Letters for September 6, 2007

Start budget cuts at thermostat
Re: “That old familiar feeling” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 30):

I don’t think the schools need to spend a bunch of (my) money placing solar cells on roofs to save money—how about they just turn off the air conditioning?

During a previous school budget crisis (can’t remember which one, they come up every year), the district said they spent about $400,000 a year on air conditioning. If I hadn’t seen that figure in writing twice, I would think it was a typo.

When you raise children in air conditioning, they think they can’t survive without it. Let them get used to Northern California summers now, before they have to foot the bill for their own air conditioning.

If that sounds inhumane in this last bit of summer heat, I’d suggest they fix the schedule—when I was a kid, school didn’t start till after Labor Day.

Yes, there’s a parallel with the city’s budget woes. When I attended an 8 a.m. meeting last week, the air conditioning in the city building was already running at full tilt boogie. It’s easier to think you “need” something when you are not paying for it yourself.

Juanita Sumner

‘Canyon must be protected’
Re: “Canyon builders have residents fuming” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, Aug. 30):

Thank you for this article on the illegal grading by Signalized Intersection West LLC in Butte Creek Canyon. As a canyon resident of seven years and recreational user for over 30 years (when I lived in the S.F. Bay Area, I vacationed in the canyon), I recognize the canyon must be protected from overzealous developers.

Cluster housing, condos and high-end housing developments will ruin the canyon’s history and natural resources, and will have a devastating effect on the flora, fauna and finally the creek. The canyon is not just a legacy for the folks that live in it, but it is also a legacy for the greater Butte County community and people who come from all over the state to swim, tube, cycle, kayak and observe the wildlife.

CJ Burkett

More cars downtown?
Surprisingly, the city is again discussing a $15 million to $20 million parking structure downtown. Chico residents and downtown shoppers and downtown businesses and needs assessments all made it clear that we don’t want another parking structure downtown! However, it seems that funds are available to address the inevitable increase of downtown shoppers that more development ensures.

I’ve been thinking about this for months. What do we want? What will serve our best interests?

I listened to concerned citizens last time this issue came up. Several ideas, which seem like common sense, recur:

1. Clean, green, efficient, comfortable light rail would bring car shoppers from several small, outlying parking lots.

2. Encourage biking, skateboarding and walking with safe routes and parking, and safety education and equipment.

3. [Offer] benefits for car-free households and for carpooling to school and work (especially downtown).

4. [Push for] car-free community development, with cars on the outside.

We can have development however we want it. I encourage everyone to ask themselves: Do we really want more cars? Will more cars increase our joy and freedom? What steps can I take (do I take) to drive less or not at all?

May your next breath be a fresh one.

Eartha Shanti

Shots ringing out
Whoa, Chico, we’re really rockin’ now! Two murders and seven shooting incidents in only one month, all within a two-mile radius—something to really be proud of. And it all started with a major coke bust of 1 1/2 pounds just two days before the first murder. See any connection? Naaaaah!

This is definitely not Mayberry; it’s turning into East L.A. What’s going on? Where are the police? Is anybody out there? This is an outrage, and a huge Chico law enforcement debacle.

We need to get a grip on drug dealing and the crime that goes along with it. We’re doing a great job of keeping the tubers from floating down the river. Too bad we can’t keep the under-30 crowd from murdering and shooting each other on the streets of Chico every few days.

Victor Cantu

Get educated, get active
Now that the California state budget has passed, the issue of health-insurance reform is being covered in the press.

Sheila Kuehl’s plan, SB 840, would be like Medicare for everyone—a single-payer health-care system. You’d get to choose your own doctor and choose your own hospital. Unlike Medicare, you’d have no co-pays or deductibles, and it would cover dental, vision and prescription drugs, without a doughnut hole. It emphasizes preventive and wellness care.

It would be financed by a 7 percent tax on employers and a 3 percent tax on employees. The administrative costs would be what Medicare costs to administer, 3 percent, instead of the 25 percent now charged by insurance companies. This is being done in Canada, France and the U.K., so we should be able to do it also.

SB 840 means the end of the health-insurance industry and a curb on the pharmaceutical industry. These industries will do everything they can to keep the people uninformed and busy discussing ways of modifying the old system, which includes them, rather than eliminating them.

Get educated. Get active— contact your state senator and assembly member and tell them to support SB 840.

Suzette Welch

By George
I thought your readers might enjoy joining me in commemorating the start of another football season:

Though the consensus is he’s thick as molasses, Madame Secretary insists, “Oh, he’s very intuitive.” I thought about this long, then concluded what she meant was that, watching TV football together once, when the ‘boys broke their huddle on fourth and 23, incurious George screamed, “They’re gonna punt!”

Which, it seems, is more than he knows to do.

Sanford Dorbin

Losing a big fight
Why does the dog-fighting scandal spur the emotions of so many Americans? With only partial awareness, it offers us a rare glimpse into the continual conflict in the American soul between our good ideals of “a more perfect union” and our tendencies toward cruel oppression of the underdogs of this world. Why do we popularly use the expressions “I don’t have a dog in this fight” and “It’s a dog-eat-dog world"?

Michael Vick, an NFL sports warrior, is the canary in the mine, warning us of the losing of the battle for the core values of the American republic.

Like the Roman Empire in decline, we citizens have allowed ourselves to be sedated with gladiatorial contests, celebrity circuses and extreme unbridled sports.

We have become overweight by gorging ourselves on distracting entertainment—instead of working and fighting for truth and social justice.

John Chendo

Re: “Clean almonds—at what cost?” (Newslines, by Bryce Benson, CN&R, Aug. 30): The U.S. Department of Agriculture has exempted almonds sold at farmers markets from the new pasteurization requirement.