Letters for September 10, 2009

An ‘astonishing scenario’

Re “An accident or murder?” (cover story, by Robert Speer, Sept. 3):

I am a member of a victim advocacy organization in California, and find the entire scenario of the death of Bud Foglesong astonishing, to say the least—beginning with the initial irresponsible “guess” as to the cause of death and followed by the findings and statements by the so-called “experts.”

Clearly, Bud’s death was not suicide, it was not accidental, it was not natural causes. This leaves manner “undetermined” or “homicide.” A first- or second-year medical student would easily conclude that his injuries were not due to the igniting of an accelerant, which was supposedly accidentally poured over his body and then accidentally lit. The “chunks” of flesh illustrated in photos clearly indicate they were caused by an explosion.

How ironic that Bud’s death brought to an abrupt end the planned prosecution of his nephew, Roy Holzapfel (misdemeanor battery), and possible civil action, as well.

An autopsy is the “voice of the dead.” Obviously investigators (at all levels), as well as the medical examiner, turned a deaf ear to this “voice.” Any observer with an eighth-grade education would conclude Bud’s death was, in no uncertain terms, a homicide. Clearly there is a cover-up unimaginable in today’s times.

We live in a society of laws and no one is above the law. The person(s) responsible for Bud’s death must be brought to justice and must pay for this heinous murder.

Gene Cervantes

Afraid to be a Californian

Re “A thousand cuts” (Newslines, by Ginger McGuire, Aug. 6):

I live alone and have a permanent, debilitating chronic illness that causes intense pain, fatigue and limited mobility. I am unable to clean my house, do laundry, prepare meals, or shop for food and other necessities. I must rely on an IHSS [In-Home Supportive Services] care provider for these things and more.

Now, because of the governor’s heartless social-service cuts, I stand to lose the help I need to simply exist in my home. I feel helpless, scared and angry. First came the letters cutting my (already below poverty line) disability check by $90 a month. Then, a letter announcing Medi-Cal is eliminating half of the medical services I need. Now, I’m dreading the letter from IHSS, not knowing whether my hours will be cut to just a few per month or eliminated altogether.

I guess you could say I live in a state of shock; that I live in the state that has the world’s seventh-largest economy and yet it refuses to protect its most vulnerable residents. The state’s actions are not only immoral and inhumane, they’re also financially insane, as studies show it costs a hundred times more to place someone in a nursing home than to provide him or her with in-home care.

The state’s cruel budget slashing has further marginalized and endangered our poor, elderly and disabled. The message is demoralizing; the outlook, grim. For the first time in my life I am afraid—and ashamed—to be a Californian.

Nicki Reynolds

He’s an old crock

Re “Conservatives’ worst nightmare realized” (Essay, by Jaime O’Neill, Aug. 20):

The “Old Crock” lives. I haven’t read such a wonderful piece of satire in years. Jaime O’Neill mocks those who are most deserving and helps slow the dumbing down of America.

I first knew Jaime as the hilarious Old Crock for the Green Mountain Gazette some 30 years ago. He has not lost his edge. Welcome back to the classroom, Jaime.

Joe Willis

We’re more important

Re “Delta blues” (Editorial, Sept. 3):

Are you serious? Your editorial suggested that “we should save the dams for another debate”—this is the debate. The lack of water is the real issue here. It sounds like you are saying that the health of the Delta takes precedence over human lives and our need for (not want of) water.

I agree that a healthy Delta is a priority, but a lower priority than water supply and storage. Water and its supply to humans is the debate, and the issue about the health of plants or animals is necessary, but not as strong an issue. We need more water or people will start moving out of our great state of California (maybe this is what you want).

Drew Hamerto
Lake Forest, Calif.

Kolberg report

Re “Glorious bastardizing” (Reel world, by Juan-Carlos Selznick, Aug. 27):

I’m not a Quentin Tarantino fan, since all he makes is spaghetti westerns, but I’ve taught film and theater at Cal Arts, so here’s an interesting historical note: The film-within-a-film that’s referred to in Tarantino’s new movie Inglourious Basterds actually exists. It’s called Kolberg and was the most expensive film the Nazis ever made, released in 1945.

Few people saw it, since the movie theaters had been bombed out. It’s a historical costume epic that takes place in 1807 and was supposed to be the German equivalent of Gone With the Wind (one of Hitler’s favorite films).

You can view Kolberg on the Internet. It’s stagy, with too many speeches and a lot of posturing, but it has good color cinematography, sets and costumes. They dumped 100 boxcar loads of salt on the landscape to make it look like snow, despite the food shortage in Germany.

Michael M. Peters

Wally and the ‘terrorist’

Re “Big time for Wally” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Aug. 27):

Apparently Robert Speer, the editor of the CN&R, feels that he no longer has to conduct research before writing an article. As is plainly evident, Mr. Speer made no effort to find out why Bert Stead made his “proud right-wing terrorist” comment, nor why the audience applauded and why Congressman Herger praised him.

If the editor had done any research, he would have quickly found that Mr. Stead was referring to both the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) and Homeland Security reports that classify supporters of the U.S. Constitution, states’ rights, the Second Amendment, Ron Paul, the Gadsden Flag, proponents of legal immigration, Christians, opponents of compulsory national service, and many others as right-wing terrorists. This includes the vast majority of Americans, and many people are extremely upset with government stating that they are now terrorists.

If any readers wish to view these government propaganda pieces, and they are strongly encouraged to do so, the MIAC report and the Homeland Security report can be viewed online.

An increasing percentage of Americans are becoming alarmed at the aggressive posture taken by the members of government toward the very people who not only elected them into their respective positions, but also grant the members of government the required privileges to carry out their constitutional duties.

Mr. Speer should be ashamed for failing to uphold any semblance of professionalism in journalism.

Orion M. Martin
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, Afghanistan veteran

As a trial lawyer and disabled-rights advocate, I’m probably one of the more liberal citizens of Butte County. Ergo, many of you will be surprised with my opinion that MSNBC’s row with Congressman Wally Herger over his comments at the Redding town hall was blown greatly out of proportion. We need to leave the congressman alone.

As Congressman Herger told reporters for KNVN in his most recent interview, constituent Bert Stead was engaging in satire. Having watched Stead’s full statement on YouTube, I agree. Stead’s comments both before and after his terrorist reference show a man using right-wing humor to make a point on health-care reform and government intrusion into private industry. Congressmen Herger obviously knew this (he was standing 20 feet away) and responded accordingly.

Plucking a few lines out of Stead’s comments to argue that Wally supports terrorists is just plain nutty. Text out of context is a mere pretext. Congressman Herger is an honorable man and, more important, has served the citizens of this community for more than 20 years. Regardless of whether you agree with his views on politics or health care, he deserves to be taken at his word and his remarks viewed in context.

Scott Hubbard

Maybe local is loco

Re “Shop local for new chief” (Editorial, Aug. 27):

Noticed your article about hiring locally for your police chief. I was interested because the police are busy these days harassing students at 7:30 in the morning on their way to class near the Nord Avenue railroad crossing.

When the local mentality is to seek out large fines from students, maybe it would be best to go outside the community.

I have not noticed any deaths or even serious injuries that make it necessary to enforce the no-trespassing ordinances on Nord Avenue. Another example of our tax money at work.

Tom Missler

Editor’s note: In fact, quite a few people have been killed or injured in train-person encounters on the tracks in recent years. That’s why Chico police, working in coordination with the city of Chico and the university, are trying to make it clear that trespassing on the railroad right-of-way is prohibited. An educational campaign preceded the enforcement effort, explained a CPD spokesman.

Why Walmart is wrong

Re “Why do people hate Walmart” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, July 30): An inescapable fact, ignored by supporters of more retailing, is that money spent in retail outlets is “capped” by the spending power generated in our city. Retailing only shares out money customers have to spend. (See www.liveablecity.org/bigbox/Big_Box_Review_Final.pdf.)

We need wealth-creating businesses: in commerce, agriculture, construction, hospitals, services, etc. Big-box retailers destroy local shops, don’t create wealth, but sell their image as the low-cost, one-stop shopping option. Growth in the city tax base from an extended Walmart is imaginary, as foods are not taxed. A supercenter is proposed for Paradise, and inevitable expansion of those in Willows, Oroville, Yuba City and Red Bluff will drain away Chico business.

Walmart plans to eliminate competition with its one-stop-shopping giant, but there already are more than 350 empty Walmarts (over 26,000,000 square feet). Will Chico be next on the list of mistakes? They concentrate traffic, air pollution, heat gain, and leave us the problems: vast areas of parking and ugly, single-story boxes. Having once given incentives to big boxes to come here, Chico should stop.

Once it was OK to have smoking chimneys, cars belching exhaust, polluted water and agricultural poisons in the air. Now we have sustainability targets and more awareness of these threats.

Alan Gair

Suffer the consequences

Re “After the riot” (Editorial, Aug. 13):

I would like to suggest that readers send an e-mail to the governor (governor@governer.ca.gov) with regard to the spending of our tax money (which we don’t have) to rebuild and repair the prison property destroyed in the recent prison riots. I just sent one to him along these lines:

“Dear Governor: This is about the damage to the prisons in Southern California caused by the prisoners rioting. I would like to register my objection to the state of California spending any money to rebuild or repair the damage caused by these people.

“My solution to the problem is simple. First, let them sleep out in the open or, when they are available, in tents. Let them have cold showers or bathe from open faucets. Let them have meals composed of MRE, or military rations. If this type of living is good enough for the people who are fighting a war for our country, it is good enough for this type of derelict that is already a blight on our society.

“Also, get dogs that are trained in crowd control to patrol. If these people get out of line, set the dogs on them. When they get the idea that the people of California are not going to put up with their anti-social conduct any longer, maybe they will learn to live within our society, or suffer the consequences.

“And, if you need help, I am sure there are many old-time military men like myself who would be more than glad to give a hand in teaching these people how to behave and what good citizenship is. A few people might get hurt, but so what?

“Bottom line: Do not spend any of my tax money to fix the problem these people created. They don’t deserve it.”

William P. Consani

No fan of Spice Creek

Re “Foreign flavors” (Chow review, by Emiliano Garcia-Sarnoff, Aug. 20):

It was a great feeling having family in town in celebration of my birthday weekend. With two prior visits to Spice Creek Café in downtown Chico, I expected quality food (which was indeed received). The first half-hour of dinner included drinks, appetizers and good service.

However, the next hour and a half was spent observing the V.I.P. customers who arrived half an hour after us receive their drinks, appetizers and entrees within 20 minutes of their arrival. The waitress infrequently checked on us with concern, while the restaurant manager was seen drinking with the V.I.P. guests and taking photos for the restaurant’s Web site.

Though the waitress seemed to realize the situation, the manager never checked on us until a complaint was made (though we watched him check on nearly every other table but ours). Upon his arrival at our table he stated, “We’re not a fast food restaurant.” After looking at his watch, he stated “It is 8:10. You did order a medium-well steak, so that sounds about right.”

This was an astonishing two-plus hours after we arrived. The manager stated the most insincere apology I’ve ever heard and walked off.

Though the food is fantastic and the waitress did everything she could, the manager’s self-righteous apathy and unaccountability left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Zach Ahern

They want our water

Recently on a trip up I-5 I had the opportunity to think about the plight of central valley farmers. All through the arid valley, as you drive along the California Aqueduct, which looks to be carrying as much water south as the Sacramento River, in an area where every square inch of land able to be irrigated is, are signs saying Congress Created Dustbowl.

Interspersed on the marginal hillsides are orchards that have been allowed to dry up and stand there in silent testament to the poor farmers’ ruin because of the lack of water. With the number of cars traveling on that stretch of roadway, this subliminal advertising is reaching thousands upon thousands of people every day.

We need to realize how much pressure and money is behind shipping our water south and how hard we need to push for environmental review before the Tuscan aquifer is mined with no thought for the future. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is holding workshops on groundwater use right now. (See http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/water_issues/groundwater_quality/index.shtml for more info.)

Rich Meyers

The cost of militarism

As our state is in the process of sliding toward insolvency, tremendous cuts are implemented, which impact such vital public services as schools, police, fire departments, social programs, etc, taking a tremendous toll on the stability of our communities and threatening the way of life we once felt entitled to as citizens and tax payers.

Meanwhile, federal deficit spending is continuing unabated, bailing out Wall Street bankers and corporations, all presented to us as a dire necessity, lest these vital pillars of our runaway capitalist system collapse. One can only infer that we are being thrown under the bus driven by moguls and tycoons, with Wally Herger on board as their gopher.

Totally under the radar, and essentially uncontested, are our military expenditures throughout the globe, which in aggregate total close to a trillion dollars a year (a thousand times a billion dollars). Just imagine how much good it would do if appropriately used for the sake of our own people, who are seriously hurting, instead of an instrument forcing our faux freedom and democracy upon countries that absolutely resent and reject our intrusion, which represents an affront to their views, values and way of life.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff

Good Rush, bad Rush

I was recently dismayed as I searched online for an old-time favorite song by the rock band Rush, “La Villa Strangiato.” The dismay occurred when the search was overwhelmed by the news-radio jerk known as Rush Limbaugh.

Rush (the band) made some incredible music that, although decades old, is still an awesome beauty. Rush (the hypocritical jerk) made some driveled rants that, although decades old, are still driveled rants. That a man whose income is derived by spewing vile diarrhea hate rhetoric somehow overwhelmed a search of a beautiful group of musicians pisses me off.

W. Jeff Straub