Letters for September 4, 2008

Call for police commission echoed
Re: “Safe, or out of luck?” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Aug. 28):

I agree with the editor that a city-wide police commission or review board would be a good thing. I’m appreciative of the work they do, and at the same time critical of some of their attitudes, policies and decisions. Where does one criticize the actions of the police so that someone will listen and at the same time not worry about reprisal?

Tom Barrett

Reactions to Logsdon story vary
Re: “The plot thickens” (cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, Aug. 28):

Well, it looks like a lot of the same ole, same ole. Victim was on drugs, officers had to beat him to defend themselves. What seems so odd is that after beating, tasering, knocking out teeth, clubbing him half to death, the officers decided the victim was in distress so they called an ambulance. Does this sound laudable?

Why wasn’t family notified? Took them three days of searching to find him in ICU, kidney failure, unconscious. No records show up for weeks. Yes, there are always two sides of a story, but this reeks of cover-up.

People better realize that if they are on drugs and fight with the cops, they may be found dead in some alley. Let this be a wake-up call. I sure hope this 150-pound kid, accomplished glass-blower, wins his suit.

Shorty Foster

Jaime O’Neill’s cover story brings to mind stories my younger brother used to share with me regarding some of his experiences during years of working in law enforcement in a Midwestern city.

The calls he and his colleagues most hated to respond to were reports of individuals behaving erratically in public, for too often these suspects turned out to be acting out in some sort of drug-induced rage, usually hallucinatory, and always very difficult to control physically. And many times it took two, three or four officers to control and subdue such individuals, individuals who often fought with near-superhuman strength and who showed no apparent ability to feel pain in their frenzied state.

My brother and his colleagues hated these altercations, not just because they themselves were in serious physical danger and often got hurt, but also because it usually took extraordinary force to subdue such suspects. And the physical size of crazed suspects was no indicator of danger. My brother, an imposing 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, suffered his worst injuries one night when a short, skinny 17-year-old kid high on something refused to stand still and instead charged my brother, lifted him off the ground, and smashed him into a brick wall 25 feet away.

Randy Wonzong

Show some respect, Chico PD
Thank you, Chico PD, for having your tax-paid officers harassing other cars by driving up behind them as close as possible to intimidate them while at the same time nearly causing an accident. You’re doing a wonderful job.

Don’t be surprised when citizen groups start up to get your budget shrunk—and don’t forget, we own you, not the other way around. Show some respect for the citizenry.

John Paulsen

‘Tragically familiar’
Re: “Too pained to live” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Aug. 28):

Daniel Brocchini’s story is tragically familiar. The diagnosis of borderline personality disorder causes doctors and clinicians alike to throw up their hands and give up.

Technically, BPD is not a mental illness. It is a personality disorder. Because of this distinction, many professionals see little or no hope for change. BPD patients are seen as the scourge of any clinic or mental-health unit because they are frequently angry and perceived as very manipulative.

People who are knowledgeable about mental health often say that BPD is the diagnosis given to patients that are a pain to deal with. In reality, they are people who are in excruciating pain without the normal ability to soothe their own distress. Asking Daniel to complete all of the steps he was supposed to remember and follow up with clinic visits is like asking someone who has just had a heart attack to give himself frequent EKGs and interpret them.

What could have helped save Daniel and helped his mother as well was peer support from other people in recovery from the life challenges that get labeled BPD. Since funding is being cut for clinicians, counselors and case managers, peer recovery support is desperately needed. It is scientifically proven to be effective, it is cheap, and it makes the difference between how this story ends and one of Daniel recovered and able to reach out to help others.

Cathi Calori
Ithaca, NY

Editor’s note: Ms. Calori is associate director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration at Cornell University.

I have some facts to add to your story.

1. There were two suicides besides this [possible one] at a Stairways home in the last year and a half.

2. Chico Behavioral Health should not be confused with the entire county. I know. I’ve been a client at both Oroville and Chico clinics.

Oroville treated me like a queen. They listened, followed up and bent over backwards to help me. When I went to the Chico office, it was just the opposite. They were cruel, critical, and instead of helping me out of the pit I was in, they stomped on my fingers. This is the same kind of story I have heard from many others.

I am now empowered and outraged at anyone who would mistreat these vulnerable people who find themselves with these illnesses and who deserve to be helped—especially young people who have no idea what is happening to them, and their concerned families who are also clueless.

If I had fallen ill today as I did in 1973, I would’ve been a dead duck.

Mary Lawhead

Teachers stuck in a rut
Re: “Science ed gets its own department” (Newslines, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Aug. 28):

Herein lies the very crux of the problem of abysmal [understanding] of science by the public at large, in the face of overwhelming dominance of our lives by technology. Please take note that technology and science are not synonymous.

The example used to buttress the need for a Department of Science Education, namely the failure of Ivy League students to explain why we have seasons, is fallacious. Just because students have had classes purported to be in science subjects, taught by teachers who are not scholars in the subject, and cannot explain correctly a simple natural phenomenon does not mean one needs to create a Department of Science Education.

The problem is the malaise in training the masses to get jobs, not educated. The K-12 system is the most affected, as the teachers are burdened by the robotic routine they must adhere to, at the expense of innovative, impromptu imparting of knowledge.

As a retired chemistry professor, I find it unacceptable to read that somehow the hands-on experience is lacking in the present setting of the teaching of science subjects in universities where there is no Department of Science of Education.

This is another continuation of breaking down the teaching of a subject for various special-interest groups, like chemistry for chemistry majors, chemistry for civil engineers and another course of chemistry for other kinds of engineering students. This is done not so much to assure the relevance, but rather to assure retention, to keep up with the rules and regulations mandated by politicians.

Brahama D. Sharma

Biden means change?
Re: “That’s the ticket” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 28):

I am incredulous that the CN&R would laud Barack Obama’s choice for VP! Obama has been talking about change for a year and a half. Yet he chooses for his running mate a man who has represented the home state of American corporatocracy, Delaware, for almost six terms in the U.S. Senate.


“Change” is defined as doing things differently.

I am certain the interests of DuPont, Monsanto, and a majority of the Fortune 500 will be represented in an Obama administration, but this decision has robbed me of my audacity to hope that the needs of the people will matter anymore; nor the environment.

Sadly, the only real change America will get now comes from a machine at the laundromat.

Quentin Colgan

Editor’s note: For a different take on change, please see In My Eyes.

Fore! score
Re: “Courses clear latest hurdle” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Aug. 28) and “Say yes to disc golf” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 21):

Thanks for your clarity on the disc golf issue over the last year.

People looking to protect the park really do hate fun and people, especially kids. And most naturalists believe that youth need to be encouraged to damage sensitive ecosystems at an early age, during the formative years. This way they can experience the destruction first-hand, realize the error of their ways, and become avid protectors of the land.

We already know it’s woodpeckers that are responsible for tree damage on the course that would otherwise be blamed on people. I hate those red-headed peckers.

And why don’t people understand that the illegal squatters in Upper Park will restore the land they have been damaging if we would just let ’em? They said they would. Of course, they realize that 20 years is long enough for that silly prank.

C’mon, people, what’s a few acres among friends? It’s not like anybody else is going to want to claim a piece of the park for their very own. As for Annie Bidwell and her desire to see her gift of land protected … well, it was fun to dress up like her during the centennial celebration, but she was really kind of a sucker about that deed thing.

Bob Reil

We have heard from the editors of two out of three newspapers recently, both favoring disc golf in Upper Bidwell Park. Does this mean we environmental folks should turn tail on this issue and wave the white flag?

David Little of the Enterprise Record makes a case for the family orientation of disc golf but fails to address the impact of so many participants. Evan Tuchinsky of the News & Review is more thoughtful but maybe too new in town to appreciate the people who have selflessly fought the environmental battles in and around Chico.

If people feel the need to throw discs or play similar games requiring courses, there should be more suitable places where bathrooms are available, and environmental degradation and scenic values not involved. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Find another place.

Robert Woods

It’s all our business
Re: “Impeachment isn’t our business” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Aug. 21):

Robert Speer’s account of the impeachment resolution brought before the City Council on Aug. 19 is evenhanded and fair. His reporting takes into consideration the many different nuanced positions we heard that night. However, he failed to mention the compelling evidence for the fact that cities do, indeed, have the power to represent their constituents to higher levels of government.

In my remarks to the council, I cited case law verifying that cities can petition Congress on behalf of their residents. I not only read it at the mic, but also gave each councilmember a copy, which (it seems) all except Scott Gruendl ignored.

Four councilmen chose not to recognize this and use “not city business” as an excuse to kill the resolution. They chose to ignore their sworn duty to protect and defend our Constitution. They made it clear that they are more beholden to right-wing elements in our town than to upholding the rule of law.

Marla Crites

Sobering figure
The recent sale of 521 Longs Drug Stores plus an online pharmacy to CVS for $2.9 billion represents a substantial acquisition but absolutely pales in the following comparison: That is the amount we are spending on wars and the military in less than two days.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff