Letters for July 23, 2015

Long live Ed

Re “Return of Edward Abbey” (Cover story, by Brad Rassler, July 16):

Ed Abbey wrote in the introduction to his finest piece of writing, Desert Solitaire: “much of the book will seem coarse, rude, bad-tempered, violently prejudiced, unconstructive—even frankly anti-social in its point of view. Serious critics, serious librarians, serious associate professors of English will if they read this work dislike it intensely; at least I hope so.”

Abbey didn’t get his wish, as evidenced by CN&R’s feature. And for good reason: Cactus Ed could write.

Abbey’s importance isn’t to be found in his anarchism, or his love of guns, or his warnings of overpopulation and immigration. Abbey’s importance is in how his words could inspire. It is impossible to read him without wanting to strap on a backpack, grab a walking stick and head out into the wilderness. And when you get there—what little remains of it—you’ll want to defend the same from the greedheads and the bulldozers.

Another one of my favorite writers, the radical journalist Alexander Cockburn, actually visited Abbey’s grave. Abbey’s friend, Doug Peacock (who helped with the illegal burial of Ed Abbey) brought Cockburn there a few years before Cockburn died. Cockburn wrote of Abbey: “Abbey at full stretch remains a great writer and he’ll stay in the pantheon for all time.” I agree.

Allan Stellar


Screwing the poor

Re “Clean it or close it” (Editorial, July 16):

The Chico News & Review has taken on the issue of less frequent cleaning and deteriorating water quality at Sycamore Pool—another example of downgraded city services, impacting the urban forest, the library, parks and assistance to the homeless.

Though “tight” budgets have been foisted on the public as the inevitable result of “mismanagement,” this “crisis” is mysteriously coincident with the increasingly obscene concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few. You’ve no doubt seen statistics on the ever-widening gap between rich and poor in the U.S.—the worst among developed nations. These statistics are lived by the poor and it’s the poor who swim at Sycamore Pool; while the rich have private clubs, swimming pools, creeks, lakes, beaches and can fly to resorts anywhere in the world.

We have our undertaxed, upper 1 percent here in Butte County, just like everywhere else: landlords, developers, rice and nut growers, doctors, administrators and some fabulously successful business owners. While this class gets richer every year, the quality of life for the underclass continues to deteriorate.

Can’t “afford” to keep Sycamore Pool clean and open? In this, the richest nation on earth? Bullshit.

Welcome to the world of winner-take-all, screw-the-poor, trickle-down economics.

Patrick Newman



Re “The bigots among us” (Editorial, July 16):

This is America. You have the right to wave the Confederate flag or the ISIS flag or even that German flag without being confronted by hateful mobs. You should be able to wave whatever flag you want free from intimidation. Not all people who like the Confederate flag are racists. Not all believe it was a racist symbol. You think your way and let others think the way they want, or has god struck you on the head like Obama and made you perfect? If blacks are disturbed by the flag, they should be civil enough to get over it. Where, for example, would we be if everything made us mad enough to rush out and fight or tear up property? Either you’re civilized or not.

Allan Clark


A stinky solution

A real water saver: Do not bathe until somebody says you smell.

Stephen T. Davis


Park strip Zen

Every day a I see a newly transformed street-side park strip. Turf being displaced by gravel, crushed stone and bark chips, sometimes accompanied by drought-tolerant plants and randomly placed rocks.

I like to play golf, and quite honestly, my sand trap game is lousy. After botching a sand-wedge shot my blood pressure skyrockets. What to do?

Dumping sand all over my park strips, creating mounds and bunkers complete with sand rakes is the answer. Then when my sand wedge fails me, I’ll grab the sand rake and start drawing calming patterns in my Zen garden, while meditating about the true meaning of golf.

Dave Kelley


More on sidewalk bikers

Re “Three on the commentary” (Letters, by David Eaton and Janine Rood, July 16):

I’ll admit the California Vehicle Code is a trifle vague on the subject of bicycles on sidewalks so that it might be interpreted to the advantage of bicyclists wishing to do so. I plan to dedicate some time to making the code a little less vague. Mr. Eaton, while I’m not necessarily your adversary, I don’t want to be your ally, either. I just want you off the existing sidewalks.

Ms. Rood, why waste time and money creating more bicycle lanes? The bicycle lanes in place now are largely ignored in favor of the sidewalks. A writer on one website I visited remarked that while it might be legal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk it might also be considered antisocial, meaning having a callous disregard for the welfare of others.

Michele French


‘Cockamamie idea’

Re “Far out” (Cover story, by CN&R staff, July 9):

Whose cockamamie idea was it to put a young man diving head first into white water on the front page of the CN&R? I know more young men than I can count on one hand who are wheelchair-bound because of diving head first into water! Please think a bit more about the images you put on your front cover or anywhere inside your publication for that matter.

Also, the cuckoo who wrote in and said one of the “perks” of giving blood is getting a free HIV test should be fined and banned from donating blood in the future! CN&R should be ashamed of publishing it! Total disservice to people who need healthy blood donors! I am a nurse and a 10 gallon platelet donor, so I am not talking smack!

Melissa Hormann


Editor’s note: The CN&R did not encourage the young man to dive into the water. In fact, we put a note in the story discouraging such behavior.

Dinging The Donald

This just in: Trump trumpets Trump, yet again. Thankfully, Donald Trump has revealed the truth all real Americans have waited to hear about John McCain’s phony war service!

The McCainster’s supposed downing of his fighter jet. Was it “shot down” or deliberately crashed? McCain wasted a precious national asset—those babies were expensive, even back then. And he effectively took himself out of the fray for several years, while remaining on the payroll! And that supposed “torture”? It’s not that bad, really; just ask anyone whose Big Slurp has gone down the wrong way.

The Trumpster, modest person that he is, has never spoken about his own heroic national service. Did he not receive the Silver Star for removing a rather large silver spoon from his mouth during the Battle of Atlantic City? And don’t forget his Purple Heart, awarded for squandering the several fortunes he had inherited from his real-estate-mogul father. The painful wounding he endured from sniping creditors has been compared to that of childbirth.

Residents in America’s favorite theme park, Crazyland USA, have been waiting way too long for such a Truth to Power Emanation. Thank you, America, for spawning such as The Donald, to lead us toward The Light. We are indeed blessed.

Michael Mulcahy


Locals like Bernie

There is a lot of excitement about Bernie Sanders running for president in the Democratic primary—many of us hope this could be a game-changer for the corporate stranglehold on U.S. politics. A spontaneous group has formed to support Bernie’s campaign in the North State (North Staters for Bernie—check our Facebook page) with people from Redding, Red Bluff, Cottonwood, Chico, Paradise and all the little towns in between.

Bernie has called for an Organizing Kickoff next Wednesday. At thousands of homes and halls across the country, we will begin to build the organization that will take this country back from the billionaire class. We will share our own stories of why we’re getting involved, hear from Bernie, and have the opportunity to sign up for an organizing team.

The community is invited to join North Staters for Bernie at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, at the Chico Grange, 2775 Nord Ave., in Chico, to build our organizing team. Please join us!

Emily Alma