Letters for June 26, 2008
Study their heritage unintrusively
Re: “Scientific study, or sacrilege?” (Cover story, by Jennifer MacDonald, CN&R, June 19):
I am one-eighth Konkow Maidu. I don’t know much about my history, but I’m learning. I am working on picking up what has been taken from my family. I know my grandfather was ashamed for who he was; I know the suffering he went through, the boarding schools he was forced to go to.
I find what is going on appalling. There has been enough suffering; let the people be free and heal from the suffering of seven generations. The government has taken enough. What if we were to charge into your churches and take what you have [revered]?
So, I am here reading the article and I come upon this paragraph: “Our hope is that we’re able to continue a dialogue with them,” [Department of Water Resources official Rick] Ramirez said, “because even though we’re going to get our license, and it may not be a license that contains things they wanted to see, a continued discussion might allow us to find things that do work for them.”
With the type of pompous and conceited attitude portrayed by this comment, it is amazing the powers that run government and society wonder why we as natives to this land do not trust or believe they are trying to help us in any way. The feeling of violation over what has happened and what continues to happen is burning in us all with no recourse.
The fact that they unearthed proof natives were here 4,000 years ago makes us proud and deserves the respect we seek as first peoples of the area. When Ramirez mentions we don’t have a say in what happens but we should still hang around and talk, that’s just another example of disrespect that many have for our opinions and concerns.
By the way, kudos to the News & Review for using Maidu or Konkow when describing the first peoples of this area; we don’t like the term “Indian” too much. It is a name given by a man who thought he was somewhere he wasn’t. It is like describing any other race by a slang term.
What about ‘equal justice for all'?
Re: “Both Mr. Wrights deserve prison” (Guest Comment, by Mike Ramsey, CN&R, June 19):
Someone should ask the DA if firing a weapon in anger in an occupied residence and trying to run over a fellow student with their automobile doesn’t also show a tendency toward violence and deserve a jail sentence. Obviously our DA doesn’t believe in the saying “equal justice for all.”
Editor’s note: We received another letter in the same vein, which posed the question, “Was it because it was Mr. Ramsey’s own daughter?”
Taking on marriage rulings
Re: “Stretching the seams” (Editorial) and “Unconscionable; unconstitutional?” (Letters, CN&R, June 19):
Shame on you, Grubbs. Shame on you.
Whatever your position on “gay marriage,” the recent decision by the California Supreme Court (by a slim majority of 5-4) is a tyrannical usurpation of democratic principle in favor of social engineering. By pure fiat, the court created a legal fiction in the State Constitution to overthrow a ballot initiative approved by more than 60 percent of the voters that affirmed “marriage” as between one man and one woman.
The intended place of the judiciary is restricted: to interpret the law as approved by the will of the people and codified by the Legislature. The job of social activists is to convince enough of the voting constituency to agree with and support its proposals, not to bypass it by manipulating the courts at the expense of public opinion and tradition.
While social change may seem too slow for many advocates, the means by which a perceived “good” is achieved may ultimately prove a greater evil in the end as the legal oligarchy expands its stranglehold over our allegedly “democratic” system of government.
As a postscript, not all opposition to homosexual marriage is “hateful and intolerant,” as one letter put it. Much is actually principled, based on 2,000 years of Western civilization’s traditions, religious belief, and concern regarding the potentially decadent influence of overt, socially accepted homosexual practice. Pushing it down the majority’s throats through the judiciary and abrupt force of law can hardly be a prescription for the alleged “tolerance” so frequently demanded.
Labeling gay marriage protesters as “religious bigots” is an easy way to be dismissive. Marriage is descriptive, not prescriptive, and extends beyond being defined by politics or religion.
We’re drifting from recognizing family as a naturally occurring unit. It’s redefined as a political one, separated from the larger biological bonds. It’s made an individual matter of contracts about affection. The state should have no interest in validating affections.
“Same-sex marriage” is a misnomer furthering confusion. It cannot be an extension of the “rights” of marriage, but only an extension of what’s wrong.
Understanding the family as a biological system, we can recognize offspring as a central concern. Marriage is the recognition of this joining of families’ bloodlines not possible for same-sex couples.
Redefining marriage is not destructive to any one particular marriage, but to our understanding of its unique significance. All things are not equal, even if they are acceptable. Fragmenting our understanding of the family fragments the promotion of its potential.
Not very neighborly
Re: “Fire presents dilemma: stay or go?” (Essay, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, June 19):
Jaime O’Neill is misinformed about the people sequestered back in the woods of Magalia. We are not marijuana growers, nor do we have meth labs. All my neighbors and I are hard working people and have real jobs. According to the police blog in the Paradise Post, most of the meth labs are located in lower Paradise or Oroville.
I suggest Jaime should get to know his neighbors. Don’t assume (ass-u-me) that people who live in the woods are dope growers.
Diane L. Martin
As one of Jaime O’Neill’s Paradise “neighbors,” I’d like to take issue with his blanket condemnation of local radio’s coverage of the Humboldt Fire.
Where I work, our four Chico radio stations—92.7 Bob FM, 106.7 Z-Rock, Oldies 102.1 and Thunder 100.7—began broadcasting alerts and updates as soon as the fire began Wednesday. We had our own reporter deployed in the field, who did live call-ins from the fire lines and command centers.
By using our contacts with law enforcement, fire officials and government agencies, our radio coverage was immediate, responsive and in most cases far ahead of newspaper Web sites or even our noble friends at KPAY-AM. I know. We monitored them all. Unfortunately, on Friday, three of our four stations were taken out by the Whiskey Fire, but 92.7 Bob FM soldiered on and continued broadcasting fresh news updates.
Hanging on our wall is a fire map signed by CalFire, thanking us for working so hard to get timely information out to the public. My hope is that our four local stations will raise the bar and encourage other area broadcasters to expand their emergency coverage, for all our sakes.
Editor’s note: KPAY also took issue with how fire coverage was characterized; see In My Eyes.
Why Earth flag flies
Re: “Rock-headed tribute” (Letters, by Ruben Leon, CN&R, June 19):
If you do not understand how the Earth cares for you, you are doomed to extinction.
Is it truly so simple?
Re: “Oil tradeoff” (Letters, by Loretta Torres, CN&R, June 19):
The oil companies have created a mass hysteria in order to induce new drilling. Here’s what’s happening: Oil is only a few bucks a barrel in the Middle East, but by the time it’s sold and resold by speculators, it gets artificially inflated to $140 a barrel.
This sort of speculating scheme is called pyramiding and is what caused the housing market to collapse—eventually the balloon is inflated so much that it bursts.
We need to nationalize our oil industry to keep speculators out of the market. Then we’ll have cheap gas at a stabilized price.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to put an electric motor in their car and run it off solar panels on the roof—it works, and it presages the future.
Michael M. Peters
… In this case, sure
Re: “Rice shortage boils up” (Cover story, by Monica Unhold, CN&R, June 12):
Our surplus is manipulation, secrecy and greed.
Our shortages are transparency, truth and compassion.
By eliminating the former and implementing the latter—not only on the world stage, but within our own individual behavior— we will solve our problems.
Fair fix for Prop 13
Re: “Prop 13 at 30” (Editorial, CN&R, June 12):
It is true that Proposition 13 needs to be revised. That measure would never have passed if it had not been for the taxation crisis that precipitated it.
Jesse Unruh and Jerry Brown’s father, Pat, orchestrated the turnaround in California finances that made college education free for all residents. Jerry and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown hijacked the state’s revenues to fund their pet projects. They paid for this with increases in property taxes because these increases did not have to undergo the scrutiny that regular tax increases would have had to pass.
Those persons who were not here when this was going on would not recall how taxes quickly exceeded mortgages. Proposition 13 was not the answer. Getting rid of Brown and Brown was.
Now we are left with a government that is operated more by the ballot than by representatives. We need to fix this, but simply declaiming Prop 13 is not the answer.
Proposition 13 needs to be replaced by a constitutional amendment that imposes taxes equally based on square footage without regard to the present usage of that land or the date of acquisition. Taxes must be rock bottom for all land owners to preserve current owners’ rights and the presumed rights of future owners. Businesses should pay the same square footage taxes as private persons.
Only when property, and the right to own it, is so secured will people in this state be ensured of fair treatment by their government.
Re: “Making a U-turn on rural growth” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, June 19): The Butte County Board of Supervisors will meet about the general-plan update over two days rather than in a single-day session. The board will consider Paradise and Oroville study areas on July 29 and South County and Chico study areas on July 30. This has been revised online.
1st & Main challenge