Letters for July 31, 2014

It takes commitment

Re “Pet tales” (Cover feature, by CN&R staff, July 24):

I enjoyed your coverage of “man’s best friend.”

Humans genetically engineered dogs to embody the best in ourselves: loyalty, empathy, sensitivity, affection and courage. We owe them understanding and respect.

Dogs are social/pack animals and mostly hate being alone. They are naturally active and suffer when constrained. They bond with companions and grieve when separated. They desire to live, as all beings do—and suffer when discarded, as any of us would.

Before getting a dog, ask yourself if you can provide an adequate social life—a dog left alone in a yard all day is a lonely dog. Can you walk the dog at least once every day? Can you bond with the dog for its lifetime—average 13 years—and spare it the trauma of losing its friends and family? Would you be happy with a rescue dog? If not, you are likely supporting puppy mills that produce an over-supply, ensuring that millions of “surplus” dogs are interminably impounded or destroyed every year.

Caring for a dog means taking on a lifestyle—it’s not something that can be put on a shelf or dropped on a whim. At least not if we aspire to be half as decent as these creatures we “possess.”

Patrick Newman

Letter was revealing

Re “Check out the perks” (Letters, by Stephanie L. Taber, July 24):

I was appalled reading Stephanie Taber’s letter regarding the excessive salaries and benefits Chico police officers receive.

The Chico police, of course, defend these exorbitant perks and salaries by saying they put their lives on the line protecting the public. However, I assume police officers in cities of approximate size to Chico risk their lives as well, and do not get paid near the salaries, benefits and perks.

Beverly Hills police officers do not get paid as much, nor do they receive the generous perks Chico police officers do.

Growing up, I dreamed of someday being a United States senator, but from a financial standpoint, I might have been better off dreaming of becoming a Chico police officer.

Aaron Meyers

Check out the perks? Stop blaming the pigs for eating too much when the top administration pigs feed them.

Joel Castle

TV’s one-sided reporting

A local news channel in Chico did a brief report, with a video of an Israeli woman amid her home demolished by a “rocket.” Her home was near Ben Gurion airport and some flights had been canceled.

What would a viewer take from that report? A rocket hit an Israeli home near Israel’s airport; meaning that Israelis are “being attacked.” Yes. And, what was not reported, nor shown, was the mass destruction of Gaza, with over 1,000 dead (80 percent civilians), thousands wounded, with hospitals ill-equipped to handle the crisis.

If people want to actually know what’s happening, they would need to look at other channels, stations and websites for a few different perspectives—of which there are many. And then, there is history, written by various sides/factions.

Why do we care? For one thing, we’re paying $3.5 billion per year to “support” Israel. They use our tax dollars to harass people whose families have lived in Palestine for generations. Israelis are building illegal settlements on the Palestinian land, taking their water and demolishing Palestinian homes and orchards. It is against international law, but Israelis disregard the law, knowing they have friends in the U.S.

Andrea Bowman

What about the flowers?

Re “Monumental myth” (Cover feature, by Allan Stellar, July 17):

Thanks for publishing Allan Stellar’s enjoyable article about hiking the Siskiyou Crest. The story is accompanied by nine photographs. Five depict humans or human-made artifacts; these all have captions. Four depict native plants; these are untitled.

The plants’ images are beautiful, and for many people, their beauty alone will be reason enough to care about them. To be sure, we need not know an organism’s name in order to protect it. In fact, the greatest argument for wilderness conservation may be the millions of species out there that haven’t even gotten a name yet, much less had a shot at, say, curing cancer.

We can still enjoy a flower’s beauty in ignorance. But, at its best, “environmentalism” is about much more than that. The spirit of conservation affirms that every creature has a unique life story, has a purpose, has its own needs and gifts to offer. (That’s why we can’t simply do without some species. We need them all.)

In short, every creature has an identity. So, not only humans deserve captions.

Wolfgang Rougle

He’s not running

The reason I ran for City Council in 2012 was to be a voice for moderation. During my eight years on the Chico Planning Commission, I experienced a lot of polarity within the commission, between applicants and their foes, and more than enough polarity on the council. That needed to change.

The polarity has not gone away. Compromise is scarce. Moderation is missing. Too many issues are still “resolved” along party lines with predictable partisan block voting.

Running as a moderate presented a formidable challenge. There were five progressives to my left and five conservatives to my right. Donations were tight. Endorsements were rare. Mailing slick, full-color postcards was impossible. Being an alternative political choice carries its own baggage.

Unfortunately, I did not win. Taking the loss was much deeper, and harder, than I had imagined. Now in hindsight, I appreciate the experience gained, the effort spent, the people I met, and the simple satisfaction of having tried.

I have decided to not run in 2014. Hopefully another candidate will rise up and be the third political choice. Be the voice for moderation. Be the voice for every person in Chico.

To each of the 7,178 voters who supported me in 2012, I say thank you.

Dave Kelley

Editor’s note: For more on the City Council election, see Second & Flume, page 5.

Who’s policing police?

Why isn’t there a zero-tolerance policy for excessive police force, with the exception of being fired upon or unavoidably threatened by an actual armed assailant? And I don’t mean some guy with a kitchen knife, 20 feet away who allegedly “lunged” at them, so they had to shoot him, and typically from a distance that is farther away than effective “lunging” could take place.

The fact that the word “lunged” is always used when they describe what happened just seems a bit odd, too. It strikes me as a scripted word. It also seems peculiar that we commonly see officers crank someone’s arm back until the joint can’t go any further (because it’s on the verge of dislocation) and will then start yelling “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” This seems like another scripted phrase that is used in order to create the appearance of resistance for an audio or video recording, and allow the officers to continue with excessive force.

Here’s a fact: When someone is on their belly with three officers’ knees in their back, and another officer pressing the person’s face into the pavement with both hands (using most of their body weight to do so), and while having both arms cranked up to the limits (or more) of their natural moveable range, that is not resisting, no matter what is being shouted by the police!

Aaron Pico

Editor’s note: For more on this subject, see Second & Flume, page 5.

National Guard can help

I favor the use of U.S. National Guard units being used to assist our Border Patrol in defending our southern borders. However, I’m vehemently against actions requested by Texas Gov. Rick Perry—“arrest powers to support Border Patrol operations until sufficient Border Patrol resources can be hired, trained and deployed to the border.”

Military personnel are trained to provide logistical support, including but not limited to the securing of temporary holding facilities, paperwork and the humanitarian efforts of feeding and caring for children and their families. Providing this kind of assistance would be a welcome change to the tedium soldiers associate with their obligations.

Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, recently expressed a concern that active-duty Border Patrol agents are absorbing the additional tasks of “… processing and babysitting.”

Time and again, our American citizenry has witnessed the United States Armed Forces as capable and willing to assist others in need. This is such a time. Let’s place our young men and women on the front line; they now stand ready to assist with spoons and blankets. We can do both well, I assure you.

Mark Thorp

Editor’s note: Mr. Thorp is a U.S. Army veteran.

Dump Doug this November

Doug LaMalfa claims he’s “one of us.” Don’t believe it. He is one of them—one of the rich, one of the 1 percent, one of the fat cats. LaMalfa and his family have collected over $5 million in farm subsidies. Meanwhile, LaMalfa has opposed food aid programs that benefit the poor and unfortunate.

Apparently, LaMalfa believes in welfare for the rich and free enterprise for the poor. Well, folks, we can send LaMalfa home to work on the family farm. Of course, he may choose to stay on in Washington as a lobbyist for his corporate benefactors. That’s where the real money is.

We have a choice this November. We can elect Heidi Hall to Congress. She is obviously intelligent, thoughtful, well-educated and well-informed. She is not afraid to take on the tea party zealots and their fat cat cronies. Heidi understands the challenges and hardships facing the working class, the middle class, our veterans, our unemployed and the new generation that is coming of age in these tough times.

We need a voice in Congress that will speak for the 99 percent of us, not just the 1 percenters. So please, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, let’s all work together and elect Heidi Hall to Congress.

Ron Lunder

Getting what we paid for

The Chinese company that built the Bay Bridge did not even pay their workers our minimum wage. The investigations, inspections and reports on the Bay Bridge must certainly exceed what extra it would have cost to hire a U.S. firm that pays union wages.

R. Sterling Ogden