Letters for June 5, 2003

Corrections: The Chico Elks Lodge has asked that we correct a review of a male dance show ("Thong Throng: The Men of Chippendales take over the Elks Lodge,” May 15). In reality, the men’s nearly nude bods were writhing around Manzanita Place, a room in the Elks Lodge that the club rents out to subsidize its charitable pursuits. Our writer was thrown off the by the Elks memorabilia in the lobby, the mounted elk heads beside the stage and the fact that the Elks meet there.

Also, in last week’s Back beat story, “Brew Crew,” a chart detailing the winners of a homebrew contest flubbed the names of Richard Deane and David Westphall.

We regret the errors.

Speaking for the trees
Davey’s Tree Service, working for PG&E, this week mutilated two trees in front of my house. The gaping holes left in the canopy have destroyed much of the afternoon shade on my house. Trimming was supposed to be around power lines, but healthy limbs were cut 8-10 feet from the power line. Trimming used to be done about every 10 years. Now it is done yearly.

I would like to see PG&E (and the city) pay someone to preserve the trees that make Chico habitable in the summer.

Norm Dillinger


Memorial Day massacre
As I do every year, I went for an early morning walk through the cemetery on Memorial Day. I watched as the workers hurried to finish their last-minute preparations in time for the memorial ceremony. The day before, hundreds of American flags were placed on each of the veterans’ graves. The red, white and blue colors of the banners swayed in bright contrast to the sharp spring green of freshly mowed lawn and evergreen trees. It was beautiful.

But as I walked along I remembered the recent “victory” of Bush’s war on Iraq and a deep melancholy caught me. It troubles me that this war uncovered none of the threats to our security that Bush and his administration insisted would be found—no “weapons of mass destruction,” no chemical or biological weapons, no link to al Qaeda. Our nation is recently back on Orange Alert as terrorist acts continue. Iraq is left in a disarray of injury, hunger, chaos and anger. All Bush’s war accomplished was the death of many American and thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians; the environmental and cultural death of an ancient people’s homeland.

Now, on this Memorial Day 2003, a few more veterans’ tombstones have been added to other American small-town cemeteries. It’s a pity that after all of Bush’s claims of safeguarding our nation and freeing the Iraqi people, the real reason these young people lost their lives was for the sake of cheap oil.

Karen Laslo

Get the lead out
The city of Chico and the Department of Toxic Substances Control have known since 1988 that there are hazardous levels of contamination on the Bruce Road right of way from Highway 32 to Humboldt Road. This is the same toxic waste that makes up the Humboldt Road Burn Dump itself. Children walk, bicyclists stop to rest, bus riders wait at the bus stop, and vendors sell their wares on lead-contaminated soil.

The city has spent more than $2 million to investigate remediation of the development land to the east. The cost of the plan it proposes is $8 million. The city’s consultant has stated in public meetings that the purpose of the cleanup is to protect a hypothetical trespasser on fenced land. At no time in the last 15 years has the city been willing to spend the several thousand dollars it would cost to asphalt this strip of public land to make it safe for you and me.

There is a fine layer of gravel on the right of way, but no one has tested to see if this gravel is sufficient to protect anyone who stops by the side of the road from being exposed to lead from the contaminated soil underneath.

Former County Counsel Susan Minasian has stated the true problem with the Humboldt Road Burn Dump remediation. As she says, the issue is trust. Citizens must be able to trust that the city and the state agencies are working to protect them.

Nora Todenhagen

Happiest wreck ever
In this age of the fast buck, it’s a pleaure to recommend a Chico company that seems to care more about quality work and good customer service than the bottom line. I refer to the Chico Collision Center of 275 East Park Ave.

I had a fender-bender recently on my fairly new Hyundai. The folks at Chico Collision Center not only did a more thorough inspection, but also did the job at about $400 less than other estimates. And their customer service is superb!

In case you were wondering, I am not an employee of the company or connected with it in any way. Just a grateful customer.

William K. Carlson

Mental hell
The Board of Supervisors should give a higher priority to the issues of children’s mental health. Its recent taking of $700,000 from children’s mental health in a realignment transfer without investigating how emotionally fragile and suicidal children would be hurt is disturbing [see “Mental-health pros questions supes’ money moves,” Newslines, May 22].

The supervisors should do the following: 1) Ask that community service organizations such as Youth for Change, Victor Residential, Parent Education Network, Northern Valley Catholic Social Services and Feather River Tribal Health be involved in helping the county agencies, supervisors and the chief administrative officer (CAO) in developing budgets that will coordinate mental health services; 2) ask that the Department of Behavioral Health’s proposed budget for 2003-04 be made public so that the public can understand the impact of the cuts and have input into proposed mental health cuts; 3) demand that as much federal and state funding for services to children be brought into Butte County as possible; 4) ask the Grand Jury or county counsel to investigate whether more than $1 million in realignment transfers out of Behavioral Health in one year is legal and whether these transfers meet the needs of children; 5) ask the Grand Jury or CAO to prepare numbers on how Behavioral Health cuts in children’s mental-health services from mostly federal and state funding will impact county cost in increased foster care and group homes as well as additional costs to law enforcement; and 6) hold a public hearing in the evening for parents, children, teachers, social workers and concerned citizens so they can discuss with the board the current state of mental-health services for children in Butte County.

Name Withheld