Letters for November 29, 2012

Zingg stood by idly, too

Re “Déjà vu” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Nov. 21):

Chico State University President Paul Zingg, in the aftermath of Mason Sumnicht’s tragic death, suspends Greek activities. President Zingg stated fraternity members don’t get a pass when they “stand by idly and watch a brother gulp down 21 shots for his 21st birthday and then let him pass out in his own vomit.”

Early in 2009 Mr. Zingg was informed that Chico State students were dying from drug-alcohol overdoses at an extremely high rate. Also in early 2009, Mr. Zingg received many suggestions to help prevent drug overdoses. Mr. Zingg, if you were aware that dozens of students suffered fatal overdoses, then why have you not funded substance-abuse-prevention programs that specifically address and reduce student overdoses?

Mr. Zingg, would this not mean that you too have stood idly by and watched students die while providing minimal additional intervention or prevention?

To blame the Greek community as being compliant in the death of Mason Sumnicht is beneath contempt. Mr. Zingg, drug abuse, Chico State and denial are synonymous, and that is your problem. Until you admit the campus has a drug abuse problem, student deaths from drug overdoses will continue to rise. Allocate funding for an effective substance-abuse-prevention program or idly stand by and watch students die.

Until Chico State, city of Chico and Butte County political leaders understand that punishment, blaming others, being apathetic and denial change nothing, nothing will change.

Jim Bettencourt

A better way of doing it

Chico voters have passed a measure that has the Chico city clerk reporting to the City Council, not the city manager. This results in the requirement that a majority of the council approve the wishes of any council member to instruct the city clerk. This necessarily means four council members meeting to approve the wish.

This is a flagrant violation of the Brown Act, as a majority of the council cannot ever be present at the same time at the same place even if they do not talk to each other, let alone decide to approve the wish of a council member to instruct the city clerk.

If there was a problem with the city manager having undue power, then the City Council had the power to direct the city manager not to impede the functioning of the city clerk or otherwise be disciplined and a negative memorandum inserted in his or her personnel file. This could have saved the city some real taxpayers’ money.

A parliamentarian could have been consulted for paltry $200.

Brahama D. Sharma

Jann Reed is thankful

I would like to thank the editorial board of the CN&R for endorsing my campaign for state Senate. It was a long shot, but I am glad I tried.

I also thank the District 4 voters who believe I have the “right stuff” to represent you in the Legislature. I was ready to work on the challenges facing California. Thanks to my campaign team—a diverse group of incredibly bright and articulate people who kept me focused while challenging me to be clear in my message.

Most of all I thank everyone for letting me represent you and your kids for the last eight years on the CUSD Board of Education. I am grateful for the experience. I believe the students are in good hands, from the corporation yard to the superintendent’s office. The employees of CUSD are focused on providing the best public education affordable for Chico’s kids.

Finally, I want to encourage the young people of the North State to get involved in local politics. We need your bright minds and creative ideas to keep our state viable. I certainly appreciated your help to make sure my campaign was relevant to your generation.

Jann Reed

Wall Street wakes up

It’s interesting that right after Hurricane Sandy the cover story on Bloomberg Businessweek was, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

It takes Wall Street literally being under water to make corporate America open its eyes to environmental concerns. They are finally realizing that oil-company profits pale in comparison to the continuation of business in general.

Even so, I still don’t think their main concerns are the survival of the planet for future generations, just the ability to keep the corporate business world functioning.

Ron Sherman

Who took the pledge?

At the Synthesis Magazine candidate forum, all 10 of the attending council candidates were asked for one promise they could keep if elected to City Council. My one campaign promise was not to appoint anyone to any board or commission who had given any monetary donation to any candidate.

No money, no appointment. I made it clear that other non-monetary campaign supporting activities were not part of the promise. I just believe there is a public trust that needs to be upheld and honored between elected officials and their various appointees. In fact I turned down campaign contributions from donors who expressed an interest in being appointed. This is not a hard promise to keep.

I challenged the other candidates to take the same pledge that day at the forum. Guess what: No one accepted my challenge, and one candidate began to tell me how mistaken I was for the notion of linking cash contributions to appointments. So much for perception in politics.

It will be fun to connect the dots this time around and see if any campaign contributors are “recognized” for their particular skills and “value” to the community at large.

Dave Kelley

He’s not a real ‘taker’

Re “Confessions of a ‘taker’” (Guest comment, by Jaime O’Neill, Nov. 15):

Jaime O’Neill says that according to critics of the election results the “takers” outvoted the “makers.” I agree. However, I don’t agree that Mr. O’Neill qualifies as a “taker.” He is certainly entitled to his modest government pensions because he contributed and earned them.

The “taker” label more aptly describes those who have never contributed and yet have been able to live off government programs their whole lives. Under the present administration their numbers have increased so dramatically that they finally outnumber the people who work for a living (the “makers”).

This “taker’’ group of voters overwhelmingly voted for the present administration because they knew the alternative would mean they might have to work and contribute.

I am acquainted with many “makers” (small-business owners). Not one of them voted for Obama.

Tom Dowd

More on the stolen iPod

Re “Missed communication” (Letters, by Danielle Batha-Bengston, Nov. 21):

Regarding Chico Cash Exchange and their complaint about the coverage they received in the article about my stolen Ipod (“Who’s got the iPod?” Newslines, Oct. 4):

As I stated originally, it was not about the money but the principle of the matter. And, as I told reporter Stephanie Geske, I had already bought a new [iPod].

Second, I have to wonder what all this post-article fuss is about. The original article was well written, newsworthy and relevant to the local community. After all, how many people realize that if you have something stolen and it winds up in a pawn shop, you do not get it back unless you pay them what they invested in the item?

Third, in her letter to the editor, owner Danielle Batha-Bengtson made it sound as if the CN&R had never tried to contact her in order to get her side of the story. Well, I tried to contact the manager there several times, and it always seemed that they were too busy to contact me. As a matter of fact, I have yet to hear from them, and they have had my property for almost a year.

Batha-Bengtson also stated that when I came by to pick up my iPod it was on police hold and that is why I did not get it back. However, that is not what I was told by her employee. I was clearly told that if I coughed up $20 I could have it back right on the spot. So much for the story of a police hold.

Personally, I feel I have been robbed twice.

George Marley

Showing respect at Walmart

Today is Black Friday. Because I wanted to do something for Walmart workers but couldn’t afford to donate to the grocery fund for striking workers, I printed a flyer from the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), about striking for better pay and conditions, and went to the store to “stock” the flyer.

That went about as I’d expected, and I was escorted out in under a minute by a fellow who had worked for Walmart for 30 years and lived somewhere near Redding. When I asked him how his day was going, he said he was just looking forward to having his Thanksgiving celebration with his family.

That was my point, sir. You should have both Thursday and Friday off, if you want them. And so should everyone who works for you. And they should make a living wage and have health care, as well.

Happy Holidays.

J. Murphy