Letters for October 9, 2003
Price of war
I would like to suggest that you haven’t really lived through a war until someone in your family comes home in a box. It’s very possible that we are about one infraction away from starting up the draft again. Remember the draft? That’s where everyone’s children (except the children of the politicians and the rich) get called/forced to serve in the armed forces.
All of the pro-war folks need to stop and think, Is it really worth the price we are paying and going to pay? Are you willing to give up your family members’ lives to march the red, white and blue on foreign soil? I don’t think we should be fighting on foreign soil. I have to admit I was behind the president when invasion of Iraq was sort of a hot, sexy, wham bam, in-and-out thing. But we should be out by now; it’s getting uncomfortable. We did for Iraq what they could not do for themselves. We got rid of Saddam. Now let our service people come home.
Oh, and tell the ungrateful Iraqis they owe us big time. As soon as the oil starts flowing to the max again, the American taxpayers would appreciate being reimbursed for all the money we paid to set Iraq free. Our people need health care, jobs, roads, schools, etc. Our streets are not made of gold; it’s only a 24K overlay, and the gold is wearing away to the dirt beneath.
Caution: public art
Chico recently dedicated its latest public-art project, the fish fountain in front of the council chambers on Main Street. I wonder, what’s happened to the “art” in public art? Is our public art only destined to glorify our local icons, in this case fish and water? Does every piece of public art have to embody what we perceive to be “Chico"? Do we have to play it safe in order to have a public-art program in Chico?
I heartily endorse a public-art program, but let’s have the fortitude to encourage artists and the committees who select art on behalf of the community to be imaginative. They shouldn’t have to second-guess what is perceived to be acceptable and limit the parameters to local and/or historic themes.
As for the fountain, viewed collectively, the fish tend to diminish the overall impact of the project. The scale model looked fine but didn’t translate well on a larger scale. Somehow, it looks too small for the space. The use of such a varied material palette is visually confusing—bronze fish, colored tiles, stone, concrete, stucco, leaf patterns in the concrete, etc. With the current water technologies available and what was possible to achieve, the water effects selected for this fountain are underwhelming. Finally, the lighting at night doesn’t illuminate the fish, which are the centerpiece of the fountain.
Public art will always generate controversy, and that is healthy. No single piece will ever be able to satisfy everybody’s sensibilities. However, experience and familiarity with the medium are always helpful in producing a successful piece of public art.
This week, Congress will be voting on the final version of Bush’s energy bill. Since there was the blackout in the northeast in August, one might naturally assume that this bill might be about ensuring that the grid is upgraded to deliver energy efficiently to U.S. citizens.
In reality, this bill delivers handouts to the administration’s cronies in the oil industry. It also opens up our coasts, wild lands, and maybe even the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Not only does Bush want $87 billion for Iraq, he wants to ensure $13 billion in subsidies for the oil, coal and nuclear industries.
By now we should not be surprised about the support for the oil companies from this crowd in the White House. However, we should be outraged that they are ignoring renewable energy and basic electricity needs for the American people. Our members of Congress should be angry too. We can come up with a better energy policy than this, and Congress should not—under any circumstances—accept this energy bill.
If you agree, contact your senators and let them know that you think that they should vote against this bill. Call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be directed to your senator. For more information call 530-898-5701 or e-mail email@example.com.
Commissioner of Environmental Affairs
Power of the pun
A call-in item in a recent E-R complained about the lack of state flags on display in our city. He says we need to show support for the state by flying more state flags. I totally agree. Remember, we have the right to do so. Our state Constitution guarantees us the right to bear flags. (With apologies to Stephen Tea Davis.)
Francis X. Farley
Blowin’ in the wind
I don’t understand the term “conservative Republican.” Could you help me? Does it include someone who receives $500,000 in federal subsidies and takes a publicly funded job for two years and in return will receive a lifetime pension with health benefits? Are these the same people who want to clean up the waste in government by axing $25,000-per-year jobs?
Something else I need help understanding. Is the governor being recalled because he bargained in good faith with Enron and PG&E, the two companies that inflated costs of producing electricity, circumvented their creditors, lied to their employees, and assisted in bankrupting our state and closing businesses who could not afford the expense of doing business? The same people who filed bankruptcy to circumvent the pending lawsuits? What I don’t understand is, why didn’t Gov. Davis use this argument? And how come this stuff always ends up in Texas?
I heard today George Jr. comment that exposing a C.I.A. agent is criminal. I wonder what his comment would be on Neil Bush ripping off thousands of elderly depositors during the savings-and-loan scandal? Mistake? Opportunity gone bad?