Letters for March 8, 2007

Re: “The Zodiac is back …” (Cover Story, by R.V. Scheide, CN&R, March 1):

Serial-killer hunt still echoes
The Zodiac article evoked memories of when I was a cop in Marin County, 1969-70. Many times I was detailed to follow school buses to allay parents’ fears their kids might be in harm’s way because of the Zodiac’s threat to kill children as they stepped off a bus.

Some of us rode public transportation in plain clothes, looking for any “possible” who fit the description on the BOLO flyer. Cops turned in thousands of FI (field interrogation) cards about contacts. I lost count of the number of couples I rousted nightly from secluded spots while on patrol, always with the warning about the Zodiac killer. It surprised me how many people in lover’s lane were turned on by the dare at fate.

I drove a yellow cab as a second job and, although carrying two concealed weapons, there were a few times I got the willies when I had to drive a fare out in the boonies. You can bet I always gave lone male fares the once over. “You the Zodiac?” always got a laugh.

Thanks to R.V. Scheide for transporting me back in time.

Lastly, Robert Graysmith opined, “Today, the Zodiac wouldn’t last five seconds with all the task forces and modern technology we have.” Bull. There are many connected homicides in California and across America that remain unsolved because of inter-agency incompetence.

How do I know? Almost 40 years’ experience in the criminal justice system says so.

Happy hunting!

Ray Simmons

Chico’s ‘heart’ up for bids
Re: “Sweet Shoppe gets sour response” (Newslines, by Brad Brown, CN&R, March 1):

The closure of Chico’s long-term restaurant The Redwood Forest is much more than a sad ending.

Everyone uses “Welcome to Chico, the big town with that small town feeling” to promote moving here. Chico, as a destination to call home, is promoted on several fronts: attend college, establish a business, purchase real estate, grow your family, etc., in our “friendly town.”

The Redwood Forest is closing? Wait, it’s not that Les and Tracy Hord are retiring? It’s not that a family situation is resulting in their moving on? It’s not that their customer base has disappeared? It’s because their landlords can make a higher rent profit from a new client? No way! But it appears to be true.

Is this the future of the downtown area? How many established businesses are at risk of closing their doors due to “higher rent offers” from new start-ups?

The “heart” of a town is in its downtown area. The Redwood Forest has lived and breathed for 30 years, and Tracy and Les have contributed to that heartbeat since 1993. Why? Is it the interior’s restful and elegant ambiance, the delectable cuisine that is so satisfying to the palate, or their fine wine collection? It’s all of the above, and it’s the warmth and genuine welcoming Tracy and Les have offered their diners since 1993. They have invested more than money; they have invested “themselves.”

Wake up, Chico—the heart of your town is being sold to the highest bidder!

Vicki Kunst

Why Pledge has God
Re: “Who let God in?” (Guest Comment, by Ishmael Raymon, CN&R, Feb. 15), “Revisionist History 101” (Letters, by Tim Edwards, CN&R, Feb. 22) and “Founding Fathers facts vs. fallacies” (Letters, by Patrick O’Connor, CN&R, March 1):

The damage caused by the mention of “God” in public is undocumented. However, asking for government protection from it is leaping into the lion’s mouth to avoid a mouse.

Many countries use a “pledge of allegiance” as indoctrinating propaganda. Hitler did so to encourage citizens to submit to the state. This was the intent of our pledge. Author Francis Bellamy was a socialist who petitioned the government to make his pledge mandatory in schools (with a salute of an outstretched hand). The Supreme Court ruled that children could not be forced to recite the pledge. This remains true.

Bellamy’s pledge was to be used with any flag to spread socialist values. The words “of the United States of America” were added as Americans saw U.S. values as unique. Americans added “under God” after seeing nations captive to governments demanding ultimate devotion to the state—endowed “by our Creator” with rights, not by the state.

Values of our flag were central, instead of Bellamy’s pledge. The words “under God,” instead of imposing religion, stood against any who would rule as God. Atheist and religious alike have the same rights, because these rights come from beyond and above any state.

Bill Jackson

Pledge caveat
In the early 1950s, President Eisenhower ingeniously—by the stroke of a pen and addition of two words, “under God,” to the Pledge of Allegiance—separated us from our hated adversaries in the Soviet Union, who were thus relegated to a status of “ungodliness.”

Another addendum to the pledge is long overdue, one that adequately describes the deplorable state of jurisprudence by inserting the words “who are able to afford the services of an expensive attorney” after the existing “with liberty and justice for all.”

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff

Infidelity gets personal(s)
Re: “Dark end of the street” (Cover Story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, Feb. 15):

Jaime O’Neill did great job. He referred to the emotional wreckage of infidelity and the devastating effect it can have on a marriage. It was sad to read about the feelings of abandonment, depression, anger and victimization. We often forget how many people are suffering in our own community from the fall-out of infidelity.

There is plenty of advice to go around about the things to look for and what we can do within our families and within our social network. However, we rarely get much advice about what we can do within our community to help protect families from the pain and hardships of adultery, so I will do my best to provide some here in this community newspaper.

I have to be honest and write that something has been bothering me for years (not within my marriage, but within our community) that seems to contribute directly to fostering infidelity: Online Personals and Talking Personals.

These small advertisements that run in our community newspapers didn’t exist until the 1990s. Judging from the wording of many of these ads, it is clear that they are written by or directed toward married people. Personals provide an environment for discreet courtship.

I am sure that newspaper publishers see this as a service to the community, assuming that most of the ads are written by or aimed at single people. I am really disappointed that our local newspaper publishers don’t invest more effort to screen out advertising that invites, encourages or promotes infidelity.

Matt York

Setting us straight
Re: “Business Chico needs?” (Streetalk, CN&R, Feb. 22):

You’re in good company, as cartoonist Piraro slipped up on free trade/fair trade that week, too. Not sure if you were quoting Ms. DeSeelhorst directly or not, but I believe she meant fair trade stores. All stores are free trade presently, but fair trade stores are too few.

Tom Spofford
Fair Trade Project manager,

Chico Peace & Justice Center

Editor’s note: Indeed, she meant fair trade. We apologize for the typo.

Re: “KHSL-TV dinged for ‘fake’ news” (Newslines, by Colin Thompson, CN&R, March 1): Due to an error in the editing process, paraphrasing from a phone interview with former KHSL anchor Melissa Cabral was presented as direct quotes from an e-mail, and a sentence about a phone call the station received should have been attributed to News Director Trish Coder. We have corrected this online.