Letters for October 4, 2012

“For some of our loved ones, texting is the only way that they will reach out for help in a time of crisis.”—Dan Strauss

Anger and pride in America

Re “Looking for America” (Cover story, by Steve Metzger, Jan. 27):

“Looking for America” was an excellent follow-up after I recently read John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America, a journal of his cross-country drive in 1960 with his dog, Charley. The worn paperback jacket reads, “He saw things which stirred his anger and things which made him swell with pride.”

Metzger’s story shares similar angry stirrings and prideful swellings. Both authors share a taste for the understated absurdity, a humble humor born of simple observation and description that leaves the reader chuckling with empathy, seeing the silly in ourselves.

With so much change over the past century, that American tendency toward contradictions that Metzger points out, and Steinbeck describes, does indeed seem omnipresent. The gap between rich and poor yawns wide still; old and new mansions sit gated apart from homeless encampments; more war, despair, tragedy, survival and triumph imprint on our collective consciousness.

Unplanned serendipitous experiences described beautifully by both Metzger and Steinbeck reveal most clearly that particular soul of America: angry, proud, crazy and heroic. Some part of us shares Steinbeck’s disgust at the spectacle of a lone little black girl entering a white school, protected by the National Guard and heckled by hateful crowds. We mourn those killed at Kent State (or Columbine or a movie theater). Our inner rugged individual rides the sea with Crazy Keith. We celebrate heroes who wrestle with terrorists on Flight 93, and musicians who play their hearts out on street corners. We share more in common than our contradictions might imply. Who doesn’t laugh at Laurel and Hardy?

Joni Stellar
Yankee Hill

Ex-POPI worker speaks out

Re “Power plant snuffed” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Jan. 27):

I worked at POPI years ago but left because of health concerns and a lack of accountability by the management. Workers’ concerns were laughed at, denigrated or met with veiled threats.

POPI, in my opinion, if managed correctly could be a benefit to Oroville and Butte County. “Urban waste” is just spin for garbage. I saw tons of questionable material pass through the facility in the later years I worked there.

Mike Todish

LaMalfa the obstructionist

Are you ready to hire Mr. Herger’s hand-picked ideologue to replace him in Congress?

Take Mr. LaMalfa’s recent ridiculous lie about abortions causing cancer, his brag about signing Grover’s silly pledge to never raise taxes, his hubris at resigning two years early, and his blast at Obamacare in his single website page under “Issues,” and you get a pretty good idea about how obstructionist he would be.

Mr. LaMalfa’s primary issue is that people with pre-existing conditions should lose the insurance they were just granted; students recently included on their parents’ coverage should lose it; people protected against hitting a cap on medical expenses should lose that protection; women should go back to paying more for coverage than men; seniors should pay more for prescription drugs; insurance should go back to being non-portable; the $84 billion in savings the Congressional Budget Office states is included in Obamacare should be lost; and, perhaps most important, the limit on insurance company’s profit at 20 percent should be lifted.

I’m ready for some rational representation. I hope there are more than 47 percent of us in the North State who feel the same way! Jim Reed in the drive for 25!

Rich Meyers

The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Emken, recently blasted her Democratic opponent, Dianne Feinstein, for refusing to debate.

In recent campaign literature, Emken says, “On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle once again challenged Dianne Feinstein to explain her refusal to debate. Her indignant response was simply, ‘I haven’t seen the point.’ She doesn’t see the point? Are you kidding me? Does Dianne Feinstein not see the value in engaging in the democratic process or being held accountable to voters? Talk about arrogant! California deserves better.”

Perhaps Doug LaMalfa, Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District, might want to reconsider his decision to avoid an upcoming League of Women Voters candidates forum.

Unless, dare I say, he doesn’t see the point.

Pete Stiglich

Saving lives via texting

Re “Staring down hopelessness” (Cover story, by Sarah Downs, Sept. 20):

Thank you so much for Sarah Downs’ story. Her bravery in opening up and sharing her story will encourage others to reach out for help too.

Like so many individuals today, in a moment of crisis Sarah communicated in the way most comfortable to her. She sent a text message to a friend and told him what was going through her mind. Thankfully, the friend saw the text message and told her to go to Enloe, which she did. But, what if the friend had not seen, or had not responded, to the text message in time? What if there was no friend to reach at that hour? Shouldn’t crisis centers accept text messages?

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, most crisis centers, as well as most 911 systems, are in catch-up mode when it comes to accepting text messages. Thankfully, there are a few pioneering crisis centers that do accept them.

In addition to the resources that you and Sarah provided with her article, I would like to share one more. To reach safe, non-judgmental sources of support for individuals in any type of crisis, text ANSWER to 839863. You’ll reach the Crisis Call Center in Reno. This pioneering center provides lifesaving support via texting.

For some of our loved ones, texting is the only way that they will reach out for help.

Dan Strauss

Editor’s note: Dan Strauss heads The Alex Project (named after his son, who at the age of 17 took his own life). It promotes lifesaving text access to crisis center services by, among other things, providing financial support to centers like the Crisis Call Center in Reno. The group is also working with California state agencies to bring text capability to our local crisis centers.

Another e-bike dealer

I enjoyed your article on the slow-growing interest in electric bikes in Chico. I spent two weeks this summer in the Netherlands riding an e-bike, and I am convinced they are the best improvement in bicycles since the invention of the wheel. The electric motor’s silent assist changes the work of pedaling into a headwind or uphill into the pleasure of enjoying the moment free of sweaty strain and effort.

However, you did not include contact information for another e-bike dealer in Chico. Redmountaingreencycle has an office on Forest Avenue behind the Raley’s shopping center where there are a number of different American-made IZip e-bikes available for a free test ride.

Go to http://redmountaingreencycle.com for more.

Mark Hall

Nix the E-R’s junk mail

The best thing about the CN&R is that I can choose to pick it up, or not. I have never encountered it shoved into my mailbox, wrapped around a pile of slick ads.

That would be “Market Value Place,” delivered weekly to households all over Chico. MVP offers its advertisers “Total Market Coverage … delivered only to non-subscribers of the newspaper.” MVP is distributed by the Chico Enterprise-Record, so, if you don’t get the E-R, you get MVP.

Many people are offended by junk mail. We’re supposed to be able to “opt out”—that is, contact the mailer and ask to be taken off their mailing list. The law says such mailers are supposed to offer contact information. MVP has never offered such information.

What I finally did was contact Editor David Little. He eventually directed me to a staffer who took me off the list. That’s Jenny Jurdana, at jjurdana@chicer.com.

I have recently been informed that “opt out” contact information will be made available somewhere within the pages of the MVP. According to an employee named Janette, as of Aug. 22, it should be appearing any time now. “One may have to search inside the paper to find it, but it will be there from now on.”

I encourage people who are offended by junk mail to contact the E-R and opt out.

Juanita Sumner

Ritter’s ‘a new voice’

I usually help out with at least one candidate’s campaign, but like many people I have been discouraged by the gridlock in our state and federal government and the often unsavory world of politics.

Tami Ritter’s candidacy for Chico City Council changed all that. She is an intelligent, compassionate young woman who doesn’t just speak in generalities, but has clear ideas about how to save what makes Chico great and then how to build on those positives to bring about carefully planned economic growth.

What really impresses me about Tami is her grasp of environmental issues in this area. One example is her concern about our area’s aquifer—that body of underground water so vital to both urban and rural needs. The aquifer helps keep this area from looking like a desert. It is vital for residences, industry and agriculture. Tami has noted that further development near and in the foothills east of town needs to be limited until we know how it will impact the aquifer. She also urges caution about selling our water to interests in the southern part of the state.

Tami Ritter is an energetic, refreshing new voice for Chico. I will be delighted to vote for her on Nov. 6.

Nancy Park

Two for Sean Morgan

I have had the privilege of getting to know Sean Morgan as a student in two of his Project Management classes at Chico State. He has always made an effort to have a close relationship with his students and to help further them for their future careers.

He not only has a relationship with the student community of Chico, but also takes part in the rest of the community as well. He volunteers regularly and takes part in many local events throughout Chico and has a vested an interest in making this community a great place to live.

Since he is a lifetime resident of Chico, I have no doubt in my mind that he is dedicated to his community and will work hard to improve our city’s government. Sean Morgan will serve the city of Chico and deserves your vote for Chico City Council.

Jessica Lahr

“Shop local.” We hear it all the time.

This November we have the chance to vote local. Sean Morgan is a product of the city he’s willing to help lead. He is a product of the Chico Unified School District and the Chico State College of Business. Sean understands the issues facing our city.

Now running his businesses and raising his children in the city he grew up in, there’s no one better positioned to ensure Chico is a safe place to raise a family and an ideal location for business. I shop local, and I’m voting local. Sean Morgan for Chico City Council makes sense.

Alex Lorens

Know what you’re eating

Can a rotten apple look fresh? With genetic engineering it can.

Coming soon to a grocery near you are varieties of Granny Smith and golden delicious apples that won’t turn brown, they will look fresh—but they may not be, and you will never know unless you vote yes on Proposition 37 to label genetically modified foods (GMOs).

Walmart has chosen to sell genetically engineered corn; it will be cheap, it might look pretty, but what are the long-term health issues you may face? You don’t know, because they are so ashamed of their product they are spending millions to defeat the labeling measure.

Be aware of the health dangers of untested GMO foods; read labels. All high-fructose corn syrup is made from genetically engineered corn that kills corn worms; soybeans and canola are engineered to withstand overhead pesticide applications. These are simply three examples of how our food system is manipulated without our knowledge or consent.

More than 50 countries have mandatory labeling. American food producers changed recipes for export to countries that refuse GMOs. We need to refuse it! This Right to Know initiative empowers citizens to make the choice. Vote yes on Prop 37.

Luisa Garza

Schindelbeck pro and con

Re “Schindelbeck doubles down” (Guest comment, by Toby Schindelbeck, Jan. 27):

From what I know of Toby Schindelbeck, I would say that he is about the last person I would wish to see elected to the Chico City Council. He seems to think that anyone who does not agree with his pathetically juvenile opinions is an idiot. This sort of foolishness is most often encountered among grammar-school children and tea baggers.

Charles W. Bird

It’s useless to refute the tea party rhetoric on President Obama’s position on jobs, the economy or foreign policy, but this Joe Biden quote covers it all: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” Get used to it—President Obama will be re-elected, so that’s the way it will be on Nov. 6.

John Cecil

Toby Schindelbeck is what Chico and, for that matter, most California cities need. Our cities are going bankrupt. Three have already filed and another, Atwater, is close. We need leaders to manage our cities based on basic priorities of public safety, creating a climate for businesses to prosper, and jobs to be created. We are in big trouble when the City Council’s focus is on plastic bags!

Good luck, Toby! I only wish there were more people like you running for office.

Melinda Gilmore

His election wish list

Instead of the traditional Christmas gift list, I would rather have some wishes for this election season. What do I want?

Clean races.

Debates on the local and national level that have candidates not say what they will do unless they really do it.

A City Council focused on the most important priority for Chico—a safer community.

Chico school district board candidates that actually clean up the corruption that every teacher talks about.

A presidential race that is still undecided when California votes.

Is that too much to ask for?

J.D. Thompson

Some offhand thoughts

Re “Schindelbeck shoots first” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Jan. 20):

Well said, Bob. If I may, I’d like to comment on the following items; First, words heard regularly during the previous administration: “If you don’t honor and respect the president, you must not be patriotic!” Second, name calling and off-hand dismissals are a perfect way to influence votes with would-be constituents. Third, without house rule, compromise is the only way to get things done in a legislative body. I’ve heard that some tea partiers’ opinion of compromise is that it’s when the opposition comes over to their side.

Fourth, that some people distort facts and reality for personal gain is deplorable. Paul Ryan’s convention speech is a perfect example (Huffington Post, Aug. 30). Fifth, Mr. Crandall is absolutely correct to condemn anyone who would use the blood of the dead to “exploit political mileage.” Sixth, it wouldn’t surprise me if the sane and compassionate voters of this city boycotted those businesses that lend their support to any candidate who would use a City Council position as a personal forum to promote any kind of hate-mongering.

Dennis A. P. Lucas

Eat first, then vote

With all of these new voting rules that will keep millions from voting, I say this: Most homeless people have ID; what they need is food. Why can’t we, on Election Day or before, get a caravan here in Chico, give out some food, and drive them to the nearest voting station? Perhaps earlier if one has to register?

People don’t feel like voting when they have nothing to eat.

Jerry Harris
Chico/San Francisco

‘A true kind soul’

Re “Staring down hopelessness” (Cover story, by Sarah Downs, Sept. 20):

I worked with Sarah a number of years back, and I found this article to be so touching on so many levels. Who knew that she existed in silent pain for all of the time I knew her? Her commitment, dedication and focus for the well-being of animals was unwavering. She’s a true kind soul.

I am thrilled to hear that she is working through her issues and continues to do so in such a positive way. Shedding light on her own personal struggles and the information she provided for getting help is invaluable. Thank you for sharing.

Robert O’Neill