Letters for May 12, 2005

Of Zingg I sing
a coronation

with scepter, medallion, ring

bring King Zingg’s bling-bling!

Jim Dwyer
a.k.a The Rev. Junkyard Moondog


Market and park it
I read with interest the Guest comment by Karl Ory ["Think beyond the parking lot,” April 28]. As the architectural project manager for the city of Chico’s Second and Wall streets parking structure design process, I would like to clarify several points, as an unsuspecting reader could become confused.

The preliminary design architects (Watry Design) were directed by the previous City Council to present a spectrum of design alternatives, not just a four-story, 700-space structure. (They are to consider at least three levels but possibly up to five, for a maximum of 700 spaces.) The council also clearly directed that alternative designs be created for the Second and Wall site, with close consideration given to an improved venue for the Farmers’ Market on the site and to street-level retail space.

At this point, early in the design process, draft alternatives have been presented to the public for comment—and each one includes an attractive outdoor venue for the market, with various configurations of retail and pedestrian-friendly spaces.

Clearly the city does not “think that maybe the Saturday Farmers’ Market can be located inside.”

The design process is working—input from the first two charrettes has affected the evolution of the concepts in a very positive and creative way. I have been impressed with the creative thinking provided by the architectural team and with the sophisticated input provided by the public.

I encourage all interested in this project to participate. Once the very best spectrum of alternatives is available, the present City Council will have the tools to decide the larger issues of need and location. There is no “done deal” until the City Council decides.

David Martin Griffith

Parking perceptions
The downtown parking situation is far from desperate. We go there at all times of day and evening and have never had to park more than about a block away from our destination. We know that it is hard to pry Americans out of their cars, but with the global oil situation and the pressures on downtown businesses, projections for more parking should be looked at with great care and skepticism.

The proposed location is a disaster. One of the main entrances to downtown—one that already features a fairly complicated traffic pattern—would be poorly served by more congestion (if the new structure was successfully drawing customers) and what will surely be an esthetic negative. If a new structure is absolute necessary to the continued prosperity of downtown (a goal that we certainly share), surely there is a better site.

And then there is the effect on the Saturday Farmers’ Market. This market is one of the things that makes Chico special, and its allure will not be increased by holding it in the basement of some parking garage. Of course, the deleterious effects on the market by the construction phase go without saying, no matter how much tap dancing the proponents do.

Although some money has already been spent on preliminary studies for a structure at this site, it is definitely not too late to avoid the big mistake that putting a structure on that site would be.

O. J. and Gene Anna McMillan

What did Jesus say?
I recently participated in a panel on the moral issues dividing the nation during the last presidential election. One panel participant grounded his moral viewpoint in the words of Jesus, saying that, while he was a Christian, he preferred to be regarded as “a follower of Jesus.” You can imagine my dismay, when this follower of Jesus declared his support for the war in Iraq. While not a Christian myself, I recently reread the four gospels recounting the words of Jesus, and I’m baffled how a proclaimed follower of Jesus can support the violence of war.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute you.”

Jesus didn’t say love your enemies unless you think it best to kill them. And he didn’t argue a “just war” theory that allows for self-defense either. When a follower drew a sword in defense of Jesus’ very life, Jesus told him to “put up thy sword; for all they who take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

Aren’t all Christians “followers of Jesus"? Do they ever read the words attributed to him? If so, when will these professed followers of Jesus actually follow Jesus and declare to the world, as Jesus unequivocally did, a brave, uncompromising gospel of nonviolence?

Lin Jensen

Bush to challenge Israel?
No president since JFK has challenged the Israeli nuclear-weapons program (and look what happened to him). Those members of Congress who opposed the annual $4 billion in aid and arms for Israel were defeated in the next election by the pro-Israel vote (Pete Stark, for starters). Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank are being built with American money and protected with American weapons while politicians talk of a peace process.

The Palestinians have no defense against cruise missiles except retaliation by suicide bombers, including their Arabian co-religionists on 9/11. We continue our aid while Israel alters the reality on the ground. Action talks louder than words.

President Bush, who is barred by the Constitution from a third term, is sounding like he might be serious about cutting off aid for Israel if Israel doesn’t pull out of the West Bank. Bush’s base of supporters is the oil industry. Moslem countries have the oil, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, etc. Does oil trump the Israeli lobby?

Bill McCord

Change the approach
I admire the few people I know on the Chico school board, but now that Superintendent Brown has finally had the good sense to resign or retire, I would like to comment on the board’s relationship to the next chosen superintendent, in view of its apparent relationship to the present one. From Wall Street to small towns, there is a default position across America that most boards seem to follow: Back the person we hired or that we have to live with. Whether with fingers crossed or stone-walling the public, back our guy.

The good stewardship the public expects from elected board members often falters here, and the executive whom the board is supposed to supervise and evaluate (or if necessary, dismiss) somehow morphs into the board’s one and only stakeholder. During week after week, month after month, of public turmoil, the board seemed to dig in its heels, circle the wagons and back their guy—without ever really explaining why. Let’s hope this changes.

Donald Heinz