Letters for June 20, 2002

Good ride
We would like to thank everyone who made a contribution toward our participation in the California AIDS Ride. We rode our bike from San Francisco to L.A. in seven days to help raise money for and awareness of HIV and AIDS services. We had a wonderful time and couldn’t have done it without the support from Chico Bike & Board, the Enterprise Record, North Rim Adventure Sports, Dr. Moon, Cal Java, Stonewall Alliance, BikeE, Dr. Fleming, friends, family and members of the community. The ride was an amazing event. Thank you to everyone who supported us; you have made a difference.

Mike and JoAna Brooks

His precious Lakers
Northern Californians in general are not gracious losers. I am talking about the grueling seven-game series in which the Sacramento Kings lost to my precious Los Angeles Lakers. During the series, I heard a lot of trash talking coming from Kings fans about how the Lakers were going to be dethroned this year by the Kings. Now who’s talking?

It’s still those poor losers the Kings about the NBA or NBC or the Lakers buying the referees. One fan even said to stop sending our water to Southern California. Come on, Kings fans, your team lost, so quit your whining. It’s over. You had a good season but no championship. Maybe some year you might beat my fabulous L.A. Lakers! However, as long as Shaq and Kobe are on the throne in Los Angeles, they are the true kings of b-ball. Go Lakers!

James Sylva
Red Bluff

Gas-guzzling patriots
As I was driving toward Sacramento recently on Highways 70 and 99, I observed a phenomenon that might interest, if not irritate, some of your readers.

Having an old car, I am constrained to drive the speed limit, much to the chagrin of proud drivers of newer and larger-than-necessary vehicles such as SUVs and passenger trucks. Periodically I’d notice one of these homely beasts in my rearview mirror, trying to hump my bumper. The drivers of these urban tanks demonstrated irrational impatience, aggression and hostility as they rudely swerved around my lame old car, letting me know in no uncertain terms that my driving habits failed to meet the high standard they demand of other motorists.

What simultaneously humored and sickened me was my observation that the rudest and most hostile drivers proudly sported American flags on their vehicles! At first I thought that this was simply a projection of my political cynicism, but after the sixth or seventh encounter I realized there existed a definite correlation between bellicose driving habits and flag waving.

I suggest that the big-truck/hostile-driving phenomenon reflects the general mind-set characterizing current U.S. foreign policy. The many Americans who drive as if they own the road (due to their superior horsepower) merely ape the attitude of the United States government, which, through superior firepower, assumes it has a divine right to dominate the world.

Shawn Hamilton

A call for ethanol
Several weeks ago there was an article in your newspaper about the proposed ethanol plant in Gridley [“Spinning straw into gold,” April 18]. It was an extremely negative article in which I detected the attitude that ethanol was wholly experimental, untried and would certainly raise the price of gasoline. I would like your readers to hear another side of the story.

During the 1970s and early ‘80s, we spent some time in Iowa. There we used a product in our vehicles that was a blend of ethanol and gasoline called gasohol. We found that it was an excellent product that kept carburetors and fuel lines clean, burned cleaner, didn’t freeze in winter, was considerably cheaper than gasoline and increased gas mileage.

Corn stalks do not decompose well, so a way was found to make use of them. Rice stalks have the same problem. Why not solve the problem for the farmers here and help solve the problem of unemployment in Gridley? I am certain that the your bad press has not helped the situation, but why not see if we can’t overcome the drawbacks by working together? Why throw out the baby with the bath water?

My husband is an excellent mechanic, and the above are his observations after actually using the product for some years.

Marie Holper

Proper perspective
Having participated in the graduation ceremonies at Chico State on May 26, I find Ms. Renaud’s comments [“Remember Sept. 11?” Letters, June 6] unnecessary and misguided. I imagine that, from the audience point of view, the ceremony was banal and boring. But aren’t graduation ceremonies in general rather dull unless you are adorned in cap and gown? Imagine what it was like for the poor guy who had to read all those names.

Outside of sweating profusely, I had a pretty good time and enjoyed celebrating with my classmates, all wonderfully unique individuals. As far as “sober and serious reflection” is concerned, I think that many of us preferred the more celebratory attitude that was present. Since the events of Sept. 11, those of us in school have been reading, writing and thinking about terrorism and the sadness of all the unnecessary deaths.

The appropriate attitude at a graduation ceremony is joy, celebration and cheering. In fact, isn’t it better to celebrate at times like this?

Finally, I cannot help but mention how irritating it is for people to bring up the catastrophe of Sept. 11 at every opportunity. We run the risk of becoming blasé when we use a tragedy to sell a vehicle or make a personal point—in this case that Chico State held a “dumb graduation” by not mentioning the terrorist attacks. All I can say is, lighten up, Ms. Renaud. Graduation ceremonies are almost always boring, and the graduates rarely hear the speeches anyway, thoughtful or not. We’re too busy focusing on the joy of the moment and our friends and family we’ve made proud. Congratulations to all my fellow graduates of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences!

Julie Withers

International gun control
In most developing countries the leaders and the type of government are decided by who has the weapons.

The government chosen by the weapon holders is usually not a democratic one.

As the leading arms dealer in the world, we perpetuate or help create these non-democratic governments and the inequalities that result.

Let’s quit furnishing weapons to the people who have aspirations of ruling or already are ruling a country.

History teaches us that today’s friend, bought with weapons, can easily become tomorrow’s enemy.

Norm Dillinger

Let the mud fly
John Gillander wrote a letter [about City Council candidate Scott Gruendl] to the E-R listing some facts and coming to a conclusion. The response has been somewhat hysterical, something about a “Dark Side” threat and something about a “Caucasian League” doing some burning. Why not refute Gillander’s facts, if they were incorrect?

Certainly, reasonable people could contest his conclusions. Gruendl is a talented, well-experienced candidate who has a lot to offer Chico. But I need to see the other candidates and hear more debate before I decide whom to support. Gillander-bashing is a lazy way to campaign. Let’s get some more letters listing facts and coming to conclusions. Gillander has done a better job of it than has his opposition, so far.

Michael Jones