Letters for October 30, 2008

Editor’s note: As in last week’s Election Issue, we’ve included readers’ recommendations for local races on their own page.

Farmer opposed to Prop 2 responds
Re: “Very reason Prop 2 is on the ballot” (Letters, CN&R, Oct. 23):

To say hens are able to spread their wings is not a “bold faced lie"—98 percent of California egg farms already adhere to the toughest, most-stringent food-safety standards in the United States. This is called the California Egg Quality Assurance Plan. CEQAP requires that egg farms use the most modern, safe and practical egg-farming techniques and standards.

Modern housing systems were developed using independent scientific guidelines to ensure the fundamental components of animal care. Modern housing systems for egg-laying hens are designed so hens can groom, lie down, stand, stretch, turn around and engage in other natural behaviors.

Family farmers are upset at this unneeded ballot initiative because the cost to comply is at least 76 percent higher than that for current modern housing systems. California farmers would be obligated to build eight to 16 times more hen houses as currently are in use to comply with the new law’s requirements and maintain current egg production.

California farmers will be unable to secure the extra capital and land that Prop 2 will require—especially when forced to compete with out-of-state producers that aren’t subject to the same restrictions.

Also, California’s veal industry does not even rank in the top 20 commodities California produces. Most male dairy calves will be raised to supply fast-food restaurants with beef—the heifers will become milk cows.

Megan Brown
Butte Valley

Editor’s note: This letter directly quotes passages from the Frequently Asked Questions page at www.NOonProp2.com.

Vet gives his (Prop) 2 cents’ worth
I am a veterinarian with 26 years’ experience from chickens to elephants. I was recently asked these questions regarding Prop 2:

• Why are veterinarians from UC Davis writing the “no” argument? What is there about Prop 2 that we “plain folks” don’t understand?

UCD is the agricultural research center for California. UCD vets are paid by grants from the industry, not your taxes. Food-animal veterinarians have a vested interest in seeing Prop 2 fail.

According to Promar, a food and agricultural consulting firm, the California egg farm sector is composed of approximately 30 farms/companies that collectively care for 19.4 million layers (egg-laying hens), which in 2007 produced 4.9 billion eggs valued at $323 million. So if the industry’s scare tactics are correct, only 30 farms would be affected—compared to 19.4 million hens!

• Won’t we be exposed to avian (bird) flu when chickens are allowed to roam free?

Prop 2 only prohibits the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. Currently six to eight hens are kept in battery cages about the size of a file drawer stacked upon each other, several cages high. Europe banned these battery cages years ago and still keeps the hens inside barns.

Bottom line: The egg-laying industry in California is a multibillion-dollar industry, and they want to keep all their money. By the way, the California Veterinary Medical Association supports Prop 2.

Mel Richardson, DVM

More on Prop 8 debate
Prior to the Civil War, there arose in Utah the question of polygamy. How many wives should a man marry? There are polygamy, bigamy and trigamy, as well as other forms of joined unions. What about the intent of a woman to have more than one husband?

Proposition 8 does not remove any rights from Californians who practice a homosexual lifestyle. They are protected by domestic partnerships as before and will continue to enjoy all the legal rights and benefits of marriage. The California Family Code states that “domestic partners shall have all the rights, protections and benefits” of married spouses. There are no exceptions to this. Proposition 8 will not change that.

Prop 8 will protect our children from being taught in public schools that “same-sex marriage” is the same as traditional marriage.

Proposition 8 protects marriage and the important role of the traditional family. Not everyone has a traditional marriage, or came from one; however, our society deserves to protect its history, its tradition of marriage between one man and one woman. This is how we build families and keep our society strong.

Let the others exist in peace, without judgmental warfare, but leave the definition of marriage as it has always been.

Phyllis Carr

The first time I saw the [Yes on Prop 8] TV ad, I wondered why public schools would be forced to “teach” gay marriage to children. After seeing the ad two dozen more times, I researched the issue.

Unlike Massachusetts, the California Education Code specifies that discussion of marriage should be limited to sex-education classes. But school districts are not required to hold the classes, and parents can have their children excused if the course conflicts with their values. California law does not actually require school districts to teach anything about marriage.

I am angry that these ads are lying to the public. Apparently, the campaign promoting Proposition 8 believes that California’s voters are stupid and gullible. Scaring and manipulating voters into altering the state’s constitution with lies should be a criminal offense.

I don’t believe that there is anything more to teach school-age children about gay marriage than “a prince can marry a prince” and “a princess can marry a princess.” Due to its unceasing TV advertising, the campaign promoting Proposition 8 has already done the “damage” it fears most: Every California child has now been exposed to the gay-marriage concept.

California’s teachers overwhelmingly oppose Proposition 8. If Proposition 8 passes, a group of people other than same-sex couples would also be denied access to “equal protection": the 60,000 to 100,000 children being raised in California by same-sex couples. I care about equal treatment for these children, and I hope you do, too.

David Wood

I recently moved to Ohio, but I have been a California girl from birth to age 34. I love the great state of California in all its complicated beauty—its vast resources and the diversity of the constituents.

When I received my Ohio voter registration card, it was with some sadness, as I still care very much about the welfare of my fellow Californians and wish I could participate in the political process. I believe in equal rights for all citizens of the state of California.

With succinct language, the California Constitution states that “all people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are … safety, happiness and privacy.”

It would be a terrible mistake to alter the constitution so those rights so generously bestowed upon us were available to only some residents of the state. A crowning passage into adulthood is to choose whom we love and sanctify that love and commitment through marriage.

Proposition 8 is a ballot initiative backed by bigotry. We cannot amend the California Constitution to include discrimination of any kind.

Gabriella Messina

Case against Prop 4
If anyone thinks they are benefiting females or protecting the “unborn” by voting for Proposition 4, they should read the full text of the proposition, and they will find a few surprises.

Proposition 4 allows an abortion to be performed without the consent of the female, if she is deemed mentally incapacitated.

Proposition 4 legislates that if a minor who petitions the court for a waiver of parental consent is found by a judge to be “sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion,” then parental consent is waived.

Prop 4 also provides a financial opportunity, for parents who say they did not receive notification or for a minor regretting that she had an abortion, to sue the doctor, and they have several years in which they may bring suit.

You cannot legislate family communication. There is no other law, proposed or otherwise, that so invades the privacy of individuals (females only) and takes health decisions out of the hands of the individual and her doctor, placing those decisions in the hands of politicians and judges.

If you have a real, sincere interest in protecting female minors, then support sex education in public schools, where they will learn about contraception, the risks of unprotected sex, and what caring for a baby is really about, not the romanticized Hollywood version.

Paralee Cooper

Don’t buy the hype
Holy moley, the developer PAC is at it again! Rick Keene and his rascally band are sending out mailers blaming everything but 9/11 on the Chico City Council progressives. With 60,000 of building-industry and developer bucks in their PAC coffers, their goal is to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the progressives and hope that something will stick.

Don’t let this PAC poison the waters on Election Day. Don’t let their candidates undermine our great community and quality of life with sprawl and traffic. Don’t let the developer greed-heads buy your vote.

Cast your ballot for a progressive future for Chico on Nov. 4.

Dan Carter

Editor’s note: For more about the mailings, please see our lead news story.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine should be roundly applauded for her stance against sleaze in political campaigns, knowing full well the risk of rebuke and criticism that will come from her own party.

Sen. Collins has spoken out against the McCain campaign’s recent deluge of robocalls claiming that Sen. Obama has ties to terrorists who are plotting against America and if elected president he will kill Americans. She has asked Sen. McCain to remove these disgusting robocalls from her state, which he has refused to do.

I am sure many find it truly ironic that the person that developed the robocalls against McCain on behalf of the Bush campaign in the 2000 presidential primary in South Carolina is now the same person producing these vile anti-Obama calls, which are a mixture of despicable slander, slimy innuendos and outright lies.

Why McCain would allow these people to represent and speak for him, vilifying Sen. Obama on behalf of him, leaves one wondering about the true core values of Sen. McCain.

One could question whether he is severely compromising his own values, or whether the values he has espoused are superficial. Further, if he is from the camp of “whatever means necessary,” then should he become president, he may well compromise the values of others, those others being the American people.

Unfortunately, the one-time “Straight Talk Express” of Sen. McCain has shamefully become Candidate McCain speaking with a forked tongue.

Roger S. Beadle

Turnabout for fair play
Not too many years ago, we felt the need to send representatives of ours, including ex-President Carter, into countries in Africa, South and Central America, Eastern Europe, etc., to verify the accuracy of their national election results—ostensibly a noble effort to protect their citizens from being defrauded and denied the freedom and democracy to which they were aspiring.

Here at home, the past two election results were called into question with a loud chorus of “fraud,” mostly emanating from the left, and in 2000 even required intervention by the Supreme Court. The very same issue has become part of the current election hysteria, this with time barbs thrown and questions raised by the right, most notably and uniquely in advance of the event.

What kind of message does all this convey to the 95 percent of the remaining inhabitants of our globe? After all, we have promoted our system as fair, honest and worthy of emulation.

Maybe now is the time for the aforementioned countries to return the favor by stepping up to the plate and sending their representatives in an effort to aid us in the process of establishing and confirming the veracity of our own election results. One good turn deserves another.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff