Letters for May 8, 2014

The ideal location

Re “Dialogue is key” (Editorial, May 1):

Actually, the best place for the market is in the streets, which is a best practice of hundreds of markets throughout California. The current location is simply too small. At most, it can support about 3,000 unique visitors per week. The current market offers very limited variety, because of the size. They can, and should, do better.

The location proposed behind City Hall is also too small. The ideal location for the market is on Fourth Street from Main to Flume, and Wall Street from Third to Fourth. There are no businesses open on Saturday or residents to be inconvenienced. It would double the number of vendors, and triple the number of potential visitors.

I think this initiative needs to come from the city; if they offer this footprint at a reasonable rate with a three-year (or longer) franchise agreement, I predict the CCFM board (as opposed to the Friends) will accept it. This doesn’t need to rise even to the council level to make it happen. Cut out the politicos (on both sides), and have a simple negotiation between the business operator (CCFM board) and city staff. Present it to the council as a done deal for summary approval and move on.

Alan Chamberlain

Speaking of the market

“Market confusion” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, May 1):

If this farmers’ market fight carries on any longer, methinks a disc golf match is going to break out.

Chris Durniak

“It’s weird.” That’s what Richard Coon, chairman of the CCFM board, says about the farmers’ market controversy. I had also said it was weird while looking into the issue for our blog.

The conservative City Council candidates seem all to support the market. There are issues about times and locations that seem easily resolvable. I’ve concluded that political operatives are creating a tempest with the hopes of increasing liberal turnout in November and defeating conservative Vice Mayor Mark Sorensen. But that would be stunningly small-minded of them.

Sorensen’s fiscal frugality is what has brought down city employee wages and benefits. Without Sorensen’s efforts there would be no money for parks, trees, art, or anything other than limited public safety. There is a portion of the liberal community in full denial of our dire financial condition, and they want to continue to overpay public employees.

We need activists to support our efforts to reduce compensation for city of Chico public employees, to free up monies for progressive programs. Sorensen has been the leader on this issue. If he loses in November, progressives will learn to regret it.

Michael Jones

Farmers, whether they sell at the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market or not, should be concerned with whether the market is moved. But, first let’s connect the dots.

Vice Mayor Mark Sorensen is, above all else, a pro-development zealot. He believes that government exists to further the interests of developers and commercial landlords—and little else. These commercial interests gladly fund Sorensen’s campaigns.

Sorensen voted against the Chico General Plan because it limits growth to 17,000(!) new housing units and maintains the Greenline—which keeps Chico from rapidly becoming another San Jose. Sorensen would like to break the Greenline and remake downtown Chico as a mall-like, automobile-saturated, mega-shopping district.

Breaking the Greenline and moving the farmers’ market are one and the same, because the market is held on land that would serve as a fine location for a multi-storey car park, built to serve the 200,000 Macy’s customers driving in from the sprawling suburbs.

If you love Chico and farmland, support the present market location and defeat Mark Sorensen in the next election. The market is one battle in a larger war.

Patrick Newman

About Goloff’s email

Re “Context” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, May 1):

I knew full well that Ms. Goloff’s email was in circulation among the media. That is why, when you asked, I gave the same answer I had consistently given to all others before you asking about her absence: “medical issue.”

The Goloff email to which you refer merely states where treatment was being sought, but offers no specifics. When pressed for specifics, I said that I didn’t know.

To engage in public speculation and conjecture about someone’s medical issues lacks integrity and defies common decency, much like the content of your column.

Mark Sorensen

Editor’s note: The public records obtained by this newspaper clearly show that Mr. Sorensen knew that Mary Goloff had checked into an addiction-(treatment) facility.

What about debate?

Re “Shilling for shale?” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, May 1):

I read with interest your article about J. Winston Porter’s visit to Chico State and his presentation on fracking. Apparently I have lost track of what an institute of higher learning is about.

Based on the article, the agenda of the administration and faculty is to teach only what the school doctrine is without any opposing viewpoints. I have always thought that students were supposed to learn how to learn, not what to learn. A one-sided curriculum that does not encourage healthy debate and discussion of opinions seems pointless to me.

The article intimated that big money was behind Mr. Porter. I would suggest that, had a representative from the solar industry presented a program, there would be no smaller amount of big money behind that person.

How can a student, person, etc., make an informed judgment without seeing and hearing all sides of an issue? Which goes back to my original point: I thought that is what college was for.

Larry Coleman

Defending arts funding

Re “No handouts for arts” (Letters, by Stephen Raley, May 1):

The writer makes economic support for the arts sound like welfare for lazy people. Perhaps he should look at the dollars spent, why and what the return is.

The bulk of funding for the arts goes to nonprofits for education, programs and performances. It subsidizes fees for organizations like the ballet, theater and art center, allowing them to provide opportunities to those who would be unable to afford it otherwise. The arts also upgrade our environment by replacing industrial light standards with attractive fixtures and chain link with wrought iron.

The money Chico has historically distributed is a direct result of the arts’ contribution to city coffers. Significant portions of the community’s hotel and sales taxes derive from Chico’s art scene. Concerts, festivals and shows are proven revenue raisers and help bring jobs to Chico. Chico’s dismal financial situation is not going to be remedied by funding only police and fire departments.

If Mr. Independent wants to live in a community where only the elite can participate in the arts, schools teach only vocational skills and our environment consists of bare steel and concrete, then he should continue his present advocacy. But I think it will be a lonely and economically depressed place.

Todd Hall

Celebrate teachers!

May 5-9 is national week of the teacher. I hope you will join fellow California Retired Teachers and me in giving teachers a big thank you.

There is nothing more gratifying than hearing from your students and parents, both past and present. It makes all the hours dedicated to preparing, teaching and measuring results worth it.

My fourth-sixth grade teacher, Miss Tracy Landkamer, was my favorite. She was strict, caring and fair. She taught us mathematics and English—diagramming sentences with such insistence that we dared not fail. These lessons were for a lifetime.

Once getting recess was rewarded a shy girl and me, while others had to “stay in” and practice diagramming. It was the worst reward I’d ever received as Ruth and I tried to figure out what to do. We had little in common, but now laugh about it.

I never got a chance to thank Miss Landkamer, as she died two weeks before I planned to visit her. Please don’t let any opportunity to share your appreciation to those teachers who have influenced your life. They might even return the pat on the back!

Dick Cory

Support for bullying victims

According to the National Center for Education Statistics 2010, 27.8 percent of students reported being bullied at school. This is nearly one-third of our children.

Currently, Education Code 48900.5 allows the perpetrator of school bullying to have access to mental health services as an alternative to suspension. What is absent from the Education Code is the authority for school officials to refer victims, witnesses and others who are affected by an act of bullying to counseling services. This is an obvious oversight by the original authors of this law. What is right and correct is the legislative solution of Assembly Bill 1455.

This would expand the Education Code to give school district superintendents and school principals the authority to refer victims and witnesses to school counselors or school psychologists, social workers, child welfare attendance personnel, or other school support service personnel.

By closing this loophole in current legislation, we will move California closer to addressing the cycle of abuse and trauma resulting from bullying. As a mother of two children in elementary school, I am urging Assemblyman Dan Logue, Sen. Jim Nielsen and all other members to vote yes on AB 1455.

Heather Knight

‘A great idea’

Re “In the bag” (Cover feature, by Melissa Daugherty, April 17):

I read the article on the reusable bags and I think that it’s a great idea. I’m originally from the Bay Area, so I’m accustomed to carrying around a reusable bag whenever I go shopping. I’m actually surprised that this policy wasn’t in effect sooner because Chico is so environmentally friendly.

I feel that some people would oppose this because paying a few extra cents for a paper bag is inconvenient and because not everyone carries a reusable bag into the store. I have plenty reusable bags lying around, but I never use them because I always forget them in the trunk of my car or in the corner of my kitchen.

Personally, I don’t mind paying a few extra cents but I can see the benefit to bringing your own bag because it reduces waste.

Danielle Deguia

Not a fan of DA Cohen

District Attorney Greg Cohen has proven to many of his constituents that he lacks integrity. His regime, under his tutelage, has ignored his “oath” regarding the so-called Jim Nielsen investigations. There will be those who will re-elect him despite the absolute evidence of Nielsen’s crimes.

We the people, who researched this politician for more than four years, were never allowed to submit our proof. The two grand juries were manipulated and managed by the people “in charge.” These 38 spineless grand jurors could have attempted to honor their “oath.”

The voters of Tehama County now have a duty to exercise the only civil way to expel this inept district attorney.

Donald M. Bird
Rancho Tehama

Defending arts funding

I totally agree with Mr. Raley that governments should not be responsible for the support of individual artists. Municipal funding for the arts is not intended to enrich or support individual artists, but rather is intended to foster an environment where all forms of arts can thrive. This, in turn, creates positive economic and social benefits for members of the community as well as for visitors.

The arts provide educational, entertainment and enrichment opportunities for the residents of our community. Arts events also drive a great deal of tourism in our area, bringing much-needed funding into our city coffers in the form of transient occupancy taxes. As an added bonus, the arts drive business to other entities such as restaurants, bars, retail stores, parking lots and more. The return on the minimal investment made by the city is returned in multiples in these ways.

We know that when governments reduce their support for the arts, they are not cutting frills, but rather are undercutting an industry that is a cornerstone of tourism, economic development and revitalization. Please stand with us as we continue to fight for support for the arts and the well-being of our community during a difficult time.

Angela Cook
arts commissioner, Chico