Letters for May 5, 2005

Skewed priorities
We’ve made habitat for the fairy shrimp, snail darter, meadowfoam, spotted owl and created open space for untold other varmints and veggies. I just hope those young families holed up in cramped apartments appreciate what’s been done for them. Oh yeah, don’t step on the Ranch!

John Lavezzi

Sloan supporter
Your recent editorial ["Good timing for Brown’s exit,” April 28] stated, “We trust Brown (school superintendent) when he says there were valid reasons for the demotion. All Sloan had to do to defend his position was make public his whole personal record.” News & Review, were you asleep at the wheel or just a deer caught in the headlights as Sloan and his supporters fought tooth and nail to prevent Superintendent Scott Brown from carrying out his disgusting vendetta?

Trust should be based on truth and credibility. Not lies and deceit. Your trustworthy Brown lied to the entire Chico community on March 9, 2004, when he flew his attorney up from San Diego and stated, “No disciplinary action is being pursued and no disciplinary action is going to be taken against Mr. Sloan.” Hindsight is now 20-20.

Scott Brown went on to misappropriate $337,000 in state school funds, withheld this information for a year from our school board, altered travel reimbursement receipts and even used pornography to falsely discredit CUSD personnel. He lies, he cheats, he deceives and he uses underhanded tactics. Yet, the News & Review, in its esteemed editorial opinion, chooses to “trust” Scott Brown. Good for you! Oh, and by the way, I have a great deal for you on some marvelous, beachfront property in Nevada. Just trust me on this one.

Dan Irving

Blame it on Mexico
In the April 21 [Inside view] column, “Most excellent,” Mr. Gascoyne concludes, as he should have begun, “Somebody get me another beer.”

At least one can understand alcohol-induced incongruity and lapse in logic that would have him blame the high gas prices on Congressman Herger and those of us who chose to drive larger vehicles.

Congressman Herger had it exactly right in 2000, saying, “Northern Californians are being held hostage at the gas pump.” Gas prices are certainly not where they are because the Saudi reserves have suddenly dried up. Neither is it the fault of SUV drivers. OPEC has learned that the United States will pay in excess of $50 per barrel of oil, and, of course, they are willing to accommodate by delivering at that price.

Fortunately, we finally have an administration and Congress that have committed to develop this country’s oil reserves, while continuing the search for alternatives, with the goal of moving away from our foreign dependence; at last, a constructive step.

In this writer’s opinion, pressure should be brought to bear upon Mexico to develop energy programs in that country, which would have a secondary effect of providing employment and improved standard of living for those who choose not to flee Mexico’s borders.

Unless we are willing to offer viable solutions ourselves, we must support those in whom we have entrusted this responsibility. Call or write our representatives rather than complain.

Leon P. Randall

Blair-weather friends
Thanks for the update on Rob Blair. I’m not at all surprised to learn that he’s doing fine. It speaks well of his character that a mere three months after being so unfairly and publicly dismissed, he is positively engaged in travel, volunteer work, visiting family and friends, and seeking new horizons.

I detest racism in any form, but the case with Rob Blair was very strange and unclear. I see newscasters stumble over words every day, even my personal favorite anchor, Dennis Richmond of KTVU. Blair’s bungled segment was taped, so why was it aired if it was offensive and deliberate? If it was clearly a racial slur, shouldn’t it have been redone? And if it wasn’t clear, why fire Blair and tarnish his reputation?

The dismissal was suspect from the beginning and became even more so as various people came forward to defend Blair’s good character. I appreciate the News & Review seeking the facts in this matter, not just jumping in with knee-jerk liberals (a phrase that normally describes me) to point a finger at alleged racism.

I hope we have been right to trust that this was an accident. And I hope that Rob Blair will find peace and growth and strength from this unexpected turn of events. I’d love to see him back here in Chico, but if not, best wishes wherever he lands.

Kate McLain

Do it for César
We spent weeks arguing about how best to symbolize the legacy of Càsar Chávez, and in the process we forgot what he really stood for. This community has the opportunity, or rather the obligation, to make Chico a labor-friendly town. We can start right now by unionizing Uniprise, which has been in Chico for more than six years.

Like many large corporations, it has received local and state tax exemptions, and our own city has helped to enhance the surrounding infrastructure, all on the taxpayer’s dime. What do we get in return? Students, the primary employee of this corporate giant, are given an early record of termination and a demoralizing experience working for a site that has an annual attrition rate of close to 40 percent.

Over the past two years, compensation policies have labeled employees exempt when they legally aren’t (which allows the company to require overtime without pay). Currently, employees are put on warnings and terminated for taking their legally granted sick days and kin-care days, and employees are fired for discussing any desire to unionize.

In fact, the union-busting policies are labeled “one breath"; if you breathe one word on the subject, you’re gone. It’s time to stop the fear, stop the squabbling over a caricature of an American hero, and start acting to make Chico safer for workers. Taking it from anonymous to unanimous: union yes!

Nedia Tulare
Received via email

Mayor as King
I read your answers to “What should Chico name after Martin Luther King, Jr.?” in Streetalk [April 28]. Instead of naming a park or a street or some such item, how about we name our mayor after Dr. King. Parks will change and streets will change, for better or worse, but we will always have politicians. Since the Chico mayor is not directly elected by the people to serve in this capacity, it would be a nice reminder to this person as to what they are there to do.

Dr. King cared about people, our rights and our freedoms. He cared about inclusion, not special-interest groups. From here on out we could just refer to the mayor with the ceremonial title of Dr. King. Then too, we would always know who was mayor.

Rev. Roy Scrubb