Letters for June 9, 2011

God, jokes and dreams

Re “God and jokes” (Cover story, by Todd Walton, June 2):

Todd, thank you for an entertaining and inspiring account of a few of your amazing experiences. I hope a complete memoir is on the way.

I believe your account of your grandmother’s transition because my grandmother visited me in a dream one month after she died, and our embrace was more meaningful than any human embrace could be right now.

Keep up the excellent writing and sharing of your stories.

Brian Kraemer

Bill’s ‘massive threat’

Re “The local-tax option” (Editorials, June 2):

We at Californians Against Higher Taxes are in disagreement with your editorial on SB 653, but I am not writing about your opinion; I am writing about fact.

Under the California Constitution, and under SB 653, any local tax that will be used for a specific purpose (schools, police, etc.) must gain a super majority (two-thirds or otherwise) to pass. However, a local tax that is going into the general fund requires only a simple majority.

Unfortunately, your editorial misrepresents the massive threat from SB 653 because it misrepresents the ease by which new local taxes can be approved.

Scott Macdonald
Californians Against Higher Taxes


Bad judgment or what?

Re “Chief’s funding faux pas” (Downstroke, June 2):

Apparently [Orland Police Chief Paula Carr] is human! I can see the issue, but fail to see why it’s creating such a fuss. She wasn’t dishonest. She repaid the fund. It’s a thoughtless human error at the most.

All of us from time to time make judgment errors. I say the fact she realizes the transgression and admitted error is enough. Twenty-five years of service shouldn’t be ignored here. Good law enforcement isn’t growing on trees! I think we have bigger fish to fry in our communities.

Jack Brewer

Unfortunately, “using” other people’s money “temporarily” is an all-too-common occurrence because there are no safeguards. School districts, for example, will have multiple accounts, and a school employee with access to funds will “borrow” some money, “intending” to pay it back “later.” Only they “borrow” more and more without paying it back, and we end up reading about them in the newspapers absconding with tens of thousands of dollars from the school.

Financial elder abuse is another horrendous problem and is rife with misappropriation of funds—it’s a 1-2-3-step process: When the elder goes into a diminished mental state, 1) trick them into signing over power of attorney, 2) get your name on their bank accounts, and 3) keep other people away. Then the thief depletes the elder’s bank account. It happened to me; it can happen to you.

By the way, it was the Orland Police Department that was supposed to prosecute this case. Guess what? They didn’t, and we had to use civil attorneys.

Michael Peters

Misplaced priorities

Re “Disgust” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, June 2):

The Butte County Board of Supervisors’ support for marijuana prohibition is misguided.

In 2009, there were 858,405 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana over martinis.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls distribution, marijuana consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This “gateway” is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, MPA
Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

Thank you, A. P. Porter, for the outstanding piece on the overreaching big-government ordinance on medical marijuana. Sad but true: The very people who campaign for smaller, less-intrusive government are the first to put the burden of oppressive laws on the sick.

This flimflam by the Butte County Board of Supervisors has little to do with medical marijuana; it is about big government, overreaching regulations, higher taxes on the sick and government oppression. Any government that does not meet the needs of the people is a government the people do not need.

Charles Finlay

Editor’s note: For more on this issue, see Downstroke, page 8.

Credit is due

Re “For kids they sing” (Arts & Culture, by Ken Smith, June 2):

I own Strange Seed Studio in Chico. I recorded, produced and played on the Kids and Creeks album Children’s Songs for All Big and Small. I would like to thank the CN&R for doing an article on the album, but I feel that neither I nor Strange Seed Studio was properly credited. My name was not mentioned, and Strange Seed Studio was only mentioned in passing.

I donated more than 60 hours recording, mixing, playing on, and producing this album. Scott Barwick only mastered the album, and he and his studio are fully credited as donating time to the album. I really appreciate the work he did, but I feel Smith did not do his job properly. My hope is that such a huge misrepresentation does not happen again.

Cameron Scott

More about Vig

Re “Farewell to Vig” (Newlines, by Leslie Layton, June 2):

During eighth grade at Bidwell Junior, I had issues with shyness and couldn’t bring myself to do my oral presentation, which was a big part of my grade. I was told I would have to repeat eighth grade or go to summer school.

Mr. Vigallon was my summer school teacher. He was compassionate, helped me work on my issues and offered wonderful advice I will never forget.

So many lives have been touched by this man. I am fortunate to have had Mr. V in my life. I am now 43 years old, and I think of him often, especially this last year when I enrolled myself in school. I had to drop due to being diagnosed with breast cancer but plan on being back in August. I remember him telling me, “let nothing hold you back, April.”

Nothing’s holding me back, Mr. V! Thank you, and may God bless and keep you! Happy retirement!

April (Davis) Ware

I too went to Fair View my senior year and thought Vig was a great guy. To those of you who think he was mean, egotistical, or showed a double standard, I would like you to take a second and reflect back on what kind of person you were during that time of knowing him. Were you easy to deal with? Or were you the typical teenager who had a chip on their shoulder and thought your faults or dysfunctions were everybody else’s fault but your own?

Vig had a hard job to do, and he did it well. Of course there were times he lost his temper or got upset, but doesn’t everybody? Everyone is only human and can only be pushed so far. Vig tried his hardest to make a great impact on every student he came across.

Bernie Vigallon, that place will never be the same without you!

Kelley Bailey

Letters to Taylor

Re “Living with Lyme” (Healthlines, by Joshua Emerson Smith, May 26):

I have chronic Lyme disease. My wife and child also have chronic Lyme disease. When will the CDC realize that its acceptance of the IDSA guidelines is hurting patients? How long must we put up with the flawed guidelines? Politics and medicine do not mix well!

Thank you, Taylor, for the story. It does get better in time with long-term antibiotic treatment.

John Bobeda
Corralitos, Calif.

I know just how you feel, Taylor. I’ve had Lyme for many years and was diagnosed four years ago. I know how hard it is to take all those medicines for months and years. It is well worth it, though.

I’ve been back on my antibiotics and herbs for five long difficult months this time because my symptoms came back. I’m very excited because the last month I’ve seen a great improvement. I almost feel like myself again and am able to do things I haven’t been able to do for a while.

Stress makes Lyme much worse. School will always be there. Take time and get yourself well. Best of luck!

Karen Stemple

Blessings of water

So much gratitude has been shared for the abundant water and snow pack we have received in California this year. It is thrilling to see this powerful resource flowing through our creeks and rivers. We are the keepers of this beautiful water.

Thank you, everyone, for caring for it and keeping it clean. We have the opportunity to give back to Mother Earth by being present and aware of our abundance. By this collective energy we also nourish the soil with purity.

Long live clean water, a healthy forest and rich soil. What a wonderful place to live.

Kathleen Dunning
Forest Ranch

Inappropriate speech?

I went to a ceremony on May 27 to watch my sister-in-law graduate from high school, and was completely appalled when I had to listen to a 10-minute speech from Mr. Kim Yamaguchi, our District 5 supervisor of Butte County.

He spoke about himself through the whole speech. I would say he said “I” and “me” probably 100 times. Then the most inappropriate subject he spoke about was the issue of marijuana in the county. He even spoke about the medical-marijuana meeting that we’d just had on May 24. He told a dragged-out story about his family member who has been “addicted” to marijuana for 30 years and said, “I have no intelligence of any medical need for marijuana because I am not a medical expert.”

Speaking about this issue and making the whole speech self-absorbed was totally inappropriate for a graduation ceremony. Mr. Yamaguchi even said, “I don’t like the government trying to tell us what we can or can’t do.” Well, Mr. Yamaguchi is a self-contradicting person because the cultivation ordinance they just passed is doing exactly that.

Is this a person we really want to be a supervisor of our county? I think not!

Robert DeCosta