Letters for November 29, 2007

Remembering Rogers
Re: “Summer stock’s last act written” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Nov. 21):

It was sad to read of the demise of CSUC’s Court Theatre. My wife and I have enjoyed the theater’s summer performances for many years.

Though it is a well-written article, it is difficult to understand the omission of Joel P. Rogers in the report. Rogers directed the Court Theatre performances for the last two years (2006-07) and did an exceptional job. The majority of the performances, including the musicals, were enthusiastically accepted by the audience. Rogers is an outstanding director/teacher/actor and a valuable member of the CSUC faculty. Without detracting from past directors, his positive contribution to Court Theatre should have been acknowledged.

It is regretful that Court Theatre must close due to monetary problems. It is to be hoped that in the not to distant future some means will be found to reinstate this wonderful theater.

Robert L. Clark

Convenient omission
Re: “Appeasement’s costs” (Letters, by Gary Lapple, CN&R, Nov. 21):

Conspicuously absent from Gary’s Lapple’s ersatz terrorism timeline was 1953. That year, a coup orchestrated by British and American intelligence services overthrew Iran’s elected pemier and installed the shah. In his 26-year reign, moderate political opposition was brutally suppressed, guaranteeing the rise of extremist factions, in this case Islamic fundamentalists. These were led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, whose one son was among the thousands killed by the shah’s secret police.

We’re now witnessing the same process in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, where autocratic rulers with American military support quash moderate opposition, thereby stimulating extremist activity. (All 9/11 hijackers were Saudi and Egyptian nationals.)

Historical events do not exist in a vacuum; they have a context that gives them significance beyond a calendar date. Cherry-picking history can be a subtle means by which ideologues validate specious positions, but claiming current Islamist terrorism began with the ‘79 embassy takeover is like saying the NFL began with the first Superbowl.

Specious reasoning leads to specious conclusions like “Victory at all costs!,” Lapple’s simple answer to our Iraqi question. Answers can always simple if you refuse to understand the questions.

Kevin Quinn

Respect our nation’s history
Re: “Patriotism” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, CN&R, Nov. 15):

I believe the United States of America was founded on a set of ideals. One in particular is the concept of opportunity—that all people deserve the right to better themselves. Your lack of gratitude is overwhelming. How can you so carelessly disrespect and disregard the sacrifices made, the burdens borne by so many over the past 225 years?

The decisions President Lincoln made to preserve the union and abolish slavery at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives; the burden of 100,000 lives that rested on the head of President Roosevelt for his decision to resist the expansion of fascism and Japanese imperialism; the struggle with the USSR to prevent world domination by a totalitarian regime; and the struggle we find ourselves in today, against an adversary determined to destroy our culture. Our nation.

These sacrifices have been made to preserve that thing; that idea that allows you to “like it here” and to preserve opportunity—the opportunity for your sixth-grader to get an education; the opportunity for you to voice your opinion; and the opportunity for you and your family to have a decent life.

I don’t have to like my government. I don’t like many of the things we have done as a nation. I certainly don’t like the direction the political wind is blowing these days. However, Mr. Porter, I do love my country and all that it stands for.

Michael Heffley

On Anthony
As a newly arrived black person to Chico, I have read the pros and cons of Anthony Payton Porter’s column. I have been in the uncomfortable position of being a writer and artist in a small, predominantly white college town (Eugene, Ore.). I have also lived in Sweden for most of my life, where news comes first and entertainment second—even third.

Mr. Porter’s somewhat bombastic comments on American society seem harmless enough—albeit sophomoric to the point of boredom. Let the ideas flow in an increasingly post-911 America, where the government wants to muzzle all of us.

Jerry Harris

Inordinate decision
Re: “Putting up their dukes” (Newslines, CN&R, Nov. 15):

In the words of the venerable Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” With the notable exception of Scott Gruendl, the Chico City Council, in passing Chief Hagerty’s “disorderly events ordinance,” seems to have expressed its values relating to freedom and security in a troubling way.

In spite of Hagerty’s protestations to the contrary, the ordinance runs afoul of even a cursory reading of the Bill of Rights and violates numerous principles upon which we pride the freedom of “we the people.” As one person said upon reading the ordinance, “It sounds like it was written by Mussolini!”

The fact alone that Hagerty’s perversion can be applied to “[a]ny assembly, congregation, party, attraction … or similar activity,” including parades, demonstrations, marches, fairs, festivals, weddings(!) and funerals(!), makes it miles too broad and brings to mind questionable motivations. The ordinance seems to have been conceived in the wake of the “9/11 changed everything” hysteria. It asks that the police be given extraordinary powers with nary a check or balance in sight.

Please help to protect our freedom and bring this issue to a vote of the people. Sign the petition to support the referendum against the ordinance. Visit www.chicocivilrights.org for more information.

Dan Carter

Poetic ends
Re: “Standardized testiness” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Sept. 6):

When visiting my son in Paradise, I always enjoy the Chico News & Review. I particularly like some of your In My Eyes columns, and cheered when I read Tuchinsky’s “Standardized testiness.” As a teacher, I resented the funds and valuable teaching time wasted on the administration of these tests, particularly to lower-grade students. Every teacher I talked with agreed. I’ve deplored the waste continuing in Florida schools, and wrote this poem to express my opinion:

FCAT and other SATs
train youth to fill in bubbles
or blanks—
stifle ability to write
or even think.
Often a roll of the dice.

Ann Doro
Sugarloaf Key, Fla.

Mall fever
Did you brave the crowds and get the bargains on black Friday?

I was feeling brave and took one of my girls shopping for a holiday outfit. It was now around noon, and some of the frenzy had obviously slacked off; we actually found a parking space within 300 yards of the entrance to Gottschalks, our intended destination.

I bought her a dressy red top and black slacks. The bill was 50 percent off the price tag, and there was only a short wait at the checkout. I was doing good, and so I decided to quit while I was ahead. My daughter didn’t see it that way.

Soon after the first purchase she began showing signs of a “shopping attack” coming on; her eyes were glazing over, and she was rubbing her credit card intensely, chanting something about “rewards card … cash back.” While she was in this pre-shopping trance, I quickly spun her around like a top and duct-taped her from head to toe. Then I placed her on a shopping cart and whisked her away to the car just as she went into the next level of shopping madness! “Lemme go, I gotta shop! I must spend … bargains, bargains!” I knew this would happen!

Once safely away from the mall and all those mesmerizing sale signs, she quickly returned to normal, thankful I had the duct tape.

Jack Lee

The point was …
Re: “This in Chico?!?” (Letters, by John Lorenz, CN&R, Nov. 21):

Recently you published a letter of mine regarding a close call my brother had at a downtown Chico bus stop bench with some young gangsters who threatened to beat him up. As a footnote, your editor duly corrected my misapprehension, stating that the city councilmembers make something like $700 a month.

The main point of my previous letter was the following: The folks who run Chico are not sensitive to Chico’s needs. These folks must originally have come from someplace outside Chico that didn’t respect local scenery or citizen safety. I say that because the current City Council seems to favor neglecting the safety and infrastructure needs of Chico’s citizens. A case in point is the monstrosity of a new municipal downtown park that looks more like a public bathroom than a park.

More police and other practical matters, like fewer potholes in the roads, mean more to me than sculpted hands at City Hall and a park overhaul. In my opinion, the priorities of the City Council are not citizen-friendly, and the near assault by a pack of juveniles on my brother really does back up what I am saying.

John Lorenz

Re: “Constitution vs. events ordinance” (Letters, by Benn Davenport, CN&R, Nov. 21): Not knowing the length limit of 250 words, Mr. Davenport submitted a much longer letter, which got condensed for publication. “I had no desire to have the CN&R print a representation of my letter, only the original letter,” he says. The original letter is below.

First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Ordinance says: Any event can be shut down if police allege that it has “BEHAVIORS LIKELY TO…PROVOKE A VIOLENT REACTION FROM ANOTHER PERSON.”

Logic says: Views expressed at protests are often controversial and can provoke bad reactions. Your right to protest must be protected REGARDLESS OF REACTIONS FROM BYSTANDERS.

Fourth Amendment says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause… and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Ordinance says: “A disorderly event is an event at which three or more violations [or one felony]…occur with or without arrests or issuance of citationsCIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE SHALL BE SUFFICIENT…”

Logic says: Police only have to allege that they observed crimes. They don’t have to issue any citations or make any arrests to shut you down. There’s no paper trail, no burden of proof: It’s just your word against the word of the police. Who do you think is going to win?

Police may now have the right to enter our homes without warrant. Police can allege that crimes are being committed and shut down any event. No burden of proof.

Fifth Amendment says: "…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardynor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”


Logic says: One must pay the fine to gain right to appeal process, this requires self incrimination and is in clear violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The appeals process is through the police department. The fox is watching the henhouse. Additionally, police can issue fines of infinite size by fining you for each “part of an hour” which can be as short a time as they want.

Seventh Amendment says:

“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved…”


Logic says: No right to jury. The police on the scene are the cop, the judge, and the jury.

Eighth Amendment says:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Logic says: Police have ability to issue excessive fines by fining you for each “part of an hour” which can be as short a time as they want. Unequal enforcement will be a reality.

Tenth Amendment says:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved…to the people.

Logic says: Ordinance is too broad, and is an over regulation of your exercise of freedom. Leave the power in the hands of the people.

Benn Davenport