Letters for May 1, 2014
No way to limits
Re “Limitations are needed” (Editorial, April 24):
This statement that the right to bear arms must be subject to reasonable limitations is an oxymoron: Privileges are subject to limitations, but the only restrictions on rights are the rights of others. People have the right to life. People have the right to keep and bear arms. These are natural rights that are not alienable. They may not be taken, sold or infringed upon in any way.
Two on eco-package
Re “In the bag” (Green Issue, by Melissa Daugherty, April 17):
I admire that Chico is taking the steps to reduce waste and improve our environment. I think this movement will bring awareness to our community on the negative impact plastic bags bring to our wildlife, our landfills and our economy.
I heard that it costs about $4,000 to process and then recycle plastic bags. Recycling is ideal, but it is costly and better to place restrictions on plastic bags for consumers.
I also appreciate the exemption for WIC and CalFresh participants on paper bags. Another way to encourage shoppers to bring their reusable bags is to offer a discount on merchandise. While it may be unrealistic for businesses to have sales daily, having a day of the week or specific day(s) of the month may bring attention to downtown businesses and reduce waste in our community.
Re “Not out of the woods” (Green Issue, by Ken Smith, April 17) and “Haps on the CAP (Green Issue, by Evan Tuchinsky, April 17):
I read your articles on the city’s failure to fund an urban forest manager and the state of the Chico Climate Action Plan. It seems Chicoans (and the USA) are failing to act on countering climate change and ignoring the potential to cool the city by growing our urban forest. Such a waste!
Chico should be a “cool community.” We know how to abate climate change. We have the knowledge, technology, the capital and the labor to do the job (really!). We know that it puts people to work and saves building owners and energy users money. We could abate droughts, superstorms, crop failures and the flood of climate refugees surely to come to our shores.
To solve climate change we’ll need to do deep energy retrofits on every building/house in the country, put solar PV on every roof, replace all our Edison lights with LEDs, replace our auto/truck fleet with plug-in hybrids and replace all the old toilets with dual-flushers. Planting a native shade tree for every Chico citizen would be a good start for carbon storage and cooling Chico’s summer heat. There is a tremendous amount of work to do. Let’s get to it.
Re “Market committee formed” (Downstroke, April 24):
I find it hard to believe that the subcommittee to try to deal with the current impasse over where the Saturday market should be located consists mostly of opponents of the vendors’ wish to stay at the [Second and Wall streets] parking lot. I wonder what conclusion they will reach? This is obviously another delay tactic in order to reach Dec. 31, 2014, and then say “Well, we tried … the farmers just couldn’t see reason.”
Editor’s note: See “Market confusion,” Newslines, page 9, for more on this topic.
An eco-friendly event
How refreshing and unexpected it was to see the effort the California Nut Festival organizers took to make their April 19 event more sustainable. I was one of many who parked at their bike valet, and others took advantage of their shuttle from downtown. Best of all was the glass they gave each attendee for the drinks. At six drinks per person, how much plastic did that save! I hope other Chico festivals will follow suit.
No handouts for art
Re “Arts, culture take a hit” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, April 10):
I have been an artist most of my life; drawing and music. I supported myself and my family in business all of my adult life until retirement. Never once did I seek financial help from the government.
Now that I am retired I am concentrating on my art, which is pastel painting. I currently have my paintings on display at Morning Thunder. As with my business career, I expect my art to stand on its own two feet. The thought of applying for government assistance never crossed my mind.
I think the city should make drastic cuts in certain areas, one of them being the arts. The city needs to be run in a businesslike manner. When times are good, spend accordingly while saving for when times are bad. When times are bad, one needs to cut back. Cities should be no exception to the rule.
Print is too small
You have finally reached your goal of making the print on many pages so small that it is not worth the effort to decipher it. Why don’t you make the whole paper with this smallest print so I can quit reading the whole thing?
Again, more market letters
I find it amazing the false rumors surrounding the Saturday farmers’ market having to be “saved.” Now they are trying to bully themselves into keeping their location under false pretenses.
Basically, they don’t even want to consider moving to the Chico Municipal Center parking lot. So much for being a good neighbor. I took it upon myself to get plot maps of both locations. I also observed how the market participants set up on Saturday, as I was told they couldn’t maneuver in the other lot.
What I found was that the other parking lot easily meets or exceeds their needs. With a little creativity, I could see utilizing the vast walking area outside the front doors. The whole setting seems a lot more user-friendly and inviting. Take a look for yourself. A few issues would have to be addressed, like the 17 city vehicles I saw in the lot early Saturday, but I’m sure they can be worked out.
Change is not easy, but I see a stronger market there. No more bickering with business owners who pay a lot more rent and show up five to seven days a week! Let’s get back to a kinder, gentle Chico that I grew up in.
Please make plans to improve the farmers’ markets of Chico. I love browsing the stalls and buying my “real” food from friendly people. Buying food at the market is much more enjoyable than shopping inside a store.
The Chico Certified Farmers’ Market is an important social and economical resource for me. I have mild to severe food allergies. MSG, HFCS, gluten and dairy are easily avoided when I shop at the market. I love getting all the cool advice from the vendors who treat those who buy from them as family.
What’s not to love about the farmers’ market? I go there often. All the controversy, however, seems a tempest in a teapot. The current market is between Second and Third streets; a proposed move is to the municipal lot between Fourth and Fifth streets. Do the math; in effect, it’s moving the market one block! Come on, people, get your panties in a bunch about something more important.
I too love the downtown Chico farmers’ market. It is a great resource for buying directly from producers, and it is always fun just to stroll. I want to see it continue to prosper.
The issue seems simple to me. Good News number one: The farmers’ market is so successful that it has outgrown its current location. Good News number two: The city of Chico is supportive and would like to explore new opportunities that accommodate current and future growth.
The city has a variety of properties that just might work. Bad News number one: The leadership of the farmers’ market refuses to sit down with other interest groups and explore new options. Bad News number two: We are now inundated with political campaign tactics that vilify city leadership and use scare tactics that polarize and lead people to believe the farmers’ market is in danger of being closed, which is simply not true.
Please, spare us all this drama. Work toward common goals, look beyond what exists, and envision something that will be even better, for now and into the foreseeable future.
It’s clear that the Saturday farmers’ market is tremendously successful right where it is, so let’s take that as a given and start asking: What reason could anybody—downtown merchants, city government, developers, perhaps—have for wanting to force the market to uproot?
The stated objection is that it takes up too much parking, so shoppers don’t patronize surrounding businesses on Saturday. That begs credulity. The parking lot is half-empty every other day of the week. Perhaps that’s because some potential shoppers want to park right smack in front of their destination and won’t walk the block or two from the parking lot, or perhaps some are deterred by the perceived nuisance of the downtown transients, but Sunday through Friday, there’s ample room in that lot.
Conversely, it has been surveyed and documented that market patrons stroll on to other businesses during their downtown visit. So parking is a red herring.
What other reason might there be for wanting to evict the farmers’ market? Well, there’s the city’s fiscal crisis—maybe selling that lot to a developer could raise a lot of cash. High-stakes developments, however, usually entail big promises, tax abatements, and infrastructure costs we all absorb; if there’s any possibility of selling that lot into private development, the voters have a right to hear about it and vote on it.
Sit/lie law revisited
Chico is making homelessness illegal. Within the Chico municipal code, “no person shall sit or lie down upon a public sidewalk, curb or street, or upon a blanket, stool, chair or other object placed upon a public sidewalk, curb or street which is adjacent to any property zoned or used for commercial uses, as defined in Title 19 of this Code, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (2013).”
Not only that, but penalties such as fines are enforced. This ordinance is targeting a population that does not have the funds to pay these fees let alone provide for themselves.
Instead of hiring security in front of downtown businesses, we should use those funds to provide more services for this population, such as looking into shelters to provide more rooms so they’re not wandering around Chico. Let’s open up a learning center where the homeless population can develop daily living skills or work workshops.
I believe that criminalizing the homeless population is wrong. We as a community should assist this population and address its members’ concerns to make our community a safe environment for all.
Research is underfunded
I recently lost a great-grandfather who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and I have another great-grandfather figure who suffers from the disease. It wasn’t until these past couple of years that I realized the severity of Alzheimer’s.
It saddens me to see that there isn’t as much funding and effort put into the research of this subject. I’m just going to assume that it’s the lack of knowledge around this disease instead of the lack of care as to why the funding is so limited. It is in hopes that this matter will become more of an issue to others and funding will increase by 10 fold.
Pulling for Petersen
As close friends and neighbors with Al Petersen, candidate for Butte County assessor, we give him our full support in his effort to further his career as assessor. Al graduated from Chico State in 1986, has 25 years experience in the complex duties of the assessor’s office, and currently serving his sixth year as chief appraiser in Sutter County.
Al Petersen is not a politician and the office he is seeking is a not a political position. Until this year he and his wife, Ann, have never had a political sign in their yard! He is very active in the community working with the Chico food project, Adopt-a-highway, Chico Velo, Bidwell Mansion, Taste of Chico, Habitat for Humanity, and more.
We have been neighbors with Al and his family for almost 20 years. Both of us have served on our homeowners’ association board with Al. All who know Al will agree that he is a responsible, ethical and capable American gentleman.
So when you vote on June 3, we urge you to make the right choice for Butte County Assessor and vote for the most experienced candidate: Al Petersen.
Loretta and Charlie Carroll