Letters for June 4, 2009
Column response from a Friend …
Re: “Friends or frenemies?” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, May 28):
Misinformation in Evan Tuchinsky’s recent editorial requires clarification. Friends of Bidwell Park (FoBP) have never opposed paragliding in Bidwell Park.
Last September, before becoming FoBP president, I wrote a letter by myself to the CN&R stating that approval of paragliding in Bidwell Park requires normal environmental review. I also asked the question, Why is there a current city policy against paragliding? In response, Mr. Tuchinsky unfairly ridiculed FoBP and inaccurately accused them of opposing paragliding specifically, and recreation in general.
First, requesting that the city follow its policies and law does not translate to opposing a project. It is merely a request that the city respect and maintain the public’s trust.
Second, the voice of an individual should not be perceived as the voice for an organization one may be a member of, or join in the future.
Third, if an individual or organization comments on an environmental document during the public scoping phase, that does not automatically mean they oppose the project. It means they have questions regarding the details of the projects or would like to voice concerns about what they may think potential impacts could be, or how the project could be improved.
Public participation in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process is a privilege given to citizens of California. People should be encouraged to participate, not lambasted by editors because they ask questions. The CEQA process is designed to make California a better place to live. So speak up, friends. Chico needs you more than ever.
… and someone friendly to Friends
Please do not disparage the Friends of Bidwell Park. While the rest of us are lounging in our back yards or watching television, they are out in the hot sun removing non-natives from our precious park. And, unlike Frisbee golfers or anyone else, they have nothing to gain but the preservation of a beautiful and increasingly rare slice of wilderness.
As many a wise person has said, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Editor’s note: Please see Guest Comment for another response.
Differences of opinion on casino
Re: “Supervisors err with air of superiority” (Guest Comment, by Dennis Ramirez, CN&R, May 28):
Chairman Ramirez, I congratulate you and your tribal council’s restraint at the comments of the Board of Supervisors regarding the location of the tribal casino. In most communities with universities in their county, they elect board members who reflect the values of their community. Obviously, once again, the minority view of a small, well-funded segment of society rears its head in ignorance.
While as a veteran I fought for freedom of dissent, it is nonetheless discouraging [to see] the denial of the lessons of history for the local Mechoopda people.
In 2000, California voters were promised by the backers of Proposition 1A that if Indians were given the right to build Class III casinos, they would be built on existing tribal land and would not be built in or near cities or towns.
Enter Station Casinos, whose four tribal casino projects all follow the same pattern: Find an obscure group of Native Americans who are sometimes of questionable pedigree and buy land near a city, next to a freeway or highway, and miles away from any land claimed to be the group’s tribal land. Thunder Valley Casino and Station Casinos’ three other tribal casino projects in Rohnert Park, Chico and Fresno all follow this pattern.
This is not what voters were promised. Station Casinos has engaged in a most cynical abuse of Prop 1A and the voters’ desire to promote Native American prosperity. It’s time to send these Las Vegas interlopers back to Nevada.
Editor’s note: Marilee Montgomery is Stop the Casino 101 Coalition’s press liaison.
Re: “County cuts deep, awaits bad news” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, May 21):
Kudos to all Butte County residents—our voices have been heard and our library has been saved! Now let’s turn our focus to saving another very worthwhile organization here in Butte County: the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation.
How fortunate we are to have a wildlife sanctuary that offers a first-hand view of such remarkable animals as the tiger, lion, clouded leopard and others, as well as the opportunity to learn about the many problems that face their very existence.
We must not take this for granted. Without the support of the community, the possibility exists that the Kirshner Wildlife Foundation will be shut down.
The Butte County Planning Commission will meet June 25 to discuss the future of the foundation. A show of support from the community by attending this meeting could make a difference.
Many animals that currently reside at the Kirshner Foundation have special medical needs, and should the sanctuary be forced to close, finding homes for each and every one of these animals may be impossible. The animals that cannot be placed will face euthanasia. We must not let this happen. Please join us in our effort to keep The Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation open and assuring that these animals remain in this safe and caring environment.
Remember silent ones
Re: “Letters from prison” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, May 14):
It made my stomach turn to learn the advocates for “teenage terrorism” are trying to get public sympathy for this young criminal [Greg Wright]. After all the information was released, they still try to make him out to be a “victim.”
These advocates closed their eyes to the hundreds of family and friends who gathered and waited to find out if they would see their loved ones alive again. These advocates did not see the relief of those present when they learned the incident was over.
The advocates never mentioned when a deputy opened the door to the band room, Wright pointed a gun at him and said to close the door or he would shoot. These advocates closed their eyes to the students and parents who suffered their own private hell after this incident. Some students transferred because “they did not feel safe anymore.”
School personnel followed Wright after learning he had a gun but made no attempt to overcome him. Had this incident followed suit of similar incidents, these school employees would have to bear the guilt of their cowardly decision. We were fortunate.
Greg Wright committed a serious crime, but he showed maturity, acted like a man and took responsibility for his criminal conduct. To his advocates I say, “Leave him alone. Let him accept the consequences and become a better man because of it.” In the meantime, we pray for students’ safety and hope schools better prepare their staffs in the unfortunate event this event is repeated.
Another right eroded
It doesn’t surprise me that there was almost zero coverage of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling to allow police to initiate suspect questioning. This is a defeat of one of our Miranda rights. Now you can be locked in a room with an intimidating detective. There may be a lot more confessions, whether they did it or not.
The ruling says “under certain circumstances.” How vague is that? The rights of Americans are dwindling faster than GM stock. Watch out, CN&R: Speech and press may be next.
The California real-estate assessment-valuation benchmark created by Proposition 13 is now almost 35 years old, which is really too long for a parcel to “escape” an actual taxable assessment.
If the escape is not capped, there will be less and less revenue, fewer balanced budgets, more lost services, more lost jobs, more election waste and more pain.
I am suggesting that each California parcel receive an updated evaluation/assessment at least once each quarter century (25 years), regardless of its being residential or commercial.
I am not suggesting the elimination of Prop 13, but merely installing a cap to stop its choking effects, which will get tighter and tighter, year after year, if we continue doing the same thing.
Editor’s note: For an alternate suggestion, please see Editorial.
One unhappy visitor
Really, does the Chico Police Department have nothing better to do than to post two officers on the corner of an intersection and give out tickets to pedestrians for disobeying the crosswalk signal while crossing the street at a crosswalk?
I live in Seattle and recently took time off of work to visit your city and attend my little sister’s college graduation. While walking downtown to meet my sister, I found myself standing on the corner of Second and Broadway with a group of other pedestrians looking to cross Broadway.
We did what any other normal group of pedestrians would do: look for traffic driving down the street. There were no cars coming down the one-way street, and being logical pedestrians, we crossed.
Next, I was being asked to step to the side of the sidewalk by two of your local police officers and subsequently issued a $156 ticket.
I understand the need to have a law to prevent pedestrians from recklessly and disorderly crossing the street in front of traffic. But, really, on graduation weekend, I am dumbfounded that your police department thought it would be a great idea to issue these mindless tickets to your citizens.
I truly believe this falls short of your police department’s mission statement, “…we will be fair and consistent in the enforcement of the law, providing quality police services while maintaining trust, open communication and mutual respect within our Department and community.”
Thank you, Chico PD, for the wonderful welcome to your city!
Uncovering a secret
On March 20, the Denver Business Journal reported that, according to Moody’s Investor Services, MediaNews, the parent of the Chico Enterprise-Record, is burdened with $962 million in debt with $1.2 billion in revenue. S&P said of MediaNews on Feb. 3 that “at the current pace of cash flow decline, we expect MediaNews to be in violation of covenants in its borrowing agreements over the near term.”
S&P significantly lowered the debt rating of MediaNews, indicating that bondholders were at risk. MediaNews, upset about this downgrade, requested that the rating be eliminated.
Now, there’s news that MediaNews attended a secret meeting on May 28 in Chicago to work with other newspaper publishers to increase revenue. James Warren of The Atlantic magazine reported that the industry trade group Newspaper Association of America assembled top executives of more than two dozen media companies. This discreet meeting, hidden from many of the newsrooms of their publications, was titled “Models to Monetize Content,” apparently about charging readers for online content.
Collusion to “monetize content” may run afoul of U.S. antitrust laws and raises serious questions about the legality and ethics of such a meeting, especially given the title of the meeting.
If this is a last-gasp effort for a struggling newspaper industry, the ends do not justify the means. Ethics and laws are important to follow, and nobody is above the law.
My first love (a pitcher) taught me to appreciate live baseball in high school and college. I was lucky enough to be a college student in Chico when Nettleton Stadium was built, and when the Wildcats won the national championship for the first time. And I can’t tell you the number of Chico Heat games that got me through our long, lovable and occasionally warm summers.
I’ve watched our local baseball scene develop and change over the past 14 years. Sunday night (May 31), I had the pleasure of taking my young children to their first game of this Outlaws season. I would like to give kudos to the team for providing such an awesome family experience.
The tickets were already reasonably priced—but $14 for a family of four blew me away! Next stop, the concession stand, where the selections were diverse, fresh, tasty and, again, reasonably priced. I was happy to see what appears to be a mutually beneficial (and local!) relationship with new concessions provider The End Zone.
In addition to great baseball in a beautiful park, the free face painting, clown balloons and bounce house were icing on the cake.
Baseball doesn’t have to be about anything more than the players, the bleachers and sunflower seeds. But when a local organization can provide affordable, world-class family entertainment, I hope the community will support it. Watching my 5-year-old son slap high-fives with his new player-heroes after the game, I realized I don’t want to lose this hometown treasure.
Re: “Local foodie” (In The Spotlight, by Kenna Cook, Shop Local, May 28): Liza Tedesco was misquoted regarding the type of trade Chico Natural Foods emphasizes. As the online edition now reflects, she mentioned “fair trade.”
Re: “Where’s the beef?” (GreenWays, by Sarah Hubbart, CN&R, May 14): The captions identifying Randy Long and Morgan Tittle were inadvertently swapped. This has been corrected online.