Letters for November 5, 2009

Important story to tell

Re “Heather’s hell” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, Oct. 29):

Thank God, Heather got out of the situation before she became a worse statistic. I couldn’t believe it when the governor decided to cut all domestic-violence funding. That act alone will guarantee I will never vote for him.

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your story so other young women will listen. It takes a lot of courage to speak up. That alone shows your character. It’s too bad that athletes are again elevated to a level that they in no way deserve.

Terrye Lucas

While the state budget was being debated, a bunch of bloggers weighed in, yelling for “no new taxes” and insisting “California has to learn to live within its means.” Well, what that translated out to be, because we have a right-wing stranglehold on our state budget process, were beating up on average people and stripping the vulnerable of needed services.

I saw heartless neocon after heartless neocon smugly call for the kind of mean-spiritedness that we eventually got in our final version of the budget. So it isn’t just mean politicians who caused Heather’s hell, it was also the California public, which is either apathetic or downright reactionary and heartless and selfish. “As long as I got mine, to H with you.”

John Lorenz

‘A compassionate approach’

Re “Meet the Citizen Collective” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Oct. 29):

When California voters approved Proposition 215 more than a decade ago, they envisioned safe, clean medical offices where people who have a doctor’s prescription could gain access to their medicine.

Medical-marijuana citizens’ collectives have a holistic approach to healing people. They offer yoga, tai chi, chi gong, massage and nutrition and health classes.

Marijuana is a natural drug and safe; it is impossible to overdose. It can be vaporized, which isolates the medicinal properties of the cannabinols and produces no smoke. Inhaling marijuana vapor is similar to inhaling water vapor; there are no side effects.

Medical marijuana helps relieve binocular pressure in the eyes of people with severe glaucoma. Marijuana helps to increase the appetite and control nausea and pain in people suffering from cancer and AIDS. Marijuana also helps with insomnia.

Medical-marijuana dispensaries can stimulate the sagging economy of California. Cities like Oakland and Santa Rosa are leading the way by strictly regulating medical-marijuana dispensaries and collecting millions of dollars in taxes annually.

I urge the Chico City Council to approve zoning changes that will enable the opening of a citizens’ collective. By doing this, Chico will play a role in adopting a reasoned and compassionate approach to patients who are in need of medicine.

Michael Lee

I really like the approach that the Citizen Collective is taking here. It’s about time someone took the initiative in Chico to provide safe access for qualified patients, and working with law enforcement and city officials is the right way to go. Thank you for shedding light on this subject.

Robin Indar

Life’s a bitch, actually

Re “Giving thanks, getting happy” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Oct. 29):

That’s right folks, no matter how many times life kicks you in the teeth, you should be grateful for the sweet air you breathe between impacts.

Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, explains how this kind of pop-psych B.S. is used to keep people from seeking real solutions to real problems. Pain, loss, distress, illness, unemployment and grief are not “gifts” but rather real events with real consequences that idiot grins and cheerful slogans cannot fix.

So next time somebody tells you to be grateful while you’re in pain, tell them where to shove it. I’ve got your back.

John Poteet

Honor vets on Vets Day

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, was created as a day to honor each and every veteran who has fought to protect this nation. Sadly many Americans have lost sight of the true meaning of Veterans Day. The truth is thousands of troops are still deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with more likely on the way to Afghanistan.

The American people seem to have forgotten we’re still fighting two wars, that our sons and daughters are still on foreign soils. I lost six friends as a result of the war in Iraq. Veterans Day is simply a day off for most, while veterans around the country still remember all of those whom we have lost.

I call on my fellow citizens to take action to help our troops and veterans during the upcoming holiday season. Send a care package overseas. Write a letter of support to a lonely service member. Host a holiday celebration for military families. Remind young people what Veterans Day is all about. Donate to VFW programs that help our defenders, deployed and at home.

David Martinez

On to the Olympics

Re “Olympic team contender” (Downstroke, Oct. 29):

My teammate, Bree Schaaf, and I have worked the last three years toward our goal of competing in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. We finished the 2008-09 Bobsled World Cup season with highlights, including our sixth-place result on the 2010 Olympic track and being crowned U.S. National Champions.

As I begin yet another year of competition, I do so knowing that I have the support of my family, my friends and my community. As I have traveled all over the world, I have always been proud to call Chico my hometown, largely because of the support system that Chico offers. The outpouring of well wishes and donations to help support my Olympic dream have been overwhelming. Thank you.

I have learned that the only way to achieve goals and ultimately Olympic dreams is by having a solid support system. It has been amazing to compete for Team USA, and I hope to represent not only our community, but also the nation in 2010. I hope to make Chico proud!

Emily Azevedo

Wood wrong for Chico

Re “Overall, wood is better” (Letters, Oct. 22):

Mr. Newman makes a sound argument for responsible wood burning instead of using natural gas for the purpose of space heating. I would agree that, in places that have favorable weather and topographic conditions and low population density, wood burning could be considered a sound environmental practice due to wood’s carbon-neutral properties as compared to natural gas.

But the reality is that we live in a city of nearly 100,000 people that sits on a valley floor. Chico’s wintertime air is among the worst in the state, and laboratory tests and in-depth EPA analysis shows that by far the largest proportion of winter particulate pollution in Chico comes directly from residential wood burning.

Mr. Newman is right: CO2 emissions need to be reduced. But promoting the use of wood stoves over gas is not an appropriate solution for Chico; there are other ways to reduce CO2 emissions that don’t involve such widespread health damage and suffering in our most vulnerable populations.

These strategies include improving the energy efficiency of homes and businesses, promoting alternative forms of transportation, and localizing our food system. One does not need to add smoke to the air in order to make for a better world.

Jeremy Miller