Letters for July 9, 2015

Right on, Rancho Cordova

Re “That was fast” (Downstroke, July 2):

I just read Rancho Cordova’s decision to part ways with Chico’s former city manager, Brian Nakamura. While some interpret this as something negative, I see it as positive and something our city should emulate. I liked Rancho Cordova’s reasons for cutting ties with Nakamura: “to achieve more positive results, restore optimistic employee culture, and remain an employer of choice.” Rancho Cordova’s City Council was quick and decisive; something our city could learn.

Too often, Chico boards can’t make decisions about anything, and indecision results in a deterioration of major proportions. It is much better to take your lumps early as Rancho Cordova did, rather than wait longer and experience worse consequences. Teachers say that Chico Unified’s decline in recent years could have probably been avoided had the board cut ties with poor district office leadership, or the same with our city letting Nakamura go a second year. Kenny Rogers’ song about knowing “when to fold ’em” and take a smaller loss should be memorized by all boards.

There is too much at stake with our city’s infrastructure and our schools. All local boards and councils should take some lessons from Rancho Cordova’s decisiveness and priorities.

Nemora Lee


Where’s the documentation?

Re “Cracks in the foundation” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, July 2):

Chico State geologist Todd Greene states “there still isn’t fracking going on here.” I would really like to see his source of information since hydraulic fracturing was unregulated in California until January 2014, when Senate Bill 4 went into effect.

On Jan. 13, 2011, state Sen. Fran Pavley requested basic information about fracking in California from DOGGR, the state regulatory agency. DOGGR reported that it had “no permitting process,” “no regulations currently in place specific to fracking,” was “unable to identify where and how often fracking occurs in the state” and had “no information” about water use.

Butte County did not have any regulations on fracking until the supervisors passed their ban on the storage and disposal of frack wastewater, which went into effect last month.

FracFocus is a volunteer industry website that has a disclaimer that the info on its site isn’t legally binding. All the information we have obtained about fracked wells in Northern California has been voluntary information from the industry. Just because there is nobody who has volunteered info on frack wells in Butte County does not mean they have not fracked. I would love to be proven wrong, so, please, Mr. Greene, show me your documentation that there is no fracking in Butte County.

Dave Garcia


Here’s a list

Re “What benefits?” (Letters, by Carl Ochsner, July 2):

When I wrote of the “inherited benefits of my race,” I was not referring to some imagined genetic superiority, but of the social benefits ascribed to me due to my race; benefits I inherited from a lineage of white ancestors and that our white supremacist society upholds.

Let me illustrate the nature of that racial benefit. 1) I grew up seeing images in mainstream media predominantly reflecting people of my race as heroes rather than as criminals, offering a culturally constructed identity of heroism, goodness and innocence; 2) Any effort I make to conform to the beauty standard will not require altering my natural hair texture or skin tone, saving me money and social discomfort; 3) The men in my family’s history have never counted the color of their skin as a barrier to education, land ownership or bank loans, lending me an economic stability that goes back generations; 4) When pulled over for a routine traffic stop, I will not be racially profiled by police, resulting in one-third the likelihood of having my car searched compared with that of a person of color.

These are just a few examples of how I experience the social benefits of whiteness, but the list goes on.

Olivia Schmidt


Wise words, repeated

Re “Taking care” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, July 2):

In 1971, a well-produced documentary called Say Goodbye was shown on network television. It featured vanishing species and “environmental crisis” writ large. Around that time, I read some surprisingly progressive statements on “environmental stewardship” from the crusty old Catholic church. This kind of stuff gave me hope—it seemed as if an awakening was occurring.

Since the 1970s—according to the World Wildlife Fund—about half of the vertebrate life on Earth has disappeared. The Amazon rainforest is expected to be gone by 2040. Oceans are rapidly acidifying. Human population has increased by billions and worldwide per capita energy consumption increases every year.

In this context we have the recent words of Pope Francis. They are strong words about environmental collapse, greed, consumerism, etc. I want these words to give me hope—the same feeling I had at age 15. But, they don’t.

We’ve had wise words from wise people for a long time: Jesus, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi. They all said, “Radically simplify your lives and renounce materialism.” We’ve done the opposite in every possible way.

Maybe Pope Francis is delivering the message a little differently, but what’s really necessary is a different reception.

Patrick Newman


Rallied by the pick

Re “Mad tea party” (Editor’s pick, June 25):

So often, our lens can waiver between a glass half full and half empty, right? The unexpected privilege of being a CN&R editor’s pick rallied our local community to participate in a most memorable event (being the first of many to come): the Chico Women’s Club’s Care to Share Tea on Saturday, June 27.

Between vibrant curiosities and deep wisdom, the bond emerged between our local youth and long-abiding residents, which was a new encounter for many. [During the event], one attendee’s words summed it up, stating, “This group is like a homecoming.” Our (tea) cups remain overflowing in great thanks to our local Chico News & Review weekly and three cheers to all of you who risked diving into uncharted waters between multigenerations to make a difference!

Bee Smith


Mind the trees, please

The City Sustainability Report is out, and it notes that last year the city cut down 209 trees. Meanwhile, it planted 14. The City Council has cut the tree crew from 11 to three.

Trees absorb nitrogen oxide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone pollutant gases and they filter particulates out of the air. Did you see the 400-pound limb that fell on The Esplanade today? These factors make our urban forest a very real public safety issue!

Chico Tree Advocates planted 29 trees in Chico this last planting season that will one day shade city streets. Shady streets need repaving only half as often as sunny streets. That makes our urban forest a very real budget consideration.

Twenty years from now our children will not care about most of the issues concerning us today, except our urban forest—this gift from our fathers’ fathers, this part of our identity, our heritage and our safety. How sad it would be if we became the generation that was too busy to protect and plant. Or rather how great, even in difficult times, if we found the courage to nurture our urban forest.

Charles Withuhm


Donations help donors

Giving blood doesn’t just help patients—it helps donors, too. Donor benefits include losing weight, free testing for STDs, improved cardiovascular health and supplemental cash.

Giving blood effectively burns 650 calories. However, since it can be donated only every two months, such only enables losing one pound per year. Donating plasma, though, burns 470 calories and can be done twice weekly to lose 14 pounds a year for a total loss of 15 pounds. Otherwise, burning that much weight would require walking an hour a day for seven months—420 miles.

Another perk of giving blood is it includes free testing for HIV, syphilis and other bloodborne diseases.

Donating blood also keeps it thin—effecting less friction and artery damage. A study in JAMA found donating blood every six months reduces the incidence of heart attacks and strokes. A study in JNCI found the associated reduction of blood iron decreases free-radical damage, cancer and aging.

Finally, donating blood and plasma saves hundreds of lives.

Blood and plasma can be donated in Chico, Corning, Red Bluff and Redding, but out of those locations donors are paid only in Sacramento ($25-$30/donation, $240/month max). For more information: www.bloodsource.org, www.medicaldaily.com and www.gcamplasma.com.

Nathan Esplanade