Letters for March 10, 2011
Wall Street’s thieves
Re “Where’s the indignation?” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, March 3):
Why are no Wall Street execs in prison? Are we to believe these rich, evil criminals are not being prosecuted because leaders in Congress are intimidated and there is a good-old-boy network in the banking regulatory apparatus?
The congressional banking committee, President Clinton and most members of Congress are every bit as guilty in this theft—liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat. Congress has become a criminal enterprise completely circumventing the political process. Until Americans quit letting these two parts of the same power-corrupt system point fingers at each other we are in big trouble.
Wayne E. Rice
It would have been nice if the federal leadership had taken the historic moment to prosecute and jail such Wall Street sleazes. However, as you point out, too many folks in “leadership” in both government and business are strongly influenced (intimidated?) by a loosely but strongly knit cabal of the very wealthy.
There are very few folks who will question or challenge anything done by the folks in charge or anyone who has economic influence or power over them.
To add genuine injury to the insult of craven greed on the part of many Americans, the folks who brought you the worst economic debacle of the last 85 years want to remove any say-so and economic stability from working folks providing essential services in the public sector, as they have so successfully done in the private sector.
These “taxpayer leaders” (e.g., Grover Norquist, Marcia Fritz, Wisconsin Gov. Walker) are very well funded and directed by very wealthy groups who want CalPERS out of corporate internal affairs and defined-benefits retirements and employee unions a thing of the past.
Following either of these trends would further diminish the middle class, public education and reasonable health care for all. Together, they are leading us to a very small ruling elite and a lot of non-thinking (uneducated and easily emotionally manipulated) drones, no matter how fast they can text and Twitter.
Yes to Big Oil, no to students
Just last week the Republicans in the House, including Rep. Wally Herger, voted 236-0 to maintain subsidies for oil companies, tax breaks these companies simply do not need. If eliminated, these subsidies would generate more than $40 billion in revenue in the next decade. This windfall is for an industry that is reaping record profits.
Some argue that these tax breaks help save jobs, yet from 2005-08 Exxon Mobil’s profits increased more than 25 percent while their number of employees decreased 4.5 percent.
Following his vote in favor of oil companies, Herger stated he recognized the “unfortunate reality” that good programs must be cut due to the nation’s current debt and therefore cast his vote in support of cutting Pell grants for needy college students. Eliminating tax breaks for Big Oil would annually fund more than 50 times the projected cuts in Pell grants. There are 22,191 students in Herger’s district who will be severely impacted by this irresponsible action.
I hope that this illogical fiscal policy is not lost on them and their families and friends come election time in November 2012.
Roger S. Beadle
Speaking of Wally …
I see that Congressman Wally Herger wants off-highway vehicles in our national forests. The bigger problem that our congressman does not want to address is the damage done to the land by the OHV crowd.
I take pictures and report damage to the Forest Service, and I never hear of them catching anyone. I’ve heard excuses from OHV clubs, land managers and law enforcement.
I do some traveling in the West, and I never see as many jacked-up, big-tired vehicles as I see in Chico and Paradise. I know that many of them are “recreating” under the influence of alcohol and are making poor decisions.
It’s a case of mostly adult white males behaving like little boys with big toys.
I hope Wally can take a hard look at both sides of this issue and do what’s best for the greatest number of people and our public land.
Clarifying two points
Re “Having loan troubles” (Cover sidebar, by Robert Speer, March 3):
To clarify a couple points made in your article: I do not give advice to delinquent borrowers; I present options. It is ultimately up to the borrower to decide what course of action to take.
Also, making an appointment with the Community Housing and Credit Counseling Center at the time that a late fee is incurred would be less than ideal. For greatest odds of success, borrowers should make an appointment with us prior to incurring a late fee. Their loan-modification request is sent to the “Loss Mitigation” or “Home Retention” department of their servicer at the point of incurring the fee—which seems to have better success than when a borrower is current—at which point the loan modification is processed by the “Imminent Default” department.
Community Housing and
Credit Counseling CenterChico
Why Texas? Try Bangladesh
I recently read that our assemblyman, Dan Logue, is going to Texas to learn more about its “business-friendly” state government. He blames the state of California for driving businesses and jobs out of state.
I suggest that Mr. Logue take a trip to Bangladesh or China if he really wants to see where the jobs have gone. I’ll be the first to pledge $10 toward an overseas trip so he can visit these “business-friendly” environments.
Does marijuana cure?
Re: “Marijuana: two views” (Letters, March 3):
With the mountain of empirical and anecdotal evidence before us, Mr. Canzoneri’s audacious claim that cannabis has no medicinal value is absolutely insane. This kind of attitude is the direct result of the anti-cannabis smear campaign that was started back in the 1930s.
For the last year I have worked at a medi-pot dispensary and have seen over 2,000 patients. These people have no reason to lie as we interview them about what ails them and how cannabis helps relieve, prevent, and in many cases cure their ailments. Knowing how much we help people relieve their pain, help them sleep, and help them find an alternative to dangerous and addictive synthetic narcotics is what inspires us to open our doors every day, even in the face of constant law-enforcement harassment.
Cannabis may smell, but it is not evil. Please get educated and drop the cannabis-is-evil myth.
Mr. Canzoneri claims that in order for medication to be classified as “medicine,” the substance must “cure” something. This is false. There are many medications out there—hydrocodone, ibuprofen, aspirin—that do not cure anything, but simply decrease pain or suppress or reduce symptoms of disease.
Furthermore, just because the FDA failed to endorse the use of this medication does not prove anything. History is bereft with failures of the FDA to properly regulate medications and food for use in our country.
Medical marijuana has a legitimate medical use. It is possible that there may be criminal activity associated with medical-marijuana gardens, but as marijuana is legalized, the criminal element will fade. Again, look to our history and see the violence that was associated with Prohibition.
The time has come to legalize marijuana and stop wasting valuable and dwindling government funds on the war against marijuana. Regulate it, tax it, and use the proceeds to help pay for important services like education and universal health care.
Matthew C. Bently J.D.
The happiest place on Earth
True story: At the end of my daughter’s first-grade year, we took a family trip to Disneyland. After three awesome days there, I asked my then-7-year-old Clarabel, “So, is Disneyland ‘the Happiest Place on Earth’?” She thought a while, then answered, “Disneyland is pretty good … but my school is the happiest place on Earth.”
Clarabel attends Blue Oak Charter School, a tuition-free public Waldorf-methods school in Chico. This school has been built with the loving hands and hearts of our community. Ten years ago it started with a single kindergarten class of 20. Today 352 children attend.
To accommodate this growth, we have moved the school three times. Last year we converted a closed-up Blue Shield call center into a state-of-the-art school. The parents tore up the asphalt in the parking lot and built a beautiful playground themselves. Ten years of love and dedication have gone into the making of this school.
The purpose of the Waldorf method is to “Accept the children with reverence, educate them with love, send them forth in freedom.” The curriculum integrates music, art and movement with reading, writing and math. Every aspect of the classroom, and every hour of class time, is designed to be in harmony with the students’ developmental stages. In short, the children are surrounded by beauty, have fun, learn the California core curriculum, and develop amazing skills from woodworking to violin all at the same time.
Right now the school is slated to close at the end of the school year unless the Chico Unified School District approves our new charter. The greater community needs to know what is at stake here. I welcome you all to come and take a tour of our school, and see for yourselves what a magnificent, happy school Blue Oak Charter School is. Don’t take anyone’s word for it—come and see for yourself. The next tour of our school will take place Wednesday, March 9, at 9 a.m. Please call the school at 879-7483 for more information.
Higher gas prices? Good!
Every time the price of oil spikes—and the price of gasoline and diesel inevitably follow—a chorus of voices begins complaining about our failure to exploit “vast” theoretical domestic reserves.
The notion is that if we “drill baby drill” we can forever maintain the status quo—and the status quo means inexpensive energy and profligate consumption habits.
Compared with everyone else in the world, we are oil hogs—burning 25 barrels a year per person. Several nations with standards of living arguably superior to our own use about half of what we use. (Interestingly, we now occupy Afghanistan, which has nearly the lowest consumption in the world, less than one barrel per person per year.)
It would be politically suicidal for elected officials to say that they welcome higher oil prices, but we all know from repeated experience that higher prices are the only effective means of compelling conservation. Never in my lifetime—and I don’t care what end of the political spectrum we are talking about—have I ever seen people rethink their habits when oil is cheap.
Since I am not a politician, I guess I can say it: I welcome higher oil prices! And, unless you live in a science-free zone, you will probably agree that the No. 1 reason to welcome higher oil prices is the fact that higher prices will translate into reduced usage and a proportional reduction in global carbon-dioxide poisoning—an issue that would, in any sane society, take precedence over “pain at the pump.”
A voice for the trees
Re “Herrera’s stand” (Letters, Feb. 24):
Thank you, Mark Herrera, for being the voice for the trees. Maybe now that someone in the public eye has made a stand people will start to listen.
For years I have gone round and round with the park commissioners about the plant and tree removal in Bidwell Park, much to no avail. The blatant slaughter of healthy trees and plants is a total disregard for the sacredness and interconnectedness of all things. When we start to honor all life, even the seemingly inanimate ones, we will have made a step toward re-establishing our connection with the Earth and healing our self-inflicted wounds.
The people’s agenda
State law demands City Council agendas be posted at least 72 hours before a meeting. If the goal is to give time for public engagement and written commentary, then the public does not have a chance. Chico typically posts agendas on Thursday or Friday before a Tuesday council meeting.
Land-use issues aside, the agenda posting is usually the first notice to the public that a particular issue is coming before the council. And that occurs just one to three business days before a meeting.
Unless you as a citizen just happened to catch media coverage, or happened to go to the city website and read the agenda, then you might be caught completely unaware. Even if you did catch wind of an item of interest, you have very little time to research a subject, ask questions of city staff or offer written comments.
The current time frame is too short, particularly when you consider that most agenda items spend months grinding through City Hall and are not of an urgent nature. What’s the big hurry? Why can’t we give the public seven calendar days to become aware of what is coming to the City Council? This is not a cure-all, but it would certainly help. It won’t hurt. And it doesn’t cost a dime. The public deserves a better opportunity to become engaged in and weigh in on city affairs.
On March 15 I will be asking the Chico City Council for a seven-day public review policy.
Editor’s note: Mr. Sorensen is a member of the Chico City Council.
Controlling cat populations
The National Humane Society recognizes February as the month to highlight the importance of spay/neuter in controlling cat and dog overpopulation. In recognition of Spay Day 2011, Paws of Chico partnered with Mangrove Veterinary Hospital to offer a full-day spay/neuter clinic for cat owners who qualified for financial assistance from Paws. Seventy-plus cats were fixed, including 47 females, which will result in at least 158 fewer kittens being born this spring.
Paws of Chico works with pet owners who are unable to afford the cost of spay/neuter even at a low-cost facility. Paws also works with individuals dealing with feral cat colonies, by providing traps, guidance and help with the spay/neuter cost. At the present time, Paws primarily works with veterinarians in surrounding communities, as the cost of spay/neuter is higher in Chico. Transportation costs will be an increasing hardship for both Paws and our clients going forward.
Mangrove Veterinary Hospital offered their support to the Chico community, and we very much appreciate their efforts. Mondo’s Café, Chen Phangs and Mountain Mike’s on Mangrove also supported this event by providing food for the volunteers.