Letters for June 20, 2013
A poignant portrait
Re “Canning way of life” (Cover story, by Marilyn Fry, June 13):
Brava to the utterly charming Marilyn Fry for her beautifully written tutorial on recycling and, therefore, another poignant portrait of poverty. Ms. Fry teaches us about the remarkably hard work, and the disdain of a few and the kindness of many, involved in collecting aluminum and plastic discards.
In so doing, although not homeless herself, she describes what many of us endure as bums. As Tom Gascoyne points out in a sidebar, what Ms. Fry does to supplement her Social Security is a crime.
That is exactly the intent of many of the founders of Clean and Safe Chico—or as I think of them: the Haters—to criminalize poverty, to run the poor out of Chico, and to harass and humiliate the already marginalized. The Haters seek to blame those of us who are easy targets standing (or rather sitting and lying) in their way of a fantasy world of preternaturally white teeth and cute outfits, where everyone carries a platinum Amex card. It’s pathetic.
Ms. Fry, however, lives her life with dignity and grace, demonstrating through her words that the majority of Chico citizens are compassionate, generous and well aware that they could be her.
For about a year now I have been putting all my CRV recyclables in an old plastic flower-pot about five feet back from my recycle barrel, so the gal who collects on my block does not have to dig through my recycle barrel. She gave me a Christmas card.
Recently I got a job working at a group of apartments that are rented by mostly students. I am astounded by the large number of people who make a living from the housing-related needs of students. This includes a large number of canners who glean the CRV recyclables from the Dumpsters (very few of our students seem to bother separating their recyclables from their trash). This is just one more way the university and its students contribute to our local economy.
Never forget Dorothy
Re: “Farewell, Dorothy” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, June 13):
I have lived in Chico since 1980. Early on, I learned that new community volunteers were pressured to take sides. Pure altruism in community service was hard to find.
Two members of this community will always remain dear to my heart because of their ability to put the greater good ahead of any personal ambitions they might have. One was the late Ted Hubert. Ted spoke his mind and spoke it truthfully. I was very much on the opposite side of the ideological fence from Ted, yet we were always able to respectfully discuss many issues without rancor.
Another was the late Dorothy Parker. Dorothy was my counselor while I was dealing with depression in my mid-50s. It was then that I learned about her no-compromise compassion for others in need. Dorothy did what had to be done, from her perspective.
These two people, ideologically different but both truly believing in the greater good, deserve not to be forgotten.
Use common decency
Re “Baby-food fight” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, June 13):
As a mother of two, I have breastfed both and have done it out in public. I feel like it is my duty to cover myself with a receiving blanket. I do this because I want to be able to give my children what is best for them, and also have enough class and common decency to cover myself.
Also, I don’t want a child or gentleman staring at me. This is the direction this discussion should be going, and the focus should be on a woman covering her breast, which will be stared and looked at unless we simply cover it.
Special doesn’t pay bills
Re “Govern our city ‘the Chico way’” (Guest comment, by Paul Friedlander, June 13):
Paul Friedlander wrote: “Chico is a special place. Our town offers so much: high-quality, healthful food for the table; extraordinary nourishment for the mind and soul; a breathtaking environment; a place to thrive as an individual, raise a family and live in the golden years. This exceptional hometown has been carefully managed by balancing the needs of our citizens, local businesses and the environment.”
Paul, healthful food doesn’t pay the bills. A breathtaking environment doesn’t pay the bills. The liberal council for the last eight years did not “balance” anything. Police are in extremely short supply.
The facts are that the liberal council OK’d and awarded extremely high pensions and salary increases that are the direct cause of the city’s financial collapse. It’s happening all over the country and our state. The unions used the Democrats and promised them votes in return. In the ’70s, we called wealthy people capitalist pigs.
Paul, your unions are very rich. Our town is very poor. You conveniently left out these facts. We’re tired of the political con-jobs, all spoken under the guise of “we love our Chico.”
Views on moving the market
Re: “Market to move?” (Downstroke, June 13):
I am adamantly opposed to some of the members of the City Council tinkering with the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. If anything needs to be changed about the market, the change should come by mutual agreement among the people who shop there, the farmers, and the City Council, not simply seven citizens on the council acting alone.
In addition, it is inappropriate to simply refuse to renew the lease for the market without another plan in place. I would think that the city is interested in fresh and healthful food for the citizens.
In this day and age of mass-produced contaminated foods and resulting disease, the farmers’ market is a gold mine of health for our community. To put profit over health is a common theme in this country. We do not need more of the same in Chico. Chico is better than that.
So, where does Mayor Mary Goloff suggest the market go? The Saturday downtown farmers’ market should be improved where it is. It’s a long-standing Chico tradition! It brings foot traffic to downtown businesses, too.
Parking downtown is always a problem just as it is for every downtown in every city—it’s to be expected for the merchants and shoppers alike.
Perhaps raise the fees to cover portable restrooms. Perhaps shoppers could pay an entrance fee of no more than $1 just to walk through the market to help defray the cost of the porta-potties.
Other suggested sites have been the Chico Municipal Center parking lot or the parking structure downtown, but the same problems would still exist. There must be a solution that would serve most of the people—there will never be a solution that would please all of the people.
I don’t quite understand why there is a problem with the farmers’ market moving. The reasons the market has cited in the past is that it would be less visible, but as I see it, the 3,000 people coming down will still be coming down to the market wherever it may be.
We should give the local business owners the benefit of the doubt and believe them when they say that the market hurts their business. Why would they lie? The market keeps expanding and the owners keep complaining. Answer: Move to a larger location. Seems to be a no-brainer.
It’s an August Saturday and the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market is buzzing. The aisles are wider; strollers and wheelchairs move without congestion. Shade provided by so many trees helps fend off the heat.
I get bread, vegetables, and fruit, seeing friends and checking out the new vendors. The patio area has dancers and Girl Scouts are selling their cookies near the hands. I get a coffee and a roll and now feel the call of nature. Inside the City Hall, I use a well-tended restroom.
Parking is a challenge but people are parking south of the market and the city lot is now open. A banner pointed me to the new location. Bluegrass music is coming from the City Plaza. Kids play in the fountains, and I decide to make a day of it. Seems like the merchants are doing business, the expanded farmers’ market is a huge success, the City Plaza is alive, and downtown Chico has become the place to be on a Saturday.
Olde Gold Estate Jewelry
For years, I have refrained from writing in on topics of the day for fear that my employers would find my views too liberal. Later, I never wrote because I was afraid of offending prospective employers and/or existing or perspective customers. Finally there is a topic so central to my lifestyle that I must weigh in on it.
I am the quintessential downtown customer. For more than 30 years, I have purchased the vast majority of gifts I have given downtown. I bank downtown. When my wife and I go out for drinks or dinner, we eschew the corporate chains across town and patronize the unique establishments downtown. I buy my computers and have them serviced downtown. I buy my music and my books downtown. I go downtown for live music.
As a customer driving into downtown to spend my money, the vendors at the farmers’ market are downtown merchants. From a customer’s perspective, the farmers’ market at its current location and at its current day and time are as essential to the composition of downtown as Collier Hardware, Bird in Hand, or Shubert’s. I urge the Downtown Chico Business Association and the City Council to incorporate the farmers’ market at its current place, day and time into their long-term planning.
More on the market
Re: “Market instability: (Cover story, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, May 30):
Thank you to Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia for a well-written article about the farmers’ market. I especially liked her interview with Adam and Kate Rich, who recently moved to Chico from Davis and offered a fresh perspective on the delights of a more user-friendly market.
One thing was not made clear and that is that downtown loves the farmers’ market and wants to keep the market downtown. We would like the market to move to the City Hall for three reasons: to ease Saturday congestion and parking problems around Second and Third streets, to create a permanent home with the ability to expand as a Market Plaza in the center of town, and to improve market-customer benefits by providing shady areas of grass to sit on, benches, restrooms, the ability to circulate freely, closer parking, safe pedestrian access, and a stage area for cooking classes and music, and tables and umbrellas for hanging out.
Moving to City Hall would make a world of difference to downtown’s ability to conduct business on Saturdays, and would be a great benefit to market shoppers as well the future growth of the market, which cannot expand or improve in its current location.
Zucchini & Vine
GMOs do cause concern
Re: “Stop demonizing GMOs” (Letters, by Dylan Orion Burge, June 6):
While I agree with Dylan Burge that GMOs are not a Frankenstein monster, I am concerned with long-term negative outcomes from any genetic manipulation or mutation (manmade or not).
Not all mutations are good ones, and even if we need new ways to be sustainable and avoid exceeding our species’ carrying capacity, which could include gene manipulation, to suggest that this is completely without risk is irresponsible as a scientist. Even prehistoric breeding experiments have had disastrous consequences for human cultures, so to say that no scientific proof is available to damn GMOs ignores the reality of the scientific method to lull the public into a false sense of security.
GMOs may offer humanity great opportunities, but the industrial-agricultural actors (Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, etc.) have poor track records ethically, and so are causes of public concern.
It isn’t the science—it is the corporate interests driving the science that are suspect, and that have brought public fear of GMOs into the marketplace. Our concerns over GMOs are not from hysteria, small mindedness or stupidity. We have real, valid concerns from the past actions of specific actors in the industry who wield tremendous power.
Dylan Burge must have missed his genetics classes about natural selection, hybridization among plant families compared to gene splicing, and mixing DNA from kingdoms of plants and animals!
Native-American corn is destroyed by GMO pollen resistant to Roundup. This is an unheard-of occurrence that boggles the minds of sane people. The only true comment he writes is that there is an absence of scientific evidence. There is little evidence because GMOs are thrust upon Americans by greedy corporations who infiltrated governmental-policymaking positions.
The little evidence there is proves allergies, tumors, organ dysfunction, reduced fertility and that GMO genes have transferred into human gut bacteria! Dozens of countries are destroying GMO-imported foods; more than 44 countries have mandatory labeling.
The writing was on the wall and every scientist worth their salt knows: High rates of fecundity create rapid resistance. Something is inherently wrong with splicing genes via deadly bacteria between animals and plants. Burge would be hard-pressed to write an article proving GMOs are not causing environmental, economic and health problems.
Invoke your rights
I have requested that Assemblyman Dan Logue prepare an Assembly bill next year regarding trial by jury, which is guaranteed by Article I, Section 16, of the California constitution: “Trial by jury is an inviolate right and shall be secured to all, but in a civil cause three-fourths of the jury may render a verdict. A jury may be waived in a criminal cause by the consent of both parties expressed in open court by the defendant and the defendant’s counsel. In a civil cause a jury may be waived by the consent of the parties expressed as prescribed by statute.”
The legislators in 1968-1969 declared that defendants facing “infractions” would no longer be entitled to a trial by jury. They either deliberately neglected the word “all,” thinking no one would notice, or they simply forgot. Too late now, folks! The legislators didn’t have and never will have the authority to label or invent any words (infractions, public offenses) with the purpose of denying a right. Why did they do this? To save money? Our rights are not for sale, citizens.
Any time a person is required to appear in any court, they qualify for a jury, if requested.
Donald M. Bird
In good company
As a freelance writer, I’ve sold stuff to publications I don’t much like or admire, but it has always been a bit of a bonus when I sell to the News and Review, where I can find myself in the company of writers as good as Juan Carlos-Selznick, Anthony Peyton Porter, Tom Gascoyne, Ken Smith, Bob Speer, or the woman who wrote last week’s terrifically readable cover piece about gathering cans to help make ends meet.
Let’s be tobacco-free
I am honored to represent our department in the Butte County Tobacco Prevention Coalition (BCTPC). BCTPC’s mission is to protect and preserve the health and well-being of the people of Butte County from the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke.
BCTPC seeks to promote tobacco-free environments through culturally proficient prevention, education and cessation services. Collectively, we advocate for public policy, cultural competency, and broad-based community support for efforts to prevent tobacco-related disease and death.
Our core members include representatives from the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, California Health Collaborative, Chico Unified School District, Four Winds of Indian Education, Butte County Behavioral Health Department, and the Butte County Office of Education. Our next regular meeting is on July 8 at 3:30 p.m. at the California Health Collaborative office at 25 Jan Court, Ste. 130, in Chico. If you are interested in joining us or would like more information, you may visit www.buttecounty.net/publichealth/environmental/tobacco_coalition.html for details or you may call me at 538-6109.
Butte County Public Health Department tobacco program coordinator
Still missing Rob Blair
I agree that KNVN has made an epically terrible choice in firing Rob Blair. My husband and I always watched Wake Up!; Rob’s voice was my husband’s alarm clock. Cort Klopping is a fine young man, but I find myself either falling back asleep or changing the channel, and my husband doesn’t watch anymore.
Rob’s joyous demeanor really made you wake up in a good mood. Now, Wake Up! is not what I need anymore, especially if the station does not have a valid reason for terminating his employment.