Letters for May 3, 2001

SUV excess
The letter by Mr. McDonald ["SUV envy,” April 19] brings up some thought-provoking issues. I would like to respond to a few of the ideas Mr. McDonald raises and add a few he does not.

SUVs are not safer; safety in the building of an automobile is an issue of engineering, not size. Volvos have led in this category for several decades, and some of the older [SUV] models could conceivably be labeled “roller skates.”

As far as utility, it is interesting to note that as families have grown smaller the size of their vehicles has grown larger. I grew up in Magalia in a family of seven children, and we somehow did without an SUV or any vehicle with four-wheel drive. We used chains for the week or two that they were needed and saved the $10,000 or so dollars that the added machinery costs over a two-wheeled conveyance.

I believe the real issue here is excess. Magalia, like the rest of the world, has grown in population and suffered the problems inherent with that growth. In 1950, the population of California was 10.5 million; today it is somewhat more than 30 million, which means everything that we enjoyed in 1950 we now share with two other people. When one person or one family uses more than they need, someone else must do without. This is a reality of our modern world, and no amount of rationalization will change it. If you believe that you deserve more, be aware that when you intrude upon the ability of others to survive the consequences are often violent conflict.

Chris L. Bettis
via e-mail

Elite retreat
Your April 26 article on Prop. 12 ["Tough proposition,” Newslines] fails to mention the $1.67 million of park bonds granted to the University Foundation for the Simmons Ranch Ecological Preserve. They are expected to be granted an additional $1.75 million on May 18 to purchase the Henning Ranch, the monies this time coming from park bonds and the general fund. Let’s see, that totals $3.42 million! Yet the university has to this point stonewalled our efforts to get consideration of public-access trails to these gorgeous lands along Big Chico Creek. I voted for Prop. 12 park bonds, but I don’t recall voting for a private reserve for university elite.

Michael Jones

What womyn want
Where I come from, people don’t go to the hardware store to buy milk. That’s why it struck me as odd that Laura Smith should end up at a panel on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, when she clearly states that she wanted to hear about “child care and women’s health and work equity and managing family and work responsibilities” ["All the womyn?” April 26].

She says she wanted to hear things she “and other average women could relate to.” She definitely didn’t want to hear about what was a central issue in the lives of the panel members and audience. I guess Mrs. Smith thinks that marriage, child rearing, dating, body image, self-esteem and self-knowledge—all topics addressed at this panel—are insignificant when they apply to people not just like her.

In many ways I am an average woman. I work hard, I struggle to pay for a house and rising utility rates, I juggle home and work responsibilities and I have to deal with managed health care. In spite of the challenges, I have a delightful life. However, I also face harassment at times because of my sexual orientation and my partner’s gender. Laura Smith said she “wanted to hear about what women are doing to help other women succeed in life and what’s left to be done.” Some women (and men) are listening to each other, supporting each other, and figuring out how to work together for positive change. What is left to be done is to open the eyes of those who think that only four or five elements define women, that only the lowest common denominator is the common good. This is not an ivory tower; this is my life and home. Why don’t you come and sit for a spell?

Sara E. Cooper
Asst. Professor
Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures
CSU Chico

What’s with these womyn?
The Annual Women’s Conference, which exclusively focused on women’s issues, was a breath of fresh air for the attendants of the conference. Unfortunately, the CN&R managed to send not one, but two completely uninformed, conformist, anti-feminist reporters, Laura Smith and Eleanor Cameron, to cover it.

Smith states she wants to hear about issues that interest her as “a married, working mother.” Things like “child care, women’s health, work equity and managing family and work responsibilities … and what women are doing to help other women succeed in life.” But she failed to go to the section of the conference that addressed those issues, namely the “Women and Business” panel. I went to it and heard real-life experiences, encouragement and advice from five successful, articulate local businesswomen. Why didn’t she go to that one, instead of seeing parts of two simultaneously presented panels that she was totally uninformed about and then making a mockery of the whole conference?

Was it assumed that because Smith and Cameron are women they would be open-minded and fair to women’s issues? Big, big mistake. I would have much preferred to read the work of an unbiased reporter, male or female, than have to read these two reporters’ crap. The “huh?” (eloquent, really) Smith states in her article sums up her ignorance. Both of your reporters need to enroll in some women’s studies courses and attend a few more panels help them begin to grasp the issues.

As for Angela Davis’ speech, which was attended by nearly 500 people, who had to wait out an hour delay in the rain, and which ran from 9:30 to 11:00, her so-called “disjointed speech” kept her rapt audience enthralled. Rather than having lost her fire, Angela has matured and grown stronger. May your two reporters do the same.

Debra Lozano

Ballpark error
I believe the building of a baseball park at the old Diamond Match property and the subsequent construction of the Otterson Drive “loop” road would be a major mistake.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been an avid baseball fan for 35 years and have attended several Chico Heat games every season. I enjoy minor-league baseball so much that I have attended games in Sacramento, San Jose, West Virginia and Georgia.

First, I see the announcement of this proposed ballpark as yet another ploy to get voters to approve Measure A and provide the Hegan Lane Business Park with its $2.9 million taxpayer-financed boondoggle. Second, we already have an excellent baseball facility in Nettleton Stadium. Third, if we want a higher-level professional team here, we need a stadium with nearby freeway access and located away from residential neighborhoods. Fourth, even the developer’s project representative admits the road would “break the Greenline” that was established to protect agricultural lands.

Finally, whether you call the affected waterway Comanche Creek or Edgar Slough, the Otterson Drive extension would severely damage one of our area’s few remaining mature riparian habitats.

On June 5, please vote no on Measure A.

Nancy Park