Letters for May 30, 2002

Partisan politics
I am outraged at the partisan games that Sen. Daschle and Sen. Leahy have been playing with President Bush’s judicial nominees. They have created a crisis in the federal courts by leaving these important positions vacant indefinitely.

President Bush has nominated more than 100 men and women of distinction and accomplishment. They are solidly within the mainstream of American legal opinion, and all of the pending nominees thus far have received either a well-qualified or qualified rating from the American Bar Association.

Judges help ensure that the innocent remain free and the guilty are punished. Judges make decisions that help safeguard the stability of the marketplace and address the grievances of those who have been wronged.

Because of the number of vacancies in our nation’s courts, Americans are being forced to wait for justice, and the burden on sitting federal judges is growing heavier.

I expect more than partisan politics from our nation’s leaders. Senators Daschle and Leahy need to end their stonewalling and confirm President Bush’s judicial nominees.

Patricia Simpkins
received via e-mail

What Simon says
There are those who think that as a candidate for governor Bill Simon’s anti-choice views don’t matter. That’s not true.

Bill Simon has told anti-choice groups that, as governor, all of his judicial appointments would be against a woman’s right to choose and he would cut the budget for low-income women so they could not get an abortion, if they needed one.

If Bush Jr. gets his way, his first two U.S. Supreme Court appointments would vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.

That’s the Republican plan: tell their supporters they’ll make abortion a crime, but tell the voters we don’t really mean it.

Bob Mulholland
State Democratic Party Advisor

Prosecutors’ blues
I was insulted by Tom Gascoyne claiming a “swagger and tough-guy attitude since Sept. 11 had filtered down to the local prosecutors” [Inside view, May 16]. While I’ve noticed many a deputy district attorney with a beleaguered and even unsteady gait, it is simply bad form to kick at the representatives of a rather fine judicial system. Gee Tom, as a non-married woman, I appreciate the American judicial system so much more than, say, the Islamic judicial system, for example.

Possibly your friend misinterpreted the stride of a local DA who was trying to shake off the pain in his butt from sitting too long while being papered to death by a well-paid but ineffective opposing counsel. Maybe your pal thought he saw a swagger but really saw a stagger from the burden of boxes of files the DA towed in by moving truck dolly for another fine day in court.

Mr. Gascoyne, I encourage you to be gracious. The next time you walk across the street and are not plowed down by a drunk driver, possibly you should thank God because the drunk driver is attending her (court-ordered) AA meetings daily and drove sober this time. Last night, when the woman you love slept safely and soundly, maybe you should thank your lucky stars that the perpetrator who wanted to visit her got locked up for eight years and wasn’t available.

I also strongly suggest you thank a local prosecutor.

Susan M. Hearne
Ex-Deputy District Attorney current Park RangerChico

Staggering Demos
Once again Tom Daschle gropes in the dark searching for any possible leverage and footing for his staggering party as he calls for an independent panel to investigate government action before Sept. 11. This latest example of poor timing and political judgment is cause for Republicans everywhere to breath easier, as the majority leader’s actions will only further expose his own party’s incompetence and missed opportunities under the previous administration’s terror watch.

So we applaud your efforts, Mr. Daschle, and encourage you to look deep and hard as you shine the light for all Americans to see the true motives of you and your party as our president continues to dismantle and own your sacred election issues.

Dan Bovee

Crack that whip
Re: “That’s not funny,” Everybody’s business, May 16.

We came to Chico in 1980. In those days, there was no problem finding a locally owned grocery market. When Cost Less Foods, the area’s first large discount supermarket, opened on East Park Avenue, we rejoiced. It was not only locally owned, but the owners were always available, sometimes helping you check out. The employees were well paid and very friendly.

When Steve Nettleton opened Food 4 Less, we visited and came away disappointed. It truly had a warehouse atmosphere with narrow aisles and poor lighting. We joked that you needed a flashlight to read the sale prices. Shopping there was a last resort. However, Mr. Nettleton was determined to dominate the market and ultimately succeeded by undercutting everybody’s prices.

During that period, I was conducting cost-of-living surveys in Chico for a national organization. The evidence was empirical and clear: Food 4 Less was the cheapest place in town to buy groceries. Whether the owner delayed profits to eliminate competition will always be a point for conjecture.

When Cost Less ultimately folded, we had no choice but to pay higher prices or switch to Food 4 Less. We chose the latter and soon watched its prices climb. When Nettleton’s successors took over, there were slow but gradual changes to the shopping environment, including better interior lighting.

One delight in shopping at Food 4 Less was the low turnover among cashiers. These men and women, many local college students, became our friends and easily earned our respect. Kyle Knecht was one such easygoing and courteous cashier. Even before his firing, evidence of discontent within the Food 4 Less workforce was evident. With the recent CN&R article, the long-distance Fleming Company’s whip cracking is now exposed.

Ronald Angle

Ethnic politics
The harm caused by an explosive mix of ethnic and religious beliefs is strongly portrayed by the Middle East conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In the United States, we now have a growing political conflict during which the politicians of both major parties compete with each other for Latino favors.

Politics can be partially defined as a process by which decisions are made as to who gives and who gets economic benefits. Politics and economics are intrinsically intertwined. That is fine. Economic politics, yes! Ethnic and religious politics, no!

I continue to believe that a majority of the Latinos who are legally in the United States are committed Americans and do not support ethnic politics. Ethnic politics is a form of blackmail. “If you do not favor us, we will vote for your opponents.” Economic politics might be considered as also involving blackmail, but the key difference is that it does not separate people on the basis of ethnic heritage or religious beliefs.

President Bush, Sen. Daschle and Rep. Gephardt all unabashedly engage in ethnic politics in order to strengthen their respective political parties, and they should be roundly condemned for doing so.

Paul Smith