Letters for October 14, 2004

Civics lesson
What’s happened to our town?

Tuesday we have shouting matches at the City Council meeting and rude comments from the gallery made out of order. Wednesday at the school board meeting we have a citizen accusing the board and superintendent of promoting a climate of “Nazism” and another citizen who finally reveals himself as the buyer of political hit ads ranting about Brown Act violations, when both newspapers and the district attorney have checked it out and said there’s nothing there.

Then there’s the revelation of a bogus letter being printed in the E-R and, to add to that, the CUSD board has been getting bogus e-mails for months that have no return address. And let’s not forget the business retaliations against some board members a few months back for a vote they made.

And finally I learn this week that campaign signs for one of the incumbent board members, Steve O’Bryan, are being uprooted around town, and he’s having to print another batch to replace them.

I can’t even imagine it’s the candidates themselves doing this, but what really disappoints me is that none of the challengers for the CUSD board has publicly denounced these actions yet in media outlets.

Some people are concerned about education issues, and these concerns absolutely should be aired and addressed. But what kind of message does this boorish, sophomoric behavior send our children? That’s it’s OK to be rude, OK to destroy property, OK to use false identities—all to achieve a goal? Where has the civility in dealing with public issues gone?

Anthony Watts

No D
On Nov. 2 Butte County voters will have the chance to reject Measure D, a local ballot measure that is ill-conceived and bad for Butte County’s agricultural economy.

Measure D is a proposed ordinance prohibiting the growing of genetically engineered organisms, also referred to as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The special-interest proponents of Measure D are from San Francisco, Minnesota and Washington, D.C.

Why is Measure D bad? Regardless of the concerns people may have with genetically modified crops, it is impractical and unreasonable to approach regulation on a county-by-county basis.

Any concerns regarding the health and safety impacts of GMOs should be handled at the statewide or national level, where the scientific expertise resides to appropriately evaluate concerns and to establish any necessary regulations on a fair and uniform basis. It is simply unreasonable to believe that individual counties have the technical and scientific knowledge to evaluate health or other concerns related to GMOs, let alone the local funds to pay for GMO regulation.

Enacting a local ordinance in Butte County would jeopardize genetically modified local crops, such as Calrose rice that is already grown extensively in Butte County. A local, Butte County-only ordinance would place our agricultural industry at a competitive disadvantage over other counties in California.

Measure D is bad for agriculture, bad for those relying on a healthy and productive agricultural industry and bad for Butte County. Vote “NO” on Measure D.

John S. Blacklock

Read the fine print
Measure D is not about harming generations of family farmers. The measure is against the manipulation of our food supply by splicing genes from one species into another without knowing the full health, environmental and economic implications. Each farmer should very carefully read the fine print on the invoice or contract of any genetically engineered seed you are choosing to plant.

If you buy GE seed one year but not the second year, your way of life may be in danger. The danger comes from the accidental contamination of your field with patented genetically engineered DNA. If the patent police find their genetic material has accidentally contaminated your crop, you may lose the farm, you will spend your children’s inheritance, you will spend years in court defending your land and your livelihood.

This occurred in Canada when a non-GE canola crop was accidentally contaminated with pollen from another field growing GE canola. Please read the fine print and details of the contract before you defend the science. I love farmers, I love local produce and anything grown in America, and I don t take for granted an abundant food supply. What I don’t appreciate is corn or soybeans spliced with DNA to be resistant to herbicide or strawberries with fish genes to withstand cold weather.

Farmers, please read the information and the power the biotech companies will have over you and your farms. Protect your future as a farmer; vote yes on Measure D.

Luisa Garza

You decide
Nowhere on the Measure D opposition’s Web site, www.NoOnD.org, can you find the actual text of Measure D. The link under “About Measure D” that says “The Measure” does not have the measure, only commentary about Measure D. Why? They would much rather tell you what Measure D says than allow you to read it, think about it, and make decisions for yourself.

If you want to see these things, I suggest you look up both Web sites, before information is either added to or removed from them.

If you want to read the full text of Measure D, please check out www.gefreebutte.org. If you want to support a citizens’ group that supports healthy food, healthy farms and healthy families, you’ll see ways you can do that, too (like voting yes on Measure D).

We have absolutely no ties to biotech corporations. We promise.

Scott Wolf
Chair, Citizens for a GE-Free Butte

In my 29 years as a Chico artist I have seen no art program funded by the city of Chico more beneficial to the citizens of Chico and the artists of Chico than the COBA art project.

Since its creation, each summer 20 local artists have created 20 4-foot-by-4-foot art boards. At the end of the summer the city buys four of these boards after popular vote by the public. If you enjoyed voting for and viewing these boards and the permanent boards on display, contact your City Council members to get funding for next year.

If you don’t speak up, you will see no more of this art, which is appreciated by the everyday citizen.

Norm Dillinger

Count on Jann
I write to endorse Jann Reed for CUSD board. She is very bright, capable mother of three who will bring a fresh perspective to the board. We can count on Jann to do the needed research, ask the tough questions and propose creative solutions. I have worked in parent volunteer groups under her positive, consensus-building leadership and can recommend her wholeheartedly.

Kimberlee Candela