Letters for March 5, 2015

Pot, kettle, black?

Re “Time for a raise” (Editorial, Feb. 26):

Kudos to the CN&R for encouraging local businesses to give their employees much deserved raises. As an employee who has never gotten a bona fide performance-based raise from his current employer, I assure you it would be most welcome.

Though a relative newbie (seven years) at my job, co-workers who have worked here much longer than I, have also never received a raise. We are all longtime Chico residents. We are not moving away and yes, we do spend our money locally. Any raise we get would for the most part be funneled back into the local economy.

We look forward to our long overdue performance-based raises from a company that has been a central part of the Chico landscape for well over 30 years.

To quote you: “As the saying goes, what goes around comes around. Let’s get going.”

Bill Unger

Editor’s note: Mr. Unger delivers the CN&R each Thursday to various racks.

Park programs benefit everyone

Re “Park watchers” (Greenways, by Rachel Bush, Feb. 26):

Kudos for “Park watchers.” Chico Velo has long focused on bicycle education and advocacy related to the roads and bike paths in our community. We’ve just recently started a new mountain bike advocacy and trails program, Chico Velo Trailworks, committed to restoration and creation of sustainable local trails and stewardship and education for current and future generations of users.

This is a new program, and we look forward to learning from and working with city programs like Park Watch as well as organizations like Friends of Bidwell Park and Lassen Native Plant Society who have logged so many volunteer hours in the park. We appreciate the dedication and commitment of the city of Chico Park Division. We share a love of Bidwell Park and a common goal of sustainably accommodating current and future users.

With the budget and staffing challenges the city faces, we want to be a part of the solution. We look forward to partnering on trails, education and fundraising efforts to best serve the future of our park and the Chico community. Those interested in joining can learn more at www.chicovelo.org/trailworks.

Thad Walker
Chico Velo board member and Trailworks leader, Chico

Smokeless in Paradise

Re “Up in smoke” (Healthlines, by Evan Tuchinsky, Feb. 26):

Thanks, Paradise Town Council, for your decision to make entryways and parks smoke-free, and to prohibit electronic cigarette use in those areas as well.

Paradise was one of the first communities to adopt a smoke-free ordinance over 20 years ago. The tobacco industry fought smoke-free laws, even in towns as small as Paradise, but we won. Now the tobacco companies have bought into the electronic cigarette market in a big way. E-cigs are advertised on TV, promoted by celebrities, and come in child-friendly flavors. They are also advertised as a way to circumvent smoking bans. In most of the country, there is no regulation of e-cigs, and they can be used anywhere.

Nicotine is highly addictive. The tobacco companies have bought into the e-cig market because they see vast potential profit in getting another generation of young people addicted to nicotine. A recent study showed that e-cigarette use among teens has surpassed traditional cigarette use. Of course it has. Kids can look cool “vaping” a product that tastes like candy and has no choking smoke. Thanks again, Paradise Town Council, for maintaining a smoke-free (and vape-free) norm that will help protect our young people from a lifetime of addiction.

Ellen Michels

More on the observatory

Re “Demanding accountability” (Letters, by Kris Koenig, Feb. 26):

It was 20 years ago now that Michelle Brooks, a vibrant 13-year-old athlete, met with her untimely passing during a little league softball practice. Wanting to honor her memory, her friends formed a group known as the Brooks Field Junior Committee. Their goal was to have a playing field named after her in Chico.

This seems reminiscent of the recent efforts made by Kris Koenig and friends to honor Anita Ingrao by having the Chico Community Observatory named after her. The Brooks committee was initially met with the same resistance Koenig faced; this will set a precedent, there’s no policy, etc.

Fortunately, after steadfast advocacy by the committee and repeated visits to the commission, efforts to name Brooks Field at Wildwood Park were successful, the first and only baseball field in Chico to be named after a female.

Forward thinking by the likes of Maureen Kirk and Luisa Garza made the difficult decision. I sympathize with the commission’s difficulty in making such an emotional decision without the guidance of a written policy, but am saddened by the unsuccessful but honorable efforts by Koenig and friends. I once again applaud the courageous actions taken by Kirk and Garza 20 years ago.

Lon Russell

‘Something’s gotta give’

Re “Don’t cave on police compensation” (Guest comment, Jan. 29):

Recently, Michael Jones wrote in his commentary in regard to “not caving on police compensation” while simultaneously the editorial joined with a preemptive strike on the Chico City Council for negotiating with the Chico Police Officers’ Association.

In the same edition, the Streetalk section asked five residents, “Is Chico safe?” The majority said “no.” The one lady who said “yes” commented about not being caught walking after dark. A clear conflict here! Most residents know public safety in Chico needs improvement. What most don’t know is that Chico PD has struggled with recruitment for several years now.

Fully staffed at 83 positions, today Chico PD has 58. That’s 30 percent understaffed! Not a shocker that residents do not feel safe. The Fourth Estate should jump in and clear up the inconsistencies in Michael Jones’ reflections and the reality our community is facing today. We can’t have it all. Something’s gotta give! At a time when those who keep us safe struggle recruiting people for this important work, we can’t ask for a safer community and at the same time attack our elected representatives for negotiating in good faith with our police officers.

Charlene Reid

More debate on the flag

Re “Flag flak” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Feb. 26):

My professor of political science actually told this story in class the week it first came out in the CN&R. He openly supported the idea that the high school students should be “caned” for their behavior. I spoke with professor James Jacobs about my distaste for his opinion, but now that I read that these boys were actually assaulted, I am deeply concerned by the sentiment that encouraged.

Paul Davis

Editor’s note: The assault occurred on the same date as the incident in question, well before the CN&R printed the story.

I read with interest your story on the Chico High kids and the Confederate flag. I kept waiting for you to defend their right to free speech as you did with Charlie Hebdo, but all I saw was a quote from Principal Jim Hanlon stating “you’re asking for trouble.”

I would think that you would defend all people’s rights, but it seems as if you pick and choose as your agenda suits as all media seems to do nowadays.

Larry Barrett

Editor’s note: The CN&R, in an editorial on this subject (see “A silver lining,” Feb. 26), did note the importance of free speech. We also noted the importance of civility and respect.

Pun of the week

When will ISIS be WASWAS?

Stephen T. Davis

‘They failed the people’

Re “Gutless” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Feb. 19):

Butte County supervisors had the opportunity to close the Halliburton loophole locally by approving the county fracking ordinance, but they failed the people. Instead of guaranteeing us safe clean water, they chose not to honor their prior vote and proclaimed to disavow themselves from environmental leadership!

Supervisor Steve Lambert stated the ordinance was a “great document” and county staff did a “great job.” He stated if fracking were occurring in Butte County he would not hesitate in passing the ordinance. However, Lambert used the lame excuse he did not want to be a leader in the fracking-ban movement.

Supervisor Doug Teeter called it a “decent ordinance.” He said he was against the oil industry’s loophole and the proprietary secrecy of chemicals used in fracking. Yet, he failed to act, protect and guarantee our safety from these dangerous practices.

The Halliburton loophole was created by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. This county ordinance would have guaranteed safeguards.

Only Supervisor Maureen Kirk honored her prior vote to ban fracking. Supervisors Lambert, Teeter and Connelly failed their prior promise, failed the people, failed to protect our water based economy and failed to guarantee us safe clean water.

Dave Garcia

Expounding on hospice

Re “A better way to die in California” (Cover story, by Melinda Welsh, Feb. 19):

As a hospice professional with nearly 30 years of experience in end-of-life care, I applaud your willingness to address dying as an issue that we will all face, whether with a loved one or when our own time comes.

There are many ways to die and hospice is an often misunderstood and underutilized resource for people with terminal illness. Quality of life, as defined by the person in care, is the focus of what we do. Hospice provides skilled care and support for medical and physical needs, psychosocial concerns, and spiritual issues, any of which can be the source of angst and suffering.

“Can we make life tolerable?” one asks. Remarkably, we often see people grow and experience the richness and love that comes from the challenges and intimacy of receiving and providing care during the dying process. It is both human and humane. The process of transformation that initially may not seem possible, quite often occurs.

We would not presume to override the autonomy and choices of the people in our care, but as a society we must also do everything within our means to support the opportunity for life closure with a peaceful and natural death.

Richard Briggs

An outcome of democracy

I have read quite a few letters in this newspaper from those who refer to Measure A as “intimidation” and “bullying” from both the Butte County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Office, preventing sick people from getting their medicine.

First, if someone wants to grow their own medicine, Measure A allows them to do so. Second, Measure A was passed by about three-fifths of the voters in Butte County. It wasn’t forced onto anyone; opponents had their opportunity to vote. Third, I went to a few of the public hearings concerning growing restrictions and the only “bullying” and “threatening” words I heard came from growers and their proponents telling the supervisors they would defeat or take legal action against any rules the supes put forth.

Measure A is now law because of democratic principles. What it doesn’t do is allow people who need marijuana as medicine to be preyed upon by growers who give them 2-3 pounds of their medicine for the chance to raise and sell 8-10 times more for the growers’ own profit.

By the way, I support the legalization of marijuana. I don’t support an underground economy that takes advantage of the ill and evades paying taxes within the disguise of humanitarianism.

Robert Catalano


I will be in Alabama this weekend (March 7-8) for the 50th anniversary of the Selma March. March 7, 1965, became known as Bloody Sunday when politicians had law enforcement attack (with billy clubs, tear gas, horses and German shepherds) Americans who were walking from Selma, across a bridge to the state Capitol in Montgomery, to demand a simple American right: to register to vote!

President Obama, Congressman John Lewis and 100 other Congress members, including some Republicans, will gather at the Edmund Pettus Bridge this Saturday, to mark the 50th year. On Sunday, I and hundreds of others will walk across the bridge.

Months after that Bloody Sunday, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights’ Act with Martin Luther King Jr. Now we have a national holiday for Dr. King.

I was in Vietnam (101st Airborne) in 1968, when the Tet Offensive hit, then Dr. King was assassinated and then two months later, Bobby Kennedy was killed, so this anniversary means a lot to me. And my first five “visits” to Alabama were by parachute in Jump School in Fort Benning. This time, I will land with the airplane.

Bob Mulholland

War movie falls flat

All the hype, along with some well-deserved respect for Clint Eastwood’s past movie-making efforts, finally enticed me to go see American Sniper. Boy, what a disappointment. Should have stayed home and watched reruns of old combat episodes.

If not for all the shooting and explosions, which kept waking me up, this movie would have qualified as a real snoozer. Sure, you’d be crazy to go to a movie with a title like American Sniper and not expect lots of combat noise and confusion. But, for heaven’s sake, there are other important key elements that make a movie both enjoyable and memorable. Things like plot, character development and conflict, special effects, scenery and acting all contribute to a movie’s ability to connect with its audience. All of which, personally speaking, I found lacking in American Sniper.

While seldom in agreement with Hollywood these days, they actually got it right with their so-called “snub” of American Sniper at this year’s Oscars.

All in all, it’s this movie-goer’s opinion American Sniper is seriously lacking in cinematic quality and is barely an average movie at best. Sorry, Clint, this movie earns an unusually paltry four stars out of 10.

Dare I say, American Sniper misses the target?

Pete Stiglich