Letters for March 3, 2016
A scrappy situation
Re “The big scrap” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, Feb. 25):
Chico Scrap Metal runs a very clean, necessary recycling business at its present location. CSM has agreed to cap the areas deemed contaminated. There is no better usage of this piece of property. The site can be regularly inspected and restrictions put on CSM as the city does with all manufacturing business within the city limits.
With all the attention given to Spotlight for winning the Academy Award for best picture, it is also exciting to see the great investigative journalism that went into Ken Smith’s story (and additional brief overview) of the history of Chico Scrap Metal (CSM).
Far too often our fair city has allowed this company to miss city deadlines, even while CSM has not been in compliance with the Chapman/Mulberry Neighborhood Plan. This plan was officially adopted first by the county and then by Chico in 2004.
My urgent questions now concern City Councilman Andrew Coolidge: He had previously been a paid political consultant [for a group that] tried to get rid of the district attorney who had filed charges against the owner of the company. Is there not a major conflict of interest in his taking a Chico City Council position on CSM on Dec. 2, 2014, that allowed the company to continue operation beyond still another deadline? That decision should be challenged, as should any other vote by Mr. Coolidge about CSM.
What I believe we have here is a situation similar to the contaminated water in Flint, Mich. Because Chico Scrap Metal is adjacent to a low-income neighborhood and school, the concerns of the community are not taken into account, as was the situation with the water in Flint.
If CSM was adjacent to a moderate- to upper-income neighborhood, it would never have been allowed to remain in its current location. The Butte County Board of Supervisors and the Chico City Council must protect the health and safety of the entire Chapmantown community versus the financial interests of Chico Scrap Metal.
Re “Safe Space shuttered” (Downstroke, Feb. 25):
Last year, as a volunteer immersed with this program, I wrote a letter to the editors of both local newspapers declaring last year’s Safe Space emergency winter shelter to be a “minor miracle.” With this year’s Safe Space effort, I’d like to up the ante and declare it to be a straight-up miracle. Just about everything about this year’s Safe Space absolutely doubled last year’s effort across the board.
I’d also like to clear up a bit of unintentionally left-out information related to the CN&R Downstroke. While it is true that a relatively small number of “bad actors” may have been involved in line scuffles outside of the Jesus Center; that some of our guests may have tried to smuggle drugs and alcohol in through our screening process; and that our last host church, Trinity Methodist, did pose potential problems for this handful of guests in possibly providing them with too much temptation to leave the premises; a fourth important closure consideration had to do with our difficulty near the end in securing essential overnight volunteers to monitor our guests.
Mark S. Gailey
Just say ‘thank you’
Re “Selective charity” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Feb. 25):
Patrick, your latest criticism against Joe Montes was uncalled for. Unlike most of us, in Joe Montes we have a citizen who actually gets involved and takes action. He volunteers his time and money and has taken a leading role to support Chico’s less fortunate; specifically, those who depend on the housing and services provided by Stairways. Yet you somehow manage to associate his volunteerism and charity to “tyrants, dictators and gangsters.” Really?
You’re the most ferocious advocate for the homeless I’ve ever encountered, and “yes” our homeless population does need many advocates. But do you really believe that those of us who contribute, yet do not necessarily agree with all your ideas, deserve your wrath? You quoted, “Charity is the oldest distraction from fundamental injustice known to humankind.” Why this quote? Is it your belief that anyone, other than you, who shows charity toward homeless people must have some hidden malevolent motive?
Finally, is it inconceivable for you to let someone’s good deeds pass without writing a scathing retort? Since I believe volunteers and different approaches to solving this problem should be encouraged, I would suggest, “Thank you, Joe Montes, for all you are doing.” That would be a more beneficial response.
Pooh-poohing the Foo
Re “Saint Cecilia” (In the Mix, by Brian Palmer, Feb. 18):
Dear reviewer in the (otherwise blameless) CN&R, whom I will not deign to address by name. Please, for the love of any and all things valuable, leave the Foo Fighter-appreciating for those of the listening community with auditory blockages and to those humans among us who have only encountered rock music within the last five or six months. Horrified by the recent gaffe.
Think of our toddlers
While monitoring scores of youngsters scurrying about gleefully, there occurred an abrupt stoppage in the “old ticker” as attention was diverted to the streaking white trails amidst blueness and gray. Derelict from duty for a microsecond, as the ominous-sounding war planes buzzed past, the fleeting thought flashed on the chance that any country would cowardly unleash Predator drone missiles on our toddlers as they engage harmoniously in the heavenly fields of play.
Could citizens ever truly absolve and cooperate with any nation-state that would execute such an atrocious crime? Can the aggressors ever forgive themselves? Whoa! That was an eternal microsecond! So jubilant to regain normal blood pressure and refocus on the supreme task at hand.
Kenneth B. Keith
Handi-Riders needs help
Re “Obstacles ahead” (Newslines, by Mason Masis, Feb. 25):
I was so sad to read that Handi-Riders is on the brink of shutting down due to lack of funds. Handi-Riders has been operating for decades with a unique and highly-effective program, changing lives for hundreds of children—and some adults—with serious disabilities. The folks who run the program are dedicated, hard-working and thrifty. It would be a great loss to our community if they have to close down.
We in Chico have risen to save many valuable entities that were on the verge of shutting down—The Bookstore, Pageant Theatre, now the Torres Community Shelter. It would be so wonderful if the community could come together to save this excellent nonprofit service. Any deep pockets out there with money burning holes in your pockets?
Manipulating public opinion
Media literacy has been taught in Europe for years in response to the U.S.’s onslaught of broadcast images. They wanted their populaces to understand that the media is owned by a few who manipulate public opinion for their own profit.
Be it convincing us to buy sugary and fattening food, go into debt for something beyond our means, oppose policies that will increase wages and improve public health or support military action, the owners of the media have become experts at using public relations to get us to act against our own best interests. Six corporations own over 90 percent of the media and many of their boards of directors also profit from fossil fuels, excessive personal debt, war and other things damaging to our society.
Tune in on Friday March 4, at 11:30 a.m., for Peace and Social Justice, when I will speak with professor Julie Frechette, chair of the Department of Communication at Worcester State University and author of Media Education for a Digital Generation, about the Global Critical Media Literacy Project and its bid to bring media literacy courses to America’s high schools and colleges. If you are an educator, student or just interested in how the media influences public opinion, listen live at 90.1 FM or KZFR.org or download the program from the archives after broadcast.
R. Sterling Ogden
A plan for Guantánamo
A modest proposal. As we all know, it appears that the Guantánamo Bay facility will probably be closing soon. Whether this is right or wrong is a completely different area of discussion. What, however, should happen to the facility once it’s empty? I propose using the facility for completely peaceful purposes.
Why not convert the facility into a “safe space” for many of our fragile college students who are bombarded with “hate speech” and “microagressions” on a daily basis? There, they would be able to freely converse with one another as long as they expressed the same ideas as the person they were conversing with. Once our relations with Cuba are finally normalized, they would be free to roam the Cuban landscape, enjoying not only free health care but also all of the other many wonders of Cuban socialism.
Also, once relations are normalized, I’m fairly certain that the Cuban government will be more than happy to help them pay off their student loans.
The power of print
Re (The Business Issue, Feb. 18):
I have not picked up the CN&R for a while (sorry!). I am glad I did this week. I thought you should know that advertising in your paper brings results. I did not know about several of the businesses in town, such as the Dressing Room and the new winery in Durham.
I also was reminded of several other businesses I have not solicited for a while—the Plant Barn, Franky’s, House of Rice, Finds Design & Decor, Eighth & Main Antiques, Shubert’s and more. I was even tempted by the guy’s picture for the Fusion Church, even though I am not remotely religious.
As lot of people do these days, I shop online and forget the beauty of soliciting the local stores. Expect to see me, all you bold and brave who still believe in the power of printed advertising.