Letters for July 11, 2002

Under God, period!
The 18th century was known as the enlightenment period. To the educated men of this time, reason was the alternative to superstition and prejudice.

One of the revered writers was Voltaire, who wrote that almost everything that goes beyond the adoration of a supreme being and submission of the heart to his orders is superstition.

Notice that the most superstitious ages have always been those of the most horrible crimes! Superstitious man is ruled by fanatics and becomes one himself. Men of enlightenment believe that nature is the proper standard for measuring God and man.

If a thing is in accord with nature it is therefore good! The way to happiness lay in conformity to nature and nature’s’ laws. The men who broke nature’s laws were looked upon as rebels against the order of the universe. The end in view was happiness, not salvation.

This belief came to be known as Deism. The belief in a God who is creator, but not a redeemer. To a Deist all dogma and ritual were nothing more than superstition. When Thomas Jefferson included the pursuit of happiness along with life and liberty as an undeniable human right, he was expressing the general agreement of enlightenment.

When Benjamin Franklin wrote, “I believe in one God, the creator of the universe, that he ought to be worshipped,” he confirmed his belief in Deism. When they wrote, “one nation under God,” that’s what they meant, period! On our money it states “IN GOD WE TRUST,” period!

When the framers of our constitution wrote Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, that’s what they meant, period! Being humanitarians, they wrote that we shall have freedom of religion. These men came to get away from the rule of religion.

Why would they establish a religion here?

I do believe in God our creator, but I am not religious.

Jerry Foreman

When Congress passed the Patriot Act, which took away some of my civil liberties, it ruined the word for me. Instead of a patriot, I now call myself a “matriot,” meaning one who loves Mother Earth.

In the wake of this Independence Day more than ever, we need to acknowledge the interdependence of all the countries of the earth. Global warming, species extinction, overpopulation, toxic air, water and soil, the AIDS virus and nuclear fallout have no boundaries. It’s time extreme nationalism goes the way of the dinosaurs before we do.

I love this country but I do not “stand united” with our present government’s “war without end,” its refusal to take the worldwide environmental crisis seriously or its support of greedy multinational corporations and repressive foreign dictators.

This Fourth of July there were already too many American flags in Chico to suit my taste, so I hung the flag with the picture of the whole Earth on it.

Renee Renaud

Citizenship defined
Concern of José Padilla, and others, is justified. If he is so guilty why not speedily and publicly try him, and if found guilty, hang him? Perhaps the government has some other use for him.

However, as a U.S. citizen, he, or any of us, is not entitled to the full compliment of rights. Only the citizens of the union of several states fall under the constitutional umbrella. As people unknowingly (undisclosed presumption) classify themselves as U.S. citizens, civil authority has incrementally and legally extended and subjugated natural rights. Most all of us have unknowingly agreed to U.S. citizenship rather than the more powerful state citizenship by signing the 1040 (Meador, Freeman Investigation), the W-4, voter registration applications, use of zip codes and state-issued certificates of birth (McCloud, Liberty Radio).

If José Padilla was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he may have birthright to state (American) citizenship and constitutional rights. Then again, there is evidence that New York City is a state territory (Stokes, Freedom’s Questions.)

If he is an American then unnamed sources, sources reluctant to stake their reputation (or lack thereof), or sources that do not exist, are of negligible use to civil authority and there is no case to hold him.

Barry Layton

There goes the neighborhood
In a recent letter to the Enterprise-Record, Karen Duncan accused Scott Gruendl and Lin Jensen of defaming her. Meanwhile, in these pages, she defamed Greg Webb with that same tired line about him profiting from the Esplanade House. What makes this woman so mean and bitter?

She makes a lot of claims about being charitable, but so far all we have heard from her is hatefulness. In a recent letter to the E-R, she called the Esplanade House “a housing development,” comparing her concerns to those of the Sterling neighbors. There is no comparison there. The Sterling neighbors are worried about traffic safety and congestion. Duncan seems to be concerned that poor people are going to bring down her property value. We never heard a word out of her when Tony Symmes plopped Aspen Glen down in that neighborhood, even though some other neighbors hotly protested the new traffic that new development brought through their old neighborhood. Where was Duncan then?

Duncan is a real estate agent. She profits from the speculative price of housing. She knows that new housing raises prices all around, so she is quick to attack the “no-growthers.” What puzzles me is, what is her beef against homeless women and children? Is her real beef with Greg Webb? Why? Maybe she’ll get out her poison pen and write me an answer.

Juanita Sumner

Enrollment cap
The city of Chico’s recent consideration of the Nord Avenue apartment complex has understandably included discussion of the university’s future enrollment. In order to minimize confusion on this issue, I would like an opportunity to clarify what our enrollment plans are.

Our goal for fall 2002 is to reduce our enrollment. In 2001-02, we reached an all-time record both in the number of students—16,468—and in full-time equivalents (FTE)—14,786. There are two major, interrelated reasons why we must reduce enrollment. First, we were funded for only 14,250 FTE, and thus we did not receive any funding for the additional 536 FTE. Second, and consequently, we had a very difficult time providing the best resources and access to classes. For 2002-03, our funding will be for 14,345 FTE. We must therefore do all we can to bring enrollment and funding in line. Since applications to CSU, Chico have continued to increase, we have admitted only the most qualified prospective freshmen for fall 2002, tightened admissions for some transfer and graduate students, and in general taken steps to limit overall enrollment.

The campus has an official enrollment ceiling, set by The California State University, of 14,000 FTE. The number is used by the CSU to help determine what campuses get consideration for new facilities. Clearly, we have grown past the 14,000 FTE ceiling. Our own analysis indicates that, should we be permitted to grow officially to 15,800 FTE, it is at this juncture that we receive the greatest square footage in facilities for the smallest FTE growth. Thus, we are considering 15,800 FTE for planning purposes so we can build future classrooms and other much-needed facilities. But the plan to raise the FTE ceiling has only begun, and, if eventually approved by the CSU Board of Trustees, it would probably take about 20 years for construction to be completed and the 15,800 FTE to be reached.

Manuel Esteban
President, CSU, Chico