Letters for May 16, 2002

Don’t pick on Kim
As someone who occasionally comments on current events, I would like to offer my two bits concerning the irresponsible recall attempt of Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi. Readers (and listeners) who know me also know that, while my political meter tilts to the right, I always try to be fair and balanced in my evaluation of others. Balance is all that I am asking for here.

Obviously Kim Yamaguchi’s popularity has wavered in Butte County, especially with the defeat of Measure B. One could say he is almost as notoriously disliked by some as Supervisor Jane Dolan is by others. However, what Yamaguchi and Dolan do seem to have in common is that they are supported in their respective districts.

The problem here is that a relatively small number of voters (in this case roughly 5,000) can force a recall vote in the middle of a supervisor’s term. An office holder with Yamaguchi’s support (he won with more than 60 percent of the vote) would likely win in the recall vote. However the county, not the recall proponents, would still have to pay for the whole procedure. An approved recall would also mean more bickering and a continuous running of the public circus show we have been forced to watch for the past year.

A recall is a serious action that should not be used lightly or by those with political vendettas. We as a voting body should save recall actions for office holders who truly breach the public trust or who commit criminal or treasonous acts. Kim Yamaguchi’s only offense was to propose a redistricting plan that didn’t meet Jane Dolan’s fancy. That does not justify a recall.

I urge voters to use their common sense and “just say no” to the recall petition.

Bruce Sessions

Industry response
Once again, Patty Martin and company have elected to utilize misinformation and sensationalism in an effort to unnecessarily alarm the general public [“Fields of Poison,” May 2].

More than 99 percent of commercial fertilizers are derived from nature via mining processes or a manufacturing process. Less than one tenth of 1 percent of fertilizers are made with recycled materials, and regulation of those materials is already underway at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—a key fact the article failed to include. Why recycle these industrial byproducts? Zinc, a primary micronutrient used in fertilizers and found in zinc lozenges, is a fairly difficult product to find. Recycling prevents the unnecessary loss of this product and cleans up byproducts that would otherwise end up in landfills. Isn’t this what responsible recycling is all about?

Contrary to the article’s insinuation, metals occur naturally in the environment, and scientific research shows the trace amounts of metals in fertilizer are safe. Three different risk assessments, by the EPA, the state of California and the Weinberg Group, all came to the same conclusion: Trace metals in fertilizers pose no threat to human health or the environment. Again, the article failed to include mention of these risk assessments.

The front-page subheading statement that “America’s fields are tainted by fertilizers” not only misleads the public, it also ignores the benefits of nutrients. What’s worse, it disregards the fact that, albeit in a small amount, the industry is utilizing recycling to create a safe product and protect the environment.

Jennifer Lombardi
Director of Communications

California Plant Health Association


Allergy fix
Do you have an allergy [“What’s making us sneeze and wheeze?” May 9]? I did for 10 years. An itchy, red, weepy rash. This worked for me: 100,000 units of Vitamin A a day, half after breakfast and half after dinner. Include 100 units of Vitamin E with each 50,000 units of A as well as 250 to 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin C and keep it up for four months. Adjust these amounts for age, of course.

Isabel McCord

Return to Reagan
While California voters sometimes favor liberal ideas, they are notorious for wanting their state run with business-like efficiency. Gray Davis, while showing that he can pay lip service to liberalism, has proven to be disastrously incompetent when it comes to running our state.

Voters were starting to forget Davis’ bungling of last year’s energy crisis, when along came a new scandal. The Davis administration is now being raked over the coals for its criminal activities with Oracle Corporation. Apparently Oracle sold the state a $95 million software contract, but an after-the-fact audit showed that the state should have paid about $41 million less.

Meanwhile Davis simply fires more of his loyal staff and claims no knowledge of anything. Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio defended the oblivious governor, stating that Davis is “completely mystified by technology.”

While that statement in itself does not say much for Davis, the fact is that a governor should not need a computer science degree to know that it’s wrong to take political contributions, like the $25,000 from Oracle, for state contracts.

November offers voters an alternative to Davis. Challenger Bill Simon is a successful businessman whose political playbook reads more like former Governor Ronald Reagan’s. In times of monetary crisis, California voters historically have gone with the conservative. Bill Simon doesn’t pay much lip service to liberals, but he does know the bottom line, and that certainly earns him my vote.

Steve Thompson

Spinning the truth
We want to thank you for the cover story [“Spinning straw into gold,” April 18]. What a wonderful and informative feature it was. We compliment you on the way you presented both sides of the story. We’re aware it took much research, time and energy. We appreciate your involving the City Council with their comments. We were shocked to learn that they have spent $7 million on this project and have nothing to show for it except moldy straw, which still remains.

Getting the news out, that’s important, that was the goal! What a shame our own newspaper, the Gridley Herald, can’t and doesn’t supply up-to-date news. That comment, “People want to know,” is really true. Not only do we want to know; we also have the right to know.

The article helped generate interest and opened the eyes of so many people. More residents are now feeling comfortable getting involved. People are asking questions and want to share their concerns about the location of the ethanol plant. Most feel it will never mature, and yet the City Council seems to be the only ones that want the plant located so close to town. While always talking about creating new jobs, there would be the same number of jobs whether the ethanol plant were located 10 miles out of town or in town.

The more we research, the stronger we feel locating the ethanol plant inside the city of Gridley will have a devastating effect on our community.

John and Barbara Gately