Letters for November 15, 2012

About the asbestos

Re “Coincidence or consequence?” (Cover story, by Tom Gascoyne, Nov. 8):

Thank goodness Proposition 30 passed. Maybe now there will be interest in repairing this problem. Knock the building down, if possible! Move staff! If students studied there, parents would be up in arms.

Cal-OSHA, do your work! We pay you to do this! Paul Zingg, where is your heart and courage? Do what is right. The community is watching.

Friends of the deceased, your courage to speak up is inspiring. I wish you all the best—and, for what it’s worth, I have your back.

P.S. I’m telling Michael Moore!

Kathleen Nelson

A couple things to note: [Tami] Kilpatric’s office was on the seventh floor, and [Andy] Dick’s office was on the sixth floor. Also, I believe Holt Hall should be added to the list of buildings on campus with asbestos. When I worked there, I was told I could not have a chalk board removed from the wall because it would necessitate asbestos abatement.

Leslie Schibsted

Editor’s note: Ms. Schibsted is correct about the location of the offices. Our story had them reversed. The error has been corrected online.

CAP’s effect on farmers

Re “CAP and no trade” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, Nov. 8):

When Mayor Schwab said the City Council would decide [immediately on the Climate Action Plan], it was an interesting contrast to last year’s 15-month debate over the noise ordinance, which “had to be postponed until students could weigh in” even though they had had almost a year of expressing opinions.

The decision to move on with this not only affects Chico, it affects Butte County, as it is tied to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This board is an unelected body writing rules that are unattainable with current technologies.

Farmers are being targeted in an adverse way. The cost of retrofitting their equipment is very damaging to families and the industry. The rules are convoluted, and the newer equipment being installed has turned out to be dangerous, as it often causes the exhaust to become very hot, filters getting clogged, sometimes shooting out flames, and damaging motors.

Example: Old motors burning four gallons of diesel now require six gallons. For equipment such as a tractor that is used just a couple of days a year, retrofitting is clearly not an option. To rent a piece for those few days only adds to fuel consumption and costs. This not only increases refining and transportation costs, it changes pollution from one part of the state and world to another. Not talked about is that the finer particles now being put in the air do not fall to the ground but remain airborne longer, damaging people’s lungs even more.

Nancy L. Henry

Editor’s note: For the record, the city’s Climate Action Plan applies only to the greater Chico urban area.

No place to stay

Re “Passing through the gate” (Guest comment, by Bill Such, Nov. 8):

Chico is the first community on my Central Valley Walk for Homelessness that doesn’t provide shelter for those seeking a respite for a few nights up to a week.

I tried to get in there several days ago when I arrived in Chico from Oroville. This is a misconception, as the homeless as far south as Yuba City and Marysville mentioned that Chico had a shelter similar to a rescue mission concept, when in fact it doesn’t.

Your work [the Jesus Center] is vital to close that gap and one that would provide a service desperately needed in the area as the weather turns colder. Thank you for all of your passion and work for those less fortunate.

Bill Mash

Funny business

Re “Election Day note” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Nov. 8):

I read the News & Review from time to time just to find out how politically incorrect I really am, but the Robert Speer’s column provided laughs not expected.

Seems that a reader complained to Mr. Speer that the big bad Enterprise-Record did not print his “rebuttal” email regarding the E-R’s endorsement of Mitt Romney. The reader must be really important for Mr. Speer to get on David Little’s case and then to have Speer suggest that the E-R should revise the timetable for making their endorsements so that dissenting opinions would be printed.

The funniest part was how Speer actually commented about hearing “his teeth grinding.”

I rather doubt that Mr. Speer would revise how the CN&R operates based on a suggestion from the E-R. Keep the laughs coming!

Glenn Dunning

Prop. 37: two views

Prop. 37 lost, 53 percent to 47 percent. We lost. Truth lost. Our children lost. The money won—Monsanto and accomplices spent $48 million telling lies, and we had only $6 million with which to tell the truth. Monsanto gets to go forward with its poisons. Monsanto gets to believe that its domination can continue and grow. For a little while.

But if only money counted, we would have lost by 86 percent to 14 percent. The difference was Prop. 37’s volunteers, telling the truth—people who will be my friends for the rest of our lives.

And we will never stop. We will find ways for people to vote with their dollars, their behavior. Monsanto will find a constantly decreasing return for their dollars. Monsanto’s carpetbaggers and bought-and-paid-for politicians and FDA bureaucrats will find themselves isolated and friendless. We will feed our children.

Chuck Greenwood

California voters are to be commended on the defeat of Prop. 37. At least we got one thing right.

Also thanks to the majority of the state’s newspapers that recommended a no vote on 37.

Tom Dowd

The law says otherwise

Re “Pot-bust flashback” (Newslines, by Vic Cantu, Nov. 8):

It would seem that DA Ramsey is not reading his mail. If he were, he’d be aware of the decision published on Oct. 24 by the state appellate court in San Diego. The People v. Jovan Jackson shows Butte County’s decision to prosecute the Tognolis as nothing but vindictiveness. Jovan clearly states that storefront dispensaries are legal under certain circumstances.

With Jovan, the county has no case against the Tognolis, but it does have the will to drag them through the courts, on our dime, obviously with hopes of further financially ruining them.

San Diego may be a long distance from the courthouse in Oroville, but it is still within the same California.

Jay Bergstrom
Forest Ranch

Thanks, Howard

Re “Gay conversion, failed” (Healthlines, by Howard Hardee, Nov. 8):

I want to extend my deep appreciation to Howard Hardee for his excellent work on the article covering SB 1172 and featuring my personal story within it.

When Howard contacted me and said he wanted to interview me, I asked him to read my book first. I knew this was a large request, but I explained that in my experience too often interviewers miss things or accidentally misrepresent things in their efforts to get a quick story rather than a thorough and accurate story.

Mr. Hardee agreed to read the book, which he did. We communicated through several emails, and then I met with him. He was again kind, sincerely interested in my story, and thoughtful in his questions and comments.

When I saw the finished article I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I deeply appreciate the use of my photo and the cover of my book and the thoroughness with which SB 1172 and my story were covered. Every detail accurately represented our discussions. It was also written in a manner that was easy to read and kept the reader’s interest. Congratulations to Mr. Hardee for his excellent work.

Brian Anthony Kraemer

Editor’s note: Mr. Kraemer’s kind words are appreciated. The article did include one small error, however: It mistakenly referred to SB 1172 as AB 1172. The mistake has been corrected online.

Missed communication

Re “Who’s got the iPod?” (Newslines, by Stephanie Geske, Oct. 4):

We [Chico Cash Exchange] have never, nor would we ever, knowingly purchase or loan on stolen items. We question any customer who brings in anything that looks or seems suspicious.

Upon the purchase of George Marley’s iPod, we asked the seller where she got the iPod, and she provided us with a convincing story. When Mr. Marley came in to pick up the iPod, it was on police hold, leaving us unable to release it to him or anyone else.

We always act in complete accordance with the law, and we work very hard to cooperate with local law enforcement and bring criminals to justice. Your author failed to get our side of the story, not because we did not want to talk to her, but because she failed to return our calls or do research on pawn shop laws.

This article is so far from the truth that it should be considered a fictional piece, rather than an act of news reporting. We have been working hard with our association, the California Pawnbrokers Association (CAPA), to educate the public and mandate laws that will be beneficial for victims. We want to bring justice to the criminals in our community and reunite the victims with their property.

Unfortunately there are many buyers who will never report to law enforcement: flea markets, Craigslist, non compliant antique and second-hand dealers, and private buyers.

Articles like this one overlook all the successes we have had in solving police cases and arresting criminals. If anyone has additional questions about the laws regarding pawn shops or the best ways to recover stolen property, we would happily educate.

Danielle Batha-Bengtson

Editor’s note: We applaud Chico Cash Exchange for its proactive efforts. However, it is incorrect to say the story’s author didn’t get its side of the story because she failed to return calls. She called the store several times and even visited it on one occasion, but was unable to speak to a person who could answer her questions.

Why I’m not a Republican

Conservatives seem fixated on the false idea that people voted for Obama only because they “want something for nothing.” Let me offer an alternative perspective.

I’m a 61-year-old white man. I’ve never been without a job for any length of time since getting my first paper route at age 10. I’ve been married for 39 years and have a paid-for house and a decent retirement fund. Sounds like I ought to be a Republican, right?

But, as a registered nurse, I understand the power of science and believe in what it teaches us about the natural world, past and future. I know the earth is billions of years old, that evolution is a fact and global warming is real.

As a student of history, I know that from 1946 to 1976 the top marginal tax rate was at least 70 percent and that our economy was healthier during those years than it has been since. As a human being, I am thrilled that there are three more states where my gay and lesbian friends can be treated as fully human and their relationships recognized as equal.

I believe that women have a right to control their own bodies—and know that the best way to reduce abortion is to make contraception widely available. I know that part of the reason I have what I have is that a quality, tax-supported public education was available for me, and I believe today’s young people should have the same. And so I’m not a Republican.

David Welch

Four modest proposals

Proposition 30’s passage only assures the hiring of even more bureaucrats into an already grossly obese state government. Don’t be na•ve enough to think the new taxes will be spent on education—that doesn’t grow the kleptocracy’s power base. Students, your tuition will go up anyway—mark my word. Have you ever heard Gov. Medfly-Receivership propose cuts in the bureaucracy to pay for education? Huh-uh.

Why should college students pay higher tuition to help support these unproductive people? California’s government is the most expensive, most inefficient, most wasteful and most abusive of any state. The bloated bureaucracy/kleptocracy has become numerous enough to decide elections, and the officials they support and get elected are merely fronts for and rubber-stampers of their rapacity.

They are the ultimate special interest group. You want to solve California’s budget problems? Dispossess this kleptocracy.

Four proposals:

First, calculate funding needed to provide places for all well-prepared high schoolers, free, at all state institutions of higher education; and for K-12 education including reduced class sizes, arts, sports.

Second, deduct that amount from state employee pay (except firemen, emergency responders and peace officers) through pay cuts and layoffs as needed.

Third, lay off redundant administrators in the CSU and UC systems and cut others’ pay.

Fourth, require anyone getting a state paycheck (except firemen, emergency responders and peace officers) to report their employment to the registrar of voters, and prohibit them from voting in state elections.

Chad Wozniak

Wall Street wakes up

It’s interesting that right after Hurricane Sandy the cover story on this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek is, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

It takes Wall Street literally being under water to make corporate America open its eyes to environmental concerns. They are finally realizing that oil-company profits pale in comparison to the continuation of business in general.

Even so, I still don’t think their main concerns are the survival of the planet for future generations, just the ability to keep the corporate business world functioning.

Ron Sherman