Letters for March 6, 2003

Letter a day
In response to Homer and Loretta Metcalf’s scholastic challenge [Letters, Feb. 27], I would like to bring to the attention of those who haven’t been paying attention that $9.4 billion is spent annually incarcerating drug offenders. If our tax dollars weren’t going in that direction, we would have plenty of money for education and not have to reach into our own pockets … again.

The state spends $7,000 per student each year, while $27,000 goes for each prisoner. With the release of nonviolent drug offenders, we could use the money to save our music programs, get better health care and relieve over-crowding at our schools. The war on drugs is really a war on education and every other social program you hope to fund, because the money is going out instead of coming in. At the very least, let’s have the nonviolent offenders serve the community rather than feed off of it.

Let’s start with releasing our Chico friends who have added so much to our community but are serving time for, essentially, nothing. Marijuana should no more be illegal than alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate, coffee, and other “drugs” that we partake of to give us some relief from the insanity of this world.

You want to give money to the schools? Write to your U.S. senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Wally Herger and tell them to do something about shifting the money from prisons to schools. Put an end to the injustice. I’m writing a letter a day to these people, and I won’t stop until the law changes. I challenge you to do the same.

Shelley Connolly

Major kudos
Major congratulations to Robert Speer for a reasoned, thoughtful article about an unreasonable situation [“Iraq War for Dummies,” Feb. 27]. You’ve done it again! Anne Morris Chico

The female factor
I’m writing to remind people that March is Women’s History Month. March 8 is International Women’s Day, which marks the struggles of our grandmothers and mothers to take control of their own lives and destinies and their struggle to make the future a better place for their children. All mothers want the best for their kids, including safe water to drink and clean air to breathe.

When women take charge of their lives and participate in every part of their society, their communities flourish. When they have access to education and family planning programs, women can decide how many children to have and when to have them. Often, this leads to healthier and smaller families, easing the strain of our growing population on the environment.

As a member of the Sierra Club, I encourage you to celebrate International Women’s Day. This is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by women. We can clean up our air, ensure clean drinking water for our children and slow our global population growth, but only if we make women part of the solution.

Jan Hildenbrand

Radio active
On behalf of KZFR Community Radio, FM 90.1, I would like to thank our listeners for supporting community radio during our winter pledge drive. Our contributors made this the best winter pledge drive in the history of the station, helping KZFR continue to provide alternative and diverse music and information programming not found anywhere else in our listening area.

Our grateful appreciation also goes out to all of our volunteer programmers, who suspend their normal programming during pledge drive to encourage our listeners to phone in their financial support of the station, and to the many volunteers who staffed the phones.

Due to the financial backing from our community, KZFR will soon have the equipment needed to receive direct satellite feeds. With this equipment, we are able to provide our listeners with the latest up-to-date editions of Democracy Now.

In response to inquiries about the addition of alternative national news programs, I would like to assure our listeners that KZFR is committed to making sure the vast majority of our programming is locally produced by your friends and neighbors.

Again, many thanks, and keep listening!

Laura Lukes
KZFR Community Radio

Democrats defended
Buried deeply on Page 11 of the Feb. 20 CN&R is an article that manages to trash Governor Davis, elevate the Greens, and lightly tap the wrist of an administration that is proposing a ruinous logging plan for our national forests [“Gov. Davis blasts Bush’s forest plan,” Newslines].

Jim Brobeck is quoted thusly: “The Bush administration is going so far that Gray Davis is sounding like a progressive.”

I’ve got news for the CN&R and Mr. Brobeck. The Democratic Party and Gov. Davis are about all that has stood between the faller’s chainsaw and the beautiful old-growth trees of our national forests in California. I’d hate to see how easily would be Bush’s takedown of our forests if the Green candidate, Camejo, had succeeded in getting Bill Simon elected to the governor’s chair. (Remember the Greens’ sign “Green not Gray” last election?)

I’ll quote from my letter submitted to the CN&R before the 2002 election which you failed to print:

“Didn’t Ralph Nader and his Greens tell us during the 2000 election that there was no difference between the two major parties? Tell it to seniors who can’t afford prescription drugs. Tell it to the coming generation of elders who will depend on the integrity of Social Security and Medicare. Tell it to the conservationists up north who are fighting to save the wildlife refuges in the face of oil development. Tell it to the people who try to keep arsenic out of our drinking water. Tell it to the trees of the Tongass National Forest.” (And now I can add the Lassen, Plumas and all national forests.)

Maybe by now Nader and his “Green” followers are beginning to see the difference between Democrats and Republicans. If not, George W. will open their eyes when he chooses to go it alone with his U.S. and British troops on the road to Baghdad. I doubt there is a Democrat alive who would initiate such folly.

Not much has changed since then.

Robert Woods
Forest Ranch

Veteran disrespect
First I would like to thank the Chico News & Review for publishing my request for diagnostic and/or treatment if available for radiation exposure I received as a fetus and infant [“Radiation burn,” Letters, Nov. 14, 2002].

I would also like to thank Susan Eissinger, D.C., for reaching out to me to help. I was touched by that very much. It helped me go on when “on” seemed so far away.

The government is to blame for my bouts with nausea and vomiting, and they are also the same group that now tells me marijuana is illegal. I would like to suggest they look within themselves to find what is right. The government never solved anything. The people do when the government gets out of hand. The Vietnam War made even Department of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara say, “I now believe the Vietnam War was one of our country’s biggest blunders.” I agree, as we now judge all our endeavors by that war.

Some 420,000 vets are supported by the Ninth Circuit Federal Court saying the Veterans Administration is ultimately responsible keeping secret what went on and not allowing veterans to seek proper medical treatment.

Steve Walker