Letters for May 3, 2012

A donation to health

Re “Yes on Proposition 29” (Editorial, April 26):

Thanks so much for sharing the truth about Proposition 29. You are absolutely correct: Big Tobacco cares only about money, not the lives of people who are addicted or will be addicted to their deadly products.

We have the opportunity to save lives, keep kids from smoking and fund research for cancer and tobacco-related diseases. Even if you are currently a smoker, vote yes on Prop 29 and think of it as insurance or even a donation; it might just save your life.

Cindy Bahl

Editor’s note: The author is community mission director for the American Cancer Society in Chico.

RIP, Ray Charles

Re “Ray Charles, therapist” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, April 26):

My guide dog, Calhoun, and I had the pleasure of meeting Denise and Ray in Verbena Fields one day this past winter. Ray and Calhoun romped off leash in the tall dry grass and had a blast. Ray certainly touched my heart. The bond between him and his seeing-eye person was as remarkable to me as the bond between me and my seeing-eye dog. I am so very sorry for your loss. Rest in peace, Ray.

Debra Connors

High-speed rail: two views

Re “Rice subsidies and high-speed trains” (Guest comment, by Eugenio N. Frongia, April 26):

Excellent argument, professor Frongia! It is so discouraging to watch California head toward Third-World status in terms of its public transportation because we are constantly being told that we can’t afford these infrastructure improvements. Yet these same people have no problem using our state and federal budget to support unfair subsidies and unneeded tax cuts for the wealthy and many other wasteful expenditures.

Human greed can destroy the good life that we all deserve to have. What they don’t understand is that, in destroying the middle class of our country, they will also destroy themselves. When the middle class is prosperous, the wealthy have many more customers to buy their corporate products.

We found relatively more money in the past to build the interstate highway system and the original rail tracks across the country. We even found the money to develop nuclear power and to go to the moon. But now we can’t even build fast trains such are found all over Europe and Asia. Our politicians need to de-emphasize winning and losing and start doing what is best for America.

James R. Rusk
San Diego

I think what Sen. LaMalfa is saying is the proposed system is not what the public voted for and it should be put to a new vote to see if the voters are willing to pay for it as it now stands. He, along with all the other legislators, are obligated to follow the law as written in Proposition 1A. It was not written as an open checkbook because the state is already robbing Peter to pay Paul. Also, the proposition promised HSR would be built on existing right-of-ways, not diagonally through prime ag land, and Sen. LaMalfa is perfectly within his rights to protect these farmers.

Ted Crocker

Unhealthy babies

Re “Obese mothers, autism linked” (The Pulse, April 26):

Obese mothers giving birth to autistic kids is no surprise; being overweight has always caused medical problems. It takes five to 20 years off a person’s life and accounts for 9 percent of all medical costs in the USA.

In addition, mothers who drink alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, wherein the child is retarded and has deformities. Crack babies are a well-known problem; drugs should never be taken during pregnancy without a doctor’s OK. The placental barrier blocks large molecules and lets in small molecules—and drugs are small molecules.

But many women don’t know that smoking tobacco cigarettes is dangerous to the child: The offspring of smoking mothers have a reduced probability of survival and a retarded growth rate; the child may not catch up to other children until 11.

Mike Peters

Explaining their role

With all the confusion regarding the Bidwell Mansion and State Parks being discussed in your paper and other publications, I would like to clarify our role: We are the Bidwell Bar Association, a not-for-profit, cooperating association under contract with California State Parks and Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. We assist State Parks in educational and interpretive programs at the Lake Oroville Visitors Center.

We were asked by State Parks if we would be willing to temporarily hold the finances of the Bidwell Mansion Association in trust since that organization has lost its nonprofit status.

We agreed to do so and have established a separate bank account at a different bank than the Bidwell Bar Association uses to hold the funds specifically for the Bidwell Mansion project. Our bookkeeper and accountant will oversee the funds, which can only be used for the Bidwell Mansion projects.

Our agreement with the state is that as soon as a cooperating association is established or re-established and under contract with State Parks all funds will be turned over to that association.

KarroLynn Yells, president
Bidwell Bar Association


Editor’s note: Since this letter was written, State Parks and the Bidwell Mansion Association have reached agreement on a new contract. See Downstroke, page 8, for more.

He didn’t say that

The often quoted statement that is used to justify war with Iran appears to be a lie. As reported in the April 19, 2012, edition of Democracy Now!, a top Israeli official has acknowledged that Iranian President Ahmadinejad never said that Iran seeks to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.”

The falsely translated statement has been widely attributed to Ahmadinejad and used repeatedly by U.S. and Israeli government officials to back military action and sanctions against Iran. But speaking to Teymoor Nabili of the network Al Jazeera, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor admitted Ahmadinejad had been misquoted.

Now that is news.

Charles Withuhn

What did he mean?

Re “You’rs” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, April 19):

I wondered about the stray homonym in this column. It’s possible that some defective computer spell-check program altered “palette” to “palate.” Or maybe the columnist planted it there to see whether anyone would notice.

As for the subject of that week’s column, traditionalists can all agree that the personal pronouns in spoken and written American English are getting mixed and mangled beyond redemption. That doesn’t bother the linguistics experts, who remind us that language alterations don’t matter as long as we understand the other person’s meaning.

Yet that’s precisely why too-rapid change amounts to deterioration, if not outright degeneracy: It’s getting harder to be sure one does actually catch the intended meaning. It becomes hard sometimes to discern any meaning at all.

Oliver Steinberg
St. Paul, Minn.

Meat madness

It’s absolutely mad to eat meat—and not just because the USDA recently revealed that a cow on a California dairy farm had tested positive for mad-cow disease. The saturated fat and cholesterol found in cheeseburgers and milkshakes is an even bigger threat to human health than mad-cow disease, which can cause a brain-wasting condition in people who eat meat and dairy products from infected cows.

A recently released Harvard School of Public Health study shows that people who eat red and processed meats are much more likely to die prematurely, primarily from heart disease, diabetes or cancer, and research suggests that meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are.

Don’t wait any longer. Stop eating animal-based foods today. There are plenty of great-tasting vegan options, such as Gardein Beefless Burgers. See www.peta.org or follow @peta on Twitter for more information and product suggestions.

Heather Moore
The PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.

Sticking it to us

I’m someone that contractors would call to help build homes or do remodels. When the economy soured, most “subs,” as we are called, moved to find work. I just learned that Chico Unified School District is going to stick it to us again by raising developer fees because they need to rob someone.

Do they truly not have a clue? How could they be so ignorant of the effects of their actions? There are no jobs in Chico! There is little to no building going on! Sticking it to the building community only guarantees that we will all suffer longer.

Home prices have to rise because of the fees. The fees get passed on to the consumers, renters, workers, everyone. I don’t have an advanced degree, but I understand trickle-down economics.

The stupidity and greedy way the school district acted is consistent with why they’re in trouble. Now I read that they want to try to pass a bond. Go jump in a lake, CUSD. Do you think anyone forgot that you took our money last time and never built the high school that was promised to the voters? Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice and shame on me. You just threw the community under a bus.

Rusty Bennett