Letters for October 15, 2009

Sex, drugs and comments

Re “Sex, drugs and guns” (Cover story, Oct. 8):

Excellent article by Meredith J. Cooper. Probably her best work yet.

I grew up in Red Bluff. The community is a decayed piece of rotten wood. The problem is a lack of job opportunities, so that job protectionism becomes one’s priority. Lying, back-stabbing, cheating, corruption and incompetence abound. Personal animosities and prejudices are the order of the day because it’s such a small community.

I had my front window shot out once because I wrote an article about police corruption. I helped get a corrupt police official fired, and then an incompetent city manager, but it’s the many-headed Hydra analogy—you get rid of one corrupt official, and another steps into his (or her) place.

Michael M. Peters

This story makes no sense. It’s all insinuations. No one is wasting time to comment because the entire story is made up, but quite entertaining, I must admit.

Why would anyone wanna shoot such an innocent sweet little man? Hmmmm, that makes no sense. Especially when he seems to be such a hero. Gosh, there must be another side to this story, because none of this makes any sense. Why did that hero guy get fired again? I think the whole thing is made up because Mr. Hero keeps losing his lawsuits against the county.

Melissa House

Editor’s note: Mr. Clausen has filed two lawsuits against Tehama County. The first was settled in his favor and he withdrew the second.

Who’s dazed and confused?

Re “This council’s dazed and confused” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, Oct. 8):

In your article you state that “Medpot growers can sell what they don’t use (quite legally) to dispensaries. …”

Most district attorneys in California will charge a medpot grower who does that with a couple of felonies. As they interpret the law, a person must be a member of a collective or co-op in order to provide other script-holding members, who are all contributing to the effort, with medicinal marijuana.

I urge you to immediately do all you can to correct that error, as now is the time people are harvesting marijuana and putting themselves at grave risk if they follow your interpretation.

Jim Stanwood

Editor’s note: Mr. Stanwood is a criminal-defense attorney.

Wanna make a bet?

Re “Get ready for a post-daily world” (Cover story, by Jeff vonKaenel, Sept. 17):

“Skyscraper Analyst” here—I’m one of the authors of our predictions on the newspaper industry’s (mild) rebound next year.

First off, I need to correct you. While I am indeed an analyst, I sit on the first floor of a two-story building (not a skyscraper), and oddly enough I spent a full day riding with newspaper sales reps a week prior to issuing our predictions. On any given day, someone from our company is riding with sales reps. So we do indeed have a lot of front-line experience.

I’m not going to debate your skepticism. Your opinion that newspapers will cease publishing a daily print product, and my opinion that there will be a small bounceback, are just that—opinions. Someone will be right. Someone will be wrong.

Let’s make a bet. I’d like you to mark your calendar for Sept. 1, 2010. I have marked mine. Here’s the bet: If total newspaper advertising revenue is up at midyear 2010 over 2009, I win and you owe me a column saying we were right and you weren’t. If total newspaper advertising revenue is down, you can write a column saying we were wrong, and I’ll give you some crow-eating quotes. I’ll also buy you a case of your favorite beer.

Gordon Borrell
Williamsburg, VA

Is this fair?

Re “Charter school, district clash” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Oct. 8):

For [Chico Country Day School] this has never been about paying the rent. We take our obligations very seriously and pay them in a timely manner. The contention for us is that we are being charged for services that we are not receiving.

For example: When we needed a new air conditioning unit, we paid for it, along with the installation. The CUSD is now charging CCDS for this unit, along with maintenance fees. This double charge is in violation of our contract and completely illegal!

We have asked for mediation several times and been told that it is not necessary according to our contract. But that contract states, “Disputes between the Charter School and the District regarding the alleged violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of this Agreement shall be resolved using the dispute resolution process.”

Instead of attempting to resolve this matter in mediation, the CUSD threatened to close our school and kick our 540 children out on the streets.

Kathleen Teal

A failure of standards

Re “Doctor: What’s poisoning my patients?” (Newslines, by Nick Dobis, Oct. 8):

Your profile of Jane Hightower failed to live up to journalistic standards that insist reporters provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.

For starters, your report never mentioned Hightower’s role as an environmental activist with ties to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Mercury Policy Project, depicting her instead as an independent clinician.

A lack of actual published medical data linking vague symptoms like nausea and exhaustion to eating commercial fish is at the heart of Hightower’s conspiracy theory, and should have been mentioned in your article.

Hightower’s contention that the mercury found in predatory fish comes primarily from pollution is also not supported by published science and has been debunked twice in California courts. Studies published as recently as August are clear: “There is an assumption that mercury in open-ocean fish is directly related to atmospheric mercury emissions and pollution, but there is no evidence of that.” Your article’s assertion that Hightower somehow solved a “dangerous ocean mystery” is based solely on her own rhetoric and not your own research or independent peer-reviewed science.

How is it that Americans eat roughly 16 pounds of seafood a year and the Japanese eat around 100 pounds, but unlike Hightower’s devotees they aren’t diagnosed with mercury poisoning?

It’s one thing to promote a local alum. It’s quite another to let facts get in the way of a good puff piece.

Gavin Gibbons
National Fisheries Institute

Editor’s note: The NFI is a Virginia-based trade association representing the commercial fishing industry. Mr. Gibbons is its spokesman.

Be less selfish, OK?

Re “Why I voted no on wood-smoke ban” (Guest Comment, by Angela Thompson, Oct. 8):

An infringement on their freedom: That’s the bromide Angela Thompson uses to describe the idea of curtailing the use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves in Chico.

Why does Ms. Thompson think the Air Quality Management District exists, if not to look out for the lungs of the county’s residents?

Government intrusion into American homes has gone too far, she complains. Well, whatever. I wonder how Ms. Thompson would react if I, as her next-door neighbor, blared my stereo at 3 in the morning. And how about if I dumped chemicals that fouled the well that supplies her home with water?

Hey, baby—my property, my rights.

Regulations and laws exist to address conditions in which people either can’t or won’t do the right thing on their own. Clearly, there are times when her rights won’t help the asthmatic kid down the street breathe with ease. Be less selfish, Angela. We all have to share the air.

Edward Booth