Letters for March 17, 2005

Clarification: Last week’s cover story, “Fraternal instinct,” mentioned the death in 1984 of Jeffery Franklin Long, a pledge at Chico State University’s Tau Gamma Theta fraternity. Drag racing and alcohol consumption were never legally established in connection with the fatal accident. The News & Review regrets any suggestion to the opposite and apologizes for any inconvenience it may have caused.

Chimp shot
I have to say that I found your comment about not inviting a chimpanzee to a birthday party to really be in poor taste [Inside view, March 10]. I truly believe it is one of the single most tragic stories of our time.

Saint James Davis found Moe the chimpanzee 39 years ago in Africa where, at least as the story goes, the baby chimp had been left to die after his mother was killed by poachers. Saint James and his wife LaDonna raised Moe literally like the son that they never had. He lived with them for 35 years, slept in bed with them; he was their friend and like their child. Then Moe bit a lady’s finger and later bit a police officer’s hand when the officer tried to catch him. According to experts, these were not vicious attacks.

Nevertheless the courts determined that Moe should not live with the Davises in their West Covina home and the state took the chimp away and put him in a shelter where the Davises could not even visit him for more than two years. The Davises spent a ton of money trying unsuccessfully to get Moe back. Moe was moved to the Animal Haven Ranch in late 2004, where the Davis’ were finally allowed to visit the chimpanzee they had lived with for over three decades.

It was on the last of these visits that not Moe, but two other chimps escaped from their enclosure and brutally attacked Saint James and LaDonna Davis. They had brought a birthday cake with them to celebrate Moe’s 39th birthday. Saint James is at this moment still in critical condition with massive injuries to his hands, face, feet and body. I generally don’t mind your taking a shot at just about anyone in the public eye, but in my mind there is just nothing funny about this story.

Robert Howard
Received via email

Custodian’s view
Re “When ‘Little Eichmanns’ Died In New York” by Jamie O’Neil March 10th: I agree with O’Neil’s strong denunciation of University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill for referring to people who perished in the Twin Towers as “little Eichmanns.”

For many years, I was a custodian in San Francisco’s downtown high-rises. I had the opportunity to work for many wonderful people. These people included various office support staff such as secretaries, attorneys, investment brokers, salespeople, office managers and people in other positions. Unfortunately, since we don’t have socialism in this country, many people must work for corporations to make a living. It is utterly reprehensible for someone who is a university professor to refer to those people who died on that terrible day as “little Eichmanns.”

I do believe that our government, with its support of repressive regimes around the world for many years, has perpetrated many 9/11s. So, I disagree with O’Neil’s view that the 9/11 attacks were not a reaction to that. Certainly the 9/11 attackers were not “freedom fighters.” They were terrorists. So are many corporate CEOs and their managers in this country, who perpetrate untold human suffering. Unfortunately, I have had dealings with some of those managers.

Walter Ballin

Having grown up aware and subject to racism, I feel like I have a thick-skin when it comes to ignorant comments, but when someone maliciously attacks the school that my daughter attends and my wife teaches at, I take it personally.

First of all, I can understand that parents and teachers are upset at the thought of a school closure. I am too, since education is and always should be the highest priority, but to call Chapman Elementary a “ghetto” is hardly the mindset of an educated person, much less an educator ["Not-so-rosy future,” Newslines, March 10].

Second, it’s ignorant to demonize a school based on standardized testing that is geared toward English-speaking students, not students in an English-as-a-second-language program. Chapman is a unique and wonderful school that provides an excellent program to our diverse community. To call it a ghetto just goes to show that Jewel Barbour has either never been to a ghetto or just doesn’t comprehend the meaning of the word.

I truly hope that Rosedale, as well as all schools and school programs, can be saved, but if the students of Rosedale do end up going to Chapman, they will be welcomed with open arms.

I just hope that none of Barbour’s ignorance has rubbed off on them. By the way, you may have noticed the constant use of the word “ignorant,” and that’s because I heard the best way to teach is by repetition.

Manny Gonzalez

Children’s rights movement
I wish that I could share Evanne O’Donnell’s elation over the refusal of a high school student to participate in the random search program at Pleasant Valley High School [”Meghann’s stand,” Letters, March 3]. Unfortunately, I am much too familiar with the issues involved to do so.

Over the last four decades, the children’s rights movement has gained adherents throughout our land. Concurrently and simultaneously, parents, teachers and the community at large have been stripped of the authority necessary to protect youngsters from their own foolishness. Meanwhile, our high school campuses have become saturated with dangerous and unhealthy substances to the point where normal educational processes are seriously impaired.

No reasonable and caring person enjoys implementing the measures that have now become necessary to restore sanity and safety to our schools. But simply continuing with the status quo, while hoping that the situation might improve, has obviously not worked.

What O’Donnell and others of similar persuasion consistently overlook is the very important right of every student to be served in an environment that is free of harmful substances. It is the responsibility of the school board to guarantee to the taxpayers and the community that the institutions that it governs will be a safe place for families to send their children. The actions taken in this regard by PVHS appear to be reasonable and necessary steps to meet this responsibility, and they deserve the full support of all students and their families.

Carl Ochsner
Chair, Youth Services Committee
Chico Optimist Club

Still waiting
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. channeled an immense potential for violence into peaceful resistance. Isn’t that the “evolved” lesson to be learned from the 20th century?

The question isn’t whether or not to extend the park name to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Park. The question is why is it taking so long?

Carol Eberling