Letters for November 20, 2008

Credit where credit isn’t due
Re: “Virtuous verses” (Poetry 99, CN&R, Nov. 13):

Hilary Tellesen’s poem ["Down the Aisle"] speaks for itself convincingly. Its images are visceral and strong. No mistaking this poem’s story, the speaker’s position.

The author’s note, by contrast, is utterly dismissive of the poet and her singular accomplishment. It casts Hilary as Dylan Tellesen’s wife, as if to suggest she has somehow passively “received” something of his talent; it further casts her as mother of talented progeny. The tone of the author’s note positions Hilary as a “little woman.” The speaker of this poem is anything but.

The CN&R should know better than to print such a 1950s author’s note for a writer they’re trying to honor.

Jeanne Clark

I have been trying to convince my wife for years (since the day we first met, actually) that everything that she does well directly results from her association with me. She, after all, is a woman and would be nothing if she was not first my wife. I am so very appreciative that you acknowledged this fact in your short bio accompanying her poem.

Finally the truth is out in the open, in black and white, and very public. I can’t thank you enough.

Dylan Tellesen

Editor’s note: We did not mean to diminish her achievement by pointing out her creative household. We have apologized to her personally and do so again publicly.

Crunching numbers in City Hall
Re: “Pressure’s on Wahl” (Editorial, CN&R, Nov. 13):

I take issue with your comments concerning Larry Wahl’s questioning the number of police positions that must be eliminated in order to balance the budget. Three points should be considered:

1. The May 20 strategy (approved by council) clearly states that the across-the-board 7.5 percent cuts would include the elimination of 14.5 police positions, which would result in a $1.6 million savings. This is in addition to reductions in other departments.

2. The city’s quarterly financial report, which raised more questions than it answered, reported that a total reduction of 14.5 positions (in all departments) would save $1.3 million. Do the math and you will understand why all of us who follow city finances question if the reduction strategy is indeed “working as planned.”

3. Transparency in city fiscal matters is giving way to opaqueness. It was disappointing that City Manager [Dave] Burkland did not address the difference between the original strategy of eliminating 14.5 police positions versus the current seven positions. We also need to know the effect on the current budget as well as the impact on the 10-year projection.

I hope the January financial report will be more transparent and will provide more answers than questions. In the meantime, we should be thankful that Larry Wahl is asking questions.

Side note to doubters: Go to the home page on the city’s Web site and click on “Financial Challenges.” While you are there, check out “Unmet Needs” and get a glimpse of our not-so-bright financial future.

Bob Best

Editor’s note: Burkland explained the city indeed cut only seven police positions this year. The figure of 14.5 represents how many positions the department is currently down for various reasons—including vacancies it’s authorized to fill—and, coincidentally, the sum over two years in the deficit-reduction strategy.

Glaring spotlight
Re: “Selling pot ‘in the light’ “ (Newslines, by Ginger McGuire, CN&R, Nov. 13:

Your story about Joel Castle I found to be very interesting. You did not state in the article if he was under the influence of weed when he did the interview. Interviewing someone under the influence of a drug is like reporting convoluted, fuzzy and error-laden information.

What can we expect next, an Oxycontin pusher of the week story or possibly drug dealer of the year article? I know this type of juvenile minutia moves your papers in a college town with a quasi-high-school drug mentality, but please, no more pothead interviews.

The majority of social ills are driven by drugs no matter what they are called: legal, innocent, being cool, harmless, fun, relaxing, or medicating. Child abuse, domestic violence, prostitution, death, rape, murder, molestation, incarceration, theft—many social ills do not care what the drug of choice is called.

Why don’t you try providing more stories on these issues? You could even include stories about how Chico is awash with ecstasy, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and how they might be the root causes of college-student overdoses, suicides and families’ pain and suffering. I guess that wouldn’t be cool, would it?

Jim Bettencourt

I for one welcome any safe access [to medical marijuana]. It was promised that under the law (Prop 215 and SB 420)—that passed and stood the test of many lawsuits. It is about states’ rights vs. federal rights.

At least Joel [Castle of Chico Cannabis Club] has stepped up to the plate and is trying! Who else has? We have three “pot doctors” here in Chico, but nowhere to legally buy meds. Why is that?

The Chico City Council never has any talk about this subject; it’s always last on the list at meetings and is always ignored! Thanks for nothing, City Hall.

I say more power to you, Joel, and keep up the good work for all of us who for whatever reasons can’t fight the fight we believe in!

Jay Maxwell

Fair is fair
Re: “History is on their side” (Editorial, CN&R, Nov. 13):

This is one of the most logical, calm, rational arguments against Prop 8 I’ve read. I believe we’ve tried “separate but equal” in the past and it failed. Prop 8 is the most un-American legislation passed in this otherwise enlightened state. I’m disgusted by it, and I’m heterosexual!

Just a question: It takes six months to get divorced. What is the waiting period to dissolve a civil union? Is it equally miserably long?

Crystallyn Ferris

I voted no on Prop 8 because it’s clearly a civil-rights issue! The Constitution is supposed to protect minorities from the will of the majority. The fact that the Mormon Church decided to use its money to take away people’s rights instead of helping others, which is what I thought churches were all about, makes me want all churches to pay taxes.

If churches want to help make laws, then they should lose their tax-exempt status and help pay the nation’s huge tax debt!

Inge Scott

Your editorial failed to emphasize the fundamental issue of amending any constitution. Due process requires that any and all amendments can be adopted only if there is a two-thirds vote in the affirmative by the legitimate voting body. This point has eluded most voters when they go to vote on propositions—so-called direct democracy.

Brahama D. Sharma

Editor’s note: Dr. Sharma has served as public relations chairman of the California State Association of Parliamentarians and regional governor for the American Institute of Parliamentarians.

Oy vey indeed
Re: “Seeing the light” (Music, by Mark Lore, CN&R, Nov. 13):

“If I was a rich man,” I’d go to the Matisyahu (white reggae boy-with-a-beard rapster) concert. But I am a woman, and he is not to be soiled by my presence or money! He sounds like a fanatic, old-religion, woman-is-taboo lost man (age 29) hiding in the youth culture.

I am surprised the Chico News & Review gave him a front-page photo and a full-page preview. Oy vey!

Ann Navarro

Judgment call
The election of Barack Obama was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime, historical moment. He is committed to end torture, close Guantánamo, get out of Iraq, and more. As Paul Krugman, recent Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist for the New York Times, put it: “If the election of our first African American president didn’t stir you … there is something wrong with you.”

In spite of naysayers who warn that the $700 billion bailout will cripple Obama’s change agenda, Krugman believes that “yes he can” come through on health care, green jobs, and energy independence.

After the election, the CN&R did not appear moved. Granted, it had Tom Hayden’s intellectual “what if” pre-election coverage. Also, the CN&R advised that we vote against Prop 1[A], high speed rail. The No. 1 issue for a “planet in peril” is climate change; we could provide those “green jobs” and take tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere with rail, and California voted yes.

I believe Krugman: health care, light rail, green-collar jobs—it can happen, in spite of the bailout. But the CN&R provided no inspiring post-election editorials or front-page jubilation, just the usual provincial fare.

Ed Schilling

Re: “Where everybody knew your name” (Downstroke, CN&R, Nov. 13): An item on the Normal St. Bar closing incorrectly described the process involving employees. Owner George Boeger says when he legally won control of the bar, that court decision ceased the old ownership’s operation; he did not dismiss employees. This has been revised online.