Letters for October 16, 2003

Correction: In a map accompanying last week’s cover story, “Who owns downtown Chico?” properties at 233-239 Broadway were mistakenly listed as owned by Riley Ventures LLC. In reality, the tenants in those spaces, Needham’s Stained Glass (which has been in business since 1971) and Hang Ups, rent from the Arnoff family.

Filling Henri’s plate
As every annual Best of Chico issue confirms, we’re darn lucky to have so many great places to chow down. It’s tough for a restaurant to make it through its first year, so Best New Restaurant is a particularly important honor. Thanks for awarding an Editors’ Choice to Cafe Flo, a unique and delightful bistro. Two other excellent new restaurants that may be flying under many folks’ radar at this point are El Cantarito and Oberon’s.

El Cantarito (Third and Walnut streets) has down-home gourmet-quality Mexican food, the best ever in Chico for my money. For over 30 years I hadn’t tasted tamales comparable to the ones my South Seattle neighbor Anna Gutierrez made, not in Arizona, not in Mexico, nowhere, but El Cantarito’s tamales absolutely melt in your mouth.

Oberon’s (Ninth and Salem streets) is a deli/bistro that serves superb sandwiches, delicious dinners and a fabulous Sunday brunch. One deli, the Italian Creekside, already died at this location. Oberon’s is a cold cut or two above and worthy of a far better fate.

Thanks for Henri Bourride’s humorous, insightful reviews [in Chow]. Please send him and Miss Marilyn to El Cantarito and Oberon’s!

We should all heed the sage advice of the late, great Warren Zevon: “Enjoy every sandwich.”

Jim Dwyer

We asked for it
We here in California deserve Arnold. We deserve the woman-groping, Enron-connected, land-developer-funded, violence-pushing actor for governor. Despite the truth that it was Enron stealing $9 billion that caused our debt, we elect an Enron-connected Republican. It’s laughable. We deserve what is to come.

Americans likewise deserve the corporate shills that stole the White House in 2000. Republicans stopped the vote count, and we just sat there staring at the tube as if it were someone else’s democratic process being hijacked. Therefore we deserve the multi-trillion-dollar debt these oil-drenched, un-elected usurpers have gleefully loaded on our backs. We deserve the worldwide disdain for their oil war.

We deserve the “Patriot” Act. We deserve corrupt paperless Diebold touch screen voting machines that make further mockery of our vote. Vigilance is the price of freedom, and we are no longer willing to pay. Vigilance and desire for truth have been vaporized by the cunning of the corporate media giants—Republican-owned Fox, Republican-owned Clear Channel, and of course the man paid one-third of a billion dollars to keep us voting Republican, Rush Limbaugh.

We deserve him, too, because even with the bottomless depths of his hypocrisy now exposed, his followers will continue to listen and believe every lie that oozes from his drug-addled orifice. We don’t search for the truth anymore, and even when it hits us in the face, we look the other way. We deserve you, Rush. We deserve you, George. We deserve you, Arnold.

David Singelyn
Warner Springs

Father figure
There is a Buddhist saying: “A boy without a father is like a house without a roof.” Bernie Vigallon, director of alternative education at Fair View High School, has been and is a roof to many a boy. In this town we are lucky to have Mr. Vig, as his boys call him. If you are one of his boys, you can change your life. There are many lives that are being changed. I know because my boy is one of those boys. Thank God for Mr. Vig.

Name withheld by request

Full disclosure
I agree with Councilman Dan Nguyen-Tan. Asking Chico City Councilmembers and Planning Commission members to simply disclose possible conflicts and then vote is a good idea. Lest we naively think that a campaign contribution is the only source of conflict, I propose that we expand the disclosure.

Have them list things like belonging to the same organization or church, attended the same school, live in the same neighborhood, kids go to the same school or are on the same soccer team, sit on the same board of directors, have ever worked together, dated each other, thought about dating each other, voted for the same person, like the same food, shop at the same store, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. There is bound to be one of these or other things that create as much or more conflict than a $250 or $1,000 campaign contribution.

Last, putting this or anything else on the ballot for voter approval is a bad idea. We are a republic, not a democracy. We elect people to make decisions for the good of all. One of the reasons that California is in its current financial mess is all of the recent ballot measures that require massive state spending.

Tim Edwards

Gillian rocks
I and perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 other music lovers were spellbound by the performance of neo-folkies Gillian Welch and partner David Rawlings at the Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Frisco’s Golden Gate Park last weekend. Coming off that incredible weekend of free music, I was still ravenous for Gillian’s show in the more intimate setting of the Paradise Performing Arts Center. Again, Gillian and David delivered another show of timeless and hauntingly beautiful songs, propelled by the inventive melodic accompaniment of David’s picking style and seamless harmonies.

So I was more than somewhat dismayed to read the Culture Vulture’s take on the same performance [CN&R, Oct. 9]. As if quoting J. D. Salinger can justify the Vulture’s misconceptions, the Vulture goes on to further obfuscate and dismiss as somehow disingenuous the duo’s ability to connect with their audience. The Vulture calls this “artily pretentious self-consciousness.”

Perhaps the Vulture has become too jaded by the posturing of the metal/punk/flavor-of-the-month machinations that passes for entertainment that two people and two guitars must be some kind of gimmick that needs to be ridiculed and put to bed.

Too bad the Vulture thinks you have to be playing electric guitars with bad hair to be genuine.

Andy Tomaselli

Big bus brother
So surveillance cameras installed on our buses—watching us city dwellers as we travel from place to place making sure there is not a terrorist among us. We are being filmed courtesy of the Federal Transportation and Homeland Security Departments. I find it a bit ironic that our city leaders are discussing passing laws against nude bathing in our local creeks whilst the whole lot of us are quickly being stripped naked of our rights to be free from the prying eyes of government. Time to revisit the local impacts of the Patriot Act?

Evanne O’Donnell