Letters for July 17, 2014

Track talk

Re “On track for disaster” (Cover feature, by Alastair Bland, July 10):

If you want to be real about it, the bottom line is all transportation of oil—not railroads alone—runs [the risk of] environmental hazards. We see this recently with CARB and the trucking industry. CARB requires a $20,000 filter per truck to be placed on the vehicles, which will result in the independent trucker buying a $30,000 motor for it to work. Are we any safer? No.

If we do pipelines, do they not burst and/or explode underground? Yes. The information is placard on all rail cars as to what it is carrying. I was a fireman and we had all that info available to us and trained for a response. All the public needs to know is to give the placard numbers and sign descriptions to the 911 operator.

I agree with BNSF. If you know the route, then you will vandalize the company’s tracks and property, causing expensive damages out of protest. I saw this living in Oregon for 26 years with loggers, and tree huggers regularly damaged their equipment to protest tree harvesting. As a journalist, you have to look at both sides.

Gabe Berg

Tunnel vision

Re “An ill-conceived legacy project” (Guest comment, by Carol Perkins, July 10):

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is the most comprehensive effort to date to protect water supply for 25 million Californians against regulatory and seismic risk.

The project serves as an insurance policy against inadequate water supplies by moving our state’s water infrastructure into the 21st century. Annual water diversions under the BDCP would fall within 10 percent of the historic, 20-year average—the same average amount of water exported through the Delta right now. Water operations would vary depending on hydrologic conditions (e.g., water year type, actual Sacramento River flows, fish presence), but would always include a required level of Sacramento River flow before water could be diverted.

The BDCP water facilities will be paid for, in full, by the water contractors who use the water and need the improved supply reliability. At about $5 a month for urban users, the BDCP is clearly a worthwhile investment for a predictable, reliable source of water to serve our state’s major economic centers. Get the facts online at www.BayDeltaConservationPlan.com.

Janet Barbieri

Editor’s note: Ms. Barbieri is a public relations consultant whose projects include the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

About those abodes

Re “Living tiny” (Greenways, by Ken Smith, July 10):

Why didn’t the story talk about the usual terrible and extreme and harrowing problems and issues that people who build nonstandard dwellings and structures encounter with building permits and inspections and the city and/or county building inspectors and their governmental departments? (As if they aren’t bad enough with “regular” houses.) And there was no mention of fees and such, either, compared to “regular” houses, if they are different (or the same).

Bill Donnelly

A couple of years ago Chico had a gorgeous example of a tiny house on wheels, built by Dee Williams, in the Avenues. It was owned by blogger Tammy Strobel (RowdyKittens.com) and her husband, Logan Smith (loganblairsmith.com), who met each other here while attending Chico State. But because they didn’t hide, it didn’t take long for a complaint that it was weird and they were essentially “coded” out of town.

There are several tiny houses here, but they live under the radar and we’re sworn to secrecy as to where they’re located and that’s too bad—they are such great examples for interested folks. (By the way, this article doesn’t include Jay Shafer’s current company, www.FourLightsHouses.comStar Trek fans will get the reference of the company name.)

I’ve been helping people pare down the excesses in their households and the feeling of freedom that they get is immense. Tiny house living isn’t for everyone, but it should be a legal option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and live simply. Of all places, I would hope Chico takes the green way and changes the existing codes to allow tiny houses. So far, code officials are not budging one tiny bit.

Nina Zamudio

Who you gonna call?

Re “Take note, union president” (Letters, by Stephanie L. Taber, July 10):

Once again Larry Wahl has his paid staff person, Stephanie Taber (a political appointee with handsome benefits we subsidize), write a letter attacking law enforcement.

Yes, our military troops and police officers are public employees. And I have no doubt that they complain about their level of pay, too, for the service they render. They serve because of tradition and honor and love of country. But military personnel injured on base in the U.S. or in a war zone are provided services and compensation, possibly for life. All first responders in harm’s way should be guaranteed basic services now and in the future!

It is interesting that Ms. Taber does not mention that she and Mr. Wahl are both local public employees with nice salaries. When citizens suffer serious car accidents or have their homes broken into, they call 911 for help from law enforcement. We don’t call Larry Wahl or Stephanie Taber. So what do these two do to earn their fat paychecks and benefits? Do they put their lives on the line?

What hypocrites—always attacking law enforcement. If Wahl or Taber hears someone breaking into their house at 2 a.m., who do you think they’re going to call? A private security firm in the Yellow Pages or 911?

Jane Martin

Editor’s note: According to transparentcalifornia.com, Larry Wahl took home about $75,000 and Stephanie Taber earned about $14,000 in salary and benefits from the county in 2013. The average Chico police officer makes more than $135,000.

Two views on column

Re “Central California sucks” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, July 3):

How enlightening it is to hear a CN&R editor bash California farm owners but still represent the workers. I wonder, has Ms. Daugherty ever sat elbow to elbow with a peach picker from Marysville? How about an olive picker in Oroville? I didn’t think so.

As Ms. Daugherty enjoyed her Pell Grant and all those other education subsidies provided by the nasty farm owners, she stakes her reputation on the smelt as our saving grace. My family farmed almonds in Chico when she was a twinkle in her parents’ eyes and no, I don’t like salmon. The real fish we enjoy up here is trout, we leave the salmon for Hollywood.

Ms. Daugherty can raise her voice in defense of the salmon all she wants, but she might want to think of what else she has to lose like rice, peaches, almonds, mandarins, olives, walnuts, avocados, and her job! Princess Melissa, you wouldn’t be working in Chico without farm owners. Get on a plane and go to Hollywood where you fit in. Me? Trout Almondine from the Feather River, please.

Martin Sudicky
Berry Creek

Editor’s note: Princess Melissa has sat next to a peach picker, as her great-grandmother and grandmother worked at a local packing facility. In addition, her grandparents were local almond and walnut growers. She also likes trout, but prefers chinook salmon caught right here in Butte County. For clarification, she was referring to farmers in Central California—from San Joaquin to Kern counties—not local farmers.

Has anybody noticed there are still stacks of strawberries at the grocery store, in July? Looking at the labels, we see they come from Southern California. Strawberries take tons of water. I grew up on a nut ranch; nut trees take a fraction of the water strawberries require. Strawberries are a spring crop, but the demand for something so showy is very enticing to the get-rich-quick mentality.

I know where the water is really going. My family drove through a subdivision in the hills above Visalia a few years back, streets lined with empty houses, just sitting, because they’d been built with no groundwater. That’s what these water transfers are all about, not nuts or berries.

Look at what they’re doing in San Diego, where they are completely dependent on water transfers and contemplating a state bond to build a desalination plant (www.welcometosandiego.com/san-diego-downtown-property-future-development).

Why would they build more housing to attract more people when they don’t have a secure water supply?

Juanita Sumner

Obama not to blame

Republicans will never cease to amaze me with their incredible nerve.

Now they blame Obama for the refugee crisis at the Mexican border. Perhaps they need to read a little history. Between 2001 and 2009, the U.S., under George W. Bush, deported tens of thousands (some say over 100,000) of convicted criminals/gangsters back to their countries of origin—Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Many of these men actually spoke no Spanish. They had grown up and become polished gangsters on the streets of L.A. Why were they in L.A? Their parents had fled the U.S.-sponsored war in El Salvador, brought to you by another Republican president in the 1980s.

The crisis at the border now is because people are fleeing for their lives. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are overrun by gangs, and have three of the five highest murder rates in the world. What would you do? If you were a Republican, you would blame it on a Democrat.

George W. Bush now passes his time doing water colors, Condee waves to adoring lemmings at Stanford games, and Dick Cheney spews his lies that Obama is responsible for messing up Iraq. They should all be locked up for crimes against humanity.

David Hollingsworth

On that recovery

Re “The comeback kid” (Cover feature, by Vic Cantu, July 3):

Angelo Poli injured himself as a result of improper body motion, something that they teach in high school gym class. The article clearly avoids the topic and description of how Poli became injured, instead focusing on his not-so-miraculous recovery.

What I read is that he masked his physical pain by working short periods of time with clients. There is a list of methods Poli tried on his road to recovery. In the end, it wasn’t any of these therapies that saved him from the pain; in the end it was anterior lumbar fusion surgery that saved him from the debilitating pain. This is a surgical treatment that has nothing to do with what Poli teaches.

What about the information that he shared with people along the way? Sure, his clients lost weight, but at what cost? Sadly, most of his clients would have benefited more from talking to a licensed nutritional therapist. It wasn’t a noteworthy road to recovery. It was prolonged one.

Kurt Giese

Track talk

If there is a spill of Bakken oil in the Feather River, the oil will be on the hands of the Environmental Movement, who own this president who will not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Doug Drebert