

Partied to death

We all know the recent effort to acknowledge and tackle the alcohol and drug problem among college students in our community was long overdue. But now that there does seem to be a sincere desire to reach out to the community for ideas, I would like to propose a project that I put forth 10 years ago, shortly after student Adrian Heideman’s death.

I suggested that we obtain permission from the parents of students who literally partied themselves to death to frame their portraits and create a memorial exhibit. A paragraph stating their age, hometown, and aspirations would be under each one, followed by the date of their death.

The permanent home for the exhibit would be the BMU, but it could “travel” throughout the campus and community to any number of student-related events (dare I say bars?) as a sobering reminder that we do have this problem and are taking it seriously. In the event of a student death, a prayer ceremony could take place on campus, as yet another portrait of a young, bright, promising student is added to the memorial.

This is only one idea, of many, that need implementation. I for one am on board.

Lynne Bussey

Taber corrects the record

Re “Bags o’ trouble” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Jan. 10):

First I want to thank the editors of the CN&R for correctly quoting me when I addressed [Councilmembers] Schwab, Stone and Ritter at [the Jan. 2] council meeting during the discussion regarding developing an ordinance banning the one-time use of plastic bags. Their paid appearance on a Republican political mailer that endorsed both Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Emkin would lead the ill-informed to believe they held the same valued principals of personal responsibility and limited government that are core to the Republican Party.

But that’s not why I write today. I wish to correct the misstatement that I am an employee of Supervisor Wahl. I am not. I am a part-time, at will, non-union employee of Butte County.

Supervisor Wahl did ask me to apply for the position in his office. But I, as any other supervisor’s assistant, had to fill out an application and have it reviewed and verified by both the director of Human Relations and the CAO of Butte County, who made it abundantly clear I was an “at-will” employee.

I had 13 years of mid-management municipal experience at a well-managed Midwestern town and excellent recommendations from many previous employers. I was thrilled to be asked and am proud to serve the residents of Butte County.

Stephanie L. Taber

E-bikes for seniors

Re “Carving out a niche” (Greenways, by Claire Hutkins Seda, Jan. 17):

My husband and I have had e-bikes for several years. We are seniors, and we are the niche e-bikes really help. We don’t hesitate anymore about taking a long bike ride because if we get really worn out, we can use it in electric mode to bike home! It’s also great for hills.

Laura Hutkins

Gun-control Super PAC

For years, the NRA has prevented any reasonable control of handguns and assault rifles. Its method is simple—threaten politicians who seek to impose controls, and through Super PACs contribute unlimited amounts of money to their defeat. These funds are also used in other ways to support their radical agenda—e.g., posting armed guards at schools throughout the country.

Reasonable suggestions, such as limiting assault weapons’ magazine capacity, are immediately rejected by the NRA and congressmen who are cowed by threats of losing re-election.

It is time to fight fire with fire and consolidate the power and voice of millions of reasonable people by organizing a Super PAC dedicated to defeating any candidate who subscribes to the agenda of the NRA. Those would be easy to determine by the NRA’s published approval rating of representatives.

As demonstrated by Stephen Colbert, it is not difficult to get FEC approval of an SP. All that is needed is someone versed in creating a website. I would suggest the name “Neuter the NRA.”

Victor M. Corbett

Obama’s looming tyranny

Re “Obama’s progressive vision” (Editorial, Jan. 24):

The attack on the Second Amendment by the Obama administration is part of a broader plan to tighten government control over every detail of our lives. This drive toward an authoritarian system can hardly be characterized as “progressive”: reactionary would be a better term for it: looking backward to the bad old days of tyranny.

The “climate change” program is another power grab to tax and regulate without limit, predicated entirely on lies and bully tactics by global-warming alarmists. There isn’t space here to list the many lies they tell, or explain how anti-libertarian politics has corrupted science. But I can provide anyone who is interested a list of those lies and plenty of references to books and online resources that both disprove the whole “theory” of man-caused global warming and demonstrate the falsity of claims that there is a “consensus” on climate change.

More scientists actually dismiss it than accept it—it’s just that the leftist-controlled news media and the administration are censoring the evidence these scientists present.

Chad Wozniak

Spay Day is coming

World Spay Day, on Feb. 26, 2013, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, is to recognize the critical need to spay and neuter pets. Every eight seconds in the U.S., a homeless cat or dog is euthanized in a shelter—nearly 4 million animals per year! These are often offspring of cherished family pets, whether it was intentional or not, whose owners did not spay or neuter.

Each year, Paws of Chico provides financial help to fix more than 600 pets in the Chico area whose owners cannot otherwise afford it, and prevents these unwanted litters from ending up at the Chico city shelter. Paws of Chico and Valley Oak Veterinary Center will once again honor World Spay Day with a low-cost cat spay/neuter clinic on Saturday, Feb. 23. Valley Oak is kindly offering their services to spay/neuter a total of 80 eligible cats.

To apply, contact a volunteer at 895-8510 or see instructions for an application at Chicospayneuter.org. You can help support our efforts for this event by purchasing raffle tickets for a quilt displayed in the Valley Oak lobby.

Jeanne Hansen

Jews are an ethnic group

Re “Ethnicity and religion” (Letters, by Brahama D Sharma, Jan. 24):

Your response to Brahama Sharma’s letter is unfortunate in its implications. There is nothing debatable about Jews constituting a distinct ethnic group; they are so recognized today by our government’s Office of Civil Rights and by the European Union. In 3,000 years of history in the Middle East and 2,000 years of targeted bigotry, no one has ever denied this—indeed, it has repeatedly been used against Jews with the claim that they are somehow a “disloyal” ethnic minority.

The “debate” you refer to is actually part of a political narrative, and has been modified from its traditional form: Jews are no longer a distinct people with an historical presence in Israel; they are now European religious zealots who invaded the (fictitious) country of Palestine and seized control.

This is historical nonsense, of course, but it has gained amazing currency with our political left and conspiracists of any shade (even here in our lovely town). Please look at our State Department’s Web page on “Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel.” When one particular group is singled out and demonized, we have a word for it: racism.

M. Michael Mulcahy