Letters for May 7, 2015
Debating the cover piece
Re “Sparring over the syringe” (Cover story, by Allan Stellar, April 30):
I have two things I would like to focus on: using the label “anti-vaccine” and using the phrase “require all kids get protected” [in the story’s subheadline].
People who oppose Senate Bill 277 are not necessarily “anti-vaccine.” One common thread for those who oppose the bill is that they are against lawmakers getting in between a decision that at this point in time is made between a patient and a doctor.
Using the words “require all kids get protected” is stating that the vaccines protect. Experts in the medical and scientific communities are still arguing over the safety of vaccines. There is no conclusive evidence stating that vaccines only protect. The subheadline creates a bias for the reader. It’s subtle manipulation and I’m just getting somewhat tired of seeing this type of thing in the media.
People who oppose SB 277 are pro choice, pro education about vaccine safety, pro extensive research into vaccine safety, and also pro strengthening and protecting the immune system.
I was appalled after reading last week’s issue of the CNR: unabashed cheerleading for SB 277 under the guise of “science.” It grossly underrepresents the views of many well-informed people, including medical doctors and researchers, regarding the vaccine issue.
To get some idea of the lack of consensus within the scientific community, go to YouTube to view a lecture by immunologist Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych. There are many things one could say here. However, to keep it simple, let us first establish that vaccines have the ability to cause irreparable harm. If you simply go to the Department of Health and Human Services’ website under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation (NVIC) program’s Vaccine Injury Table, the permanently debilitating injuries that vaccines cause are listed. The NVIC, a taxpayer-funded program, was established to protect the pharmaceutical industry from lawsuits brought against them by people harmed by vaccines.
Acknowledging they have the potential to cause irreparable harm, what is so appalling about SB 277 and SB 792 is that many citizens appear comfortable with government legislation that results in the removal of the right of individuals to choose whether or not to subject themselves or their dependents to this medical procedure.
I remember the first piece the CN&R published by Allan Stellar. He wrote about the therapeutic value of taking a hike, and I misread him. As I sometimes do, I responded too quickly, hastening to my keyboard to write a snarky dismissal of what he’d written, confusing him with some of the effete and snooty nutrition-health-biking-and-hiking contingent who so often parade the superiority of their lifestyles as a badge of their more-enlightened selves.
I’ve felt guilty about jumping to conclusions about Allan Stellar ever since I wrote that letter to the editor, and I was reminded of how wrong I was once again as I read the recent cover piece he wrote about the anti-vaccination issue. It was a damn good piece on a very important matter. Not only was it well-written, but I learned a thing or two from it, and I also thought it was balanced even while pointing out the dangers inherent when so many of our fellow citizens are so distrustful of so many things.
So I write in a spirit of contrition, and in praise of an important piece of writing by one of the more engaged and committed writers in Butte County.
‘Learn from it’
Re “Turning to science” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, April 30):
I hope that your readers will visit www.vaccinatecalifornia.org and join if they agree with the rationale behind Senate Bill 277. As a mother, I was deeply concerned about the outbreaks of measles and pertussis when my baby was still too young to be fully vaccinated.
I have met many other parents who support SB 277 because either their babies are too young to be vaccinated or their children are immune-compromised. These kids can’t get vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, so a small number of fully vaccinated children could be at risk during a widespread outbreak.
The parents who accept the pseudoscience and conspiracy theories of the anti-vaccine movement are sincere in their beliefs, but it doesn’t give them the unconditional “right” to endanger their own children, other peoples’ children, and the community at large. We often forget that anti-vaxxers are endangering their own children as well, and that makes me very sad indeed. I hope that they will change their minds. If not, they can take advantage of the generous homeschool and independent-study exemptions recently added to SB 277. Our children depend on us to protect them. Let’s listen to the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of vaccination and learn from it.
Money is the root
Re “Tree stand” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, April 30):
There is no thought going into this and it has nothing to do with safety. Please, people, are you really that naive? It is about terrible court decisions that are holding PG&E responsible for trees falling on lines, etc. Insurance companies forcing clearing by even land trusts. It is all about the money, folks. It has nothing to do with safety.
The clearing has now reached almost hysterical levels by PG&E, counties, “fire safety” programs and now even “land trusts” such as the Bear-Yuba Land Trust in Nevada County. This “land trust” is now masticating and clearing intact native plant habitats it acquires for “preservation”—all for our “safety.” Everyone knows any and all of these places can/will still burn down because it is our homes/structures that are the fuel. Also, in Nevada County, entire slopes are now collapsing where this clearing has taken place. Call me! I’ll take you on a tour!
It has to be the height of arrogance that we move into these ecosystems, and then chop them out/poison them while still building new homes made of wood. We are in the midst of a kind of institutionalized insanity and it’s all still going to burn. At the root of it is money. Not safety. Money.
There is truly no real evidence that the trees need to come down because they will be an issue for first responders. Don’t we get it yet? We need the trees to bring this climate change around, we need more green, we need to change what we are doing (our farming and building practices, including how our cities are designed and expanding)
Why aren’t we all on solar? Why do we need phone lines anymore? We’ve been talking solar for 30-plus years and it’s still not come about.
There is only one reason big business will not do it, and that’s money. PG&E, like other big business, tries to market that it’s “looking out for us.” Become a team player, PG&E. Stop taking down trees, stop being yes men and corporate thugs! Try being human beings and think of something other than your bottom line.
Chico is an icon of life in Northern California. We promote agriculture, Bidwell Park, education and health. Whenever friends or family members visit they always bring up how beautiful Chico is. I tell them it’s because Chico is the city of trees. Not just any type of trees, but big, beautiful ones.
I come from the North Bay, where it is suburbia at its finest. Everything looks pretty much the same, because they have cut all the trees down. We cannot let Chico lose its beauty by allowing PG&E to save money by destroying our city of trees.
Being a business major at Chico State, I understand how cutting costs of operations is key in creating profits. The city of Chico needs to approve permits only after enough time has been allocated for a full review. PG&E needs to be held accountable for Chico’s municipal code Tree Preservation Regulation (chapter 16:66) and not be allowed to remove all the trees it wishes. And for any tree that is removed, PG&E needs to be held fully responsible for mitigating the damages with replanting and revegatation plus coverage of the maintenance costs for three to five years. I thank you and hope we can preserve the city of trees together.
Euthanasia’s not the answer
Re “Wildcats” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, April 30):
Catch and remove (or catch and kill) does not work. It may temporarily reduce feral cat numbers, but this doesn’t solve the problem for long. When cats are removed from a location, it creates a “vacuum” effect—meaning the surrounding cats can sense it and two things happen: the intact survivors breed and new cats move in to take advantage of the now-available territory. This vacuum effect is well-documented. Trapping and removing cats often results in having even more unsterilized cats in the location than when you started. It is costly to taxpayers, doesn’t work, and ultimately is inhumane.
Note from an ‘old fart’
Re “Tranparently bogus” (Letters, by Mat DelFave, April 30):
This old fart was furious to read Mat DelFave’s letter claiming that anyone who would write a letter critical of Hillary Clinton was some partisan political ploy. Come on, Mr. DelFave, are you saying that no one who’s a “real” Democrat would criticize Clinton for obvious dishonesty about her emails?
Once I hit 80, I no longer cared about party affiliation. I only care about policies and integrity. Does Mr. DelFave not remember we have seen both Democrats and Republicans act improperly? Whether Gov. Christie’s emails, Nixon’s infamous lying about his records, or now Clinton, I would instead tell Mr. DelFave that all of them acted reprehensibly and should have resigned.
Hillary Clinton knew what the law was regarding her communications, and she chose to deliberately ignore it. My late grandmother taught me right from wrong, and if she lied about her records, I would call for her resignation if she were in the White House or Chico City Hall. I hope Mr. DelFave can step back and agree that we should be holding all politicians to uphold the law or throw their butts out when they don’t. Grandma would be proud.
Ideas aren’t facts
Re “Mission misdirected” (Letters, by Nathan Esplanade, April 30):
By Mr. Esplanade’s reasoning, Minnesota should be able to charge all states downstream for water from the Mississippi. I think they would have about as much luck as the State of Jefferson supporters would in their quest for nonexistent funding for their nonstart state. Sure is easy to just state ideas as facts. How about backing some of it up? [Local governments are paying] five times more for infrastructure than whom? No personal income tax?
Churches are helping
Re “Where are the churches?” (Letters, by Jim Smith, April 23):
If the faith-based congregations in Chico stopped doing what they are currently doing, we would no longer have the Jesus Center, the Torres Community Shelter, The Well Ministry of Rescue, Esplanade House, food banks such as that offered through Catholic Ladies Relief Society, and many more programs. And it was only through the involvement of several local faith-based groups that the Chico Housing Action Team had the venues and resources to carry out its vision of a low-barrier shelter—Safe Space—that offered a hot meal and a place to sleep through 50 nights this past winter.
It is almost unbelievable to me that a person with any degree of community awareness could accuse our local churches of not stepping up. Except that, when people do good deeds because they believe it is only right to do so, they tend not to brag about it. I imagine this to be true in communities throughout our nation. For this reason I will excuse the apparent lack of awareness that a recent letter writer, from Paradise, displayed in his indictment of “churches.” I am grateful for his letter in that it provides me the opportunity to respond and once again thank those who give of their time and resources to care for others.
Cal Water is installing a new water main in our neighborhood. Service was interrupted when a line was nicked and the line had to be shut off. For all that I imagine what it’s like to turn on the tap and have it cough and spit out air, there’s no substitute for that actual experience—even if it is with the knowledge that the water will magically appear again in a half hour or so. How thirsty I instantly became! Takeaways: It is prudent to have some potable backup water on hand; and, the Cal Water employees I spoke with are awfully nice people.
A big thank you to all my teachers for your unfailing efforts: in educating me even on days when I was a reluctant learner; in giving me survival skills such as being able to read, write and calculate; in cultivating an interest in learning that never quits; in assuring me trust that you know best how to guide my classmates and my learning; in showing me what it takes to be a leader as well as a follower. Thank you for teaching me to value teamwork both on and off the playing fields; to respect my opponents and opinions of those who disagree, for they give me new perspectives (many have become life-long friends; to take pride in my school’s and personal successes; to meet failures with the confidence to try again; to value education as something no one can take from me; to appreciate my family for making daily sacrifices that I might become a contributing citizen.
But most of all, thank you for the inspiration you gave me to become one like you! Take a bow, wherever you are, for it’s your day—Day of the Teacher, May 13.
CalRTA, Div. 32, Chico
Ambivalence on baring breasts
Re “Local exposure” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, April 16):
As a red-blooded American male and civil rights advocate, I read with great interest your story about Rain Scher—an attractive 28-year-old woman arrested for baring her breasts in City Plaza.
My equitable and legal opinion is this should be allowed. It’s an outrageous double standard that a man can go without a shirt in public and a woman can’t. However, the thinking, compassionate, social-minded side of me says women should keep their breasts covered.
So long as ladies maintain mystery about their breasts, they’ll have a powerful secret weapon for commanding men’s interest, attention and respect. However, without this mystery, men’s motivation to clean up, get good jobs, wine and dine them, and ultimately help house them and raise their children, would plummet.
Men likely would work only enough to rent cheap studio apartments and stock them with pizza and beer. They’d accordingly spend their days just working on their cars, playing video games, and watching TV. America’s gross national product would plummet, the economy would crash, and America would fall into ruin.
So keep your breasts covered, ladies. America’s survival depends on it.