Letters for March 8, 2012

Peace in the canyon

Re “Lady of the canyon” (Cover story, by Tom Gascoyne, March 1): There are many people in the world who live “way back.” They are not in the woods as dopers, to prospect or to play pioneer. They are people who have found their peace.

I have lived in the canyon over half my life and also way, way farther deep in the mountains beyond roads. We see the summer people come and go, the three-year renters and the “Gee, let’s live in the country” folks.

Lou and Martha became icons without any effort on their part. Like looking up at a mountain and knowing a bear lives there, it has always comforted me to know that they were upstream; far beyond chainsaws, dreaming in the sun, walking easy to see if the watercress was ready. It’s sure not the life for many; one is transformed by the quiet mountain, the slow turn of seasons, when the soaproot is up.

Lou and Martha were much more than the stark CN&R photos of a tarp-shabby cabin and a cook stove. They found their place and thus their peace. There are so many people like this in the world, another tribe if you will. As the cultures down in the valley of the roads bloom and spoil around them, they are as perpetual as stones and water.

Gordy Ohliger

More on BEC’s debt

Re “The re-blossoming of BEC” (Greenways feature, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Feb. 23): I am very surprised that the CN&R would publish this article without fact-checking the allegation that Barbara Vlamis left BEC in debt. In fact Ms. Vlamis was fired, in part, because she was pushing so strongly for more effective fundraising.

Ms. Vlamis, due to her hard work in fundraising for legal fees and coordination of a water-transfer lawsuit, is responsible for bringing $70,000 [in attorney’s fees] to BEC. This came after her firing. It was the poor direction of the BOD that led to BEC’s debt, which continuously grew after the firing. Proof of that is in your article, showing Mike McGinnis’ efforts resolved the debt issue.

Please fact-check your articles that malign others.

John Hollister

Editor’s note: For another view of this matter, see the letter “BEC shout-out,” from Mark Stemen, chairman of the BEC board, in the March 1 issue of the CN&R.

An insider’s view

My wife, Pam Figge, wrote the Feb. 23 cover story, “Jacki Headley and the rebirth of downtown,” and this gave me somewhat of an insider’s view of the concept-to-copy creative process that happens each week at the CN&R. I came away from the experience with a renewed appreciation for the News & Review as a dynamic community resource and a heightened respect for the talented folks who produce it.

To Bob Speer and everyone at the paper, a heartfelt thank-you for a continuing job well done.

Steve Scarborough

Hypocrisy in action

Re “Vets’ home: money down the drain” (Guest comment, by Pete Stiglich, Feb. 23): Sometimes the hypocrisy is almost too much to bear.

“Heads ought to roll,” according to Col. Pete Stiglich, because the state of California won’t be able to fund the operation of the new veterans’ home in Redding. Col. Pete exudes righteous anger that the new facility will be unavailable “when so many of our brothers and sisters find themselves without shelter from the elements during these hard times.”

The problem is that the good colonel is running for Congress as a staunchly anti-government, tea-party Republican. He is exactly the kind of candidate who would be ideologically opposed to the federal funding of government programs—like veterans’ homes—in the first place.

Second, he represents the mentality of the Republican state legislators who seem to live for the one and only purpose of blocking funding for programs serving the needs of homeless “brothers and sisters”—many of whom are disabled veterans.

We all hate government waste. Let’s not waste any more tax dollars sending Pete Stiglich to Washington.

Patrick Newman

Exiles’ ‘domestic terrorism’

Re “A cubana on freedom and equality” (Guest comment, by Ana Varona, March 1): As a former longtime resident of Miami, I’d like to point out a few relevant items that Ms. Varona neglects to mention, especially regarding the Cuban expatriate community.

We can argue all day about the relative policies of Castro versus Batista, the U.S.-supported dictator he overthrew. But most Americans really have little idea just how much fanaticism exists within the Cuban “exile” community. So while many Cuban expats may speak eloquently of “freedom and equality,” the record shows that domestic terrorism and right-wing intimidation have been the hallmarks of el exilio for more than 40 years, including frequent fire-bombings, mob violence, and even assassinations of those who dared speak in defense of Castro’s Cuba.

In fact Human Rights Watch/Americas Group issued a report stating that Miami exiles do not tolerate any dissident opinions, that the local Spanish-language radio promotes aggression, and that local government leaders refuse to denounce acts of intimidation such as the attempt by former Miami Commissioner Demetrio Perez to honor exile terrorist Juan Felipe de la Cruz—who, by the way, was accidentally killed while assembling a bomb!

Kathy Lowen

‘Something is terribly wrong’

Re “Special Olympics event canceled” (Newslines, by Vic Cantu, Feb. 23): After 30 years at Chico State, I have never seen our campus in such a terrible state of affairs. Chico State has been systematically alienating both campus and community programs by charging outrageous prices for facilities without regard to the immediate impacts and long-term consequences of these new policies.

The 40th annual Special Olympics Basketball Tournament was canceled last week mostly due to these new policies. The Ability First! sports camp for children in wheelchairs is considering a move to Shasta College due to financial issues. This summer camp has been on campus for more than 25 years. Last year a camp for individuals for autism was forced to use the dorms’ recreation room instead of the state-of-the-art autism lab on campus due to costs.

I volunteer for all of these programs and know that our students clearly benefit from their service and gain immeasurable experience working with individuals with disabilities. This opportunity to serve others that used to be called “the Chico experience” is in great jeopardy due to these new policies.

Discretion and common sense must be used when implementing the chancellor’s dictate, especially with nonprofits. Who is responsible for these new policies that have changed the fabric of Chico State? What improvement is expected by these new policies? Something is terribly wrong.

Debra Roth

Editor’s note: For more on the Special Olympics tournament cancellation, see Downstroke, page 8.

A good impression

Re “A lasting impression” (Newslines, by Catherine Beeghly, March 1): What a premium impression was made of Chico to the 19 out-of-towners who were part of the cast and crew of last month’s film shoot, Super Tuesday. A true sense of local pride was experienced by those of us on the team who have the fortune to call Chico home and seeing it through the eyes of our visiting colleagues. In the cast and crew were people from Paris, Madrid, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as many from Chico, Paradise and the surrounding areas.

I am deeply grateful to the many business owners, local organizations, law-enforcement departments, Chico State, the city of Chico and Butte and Glenn counties, the neighborhood of Chapmantown and the many Chicoans who were so supportive and generous during filming.

We could not have accomplished this without you. On behalf of the producers and entire film team, I thank you.

Coy Middlebrook
Producer/director, Super Tuesday

‘The biggest fraud in history’

Re “The Heartland effect” (Letters, by John Poteet, March 1): Let’s get a few things straight: The “Climategate” emails weren’t taken by police without a search warrant. They aren’t under attorney-client privilege. They aren’t intellectual property, any more than a routine corporate memorandum would be. Therefore, no right of privacy was violated, and there is no “theft” involved in disclosing them.

On the contrary, the people who disclosed the emails were whistleblowers rightfully—and courageously—calling attention to what is shaping up as the biggest fraud in history—a fraud that will make Bernie Madoff’s speculations look like pocket change by comparison.

Those emails spell out exactly how, and how deliberately, the data has been manipulated and flat-out falsified to support the AGW “theory.” They are a smoking gun if ever there was one.

Why? AGW is nothing but leftist politics, not science. Apropos the leftist political agenda, the end justifies the means, and the means includes lying and intimidating skeptics. If you can’t win an argument by reason and facts, you win it by deceit and force.

What is the leftist agenda? Tax and regulate everything to death until the world falls under a totalitarian kleptocracy.

In today’s context the left is neither liberal nor progressive. It is not liberal because of its open assault on inalienable rights. It is not progressive because it clings to inhumane ideas long since discredited. What the left is, is reactionary—it fits the dictionary definition of that word perfectly.

Chad Wozniak

More than sporting goods

Re “Ever climbing” (Cover feature, by Meredith J. Graham, Feb. 23): I seldom think of Mountain Sports as just a backpack and climbing store, which it is, of course, but rather a great place for up-to-date fashions. My wife frequently shops there for quality and fashionable clothing at a respectable price, and she is known as a very good shopper with great taste in clothing. When she went on the 50-mile Avon cancer walk, she purchased all of her walking gear at Mountain Sports.

As for myself, I love the comfortable shoes. They are durable and last much longer than the look-a-likes. Bottom line, buy local and support our local economy for excellent quality and customer support. Thanks for being a Chico landmark, Mountain Sports. We love you guys and gals.

Robert Fay

Christian theology and the GOP

How can Rush Limbaugh, Christian theology and the Republican Party be in harmony with each other? Just for laughs, Google “Bible and poor.” You might begin to see where Christian thought leads. A memorable verse: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18.

Yet the Republican Party and its spokesmen are pretty clear: What I have earned is mine! I refuse to share with anyone. I will not support any programs that help the poor or the elderly, such as Social Security or Medicare. I will not support health care for everyone unless you can pay for it like I do. And we have already spent way too much on public education! I will send my children to private schools and to hell with public schools.

Most important, I want further tax cuts. I am against big government that contributes anything to social programs. I want small government, with a huge defense budget to protect my investments around the world. And, by the way, I am strongly in favor of full rights and citizenship for the unborn fetus, but by god when he leaves the womb he had better get a good job and stand on his own two feet or he can go to the devil with the rest of the freeloaders.

Gary Janosz

Egalitarian punksters

I absolutely loved the way the “punk” category was handled for this year’s Cammies nominations. Punk is an egalitarian genre (if you can learn a couple of chords and a beat, you can play), and the nomination of all punk bands fits with the basic ethos. Past nominations have inevitably splintered the scene, with everybody claiming this or that band “isn’t punk” (me included).

Hopefully this will continue in the future! See you at the Punk showcase at Monstros!

Jamie B Lively

A day for spaying

Last week, all across the country, animal lovers and veterinarians coordinated to recognize World Spay Day 2012. The goal of Spay Day is to help reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens born each year, and eventually reduce the rate of euthanasia within the nation’s animal shelters.

Locally, Paws of Chico and Valley Oak Veterinary Center participated on Saturday, Feb. 25. In total, 54 female cats and 21 male cats were spayed or neutered at a reduced cost to the owner.

This was made possible by a great volunteer effort from Paws, VOVC, many other local veterinary offices and schools. Doctors, technicians, assistants, receptionists, students and managers all volunteered their time. Thank you to Valley Oak for providing the beautiful, spacious facility, logistic support and lunch for all the helpers.

Paws of Chico is a local nonprofit that assists low-income pet owners who wish to have their pets spayed/neutered but do not have the resources. Paws is funded by very specific grants and donations. If you are interested in supporting this very worthy organization that does visible good, please send donations to: Paws of Chico, P.O. Box 93, Chico, CA 95927

Cynthia Gerrie

Suzanne Hanson DVM

Budget backgrounder

Re “When money equals speech” (Online Letters, by Chuck Greenwood, March 1): First let’s try this approach to understanding the city of Chico’s budget. Every student and citizen with the right to vote should read this from beginning to end, not half way:


After you have read that well-thought-out article that warns all people, not just your left or right polarizer, please compare the article to a quote from Mr. Greenwood’s letter. He writes, “When a voter’s choices are limited to candidates whose campaigns are financed by corporations, the democratic ideal of ‘one man, one vote’ is compromised. All branches of the government are ultimately affected, and the wisdom of the Constitution’s ‘check and balances’ is nullified. Certain traditions of democracy begin to disappear—like equity of participation and representation, transparency and accountability.”

I dare every professor at Chico State, every student at Chico State, and every taxpayer who got financially raped to try to dispel the comparative logic the article and Chuck’s quote both display. Both are convincing enough to prove that all it takes is a sucker that hasn’t learned “never believe anything you hear and half of what you see” to ruin our political democracy. Politicians from both parties taught us that; now what are you suckers going to do about it?

Rick Clements

Time to reform taxes

As a small-business owner, the frustration of tax time is here again. Checking receipts, I see I have already paid a substantial percent of my income on property, sales, fuel, power, phone and other added use taxes. I’m convinced that the average worker pays a higher percent in taxes than the elite 1 percent. The fact that more wealth has concentrated into fewer hands over the last 30 years proves that to me.

America’s economic might was created by building an advanced infrastructure and educating its people. Today both the infrastructure and economy are deteriorating. As before, it would be in the interest of the super wealthy who benefit the most to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure. And more money left in the pockets of the worker/consumer class would result in more spending on goods and services. This is how you keep the economic engine running.

We need simplified tax reform to focus on where the money is concentrated. Even the wealthy aristocrats want tax reform. Unfortunately, they just want their tax rate reduced, not an elimination of their deductions and loopholes. In their view, they already have 70,000 pages of the best tax code money and lobbyists can buy.

Erich Ziller
Hammond Ranch