Letters for June 27, 2002

Liberal capitalists
Let’s set the record straight. Anyone who wants to help someone but expects someone else to pay for it is not a compassionate conservative. They’re nothing more than old, tired liberals donning a new, deceptive name, hoping that true conservatives will be fooled.

If someone profits from helping the poor, that’s not a humanitarian. That’s a capitalist! The conflict of interest is obvious. Do just enough good to keep money funneling from the taxpayers and into the pockets of the liberals running the programs. True “humanitarians” don’t profit from helping the poor. Real heroes seldom see their names in print, nor do they care to.

The News & Review can praise Esplanade House founders Greg Webb and Gary Incaudo in every issue [see “Taking care of our own,” cover story, June 20], but it won’t fool 1,100 people who were literally steamrollered into having the program in their neighborhood; 1,100 people who used to give freely to charities; 1,100 people who for various causes on innumerable occasions volunteered time and effort on behalf of those less fortunate—but no more.

Thanks to Chico’s media and the liberals, 1,100 people learned a valuable lesson: Charity begins with your family and friends. Charity begins with those who care as much about you as you do about them. Charity ends when you are no longer asked to help but are coerced and deceived and forced to help.

All hail the mighty Webb and Incaudo. Victors of nothing.

Karen Duncan

Dream come true
I am touched, to put it mildly, by the article on the Esplanade House.

I am fortunate to have never had the misfortune of drug or alcohol problems. I have also never known the turmoil of living on the street or the prospect of losing my child. I work hard to be where I am, and I have the support of a wonderful family.

To say I appreciate the view from the Esplanade House would be an understatement. I am proud of the road that I have chosen and worked hard for it. I also honor and support those women mentioned in the article because they are the true voice of what can happen when life takes a different turn. Whether by choice or circumstance, options change, and the ground can become shaky.

Tonight I will go home and hold my son tighter than usual. I will look into his eyes and remember why my life is on the path that it is on—for him. I will also pray for those wonderful families staying at the Esplanade House and remember them every day. I am touched by their honesty and stories. I hope they remember to take it one day at a time and love their children as well as themselves.

Thank you to Greg Webb and Dr. Gary Incaudo for making this dream a reality for a community in need.

Heather Colbert

Chico’s loss, Met’s gain
I enjoyed Ernst Schoen-René's article about former Chico State University music professor Caren Levine’s new position with the Metropolitan Opera Company. Caren was in Chico several weeks ago and visited with me in my home for several hours and talked about what she’d be doing with the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Schoen-René's article, while a fine piece of writing, omitted several impressive pieces of information regarding the circumstances of Ms. Levine’s audition and the duties she will have at the Met.

For example, she will be more than an accompanist. Her position is that of vocal coach and assistant conductor to [Met Conductor] James Levine himself. She was contacted and invited to audition for the position after being recommended to Levine by none other than Barbara Bonney, one of the favorite lyric sopranos on the Metropolitan Opera’s roster of singers. Ms. Levine’s duties were originally designed for two people, but after the audition the committee that heard her was so impressed with her playing that it eliminated the second pianist’s position and offered both to Ms. Levine.

She was heard by a committee of six judges, including Levine, and by a man who hires the entire roster of professional singers who perform each season at the Met. Also present at her audition was the Met’s artistic director. Not only was she hired after what was obviously a brilliant audition, but the decision of the committee also was unanimous that she should have the position. I’m sure that everyone in Chico who knew her and had the privilege of hearing her perform joins in wishing her a brilliant career.

Les Fredrickson
Received via e-mail

Lost treasure
If there was any hope that a tenured faculty with a modicum of intelligence staffed the Music Department at Chico State, Ernst Shoen-Rene’s article about Caren Levine [“Remembering Eden,” Music, June 20] should remove all doubt of that possibility. That a hiring committee of faculty would rate Dr. Levine last among three candidates becomes even more laughable in light of her new position and the incredible amount of work she undertook to get it.

The decision of this committee of second-rate educators becomes lamentable when one realizes that this marvelous performer actually liked it here and wanted to continue on. The official line, if I remember correctly, was that the hiring committee wanted someone devoted to teaching. What a joke! The truth is that Dr. Levine revealed these guys for what they are—untouchable faculty who go through the motions and don’t want anyone around who makes them look bad. Their self-serving has, once again, cost the musical community of Chico a real treasure.

Mike Howard
received via e-mail

Hemp, hemp, hooray
Hemp is the oldest cultivated fiber plant in the world. Industrial hemp is not marijuana but a non-intoxicating plant with more than 25,000 uses. You can’t get high from fiber hemp, and it is the world’s most versatile fiber. Almost any product that can be made from wood, cotton or petroleum (including plastics) can be made from hemp. Hemp uses no pesticides and crowds out weeds without herbicides.

An average American uses 730 lbs. of paper a year—the equivalent of nine trees the diameter of a telephone pole and four stories high. By substituting hemp, which makes better paper products, those trees could be saved with much less damage to the environment .

Logically we should legalize its planting, as its many uses would have much less negative effect on the environment. More than 600,00 acres are planted in hemp worldwide.

To learn more go to www.ecomall.com/biz/hemp.htm.

Norm Dillinger

Not in America
I’m a veteran of WWII with service as a rifleman, Company C, 474th Infantry Regiment, in France, Germany and Norway. I’m a patriot, yes? But my bumper sticker says “BUSH KNEW.” Is Homeland Security reading my email? Will they knock on my door at midnight?

Can’t happen here? In June, 1941, my union, Local 683, UAW-CIO, voted to strike North American Aviation. It was six months before Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was not at war, strikes were legal. But our picket lines were driven away by U.S. Army troops with fixed bayonets. I backed away from the bayonet in my face. One union picket and one bystander failed to move fast enough and were bayoneted, in the thigh and in the abdomen. That night the door bell rang, it was a Western Union boy with a telegram, “Report to work at your usual time. Lt. Col. Bradshaw.” The strike was broken and we went back to work, with squads of soldiers patrolling the plant aisles.

Each war, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, moves the U.S.A. closer to “1984.” (My apologies to veterans whose war is not mentioned, there isn’t room to list all the wars since WWII.)

Bill McCord