Letters for June 16, 2005

House thank you
The Esplanade House Transitional Shelter, a program of the Community Action Agency of Butte County, Inc. would like to publicly extend our appreciation to the Diversion Excursion committee—a CSU, Chico Associated Students recycling project. Esplanade House residents have benefited from these donations for several years.

New families entering the program are in need of household items, bedding, cleaning and laundry supplies, personal-care items and the other useful things donated by the recycling project. The donated items also help our families throughout the year. The Diversion Excursion project is designed to divert reusable and recyclable goods from the landfill and donate it to local charities.

Barbara Kopicki, AS recycling coordinator, and Luisa Garza, lead grounds worker, organize the project and utilize student volunteers and interns. The project also focuses on educating students who live in resident housing on how to distinguish among reusable, recyclable and trash. The partnership between the university and local charities is an example of community capital at work. Not only do the people involved with local charitable organizations benefit from receiving the donated items, college students also learn the joy of giving. It also produces a positive economic and environmental outcome. It’s a win-win for our community.

Thank you for your on-going generosity.

The residents and staff of
The Esplanade House

Save Humboldt Trail
I am concerned about the proposed development of the Humboldt Road area on the east edge of Chico. I am writing this as I stand looking down on the tree-enshrouded town below and out across to the Sutter Buttes and the Coast Range. I am listening to the cow’s bellow and the trickle of water from Hog Spring. I can also hear the rush of traffic on Highway 32, but I choose to ignore this and concentrate on the songbirds and the rustle of the wind through the leaves.

As a student, I used to love to come here to study or read, especially in the spring, when everything was green. This year there are still wildflowers in June, pinks, lavenders, yellows and others. I also enjoy watching the hawks soar and circle on the updrafts rising from the canyons.

I guess I am writing this to explain to you that this is a very special place, one that I love. I hope that any development that occurs takes into account the natural beauty and historical significance of this land. Traffic will be impacted as will a wonderful place for hiking and bicycling.

Special natural habitats will be altered and countless trees lost. I certainly hope that the rock walls and wagon ruts can be preserved. I now watch the clouds gather over the Coast Range and I am reminded of the thunderstorms and sunsets that I have observed from here. I ask, and I pray, that this land can be protected as a public trust; at the very least, that the magnificent vistas and beauty can be enjoyed for future generations. Please consider things when you vote on any development.

John R. Miller
Ducor, Calif

Charrette defined
Now that the word “charrette” has entered the local lexicon, let’s be clear and precise about what a planning charrette is and, more important, what it is not. As often happens when a new term or concept is introduced, there can be much misunderstanding about its proper definition and use.

According to the National Charrette Institute (www.charretteinstitute.org), a charrette is a creative, intense work session with public workshops and an open design studio. It is a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create a feasible plan.

The workflow of the charrette involves a series of collaborative-design and public-input cycles for consecutive days (a minimum of four). During this time participants become aware of the complexities of development and design issues, and there is an authentic effort to work together to arrive at the best possible solution.

A central element of the charrette is a multidisciplinary group of design professionals who provide the necessary expertise to create a feasible plan that considers all relevant input.

It should be noted that the charrette process in no way replaces the legally required public process of environmental review and hearings. Nor should the term be distorted to include an evening’s viewing of a development plan over cookies and milk. A charrette is an authentic collaboration by multiple parties over several days that seeks to resolve issues with detailed design. In short, it is real and tangible work that can produce real benefits for everyone involved.

Tom DiGiovanni

Towering mistake
I can’t look at it. To do so hurts too much. Proportion is gone. Alignment is gone. Now I wish it were gone instead of a constant reminder of how it used to be here.

Is it possible the proper restoration of a monument was set aside for the conveniently replaced because of some silly structural necessity? Why would someone offset (in two directions, no less) a jewel from its base? Maybe if the rock is enlarged nobody will notice. Wouldn’t one fix the problem so as not to take away from the beauty of the original design? Why do it at all? I guess an architect costs too much. Who needs an architect when you stack blocks yourself? Is it a heart project or a Hart project? Maybe it’s a Cheeko thing.

Tom Molesworth

Missed message
Thank you for the nice article about our volunteer efforts in the park [“The poppy planters,” 15 minutes, June 9]. However, the last part of the interview misstates a point I tried to make.

I do not think health clubs are “useless.” In fact, we swim at “In Motion Fitness” frequently.

However, I do wish that some portion of the energy I see expended on exercise machines was instead used to labor for the good of Chico. Ridding Bidwell Park of harmful plants is “useful"; it is also excellent exercise and satisfying to the soul.

Bob LoFaso

Historic correction
I very much enjoyed your article about downtown Chico’s direction [“The changing face of downtown,” cover story, June 2]. It’s mostly all encouraging; I wish I had a crystal ball to see what it will look like in about 20 years.

One fact I wanted to bring to your attention is that the Hotel Oaks was not torn down 50 years ago but about 38 years ago. I know this because I really wish it had survived into this era and I’ve done a little research into it. (I have copies of a couple of Enterprise-Record articles about the hotel’s demise.) I’m not exactly sure when the hotel closed its doors to guests, although I know it was not any earlier than Nov. 1, 1966, and the building itself was demolished in early ‘67—a sad loss to the city, although the rebirth of the Hotel Diamond takes a good bit of the sting out of the Oaks’ demise.

Greg Fischer