Letters for November 28, 2013

Stop the histrionics

Re “Blame the policy, not the plant” (Cover feature, by David Downs, Nov. 21):

It is true that marijuana prohibition is the cause of all problems related to marijuana. It is not true that marijuana grows cause major ecological damage compared to other industries. So please stop all these ridiculous histrionics about damage caused by evil pot growers and/or evil pot prohibition until you have done something about the following problems.

Coal—Google “mountaintop removal coal mining” and see what has been done to the Southern Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and other states. Gas—Google “fracking” and see what is being done to the Northern Appalachian Mountains, particularly in Pennsylvania. Logging—Google Earth Map from Oregon south, far past Butte County. The western slope of the Sierra Nevada has been systematically raped with “clear-cut” patches. Farming—agribusiness in every state causes infinitely more harm to the environment with all make and manner of offenses (they spray poisons from planes, for one thing) than a few pissant pot gardens in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

Joseph Robinson

Editor’s note: The CN&R has a history of writing about those very things. For example, see “The future of the f-word,” Cover feature, Sept. 19. We are also concerned about the environmental devastation that our reporters have seen firsthand while touring Butte County’s foothills, where there are, in fact, many more than “a few pissant pot gardens.”

The bullies prevailed

Re “Compromise prevails” (Newslines, by Melissa Daugherty, Nov. 21):

The once-a-week feeding of the homeless has been moved out of the City Plaza. The poor will now be fed near the far-less-visible east entrance to City Hall—a place clearly less suited to the task, as it lacks almost everything the City Plaza offers. Some see this as a compromise and more evidence of how caring we are. In fact, this is a great victory for City Councilman Morgan, real estate magnate Wayne Cook and bullies everywhere.

The Orchard Church was serving people in the direct line of sight of Wayne Cook’s tower, which stands on his luxury hotel, restaurant and bar—about one block from the soup line. Wayne Cook wanted them gone. Councilman Morgan got the job done.

Strangely, the Orchard Church had been feeding people there for many years. And for many years, no one would have had the audacity to remove them. But, Chico is becoming a different kind of place. A place where a man—who owns enough housing to shelter literally thousands of homeless people—can demand that people, with no property at all, be forced off of a few square yards of public space.

Patrick Newman

Water watchers weigh in

Re “A dry spell” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, Nov. 21):

San Joaquin Valley farmers have been aggressive during the past century in managing groundwater supplies. They stepped forward and supported the construction of the Central Valley Project (CVP) that delivered surface water to the region to reduce reliance on groundwater. This support required them to commit billions of dollars toward repaying the costs of constructing the dams, canals, maintenance and operation costs of the CVP.

Another example of improved water-supply management is the $2.1 billion farmers have spent upgrading irrigation systems on 1.8 million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland, including the installation of drip- and micro-irrigation technology.

Barbara Vlamis is concerned that the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its tunnels will “devastate” other regions’ water supplies, but there is nothing to support what she is saying. The BDCP is designed to provide reliable deliveries of water that people already have a right to use. And the amount that would be exported is on average the same that has been moved over the past 20 years.

Mike Wade
California Farm Water Coalition, Sacramento

What’s more horrendous is the local environmental community’s focus on Delta flows and Delta restoration, as evidenced by their support for the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) 2010 flow report, which could have the impact of taking an additional 2 million acre-feet from the Sacramento Valley.

Where is that water going to come from? If they say it will come from the junior water-right holders, then they need a reality check because that’s not how the SWRCB process works. Senior water-right holders will be at risk in any SWRCB proceeding.

Anjanette Shadley Martin

Must-eat pastries

Re “Taste of Yssingeaux” (Chow, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, Nov. 21):

Having been delighted by both the beauty and nuanced flavors of Josh Graham’s creations, it must be noted that the pleasure of enjoying them should not be limited to the few. Talent like that needs to be experienced by the many.

Barry Cooper
St. Louis, Mo.

One mystery cleared up, another deepened. Last week’s Chow revealed why the macarons at Tin Roof Bakery are equal to—or even better than—the ones made by the foremost artisans of Paris: Pierre Hermé, Ladurée, and La Grande …picerie, to name three. How can this be? It’s because pastry chef Josh Graham completed the ENSP program! And we have him in Chico! But then, further on in the same piece, your reviewer writes “très magnifique!” about Graham’s entremet. Groan. That phrase sounds cute and Frenchy, but it has no meaning. It does not exist. One may say “C’est magnifique!” all right, but “magnifique” is an absolute and can’t be “très” anything. CN&R seems to make a French gaffe every autumn (last year’s was “terroir”). Shall we look forward to 2014?

Sarkis Shmavonian

Two on cop’s comments

Re “Police drama” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Nov. 14):

The whole impetus for this charade is woefully buried. [This is about a] police officer making rude, inappropriate and insulting comments against a Chico citizen, in public space, no less on Facebook.

As a concerned citizen and homeless advocate, I’m outraged to have a public servant, sworn to protect and serve, making snide and hurtful remarks about the most maligned minority group in Chico: the homeless. How can this officer be entrusted with the responsibility to be an unbiased peace officer? The answer is he can’t—period.

Bill Mash

As a citizen of Chico, I would like to encourage City Councilman Randall Stone to take a deeper look at his recent actions in charging a police officer of racism. His actions created a deeper divide between the police officers and city leadership, put the accused officer and his family at risk, and did not inspire the trust of the public that our city leaders follow proper protocol.

We want our city leaders to be passionate, but guided by wisdom befitting a public servant. All too often, zeal without wisdom brings ruin. For the public to have a more full understanding of the incident, it would have been more prudent to allow the investigation to take place before going to the media.

It would be in the best interest of the public and the City Council to review with all members how to handle these situations more deftly and within the proper chain of command. This would inspire a more harmonious view of our city and allow our leaders to address concerns in a fashion that builds the community, rather than divides it. Anyone can tear the house down, but it takes a craftsman to build it.

Michael Dailey

A senseless death

Re “Independent review needed” (Editorial, Oct. 17):

On Sept. 22 of this year, a young woman of 19, Breanne Sharpe, was shot at 19 times by multiple Chico Police officers. The young woman had stolen a vehicle and led the police on a short chase that soon ended her life.

“The shootings, individually and jointly, were justified under the circumstances,” said Butte County’s District Attorney, Mike Ramsey. It was completely uncalled for that this young woman lost her life because of this incident. The first shot fired was straight to the back of the driver’s headrest. It seems so ignorant to go straight to killing her before even trying to stop her.

Instead of shooting and killing her, the police could have easily stopped the car by shooting the tires or even putting themselves before the situation like police are expected to do. At first, the multiple police officers thought the driver was a white male. They didn’t know that it was a woman who did have previous offenses until after she was killed. Even though she had previous offenses, she may have needed some jail time to set her straight.

Now that she is not here anymore, she has no time to improve or even turn her whole life around.

Katie Rosauer

More from the paraglider

Re “Bird’s-eye view” (Greenways, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, Nov. 21):

Thank you for the article regarding the magic of paragliding. Paragliding is a unique experience—staying aloft by using nature’s energy, no fuel, combining tremendous knowledge of natural sciences: meteorology, geography, geology, physics, human physiology, sun, wind, topography and orienteering.

I get many common questions. Paragliding is nonmotorized, being the lightest form of flight known. Our gliders compress into a 50-pound backpack, which we carry on our back to launch locations. We do not jump off cliffs—we inflate our wings in the wind, in a controlled fashion, and fly off hills after a few steps forward staying aloft for several hours using thermals to stay up.

From the air, we can see Bidwell Park and beyond in unprecedented ways not visible from earthbound activities—a special treat. Locally, a shock to me is trail erosion. While many of our mountain-biking and hiking friends use these trails responsibly, often contributing to trail-maintenance programs, there are unknowing users who are creating new trails next to established trails—increasing permanent erosion.

Please use the park with good judgment and responsible/appropriate trail use. Regarding paragliding impacts: We are one-way hikers leaving no footprint in flight, exploring nature from the air.

Jon Stallman

Building is too expensive

On Nov. 12, ground was broken for the new Arts and Humanities building at Chico State. The estimated budget for the project is $58.4 million. The size of the building will be 93,000 square feet. Cost per square foot is estimated at $627, or well above national averages.

Someone will make a nice sum off of the taxpayers. A single building project like this at such an extreme cost, no matter how worthwhile it seems to some, is outrageous. The debt cost of the bonds behind it will add millions more to the nearly $60 million price tag. We seldom see public projects come in under budget, so it’s reasonable to think this project will exceed its budget.

It’s no wonder there has been little mention of this new project in the media. Why get people riled up? The $58 million could do a lot of good for a lot of people in a lot of places in California. To spend this ridiculous amount while at the same time reducing enrollment makes it even more incredulous.

Taft Petersen

Choose carefully, City Council

The Chico city attorney is retiring. It is appropriate to now consider an inherent conflict of interest of her duties. The city attorney prosecutes violations of the city charter and code, but is also the defense attorney for city staff.

So the city attorney is forced to choose. In an ongoing drama, citizen activists noticed that the former city finance director was not providing current financial statements at City Council meetings, although it is required by the city charter. The city attorney chose to ignore the charter and defend the finance director.

Later, the grand jury looked into city finances and concluded that the city finance director had misled the jury and the City Council with inaccurate and incomplete accounting of Chico’s financial condition. And that $20 million had been transferred out of their proper accounts.

The city of Chico will be suffering for years to come repaying those accounts, and paying exorbitant pensions to the very staffers who misled us. Therefore, it is appropriate for the council to inquire of the new applicants for the city attorney position whether she, when there is a conflict, will choose to defend the city staff or defend the city charter and code.

Michael Jones

Thanks, businesses

The Women’s Resource Clinic would like to thank the following businesses who donated prizes to our 17th annual fall banquet—“Babies are Pure Love”—that was held on Saturday, Nov. 2: Nantucket Home, Tres Hombres, Pour House Restaurant, In Motion Fitness, artisan Frank Alvarez, Harbor Lite Lodge and Disneyland.

This year’s banquet featured guest speaker Melissa Ohden, a survivor of a saline-solution abortion. The inspirational evening raised more than $104,500 in donations and pledges for the clinic. Women’s Resource Clinic is a medically licensed Christian ministry committed to supporting women who have had or are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. We offer physical, emotional and spiritual support. All of the services are free of charge. It is our goal to serve our community with a Godly view of sexuality and life.

Brenda Dowdin
Woman’s Resource Clinic, executive director