Letters for November 24, 2005

Infill madness
If you have a potting shed, garage or outbuilding on your property and want to make it a rental make sure you have a good story and the Planning Commission will approve. Don’t worry if it doesn’t meet the setbacks or the current guidelines. You don’t even need to have building permits.

The commission approved use permit UP-52 at the Oct. 6 meeting to allow a former garage/carport/shed to be approved as a second dwelling unit. On Dec. 1 the commission will rehear this issue because the planning department report was so inaccurate the city planner director is asking for a “do-over.” The city’s file on the property in question is a string of code violations.

In 1970 the city issued a code violation and said the shed did not meet state minimum standards and that a second unit was not allowed in an R-1 neighborhood. Thirty-five years later that shed has a rental history as does the “guesthouse,” a nonconforming illegally remodeled former garage/carport/shed that is now a one-bedroom cottage. This year the illegal remodeling was given a stamp of approval by the Planning Commission. The small shed/studio will be removed (you clearly can’t have three rentals in an R-1) and the neighbors will be inflicted with non-owner occupied tenants. Planned infill might be the city’s goal but illicit growth and rewarding illegal remodeling is not a good idea. I will again be asking the permit be denied. If you have concerns about the illicit growth and bad planning come to the Dec. 1 meeting or let the city know. Comments can be sent to kseidler@ci.chico.ca.us

Karen Swartz

Great breakfast
We wish to thank Cozy Diner manager Jesse Munoz and his wonderful waitress for the gracious manner in which they treated us during Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Nov. 7 visit to Chico. We were breakfasting with friends at the diner when Schwarzenegger arrived. The governor’s aides and a CHP officer tried to move us to the “backroom” after we had begun eating. The waitress’ quick actions and Jesse’s decisive manner stopped our removal.

The situation started simply because we chose not to wear support Arnold labels an aide had offered us. After we refused the labels, the cheerful atmosphere among surrounding tables changed to unfriendly stares and whispers. Two young ladies, who said they were teachers, positioned themselves next to our table and discussed loudly why they supported Arnold’s propositions. Later, a young father, with his family there, told us he was a veteran and supported Arnold.

We informed him that we were veterans as well. End result: Schwarzenegger made a brief rally speech, spent most of his time giving autographs, was routed around our aisle (for which the young father blamed us).

All in all, the morning ended well. Jesse and the waitress restored our faith in civility. The breakfast and service were great. And we got to see our governor, though from a distance.

John P. Martinez

Peace of meat
My thanks to the community of Chico for its unprecedented turnout for the screening of the factory farm documentary Peaceable Kingdom at the Pageant Theatre on Nov. 17. In a week when a front page story for the Chico Enterprise Record was “Meat, as much as produce, is part of valley’s bounty,” featuring Chico State University’s “meat laboratory,” I would never have expected more than 120 souls to attend a film that uncovers the cruelty that characterizes American meat, poultry, egg and milk “production.”

The film was tasteful, but it didn’t shirk from showing the truth of downed cows, de-beaked chicks and unbelievably confined sows. It was preceded by a series of thought-provoking quotes that traced the roots of cruelty-free diets by writers and philosophers from Plutarch through Da Vinci, Tolstoy, and even modernists such as radio host Paul Harvey. The young people who organized the screening are to be commended for applying their energies to making this fine city more compassionate and humane. I plan on joining them at their no-host vegan lunch at Peeking Restaurant on Saturday, Dec. 3 at noon.

J. Trizzino

Disaster plans
I invite all of you to attend the informational/organizational meeting on disaster proposed plans Wednesday Nov. 30 at the City Council Chambers from 7:30-10 p.m beginning with presentations by Chico Fire Chief Steve Brown, Chico Police Chief Bruce Hagerty, Martha Griese of the Three Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross, John Gulserian from Butte County Emergency Services, Dr. Mark Lundberg, director of Butte County Public Health, and Major Ray Yant of the Salvation Army. Existing disaster plans will be discussed as well as suggestions for citizen preparedness and response. Preparedness literature will be available for each household.

The second part of the meeting will be devoted to discussing how local citizens can best work together to respond to a disaster or emergency. Possible ways to implement such a response would be to work through the following groups: the Neighborhood Watch program, thereby expanding its scope from crime prevention to include disaster/emergency/relief functions; local Community Emergency Response Teams; local churches, charities, and service organizations.

We need to be able to take care of ourselves and be prepared to help our neighbors for at least 72 hours to a week or two before local, state, and federal relief can be implemented.

I urge you to consider this proposal, attend the meeting, and share your ideas with each other. To make this work with wide, community involvement, we need volunteers. We need you.Please indicate your interest by sending an e-mail to rbowman@csuchico.edu or calling (530) 521-2518.

Robert Bowman
Professor Emeritus, CSU, Chico

Who can Blamer?
Regarding Craig Blamer’s review of Derailed [“Noir challenged,” Reel world, Nov.17]. If you’re going to slam a movie could you at least get the star’s name correct. Colin Clive? What rock do you live under? This British actor has many films to his credit. Ever heard of the Croupier? What about Closer? The actor’s name is Clive Owen. I guess you think you are being clever—not! I, too, guessed what was going on because Jennifer Anniston can’t act, but to disrespect an accomplished actor is very small. Blamer—perhaps he picked a fictitious name that fits.

Kathy Sweeney

Revive feminism
Recently, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd declared that feminism is dead. If it is, then the local outrage at the dildo article reassures me that it is time to revive it [“Dildos 101,” Backbeat, Nov. 17]. Chico seems to be stuck in a miasma of misogyny that prevents its citizens from accepting that women have vaginas, clitorises and that they are learning to use them without compunction. I celebrate the fact that many women are comfortable enough with their sexuality to please themselves without the almighty human phallus! Furthermore, I want to thank the outraged readers for reminding me that until women’s sex organs are no longer considered more harmful than war, corruption and poverty, feminism has a battle to fight.

Susanna Boxall
Received via e-mail