Letters for September 21, 2006

Make new shelter a priority
Re: “Gimme shelter” (Cover Story, by Meredith J. Cooper and Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Sept. 14):

Thank you for putting the pet dilemma on the front of the Sept. 14 issue. I was at the meeting the Butte Humane Society had about a month ago. Very discouraging to say the least. I cannot believe that the animals are going to live in squalor until the community decides to actually start building a new facility. If there is a shortage of cash, start now to build up an account for the animals. There seems to be something fishy about the whole thing.

Please, Chico, don’t drag this out. For the animals’ sake.

MJ Moore

Major development: ‘hypocrisy’
At the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, Dan Herbert’s hypocrisy was clearly observed. Council discussed the proposed rezoning of an 18-acre parcel to allow for high-density development. In a packed room, the council discussed what the appropriate density should be.

While Maureen Kirk offered the possibility of low-density zoning, Herbert railed on her for at least five minutes about his perception of her “hypocrisy” on past projects. Herbert alleged that Kirk pretends to champion the community while flip-flopping on the vote. He further alleged that Kirk, while advocating a 4.5-unit-per-acre density on this project, voted previously for a 7.5-unit-per-acre zoning.

Ironically, Herbert also stated his frustration because he actually agreed with Kirk on this issue. Again, Kirk explained that the 7.5-unit-per-acre density was only a maximum for some developments—that each is a case-by-case issue.

When the meeting was brought back on point, Herbert refused to let it go. He declared that all infill projects should be developed at 4.5 units per acre. He asserted that he would bring this subject up for discussion after the current rezoning discussion was finished.

The hypocrisy: Herbert was the swing vote to approve rezoning for 10.5 units per acre. This is more than twice the 4.5 density that he so vigorously advocated just moments before. Herbert accused Kirk of hypocrisy on this issue; I saw firsthand that Herbert himself ultimately chose a hypocritical stand.

Tom Sharp

Degree of experience
Re: “The chamber’s choice” (Editorial, CN&R, Sept. 14):

Your editorial in regards to the Chamber of Commerce choice to endorse me as a candidate for City Council asserted that I was brand new to civic involvement. I was surprised to read those words as I recall being mentioned in your paper for my involvement as a leader in the city while I was the Associated Students president.

Here are a few points you missed: I currently serve as branch manager for Bank of America. As a leader at the university, I served two years in the Associated Students, and in my time I led an organization with a budget of over $23 million and served as the CEO of a corporation that employed approximately 1,000 employees. I sat on the university budget committee that reviewed a budget of over $100 million. I worked with city officials on special events like Halloween and Labor Day, sat on the city’s committee to hire our chief of police, and took part in the Enloe Hospital expansion committee. As a student leader I tackled issues regarding lighting, traffic, our public transportation system, and housing.

It is surprising that the Chico News & Review wholeheartedly endorsed Dan Nguyen-Tan when he ran in 2000, though he was much younger than 28 at the time, but find my age and experience inadequate. According to your standards Dan was certainly “green as a Granny Smith” when he ran. Perhaps there is a bit of a double standard there.

I did appreciate you pointing out my enthusiasm to serve the city of Chico. You were right on the money there.

Michael Dailey

Train talk
Re: “Let’s talk about riding the rails” (Guest Comment, by Malcolm Thornley Jr., CN&R, Sept. 14):

I read with great interest Mr. Thornley’s article regarding rail service in the North State, and I agree. Readers may not be aware that the North State did have rail service to most of the areas mentioned by Mr. Thornley. This was the Sacramento Northern, complete with its own right of way from Oakland at the Bay Bridge to the Chico airport and many cities in between, including Sacramento. Early plans included an extension from Chico to Redding and a right of way was mapped, but it was not built.

The Sacramento Northern began around 1912 and the last of it continued until the early 1960s, although ridership slowed considerably after World War II as we all had to have “two cars in every driveway.” Freight kept the last of it going until the end.

Just think where we would be today if this and other rail systems were to have continued and expanded. Yes, rail transportation is costly to install and maintain, but the more people who ride it, the cheaper the cost per person becomes. Once the right of way is abandoned, split up and sold off, there is no return. Perhaps some form of public ownership of rights of way could be set up to preserve these irreplaceable routes for public transportation.

I do like my personal vehicle as well as trains, but trains are the only answer to move a lot of people. If new rail systems are to be built, which I believe is the only answer to the current and future transportation problem, we all need to use them.

Larry Snell
Red Bluff

CNF consideration
There is a big debate as to whether Chico Natural Foods should sell meat or not. One reader commented that they want to be able to do all of their shopping in one store. Another reader commented that only 3 percent of the Chico population is vegan or vegetarian and we should not expect a store to accommodate just us.

First, I think the person who does all of their shopping in one store is extremely rare. We are vegan and still we shop at four food stores in order to meet all of our needs and desires.

Secondly, I think maybe people do not understand how it feels to shop in a store where meat is sold. If a store was to sell human flesh, I think many Chicoans would be repulsed by the sight and worse yet the smell. For those of us who have been nonmeat eaters for many years, or raised vegetarian or vegan, this is exactly how it is for us.

It is so refreshing to shop at Chico Natural Foods and not be assaulted with the smell and sight of dead living creatures. I think only about 3 percent of the food sold in Chico is sold at Chico Natural Foods. Therefore, I see nothing wrong with them continuing to stand by their ethics of not selling meat.

Linda Calbreath

Come speak with us
A friend recently informed me that Congressman Wally Herger had no plans to campaign in Chico prior to the November vote. Astounded, I checked Herger’s Web site and even phoned his headquarters. No, I was informed, the Congressman has made no plans for campaigning.

So it appears that we, his constituents, whether we be in Durham, Oroville, Chico, Gridley, Paradise, Biggs or Magalia are, with only 50 days to go before voting, being denied an opportunity for meaningful discussion with our elected official. Whether the issue is Medicare, taxes, gas prices, the monumental deficit, Iraq, funding drug companies, the limits of torture to obtain information, or whatever—all debate is denied us.

I—and I trust I’m not alone—believe in the imperative of free speech, Mr. Congressman, in open and honest debate, in representative government, and in democracy. Do you?

Lynn H. Elliott