Letters for June 28, 2007

Kudos for Cooper
Re: “Running the show” (Cover story, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, June 21):

The story on Capt. Don is about the best thing I’ve seen in any paper for a long time.

A lot of times, these stories written about a person after death seem to be a rip-off of that person. Ms. Cooper manages to give us a look at Don without taking his dignity; that’s rare. I think it’s because she actually took the time to get to know him—something so few of us have time to do in this increasingly busy world.

A lot of people have a quick conversation with you, and they think they know you. Then they write about you in the paper without a clue. It shows.

Juanita Sumner

Editor’s note: The Capt. Don story concludes in this issue—see “In good company".

Orovillians rant … and rave
Re: “Mean streets” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, June 14):

While well-intentioned, Mr. O’Neill’s article did more to damage the reputation of a fine community than it did to enhance the impression of its first-rate police force. For example, the statement that “most of the downtown stores are vacant” is inaccurate. Some stores are indeed vacant, but as the city and the Chamber of Commerce have worked toward eradicating the underserved bad reputation of the city, those stores have been filling in.

Business owners, the city and others within the community are working hard to make south Oroville a nice place to live again. We assume that it is Mr. O’Neill’s opinion garnered from a one-night drive with law enforcement that “hope has little chance of survival in a place like this,” because we have found that “hope” is alive and well in Oroville.

Perhaps you might want to venture down to south Oroville on the third Saturday of the month and other times when volunteers spend their free time cleaning up trash, removing discarded appliances, clearing alleyways and otherwise helping out. Talk to pastors about all the good things that are going on. Talk to the El Medio Fire Department about all the changes in its jurisdiction.

Then be aware there is more to Oroville than just the south. Know that there are a lot of good, hard-working people in the Oroville community.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself driving around at 3 in the morning, you’ll want to look at the Chico community for which your newspaper is named.

Nancy and Jim Jones
South Oroville

Hope you don’t get too many folks writing in to the CN&R complaining of Oroville-bashing. I think you handled the truth quite deftly. It is what it is!

There are mean streets here (particularly Virginia Street), and there is a lot of poverty and drugs—with their attendant crime problems. But you managed to describe it without sounding condescending, as some other authors have. Your descriptions of all the people involved were very sensitive and non-judgmental, so if anyone complains, they just weren’t paying attention!

I have done plenty of ride-alongs, even since leaving the City Council, and found nearly exactly the same thing you did: troubled people doing bad things to one other, their behavior fueled mostly by drugs and/or alcohol. The cops have never tried to gloss over their problems when speaking to me, but they also never complained to me, saying it was their job.

Susan Sears

Sanctuary spotlight
Re: “Animal farm” (Backbeat, by Laura Hauser, CN&R, June 21):

I want to thank you for writing and running a story about Farm Sanctuary in Orland. I don’t think that too many people realize it’s there, and hopefully the residents of Chico and the surrounding area will visit and learn about the factory-farming industry.

Shannon York

Where’s the harm?
Re: “Caught in the middle” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, June 21):

The very idea that people are being imprisoned for using marijuana makes me ashamed to be an American. When I hear that Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Wong is using fraudulent evidence to convict a medical marijuana user, my disgust becomes complete.

Refusing to recognize the right of California voters to legalize medical marijuana makes President Bush guilty of lying, because before he was elected he said, “I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose.”

What evil has Bryan Epis done by growing and using marijuana? Has he murdered anyone under the influence? Has he gone on a one-man crime wave because of smoking pot? Has Epis assaulted, robbed or done any wrong to his fellow man because of using marijuana?

If Epis has harmed no one, why is he facing [the resumption of] a 10-year prison sentence? Could it be because of the fables, fictions and false witness marijuana prohibition is based on? It is a sign of moral bankruptcy to enforce such absurd laws.

Ralph Givens
Daly City

Editor’s note: For an update on Bryan Epis’ legal situation, please see Downstroke.

Gimme a break!
Re: “Give Bonds a break” (Editorial, CN&R, June 21):

I’m an avid reader of baseball-related writing, and your editorial on Barry Bonds just might be the worst pile of drivel on the subject that I’ve ever had the displeasure of digesting.

The reason Bonds is despised nationwide is because he’s an arrogant, nasty, completely self-centered person with very few of the qualities that most admire in a fellow human being. His reputation was not created by the media—he’s earned every bit of it through his shabby treatment of those around him. That list includes not only sportswriters, but teammates, team employees and, worst of all, fans.

Your castigation of the media as being “unprofessional” on this issue is a farce. A lot of other great players (Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Steve Carlton, etc.) also had their issues with the writers, but the vast majority of the fans didn’t give a hoot about that. Bonds is viewed as a major villain everywhere but in San Francisco because it’s an absolute fact that he’s a jerk, and it’s more than highly probable that he’s also a cheater.

The only solace that can be taken in Bonds’ impending milestone is that he probably won’t hold the record for long. That slick-looking, well-paid gent who’s holding down third base for the New York Yankees is coming on like gangbusters and will probably hit his 800th homer in the 2015 season.

You need to stick to your Bush-bashing and your glorification of every extreme leftist in the North State. With this Bonds thing, you were out of your element, and you whiffed badly.

John Johnson

Power counterpoint
Re: “Power point I” (Letters, by Irene Cardenas, CN&R, June 21):

Irene Cardenas is not alone in having the mistaken belief that one uses less energy to do the same work if we use electricity as the source. For doing “work,” one always uses the equivalent amount of energy irrespective of the source of energy.

Yes, the efficiency of an engine using electric power is far greater than the one in which heat is converted to work, and the emissions of carbon dioxide, locally, seem to be less—but the total amount of “carbon” converted to carbon dioxide is not less, as it has been emitted on this planet somewhere and is with us.

Solar panels do not grow on trees; these have to be manufactured from raw materials, and fossil fuel necessarily used. The number of nuclear reactors needed to generate the required electrical energy will never be available and are far more polluting in terms of the nuclear waste. Hydroelectric power is indeed the best but not viable for generating enough electricity to charge electric autos ’round the clock along with present uses.

Brahama D. Sharma

Answer me, CUSD
Re: “Francisco’s surprise” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, June 14):

Chico Unified School District Superintendent Chet Francisco’s resignation/retirement leaves a number of questions unanswered. My biggest question about his brief tenure is his total disinterest in getting to the bottom of who on the CUSD staff did what during the Jeff Sloan affair.

Bob Speer’s recent article in the Chico News & Review [”Abuse of authority,” March 8] lays out the details of unethical, if not illegal, behavior by key members of the CUSD staff. Some of them seem to be quietly leaving. The former superintendent, the district legal counsel and the assistant superintendent for finance are gone.

The failure of any local media other than the CN&R to do any investigative reporting about the affair is very unfortunate. What happened is the greatest stain on public integrity in Chico in the 48 years I have lived here.

It is long overdue for the CUSD board to step up and do what is right and get to the bottom of the Sloan affair once and for all. Those board members who were on the board at the time and do not call for accountability should not be re-elected should they chose to run again. Those board members elected since the Sloan affair and who may think the time is past to rehash what happened are, I regret to say, as guilty as those who did the deed.

Jim Gregg

Re: “Animal farm” (Backbeat, by Laura Hauser, CN&R, June 21): The place where Farm Sanctuary was founded was misidentified, as were several of the animals housed in Orland. The organization began in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The white rabbit mentioned is named Sombra, the 600-pound pig is Lily, and the 300-pound pig is Stacey. In addition, the name of another animal, Goldie, was misspelled. These errors have been corrected online.

Re: “Caught in the middle” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, June 21): The type of engineering in which Bryan Epis earned his Chico State degree was misstated. He has an electrical engineering degree. Also, Epis says he was not among the protesters who handed fliers to prospective jurors—though he was charged with jury-tampering, as stated in the story, that charge was dropped. These errors have been corrected online.