Letters for October 6, 2005

Over-growing Chico
The Chico Chamber of Commerce, the building industry and city planners have accomplished their goal of “over-growing” Chico. Now, we too, have traffic problems, deadly crime, grey skies, polluted water and the rat race.

Perhaps the chamber and its city gift of $19,000 in community funding can now be used to help preserve what’s left of Chico’s unique way of life. Perhaps.

Jerry Olio

Best racists
After reading the “Best of” issue [Sept. 22] and seeing the statements about the Whitman Avenue businesses being secretly racist because they were reluctant to change the name of the street to Martin Luther King Parkway, I realized that you forgot a couple of categories from your “Best of” ballot. I would certainly add my vote for the Chico News & Review to be “Best Liberal Rag That Nobody Would Read If It Wasn’t Free,” or, “Best Liner For My Bird’s Cage.”

As seems usual for the CN&R, and most other media outlets, they are happy to take the money of other businesses to pay for the running of their business but they quickly turn around and trash the hand that feeds them by playing the “race card” or one of the other favorite liberal bastions to show everybody how superior they think they are. This is a shameful use of the media and counterproductive to a reasonable discussion of race issues as well as a slap in the face of businesses that most likely just want to get on with providing goods and services to all Chicoans.

Martin Luther King was a great American and deserves to be honored with his name on something here in Chico, but it would be just as easy, and not cut into the meager profits of small businesses, to name a school or a park after him.

Chuck Hazzard

Please explain
I’m confused.

I voted for G.W. Bush because I believed that our troops in Iraq needed a strong commander in chief to “see it through,” and that the terrorists in Iraq had enough WMDs to bring down 12 Twin Towers.

I believed it was my right as an American to consume whatever fuel I wanted. In fact, I bought a Hummer. In fact, I bought a “Support Our Troops” yellow ribbon sticker to put on my Hummer because they are over in Iraq fighting and dying so that I can enjoy the freedom of driving back and forth downtown waiting for a parking spot to open up directly in front of my favorite clothing store.

I thought G. W. Bush supported my freedom, too. Until recently.

After the double whammy hurricane attacks that undermined our infrastructure to transport and produce gasoline, G.W. called on Americans to not drive as much. Does he expect me to walk places or, God forbid, ride a bike?

Needless to say, I will not be voting for G. W. Bush for his third term (although I think he would win). I am voting for the candidate that is ready to go find some more oil. I’m voting for the candidate that wants to drill in Alaska. Alaska hasn’t had a tsunami attack in at least 40 years, and that’s a long time. Call me naive, but I don’t think that Alaska ever has earthquakes. I am sure that Alaska doesn’t have hurricanes.

Not confused anymore,

Phil Shumway
Received via e-mail

If you believe
Last month the Gallup poll reported 53 percent of Americans think going to war in Iraq was a mistake. You wouldn’t know that, judging from the relatively few bumper stickers or lapel pins opposing the war. Are you a “Nowhere man; doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he’s going to,” or do you stand up for peace? If you believe in peace, do something about it, at the least let your friends, neighbors and people you pass on the street know where you stand. Wear the symbol of peace. Be a visible majority!

Bumper stickers and pins can be obtained at the Chico Peace & Justice Center 526 Broadway, for a small donation. Peace symbol jewelry can be found on the Internet, ranging from pewter ($10) to silver ($15), jade ($50), gold ($100) and diamonds ($300). Try “peace pendants” on your browser. Whether a tin button or expensive jewelry, it will keep the peace movement in public view and hasten the day when the troops come home.

William McCord

Grape expectations
The Backbeat feature by Jonathan Kiefer in the Sept. 15, 2005 CN&R [“Snob rules”] promised to tell about “The new wine snobs: straddling the fine line between cluelessness and jackassary.” I taught wine appreciation at Chico State from 1972-2004. The No. 1 goal of my class was to help students become knowledgeable wine lovers, not wine snobs. My curiosity was aroused. In spite of the offensive title, I turned to page 22 and read.

Sadly, I did not learn about “the new wine snobs.” I did learn that Jonathan Kiefer and his CN&R editor cannot set aside their beliefs that the purpose of drinking wine is to get drunk, a concept I certainly don’t share—not even as a clever fall-back position for “the rest of us.” Kiefer’s jokes about drunkenness are especially unwelcome as our community deals with recent alcohol-related student deaths and as those of us who love Chico try to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring.

Wine demands far more respect than Kiefer and CN&R show. Wine is indeed an alcoholic beverage, but is so complex and compelling that we drink it to enjoy its flavors–and the way it enhances food–rather than get drunk on its alcohol.

Wine calls out to be described, which requires that we not get drunk. Drunkenness numbs our senses and diminishes the attention necessary to find words to share our enjoyment with companions at the table. To talk about flavor is a devilishly difficult challenge in any language. To find mutually meaningful words to communicate extremely individual and evolving experiences of smell and taste requires both concentration and clarity.

Kiefer and his editor would have done well to omit the juvenile “we’ll at least get drunk” attitude and concentrate on their role as advisors to young people who want to learn about wine.

Marian W. Baldy, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
College of Agriculture
California State University, Chico