Letters for September 18, 2008

Upper Park opinions are just that
Re: “How wild is Upper Park” (Editorial, CN&R, Sept. 11) and “Say yes to disc golf” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 21):

Your recent editorials espousing the development of Upper Park were located in exactly the part of your paper where they belong: Opinion. Both columns lacked depth and balanced coverage of objective facts.

It seems the writer is fixated on what is good about competitive sports, at the expense of Bidwell Park’s fragile environment. Preserving such living environments requires that we recognize the limitations of the soil, plant and animal populations to withstand the use pressure.

If you read the EIR, you will note that blue oaks are not at all expected to regenerate in the disc-golf fairways—do you expect rare plants to make it?

If you had read the existing policies that guide the management of Bidwell Park—found in the General Plan, the Municipal Code, and the 1990 Master Management Plan—you might at least acknowledge that all the park’s natural conditions are “protected,” that all three documents call out “passive” recreation as compatible with goals of preservation and that a change to these documents will be required to accommodate the specialized sport you so dearly defend.

Nevertheless, your latest editorial exposes to what degree some people are willing to develop the park. It’s sad to see the historic vision of preservation as identified by the pioneer generation of John Muir and the Bidwells so quickly forgotten.

On another matter ["The Beat goes off,” Downstroke, Sept. 11], I’d like to add that there is still a paper that sits left of the CN&R. It’s called the Watchtower. They even deliver.

Randy Abbott

Why paragliding merits review
Re: “Fly like a bird” (Sports Issue feature, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Sept. 11):

For those who wonder, environmental review of proposed paragliding in Upper Park is necessary because this activity can negatively impact other park users and wildlife. Although some may enjoy bright, colorful sails overhead, many others going to Upper Park to recreate in the natural setting will not.

Environmental analysis would address potential conflicts with equestrians. Paragliding has been banned elsewhere near stables and equestrian trails because horses are easily spooked by flying objects that approach suddenly, causing riders to be thrown.

Paragliding has also been banned in areas because of impacts to wildlife. These include spooking deer from daytime beds and flushing both tree and ground nesting birds off nests.

Paragliders must clearly demonstrate their activities will not harm or harass birds protected by state and federal laws. The California Environmental Quality Act requires the analysis of direct and indirect impacts of this activity, as well as cumulative effects, in the context of past, current and future projects in Upper Bidwell Park.

The city of Chico has been updating the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan since 2003. With the extensive media coverage and public meetings, the paragliders must have known that the time to come forward was then. How sad that the city is already reverting back to piecemeal planning before the ink has dried on its $627,836 Bidwell Park Master Management Plan.

Chico’s Municipal Code (section 12R.04.250) explicitly prohibits hang-gliding and/or paragliding within the boundaries of any city park or playground. Surely there is a purpose behind such regulation.

Josephine Guardino
Los Molinos

Admirable Aaron
Re: “Why we care” (Sports Issue feature, by Luke Reid and Josh Graham, CN&R, Sept. 11):

Last month, my son and I traveled to Green Bay, Wis., so that we could watch the Packers play their last preseason game. My son is 25 years old and has a very rare brain disorder. This trip was for him. He loves his Packers.

Aaron Rodgers, now the star quarterback, met with my son the day before the game at the Lambeau Field Atrium along with linebacker A.J. Hawk. Both took time out of their busy schedules to be kind to an adoring fan. I was so impressed with these young men who have everything going for them and don’t need to be kind to strangers, even from Aaron’s hometown.

I can’t believe that anyone who has ever met Aaron Rodgers could write such a mean and hateful article about him and the Packers. I don’t think Josh Graham could even begin to know what goes on behind the scenes in Green Bay. I don’t believe he knows Ted Thompson or any of the other owners or coaches.

Aaron Rodgers trained with Brett Favre. Favre retired, as we all know—in disbelief, we watched the sad farewell broadcast over our TV screens. Then Favre wants to come back! Why didn’t the Packers take him back? It’s the million-dollar question.

Now Mr. Graham has switched sides to the Jets. Good luck! I don’t want him to be a Green Bay fan. He’s what my dad would have called a “sunshine fan.”

Aaron Rodgers has earned his place with the Packers. Go Green Bay! Go Aaron!

Susanne McMorrow

Re: “Other readers back police … and blast police” (Letters, CN&R, Sept. 11):

The letters gave me incentive to write about my experience with the Chico PD. I’ll make it brief, as it still makes me sick just thinking about it.

About three years ago, I was on my way home from a friend’s house around 8 in the evening. As I passed the street just before the one I turn right onto, lights and sirens went off behind me. I safely parked in full view of the picture window of my house.

The officer exited his car yelling, “Don’t move! Keep your hands where I can see them!” He then pulled his gun and aimed at me, using his flashlight beam to blind me by shining it in my side mirror.

Believe me, I complied!

Shortly after this, another squad car pulled in behind him. The second officer checked out my license, registration and insurance proof. Finding everything in order, he spoke briefly with his gun-totin’ buddy, who then put the firearm away.

As the first officer handed me the citation to sign, I asked what I had done. The answer: “Did you know you have a headlight out?”

I replaced my light and got the ticket signed off the same week. I thought long and hard about whether I should press charges. I finally decided against it. I have to live in this town. My run-in is not the first of its kind, I’ve heard, and I was not about to be targeted by the Chico PD.

What ever happened to “Serve and protect"?

Carol Kelly-Echols

Act local, Enloe
Could Enloe, as the only hospital in town, affect the local economy? Could the tactics of Enloe’s board and administration cheapen Chico’s standards? This was posed by some of my co-workers.

Our hospital outsources and uses many traveling nurses, lab techs and central-processing techs. Enloe is the only hospital in the North State that outsources along with using travelers.

These travelers make double what local employees make. Their homes are out of the area. This does not help the local economy.

Enloe has always had the attitude of “If you don’t like it, leave"—which is why our medical center has one of the highest turnover rates in Northern California. Does this reflect caring for our community?

Management and administration get paid for working at a level 2 trauma center. The hospital staff works at the same trauma center and needs to be treated as such with higher wages and better benefits.

If Enloe’s leaders can’t act responsibly and champion those who care for others, maybe it’s time to democratically elect a board that can act without conflict of interest, meaning no ties with the Chico Chamber of Commerce or Chico 2030. We need to hold Enloe accountable and to a higher standard. Our administrators reward themselves with this higher standard.

Peter Calo

Palin by comparison
After many years in the trenches fighting for equal rights for women, I’m horrified to find the Republicans co-opting the language of sexism in specious ways (i.e. Obama’s lipstick on a pig comment taken out of context). Just as I was saddened that Bush nominated his crony Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, McCain has picked a woman [for vice president, Sarah Palin,] who is diametrically opposed to everything the women’s movement struggled to achieve.

She wouldn’t have been nominated without our struggles, but she’s against a woman’s right to choice even in the case of rape or incest. About the most critical issue of our time, she doesn’t believe humans play a part in global warming and wants to “drill baby drill.” It doesn’t look like she believes in basic rights, like freedom of speech (tried to ban library books) and separation of church and state (believes the Iraq War is God’s will).

People have told me they expected me, as a feminist, to be pleased she’s nominated and that young women say they’ll vote for McCain because Palin has “good energy.” On the contrary, I’m very scared about what eight more years of the radical right could do to the country we love.

Just because a politician repeats a phrase over and over, like “I’m a maverick who will change Washington, D.C.,” doesn’t mean it’s anything but a lie. A pig with lipstick is still a pig.

Gayle Kimball, Ph.D.

Here’s a thought: What if we could persuade Sarah Palin to become mayor of Chico?

As mayor of Wasilla, a town of 8,000, she managed to get a $27 million grant from the federal government (read: our tax money). Since Chico has 10 times that number of citizens, she should, if she were our mayor, be able to squeeze $270 million out of the federal government.

But we must act quickly. Other towns and cities, like Redding and Sacramento, are also in financial difficulty. Competition will be hard for her services. Even our Golden State, with its $15 billion deficit, could be competing for Palin. We must act now.

Lynn H. Elliott

A note upon the seventh anniversary
Editor’s note: This 9/11 letter in poem form came from a local veteran who served with the 75th Airborne Rangers in Vietnam.

What will happen, I sometimes think …

When the GIs and Marines, the dust of Afghanistan and Iraq lingering still in the secret recesses, learn of the magic passport found in the demolition of the World Trade Center
(certainly an Act of God, pointing to an A-Rab as the source of the deed)
or the neat round holes that penetrated the three reinforced concrete rings of the massive Pentagon
(holes that we can’t talk about because 757s do not make such wounds).
The Pentagon—the world’s largest office building, we were told— squatting near the seat of government,
with a plan for everyone, a plan for everything
… even this.

When the wet on the hands from the morning shave suddenly feels like the blood of a friend,
fallen as World Trade Center 7, like magic,
a small fire in the chest leading to collapse,
straight down to the ground, and now all gone forever,
along with the naïve trust that government truly reflects the workings of the cosmos.

Scott Martin

Re: “Palindrone” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Sept. 11): A line about Dick Cheney’s résumé misstated his congressional office. He served in the House of Representatives. This has been corrected online.

Re: “Stage plot” (Scene, by Jason Cassidy, CN&R, Sept. 11): The fall-season theater preview misidentified the hometown of two playwrights. Lori Kennedy and Anne Wycoff both live in Magalia. This, too, has been corrected online.