Letters for July 8, 2010

How the city helped Symmes

Re “Web of deception” (Cover story, by Tom Gascoyne, July 1):

Tony Symmes came into the Cactus Avenue neighborhood to answer the call of greed. He bought in with the current zoning at one-acre pieces on the town’s edge. Then he was able to finagle six or seven units per acre, forever changing the character and way of life of this area.

He couldn’t have been successful without the assistance and support of the Planning Commission and the City Council, who turned a deaf ear to the neighborhood’s citizens, the general plan and environmental concerns.

When will neighborhoods be allowed their own destinies instead of political interests overgrowing Chico by feeding the developers?

Jerry Olio

Digital smarm

Re “Can the news be saved?” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, July 1):

This is a typical dilemma of modernity (or post analog), and a very important one. Already a toll has been taken, in my opinion. Instead of thoughtful and fact-based, literate stories (a la Jim Gregg or Bob Speer), we often now get snippets on the facts and emotional edges closer to smarm or “gotcha.”

I hope the thinking people in the digital world realize that, in the final analysis, a complete, fact-based story, reinforced with honest pictures, will result in a better, more economically balanced and stable society for us all.

Abe Bailey

Blind eye to Israel

Re “Israel eases its siege” (Editorial, July 1):

When an American presidential candidate and congresswoman [Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney] on a mission to aid Palestinians with medicine and food has her boat rammed and is later kidnapped and jailed for a week, and there is no outrage or condemnation from American media or leaders, then the nation doing the attacking, killing and kidnapping must be Israel.

Other, whiter female presidential candidates get the red-carpet treatment from Israel. But of course they never lifted a finger to help the starving Palestinians.

This is not equality for all, or a democracy in the Middle East.

It’s no surprise that the ridiculous notion that Israel—which has no constitution and no bill of rights, disregards the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and is in violation of hundreds of U.N. resolutions, and was in fact founded in part by Jewish terrorists—is somehow a victim of the very people they have illegally stripped of their land and lives is constantly promoted through the media.

Dave Kiefer

Thermalito’s promise

Re “Thermaghetto or Thermagardens?” (Newslines, by Christine C.K. LaPado, June 24):

I used to teach in Thermalito and love the rural community and see its potential. There is so much to offer in that area, with the lakes and rivers right there. It is beautiful and needs someone to care and help the residents care.

The biggest downfall is the number of adults on drugs who bounce from welfare home to welfare home and leave all of their junk behind.

Stacy Kurtzhals
Herriman, UT

I grew up in “Thermaghetto.” It was kind of like growing up in a country kind of lifestyle, and there wasn’t much that was actually “ghetto” about the place.

Growing up across the street from an olive orchard, hearing the roosters crow in the morning, catching crawdads, hunting for bullfrogs, cow-tipping and building forts in trees basically made up my childhood. A lot of good people have come from Thermalito and will continue to do so. You gotta expect to have some bad apples on every tree.

The biggest problems our community faces today are the lack of employment opportunities and the methamphetamine epidemic. We’ve had our fair share of crime in the area, but I think the worst memory I have is of when two 18-year-old kids who were high on meth drove up my street and ran over all the sleeping ducks that were next to the road.

Bad things, bad people, and ugly properties are going to be everywhere you go; it’s just a part of life. The best thing we can do is just try to set a decent example for our fellow neighbors and hope for the best.

Shane Kaylor

Overpaid vs. underpaid

There is enormous disparity in Butte County salaries among the department heads, the mid-level managers and the lower-level employees, or “classified staff,” who actually do the work.

Candace Grubbs makes more than $130,000 a year. Meanwhile, the clerks in her department all make less than $50,000 a year, many of them in the $30,000-$40,000 range.

Department heads are evaluated based on the performance of their staff. Does it make sense then that department heads all received raises last November, while staffers are still working without any contract after a year and a half of non-negotiation between the county and its employees’ association?

For every staff member there are one or more management positions in the department. One department has 17 employees—nine are management, including a department head, paid in the $190,000 range, and three “assistants” who get around $90,000 a year.

When it is time to cut the budget, it is classified staff who are laid off, a direct cut in services to us. Only months after giving the department heads tens of thousands in raises, the Board of Supervisors is again discussing “browning out” fire stations and leaving various classified positions unfilled.

We elect our supervisors and prominent members of staff, but the nonelected CAO is the one who really runs everything. Interim County Administrative Officer Scott Tandy asks for $24,000 a month and gets it.

Juanita Sumner

Dissatisfied with City Plaza

The fountain feature at the downtown plaza has a serious safety issue. The glass used to create the design that covers the area is very sharp and abrades skin in a very ragged fashion, creating large wound areas that heal slowly and leave terrible scars.

My daughter was injured by this fountain, and I watched as another child was cut by the glass during very innocent and gentle interaction with the water feature. The scars that remain on my daughter’s feet remind me that this needs to be fixed. .

It is time to recognize this error on the part of the designers and supplier of this fountain and fix it before anyone else is injured.

I would like to know if the city is aware of this issue and what measures are being, or have been, taken to eliminate this hazard.

Carmelo Intersimone

While visiting recently, we had the unfortunate mishap of being confronted by a pair of careless and irresponsible pit-bull owners who had let their pregnant and unlicensed dog run amok in City Plaza. This vicious dog, named “Mary Jane,” charged across the plaza and attacked our 15-lb. Boston terrier, who was on his leash. The pit bull practically tore off our little dog’s ear. Blood and yelling commenced.

Thankfully we were able to pull the little dog away and scoop him down to the North Valley 24-hour vet. Needless to say, we incurred an expensive visit to the veterinary clinic.

Passersby were kind enough to bring blankets and water to calm down our terrified puppy. We are very thankful to the nurse who helped us clean up the mess. The female owner of the dog came over to inspect the damage, stating, “She hasn’t attacked another dog in weeks.” Great! You know your dog is unreliable and yet you are still irresponsible.

We called the police and they rushed right over to investigate. Unfortunately, the pathetic dog owners had scurried away. Chickens!

I am irritated that the city of Chico is not enforcing better pet-control laws, especially since the police alluded to being aware of the owners and the dog’s history. We felt unwelcome in Chico and will avoid the City Plaza on our next visit.

Julie Joy
Santa Barbara