Letters for September 30, 2010


In our lead Newslines story last week, “New school learns the hard way,” Kent Sandoe’s affiliation at Chico State University was given incorrectly. He is a member of the College of Business, Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems.

In the same issue, in the Best of Chico Readers’ Picks, the website for TOPCats was incorrect; it’s www.paradisecats.org.

Best of where?

Re “Best of Chico 2010” (Cover story, Sept. 23):

Regarding the selection for the best nursery in Chico, you have mistakenly included Mendon’s Nursery in Paradise. We all know that Mendon’s is the best nursery in Paradise, and they should easily win as the Best Nursery in Paradise, but the Chico side of the competition is supposed to be all about Chico. This has happened before, and it’s unfair to the local nurseries.

Steven Dunn

Editor’s note: Mr. Dunn has a good point. We included Mendon’s simply because it got more votes than any Chico nursery, and also because there was no category for Best Nursery on the Ridge. We’ll try to handle it better next year.

Two views of Green School

Re “New school learns the hard way” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, Sept. 23):

It is with great disappointment as an educator, taxpayer and former supporter of the Chico Green School that I also cast a strong vote of no confidence in the school’s board of directors. The current board has proven itself to be incompetent at best and dishonest and dictatorial at worst.

While Mr. Sandoe admits “mistakes” have been made, he and Ms. Logan (the other failed board member) made their biggest mistake when they rescinded their disingenuous letters of resignation. Lying to the public, the school board, parents and students is no way to start a school dedicated to sustainability. I urge Mr. Sandoe and the other members of the Chico Green School board to do the right thing and resign now! It is the only chance Chico Green School has of surviving.

Sam Weir

I couldn’t help but find it amusing and ironic that the CUSD is critical of the Green School’s governance. To hear none other than Rick Rees make comments about how the “vetting process” needs to be open and transparent is like hearing “honesty in governance” out of the mouth of Rod Blagojevich.

Mr. Rees governed over the most corrupt times in Chico schools’ history and should be the last person who questions the honesty of anyone’s governance. Chico Green School is experiencing all the predictable issues and hurdles that a new endeavor goes through. Knowing that CUSD would hyperbolize every issue or wart only exacerbates its challenge. CUSD doesn’t want any charter to succeed and scrutinizes the charters in a way it would never do to its own schools or its own school board.

Mr. Rees says he is concerned about “your tax money and my tax money.” If that line had one ounce of truth to it, Mr. Rees’ governance of CUSD would have been far different than it has been. Save the sanctimony, Mr. Rees, pack your bags, and allow a new board to actually do that.

Stacey Condon

A remedy for late budgets

Re “Broken budget records” (Editorial, Sept. 23):

A simple solution [to late state budgets] is Proposition 25, which would change the absurd law requiring a two-thirds majority to pass the state budget. Instead it would require a simple majority. Plus lawmakers would have to forgo their salaries as long as the budget is delayed past the June 30 deadline.

This annual outrage is caused by the absurd California law that requires a two-thirds majority to pass a budget. A small minority of state legislators holds our state hostage every year, because they insist on solving all our budget needs by cutting spending, and since there is no fat left to cut, they insist on cutting programs that are vital to the most vulnerable among us. And they block revenue-building measures—such as taxing large corporations for oil revenues (California is the only oil producing state that does not tax oil revenues).

Gov. Schwarzenegger is behind this absurdity, as will be Meg Whitman, if she is elected. So, my fellow citizens, if you want to change all this, vote for Proposition 25 this November, and vote for Jerry Brown for governor.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Emily Alma

What it’s all about

Re “Big planes wow little ones” (Newslines, by Andrea LaVoy Wagner, Sept. 23):

Having flown for more than 40 years and trained hundreds of pilots, I find this article a bright light on the horizon of aviation. I tried to get the districts I have taught in to invest in the future of students in aviation, only to be rebuffed by their lack of knowledge as to how important aviation is to the community and the world itself.

Inspiring young people to fly and giving them a purpose and a wonderful future and life is what air shows are all about. Great article.

Nick Sywyk
Plumas Lake

The marijuana war

Re “Pot lobbed to City Council” (Downstroke, Sept. 23):

Although we commend the Chico Planning Commission for its efforts to draft an ordinance regulating the growing and distribution of medi-pot, its meeting Sept. 16 was another lesson in futility. As long as we are clouded by so much deep-rooted fear and prejudice, we can never legislate intelligently.

I was particularly offended by one commissioner’s insistence that we keep dispensaries and collectives as far away as possible from schools and day-care centers so we don’t expose our children to this “criminal element.”

This whole mess has turned into a war where on one side we have tens of thousands of patients with serious medical needs; probably about twice that many who use the herb responsibly but in a more recreational manner; and the hundreds of thousands who support their right to determine what medicine they put in their body, without government interference.

On the other side is a small minority of misinformed, brainwashed do-gooders and, of course, all members of law enforcement (who want to keep their jobs).

The problem here is that it only takes a few of these people in positions of power to keep throwing sand in the engine of progress.

By the way, looking for loopholes to completely ban dispensaries is not an option! We will be treated like liquor stores and pharmacies, and with respect.

Robert Galia

What I know about Anne

Re “More high school drama” (Newslines, by Stacey Kennelly, Sept. 9):

Our society desperately needs teachers to give students the opportunity to become inspired and pursue science as a profession. We also need scientifically literate citizens who will make informed decisions. These have always been Anne Stephens’ goals.

For that reason she applied for a temporary position with the California Department of Education as a visiting educator to develop environmental-education guidelines that will lead California in teaching students about the natural world around us.

Once she was offered the position, she requested and was granted a professional leave of absence from Chico Unified School District. In her spare time, she chose to pursue a Ph.D. program in education.

It speaks a lot to her character that her choice was a doctoral program that teaches expertise in the field of education. For her leave of absence to be cut short, there must have been some extenuating circumstance that has not been revealed yet.

I only know that Anne has integrity, drive and is very dedicated to excellence in education. She is an asset to science education in Chico, in Butte County and in California. We are lucky to have her as a teacher in the Chico Unified School District.

Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly
Chico Junior High science teacher

A case of ‘studentism’?

I am carrying a petition to change the Chico City Council elections from November to June. After I walked the petition the first time, I realized this issue needs to be discussed rationally.

A lady I encountered while walking my petition said she felt it was an attempt to shut out the students. I told her I had voted by mail for years, and therefore “shutting people out of the election” is not even an issue to me. Any qualified voter can vote by mail if they are unable to get to the polls on Election Day.

She told me, “But the students do not think that far ahead.”

I was shocked that this mature woman would have such a low opinion of a group of people simply because their main occupation is attending college. I was also appalled that she would think we should arrange our elections for the convenience of people she believes “do not think ahead.”

There are people that think you should be identified by one aspect of your life—your skin color, maybe? How about sex? None of these people would be caught dead saying, “Women can only vote intelligently in June,” would they? But they can say, “Students don’t think that far ahead.”

If you are unsure about your voting rights, please contact the city clerk, Debbie Presson.

Juanita Sumner

Review gets good review

Re “Women in love” (Scene, by Alan Sheckter, Sept. 20):

Thanks, Alan, for giving this show a real review. With our local theater, we are so used to the “book report” type of review. These usually give away the plot, describe what happens, and end with “go see it!” These get old after a while. It was very refreshing to read your review, complete with the constructive criticisms. Thank you.

Dana Moore

Where’s the ‘perpetuity’?

Like a lot of CN&R readers, I love the natural environment. As it happens, the current 1994 General Plan contains a land-use overlay called the RCA, or Resource Conservation Area, and according to the policy, “Resource Conservation Areas contain the most sensitive and valuable habitat that requires protection and would be conserved in perpetuity.”

The policy is further defined, “RCAs provide opportunities for various non-development-oriented uses. They may be used for limited passive recreation, educational purposes, and as sites for scientific study, or as locations for off-site mitigation banking…”

Now that’s the kind of policy I want my civic leaders and civil servants to embrace, but as fate would have it, city staff has drafted the proposed 2030 General Plan without the RCA, and without anything remotely similar. It’s just plain gone.

I guess my question is, “By ‘would be conserved in perpetuity,’ did the 1994 General Plan mean, “until paper pushers at City Hall decide otherwise”?

Randy Abbott

Cleanup kudos, thanks

Re “Students scour the river” (Downstroke, Sept. 20):

This is so great that the college students finally realize the damage that they’ve been doing. Thank you to the students doing the volunteer work. It means a lot to this community.

Greg Loe

I would like to thank all the good people who came out to help at BEC’s Park & Creek Cleanup last Saturday! Together, the volunteers collected tons of garbage, scrap metal and recyclables, keeping all that trash from ending up in the Sacramento River and then the ocean after the rains start.

I would also like to thank our major sponsors, the city of Chico, Butte County Fish & Game Commission and Waste Management, as well as all the businesses that donated supplies and snacks/refreshments for all the hard-working volunteers.

The California Conservation Corps crew was invaluable, as were the folks from Lifescapes who brought trucks and trailers to cart the trash to our Dumpsters. Thanks everyone for making this community event so successful!

Mary Muchowski
Education & Outreach coordinator

Butte Environmental CouncilChico

Chico-Pakistan connection

You may remember Robert Speer’s article on Pakistani students who broke the story to me about covert Blackwater (Xe) militia in their country (“A dangerous secret,” Feb. 18). I’m excited to announce that one of the students has started a co-ed school in his home to teach illiterate teens. It’s in Peshawar, near the Taliban activity in Pakistan, a very thrilling way to bring peace.

Donations from Chico make it possible. E-mail me (gkimball@csuchico.edu) if you’d like to read an interview with one of the illiterate girls and see photos of the students learning to write.

Gayle Kimball

Three down, 19 to go

This time three years ago Gregory Wright saw his last day as a free man. He was the lovelorn teenager at Las Plumas High School. He had a bad day and made it worse, much worse.

Our communications are becoming fewer and farther apart. I suspect the inevitable is taking its toll. The reality of a 22-year sentence and diminishing hope leads him to adapt and survive. I have heard it is easier if a prisoner just forgets that he had another life.

Greg is presently at Mule Creek State Prison, about 130 miles from Oroville. He was previously at Soledad. We hope he will fare better at MCSP.

The DA who orchestrated this severity has been reelected; the prosecutor has been awarded a judgeship. It is business as usual for his appointed defender and the appointed presiding judge. There is no apparent remorse on the part of any of these participants. In fact, the DA used [Gregory’s case] as an example of how he is protecting our schoolchildren.

I saw this as a black mark for Butte County, and that has not changed with the passing of time. We, his advocates, are trying to mount one last legal maneuver, but the challenges are formidable. If you would care to write: Gregory Wright, G-09105, MCSP A1 202, P.O. Box 409020, Ione, CA 95640

Jim Adams

Voices for the rest of us

I have attended a few meetings if the Chico Unified School District board over the past several years and have noticed something interesting: While representatives of the various employee groups and the administration are almost always in attendance, one is less likely to see individuals who are there to look after the interests of the taxpayers, the general public and the students themselves. I don’t think this situation results from a lack of caring on the part of citizens and families so much as that the meetings involve complex issues and the important business often takes place late in the evening. For most people who work by day, bedtime comes early; and, in any case, children cannot remain up and out much past 8:30 P.M.

Therefore, we must count on the CUSD board itself to make sure that our concerns are given at least as much weight as those of the vested interests present. To do that, our school board must be made up of individuals who are objective, conscientious and willing to place the needs of our children above all other priorities. Fortunately, three local citizens with just these qualities are available to us this fall, and we can elect them by placing an “X” next to the names of Sean Worthington, Dean Stefanides and Erik Lyon. They will very ably serve as a strong voice for all those who are not present.

Carl Ochsner

Bob’s the man

The wisdom to know what is and is not good for one’s community often comes from an accumulation of life experiences. Our 60-plus years of ties to Chico lead us to believe the majority of the current City Council members are not good for Chico, its economy or its full-time residents.

With the upcoming departure of Larry Wahl from the council, it is incumbent on all who care about Chico to proactively support council candidates who show a concern for fiscal responsibility and who have the ability to listen to and work with our community residents. We are convinced Bob Kromer is such an individual.

Last fall we worked with Bob in a futile attempt to make the current council members aware of citizens’ concerns. In addressing the council, Bob’s demeanor demonstrated he is able to address potentially divisive issues in a positive, level-headed manner while listening to both sides of an issue. For these reasons, we whole-heartedly support Bob Kromer’s candidacy for the Chico City Council.

A vote for Bob Kromer on Nov. 2 will be a vote for fiscal responsibility and a common- sense approach to listening to the concerns of city residents.

Ray and Jackie Schimmel

No longer homeless

I cannot thank the Chico Police Department’s HELP program and the Jesus Center enough for what they have done to send my 52-year-old homeless brother home to me! Today was his birthday!

With the help of the Jesus Center and police Officer Tupper, Terry was put on a Greyhound bus today (Sept. 16) at 11 a.m. and will be arriving back home here in Illinois on Saturday morning! I already have made plans and have put things “in the works” (and Terry is quite willing) to get him the help he needs to bring to an end to his 14 years of homelessness.

Thank you everyone who has given this gift of opportunity to Terry! Thank you, newsreview.com, for publicizing the CPD HELP program and the Jesus Center for helping the homeless in this way.

Bobbie Evans
East Moline, Ill.

Cops to be laid off?

As a Chico resident, I have been hearing discussions about possible layoffs of Chico police officers. I know that the Chico Police Department is already at an all-time-low officer-to-population ratio.

Chico has a reputation for being a party town. However, what the media do not cover (or possibly know) is that Chico is home to several violent gangs whose violent crimes are not acknowledged publicly. Chico is not as safe as it seems, and it will only get worse if the city lays off an already depleted police force.

All other options have not been exhausted. For example, the city has purchased several new vehicles for Chico police officers and other city agencies; this is one of many unnecessary purchases that the city could live without during this economic crisis. I am willing to bet that the Chico police officers would much rather have officers to provide coverage in dangerous situations than drive a new vehicle when the ones they have now work just fine.

Chico residents have the right to know that their Police Department is about to be dismantled and the consequences that will ensue. The media need to be informed of the daily, dangerous incidents that the Police Department handles. These officers are putting their lives on the line every single day. Chico residents should be informed as to what is being done to keep their city safe.

Alisha Sylvester