Letters for July 30, 2015
Two views on ag
Re “Alternative to the tunnels” (Editorials, July 23):
In a recent editorial, the Chico News & Review took California agriculture to task for its use of water and land in the Central Valley. Unfortunately, the editorial was devoid of facts and sources as to the negative claims. Let me help you out. Fast Facts on California’s Agricultural Economy, compiled by the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy will show how vitally important agriculture is to California. All statements in the report are backed up with facts.
Nearly 2.5 million jobs are directly or indirectly related to California agriculture. Take land out of production and guess what, severe unemployment! The statewide economic cost of the 2014 drought is estimated at $2.2 billion, with a total loss 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs, not to mention those jobs indirectly associated with agriculture. In 2013, California agriculture produced $46.7 billion. The value of California agriculture is thoroughly spelled out in this report. I encourage your readers to find it online.
Is California agriculture perfect? No. Can we improve on how we use land and water? Yes. But don’t throw the second largest industry in California under the bus without researching the facts. Chico News & Review—you’re better than that!
Agriculture constitutes only 2 percent of California’s $2 trillion gross domestic product, yet it uses 80 percent of our state’s water. And on top of that, farmers grow a lot of luxury crops like pistachios and artichokes and then export them (99 percent of our walnuts are shipped out of state, for example) so that Californians do not even benefit from lower prices ($9 for a bag of pistachios here?). And we ship water-intensive crops like hay and alfalfa to China, so we’re sending our water in the midst of a drought to communist China. Old timers will tell you that long ago you just had to stick a shovel in the ground to find moisture (the city of Sacramento used to be a swamp), but nowadays farmers have to drill down 1,000 feet to find water. The aquifers are being drained. The deep aquifers are not replenishable and surface aquifers need rain. People keep saying El Nino is on the way, but I wouldn’t wait for a big wind to blow through to solve our problems. Hydrologists estimate that California has just a few decades left before it becomes another barren desert with emptied aquifers. Then we’ll see a disastrous diaspora as millions of people flee the state. Who in our Sacramento government is letting this happen and why?
Re “Arts Devo” (by Jason Cassidy, July 23):
Congratulations to Nick Andrew, owner of LaSalles on Broadway in downtown Chico. Andrew’s new idea to convert, or revert, LaSalles, which over the years has devolved from being Chico’s original upscale and very popular “fern bar” into a not-so-attractive live music venue, is an excellent plan that will see the traditional downtown area move further into becoming an eclectic collection of excellent restaurants. This is a strong current trend in the downtown area and Andrew is wise to join in. LaSalles has needed something like this for many years.
The original LaSalles, owned by Fred Marken, longtime downtown business leader and all around colorful character back in the 1970s, served excellent food as well as quality drinks and occasional music. As mentioned, it was a very popular “fern bar”-type venue, drawing customers from Red Bluff down to the Marysville-Yuba City area and everywhere in between.
Back in the day, LaSalles was the destination of many of Chico’s business owners. A standard salutation, or exit comment was, “I’ll see you at LaSalles after work.” Maybe that will come about again. Good luck to Nick Andrew!
Wilderness is gone
Re “Dry lakes spell doom” (Greenways, by Virginia Arthur, July 9):
Thank you for this insight into our wilderness areas or what’s left of them. I don’t go up to the Sierras anymore for this reason. But, I recently hiked with friends up the Yahi Trail to swim in each of the swimming holes as we went up the trail. We were appalled at all the garbage and disgusting stuff that’s left behind by the public. We hauled, up from the ponds, as much stuff as we could but were overwhelmed by the volume. After writing letters to the council people and supervisors to give them insight into this situation, I was so disappointed to read last week that the gates will now be open for the public to haul in their garbage. The mountain bikers are doing so much damage to the open areas that we were all supposed to enjoy. The wilderness, as I know it in this area, is just gone.
Bike safety: doing the math
Re “More on sidewalk bikers” (Letters, by Michele French, July 23):
I’m curious about Michele French’s definition of “callous disregard for others.” I learned in physics that the energy applied to an object is equal to 1/2 mass times velocity squared. This puts a collision between a bicycle (200 pounds) and a pedestrian at 700 foot-pounds at 10 mph, and a collision between a car (2,000 pounds) and a pedestrian at 40,000 foot-pounds at 25 mph. For comparison, a major league fastball impacts with 5,600 foot-pounds and a professional boxer can land a punch with 700 foot-pounds of force.
I’d like to volunteer my services to determine scientifically the definition of welfare if Michele will as well. I’ll allow a 200-pound bicyclist traveling 10 mph to collide with me 50 times if she will allow a car traveling 25 mph to collide with her once.
The tides are a-changin’
At last! A Marxist pope (capitalism is “the dung of the Devil”). And the end of the Civil War (South Carolina takes down its Confederate flag). And maybe the end of the Civil War (U.S. reopens relations with Cuba).
What next? Rain?
Focus is blurred
While Donald Trump’s foolishness was covered night and day last week, shocking things were happening in Ukraine—not covered by our media. The Ukraine army (largely made up of private militia) were in the process of revolting against their Kiev government and demanding an end to the Minsk OSCE ceasefire agreement (which they weren’t honoring) and demanding all-out war on the western states of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Again there were thousands in the streets of Kiev’s Maidan Square; again there were Right Sector (fascist) red and black flags with the neo-Nazi swastikas wafting in the breeze. The Right Sector was legitimized last spring because it was aided by the U.S. State Department (Google “Victoria Nuland”) to overthrow the previous pro-Russian government and promote the ensuing civil war. Ukrainian people suffer misery and death now because of U.S. foreign policies that bring about chaos.
More on Medicare for all
Feedback: Critics continue to deride the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” No, the ACA isn’t perfect and it needs more work. Yet every day millions of Americans reap immense benefits from this landmark legislation. The ACA is serving its basic purpose of saving lives. Much the same could be said about Medicare when it was passed by Congress 50 years ago. At that time, Medicare was an equally groundbreaking and controversial program. Today it is a universally recognized mainstay of our health care delivery system. In this era of alarming and escalating health care costs, millions upon millions of Americans (especially seniors) don’t have to worry about obtaining quality health care during a susceptible stage of their lives.
I’m immensely grateful for the visionary leadership—starting back in the mid-1940s—that finally made Medicare a reality in 1965. The struggle to implement Medicare was long and hard-fought. And so it is with the ACA, a mere baby step in the march to resolve one of our greatest challenges—ensuring every American has access to affordable, quality health care. I say, “On with our march to improve our health care system! Extend Medicare to all.” A single-payer system is the only sensible solution to our looming health care challenge.
Re “Breaks in the story” (Scene, by Carey Wilson, July 23):
The author of this bit must be very young. The “golden-haired young woman lounging against a cabinet” is from a still of Faye Dunaway in the film Bonnie and Clyde, and the “cabinet” she’s leaning against is a ‘34 Ford.
Editor’s note: You’re right, Doug! We didn’t notice at first. Good eyes.—Ed.
Re “Screwing the poor” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, July 23):
Regarding Patrick Newman’s latest attempt at being miserable regarding Sycamore Pool. Patrick, did you move here because this is the only place on Earth that will publish your crap? If you are so miserable about everything, do something about it, like move to another town and bother them. Or get a life, or a job, or some duct tape for the brain. Ever heard of people just wanting to be happy? Look into it.