Letters for January 9, 2014

Artists missing

Re “Who to watch” (Cover feature, by CN&R staff, Jan. 2):

I wasn’t surprised that not one person in the plastic arts, painters and sculptors was listed in the CN&R’s “Who to watch” in 2014. There wasn’t even one writer, nor a poet.

One thing that I liked about living in Europe for 20 years was the great respect Europeans had for artists. Some artists could even be elected prime minister of their country. I do know that art occupies so little of the American mind, but it is important, and the people who produce it are great additions to any society.

The importance of art should not be underestimated, especially in our post-post-modern world, where fluff has replaced thinking, and kitsch has taken over. Chico is not alone in this. San Francisco, once the home of the hippies, has now been replaced by techies, all absorbed in their iPads and smartphones. The new year needs thinkers more than it ever has.

Jerry Harris
San Francisco/Chico

Great news for nonprofits

Re “Encouraging food localization” (GreenHouse, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, Jan. 2):

[Cultivating Community Advocates’ distribution of grant funding] is fantastic news for three crucial Chico community-service providers. I have met and interviewed numerous people whose lives have changed, and continue to change, thanks to all three of these organizations [the Jesus Center, Catalyst Domestic Violence Services and the Work Training Center]. It warms my heart. I’m particularly pleased with the Jesus Center grant for agricultural training for community members experiencing homelessness.

Bill Mash

Let’s talk about bees

Re “Saving the bees” (Editorial, Jan. 2):

Last summer, I became very aware of another disturbing phenomenon that may or may not be related to the loss of honey bees. Every spring and summer, whenever I turned on a porch light, it would collect a host of flying insects. This last summer, however, there were hardly any.

A number of times, the light would not attract even one insect after being on for several hours. It scares me and I would like to know what is happening. I have mentioned this to several people and no one seems concerned. The attitude seems to be, “So what? They are nothing but a nuisance.”

Just as honey bees are essential to our agriculture, all insects are an essential part of nature. If we lose insects, we will also lose plants, birds, fish, amphibians and mammals all the way up and down the food chain. Nature has established a very delicate balance. By introducing deadly chemicals to destroy insects, we might just be sealing our own fate.

Robert Grignon Sr.

Reality check, dude

Re “What about my rights?” (Letters, by Andrew Palmquist, Jan. 2):

Andrew Palmquist states that because of Assembly Bill 1266, “K-12 children, as young as 5 years old, will be exposed to Jimmy coming to school as Janie and wanting to use the toilet like a girl, and even to exhibit him/herself as a girl in front of other young impressionable students.”

Would Mr. Palmquist consent to tell us what schools he went to where he was required to “exhibit” himself so that those of us more concerned by that notion rather than what genitals the person in the next stall possesses might ensure our children do not attend such institutions?

Nathaniel Perry

Here’s a little reality about Assembly Bill 1266: The phenomenon of transgender people is something all of us who are not among them find difficult to understand. It is foreign to our experience. But it is clearly real. A few of our fellow citizens—including some children—feel deeply that their “real” gender is at odds with their physical bodies. For nearly all such people, the process of transition, living as the person they feel they are, is agonizingly difficult. Many experience bullying, mockery and ridicule. A distressing number are driven to suicide.

The new law and school policies to implement it are simply allowing that small number of transgender students in our schools to live their deeply felt sense of who they are. Those who raise the specter of boys using the law frivolously to gain access to the girls’ bathroom are quite simply liars. They know as well as anyone that the law will apply only to those who are living day in and day out as a given gender. And oh yes: School bathrooms have stalls in them—no child in our schools is using the bathroom as a place to sneak a peek at someone else’s private parts.

David Welch

Peace requires new leader

Re “No peace without justice” (Guest comment, by Sandra O’Neill, Jen. 2):

I have no problem with the people in Palestine as individuals and don’t doubt that many are fine, peaceful people. Time and again, agreements have been made to end hostilities to no avail. The rockets continue to be launched from Palestinian settlements. Israel has no choice except to retaliate and it is my opinion that it has a right to do so.

John Kerry, Bill Clinton and others are spinning their wheels in attempts to broker a peace deal that sticks. The only hope for a lasting peace, I believe, lies in the truly peaceful Palestinians voting in a leader who acknowledges that Israel is the legitimate, ancient homeland of the Jewish people and the best friend that the U.S. has in that area.

There is no way that Hamas will ever defeat Israel militarily and I remain confident that eventually, the Palestinian people will vote a peaceful leader into power that will end the cycle of hate and violence. There are peaceful Palestinians living in Israel as proof that they can live side by side. All that is required is a change of attitude and policy. Get the government out of the way and the people will do the right thing.

Maurice Picard

Stop having babies!

Re “Helping the climate” (UnCommon Sense, Jan. 2):

Each child is a monster carbon footprint. When children get older they have more children. And on and on and on. Try thinking before you procreate. Other than you, who is the beneficiary? Do you think we need your kid?

Joseph Robinson

Supe’s clarification

Re “Blame the policy, not the plant” (Cover feature, by David Downs, Nov. 21):

Recent articles make it important for me to clearly state my position on medical marijuana. I do not support the total legalization of marijuana and I am skeptical that there are beneficial uses for medical patients.

I have stated in the past and currently stand with four points regarding marijuana. One, as currently grown, there is a real threat to personal and family safety. Marijuana is valuable and prone to violent theft. Two, if you live near a marijuana grow, there are intrusions on you and your family including traffic, dust, noise and odor. Three, generally, if there is marijuana grown near your property, the value goes down. Four, many of our county’s problems with illegal marijuana grows originate from the difference in state versus federal law. It is illegal across the nation, but quasi-legal here. That is confusion.

I have stated marijuana laws are creating the same problems as Prohibition did with alcohol. The federal government needs to drop marijuana from a class one narcotic and regulate it from grow site to licensed sales facilities.

The Board of Supervisors recently voted 4-1 to strengthen the restrictions on pot cultivation. One supervisor, Larry Wahl, voted against the stronger restrictions, and I don’t believe he favors marijuana legalization either.

Bill Connelly

More pot talk

Re “Chronic issues” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Dec. 12):

Watching the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting of Dec. 10, 2013, I was reminded why government at a national and state level is so inefficient. The issue was the regulation of marijuana. The board previously tried a strict ordinance, which was overturned by a vote of the people. So, the panel put the antis and pros together with the sheriff and the district attorney and came up with an ordinance that lasted one year.

I watched the attempt to make the ordinance stricter; four board members voted in favor of it. The other supervisor, Larry Wahl, appeared to be angry he couldn’t get his way [to outlaw growing marijuana], and publicly chastised the other four. Now I cannot remember him ever voting before to keep the rules more liberal nor can I remember him out campaigning to defeat the “Let granny grow initiative.”

Mr. Wahl, we need more common sense and less disruption. We the people need more action and less campaigning. In the end, you actually voted to keep things as they are—less restrictive.

John Allen

Missing the old days

Booting my PC this morning, the picture spontaneously went from square to widescreen and I had to spend the whole freaking day figuring out how to get it back to square!

God how I miss the old days, when all a simple adjustment required was simply turning one or two knobs, and they never spontaneously reset themselves.

Like every time the lights go out, I have to reset the clocks on half a dozen machines and reprogram my DVR!

Government and law are even worse. No simple knobs. Performing the simplest task requires first spending days wading through volumes of information learning how to do it, and then praying your interpretation of the rules matches the judges or he’ll dismiss your entire case!

I swear to God, it could all be 10 times easier, faster, and require 10 times less stress, expense, injustice, and wasted time.

If it could all be done so much more efficiently, why isn’t it then? Because the intimidating complexity makes ordinary people like us believe the huge cost of insurance, lawyers, judges, government bureaucracies, etc. is a necessary evil. Also, mind-blowingly complex procedures make illicit activity hard for voters to spot.

Nathan Esplanade

A campaign pledge

My campaign for Butte County assessor is not about me. Yes, it’s my picture, my signs, my relevant experience, my professional training, my education, and I will gain from the benefits of the position. But the goal is to bring success to the population of Butte County by building a higher level of performance, efficiency and accountability in one essential department. I can do this for you.

Since 2011, I’ve demonstrated my openness to this commitment through the Adopt-a-Highway program. By maintaining litter control on a 2-mile section on Highway 149, I showed you my level of humility and effort in my approach to government service. It’s a small way to show I am willing to perform any task that brings us closer to the goal of a better county.

We are all required to occasionally address tedious and perhaps unpleasant tasks in the performance of duty. Our servicemen know this best, but parents, farmers, coaches, bosses, teachers and policymakers also know that this is what it takes. I know that doing the right thing takes extra energy and willingness. You, the voter, must identify and elect people who will act accordingly.

Al Petersen