Letters for January 5, 2012

Death by salt

Re “The big three—air, water and food” (GreenWays, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Dec. 29): The three leading causes of death in the USA are heart attacks, cancer and strokes—and two of these three (heart attacks and strokes) are mainly attributable to high blood pressure. Sodium is the primary cause of high blood pressure, and our food processors and fast-food joints load up food with salt to “make it taste better.” It turns out that it’s our salt-laden food that is killing everybody.

Mike Peters

The race card

Re “No end to racism” (Letters, by Jerry Harris, Dec. 29): I am a resident of the same building (and the same hallway) that Mr. Harris lives in. I can state, unequivocally, that he was never threatened with a knife by any neighbor. The neighbor went to see Mr. Harris with the very valid complaint of loud music coming from Mr. Harris’ apartment, and on behalf of the neighbor (who is limited to a wheelchair) directly underneath Mr. Harris’ apartment.

Mr. Harris was not “profiled,” regardless of what he states that the officer asked him. The local cops have become quite familiar with Mr. Harris, specifically about the continuing noise complaints, and generally with his continued “pulling the race card” in any and every situation that he is not satisfied with. Many neighbors, including myself, will be much happier if/when Mr. Harris finds lodging elsewhere.

Ani Sky

Let the voters decide

Re “City Council wrestles with philosophical question” (Newlines, by Robert Speer, Dec. 22): There absolutely should be ranked priorities for city spending. In fact, why not send out a public poll? Would the $2 to $4 million have been spent on the concrete City Plaza with fountain and bandshell if voters and taxpayers had been consulted and told about the extent of expenditures? I doubt it. Did any member of the public even have a say? I doubt that also.

Certain priorities in my mind include public health, educational opportunities like improving school facilities, hiring better teachers, purchasing books, technology, art and sports equipment. How could a concrete City Plaza be more important than the city’s libraries? Or the city’s recreational facilities for kids?

The City Council members were elected to serve the Chico public, and their priorities ought to be guided and mandated by input from their constituents.

Mary Lawhead

Gangs and profiling

Re “Shooting the messenger” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Dec. 29): As a conservative regarding Bob Speer’s column about racial profiling, I am with Bob on this one, but only to a medium extent. I have worked with Will Clark and some of the other officers at the Chico PD on personal projects of theirs. Frankly, I found them all to be very hard working and honest, yet all exuded a real concern for job safety and staffing.

Their anxiety keeps increasing due partly to the revolving-door retirement policy in the chief’s position. Hiring the right person to cure this malady is squarely in the City Council’s lap. The chief should be informing the public with the truth about profiling, not Will Clark. So I will say it for the chief: Forget politics.

In the ’70s and early ’80s, you could, even a female, walk down the streets of Chico at 3 a.m. by yourself without fear. Today, warring gangs up from Southern Cal have been vying for control over the local drug-traffic demand. Murder has become a weekly newspaper article here. Today’s gangs don’t care who or where they shoot or rob. Their actions, not the police, are the root cause of profiling.

Smart officers know it as, “Don’t trust your weapon, trust your brains and instinct first.” All races are pulling the trigger these days, and all officers live with that each working day. Will Clark, leave the union-speak down at the Union Hall. Andy, keep your re-election posturing out of law enforcement. Until the bad guys put a nametag on their shirts, officers, don’t trust your life to anyone, no matter the race.

Rick Clements

More great chefs

Re “Good eats: Chico culinary experts share their secrets to preparing your favorites” (Cover story, Dec. 8): Intending no disrespect to any of the chefs you highlighted, I would include the chefs at 5th Street Steakhouse and Farm Star Pizza on the “A list” of Chico chefs, which includes in no particular order the chefs at Red Tavern and Christian Michael’s, Anne Leon (a protégé of Alice Waters) at Leon Bistro, Sal Corona at Caffe Malvina, Michael Iles at Sierra Nevada, and independents David and Woody Guzzetti, Alexander Cilesnek, Richie Hirschen and Denny Latimer. Rumor has it that Denny is an attorney, but his food says “chef.”

We are blessed to live in a city with so many fine chefs and a great variety of restaurants, but nobody makes my favorite soup, borscht. C’mon people!

Jim Dwyer

Roadside rescuers

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I was told of a small Chihuahua that had been dumped near Scotty’s on River Road and had been there for about three weeks. He was very frightened, and for several days we tried to rescue him. During this time I was inspired to find a small army of others attempting the same outcome. With the good grace of God and a little Thanksgiving turkey, this was accomplished. “Lucky” is now in a loving home and blossoming.

Currently, in the county jurisdiction, one must drive to Oroville to surrender pets, as Butte Humane Society serves only the Chico area. This leaves a big hole served by a mostly unresponsive Butte County Animal Control. Judging from my experience on River Road, there are enough responsible pet lovers to form a “no questions asked” rescue organization where these animals can be safely surrendered.

Please join us by rescuing your next pet on the roadside or at your local animal shelter. You will gain the most faithful best friend you’ve ever had and be a hero all at once. To my friends on River Road, God bless you and stay vigilant.

Dave Wallace

‘More is not better’

The city and Chamber of Commerce have been, for years, hell-bent on overgrowing and “densifying” Chico. Not only has Chico’s unique way of life suffered; we are strapped with congested streets and deadly crime.

Now, we are restricted in the use of an old friend, the wood stove, which has been with us since before city incorporation. When will city councils see that more is not better and make the righteous decision to protect and preserve what is left of Sherwood Forest.

Jerry Olio

Passing on the gift

As a local volunteer for Heifer International, I want to acknowledge and give thanks to two local entrepreneurs, Luke Anderson, and Matthew Martin, who give of themselves and their means to struggling farm families and communities in the U.S.A. and around the world.

On 11-11-11, Luke arranged his Music, Ritual, Dance program at the Dorothy Johnson Center with half the proceeds going to Heifer International (and half to Occupy Chico). The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Matthew was at his usual spot at the Chico Certified Farmers Market selling his tasty carrots and other vegetables, with all the proceeds for that day going to Heifer to buy animals and training for small farmers, who in turn “pass on the gift” of offspring to the next family.

It is a lesson in sustainability as people help each other, lifting themselves out of poverty and hunger, allowing them to send their children to school and buy medicines, giving them dignity and hope. You can follow Luke and Matthew’s example of passing on the gift at www.heifer.org.

Suellen Rowlison, RN


In his From This Corner column last week, Robert Speer misidentified the reporters at Calbuzz who broke the story about the failure of ProPublica to mention the work of Eric McGhee at the Public Policy Institute of California. It was Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine, the co-founders of Calbuzz, not Robert Cruikshank, who works at Calitics.com and has also written extensively—and critically—about ProPublica’s misleading article. The error has been corrected online.—ed.