Letters for September 11, 2008

Police captain impugns coverage
The false accusations made against members of the Chico Police Department in reporter Jaime O’Neill’s article (”The plot thickens,” Cover Story, CN&R, Aug. 28) are examples of “yellow journalism.” The editor’s erroneous attempt to increase public perception of the need for greater “oversight” of the Chico Police Department by misrepresenting the characters and actions of some outstanding Chico police officers (In My Eyes, CN&R, Aug. 28) is an example of “ends justify the means” mentality and ethic.

By intentionally printing unsubstantiated rumors, lies and baseless innuendoes, told to the author by self-described “friends of friends,” “the telephone game” and “the rumor mill,” the News & Review’s editorial policy has failed in its responsibility to this community.

If the author’s in-article assertion that “rumor—the most primitive of all human communications—still rules the day” is true at the News & Review, then why would this community believe anything that is written in their pages? What is it that has happened to them to cause them to abandon the need for accuracy, impartiality, ethics, and duty to one’s community and country?

It is deceptively easy to believe the sensational “entertainment” stories of the News & Review as “truth” and forget that they are, by their own admission, just “the heartbeat of life not as it is lived, but as it is perceived.” This community needs accurate reporting to consider the facts and the truth. The public’s consciousness is being poisoned by such irresponsible journalism.

Capt. John Rucker
Chico Police Department

Editor’s note: The CN&R respects differences of opinion and the desire for accuracy. By way of clarification, Jaime O’Neill’s story delineated rumors as such, plus it included refutations from a Chico police spokesman as well as the entire arrest report; and the column praised CPD officers, calling for an oversight panel to assuage community fears (which predate our coverage).

Other readers back police …
Interesting press, this story of Mr. Logsdon is receiving. The message to the newbies of Chico this semester is, apparently, “ingest LSD, trip out on school grounds, approach and threaten to kill a woman after being denied water from her, resist commands and engage officers of the law, and you, too, can be made out to be an innocent, nice, easygoing, poor, poor, poor victim who was done wrong by everyone involved!”

The woman (also a victim) is a good friend of the family, and I was told about the incident the morning it occurred. As I read the article, the events leading up to Mr. Logsdon’s poor judgment with a very respectable Chico PD are as I was told.

Sadly, it appears you cannot get off work at 3 a.m., as Ms. Potter had, and drive home without fear of attack from (again) poor, poor, poor drug-using victims. Anyone care to contemplate the effect this has had on one young lady ? You might try. Meanwhile, we’ll get her through this, and if Mr. Logsdon is smart, he’ll give his kidneys a break and find some help for his poor judgment.

(P.S.: Say it with me—”renal failure and drug use.")

Traci Williams

First of all, let’s clear the air here. Drug abuse is drug abuse. There is nothing recreational about it. I would have to believe that the young woman who felt her life in danger on the night of June 27 didn’t think Mr. Logsdon was just using drugs recreationally.

The officer was attacked. His life was also in danger. He responded with a shot from his Taser, rather than with a bullet. Mr. O’Neill would have written a very different story if that were the case. Other officers came to the first officer’s assistance after a second Taser round had no effect. Sounds like more than recreational drug use to me.

The real civil suit Mr. Logsdon’s family should be filing is against the person who supplied him with drugs.

Chico is my hometown. It is not Mayberry RFD any longer, and Barney Fife is not the type of police officer Chico needs to combat the drugs and violence we hear about on the news every night.

My son is a police officer. Is he fit? Yes! Has he ever taken steroids? No! Our officers put their lives on the line each and every time they are on patrol—while you and I work, sleep, or write scathing newspaper articles.

Heidi Ann Hovey

… and blast police
It amazes me that nobody has the gall to say enough is enough. It is time to buck up and collect some crooked cops’ badges.

Tiffany Kramer

Thank you for having the courage to publish “The plot thickens” Aug. 28. I interpret this as another case of over charging that may lead to destruction of another young man’s life (remember Gregory Wright?).

Unarmed, weighing 150 pounds, Jeremy Logsdon, 26, was shocked and beaten so badly by several Chico PD officers that he spent weeks in ICU and was “unrecognizable” by his sister. I wish you had used a picture of him as he was taken to the hospital instead of the booking photo taken much later.

I note with amusement how our DA says that “renal failure is also consistent with drug use.” I would say he is grabbing at straws trying to put blame on Jeremy and his dope rather than Chico PD and their batons!

James Adams

The letter from John Paulsen [”Show some respect, Chico PD,” CN&R, Sept. 4] resonated strangely with me! I had an almost identical experience recently with a Chico PD squad car, except I ended up being pulled over—with sirens blaring—for speeding (40 mph in a 25-mph zone) after trying to stay ahead of a white car that was riding my bumper (I could not identify it as a police car!).

I am 65 years old and have been driving since I was 18, and have never had a traffic ticket. To say that I was shaken at the time is an understatement; I kept thinking that this is what it must feel like to live in a police state. The officer took at least 20 minutes to write the ticket, while I was getting increasingly uneasy.

Given the circumstances of this incident, my husband and friends really wanted me to contest the ticket; however, I will save my energy for more important issues, such as getting Barack Obama elected president!

Christel Herda

Scary wind a-blowin’
Re: “Hit by hurricanes” (Editorial, CN&R, Sept. 4):

Only in a Republican America can a black man who is a Harvard-educated constitutional scholar with eight years’ experience as a state senator, four years’ as a U.S. senator and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee be deemed not ready to lead. Yet a white evangelical ultraconservative woman with 19 months’ experience as governor of Alaska, mayor of a small town, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism is considered ready on day one.

It is disgusting. John McCain is scary, but Sarah Palin is terrifying.

Elissa Crane

So the Republican stance is Palin is a pitbull. Yet, we hear Biden shouldn’t go too hard and heavy on her. Horse hockey!

Get your gear on, sister, and quit whining (as you stated Hillary did). Expect to slip, fall, take a punch or two and possibly get bruised up, from your opponent and/or moderator. This isn’t Nerf politics. There will be no crying foul or sitting on the sidelines when you’re running for the VP slot.

Come out of your dog house, rather than running around in Republican rhetorical circles, with your tail between your legs.

Anita Allbee

Editor’s note: For more on the vice-presidential nominee, see In My Eyes.

‘Am I in Stockton?’
Re: “They’re off and running” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Sept. 4):

Are these candidates and/or incumbents frickin’ serious? Like we need more pavement and houses. Will we ever have a City Council or county Board of Supervisors that has the balls to just say “no more growth, period"? We’re halfway to being Sacramento as it is.

Police, fire and infrastructure haven’t even been kept up with by past and present City Councils to match the growth Chico has seen in the last 20 years. Now, between being stuck in stacked traffic on the major thoroughfares around town any given weekday afternoon and reading about shootings and stabbings almost constantly in the local daily, I ask myself, “Am I in Stockton?”

The southeast corner of town is already ruined (those of you who remember the Chico of 20, 30, 40 years ago know what I’m talking about). Can we please stop the madness now?

Perry Fox

Re: “Teachers stuck in a rut” (Letters, CN&R, Sept. 4):

Brahama D. Sharma’s letter has cultural clairvoyance. As an American teacher, I’ll state the situation succinctly: Education in this country is a misnomer; it’s actually indoctrination.

We have the California Standards for the Teaching Profession, which is an indoctrination manual telling teachers what they will teach, when they will teach it and how they will teach it. In college, we have lying, incompetent professors; nepotism; academic back-stabbing; job protectionism, etc. It is a racket. Watch out!

I encourage everyone to go to college; otherwise, you’ll just be a high-school punk with a chip on your shoulder mouthing off at your betters, which is so often the case. But be advised, much of education is old wives’ tales, and you’ll have to fill in the gaping holes in your education yourself.

Michael M. Peters

Fragile argument
Re: “Say yes to disc golf” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 21):

Sadly, the News & Review editorial proclaiming that disc golf in Upper Park should be approved was a discredit to this “alternative” weekly newspaper. Your editorials should look at both sides of a controversial story, rather than mirroring the opinions of the local conservative paper and a vocal group of fuzzy self-proclaimed disc golfers who do not think very hard about the environmental impacts of their sport in a very fragile ecosystem.

Happily, the recent Park Commission public meeting on the disc-golf course was not a complete disaster. Many good people came forth to let at least three commissioners see through some of the disc golfers’ proclamations that the wild section of Upper Park was the only possible site acceptable to them. Other sites can be found, and should be found.

Nobody is against disc golfers, just their staunch demand for a site in the wild section of Upper Park. The disc golfers have a choice; the fragile ecosystem does not.

Chris Colson

Editor’s note: Agreeing to disagree, we stand by our stance, upon which we elaborate in this issue’s Editorial.

Cool it, folks
On the Wednesday afternoon following the Labor Day weekend, I went out and floated the Sacramento River from the bridge to Scotty’s with a friend. It was beautiful and serene. The only thing that bothered me was the trash. There was an endless stream of plastic bags, beer boxes, broken Styrofoam ice chests, cigarette filters and other miscellaneous things that could not be identified.

What’s up with this, folks? Has anyone ever heard of the garbage dump in the Pacific Ocean? Why is it that we never hear anything about the trashing of our waterways and lands?

With all the restrictions the [state] parks department is trying to enforce on the river, a ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam coolers could be put in place. Maybe it just might raise some awareness.

Steve Kasprzyk

Un-organic matter
Take note, organic farmers and organic backyard gardeners: The poison being fogged in our county to kill flying mosquitoes includes a carcinogenic synergist called piperonyl butoxide. It is a prohibited product according to organic farming standards.

Is your garden organic anymore? No! Call your county supervisor and City Council and tell them how you feel on this issue.

Luisa Garza