Letters for November 22, 2001

Misdirected attack
Publishing Mike Jones’s acid pen attack on Suzanne Gibbs [“Keep it public,” Letters, CN&R, Nov. 8] has no place in a balanced newspaper.

Suzanne is not a decision-maker at any level within city of Chico government nor is she a decision-maker within Chico State University. She is entitled to state her opinions at a public meeting without being hounded by Mike Jones and having her opinion on every issue on which she has publicly expressed an opinion drug into the discussion of a particular issue. When a letter writer broadly attacks an individual for expressing an opinion on a given topic at a public meeting, the paper has an obligation to keep the discussion on the topic and civil by not publishing such letters.

It is the reasoning and actions of the decision makers whether they be the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission or the University’s managing board for the Big Chico Creek Ecological Preserve that need to be presented to the public and questioned.

John Ost
Medford, Ore.

Goodbye wildlife
Where do the wild things go when their habitat is torn up?

I had to ask myself this today as I was walking by the parcel of land on Forest Avenue that they are stripping to put in yet another subdivision.

I knew about this months ago and was concerned about the huge king oak that sat out front of the old abandoned house. I feared for the safety of the tree. I was assured by very courteous city officials that the king oak was safe, as were three-fourths of the rest of the trees on the property. I felt somewhat relieved.

When I walked past again, I noticed that all the underbrush, the wild ivy, grasses, oak shoots and sweet peas were gone and alone stood the mighty oak. He seemed naked and exposed, somehow different in his new environment. I felt sad just looking at his familiar surroundings stripped away. Had his very power from this tangled oldness been lost, the power his mere existence gives us to remember who we are?

I appreciate the fact that most of the trees are being preserved. But do we really need more houses? I’ve been told that there are a lot of homes that are already built for sale here in Chico. Is our love for more, for better, for bigger a means to justify the removal and destruction of tangled woods, ancient trees, natural homes of the things that help make our lives worth living? I think this is something we should ask ourselves. Have we lost the connection to everything that, in the end, really matters?

Victoria Hunt

Damn it all
I ventured to Oroville on Nov. 13 to attend the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting, a first for me. The best word I can think of to describe the experience is surreal.

Tedium reigned until the time came for consideration of two items that Kim Yamaguchi had added to the agenda the previous Friday. One item spelled out the language to be used in the redistricting referendum next spring. The other item, and this is where it started to get bizarre, would put in place Yamaguchi’s Plan 5 redistricting boundaries for the election.

Damn the 11,000 Butte County voters who signed the petitions, damn the county counsel, who said it was illegal, and damn the election commissioner who said she was bound by law not to do it. Yamaguchi forged ahead, damn the resistance! And why not? He was supported by a rude and bitter band of delusional Dolan haters from Oroville. I swear, these folks wouldn’t recognize reality if it walked up and stood on their foot!

Candace Grubbs stated that the referendum was certified, which froze the districts in their 1991 configurations. In short, state election law would be followed in the March 5 election however the supervisors voted.

Mary Ann Houx had it right: All that will come of this is that an obscene amount of precious Butte County dollars are going to line the pockets of a bunch of lawyers. The surreal part of this is that it’s the supposedly “fiscally conservative” members of the Board of Supervisors who are forcing it to happen. I hope the fine citizens of Paradise remember this in three years when Yamaguchi is trying to run on his thus far dubious record.

Dan Carter

Constitutional interpretation
According to the United States Supreme Court, our old supervisorial districts in Butte County are unconstitutional. They are out of population balance, and federal law mandates that a district can’t exceed more than 10 percent population than another district. In the case of the old districts, we found one 11.5 percent out of balance.

State laws can meet or exceed the standards of federal law; that’s fine. But in no way they can be less than the federal law standards. Therefore, while a referendum may appear on the March ballot, Jane Dolan is federally prohibited from using her old territory, which was originally drawn up to accommodate her partisan politics, because we now have out-of-balance and unconstitutional districts.

The California Supreme Court addressed this very issue with the Assembly vs. Dukemejian and held that a voter referendum on districts did not automatically suspend those new districts where: 1) old districts are unconstitutional, 2) use of the new districts is temporary, and 3) there is insufficient opportunity to redraw the lines for the upcoming election.

The voters need to demand the legal districts be used, if only temporarily, because at least those districts won’t invalidate a future election. Come March 5, voters can decide if they want to keep them. Clearly this is far less disruptive than Supervisor Dolan’s plan to force us to use districts that have been declared unconstitutional. If she succeeds in restoring the old district lines, there will be legal chaos, the March 5 election results could be at risk and all for the sake of her own personal interests. That’s wrong, plain and simple.

Jack Lee

Don’t blame U.S.
John Michael Sun urged CN&R readers to pay attention to the war in Afghanistan in order to see the truth about war and about America. Sun leaves little doubt about his own version of the truth [“Don’t ignore the war,” Guest comment, Nov.8].

First, he suggests that revenge is our motive for bombing Afghanistan. The more important reason, however, is self-protection. Our targets in Afghanistan are people who want to kill us.

Second, Sun implies that there is a moral equivalency between our bombing Afghanistan and the terrorist atrocities of Sept. 11. He refers to “small children put in hospitals by American bombs.”

The major difference, which Sun conveniently omits, is that while America is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties in prosecuting its war, the Taliban/Al Qaeda alliance deliberately targets innocent people, children included. Their concern and respect for human life can be seen in their tendency to park themselves and their weapons in civilian areas and by their general treatment of women.

Like Sun, I too urge you to pay attention to the war, but while keeping in mind the events of Sept. 11. Hopefully, you will see through the self-delusions of the “bash America first” crowd, that segment of the population that will always blame America for the world’s evil—regardless of the truth.

Dave Wiens