Letters for October 8, 2009

A letter to Scott Gruendl

Re “Council wants retailer to ‘step up’” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, Oct. 1):

During the City Council meeting on Sept. 29, in which you denied Walmart’s petition to expand, your reasoning seemed to be that, even though Walmart jumped through the necessary hoops required to receive approval, it did not go above and beyond, like Costco.

You are trying to require it to go above and beyond the minimum requirements, which make it appear that you are changing the requirements. Who is to say you won’t just do it again next time because, once again, it is no longer above and beyond what you are requiring of it?

One of the additional requirements you are now attempting to force upon Walmart is a $1 million wood-stove swap-out program for low-income families. When you vocalized this, many shouts of “blackmail” and “extortion” were heard among the audience members. You did correct us, albeit without evidence or explanation, that it is not, in fact, blackmail. On this point I will be among the first to agree with you.

Extortion, however, is defined as “the obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” Under common law, extortion is a misdemeanor consisting of an unlawful taking of money by a government officer.

So, Mr. Gruendl, my question to you is, how is your stance of “I will only approve the expansion if you do these extra things, including paying $1 million” not extortion?

Dave Hale

What will they ban next?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The air-quality board here has already enacted laws limiting wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. Unfortunately the decisions that were made here were more politically motivated than environmentally motivated. I hope that Chico and Butte County do not make the same mistake.

In the Bay Area homeowners are the target of restrictions; businesses are exempt. The restaurant down the street can (and does) have a wood-fired grill that is running eight hours a day every day of the year. (That one business creates more pollution and fine particulates than all the wood stoves in the neighborhood.)

If the air-quality board really wanted to make a difference, it would require all fireplaces, wood stoves and commercial grills to have catalytic converters. Using catalytic converters would reduce overall pollution much more than the current scheme.

We need to take care of our air and our environment, but we should also keep a close watch on the agencies that make the policies. The air-quality board has given itself the power to limit pollution and particulates. Its scope is not limited to wood burning; its charter encompasses all pollution sources, including the heater in your house and your automobile. It is not a stretch for the air-quality board to ban the use of all gasoline automobiles or diesel trucks on “spare the air” days.

Ron Ellickson
Los Altos

Help save our aquifer

Just 130 feet under the city of Orland lies an aquifer rich with clear, clean, “healthy” water. This aquifer is part of a system of aquifers that have made Orland and the North State a bountiful and beautiful place to live.

But this aquifer is not as infinite as it may seem.

As Earth continues in its warming cycle, the need for this water will increase. There will be a need for more irrigation for crops, and the need for more liquid to combat the rise in temperatures for all living things.

The life cycles of fish and other critters can be greatly affected by the slightest variations in temperature and purity of water.

In many agricultural areas, the farmers and ranchers have had to discontinue production of certain crops because of lack of water availability, such as almond orchards that have been replaced by olives.

In many areas of the North Valley, the soil is not suitable for some crops. Rice, for instance, is grown where many other crops would fail.

As stewards of our community, it is paramount that we preserve our lifeblood. Please, help us save our water resources.

Dean and Dalene Shippelhoute

Update on Gregory Wright

Sept. 28 marked the second anniversary of the shooting incident at Las Plumas High School. It deserves a moment of reflection. Gregory Wright’s mistake and the blunders that followed cost this local teenager 22 years in prison. I offer you a brief update and a request.

Greg is “in the hole” for the second time at Salinas Valley State Prison. There has been another race riot. The racial mix is heavily against a teenage white boy. Not surprisingly, his offers for protection come from the white-power group. He has had but one visit from his devoted mother since his 18th birthday. Bureaucratic snarls prevented any more than that. A few kind-hearted souls have written and encouraged him.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus was submitted on his behalf locally on Sept. 17. If successful, it would result in modification of sentence or allow him to withdraw his plea and get a trial. I ask those of you who are concerned to write to Judge Sandra McLean, 1 Court Street, Oroville, CA 95966. Please ask her to look favorably on his petition.

After much research and reflection, I say Gregory was never a threat to us but only to himself. I don’t see any value in what we are doing to him. He has suffered enough; let him have his day in court.

Jim Adams

The real fight

While the hoarding of ammunition in preparation for an Obama-led confiscation of our guns is laughable, there is a very real threat to Californians’ right to keep and bear arms going on in the state Assembly right now.

Assembly Bill 962 recently passed the full Assembly and now sits on the governor’s desk waiting to be vetoed or ignored (thus passed into law) on Oct. 11.

AB 962 would require thumb-printing law-abiding citizens who purchase ammunition, creating a database of who buys what type of ammo and how much they buy. It also adds redundant paperwork and restrictions for retailers and vendors aimed at making it difficult, if not financially impossible, to sell ammunition. Anticipating that Californians would look elsewhere for affordable ammo, the bill also would make mail orders illegal.

AB 962 mandates another costly unconstitutional bureaucracy be created at a time we can’t even pay the bills we have. It is also a backdoor attempt to impose more unnecessary gun restrictions without calling it that. This disarmament scheme was tried on a federal level in 1968 and was repealed as an expensive failure in 1986. It’s not new and it’s not needed.

Supporters of the Second Amendment should stop getting worked up by the gun industry’s short-term attempts to move merchandise with their anti-Obama conspiracy theories and focus on the very real threat to lawful access to ammunition coming from our own state leaders. Instead of camping out at Walmart every morning so you can strip the shelves bare of bullets for your imaginary war, how about helping end the real fight before it begins?

Or is it President Obama’s fault that you didn’t write your assemblyperson and haven’t written the governor to oppose this bill yet?

Call the governor at (916) 445-2841 or fax (916) 558-3160 or e-mail http://gov.ca.gov/interact and tell him NO on AB 962.

Aaron Standish

It’s our Advantage

Re “Wally’s still telling stories” (Letters, by Craig Vivas, Oct. 1):

Craig Vivas’ assertion that Medicare Advantage is not available in Wally Herger’s congressional district comes as a surprise to my wife and her friends, who have Medicare Advantage and are very happy with it.

In many rural areas Medicare Advantage is the only Medicare available.

Neil Macdonald


Last week’s cover story, “Architecture in our lives,” by Robert Speer, was incorrect in stating that Chico State University “has never hired a local architect to work on its buildings.” Chico firm David Griffith & Associates designed Butte Station, a small food and convenience store on campus.

Also, due to an editing error in last week’s Chow, “Food networking,” Manny Muellenbach was misidentified. He is manager at The Galley. Carol Collins is the owner. This has been corrected online. Our apologies for the errors.—ed.