Letters for July 12, 2012

Where are the names?

Re “They Also Serve” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, July 5):

I have been an anti-war activist all my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the young men and women in the line of fire and the concerns of their families. Therefore, I appreciate Jaime O’Neill’s article, especially because the mainstream news media tend to under-report the trials and tribulations of military families and the stress our endless wars put on the people most directly involved.

The article also reminds me of something that has bothered me a long time—the veterans’ memorial in City Plaza. When I heard there was to be a memorial, I assumed that it would most prominently feature a list of the U.S. military people from Chico and the surrounding area who lost their lives in wars. Instead, the names most prominently featured, on a podium in front of the memorial, are the people on the committee to build the memorial.

The dead in battle? Those who made the ultimate sacrifice? To find them, you have to walk behind the main part of the memorial, where they are listed along with the various business sponsors. I looked for Arron Clark, the first soldier from Chico to die in Iraq. There he was, listed right below Chico Volkswagen.

There is no way to know if any of the other individual names listed among the sponsors is a fallen Chico-area soldier or simply a person who gave money to help build the memorial. No wonder Clark’s family and friends campaigned to get their son a fitting public memorial.

The memorial was planned by the same people who love to wave the flag, support wars and call themselves patriotic. And yet there is still no way to know the names of our hometown people who died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Nancy Park

The real cause

Re “What’s she hiding?” (Letters, by Toby Schindelbeck, July 5):

Toby Schindelbeck’s campaign letter states that Chicoans “lose” because of our finance director’s lack of timely reporting of numbers. He wants us to believe that this is what led to the closing of Fire Station 5. This is the canard the Tea Party has fooled itself with, and now wants to fool us with.

I am quite certain Jennifer Hennessy has been struggling harder than the proverbial Dutch Boy trying to plug all the holes in the city’s budget—due in no small part to the games played nationally by Mr. Schindelbeck’s Tea Party.

No, Mr. Schindelbeck. It isn’t a lack of reporting that caused the closure of Fire Station 5. It was the $155,000 of city funds wasted on a blatant disregard for democracy forced on us by the Tea Party—the special election held to try to deny the vote to people you disagree with politically.

Try as you might. Lie as you might. Those are the facts: The Tea Party caused the mess.

I can’t imagine any thinking individual voting for the candidates who caused the mess in the first place.

Can you?

Quentin Colgan

Privileged treatment?

Re “Former councilman accused of DUI” (Downstroke, July 5):

Well, let’s sit back and watch what happens to Mr. Nickell. It seems if you have a badge, or are an assistant DA, or a well-known person in Butte County, then you are singled out as special and get away with a minor charge and a slap on the hands.

Remember our Butte County assistant DA who was charged with driving drunk with his children? Anyone else found in this situation would be serving time in prison now. However, this guy worked for the DA and is now back doing his job for Butte County. Oh, to be one of the “good ol’ boys” is such a comfort to those who break the law in Butte County.

Jewell Stryker

More on clean air

Re “Hold the VOCS, please” (Greenways, by Christopher Weber, June 28):

I applaud the News & Review for publishing Christopher Weber’s well-written and -researched article. While VOCs contribute to the creation of smog and the deterioration of indoor air quality, there are a number of other things to look at when considering air quality.

Similar to paints, caulk and flooring adhesives are a source of VOCs that is often overlooked. Additionally, carpet, furniture, cabinetry and other finish materials have adhesives and chemicals (including formaldehyde) that can contribute to poor indoor air quality. When introducing new products into your home, you have the opportunity to find less harmful and natural materials. It is important to note that natural materials are not always going to be better for indoor air quality, so do your homework.

I recommend Environmental Building News’ (www.buildinggreen.com) extensive library of articles and product reviews.

Another often overlooked source of poor indoor air quality is the air coming from your heating and air conditioning system. Your ductwork can be contaminated with dirt, dust, mold, rodent droppings, insulation or asbestos. A duct cleaning and sealing by an HVAC contractor can improve your air quality and even reduce your utility bill.

Hyland Fisher, architect

Spank the school district

Re “For the girls” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, June 28):

Good for Ms. Wolff for not giving up and for her courageous efforts to go up against CUSD! How many people have the time, energy or resources to pursue complaints like Wolff had to do? It requires an enormous amount of time to contact the Office of Civil Rights, and I believe the school district knows that.

We got to read the politically correct excuses from the school district saying how much they appreciated the feedback. Hogwash. They deserved to be spanked by the Office of Civil Rights, and I hope the school board finds out who was responsible for having “rebuffed or ignored” all Ms. Wolff’s communications.

The public’s lack of trust in the system is directly related to how they are treated. I think the CUSD should replace the superintendent with Ms. Wolff and watch the difference in positive public perception.

Didi Gibbs

Spreading the cost

Call me stupid, but I don’t understand why people are so upset about Obamacare’s mandate on health insurance. We have been required to have auto insurance since the 1970s throughout most of the USA (only three states don’t require it), and I didn’t hear too many people complain then.

Back then the rationale was too many people without insurance were causing accidents and the “good, responsible” citizens were having to pay more than their share of the costs. Now, we have obese and other chronically ill (physically and mentally) people who don’t, won’t or can’t take care of themselves going to emergency rooms, which causes everyone’s health-care rates to rise.

Just like car insurance, this mandate spreads out the cost to everyone. Besides, the insurance industry now can’t dictate who can or can’t get insurance or cancel without cause.

States’ rights vs. federal mandate—who cares? The result is the same.

Robert Jordan

Reinstate the draft—for all

Re “Should we bring back the military draft?” (Streetalk, July 5):

The respondents all answered a question about war, not the draft. Of course we should reinstate the draft. If it was still in effect we wouldn’t still be fighting, and maybe wouldn’t even have started, the war about which Jamie O’Neill aptly coins the phrase: “What if they gave a war and nobody gave a shit?”

All of today’s youth and their parents need to have this war in the front of their minds like my generation did with the Vietnam War. Believe me, when the draft is hanging over your head you take the time to analyze why we are fighting and if it is worth it. We may even have some anti-war demonstrations.

If our nation decides to go to war (hopefully with more deliberation and reason than the last three or four, everyone—rich and poor, all colors, all sexes—needs to be ready to fight. The draft needs to be strictly enforced so that rich people can’t buy their way out like the president who started this ill-advised mess in the first place.

Aren’t 10 years and hundreds of thousands dead and wounded enough?

Rich Meyers

No more cumbersome edicts

I’m trying to figure out how to comply with the reusable grocery-bag regulation. I have a 243-sqare-foot, energy-efficient apartment with wood laminate floors, custom shelves, and a framed picture of the secular god Einstein on the wall. I have no place to store grocery bags except pinned to the wall or on the floor under the sink. So I will need to wash these bags.

Washing will require half a cup of detergent weekly, which then goes down the drain to the sewer plant and thence into the Sacramento River. You know, the disposable bags would add the same half a cup of volume to the landfill, and their carbon would be sequestered for millennia.

Which of these two options is more sustainable? Some of our people don’t think these issues through logically. Like when CSUC was having a sustainability conference, and the ex-provost flew in a sustainability expert from Germany for the keynote. Umm, fly a guy halfway around the world to explain how to reduce your footprint?

We need some people on City Council who think things through in an intelligent way, and who don’t make cumbersome edicts that don’t affect their stated goals.

Michael Jones

‘We will all become serfs’

In 1936, Franklin Roosevelt spoke of how the economic royalists “reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.” They’re back. The new economic royalists have created financial dynasties with the banks and on Wall Street, while eroding the protections enacted in the wake of the 1929 crash and subsequent Great Depression.

These efforts culminated in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed portions of the Bank Holding Company Act and the Glass-Steagall Act. This removed regulations forbidding speculation with other people’s money. We’ve seen what a mess followed.

Without such regulation, we’ve seen the spectacle of JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifying before Congress about losing billions more after we taxpayers have bailed out his corporation, all while people are losing their homes, and they’re still getting million-dollar bonuses on Wall Street. The Dodd-Frank Act that was supposed to regulate Wall Street has proven to be toothless. No one has gone to jail since all the fraud Wall Street and the banks perpetrated was legal. If we allow this situation to continue, we will all become serfs.

Frank Toriello

Reveries on the Fourth

I tries to drag me mate off the chesterfield to go see some sparks on the Fourth. Naw. ’Cmon. Naw, I’ve seen that shit. Dad used to wake the family way before dawn to go watch the bomb over the ridge…

Chester Charlton made his contribution to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and subsequently completed a fine career at China Lake. Somewhere there’s a photo of Oppenheimer with my gal perched on his leg. And I think that the old rocket-sled movies with the monkeys, then men having their faces nearly torn off by the g’s, were Chet’s productions.

After the bomb was demonstrated against humans Oppie wasn’t the only one who turned viscerally against the idea. But Chet and many of his buddies remained in it for the lucre. They did well.

And you will notice that this letter is not in Japanese—we did win, after all. But so many of them died from weird cancers. Squamous cell skin cancer is not supposed to kill anybody, but it got Chet early on, and I’m feeling ripped off for not getting to meet him.

So this Fourth I watched the sunset, enjoyed the quiet evening on the front porch steps, and while listening for the coyotes I did spark up a couple of fat joints. It is about liberty and freedom, no? I know Chet would agree.

Jay Bergstrom
Forest Ranch

Get your own cart

This is an open letter to non-driving apartment dwellers, living close to shopping centers, who routinely “borrow” commercial shopping carts from the stores to take their groceries home and leave the carts at the apartment complexes for “someone” to eventually pick up and return to the stores.

Commercial shopping carts that leave the relative protection of their store parking lot fall easy prey to the homeless and transient populations, who “requisition them” for their personal use, and quickly find their way permanently out of circulation. Each lost commercial grocery cart costs the grocer between $200 and $300 to replace.

Outlying shoppers, won’t you please consider this practice instead? Why not buy your own personal reusable four-wheeled folding metal shopping cart? The prices on these home carts range from around $30 to $50. The smaller model weighs only 9 lbs. and can carry loads of 100 lbs. Locally, you can get one of these carts at K-Mart or Target. You can also order one online.

Grocery owners, here is a consideration for you, as well. Why don’t you stock up on some of these personal folding shopping carts, advertise them to your apartment customers, and sell them at cost (much like you are currently doing with reusable grocery bags)?

This letter to the editor is directed at shoppers who are basically good people and who “want to do the right thing.” This is your chance. Your actions will speak volumes.

Mark Gailey

Logue’s ‘egotistical pandering’

Re “Band-Aid or bust?” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, July 5):

I worked housing programs with Dan Logue starting in the early 1990s, when he was a realtor. He worked in Linda, Olivehurst and Yuba County. The last I checked those communities were still “communities in need” including underserved health-care needs.

The only thing exceeded by Mr. Logue’s disdain for the needs of citizens he represents is his egotistical pandering to right-wingers. Shameful.

Peter Maki
Houston, Mo.