Letters for May 13, 2010

Yoga teacher feels cheated

Re “More than a good stretch” (Cover story, by Neal Wiegman, May 6):

While I am happy to see an article about yoga in Chico, and glad that my studio was mentioned, I feel that the writer did not do a very good job with the article.

As the owner of Bikram Yoga Chico, I feel that I should have been contacted or informed of the pending article. It would have been nice to be interviewed, but apparently speaking with one of my teachers was good enough for the writer.

I also take issue with the implication that Bikram Yoga and “Hot Yoga” are the same thing. They are not. Not even close. What In Motion Fitness offers in its Hot Yoga class is to Bikram Yoga what the Muzak version of any Beatles song is to the Beatles music.

Bikram Yoga is—as the article mentioned—practiced at 105 degrees Fahrenheit; also (not mentioned in the article) for 90 minutes, performing each posture twice in a mirrored room with carpeted floor. IMF heats the room to only 80-85 degrees, offers classes either 60 minutes or 75 minutes long, and holds each posture only once. They do not have mirrors, and practicing hot yoga on a wood floor is very dangerous and can lead to slipping and injury.

The heat, the repetition of each posture and the proper conditions are very important to the student’s receiving the proper benefits from Bikram Yoga.

There are lots of people attempting to copy what Bikram has achieved with his Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class. Unfortunately, anyone attending a “Hot Yoga” class that is not Bikram Yoga is getting cheated and shortchanged.

As a business owner, an advertiser with the CN&R and a reader of the paper, I feel cheated, and I feel the readers of the article were done a disservice.

Paul Hurschmann

Dolan cares—and shows it

Re “Long-shot candidates” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, May 6):

I live in south Butte County. Almost 10 years ago I became heavily involved in a grassroots movement to cancel an unjustified zoning change and building permit for a parcel of ground on Highway 99 at the south end of Gridley. Overall an unbelievably dangerous proposal from a traffic point of view.

The process of getting the zoning change (light industrial to highway commercial) and the subsequent building permit approved was clearly convoluted, undertaken with no public input, and to my mind involved direct pressure on county planners by at least one pro-growth elected official. Bottom line—right business, wrong location. My guess is that the site in question was purchased by the entrepreneur because of its low price rather than its suitability.

Anyway, after much expense and time the issue came to a hearing before the full Board of Supervisors. My supervisor was about as helpful as a two-legged cow dog. Jane Dolan stepped up, and by her questions and comments it was clear the she had taken the time and effort to come down and examine the intersection in question. After our group’s presentation she proposed overturning the permit, and the rest of the board agreed with her.

So, to my mind not only do we have a supervisor with invaluable knowledge, experience and integrity—we have one who sincerely cares and is willing to go the extra mile for all the citizens in Butte County. We would be well served if the voters in her district decide to keep her in office.

Gordon Jones

Supervisor got it wrong

Re “County wants New Era Mine money” (Downstroke, April 29):

Thanks go out to the Board of Supervisors for the unanimous decision to direct county staff to begin the process for seizure of the funds for reclamation for the New Era Mine.

However, in calling this a “land-use decision,” Supervisor [Kim] Yamaguchi shows a lack of understanding of the heart of this court decision. Judge [Stephen] Benson said that the three members of the Board of Supervisors “prejudicially abused their discretion” in both CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and SMARA (State Mining and Reclamation Act). Despite “overwhelming evidence” the board tried to approve a new project with an invalid permit and reclamation plan and no environmental review.

One hopes that Mr. Yamaguchi has learned the difference between a “land-use decision” (a zoning or general-plan decision) and breaking the laws of the state of California.

Rich Meyers

Solution: Stop eating fish

Re “Keeping seafood sustainable” (Uncommon Sense, May 6):

While I applaud the attempts to supply consumers with sustainable seafood, I think that ocean and river ecosystems are so out of whack and so tippy (to borrow from Malcom Gladwell) that there is simply no way to tell what is sustainable.

The oceans are absorbing the impacts of land-based environmental damage, climate change, offshore oil drilling, as well as fishing (and probably many other impacts that I don’t even know about). Fundamentally, what appears sustainable today may not be tomorrow. I think the only rational choice is to refrain from fish consumption altogether, thus doing what little we can to let the oceans rebound.

Bullet No. 4 in your article, “eating less fish,” should be Greenpeace’s bullet No. 1.

Jeannie Trizzino

Immigration conversation

Re “Arizona’s dangerous bill” (Editorial, April 29):

Policies regarding entry from Mexico by farm laborers are fraught with inhumane abuses and graft. These abuses are perpetuated by the need for large numbers of fruit and vegetable pickers in the United States and the abundance of farm workers in Mexico. Since these grunt jobs are seasonal, growers hire pickers at the lowest possible wage with little regard for their safety, sanitation or survival. Migrants who barely speak English accept conditions of employment without understanding them.

Unsanitary conditions prevail in the fields and crowded encampments. Deaths have resulted from dehydration in fields. Average berry pickers are 28 years old with a life expectancy of 49.

Corporate farmers in the United States consider this grunt labor a necessity. Mexico, the emigrant benefactor, hails this second-largest source of income as essential. Until right-to-work policies are controlled, abuses will continue, and taxpayers will subsidize agriculture through welfare, Medi-Cal, law enforcement and education costs. Politicians are unresponsive except when it comes to votes. Personally, I’d rather pay a little more for fruit.

Dick Cory

The editorial was off the mark. Mexico itself has some of the most Draconian immigration laws—overstaying a visa in Mexico can cost you up to $400; entering Mexico illegally can cost you up to $470, and until last year you could be imprisoned for up to two years. In addition, the Mexican Constitution forbids foreign ownership of land within 6.2 miles of the border and within 32 miles of any coastline.

Mexico is actually quite rich with all that oil, and indeed has the world’s richest billionaire. Their problem is corruption. And they want their poor people to go to the United States so that they become our problem, not theirs—kind of like Cuba dumping their undesirables on us.

You can live in Mexico for about $300 a month, and you only pay utilities once a year (about $15). So it seems Americans should be flocking across the border to live in Mexico, but their Draconian immigration laws and drug-cartel violence are a deterrence.

When I was in Paris I was stopped and asked to show my passport. Foreigners weren’t allowed to work in France, so they checked payroll rosters for “foreign-sounding” names. And Japan allows no immigration whatsoever.

Chico always tries to emulate Berkeley in the 1960s and so is always 30 or 40 years behind the times. Chico is actually quite biased, hypocritical and ignorant, living in a fantasy world it constructed out of misinformation. Fifty percent of California’s school kids nowadays are Latino and only 28 percent white—that’s the real story.

Time to catch up with the present, Chico; you are so passé.

Michael M. Peters


Our story last week about the effort to build more bocce-ball courts in Chico (“Bocce enthusiasts unite,” by Melissa Daugherty) quoted a leader in that effort as saying that a player had to be a member of Chico Racquet Club and Resort to play there. A representative of the club informs us that community members are welcome to play “for a small fee” and that the courts may be reserved for larger groups and special events. In addition, a Bocce Ball Club meets every other Sunday from 3-5 p.m., with drop-in and summer rates beginning May 16.

Also, Dave Schlom, subject of our Greenways story (“Tune in for science,” by Christine LaPado), informs us that the correct place to obtain podcasts of The Blue Dot Report is www.csuchico.edu/gateway/communicate/podcasts.shtml.—ed.