Letters for June 6, 2002

Remember Sept. 11?
I’m sorry, but that was a dumb graduation I attended at Chico State University today. I figured it would be long and hot, but I didn’t expect it to be banal and boring. I hoped to be inspired by the speakers and the energy of hundreds of graduating young folks. I’m all for joy and celebration, but I’m also for sober and serious reflection at this time in the history of our country and planet.

What this new group faces since the world changed last Sept. 11 is unprecedented. Yet of this not a word was spoken. Instead we listened for more than an hour to individual names being called followed by cheers from small sections of the audience.

I think the graduates’ intelligence would have been more honored by a thoughtful message than by emphasizing their separate egos. They deserved better. I wish them the courage to speak their truth in the challenging days that lie ahead of them.

Renee Renaud

Give ’em a raise
As a member of the district attorney’s staff for more than 20 years, I have watched many fine, talented and dedicated attorneys come to the office and later be forced to leave because they could not survive on the pay provided in Butte County.

The level of commitment necessary to be a criminal prosecutor is overwhelming. Most work many hours of their free time, and 60- to 70-hour weeks are the rule rather than the exception. Yet, Butte pays its deputy DAs so far below the average of comparable Northstate counties, we are unable to recruit effectively or retain our staff. It is time our Board of Supervisors recognize and address the problem.

Public safety is not fully implemented when the dangerous criminal is arrested. That person must be charged with the crime or crimes by the district attorney. Without a formal charge, that dangerous criminal will be back on our streets and in our neighborhoods within two days. Only our prosecutors stand between the criminal and this revolving door.

They are simply asking for the average of wages received in other similar counties, no more. Yet, the $60,000 annual total it would take to reach this average has caused an impasse with our country. It is time for our supervisors to put their stated priority of public safety truly at the top of their agenda and stop playing politics with the safety of our community. Pay the deputy district attorneys a fair wage.

Tony Koester

Then again
I am appalled by the ignorance and the naïveté of the ex-assistant district attorney’s comment about our judicial system in last week’s News & Review [ “Prosecution blues,” Letters, May 30]. She says the editor should thank her the next time a drunk does not run him down when he’s crossing the street.

Well, in January 2001 my wife was run over while walking a half-block from home, in the crosswalk, by a drunken driver—his second felony reckless DUI. She sustained a collapsed lung, ruptured bladder and crushed pelvis that resulted in a 33-day stay at Enloe Medical Center, one surgery, extreme pain and a $150,000 medical bill. For all of this our great (NOT!!!) judicial system sentenced this loser to 180 days in jail (approximately five months, after good time) for almost killing or permanently disabling my wife for life.

My wife and I are the ones responsible for getting him that much punishment. The assistant DA wanted to settle for 90 days. This just re-affirmed to my wife, children and me that the local judicial system is a big joke. Only problem is we are not laughing! I think that our court officials are way overpaid! For doing nothing you should be compensated accordingly.

Noel E. Shea
Terri L. Shea

Vigilante man
Fire the prosecutors, cut my taxes, let me carry my gun, and I will handle the drunks trying to run me over. Prosecutors are always after the crime anyway, and then it’s too late for justice.

J Burnett

Missed the map
Your interesting story about Stirling City [ “History in the pines,” cover story, May 23] was missing one important feature: a map to find all the nice areas mentioned in the article. On a fall trip to witness the beauty of the colorful leaves in the forest, my wife and I drove through Stirling City. The town that we saw caused us to imagine what it must have been like a hundred years ago, because we both agreed we were driving through a shantytown.

Randy Frieze

After an appearance on public access television with interviews and songs from THE-CON-TRA-BAND advertising the band’s first live performance at the Jarbo Gap Amphitheater, the subsequent LMTV Channel 11 show at 8 p.m. was to feature live footage from that concert. If you tuned in you would have seen Ten Pound Brown again. Apparently THE-CON-TRA-BAND is considered too offensive for public access television. Or is it the fact the band tells the truth, which is more frightening to most people than a couple of swear words?

So, now it doesn’t look like the audience of Channel 11 will ever get to see THE-CON-TRA-BAND’S first live performance in the infamous Nowhere X Nowhere festival at the Senator, where the band really caught fire. The video is being edited at this moment.

America is currently fighting a war allegedly for democracy and freedom, but there is no democracy and there certainly isn’t freedom of speech, as the producers of the public access station at Butte College have proven.

Sid Locksley
bass player


Goodwill hunting
It was your Proposition 12 park bonds that provided the preponderance of the funding for the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Although Chico State University holds title to the land, the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) wisely retained an easement over the entire property to ensure that the contract signed by Chico State Provost Scott McNall was adhered to.

That contract requires that the reserve be managed for habitat protection, as well as hunting, fishing, research and compatible recreation. The contract provides for remedies in the event that Chico State reneges on the agreement, including refunding the money DFG spent to purchase the property. Hunters and hikers coexist happily on millions of acres of national-forest land across Northern California, but Chico State is contriving a conflict by banning hikers while hunters are present, on the “legal advice” of Jeff Carter, one of Chico’s most wily political strategists.

The anti-hunting lobbying, as well as the prominent “No Trespassing/Private Property” sign at the entrance gate, put Chico State in violation of its contract with DFG. Chico State has an entrenched and powerful bureaucracy, and it is accustomed to having its way in this town. DFG’s Henry Lomelli is the thin blue line preventing Chico State from getting away with it. Henry has been telling the reserve management meetings that the reserve is to be managed for habitat protection, as well as hunting, fishing, research and compatible recreation. But Chico State has a problem with that and seeks to ignore its contract.

Michael Jones