Letters for July 10, 2014

About the border

Re “Root of border crossings” (Editorial, July 3):

You nailed the facts, the issues, the causes, and the methods that the U.S. government can use to address the problem effectively.

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, immigration courts and judges are required to bend over backward to accommodate unaccompanied minors who arrive at the border without entry documents—and rightfully so. Some of the best and most accommodating immigration judges are at the San Francisco Immigration Court, and the judges treat the minors with the care, respect and empathy they deserve. These children have witnessed nightmares we Americans can only imagine, and have endured journeys that have often left them traumatized.

Unfortunately for these children, simply being the victim of organized crime or fleeing organized crime is not enough to receive asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act. While the situation in their countries is brutal—gang violence, apathetic governments, corruption, natural disasters—the U.S. government must take proactive measures if we really care about stemming the flow of minors at the border.

Unfortunately we are dealing with the consequences of W’s foreign policy in the Middle East and have few resources or the patience for further intervention. But if there’s one region where we should be more involved it is Latin America. Our ignorance of the issues that affect that region is coming back to haunt us.

Andrew HolleyChico

Editor’s note: Mr. Holley is a local immigration attorney.

Regarding your thoughtful editorial, the drug war gives rise to the problems it purports to resolve. The crime, corruption and overdose deaths attributed to illegal drugs are invariably the result of drug prohibition. Alcohol prohibition once financed organized crime and increased harm to consumers from unregulated bathtub gin. Violent turf battles over illegal alcohol profits ended in 1933 when alcohol prohibition ended.

Now we have mass migration of unaccompanied minors fleeing the violence that the U.S. drug war has wrought in Mexico and Central America. Shameless politicians seeking to literally scare up votes use the tremendous societal damage caused by drug prohibition as justification for throwing good money after bad public policy. It’s long past time that voters stopped letting our so-called leaders get away with this harmful ruse.

Robert Sharpe
policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

Reply from Suckville

Re “Central California sucks” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, July 3):

The author has strong opinions about California’s farming industry, but there are a few points that should be clarified: 1) The San Joaquin Valley, that region of the state most only see from afar while driving I-5, accounts for a full 30 percent of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables. She is likely a consumer of some of its bounty; 2) Farmers were encouraged to plant a lot of high-value, permanent crops prior to the salmon and delta smelt biological opinions that pulled the rug out from under them. We all remember the shrieking voices in the 1990s about cotton, alfalfa and rice; 3) Delta farmers have valid concerns about the impacts of water supply cuts. They’re watching as 3 million acres of farmland elsewhere in the state are getting a zero allocation.

Mike Wade
executive director, California Farm Water Coalition, Sacramento

Take note, union president

Re “Union chief fires back” (Letters, July 3):

Chico police officers need a new mantra. Every time they demand that our bankrupt city raise their hefty salaries, their outrageous overtime pay scales, their dubious disability payments, and their scandalous early retirement packages, they always lay the same-old guilt trip on the taxpayers about how they “lay their lives on the line” every day they’re on the job.

In last week’s letter in the CN&R, police union President Peter Durfee repeats this tired old cliché and then, for good measure, paints a weepy picture of Chico police officers going to work each day not knowing if they’re going to return home at night to tuck in their kids. Oh, please!

Just how dangerous are their jobs? Here are the facts: In the 154 years since John Bidwell founded the city of Chico in 1860, just one policeman (officer Carleton Bruce in 1938) has been killed in the line of duty. During the same 154 years, just one fireman has been killed in the line of duty (fire marshal Ray Walter Head in 1970). These facts speak for themselves. Chico police officers and firefighters have some of the safest jobs in the world!

David L. Williams

In last week’s paper, Chico Police Officers’ Association (CPOA) President Peter Durfee states his union gave up over 18 percent in wages and benefits over the past three years. Given that his union’s full-time members averaged $156,318 in 2012, that would be a definite stride toward fairness. We trust, yet might want to verify, Peter’s numbers.

How about this? The CPOA contract expires this Dec. 31. We’ll offer to pay the average CPOA member 18 percent less in wages and benefits than they got three years ago. If it turns out it results in a reduction from what they are getting now, we’ll even commit to use the difference to hire additional officers.

We just ask that the CPOA support the city’s efforts to save money by hiring CalFire to run our fire stations, and that the money saved on firefighting services be devoted 80 percent to Public Works and 20 percent toward council members’ miscellaneous causes. This proposal is consistent with the CPOA’s public positions. Will you sign a memorandum of understanding with these provisions, Peter?

Michael Jones

I’d like to respond to Peter Durfee’s question re what is “reasonable” (salary and benefits) “to put your life on the line” as a police officer. I’ve heard that rhetorical question asked many times. What do you want or expect people to say? Have you ever heard a soldier who lays his life on the line every day for your freedom ask that kind of question? Never! Do you know why? Because they knew what they were getting into when they joined the military service. I’ve never once heard any one of them say, “You don’t pay me enough.”

As a member of Chico police force, you have enjoyed steady, mandated 5 percent wage increases over the first seven years of your employment. In addition to what is mandated, we taxpayers have long paid into your pension. We also pay up to 70 percent of your monthly medical benefit. Shall I go on?

The city is having a tough time recruiting not because of a low wage and benefit package but because no one wants to join a force that is made up primarily of patrol officers with no immediate prospects of improvement.

Thank the union and city mismanagement.

Stephanie L. Taber

Recently I posted a letter responding to some who question the pay and benefits of the members of the Chico Police Officers Association and the danger involved in being a police officer.

Let’s put that aside and look at the liability issue alone of the job. Police officers are forced to make split-second decisions to stop a threat by means of deadly force or take someone’s freedom away by means of arrest. If a mistake is made, it could cost the city millions of dollars as well as the freedom of that officer. The liability alone is why officers make the salaries that they do.

Yet some question the $34 per hour that officers make. Those are the same people who pay their mechanic $85 per hour to work on their car and don’t bat an eye at the cost. Before people claim that I am trying to belittle another profession, because some will, I’m not. It’s just a comparison, people.

Peter Durfee
CPOA president, Chico

Apply common sense

“Video sparks controversy” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, June 26):

I am thankful that no one was killed in this incident, and that no innocent bystanders were affected, and I am sorry that Mr. Rosales was injured. However, Rosales allowed an unrestrained animal to affect his operation of a motor vehicle, a potentially deadly weapon, and was completely at fault for the accident.

It’s against the law to drive with unrestrained human occupants in a vehicle. Common sense should tell drivers, such as Rosales, that this should also apply to dogs. Did he ever consider the consequences to his dog were he to be in an auto accident? Apparently not. Recently, I saw a driver straining to see around a small poodle to oncoming traffic in order to merge with heavy traffic on a four-lane street!

Mr. Rosales needs to understand that public-safety personnel need to be able to think on their feet and act quickly in order to prevent a bad situation from becoming much worse. Mr. Rosales needs to realize that police are human beings, too, and want to be able to go home to their families at the end of their shift. Far too many are killed and injured each year due to ill-advised actions on the part of irresponsible motorists. Mr. Rosales needs to do some serious soul searching and thank the officer who rescued him, not sue the police department.

Tom Molina

No excuses

Re “The blame game” (Editorial, June 26):

Your editorial regarding the genesis of City Hall’s financial mess smartly shared that the economy hit everyone hard during recent years. Fortunately, you also pointed out that City Hall didn’t respond to the recession as quickly as it should have. That’s the key.

There are some things that we don’t have control over. Others we do, and our city officials were either scared, incompetent, or worse. Anyone can look good during salad days. It’s when you’re under pressure and problems occur that competence is judged. I couldn’t care less if they were liberals or conservatives. What they did for years was mismanage, and no amount of excuses can justify the situation they put our town in.

Everyone is damn tired of our poor infrastructure. Chico Unified School District unfortunately taught us that its own mismanagement has had deleterious effect for years. We can’t do the same. Our recreation district, parks, streets, police and fire, essential services have all declined. At least Brian Nakamura gave us another chance by getting us started to return to solvency.

We have been given another chance. Let’s learn from our mistakes, so we don’t repeat them, as the saying goes.

Grace Milieu Parker

Enjoyable review

Re “Transform already!” (Film, by Bob Grimm, July 3):

It was a pleasure to read Bob Grimm’s review of the new Transformers movie Age of Extinction. It has been a long time since I enjoyed a movie review as much. Usually a fan of Mark Wahlberg action films, I will save my money and just thank Bob for sitting through that agonizing misery so that I don’t have to.

Ken O’Connor

Ills of collective penalties

Israel has imposed broad collective punishment of Palestinians for the kidnapping and killing of three teenage settlers. Israeli forces have killed seven Palestinians, including children, demolished many homes, detained over 600 and moved to occupy major city centers including Hebron and Ramallah. A 17-year-old Palestinian boy has been murdered in what is widely believed to be a revenge killing and a young American teen from Tampa, Fla., was beaten severely.

The kidnapping and killing of the young Israeli students is a horrible crime and it has rightfully inspired outrage. The person or people who carried it out should be found and held responsible. But for Israel to hold hostage and brutalize the entire Palestinian population will only inspire more resentment and rage among all involved.

Collective punishment is closely linked with revenge, creating an illusion of justice in order to satisfy a compulsion to strike back. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 33, collective penalties are prohibited. All measures of intimidation or of terrorism, reprisals and damage to property amount to crimes against humanity.

Jews have been victims of atrocities for centuries and it is right to uphold their safety, protection and human rights; but it is never right to oppress others in the process.

Jane Casa and Cathy Webster

Insulted by investigation

Is there anything more telling about the inefficiency, ineffectiveness and corruption of government than the IRS investigation? For adults to wonder why our youth seem disenfranchised need only to turn on the news.

It is insulting to our intelligence to listen to the outrageous coverup by Lois Lerner and her staff. “The hard drive vanished in thin air.”

The only computers that are missing are from the staff members whose records were requested! Who needs an expensive program to protect your documents from discovery? Apparently the best way to crash a government hard drive is to subpoena it.

We have seen this all too often when officials have records requested and they quickly disappear. Lerner forgot that public funds not only paid for her salary, but they also are paying for her legal fees. Until people like Lerner are put in jail for their transparent manipulations, it influences other politicians at every level to act with the same contempt for our laws.

On a local level, it makes me wonder if the last few city managers and top staff have lost or destroyed all their communications that would easily tell us the many budget mistakes and worse that were made.

Alex Topper

Thankful for the help

Chris Hostettler, owner of the Grocery Outlet, provided wines from Napa, Russian River, Washington and Spain for a wine tasting to benefit Paws of Chico Spay & Neuter Program. The event was held on Thursday, June 26. Paws raised $753.19, which will be used to assist low-income pet owners with the cost of spay/neuter for their cats and dogs. The combined efforts of the Grocery Outlet, Crystal Room and Chico News & Review made this a very successful event. A huge thank you goes to Chris Hostettler, Ed Burns and Brian Corbit for their commitment to helping the Chico animal community!

Cynthia Gerrie
Paws of Chico Spay & Neuter Program, Chico

The Chico Museum’s 12th annual Country Supper was a wonderful and successful event due, in part, to the hard work and commitment of many. Wonderful food by Earl Keene and Eight Ball Catering, drinks by JB’s, our partners at Bidwell Perk, A & J Rental, Charlotte Hall and Hall Media Group, our emcee Linda Watkins-Bennett, the Chico Police Department Explorers, and our magical musicians, Jazuppa. It takes a large cast to create such an entertaining event and so our thanks go out to all who helped and most notably Dave Minton, Chuck Priddy, Alberta Simic, Gary Quiring, Maggie Navarro and Lori Engels, the board of directors of the Far West Heritage Association who produced and donated beautiful and unique raffle baskets, and all those supporters of the Chico Museum that helped pull off this annual event.

All of the proceeds from this fundraiser and our other major fundraiser, Museum Night Out to be held Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, go to support quality exhibits and programming at the Chico Museum. Up next for the museum is the long-awaited and much-anticipated exhibit titled “Mik ‘Cupu Dy: This is our Home and Here We Remain,” which will open this fall. This exhibit is being cooperatively produced between the Chico Museum and the Mechoopda Indian tribe. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Chico Museum!

Starlyn Brown
chair, Chico Museum Steering Committee