Letters for July 21, 2011

The failed Drug War

Re “Happy 40th, Drug War” (Guest comment, by Jay Bergstrom, July 7):

Speaking as a retired detective, I heartily agree with the anti-prohibition views of Jay Bergstrom.

When I first strapped on a badge and gun, my task was simple: protecting the weak from the strong—public safety. When the War on Drugs ramped up, the personal safety of citizens in their own homes became important. We became like parents. “Now Charlie, if you don’t take the cocaine out of your nose I am going to tell your father … I mean the judge.” Politicians thought the government could fix stupid via the police. Oops.

I look forward to the day my profession returns to a task we are good at: public safety. Got a drug problem, Charlie? See a doctor. I got better things to do than chase you.

Howard Wooldridge
Springville, Calif.

Don’t look to the Obama administration for change. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy immediately rejected the high-profile Global Commission on Drug Policy’s call for reform and defended the “balanced drug control efforts” of the federal government.

These “balanced” efforts have given the land of the free the highest incarceration rate in the world. Prohibition-related violence has caused upward of 35,000 deaths in Mexico over the past four years. Despite criminal penalties, the United States has higher rates of drug use than European Union countries like Portugal that have decriminalized.

With national debt soaring, we can no longer afford to throw good money after bad drug policy.

Robert Sharpe, MPA
Common Sense for Drug Policy


Pay hike hurts morale

I am outraged by the hypocrisy and idiocy of CSU trustees raising the salary of a school president at the same time they increase fees to students. As a retired college professor, I can tell you that this is exactly why morale among teachers has declined, and why employees become disillusioned.

Too many organizations feel they can have it both ways. They only want others to tighten their belts in difficult fiscal times. To give a raise to the administration is irresponsible and should be reversed.

It is not limited to other towns. The schools in Chico Unified have taken a significant nosedive in recent years, experienced an exodus to charters and private schools, because of poor decisions and performance, but the salaries of the irresponsible administration have increased.

This is not that difficult. When sports teams win, they pay their coaches more. When they lose, they bounce them out.

The movie Network, with Howard Beale yelling, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” is exactly how the public feels. Why are our elected boards so out of touch?

Liz Simpson

Wrong way to educate

So now it’s $6,882 per year to go to Chico State, a dubious investment since nationwide only about 20 percent of new college grads can find jobs upon graduation.

I did some probing around and discovered that current high tuition has evolved from three primary things: high salaries to tenured professors (part-time “freeway” professors don’t make a lot of money); enormous staffs (I know people at universities who have mandated positions and basically do nothing); and (surprise!) women’s sports—apparently nobody factored in the enormous cost of adding women’s sports.

My solutions? Get rid of all sports (I don’t think running around chasing a rubber ball is a valid academic exercise); get rid of superfluous staff; cut administrative salaries; get rid of all the touchy-feely “politically correct” brainwashing courses.

When I went to UC Berkeley in 1966 I paid only $210 for a whole year of college. There’s a right way to educate college students and a wrong way. These days, it’s mostly the wrong way.

Michael Peters

Sign-flipping star

Re “The Verizon Dude” (15 Minutes, by Tyler Ash, July 7):

About time someone interviewed this guy. Personally, I think he’s awesome! If you are going to do a job, do it to the best of your ability. And this guy always is 110 percent. I’d hire him.

I know plenty of people hate on him, but if you are one of them, stop and ask yourself why you would hate on someone who does a great job. I’ve seen many sign flippers that I don’t remember …

Ray Hill

The landlord’s fault?

Re “Troubles on The Esplanade” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, July 7):

I’m sorry to hear that this woman has to live with this horrible sickness [epilepsy], but I don’t understand how it is Francis Properties’ fault that there are druggies and bad people living in apartments next to you.

The property management has each tenant sign a drug-free waiver, and it is not their fault if the tenant is disloyal to their agreement! Columbus Avenue is a bad neighborhood, yes, but it’s not Francis Properties’ fault, it’s the freaking people who live on the street.

The owner of Francis Properties is a wonderful man who gives people places to live. He employs hundreds of hard workers, as well. Too bad this kind of yellow journalism is published these days.

Colton Anderson

I lived in these apartments in 2003. The living conditions were horrid. Every other month they would randomly show up and want to spray for roaches with no notice whatsoever. We had to throw out food and other items routinely after these “sprayings.” The carpet in Unit B downstairs was so old and tattered that it had a 6-foot gash in it and was disintegrating at the wall. When we signed our lease we were promised it would be replaced since it was over eight years old and totally nasty. That never happened. We had SWAT come and take down a tweaker who lived above us a few months after moving in. This was a recurring issue!! The management never did anything about it. We had to cower in our back bedroom for a four-hour standoff with that idiot.

Not only that but all the plug sockets on one wall had roaches spewing through them into our house. They would literally be so packed in you would hear “zapping.” The wall AC outside our window leaked into our apartment and the walls were slimy and coated with mold. The sink in the kitchen backed up with our neighbors’ gunk and overflowed into our front room and kitchen area two times in one year!

On a last note, yes, it is the responsibility of the management to retain a safe environment for all tenants. How ludicrous and exceptionally stupid it sounded when a previous poster actually said you can’t blame them for unsafe, unsanitary living conditions and/or people? Are you honestly that ignorant? I would file a class-action lawsuit if my statute of limitations had not run out.

Jo Morgan

Chico’s violence problem

My daughter believed that Chico was just a fluffy cloud of small-town goodness and security until a week ago. After not responding to a man who appeared high on drugs in a downtown pub, as she walked home with friends she was approached by him, he threw her to the ground in the Presbyterian Church parking lot, breaking her leg, which would need surgery and pins put in. He proceeded to beat her face black and blue.

Her friends were able to drag him off and beat him, but he got away. The nurses told me to read police reports—girls are being beaten in Chico all the time. This happened less than 24 hours after the LaSalles shooting, and a girl was raped and beaten right downtown just two nights ago.

I try to make sense out of the senseless. My daughter rollerbladed and drew with chalk in the Plaza, only to be beaten down on those very same sidewalks by an unknown predator. Chico has a huge problem, and to ignore it is suicide.

I am trying, as Lincoln once said, “To seek the better angels of my nature.” I hope you don`t find yourself looking down on your crushed child in a hospital bed, asking why it happened. Our children deserve better than this.

Allen Kreitzer

Power to the Democrats

I have e-mailed and written my congressional representatives many times, and my feeling is that my opinion means absolutely nothing. It has been a long time since the American people’s opinion meant anything to the politicians. Most of the politicians care about their job, the wealthy, and nothing else. It is time the people stand up and demand a voice in our political system, but how do they do this?

Unfortunately, a large percentage of people vote for the party that they are registered with and not what they believe in or think is really the right thing to do. Greed drives the politicians; brainwashing drives the people.

There has been much talk lately that we need a third party to help political deadlock. Maybe what we really need instead of three parties deadlocking is one party with enough power to make some decisions and laws. I am not a Republican, Democrat, Tea Party or an independent. I am currently registered No Party Affiliation, which lets me think for myself and know for sure that the Democrats, if in a true majority in Congress and led by the Obama who campaigned on change, can fix this mess our country is in.

The people all over the country need to make this decision next election, and if the Democrats don’t follow through with what the people ask for, then we get them out the next time. I am not suggesting a one-party system, but stating the only way we are going to get the politicians to listen to the people and do their job! Eric Cantor or Paul Ryan in charge, Lord help us all.

Bud Twilling

The right to use pot

Re “Happy 40th, Drug War” (Guest comment, by Jay Bergstrom, July 7):

If President Obama, NORML, the DEA and your reporters read the Controlled Substance Act 1970, you would know there are three criteria classifying drugs into five schedules. These criteria are: potential for abuse, medicinal use and safety of use.

Safety of use determines medicinal use. Why is NORML claiming medicinal use when marijuana is safe to use without medical supervision? The issue is safety of use, not medicinal use.

Marijuana remains illegal because the Department of Justice willfully deprives us of our individual rights to liberty, to property and to privacy, under the color of law. Marijuana is arbitrarily classified as a controlled substance and violates due process of law. The proscription of marijuana is unreasonable and unnecessary regulation of individual rights and contravenes the Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendments because the private use of marijuana does not impinge upon the rights of others.

Who is the President of the United States afraid of, that he will not defend individual rights protected by the Constitution? Is he afraid of law enforcement? Or is the deprivation of rights all about money?

What is the press afraid of, to allow President Obama to say this country is governed by the rule of law when the facts prove otherwise?

Michael J Dee
Windham, Maine


Our Healthlines feature story last week, “Quality, consistently,” mistakenly identified the chief medical officer at Oroville Hospital. He’s Dr. Matthew Fine.

Also, our story on the passing of Scott Teeple mistakenly said he’d served in Cambodia. It was Laos.

The mistakes have been corrected online. Our apologies for the errors.—ed.