Letters for October 11, 2012

Schools’ spending problems

Re “A team without a home” (Cover story, by Ed Booth, Oct. 4):

The lack of a football field for Chico High has been the elephant in the room for many years. CUSD seems to wait until things get so bad that the community screams bloody murder, and then finally they do some reparations. Rarely is there a proactive approach, and that is why their entire school district is so far behind.

Most of my family is in Chico, and they get angry when they see how neighboring communities do what Chico schools claim they can’t.

The schools in Redding are gorgeous. The students are proud of their surroundings, and it reflects in their performance, behavior, and attitudes of both students and teachers. When we lived in Chico, the teachers openly were critical of the conditions of their schools, and it was evident in the buildings, the athletic facilities, and unfortunately even how the students felt.

The answer isn’t just building a football stadium, and the teachers know that. If you do that without addressing why other districts manage funds better, it will only lead to further declines. Good luck.

Dana Gomez

Your article made me want to scream. Chico Unified is legendary for its mismanagement, squandering tens of millions of a bond that was supposed to build a new high school, and now are asking the public to trust them again and pass another bond.

I grew up in Boston, and if you’re a sports fan, you know that the Red Sox just replaced their manager after one year. It was needed, and everyone from the team to the fans knew it. They know that a last-place finish required a change in management.

Chico Unified similarly needs wholesale changes before anyone trusts them. Had they not squandered money for so many years, their facilities would be just like the facilities in Redding.

Broken promises make the public less than forgiving. Trust requires a pattern and consistency of good decisions. Your school district needs to show that first.

Pat Cooper

Thanks to information I obtained via a California Public Records Act request, in the last decade the Chico Unified School District has spent nearly $14 million of district and Measure A bond money refurbishing the gymnasium and building the new athletic field house at Chico High School. During that same period of time and for the previous two decades the district has spent almost nothing on Pleasant Valley High School athletic facilities.

According to information supplied by the CUSD, the only money the district has spent on the PV football field or any athletic facility at PV High School was to fix a few broken sprinklers.

In interviewing numerous individuals responsible for the development of the PV football field, Asgard Yard, I found that virtually all of the money came from donated material and labor and fundraising by coaches, sports boosters and the Associated Student Body of PVHS. According to the information acquired via public-records requests, little or no district money was spent on the development of Asgard Yard.

Make no mistake about it: The reason Pleasant Valley High School has an adequate (not exemplary) football facility is because for the past two decades the coaches, sports boosters and Associated Student Body took pride in their school and, despite little or no help from the district, raised the necessary funds to provide this facility for the school and community.

Sterling DeArmond

Unfortunately, it’s the law

Re “The Greenhouse” (Column, by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia, Oct. 4):

A brief comment on Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia’s words, “speaking of bikes,” and how she has been “blocked by a car either partly or fully positioned in the bicycle lane while waiting to turn right” and her excellent phrase (with which I heartily agree) to “Please share the road.”

Your attention is called to pages 36 and 37 of the California Driver Handbook and the following instruction to car drivers: “To make a right turn, drive close to the right edge of the road. If there is a bike lane, drive into the bike lane no more than 200 feet before the turn. Watch for bicyclists or motorcyclists who may get between your vehicle and the curb. Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn.”

Charlie Urbanowicz

Planning her next trip

Re “Looking for America” (Cover story, by Steve Metzger, Sept. 27):

Reading this wonderfully descriptive piece gave me the sense I was traveling along with Steve and Betsy. I loved the way he described the people, places and even the food on their trip. His travel writing experience shows through, but also his great empathy and love for the people in our diverse country. It also reminded me of how much I enjoyed Steve’s composition class at Chico State many years ago.

My husband and I took a road trip a year ago to celebrate our 41st anniversary. We visited 13 states and managed to visit two of our daughters in Montana and Texas along the way, and we had a wonderful time. However, our trip was only 25 days, and we didn’t get to the East Coast. Reading Steve’s article inspired me to start planning our next road trip—and this time I hope to see some of the places he mentioned in his article.

Linda Draper

Where Obamacare works

Re “Obamacare vs. Romneycare” (Pulse, Oct. 4):

“In a prepared statement, a Romney campaign spokesman called the report ‘absurd,’ adding, ‘it assumes a fantasy world where Obamacare has actually worked.” Massachusetts?

Nathaniel Perry

Jobs are snuffed too

Re “Power plant snuffed” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Sept. 27):

Well done! Just what Butte County needs, 20 more people without jobs! Bravo!

Scott Smith

The violence was OK?

Re “What do Muslims think?” (Newslines, by Vic Cantu, Oct. 4):

“Chico Muslims and educators contacted recently were virtually unanimous in saying that the violent protests and riots were wrong and did not represent the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.” The use of the word “virtually” means we have some local Chico Muslims and educators who do feel the violent protests were, in fact, warranted.

Great. The next time I frequent Walmart I’ll feel warm and fuzzy.

Rob Cyr

Ritter a smart advocate

Walking to the coffee shop I noticed hammered into two different majestic trees candidate signs for Chico City Council. This got me thinking about environment issues in the upcoming election.

I want to say a good word for Tami Ritter. I came to know Tami when she was executive director of the Northern California Regional Land Trust. I was host of an environmental radio program called EcoTalk and invited her on-air to discuss the trust’s purchase of a section of riparian habitat along the Sacramento River. We spoke of protecting the river and more generally about the relationship of humans to the natural world.

What I found impressive about Tami was her combination of disarming, easy-going nature and intelligent environment advocacy. Through the years I have come to know Tami quite well. I can say without reservation that for those concerned with environmental protection Tami shares our values.

And to those who are more interested in non-environmental issues, you can embrace Tami as a City Council member because she puzzles through issues in a reasonable, intelligent and open-minded way.

Randy Larsen

Supporting Morgan’s mission

Sean Morgan has lived in Chico longer than any other City Council candidate. A product of Chico, he’s both a business owner and a business instructor. We are lucky to have someone who understands our city so well be willing to donate his time and experience to keeping our city great.

A year ago I heard Sean speak to the Chamber of Commerce. He talked about returning the City Council’s agenda to the city’s Mission Statement: A safe place to raise a family, an ideal location for business, and a premier place to live. Recently other candidates have had the good sense to adopt this same message.

True leaders lead by example, Sean Morgan has set the tone for this election, and I am anxious to have him help lead our city to a more prosperous future. I am overjoyed to see others supporting his mission.

Amy Lance

Schwab on the right track

I’m supporting Ann Schwab for City Council because she is looking out for the future of Chico. Her efforts in promoting sustainability will mean that Chico will be able to grow in a resource-efficient manner that will enable it to maintain its many wonderful features and, therefore, attract innovative businesses and new jobs.

As my conservative Midwestern parents might have said, “Sustainability is living within your means and not wasting what you or others have.” Ann is on the right track.

Bob Odland

Nickell backs Stone

As a former City Council member and concerned citizen, I am fully endorsing Randall Stone in the upcoming election. Randall is a proven businessman in our great city. Randall works closely with nonprofits organizations that provide services for our disabled community and has built affordable housing for these families.

Randall is a strong advocate for recreation, our environment and public safety. Randall not only listens but hears what people have to say about the current issues and provides solutions.

In these hard economic times, we need a candidate who has a strong economic, business and financial background. A candidate who is approachable, hones, upfront and fair. I strongly urge you to vote for Randall Stone for Chico City Council 2012.

Tom Nickell

What are they hiding?

Proposition 37 is a simple food-labeling law that will require a label on food and food products containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients sold in California. The Yes on 37 campaign is a grassroots movement initiated by a concerned grandmother in Chico. The campaign has attracted the support of citizens, farmers, and food producers across California who simply want to protect consumers’ right to make informed choices on the food they eat and feed to their children.

Proposition 37 is opposed primarily by big agribusiness, biotech and even chemical corporations outside of California. One would assume that for an industry committed to producing and marketing GE foods, Proposition 37 would attract their full support because it will require a label to help consumers find their products in the supermarket. Instead, these corporations are spending multi-millions of dollars on deceptive, fear-based tactics to cloud the facts about Proposition 37.

Why should these corporations so staunchly oppose Proposition 37 unless they have something to hide about their product?

GE food production is a relatively new technology. Why should consumers continue to allow the covert use of these ingredients in their food before the long-term effects of GE food consumption on human and environmental health is sufficiently understood?

Proposition 37 does not ban or endorse GE foods; it effectually protects the consumer’s right to make informed choices in the supermarket. Let’s stand together this November and vote Yes on 37 to protect our right to choose and resist corporate deception.

Gerad Dean
Mt. Shasta City

A list of good candidates

With the Nov. 6 election coming up, I’ve spent time studying the candidates, attending forums and hearing speeches. My conclusions: Obama-Biden have more experience and ability than their competitors, and Feinstein should be re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

Jim Reed outclassed LaMalfa in their Redding debate and would be a sterling representative in the U.S. Congress. His legal experience is crucial for our interests.

Charles Rouse is well educated on the issues of our Assembly district and would not be influenced by outside interests (big oil) like his opponent Logue. Harrington would be an improvement over the shifty Nielsen.

Within the city, our council candidates Schwab, Stone, Ritter and Rudisell are campaigning hard and deserve our full support. Ann Schwab has shown her fine ability as mayor and would continue to lead Chico with Randall Stone, Tami Ritter and Kimberly Rudisill on the council.

The CUSD school board needs to keep Liz Griffin and would benefit greatly by adding Gary Loustale. Both spoke outstandingly at the League of Women Voters forum.

These candidates will move the nation, California and our own districts and city forward, critically needed to create a new prosperity.

Robert Woods

Regulate plastic bags

As a student and Butte Environmental Council intern interested in a sustainable future, I am submitting this letter in support of the Chico City Council’s voting to restrict plastic-bag use.

California uses an estimated 400 plastic bags per second, requiring an estimated 12 million barrels of oil annually. Only 3 percent of plastic bags are recycled, and the thermosetting process used to mold plastic bags is irreversible, creating a product that is not biodegradable. These bags end up in the streams, creeks, rivers and eventually the ocean.

On the bags’ journey to the sea, the plastic breaks down into smaller pieces, absorbing toxic chemicals along the way. These contaminated bits of plastic contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is twice the size of Texas.

At least 267 marine species have been documented to be adversely affected by plastic debris. California spends $25 million annually to manage plastic-bag pollution and $303 million in litter reduction. If consumers were to utilize reusable bags instead, we could reduce waste and water pollution and contribute to the local economy by allowing wonderful companies such as ChicoBag to further their commitment to consumer safety.

Lindsay McDonnell

Schindelbeck pro and con

Re “Schindelbeck doubles down” (Guest comment, by Toby Schindelbeck, Jan. 27):

From what I know of Toby Schindelbeck, I would say that he is about the last person I would wish to see elected to the Chico City Council. He seems to think that anyone who does not agree with his pathetically juvenile opinions is an idiot. This sort of foolishness is most often encountered among grammar-school children and tea baggers.

Charles W. Bird

It’s useless to refute the tea party rhetoric on President Obama’s position on jobs, the economy or foreign policy, but this Joe Biden quote covers it all: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” Get used to it—President Obama will be re-elected, so that’s the way it will be on Nov. 6.

John Cecil

Toby Schindelbeck is what Chico and, for that matter, most California cities need. Our cities are going bankrupt. Three have already filed and another, Atwater, is close. We need leaders to manage our cities based on basic priorities of public safety, creating a climate for businesses to prosper, and jobs to be created. We are in big trouble when the City Council’s focus is on plastic bags!

Good luck, Toby! I only wish there were more people like you running for office.

Melinda Gilmore

‘A true kind soul’

Re “Staring down hopelessness” (Cover story, by Sarah Downs, Sept. 20):

I worked with Sarah a number of years back, and I found this article to be so touching on so many levels. Who knew that she existed in silent pain for all of the time I knew her? Her commitment, dedication and focus for the well-being of animals were unwavering. She’s a true kind soul.

I am thrilled to hear that she is working through her issues and continues to do so in such a positive way. Shedding light on her personal struggles and the information she provided for getting help is invaluable. Thank you for sharing.

Robert O’Neill

His election wish list

Instead of the traditional Christmas gift list, I would rather have some wishes for this election season. What do I want?

Clean races.

Debates on the local and national level that have candidates not say what they will do unless they really do it.

A City Council focused on the most important priority for Chico—a safer community.

Chico school district board candidates who actually clean up the corruption that every teacher talks about.

A presidential race that is still undecided when California votes.

Is that too much to ask for?

J.D. Thompson

What’s going on?

I was biking by Chico State the other day, and I was struck by the new sign that read, “University Police.” While they were building this structure, I thought it was probably going to be a new parking lot. My god, this building is better than the Chico police station; no wonder the police have to pack up everyone and send them to Butte County Jail.

What are our campuses becoming? High-class Google and Microsoft workplaces? The only problem with this is that the people who work for these companies are well paid, while the students are poor, and not only come out more uneducated, but owe thousands of dollars in debt. Just check out all of the new buildings, pavements, and such at CSU. This is crazy.

Jerry Harris
San Francisco/Chico

Paws wags tail

Paws of Chico Spay and Neuter Program wishes to give a hearty “thank you” to Chris Hostettler of Grocery Outlet for the great wine tasting that he recently organized as a fundraiser for Paws. Our thanks also go to Ed Burns of Quackers for the use of the very nice Crystal Room. The wine was great, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better, and a good time was had by all.

The event raised $680 for Paws that will be very helpful in assisting low-income people in the Chico area to spay and neuter their pets. Thank you, Chris and Ed! It’s generous people like you who help make the Chico area a good place to live.

Barbara Smith