Letters for October 18, 2007

Pups on Parole’s ‘higher good’
Re: “Mutual rehabilitation” (Cover story, by Kat Kerlin, CN&R, Oct. 11):

Being a lifetime dog lover/advocate, I am often disheartened to the point of despair knowing how some humans choose to abuse dogs, the most loving creatures on the planet. Especially in light of local and national atrocities this year, your article about Pups on Parole was like a shot of hope into my weary spirit.

Although I’m not naïve enough to think PoP will end canine cruelty, they are an important part of the solution by doing the best thing they possibly could: teaching by example. I offer gratitude and praise to the good people at PoP for their vision and commitment in merging two elements often invisible in this society—prison inmates and unwanted dogs—for a higher good.

Reading about PoP changing lives, both human and canine, warmed my heart but didn’t surprise me. This is because I’ve always known dogs possess great power to help and to heal. Humans stand to learn and gain a lot from them.

As PoP prison coordinator Garth Renaud so aptly said, “Dogs don’t have a choice. Inmates [people] do.” Please remember this when interacting with dogs (or any animal) and be kind.

Nicki Reynolds

Place for everything—in its place
Re: “Second hand yet still first rate” (Letters, by Michael McGinnis, CN&R, Oct. 11):

Speaking strictly for myself as a downtown business owner, I agree that thrift stores are an important asset in a diverse community like Chico, and I congratulate The Arc on its Best Thrift Store award [in the Best of Chico readers’ picks].

Second-hand stores provide useful goods to households and families on constrained budgets, and furnish needed employment opportunities to individuals with limited skills. However, the same may be said about Wal-Mart. And while both small thrift stores recycling castoffs and big-box stores importing discount products are vital to a fully integrated economy, neither is appropriate in downtown.

The presence of thrift shops in a city’s center is widely regarded by urban planners as an indication of decay.

Downtown Chico is an increasingly dynamic location for local purveyors of new goods, hospitality, and personal services, and would be distinctly diminished by an influx of second-hand stores. Certainly the development of the downtown district south of the City Plaza is inhibited by the presence of similar operations there.

I wish Mr. McGinnis and The Arc all the best in their endeavors, and appreciate the benefits their programs yield to the entire community. I hope they thrive for many years—in their current location.

Alan Chamberlain

Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more
Re: “'Civilian’ oversight” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Oct. 11):

Editor Tuchinsky’s commentary mentioned a growing homicide problem in Chico. Elsewhere in the paper, the Salvation Army’s new rehab center is mentioned, as well as the Gridley/Biggs town hall meeting on methamphetamine. No person in Butte County is spared the criminal and financial impacts of the meth epidemic.

Mr. Tuchinsky’s commentary, an overview of the last Chico City Council meeting, included ideas about low- or no-cost solutions to crime. The connection between methamphetamine, gangs and justice department costs is found in all relevant research but missing in the commentary and council meeting solutions as well.

The Oroville paper runs a column called the Methamphetamine Update that has been offered for free to the CN&R and E-R. The column has run nationally on the jointogether.org Web site and is now being picked up by a Canadian publisher called All Positive Options.

Mr. Tuchinsky has offered to run an update periodically if an exclusive one can be written for his paper. I’m sure something can be worked out. The E-R didn’t offer that much, so I guess I should be appeased.

Don Fultz

Film standards, take 2!
“Cinematic standards, anyone?” (Guest Comment, by Jamie Hollomon, CN&R, Oct. 11):

Movies are worse than ever because this country has no copyright protection. Script thieves rape American literature; movies are formulaic, paint-by-number banalities for movie junkies needing an adrenaline rush to get high. Hollywood is just a chop shop for stolen scripts.

All a script thief needs to do is make cosmetic changes in five principal areas: plot, theme, characters, dialogue and settings. For instance, if I wrote a script about a Mexican running a bar in Texas, all the script hijacker would have to do is change it to a Cuban running a bowling alley in Arizona.

Hollywood movies have become in-house projects. They do remakes and sequels, and since the majority of moviegoers are under 30, they make comic books or idiotic teenage sex comedies. Good movies are a rarity.

Pericles said a civilization depends on its architecture, its art and its literature. Hollywood—the land of cokeheads, drunks, high school dropouts and desperate wannabes—has destroyed our literature and our civilization. Quo vadis?

Michael M. Peters

Editor’s note: As detailed in the CN&R in May 2002, Mr. Peters sued the studio and producer of Shakespeare in Love, claiming the screenplay was developed from his play As You Might Like It.

Dirty mind
Re: “Cover up, kids” (Letters, by Densell L. Peters Jr., CN&R, Oct. 11):

I am writing in response to the letter about the “We’re dirty” article from Oct. 4. First of all, had he read the article and understood it, he would realize that all his dirty mind got from the article is sex and sexually transmitted diseases. That is not how kids today get some of the illnesses mentioned in the article, and your writer did her job of saying so in her article.

Sharing a soda with a friend, letting a friend borrow a lipstick, sharing lunch with a friend less fortunate enough to have one—these are ways to get some of the mentioned illnesses. Not washing your hands after using the restroom, which a lot of people don’t, is another.

There are many ways to be “dirty” in this society, and finding “gals” willing to “do it” is not the only way.

Maybe next time he will read something thoroughly enough and actually have an educated opinion to share. As the mother of a well-educated daughter who knows all the ways to prevent most illnesses, I was highly offended by his letter and language.

Lareina Reyes

Embarrassed? Hardly!
Re: “Embarrassment” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, CN&R, Oct. 11):

I’m not embarrassed for Anthony Peyton Porter. I’m not offended by his writing either. I like Porter’s column—it is the first thing that I read when I pick up the CN&R. I can identify with almost every one of his stories, and I almost always get a good chuckle from his words.

Thanks, Anthony!

David Kensinger

Her right to choose
Re: “For shame” (Letters, by the Rev. Louie Ricci, CN&R, Oct. 4):

Mr. Ricci, your letter gave me the impression that it is shameful for me, as an animal-rights activist, to rally against Michael Vick’s crimes when abortion is still legal and a battle in many other circles. Am I not able to fight my fight amongst the many other fights and battles to be won? Comparing abortion to animal abuse is like comparing apples to oranges.

Animal-rights activists such as myself have to answer one question over and over again: “Why are you wasting your time helping animals when there are humans that need our help?!” My response to this would be a quote from Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA: “Because compassion isn’t some measly pot from which you can only take one spoonful.”

I leave you with one of my other favorite quotes that, in a way, ties our battles together: “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” (Leonardo da Vinci)

Sarah Downs

Juvenile justice
Re: “Flunking out big time” (Downstroke, CN&R, Oct. 4):

I congratulate the officials and the two young students who negotiated for the positive outcome that resulted in the incident with 17-year-old Greg Wright at Las Plumas High School in Oroville. I am concerned, though, with this juvenile being tried as an adult.

According to research by PBS’s Frontline, two assumptions are behind recent legislation in many U.S. states that makes it easier to try juvenile offenders as adults: Young offenders will receive sentences in the adult criminal system that are harsher and more proportional to their crimes, and the threat of this harsher punishment will result in lowered juvenile crime rates. The evidence does not exist to indicate that stricter laws deter effects, and a Florida study suggests they may actually result in higher rates of reoffending.

Reaching troubled youth in their early formative years should be a high priority, and I try to do this in my work as a violence prevention educator. We as a society will need to alter our attitudes toward our youth to help guide them toward productive citizenry. Such alternatives as blended sentencing provide incentives for rehabilitation and may eliminate the costs of long-term incarceration in the adult prison system.

Diane Suzuki
Beyond Violence Alliance

Editor’s note: Please see Editorial for more on this issue.