Letters for March 7, 2013

Readers weigh in on ‘The coyote hunt’

Re “The coyote hunt” (Cover story, by Allan Stellar, Feb. 28):

I remember driving past a large sign on the edge of Alturas a few years ago. It read: “Alturas—Where the West Still Lives.”

That’s the way many people in Modoc County view themselves—anachronisms proudly and defiantly stuck in the olden days. But why did the organizers move the “count” to a private, secret site? If you’re proud of what you’re doing, why not show off the results in plain view?

With the firepower these folks have, I doubt any outsider would cause too much trouble when the carcasses are on display outside the Adin mercantile—especially with local law enforcement providing plenty of intimidation.

Edward Booth

Thanks for the tip on the coyote hunt, I have been accepted as a participant in the 2014 hunt. I am oiling up my .223 semi-auto, looking forward to much fun.

Doug Drebert

Oh please! If the writer leans any farther left, the chip on his shoulder that he came to Modoc County with will fall off.

I travel through Adin on a daily basis and stop at the Adin supply store frequently. The owner and his employees are the friendliest people I have ever met.

Ranchers have a right to protect their livestock. Maybe if the bleeding hearts want to really help they would contact their legislators to establish a state fund to compensate ranchers for lost livestock.

Mark Rosenthal
Fall River Mills/Alturas

These indiscriminate killing contests are appalling: unscientific, unethical, unacceptable. Ironically, they only exacerbate the problem, as has been noted by many, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden quoted in the article. And they can go on year-round. How many wounded coyotes are left to suffer a lingering death in the field? How many young are left to starve in the den?

One of our state senators or assembly members should introduce a bill now, so that this unsavory bloodbath and similar ones won’t be repeated in this or future years. All legislators may be written c/o the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Eric Mills

It’s too bad your publication didn’t ask for a rebuttal from someone who can make the case for Big Valley and perhaps show that we are reasonable people, usually hospitable and even willing to listen to other points of view.

Mr. Stellar starts with the visual image of the coyote dump, but I wonder if he would flinch, or if the protesters would flinch, if they were to see the visual image of a lamb, a calf or a faun when a pack of coyotes is tearing it to pieces. That is the image that we see all too often. So it is difficult for us to feel sorry for the coyotes.

If Mr. Stellar’s granddaughter was ill-treated by law enforcement in Adin, I regret it and I’m sure most of my neighbors do. The truth is the Adin Supply store was put off limits to non-residents when the Gagnon family was overwhelmed with vicious and threatening emails from protesters. One or two of them actually contained death threats.

It’s true many residents resented the presence of outsiders coming to our neck of the woods and telling us what we should be doing, and it is too bad that resentment found its way into the attitude of law enforcement. It was unprofessional, but understandable. A better understanding between those who live in the cities and those of us who live in the rural frontier would be a good thing for all of us. This little piece of agitprop does nothing to further that understanding.

Tallman Miller

I don’t have a problem with fair journalism. What I have a problem with is some overweight flatlander going to the country for a day or two and knowing what is right for me and my sheep.

Each lamb I lose is $100 out of my yearly income. I can forward article upon article of the city folks who lose Fifi the dog to a coyote and want something done.

I could go on and on but it would not change the perspective of a biased report with innuendos and little truth. You can’t find a story, you can always make one up, I guess.

William Winegar

As a wildlife biologist now retired, I can see both sides of the issue. If livestock are being threatened, then there is probably reason to intervene and shoot the occasional predator. But, on the larger scale, I do not think it is wise or prudent to go out and conduct massive hunts on an annual basis for primarily sport and generate a massive “coyote dump.”

As Stellar points out, these carnivores serve a valuable service as predators in controlling rodent populations and indirectly prevent transmission of diseases such as hantavirus and plague that are endemic in some rodent populations.

There is no need for the senseless killing of animals for just sport. If coyotes are a significant problem in a particular area, then hunters should be able to harvest them by a public hunt. But there are other alternatives to just shooting and dumping them. It would make more sense to harvest the meat and donate it to wild-animal parks that need fresh sources of meat.

Jeff Wyles, Ph.D.

Whether those who defend the “contest” are trying to skirt the issue or are just stupid is hard to tell. No one is saying you cannot defend your home, family or livestock.

What we are trying to say is that killing for fun, as a contest, for prizes, for a family outing is barbaric! To disrespect coyotes, to look at them as nothing more than garbage or living targets … to believe you have the right to kill my wildlife, is so over-the-top offensive! Can you not see that?

No one is trying to take your precious little guns. What we are trying to stop is the sociopathic game you predator hunters have created for amusement.

Lori Cote

Mr. Stellar’s photos of dead coyotes did a fairly good job of stacking the emotional deck. Might I suggest that your readers seek out photos of deer, livestock and pet dogs ripped apart by coyote packs, and then decide whether controlling the coyotes is a bad idea.

Robert Laughlin

Those of us who oppose coyote killing contests come from all walks of life. Some of us hunt, fish, belong to the NRA, are ranchers, live in rural areas, and believe in predator management based on scientific principles. But we all agree on one thing: Coyote killing contests are wrong!

These contests are held for one reason: the thrill to kill for prizes and entertainment.

Elisabeth Dicharry
Los Lunas, N.M.


Exploiting Sandy Hook

Re “Our own Sandy Hook” (Letters, by Susan Birtcil, Feb. 28):

The “young women” who pack the parking lots with sobs and tears are the “activists who advocate protection for the marginalized” you were looking for! You didn’t notice because you were too busy demeaning their intelligence, exploiting their youth, exploiting their confidence … and to drill it home, distorting and using the sadness of Sandy Hook for your own religious agenda. Women choosing abortion are not mentally disturbed murderous sociopaths.

So, where is the outrage over this “tragedy” lurking in our back yard? Umm, nowhere. I’m thrilled about my secular abortions because I’m smart. The facts indicate that some of your friends are too!

Christine Fulton

The city can save real money

Re “Uttering the T-word” (Editorial, Feb. 28):

As your editorial states, the city faces a large deficit. City Manager Brian Nakamura said at one meeting we have a $50 million deficit—mostly the “unfunded pension liabilities”—but offers a plan that will eventually save only $1 million a year. [Councilman] Scott Gruendl said at a council meeting that Nakamura’s plan will take 10 to 15 years.

But right now the employee contracts are “on the table.” I read the police contract—available at the city website. While the police are actually asking for pay raises, 147 current employees are not offering to pay for any of their benefits.

Currently, Police Department employees can retire at age 50, at 90 percent of their highest year’s earnings, while paying absolutely nothing toward their pension premiums. Fire Department employees pay 2 percent, management employees, like our $217,000-per-year city manager, pay only 4 percent. Only the lowest-salaried “classified staff” pay the full 9 percent “employee share.” The taxpayers pick up the rest of the tab for these pensions.

According to Finance Director Jennifer Hennessy, the taxpayers paid $1.9 million just for the “employee share” of pension premiums for 2011-12. There’s also the “employer’s share.” Altogether the city spent $10.2 million on employee pensions in 2011-12.

This “employee share” would be an immediate savings of $1.9 million, almost twice as much annually as Nakamura’s reorganization, and without raising any taxes or firing any employees.

Juanita Sumner

Where are the black people?

Re “Have you ever witnessed racism in Chico?” (Streetalk, Feb. 21):

Even here in the Big Peach, San Francisco, I don’t think that the local weekly newspaper would ask people in the street, “Have you witnessed racism in the city (Chico),” and not have one comment from a black person, Asian, but maybe one brown one. That’s a very exiguous question on the part of a so-called progressive weekly.

Perhaps the CN&R is happy with their one African-American columnist, Mr. Anthony Porter, who has about as many words to say about black people living in Chico as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thanks to Ms. Desiree Gonzales [“Wrong ones to ask,” Letters, Feb. 28] for pointing this out.

Jerry Harris
San Francisco/Chico

Sequestration will hurt services

As a former federal employee in California and Nevada, I’m worried about the consequences of sequestration and subsequent furloughs of federal employees in our state.

There are more than 200,000 hardworking federal employees in California, and 6,750 hardworking federal employees in Congressional District 1, who won’t be able to fully do their jobs, like safely landing commercial airliners at the Chico airport or making sure the meat we buy at our grocery stores is safe or keeping our national parks and national forests open or reduced hours at the local Social Security and IRS offices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will have to furlough employees when they are most needed by our local growers.

Sacrificing our nation’s federal employees, and the services they provide to this country, is not an acceptable solution to our nation’s budget dilemma. I hope Senators Feinstein and Boxer, along with Congressman LaMalfa, can find a solution that does not weaken our federal workforce and the vital services they provide us all before it’s too late.

H. Ray Harrington

Elect a Democratic majority

Another crisis, and Speaker Boehner of the House of Representatives has another opportunity to chip away at our Social Security, Medicare, and the post office, or any other institution that enables common citizens to lead decent lives. In Boehner’s view, the only things sacrosanct are the perks and privileges of those at the top.

The 2010 elections gave Republicans the power to oppose any progressive legislation, and they have used it to defeat most measures that would benefit the great majority of Americans. President Obama has presented a jobs bill to Congress that would help rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, but Boehner refuses to bring it up for a vote.

It’s time that we elect a Democratic majority to Congress so we can get the country moving again; hire more teachers for our children, restore the U.S. Postal Service, and properly fund Social Security, Medicare, Meals-on-Wheels, and all the measures that make our nation great.

If the middle- and lower-income populations have more purchasing power, businesses will thrive and prosperity will return. President Clinton used these principles to achieve a balanced budget, and President Obama will also if we give him the chance.

Robert Woods

Save the honeybees

I started a petition to reclassify honeybees as endangered. Can you help me spread the word? The link is: http://www.change.org/petitions/please-help-save-the-honeybees

This step may be what’s needed to stop the demise. Thank you so much.

Denise Bennett
Studio City