Letters for October 21, 2004

Life’s lessons
I want to thank Vanessa Ward, the subject of last week’s cover story, “A Matter of Survival.” Thank you, Vanessa, for your courage and bravery in saving countless women the same horrible plight that you endured. Without your heroic actions, those truly sick individuals would still be roaming free, continuing to prey on innocent victims.

I hope the fact that you allowed your story to be told frees you from the usual misplaced guilt that plagues nearly all victimized women. You’ve also taught us important lessons about leaving our drinks unattended or accepting drinks from strangers and how dangerous that can be. May your healing process be as empowering as your story.

Robin Indar

Hear the Thunder
Ms. Rooney, I thank you for taking the time to review Morning Thunder, and am glad that you, like myself, enjoy the restaurant [“Breakfast of champions,” Chow, Oct. 14 ]. I believe, however, that the review, though accurately portraying the excellence of the food quality and popularity, was marred by contradictions between your perceptions of good and bad service or atmosphere.

You are displeased that the server, while very busy and attentive to her duties, didn’t have time for “light-hearted repartee.” Would you have preferred to have less actual service while she was bantering at “other” tables instead of prioritizing her need to attend to your food needs?

You are definitely entitled to your personal bias with seeing a tattoo on a lower back or a bare midriff (no navels allowed), yet from the obvious popularity of the restaurant for so long, it is obviously not shared by too many, even though you suggest “most people” would agree. As a regular for several years I personally find it refreshing that the servers are competent and really nice individuals who comfortably sport a “real people” look in a college town atmosphere, instead of a contrived dress code or cutesy little uniforms.

Stephen Rose

Wattsamatta U
Astonishing to read Anthony Watts’ letter whining about the lack of civility in local political discourse [“Civics lesson,” Letters, Oct. 14]. Could this be the same Anthony Watts who used the phrase “those pesky weapons of mass destruction” in a recent letter to the editor of the local daily?

The utter cynicism of that remark is disgusting in itself; it sounds as if Watts is ignorant or indifferent to the fact that about a thousand Americans and we-don’t-even-wanna-know-how-many “others” have died because of that damnable lie. Watts is hardly one to babble about civility; that one nasty aside makes him unfit practically, morally and every other way to criticize anyone else for anything else.

Sanford Dorbin

Wait to celebrate
As all the civic dignitaries gathered to start planning the 2005 celebration of the Bidwell Park centenary, I made a little contribution.

Now, as I proudly wear my new Bidwell Park Centenary 2005 T-shirt, I wonder whether we all have a self-congratulatory blind spot about the condition of the park. Perhaps we should be careful about too premature a celebration. Shortly we will participate in the revision of the Bidwell Park Master Plan, but it will just be lots of feel-good “make work” unless things are done and projects given priority and financed by the City Council.

Take a good look at what we have not done: The dam/sluice modernization at One-Mile is still in abeyance; the swimming area is a green slime canal that needs resurfacing; the entrance to Upper Park is a building-site disaster area; the Hooker Oak area of Upper Park recently ravaged by fire now sports burned baseball backstops and random heaps of burned materials.

Perhaps we should get these things done before we celebrate, because conditions in the park and its entrances are such that neither Anne Bidwell nor we could find much to celebrate, especially if we sell large areas for housing.

Alan Gair

Just another valley town
Having attended both the Chico Planning Commission and City Council public hearings on settling the 20-year-old issue concerning protecting the open space adjacent to Upper Park (a.k.a. Bidwell Ranch), it is obvious that too much political hay is being tossed into the discussion only to confuse the issue.

At both the meetings I attended, clearly 98 percent spoke in favor of designating this land as either open space and/or adding it to Bidwell Park. Jolene Francis was the only planning commissioner to vote against preserving Bidwell Ranch as open space. I can just imagine her stump speech as she runs for City Council: “These people will not even allow swing sets for children” (a playground sits right next to the property).

The same degree of disingenuousness was apparent by the likes of Councilmembers Steve Bertagna, Dan Herbert and Larry Wahl at the council meeting. Both meetings were packed with soccer moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, Chico natives and newcomers, all taking time from busy schedules to make their voices heard.

We can be one of those communities that put wisdom above developer and political profit or just another strip-mall valley town. Citizens if Chico, the choice is yours come Nov. 2.

Andy Tomaselli

The price of Prop. 61
Prop. 61 would authorize $750 million in bonds to build or remodel hospitals for children. Paying the principal and interest on these bonds would cost the state about $50 million a year for 30 years, for a total of $1.5 billion, doubling the cost.

The argument in favor of Prop. 61 says, “Proposition 61 does not raise taxes. The bonds will be repaid from the existing state budget.”

But there is no surplus in the existing state budget. On the contrary, the budget is currently balanced only because of a bond issue of $15 billion, authorized last March, to meet the state constitutional requirement that the budget be balanced. These bonds will cost the state about $750 million each year for principal and interest.

Gov. Schwarzenegger is attempting to cut state expenditures in order to make these payments without raising taxes. Democratic legislators are urging an increase in the sales tax to avoid any cuts in social programs.

The same dilemma would face the state if Prop. 61 passes: Either further cuts in state programs or a further increase in the sales tax would be necessary to pay off any bonds for new children’s hospitals. Vote NO on 61.

Bill McCord