Letters for May 2, 2013
Slowly boiling the frog
The Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District’s plan to sell 5,000 acre-feet of water to the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority this year reminds me of the old frog-boiling metaphor. If you put a frog in hot water, it will jump out immediately. But, supposedly, if you put a frog in cold water and heat it slowly enough, the frog will allow itself to be boiled alive.
The metaphorical similarity with GCID’s plan is this: The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority is in cahoots with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to extract 600,000 acre-feet of water a year from the northern Sacramento Valley for 10 years. According to the latest U.S. Geological Survey data, that is almost equal to the amount of fresh groundwater pumped for local use annually in Butte and Glenn counties!
In other words, if GCID is in bed with USBR and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, this seemingly trivial water transfer could be the “cold water” that is beginning the conditioning process for a program that could devastate North State water resources. And if it’s Glenn County this year, will it be Butte, Tehama, or Colusa County next?
Tony St. Amant
Too many guns to find
Re “Two kinds of violence” (Editorial, April 25):
You publish a tearjerker pointing out how many people have died by guns and slamming the NRA as the reason. First of all, the president passed 27 new laws that will cost $500 million a year just to start, but nothing in them will stop gun violence. Background checks won’t either. Most of us get checked already.
Use common sense, people. There are almost 400 million guns here now, more since Obama’s speech. Nothing short of removing all guns—a lofty goal—will work. If you think finding 12 million illegals is impossible, try finding 400 million guns. Gangs, drug lords, smugglers, bank robbers, bad people in general do not get their guns from a store.
While crying about the NRA might make you feel better, the logic that background checks will save lives is a cry in the dark.
Why attack Chico?
Re “He’s outta here” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, April 18):
That was a quite interesting comment Toby Schindelbeck made, saying he “really loved Chico” but was moving to Idaho because Chico was being ruined.
Toby 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.
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. But evidently Toby, who was in Chico just four to six months, was their perfect candidate to run for council.
Why do so many local Republican leaders bad-mouth Chico, which because of our university, community college, our many successful start-up businesses like Sierra Nevada and Build.com, and our Bidwell Park and hundreds of other unique Chico places, is a shining light in the North State? These Republicans attack our Chico community for political reasons, and they should stop hurting our great image.
Guns’ symbolic sexuality
You don’t have to be a disciple of Sigmund Freud to figure out one of the most basic reasons for the hysterical reaction of gun owners to any suggestion that some sort of controls should be established. A firearm is the ultimate phallic symbol in terms of its shape and ejaculation capability. Any restriction on possessing, carrying or using firearms is interpreted by many gun owners as symbolic castration.
When a gun owner fires his substitute penis he vicariously experiences a sensation similar to using the real thing. Shotgun owners get additional kicks from imagining that their ejaculation capability is multiplied. Possessing an automatic weapon offers the potential for multiple orgasms.
Ostentatiously brandishing a firearm provides its owner with an opportunity to engage in what amounts to a legalized form of masturbation in public. The most strident critics of gun control are probably the most impotent males in our country.
Female firearm fanatics (led by their poster girl, Sarah Palin) suffer from an extreme case of penis envy.
Vice President Biden has a monumental task confronting him when he seeks ways to reduce the slaughter we read about every day.
Chemical no risk to birds
Re “Rice fields made toxic?” (Earthwatch, April 18):
First, much of the data developed implicating the neonicotinoids with bee-colony-collapse disorder is rife with questions as to the scientific veracity of the trials cited to substantiate the claims being made by those advocating the ban on the use of Belay insecticide, an effective tool in the production of food and fiber.
Second, may I point out that the use intended in rice production has a time of application that takes place a full six to eight weeks after the pollination period of the almonds and prunes whose close proximity to the rice fields you fear puts the bees so at risk. The bees have been removed from the orchards by that time, thus removing them from risk.
This is an example of “integrated pest management” at work in commercial agriculture that commonly gets overlooked.
Say goodbye to our water
Re “Tunnel visions” (Feature story, by Howard Hardee, April 18):
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (twin tunnels), if built, will dramatically affect our lives through the transport of North State water to an insatiable Southern California.
It purports to help struggling fish species, but here is information about the likelihood of success from a commentary by Carolee Krieger, of the Water Impact Network, in the Sacramento Bee of April 25.
The National Marine Fisheries Service sent a letter to Governor Brown with these comments: “The twin tunnels may work in malign concert with climate change to drive the endangered Sacramento winter-run chinook salmon to extinction” by reducing “the Sacramento’s flow to the point that salmon and other fish would find migration impossible.” A goal of the Delta plan is to expand habitat for juvenile salmon and other fish during moderate to wet years. Department of Water Resources says dry years are rare, but the fisheries services points out they occur 40 percent of the time. The habitat won’t be available to the fish in dry years.
Jerry Meral, a deputy director of natural resources in charge of implementing the conservation plan, acknowledged the tunnels are simply “a delivery system for existing water, designed to shuttle Sacramento River flows around the Delta in as expeditious a manner as possible. They will do nothing to augment [water] supplies.”
A better conservation plan, says Krieger, is a “strategy based on conservation, recycling, groundwater recharge and the retirement of impaired agricultural lands.” For information go to www.c-win.org.
Good project management
Re “Races sans spectators” (Editorial, April 18)
Your editorial was much appreciated by the students in my Project Management Practicum class at Chico State. Students discern and report on the presence (or lack) of basic principles that make endeavors of all kinds worthy and successful. Your editorial asks questions crucial to project success, and something professional managers trained in running high-stakes projects would ask as well.
My students and I operate from the premise that good project management is indispensible to results. Given the hard work of those attracted to this specialty area, anyone looking to improve outcomes in key community endeavors such as the Steve Harrison Memorial Downtown Criterium may want to check on our students’ availability to help.
I live by the bike path mentioned in the editorial, and I’d say we owe it to the man memorialized, and to one another, to keep efforts like this strong, whether downtown or somewhere else. That was the intention of those behind the project, and it’s noble enough to warrant our best efforts.
Managers making more
Re “Managers making much money” (Downstroke, April 11):
The salaries quoted are not the total compensation packages. Where do the merit raises for managers show up? What about the benefits packages? Do they get reimbursed for mileage or meals; are they issued vehicles? There is more to being a manager in the city of Chico than just the salaries.
The politics of good health
Re “Legalize pot—and hemp” (Guest comment, by Jimi Gomez, April 25):
Here we are, taught to live in ignorance and fear by the greed of politicians and the slanted agenda of evangelicals. It is time for a change: I propose a new political party: The Pro-Health Party.
Affordable insurance for all based on what you make. Tort reform for health providers to limit the practice of defensive medicine. Legalize and regulate marijuana to control its age of use and gain tax money. Allow providers to deduct free care off their federal taxes to promote an incentive to see indigent patients.
Legalize hemp … duh, that should be a no-brainer. It provides a unified perspective on what’s really good for everyone from a scientific perspective (that would be a first). Provides an avenue for people to stand together instead of the more segregated current party structure. It allows a higher road for those wanting to take it.
It’s not possible, I don’t think, because the existing structure is too invested, but I thought I would transmit the intention publicly.