Letters for June 12, 2003

Take a stance
When our president did not find any weapons of mass destruction, he was not the least embarrassed. Instead he said, “So it shouldn’t be a total loss; we’ll free the people.” Now he’s comparing his defeat of this puny, little bitty nation with the Allied defeat of Nazism. He scolded Europeans on his recent trip to Europe about their not taking early action against Hitler as Bush did against Saddam. To help us make the connection, he visited the Auschwitz death camp, another blatantly political photo-op. To help him out, mass graves are discovered in Iraq the next day with the remains of thousands of protesters and dissenters. Bush responds in a strange, twisted example of logic, “I rest my case.” He didn’t really say that, but you know Bush.

Hindsight tells us we should have taken care of Hitler early on and prevented millions upon millions of deaths throughout the world. But the responsibility for stopping Hitler rested with the citizens of Germany. Instead of voting him out of office when they had the chance, they accepted him as a hero. I think they finally regretted it, but by then it was too late. Some Germans actually did oppose Hitler. The Jews certainly did, but there were others who protested on the street corners. Hitler’s goons, carrying their swastika flags, took care of them in the very death camps Bush visited.

Protesters against the Iraq war were threatened here but never stopped. We have to continue to protest Bush’s next war, his foreign and domestic policies. My protest takes place on Election Day 2004.

Francis X. Farley

What happened?
A couple of years ago the progressive minority on the Chico City Council helped organize a successful referendum to block the extension of Otterson Drive through an area slated to become Comanche Creek Greenway. That progressive minority is now the majority of the council. How are the greenway preservation plans coming along? Last I checked, there was a homeless encampment/bicycle chop-shop on the banks of the creek and an ugly chain link fence blocking the public from enjoying the creekside greenery.

Michael Jones

Peter vs. Patrick
In a Guest comment article I wrote [“Housing crisis fueled by greed,” May 8], I quoted “a guy named Peter” saying he worked for Tom DiGiovanni. DiGiovanni said he’d never employed anyone named Peter. So I dug out the itinerary I received at Heritage Partners’ “Nord Property Mini Charrette,” held at the old Gold County Market on Flume Street in April.

Heritage Partners hosted a group of neighbors at a “workshop” regarding its plans to build 102 houses on the old Sterling site, now known as West Side Place. The man I mistakenly called “Peter” was actually Patrick Siegman, of Nelson Nygard and Associates. He gave the Power Point presentation regarding street design. My husband and I were introduced to him by City Councilmember Dan Nguyen-Tan, who also invited us to the charrette. Siegman made the remarks I quoted right in front of my husband; I didn’t make any of that up. I’m sorry if my mistake has caused any problems.

Juanita Sumner

Thank you, Hooker Oak
Last Thursday I paid one of my last visits to a place that has become very dear to me over the past seven years. That place is Hooker Oak Elementary School. My younger of two sons was promoted from the sixth grade in a simple ceremony that set me to thinking of what a fine school Hooker Oak is and what it has meant to our family.

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all the teachers, staff, students, parents and families at Hooker Oak for creating a positive environment in which my sons could learn and grow. I thank Resource Specialist Suanne Miller for being mostly responsible for my oldest son knowing how to read. In addition, Suanne has demonstrated seemingly limitless patience with my younger son, and although we have not always agreed on everything relating to his education, I always felt that she respected us as parents and had our son’s best interest at heart.

Principal Ken Ball is one of the finest people I know. He has been inspirational to me and has provided positive guidance and firm leadership during some tough times with my youngest that I will never forget. I sincerely appreciate his wisdom and determination.

Finally I would like to thank teachers John and Ruth Sweet. In Chico we are truly blessed to have such fine educators in service to us. If I were a person with the means to erect statues to honor important people, the statues I would erect would be of them. They have positively touched the lives in our family in ways that are too numerous to mention.

Goodbye and thank you Hooker Oak. It has been my great pleasure to know you and, sharing the spoken sentiment of so many departing sixth-graders, I will miss you too.

Dan Carter

Placid-plaza praise
I breathed a sigh of relief this afternoon as I sat in Downtown Plaza Park. People were scattered about enjoying lunch, engrossed in a book or simply finding relief in the shade from the hot sun. It was a scene typical to most park settings but a drastic contrast to the negative activity I observed just a week before. Over the last several months, merchants, employees, customers and the public at large have avoided the park altogether, frustrated by the blatant abuse of this community treasure.

On behalf of the Downtown Chico Business Association (DCBA), I would like to thank Chief Hagerty and the Chico Police Department for their outstanding performance last week. With the assistance of the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force, officers were successful in “taking back” the plaza for its intended use, re-establishing a safe and drug-free environment for everyone to enjoy. The DCBA also applauds Chief Hagerty’s commitment to a more visible and consistent presence in the park and throughout downtown.

As the City Plaza awaits its much-needed “makeover,” outlined in the recently approved plaza master plan, community support is crucial now more than ever. For generations, Chicoans have taken pride in the many unique features our town has to offer—Downtown Plaza Park included. Now it’s our turn to ensure that generations to come will have the same sense of ownership. Whether attending a Friday-night concert or taking a quick afternoon break, we encourage the community to rediscover the charm and history of this beautiful setting.

Katrina Davis
Executive Director, DCBA