Letters for May 13, 2004

After carefully studying the materials provided by both those for and against the creation of a downtown Property and Business Improvement District [PBID], I would like to express my opinions and reactions, as well as those of my family, to this proposal.

We are supportive of the creation of an improvement district for downtown Chico but not in its present form. The issues of security and maintenance are extremely important to the entire community, but in this proposal they have been bundled with services for the individual businesses along with their promotion, which we feel is duplicating the efforts of the Downtown Chico Business Association, the business owners themselves as well as the property owners.

We would support a more limited scope of activities in the areas of maintenance, beautification and security, which would clearly benefit all entities. This would be at a much reduced cost while eliminating the replication of various studies and promotions that already have been developed and instituted.

I look forward to seeing a modified version of this proposal move ahead with the support of all the above parties.

Betty Jane Roth

What about Tibet?
I guess the freedoms that Mr. Jones thinks that Americans are supposedly fighting for do not include the freedom of public dissent and the right of free speech, regardless of the forum [“Go fish, Joe,” Letters, May 6]. But, more important, I would like to point out that from WWII until our response to 9/11 in Afghanistan (not Iraq), we have not defended this country’s freedoms at all.

Every war since World War II has been a war of aggression by the United States to protect our self-serving interests. And if Mr. Jones feels that we should be defending poor countries that are “oppressed and abused,” why are we not freeing Tibet from China, which has been occupied and oppressed by the Chinese since 1949? Could it possibly be because it is not located strategically enough or perhaps it doesn’t have oil?

Kirk Yarnell
Received via e-mail

Hard fit
Maybe democracy isn’t for everyone.

Jewel Fryer
Received via e-mail

Tortured language
Why are our journalists refusing to use the T-word when describing what some of our soldiers did to Iraqi prisoners? When Hitler stripped Jewish people naked, jailed and gassed them we called it torture. When Saddam imprisoned, shamed, whipped, beat and killed those who opposed him, we called that torture. Now I ask, if you had done to you what our American soldiers did to the Iraqi prisoners, what would you call it, abuse or torture?

I feel like I’m living in Orwell’s 1984 after listening to our conservative media’s repeated use of “abuse” to refer to what our soldiers did to the Iraqi prisoners. It is obvious that American soldiers were torturing them. It seems that our media have bought into the Bush administration’s spin to refer to what was done as “abuse.”

I’ll ask again. Put yourself in the Iraqi prisoners’ shoes. If Iraqi soldiers did to you what our soldiers did to those Iraqi prisoners, would you describe it as abuse or torture?

Our journalists claim to call a spade a spade. They should call torture by its name.

Mark Bykerk Kauffman

Trail mix
A year or two ago I volunteered to pick up trash in Bidwell Park during one of Butte Environmental Council’s park cleanups. I drove a truckload of teenage boys out to Brown’s Hole, where we filled five trash bags full of recreational litter (including broken glass).

As I trudged up one of the many trails from the creek to the parking area, lugging my trashy treasure, I heard the obnoxious reverberation of a chainsaw. Ahead on the path I saw a little boy carrying a backpack and a gas can. Then I saw his father, intent on removing a 5-inch oak tree that was threatening to impede hikers sometime in the future. The saw was in the hands of Dr. Michael Jones.

Mike has done some marvelous volunteer trail work in Bidwell Park, but I had reservations about this example of heavy-handed trail maintenance. When he paused to pitch the slashed vegetation into the trailside underbrush, I passed by, wondering why Jones insists on going it alone in his aspiration to improve our public land. Why was he filling the canyon with the roar of his power saw on a Saturday when the rest of the community was coming together to remove the droppings of less-conscientious park users? Why does he insist on lambasting conservationists who should logically be his allies in his love of nature?

Jim Brobeck

When less is more
How can a company like Monsanto that produces Roundup herbicide and seed genetically engineered to be resistant to Roundup honestly profess that farmers will use fewer pesticides?

I imagine that most farmers spray Roundup on the perimeter of their fields to kill weeds, since it is a non-selective herbicide that can kill their crop. But now, farmers can purchase a one-season supply of Roundup-ready seeds for corn, soybeans, canola and cotton that is resistant to the herbicide, and they can over-spray the entire field.

Logically, if farmers can spray Roundup on their crops instead of just around their crops, they will be buying and spraying more, not less Roundup. This extra income will allow Monsanto to sue farmers whose crops became accidentally contaminated by Monsanto’s free-flowing GE-patented pollens. What a beautiful business plan. Worried about your property rights? If not, you should be. Farmers, read the fine print. Sign the GEFREEBUTTE petition today.

Luisa Garza

Hitler’s charisma
We like to think we are morally superior to others. Ariel Sharon, like Hitler, believes God gave his people a right to lebensraum at the expense of other ethnic groups. But the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. …”

Indeed, in my opinion Bush and the guards at Abu Ghraib prison are no better (and no worse) than Hitler and the guards at Auschwitz. Bush, like Hitler, believes the end justifies the means. I believe they are one and the same.

Individual differences must be recognized. Hitler was a charismatic public speaker. Fortunately, Bush is not.

Bill McCord