Letters for July 18, 2002
It’s 106 degrees out there, and I’ve just come in from a bike ride through the streets of Chico. Riding down the tree-lined streets was exquisite; riding through the areas with no trees was torture. We need trees—especially in the summer! Breath by breath, they make all the difference to our quality of life. Let’s stop the cutting. Join TreeAction to get a tree ordinance in Chico. Email LJ1984KL@aol.com to get on the mailing list. Peace.
No A.S. support
I would like to clarify some false information about the Sterling student apartment project [Inside view, July 3]. Tom Gascoyne’s statement, “… but I have learned that Chico State University’s Associated Students has come out strongly behind the project and has vowed to fight a referendum,” does not reflect reality. In no way has the Associated Students made a formal stance that it is or is not in support of the project. There are a few A.S. representatives in agreement with it, as well as a few that are against it. However, there is a strong belief within the A.S. that more student housing is needed near the campus. Then again, these personal views cannot speak for the entire A.S.
Which brings me to my next point, of how the A.S. could take a stance, since there has been no student input. If there was a movement by the A.S. to support or not support this project, we would have to gather student input, and ultimately the Government Affairs Committee would take a formal stance.
Moreover, it is amazing to me where, even in the past, situations that strongly affect students in the community happen when school is out of session. The students of CSU, Chico, are also part of this community, people who do vote, who do pay taxes, and who bring in the majority of this community’s economy. Maybe that’s the real issue to debate.
I can respect your purported motive in the Meghdadi piece to lay out an objective assessment of a highly charged local controversy ["Rush to Judgment?” cover story, July 11]. Indeed, if you had used an objective, investigative reporting style, you might have succeeded in making an impartial presentation.
Instead, I found your chiding, rather trivializing tone seemed more calculated to “stick it” to your competitor and “stand up” to the mob. Such an air of “self-congratulatory” journalism is a real turnoff and does nothing to enhance respect either for your reporting or for Meghdadi. It did, however, I’m sure, move a lot of newspapers.
Mr. Meghdadi was not created a monster by any but himself.
If one assumes that each felled heritage oak Mr. Meghdadi cut down is worth about $1,000 (and keep in mind this is solid oak hardwood, not scruffy telephone poles), and if Mr. Meghdadi overcut about 100 trees, and if the city imposes sanctions costing about $50,000, which Mr. Meghdadi estimates will balloon to twice that amount, or $100,000; then I would say that Mr. Meghdadi gave quite a bit of prior thought to his willingness to violate the authorization he had received. In money terms, Mr. Meghdadi breaks even with tree income versus city sanctions, and when the future liability of those felled trees is factored in, Mr. Meghdadi comes out way ahead.
The city is forced to become an accomplice to this crime by allowing Mr. Meghdadi to sell his illegally felled trees. Or they become creators of waste by allowing them to rot. Either way Mr. Meghdadi wins. By making the city appear cold and inflexible in the matter of selling the trees, Mr. Meghdadi gains public confidence, a valuable factor in future negotiations. By getting the city to agree to allow him to sell those trees, which Mr. Meghdadi cut down in violation of city Planning Department authorizations, Mr. Meghdadi makes enough money to cover his current expenses for removing a potentially huge future liability from his personal business venture.
I stand with those who consider no punishment too harsh for Mr. Meghdadi. If he were to choose to live elsewhere, that would be satisfactory as well, although I think his future neighbors ought to be warned. Should he remain in Chico, then certainly the City Council should take whatever steps are within its power to make sure that Mr. Meghdadi has no further opportunity to inflict his idea of growth and sound business practices on the rest of us, for at least as long as it takes a heritage oak to grow.
Roger W. Graham
In response to your editorial ["One nation, indivisible,” July 3]: Michael Newdow had his day in court and the resulting ruling seems to have shaken the nation. What is interesting to me in this particular case is that, while most everyone has formed an opinion, few, including you, really know what they are talking about.
Mr. Newdow predicates his case with these words: “Our country was founded on the Constitution. The Constitution has a preamble that makes no mention of God. If [they] wanted to base our society on God, why would they leave it out?” The fact is our country was not “founded on the Constitution.” I will leave it to those who really care to determine for themselves what document founded our country. Hint: It starts with “When in the course of human events.”
I do agree with you on one point: “…[O]ur government has not yet engaged in actual oppression of non-monotheistic religions.” However, if you are to be intellectually honest with yourself and your readers, you have to agree the only actual oppression our government has been engaged in lately has been directed against the Christian monotheistic religion.
Is it graft, power lust, or simplemindedness that has caused our civic leaders to respond to the doubling of housing and consumer prices over the last 15 years by doubling public-sector compensation while leaving the cost of building permits relatively unchanged?
Be aware that with one-third of our nation’s income being determined almost directly by government spending, the remainder is mostly due to the multiplier effect (i.e., the profits and wages of the bankers, bakers, etc., who serve the original recipients). The result is that more than half of our nation’s important investment decisions are now in the hands of people who may never have done a productive thing for society in their lives. Having excelled at being parasites, they feel capable of finding the most productive use for our nation’s capital.
Note that when $3 million is awarded for subsidized housing or environmental preservation, the incident is immediately followed by the impoverishment of 60 American families (add four more each year), as the employment and normal $180,000 return produced by this capital is withdrawn from the economy.
Government and nonprofit expansion into social services has created an overpaid, unproductive bourgeoisie that now consumes more than can be taxed or borrowed from the population. Locally this deficit is paid with undervalued building permits, under-funded growth and deteriorating living standards. Nationally it is paid with asset sales and foreign borrowings leading ultimately to declining living standards for our children, grandchildren, and the third world.