Letters for July 2, 2009

Insight into ‘hurting population’

Re: “I was homeless” (Cover story, by Serena Cervantes, CN&R, June 25):

Seldom have I taken the time to respond to a published article, but after reading the chronicle by Serena Cervantes regarding her homelessness in Chico, I was moved to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of this young woman.

First of all, I have intimate knowledge of being homeless through my sometimes homeless alcoholic son, who is now deceased. Your question regarding why a person becomes homeless indeed has a multitude of answers. The least likely is that it is just a personal choice.

I found Serena’s comments to be quite accurate, blunt and, most of all, written with compassion and understanding. As she found, by personally living in the homeless lifestyle, she earned the credibility and sensitivity to compose her article. I would hope this is just the beginning of a journalistic future for her.

Thank you for publishing her story. As a long-time supporter of the Jesus Center, Torres Shelter, Esplanade House and others, I would urge others to consider giving of their time, talent and/or money to support and uplift our hurting population.

Barbara Rupp

Well-written story. I am surprised, though, at the lack of gratitude for those who helped you. Also your lack of knowledge—molasses, one of the most nutritious syrups one can eat! A real treat in our home for the past 50 years!

Mark Wolford

Dorothy’s plight stirs community

Editor’s note: Last issue’s lead news story generated more letters than usual. Here is a sampling of the sentiments.

Re: “Where is my baby?” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, June 25):

We have known Dorothy Perry and her family since Dorothy was 8. She and our grandson have attended school together and have been in the same class year after year.

Dorothy is an incredibly special young woman with a heart of gold. We cannot begin to tell you how many times over the years that Dorothy has called to inform us that James was having difficulties in class, or that someone was picking on him, or that the teachers did not understand him. We have allowed James and Dorothy to go to the movies, roller-skating, and they even attended the senior prom together. By the way, James has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

Mentally challenged people are not always without the ability to lead full and fruitful lives. Dorothy made every attempt to do the right thing in preparation for the baby. That is more than we can say for a lot of mothers. She has gone the extra mile, and how was she rewarded? With bias and prejudice.

Marsha and Al Garner

I have known the Perrys for many years. They used to raise and hand-feed birds. It takes a great deal of patience and time to do something like that. They raised dear little Dorothy to be a delightful, thoughtful young woman who always strives to do her best.

It is quite obvious the baby’s failure to thrive has more to do with his cleft palate then lack of care on the family’s part. This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. That boy should be returned to his family immediately.

Sabrina Evans

I think that, while most of the time CPS has valid cases for removing children, it is not 100 percent. If the family really had gone to the doctor, and the hospital, and had a UC Davis appointment, then it seems like they are doing everything a typical family would do if a baby was having trouble nursing.

I don’t see why the agency wouldn’t wait until after the experts at UC Davis weighed in on the problem. This seems like a rush to judgment by CPS. It is also worth noting that the family is low socioeconomic status, and had they been higher, this probably would not be happening.

Jacy Merritt

This story is terrifying to me. I think the government is getting too much into people’s lives these days unnecessarily. And it’s getting worse and worse.

It’s all about undermining the parent and giving more loopholes for the government to show us how they can do a “better” job raising our kids than the average parent. What is America turning into?

Sarah Winters

I know Dorothy Perry from Pleasant Valley High School, and she is an awesome person. She had home-economics class with me and was always extremely nice and caring for others. Even though she is classified as “mentally challenged,” everyone loved her and enjoyed talking to her. She is a smart and intelligent woman. She does not deserve her baby to be taken away.

I am currently a graduate student in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Nevada, Reno. It is completely normal for a child with a cleft palate to lose weight and not gain weight back, unlike a typically developed child.

I feel so sad and heartbroken over this story. CPS should not have taken Dorothy’s baby away. She is such a nice, caring person who is definitely able to raise and teach a child so much. I feel such sorrow for Dorothy, as well as her mother and father.

Dorothy will make a much better mother than several foster parents that I have met! Please keep following this story, and my prayers go out to the Perrys.

Megan Gregory


Re: “Police chief confronts Bird” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, June 25):

I grew up in Red Bluff, so Don Bird’s frustration in dealing with the locals deserves some explanation. Red Bluff is a good-ol’-boy and good-ol’-girl town where folks do what they want according to who their buddies are. The bright kids who graduate from high school leave the town because there is nothing to hold them there, so the town loses its best and brightest.

Red Bluff goes through cycles of outright corruption, and right now it’s about as corrupt as I’ve seen it, chock full of adults acting like high school bullies. Most of the folks lack a comprehensive view of proper urban living and so settle into small-town bickering and snobbishness. They can’t do anything right because they don’t know how.

Michael M. Peters

This is for the dogs

We have lived in the Chico area since 1989 and have been active and supportive of Bidwell Park and associated park areas throughout Chico. My husband and I recently visited the Thursday Night Market and were very surprised by the events that occurred there.

Upon entering the market, we were abruptly approached by police officers who informed us, “No dogs allowed in this area.” This information was news to me, as we have taken our animals there numerous times before, and we have very well-behaved dogs and pride in our cleanliness of the animals.

Looking around the area, I noticed numerous transient people with trash scattered around, alcohol in hand; but yet we were approached about our well-behaved dogs.

After this confrontation, we chose to go to One-Mile, where we have taken our dogs numerous times before. As we approached the area, we noticed a “no dogs” sign—not just “leash dogs,” but “no dogs.”

We then proceeded to Five Mile, and again “no dogs.” As I looked around this area as well, there was nothing but trash scattered and a lot of beer cans.

Isn’t it the case that people are ruining these areas, not animals? Chico has always been an animal-friendly community, which is one of the things we have always loved. Where do we take our animals now to enjoy the parks and sun?

It seems that there needs to be more focus on controlling transients and loiterers than dog control.

Bernice Lucero

Smell the roses

Are there 6,000 Chicoans out there who could match the disc-golf enthusiasts and give that same kind of passion for a rose garden in the space of the decaying old walnut orchard (on Vallombrosa) in Bidwell Park? This acreage once belonged to Annie Bidwell’s nephew but was later purchased by the city.

Since 2002, I’ve tried giving the city of Chico a Memorial Rose Garden—wooed every committee (Park Commission; CARD), placed the money for its installation and maintenance with the North Valley Community Foundation, gained the enthusiastic support of the 150-member Butte Rose Society for attention to rose care, plus possible additional care/education by the area horticulture programs in our several schools/colleges.

We explored the beautiful meadow left of the Hooker Oak Tree (where a disc-golf area is now located), but CARD required that my gift include installation of a $100,000 restroom. Did the disc golfers have to install a restroom?

Through about a three-year period, an exploratory committee did attempt to obtain an OK. Alas, it didn’t work.

Tom DiGiovanni of New Urban Builders offered a small spot in Meriam Park, which I accepted happily; however, that project is on hold … but my age isn’t. Therefore, I would like to make one further attempt to bring a jewel to Bidwell Park and to the citizens of Chico and the county.

Any petitioners out there to join me? Any positive enthusiasm on any of the city commissions and/or the City Council?

Marilyn Warrens

Real support

I think that whenever the Democratic National Committee people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid ask you for money, you should put a zero in the money column, make a statement, “Support Obama or step down,” and sign your name to it.

John Breen