Letters for October 21, 2010

Is Herger up to the job?

Re “Mind games” (Editorial, Oct. 14):

A Redding Record Searchlight editorial took Democratic congressional candidate Jim Reed to the woodshed for spreading rumors that Congressman Wally Herger might be showing signs of mental fatigue. Pulling no punches, the Searchlight accused Reed of “an absurd personal attack,” “rumor-mongering,” “slander” and taking a “cheap shot” at the Republican incumbent.

Frankly, I’d say this editorial dressing-down was over the top.

Sure, questioning the health of an individual can be a profoundly touchy subject. Some might suggest the topic’s off-limits or taboo. Reputations, livelihoods and personal feelings can all be inadvertently or intentionally destroyed. Most assuredly, it’s important one tread carefully, with all good intentions, when entering into such discourse.

Sure, Reed’s motivation can be questioned. Trailing in the polls, time running out, fighting an uphill political battle, he’s certainly not the best messenger of such inquiry.

But, taboos and motivations aside, one single, critical question remains unanswered: Are voters entitled to know if their elected officials and those seeking office are of sound body and mind?

Dare I say I believe they are? Those seeking elected office must meet a uniquely high standard of scrutiny. Ensuring they are up to the challenge, in my opinion, only makes sense.

Pete Stiglich

Editor’s note: Stiglich ran against Herger in the June 8 Republican primary.

Not a cement factory

I guess you’d call them Tweedledum, Tweedledee, and Tweedlemetoo, because there are three candidates who jump up and down the same, talk the same, and finish each other’s sentences. The trouble is, they’re not funny.

They are a slate of Tea Party-type City Council candidates who would like you to believe Chico is in its fiscal death throes, that the council is a pack of hippie-minded liberals who jackboot private-property rights and war against job development.

Bob Kromer, Bob Evans and Mark Sorensen may not be official Tea Partiers, but they’ve sure got the mantra. Vote for these people if we want our town run like a cement factory with pavement our main product.

Actually, the current council is doing well. Chico is solvent, and better times are on the horizon. Furthermore, most current council members understand that community life does not begin and end with dollar bills. Equally important is how our city relates to the natural world we live in and whether the community helps to facilitate positive relations among its members.

Gruendl and Flynn deserve our support, and Mark Herrera would be a great fit.

Bob Klang

Cannabis cat and mouse

Pushing 60 now, I’ve long been tired of the cat-and-mouse game that using cannabis invokes. I totally lost any respect for the law at a tender age. Faith in government? What, the government that wants to see me in a cage? The prohibition has been quite corrosive on my and many of my comrades’ patriotism.

We can restore respect for law, and law enforcement, as well as faith in the American way by ending this prohibition. We could even end up like the Dutch—who’ve managed to make pot boring in the eyes of that country’s youth and whose rates of use are but a small fraction of ours.

The war on cannabis has its roots in racism, and is now the new Jim Crow. It has been a handy cudgel to whup on Mexicans, blacks and those darn hippies. Despite the claims, it has never had anything to do with public safety.

This war on our own citizens can be ended. The passage of Prop. 19 will force a large crack in the dike. Much of the delay, deceit, and obfuscation seen after the passage of Prop. 215 should be neutralized by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s recently introduced legislation to create a uniform statewide regulatory system. “If 19 passes, we’ll be ready,” he asserts. Prop 19 includes language that allows modification by the Legislature. This was missing in 215.

My ballot is marked Yes. I hope yours is, too.

Jay Bergstrom
Forest Ranch

Kromer makes sense

During the past couple years you may have noticed a regular attendee at the Chico City Council meetings who asks fundamental questions of Chico’s fiscal condition. We have observed that these basic common-sense questions appear to be ignored by the current City Council (i.e., the $845 million cost to implement our new general plan is substantially more than any plausible projected revenue). We were obviously pleased to learn that this regular attendee, Bob Kromer, is running for Chico City Council.

Bob Kromer is a retired business executive with many years of successful business management. This kind of experience is desperately needed to solve the financial dilemma Chico is in. Bob Kromer is someone who will listen to everyone and make decisions that are well researched and in the best interest of the entire community.

Bob Kromer has our vote because he asks the right fundamental questions and proposes solutions that if implemented can solve the financial dilemma Chico is currently facing.

Please join us on Nov. 2 and vote for Bob Kromer for Chico City Council.

Andreas and Kelly Fellner

Robinson knows schools

The upcoming election offers us the rare opportunity to vote for a Chico Unified School District board candidate who is as close to a perfect fit as we are ever likely to see. Many of us think we know what going on in education because our children have been or are currently in local schools. But the only people who truly do know about our schools are those who are there every day, every week, every year, celebrating small successes and battling large difficulties.

Eileen Robinson truly knows what happens in school. A parent of CUSD graduates and a long-time employee of both elementary and secondary schools, she also has a decades-long background in labor negotiations at the local and state level. She understands our educational system’s strengths and its limitations and recognizes the necessity of restoring trust and respect between the district and its teachers. She is an articulate, passionate advocate for what works best for our students and will strive to fix what doesn’t.

Join me and vote to elect the one candidate who knows how schools really work and who will work to see that they do. Vote for Eileen Robinson.

Marsha Sanders

Evans’ ‘effective leadership’

For 20 years I had the privilege to work with Bob Evans at Lifetouch in Chico. His effective leadership and common-sense approach guided our production plant from processing one product line early on, to successfully producing multiple product lines. This assisted in extending our work seasons, which better served our local community and great North State.

I continue to be impressed by his ongoing efforts to give back to our community. I admire any individual who has the opportunity to work side-by-side with him. Bob has always been an advocate for Chico’s present while looking toward the city’s future. He remains a stellar example of hard work and someone we need on the City Council today. You won’t meet a more dedicated representative to get the job done!

Vote Bob Evans for Chico City Council Nov. 2.

Autumn Incerty

Herrera speaks for youth

Re “The CN&R endorses…” (Election Guide, Oct. 14):

I disagree with your choice of Mark Sorensen over Mark Herrera for Chico City Council. As we are faced with new challenges and opportunities, we need diverse, forward-thinking citizens to step up and lead us into the future. I don’t see that from anyone on the conservative slate. They know they are out of touch with much of the Chico community (most people under 40, for example), and as usual their solution is to buy their way into office.

Mark Herrera is the only candidate who can really bring new energy to the council. Mark is out in the community, talking with people, learning about what matters to them most, and showing that he has the openness to explore new solutions. I see Herrera following in the footsteps of Jane Dolan and David Guzzetti, both of whom were inexperienced yet had the vision and character to do great things.

If we want a leader who can grow, adapt, and evolve with our ever-changing world, Mark Herrera is our man.

Theo Badashi

Want timely budget?

Re “No budget, no payment” (Newslines, by Andrew LaVoy Wagner, Oct. 7):

Agencies have been dipping into emergency funds through years of late budgets. Programs that serve people have been the causalities of this ridiculous disagreement between Republicans and Democrats. We can choose sides: Do Californians want a late budget or a budget that is on time?

Yes on Proposition 25 will mean legislators will not get paid or reimbursed whenever the budget is late.

Why would anyone disagree that a budget should be on time? Isn’t this much more than Republicans vs. Democrats? On Nov. 2, voters must consider that passing a budget on time is definitely worth the trouble. Please vote Yes on Prop. 25.

Heather Caldwell, Andrea Kamper, Steven Bradley, John Zepeda, Damien Gibbs
Social work students

Chico State University

Who’s after our water?

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve a new general plan on Oct. 26 that will plot out development for the next 20 years, yet the analysis—required by state law—of what that development will do to our groundwater supply has not been done.

Neither the general plan itself nor the final environmental-impact report analyzes what is going to happen to our groundwater supply as planned development is built out over the next 20 years.

Who would benefit from not analyzing the impact of development on our groundwater supply? Developers are a clear possibility, but how about the agricultural water districts that have talked for years about selling their ample surface water south and then back-filling their needs by dipping into our diminishing groundwater? And how about the political powers south of Sacramento, who look on North State groundwater as a vast untapped solution to their water problems?

Each of these interests could be threatened by an analysis that might document fragility and limitations in our groundwater system.

So who is pulling the strings on local groundwater policy? Why is the county not doing a required study that could define safe groundwater production for future decades?

Tony St. Amant

Flynn fan weighs in

With all the serious issues facing Chico, the last thing our City Council needs is unproductive noise and bluster from clashing ideologies. That’s why we need to hang on to a reasonable, moderate, independent leader—Mary Flynn.

We need effective council members who really understand how this city functions, who work hard to find practical solutions to our challenges and realistic plans for our future. We don’t need political posturing and axe-grinding. We don’t need on-the-job training. We need know-how and integrity—we need to re-elect Mary Flynn.

Alicia Springer

Colgan’s the guy

I was 32 the first time I voted. Somewhere down the line I lost the ability to think for myself. Those times are no more. I have learned to pay attention, take action, and take responsibility for the direction of my county, city, state and country by voting.

I want to be represented by someone whose ideas are unique, who thinks outside the box, who listens to me, who talks “to” me, and gives me hope, not lip service.

If you are tired of being spoon-fed propaganda, if you are tired of the mud slinging and tea parties, if you are ready to take responsibility, and if you believe as I do that it’s time we try something different, vote Quentin Colgan for Chico City Council. He’s just what Chico needs, and I am proud to endorse him. Are you ready to be heard? Vote Nov. 2.

Traci Williams

Five years at the grill

Five years ago, my dream of opening a business in my hometown of Chico was finally realized. The journey has since been filled with many great times as well as many tough, challenging times. This month marks the fifth anniversary of our opening.

I write this as a heart-felt “thank you” to the incredible people of Chico and its surrounding communities who have made us a part of their lives and kept us growing through these difficult times. My crew and I would like to thank you for the opportunity we have had to serve this amazing community, and we look forward to serving you for many, many more years to come!

Gene Hrubi
The Cheese Steak Shop

Why won’t Herger debate:

Re “Mind games” (Editorial, Oct. 14):

The voters deserve to have a debate. Even the highly publicized, often extreme Tea Party candidates have been debating in the public forum. It’s really starting to look like Wally Herger is afraid to debate his opponent.

I have watched Mr. Herger on C-SPAN, and he is not working in committees without a script. This is what Reagan started doing in his last two years of office. Ironically, Herger serves on the Health Committee and hasn’t supported much legislation to assist people with health issues.

Reports support an increase in Alzheimer’s in this country. We will all know someone or will know someone with this challenging illness. We need to know if Mr. Herger is developing Alzheimer’s because there is too much at stake at this time in our country.

Jorja Stewart

O’Neill’s ‘out of his league’

Re “Genuine string band” (Music, by Jaime O’Neill, Sept. 30):

I agree with Hope Munro Smith (“Sexist and racist?” Letters, Oct. 14) about Jaime O’Neill’s racist and sexist views. This is not the first time that he has expressed himself in this manner. I still remember his racist attack on Tiger Woods—at least it was in my opinion.

If he is not a racist, he is certainly an old man who is way out of his league when dealing with black people and women. He reminds me of a university professor who believed that he could use the N-word on me, and said, “I use it with all of my black friends.”

Well, I said to this Harvard grad, “not with me.”

Mr. O’Neill’s last name suggests that he is from an Irish background. He should remember all the racist treatment they received when first coming to the shores of America.

Jerry Harris
Chico/San Francisco

Herrera’s unique

Re “The CN&R endorses…” (Election Guide, Oct. 14):

When looking at the candidates for City Council, I have to notice their sameness. All but one are about the same age, class and race, and it’s been this way for years.

What’s needed is someone representing a large, unrepresented segment of Chico—our youth. Mark Herrera, a young man with new energy and ideas, would add real and needed diversity.

I’m proud of what the council has done to address issues important to our young people. But the most historically disenfranchised group in Chico needs its own voice, not those of its elders.

We have three boys ages 19 to 24 who vote, and Herrera’s emergence has invigorated them. They’re telling me that Chico’s youth are getting excited and involved.

As evidenced by attempts to move elections to June and some locals painting all youth with the broad brush of irresponsibility, it’s clear a leader with a younger voice is needed. Herrera would be a great asset for our next council.

Todd Hall and Molly Stokes

More on Mary

I met Mary Flynn twelve years ago, when I was introduced to her by Coleen Jarvis at a meeting to form the nonprofit organization that became the Chico Community Shelter Partnership.

Mary has been a good friend ever since. More important, she was then and is now a good friend and public servant for all of Chico.

I tease Mary about “not getting it right” when she and I disagree on an issue facing the council. Mary accepts that teasing because she is an independent thinker and thoughtful leader. Mary is always well prepared. She reaches out to the community and is inclusive in her problem solving, as exemplified by her leadership and consensus building with the Downtown Task Force.

Mary’s economic savvy, her business background, her role as a teacher, her nonprofit service, and her executive leadership all contribute to her qualifications. Her prior four years on our City Council exemplify how she has used those skills for the betterment of our entire community.

Re-elect Mary Flynn. Chico needs a friend like Mary who is not afraid to make the tough decisions, and who has the skills to do so.

Andy Holcombe

Kromer’s committed to Chico

After 40 years of more than casual observance of the local political structure, actions, and personalities, I am confident that a relative newcomer to that landscape and to Chico would benefit us all.

Bob Kromer first drew my attention at a local golf course with his overt and friendly demeanor and sense of humor. I later took advantage of a chance encounter at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute welcome meeting in ‘09 to invite his consideration of joining the Work Training Center Board of Directors.

After research and deliberation with me and his family, he joined that board and has been an extraordinarily quick study of complex issues and contributory with very useful questions, suggestions, and efforts. His management and sales expertise at a world class level are obvious yet clearly recognizing the Chico scale and sensibilities. His recognition of people who need help and willingness to do concrete things to help them and be accountable for his actions is refreshing and exemplary.

Chico has by and large been blessed with folks willing to do public service who take their responsibilities for action and stewardship for all citizens seriously and humanely. I believe Bob Kromer is clearly committed to the community he quite consciously chose to make home for him and his family for the rest of his life. I would urge folks who haven’t yet considered casting their vote for him to consider doing so. I attended one of his coffee klatches and asked tough questions; he responded as well as anyone I’ve ever experienced in those earlier mentioned 40 years.

Abe Baily

How many are too many?

Re “Meg muffs it,” (From This Corner, Oct. 7):

You folks who don’t agree with our immigration laws haven’t any problem picking and choosing which laws you choose to obey and which ones you don’t abide by. You even refer to people who have broken our laws as if they simply had a mix-up in their paperwork—undocumented workers.

What happens to society when large segments choose to ignore laws they don’t agree with? One other area of great consequence: When do we decide we need to begin enforcing our immigration laws again? There are probably close to 20 million illegals here; do we stop at 30 or 40 million?

As a law-abiding citizen, I find fault with our border policy and enforcement. What I really find disturbing are Americans willing to ignore this situation, or worse give assistance and sanctuary to people who have chosen to illegally enter this country.

Wayne Rice

Slate has what it takes

The CUSD board is not spending our money wisely. CUSD is rich and has a $108 million budget. That’s more than Butte College’s budget! The incumbents have misallocated 95 percent of the funds to salaries and benefits. CUSD is one of the few districts in the state near bankruptcy because of its salary obligations.

The Putting Kids First slate has business experience, knowledge of economics, support for student-driven solutions (including charter schools and home schools) and a fighting chance to bring back funds for sports, arts, facilities, supplies and technology for students. Look at the members of the Butte College Board of Trustees who also have business experience—but no CUSD incumbents have any real experience, no chance for bringing back funds.

Avoiding a teachers’ strike is not our overlying goal—especially if it means sacrificing our children. Put kids first, we say! The incumbents have experience in their broken-down, old-fashioned failing public school system that we cannot tolerate anymore. We have experience in online education, virtual campuses, distance education, home schooling, charter schooling, foreign school systems and technology.

Chico has Measure A funds that have never been spent because the current board is afraid that they can’t afford to staff the new school with union teachers. We can’t afford not to have a new high school!

Please vote for Worthington, Stefanides and Lyon for a better CUSD.

Sean H. Worthington
Candidate for CUSD


Celebrate art in Chico

Re “Faces of Artober” (Cover story, Sept. 30):

I was very excited to see the cover of last week’s Chico News & Review profiling five local artists. Thanks to Jason Cassidy and the News & Review for giving credit where credit is due.

Artoberfest may have been the brainchild of the Arts Commission seven years ago, but it took a huge leap of faith on the City Council’s part to allocate funding to market Chico as an arts and culture destination. Luckily the right person was hired in Deborah Lucero, who not only delivered what was written in her contract, but ran with it, leveraging the city funding that she was given in ways unimagined. Ms. Lucero also went on to invent, along with Ed McLaughlin, the wonderful, whimsical, wacky, family friendly, and free Chico Palio event.

There are hundreds of artists in Chico. What would our community be without them? Some cities hold a “Day Without Art” event to demonstrate just how dependent we are on the imagination, optimism, and problem-solving abilities of the creative among us. Let’s never have a day without art. Let us continue to fund Artoberfest and Chico Palio as cost effective ways to support our artists, our children, and our quality of life.

Please be proud, Chico! We are the No. 10 art town in the country, and we know why!

Monica McDaniel-Berg
Chico Arts Commission