Letters for June 24, 2004

Wait a minute
Recently, in his weekly column, Enterprise-Record Editor David Little inexplicably chose to ridicule parents who support Jeff Sloan. The News & Review devoted a rambling cover story to the issue [ “Sloan vs. Board of Education,” June 3]. From reading these articles, one must sadly conclude investigative reporting is nonexistent in Chico.

Jeff Sloan was removed as principal at Marsh based on the manipulation of facts from Scott Brown and his band of overpriced lawyers and accountants. This action should send chills up the spine of everyone in Chico. Personal attitudes toward Jeff Sloan are irrelevant. The real issue—and the root of deep community anger—is that we have not only a superintendent who, on a whim, maliciously and openly targets CUSD employees with boldfaced lies, but also a school board that accepts those lies without question or investigation.

Our district and community continue to be torn apart by the reprehensible actions of Scott Brown. Thus far, his witch-hunt has cost our district $25,000 and still counting, in taxpayer funds. We need to remove his cancerous presence and vote in an independent school board who will not blindly accept lies as fact.

Valya Watson

Truth hurts
Your editorial reminding people to remember the less saintly aspects of the Reagan years [ “Remembering Reagan; the unabridged version,” June 10] will surely draw criticism, both for the content and the timing. To the critics I would say that sometimes the truth hurts, and don’t blame the messenger.

The space limitations of the editorial column only allowed you to scratch the surface. One of my favorite examples didn’t make your list. Remember when the administration tried to say that ketchup should count as a vegetable so they could cut costs on the school lunch program? Johnny Carson gently mocked this absurd reasoning in his Tonight Show monologue. He wondered if the next step would be to declare that shoestrings are a type of pasta.

There is no shortage of other examples.

Maybe you could invite readers to submit their own examples and publish the best ones. The criterion for judging would be that after reading them you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Rich Gregg

Mixed review
The weeklong mourning of Reagan’s death exposes the perils of American civic religion. The press’s blinding eulogizing coverage obscures his entire legacy. Reagan’s tenure in its full light is mixed at best.

American’s conviction of its exceptionalism permitted a horrific existence for many of the people of Latin America. Reagan used the Cold War as a ploy for other interventions, including funding for dreadful aggression against the civilian population of Central America. The United Nations Truth Commission in 1999 concluded that the carnage of thousands of Guatemalans constituted “genocide.” Although the president escaped any culpability in the Iran-Contra affair, Reagan’s leadership created an atmosphere in which his subordinates found it appropriate to barter weapons to fund his illegal, terrorist, proxy army, the Contras. Congress, suffering from the aggregate of civic religiosity, stood impotent in the face of Oliver North’s campaign of “national interest” to justify his criminal activities under Reagan’s watch.

As in any faith, irrationalism is its source. Currently, while the nation is engaged in its war on Iraq based on a mountain of deceit, the Reagan revolution continues: The “war on terror” has replaced the Cold War.

America’s true substance is found in the genius of its founding generation. The philosophy that moved the great minds of Madison and Jefferson was the Enlightenment transcending a world of superstition into a civilization based on rationalism. As we remember the contributions of Reagan, we should also reflect on his follies that have an inheritance we are still coping with under perilous conditions.

Sean Kennedy

Big Brother Bush
I think John Wilder needs to learn more about the USA Patriot Act, laws expanded after 9-11 to increase our government’s power to prevent so-called “terrorism” [ “Safety and freedom,” Letters, June 3].

If President Bush really wanted to protect our freedom and safety, then why would he go along with the Patriot Act? It took away a third of our Bill of Rights. It allows the FBI to keep secret detainees’ names and to have closed hearings. It loosens the definition of terrorism, allowing the government to use the term on other countries but not our own. It abridges our freedom of speech by allowing the FBI to monitor activists, religious and political groups without evidence of wrongdoing.

The Iraq War hasn’t made Americans any safer. The country had nothing to do with 9-11. More people worldwide dislike (to put it in not-so-harsh terms) the U.S. government. Therefore, how does that make Americans safer? When more people hate us, would that not create more terrorism?

Were Americans in a frenzy about terrorism after the Oklahoma City bombing? We all should remember that terrorism occurs both at home and abroad. The war on terrorism is similar to the war on drugs: There is no end.

If Americans are willing to trade constitutional rights for “security,” then go ahead and vote for George Bush. As for me, I like my freedom, enjoy my right to differ in opinions from the government, and don’t think Bush—or any president, for that matter—will make our world a safer place. Fellow Americans, decide at the polls in November.

Marissa Beach

Where’s the healing?
Re “ Divided council leaves Jarvis seat empty,” Newslines, June 17:

I recall being surprised years ago when Bill Johnston passed away and the council, in a unanimous vote, appointed Sheryl Lange as his replacement. Why had those with whom I was in ideological agreement failed to stand at least symbolically for our political side?

The answer, of course, provides a good lesson in what it means to be a responsible public servant. Sometimes the wishes of a dying colleague and friend take precedence over politics. Sometimes allowing your community to heal after a loss is just more important.

Last Monday night, given the opportunity to do the right and decent thing, three members of the council shirked their responsibility and chose political expedience instead.

As Coleen’s portrait looked on from her empty place on the dais, the disappointment dripped from the walls and puddled in anger on the floor.

Dan Carter


‘Petty politics’
On Monday night, June 14, short-sighted, petty politics won the battle in the Chico City Council. Last November, Scott Gruendl’s election created a progressive 4-3 majority. For the first time in years, the conservatives were in the minority, and they didn’t like it. Then Coleen Jarvis lost her courageous struggle with cancer, and all of a sudden the council was deadlocked at 3-3.

The right thing to do would have been to appoint a liberal to fill out Jarvis’ five-month term, following the will of the people. Coleen’s husband, Michael Stauffer, a businessman and community activist, even volunteered. Coleen did that when [Councilman] Bill Johnston died and the council appointed conservative Sheryl Lange.

What did [Councilmen] Herbert, Wahl and Bertagna do? They blocked the appointment of Stauffer and ensured a deadlocked council for the next five months. They brought back the hostility and polarization the people of Chico had thought was gone from the council.

What happened to family values, cooperation, the golden rule? Forget it; we can stall the council until the November election. They showed their true nature, and Chicoans will not forget in November.

Paul Friedlander

Not newsworthy?
I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon, the day after the special City Council meeting Monday evening. I just got off the phone with someone at KHSL’s newsroom. I asked them if they were aware that there was a City Council meeting last night and why there was no coverage on either the late news Monday night or the noon news on Tuesday.

I was informed that they don’t cover council meetings unless there is something “newsworthy” on the agenda. Huh? How about the failure of the council to fill the vacant seat or the continued funding of the library? The possibility of a deadlocked (3-3) council for the next five months is not newsworthy? Libraries are not newsworthy? I hesitate to call them a bunch of morons, but …

Ed Pitman