Letters for May 8, 2008

A scofflaw by any other name …
Re: “Jim Nielsen: scofflaw” (Editorial, CN&R, May 1):

You almost got it right. By Webster’s definition, the former [state] senator is in fact a scoundrel. He did not live in the district he represented in the ‘80s, and it is obvious he will not be living in the district he wants to represent now. He could not even spell Rohnert Park when asked where he lived.

After his term was over, he was appointed to the Board of Prison Terms. He was not submitted to the senate for confirmation because there was no way he could get the necessary votes. I guess even his brethren had seen enough abuses of power. So Nielsen was appointed year after year to get his corporate welfare check.

I also can’t believe that Doug LaMalfa encouraged this guy to run, knowing that he did not live in the district. That is very distressing, bordering on illegal or unethical at the least.

I certainly hope that a court or district attorney can put a stop to this blatant flogging of the law.

Randy Frieze

Undersight catches up with CUSD
Re: “Try this tradeoff” (Letters, by Bryn Briarwood, CN&R, May 1):

I agree with the basic recommendation that CUSD shut its doors and let someone else take over. Didn’t the Grand Jury say as much a few years ago and no one listened? It is painfully apparent that significant mismanagement occurred.

It is simply outrageous and disgusting what has happened to the school system in such a short time. Our schools are a mess, and having 35 students in every classroom is not a solution to the crises. Notice what sports teams do when the team is going the wrong direction? They know that things won’t change until they change the leadership and bring in a fresh vision. CUSD needs that desperately.

The board may have started with good intentions but it is apparent that instead of proper oversight, they covered for terrible management over and over. They need to acknowledge that instead of pointing fingers at the state. They made some horrible and irresponsible decisions that will cost our children for decades.

Get new district-office personnel, and the board should allow them the freedom for real change by resigning their positions and allowing new people to take over. Get out the disinfectant, clean, wipe and replace, and don’t wait for the voters to do it in November.

J.R. Meyer

Straight from the source
Re: “Is Wozniak for real?” (Letters, by Don Gregg, CN&R, May 1):

I am amused and saddened to hear myself characterized as “hard right” and “neocon"—amused because it is so laughably false, and saddened by the ignorance of history and economics that it demonstrates.

Where did I get my ideas?

Lower taxes, proactive national defense—how does John F. Kennedy grab you? Realistic assessment of the intentions and capabilities of America’s enemies—how does Franklin D. Roosevelt grab you? The indivisibility and universality of human rights and democratic processes, here and abroad—how does Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. grab you? Keeping the fruit of your own labors—how do Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Abraham Lincoln grab you?

These ideas used to be called “liberal,” at least before the word “liberal” started to mean “anti-free enterprise,” “anti-free speech,” “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.”

Sorry, but I make no apologies for debunking Lysenkian theories of anthropogenic global warming, admonishing against Chamberlainian disregard of a rogue regime’s threats to wipe a democracy off the map, calling out folks when they spout off a lot of tired old Soviet propaganda, and pleading for economic literacy in public policy.

Chad Wozniak

Chemist knocks formula
Re: “Home brew” (cover story, by Virginia Moran, CN&R, May 1):

The stories [sidebars included] impel the reiteration of an earlier appeal by this letter writer that it is best to leave the discussion of rigorous science to those who are scholars in the field.

Furthermore, to cite sources to support one’s viewpoint, at least two criteria need be satisfied: The quoted source is from a refereed scholarly academic publication dealing with the subject and the individual who is citing the source is qualified to critically evaluate the veracity of the cited information.

Without becoming mired in a detailed point-by-point countering of the three stories—the CN&R is not the place to do so anyway—it is amusing to read that as we humans and other living species, including vegetation, release CO2 to the atmosphere, it is comparable to releasing CO2 by the combustion of “fossil fuel” in whatever manner.

As to the balancing out of the CO2 released by combustion of recycled vegetable oil by the capture of CO2 by the plant, the original source of RVO, one forgets it takes months to recapture the CO2 spewed out by the use of RVO. During those months, the CO2 spewed out is doing the devil’s work that we are trying to solve.

Brahama D. Sharma

Editor’s note: The main story included the author’s credentials. Virginia Moran is an environmental scientist with degrees in field biology and botany who runs Environmental Outreach Services in Grass Valley.

Water vs. bottles
Re: “Takin’ it back” (GreenWays, by Toni Scott, CN&R, April 24):

For those who are starting a program at Chico State to encourage the use of tap water, I’m sorry to tell you that you are all probably too young to know what we learned here in Chico some 30 years ago.

It was discovered that the underground aquifer from which Cal Water pumps our water contained three plumes of contamination with the carcinogenic volatile hydrocarbons PCE and TCE. At one point, Cal Water placed a huge carbon block filter on the pump. They have managed to maintain the percentages of the chemical pollutants at just below the “federal maximum allowable” level, which many consider way too high a standard.

The analysis and standards are found in the Cal Water yearly reports, copies of which are mailed to all recipients of their service. If you study the chart, you will see what I say here is true.

So my point is that drinking tap water to save plastic bottles from the landfills and spending energy to recycle them is, I believe, great for San Francisco with its Hetch Hechy water, New York with its upstate source and many other locales, but not for Chico.

Ed Walcott

A heated argument
Re: “Smoke screen?” (Letters, by Colleen Aguiar, CN&R, April 10):

With little money I purchased a used woodstove. This has served us well, but I would like a more energy-efficient and less-polluting stove. Unfortunately I do not have the money to replace mine.

For me and most of my neighbors, woodstoves are the only way we have to heat our homes. I use my stove to burn much of my yard waste. This helps offset my high cost of energy, and even more helps clean up my yard and reduce the fire hazard.

You, Butte County AQMD, want to stop woodstove burning, but you will continue to allow slash burning, which is far worse for the environment. You don’t give us any alternatives except to pay for other sources of heat. Then you will say that is causing pollution and we will have to replace that.

My mother told me that when she was a child, in the 1920s, the news reports and the scientists said the cause of pollution was “pine trees.” My point is they didn’t have it right then and don’t have it right now.

Even scientists who promoted biofuel are saying the environmental effects of clearing wetlands and planting corn has added to global warming. The technology for “clean coal” is said to be 10 years away. We expend megawatts of energy building solar panels that will only produce kilowatts of energy and will end up in landfills in the next 25 years.

We have much bigger problems than a few woodstoves.

Tiffany Montaño
Berry Creek

Acceptance speech
We want to give a big “thank you” to the Chico jazz community for giving us the award for Best Jazz Group at this year’s CAMMIES. Although we weren’t able to attend the ceremony itself (we had a rehearsal), we are still very honored to have been given this award. Chico has a small, but mighty group of very talented jazz musicians and we are thrilled and humbled to be recognized in this way.

We would also like to give a special thank you to the Chico News & Review for sponsoring CAMMIES and for recognizing our rich and diverse music scene. Chico really does rock!!

Holly Taylor & Eric Peter Jazz Duo

Editor’s note: For a list of all the winners go to www.newsreview.com/cammies.

Save our old city hall
It is great to see that we are bringing the old stately city hall back into use and up to code. But it saddens me to see that we do not have the imagination to use it in a way that adds to the attractions of the City Plaza and to the downtown.

It could be a focus for all our city events, contain a city art gallery, museum, an entertainment venue, even renting space for private functions, weddings and the like, and so add to the cultural attractions of our city and produce an income.

Instead, they are apparently thinking (I can’t imagine why) of using it to extend the accommodation for additional city staff and departments. This is the time we should be cutting city staff and using the large—and, to the outside observer, very lightly occupied—main city hall more efficiently, not wasting a gorgeous old building. We have too few of them for that to happen.

City Council, please review this decision and so make a worthwhile contribution to our downtown and its artistic and architectural heritage before it is too late.

Alan Gair

Mayday, mayday!
The Park and Playground Commission seems more interested in finding paragliders a home than preserving Upper Park’s natural pristine state. They adamantly flaunted park rules for years with their flights. Bidwell’s gift can only become more contrived by any such expansion. Next they may be having competitions and training.

Fly wherever you want, but Bidwell Park is not the setting. Keeping the park wild has been burden enough—remember the [ridge-front] houses that somehow showed up within the park under the commission’s watch.

Jerry Olio

Ramp up technology
With the recent budget crunch within the educational system, our community is losing qualified teachers and placing a valuable teaching tool, namely technology, by the wayside.

While budget cuts are necessary, technology is the cornerstone for training future citizens in vocational careers. Technology is important and must be emphasized in daily curriculum to accomplish societal goals in educating its emerging citizens.

Educators must be aware of and aggressively utilize the many grant opportunities made available to the public and private school systems. They include the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Grants, Christopher Columbus Foundation, and Intel Teach to the Future, which are often independent of current budget crises and have funding available.

Educators, please do not lose sight of your valuable contribution to future citizens. YouTube and MySpace are fun things for us today but will rapidly become a job-based requirement tomorrow. Pick up your pen today; the future of our children may depend on it.

Natalie Gebicke

Conscious streaming
There is a stream of well-being from a source available to me at any time if I don’t negate it by paying attention to present conditions or what I don’t want. Mistakenly I usually focus on present circumstances.

This stream of well-being includes—but is not limited to—perfect health, joy, love, prosperity, harmony and peace. I must focus on what I want and give thanks for all I have.

I can tell if I am focusing on what I want by my emotions. I feel good when I am focusing on what I want. It takes a little while to materialize depending on my past beliefs. I must believe all this for it to happen. My thoughts determine what I attract into my life. Thoughts are actions. By changing my thoughts, I change my emotions and thus my life.

Join me in “The Stream.”

Norm Dillinger