Letters for May 6, 2004

Go fish, Joe
I wish to comment on Country Joe McDonald’s performance recently at Orland High School [“Country Joe at Orland High,” Newslines, April 27.] As a Vietnam vet and grandparent of kids who attend both Orland High School and Orland Elementary schools, I was quite shocked that Mr. McDonald was allowed to perform at Orland High School.

It’s bad enough that he once persuaded thousands of people (Woodstock ‘69) to shout the F-word; he also has habitually stated his opposition to the Vietnam War in his songs.

Mr. McDonald never had to risk his life for his country, as I have, or as the kids in the American military are doing in Iraq presently.

What is so wrong about America trying to help poor countries that are being oppressed and abused?

I’m also appalled none of the Orland High School faculty, parents or the Orland Middle and Elementary faculty spoke up about Mr. McDonald performing on a public Orland school campus.

Of course, America is a free country (which makes us so great), and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the Orland High School campus is not the appropriate place for someone to express his or her political views, even if it’s only in songs.

Frank Jones
Red Bluff

Editor’s note: Country Joe McDonald served in the United States Navy from 1959 to 1962.

The DA’s masquerade
At first, when reading your crudely named story, “Gina Rose’s baby” [Newslines, April 15], I thought that District Attorney Mike Ramsey had experienced an epiphany. After all, Mr. Ramsey has spent his entire career trying cases in the media as a means of influencing public opinion (potential jurors). Now here he was apparently trying to protect a young woman’s right to a fair trial.

However, this impression was belied when, further on in the same story, Mr. Ramsey proceeds to give a sinister description of his perception of the mechanics of the alleged crime. And notwithstanding his concession that it is of doubtful relevance, he goes on to give a detailed account of his lurid speculation about alleged previous relationships that this young woman might have had.

Alas, rather than an account of a fair-minded prosecutor concerned with justice being done, this story was nothing more than another version of Mr. Ramsey attempting to usurp the possibility of a fair trial in the event that the case is ever presented to a panel of Butte County jurors.

Mr. Ramsey’s exploitation of the press serves him well in pretending to be something that he is not. But justice is not served at all. And justice will continue to be the loser as long as his masquerade is allowed to continue.

Dick Bjork

Taking the rap
I want to make clear that I am stating my own opinion and not acting as a representative of KZFR in responding to Alan Raetz’s “Freedom for KZFR” [Guest comment, April 15]. I have been on the KZFR Program Council twice over my seven years at the station and have been in on the dealings with DJ Rubba Ban from beginning to end. DJ Rubba Ban quit his show because he felt that the Program Council was persecuting him, and Stepahnie B quit in protest. These were both actions taken by the programmers. They were not asked to leave, nor were they stripped of their KZFR broadcast permits.

DJ Rubba Ban had a habit of “pushing the envelope” of the FCC regulations regarding obscenity and indecency on the radio. He had been talked to many times and disciplined several times. And, yes, there were complaints from both within and without the station. The fine for violation of the FCC’s obscenity and indecency rules is $27,500 for the station and $11,000 for the programmer. KZFR exists financially from pledge drive to pledge drive.

The Program Council acted not about the music but about the message. KZFR’s mission statement is all about promoting unity and community. Does that fit with the gangsta rap message of misogyny and violence? We thought not. So we asked DJ Rubba Ban to steer clear of the type of music that promotes disrespect of women and violence as a way of settling disputes. His response was to quit because we were impinging on his artistic freedom.

Can you do a better job than the current members of the KZFR Program Council? Elections are coming up; put your name in the hat. Those of us who do make the effort to become involved know that we do the best we can to make KZFR a good productive member of the Northern Sacramento Valley community.

John Dubois
KZFR Program Council

Look up the number
To encourage fairness and accuracy in reporting, I have mailed Tom Gascoyne an old but tried and tested device that no self-respecting journalist would be without [“KZFR: The good, the bad and the ugly,” cover story, March 18].

It is called a phone book—specifically, the Chico phonebook, in the hope that now that he has one he still remembers how to use it.

As in real estate (location, location, location), so in journalism: Check your facts, check your facts, check your facts.

Michael Holland

Are the hawks turning into vultures?

Stephen. T. Davis

What energy crisis?
Your “Streetalk” in the April 8 issue was wholly disconcerting—and pretty depressing ["What kind of mileage do you get?"]. If you had asked the same question at Frost Oil on 16th and Park, or at a Beacon, I would speculate on a different set of answers. The oldest vehicle in that article discussed was a ‘97.

I remember, as a young kid, the Carter administration’s response to the “energy crisis,” which was to encourage people (and to a lesser extent even businesses!) to be energy-efficient. This meant, in part, driving smaller cars with better gas mileage. I guess Bush Sr.'s cigarette boat was a signal to the American people: “To hell with economy—let’s burn it while we pillage it!”

And people who by necessity drive 20-year-old cars and can remember more than last year’s Super Bowl ads can only shake their heads in disbelief at this reckless gluttony—and be heartened by the good folks who run their vehicles on recycled cooking oil or ride bikes (20 miles per bean burrito!).


Rusty Carr
received via e-mail