Letters for November 3, 2011

Iditarod deceptions

Re “Iditarod-bound” (15 Minutes, by Howard Hardee, Oct. 27):

Blynne Froke and other teachers who promote the Iditarod are deceiving their students. Children are never given the brutal facts because it would make their stomachs turn.

At least 142 dogs have died in the Iditarod, including two dogs on a doctor’s team who froze to death in the brutally cold winds. What happens to dogs during the race includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons, and sprains.

Because the Iditarod has a long, well-documented history of dog deaths, illnesses and injuries, teachers who promote the race are violating California’s Humane Education Law. The law requires them to promote kindness toward animals instead of glorifying the abuse of dogs in the Iditarod.

Margery Glickman
Director, Sled Dog Action Coalition

High cost of C. diff

Re “A heavy dose of pain” (Healthlines feature, by Meredith J. Graham, Oct. 27):

I lost both my parents last winter related to C. diff. My mother contracted C. diff while at Feather River Hospital when she had hip surgery. She was on antibiotics to fight the infection, and as soon as she got off the medicine the C. diff would return. This went on from August 2010 through January 2011.

She was in a weakened condition from being on and off of the antibiotics, which contributed to her death after a fall. My dad died 24 days later, as he caught C. diff from my mother.

The fact that it is highly contagious should be mentioned. The bacteria can live on a dry surface for a couple of months, I have read. Although my parents were in their early 90s, they were in good health and lived independently in their home prior to C. diff. I believe their age was a factor contributing to their inability to fight this terrible infection.

Lara Gularte

Obama’s empire building

Re “Beyond the economy” (Editorial, Oct. 27):

This editorial asks readers to take time out from their economic concerns to praise Obama’s foreign policy. Why should they, when Obama’s military spending is directly related to our financial crisis? The U.S. spends more money on military than all other countries combined, with more than 700 bases overseas.

I recall the CN&R strongly opposing Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East, yet it praises Obama’s continuation of this policy of empire building. Empire building is a major contributor to our national debt. The process continues as always. The U.S. borrows money with interest from a private central bank called the Federal Reserve to finance war, saddling Americans with enormous debt. The Fed creates the money out of thin air, which debases the value of our currency, raising inflation and the cost of living.

How do Americans benefit from Obama’s foreign policy? The CN&R seems to believe that dropping bombs on countries makes us safer!

I agree [Mitt] Romney and [Herman] Cain are war mongers. They will continue Obama’s empire building. But like the rest of the mainstream media, CN&R ignores Ron Paul, a presidential candidate who understands that we can get our financial crisis under control by returning to Congress its constitutional power to create money without interest, and by bringing our troops home so they can spend their paychecks into our economy while they defend our borders and air space.

Ron Paul’s foreign policy of diplomacy, friendly trading and military defense will make us safer than Obama’s policy of policing the world.

Marybeth Wuerthner

Circus critiques

Re “Breaking elephants’ spirits” (Guest comment, by Sarah Downs, Oct. 27):

I, too, have loved the circus since nearly forever. One of my favorite lines, from where I don’t remember, is “Goddamn everything except the circus!” But, the truth is sometimes much uglier than we’d like to believe.

There is an article in the current Mother Jones magazine that chronicles a year-long study of Ringling Bros. circus. And the awful treatment of elephants is the central issue. These huge beasts, which are generally even-tempered and seem to be very caring critters, are treated brutally in most circuses, including the most famous ones.

I’ve loved the circus for most of a lifetime, but I’ve done it in ignorance. And I don’t love it anymore.

Richard Parker

Thank you, Sarah Downs, for pointing out that patronizing circuses like the Piccadilly Circus supports animal abuse. It also teaches children that animal abuse for our entertainment is acceptable.

Some people argue that circuses don’t necessarily abuse their animals, and I agree: the New Pickle Family Circus, Cirque du Soleil, and other animal-free circuses offer all the fun and excitement of the circus without contributing to the mistreatment of elephants and other animals.

I hope our community will vote with its dollars to send animal-abusers like the Piccadilly Circus and Circus Gatti packing.

Emily Vanneman

Is Fifth Street safer?

Re “Culture clash” (Arts Devo, by Jason Cassidy, Oct. 27):

Bravo! You nailed it exactly. Greg and Praveen did have to battle with recalcitrant and often hypocritical officialdom trying to keep the doors of this unique cultural asset [Café Culture] open.

Chico Police Chief Mike Maloney’s antipathy bordered on a vendetta mentality. His untimely (late) letter to Alcoholic Beverage Control objecting to that agency’s granting Café Culture its beer and wine license was an act of civic insubordination and semantic hair-splitting that would be comical if it weren’t so wrong.

The chief launched into a 4 1/2-page diatribe about land use (the purview of the council, not the CPD), thumbing his nose at the considered opinion and decision of our City Council and urging ABC to adopt instead his opinion about the permitted uses in CC’s zone and under its use permit.

One of the more ludicrous examples is his contention that Greg and Praveen were lying to city officials about their true intentions (to operate a nightclub). His evidence? CC’s music and other events were listed in the Enterprise-Record’s calendar section under “Nightclubs/Music,” a category that also includes events at coffeehouses, pizza joints and the Olive Garden.

So Greg and Praveen tossed in the towel. As one who has been relatively deeply involved in Café Culture, I can’t say I blame them. So, chief, is Fifth Street safer with another empty storefront and a small payroll gone? At times like this, I am truly ashamed of Chico’s provinciality.

Dan Casamajor

Move your money, honey

Nov. 5 is Bank Transfer Day for the Occupy movement across the country. Occupy Chico is asking local residents to consider moving their money out of the mega-corporate banks that have done much to create the economic inequity that oppresses more and more Americans each year. In Chico these banks are Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo.

There are several credit unions and banks locally that invest back into our community. Occupy Chico can provide you with a list of these (www.occupychico.com).

The Occupy movement, says Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post, is supported by 59 percent of the public and growing. The reason, he says, is that protesters are taking on the banks. The big banks have done none of the things that a financial sector should do, like invest in startups and existing businesses. Instead, they have made record profits selling bad mortgages and then packaging this toxic debt inside complex derivatives and selling them to unsuspecting investors. Then they make more money by betting against those risky investments.

All law-abiding citizens should say shame on these unethical practices and refuse to support the corporate elite that make us victims of its voracious appetite.

Visit Occupy Chico and see how you can participate on Bank Transfer Day this Saturday.

Sheldon Praiser


Due to a computational error, our cover story last week, “7,000,000,000,” gave an incorrect figure for the weight of 7 billion pennies. It should have read 19,250 tons, not 192,500 tons. We apologize for the error.—ed.

Poor pot priorities

Re “The marijuana mess” (Editorial, Oct. 20):

What is it with this marijuana mania? Everyone seems obsessed with it. I don’t partake of the substance and have no intention of doing so. However, for those who do, what’s the big deal?

From what those who have used it say, it merely renders one quiet, calm and introspective. Unlike other drugs such as alcohol, which causes people to become violent and dangerous, it appears that marijuana is no menace to society.

I am acquainted with a few law-enforcement members. They are all intelligent, level-headed folks who are seldom animated by anything that comes their way. However, at the mention of marijuana they seem to come unhinged. Although they don’t froth at the mouth, they look like they are almost going to.

With our budget problems and shortage of police, couldn’t we get the limited law-enforcement personnel we do have to concentrate on activities that are a menace to society rather than this innocuous practice of marijuana production and consumption?

Hugh G. Campbell

Running from the smoke

Re “Smoke-free parks” (Letters, by Lexi Gremminger and Cecilia Taresh, Oct. 27):

I just read the letter from the children of the eighth-grade class about their concern for the smoking that goes on in public parks. Well done!

I think that they are dead on; smoking is the worst thing that anyone can imagine, and I am amazed that people still do it. And that more and more children smoke.

I recently moved here from Rhode Island—recently if you call four years recent. How times flies! I lived in Providence, which was a remarkably clean city, but my next-door neighbors all smoked, and they came out into their yard to do it. The way the house sat their back yard was right against the side of my house and in fact right under my bedroom window.

So not only did the smoke drive me insane, but the year I moved, 2007, it had snowed no fewer than four times, each averaging one or two feet. Enough!

California had always made me think of all the wide-open, clean-airy places I had ever been and seemed the best place for me. So I moved here to Chico—right next door to another family of smokers who come into their yard to smoke. And wouldn’t you know it, right into my bedroom window again.

Whose idea was it that you should come outside to smoke; to what purpose? We live in this age of entitlement where everyone has a right to their own space. Well, what about my space? I am retired, and I have no idea what the neighbors do, other than smoke, and I’d like to spend time gardening, but am constantly run out of the yard by the smoke.

My dad died of lung cancer caused by him smoking a pack of Camels a day from the age of 7. I watched a big strong man wither down to a mewling bag of skin and bones. I can’t imagine why anyone would subject themselves to that fate. And I certainly don’t want it to happen to me … second hand.

Nancy L. McLemore