Letters for June 27, 2013

A grand home

Re “Life as a house” (Cover story, by Dave Kelley, June 20):

I would like to thank the CN&R and David Kelley for the excellent article. It provided a delightful description of the Reynolds/Quinn/Horgan house, and the life that a house whose distinction between the inside and its outdoor environment allows the space to be continuous and undifferentiated. It is a true joy to live in a house where you are a part of both your garden and your space.

The description of my father, Lawrence Thomson, represented so many of the values he held dear. He designed about 30 residences in Northern California—beautiful homes greatly appreciated just for the attributes you described. He spent countless hours studying homes in the Bay Area, integrating the ideas from that research and his intuitive feel for material, space, detail and craftsmanship to create these houses which are truly homes.

I congratulate James and Erin Horgan for their respect and appreciation of a “grand” home in its finest sense. And congratulations to the Reynolds family for having the foresight and courage to build a house with such refined taste and connection to the past, present and future.

Thank you for letting us enjoy your home and its “life.”

Tom Thomson

Deal with the ‘gorilla’

Re “A plea for help” (Editorials, June 20):

I was thrilled to read the editorial asking wage concessions of Chico Police and Fire departments.

Chico police officers are in the same salary range as bigger, more violent cities ($60,000 to 95,000 per year). They bolster that salary with overtime—17 officers raised their pay by more than $30,000 last year using overtime, and only two officers took home less than $80,000.

Chico Police Officers Association President Peter Durfee makes the argument that if the department was fully staffed, its officers wouldn’t take overtime. That remains to be seen. But the real “gorilla in the room” is their pensions—neither CPD nor the Fire Department pay anything toward their own pensions, which consist of 90 percent of their highest year’s pay, available at age 50.

The taxpayers, living largely on less than $40,000 per year, with no insurance and no retirement, paid $1.9 million in 2012 just on the “employee’s share” of pensions. About a million of that was for the police, and most of the rest was for fire. A million dollars would pay for a few cops.

“Offer incentives to attract competent candidates”—that philosophy has not worked out. Money does not encourage moral or ethical competence.

Juanita Sumner

Note to city leaders

Re “Tightening the belt” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, June 20):

Dear council “progressives”: I have supported all of you for years. Today I don’t know who you are.

1. Progressives do not kill good government. They do not surrender to a deficit, hire Gordon Gekko, give him a raise, and shield him while he fires dedicated employees, cuts community programs, and privatizes the functions he axed. Progressives fight for strong, responsible government working for the common good. They don’t outsource it to unelected, profiteering private-sector bosses.

2. “Fight” means finding revenue, using political capital, and handling Tea Party gasbags. Instead, you decided to carry their water. Why should the TP take heat for layoffs and a run-down city when you’re doing it for them?

3. On the biggest issue in years, you had a majority. You betrayed this city. If a vote for you is the same as a vote for the TP on saving Chico, what do I need you for? A tough stand on the flags on The Esplanade?

4. I’d like to see a meeting where you explain yourselves to the people you just fired and their families. The conservatives should get a pass. Because with them, voters know what they’re getting: layoff-loving, union-hating government-killers. Next election, I’ll be supporting somebody else.

Robert Stanley

The real motive

Re “Finding a middle ground” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, June 20):

The outcome of Tuesday’s City Council meeting was disappointing, but not surprising. Hundreds of people waited for hours at the City Council chambers to speak on behalf of the beloved Saturday farmers’ market. Prior to the meeting, thousands signed petitions asking the City Council to honor the farmers’ market by extending the franchise agreement and allowing it to remain at the best place for it in terms of location, accessibility and room for expansion.

What occurred on that day was a travesty of the democratic process. Yes, the lease was renewed, but at the end of 2014 the market will be evicted from the Second and Wall streets lot, and moved to a smaller, less visible location because certain individuals in Chico would have us believe there isn’t enough parking in downtown Chico.

I believe if all the parking spaces in downtown were empty, the conservative faction would continue to insist that there wasn’t enough parking. The lack of parking is not the issue; what is the issue is that the city of Chico wants to sell the Second and Wall lot to the highest bidder. All else is pretense.

Debra Abbott


More on the market

I support keeping the Saturday farmers’ market at the current location and on the same day. I’m a regular attendee and considered elderly by some. I appreciate the nearby parking in the two adjacent lots that allows me to easily unload my heavy purchases and go back for more.

I can’t imagine how inconvenient it would be if the market was moved to the Chico Municipal Center lot and attendees had to find parking on surrounding neighborhood streets. I doubt the residents would appreciate it, either. It appears that the majority of attendees do not want a location change.

I do not understand why Mary Goloff and other council members do not support the will of what appears to be a majority of her constituents. I do not understand why the city council did not take advantage of the opportunity to secure and improve the Saturday market recently.

I do not understand why what is reported to be a select (i.e., biased) survey of a few downtown business owners should carry more weight than that of the hundreds of people who regularly attend the market. The market is not a detriment to downtown business. It’s an asset!

Sue Corey

The market provides a lovely gateway into downtown Chico. I have enjoyed living in Chico most of my life, and one of the many charms of Chico that my family and I enjoy is attending the Saturday farmers’ market in downtown Chico. It is such a perfect location for us to shop, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, and have breakfast and/or lunch. I would like to encourage the rest of the City Council to support keeping this gem in its current location on Saturday mornings.

Patty Rusk

Bill aids only the wealthy

Re “LaMalfa busted for taking subsidies” (Downstroke, June 20):

Predictably, the “new” farm bill is more taxpayer subsidies to large corporate farming operations, but instead of calling them subsidies, now it’s called “crop insurance.” So not only will wealthy farmers benefit in the tens of billions of dollars a year, insurance companies will too.

What’s tragic is that these farmers are not “feeding America,” but are actually poisoning Americans with genetically modified crops and the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers. Corporate farms tend to plant the same crop in the same field over and over, leading to the overuse of fertilizers, soil depletion and the leaching of more toxins into our groundwater. Now farmers are even allowed to sell our water down south instead of planting.

Nothing in this bill benefits small farmers or rewards farmers who are growing organically and responsibly. This bill, paid for with our tax dollars, will benefit only huge corporate farmers and reward them for their disastrously irresponsible farming practices. I can only hope that consumers will start considering what they are feeding themselves and their children, and how it will affect them and the planet.

Sherri Quammen

Not her kind of vision

Re “Views on moving the market” (Letters, by Steve Catterall, June 20):

The picture that Steve Catterall paints for improving the market sounds to me too much like the Thursday Night Market which, in my opinion, has become more of a carnival atmosphere than anything resembling a farmers’ market. I visit the Saturday-morning market for its quiet serenity and simplicity. I stay away from the Thursday Night Market because of its chaos and distraction from the actual vendors.

Margaret Simmons

Restaurant used class

Re “Baby-food fight” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, June 13):

Sam Steyer, manager of the Pour House, showed a great deal of class in his handling of the exposed-breast issue and the “nurse-in.” It was particularly classy for him to offer refreshments to the protesters.

Certainly there is nothing illegal or morally wrong in asking a mother to cover up. I would bet that a vast majority of patrons of the Pour House support breastfeeding, but still appreciate having this type of exposure nipped in the bud. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that CBS was fined $550,000 for the inadvertent exposure of Janet Jackson’s unencumbered shapely breast during the Super Bowl halftime show?!

Any reader who hasn’t eaten at the Pour House should do so. It is a fine restaurant.

Victor M. Corbett

Way to go, GRUB!

Re “Farming with heart” (Greenways, by Claire Hutkins Seda, June 6):

Stellar article. GRUB scares the industrialists. It’s different and unbeholden to their capitalist spider webs, just like our homeless brothers and sisters. Not long ago I had a self-proclaimed Christian excitedly announce that he was going to make sure a GRUB farm happened on his church property as outreach for the poor. Next time I met him it was nixed—the church was afraid of the type of people it would attract. Apparently poverty and homelessness is best kept from the eyes of the congregation. It’s a “Clean and Safe” church.

Bill Mash

City is flush with assets

Re “Govern our city ‘the Chico way’” (Guest Comment, by Paul Friedlander, June 13):

The funny thing is that the city isn’t broke, at least according to its latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) at page 17 at http://www.chico.ca.us/finance/documents/CAFRFinal.pdf. The city of Chico has $447,804,761.00 in net assets (net means after liabilities). That’s about a half a billion!

So they say we are broke? What all city, county, state and federal governments do is use their budgetary figures to make the people think that we are in dire straits when in reality they have millions, and even billions in assets. What people seem to forget is that during good times these same government bodies are all expanding their holdings through stock purchases, land and real-estate purchase, buildings, machinery, vehicles, infrastructure. etc.

However, when times get tough, average American families have to pull in our belts and tighten up the boot straps, and if we have any assets like real estate, or stocks, we may need to liquidate them so that we can pay our bills. If we can’t afford our houses anymore, we lose them. On the other hand, governments are immune and can just continue to operate in whatever capacity we allow them to operate based upon their fudged budget figures, which in no way reflects their true financial status.

But instead of liquidating assets to keep up the level of service we should expect, they just lay people off, pay them less and provide the taxpaying people with less services. I say make them do what we have to do and liquidate some of their half billion in assets to ensure that the level of service that we are paying for is maintained.

The CAFR isn’t well publicized and most people probably never have heard of it. The city doesn’t want you to know, because if more people knew about the CAFR, the more ticked they’d be.

Don Taylor

Thank you, Mercy Hospice

Not long ago, I lost my mom. Her passing came just shy of her 93rd birthday. It was the most difficult moment of my life. I will miss her greatly.

In the final months of her life, Mom’s needs increased dramatically. There were doctor appointments, visits to the lab, personal-hygiene needs, housekeeping chores, meal preparation, and prescription management. As her condition worsened, she was confined to bed and required assistance in meeting even her most basic of needs.

As hard as I tried and as much as I cherished caring for Mom, I soon realized some manner of outside help was required. And that is when Mercy Hospice entered our lives.

Mercy Hospice Care, according to their resource materials, “focuses on the patient and highlights the quality rather than the length of life.” Their nurses “help their patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones.”

Truly, it was a blessing when Mercy Hospice assumed a lead role in Mom’s care. It was like a ton of bricks taken off my shoulders. Knowing a team of professionals was there to rely upon—consisting of a medical director, social worker, registered nurse, home health aide, chaplain, physical therapist and volunteers—ensured Mom got the best care possible, with full Medicare coverage.

If you’re in a similar situation with a loved one, I would fervently recommend you consider seeking the aid of hospice services near you. Mercy Hospice is located at 1544 Market St. in Redding and can be reached at 245-4070.

Thank you, Mercy Hospice. Thank you for being there when our family needed you the most.

Pete Stiglich