Letters for May 17, 2007

Finding irony in the irony
Re: “Grand Old Party goes old school” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, May 10):

I found your article most enjoyable. I like especially your “Democrats may find irony in this statement, considering restrictive stances conservatives tend to take …"—referring to the preceding paragraph [a comment from state Sen. Tom McClintock to Butte County Republicans comparing the “party of freedom” to the “group that thinks they are better at running other people’s lives than their own."].

Would that hold water if you were referring to the state Democratic operatives? However different you try to “paint” opposites politically, my belief and years of observation show an uncanny level of similarity of party beliefs—that is, the beliefs of either party tend toward restrictive stances. Neither is as “open” as you are attempting to lead the reader of your article to believe.

Owen Stiles

Rules of the road
Re: “Take your time” (Editorial, CN&R, May 10):

I was happy to see the editorial about pedestrian and cyclist traffic on the roads of Chico and Paradise. Being a cyclist, I’ve had my share of near-misses with cars and other cyclists because the operators were not using common sense.

The most important thing to remember as a cyclist is that we are like any other vehicle on the road and have to follow the law: We need to ride with traffic, use hand signals to let others know our intention, and should not wear ear phones as they tend to distract us from our surroundings.

Similarly, motorists should treat cyclists as any other vehicle. If you were behind a slow driver and were approaching the street you had to make a right turn onto, would you speed around them and cut them off to make your turn? All of my near-misses with cars have come from this scenario.

Cycling is great in this town, and I will continue to ride down busy streets in the name of a great ride. I’m a firm believer that we can share the road, but it requires cyclists to faithfully follow the laws and motorists to be more respectful of them.

Jennifer Nowotny

Taking safety to the next level
Re: “Gun-free zone-out” (Letters, by Jack Lee, CN&R, May 10):

I guess if “it’s a safe assumption that all [unarmed] citizens entering the campus would be at a great disadvantage should they be confronted by an armed killer,” one can extrapolate that all countries should have nuclear weapons for the same reason. Just to feel safe.

Ted Spencer

9/11 taken on faith
Re: “Truth believers” (Cover story, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, May 3):

I appreciate your raising public awareness of the effort to uncover what happened on 9/11. Yet, you frame those who raise questions about the Cheney-Bush “official story” as religious messianic conspiracy zealots (i.e. “Truth Believers,” “preach the gospel"). Thus, you encourage us to dismiss them as snake-oil merchants.

The fact is they are doing what citizens are supposed to do: raising questions and seeking answers outside the corridors of power. That they are met with derision and/or silence by many inside and outside those corridors—most of whom have accepted the 9/11 “gospel” of Cheney-Bush without a moment’s reflection, let alone investigation—raises the question: Who are the zealots?

Speaking of conspiracy theories, for all of you who don’t believe in them, where do you stand on the “war on terror"? Somebody has convinced you to spend billions of your tax dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives on the theory there is an invisible, global conspiracy out to get you.

Ah, the gospel according to Saint Dick and Saint George. Therefore, it must be true.

Beau Grosscup

I think you’ve hit upon a succulent point mentioning religion. There is no question the movement often takes upon a strong mixture of religion within its studies.

Take David Ray Griffin, the influential author mentioned with the article. One of his earlier books was titled Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action. Another author mentioned was former BYU professor Steven Jones, who also has a history of mixing scripture (this time from the Book of Mormon) within his 9/11 articles and speeches. The infamous former University of Wisconsin professor Kevin Barrett is a part of MUJCA-NET—the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth.

Personally, I find when you have a mixture of religion with politics and science, it’s often a recipe for disaster.

Scott Sleeper

Well, thanks …
Re: “Answering for myself” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, May 10):

Please allow me to be the first to congratulate you on changing the direction on what is commonly referred to as the Snooze and Rebuke. When Evan Tuchinsky acknowledged that fairness, neutrality and, yes, even objectivity should henceforth be a mantle worn with pride, I thought the “End Times” were upon us. Then I remembered I am not religious, but I am still impressed.

Finally an end to columns that, let’s be honest here, were downright silly if not wholly in error as to fact or common sense. Finally an end to automatically taking a negative approach to anything produced or promulgated by those from the opposite pole of the political planet. Finally your weekly will not march in lockstep with predictable precision to one philosophy and spoon-feed that pabulum to a politically gullible audience.

So I’m guessing this newfound respect for journalistic “objectivity” will be reflected in some future issue?

Ron Acevedo

His bottom line
Re: “Patch potholes, pave a new path” (Guest Comment, by Richard Ek, CN&R, May 3):

Members of the City Council: Writing in the Chico News & Review, Richard Ek has expressed the opinion that perhaps the only way to persuade Chico’s leaders to do something about the deplorable condition of city streets is for citizens to make them aware we are dissatisfied.

I have been a resident of Chico since 1954. I am dissatisfied. I think the roads of Chico are a disgrace. Please fix them before you spend money on anything else.

Ek has provided impressive evidence that 80 percent of the municipal budget is spent on “people costs.” City Manager Greg Jones has explained that after paying for those benefits, there is insufficient money available for infrastructure needs—and unless something is done, an alarming budget deficit will build up during the next few years. It would appear that in order to keep this city from self-destructing, you have a choice of reducing people costs or raising taxes.

I think I speak for many of my fellow citizens when I suggest you reduce people costs. If employee salaries and benefits were reduced and some city employees resigned in protest, dozens of individuals would apply for their jobs and be highly motivated to provide excellent service. Working for the city is a good deal, and many extremely capable people in the private sector would gladly work for less money to gain security.

I sincerely hope you will find a way to improve the infrastructure of this city before it’s too late.

Robert F. Biehler

Mine story matters
Re: “The accidental communicator” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, April 19):

Thanks for the article on the M&T Gravel/Baldwin gravel mine. It no doubt helped get that unanimous vote from the Board of Supervisors [April 24] against cancellation of the Williamson Act. I took some CN&Rs around to show various people. A number of local folks were not aware of the issue.

Sharon Fritsch

Grand flags
Re: “Sustainability flies high in Chico” (GreenWays, by Melissa Daugherty, CN&R, April 19):

Each time I travel down Chico’s Esplanade, I am awed by the beauty of the Earth Flags that grace the city’s light poles.

As a life-long environmentalist, I try to always be aware of the majesty of our planet, and those dramatic flags bring it home to me once again. Much praise should go to those whose idea it was to make and display the flags.

It should be part of our consciousness every day to try to save our world from the many dangers that beset us, particularly the scourge of global warming. I’m proud that our city has become a leader in the effort we all must join.

Robert Woods

‘So-called morality’
Re: “Abortion smites” (Backbeat, by David Wallis, CN&R, April 19):

I suspect the [April 18] Supreme Court decision makes your article and cartoons on the abortion issue more timely than even you had imagined.

We have a lot to thank this president for. His deep concern for sperm, ova and stem cells does not, of course, extend to America’s real human beings fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and certainly not to thousands of Iraqis who are appallingly referred to as collateral damage.

Now the U.S. has a Supreme Court that is willing, at least in part, to support his despicable attitude. So-called morality in the U.S. has reached a new low.

Gerda Seaman

The really disturbing thing about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling is what it won’t do: It won’t prevent a single abortion. Every woman who would have undergone intact dilation and extraction will simply resort to another method.

This means that the only gain for the anti-choice lobby is that they’ve imposed greater health risks on roughly 0.17 percent of women in America who seek an abortion. Is this hollow, symbolic victory that accomplishes nothing of substance worth putting those women in danger? Apparently so.

Adam L. Brinklow

Re: “Counting the dead” (Downstroke, CN&R, May 10): The ratio of Iraqis to Americans presented in a Chico memorial got parsed incorrectly. The fatalities break down to 650 Iraqis for every three Americans. This has been corrected online.