Letters for July 15, 2004

Curtain call
I was saddened to hear of the death of longtime Chico News & Review writer Larry Tripp. His legacy as an arts critic for your paper should never go unrecognized. In my opinion, he was the finest theater critic in Chico history. His knowledge of the craft, his intelligence and his love of the art form were always evident in his reviews.

As an audience member I appreciated his honesty and integrity. He never used his columns to fatuously praise an actor or a show that desperately needed good press. I remember a particularly harsh review of a Shakespeare in the Park production of As You Like It in 1994 that sent cast and crew skulking back to Duffy’s cursing his name. He also blasted our inaugural production at the Blue Room.

Well, we deserved it. He raised the bar for Chico artists and audiences. How many towns this size have a critic whose writing is read breathlessly by the play’s cast after opening night? In whose writing do we have the vain hope that one’s flubs were missed and the expectation that talent and innovation were truly appreciated? Not very many.

Denver Latimer
Brooklyn, NY

Animal house
As I read [Butte Humane Society shelter Director] Kathy Augros’ comments in Josh Indar’s article, “Critter Crisis” [Newslines, July 1], I was reminded of the Gilda Radner character on the original Saturday Night Live, Emily Latella: “What’s this I hear about a critter crying?”

From 1997 to 1999 I served as finance director on the Butte Humane Society Board of Directors. It was my experience that contract renewal negotiations indeed moved slowly and approval was ratified in early July.

I would be less than candid if I did not admit that I have had two extremely unpleasant encounters with Ms. Augros. In the kindest words I can muster, during these unfortunate meetings I found her to be a bit obtuse. And, as I suspected, all the media coverage was just a little girl crying wolf. Thank God for slow news days, right, Kathy?

From personal experience I believe the community of Chico and the sheltered animals would both be better served if BHS were ousted and shelter management conducted by city staff.

I urge the residents of Chico to visit the shelter and see how humanely Ms. Augros and her staff treat the general public. See what your $260,000 is buying. Based on my experiences, the BHS Board of Directors would be well advised to spend a little time and money on better training and customer service skills.

Fredd Cummins
Received via e-mail

Art of communication
Your July 1 cover story, “Fooling Mother Nature,” covered important scientific ethical and containment issues. It also exposed concerns over multinational biotech and biopharmaceutical corporate greed in the guise of environmental and humanitarian altruism.

These same concerns are what inspired Kent Schneeveis, artist, social, political and environmental activist from Palo Alto, to create photographic and digital imagery that deals with the subject of biogenetically modified food, or “Frankenfood.”

As an artist and educator living in Chico, I wanted to create a work of social relevance for our community, especially our farming heritage. Together we have collaborated on a multimedia work for the Chico Open Board Art (COBA) project, which is managed by the Chico Art Center and funded by the city of Chico.

Our resulting collaboration is entitled “Frankenfood 1,” as we plan on creating a series based upon the subject of genetically engineered food. Kent, speaking about the content of this imagery, states, “We have seen corporate interests take liberties with our governments, our lands and with peoples around the world. We might be able to get our governments and our lands back, but the liberties being taken with our food are permanent. We may never again be able to eat with the assurance that our food is pure, natural, wholesome and healthy. Mother Nature itself is being threatened and becomes more so with each passing day, with every speck of pollen blowing on the wind. Every one of us has been turned into unwilling guinea pigs in a global experiment.”

Indeed, as prophetically stated at the end of the article, “The genie is out of the bottle.”

David Thomas Ruiz

Digging city life
The official competition is on. The one between our new neighbors and us. They have a dog, a puppy actually, and it has a wussy name that starts with a vowel. Every dog book I’ve ever seen clearly states that a dog’s name should begin with a consonant, so that during training the sound of the name has a chance to sound somewhat forceful.

We have a cat. Our cat’s name rolls off the tongue, and he responds to his name quite nicely, thank you very much. To us, dogs are not cute. Dogs have the kind of neediness that we just aren’t interested in fulfilling.

One morning this weekend we awoke to the sounds of the male neighbor exclaiming, “Oh no, what have you done?” He then proceeded to—what sounded like to me—chase the dog around the yard while saying her wussy name followed by the command, “Come,” his voice growing more stern and deep, as the dog didn’t comply. I imagine she cowered her way around the yard, him following with a red-hot face. He finally got her to the spot of the offense and proceeded to scold her for a good minute and a half, in the darkest voice he could muster: “No! No digging, bad dog,” and so on. Every piece of his spittle, hitting the fence, could be heard through our window.

We looked at each other and giggled. Our cat, upon hearing us stir, walked into the room to say good morning with his sweet little meow. D patted our cat on the head and said, “We don’t mind if you dig.”

Carla Resnick
Recent Chicoan from a secluded hillside in Mendocino County, still adjusting to city life with her partner D and her cat.

Senate no-shows
On top of all the other disturbing images in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 was the sight of those Florida members of the House of Representatives speaking before the Senate in an attempt to institute an inquiry into the exclusion of numerous of their constituents from voting in the 2000 presidential election. On each occasion, as they pressed their demands, Al Gore—as president of the Senate—asked them if a member of the Senate had signed off on their petitions. The answer in each case was “no,” at which point Gore gaveled them down.

Where, I would like to know, were our Senators Feinstein and Boxer? Or, for that matter, Ted Kennedy? Or John Kerry?

Miles Jordan

The good soldier
Wally Herger has represented our 2nd Congressional District in Washington for nearly two decades and serves on the “powerful” House Ways and Means Committee. Why is it that he can’t somehow influence one federal agency to expedite applications for developers in the very town in which he makes his home?

It is puzzling how Herger, being so close to the design, construction and even filling of the “trough,” brings so little home to his constituents. Wally is a great partisan, always in lockstep with his party and dutiful to his political base. His remark blaming “radical environmentalists” for fighting growth is indicative of a paucity of analysis and understanding regarding an issue that is critical to the future of our community.

Fortunately, Chico Supervisor Mary Anne Houx sees the danger recognized by everyone who truly wants Chico to continue to be such a fine livable place. That danger is sprawl. Maybe Rep. Herger can take a cue from Supervisor Houx, but I doubt it.

Dan Carter

Best director
Will Saddam’s trial be eligible for an Emmy?

Stephen T. Davis

Camp concern
I was appalled at the level of unconcern that was displayed by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office regarding the teenagers who withstood “The camping trip from hell” [Newslines, July 8]. When young people ages 12 to 17 are kicked, punched, harassed, threatened, and abused in the name of “a culture clash between the sheltered Cochranes and some rough-and-tumble Oroville natives,” something is very wrong.

It seems to me that the deputies were disappointed that when they arrived at the scene they didn’t see evidence of rape and bloody mayhem. We must believe that our children will receive better care and protection than that displayed by the deputies.

Is it possible that these men have become so jaded by their day-to day jobs that they forgot what it means to serve and protect? If any of their own children had their heads and bodies beaten, clothes burned, and tents urinated on as well as smashed, I would expect that they would show more concern.

I hope that Lance does not have any more problems as a result of his concussion and fractured skull, and I support his parents in their search for justice.

Marsha Cohen

Plan on nothing
I was pleased to see equipment on the Humboldt [Burn] Dump site preparing to clean it up. It has been astonishing watching the Butte Environmental Council (BEC) delay proper sequestering of the exposed toxics and obstruction of the reclamation of the brown lands for economically beneficial uses. I hope BEC learns from its misadventure on the dump and retracts its advocacy for the No Trespassing signs at Bidwell Ranch that prevent us from exercising our right to walk on the public land.

Finally, 10 years ago Rick Keene accused us environmentalists of wanting to keep people out of the huge Simmons Ranch addition to Bidwell Park, and yet today access is limited primarily to mountain goats and daredevil bikers on steep, eroding tracks. I think we in the environmental community need to use the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan process to rehabilitate Upper Park and make it people-friendly. Advocating for doing nothing is no solution, be it the dump, Bidwell Ranch or Bidwell Park.

Michael Jones