Letters for March 11, 2010

Team players

Re “Taking a closer look” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, March 4):

The California School Employees Association negotiations team applauds the Chico Unified School District Board of Trustees for its recent action of committing to a new, open and transparent relationship with the district’s labor groups (teachers, classified employees, and the Chico Unified Management Association) and the district’s administrators.

The CSEA team is ready and willing to move forward in the process of mending our relationship with the district’s administration. The plan to have each group report to the school board at the beginning of each meeting finally gives CSEA the platform we have been seeking. This will give us the opportunity to publicly give our perspective of what is happening with negotiations.

As CSEA President Susie Cox stated during the school board meeting on Feb. 17, “If we all sit down together and play nice, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.”

Bev Patrick
Member, CSEA Negotiations Team


Good salmon, bad salmon

Re “Dirty secrets of farmed salmon” (GreenWays, by Alistair Bland, March 4):

Thanks for doing this story. Wild salmon need all the help they can get, and consumers can be the difference when it comes to the way our state and federal governments deal with restoring wild salmon runs.

Speak up, America! Save the wild salmon! And buy only Alaskan salmon; it is never farmed!

Allen Harthorn

I write from Scotland.

The Loch Duart salmon is farmed like all other non-organic salmon all over the world, with all the methods and chemicals you have described. Plus they are feeding the salmon North Sea plankton in Scottish and Norwegian fish farms that is saturated in heavy metals and other chemicals dumped there.

Loch Duart salmon is just more expensive, with its romantic “Scottish” label, especially when it has to travel halfway around the globe! In addition to these farming methods putting an incredible burden on the environment, the shipping so far afield increases the carbon footprint of these products insanely.

There are an increasing number of fish farms that are now converting to be certified organic. When buying organic or “sustainably farmed” fish, you must ask for it to be certified by a national body that regulates stringent organic-farming standards.

For Britain this is the British Soil Association. A good friend, Nigel Woodhouse, is a former trout farmer who converted his farm to organic as one of the first. With the BSA he has developed the stringent organic-fish farming standards for Britain.

In organic fish farming there are half as many fish in one pen as before. Because of a minimum of stress, they do not get ill with viruses, fungus or other infections. They are a less garish pink because they are not fed any dyes, but they taste infinitely better.

Sibylle Rhovier
Forres, Scotland

‘The best teacher ever’

Re “What would Jann do?” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, March 4):

This was a beautiful tribute to one of CUSD’s finest teachers. I watched Jan work her magic in my first-grade classroom. (I am now a retired teacher.) I think the school board handled this terribly. Jann Reed made a decision without calling for a special meeting and letting the other board members vote.

I know most of the names on the list, and none that I knew did so much in the area of music and fine arts. Jann did this for hundreds of students and worked in her church. I realize the school board wanted Jackie Faris-Rees; she is deceased and was the wife of a current board member. I am sure she did a lot while on the school board, but they are not naming an administration building, but a performing-arts building!

What would Jann do? The answer would be to do what is “right.” The school board could fix this mistake, and her name would live on for years. All the students who stay in Chico can take their children and say, “She was the best teacher ever.”

Pam Willis

Indoctrination, not education

Re “Killing schools” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, March 4):

A hundred years ago, we had schools run by different ethnic groups and religions; the only remnant is the Catholic school system. Now government runs the schools, and dissidents and intellectual rebels are punished. Children aren’t educated; they’re indoctrinated. Teachers are automatons enslaved to the will of the state.

And what schools teach is chock full o’ lies: The Wright brothers didn’t invent the first airplane; others did, such as Stringfellow (1848), de la Croix (1857), Mozhaisky (1884), Maxim (1894), etc. Laurens Janszoon Koster invented movable type, not Gutenberg; George Welch was the first to break the sound barrier, not Chuck Yeager, etc.

By the time kids reach the eighth grade, 50 percent of them hate school. They instinctively know they’re being brainwashed. As Oscar Wilde said, “… nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

Michael M. Peters

Why so angry?

Re “Talkin’ ’bout my generation” (Feature story, by Jaime O’Neill, Feb. 25):

I hoped by reading this article I would find an answer as to why Jaime O’Neill is so angry and hateful. Unfortunately, I did not find a direct cause. But what I did decipher was that he did not have a happy early life. He talked about the factories closing in his home town, the work being outsourced, the Vietnam War, a classmate who died in that war, children using drugs and identifying with rock groups who promote drug usage, and, last, his preoccupation with his death.

Now I have a tendency to feel sorry for the man. I will admit he is a good writer, when he wants to be. It is how things really are, in this very confusing society, that he has trouble understanding. If only he would bend a little and look at both of our political parties as being troubled, not just the conservative Republicans.

Richard A. Douglas

Abolish the death penalty

Re “Death row’s high cost” (Editorial, Feb. 25):

The editorial gets it just right. California sent more people to death row this year than Texas, Florida, or any other state in the nation. Our state condemned 29 convicted murderers—the highest number in a decade and more than a quarter of all of those convicted nationwide.

The increase comes as the number of death sentences issued across the country reached its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Why? Because California’s fiscal conservatives have not yet demanded this simple common-sense cut in state spending. Imposing the death penalty is an abusive waste of tax payers’ dollars that Californians cannot afford.

It’s time to abolish the death penalty, close death row, and use the savings to close California’s gapping budget shortfall.

Greg Wolfe

USFS ‘should be ashamed’

Re “The fateful flier” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Feb. 11):

The action by the U.S. Forest Service officer is outlandish and in my opinion a violation of Mr. Newman’s civil rights. This officer went overboard; drawing a Taser and pointing it at Mr. Newman leads me to believe this officer should be reprimanded by his supervisor.

This was a dangerous confrontation, and the U.S.F.S. should be ashamed of how this incident went down. I have lost a lot of respect for the law enforcement branch and the training in Lassen National Forest.

Mike Williams

The GOP’s ‘common-sense’ approach

A friend asked me why Republicans are so “against the environment.” As we’re enduring one of the coldest winters in recent memory, and as the East Coast is right now buried in over 20 inches of global-warming snow, I thought I’d take a moment to address this issue.

Let me be clear, as a representative of our party, that Republicans are not against the environment. What we are for is reasonable environmental protections that are compatible with people’s ability to live and earn a living.

Take global warming. Assuming this is a real threat and not just a natural occurrence, most of the rules imposed on us so far have done little to stop global warming. However, those same rules have greatly impacted our lives in monetary costs and loss of personal freedom.

The California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and federal cap-and-trade bills are perfect examples. The proposed woodstove bans in Chico by the liberal majority do the same thing: very little positive impact for the Earth, but heavy impact on personal freedom.

Even for die-hard environmentalists, this cannot be a wise way to enact change. Asking people to go without basic comforts to please the gods of junk science is not governing.

Learn the difference before you vote. The Republican Party offers realistic, common-sense approaches to the problems facing our society. If you want to learn more, visit us at www.butterepublicans.com.

Steve Thompson

No nukes in Iran

Stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. From what has been said in the media, Iran is willing and able to use nuclear weapons, and this would surely start a world war. Most of us like to live in peace; let’s keep it that way. A rogue nation like Iran should not tyrannize the rest of the world by threats of a nuclear holocaust.

Carol Peet

Rethink the war

Reasons to rethink the war in Afghanistan:

• Since 2000 the U.S. military budget has nearly tripled, to more than $800 billion per year! The military gets the equivalent of 10 years of projected health-care budgets every year. That’s like a stack of 1,000-dollar bills 55 miles high! Every year.

• ABC News headline: “Post-War Veteran Suicides May Exceed Combat Deaths.” According to the Pentagon, the suicide rate among U.S. soldiers has risen to the highest level in decades.

• BBC News, 12/22/09: Senior U.S. diplomat Matthew Hoh resigns over the war in Afghanistan. The former Marine, who served in Iraq, had previously been the senior U.S. civilian official in Kabul Province. He said that a political solution was needed to what he called a “35-year-old civil war.”

• CNN poll: 55 percent of Americans oppose the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

• Senator Russ Feingold: “Occupying the population centers of Afghanistan is likely to provoke a greater resentment and increase the danger to our troops and the Afghan public. A majority of Afghans oppose increased foreign troops.”

• From Robert Greenwald’s film Rethink Afghanistan, talking to an Afghan: “They (U.S. forces) came in, and promised us that they would bring peace and help us. And now look. All they’re doing is killing innocent civilians.”

• Aram Roston in The Nation magazine, Sept. 9, 2009: As a U.S. military official in Kabul explained, “We understand…10 to 20 percent [of hundreds of millions of U.S. Dept. of Defense money] goes to insurgents.”

• Col. David Haight in Lugar Province: “I don’t like it, but it is what it is. We are paying off the Taliban not to attack truck convoys. Instead of all-out fighting them, we are alternately financing and then fighting the Taliban!”

I suggest that so much overseas military action makes us less safe, not more. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Charles Withuhn

Keeping tabs on O’Reilly

There are probably many Chico News & Review followers who have doubts about the reliability of the “fair and balanced” trademark identifying the Fox News organization.

To eliminate a lot of uncertainty, and relevant to the time Fox superstar Bill O’Reilly’s cable spectacular begins to air, astute but undecided members of the Chico News & Review readership should be willing to temporarily exchange their remotes for a small, hand-held counter for the purpose of registering the number of times the disputatious host squeezes in the words “I” or “me” during his role as a supposedly impartial interviewer, while at the same time his frustrated guest(s) are attempting to participate in a dialogue that is consistently dominated by the self-loving moderator to the nth degree.

Proven by repetitious testing, the mechanical gadget will disclose O’Reilly’s excessive use of the pronouns tends to collectively outnumber the modest application made by his invitees on about a 5-to-1 ratio, justifiably indicating, as to big Bill’s time slot, that the Fox slogan should be slightly altered to deliver oxymoronic import such as, “fair and biased” together with a recommendation that the same implication be imprinted on the impressive Factor gear (such as coffee mugs, tote bags and doormats) O’Reilly agrees to throw in anytime he stumbles upon downtrodden souls who are depressed to the extent of showing interest in purchasing one of his inspirational books for children.

Rod Turner
Los Molinos


The article “Deep Roots” (Music, by Ken Smith, Feb. 25) mistakenly said that Wailers founding bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett was father to 52 children. Turns out Barrett has only 42 children, but, really, who’s counting?—ed.