Letters for October 7, 2004

Correction: In our cover story last week, the name of Glenn Stankis was misspelled. Our apologies for the error.

Danny’s song
I met Danny West in 1980 in a Vince Milosevich lit course at Chico State. I’m sure there are hundreds of stories about Danny, and I’d like to share a couple.

I was sitting on my front porch one Sunday morning when I saw something very odd coming down the street. As it got closer, I realized it was Danny and Jane Sullivan pushing his piano down the middle of Humboldt Avenue. No average person would push a piano a couple of miles down an uneven street to get it home from “last night’s gig.” Somehow it didn’t seem unusual for Danny and Jane to be doing something like that at 9:30 Sunday morning.

Danny knocked on my door one day and handed me one of his paintings and simply said, “I wanted you and Nancy to have this.” That painting will always hang in my kitchen wherever I live.

Thank you, Danny, for turning me on to Hank Williams, for the blue plate special at Ruby’s, and for your friendship for the past 24 years. RIP Lonesome Cowboy.

Tim Kemper

Further West
I remember going to see Danny West the day after a gig to collect money that I knew he didn’t have. He was painting; had his huge canvases all over his living room, and he had LPs strewn around and was blasting his old crappy phonograph—Blonde on Blonde or Bringing It All Back Home—and Danny had his shirt off, yelling at me, “Just listen to that! That’s the real thing!” Many beers and several hours later, I came away with one of his paintings instead of the promised $25 or whatever it was, a pastel and crayon and chalk drawing of the old Oy Vey Cafà at Second and Broadway.Danny was an original, and the world is a quite bit less now.

Kirby Desha
The Fabulous Hofner Brothers
occasional Lonesome Cowboy

No bio-ties
Measure D proponents have continued to insinuate ties between Butte County Farm Bureau and biotech corporations. As the BCFB president, I wish to address this.

Butte County Farm Bureau is not being reimbursed or compensated by biotech companies or anyone else for working against Measure D. Our voting membership consists of local farmers and ranchers who are donating their own time and money to defeat Measure D because they understand that its passage would be detrimental to our farm industry and local economy. They realize the risk in losing our freedom to farm with the most efficient methods of production, keeping our county competitive in the marketplace while environmentally sound.

Farm Bureau is a non-profit organization with a voluntary membership that has been part of the local community for over 85 years. During this time, tackling critical matters such as water and air issues, unmandated taxes, private property rights and workers’ compensation costs has proven our commitment to both agriculture and our community. We have sponsored education classes for farmers and petting zoos for kids. We’ve given scholarships to students and supported Farm City events, as well as 4H and FFA endeavors.

We are your community members, neighbors, and friends. Our children attend our local schools, and our families shop in our stores. We do so because as California farmers and ranchers, we produce the safest, most affordable food supply worldwide. Defeat Measure D and keep Butte County agriculture viable. Visit NoOnD.org.

Doug Rudd
President, Butte County Farm Bureau

Signs of support
As our community considers voting for City Council candidates, I find it very interesting that the two incumbents—Steve Bertagna and Larry Wahl—advertise themselves with large signs located on vacant, undeveloped land in Chico. Other candidates have their signs on the home lawns of their proud supporters.

Perhaps this observation is just symbolic or reflects where the candidates received their campaign financial backing.

Bertagna and Wahl are the developer-backed candidates who want to pave almost every piece of open space and vacant property in Chico, including parts of Bidwell Ranch near Upper Bidwell Park.

The non-incumbent candidates represent neighborhood interests, as evidenced by their lawn signs in front of residences, not developer-owned vacant properties. Traffic, infrastructure, and the city’s ability to support growth continues to get worse and will only get worse unless we elect new leadership to the City Council.

Mary Flynn

Pursue pursuit policy
Your editorial of Sept 9, “Give the cops some space,” misrepresents not only the details surrounding the police pursuit in which Kristie Priano was killed but also the impetus behind the current proposed legislation to regulate police pursuits.

A low-speed pursuit would never had resulted in the kind of injuries Kristie Priano sustained; the force of the impact of the SUV driven by the 15-year old girl being pursued by police on the van in which Kristie was riding was so great that Kristie’s brain stem was crushed.

A better estimate would be that the SUV was traveling in excess of 60 mph. Who in this vague designation of “police” has provided evidence to support the dubious assertion that the pursuit was “low-speed and responsible"?

And herein lies the reason why we need a bill to regulate police pursuits. In the heat of the moment, police should not be expected to make ad-hoc decisions about whether to pursue or how to pursue a suspect. With protocol in place, the police can follow the guidelines that were forged through calm careful deliberation.

The idea that the police should be able to react however the “heat of the moment” might warrant is absurd. Lest we forget, police are people, too, and the guidelines called for in Sen. Aanestad’s bill would protect police as well as the citizenry. The Prianos’ grief is real, but the thinking behind this legislation takes their sorrow and transforms it into legislation that will make the streets safer for all of us.

Dr. Kristen Mahlis

Bible thumped
I applaud the efforts of Glenn Stankis to expose the influence of the Bible in the history of America, beginning with the land grab by early Puritans, the stake burning of all those evil satanic women, the enslavement of blacks by our God-fearing, Bible-touting forefathers, the systematic murder, brutalization and forced subjugation of Native Americans by Catholic missionaries [”Readin', Writin’ and Religion,” cover story, Sept 30]. Yeah, let’s return to those traditional American values!

Kirk Yarnell