Letters for October 28, 2010

Not-so-great plan

Re “The man with the plan” (Greenways, by Vic Cantu, Oct. 21):

“But the idea was 100 percent mine,” Dan Cook says. So now and for the next 20-plus years, if I’m driving the “beltway” and get stuck in traffic due to an accident, should I blame Mr. Cook or the city for approving such a plan? Double lanes in each direction with wide shoulders would have allowed more room for emergency vehicles and traffic control in the event of an accident or utility work.

Adhering to standard traffic engineering practices would have been more appropriate, considering future expansion of the “beltway” is inevitable. Sounds to me like Mr. Cook is a NIMBY turned environmentalist.

Nile Ferns

19 not the answer

People who want to use marijuana recreationally should be able to do so without fear of legal sanctions. I want to vote yes on Prop. 19, but I won’t.

Prop. 19 seems to be a free-for-all approach to legalizing a drug that is not as addictive as alcohol and probably not as carcinogenic as tobacco, both legal “recreational drugs.” But, marijuana is a mind-altering drug, like alcohol, and it is usually smoked and is therefore a source of both damage to lungs and secondhand (intoxicating) smoke, like tobacco.

Under Prop. 19, taxation, production, quality and public health would be left mainly to local governments, which may or may not be equipped to handle these issues. Alcohol and tobacco are not local issues. Why would marijuana be? And why would people be allowed to smoke a joint before work when drinking before work gets them fired?

Marijuana needs to be legal. Drug cartels, gangsters and others who cost society a ridiculous price in the legal system and damage to families, lives and property should not profit from recreational use of marijuana. Any windfall made on the marijuana trade should go to social services being cut to finance the legal system that caters to marijuana “criminals” and reducing the need for other taxes.

A recreational-marijuana law needs a tax structure, public-health structure and other safeguards similar to those in place for alcohol and tobacco, including a monitoring system to protect society from the inevitable problems that will arise from widespread use of another legal drug. Prop. 19 doesn’t have any of this.

Elizabeth Johnson

Voting for vibrancy

Chico City Council candidate Bob Kromer sure knows how to play both sides of the street.

On his website, Bob tells of how his younger brother—and subsequently his daughter—attended Chico State. Bob and his wife liked the town. They “fell in love” with “the vibrancy of community life.”

Of course, as anyone in Chico knows, this town’s vibrancy is due mostly to the presence of the university. A continual influx of young people with fresh outlooks on life, from all over California and beyond, gives Chico its vibrancy.

Bob wants to put a big crimp in the electoral power of that vibrant crowd, however. He and his Tea Party compatriots are petitioning to move the city elections from November to June in an effort to eliminate the student vote. The result would be an easier time for people like Bob to get elected to office instead of the “liberals” college students presumably support.

Progressives and students, mobilize. You can sit at home or go about your business Nov. 2 as if it’s just another day. That’s precisely what the Tea Party crowd wants you to do. Or you can exercise your vote and help elect (or re-elect) people whose policies agree with yours.

Edward Booth

No more generalities

This is an open letter to Scott Gruendl and the other City Council candidates:

Your election statement doesn’t address urban sprawl. You, however, do not have to deal with 35mph traffic in your Doe Mill neighborhood. I live off of West 11th Avenue, and its speed is an untenable 35mph on a 100 percent residential street with mostly gravel shoulders. The road surface is bad and the noise unbearable 24/7.

We’re force-fed traffic through the legacy of West East Avenue improvements and the Holly Street bridge, and yet Cypress and Pine connecting 20th Street and Mangrove Avenue are 30mph. The absence of an egress traffic light on West Eighth Avenue and The Esplanade and the slowdown imposed by roundabouts on West Eighth Avenue feed us traffic through Greenwich, Meadow and Magnolia.

I am all for “circulation” and reasonable “infill,” but I expect fair play.

My question to you and the other candidates is: Why are you so comfortable on the Sim City level, with generalities on how Chico should be, as opposed to making sure people don’t get unfairly impacted by “change” on the micro street level? We all ultimately live on a lot, a small court, in a small neighborhood—not in generic CHICO.

And please explain how you stand on the proposed switch to district elections for City Council members.

Dee Ostojic

Evans is an asset

I have known Bob Evans and worked with him for more than 20 years. When Bob retired from Lifetouch, I was honored to take over his position as plant manager.

At work Bob had developed a high-performance culture that he had built from the ground up. He started with a bare patch of land, built a beautiful facility, hired high-caliber employees and developed a great team. With Bob’s leadership and vision, our business was run the same way we want the city to run: Responsibly. On budget. Great heritage and culture. Happy employees and customers.

Within our company Bob has always been admired as an innovative leader who has received numerous awards for top performance. His 20 years in the military helped bring the plant the structure and discipline that was needed to get the job done—but it was Bob’s big heart and passion for the job that continued to bring out the best in all of us.

Bob Evans is an asset to the community and will do a great job on the City Council.

Dave Koentopf

‘Worthless career politician’

As a man with no college education, an inherited fortune, and a couple of Vietnam deferments under his belt, Wally Herger might want to develop some street toughness to offset his weaknesses. But as this campaign season has clearly demonstrated, he is pathetic on every front.

He would not debate Pete Stiglich in the primaries, and refuses to debate his opponent Jim Reed for the midterms. There is no open forum for questions about his vote for the bailout or his repeated votes against U.S. service veterans’ care and coverage (even after sending them into harm’s way), his denunciation of support for public education, or his rejection of federal dollars for job growth in the North State.

Once again, his constituents lose, and he couldn’t care less. And once again (in all likelihood) he’ll ride the voter apathy, low district turnout, and his special-interest millions right back to Washington for another round of his pitiful gutless politicking. He is truly the definition of a worthless career politician.

David R. Sanford

Troubling questions

I’m worried that not enough vetting of the council candidates has occurred.

For example, I have heard nothing about Mark Sorensen’s affiliation with Tony Symmes. Symmes contributed thousands of dollars to Sorensen’s failed bids for council while he (Symmes) was perpetrating a fraud on a national scale. (Symmes was later charged with stealing $21 million from Chico residents and lending institutions. He has admitted his guilt.)

Is it not a concern of the electorate that Sorensen was the beneficiary of stolen monies?

Then there is the question of where Bob Kromer lives. Is it important that our elected officials live within the community they represent? To be sure, Kromer lives within the city limits of Chico. But is it really within the spirit of Chico? (Kromer lives in the gated community above Canyon Oaks Country Club and away from the rank-and-file Chico residents; separated from those he is looking to represent).

These are troubling questions. Shouldn’t they be addressed in some fashion before we vote for these candidates?

Krista Gallwitz

Herrera knows local

As an independent, I do not personally agree with all of Mark Herrera’s political views, but I do see his strong character and eagerness to serve the community. We need diversity on the Council, and Mark can provide that diversity.

He’s a Chico State grad who has been working for years in the local farming and sustainability communities. He is a strong supporter of a healthy, locally based economy, and wants to support local businesses. He knows we live in one of the most fertile regions in the world, and wants to help protect precious rivers and farmlands from over-development. He represents students, the youth, the food and bike communities, and local farmers. Mark Herrera sounds like a perfect choice to serve on the City Council.

Thomas Muscio

‘Honest, hardworking leadership’

It is important that we have honest, hardworking leadership willing to listen to the voices of its constituents in the matters of sustainable economic development and growth (both in the downtown and surrounding areas), safety in our parks, and the well-being of our downtown.

I encourage you to vote for the well-being of our community by casting your vote for Mary Flynn for City Council in the upcoming election.

Patty Moriarty

There’s a lot at stake

Californians have much at stake on Nov. 2. Tightly contested races for governor and U.S. senator will determine our state’s direction for the foreseeable future.

As a long-time employee at CSU, Chico, I and my fellow employees have helped a generation of students obtain a quality education. When I went to work there, I was promised a steady salary and participation in a solid retirement system. Everyone I know works hard and cares about the job we do.

We now face two major candidates in our state election who come from the private sector, and who vow to roll back the benefits that we have worked for over the years. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have received bloated pensions (in the millions), and have demonstrated disdain for workers in the lower echelons. Who do they think perform the jobs that enable them to enjoy their lifestyles?

Meg Whitman would take money from our pockets for her affluent friends and for outsourcing corporations. Vote no on Whitman and Fiorina and yes on Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, and all the candidates who know how to make government work.

Paula Woods

Candidates’ ‘puppet show’

These past few months I have observed the Chico City Council candidates, and honestly it’s like watching a puppet show.

On Oct. 4 at the League of Women Voters forum, Kromer, Evans and Sorensen complained about what they perceived as the issues without offering a single solution. All three seemed extremely un-prepared and none of them offered an original idea.

During the “Rock the Vote” event Oct. 13 at Chico State, they stood in a circle and talked to each other; they didn’t engage with any of the students, and when Mayor Schwab addressed the crowd they rudely continued on with their conversation.

Kromer has lived in Chico for only two years—less time than most students; Sorenson hasn’t proven anything while on the Planning Commission, and Evans has no game plan.

Tom Nickell wants Herrera to replace his seat; however Herrera is across the board. Herrera seems to be Nickell’s puppet. If Nickell’s so worried about Chico, why doesn’t he quit being a chicken and re-run? Herrera doesn’t have the experience and professionalism we need.

Independent leadership and sustaining Chico’s future are my top concerns. Mary Flynn has looked at issues with depth and makes her own choices. Flynn’s passion for Chico and the common interests of every citizen is incredible. Scott Gruendl has the experience and knowledge we need for a flourishing local economy.

Let us all make an educational decision November 2nd. Re-elect Flynn and Gruendl!

Jarrod Riggins

Flynn deserves support

Soon Chico citizens will be choosing their City Council representatives. We obviously want those representatives to exhibit the utmost integrity in assessing and deciding the many important issues that affect Chico. Mary Flynn has consistently demonstrated her willingness to work hard and educate herself on all local matters.

As many of you are aware, Mary has also demonstrated on countless occasions how much community means to her. However, you will not see Mary boasting of her accomplishments. She is too busy getting things done. She would rather put her efforts into seeing that important local issues are handled in a timely, fair and productive fashion.

I have known Mary for more than 25 years and can personally attest to her unquestionable character. Chicoans all agree that we need to be able to trust our representatives. Mary Flynn has earned our trust and respect. Let’s show her the support she deserves in the upcoming City Council election.

Bill Bodnar

Three strong candidates

Mary Flynn and I don’t agree much of the time. In a few key issues we have differed in perspective toward city governance. She has thoughtfully challenged my position on the issues. But I have always found her to be intelligent, informed, dedicated, and responsive every single time she has answered my calls. This responsiveness - regardless of the issue - is what I expect, and demand, of my council members. Unquestionably, Mary deserves another term on the council, if just for being well versed and responsive, let alone intelligent and thoughtful.

In my years of following municipal governance, I have never met a more knowledgeable and erudite elected official than Scott Gruendl. Gruendl quite simply is outstanding, with a breadth of understanding and consideration unparalleled in Northern California. Not only does he deserve another seat on the council, but to lose this incredible public servant in a community like ours during this challenging time would be disastrous.

These two council members along with newcomer Mark Herrerra would not only continue to clean up the mess left by the previous council majority as they have been doing, but they would also lead us in a direction of fiscal responsibility and reasonable, smart-growth standards for Chico for the next 30 years.

I recommend continuing the terms of Scott Gruendl and Mary Flynn and electing Mark Herrerra to the Chico City Council. These three are tough to replace. And there certainly are no other viable candidates in Chico or the greater North State.

Randall Stone

Flynn fits the ideal

Profile of the ideal elected official:

1. Level-headed, realistic, thoughtful, honest.

2. Courageous; examines all sides before a decision is made, even if it goes against supporters or what will get the next vote.

3. Really listens, asks questions, explains.

4. Does her homework and is prepared.

5. Bases decisions on what is best for “all” citizens, not just personal or special interests.

Mary Flynn fits these qualifications.

Marge Crawford

‘A savvy, talented woman’

We must re-elect Mary Flynn to serve on the City Council for another term. We need her experience, dedication to duty, knowledge and ability to clearly define the issues and judge the best method of resolution of those issues. She has proven she can handle this job with grace and efficiency.

We continue to be faced with many of the same problems she has been dealing with these past few years, so why not use her total knowledge of these issues to carry on and determine the best way to resolve them? She always appears to be the voice of reason during any discussion.

As the only female candidate running in this election, she stood out among the group at the City Hall forum, not only because she is a lovely woman, but also because she made the best presentation voicing her case for re-election.

It is a no-brainer to ask the voters to re-elect to the Chico City Council this savvy woman with proven talents and knowledge of all the issues.

Wanda Mathews

We’re on a good path

The citizens of Chico have said “No way, San Jose!” for more than 30 years. We’ve said it through our City Council, and we’ve said it through the direct vote of the people on several city-wide measures. We have made reasonable growth a priority and, as a result, we have protected our farm lands and our wild lands and we have preserved our quality of life. We’ve avoided the traffic nightmares, the higher crime rates, the pollution and the real-estate-foreclosure disasters that are now being endured in places like Modesto, Stockton, Fresno, etc.

There is a so-called “conservative slate” running for Chico City Council. They say they want to bring their experience in the private sector to city government—and, granted, these men are professional salesmen, and they sell themselves very well. The problem is that they represent the urban-sprawl industry, not us. They are selling a false solution to our economic problems—a solution that basically says, “Give developers and corporate interests everything they want and all will be well.” They’ve tried this in many places, and all was not well.

If we want to protect our unique quality of life—our Greenline, our agricultural lands and our open spaces—we need to get out the vote for candidates who understand the value of this amazing place where we live. If we want to continue our tradition of balanced and reasonable growth, we need a council that really understands our history of balanced and reasonable growth.

Please vote for Scott Gruendl, Mary Flynn and Mark Herrera for Chico City Council.

Patrick Newman

More Flynn fans

Mary Flynn was a math teacher at Chico High School when I first met her. The Chico Community Shelter Partnership (CCSP) was just forming and collaborating with other groups throughout Butte County. At the time, the Torres Shelter was only a blueprint dream. Mary, along with others, made that dream a reality.

I am so thankful that an intelligent and dedicated person like Mary is willing to continue her service to the residents of Chico. Please join me in voting for Mary Flynn for Chico City Council.

Debbie Bartel

I’ve known Mary Flynn for five years, and I’ve come to appreciate the rarity of honesty and independence in a city official. She is always a good listener with thoughtful responses and solutions. Mary is her own decider and is not swayed by inside or outside groups.

I will vote for her inclusion in the next City Council and feel comfortable knowing she is a voice for making honest decisions in the best interest of us all.

Linda Lunsford

Don’t sulk. Vote!

At the height of Obama euphoria my always-practical mother said, “People are going to be so disappointed.” As often happens, she was right. Obama is too passive, he’s too aggressive, he tries to do too much, he doesn’t do enough, and, most important, people still can’t find a decent job or pay their inflated mortgages.

So does this inevitable letdown result in letting back into power the same people who brought us low wages and over-priced homes? Do we allow voters who have fallen for the notion that if the corporations are happy, everyone’s happy choose who is going to represent us? Or do we persist in the hope that, in spite of our flawed system, we can elect candidates who consider the need of everyone, not just the wealthy?

Locally, the conservative slate is supported by those who enthusiastically cheered the myth that people couldn’t go wrong by investing in real estate. Scott Gruendl, Mary Flynn and Mark Herrera aren’t afraid to say no to developers who would have gladly overbuilt Chico like they overbuilt Sacramento and Fresno if they could have gotten away with it.

Something else my mother might say: “Don’t stay home and sulk. Get out and vote.”

Hilary Locke