Letters for October 16, 2008

Kudos for covering gaps in coverage
Re: “Censored!” (Cover story, by Amanda Witherell, CN&R, Oct. 9):

I talk to friends and co-workers all the time about these kinds of stories. I get looked at like I’m some crazy conspiracy theorist at times. But if you do the research, you will see that we are quickly getting our civil liberties taken away in the name of safety and patriotism.

The government was designed to protect the people. Now it is protecting itself from the people. Cheers to CN&R for having the balls to print truth.

Darren Johnson

Opposing views on Proposition 2
Re: “Cast a humane vote for Prop 2” (Guest Comment, by Shannon York, CN&R, Oct. 9):

We ethically support the humane treatment of farm animals, which is Prop 2. It is wonderful to see such support for such an important cause.

Animals cannot speak for themselves. They need humans who have the intelligence, compassion and humanity to make their treatment better while they are here with us. Now is the time to stand up for good change.

Please vote yes on Prop 2. California is progressive enough to care!

Edith Coyle
Forest Ranch

In a Butte County paper, I was shocked to read the commentary about supporting Prop 2.

Prop 2 is written by out-of-state vegans, people who have no dietary stake in this. Its economic impact has been clearly stated—a study done by UC Davis states the chicken industry would face an “almost complete elimination of egg production in California within the five-year adjustment period.” That is at least a $337 million elimination in our economy.

California is already doing away with gestation crates for pregnant sows, and we have no veal industry in California to speak of. This proposition would only affect eggs and chickens. Any reasonable person will understand that modern housing for hens ensures their safety and welfare. They are already capable of turning around and spreading their wings.

Please do not become lobotomized by the Prop 2 propaganda machine. Join California’s family farmers, DVMs and other educated organizations and vote no on 2. Keep our food safe and local.

Megan Brown
Butte Valley

(Same-sex) marriage material
The California Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry under the California Constitution. Proposition 8 is a ballot initiative that “Eliminates Right of Same-sex Couples to Marry.” Before voting on this proposed constitutional amendment, please consider the following:

If Proposition 8 passes, language stating that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” would be placed within the Declaration of Rights of the People of California. This language would remove a right that law-abiding citizens of California currently enjoy.

The constitution contains a declaration of rights in order to guarantee certain rights to the people. Regardless of your personal feelings about same-sex marriage, amending the constitutional declaration of rights in order to remove any existing right is short-sighted.

If passed, Proposition 8 would not only affect the same-sex population; it would also set the dangerous precedent of limiting and removing rights within the document that defines the fundamental political principles of our state government.

As a Californian and an American, this precedent should be a far larger concern than personal feelings about any one issue.

Samantha Hillaire

America is a free land—freedom of speech, freedom of religion—[and Americans] should also be free to love or marry whomever they love. The government has no business telling people who can marry whom. Whether Prop 8 passes, gays and lesbians are still going to love each other, and the government can’t do anything about it.

Noelle Duffy

If the supporters of Proposition 8 really want to protect marriage, they should propose a constitutional amendment to ban divorce. If they succeed in denying marriage rights to same-sex couples this November, perhaps then they can tackle the real threat to “traditional” marriage: divorce! After all, forcing all couples to remain married for life is the only real way to protect the sanctity of marriage and save the family.

Karl Halfman

‘Talk is cheap’
During the debate at the Chico City Council [chambers] on Oct. 9, Wally Herger was asked about his record of voting with George Bush 95 percent of the time.

What did Wally say? He acted the part of the consummate politician. He bloviated about how he was really critical, right from the beginning, of how the Iraq war was mishandled.

Jeff Morris called him out: Why did we constituents not hear this supposed criticism of the war from Wally? Why didn’t we hear him call for the resignation of Rumsfeld? As Mr. Morris aptly said regarding Herger’s inaction, “Talk is cheap.”

As Wally sat there wide-eyed, looking down, he strained to explain his I was against the bailout before I was for it vote on the $700 billion grab of taxpayer dollars. As he repeated his stock lines about how government is the problem, he had difficulty giving us any reason to send him back to D.C., since he has been part of this government problem for more than 20 years.

For a career politician like Wally Herger to lose the debate so badly showed us that he is bereft of ideas that will help our district and our country. Jeff Morris clearly demonstrated the intellect and originality that is sorely needed in the seat of our 2nd District House of Representatives.

Eric M. Hitchcock

Editor’s note: For coverage of this candidate forum, please see Newslines.

Conservatism to admire
If you’re truly a fiscal conservative, don’t vote for Republicans Larry Wahl and Mark Sorensen for Chico City Council.

Wahl, in blaming the current deficit on a progressive council majority, fails to acknowledge that the deficit had its start when he and a conservative majority on the council joined with the developers to cut fees on new construction, leaving the city and the taxpayers to make up the difference. This reduction in developer fees has contributed greatly to the city deficit.

A typically expensive mailer endorsing Wahl and Sorensen charged the progressive council majority with squandering “hundreds of thousands of dollars … on charrettes, consultants and surveys—simply to avoid making decisions.”

With the city embarking on a general plan determining the future of Chico for the next 30 years, it hardly makes sense to act without full citizen participation and the best professional advice. Isn’t it good fiscal policy to “avoid making decisions” until you have a sound basis on which to decide?

If thoughtful planning is a conservatism you admire, vote for progressive council candidates Andy Holcombe, Ann Schwab, Jim Walker and Ali Sarsour. They’ll think before they spend.

Karen Laslo

Friend of the Friends
I am writing to praise the efforts of the Friends of Bidwell Park.

It’s true that they recently lost in their efforts to move Frisbee golf out of a wilderness section of the park to an alternative location. But the members of this organization have spent thousands of hours cleaning our park, removing invasive species by hand, and speaking out on the park’s behalf when others would happily see it developed (a piece at a time).

Only a minority of residents spoke up to defend the 40 acres of blue oaks, their fragile topsoil, and the clarity of our creek, all of which are at-risk due to added development. But I, for one, am grateful to those who did speak up.

I want to thank them on behalf of myself, my children, and my grandchildren. I am sad for their loss, because I believe that it is our loss, too.

Melinda Teves

Petition drive
Two years ago, I contacted the Sheriff’s Office and suggested an idea to increase visibility of the Most Wanted Fugitives [list] by putting the poster on all county buses. They e-mailed me back and said it sounded good; however, they needed permission from the Butte County Association of Governments in order to do so.

I went before the BCAG during a monthly meeting and mentioned the idea. BCAG thought it would be a really good idea and that it would be on a future agenda. It never was. I got busy, and the idea was dropped.

I am now trying again. A petition has now been started [to put posters on buses, shelters and where bus passes are sold]. If you would like to sign the petition, or have a business to serve as a location for the petition, you may contact me at 873-2827 or e-mail me at MostWantedPetition@yahoo.com.

Malachi M. Meahl

Bad double standard
A person who drinks is portrayed as the personable Joe Six-Pack, a good ol’ potential voter. The pot smoker is still unjustly vilified.

Pot and alcohol alter brain chemistry, but when a pot smoker abuses the drug, he will eat more than his share of pizza, and fall asleep earlier than planned. The alcohol consumer may become violent, riot in the streets of Chico and fight with the officers who show up to keep the peace.

A person wanting to enjoy pot has to call it medication, and sometimes it is. Many medical-pot users have tried other pharmaceutical remedies and found the side effects to be unacceptable. Many use pot responsibly, just like Joe S. uses his beer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from pharmaceutical pain killers reached 7,500 in 2004. It was determined that most of the deaths were not accidents but from abuse of the drugs.

The CDC also reports that 75,766 deaths were attributed to excessive alcohol use in 2001 alone. In that same year there were 331 alcohol deaths from overdose. No overdose death has ever been recorded for pot.

The problem is not that pot is kind of legal, but that it is still mostly illegal. Overturning [Prop] 215 would keep the price high and our national forests full of armed Mexican cartels. Small entrepreneurs will still have crops out back that attract thieves as they always have. I don’t recommend pot, alcohol, prohibition or backyard pot gardens.

Don Fultz

Consider the context
Folks who keep bringing up Vietnam [in comparison to Iraq or in regards to John McCain’s military service] always seem to overlook the 800-pound elephant.

The U.S. was wrong and used poor judgment when we invaded Vietnam and then prolonged the war. Before we tried, China, Japan and France had invaded Vietnam and were driven out. The peace treaty we refused to sign in ‘68 is almost exactly the same as the one we signed in ‘72. Approximately half the names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after ‘68.

When talking about Vietnam we need to mention these facts.

Marvin Wiseley

United States?
What an amazing feat by the elite! While the country is in the process of unraveling and sliding into bankruptcy, it remains even more divided than ever before.

In times like these, one would expect the citizens to unite; after all, the upcoming hardship will befall people of both political persuasions. Instead they are busy pointing fingers and blaming each other for the malaise—even resorting to threats.

Obviously, this atmosphere has been bred into the system by those who have brought us here, which gave them unfettered opportunity to enrich themselves to the detriment of us all.

Ponder the sage reminder that “united we stand, divided we fall” and realize that we are the living antithesis to it.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff