Letters for June 21, 2012

Yes, ban the bags

Re “Bagging the plastic bag” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, June 14):

Bagging the plastic bag really is an uncomfortable shift for some people. But it is a necessary evil. We the people found a need to have “bags”; we the people now see the need to eliminate the bags that are creating an eyesore on our beautiful California landscape.

I have recently been traveling from Northern California to Southern California by train and bus. The garbage-filled plastic bags lining the railroad tracks and fences bordering the tracks, freeways, irrigation ditches and roads in between are disheartening and shameful.

We would do good to ban the use of plastic bags in our community, most definitely.

Mary H. Mascorro

Failed by their humans

Re “Out of control” (Newslines, by Katy Noah, June 14):

Here is another example of irresponsible dog owners whose animals have caused great bodily harm to an innocent victim.

The Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control should be held responsible for not acting on Ms. LoRusso’s numerous complaints. It appears they assumed she was not telling the truth about the dogs’ behavior and the owners’ lack of compliance in restraining their animals.

This woman was asking for intervention, and our public authorities were not forthcoming with that action. What is your duty to the citizens you are paid to protect? What if it had been one of the children? You should all be ashamed for your lack of concern and action.

My best wishes go to Ms. LoRusso for a complete recovery.

My sympathy goes out to the two dogs who may not have a future due to all the humans who failed them.

Elaine Radford

Good pay for government work

Re “‘Wake-up call’ on reform” (Editorial, June 14):

Your readers might find my research on the subject interesting. Just Google “City of Chico employee salaries” and you can do it too. I found that we Chico citizens are paying some former employees $166,800 in retirement! Wow. I found part-time clerical-type employees making $44,000 per year.

I started adding up the salaries of full-time employees to get an average, starting with last names ending in A, and I made it through G. By then I felt so sad and hurt that I had to quit. The city of Chico pays full-time employees with last names ending in A through G an average of $78,500. (The per-capita income in Chico is $21,382.)

I came to Chico in 1972 because I found the surroundings, the mountains, the lakes, and the Avenues so charming, not just to see how much money I could make.

Charles Withuhn

Council needs to foster jobs

Re “A revealing city report” (Editorial, June 14):

In its editorial, the CN&R applauds the City Council’s focus on sustainability over economic development. I disagree.

When the state confiscated $500,000 of our vehicle license fees, dissolved the redevelopment agency (a $8.5 million hit to Chico) and decimated funding for higher education (a $77 million projected loss to our local economy), Chico’s economic underpinnings changed forever.

Since these events, the city has suffered continued downsizing, including police and fire (remember the temporary closure of Fire Station 5?). Funding for our library, for critical nonprofits, the arts community and for road repairs are all decimated.

Let’s not forget that 10,500 citizens are still suffering because Chico’s unemployment remains above 12 percent.

Finally, do you realize there are almost 400 fewer businesses operating in Chico than just two years ago? Does this sound like the council’s emphasis on sustainability is creating jobs?

So how has the council responded to this new economic reality? Well, in 2011, the Economic Development Committee cancelled five of 12 meetings because they had “nothing to discuss,” and the City Council never placed “economic development” or “jobs” on its regular agenda, not even once, nor have they appeared on our agendas in 2012.

If you believe, like me, that we must foster new revenue sources to fund the services our citizens expect, then it’s vital our council help our local economy grow. This will do more than anything else to restore Chico to the healthy, vibrant and safe community we all want.

Bob Evans

Editor’s note: Mr. Evans is a member of the Chico City Council. He is up for re-election in November.

Where’s the creativity?

Re “Catching up with chef Enserro” (Greenways, by Christine G.K. LaPado, May 24):

As a retired dietician and grandmother of two children attending school in the CUSD, I occasionally visit my grandchildren during lunch, and I have watched in disbelief as the students choose from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pizza and chicken nuggets five days a week, every week.

They may also selected from raw vegetables, which most children do not choose; fruit, which most children choose; and white milk or chocolate milk, which most children choose.

So a standard lunch for a child in the CUSD is a processed entrée low in nutritional value, a few pieces of fruit, and chocolate milk.

Mr. Enserro, you may be a chef, but you exhibit very little creativity when it comes to providing our children with nourishing, delicious, freshly prepared food.

Yes, money is a factor, but other school districts have the same funds to work with and have somehow managed to prepare meals made from scratch using commodity foods at a price equivalent to or less than the processed food that you currently use. The decision-makers in these districts strive to provide their students with nutrient-dense meals in which every calorie counts. Our children in Chico deserve nothing less.

Jean Walters, M.S., R.D.

Let people decide on GMOs

Re “GMO labeling up to the voters” (Downstroke, June 14):

We the people have the right and the privilege to decide what goes on our tables and how it was processed before it got there. GMOs need to stay out of our kitchens, out of our gardens. If we are one of the few developed nations that don’t require alert labeling, then we need to get with it!

Kudos to Pamm Larry. Keep up the great work. Now let’s all get out and vote on this very important Right to Know initiative in November.

Gina Dodson

Noise ordinance will be abused

Re “Enough with the noise!” (Guest comment, by Neal Wiegman, June 7):

What you are proposing is going to be abused and lead to a hostile law enforcement relationship with college students. You only need to look to other cities where strict noise ordinances have been introduced.

I recently moved back from Houston, Texas, where a similar ordinance was passed. Not only were residences targeted for citations, but also businesses near residential areas. Businesses that had been in the area for years were receiving multiple citations a night for playing music. DJs were given citations more than they were making for the performances.

The police were not required to name the accuser or carry a decibel meter, and would randomly walk neighborhoods listening for loud noises and issue tickets.

If you revise this ordinance, it will be abused and change the interpretation of noise to a subjective approach. But the city will get more money. I hope you each weigh the needs of the community with the fairness of the current ordinance and urge the City Council to vote NO.

William Caput

Speaking of pollution…

I would like to point out an even more dangerous source of pollution [than noise], namely apartment building air pollution due to neighbors smoking. My downstairs neighbor commences to smoke with her friends at about 11 p.m. shortly after I have retired for the night. Given the recent hot weather, I leave my sliding glass door open. I awake the next morning with a sinus headache and find that my living room smells like an ashtray.

Some localities in California have banned apartment smoking. I would urge government officials in Chico to consider a similar ban for the sake of nonsmokers who are subjected to dangerous secondhand smoke.

Mike Farley

What about the company?

I applaud the D.A.’s going after the county employee who allegedly stole from the county. I’m assuming that the tree company involved was a licensed contractor that should have known that cash and gift cards were a totally inappropriate method of payment to the county. The as-yet-unnamed company deserves to lose its contractor’s license and also be prosecuted.

Michael Cafferata

LaMalfa’s ‘sleazy politics’

Should we elect Doug LaMalfa as our U.S. congressman? LaMalfa has repeatedly attacked big government and government spending, but has received more than $4.5 million dollars in farm subsidies in the past 17 years.

Prior to the June primary election, Mark Spannagel, LaMalfa’s chief of staff, paid for an attack website against Sam Aanestad. Spannagel paid for the website with his own private credit card. The website implied that it was posted by another politician.

LaMalfa stated, “It was not authorized by my campaign in any way.” Later LaMalfa stated, “I took it down now—what is the big deal?” This is sleazy politics. The LaMalfa campaign is now under investigation by the Federal Election Commission.

It is critical that we elect an honest person with high moral values as our congressmen. We can do better than Doug LaMalfa.

Neil Posson
Mt. Shasta

They’re not growers, they’re patients

Re “Measure A hangover” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, June 14):

This notion that “pot growers” (who grow huge plantations on federal lands or on certain ranches) are the same people who are attending your supervisor meetings is nonsense! In fact, the people attending these meetings are the same “patients” that opponents of medical cannabis keep telling us they “support.”

The only people who can lawfully grow cannabis are qualified patients (and their primary caregivers), whom Butte County continues to disenfranchise.

The facts in this situation are that Butte County: accepted legislation by ghost writers from outside the area who were on the payroll of various law enforcement associations that publicly oppose medical cannabis; hurried the public process and disallowed the participation of any actual constituents who are pro-cannabis; disenfranchised the student vote both times this issue has come before the public (losing both times); and shipped in anti-cannabis constituents to public meetings (who were still a clear minority of the audience).

Your D.A. continues to abuse his authority, wasting public resources and waging war on the medical-cannabis industry. Butte County has driven away all serious contenders for a truly regulated (and taxed) cannabis industry, while continuously “searching” for new tax revenues. This is the height of drug-war insanity!

Jason Browne
Red Bluff