Letters for March 13, 2008

‘Good project, wrong place’
Re: “Hot topics, cool head” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, March 6):

I’m one of those worried neighbors of Bidwell Park Apartments, the low-income housing development. We are worried about the impact of a three-story, 72-bedroom complex that was politely marketed to us as an addition of seven units. Who knew a mobile-home unit would be called the same as a unit that will be three bedrooms and greater than 1,000 square feet? Neighbors had to find that out for themselves, and only neighbors within 300 feet of the development were notified.

During the meeting, neighbors brought up obvious topics that will have a damaging effect on the residents of the complex and the neighborhood—everything from putting so many people (small kids, elderly, disabled) in a meridian between two major highways, East Eighth and Ninth streets, and providing no crosswalks or traffic lights. We were told Caltrans will do an evaluation after the project is complete. Gee, that’s reassuring.

There will be fewer parking spaces. Apparently, low-income housing doesn’t require as much parking. I guess low-income people don’t sleep together, either, because neighbors were told, when asked the number of expected residents, the average was one person per bedroom.

Larry Wahl seemed like the only councilmember who had not already made up his mind prior to the meeting. Succinctly, he said: “good project, wrong place.”

In their zest to provide low-income housing, councilmembers allowed the waiver of multiple zoning rules that help preserve the safety of residents and neighbors. Elevating or frosting third-floor windows wasn’t an understanding. It was a slap in the face.

Susan Parke

Columnist has gone over the edge
Re: “Parents’ rights” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, CN&R, March 6):

I read this column twice looking for an indication Mr. Porter was being sarcastic and/or ironic. I found no such hint. Please answer the following questions:

1. Am I not seeing the sarcastic nature of the piece? Please point it out if so.

2. If he was being serious, why would you print such a disgusting opinion? The editor and Mr. Porter really ought to be fired.

3. Do your advertisers know you print such disconcerting, vile drivel from an obviously disturbed sociopath? Does he take into account how these children live and die? Would Mr. Porter like to be drowned or beaten to death? Would he like it to be at the hands of the one person he should trust most during a time in his life when he doesn’t have the cognitive abilities to understand why this is happening or the physical abilities to defend himself?

4. If Mr. Porter doesn’t feel baby killers who happen to be the child’s parents should be punished, then just what does he suggest? How about letting Susan Smith, Andrea Yates and all the other torturers sit in an all-women’s (or -men’s) prison so they cannot breed more victims, since we can’t regulate their reproductive rights on the outside?

5. I’m not naïve. I know we can’t save them all, but isn’t trying that much harder going to increase our success rate?

I’m revolted and angry, and I feel like taking it out on your advertisers.

Tina Fantozzi

Editor’s note: Mr. Porter plans to respond to this letter in next week’s column. My response is hoping nobody takes anything out on anybody, child or adult.

I don’t get Anthony Porter. I’ve met him, so I know he is well-mannered, polite, intelligent, and has even served on the boards of nonprofit organizations—presumably to make a contribution. Obviously he has some interesting thoughts that prompt his readers to think in new ways. I think that’s good.

On the other hand, sometimes he’s just gross—hairless pudenda and e-mail to his privates come to mind. And then there are his political views. What does he value, if he doesn’t value an individual’s highest intentions? I’m thinking of police officers, teachers, judges, lawmakers, park designers, leaders, and even wives—at least some of whom sincerely dedicate their lives to the service of others.

I assume he means the things he says. I would look forward to his column more if I could take him more seriously and if didn’t feel the need to wince so often.

Carla Maxwell

‘Design’ distinctions
Re: “David Quammen and other shaved monkeys” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, March 6):

Within an otherwise informative story, Jaime O’Neill makes ill-informed and ad hominem remarks, referring to William Jennings Bryan of the 1925 Scopes trial as a “Bible thumper” and accusing “intelligent design” advocates of being anti-science and anti-rational.

First, William Jennings Bryan was a liberal who opposed America’s entry into World War I and supported progressive politics. The Bible and Christianity were his basis.

For Bryan and other critics, materialistic evolution undermined any solid, philosophical foundation for ethics and morality, and justified the “robber barons,” imperialists and militarists of their time. “Survival of the fittest,” a term coined by the Social Darwinist Herbert Spencer, ultimately became a rationale through which Hitler, Stalin, Mao and others killed millions in the 20th century.

Second, “intelligent design” theory is not the same as “creation science,” which advocates a 6,000- to 10,000-year-old Earth and is based on a rigid, ultra-rational interpretation of the Bible. Rather, the disagreement between secular evolution and intelligent design is not as much a dispute over geological and biological details but in interpretation: one side claiming development is purely random mutations, the other a teleological channeling in the flow of life.

Indeed, for the intelligent-design advocate, it takes a greater leap of faith to believe the vast complexity of life, especially human life, is simply a random accident rather than one guided by a designer.

H.C. Jamieson

Re: “Gold rush on Dry Creek” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, March 6):

Well, as a landowner, I would like to use my property as I saw fit also. If I wanted to fossick for gold, that’s what I would do, and have done in the past, elsewhere. If it got to be a bigger operation I would look to the city for a permit (if needed), which these folks did.

Then, to keep peace in the area, I would restrict noise to 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. I would take measures to control air and water pollution, and create a SWEP [Storm Water Erosion Plan]. I would fix up the road I was using, a common road for the neighborhood, and not ask my neighbors to pay for anything. I would guard my property, just like anyone else.

These folks are just working their investment, to get a good return. Their neighbors’ property value just went up, also. If I were a neighbor, I would want to keep the peace and ask if the consortium would take a peek at my place—it may be assayed at a better quality, who knows?

I have found that talking things over, quietly, is the best way to get along with my neighbors. Maybe a block party or BBQ? Prayer helps, too.

Brian Vickery

Yup—lining up
Re: “He wants to whip Wally too” (Downstroke, CN&R, March 6):

Your article was very accurate in saying “too.” That “too” is going to include thousands of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike this year, because this district has had enough. From the war in Iraq to 20 years of economic stagnation, the people in this district are going to finally get a representative in Congress who will actively and passionately fight for all the interests that make up this district.

And this man is Jeff Morris, a Trinity County supervisor, a [local] native of six generations and a fine man who has turned Trinity County’s economic index from junk status to investor class in less than four years. He also managed to save a local hospital from closing, saving people not only a long ride to another hospital, but also their home values from slipping any further.

In less than two regular Herger terms, he has addressed real issues and solved them. Just think what he could do in Congress. Vote your hopes, not your fears.

J.P. Vance
Red Bluff

Wet blanket?
Re: “Value of symbolism” (Editorial, CN&R, March 6):

The Chico city water coming out of my tap smells bad and tastes bad, and when you boil it away there’s a white crystalline substance left in the bottom of the pan.

If Vice Mayor Ann Schwab wants my bottled water, she’s going to have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Michael M. Peters

Good leads to follow
Re: “Delicious niches” (Cover story, CN&R, Feb. 21):

I was pleased to read the Business and Entrepreneur Issue. Three companies [of the five profiled] were either clients of our lending program or the Business Incubation Program funded by Butte County and managed by our organization.

Nearly 70 percent of all businesses in our tri-county region [Butte, Glenn, Tehama] have fewer than nine employees, with 58 percent operating as sole proprietorships. Our area is teeming with small businesses; most of these will never be big, but these companies are creating jobs and providing income for area residents.

California Habanero Blends, Butte View Olive Co. and Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products are excellent examples of homegrown entrepreneurs using local ingredients to grow and prosper in today’s economy.

Marc Nemanic
Tri-County Economic Development Corporation

Re: “David Quammen and other shaved monkeys” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, March 6): One of the book covers used to illustrate this package was for a book that’s been put on hold, The Long Follow. Also, a discussion of zoonotics may have given the impression that antibiotics treat viruses—antibiotics treat bacterial infections. We have made the appropriate adjustments in our online edition.