Letters for July 16, 2015

‘How about it?’

Re “Bidwell Ranch’s continuing saga” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, July 9):

Bidwell Ranch is the large open space extending north of the entrance of Upper Park. John Merz of Friends of Bidwell Park is the leader of an effort to add part of it to the existing park. Problem is, Merz and his followers, including Park Manager Dan Efseaff, have a history of leveraging our love of the wildlands into endless environmental studies.

Efseaff was employed doing a study of Bidwell Ranch in 2007, during which he talked about public access (see “Bidwell Ranch’s new life,” Newslines, Feb. 8, 2007), and yet we still aren’t allowed on the property.

Last Tuesday, I told the City Council that Merz and Efseaff are not to be trusted. I said that if we are considering enlarging Bidwell Park we must allow public access first, to test whether they will attempt legal action to block public visitation. I recommended a simple access gate like what we have at Table Mountain, and no further improvements. I also promised to apologize to Merz should my suspicions prove unfounded.

So how about it, John? You and your followers refrain from taking legal action blocking public access to Bidwell Ranch, and I’ll take you to lunch at Grana to say I’m sorry I doubted you.

Michael Jones


‘Burdened with the pain’

Re “Dry lakes spell doom” (Greenways, by Virgina Arthur, July 9):

Virginia, I share your sorrow. The more I become aware of history, the less respect I have for our ancestors. Greed, profit and selfishness have been the motivating forces behind major explorations for all recorded history. Conservationists have had too few victories. I can’t think of one overall positive effect humans have had on our beautiful planet. Ignorance keeps most people content. Those of us with even a little awareness are burdened with the pain. Thank you for sharing your experience. Please continue to make a difference whenever and wherever you can. I wish you peace and love.

Bradley Sager


Hooray for Medicare

My life spiraled down the medical rabbit hole one day while I was driving home from work. While stopped at a red light, I was rear-ended, causing lasting injuries. I felt fortunate that both my husband and I had medical insurance, savings and no debt.

Before I could fully recover, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. All of a sudden neither of us was employed, our savings became depleted, and debt mounted with COBRA’s high medical insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses. After COBRA expired, an individual insurance plan denied me due to my lingering injuries. We were both able to qualify for Social Security disability and Medicare. What a relief to have guaranteed, high-quality, affordable health care, and we were able to keep our health care providers.

From this stressful and frightening health insurance nightmare, my husband and I decided to devote our time and energy to the Butte County Health Care Coalition, whose mission is to support a “Medicare for All” health care system. Come join Medicare’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Chico Saturday farmers’ market on Aug. 1 with speakers, musicians and birthday cake. Someday all Americans will be able to celebrate “Medicare for All.”

Norma Wilcox


Three on the commentary

Re “Don’t ride on the sidewalks” (Guest comment, by Michele French, July 9):

Thank you so much for writing a story regarding the cyclists here in Chico. I think many of the bikers do not understand or know the way to travel through Chico using the bike routes. Yes, bike routes! They are everywhere!

There is no purpose, except spreading bad feelings, for cyclists to ride on the sidewalks. Also, I have observed many instances of bikers running stop signs. I worry that I will witness, or God forbid be part of, the clueless biker’s major bloody accident. Bikers, please at least stop at stop signs!

Shellye Hassell


Ms. French jumps the curb in her complaints about cyclists, tarring all with the sins of a few. Most people on bicycles don’t ride in the ways she describes. They’re just trying to get safely to their destination in a street and legal system that marginalizes them and often endangers their lives.

Real solutions to Ms. French’s understandable concerns can be found in good planning to build more walkable communities, with protected walking and cycling for all ages and abilities (as in the landmark U.S. Safe Routes to School legislation of 2005, and as in new urbanist models pioneered by Andrés Duany and others). Such communities have lower rates of the kinds of intermode conflict that annoy Ms. French, and that generate much injury and death for cyclists and pedestrians in present systems. They also enjoy myriad other well-known benefits in health, ecology, economic vibrancy and quality of life.

Let’s be allies and work together to increase support and funding for these planning priorities in our town, region and state.

David Eaton


State law does not forbid bicyclists from sidewalk riding, but Chico has an ordinance forbidding bicycling and skateboarding in the downtown core only. As bicycling advocates, we generally recommend riding in “the flow of traffic” as the safest approach. We strongly encourage all bicyclists to respect the rights of pedestrians and obey the traffic code at all times.

Chico Velo is currently building a campaign to reduce sidewalk bicycle riding in the downtown core. We also are actively working for a proposed new California law (Assembly Bill 902) that would allow local jurisdictions to implement a ticket-diversion program similar to traffic school for motorists, whereby ticketed bicyclists could go to bike-safety class instead of paying a fine. We believe that programs like these will improve bicyclists’ awareness and make the streets (and sidewalks) safer for all users.

Janine Rood

Chico Velo, Chico

Editor’s note: See below for a correction on the guest comment.

Let’s discuss the deal

The United States has reached a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. There are a lot of questions left to be answered. For example, how will this deal affect other countries in the Middle East? The election in the USA? I am sure that there will be a lot of debates and opinions—stay tuned. Maybe we should do something locally. How about a forum sponsored by E-R, CN&R, KCHO and KZFR that includes a liberal Democrat, a conservative Republican, an Iranian, an Israeli and an Arab to represent all sides? I am willing to help organize such a project.

Ali Sarsour


Forming a pot petition

I am starting a petition/initiative/referendum to stop the persecution of patients over Measure A. This local law has taken a dark turn for patients and the result includes no “safe access” in Butte County. I am in no hurry, because this will not do anything for this year’s grow.

Measure A takes away cooperatives; that is the only way we can afford to grow. Now thousands of patients will pay full price or not get their medicine. I will take my time and try to cover all of the unjust sides to this ordinance that makes Butte County one of the most intrusive and noncomplying to Proposition 215 or SB 420 in California’s 58 counties. Watch for the petition and wish us luck.

Joel Castle


Irritated by GOP

You can irritate all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t irritate all of the people all of the time, though Lord knows the Republican Party is trying.

Roger S. Beadle


A new one-liner

Alarming: global warming, global swarming, global arming?

Stephen T. Davis


The trump card

Those condemning Donald Trump for his remarks about Mexicans when he announced he was running for president June 16 likely misinterpreted what he said. He didn’t say the people of Mexico are rapists—he said they’re bringing rapists:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime, their rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards, and they tell us what we’re getting.”

Interestingly, National Public Radio’s website accurately quoted Trump as saying, “They’re bringing crime, their rapists,” where the Washington Post wrongly interpreted him as saying, “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” This is inconsistent with his subsequent statement: “… some, I assume, are good people.”

Nathan Esplanade

Rancho Tehama