Letters for May 16, 2013

Questions sorely needed

Re “Is the council losing control?” (Letters, by Emily Alma, Mark Sorensen and Scott Gruendl,” April 25):

A letter writer [Alma] accuses the City Council of losing control of staff, and two councilmen respond in a joint letter, insinuating “a subversive whisper campaign emanating from City Hall” against their newly hired city manager, Brian Nakamura. They want us to think everything downtown is copasetic.

Councilmen Scott Gruendl and Mark Sorensen claim Nakamura has the support of “a council supermajority.” But not the “unanimous council” that hired the guy?

Gruendl and Sorensen claim “reorganization has not resulted in layoffs”—what about the wrongful-termination suit that was filed against the city on Feb. 1?

I wonder if the hostile atmosphere downtown could be one explanation for the $10 million missing from the development fund, or the $50 million “structural deficit” attributed to “unfunded pension liabilities.”

And how does raising department-head salaries save money? Gruendl admitted at a council meeting that we would not see the savings from this reorganization “for years.” How many years?

Gruendl and Sorensen insist that “far higher levels of transparency and communication are being demanded and achieved,“ but, at a morning meeting I attended, Nakamura actually used the Brown Act to keep citizens from discussing the true motives behind ”surplusing“ a downtown parking lot—possible transfer to a developer.

Alma is right to be asking questions. More people should.

Juanita Sumner

Why the freak-out?

Re “Put your hands up!” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, May 2):

The cop on the scene may or may not have been responsible for the misidentification of Tom Steele’s car, but in any event the cop should have been gracious and apologetic for the understandable mistake.

I have been “victimized” by a small-town rogue PD back in the mid ’80s, including having a gun rammed into my head by an out-of-control loser thug cop after surrendering, prone on the ground face down with hands behind my back and not moving, and I had done nothing worse then intimidate a bouncer at a pub that I often frequented and never got into any trouble at.

While the barrel was painfully pressing into my head, I was counting every fraction of a second wondering if it would be my last.

Steele’s experience seems pretty mild to me, and he got his apology from the police chief, so what’s the fuss?

The real story is: How did Mr. Steele manage to survive so long and be so shockingly emotionally fragile and sheltered from reality? My experience with the cops that night was traumatic, but it was nothing compared to, say, breaking up with my first girlfriend, nor was it much worse than the countless times I was threatened with death from homicidal drivers while riding my bicycle from California to Alaska and back.

Part of the problem here is that there is this mystique about guns from both sides—both “gun nuts” and gun haters. There is an almost magical aura about guns created by the media, news, movies, etc. One may be threatened by dangerous punks driving three-ton cars and trucks “aimed at our heads” every day on the road and then freak out about having a firearm pointed at us for the first time in our lives.

Brent Gray

Rob’s fans speak out

Re “Firing the big talent?” (Downstroke, May 9):

I was so shocked to hear of Rob Blair, our morning coffee man, being let go. He made all of us laugh in the morning. It is just downright sad that, with all the sadness in the news, they would remove Chico’s little bit of joy on the news show.

I for one will not be supporting KHSL in any way any longer if Rob does not come back to work, and I know of many others who feel the same way. Maybe we will not be enough to change their minds, but maybe, just maybe, we will be a strong enough force to help them to understand they have done a grave injustice to someone we love named Rob Blair.

Kathy Farrell

This is so sad! Everyone I know loves Rob! I don’t understand what could have possibly motivated GOCOM Media to fire such an immensely popular public figure!

Lana Kitchel
Los Molinos

KHSL/KNVN has cast a dark cloud over Chico with the sudden decision to terminate a wonderful weatherman, Rob Blair. Not only did he deliver a lively morning newscast, but also he often shed a little needed midday sunshine to the noon broadcast. He was someone who was always cheerful and smiling, “weather” he be on air or out at community events.

I also liked and appreciated his recent efforts to educate pet owners to the risk of heart worms. Looks like the future weather forecast will be dry stale air. We sure can use a refreshing downpour of common sense.

Anita Allbee

I really looked forward to watching Rob Blair; he will truly be missed. Does anyone know of a way to help Rob get his job back? I want to jump on that wagon!!

DeDe Sterling

Toby and the Republicans

Re “Why attack Chico?” (Letters, by Laurel Heath, May 9):

Laurel Heath wrote, “Toby [Schindelbeck] actually lived in Paradise, but after being lobbied by local Republicans, including the Tea Party and Larry Wahl, he moved to Chico in March 2012, registered to vote, and then ran for City Council, losing badly.” Toby entered the race against the wishes of the core groups of conservatives because they already had their slate of candidates. His entry and one other late entry diluted the conservative vote, and as a result they lost seats on the council.

She continues: “These are the same Republicans who argue that Chico State students (more than 500 of whom are veterans) who are in Chico just “four to six years should not be allowed to vote.” The original issue was to change the voting date in order for a better turnout and to save money by combining municipal elections with the state primary. Nobody can deny the vote to any qualified U.S. citizen; it’s silly to think otherwise.

Jack Lee

Sales tax system is fair

Re “Fairness on taxes: Let’s pass the Marketplace Fairness Act” (Editorial, May 9):

The advantage online retailers have over brick-and-mortar stores is economies associated with not having to pay high rents for prime retail locations. However, this is countered by the distinct disadvantage online retailers endure paying a much higher per-unit cost of shipping to customers.

Moreover, people who purchase items online drive less, pollute the air less, endanger other drivers less, have fewer collisions, and require less service from police, courts, hospitals and road crews than those who patronize local retailers. Accordingly, they are rightfully entitled to not pay sales taxes that are presumably collected to compensate for these burdens.

Notwithstanding these realities, taxation isn’t supposed to be a tool for manipulating markets. When a government uses taxation in this way, it smacks of communism, and we all know how that turns out.

Nathan Esplanade

For the record: As the editorial stated, the issue isn’t whether to tax online purchases. Many states, including California, already do so. Customers are supposed to pay these taxes, but almost none do so. The national legislation discussed in the editorial would require online retailers to collect the taxes already levied, just as brick-and-mortar retailers now do.—ed.

The real ‘homeless issue’

It’s astounding that a daytime ordinance eliminating sitting on public sidewalks is front and center in the rancid war of “blame the homeless.” I recently heard Mike the political-science guy remark, “Anyone out after dark south of Chico State campus is insane, even at dusk.” His view is eerily consistent with the police officer who posted the very same observation in a press release, only to have his hand slapped for bringing emotion to the press-release process.

In talking to a dozen downtown business owners, I learned the most significant daytime “homeless issue” is filth in front of their storefronts when they arrive to open for business. Perhaps a dusk-to-dawn ban on puke and litter would be more impactful?

Bill Mash

Dex is a good thing

Re “Making a scene” (Arts & Culture feature, by Ken Smith, May 9):

I was pleased to read about the new downtown music venue, Dex. In addition to providing a much-needed all-ages performance opportunity for musicians and their fans, Dex Record’s Band Creator offers music lessons specializing in guitar and bass, along with vocal coaching on the large stage utilizing top-quality equipiment. Dex features Mesa Boogie and Marshal guitar amplification, Ampeg bass and Shure microphones correctly mixed through a clean and powerful subwoofer-charged PA system.

Frank Savage