Letters for March 27, 2014

Two views on Gaza

Re “Trauma in Gaza” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, March 20):

Thank you for the excellent article on Eva Bartlett and her presentation. It reflected the evening beautifully—Eva’s modest, compassionate and courageous nature, the terrible circumstances under which Palestinians in Gaza live, and their deep humanity. I so appreciate your coverage of this crucial issue.

Emily Alma
Chico Palestine Action Group coordinator

Eva never mentioned that, if Gaza would stop sending in rockets, Israel would stop bombing. She never mentioned them launching their rockets into schools or hospitals. She did not mention the 40 rockets fired by Hamas two weeks ago. She failed to mention that Israel hits empty buildings because they warn the people in advance.

She is in a war zone where signs say “don’t go near the fence” and she has to go to the fence? While many have this hatred for Israel, they overlook the recent arms shipment, the border closing by others, or that simply stopping firing rockets that provoke Israel is a simple answer to the problem. In a war zone, if the sign says ‘stay back,’ why are you there yelling over a megaphone?

Nick Clark

Blame pension financing

Re “Return to lender” (by Michele Chen, Newslines, March 20):

This week’s article accepting the Post Office’s fiscal problems as a starting point and the Feb. 27 article lambasting Chico’s labor force for the city’s budget problems both start by accepting the false premise that labor is the cause for these issues.

The Post Office has always supported itself and does still. The thing bringing it to the brink is the idiotic idea of financing the next 75 years of pensions in 10 years.

One thing that has caused bankruptcies in other public entities is disregard for renegotiating debt to banks. The bankers’ glutinous and illegal greed drove the recent crash that put these entities in the position they are now in because the tax base collapsed as the bubble did. Not only did we guarantee the banks not lose any money, but the business model also has not changed.

Chico is on the hook with the redevelopment fees recently folded into the debt for interest about 3 percent to 6 percent. How about renegotiating both the amount of debt and the interest down to what the banks pay—0 percent.

Rich Meyers

Education is the key

Re “It’s a punishment” (Letters, by Nick Clark, March 20):

The reason 75 percent of our prison population is Latino or black is a lack of education. “Latinos have the lowest levels of education of any racial/ethnic group in the state,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. And Mexico is the culprit.

We have to demand that Mexico fix this problem. This low regard for education in our Latino community comes directly from Mexico, where the head of the teachers union was recently arrested for stealing $160 million, where only 1 percent of the teachers could pass a test to get a raise, where one-third of Mexican students flunked Spanish of all things, and over half flunked math. Mexican students have scored the lowest reading levels of all developed countries.

Here in the modern, high-pressure, highly educated USA, if you’re uneducated you have two choices: bottom-feeder jobs or crime. So the answer to crime is education. And logically the School of Education here at Chico State should jump on this problem. It costs $47,000 a year to keep someone in prison in California. Let’s spend that money on sending someone to Harvard instead.

Mike Peters

The letters continue …

Re “More on that story” (Letters, by Stephanie Taber and Peter Durfee, March 20):

Once again, Stephanie Taber has a letter to the editor attacking public employees. And once again, Taber failed to mention that she is a political appointee (thus, a public employee) of Larry Wahl (also a public employee). And Taber failed to mention that Wahl and she sponsored Measure A (defeated by 68 percent) in June 2011, forcing a special election costing the city taxpayers $151,000, which led to the closing of a fire station.

That $151,000 could pay for two police officers. Wahl has never reimbursed the taxpayers, nor apologized. And this time, Taber failed to mention that when Wahl was on the City Council, he voted most of the time for huge salary increases for city managers, who in retirement are now drawing six-figure pensions and all with Wahl’s support.

Is this the kettle calling the pot black? And how come Wahl does not list Taber’s salary on his website? And what size pension will Taber get when she retires from politics?

Laurel Heath

As a lifelong resident of Red Bluff who also has close ties to Chico, I felt it disheartening after reading your article a few weeks ago that Chico police officers earn an average of $100,000 a year.

Officer Peter Durfee, president of the Chico Police Officers’ Association, stated in the CN&R that Chico police officers deserve this outrageous salary because they put their lives on the line. Red Bluff officers earn approximately one-third the salary of Chico police. Does this mean Red Bluff police officers’ lives have less value?

Comparing the Chico police officers’ salaries to Oakland police officers’—taking into account that the cost of living is higher in the big city—the salaries would be about the same. Oakland has one of the highest crime rates of any big city in America. It’s doubtful Chico police officers are in as much jeopardy as Oakland police officers.

Bill Foey
Red Bluff

Gosh! I’ve read those letters, twice, and tried to come away with something more than what can be put on the tip of a fish hook, and if I could—what would I catch other than reiterated jaded computations and accusations?

Something my fictitious uncle from a Lassie or The Andy Griffith episode might have served up: How many times have I said, “It takes more than one vehicle to make a traffic jam”? He also would wax empirically about how job seekers were drawn to a station in life with passion and weigh out the inherent risks associated against that calling. There’s a balance, he’d say, associated with this attraction/risk hypothesis; something uncle learned when “not enough of one leaves too much of the other—restated as a rule of thumb: don’t lose your edge/ that’s how you get hurt.”

Money ain’t what it used to be. The coin of the realm needs to be re-minted. It’s the right thing to do—I have been listening to the arm-twisting pain of change exchanges long enough waiting for someone to cry-me-an-uncle, maybe one of yours this time, and give up. Those uncles!

Rick Vagts

Cartoon not humorous

Re “The gun” (This modern world, by Tom Tomorrow, Feb. 27):

The rhetoric of the minority Liberal Socialistic Democrat Party (LSD-P) wants the informed and knowledgeable American citizens to believe that guns kill people all by themselves. As does the agenda-driven cartoonist want disparately not to be taken as a fool.

Utilizing their “suspension of reality” logic to support an obvious impossibility, augmented with an emotional distorted perspective, it must in their world then follow that: All cartoons are humorous, teleprompters are truthful and people don’t kill people.

A cartoon: an inanimate object requiring a human being for its creation and perhaps levity provides a humorous antidote with truth being at the root of its enjoyment, or humorless agenda-driven fodder containing no truth.

A teleprompter: an inanimate object requiring a human being for it to be operated for either dispensing truth or purposeful lies.

A gun: An inanimate object requiring a human being for it to be operated for either protective defense or unlawful aggression.

Fact: More than 2 million times a year a defense weapon is utilized to prevent, save or truncate an incident.

Fact: Chicago has the most restrictive gun laws and the highest homicide rate in the nation with many LSD-P cities endeavoring to emulate.

B. Cathcart

Cheers to success!

Re “Indie crawl” (Greenways, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, March 6):

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who participated to make the first annual Local Nursery Crawl such a tremendous success! Whether it be Courtney Paulson and Erin Lizardo who put in so many hours to get us off of the ground, the many reviewers (thanks, Christine!), our fellow local nursery women and men, or our community participants, thank you!

We had so much fun, and learned so much to bring an even bigger and better Local Nursery Crawl to you next year. I am always so gratified and amazed at the willingness that this tremendous community has to come out and support our local businesses while having fun at the same time. I feel so lucky to rub shoulders with all of you!

Trish Howard
Local Nursery Crawl ambassador

About a candidate

Why would voters vote for Bill Connelly for Assessor? His lack of knowledge in real estate and appraisal make him an unqualified candidate. The Assessor’s Office values all taxable property within the county, requiring knowledge in both California law and real estate. Why would I hire a mechanic to perform surgery? Both work with their hands and are skilled at their profession, but a mechanic doesn’t understand anatomy.

One example of Connelly’s lack of understanding is on his website, which states: “The county assessor is elected to protect you from the overzealous application of tax rates on your property. As your Assessor, I will enforce Prop. 13 and always stand between you and government bureaucracy.”

Mr. Connelly is wrong with this statement. It’s the auditor’s job to place tax rates on the properties within the county, not the assessor. Mr. Connelly said financial considerations were part of this motivation to change posts. Do I want a county supervisor to abandon his position mid-term based on salary? No, I do not. I believe he is a seasoned politician looking out for his own financial motivations rather than the benefit to the people of Butte County who elected him. Please vote this June for a qualified candidate.

Bob Buckner

From a candidate

It’s with great excitement that I recently announced my candidacy for Butte County treasurer/tax collector. Years of hard work, preparation and real-world experience have led me to this decision. I will give the voters of our great county my all.

I was disappointed that the county decided to appoint someone to the treasurer’s position, recently left open by Linda Barnes, so close to an election. Such an important decision would have been best left to the voters, as political appointments rarely go to outsiders but instead favor the bureaucratic inner circle.

What our county needs more than ever now is fresh ideas from leaders who have not spent their entire careers on the government payroll. I have an impressive background in private-sector financial management, and years of experience working to keep my customers happy. I will apply those same principles in my service to the people of Butte County. My door will always be open, and I will earn the people’s support.

Kathleen Dwyer