Letters for October 25, 2007

‘Ethanol is not the answer’
Re: “Driving under the influence” (Cover story, by William J. Kelly, CN&R, Oct. 18):

Thanks to the CN&R for the excellent article on the corn-to-ethanol abomination. Ethanol is not the answer, especially ethanol from a grain—corn. If you have to have ethanol, get it from a sugar source: sugar cane, sugar beets, or sweet sorghum—that’s much more efficient! Grains are losers, and they take away food from those who need it the most.

How bad ethanol from corn would be for California was understated. The biggest problem is land and water. We don’t have 14 million “extra” acres to devote to it, and we don’t have the equivalent of one third of the Colorado River flow to dedicate to it. It takes 2,400 gallons of irrigation water to make a gallon of ethanol!

ADM should be tried in the World Court for genocide, since they are imperiling one-third of the world’s population with starvation.

Gene Lucas

… wait, what about Brazil?
Just finished reading Mr. Kelly’s cover story on ethanol—after following the arguments and the many details of conspiracy, I thought of Brazil, a country that uses only 85 percent ethanol to the exclusion of gasoline. I think they have been using it for several years.

If the consequences of ethanol production are so dire, then there should be food riots in Brazil. I’m not an ethanol advocate, but Kelly’s article puts out a lot of speculative consequences to ethanol use when we have a “real world” example in Brazil. Can their theories be supported by observation in Brazil?

Malcolm Thornley Jr.

Editor’s note: Brazil uses primarily sugar-cane waste to produce ethanol.

Show me the money!
Re: “Their word is their bond” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Oct. 18):

I have a suggestion for Chico Unified regarding the “unissued bonds totaling around $30 million, burning a hole in the district’s safety deposit box.”

My family would like our bond money back. Our 16-year-old is at Butte College. We are spending about $150 per class. The money that has been collected via our property taxes for the third high school that has not materialized would be a great help to us.

We were promised a new high school when that bond was approved. Now we are told, with Chico and PV high schools so overcrowded they have to have open campuses, that we are not going to get that school.

Give the money back—it’s the only ethical choice.

Juanita Sumner

Editor’s note: Chicoans have been taxed only for Measure A bonds that were issued, approximately $18 million worth.

Wally, Wally, Wally …
Re: “Herger on the spot” (Editorial, CN&R, Oct. 11):

When President Bush recently vetoed health care for millions of children, House Republicans like Wally Herger had a choice: Stand with President Bush or stand up for kids back home.

Last week, Herger chose Bush. He was one of just 13 votes blocking the House from achieving the two-thirds majority necessary to override Bush’s veto. As a result, millions of American kids and their families will suffer.

When children are sick, they should be able to see a doctor. As Bush and the Republicans spend billions per week in Iraq, there’s no excuse for not taking care of our kids at home. Bush, Cheney and their families have free health care, as do Iraqis, but American kids get nothing.

This is disgusting.

Lance G. Sheetz

Wally Herger has shown, once again, that he is out of touch with his constituency by voting to block the children’s health bill. As a parent living here in Butte County without health care, I am dismayed by Herger’s inability to stand up for what is right rather than the Bush party line.

Dylan Tellesen

Distortion used to justify votes contrary to constituents’ will amounts to no representation in Washington for this district. Check the facts on issues and votes of our representative: Military Commissions Act, Patriot Act, FISA, Protect America Act, SCHIP. Voting for a challenger in the upcoming election appears the choice, as what is less than no representation?

Gary Blews

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

How can anyone be “embarrassed” by Anthony Peyton Porter? He is one of the few journalists who actually speak their mind, without consideration of others’ “feelings.” He speaks the truth as he sees it.

If the one woman who wrote in [Ava Calbert, Letters, Oct. 4] would take the time to read his article—as I do weekly—she would not have embarrassed herself by writing such an ignorant letter. The article in question by Mr. Porter (”Breaking up,” Sept. 20), if read with an open mind, was very truthful and blunt.

Mr. Peyton, thank you for your articles. Your article on divorce [Aug. 16] was by far my favorite.

Amanda Delacruz

Food for thought
Re: “Headstrong and healthy” (GreenWays, by Michele Bechard, CN&R, Oct. 11):

Thank you for your article featuring Chef Ann Cooper and her concepts of redesigning the National School Lunch Program. Chef Ann’s commitment to “feed our children better, teach children where their food comes from, teach them that their health and the health of the planet are one, and serve—and save—the world” are undeniably easy concepts to digest.

We live in an agricultural mecca, with a school district not yet reflecting such concepts. Consider attending Chef Ann’s lecture Nov. 1 at 2:30 p.m. in the Bell Memorial Union auditorium, and expressing to your elected school board interest in incorporating fresh local foods in your local school district’s food program.

Laurie Niles

Film standards, take 3!
“Cinematic standards, anyone?” (Guest Comment, by Jamie Hollomon, CN&R, Oct. 11):

If all Jamie Hollomon can extract from films like Full Metal Jacket, The Seven Samurai and 3:10 to Yuma is the story “bad guys hurt good people, so good people go hurt the bad people,” then it is a good thing he is not writing film reviews for a living.

In defense of Clint Eastwood, let’s remember that he has gone on record saying that he always saw Dirty Harry as at best an ambiguous hero, and the fact that many seemed to see otherwise was part of the impetus to his making films like Unforgiven and Mystic River later in his life, which clearly explore the psychological angst instilled by vigilante revenge.

Even more amusing than the startling interpretations of the first list of films is the second list of films where “violence has redeeming value.”

One of them [2001: A Space Odyssey] was made by the same director who made one of the bad films [Full Metal Jacket]. Which is more likely, Mr. Holloman: that Kubrick made a “complex, nuanced tale” and then turned about-face and created a hollow celebration of violence a few years later, or that you missed the point of one of these films? As for the inclusion of Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings films, there were almost certainly innocent civilian contractors on the second Death Star, and Uruk-Hai have feelings, too.

Put a bandage on your heart and learn how to take a film on its own terms.

Michael O’Bryan

Re-examine the park
Re: “Park votes logged; once is enough” (Letters, by Frank Pingiczer, CN&R, Sept. 27):

The Friends of the Ceres Avenue Park would like to reach out to our neighbors and address the concerns that have been raised regarding the proposed park.

Our goal has always been to work with the city to develop a park that would appeal to all ages and many different interests. We, too, wish that it were not necessary to form an assessment district; however, given the city’s current financial situation and park policy, there is no other choice.

We are designing the park with features that maximize recreational use while minimizing the maintenance cost. The park will add value to our properties—hopefully that will help offset the small additional cost.

Our group will be available at the park site on Halloween between 5:30 and 7 p.m. to address any concerns or questions our neighbors may have. We value and welcome all opinions. Let’s come together and make this an experience that will strengthen our neighborhood.

Joan Spencer and Michelle McGivern

An appeal for al-Haj
Sami al-Haj is one of numerous men held in Guantánamo who is most likely completely innocent of any crime. He was working as a cameraman for Al Jazeera, covering the war in Afghanistan in December 2001, when he was detained by Pakistani border guards. (The journalist al-Haj was traveling with was not detained.) He was turned over to American authorities, accused of working for al-Qaeda and eventually sent to Guantánamo, where he has remained for more than five years.

A Web site has been set up, devoted to getting Sami al-Haj released, www.prisoner345.net/sami-haj. I urge people who cherish human rights to write letters on his behalf.

Sharon Fritsch