Letters for July 24, 2003

Court order
Thank you for an excellent article on the Butte County Drug Court [“Courting addiction,” cover story, July 17]. Your reporter, Josh Indar, truly caught the workings and the essence of our team and our program. Mr. Indar is to be congratulated on his thoroughness and his well-researched article.

Lest your readers get the idea that the Drug Court’s success is owed only to those featured in the article, however, I would like to make certain the public is well aware that Butte County Drug Court is one of the nation’s leading drug courts because of the collaboration and contributions of the Butte County supervisors; officers of the Butte County Probation Department and its chief, John Wardell; Butte County Behavioral Health’s counselors and leaders Dr. Brad Luz and Ginger Iverson; the Department of Employment and Social Services, led by Pat Cragar; the Chico Police Department, Butte County Sheriff Perry Reniff and District Attorney Mike Ramsey; our private providers, Skyway House, Integrity House, Cherokee Treatment, Tri Counties Treatment, The Well, The Esplanade House, Hickory House, Enloe Medical Center and Touchstone Perinatal Program; and many others.

Were it not for these partners and the generous contributions of the community to the work of the Butte County Drug Court, those who were featured in the article would not be able to do what we do. It is because of the Butte County community and its support that we have made certain the Butte County Drug Court works.

Thank you for letting the community know about our Drug Court.

Darrell W. Stevens
Superior Court Judge
Butte County Drug Court

Down-under downer
Reading Donna Peterson’s letter in the July 17 issue struck a chord with me [“Rights and responsibilities”]. My husband and I recently found out just how many rights the American people do not have. The right to ask federal employees for their names is one of them. The right to be treated with respect, another.

My husband, who is an Australian citizen and who has lived in the United States for more than four years, was treated to an insightful display of misconduct and verbal abuse by the Immigration and Naturalization Service when he watched as federal employees were extremely rude to everyone they came in contact with, whether man, woman or child. He himself was treated not as a citizen of a country that is closely allied to the U.S. and one of the few countries that trusts in the U.S. enough to back it in war after war, but more like someone from a country that would inspire suspicion and distrust. You do not have to have an ethnic name to be mistreated; you do not have to have dark skin or a Middle Eastern accent to be a victim of abuse by the U.S. government. Any one of us could be the next Iyman Faris.

Cheryl Gault-Borg
Forest Ranch

I got yer applause
You “applaud” the sale of Enloe’s 250 acres along Bruce Road [“Enloe’s good deal,” editorial, July 10].

Are you also going to applaud when Enloe bulldozes its current neighborhood?

Are you going to applaud when an increasing number of sirens and helicopters disrupt old-town Chico? Or does it matter to you that just lower-priced houses are there?

Are you going to applaud an increasing number of vehicles traversing Fifth Avenue, much of which doesn’t even have a normal street width or curbs?

Are you going to applaud the disruption of Esplanade’s flow-through traffic lights to accommodate a left-turn signal to a redesigned Enloe on Sixth Avenue?

Are you going to applaud an increasing number of transients around the proposed parking garage in Enloe’s neighborhood?

And your claim that 10 years ago Enloe scrapped plans to build a new hospital at the Bruce Road site is blatantly false. Ten years ago, the hospital was run by a completely different set of administrators who had a long-range vision.

What is true is Enloe never proposed to build an additional hospital at the new site, but rather a replacement for the crowded and old buildings currently used to process patients.

Applaud all you want. Bulldoze all you want. But forgive me if I applaud with only one finger.

Barry Johnson

Turnout turnoff
It’s a shame that the world’s greatest champion of democracy, America, is plagued with low voter turnout, an un-elected president and frequent recall efforts. What can be done to “tune up” our voting system? Turnout increases when voters feel that their votes count and when they don’t have to choose between the “evil of two lessers,” voting for front-runners that they wouldn’t support otherwise.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) provides such a solution: You simply rank the candidates you prefer 1-2-3. If no candidate has a majority (more than 50 percent) of votes, the next choices on trailing ballots are counted until one does.

Election by majority is more democratic and less prone to recall. IRV saves the cost of runoff elections, promotes positive, issue-based campaigns in lieu of mudslinging, and allows for better voting strategies.

Contact your political party and ask them to implement and support IRV in primaries and elections.

Greg Orrick

Non-political stars
Josephine Guardino took the opportunity in a letter to you to respond to Anthony Watts’ comments made in our daily paper several weeks ago and CN&R’s comments on the issue [“Shooting the messenger,” July 3]. In her letter, she implied the Kiwanis Chico Community Observatory was “his telescope’s view.”

I am surprised that Ms. Guardino has yet to fully educate herself on KCCO and its mission, even though she opposed, in three public meetings, our proposals for improvements that eventually received conceptual approval by the Bidwell Parks and Playground Commission.

The KCCO operates through the efforts of the Greater Chico Kiwanis Club, volunteers of all ages and contributions from individuals through out our community. Anthony Watts has made several large donations of time and equipment to help make the observatory functional, including several computers and hosting our Web site. His efforts, along with those of hundreds of others who have contributed time, expertise and money, have made KCCO the only community observatory in the country—a public observatory with the goal of providing free access to the universe to the children and adults of this community. We thank Mr. Watts and everyone who has made our observatory a unique venue to enjoy the nighttime environment of Upper Bidwell Park and its views of the universe.

I invite Ms. Guardino to visit the observatory, any clear Thursday through Sunday evening, to experience how Chico enjoys its stellar views in this non-political environment of our community.

Kris Koenig
Kiwanis Chico Community Observatory