Letters for May 12, 2016

One on the cover

Re “Finding wholeness” (Cover story, by Gabor Maté, May 5):

Dr. Gabor Maté’s recent cover story suggesting that holistic and integrative medicine are the Holy Grail in preventing and treating illness may misdirect readers into the realm of magical thinking.

As unappealing as it may be to Maté, scientific findings, which are often tentative and suggestive in nature, are preferable to his absolutes grounded in the speculative relationship between emotional health and disease. Mainstream medical research has a long history of investigating such links and most, if not all, such studies have failed to confirm Maté’s hypothesis.

Victim-blaming, which is one outcome of this line of thought, is not congruent with more recent medical research. I suggest that readers interested in a scientific perspective lacking in hyperbole consult such sources as the work of Robert Sapolsky and his highly readable Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

Roland Lamarine


Editor’s note: Dr. Maté’s conclusions about the mind-body connection are based in part on researchers’ recent groundbreaking discovery of microscopic lymphatic vessels that connect the brain to the immune system.

Scrap yard, boulevard

Re “Two thorny issues” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, May 5):

Sitting before the Chico City Council Tuesday night (May 3), I suddenly felt like I had morphed into a rerun of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, James Stewart’s great movie about a naïve rookie U.S. senator.

Sen. Smith’s loss of innocence very much matched mine when the Chico City Council voted 4-3 (along ideological lines) to essentially give the Chico Scrap Metal yard a free pass.

For the conservative majority, it was one of the easiest votes they have made since coming into office. The Chapman neighborhood that will be most affected by the ongoing presence of CSM consists primarily of county residents who have no say in selecting council members.

It was much easier for the advocates of The Esplanade when they addressed the council earlier in the evening. Those neighbors came away with at least a momentary victory.

Maybe the scrap metal yard does not pollute. Maybe Flint, Mich., has wonderful drinking water. And maybe someday Chico’s citizens will think twice about electing a City Council member who previously was a paid consultant for CSM’s owners.

Unlike Sen. Smith in Washington, our ending stinks.

Ronald Angle


The City Council’s conservative majority is a blight on the community. Those four members are unwilling to do what is right because of misguided cronyism or downright laziness. The Chico Scrap Metal facility needs to move. It is the nature of the waste stream that they have polluted in the past and will pollute in the future.

A lead specialist writes: “Lead poisoning in children is especially pernicious, as symptoms are often disguised as cold or flu-like symptoms that don’t seem to go away, hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, and even no apparent symptoms. It doesn’t take much to lead poison children.”

And what about PCBs? Equipment and material manufactured before 1979 include: automobiles, automobile parts, transformer shells, hydraulic equipment, electrical equipment parts, grease-filled insulated electrical cable, ignition coil capacitors, drums and containers, major home appliance capacitors. Common items!

Where is the conscience of this community?

The conservative council had not one word of concern about the children living near the facility. It is a disgrace and amounts to criminal negligence. The issue remains that the business is polluting the environment of a residential neighborhood, and it is intolerable to let it remain, no matter how entrenched it has become.

Chris Nelson


Recalling a bright summer morning decades ago when first cycling the lovely Esplanade and being stunned at the realism of the Greek Doric pillars on Taylor Hall. We had to reach out and feel this alluring three-dimensional illusion to ascertain its authenticity. It became tragic to witness this masterpiece disappear but even more enthralling to see it restored as one of the world’s greatest murals.

The Esplanade, too, has historically illuminated the town like a beacon of magnificence and beauty seemingly forever. Yet unlike the gifted creator of “Academe,” there exist no creatures alive—not even all the king’s horses—who are brilliant enough to bring back to life this precious and sacred promenade once it has crumbled into fragments forever. It is quite challenging to enjoy life while going around in circles. It also makes it more difficult to closely “follow the money.”

Kenneth B. Keith

Los Molinos

The picture in this week’s CN&R shows a dangerous-looking crosswalk with high school students trying to cross. To me, this looks more like a problem with drivers not obeying the law that states that when a pedestrian is waiting to cross or crossing in the crosswalk that the pedestrian has the right of way and not the driver.

The drivers are zooming by as if it is their right. It is not their right, and perhaps more cops should be on The Esplanade, especially during school hours, to ticket those who ignore the rules. Also, make them read the DMV driver’s manual.

June McLane


Driving south on The Esplanade in the early morning, three out of five days there will be someone who jams through on a yellow or red light at First Avenue. And that’s just one light cycle during commuting hours.

We all have time, the same number of hours in a day. Being a little more generous with our time, willing to wait a minute or two at the intersection, would be an immediate simple solution to saving lives and making our community a little safer for us all—pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.

Carolyn Fields


Props to the arts editor

Re “A Chico mix” (Cover story, April 28):

Jason Cassidy has reached some sort of pinnacle as a curator, historian, journalist, storyteller and town griot. It’s one thing to be the arts editor of a local newspaper, but Jason has turned it up a notch. As evidence, I encourage local music fans to type “Best Chico Songs” into YouTube. There you’ll find the logical extension of a print publication into the digital world. This artifact of culture obviously took many of hours of work beyond his job description. I’ve left that website on in the background all week, so I can randomly hear songs by Morris Taylor, Vomit Launch, MaMuse, Mother Hips and many others back to back to back.

It’s the soundtrack of our town’s narrative and a model of great entertainment news coverage that other communities should be encouraged to emulate. As I watched him gleefully and proudly hand out award after award at the CAMMIES this year, I couldn’t help but think Jason deserves the biggest award of all for his unwavering support of local music, arts and culture. Maybe a permanent statue out in front of Duffy’s Tavern? Bravo, Mr. Cassidy.

Peter Berkow


‘The big question …’

Re “Love, not tough love” (Letters, by Patrick Newman) and “Bittersweet success” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, May 5):

In response to Mr. Newman’s decidedly predictable response to my letter. In my time on the streets, drug and alcohol addiction among the homeless population seemed the rule rather than the exception. The statement that 95 percent of people on the streets are there under different circumstances seems rather generous. No matter what the reason, the big question is what are they doing to remedy their situation?

The recent Project Homeless Connect is a big step in the right direction. These are the kinds of services the homeless need. They are a prime example of a “hand up” instead of a “hand out.” I’d be interested to see how many people follow up and further utilize the services offered.

But it’s like the saying goes: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” We can offer all the services we want, but it’s up to the individual to put forth the effort to make the services work. If we make it easy to be homeless, then where is the incentive to seek services and change?

John Matlin


Hail to the chief

Over the years, Chico State’s University Advisory Board has had a bird’s-eye view to observe President Paul Zingg as he deftly handled the challenges associated with his work. During his tenure, Chico State has thrived, achieving levels of student success and institutional excellence not seen before. We are cognizant that achieving such high levels of success does not occur in a vacuum; we are also aware that many hands and minds have contributed to the outcomes. We are equally cognizant of the fact that success is not possible without visionary leadership and a tough skin. He has proven to have both vision and courage.

President Zingg, on behalf of the entire University Advisory Board, I want to wish you and your family continued success as you begin the next leg of your journey. We also want to express our gratitude to you for inviting us to be a part of the university we all hold in the highest esteem. More importantly, we thank you for the integrity you brought to your work. Chico State is better for your having served as its president!

Farshad Azad


Vote yes on E

The Sacramento River and Feather River basins together constitute a large portion of California’s water supply. Therefore it is especially important that we in Butte County avoid contaminating our aquifers by fracking—a method of fossil fuel extraction in which rock strata thousands of feet below the surface are fractured by injection of millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals such as benzene, thereby allowing fossil fuels trapped within the strata to be released. Unfortunately, the groundwater can be contaminated by both the chemicals and the fossil fuels. Therefore I request that you vote yes on Measure E, which will ban fracking in Butte County.

Various documentaries have filmed people who live near fracked wells actually lighting their tap water on fire due to contamination of their well water with fossil fuels. People living near fracked wells have reported serious health problems and wilted crops.

Fracking has been documented in Glenn, Colusa and Sutter counties, so it could also happen in Butte County. Climatologists tell us we should expect more intense draughts in the future. We cannot live without clean water. Please vote yes on Measure E to ban fracking in Butte County. Let’s promote solar/wind energy instead.

Sharon Fritsch


Frack-Free Butte County (FFBC) came into being in the fall of 2013 because of the fracking in the neighboring counties of Glenn and Sutter. FFBC wanted to keep fracking out of Butte County, so they drafted an initiative to ban fracking and approached the Board of Supervisors to ask for their support.

The board was not only receptive to the idea, its members actually voted 4-1 to ban fracking and directed staff to come up with a draft proposal. Well, FFBC went on to collect over 8,000 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, but it was delayed when the oil industry challenged it. FFBC eventually prevailed, but only after it was too late to get the initiative on the November 2014 general election ballot.

Then, in the fall of 2015, county staff finally came up with their own proposal to ban fracking, and it was terrific. Unfortunately, by then, the oil companies had politicked the board enough that its members reneged on their promise to ban fracking. Instead, they settled for a weak ban on fracking wastewater instead. Please help finish this worthy campaign by voting yes on Measure E!

William Bynum