Letters for March 19, 2009

Kudos to the creative kids!

Re: “So many choices!” (Fiction 59, CN&R, March 12):

I was once again pleasantly surprised to find that the kids’ stories were superior in literary merit to the adults’. “Marmalade Sue” by Emma Hoppough [the teen winner], “Why I Hate Dentists” by Helen O’Brien [a teen honorable mention] and “Into the Blue” by Ashlyn Donnahoe [kids’ third place] should get Best in Show.

We adults seem to write about jackasses we once met. I guess that constitutes literature. It certainly constitutes life.

Michael M. Peters

‘The real meaning of capitalism’

Re: “Yes, spread the wealth” (Editorial, CN&R, March 12):

Your editorial addresses an urgent issue and your overall sentiments are well taken. Please allow the following amendment to make the discussion more meaningful.

More greenbacks printed by the Federal Reserve is not synonymous with wealth. The emphasis on higher balance-sheet bottom lines, reflected by the financial institutions represented by Wall Street, is the result of the fleecing of Main Street by loan sharking.

This is not the real meaning of capitalism. The wealth of a nation is reflected in the healthy use of the natural resources facilitated by the investment by those who happen to have the capital.

Today the accumulated bank deposits and the retirement funds are used to satisfy the wants of the masses, encouraged by politicians of all stripes, to allow the few to fatten their take of greenbacks. This has led to the indiscriminate credit to those who could never repay as per the negotiated contract. The lenders knew, all along, they would be bailed out by the taxpayers in the event of the default.

Thus, the widening of the gap between those who have and those who do not.

The solution lies not in encouraging the masses to satisfy wants, but rather in the wise use of their resources.

Brahama D. Sharma

Editor’s note: For another take on our economic condition, please see In My Eyes.

No matter how you slice it …

Re: “Local ranchers work on image” (Newslines, by Sarah Hubbart, CN&R,March 12):

I understand the desire for cattlemen (and women) to improve their image for the general public. What I don’t understand is why, over and over again, the topic of modern-day slaughterhouses is distinctly avoided.

What everyone fails to mention is what happens to the cattle (or pigs, turkeys, chickens, etc.) when they reach market weight after spending their lives on those green pastures or feedlots. Every single one of them is transported to the slaughterhouse, no matter how “humanely” they’ve been raised. The slaughterhouse is the same for them all: frightening.

Our nation’s slaughterhouses are under-inspected. The footage we saw last year at the Chino slaughterhouse is the norm, not an exception. It should also be mentioned that more than 90 percent of America’s beef is raised on feedlots, such as Harris Ranch, right here in California. We’ve all driven past that place along I-5 and seen the destruction to the land and the filth in the air.

Look, we all know it’s not difficult to raise an animal for consumption in a humane manner. The difficult part is convincing me that the slaughter of these animals is done humanely. What animal-rights activists are upset about are the ways animals are raised and slaughtered throughout the nation, not how animals are raised in this tiny bubble we call the North State.

Let me be clear: There is not, and there never will be, such a thing as humane meat.

Sarah Downs

On a related matter …

Re: “Question of relevance” (Letters, CN&R, Feb. 26):

I disagree with Megan Brown’s assessment of the “Hen finds a new home” EarthWatch article (Feb. 19). For all the sacrificing chickens do for humans, it was actually very relevant and respectful (also cute) to see one little chicken’s survival and photo.

In fact, I clipped the article and sent it to my sister in Los Angeles. She hand-raises little Arcana chickens for show in the county fair. Besides winning blue ribbons, she also names all of her chickens.

Ann Navarro

Recently a colleague of mine in the beef industry brought to my attention that the CN&R has been writing multiple “interest piece” articles about a local animal-rights group. While animal extremist organizations are certainly entitled to their opinion, I take offense when their propaganda is accepted as truth and reported by legitimate news organizations.

Instead of more articles about chickens heroically rescued from the horrors of Sacramento suburbia, might I suggest a nice article that places agriculture in a positive light (we do feed the people of the world) and perhaps even highlights some of the great environmental work that local producers are doing (let’s not forget that these are the folks who have successfully managed our beautiful, local, open spaces for generations).

Some ideas that come to mind include the Baugher Ranch of Orland, which is so dedicated to organic almond production that they utilize old fashioned draft-horse-drawn wagons during harvest to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. The Langerwerf Dairy in Durham has been taking manure from their cows and successfully operating a methane digester, turning manure into electricity and composted fertilizer for more than 25 years.

Even a piece highlighting the positive impact that our local ranches grazing beef cattle around Chico and Paradise helped reduce the magnitude of those catastrophic wildfires of 2008 would be a refreshing change of pace and a positive, educational look at local farming.

Please give local farmers and ranchers a fair shake with responsible reporting.

Joshua Brownfield, DVM

Editor’s note: We’ve profiled the Baugher Ranch in a GreenWays article and written recently about the environmental uses of grazing lands; that said, we always appreciate story ideas, so thank you for the suggestions!

Home-birth testimonial

Re: “Chico’s first nurse-midwife jumps ship” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Feb. 26):

What a tragedy that pregnant, birthing women will not be able to be supported by a midwife at Enloe anymore! Midwives offer a very different kind of care and philosophy than obstetricians do, and it is proven that a woman birthing with a midwife has less chance of complications, thus interventions.

I encourage mothers-to-be to consider a home birth with a midwife. I gave birth to all three of my children at home in the last eight years under the care of local midwives. I had wonderful, safe, magical birthing experiences at home. My midwife checked me periodically to make sure all was safe and sound with baby, and otherwise she allowed me to do my thing and have my own birthing just the way I wanted it.

Birthing my babies at home has been for me the most empowering, magical experience of my life, and I have to thank my midwives for that—for holding the space of safety, warmth, privacy, and confidence in my body to do its natural work, and allowing me to freely give birth my own way, knowing they were vigilantly watching for any signs that would require intervention.

Home birth is a great option for all women with uncomplicated pregnancies, and now an even more appealing one for mothers wanting to birth with a midwife!

Karen Kite Montaña

Trust and verify

It makes me shudder to hear of the recent stories of the abducted babies. We really need to take the time to protect our children more and take advantage of the tools that are out there that can help keep our families safe.

We need to ask businesses if their employees are subject to background checks. We all need to help keep each other informed and safe as a society. We need to know who we are allowing around our families and especially in our own homes.

Go to www.buttecourt.ca.gov, click on “case information,” then click on “search and display”—enter the name of the person, and

if they have a record in Butte

County, it will be there. Also go to www.meganslaw.ca.gov to see if a sex offender is in your neighborhood or doing work for you.

We have got to be proactive for the sake of our families. These are also good tools for employers and employees, too!

M.A. Lewis

Semantic acrobatics

Help me understand this. Wally Herger votes against the stimulus bill because he wants it to fail. However, he adds $13.5 million in earmarks to that stimulus bill—the one he voted against because he wanted it to fail. But when the stimulus bill passes—the one he voted against—he pats himself on the back for successfully bringing federal monies—which he doesn’t want us to call earmarks, even though they really are—to our district.

So let’s see if I’ve got this right: Herger is congratulating himself, and asking us to join in those congratulations, for succeeding in something that he voted against because he wanted it to fail. Wow!

If he’d said no to both the stimulus bill and the earmarks, that would be more consistent and more logical. But then he wouldn’t have been able to ask us to congratulate him for getting federal monies for the district.

Do politicians like this join Cirque du Soleil as mental acrobats when they leave office?

Lynn H. Elliott