Letters for September 3, 2009

Hazing jurors don’t get it

Re: “Betas get a break” (Downstroke, Aug. 27):

I am saddened by the fact that the jurors just don’t seem to understand the damage caused. What do those who take part in these rituals have to do, aside from killing someone, to be held accountable for their actions of degrading and placing someone in physical danger, whether or not the victim realizes it?

At what point will these trials go from being a waste of the taxpayers’ money when someone is dead or in a coma or brain-damaged for life? Or maybe has lost a limb? Is there a value for each level of damage caused that offsets this waste? As to the victims never being in physical danger, since when is hypothermia not dangerous?

More than 600 deaths occur each year from hypothermia. In April 2004 a Chico State student had to go to the infirmary for frostbite of his testicles after having to sit in icewater during a fraternity hazing. I guess the jurors wouldn’t have thought that was a serious bodily injury either, since he is still alive.

When someone is being hazed, they’re just doing what they’re being ordered to do; they don’t always realize if they are in any danger. That would be the responsibility of the jury to determine.

It took me less than two minutes to find out how many people die of hypothermia a year. It sure would have been nice if they had taken a couple of minutes to find that out. The fact that they didn’t was a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

Debbie Smith
Pleasant Hill

Editor’s note: Debbie Smith is the mother of the late Matthew Carrington, after whom Matt’s Law is named.

Farther up Spice Creek

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

Ah, a young new food critic, anxious to let his cutting adjectives and snide remarks resonate in print. It seems that this self-conscious reviewer is more interested in locking more adjectives into a sentence than in relaying a true dining experience!

I wasn’t quite clear if Spice Creek was not fusion enough for the critic? Glitzy? Eighties? I am sorry, but besides a mouthful of of snide remarks, did you taste the food, or was your mouth too full of negativity?

I know it must be tempting as a new food critic to topple the icons, but have some facts behind you!

Spice Creek is one of the best restaurants within 100 miles, and the chef has years of experience all over the world. Can this critic say he has had experience, or is he still testing the waters with a dictionary and thesaurus in hand?

I for one will continue to dine there happily, and even happier not to have to share the restaurant with such a pretentious new reviewer in the window. By the way, what do “Biffy and Brad” have to do with anything in a restaurant review?

Mary Wilson
San Francisco

Brickbats for Wally

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

As I follow all of this brouhaha about Wally Herger and the “right-wing terrorist” in his audience, I ask myself, How would Sen. John McCain have responded in this situation? Would he have smiled as the man declared himself a “right-wing terrorist”? Would he have continued to smile as this same individual called our president a self-appointed king?

We know the answers. John McCain publicly corrected a woman who called Barack Obama a Muslim. He even told an audience member recently to leave an Arizona town-hall meeting because she wouldn’t stop shouting.

If John McCain had been in Redding, he would have, I’m sure, reminded the Redding gentleman that self-appointed kings do not allow their citizens to vote. The majority of citizens in this democracy duly elected President Obama.

Nor would he have encouraged such incendiary terms as terrorist or extremist to be thrown out in a public venue without challenging them. And he certainly would not have added an “Amen” to encourage this volatile “great American” audience member. But there again, Congressman Wally Herger is not Sen. John McCain.

Lynn H. Elliott

Having recently moved from that liberal bastion known as Marin County to Chico, we are slowly becoming educated about the diversity of our new “neighborhood.”

On the one hand, we are incredulous at how Wally Herger has lasted for 22 years. Conversely, how incredible it is to live in a place where government and corporate solar-power efforts are legend; where its state university has been applauded as one of the “best in the West,” and where a little weekly like yours keeps us informed about “the good, the bad and the ugly” politically, environmentally, culturally and socially speaking.

Thanks for telling it like it is.

Jude Cassel Williams

Wake up, America

When will America wake up? We are not the world’s caretaker. We need to take care of our own, but this does not mean taking care of people who have no right to be here in the USA. Make those countries pay us back for the health care those illegal persons have received and/or are receiving from our hospitals, clinics, doctors and schools.

Also, do not allow anyone with HIV or AIDS to come into this country, as they will most certainly drain our health system dry. They will also spend their time infecting our Americans with their disease, thus causing more severe health problems for America to deal with. Why should we feel that we owe these people anything? We don’t.

We need to get rid of all prisoners who are not here legally in this country and send them back to their own countries. If they return, we put them to work in “hard work labor camps” for a very long time and they can feed “our American prisoners” for their illegal entry into this country. That should make them think twice about coming over our borders illegally.

Mae DeMund

Check out Leon’s

Re: “Going ‘locavore’ in Chico” (Dine local, by Shannon Rooney, Aug. 27):

I enjoyed and appreciated the article on local establishments that buy their food from local suppliers, and I support places that do.

I was surprised that I didn’t see Leon Bistro listed, since Ann Leon, owner and chef, actually worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, which was mentioned in the article. Ann’s dishes are always exceptional, and her philosophy revolves around purchasing local foods, supporting local businesses and preparing foods in season.

Try Leon’s; I bet you’ll return.

Sherry Butler

To watch is to exploit

Re: “Pornography” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, Aug. 20):

Thank you for once again prompting me to examine my beliefs and attitudes toward pornography.

I don’t object to anything an adult wants to do, alone or with another consenting adult, either in private or with a group of consenting adults. But when these activities become spectator sport and young, beautiful people, naïve or not, are enlisted to perform for my gratification, I’ll say no thanks, I’ve had enough.

I do not want to view the results of the exploitation of other human beings anymore. I do believe that I have an effect—and am affected—by my participation as an observer. Does it become more likely that a child will be molested if I look at an image on my monitor? The probability of a child, or any other person, being exploited for my satisfaction increases if I have a desire to see such things. I am then demeaned by my choice, and I lose my self-respect.

In the interest of transparency I should disclose my status, as a chemically and surgically castrated 64-year-old man who beat my meat like it owed me money while sitting alone at my computer for several years.



Although the article “Going ‘locavore’ in Chico,” by Shannon Rooney, in our Dine Local section last week initially correctly identified the assistant chef at Bacio Carry Out Cuisine and Catering as Jan Truitt, subsequent citations incorrectly gave her last name as Smith. Also, Bacio purchases almonds from Chico Nut, not walnuts. Our apology for the errors.