Letters for March 22, 2012

Co-founder, not co-owner

Re “Broken arts” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, March 15): I appreciate Robert Speer’s balanced approach in his article about local artists and Enloe Medical Center. However, I have one correction. I am listed as a co-owner of Avenue 9 Gallery. While I was a co-founder, I am now one of 20 Avenue 9 Art Guild Members, with gallery owner Maria Phillips providing us with inspired leadership.

Dolores Mitchell

Plastic bags: two views

Re “Bagging restrictions” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, March 8): I have read comments questioning the Chico City Council’s proposed ban on single-use plastic bags. Many people insist that using these bags is a matter of personal choice and believe the best way to curb this wasteful habit is not by banning their use, but through education.

The question is, how do you teach people to behave more sustainably who believe that all these environmental protections and regulations inhibit their freedoms? Answer: You try to appeal to their sensibility.

1. It is estimated that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually, world-wide. Of those about 90 percent go into the landfill and 1-3 percent (approx. 1.5 billion bags) end up in the environment.

2. Once in the environment, plastic bags take months to hundreds of years to decompose, breaking down into tiny, carcinogenic (cancer causing) and endocrine-disrupting HDPE (high-density polyethylene) particles that end up in our soil, waterways and oceans.

3. Two hundred million barrels of oil a year are diverted to manufacture these 500 billion plastic bags. (ABC News)

4. California spends more than $25 million annually to manage plastic-bag pollution and more than $303 million on litter-abatement services.

If this information still doesn’t convince the people who oppose this ban, then that’s why a ban needs to be imposed upon them. It saves dollars, saves oil, saves lives and just makes sense.

Sherri Quammen

I’m thoroughly amazed at the council members who voted for the ban on plastic bags. I spent over 30 years in the recycling business and was instrumental in starting the curbside recycling program in Chico more than 20 years ago. As I recall, the council members then pushed for plastic-bag use and recycling because they wanted to reduce the use of paper bags because they wanted to save trees. It’s obvious that Queen Ann didn’t do her homework on recycling. Paper bags are made from trees.

Did you know that most stores have a recycling program to reduce, reuse and recycle those [plastic] bags? Did you know there are lots of recycling centers that take those reusable bags? Did you even check with your excellent staff person Linda Hermann who would have told you that these programs are part of the AB 2020 law that reduces Chico’s waste to the landfill. Did you check how much more it will cost each business to switch back to paper bags and the increased cost to the citizens of Chico?

Quit wasting your time, staff time and taxpayers’ money on issues that are already doing very well, and pay attention to helping the small businesses in Chico stay here and help stimulate the local economy.

Dave Donnan

Buffalo or ‘beefalo’?

Re “Bison is big” (Chow, by Christine G.K. LaPado, March 15): Your article has some misinformation in it regarding the so-called comeback of American bison. The 500,000 or so animals in buffalo shape throughout the U.S. are mostly “beefalo”—contaminated with cattle genes. The last continuously wild population of American buffalo lives in and around Yellowstone National Park and southwest Montana, and they number fewer than 3,700 animals.

The Yellowstone populations are unique, as they are the last to maintain their identity as a wildlife species and they are the last continuously wild herds left. They, too, are grossly mismanaged by state and federal agencies that do the bidding of the selfish cattle industry. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has red-listed the American bison as threatened with extinction, while Montana recognizes wild bison as vulnerable to global extinction and in greatest need of conservation.

Stephany Seay
West Yellowstone, Mont.

LaMalfa’s living large

At a recent Chico Tea Party meeting congressional candidate Doug LaMalfa spoke about his devotion to conservative values. If elected he would go to Congress to fight for less taxes, reduce spending, reduce welfare and save us from the burdensome government regulations. After all, Doug is the hometown boy, one of us and feels our pain.

Well, Doug’s record on these important issues is quite different from his campaign rhetoric. While the nation is facing a $16 trillion debt and the people in his district have been struggling to make ends meet, including small farmers, Doug has been living the good life, thanks to the largesse of hard-working American taxpayers.

Over the years Doug and his family have collected $4.7 million in government rice entitlements—rice welfare, if you will. If this was not enough, Doug took advantage of a loophole in the law that allowed him to split his ranch among family members to circumvent the $180,000-per-year subsidy limit. In addition he authored legislation to turn useless rice straw into a $400,000 taxpayer windfall for rich farmers who do not need the money.

According to The Heritage Foundation, the majority of farm subsidies go to large commercial farms with incomes over $200,000 and not to struggling family farmers, and they cost Americans taxpayers billions per year.

There are other good candidates in this race. We can do better.

James Ledgerwood

Glad she’s not running

Re “Outpricing the community” (Letters, by Jann Reed, March 15): I am responding to the Chico school board member who gave herself a compliment for volunteering and complained about Chico State charging high fees for use of its football field.

First, people who volunteer should do it without telling the community how generous they are with their time. If she doesn’t have to work like most of the world, she shouldn’t be so critical of the rest of us.

Second, Chico State is trying desperately to make ends meet, just like the board member’s school district. Have you seen the Chico State field after a game? It is torn up and there is garbage left everywhere. The field is almost unusable afterward.

Many groups have tried to use Chico Unified facilities too, only to be shocked at the costs. Their facilities are also paid for by the community, but the school district gouges everyone beyond what is fair. A gym can cost thousands for the day, when the only real cost is electricity. A multi-purpose room is off limits to most groups because of the fees involved.

At least when Chico State asks for fees, they go for repair of the significant damage done to the stadium.

It was good to read that this particular board member does not want to run again.

Mai Lor

A propaganda battle

Re “Is ‘Medicare for all’ the solution?” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, March 8): I would like to commend you for the excellent article. You finally answered some of the central questions I have had around health care for years: What are the largest cost drivers and what is the overhead of administration (and profit) in private health care? Recognizing the major cost drivers (diabetes, heart disease, and administrative costs) makes the technical aspect of crafting a solution realizable. Unfortunately, breaking the grip of private health insurance on our Legislature (and corporate press) is a still a major hurdle.

While there are single-payer systems in several developed countries around the world, there was almost nothing in our national press about those during the debates a couple years ago. The silence on such significant facts was disturbing. What I have read about those systems (mostly from sources outside the U.S.) is largely positive. I believe this highlights the nature of the battle as one of propaganda and public influence more than economic issues.

Greg Purcell

More on Rush

Re “Rush Limbaugh, lord of louts” (Guest comment, by Jaime O’Neill, March 8)” If Jaime thinks Rush is a lout and doesn’t like anyone who likes Rush, I wonder what he thinks of Bill Maher and those who like him. If his disdain lies in the offensive nature of the personal comment, Rush is a jovial comedian compared to what I hear from Maher and others on that side of our great cultural divide.

Tim Edwards

The upside of the latest nastiness from Rush Limbaugh is that we now have an idea of what he likes to do on the weekends: get loaded on oxycodone and watch videos of young women swallowing birth-control pills.

Michael Mulcahy

As Mr O’Neill accurately pointed out, the ugliness and hate emanating from Mr. Limbaugh are not new. In 1993 he proved himself to be a cowardly bully when he viciously demeaned a 13-year-old child (Chelsea Clinton) because he didn’t like her parents’ politics. Since then he has repeatedly promoted hatred toward racial, religious, and sexual minorities, as well as toward women. His recent invective is more of the same ugliness, but finally struck a major nerve when he verbally attacked women who choose to use birth control, and then gleefully bragged about his avid love for Internet porn.

In my opinion, the real villains, in addition to Mr Limbaugh and his advertisers, are the leaders of the Republican Party, who since the early 1990s have refused to criticize or condemn any of his hate-filled vituperation. Instead of repudiating him they have been encouraging and protecting him, helping to make him a Republican icon.

The once respectable Party of Lincoln has turned into a party for cowardly bullies, a party of hate, even a party that approves of Internet porn.

Victor Mlotok

No sympathy for Afghans

Re “We’re not wanted there” (Editorial, March 15): What do you expect to happen if the United States pulls out of Afghanistan before Al Qaeda and the Taliban are destroyed? I’ll tell you what will happen: Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban will sooner or later get hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

I’ll say something else: Yes, the incident involving the American soldier who massacred Afghan civilians was odious and he deserves the supreme penalty. But why aren’t the Afghanis also protesting the thousands of even worse atrocities committed by the Taliban? What does that say about them? Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy! And not-so-tacit approval of those other atrocities!

If this is, as it appears to be, reflective of the attitude of people in Afghanistan toward our efforts to bring peace and stability to their country, as well as fight their real enemies, then I have little sympathy for them, no more than I have for the Germans who failed to protest Hitler and damned the Jews. If they’re tired of what we are having to do to protect ourselves against the likes of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, whom they have been harboring in their country, as far as I’m concerned that’s tough.

Chad Wozniak

The real St. Patrick

For most people St. Patrick’s Day is a day of parades, parties, leprechauns and green beer. But just as Christmas is about more than commercialized fun, so too does St. Patrick’s Day have a deeper meaning.

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday honoring St. Patrick, a holy bishop sent to Ireland in 433 C.E. by Pope Celestine I to draw its people into the fold of Christ’s universal church. Upon his arrival at Ireland’s shores St. Patrick encountered many setbacks and persecutions by the superstitious Druids who had employed magicians to maintain their sway over the Irish race. Despite severe trials, St. Patrick was able to convert all of Ireland and conquer paganism. He is thus credited with driving the Celtic “snakes” out of Ireland.

St. Patrick is credited with many miracles and is responsible for the building of several Catholic schools, monasteries and churches throughout Ireland. He is known for his powerful expositions of the principles of the Catholic faith. He even employed the ordinary, little, three-leaved shamrock plant to teach people about the Blessed Trinity. He was called to his heavenly reward on March 17, 461.

St. Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man whose total love, devotion and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ont., Canada

The Tide is up

So, let me get this straight: There’s a huge increase in the theft of Tide laundry detergent in the United States? Authorities are attributing it to rising fuel prices, and to the fact that the bright-orange bottles are instantly recognizable and don’t have serial numbers, so they can’t be traced. But in general, they’re at a loss as to why Tide would become the object of desire for many of the country’s ne’er-do-wells.

Could it be that the recent solar flares triggered a mass epiphany among the criminal element that caused them to become obsessed with apparel cleanliness? Perhaps it’s a carefully crafted Republican plot to feed the flames of class warfare by trying to frighten the middle class—“You can’t have the poor getting all uppity and clean ’cause then nobody would be able to tell the difference between them and us!” Or, maybe the perps are indeed former yuppie scum who, now jobless, are still feeding their addiction to top-shelf laundry soap!

Realistically, the uptick is likely rooted in more entrepreneurial motivations, considering the fact that laundry detergent is so over-fragranced that it’s perfect for masking the smell of virtually any illegal substance from detection dogs. Another probable speculation would be that some ingredient in Tide is being used to cook up some Breaking Bad quality shit (better lock it up with the Sudafed!). Or maybe more people just want cleaner clothes.

Aaron Pico

LaMalfa’s ‘not one of us’

To Doug LaMalfa:

Why would any informed voter trust you? When you were our 2nd District assemblyman, I trusted and voted for you. I asked you to carry an Assembly bill that would again support our Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury. Sir, in my opinion, you violated your oath.

When we discussed this matter at a Republican fundraiser in Red Bluff five years ago, you stated my request would cost $40,000 to begin the trek to the governor. I replied that my right to a trial by jury relating to my speeding infraction was an absolute right and not negotiable. I stressed in our brief meeting that you should at least attempt to change this Bill of Rights violation. I never made any demands; just please make the effort. I then became untouchable.

I and some of my patriot supporters will be asking you at the candidates’ nights why you didn’t obey your oath. Doug, why should any voter trust you to become our congressman? Finish your term as senator and retire and leave the trough—which means, “Surrender your subsidies.”

Believe me, senator: You are not one of us. You never were!

Don Bird
Rancho Tehama