Letters for June 10, 2010

Reader likes new plan

Re “Council approves diversity plan” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, June 3):

I congratulate the city of Chico for deciding to move forward with the diversity action plan. We cannot afford not to have such a plan. Diversity is not being forced. It is already there. We just need to work on accepting, appreciating and learning from it.

Once we recognize the value of having an inclusive community for all, then we can be good role models for the young generation, so the incidents listed [in the story] will not happen again.

Ayse Taskiran

Reporting from Southside

Re “On the ground in Southside” (Cover story, by Christine G.K. LaPado, May 13):

Health Dialogues, a special series from KQED Public Radio in San Francisco exploring California health-care issues that are important to our communities, is seeking a citizen correspondent living in or near South Oroville to contribute to our community health blog titled “Our State of Health: California Reports.”

The blog will explore health issues and concerns throughout communities in California, including South Oroville. We’re looking for individuals who are active in their community to be our eyes and ears across the state. Our mission is to provide active community members with the tools and training to report on local health themselves.

We invite residents of Oroville to apply to be citizen correspondents, covering health issues specific to their communities by reporting, writing, and submitting audio, video and/or photos. The blog will feature in-depth coverage of South Oroville—so applicants should be very familiar with their neighborhood beat.

Applicants should have technological skills related to multimedia reporting and blogging, or be willing and able to learn them quickly. People with a broad range of experiences are encouraged to apply. Journalism experience is not required.

Correspondents for “Our State of Health: California Reports” will participate in training Webinars (or in-person training, depending on location) and will receive a stipend for the training sessions, as well as monthly stipends.

To be considered as a citizen correspondent, please print and fill out the application form at www.HealthDialogues.org and submit no later than June 15, 2010.

Shuka Kalantari
San Francisco

Pot’s only true harm

Re “Back in the slammer” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, May 6):

This poor guy [Bryan Epis] and his family. Isn’t it obvious to everyone by now that pot is harmful only when it’s illegal? There are going to be riots about this soon; they’re putting our family in prison. If any one person can justify what’s happened to this guy and all the other people in jail or prison for pot, please speak up. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Steve Aquino

Butte has yoga, too

Re “More than a good stretch” (Cover story, by Neal Wiegman, May 6):

With so many people commenting [to me] about the failure to mention Butte College’s yoga program in the article, I want to set the record straight. In 1973, I taught my first Introduction to Yoga class in the old Butte College gym in Durham, and I was hired as a full-time community-outreach instructor in 1974, the year Butte moved to its “new” campus. Besides teaching on campus, I taught yoga in Chico, Oroville, Paradise and Paradise Pines.

I still hear from former students living all over the world, some who are now teaching themselves. People were amazed that Butte College sponsored such a progressive program. To keep up with demand we hired Ray Varlinsky, Gail Costello, Michael Martin (who had his own downtown Chico Iyengar yoga studio in the early ’80s), and Annalisa Cunningham (who still teaches, has written four yoga books and leads yoga workshops/retreats all over the world).

Today the program is still vibrantly alive under the able administration of Christine Wood. Khadija Rose, my long-time assistant, teaches the popular Oroville yoga classes, Yoga with Khadija.

I am grateful for the times, the college that allowed me to “follow my bliss,” and most of all the many students who touched my heart. After retiring in 1999, I continue bringing yoga into my healing artwork and Painting from the Heart classes.

Marianna Love

Israel’s real goal

With Israel’s June 1 attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla, one wonders whether Israel is again attempting to provoke retaliation that it can then claim as reason to continue not only military domination of Palestinian territory and people, but also threats against Iran.

In international waters, 75 miles off the coast of Israel and Gaza, 1,000 soldiers, backed by Israeli ships, helicopters and airplanes, killed at least nine passengers in the lead ship of the unarmed convoy, the Turkish Mavi Marmara. More than 60 people were injured.

The six ships—three passenger and three cargo—with 600 people, were captured and held in Israel. The Free Gaza Flotilla is the latest attempt by humanitarians to deliver food, tools and sustenance supplies to the people of Gaza since Israel’s blockade of Gaza in June 2007.

In July 2008, the United States signed a contract worth $1.9 billion to transfer naval combat vessels to Israel at U.S. taxpayer expense. Currently, Congress is in the process of appropriating a record $3.2 billion in military aid to Israel this budget year. I wonder how this “aid” is in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962, which authorizes aid for food, clothing, shelter, democracy, justice, economic prosperity, education and peace.

Cathy Webster

Running on fumes

The BP disaster is a wake-up call. We need clean energy and climate legislation that end our dependence on dirty energy. Greenhouse gases from a century of industrialization have disrupted meteorologic systems globally and started climate chaos worldwide.

Until now oil and other pollutant spills into our environment have had devastating consequences locally and regionally. This latest spill, with oil “dispersed” in plumes through all depths, will have toxic impacts on all life forms, from plankton to plants to mammals. Because the spill is in the gulf, it will soon be entrained in the Gulf Stream and spread to all the oceans.

Now that we’ve passed “Peak Oil” (a term we’ll all come to know), it becomes harder to find oil, and our efforts are more extreme (drilling at the limits of our reach) and ridiculous (spending three times the energy to extract tar sands oil than it will yield).

With oil consumption increasing faster than the population, there won’t be enough oil to go around. We are pathologically dependent on oil for agriculture and commerce. When the oil is gone, how will we plow our fields or get our pigs to market? It’s not about just clean air, but also how we are organized. We must change before we run out of gas.

Robin McCollum


Due to an editing error in “An illegal paradise” (Newslines, by Shannon Rooney, June 3), Michael Evans, who is a contractor and land-use consultant, was also described, incorrectly, as an attorney. Also, neighbor Jack Williamson’s name was wrongly given as Williams.

In the story “Tattoos: risky business?” (Newslines, by Stacey Kennelly, May 27), the statement is made that tattoo parlors are required to submit reports to local health departments when customers or employees report having certain communicable diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. According to Ellen Michels, public-health education specialist at the Butte County Department of Public Health, only health-care providers are required to submit such reports.

Finally, we misidentified the photographer who took the picture accompanying “La Posada: The Beginning” (Chow, June 3). Kyle Delmar took the photo.

Our apologies for the errors.