Letters for July 11, 2013

A needed shake-up

Re “The face of public art” (Scene, by Jason Cassidy, July 3):

Over recent years, Chico’s public-art program had defaulted to internal gatekeeping of city staff. About 80 percent of public funds spent on art projects and the semantically retitled “aesthetic treatments” bypassed the originally adopted decision-making policies of site selection, artist selection, and approval authority of the Arts Commission.

Commissioners resigned or were gradually demoted to cheerleading for projects they weren’t even involved with, after the fact.

There’s an expression that says “Follow the money.” Somehow, the general-fund costs for salary and benefits of the unadvertised full-time arts-coordinator position increased to more than the entire combined annual arts-grant allocations. Little if anything trickled down to most local artists, and no money was left for required project maintenance.

The recent changes to Chico’s arts program are a long-overdue blessing, and restore a rightful democratic power to the people and their representative arts commissioners. This new freedom offers a choice for the arts program to fly or to crash. Now is a great time for artists to rally and help build something more worthy of their support. Now is the commissioners’ time to represent the whole community, rise to the occasion, and lead.

Gregg Payne
Prescott, Ariz.

Summertime slashing

Re “A plea for help” (Editorial, June 20):

Is it not interesting that the current process of economic slash-and-burn is being carried out while so many people are out of town for the summer? Only a short time ago this was seen as an undemocratic way of doing things in this town.

The true 800-pound gorilla is today’s inverted economic pyramid where the High Administrative Class continues to reward itself at the expense of those below them. Repeatedly, we have seen the loss of jobs that actually involve doing something. (I call this “the Actual Test.” For example: Just who is going to actually clean the bathrooms? Chico has windstorms—just who will be out in the rain actually cutting down the dangerous tree limbs?)

May I suggest we adopt a version of the Maoist practice of having Chinese administrators and diplomats spend part of their day sweeping the steps of the consulate? I always thought this was by far the best idea that Mao came up with—certainly better than his namesake jacket.

Michael Mulcahy

Financial fallout continues

Re “Grand Jury dings Chico” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, July 3):

It seems to me that the city of Chico employee unions negotiated very generous pay-scales. City Finance Director Jennifer Hennessy gave incomplete and misleading information to the City Council as to whether it was affordable. And when the facts came out, she and many other city employees skipped town grasping their pensions, which are even more generous than their salaries were. Which leaves the rest of us to clean up the mess … and pay their pensions for the rest of their lives.

Michael Jones

In the old days, the great investigative reporting of the Chico News & Review would have left no stone unturned to get to the truth and ask questions and demand answers! But not this time … why? The progressive, liberal council members are involved and we wouldn’t want them to look inept, now would we?

The CN&R wants us all to believe that Jennifer Hennessy pulled off, all by herself, the greatest “catch-me-if-you-can moving all these taxpayer monies from one city deficit fund to cover another city deficit fund” in order to make city finance reports look rosy?

And it’s just so convenient she left for a new job in Temecula and—guess what?—she won’t talk! And what makes this all so astonishing is that the city of Temecula’s administrators, after reading the Butte County Grand Jury report, just can’t wait for the same bang-up good job she’ll do for them, being that she’s so accurate at her profession.

How stupid do you think we are? Jennifer had help. I’d ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate, but he’s too busy searching for the missing FBI’s telephone number to investigate the IRS like President OLiar promised! Yeah, right!

Rick Clements

Save the trees

Third and Chestnut streets is the site of the latest logging project planned by the city of Chico. On this corner you will find six magnificent, tall, shady old walnut trees.

Arborist Scot Wineland says they were probably planted by John Bidwell. But to fix the sidewalk, the city’s plan is: Cut ’em all down. What a shame! Scot says maybe two could go, but four are in great shape. Let them stand. He will prune them at no charge to the city.

Chico used to be called the City of Trees. After the recent removal of at least 66 healthy heritage-type trees, the title may have to be changed to City of Chainsaws. Call your City Council person before the trees are all gone!

Scot and I are going to pay the city fees to have those four officially declared Heritage Trees. Call us if you’d like to help: 343-3152.

Charles Withuhn

Park cuts let down many

I recently found out about the upcoming closure of Caper Acres and several restrooms within the One-Mile Recreation Area, and am extremely concerned with these developments.

One-Mile and Caper Acres are among the most visited attractions in Chico. Generations of children have grown up playing in this park, and to cut hours so that homemakers or parents who work non-traditional hours are unable to bring their children here is thoughtless and unfair, especially during the height of summer.

Closing restrooms that are needed by scores of visitors is short-sighted and will only result in increased maintenance costs later on when less-scrupulous visitors to the park elect to use the bushes as a toilet. Furthermore, it is unfair to children, the elderly, and those with disabilities, as many have conditions which make it difficult to hold their bladders once they have to go.

As you can see, closing Caper Acres and several restrooms is a poor choice which can only lead to trouble and unhappiness among the citizens of Chico. I believe we can find a way via volunteers and donations to keep the park open in its current capacity. Let’s work together and figure this out.

Tanya “Abigail” Lopez

A note of thanks

I have never been more proud to be a member of the Chico community than on the evening of June 27, when Chico Grocery Outlet, Chico News & Review and Quackers Lounge sponsored a wine-tasting benefit for our nonprofit organization, PawPrints Thrift Store Spay/Neuter Program.

On the last Thursday evening of every month, these shining examples of community service hold a wine-tasting benefit for a lucky nonprofit organization in our community. The Chico Grocery Outlet provides five or six different wines to sample along with snacks.

The Chico News & Review publicizes the event, and Ed Burns, owner of Quackers Lounge, donates the use of the Crystal Room on East Avenue. Wine glasses, tables with tablecloths, chairs and—a necessity on this particular evening—air-conditioning were all provided, gratis.

This fundraiser was a great success for our group. What a gracious and generous gesture on the part of these Chico businesses. All we can offer in return is a sincere and heartfelt thank you.

Ingrid Cordes
PawPrints board member

Still missing Rob Blair

I agree that KNVN/KHSL has made an epically terrible choice in firing Rob Blair. My husband and I always watched Wake Up!; Rob’s voice was my husband’s alarm clock. Cort Klopping is a fine young man, but I find myself either falling back asleep or changing the channel, and my husband doesn’t watch anymore.

Rob’s joyous demeanor really made you wake up in a good mood. Now, Wake Up! is not what I need anymore, especially if the station does not have a valid reason for terminating his employment.

Angela Barber